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  • 6 Jan 2022 8:39 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

      • Findmypast and The National Archives publish the historic records online for the very first time
      • Offers an unprecedented glimpse into life 100 years ago, detailing life after WW1, impact of the Spanish Flu pandemic, economic turmoil, housing crisis and major social change
      • Captures the details of 38 million individuals, providing never before seen insights into life in the 1920s
      • Records reveal the lives of both the ordinary and extraordinary, documenting everyone from war veterans, widows and orphans, working women and vagrants to prominent individuals such as national treasure Sir Captain Tom Moore, mathematician and Enigma codebreaker Alan Turing, Lord of the Rings author J. R. R. Tolkien, Tale of Peter Rabbit author Beatrix Potter, first female MP to take her seat in Parliament Nancy Astor, The Royal Family and many more

    6th January 2021, London: Findmypast and The National Archives today publish the highly anticipated 1921 Census of England and Wales online, as the 100-year rule, which ensures records are closed to the public for 100 years, has ended.

    After three years of intensive conservation and digitisation and with the help and support of the Office for National Statistics, the Census is now available to search and explore online, only at

    Taken on June 19th 1921 after being delayed by two months due to industrial unrest, the 1921 Census saw over 38,000 enumerators dispatched to every corner of England of Wales to capture the details of more than 38 million people. This included over 8.5 million households as well as all manner of public and private institutions ranging from prisons and military bases to public schools and workhouses.

    Offering more detail than any previous census ever taken, the 1921 Census of England and Wales not only asked individuals about their age, birth place, occupation and residence (including the names of other household members and the number of rooms), but also their place of work, employer details, and gave ‘divorced’ as an option for marital status.

    Now accessible to the public for the first time, these valuable documents provide visitors to Findmypast with millions of unique opportunities to uncover the lives of their ancestors, the history of their homes and communities, as well as providing a fascinating snapshot of life during an era that will resonate with many today.

    Falling between the two world wars, the record paints a disparate picture of England and Wales, from the Royal household to the average working-class citizen, still reeling from the impact of WW1 a major housing crisisthe Spanish flu pandemic, ravaged economy and industrial turmoil.

    The publication of these documents will mark the last significant census release for England and Wales in many people’s lifetime as the 1931 Census was destroyed in a fire and the 1941 Census was never captured due to the Second World War. This means the next census will not be available until 2052.

    Snapshot of a nation

    The 1921 Census demonstrates the rapid social and cultural change the country was undergoing, with the changing role of women and the impact of WW1 proving particularly apparent.

    Owing to the vast number of men who fell in the war, the Census reveals there were 1,096 women for every 1,000 men recorded, with this discrepancy being the biggest for those aged between 20 and 45. This means there were over 1.7 million more women than men in England and Wales, the largest difference ever seen in a census. Also, now that ‘divorce’ was an option for marital status, over 16,000 were recorded but this figure is likely to be much higher due to the stigma surrounding divorce at the time.

    There was also a dramatic increase in the number of people recorded in hospitals with a 35% increase from 1911, three quarters of whom were men presumably suffering from wounds received in the war. Thanks to the additional information recorded on the status of parents and children, the census also reveals the devastating impact the war had on families with over 730,000 fatherless children being recorded versus 261,000 without a mother.

    As a result of the number of men killed or left permanently disabled, the 1921 Census also saw many more women stepping into employment, with an increase in the number of women working as engineers, vets, barristers, architects and solicitors. Notes of protest and pleas have been discovered among the schedules from struggling individuals, including that of 39-year-old veteran Thomas Mawson who was left “consumptive” after being gassed in France. Mawson left a note on his return describing how he was “going to the sanatorium” as he had “not worked since the war” and was struggling to live on 30 shillings a week.

    Just as we are coping with Covid-19 today, the 1921 Census also reveals how the Spanish flu affected the psyche of the population, with one record being stained with disinfectant and featuring a comment about how the writer was doing everything he could to avoid catching the illness.

    Famous faces

    From the famous to the infamous, the documents also provide a vivid snapshot of the lives of prominent individuals alive at that time, including cultural icons such as Lord of the Rings writer - J.R.R. Tolkien, Famous Five author - Enid Blyton, Peter Rabbit writer - Beatrix Potter, Winnie the Pooh author - A.A. Milne and the creator of Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle. On the night the Census was taken Conan Doyle was playing host to a number of mystics and psychics, suggesting he may have been holding a seance at the time.

    Details of national treasure Sir Captain Tom Moore, war hero and mathematician Alan Turing, suffragette Millicent Fawcett, Prime Minister David Lloyd George, the first female MP to take her seat in Parliament Nancy Astor, the first female racing car driver Dorothy Levett and scientist Alexander Fleming, also come to life in the pages of the Census.

    Real-life members of the Peaky Blinder gang, including founding member Thomas Mucklow, and other notorious criminals such as serial killers John Haig, the “acid bath murderer”, and Reginald Christie of 10 Rillington Place can also be found within the records

    Due to the fact householders could now specify the names and addresses of their employer, and even the materials they worked with, this was the first Census to record many of the iconic brands which are now household names. This includes Boots, Cadbury’s, Selfridge’s, Schweppes, Sainsbury’s, Rolls Royce, McVities and many more, revealing where and how the workers that helped build them lived.

    Tamsin Todd, CEO of Findmypast says:

    This is a day when we as a nation get to reflect on our shared history and personal history, as we read the extraordinary stories captured by the 1921 Census of England & Wales. Taken between two world wars, following a global flu pandemic, during a period of economic turmoil and migration, with social change at home as women won the right to vote, the 1921 Census documents a moment in time that will resonate with people living today.

    It has been a great honour for Findmypast to work with The National Archives as its selected partner to digitise and transcribe the 1921 Census. I am incredibly proud of our Findmypast team who have worked with passion and dedication to conserve, scan, and transcribe 38 million historical records. Our advanced search technology enables family historians to easily find and view images of the 1921 Census, and connect individual records into their family trees. Family historians around the world can now meaningfully search the Census to reveal where and how their ancestors lived and worked 100 years ago.

    Jeff James, Chief Executive and Keeper at The National Archives, says:

    “Census releases are keenly anticipated and create a period of collective curiosity about the past. These records reveal what has changed and evolved over time but can also provide familiarity with our lives today.

    “The 1921 Census allows a snapshot of life 100 years ago, at a time when individuals and communities were embarking on a new era where everyday rights and roles were changing. What makes it even more important is that it will be the last census release for England and Wales for 30 years, with the 1931 Census lost in a fire during the Second World War and the 1941 Census never taken.

    “As home to more than 1,000 years of history, The National Archives is delighted to be working with Findmypast to open up this unique collection to the world.”

    Mary McKee, Head of Content Publishing Operations at Findmypast says:

    “We are honoured to have been entrusted with the mammoth task of conserving and digitising these precious documents. Our team has committed themselves diligently for three years to ensure that our nation’s history could be preserved for future generations

    Whilst the scale of the Census is staggering, we are particularly excited for people to discover the individual stories of their ancestors as they can now learn about their lives in exceptional detail. Be it some animal paw prints visible on the page, or a witty note added in alongside their response - through the Census we can start to really understand who these people were and what they were experiencing at the time.”

    As the largest mass-digitsation project ever completed by either The National Archives or Findmypast, today’s release is the result of three years of highly skilled work conducted under strict security measures to ensure all census data remained completely confidential until today. Since winning the competitive tender to digitise the Census in 2019, hundreds of Findmypast conservation specialists, technicians and transcribers have painstakingly conserved, digitised and transcribed more than 30,000 bound volumes of original documents stored on over a mile of shelving.

    Thanks to Findmypast’s innovative use of search and data matching technology, users can search all 38 million records by name, location, address, birth place, nationality, occupation, employer and more to instantly reveal valuable details about the history of their families, homes or communities.

  • 6 Jan 2022 7:54 AM | Anonymous

    Sanchia Berg has published an article in the BBC News web site including a story about the real Downton Abbey that will interest many genealogists:

    "A unique snapshot of life one midsummer night - just over 100 years ago - reveals, among other things, life in the real Downton Abbey, how slum families pleaded for better homes, and why a man from Yorkshire wasn't able to divorce his wife.

    "Pages from the 1921 Census - made available for the first time - reveal glimpses of some of the lives of the 38 million people living in England and Wales on the evening of 19 June that year. At the time, the country was recovering from the shocks of World War One and the Spanish flu pandemic."

    Highclere Castle in Hampshire in 1890 - the filming location for Downton Abbey

    You can find the article at:

    My thanks to newsletter reader John Rees for telling me about this story.

  • 5 Jan 2022 5:45 PM | Anonymous

    The following is a press release issued by the U.S. Census Bureau:

    JAN. 5, 2022  Robert Santos was sworn in today as the U.S. Census Bureau’s 26th director, becoming the first Latino person to serve in the role. This appointment follows the U.S. Senate confirmation Nov. 4, 2021, with Santos’ term set to last for five years.

    “Mr. Santos is a tremendous leader and I have full confidence that he will lead the Census Bureau with integrity in the years ahead,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “The Census Bureau is an invaluable asset to our government and the American people, providing essential data for businesses, government leaders and policymakers to make informed decisions. I look forward to working with Mr. Santos and congratulate him on his appointment.”

    Santos’ career spans more than 40 years in survey research, statistical design and analysis, and executive-level management. He specializes in quantitative and qualitative research design, including program evaluation, needs assessments, survey methodology and survey operations. He also has expertise in demographic and administrative data, decennial censuses, social policy research and equity issues in research.

    “I’m deeply honored and humbled to lead the federal government’s largest statistical agency,” Santos said. “I’ve spent the majority of my career with organizations dedicated to delivering credible and informative statistical analysis for the public good. Census Bureau data have been essential to that work. It is such an immense privilege to join the Census Bureau and its very talented team.”

    Santos previously served for 15 years as vice president and chief methodologist at the Urban Institute and directed its Statistical Methods Group. He was executive vice president and partner of NuStats, a social science research firm in Austin, Texas.

    Santos has held leadership positions in the nation’s top survey research organizations, including the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago, where he served as vice president of statistics and methodology and director of survey operations; the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, as director of survey operations; and Temple University’s Institute for Survey Research, as senior study director and sampling statistician.

    Additionally, Santos served as the 2021 president of the American Statistical Association (ASA) and is an ASA Fellow and recipient of the ASA Founder’s Award in 2006. He was the 2014 president of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and received the 2021 AAPOR Award for Exceptionally Distinguished Achievement. Santos is also an elected member to the International Statistical Institute, and he served from 2017 to 2020 as a member of the Board of Scientific Counselors for the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He was a longtime member of the editorial board of Public Opinion Quarterly.

    Santos was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. He earned a B.A. in mathematics from Trinity University in San Antonio and an M.A. in statistics from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.

  • 5 Jan 2022 10:35 AM | Anonymous

    In the United States, the Nationwide Gravesite Locator is a powerful resource for finding burial locations of veterans and their family members in VA National Cemeteries, state veterans cemeteries, various other military and Department of Interior cemeteries, and for veterans buried in private cemeteries when the grave is marked with a government grave marker.

    The information in this database includes burial records from many sources. These sources provide varied data; some searches may contain less information than others. Information on veterans buried in private cemeteries was collected for the purpose of furnishing government grave markers, and does not have information available for burials prior to 1997.

    The database of burial information is updated each day.

    The Nationwide Gravesite Locator is available at:

    In addition, other, similar resources include:

    The Arlington National Cemetery provides information at on service members buried there.

    The American Battle Monuments Commission provides information on service members buried in overseas cemeteries at

  • 5 Jan 2022 9:13 AM | Anonymous

    At its recent Annual General Meeting, Accredited Genealogists Ireland elected its tenth President. The incoming office holder succeeds Joan Sharkey, who has completed a three-year term.

    The incoming President is Nicola Morris. She began undertaking work as a professional genealogist in 1999 after obtaining a degree in history from Trinity College, Dublin. She joined AGI in 2010 and has served on its governing Council as an ordinary member, as Hon. Secretary and most recently as the Association’s Vice-President.

    Over the past decade Nicola has worked closely with the production companies for the TV programme Who Do You Think You Are?, facilitating the discovery of the ancestry of many well-known public figures and celebrities with Irish forebears. She has also appeared on several Irish TV shows involving genealogy and history, the most recent being RTE's The Great House Revival.

    Nicola is a talented and proficient public speaker with a deep knowledge of sources and methodology for Irish genealogy. She lectures at on the Family History diploma course at City Colleges, Dublin, which is delivered by Accredited Genealogists Ireland. She also lectures on similar courses at University College Cork and University of Limerick. Nicola is a frequent speaker on the various lecture series run by National Archives of Ireland and National Library of Ireland. She is a regular contributor to Who Do You Think You Are? and Irish Roots magazines. 

    In 2017 she was appointed to the Board of the Irish Manuscripts Commission and in 2022 joined the Genealogy and Heraldry Committee, which advises the Board of the National Library of Ireland.

    In welcoming her successor, out-going President Joan Sharkey said “I wish Nicola all the best for her term as President of AGI. Despite the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, AGI has been very active, and I have thoroughly enjoyed the past three years. I have no doubt at all that Nicola will do the same. Her clear head and ability to instantly grasp detail will serve her well in guiding our Association in the years ahead.”

  • 5 Jan 2022 9:06 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by the National Genealogical Society:

    FALLS CHURCH, VA, 5 JANUARY 2022—Today, the National Genealogical Society (NGS) announced the launch of Forum, a new membership benefit.
    Forum is a private, online platform that allows members to engage with fellow members, share knowledge and best practices, and discuss a wide range of family history topics. Forum features groups called communities that connect individual members as well as delegates from member organizations including genealogical societies, libraries, archives, and museums.
    At launch, unique communities exist for general discussion and specialty topics such as methodology, libraries, and reference resources. Over time, NGS will add additional communities to meet a variety of needs. Members also have access to libraries of resources specific to each community and can post images, videos, and documents.
    “Forum provides a dynamic, interactive environment for our members,” said NGS President Kathryn M. Doyle. “It’s their new online home to exchange practical tips and information, help solve challenges, learn from other members, and enjoy fun conversations with people who share their love of family history.”
    To learn more, visit Forum.

  • 5 Jan 2022 8:52 AM | Anonymous

    The following is the introduction to an announcement written by MyHeritage:

    2021 was an exciting and challenging year. This year we saw private citizens jet off to space, COVID vaccines administered worldwide, major events slated for 2020 that took place a year late, and global supply chain issues that disrupted our lives. Through it all, these past two years have taught us that flexibility and resilience are key.

    Here at MyHeritage, we’ve been riding the rollercoaster with you and continuing to do what we do best: innovate to improve your experience on MyHeritage for easier and more successful family history discovery.

    You can read the full announcement in the MyHeritage Blog at:

  • 5 Jan 2022 8:45 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG):

    Registration for the Board for Certification of Genealogists’ twelve monthly webinars in 2022 is now live at our partner website Legacy Family Tree Webinars, BCG Upcoming Webinars (  Dates, topics, and speakers are shown below:
    January 18, 2022 Beth A. Stahr, CG Using Historical Fiction and Social History to Support Your Narrative

    February 15, 2022 Alice Hoyt Veen, CG It Goes with the Territory! Find Your Ancestors in Pre-Statehood Records
    March 15, 2022 David Rencher, CG, AG, FUGA, FIGRS Identifying Unnamed Free Born African Americans – A DNA Case Study
    April 19, 2022 David Ouimette, CG, CGL Proving Parentage Two Centuries Later Using DNA Evidence
    May 17, 2022 Mark A. Wentling, MLS, CG Five Wives & A Feather Bed: Using Indirect and Negative Evidence to Resolve Conflicting Claims
    June 21, 2022 Denise E. Cross, MSLIS, CG Negative Evidence: Making Something Out of Nothing
    July 19, 2022 Carolyn L. Whitton, CG Ancestors' Religions in the U.S.
    August 16, 2022 Jennifer Zinck, CG Finding Fayette's Father: Autosomal DNA Reveals Misattributed Parentage
    September 20, 2022 Julie Miller, CG, CGL Abstracting Documents: An Essential Skill for All Genealogists
    October 18, 2022 Pam Stone Eagleson, CG Misled by Records: Identifying Adam Cosner's Parentage
    November 15, 2022 Nicole Gilkison LaRue, CG Their Mark Here: Signatures and Marks as Identifying Tools
    December 20, 2022 Anne Morddel, CG French Emigrants: They Were Not All Huguenots, or Nobles, or From Alsace-Lorraine

    “We are pleased to present these high-quality educational webinars,” said President LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, LLM, CG, CGL, FASG. “The Board for Certification of Genealogists promotes public confidence in genealogy by supporting uniform standards of competence. We strive to provide educational opportunities to family historians of all levels of experience.”

    BCG’s webinars are normally aired free on the third Tuesday of each month at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time. Those with schedule conflicts may access the webinars at no charge for one week after the broadcast on the Family Tree Webinars website. BCG webinars are always free to BCG-certified associates.

    Following the free period for these webinars, BCG receives a small commission if you view any BCG webinar by clicking at our affiliate link: ( For access to all BCG webinars, see the BCG Webinar Library at Legacy Family Tree Webinars (

    To see the full list of BCG-sponsored webinars for 2022, visit the BCG blog SpringBoard at (  For additional resources for genealogical education, please visit the BCG Learning Center (
    Elyse Hill, CG
    BCG News Release Coordinator

    The words Certified Genealogist and its acronym, CG, are a registered certification mark, and the designations Certified Genealogical Lecturer and its acronym, CGL, are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation.

  • 5 Jan 2022 8:42 AM | Anonymous

    The remains of a murdered California woman, found buried in a shallow grave in the Coachella Valley desert nearly 30 years ago, have finally been identified with the help of DNA evidence.

    Her name was Patricia Joan Cavallaro.

    On Oct. 24, 1994, scrap metal collectors near Thousand Palms, California, stumbled upon a makeshift desert grave containing a partially nude body, the Riverside County District Attorney explained. The older woman was wrapped in a white plastic sheet, and investigators estimated she’d been dead for approximately three weeks.

    Her death was subsequently ruled a homicide by the Riverside County Coroner’s Office, even though her autopsy results proved inconclusive. At the time, DNA from the woman’s decomposing remains yielded no evidentiary leads as to her possible identity.

    “They came out and processed the scene, and gathered whatever they could possibly get, which was really not much,” according to Ryan Bodmer, Regional Cold Case Homicide Team supervisor for the Riverside County District Attorney's Office.

    Details may be found at

  • 5 Jan 2022 8:32 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by Louis Kessler:

    January 4, 2021

    The 13th annual Users Choice Awards have been announced at the GenSoftReviews website:

    43 programs were eligible having a minimum of 10 reviews and at least one review in 2021. Of those, 27 programs achieved a user-assigned average score of at least 4.00 out of 5, and each wins a 2021 GenSoftReviews Top Rated Genealogy Software award.

    The top program for 2021 was Online Repository Assistant, by Family History Hosting. This subscription-based Windows program is an “automated assistant” for use with online repositories including Ancestry, FamilySearch, and others. In 2021, the program received its first-ever reviews on GenSoftReviews. All 11 reviews were 5-star ratings and the program’s average rating was 5.00 out of 5.

    The 2nd ranked program for 2021 was ScionPC by Robbie J Akins. ScionPC is a full-featured “Genealogical Management System” for Windows that the developer stopped supporting in 2018. The free software still has enthusiastic users and is still available at many software download sites. The program has had 11 reviews with a rating of 4.99 out of 5.

    3rd ranked was Familienbande, by Stefan Mettenbrink - a free full featured genealogy application for Windows, MacOS X, and Linux, with both German and English websites. It has had 57 reviews with a rating of 4.98 out of 5.00.

    The other 24 winners were:  webtrees, Centurial, Personal Ancestral File (PAF) , GedSite, The Master Genealogist (TMG) , The Next Generation (TNG),  FTAnalyzer (Family Tree Analyzer),  Aldfaer, Relatively Yours, Genealogie Online,  Generations, Brother's Keeper,  Ancestor Tree Manager,  Family Historian,  Ahnenblatt,  Family Tree Maker - Up To Version 16, Family Book Creator,  iFamily for Mac,  Ancestral Quest, Famberry, Family Tree Journal, Reunion, My Family Tree, and Oxy-gen.

    GenSoftReviews congratulates the developers of these programs for producing software that their users are willing to review and rate highly. Developers of all programs are encouraged to read their program’s reviews at GenSoftReviews to see what their users like and what needs improvement.

    A full list of the 2021 GenSoftReviews Users Choice Award winners as well as a list of previous winners is available at:


    GenSoftReviews is a genealogy software ratings site developed in 2008 by Louis Kessler, a long-time genealogist and developer of the genealogy software Behold and the DNA analysis software Double Match Triangulator.

    The GenSoftReviews Users Choice Awards have been awarded annually every January for every year since 2009. Awards are based on user ratings that are time-weighted so that older ratings have less weight than newer ratings.

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