Category: Tips

Unknown Soldiers: DNA technology makes it possible for their remains to be identified.

Unknown Soldiers: DNA technology makes it possible for their remains to be identified.

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Albert-Joseph-Philias-Emery-237x3001.jpg

Unknown soldiers can be identified!

More than 83,000 US service members lost since the start of WWII are still missing, according to a representative of the Department of Defence. Several lie in forgotten graves on the battlefield and below memorials offering no clue to their identities.

New techniques in DNA technology may mean we have seen the last burial of an unknown soldier. In offices and laboratories across the country and archaeological sites scattered across continents, groups of investigators and scientists comb the remains of the past for lost defenders.

In the US, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), based in Honolulu, Hawaii, and also the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO), based in Arlington, Virginia keep case files on each missing sailor, soldier, Marine and airman.

Researchers at JPAC and DPMO establish possible sites of remains. A team of archaelogists visited North Korea in 2004 and located skeletal remains of thirty individuals tossed haphazardly into a mass grave close to Chosin Reservoir. They shipped the bones to JPAC in Honolulu, where the bones were used to find gender, age, ancestry, and distinguishing marks. The process can take anywhere from two weeks to one year, depending on the existing backlog. Frustratingly, the original sample may not be enough and in that case, they must restart from the beginning.

For the remains whose DNA is successfully processed, the researchers will try and match them with DNA samples taken from thousands of possible family members.

Two of my great uncles, Private Joseph Philias Albert Emery and Private Joseph Turmaine, were reported missing in action in WWI and I would be thrilled to have their remains recovered.


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The great ‘Golden Rules of Genealogy’ at a glance.

The great ‘Golden Rules of Genealogy’ at a glance.

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This image listing some wonderful golden rules of genealogy was recently posted on the Facebook page for  gotgenealogy.com. They are all rules that promote common courtesy and consideration among genealogy researchers, but they also provide common sense guidelines to ensure best practices for those exchanging genealogical information, and promote being as thorough and accurate as possible while still leaving the ‘clues’ available for making new genealogical discoveries.

Golden Rules of Genealogy

 


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Oh, the difference one letter can make when using copied or transcribed documents!

Oh, the difference one letter can make when using copied or transcribed documents!

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This joke is the best illustration I’ve ever seen of the negative effects of working from copied documents instead of originals. This should be on display in every library, archive and genealogy center as a reminder of the perils awaiting.

This is something I think about every time I do a transcription, and this type of consequence is why I use wildcard symbols in place of characters I can’t quite make out or understand in the original or copy I’m working from. It ensures the reader knows there is doubt and if it’s important to them and their research, they’ll look for and consult the original.

The Old Monk

A new monk arrives at the monastery. He is assigned to help the other monks in copying the old texts by hand.

He notices, however, that they are copying copies, not the original books. So, the new monk goes to the head monk to ask him about this. He points out that if there were an error in the first copy, that error would be continued in all of the other copies.

The head monk says “We have been copying from the copies for centuries, but you make a good point, my son.” So, he goes down into the cellar with one of the copies to check it against the original.

Hours later, nobody has seen him. So, one of the monks goes downstairs to look for him. He hears a sobbing coming from the back of the cellar, and finds the old monk leaning over one of the original books crying. He asks what’s wrong.

The old monk sobs, “The word is celebrate.”


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DNA: The best hard drive on earth.

DNA: The best hard drive on earth.

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It turns out DNA is the best storage medium there is on Earth. Nothing beats it. Think about it, all the directions that make you up are stored on tiny proteins that are hard to see even with a microscope. The human genome (all of those directions controlling your eye color, hair color, height, skin) contains between 25,000 and 30,000 genes. That’s a ton of information compressed down into these microscopic structures.

 

Let’s put into perspective just how much data DNA can hold?

Consider this fact: one gram of DNA can hold the same amount of information as 14,000 Blu-ray discs! (One gram is about how much a paperclip weighs!)

What’s even more incredible is how long information in DNA can be saved. In 2008, Scientists discovered a human femur bone washed up alongside a river in Siberia. Six years later, that bone was finally analyzed to learn how old it actually was. Turns out it came from a man who lived and died over 45,000 years earlier. The actual DNA, still preserved in that fossil, confirmed his age.

So DNA is a material that can hold mind boggling amounts of data for ridiculously long periods of time.

Now think about your own DNA with the thousands of genes it contains, all of which combined make up who you are.

But DNA is not just useful as you develop, it can actually be decoded to learn about who you are. There are genetic tests for genealogy and ancestry and others that can help you uncover your body’s natural strengths when it comes to fitness.

Science is still decoding the complex workings of how all those proteins interact with each other, so it’s fair to say there’s much more to your code than anyone yet realizes.

However, DNA is also reactive to the environment around it and can degrade over time.  All these minor environmental chinks in your genetic armor could, over time, affect your health. This is why it is important to secure and store your DNA, just like the data you would keep safe on a hard drive.

Getting a sample of your DNA stored as early possible means it will be in its purest form and may be more useful for medical advances in the years to come.

By understanding that DNA is nature’s best possible hard drive, scientists are now working hard to transform it into the hard drive for our future.

____________________

To learn more, visit http://www.dnaspectrum.com.

Source: DNA Is the Best Hard Drive on Earth


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Transcription: Will and Testament, Ann Stone of Wyke Regis, Dorset

Transcription: Will and Testament, Ann Stone of Wyke Regis, Dorset

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The following is my transcription of the last Will and Testament of Ann Stone of Wyke Regis, Dorset.

 

Will of Ann Stone of Wyke Regis, Dorset
Ann Stone of Wyke Regis, Dorse

____________________

Ann

Stone

6.

This is the last Will and Testament of ? Ann Stone of Wyke Regis in the County of Dorset widow made and published this twelfth day of March in the year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty five First I will and ????? that all my just debts funeral and testamentary ??????? and the charges of proving this my Will be paid out of my residuary  personal estate hereinafter mentioned I give and bequeath unto and equally in between my daughters Jand Drew Harris wife of ????? Harris of Weymouth and Wycombe Regis in the said County Brewer and Mary Ann Golyear Ingram wife of Robert Ingram of the same place linen draper all that interment or policy of ?????????? under the hands of the three of the directors ???? ??????? called the ????? ????????? Company bearing ???? the ninth day of October one thousand eight hundred and thirty eight and numbered 8606 whereby the said Society have assured unto me my executors administrators or assigns the sum of one thousand pounds in the event of my death to add the said sum of one thousand pounds together in with all accumulations and benefit arising or to arise from the said policy unto the said Jane Drew Harris and Mary Ann Golyear Ingram their executors administrators and assignes in equal proportion as tenants in common and not as joint tenants to and for their sole and separate use and benefit free from the debts control or engagements of their husbands and their receipts for the same shall be sufficient discharges notwithstanding their ???ertures all the ???? and Residue of my personal estate and efforts whatsoever and wheresoever money and securities for money rents due at the time of my decease and furniture ??????? nevertheless to the payment of my just debts funeral and testamentary expenses and charges of proving this my Will I give and bequeath unto and equally between my son Charles John Stone of the Town and County of Poole Tailor and the said Jane Drew Harris and Mary Ann Golyear Ingram their executors administrators and assigns as tenants in common and not as joint tenants and I hereby nominate and appoint my said daughters Jane Drew Harris and Mary Ann Golyear Ingram joint Executrixes this my will hereby revoking all former and other Wills by me made and do declare this to be my last Will and Testament In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand the day and year first before written — Ann Stone — Signed by the Testatrix Ann Stone as and for her Will in the pressence of us present at the same time who in her presence and in the presence of each other have hereunto set our names as witnesses thereto — George Arden ??? Weymouth — Francis March his Clerk.

Proved at London 8th July 1845 before the Judge by the oaths of Jane Drew Harris wife of Gary Harris and Mary Ann Golyear Ingram wife of Robert Ingram the daughter the executrixes to whome ????? was granted have been first sworn by Comon duly to administer.

___________________

The image above links directly to the original document. You can access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, by clicking on the name link, or searching the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the left sidebar.

It is recommended to search using both methods as the results can differ greatly due to a glitch in the software that doesn’t connect all images from the bio.

All data for this and numerous others on this site is available for free access and download.

 


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Protecting genealogy data and files!

Protecting genealogy data and files!

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After twenty years of genealogy research, I have learned a few things about the fragility of the valuable data and files we work hard to accumulate. In response, I have worked hard to develop some good habits when it comes to protecting genealogy data and files.

 

Safe Front
Protecting genealogy data and files.

Some of the issues I’ve encountered in the past are:

  • Sudden corruption of files.
  • Malfunction of hardware including CDs, flash drives and both internal and external hard drives.
  • Accidentally overwriting files.
  • Spontaneous software shutdowns, computer seizures or crashes prior to saving of files.

Following are some key rules that will protect against technical, software and hardware problems; viruses and malware; and deliberate or accidental interference.

 

  • My first and most basic rule when working with data and files is ‘SAVE OFTEN‘! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lost data when my computer has seized or crashed prior to saving work.

 

  • Keep two copies of all data and files, one on the computer you use and another on an external hard drive. External hard drives are getting larger and less expensive all the time. It’s well worth the cost. Once you start using an external hard drive, be sure to eject it properly before unplugging the hard drive to avoid damage.

 

  • To secure against more extreme events, upload to an online server or cloud drive. This will safeguard against more extreme damage that can be caused by fire, theft, flood, etc. in one’s own home, possibly damaging or destroying everything in the home.

 

  • Keep your backup copy current by conducting daily backups of all data including media, sources, and software files to the external hard drive or cloud server. Some will tell you to use DVDs or CDs or flash drives for backup copies, but I’ve learned the hard way – DO NOT trust CDs, DVDs or flash drives except for transport of data. They are easily corrupted and/or damaged.

 

  • Always password protect genealogy software, directories and hard drives to safeguard against accidental and deliberate access by unauthorized persons. It is best to use a unique password for your genealogy data.

 

  • In a case where there is no backup and damage or loss occurs, it is possible to take your computer/hard drive to a knowledgeable technician to attempt data recovery. There are never any guarantees to this and the likelihood is that if anything can be recovered, it will most likely only be a percentage. Full recovery is very unlikely. The one time I had a hard drive recovery done was about five years ago and it cost me $99.

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eBooks from Google eBooks and Internet Archive: A researcher’s gold mine!

eBooks from Google eBooks and Internet Archive: A researcher’s gold mine!

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This article’s title “eBooks from Google eBooks and Internet Archive: A researcher’s gold mine!” aptly describes how I feel about including ebooks and online publications and libraries in my genealogy research.

 

Some of my best finds have come through using the Google genealogy research tools.

I believe in using primary sources as much as possible in my genealogy research. This is the only way to be sure the data is 100% accurate and safe to use.

Anyone looking at the sources in my genealogy database (see menu link above) will see that I consistently categorize the sources I use according to their quality.

One exception to my preference for primary sources is the use of publications such as magazines, newspaper articles and books. Errors in factual data such as dates, ages, etc. do occur, but what I find invaluable about these sources is the narrative. This is the one way to get beyond the facts and learn from the personal recollections and knowledge of others. This is how I learn the story of our ancestors.

Google EBook Search
Google Advanced eBook Search

In cases where these publications are the sole source I have at the time, I will continue to search for high quality primary sources for the factual information, but I will still document the data from the publications in the meantime as long as I’m careful to categorize its quality appropriately.

When selecting the proper source quality categories, I do so for each and every fact for an individual so I have a clear picture of the accuracy of each and every fact at a later time. The clearer, the better.

Two places I use frequently to find these publications are Google eBooks and Internet Archive. By using Google eBooks’ advanced search (click on image above for full size), it is possible to stipulate exactly what you’re searching for by a variety of means including:

  • for text ‘with all of the words’, ‘with the exact phrase’, ‘with at least one of the words’, and ‘without the words’ (using ‘without the words’ can be invaluable for eliminating undesirable results);
  • for full book views, limited and full views, all books or Google eBooks only;
  • for all content; magazines or books; and
  • by language, title, author, publisher, subject, publication date, ISBN and or ISSN.

Some of the titles I have found during my research include:

  • “A History of Delaware County Pennsylvania,” by George Smith;
  • “The History of Wales,” by Rev. William Warrington;
  • “Annals of Yorkshire,” by Henry Schroeder;
  • “Biographical Sketches of Loyalists of the American Revolution,” by Lorenzo Sabine;
  • “A California Tramp and Later Footprints,” by Thaddeus Stevens Kenderdine;
  • “Collections Historical and Archaeological Relating to Montgomeryshire,” by the Powys-land Club;
  • “Kearsley’s Complete peerage, of England, Scotland and Ireland,” by George Kearsley; and
  • “Farm and its Inhabitants, with Some Account of the Lloyds of Dolobran,” by Rachel Jane Lowe.
Internet Archive
Internet Archive Search Screen

With the Internet Archive site, it is possible to search a variety of media types including the Wayback Machine (an archive of obsolete websites), moving images, texts, audio, software, education, forums and FAQs.

There are other places ebooks can be found but Google eBooks and Internet Archive are the ones I turn to most often for the best results.

Be sure to give either (or both) of these sites a try. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll find.


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Indecipherable inscriptions on centuries old tombstones revealed using 3D technology.

Indecipherable inscriptions on centuries old tombstones revealed using 3D technology.

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Stuart, Erin and Alan Melanson in graveyard.
Erin and Stuart sit through an enthralling tale told by fellow ‘Melanson’ cousin, Alan Melanson.

This new technology is so very exciting to me. I’ve found that the information that proves to be most valuable from tombstones is that found on those from before 1850.

After 1850, most of the information is available in accessible records. Although there are records prior to 1850, the information on them is minimal at best. The earlier US censuses are the best example because the censuses prior only provide the full name of the head of the family and age ranges of spouses, children and others. This leaves a wide margin for error that is much narrower in later censuses that reveal names, ages, birth years, immigration data, occupations and relationships to the head of the household.

In a previous post, I described the fun my family and I had ‘tombstone hunting’ in Nova Scotia. We made a point of stopping at as many graveyards as possible and taking photos and transcriptions of the tombstones that had related surnames. The most memorable graveyard we visited was that of the well known “Graveyard Tour” at Fort Anne in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia. Our tour guide was a fellow Melanson family member and his knack of weaving entertaining and enthralling stories was evident as he led us through the maze of tombstones, recounting the most scandalous and mysterious tales. Several of these tombstones from the 1600s and 1700s were unreadable and this new 3D technology seems to be the answer to discovering and recording many of the actual transcriptions.

Grant Aylesworth, a Mount Allison anthropology professor, and the Government of New Brunswick’s archaeological services division are now reading the inscriptions on those illegible grave markers from the 1700s, using this new 3D software technology. The software derives the inscriptions from digital images of these tombstones. The innovative technology is freely available and is easy to learn and implement, although attempts are being made to streamline the process to encourage others to explore these old tombstones and recover as many inscriptions as possible.


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Photoscape image editing software is a gem for the genealogist.

Photoscape image editing software is a gem for the genealogist.

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Photoscape image editing software is the one photo imaging and editing program I use most often in relation to my genealogy research.

Photoscape Logo
I spent my career life creating, altering or designing images, graphics, documents, etc. However, I have found that using the professional level software packages I once used for editing these images for genealogy to be like flying a million dollar airplane to shop at the cross-town supermarket – totally unnecessary and a waste of space and resources.

Working with images for genealogy is necessary to adjust for exposure problems, crop, flip, rotate and deskew images. These are fairly basic functions, but I was frustrated time and again when trying to find a simple, effective, efficient program that has a small footprint and uses the minimum of system resources.

The free program I eventually settled on and have come to love is ‘Photoscape‘. Photoscape is for use with Windows, while the recently Photoscape X is for use on the Mac OS X.

I am not familiar with all the features Photoscape has available, but I do know that the ones I routinely use are only a small percentage of the whole.

Elmer and Ethel Gummeson
Elmer and Ethel Gummeson

The functions I have found invaluable are in the ‘Editor’ section and are:

  • MOST IMPORTANT are the ‘Undo’ and ‘Redo’ for obvious reasons.
  • Rotate 90 degrees, either counter-clockwise or clockwise
  • Rotate freely
  • Flip horizontally or vertically

Home Tab

  • Contrast Enhancement – to increase depth and contrast.
  • Deepen – a less harsh method of increasing depth and contrast without losing as much in the midtones.
  • Brighten – to adjust for underexposure.
Ethel Mary Alexzena Ward
Ethel Mary Alexzena Ward
Elmer Gummeson
Elmer Gummeson
  • Darken – to adjust for overexposure.
  • Decolor – to ‘wash out’ colors for a more vintage muted look.
  • White Balance – helps remove color casts by returning what should be whites to the original white while adjusting all other colors and tones the same degree.
  • Sepia – Monotone vintage look.
  • Grayscale
  • Sharpen – To adjust for small amounts of blur and lack of contrast.
  • Bloom – an all-in-one adjustment function for varying levels of brightness and contrast while also setting desired levels of ‘blur’.
  • Backlight – Adjusts shadowed images as if a backlight had been used in taking the image.

Crop Tab

  • Crop Freely
  • Crop Round Image

Tools Tab

  • Red Eye Correction
  • Mole Removal

With any of these adjustments, it is important to not go too far ahead so you can ‘undo’ or ‘redo’. In some cases, such as ‘Bloom’, ‘Contrast’, ‘Brighten’ and ‘Darken’ – a small adjustment goes a long way.

The way Photoscape works best for me is for altering images as I’m putting them into the database. I especially like to use ‘primary images’ as much as possible for each person. In cases where their image is only available among a group, I use this software to crop it out, make the necessary adjustments, save it under a new name (very important to not save over original image) and attach to that person. I find that this method is quick and seemless – especially if you have a long monitor that allows you to resize and view both in one window, or if you have a dual monitor setup.

This Photoscape software also has a safeguard that has saved me more than a few times. Every image that is altered is saved in its original state to an ‘Originals’ folder within the main folder. Just be careful. If you reopen and work on the image more than once, each successive altered image becomes the new ‘original’. If you want to differentiate between these originals, be sure to either rename or number them.

Photoscape image editing software is an essential part of my genealogy ‘toolkit’ and I’m sure that you will find it as useful as I have.


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Learning to transcribe from ‘ye olde englishe’ and latin.

Learning to transcribe from ‘ye olde englishe’ and latin.

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Transcribing the baptism register from Norfolk, England in my previous post, “Transcription and Translation: Baptism of Elizabeth Stalham and others from the St. George Tombland Church register” was particularly problematic for me, requiring my learning to transcribe from ‘ye olde englishe’ and latin.

 

I am familiar with transcribing in several languages such as German, Swedish, French, etc., even though I do need help from Google Translate.

For this translation, I was able to interpret the text fairly easily, including the months, and the years. At first, I thought there were no days mentioned at all, until I took a closer look and realized there was one small ‘word’ in each entry I couldn’t account for. One thing I did notice was the pattern of repetition within each entry and it’s resemblance to the pattern of repetition to Roman numerals – even if they did appear to be just miscellaneous symbols or text (see image below).

 

Baptism record for Elizabeth Stalham - marked.

 

To confirm my suspicions, I did some research into interpreting Latin dates. It took some time and effort as everything I found at first referred to the date formats used in general, including those used in recording events in genealogy software.

Just as I was about to give up and use my standard ‘????’ in place of the mysterious text since I was unsure of my conclusions, I came upon the following web page that provided the answer I was looking for. They were ‘Reading dates in old English records.’ The following is the verbatim section from the page that specifically provided the answers I was seeking.

The chart below shows some of the different ways numbers may be written.

1 unus, primo, primus, I i
2 duo, secundo, secundus II ij
3 tres, tertio, tertius III iij
4 quattuor, quarto, quartus IV iiij, iv
5 quinque, quinto, quintus V v
6 sex, sexto, sextus VI vi
7 septem, septimo, septimus VII vij
8 octo, octavo, octavus VIII viij
9 novem, nono, nonus IX viiij, ix
10 decem, decimo, decimus X x
11 undecim, undecimo, undecimus XI xi
12 duodecim, duodecimo, duodecimus XII xij
13 tredecim, tertio decimo, tertius decimus XIII xiij
14 quattuordecim, quarto decimo, quartus decimus XIV xiiij, xiv
15 quindecim, quinto decimo, quintus decimus XV xv
16 sedecim, sexto decimo, sextus decimus XVI xvi
17 septendecim, septimo decimo, septimus decimus XVII xvij
18 duodeviginti, octavo decimo, octavus decimus, duodevicesimo, duodevicesimus XVIII xviij
19 undeviginti, nono decimo, nonus decimus, undevicesimo, undevicesimus XIX xviiij, xix
20 viginti, vicesimo, vicesimus, viccesimo, vicessimo, viccessimo XX xx
21 viginti unus, vicesimo primo, vicesimus primus XXI xxi
22 viginti duo, vicesimo secundo, vicemus secundus XXII xxij
23 viginti tres, vicesimo tertio, vicesimus tertius XXIII xxiij
24 viginti quattuor, vicesimo quarto, vicesimus quartus XXIV xxiiij, xxiv
25 viginti quinque, vicesimo quinto, vicesimus quintus XXV xxv
26 viginti sex, vicesimo sexto, vicesimus sextus XXVI xxvi
27 viginti septem, vicesimo septimo, vicesimus septimus XXVII xxvij
28 duodetriginta, vicesimo octavo, vicesimus octavus, duodetricesimo, duodetricesimus XXVIII xxviij
29 undetriginta, vicesimo nono, vicesimus nonus, undetricesimo, undetricesimus XXVIV xxviiij, xxix
30 triginta, tricesimo, tricesimus XXX xxx
31 triginta unus, tricesimo primo, tricesimus primus XXXI xxxi

Numbers may also be written as scores. A score is twenty and is written as XX or xx. If XX is above another number, it would be multiplied by the number under it. Therefore, four score or eighty could be written as XX over IV or xx over iiij as shown below.

XX xx

IV iiij

Sources:

  1. About.com; “Reading and Understanding Old Documents & Records”; Kimberly Powell; http://genealogy.about.com/od/basics/a/old_handwriting.htm.
  2. Family Search; Reading dates in old English records; Document ID: 111804; https://help.familysearch.org/publishing/43/111804_f.SAL_Public.html.


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Google Search history: An unsung top genealogy research tool?

Google Search history: An unsung top genealogy research tool?

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Google recently announced that the Google search history of Google account holders will be available for download by the account holder.

 

Noticing this made me stop and think about just how much I do use the history feature on my browser to find pages I’ve previously visited.

Google Search history downloads.
Google Search history.

The reason?

When doing genealogy research including extracting data and images from pages and saving them to either this website or my genealogy software, it’s all too easy to accumulate several open tabs and windows for ease of use.

One downfall of this, however, is that it is all too easy to inadvertently close tabs or windows earlier than intended and not remembering the page.

My browser history is the first place I go to search for the page and reopen it.

Can you just image being able to do the same for previous searches on Google?

Google search history.
Access your Google search history.

The downloaded database of archived searches can be searched by keyword using the ‘Find’ function in the menu of your chosen database software.

If this fails to turn up the desired search, it’s possible to search via the input of links. Although this may seem very cumbersome and time-consuming, it would be fairly easy to minimize the search time required by only searching in known, specific date ranges when searches took place.

Viewing one’s Google Search history is relatively simple:

  • Go to history.google.com and log in with your Google account.
  • Click the calendar view to take a look at what you searched on any given date.
  • Click the settings button on the top right corner to download the search database.

Items in search can be deleted by checking the box next to them and clicking the ‘remove items’ option.

This procedure exports a list of your searches to Google Drive in a ZIP archive, dividing the files by year and quarter.

For those concerned about the privacy of their online and search activities, it is possible for them to delete all or part of the search record.

To delete your entire search history:

  • Click settings.
  • Select remove items.
  • Pick a time frame.

It is important to note that only Google account holders can see their data.

Google also warns that users should not download their search archive on a public computer to protect their privacy.


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Researching paternal or maternal lines: Is one better than the other?

Researching paternal or maternal lines: Is one better than the other?

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When researching paternal or maternal lines, the tendency seems to be to place more value – and therefore time and effort – into the paternal lines. Is it true that following paternal lines is better than following maternal lines?

 

In my mind, no.

Turmaine and Emery maternal ancestors.
Turmaine and Emery maternal ancestors.

The other side of this question is: “Should genealogy research concentrate more on one to the exclusion of the other?

Again, I say “no”.

When I first started researching my family’s genealogy almost fifteen years ago, it was easier to concentrate on the paternal lines, and I did so based on my limited knowledge of genealogy, in which the paternal lines seemed to be valued more.

This may be a carryover from history where women were rarely recorded as anything other than their husband’s wives and/or father’s daughters. Unless they were particularly noteworthy, details of their own personal lives were unimportant.

This may also be a result of the difficulties that can arise when researching maternal lines. Because most research works back in time, we usually first encounter a female ancestor as a wife who has taken on her husband’s name. Since a great deal of the records don’t go into any detail about the women, it’s difficult to find even clues with which to research further to find out a woman’s maiden name and parentage.

It does change for the better in more modern records such as censuses, marriage records, etc., where more detailed information about a woman’s place of origin, and her parents and their places of origin can be found.

What a shame since one’s knowledge of one’s own ancestry increases exponentially when venturing into maternal lines.

Several of the individuals I have posted about on this blog were discovered by following maternal lines of both my husband and myself.

As a matter of fact, when going through posts to identify maternal lines for this article, it was apparent that those involving the paternal lines were a definite minority. This matters because I have consistently chosen those I find most interesting to write about.

The fact that there seems to be more from the maternal lines is perfectly understandable when the odds are considered. When restricting one’s research to only paternal lines, there is no branching off through the female spouses, therefore restricting the course back in family history through one straight line from father to father to father (and so on). Although some prefer to research in this way, I’m positive they are missing out as a result.

For the purposes of this post, I am using my parents: Gerard Ronald Joseph Turmaine and Patricia Gail Melanson; and Mark’s parents: Marshall Matthews Blythe and Beverley Gummeson as the root persons.

In all of the cases below, we would never have known our connection to these ancestors had I not explored the maternal lines.Bourg Ancestral Line

Antoine Bourg

The ancestral line to this 7th great grandfather of my mother follows her paternal line through six generations to Pierre Melanson and his wife Marie Josèphe Granger, then follows Marie Josèphe’s line the rest of the way back.

Antoine Bourg is one of the original Acadian pioneers to come over from France in the 17th century. Although Antoine Bourg is not the Acadian ancestor from our paternal line that we most associate with, we are related to him through three branching maternal lines leading to three of his sons.

Bevan Ancestral Line

John ap Evan (John Bevan) of Wales

John ap Evan (John Bevan) was 10th great grandfather to my husband’s father, Marshall Matthews Blythe. An early Welsh immigrant and pioneer of Pennsylvania, he was a Minister with the Friends’ Meeting, land trustee for several settlers, and later became a Justice and member of the Colonial Assembly.

Emily S. Shelby is a common maternal link in this ancestry, plus those of Robert William, the Stehle family, and of course the illustrious Shelbys (see below for all).

Shelby Ancestral LineEvan (Dhu) Isaac Shelby of Tregaron, Wales

Evan (Dhu) Shelby, 6th great grandfather to my father-in-law, Marshall Matthews Blythe, was the pioneer immigrant of the Shelby family to Pennsylvania from Wales. He, along with those already mentioned were persecuted for their Quaker religion and suffered terribly at the hands of their persecutors.

The Shelby family were among the few with six family members who participated in the Revolutionary War. Of these were Brigadier General Evan Shelby, John Shelby and Moses Shelby (sons to our Evan); Governor Isaac Shelby of Kentucky and Evan Shelby III, sons to Brigadier General Shelby; and another David Shelby, son of John Shelby above.

Stehle Ancestral LineUlrich Stehle (Steely)

This Ulrich Stehle was 5th great grandfather to my father-in-law and was the son of another Ulrich, an immigrant to Pennsylvania from Europe (possibly Germany) in 1732.

Ulrich Jr. is documented as the immigrant ancestor of President Barack Obama through his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham.

Emery Ancestral LinePte. Joseph Philias Albert Emery

Joseph Philias Albert Emery was my father’s uncle (brother to my grandmother).

Compared to some of the other ancestors above, he is fairly recent, but his life was remarkable in that he died so young in horribly tragic circumstances.

He was one of many soldiers involved in the preparations for the battle at Vimy Ridge. On March 1, 1917, the troops were misguidedly given the order to let off gas charges. This was a tragic decision because the winds were blowing the wrong way, causing the lethal gases to be blown back onto our Canadian troops.

As a result of the chaos, Pte. Emery was never found, was reported as missing in action and was later declared to have died in action.

There are a few more who occur further back in history, but I wanted to concentrate on those for whom I had the best documentary support.


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Genealogical Research of Vermont Ancestors is Getting Easier

Genealogical Research of Vermont Ancestors is Getting Easier

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Vermont Ancestors

Find Your Vermont Ancestors

A federal grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities has paid for a Vermont Digital Newspaper Project planned to take two years for scanning up to 100,00 pages from Vermont newspapers of the 1800’s and early 1900’s, providing highly sought information about Vermont ancestors of researchers. Vermont is only the first of 28 states expected to contribute to this project, which will be known as “Chronicling America”.

Spearheaded by University of Vermont librarians, the url for the coming online digital archives is to be announced once any images are made available online.

This has the potential of being an invaluable resource for those doing family genealogy research in Vermont. Newspaper articles are particularly valuable as they help to provide the historical details of events and circumstances that are missing from official records commonly used in genealogy research.


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Security watch: Is virtualization a mistake?

Security watch: Is virtualization a mistake?

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From the standpoint of securing important documents and information, is adopting virtualization a mistake?

As a genealogist, I’m well aware of our dependence on the use of virtualization, computer networks and the internet by governments, businesses and organizations to digitize, store, safeguard, and make available highly valuable documents, publications, etc. The following article by Jesse Troy outlines the concerns.             Christine

Virtualization’s promise started out large, and the concept has taken off like a freight train in the night since around 2005. It’s easy to see why, as the technique allows processes to utilize resources more effectively than was previously the case.

As numerous corporations and government entities utilize the decades-old technology in ever increasing numbers, we should ask ourselves this question.

1. The largest problem is internal to your organization.

Security watch: Is virtualization a mistake?

Virtually all corporations are already swamped with huge amounts of data; jumping on the virtualization train entails the creation of even more assets.

Discovery technology may help you to find what is already hidden in deep, dark corners, but ‘going virtual’ opens up a whole new dimension to your corner space.

This is known as sprawl.

2. Not all discovery tools recognize virtual machines and the data therein contained.

Security watch: Is virtualization a mistake?

When pressed to the wall, it’s possible to put a search team onto the task of locating misplaced, mislabeled, or just plain lost data in the messy data center.

This is not the case where virtual information is concerned.

Like a ghost, it’s not able to be ‘seen’ directly.

3. Unknown assets create an unknown licensing scenario, in which it’s impossible to determine the correct number of licenses to purchase.

Security watch: Is virtualization a mistake?

With automated licensing software – impotent when it comes to handling virtualization – typically in place, IT departments may be ringing up unplanned, and unnecessary costs.

4. Insecure default configurations can manifest.

Multiple

When the ‘blueprint’ for virtualization is created, any problem, including a breachable security issue, is replicated.

Each future virtual machine will have the same bad padlock.

5. When a server can be created with complete ease, the unfortunate fact is that many are then born.

Unattended

Whether born out of necessity or not is another question; followed by that of who maintains that server?

The IT department may be unaware of its existence when it’s created by a non-IT employee.

When that employee leaves the organization, it’s possible that information will wither unattended, essentially departing simultaneously.

6. Communication between different servers with different security clearances on the same machine is possible.

Security

This presents the obvious system vulnerability.

If a hacker gains access to a less secure server, they can readily access information that is meant to be much more secure.

7. When the hypervisor – the software technology manager – is attacked, all the servers under that umbrella are susceptible to infiltration.

Infiltration

Patches must be maintained and kept current. Falling behind on maintaining security updates puts all the information across the board at risk, rather than on a few laggard’s machines.

Although these seven reasons – each pointing out a flaw in the technique – appear to be serious reasons to consider avoiding virtualization, that is not the case.

Each point has a relatively simple solution, such as firewall installation between servers or complete data organization prior to server creation. Confronting the problems before they become security issues is the right approach.

From there, resource utilization results have proven to be superb.

Featured images:

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Prince William’s mitochondrial line is of Indian ancestry?

Prince William’s mitochondrial line is of Indian ancestry?

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My children’s ancestry branches backward into history, through Welsh Quakers immigrants in Pennsylvania, to Welsh royalty and then to British royalty, including Prince William. It was surprising to learn Prince William’s mitochondrial line is of Indian ancestry?

 

Prince William's mitochondrial line is of Indian ancestry?
Prince William’s mitochondrial line is of Indian ancestry?

The result of these connections is that my husband and children are distantly related (20th cousins 4 times removed from Princes William and Harry, the sons of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, and the grandsons of the current Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth II.

It is interesting to note that, not only are the young royals connected through German, Spanish, French and numerous other lineages, but DNA tests conducted by BritainsDNA have proven Indian ancestry through their mother Princess Diana.

Although its is believed that Eliza Kewar, their fifth great grandmother was Armenian,  DNA shows a direct maternal Indian descent. Eliza was housekeeper to and in a relationship with Theodore Forbes. Forbes was from Scotland and worked for the East India Company in Surat, India.

The mitochondrial DNA, which is passed on through the women only, descended through Eliza and Theodore’s daughter Katherine and her female descendants to Frances Roche, who married Earl Spencer and had a daughter, Lady Diana Spencer – William and Harry’s mother.

photo credit: Steve Rhodes via photopin cc


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Transcription: Obituary for Carl W. Kiefer

Transcription: Obituary for Carl W. Kiefer

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The following is my transcription of the obituary for Carl W. Kiefer.

 

Carl W. Kiefer

Obituary for Carl W. Kiefer.
Obituary for Carl W. Kiefer.

A resident of Painesville since 1910, Carl W. Kiefer, 93, died Friday morning at the Homestead 2 Nursing Home, Painesville, after a lingering illness.

Mr. Kiefer had lived at 7 North Park Place, Painesville. He was born June 29, 1862  in Cleveland.

Until his retirement, he had been office manager of the Frank Stanton Ford firm in Painesville and had also worked for the C.J. Wadsworth Clothing Cabinet Co.

Mr. Kiefer was a member of the Painvesville United Methodist Church, Elks Lodge No. 549 in Painesville, and the Painesville Kiwanis Club.

He is survived by a daughter, Mrs. William (Helen) Blackmore of Cleveland Heights; sister Mrs. Ella Sweet of Monroe, Mich., four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his first wife Mary Beth in 1958, his second wife Marie earlier this year, and a son John C.

Services will be at 2 p.m. Monday at the Johnson Funeral Home, 368 Mentor Ave., Painesville. Dr. Alva W. Taylor of the Painesville United Methodist Church will officiate. Burial will be in Riverside Cemetery.

Calling hours will be from noon until 2 p.m. Monday at the funeral home.

____________________

The image above links directly to the original document. You can access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, by clicking on the name link, or searching the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the left sidebar.

It is recommended to search using both methods as the results can differ greatly due to a glitch in the software that doesn’t connect all images from the bio.

All data for this and numerous others on this site is available for free access and download.


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4 stories of hidden treasures you can still look for today.

4 stories of hidden treasures you can still look for today.

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There’s reason to believe you could find a major treasure horde.  After all, there are quite a few still out there just waiting to be unearthed!  Here are just 4 stories of hidden treasures you can still look for today as long as you have a metal detector.

For most metal detectorists, the thrill of the hunt is the driving force behind their metal detecting.   You never know when that signal goes off what you’ll unearth. 

stories of hidden treasures
4 stories of hidden treasures and hordes you can still look for today.

The Treasure of Little Bighorn

During the Battle of Little Bighorn in June 1876 in eastern Montana, a steamboat called the Far West was leased by the government and sent up the Bighorn river to resupply General Custer and his men.

It is said that while Captain Grant Marsh had anchored the ship at the confluence of the Bighorn and Little Bighorn rivers to wait for soldiers to come and unload the supplies, two freighters from Bismark, North Dakota stopped and asked him for help.  They requested that the Far West take on the $800,000 in gold they were carrying because they had just narrowly averted capture by Native Americans several times and were worried if they didn’t hide the gold somewhere it would be stolen.  Although the Captain didn’t want to take on the gold, he did.  Then, he continued to wait for Custer’s soldiers to come and unload the supplies.

As he waited, captain Marsh became nervous about having so much gold on board so he headed upriver to a safer anchorage.  He then took the gold ashore and buried it.

He then returned to the confluence of the two rivers to see if he’d be able to rendezvous with the soldiers.  Unfortunately, instead he received word of Custer’s defeat and was asked to transport the wounded to safety.  With this, the gold was forgotten until the Captain contacted the freighting company several years later.  He even led them to the place he had remembered burying the gold but, the landscape had changed during the time he’d been away and, that $800,000 in gold hasn’t ever been recovered.

Yamashita’s Gold

During WWII Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita and his men stole a great deal of gold and other riches from the countries they invaded.

It is also said that even top officials including the Emperor himself participated in looting during the war.

As the story goes, all of the treasure these high ranking Japanese officials found was stored in Singapore, then relocated to some caves in the Philippines.  The goal was to then transport the treasure from the Philippines to Japan after the war was over, but that was never accomplished.

Some of the treasure is said to have stayed in the Philippines while other portions of it were lost at sea when the merchant ships it was being smuggled in were sunk by Allied forces.  Although many scholars say Yamashita’s treasure is a myth, others believe and they’ve been on the hunt ever since.

Forrest Fenn’s Treasure

Forrest Fenn is a writer and art collector in his late 80’s who lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Back in the 1980’s Fenn was diagnosed with cancer.  He was lucky though, and he beat it.

When he recovered, he was inspired to hide somewhere between $3 – 5 million of his personal treasures including gold, jewels, and priceless artifacts somewhere “north of Santa Fe” and “above 5,000 ft”.

He then wrote his memoir “The Thrill of the Chase” and in it included a poem he wrote that will lead readers to his buried treasure – if they can decode it.

Since then he’s also published another book titled “Too Far to Walk” that includes a map of the area where the treasure is hidden but doesn’t give away the exact location.

So far, no one has found it, but maybe you can be the lucky treasure hunter.

Civil War Treasure in Virginia

Stories of treasures buried during the Civil War abound.  One of the more plausible involves a Confederate Commander named John Singleton Mosby.

In the spring of 1863 Commander Mosby had just finished raiding a Union camp and had over 40 prisoners, one of whom was a Union officer.

The officer had a bag that he had been using to store priceless family heirlooms and artifacts, along with some gold and silver pieces he’d stolen from Virginia families.

Commander Mosby took this bag, estimated to be worth over $350,000, and began heading south with the prisoners back toward Confederate territory in Culpeper, Virginia.

Around New Baltimore, Virginia though, a scout spotted a group of Union soldiers.  To avoid them the scout led the group through the woods.

It is at this point that Commander Mosby became nervous about the heirlooms returning to Union hands so, he and Sergeant James Ames buried them between two trees.  He then marked the two trees with an “X” and they rejoined the group which successfully returned to Confederate territory.

After some time, Commander Mosby asked Ames to return to the site with six of his best men to recover the treasure.

While there, the men were all captured and subsequently hung.

Mosby never returned to claim the treasure though he did speak about it to friends and family on his death bed, saying he wished he could have recovered the treasure so he could return the heirlooms to the families they belonged to.

As you can see with these four stories alone, there’s enough treasure out there for everyone!  

So, grab a professional deep seeking metal detector and head out treasure hunting.

As always, be sure to check the local and national laws before you get started. When metal detecting on private property always obtain written permission from the land owner. You never know what you might dig up – maybe you’ll even find one of these treasures!

____________________

About the author

Michael Bernzweig manages MetalDetector.com in Southborough, MA. He has written extensively on the subject of metal detecting since the mid 1980’s. He has traveled world-wide in his pursuit of educating, exploring and advising others in the proper use of metal detectors. Outside of the business he enjoys mentoring students, being involved in the community and spending time with his family.

photo credit: dad1_ via photopin cc


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Genealogy obsession in Iceland opens academic doors.

Genealogy obsession in Iceland opens academic doors.

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As I’ve written in previous posts, much of human history has involved the management of relationships, marriages, etc. to safeguard against incestuous relationships, and has resulted in an impressive genealogy obsession in Iceland.
Genealogy obsession in Iceland
Genealogy obsession in Iceland opens academic doors.

Iceland, with its population of only 320,000, is one small corner of the globe that still deals with the issues of living in the shallow end of the gene pool, manifesting in today’s Icelanders’ preoccupation with genealogy and family history.

In one instance, a group of students from the University of Iceland engineering department created a smart phone app, allowing users to simply bump phones to see if they have a common ancestor, as well as if there’s a relationship and just how close it is.

Prior to the smart phone app, the “Book of Icelanders” (Islendingabok), has been the receptacle of genealogy records. Kári Stefánsson, an Icelandic neurologist, created a web-based version of the “Book of Icelanders” to provide constant access to its users. Kári Stefánsson and Fridrik Skulason claim to have documented 95% of Icelanders of the past three hundred years.

A benefit of the impressive job Icelanders have done tracing their family genealogies, is the extensive collection of data available for studies and experiments in many  disciplines including science, social studies, health and genetics.

Another example of the benefits of pursuing genealogy was described in my previous post “Owning a home: Military least likely and fire fighters more likely to own”. In this case, a statistical analysis of census data by Ancestry.com provided data to study home ownership trends over the past century.

Although the thoughts of the current and future benefits of genealogical study are pleasant ones, consider the negative – how would such caches of genealogical information have been used during WWII in Germany? The thought is truly frightening.

Previous posts about this topic are:

Icelandic Ancestry: the Icelandic genealogy database is now available online. 

Ingenius incest prevention app created by University of Iceland students.

The Science of husbandry on a human scale.

photo credit: Stuck in Customs via photopin cc


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Ingenius incest prevention app created by University of Iceland students.

Ingenius incest prevention app created by University of Iceland students.

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I previously wrote an article about my fascination with the ‘science of husbandry on a human scale‘.

My interest in this subject was piqued by my own Acadian ancestry and the Acadians’ practice of ‘managing’ biological relationships through the church in order to safeguard against close relatives marrying and having children. This has been a necessity through the centuries as a result of people living in small communities that were widespread. The modes of transportation were primitive and substantially increased the possibility of relationships and marriages within family lines. The Acadians recognized these relationships as existing within levels of ‘consanguinity’ or ‘closeness of biological relationship’.

The culture that shares the this Acadian practice to the greatest degree is that of Iceland. They have taken their management of these relationships to a different and greater level through consultation with the Íslendingabók database, a national database of ancestral lines and family trees reaching back several centuries, with their incest prevention app.

Students of the University of Iceland in Reykjavík won a contest for apps run by the Íslendingabók database. With their Android incest prevention app called ‘Sifjaspellsspillir’ or ‘Incest Spoiler’, two people with the app just tap their phones and if they share a grandparent, they will receive an alert. The creators are hoping to make it able to alert regarding common great grandparents in the future.


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I’d like to see an open and free exchange of genealogical data.

I’d like to see an open and free exchange of genealogical data.

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Ideally, I’d like to see an open and free exchange of genealogical data.

I’ve long been a proponent of the open and free exchange of genealogy data to ensure ready access to information for everyone researching their family history.

This morning, however, I read “Cooperation Makes Records Available for Free” at FamilySearch.org and it made me think.

As much as I’d like all genealogical data to be free, I can understand someone wishing to recover their costs of researching the data.

Database profile for Isaac Shelby, Governor of Kentucky, including references to numerous images, documents and sources. (Click on the image to see in full size.)

Although the costs of genealogy research have reduced considerably over the past two decades due to computers and the increasing availability of records, images and data online, we’re seeing a correlating increase in sites online offering valuable data for a fee of some kind, making free data harder to find.

FamilySearch.org is one of the few sites still offering data for free.

In my case, ALL of my data (including images, sources and documents) is available online for free download. I do not charge for anything. I do, however, make revenue from ad clicks and sponsored posts on my sites. The end result is that, at least at present, I can offer all of my data for free as the ads pay for the upkeep and maintenance of my sites – for the most part.

There is a delicate balance here, though. As long as I can afford to offer this information free of charge it will remain so. If there comes a point where I have to recover my costs, I will have to either charge for downloads or remove the site from the internet altogether. Rest assured that this is not anywhere in the foreseeable future.

I’ve also seen a marked increase in the amount of personal genealogy data online that is ‘locked’ or marked ‘private’. I have contacted the owners of such data and in most cases they have been very forthcoming and willing to exchange information. In a few cases, however, the owner can be very protective of their data and will not make it available. Luckily, these appear to be few and far between at present.

I welcome the exchange of data offered by anyone doing genealogy research. It is important that this information remain available. One caveat, however, is to ALWAYS categorize the data as it appears when received. If there are no sources attached, it is questionable at best and it is important to use this information as ‘clues’ to further finds. Do not take this information at face value.

I have a very large database and about half of the data is sourced, while about half is not. I am constantly actively seeking and adding sources to prove the data.

I have received some criticism for this. One researcher contacted me about a particular line of information because it was claimed I had a place name incorrect. Little did this person know I had lived in the area for 21 years and knew it very well. To say this person was hostile is putting it mildly. I couldn’t believe it when it was demanded that I remove the lines pertaining to HER RESEARCH as she was the researcher of this family and I had no business researching it since our connection was only by remarriage, adoption and the birth of half-siblings. She also demanded that I remove anything that was not sourced or proven. To do as she demanded would break up lines and create gaps, leaving me without clues to search for sources to prove the information I do have and fill the gaps.

As I stated above, a good portion of my data is accumulated through free exchange of information, including the import of gedcoms of other peoples’ research. The sources (or lack thereof) remain as they have cited them, but I do search for actual copies of listed sources to attach where possible. I leave unsourced data as I receive it until I can research it further and I categorize any sources I have confirmed or added.

It is important to realize that cooperation and goodwill among researchers is essential to keeping the lines of communication and free flow of information open. Once we start becoming territorial and protective of our data, we contribute to the scarcity of information and increased costs for all.

Again, although such data can be invaluable as clues to further research, it is important to note that all sources are only as good as the attachments and assessed quality.


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My top ten: Best world-wide genealogy and ancestry websites.

My top ten: Best world-wide genealogy and ancestry websites.

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After almost twenty years of genealogy research, there are certain sites that have become my ‘go to’ sites for certain aspects of my genealogy research. I thought it might be helpful for me to post my list of my top ten genealogy and ancestry websites.
Internet Archive
Internet Archive Search

I have also included a description of the reasons why these sites have proved invaluable to me. If you’re looking for information in these areas, be sure to check out these sites.

The headings are links to the sites described and paid sites are indicated by ($) following the heading.

1.  FamilySearch.org

Maintained and updated by the LDS (Latterday Saints) Church, this site has been invaluable for all of my time researching my family’s genealogy. In the past few years in particular, the databases have expanded substantially as the LDS organization works to digitize more and more information. Recently, the search feature has become much more effective and accurate. No matter what country, region or time frame you are researching, this is a wonderful site. Best of all, it is free.

2.  Ancestry.com

Ancestry.com is a favorite for all of the reasons listed for FamilySearch.org, the only difference being that a paid subscription is required. Although I do use Ancestry.com a great deal, I plan my research so I don’t have to remain subscribed all of the time. As I research and find gaps, I keep a ‘to do’ list and when it is large enough to warrant the cost, I will subscribe for as long as I think is necessary, tackle my list, and cancel the subscription when I have completed my list. It has been almost a year since I last subscribed because I’ve been finding a substantial amount of information elsewhere. I am due to subscribe pretty soon to tackle my current ‘to do’ list.

If you’re looking for one paid site that provides extensive data from around the world, this is the one.

3.  Cyndi’s List

Cyndi’s List is the largest site that offers extensive links to genealogy sites and resources on the internet. Cyndi has worked tirelessly for decades creating this site of over 300,000 links – sorted, categorized and constantly updated to maintain currency and functionality.

Recently, however, Cyndi’s List has been the target of a hacker who stole her entire site, making minor changes to ‘make it their own’ and attempting to divert revenue to themselves. Be sure the site you’re visiting is actually Cyndi’s List and help protect her extensive investment and our valuable resource.

4.  Olive Tree Genealogy

Olive Tree Genealogy is an extensive portal of links to valuable data and genealogy research information around the world. Although I do find this site somewhat confusing and difficult to navigate, my investment of time and effort has proved valuable as I have found wonderful, obscure data that I was unable to find elsewhere.

5.  Foundation for Medieval Genealogy

You should have seen my surprise when my husband’s ancestry connected directly to nobles and royalty in the medieval period. For the longest time this was a vast brick wall for me as there is very little quality data available online for researching this time.

I can’t remember how I found this site, but it’s an amazing resource as it’s extensively researched and sourced. The sources are described in detail and where there are questions about the data, they make it clear so we can note these gaps and questions in our own research. Where they have drawn conclusions from the existing evidence they examine the evidence and describe their conclusions.

6.  Directory of Royal Genealogical Data: University of Hull

This is another well researched site about royal genealogy from the University of Hull in England that also covers the medieval period, but they are not as clear about the quality of their sources, the evidence they’ve used to form their conclusions and the reasons they formed the conclusions leading to the published genealogy.

7.  Internet Archive

Besides finding and sourcing dates and events, I also enjoy finding the details of the lives of our ancestors through written accounts. Access to these publications has helped immensely with writing this blog by enabling me to understand the circumstances and times in which our ancestors lived.

Internet Archive tops Google E-Books on this list because it is totally free.

8.  Google E-Books

Google E-Books is essentially a site offering paid and free access to public domain written materials and books with a very accurate, intuitive search feature. If you use the link in the heading, however, it is possible to search only titles available for free access and download. To find free titles, be sure to check ‘Full View’ when conducting a search.

9.  Rootsweb

This is a free site offered by Ancestry.com . It’s a valuable resource for providing free access to user input data and family trees. Although I don’t entirely trust the data offered on this site for the simple reason that it is made up from ‘user input’, it has been very valuable to me when encountering those frustrating brick walls. I use the information here as ‘clues’ which have helped me break through those brick walls.

This data is recognizable in my Blythe Database because I do not enter sources or indicate very poor quality sources. Those using my database should interpret these facts as questionable at best.

10.  GeneaBloggers

GeneaBloggers was the genius idea of offering a directory of genealogy blogs. When I have some time on my hands and just want to explore what others are doing and saying, I start at GeneaBloggers.

Have fun checking out these sites!


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A Primer on Cemetery Research to Find Ancestors

A Primer on Cemetery Research to Find Ancestors

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Cemetery research absolutely is one of the most valuable tools for genealogy research.
Although I’m pretty much housebound and don’t get out much now, there was a time when I did venture out and do research in places such as cemeteries. As a matter of fact, I previously wrote about one experience at an old Catholic cemetery in Nova Scotia where I and my family spent the better portion of a day checking out the burial sites of our ancestors – and there were bunches of ’em.

By Jillynn Stevens, Ph.D., MSW

Grave Tombstone of Marguerite Melanson.
Cemetery research led to the discovery of Marguerite Melanson’s burial site.

When you’re working on researching distant generations of ancestors, cemetery research is one of the most satisfying, hands on forms of genealogical exploration you can do. It’s one way to connect with a tangible reminder of particular ancestors, which is often an elusive feeling. Finding a tombstone or other sign of the resting place of an ancestor can give you insights into who they were. Is their tombstone humble or grand? Does it contain an inscription that speaks of a simple life, of one that hints at a great love story, or a somber and religious disposition? What dates are inscribed? The information source is rich, yet locating cemeteries and navigating the research process isn’t always straightforward. Here’s how to get started with genealogical cemetery research.

What can I expect to learn from a cemetery?

It’s important to note that cemeteries and grave markers can be excellent sources of information about the deceased. While they are not primary information sources, they can clarify details such as:

An ancestor’s name, including obscure details like maiden names and middle names or even occasionally pet names, but most often:

  • date of birth
  • date of death
  • the names of family members including parents, spouses, and children
  • religion
  • military service
  • fraternal order membership

Cemeteries are a wonderful source of information that can confirm what you’ve learned from earlier research. In other cases, you’ll garner information that you didn’t know. For example, there may be symbolism on a tombstone suggesting that your ancestor was a member of the Masonic Lodge or perhaps they are buried in a Catholic burial ground. Each of these small clues can open up new avenues for research and exploration.


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Transcription: Marriage of Clifford Carter and Elizabeth Sampson of Cape Breton – Part I.

Transcription: Marriage of Clifford Carter and Elizabeth Sampson of Cape Breton – Part I.

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Transcription: Documents related to the marriage of Clifford Carter and Elizabeth Sampson of Cape Breton.

____________________________________________________

The following are transcriptions from photographic images of approximately half of a collection of documents related to the marriage of Elizabeth Sampson and Clifford Carter of Sampsonville, County of Richmond, Nova Scotia, Canada. The second half of the transcriptions and links to the actual document images will be published either tomorrow or the day after.

Fine print in the margins was indecipherable due to image quality.

—————-

Sampsonville CB
May 16th 1916

I consent to the marriage of my son Clifford Carter (who is within twenty one years) to Elizabeth Sampson.

his
Philip  X  Carter
mark

marriage of Clifford Carter and Elizabeth Sampson

—————-

Sampsonville CB
May 16th 1916

I consent to the marriage of my daughter Elizabeth Sampson (who is within the age of twenty one years) to Clifford Carter.

Mr. Vinny Sampson
his
X
mark
Witness

Laura Sampson

marriage of Clifford Carter and Elizabeth Sampson

—————-

29/

May 20/16

No……………………191

Clifford Carter

AND

Elizabeth Sampson

MARRIAGE LICENSE AFFIDAVIT

Rich

marriage of Clifford Carter and Elizabeth Sampson

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(There is indecipherable fine pring text in the left 1″ margin, due to image quality.)

FORM OF AFFIDAVIT

I, Clifford Carter
of Sampsonville in the County of Richmond
labourer make oath and say as follows :

I, and Elizabeth Sampson
of Sampsonville in the County of Richmond
are desirous of entering into the contract of
marriage, and of having our marriage solemnzed at Sampsonville
in the County of Richmond.

I am the age of nineteen and eleven months years, and the said
Elizabeth Sampson, is
under twenty one years.

I am a bachelor and the said Elizabeth
Sampson is a spinster.

Philip Carter & Vin Sampson of Sampsonville in the County of Richmond labourers, both whose consent to such marriage is required, has consented thereto in writing

(Two lines of ‘struck-through’ text that is unreadable.)

I believe that there is no affinity, consanguinity, prior marriage or other lawful causes or legal impedment to bar or hinder the solemnization of our marriage.

Sworn to at St. Peters in the
County of Richmond
this 16th
day of May 1916.

Clifford Carter
Signature of Deposed

Before me,
A. J. MacCuish
Issuer of Marriage License

marriage of Clifford Carter and Elizabeth Sampson

Marriage of Clifford Carter and Elizabeth Sampson

___________

V 29

Richmond – 1916

Carter, Clifford

Sampson, Elizabeth

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marriage of Clifford Carter and Elizabeth Sampson

Here are more documents related to this marriage.

—————-

The complete original scans of the document clips above can be accessed by clicking the image. To access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, click on the name link above, or search the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the left sidebar. It is recommended to search using both methods as the results do sometimes differ. All data on this site is available for free access and download.


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