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  • 16 Nov 2020 11:27 AM | Anonymous

    Just in time for the holidays, MyHeritage has just announced the launch of the new MyHeritage gift memberships.

    You can now give someone special the MyHeritage Complete plan, the company's best plan for family history research. To celebrate the launch, gift memberships are now available with a 50% introductory discount.

    With many people spending more time at home and looking for meaningful activities to enjoy, the MyHeritage gift membership makes the perfect holiday gift and is sure to delight a dear family member or close friend.

    The gift membership provides access to all features and all 12.7 billion historical records on MyHeritage.

    What’s included?
    You can choose to give either a 1-year or 6-month gift membership. Gift memberships are one-time and do not renew.

    The gift membership includes the following benefits of the Complete plan:

    • Unlimited family tree size and unlimited photo storage
    • Access to MyHeritage’s 12.7 billion historical records
    • Automatic Record Matches for the family tree
    • Automatic Smart Matches™ to millions of family trees
    • Instant Discoveries™ consisting of Person Discoveries and Photo Discoveries
    • Tree Consistency Checker that identifies mistakes and inconsistencies in the family tree
    • Unlimited use of MyHeritage In Color™ and the MyHeritage Photo Enhancer

    You can learn a lot more in an article in the MyHeritage Blog at: as well as in the video below:

  • 16 Nov 2020 11:16 AM | Anonymous

    US vice president-elect Kamala Harris’ ancestry is 50% from India, a fact that is well-known in the ISA. However, less well known is the possibility that president-elect has relatives in the same country.

    CAUTION: The relationship is not proven. It should be considered to be a POSSIBILITY, not a proven fact.

    A plaque commemorating 19th-century British ship captain Christopher Biden has become a popular selfie spot in the eastern city of Chennai since the US election, and a Biden family in western India says that it has become “exhausted” by calls since their namesake staked his claim to the White House.

    Joe Biden has well-documented Irish ancestry (see my earlier article at, but he also spoke of possible Indian connections on a trip to Mumbai in 2013 when he was vice president. Joe Biden said in a speech that he had received a letter from an Indian Biden after becoming a US senator in 1972, suggesting that they could be related.

    According to the Reverend J. George Stephen, the Bishop of Madras, "We’ve come to know the records of two Bidens — William Biden and Christopher Biden — who were brothers and became captains of the East India Co on merchant ships in the 19th century.”

    Stephen said that “while William Biden died at an early age, Christopher Biden went on to captain several ships and eventually settled down in Madras,” which is now known as Chennai.

    If Joe Biden does have an Indian ancestor, Christopher is considered the most likely candidate, said experts who have studied family records.

    There are also Bidens in Mumbai and Nagpur in Maharashtra state who could be descendants of Christopher Biden, one of eight children of a John Biden who could be the common link.

    You can learn more in a syndicated article from the AFP/India news agency at

  • 16 Nov 2020 11:15 AM | Anonymous
    The following announcement was written by Vivid-Pix:

    Vivid-Pix “Gathering Traditions” Shows How to Connect While Distant 

    Create Holiday & Reunion Time Capsules for Genealogy & Reminiscence

    Vivid-Pix BOGO Buy One/Gift One for Free Holiday Promo 

    Lets You Give the Gift of Restored Memories  

    Savannah, GA, November 10, 2020 – Vivid-Pix www.vivid-pix.comthe leading provider of AI-powered image restoration software, understands that Thanksgiving and the holidays are not going to be the same this year, with families and friends unable to get together or share holiday traditions physically due to CDC social distancing guidelines and travel quarantine restrictions. Vivid-Pix has an answer to help stay connected: hold these events virtually and create time capsules with Vivid-Pix’s “Gathering Traditions,” easy-to-implement tutorials at: to relive past holiday gatherings and for future reminiscing.  

    Vivid-Pix Educational Tutorials on Creating Time Capsules 

    Vivid-Pix Gathering Traditions online education teaches how to create holiday and reunion time capsules for genealogy and reminiscence at: Classes include step by step directions on: 

    • How to use Zoom.
    • How to record today’s feelings for tomorrow’s reminiscing.
    • How to share an image on Zoom and relive yesteryear’s fun and laughter.
    • Using Gallery View to capture togetherness conversations.
    • Using Speaker View to record individual feelings.
    • How to “interview” older family members to ensure involvement and engagement.
    • Fun activities for young and young at heart to enjoy remotely by Zoom or when physically together.
    • How to improve cherished photo memories.

    Vivid-Pix, Reunions Magazine, Dear Myrtle, and Kenyatta D. Berry, PBS Create Virtual Reunions and Time Capsule Education 

    Vivid-Pix is partnering with Kenyatta D. BerryReunions MagazineDearMYRTLE, and Cousin Russ to provide free, valuable how-to information.  “These tools will help families during the holidays and create time capsules for past and future connectedness,” said Rick Voight, CEO, Vivid-Pix. “By working with reunion and genealogy experts, this education series can be used for virtual reunions and gatherings, as well as creating genealogy interviews and capturing traditions to hand down to future generations.” 

    Perfect Time to Use Technology to Discover New Family Stories  

    As host of the Genealogy Roadshow on PBS, Kenyatta D. Berry has brought genealogy into the homes of millions. “Family stories and oral history is often critical and one of the most enjoyable parts of the genealogy journey. It’s important to interview older family members, close relatives, and family friends. While we are at home, this is a great time to use technology for these interviews, to discover new family stories and share photographs. I hope this education series inspires everyone to create their own time capsule,” described Kenyatta D. Berry.  

    DearMYRTLE and Cousin Russ have helped genealogy societies, institutes, and individuals with their research journey through Zoom education. “During this time of social distancing, fun family stories and traditions can be shared and recorded via Zoom. Why not create virtual time capsules and save the recordings for future generations?” said Pat Richley-Erickson, DearMYRTLE. “Photographs, traditions, and reminiscing can be shared, so that these stories that might otherwise be lost can brighten our lives today and enrich the lives of future generations tomorrow.” 

    Discovering Your Roots Can Brighten the Holidays and Enrich Future Generations’ Lives 

    Edith Wagner, Reunions Magazine’s editor, has been on the frontline of countless events cancelled and postponed. She said, “Reunions and gatherings of all kinds have been upended this year and we don’t know how long it will last. Deprived of physical contact, reunions cleverly found a way to ‘gather’ on Zoom and now you, too, can learn these techniques to assemble your family or group in substitute reunions. Shaking hands, hugs, and kisses will have to wait, but smiles, laughter, and excitement don’t have to!”

    Vivid-Pix BOGO Buy One/Gift One for Free – Great Gift for the Holidays 

    In addition, in order to provide a fun holiday activity, relive past holiday memories, and provide a great gift for yourself and loved ones, Vivid-Pix is offering a Buy One/Gift One Promo for Vivid-Pix RESTORE photo and document restoration software. With a purchase of RESTORE Windows/Mac software for $49.99, Vivid-Pix will send a free gift coupon of the software so you can send to a friend or family member and together you can share the gift of memories for the holidays. For more information:  

    New Version of RESTORE Launched - AI Powered Vivid-Pix RESTORE Restoration Software Fixes Images with Just One Click 

    Vivid-Pix RESTORE patented AI software automatically restores faded old black and white, sepia, and color photos and documents; and provides image organization, editing, and saving. Now available, Vivid-Pix just launched a new version of RESTORE in September 2020 that improves a wider variety of image formats; metadata tagging for research, transcription, and sharing of family stories; and Crop/Recalculate to hone in on specific areas that need fixing – details essential for genealogists and family historians.  

    The U.S. Patent Office has awarded two patents to Vivid-Pix for its image processing techniques used to automatically correct images. The new version of Vivid-Pix RESTORE is available now for Mac and Windows for $49.99 at:  with a 10 Free-Fix Trial without a credit card required at: See Vivid-Pix RESTORE in action at: For more information, see the website at:

    About Vivid-Pix 

    Vivid-Pix was founded by Rick Voight and Randy Fredlund, who have a combined 47 years of experience from Eastman Kodak Co. They brought Kodak’s “You Press the Button, We Do the Rest” philosophy to the design of Vivid-Pix RESTORE AI software. For more info, see:

  • 16 Nov 2020 9:51 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was posted on the IAJGS Public Records Access List and is republished here with permission:

    The National Archives of Australia (  has signed contracts for the bulk digitization of more than 650,000 Second World war service records.

    This is a four-year $10 million (Australian) contract of which 220,000 have already been digitized.

    This project will ensure Australians can access almost one million of these records digitally by 2023.  This builds on the already digitized records of those who served in the First World War

    To search by name is not difficult. Enter the name and select either World War 1 or World War 11 in the category filter. The digitized item column will indicate if a digital copy of a service record is available.To learn more go to:

    Thank you to Gail Dever and her blog Genealogy à la carte for informing us about these newly digitized records.

    To read the previous postings about Australia’s National Archives go to the archives of the IAJGS Records Access Alert at: You must be registered to access the archives.

     To register go to: and follow the instructions to enter your email address, full name and which genealogical  organization with whom you are affiliated 

     You will receive an email response that you have to reply to or the subscription will not be finalized.

    Jan Meisels Allen
    Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

  • 16 Nov 2020 9:37 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by The Genealogy Guys:

    The Genealogy Guys Learn subscription education site is on sale from October 15 through December 31, 2020 for $69 for your first year's subscription (new members only). This is our lowest price of the year! 

    Genealogy Guys Learn currently offers 26 video and 26 written courses with new content added every month. Courses range from beginning to advanced topics. We also provide links to books and printed materials as well as links to helpful websites. (For a complete current list of courses, visit The Genealogy Guys Blog entry at dated November 15, 2020.)

    Learn from The Genealogy Guys, producers since 2005 of the longest-running genealogy podcast, expert researchers and presenters, and prolific authors!

    Our regular annual subscription is $99 and the sale price of $69 is a $30 savings! This sale is only in effect until 11:59 PM Eastern U.S. time on December 31, 2020. Take advantage of this great price by going to the website at, click the red Enroll Now box at the bottom of the screen, fill in the information requested, and add the code Holiday2020 for your discount. 

    Fill the coming year with new knowledge and make some great new discoveries!

    Happy Holidays!

  • 13 Nov 2020 2:15 PM | Anonymous
    The following is an announcement from Findmypast:

    New and Exclusive Records Available To Search on Findmypast

    Warwickshire, Coventry Blitz, German Air Raids 1940-1941

    A unique collection created by Findmypast to mark the 80th anniversary of the Coventry Blitz, these records contain the details of casualties of German air raids over city between November 1940 and June 1941.

    Details include name and home address, nature of casualty (killed, injured etc.) and where the casualty was treated. Close to 2,500 individuals are included on these lists, including some who remained unidentified.

    The vast majority of casualties were citizens of Coventry, but there were also victims from the length and breadth of Britain whose names can be found on these lists, as well as military personnel and members of the Auxiliary Fire Service and Air Raid Precautions.

    Coventry was badly hit many times, the raid of 14th/15th November 1940 being the worst. For almost 11 hours, the Luftwaffe dropped around 500 tons of high explosive, 30,000 incendiaries and 50 landmines. This devastating attack left 176 dead, around 680 wounded, many families homeless and destroyed the ancient heart of the city including its 14th century cathedral.

    Children and adults alike are recorded in these lists, and surname searches quickly reveal whole families affected.

    Records show how James Dawson and Arthur Young, both living at separate addresses in Cambridge Street were injured in the November 1940 raid, but Cambridge Street on the whole, escaped serious damage. 

    Unfortunately that wasn’t to be the case when the Luftwaffe paid a return visit in April 1941. Numbers 133, 135 and 137 Cambridge Street were all hit, with members of the Arrowsmith, Webb and Sadler families, and other individuals besides, all killed.

    British Armed Forces, First World War Soldiers' Medical Records

    Thousands of additional records have once again been added to this important collection. Discover the names of injured soldiers, service details and where they were treated.

    Held by The National Archives and only available online at Findmypast, the collection includes admission and discharge records from over 20 hospitals, field ambulances and casualty clearing stations during the First World War.

    National School Admission Registers & Log-Books 1870-1914

    Over 17,000 new Yorkshire school records are now available to search. This latest tranche has been made available thanks to our partners at the Calderdale Family History Society.

    Yorkshire Baptisms

    Unique to Findmypast, over 6,000 new baptism records from St Simon’s Church, Sheffield are now available to search.

    Yorkshire Monumental Inscriptions

    Over 4,600 new records from the West Riding of Yorkshire round off Findmypast’s releases from ‘God’s Own County’. The locations covered include Charlestown, Hebden Bridge, Langfield, Luddenden Foot, Lumbutts, Midgley, and Mount Tabor


    New titles in this week’s update include the Somerset Guardian and Radstock Observer.

    Further updates have also been made to the following titles:

    • Halifax Evening Courier covering 1926-1930, 1932-1934 and 1938-1939
    • Kinematograph Weekly covering 1923-1925 and 1927-1930
    • Western Morning News covering 1894
    • Birmingham Daily Gazette covering 1864
    • Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer covering 1947
    • Eddowes’s Journal, and General Advertiser for Shropshire, and the Principality of Wales covering 1853

  • 13 Nov 2020 5:01 AM | Anonymous

    Today is  Friday, the 13th of the month. That is an especially bad day for people who suffer from a phobia famously called triskaidekaphobia, a fear of the number 13. Any Friday that falls on the 13th of the month is especially bad, causing the fear of Friday the 13th, called paraskevidekatriaphobia, from the Greek words Paraskeví (meaning “Friday”), and dekatreís (meaning “thirteen”).

    Surprisingly, this is the second Friday the 13th of this year. The first Friday the 13th of 2020 occurred back in March.

    In the Christian world the number 13 has long been associated with many bad events. Jesus had 12 disciples, which meant there were a total of 13 people in attendance the evening of the Last Supper, with Judas being received as the 13th guest.

    On Friday 13, 1307, King Philip IV of France ordered Knights Templar Grand Master Jacques de Molay and scores of other French Templars to be simultaneously arrested. The Knights Templar were charged with numerous other offenses, such as financial corruption, fraud, secrecy, denying Christ, spitting on the crucifix, idol worship, blasphemy, and various obscenities. The soldiers arrested and imprisoned all the Knights Templar they could find. Most of those imprisoned were tortured until they died. Many in France were burned at the stake, including Grand Master Jacques de Molay. Only a few Knights Templar survived, mostly those who were in distant countries at the time, and they went into hiding.

    The German Luftwaffe bombed Buckingham Palace on Friday, the 13th of September, 1940.

    Hip hop star Tupac Shakur died on Friday, September 13, 1996, of gunshot wounds suffered in a Las Vegas drive-by shooting.

    The Costa Concordia cruise ship crashed off the coast of Italy, killing 30 people, on Friday, the 13th of January 2012.

    In 1907, Thomas W. Lawson published a novel called Friday, the Thirteenth, with the story of an unscrupulous broker taking advantage of the superstition to create a Wall Street panic on a Friday the 13th. The novel became a best seller of the time.

    In addition, the month of April is double trouble, according to Chaucer. Just as he fashioned April to be the “cruelest month” in his Canterbury Tales, he also fashioned Friday to be a day “of misfortune.”

    Then, of course, we have the hockey mask-wearing killer named Jason in the movie Friday the 13th, released in 1980.

    How many Friday the 13ths have you survived? A calculator embedded in an article by Philip Bump in The Washington Post gives the answer. You can check it out at:

    In spite of these misfortunes, there is no truth to the idea that Friday the 13th is unlucky. Still, I am not taking any chances. You won’t see me this Friday as I am taking the day off and staying in bed.

  • 12 Nov 2020 9:11 AM | Anonymous

    "Stories Behind the Stars" is a nonprofit initiative that seeks to compile stories of the 400,000-plus fallen in one central database, accessible from a smartphone or other technology device.

    It is a monumental task that no one man, not even someone of Don Milne's talent and aspirations, can handle.

    To date, volunteers from 47 states and 10 countries, are dedicating time to "Stories Behind the Stars" as researchers and writers. Each volunteer receives training and free access to research tools.

    The goal, according to project creator Don Milne, is to allow visitors to hallowed sites such as war memorials and cemeteries the opportunity to scan the names of the fallen with a smartphone and gain instant access to the biographies, and photographs, hosted in the central database at

    "Stories Behind the Stars" is searching for more volunteers to find more information and to transcribe the data onto the project's online database. All you need is a smartphone and a desire to help.

    You can read more about this nonprofit project in an article by Jon Pompia in The Pueblo Chieftain at

    You also can watch a video about the "Stories Behind the Stars" project at:

  • 12 Nov 2020 8:40 AM | Anonymous

    The following is an announcement from FamilySearch:

    RootsTech Connect 2021—the world’s largest family celebration event—announced its first wave of keynote speakers hailing from Australia, Italy, Mexico, and the United States. Speakers include New York Times bestselling author and international motivational speaker, Nick Vujicic; Lorena Ochoa of Mexico, a retired top female world golfer; Francesco Lotoro of Italy, musician, composer and collector of music composed in captivity during the Holocaust; and Sharon Leslie Morgan, author and genealogist dedicated to promoting healing by providing resources for African American genealogical research.

    RootsTech Connect, February 25–27, 2021, is a free online conference to discover, share, and celebrate family and heritage connections.


    Nick Vujicic was born in Melbourne, Australia. With no medical explanation or warning, Nick came into the world with neither arms nor legs. He has overcome his disabilities and has achieved remarkable goals despite them. By age 19 he started fulfilling his dream of encouraging others through their personal challenges. He has spoken live to 6.5 million people live in more than 65 countries, met with 21 presidents, and addressed 9 governments. His New York Times best seller, Unstoppable, is now published in more than 30 languages. Vujicic now lives in California with his wife and 4 children. (Read more about Nick Vujicic).

    Lorena Ochoa is best known as the top-ranked female golfer in the world for 157 consecutive weeks in the LPGA. As the first Mexican golfer of either gender with such a ranking, she is considered the best Mexican golfer and Best Latin American female golfer of all time."Knowing your past is very important to understand who you are," said Ochoa. "The work that FamilySearch and RootsTech Connect does is incredible. I know more about my story than I would have ever imagined."

    Ochoa has received numerous prestigious awards. She now hosts her own tournament bringing the professional elite to golf in Mexico. Among many altruistic pursuits, she has started a foundation focused on educating low-income children. In November 2012, she published her book, Dream Big, sharing the goals from her childhood that set her on that course. Lorena is the mother of 3 young children, and lives with her husband, Andres Conesa, in Mexico City. (Read more about Lorena Ochoa).

    Francesco Lotoro is an Italian pianist, composer, conductor, and professor at the Umberto Giordano Music Conservatory in Foggia, Italy. For the past 30 years, he has worked tirelessly to recover, study, archive, execute, record, and promote tens of thousands of remarkable musical scores composed by prisoners in concentration camps. He is currently working on a multi-volume encyclopedia dedicated to music written in concentration camps and to the related composers with the goal for it to “become a historic, artistic, cultural and spiritual treasure for all.” For his efforts, Lotoro has received widespread interest and recognition throughout Europe and North America. (Read more about Francesco Lotoro).

    Sharon Leslie Morgan has devoted her career to support African American genealogical research. She founded Our Black Ancestry (OBA), an online community to provide resources for African American genealogical research, preserve historical materials and properties, and promote healing of wounds that are a legacy of slavery. OBA is a partner with FamilySearch on the ROAR (Reclaiming Our African Roots) Project.

    A staunch advocate of racial justice, Morgan has co-authored several books including Gather at the Table: The Healing Journey of a Daughter of Slavery and a Son of the Slave Trade, and she works with organizations that promote this work. She has received prestigious awards for her efforts to help others with this research and make connections to provide healing.

    “I believe genealogy is a tool for healing from America's egregious past and a shining light on a pathway toward a society that embraces equality and justice for all,” said Morgan. “RootsTech Connect 2021 is an unparalleled opportunity to celebrate humanity in all of its colors, cultures, and creeds."  (Read more about Sharon Leslie Morgan).

    Register for RootsTech Connect 2021 for free at

  • 11 Nov 2020 5:46 PM | Anonymous

    The following was written by the National Genealogical Society (NGS):

    The National Genealogical Society (NGS) introduced today the newest course in its Continuing Genealogical Studies series, Reading Old Handwriting. This illustrated course is essential for everyone researching their family tree. It offers family historians tips to understand hard-to-read handwriting in documents such as wills and deeds. Its practice exercises teach how to read and interpret handwritten land records, probate files, and, of course, your ancestors’ personal letters.

    NGS Education Director Angela McGhie states, “…the ability to read old handwriting is a foundational skill for understanding many of the documents family historians discover in their research. Being able to read old handwriting is the first step in interpreting genealogically relevant facts. Our new course Reading Old Handwriting complements NGS’s course, Transcribing, Extracting, and Abstracting Genealogical Documents, which was released in June 2020.

    The course guides genealogists through ten modules. Every module has multiple hands-on exercises to help family historians develop expertise in reading documents from a variety of locations and time periods. Course author Carla S. Cegielski is a freelance genealogical researcher and author of the Tech Tips column in the quarterly NGS Magazine.

    For more information and to register, visit Reading Old Handwriting on NGS’s website.

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