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  • 3 Sep 2021 8:35 PM | Anonymous

    The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.

    “I found it online, so it must be true!”

    Of course not. If you have been involved in researching your family tree for more than a few months, you already know the truth about online genealogy data. Or do you?

    You can go to almost any of today’s online genealogy sites and find information that appears to be false. I’ll pick on as it is a free and open database, making it a good example that everyone can see. However, similar examples exist on most of the commercial genealogy databases as well.

    The first example is that of Mary Allyn. According to FamilySearch at, Mary married Henry L. Brooks in Connecticut on 21 April 1564. You can find that “record” at

    As I remember from my history classes in school, Connecticut didn’t exist in those days. The only people found there in the mid 1500s would have been American Indians, and the name “Mary Allyn” sure doesn’t sound like an Indian name to me! In fact, Dutch explorer Adriaen Block first visited the area in 1614. The first settlement from the New Netherlands colony was a trading post not far from present-day Hartford, and the first English settlers arrived in 1635. It would therefore seem silly to claim marriages in the area in 1564.

    In a similar vein, you can find a birth record in FamilySearch for John Smith born in Hadley, Massachusetts, on 6 May 1600, as listed at That is obviously twenty years before the Pilgrims arrived in Massachusetts and 59 years before the town of Hadley was first settled!

    A third example is for a location I know well. Again, looking at data in FamilySearch, Sophia Robinson is listed as born in Thetford Township, Orange County, Vermont, on 1 May 1604, shown at That's a neat trick considering that 1604 was many years before the first settlers arrived in Vermont and 157 years before the town of Thetford was created in 1761!

    I picked on simply because it is a free site and the claims are easily found. However, if we look at most any other online genealogy database containing “records” submitted by the general public, we will see thousands of similar, obvious errors.

    These are but a few of the obvious errors; there are many thousands more.

    The remainder of this article is reserved for Plus Edition subscribers only. If you have a Plus Edition subscription, you may read the full article at:*)-Plus-Edition-News-Articles/10979726.

    If you are not yet a Plus Edition subscriber, you can learn more about such subscriptions and even upgrade to a Plus Edition subscription immediately at

  • 3 Sep 2021 3:55 PM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by Findmypast:


    See Britain through the eyes of your ancestors

    UK’s largest collection of historical local photographs now available to search on Findmypast

    Over 300,000 historical photographs available to search online at Findmypast for the first time in partnership with The Francis Frith Collection

    Covering all corners of the UK, Ireland and beyond, this vast new Findmypast resource enables family historians to add colour and context to their ancestor’s stories, witnessing sights and scenes of daily life from up to 150 years ago

    Spanning 1860 to 1970, the Francis Frith collection provides a valuable photographic record of British life, chronicling over 100 years of dramatic change in vivid detail

    Family history website Findmypast, has just added over 300,000 historical photographs chronicling more than a century of British life to its vast archive of family history records.

    Published in partnership with the UK’s leading publisher of local photographs since 1860, Francis Frith, and available to search online at Findmypast for the first time, Findmypast’s Francis Frith collection forms a valuable photographic record of daily life in Victorian, Edwardian and 20th century Britain.

    Spanning two centuries (1860 to 1970) and covering more than 9,000 cities, towns and villages across the UK and Ireland, the collection provides both family historians and history enthusiasts alike with the opportunity to come face to face with their ancestors or step back in time to witness sights and scenes from the nation’s past.

    Available to search by date, location and keyword, this visually rich resource captures thousands of individual streets, landmarks, landscapes, businesses, buildings and locations that would have played a defining role in people’s lives. Each search result also details the image’s date, original description and location, including the latitude and longitude allowing for easy identification on Google maps.

    Also included are images of individuals, families, significant national and local events ranging from Royal Jubilees to village fetes, as well a wide variety of images captured overseas.

    The collection not only documents the changing face of locations across the British Isles, it also portrays a diverse array of localities across the world that shaped the destiny of people’s ancestors. This includes a wide array of fascinating images from Egypt, Canada, France, Germany Gibraltar, Hawaii, Holland, Italy, Switzerland, and the United States.

    The story of Francis Frith

    Born into a Quaker family in 1822 in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, Francis Frith was a complex and multi-talented man who had a formidable instinct for business. After becoming a founding member of the Liverpool Photographic Society in 1853 – only 14 years after the invention of photography - he founded his own photographic publishing company in 1860 with the aim of creating accurate and truthful depictions of as many cities, towns and villages as possible.

    Copies of Frith’s photographs proved immensely popular with the general public. Thanks to the rapid expansion of the Victorian railway system, Britons were now travelling in greater numbers than ever before, fuelling a huge demand for photographic souvenirs.

    To help meet this demand, Frith employed a team of company photographers who were trained to capture images of the highest quality according to his strict specifications.

    By the 1870s, the market for Frith & Co’s products was huge, especially after Bank Holidays and half-day Saturdays were made obligatory by Act of Parliament in 1871. By 1890 Frith had succeeded in creating the first and greatest specialist photographic publishing company in the world, with over 2,000 retail stockists.

    Exploring the past online

    Now, more than 150 years since Francis Frith produced his first photographic souvenirs, Findmypast users can access this encyclopaedic visual journal of British life from the comfort of home.

    While written records are essential for uncovering forgotten family stories, finding a photograph of an ancestor or a defining aspect of their life adds a visual richness that can completely transform our understanding of life in bygone eras.

    Photographs not only open windows to the world in which our ancestors lived, they also give the past a human face, enabling for deeper connections with those who came before and a greater appreciation of the stories they left behind.

    By combining Francis Frith’s remarkable images with Findmypast’s unrivalled collections of British and Irish records, family historians around the world can add colour and context to their ancestor’s stories, gaining vivid new insights into their daily lives.

    Whether it be the streets they once walked, the school they attended, a business they worked at or a view they enjoyed, there is no better way to bring that past to life than seeing it through the eyes of an ancestor. As well as searching and discovering these images, users can upload them to their Findmypast family tree to add another dimension to their family history research.

    Paul Nixon, head of UK data licensing at Findmypast said; One of the many joys of the Francis Frith collection is seeing how our villages, towns and cities have evolved over time. I was amazed to see that the busy road close to where I live was little more than a muddy track less than a hundred years ago. Seeing these images adds real context to the lives our ancestors lived.

    “Francis Frith’s legacy to us is a national photographic archive without equal”, says John Buck, MD of The Francis Frith Collection. “It is a remarkable and unique photographic record of Britain over 110 years of change that is also a wonderful resource for local and social historians as well as genealogists or anyone compiling their family history. The Frith images also make a great talking point for young and old, as many older people love looking at our images online and sharing their memories of these places with the younger generation. During his lifetime Francis Frith himself had a steadfast belief in making photographs available to the greatest number of people, and we are delighted that the wonderful selection of nostalgic historical photographs in The Francis Frith Collection will now be seen and enjoyed by people all over the world on Find My Past.”

    To access the collection at Findmypast, please visit;

  • 3 Sep 2021 3:27 PM | Anonymous

    I have often posted stories about people who were adopted found each other, thanks to a DNA test. However, this story has a unique twist. The men met together (not for the first time) at Thunder Valley Speedway in Bishop's Falls, Newfoundland. The "unique twist" is that this was the first time the three knew they were related. 

    They also share a love of mechanics.

    Thomas, 66, says he's always taking things apart and putting them back together. His son, Jason Gedge, 44, says he was the same. And Gedge's son, Jason Jr., who's 21, says he grew up around the things his dad loved: car parts and grease.

    But it was only this year when Gedge, who was adopted at birth, learned Thomas is his biological father, thanks to a DNA test.

    Neil Thomas, Ron's brother, submitted his DNA to an online registry this spring. Most of the names that came back from it were ones he recognized, but one didn't make sense to him — Gedge.

    "The last name wasn't common in the family, either on my mother's side or the father's side," Neil said.

    After exchanging messages with a woman who had also submitted DNA to the registry, Neil realized the Gedge in his records was his nephew. Thomas gave up his infant son for adoption in the late 1970s in Labrador City. 

    You can read the full story at

    My thanks to newsletter reader Bruce Harshberger for telling me about this story.

  • 3 Sep 2021 3:06 PM | Anonymous

    TheGenealogist has released 52,429 records for the Borough of Ealing in the west of London for the period just prior to the First World War. This area consists of the seven major towns of Acton, Ealing, Greenford, Hanwell, Northolt, Perivale and Southall as well as the area of Hayes, Norwood and part of Hammersmith. It was once in the county of Middlesex and because it was half way between city and country, with pleasant greenery, it was often referred to as the ‘Queen of the Suburbs’.

    [Ealing Broadway from the Image Archive on TheGenealogist]

    The records can be quite revealing for family historians as they give details of houses and other buildings owned in the area by our ancestors at a time when the Government surveyed Ealing in the period between 1910-1915.

    To make it easier to understand how areas may have changed over the years TheGenealogist has also plotted each property onto large scale contemporary Ordnance Survey Maps which are available on its versatile Map Explorer™. This allows users to switch between modern and historical maps so that a researcher is able to see any changes that have taken place in the surrounding neighbourhood with the passing of time.

    These land tax records, when used in conjunction with other records on TheGenealogist such as census, street directories etc can build a better picture of the environment in which your ancestors worked, lived or played.

    Family history researchers can use these records to

    • Search for a person by name

    • Search by county, parish and street

    • Discover descriptions and values of the houses occupied by an ancestor

    • Zoom down on the map to show the individual properties as they were in the 1910s

    • Use the controls to reveal a modern street map or satellite view underlay

    Read TheGenealogist’s article about the famous home of St Trinian’s and Lavender Hill Mob found in these Ealing records:

    About TheGenealogist

    TheGenealogist is an award-winning online family history website, who put a wealth of information at the fingertips of family historians. Their approach is to bring hard to use physical records to life online with easy to use interfaces such as their Tithe and newly released Lloyd George Domesday collections.

    TheGenealogist’s innovative SmartSearch technology links records together to help you find your ancestors more easily. TheGenealogist is one of the leading providers of online family history records. Along with the standard Birth, Marriage, Death and Census records, they also have significant collections of Parish and Nonconformist records, PCC Will Records, Irish Records, Military records, Occupations, Newspaper record collections amongst many others.

    TheGenealogist uses the latest technology to help you bring your family history to life. Use TheGenealogist to find your ancestors today!

  • 2 Sep 2021 8:08 PM | Anonymous

    The following was written by the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA)

    DATE: 2 September 2021

    AGRA is pleased to announce two new appointments to the organisation. Jane Roberts will undertake the role of Communications Officer. Joe Saunders has been appointed to the role of Social Media Officer. Both are new, permanent posts.

    Jane is a history graduate and AGRA Associate. In addition to her genealogy work, she is a former family history columnist for Yorkshire nostalgia magazine Down Your Way. She also edited the Huddersfield and District Family History Society journal. Her book about rugby league players who died in the Great War was published in 2018. Previously she was a civil servant, in a role which had a significant communications element.

    Joe works as a freelance historian on family, house and local history research projects. He is an Associate of AGRA and a Trustee and Outreach team member of the British Association for Local History. Joe is also a part-time history PhD student at the University of York. He has run social media accounts for university groups, a digital humanities project and for The Federation of Family History Societies.

    Antony Marr, AGRA Chair, said: “We are constantly looking at ways to move AGRA forward and develop our on-line presence and cope with the growing demands of social media. I welcome the appointment of Jane and Joe to these important roles – the first step in a package of changes currently being planned by our marketing and recruitment team.”

    Both appointments are with immediate effect.

  • 1 Sep 2021 6:00 PM | Anonymous

    Archaeologists working on the HS2 rail link are looking for volunteers to help digitise the burial records of 57,639 Londoners who lived in the city in the 18th and 19th century.

    The information relates to St James’s Burial Ground near Euston station, where more than 31,000 burials were excavated as part of HS2’s archaeology work between 2018 and 2019.

    The archaeologists now intend to compare their findings with information contained in the burial ground’s records, in a bid to find out more about the site and the lives of Londoners at a time when the city was at the heart of an expanding empire.

    You can read more at:

  • 1 Sep 2021 5:28 PM | Anonymous

    The following was written by FamilySearch:

    SALT LAKE CITY, UT--FamilySearch expanded its free online collections this week with more Catholic Church records from Mexico (Jalisco 1590–1979, Puebla 1545–1977, San Luis Potosí 1586–1977, and Tlaxcala 1576–1994), civil registrations from Guatemala (Alta Verapaz 1877–1994, Baja Verapaz 1877–1994, Chimaltenango 1877–1994, El Progreso 1877–1994, Escuintla 1877–1994, Huehuetenango 1877–1994, Izabal 1877–1994, Jalapa 1877–1994, Jalapa 1877–1994, Retalhuleu 1877–1994, and Sololá 1877-1994), and tax assessment rolls from Canada (Ontario 1834–1899).

    US collections added voter registrations from Louisiana (Orleans and St. Tammany Parish 1867–1905), tax records for Massachusetts (Boston 1822–1918), and marriage records for Oregon (1906–1968).

    Search these new records and images by clicking on the collection links below, or go to FamilySearch to search over 11 billion free names and record images.

    The full list of newly-added records is very long, too long tp publish here. You can find the full list at:

    About FamilySearch

    FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at or through over 5,000 family history centers in 129 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

  • 1 Sep 2021 10:17 AM | Anonymous

    Graves in 19,000 churchyards in England are to be digitally mapped in a seven-year project that will be a boon to people researching family history.

    The Church of England is to launch a free website next year that will eventually list every grave memorial in every churchyard in the country.

    The ancient church of St Bega on the shores of Bassenthwaite Lake in Cumbria is the first churchyard to be scanned by surveyors using sophisticated laser equipment.

    “This impressive national project will make a huge difference to those researching family history, as well as easing the administrative burden on parishes,” said Andrew Rumsey, the C of E’s lead bishop for church buildings.

    “It will improve management of burial grounds, and make information more fully accessible than ever before.

    “It will soon be possible to visit almost any Anglican burial ground in the country and see in real time the location of burial plots. For those researching at distance in the UK or overseas, the digital records will place detailed information from churchyards at their fingertips.”

    The new free web-based record system is due to launch next spring, with the option to subscribe to additional services.

    You can read more in an article by Harriet Sherwood published in The Guardian at

  • 1 Sep 2021 6:25 AM | Anonymous

    Today is the first day of the month. That is still a good time to back up your genealogy files. Then test your backups!

    Your backups aren't worth much unless you make a quick test by restoring a small file or two after the backup is completed.

    Actually, you can make backups at any time. However, it is easier and safer if you have a specific schedule. The first day of the month is easy to remember, so I would suggest you back up your genealogy files at least on the first day of every month, if not more often. (My computers automatically make off-site backups of all new files every few minutes.)

    Given the events of the past few months with genealogy websites laying off employees and cutting back on services, you now need backup copies of everything more than ever. What happens if the company that holds your online data either goes off line or simply deletes the service where your data is held? If you have copies of everything stored either in your own computer, what happens if you have a hard drive crash or other disaster? If you have one or more recent backup copies, such a loss would be inconvenient but not a disaster.

    Of course, you might want to back up more than your genealogy files. Family photographs, your checkbook register, all sorts of word processing documents, email messages, and much more need to be backed up regularly. Why not do that on the first day of each month? or even more often?

  • 31 Aug 2021 5:39 PM | Anonymous

    The following was written by MyHeritage:

    In honor of Labor Day, we’re pleased to announce that for the first week of September, we’re offering access to all census records on MyHeritage for free, from September 1–8, 2021!

    Search Census & Voter Lists on MyHeritage now for free

    The Census & Voter Lists category on MyHeritage encompasses a vast repository of over 1.3 billion records, including census records from the U.S., U.K., Ireland, Scandinavia, and Canada as well as electoral rolls and other records from Australia, Venezuela, Chile, Argentina, Armenia, Greece, and much more. These records offer valuable snapshots of the lives of people living in these locations throughout history, especially from the 19th century onward. Censuses are particularly valuable in that they can help you watch the lives of your ancestors unfold as they move from location to location, get married or divorced, have children, or change careers. Some of these collections include high-resolution scans of the original records.

    Records on MyHeritage are always free to search, but to view the records, you generally need a paid Data or Complete plan. This week, however, all census and voter list records are completely free for all to access and enjoy.

    If you’re researching ancestors from another country, you may find this opportunity particularly useful. Thanks to MyHeritage’s Global Name Translation™ technology, you can find records even in languages other than your own. The algorithm identifies additional versions of the names you’re searching for, including nicknames and versions in other languages, and will locate records that match. The census and voter list collections include, for example, electoral rolls from Greece that are recorded in Greek — but you can still search them in your native language, and you’ll see the results translated back into your language for you.

    This offer ends September 8, so don’t wait — search the Census & Voter Lists on MyHeritage for free now!

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