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Millions of Scandinavian Records Added at MyHeritage.com

I received an announcement from MyHeritage dealing with the posting of Sandinavian records this morning. The following is from Daniel’s note, as well as the MyHeritage blog. These folks are doing some cool things.

…we’ve just brought online millions of Scandinavian records – the majority of which have never been digitized or indexed online before.

Anyone with Scandinavian roots can search these records on SuperSearch and will receive matches to those records relevant to their family tree.

As of today, the entire 1930 Danish census (3.5 million records) is available online. This is thanks to our partnership with the National Archives of Denmark to index and digitize over 120 million records including all available Danish census records from 1787-1930 and Parish records from 1646 to 1915, all of which will be released during 2015 and 2016.

We’ve also added the Swedish Household Examination Rolls from 1880-1920, which includes 54 million records with 5 million color images, of which 22 million records are already available online. The remaining records are scheduled to go online before the end of June 2015. The household examination rolls are the primary register of the Swedish church, listing the residents of each parish, their families, and important life events such as births, marriages and deaths.

Following is a map of Sweden showing those counties in bold orange whose records were posted Feb. 17, 2015. Here’s some notes about the map from the MyHeritage blog:

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Västra Götaland: In 1997 this county was formed by merging the three counties of Göteborg och Bohus, Älvsborg, and Skaraborg.

Dalarna: In 1997 this county was renamed from Kopparberg.

Skåne: In 1997 this county was formed by merging the two counties of Kristianstad and Malmöhus.

I understand they have more Scandinavian records in the works!

Reminder: MyHeritage founder and CEO, Gilad Japhet has given me permission to offer my readers the best deal I’ve ever seen on a MyHeritage subscription. How about $99.95 for a full year of Full Access to MyHeritage? – that’s their Premium Plus family site and their Data Plan… Everything!!! For way over half off! We are talking $20 less than the best price offered at RootsTech, and that was a 50% off deal! Click on this link to purchase Full Access MyHeritage at only $99.95. Do it now, as this price will only be offered through February 24, 2015 – then it ends. Period.

Read more in my earlier post.

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Park Proposed for Ohio Civil War Morgan’s Raid Battle Site

The following teaser is from the February 17, 2015 edition of The Columbus Dispatch:

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CARROLLTON, Ohio (AP) — Officials hoping to boost tourism in an eastern Ohio county are seeking a U.S. National Park Service grant to help create a park commemorating a raid by Confederate Brig. Gen. John Hunt Morgan.

Carroll County officials envision creating a park and a recreation trail between two battle sites using what is now private property, in an area regarded as the northernmost battle between Confederate and Union troopers during the Civil War, The Repository in Canton reported.

To do that, officials hope for support from the park service’s American Battlefield Protection Program.

Read the full article.

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Full Access to MyHeritage – Premium Plus Family Site & Data Plan – Just $99.95!

During RootsTech 2015, I hung around the MyHeritage booth absorbing information. MyHeritage has been making exciting technological advances for several years. Their tech is allowing them to share billions of records, documents, and what they have termed Discoveries with subscribers.

I got a note this morning stating that MyHeritage has added millions of Scandinavian records. Items like the entire 1930 Danish census (3.5 million records), and the Swedish Household Examination Records for 1880-1920 (20 Million records already posted) are now available, with much more on the way. I will blog more about the Scandinavian records later. But the clock is running on the $99.95 sale for Full Access to MyHeritage – that’s their Premium Plus family site and their Data Plan.

I’m going to go into a lot more detail below about why I’m excited about MyHeritage and the huge potential for Discoveries (code word for ancestors). However, right up front, I have the distinct privilege to offer my readers an outstanding deal. MyHeritage founder and CEO, Gilad Japhet has given me permission to offer my readers the best deal I’ve ever seen on a MyHeritage subscription. How about $99.95 for a full year of Full Access to MyHeritage? – that’s their Premium Plus family site and their Data Plan… Everything!!! For way over half off! We are talking $20 less than the best price offered at RootsTech, and that was a 50% off deal! Click on this link to purchase Full Access MyHeritage at only $99.95. Do it now, as this price will only be offered through February 24, 2015 – then it ends. Period.

myheritage

Note that the offer is for Genealogy Newsline Readers. However, since I author and own Genealogy Newsline, I can also offer it to my GenealogyBlog.com readers and folks that read me through social media. The landing screen from the above link says “Genealogy Newsline Readers,” but in this case we’re being even more inclusive.

Most of my readers are already familiar with MyHeritage, and understand that they have huge and rapidly growing family trees – many of them produced in Europe by genealogists just like you, only they might be speaking a different language (Cool…, huh?). Here are a couple impressive numbers… How about 28,000,000 family trees and 2.5 billion tree profiles? What do I bet you have family in there? I’d nearly guarantee it. Here’s why.

I had the privilege to sit down for a half hour or so with Mike Mallin. He was a Keynote speaker here at RootsTech at the opening session Thursday morning. He’s also the chief product officer at MyHeritage. I asked some serious questions and got some serious answers. Mike has dedicated his life to offering “value” to MyHeritage subscribers, and he wants each of us to have Discoveries, not just more documents. Now how’s that?

You may be familiar with the Smart Matching, and Record Matching, where MyHeritage takes your data and matches against other data within their system. Smart Matching allows us to discover unknown relatives and ancestors through family tree matches. Record Matching automatically sends records to us that match people in our family trees. Well, the new Discovery feature that’s about to be launched will take these matching features to a new level. In a month or so, we will see a new button in the upper right-hand corner of the screen saying Discovery. We will be able to click on the button, and get a scroll-down menu of Discoveries – Click on a Discovery, and have the capability of instantly importing a group of people – not lots of people – maybe 30 or 40, but just enough to make the typical person do the “genealogy happy dance.”

MyHeritage is committed to the whole concept of “value,” and the need to offer people instant value that they can relate (play on words here) with. Here’s an astounding stat that Mike Mallin gave me, and is based on real-life product research they’ve done. An average of 60% of individuals who GEDCOM imported or manually entered just 50 people into the MyHeritage Family Tree, and clicked on the Discovery feature that’s about to go live, got over 30 more people automatically added to their family tree. Happy dance time again… This whole Discovery idea is unique and one that I believe will help get more total novices on board the genealogy train. I think it’s going to be of value to many of the rest of us besides.

And here are a few other things about MyHeritage you might be interested in.

  • The site allows you to create your own online family tree, making it private or public.
  • The site has what they call SuperSearch, doing searches of billions of historical records, getting results in seconds.
  • Record Detective – Save time with technology that uncovers new leads and related records for every discovery you make.
  • Mobile App – Build your family tree and research on the go. It’s perfect for family get-togethers. This is available for both Android and iPhone. A new version of the mobile app was launched just last week!
  • Family Tree Builder software for both Windows and Mac computers. Not only can you enter your data, but you can enjoy maps, charts, reports and much more with this award winning software.
  • Mike told me about another new MyHeritage product that’s exciting. It’s a new app called Weavee. It’s an app that captures pictures and integrates stories. The user can select pictures and weave them into a mobile story. The plan is to integrate the mobile pictures, stories, and one’s data from the MyHeritage database into a captivating, and fun mobile story that you can then share on your mobile via social networking or email. Hmmm. Maybe we could send that to cousin Jeannie? Maybe Jeannie will realize that our hobby isn’t so boring after all. Jeannie might start entering her data, her memories, and her pictures. The more family that gets on board, the more the fun multiplies. I’d say exponentially…

Goodness… I have gotten carried away here. As you can tell, I am excited. The future is now. Come join me. Following is the offer again.

$99.95 for a full year of Full Access to MyHeritage – that’s their Premium Plus Family Site, and their Data Plan… Everything!!! For way over half off! We’re talking $20 less than the best price offered at RootsTech, and that was a 50% off deal! Click on this link to purchase Full Access MyHeritage at only $99.95. Do it now, as this price will only be offered through February 24, 2015.

Again, note that the offer is for Genealogy Newsline readers. However, since I author and own Genealogy Newsline, I can also offer it to my GenealogyBlog.com readers and folks that read me through social media. The landing screen from the above link says “Genealogy Newsline Readers,” but in this case we’re being far more inclusive.

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Kindred Voices – on pre-pub sale with FREE Immediate PDF ebook download

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My friend, Geoff Rasmussen, just wrote a new book entitled Kindred Voices. Geoff is probably best known for his work with Legacy, hosting their weekly webinars. However, he’s a great writer, having written a number of books including the popular Digital Imaging Essentials. We are taking pre-publication orders for the full-color soft-cover book, with a substantial discount and a FREE IMMEDIATE PDF download of the eBook of the same if ordered by February 27, 2015!

PLEASE NOTE that the paperback book SHIPS in March – probably toward the end of the month. The order confirmation will say toexpect it to be shipped within 72 hours, but that’s a line added by the computer dealing with daily sales of in-stock books. Ignore it, and expect it in late March.

In Kindred Voices – Listening For Our Ancestors, Geoff takes on the not-uncontroversial topic of how our ancestors themselves may be helping us make genealogical discoveries. This is a topic previousy dealt with by Hank Jones in his Psychic Roots, and More Psychic Roots volumes. Ann Bradshaw later wrote True Miracles with Genealogy: Help from Beyond the Veil, and True Miracles with Genealogy: Volume Two. Geoff’s new volume is fascinating. He sent me a PDF review copy a few days ago, and although super-busy, I sat down and read the entire book cover to cover – something I seldom do.

Most genealogists will tell you that every now and then, seemingly unexplainable things happen. Call it what you will. A miracle? psychic phenomena, or serendipity? Seemingly unexplainable things happen. In Kindred Voices, Geoff lays out a case to show that genealogists often receive research help from their long-deceased ancestors themselves. Many fascinating examples, taken from his own life experiences, are given. Did you ever wonder why those of the Mormon faith do genealogy? Geoff gives the best explanation for it that I’ve ever read.

Another good friend, Megan Smolenyak, put it this way, “If you didn’t believe it before now, Geoff Rasmussen will convince you that our ancestors want to be found as much as we want to find them. Whether you’re new to genealogy or struggling with a brick wall in your research, Kindred Voices will inspire you in your quest to reach out to those who came before us. C’mon, they’re waiting for you!”

The following is from Legacy’s website:

Genealogists hear dead people…

[…pause for dramatic effect…]

The voices of our ancestors awake when our search for them begins. Most often we feel their voices – in our minds and in our hearts – as research ideas, promptings, and intuitions on where to find them. Yet sometimes, as our hearts turn toward theirs, their heaven-sent communications can be heard with our earthly ears. These voices – those of our ancestors – are the evidence of their hearts having turned towards ours.

The serendipitous encounters with genealogical voices that Geoff Rasmussen tells in Kindred Voices are true stories. Readers will be stirred by the reality of our ancestors’ interventions in our search for them. You will be inspired to either begin your search or to receive the hope you need to continue your quest. Our ancestors speak to us; are we listening?

Click Here to view the Table of Contents and the preface (9 pages)

Kindred Voices: Listening For Our Ancestors; 100pp; March 2015; Perfect-bound Paperback; 6×9; Full-color; ISBN: 978-0-9864094-0-0; Item #: JR03. $14.95; on sale for just $12.95 plus a FREE immediate PDF download.

Kindred Voices: Listening For Our Ancestors is also available alone as a PDF eBook.

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The New FamilySearch Discovery Center

Okay – I thought I’d seen it all. However, this new Discovery Center that FamilySearch has put together is amazing. To allow the public a chance to try it out, they brought it to the RootsTech exhibit hall. I got on a computer. I typed my email address and FamilySearch password onto the screen, then got the home screen that told me about the meaning of my name, cool stats about the Meitzlers, and so on. I clicked some more and the screen illustrations started whirling. I’m thinking, it’s not gonna’ find anything all that exciting on my family… Was I ever wrong… I’ve never been one to even attempt to collect famous cousins. I knew that the George W. Bush was a 7th cousin, as Gary Boyd Roberts pointed it out to me a few years ago, but beyond, that I didn’t know of anyone else I’d call famous. The screen finally settled down, and I was given choices as to what famous relatives I wanted check out. Presidents? Inventers? and others. I clicked on the Presidents, and got a listing of 17 presidents of the United States with which I have a cousin relationship. Granted they were all 4th to 13th cousins – but relatives none-the-less. I could then look at a tree that showed how the relatiship was formed. I was even given the opportunity to email it to myself! I got to admit that was kinda’ cool. Check out the following press release from FamilySearch.

By the way, note that a Discovery Center is planned for Seattle – about 40 miles from my home… Cool.

Salt Lake City, UT — In concert with the world class RootsTech 2015 conference and RootsTech Innovator Summit in Salt Lake City this week, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints opened the doors today to its FamilySearch Discovery Center. The new center is the first of its kind and uses the latest technology to give patrons a personally immersive experience into their family’s history—think of it as a Star Trek –meets-genealogy type of experience. The free service enables patrons to interface with large-as-life interactive displays that use patrons’ online family history at FamilySearch.org to give them unique discoveries and experiences with their family’s history. There are also fun, hands-on activities for young children that encourage family discoveries. The Discovery Center is located in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. Walk-ins are welcome, but it is recommended that individuals, families, and groups reserve a time.

Click Here to Schedule a Visit

“We have tried to create experiences where everyone, regardless of age, can learn more about themselves and their family in new and interesting ways. And patrons who are attending as families can make fun new connections and strengthen their family bonds,” said Dennis Brimhall, chief executive officer of FamilySearch.

The concept for the Discovery Center began over two years ago when FamilySearch decided it wanted to begin redesigning patron experiences in its 4,800 family history centers worldwide. “We wanted to get families and youth more engaged and excited about their family history,” said Brimhall, noting that the Salt Lake City center will continue to serve as a primary development and testing facility to create and improve new experiences that can then be offered online at FamilySearch.org and other center locations worldwide.

Merrill White, a manager for the Discovery Center, said, “It’s fun to see youth groups and families laughing at the experiential stations and hollering across the facility for others to come see what they discovered about themselves or their family’s history. We like to see them surprised at how fun their family history can be.” White said visitors typically have no problem utilizing the entire hour they are scheduled for in the center.

At the center, patrons are issued a custom iPad that guides them through 7 stations and gives them a unique, personal experience based on family and relevant historical data found online. There are also fun “nontechnology” activities that can introduce participants to fun and interesting discoveries or connections. A very large “Jenga-like” game invites participants to share family experiences from prompts engraved on large wooden blocks. Another experience features a wraparound theater screen which helps users see how much home life has changed over the centuries and gives a glimpse of what life might have been like for their ancestors.

Two video recording studios encourage return visits to help patrons record their history individually or with other members of their family. The fun design and equipment allows patrons to duplicate the fun of favorite family memories that are spontaneously shared in nostalgic family gatherings. The recordings can then be preserved online for future generations to enjoy.

Another Discovery Center has been announced for Seattle, Washington, in the summer of 2015. The FamilySearch Discovery Center is free to the public and open Monday through Saturday. Walk-ins are welcome, but registration is recommended—particularly for family or youth groups.

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2016 FGS National ​C​onference Call for ​P​resentation P​roposals​

The following news release is from FGS:

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Deadline for Submissions is 10 April 2015

February 13, 2015 – Austin, TX. The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) announces a Call for Presentation Proposals for the FGS 2016 Conference, “Time Travel: Centuries of Memories,” to be held in Springfield, Illinois, Aug 31 – Sept 3, 2016. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum are within walking distance of the Prairie Capital Convention Center, the conference venue. The conference will be held in cooperation with the Illinois State Genealogical Society as local host. The deadline for submission of presentation proposals is Friday, 10 April 2015.

Time Travel: Centuries of Memories,” recognizes the vast array of people and resources whose paths into the United States brought them to, and through, the Midwest. Topics related to methodology and research skills are always welcomed, in addition to content-specific areas, such as:

Military: War of 1812, American Civil War, Indian Wars, World War I, World War II, European and Napoleonic Wars.

Migration: Europe to North America; naturalization records; passenger lists; ports of entry; to and through the Midwest; the Great Migration (northward from the sharecropping South); migration trails and routes (Mormon, Oregon, Santa Fe); refugee resettlement; modern economic migrants.

Ethnic Origins: The Baltic Basin (including Poland, Scandinavia, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Denmark, Germany); Central Europe (including Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic/Bohemia, Hungary); Romance Europe (including France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and the Papal States); the Mediterranean/Adriatic Basin (including Turkey, Greece, Serbia, Croatia, Cypress, Armenia); Latin American research.

Great Britain and the former British Empire​:​ (England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India)​;​ the British diaspora; records (civil and ecclesiastical); churches (Anglican, Quaker, Catholic, dissenter, non-conformist, Presbyterians); military records; city directories; trade directories; guilds; poll books; valuations and tax records.

Occupations & Work: Farmers, carpenters, brewers/distillers, boatmen, firefighters/police, railroaders, canal builders, laborers and factory hands; women in the workforce; unions, guilds and apprenticeships; coal miners; slaughterhouse workers; doctors, midwives and pharmacists; clerks and lawyers; pressmen and printers; trade directories; smugglers, bootleggers and other illicit trades.

Religions, Adherents and Records: Jewish, Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant traditions and records; religious colonization’s and refugee movements; Pogrom and Holocaust survivors and research; the Underground Railroad; Mormon/LDS; utopian communities; peace churches, pacifists and conscientious objectors; convents, monasteries and cloistered communities.

Regional research: Research repositories in the Midwest; research in Illinois and nearby states—Kentucky, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio; archival collections; college and university research collections; migration destinations from Illinois: the Great Plains, Texas, Oklahoma, and California; migration to Illinois from feeder states of the east and south.

Genetics & DNA: the basics of DNA research; autosomal studies and advanced analysis; testing procedures; ethical considerations; adoptions; forensic and expert work; case studies.

Skills, Abilities & General Knowledge: Beginning research techniques; evidence analysis; online resources and tools; wikis; collaboration techniques and etiquette; terminology; comparative analysis; units of measure, trade and currency; time, calendars and dates; writing a family history; publishing – print vs eBook; creating websites, blogs and vlogs; earning genealogical credentials.

The program committee specifically seeks new and dynamic proposals that will provide exceptional learning experiences for conference attendees. Proposals for workshops and sponsored talks are encouraged.

Multiple proposals (more than four) are welcome and encouraged, as most chosen to speak will be engaged for more than one presentation. There is no limit on the number of proposals a speaker may submit.

Submission Requirements
Speaker submissions and deadlines for the FGS 2016 Conference reflect the implementation of an online submission system. Interested parties must submit all presentation proposals using the online portal, which will open 20 February 2015. The Call for Presentation​ Proposals is now open and will close on Friday, 10 April 2015.

This deadline is for all proposal submissions including sponsored presentations.

Compensation
Selected speakers receive an honorarium, travel compensation, and conference registration as well as per diem and hotel nights based on the number of presentations given. (Sponsored speakers only receive conference registration and syllabus materials. See more about sponsorships below.) Non-sponsored speakers receive compensation according to the FGS Conference Speaker Policy at www.fgs.org/conferences/speakerpolicy.php.

Sponsored Presentations
Societies and businesses are encouraged to submit proposals for sponsored talks by the stated deadline for proposal submission. The sponsoring organization will cover its speaker’s costs to present the presentation. Sponsored speakers are expected to abide by all speaker deadlines and syllabus requirements. Sponsored speakers will receive complimentary FGS conference registration and electronic syllabus materials.

Additional Information
Invitations will be issued in October 2015. Syllabus format guidelines will be sent to speakers at that time. The deadline for acceptance and submission of signed speaker contracts is 1 November 2015.

Camera-ready handouts are required for each presentation or workshop presentation and will be compiled in a syllabus distributed to conference participants. The deadline for submissions of syllabus materials is Wednesday, 13 April 2016.

​For more information, please visit: ​ https://www.fgsconference.org/proposals/

About the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS)
The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) was founded in 1976 and represents the members of hundreds of genealogical societies. FGS links the genealogical community by helping genealogical societies strengthen and grow through resources available online, FGS Forum magazine (filled with articles pertaining to society management and genealogical news), and Society Strategy Series papers, covering topics about effectively operating a genealogical society. FGS also links the genealogical community through its annual conference — four days of excellent lectures, including one full day devoted to society management topics. To learn more visit http://www.fgs.org.

Follow us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/FGSgenealogy), Twitter (http://www.facebook.com/FGSgenealogy) and on our blog at (http://voice.fgs.org).

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Findmypast Releases More Than 101 Million US, UK & Australian Records

The following is from FindMyPast

FindMyPast.Com

Findmypast is thrilled to be adding over 101 million UK, US and Australian records as part of this week’s Findmypast Friday.

Every Friday, thousands of new records are released on our dedicated Findmypast Friday page to explore over the weekend. This week’s new additions include Australian Will Books from New South Wales, English Parish Record Indexes from the county of Gloucestershire and substantial updates to the PERiodical Source Index.

Over 100 million new records have also been added to Findmypast’s collection of US records. Extensive additions have been made to our US Military, Census & Substitutes, Life Events and Immigration & Travel collections. Visit the Findmypast Friday page to find out more about our new US records and how to search them.

New South Wales Will Books
The New South Wales Will Books, 1800-1952, contain over 415,000 wills containing beautiful images of the original handwritten documents only available online at Findmypast. The records are copies of original Will Books held by the State Records Authority of New South Wales and include the wills of a number of individuals from other states and countries, typically in cases where the individual was a resident of New South Wales but their last place of residence was outside the state, or where they had originated from overseas and left legacies to family members back home.

The Will books can be used to discover more about your family tree or simply investigate how the rich and famous lived. Famous figures that can be found within the Will books include the first Prime Minister of Australia and Justice of the High Court, Edmund Barton; legendary soldier, engineer and administrator, Sir John Monash; and Ludwig Leichhardt, the Prussian explorer, who famously vanished during an expedition in 1848.

Gloucestershire Parish Record Indexes
Over 861,000 Baptism, Marriage and Burial records from the English county of Gloucestershire have been added to our collection of UK Parish records. The Gloucestershire, Bristol baptism index 1660-1914 contains over 411,000 records, the Gloucestershire, Bristol marriage index 1644-1939 contains over 273,000 records and Gloucestershire, Bristol burial index 1625-1950 contains over 176,000 records. Each record consists of a transcription of the original document.

PERSI update
The PERiodical Source Index (PERSI) has once again been updated with the addition of over 12,000 images. This update includes images from publications around the United States and beyond, including historical society yearbooks, genealogy magazines, State-specific collections and county registers to name but a few. New Images, only available to view at Findmypast, have been added to 32 existing titles that span 200 years of American history (1827-2012). Searching PERSI has never been easier as Findmypast’s powerful search tools allow you to find exactly what you’re looking for quickly and easily. You can filter your PERSI searches by name, location, subject, periodical title, publisher, year of publication and keywords.

US Records
Visit our dedicated Findmypast Friday page to see full lists of and learn more about the 100 million plus records that have just been added to our US collections.

Findmypast (previously DC Thomson Family History) is a British-owned world leader in online genealogy. It has an unrivalled record of online innovation in the field of family history and 18 million registered users across its family of online brands, which includes Mocavo, Genes Reunited, The British Newspaper Archive amongst others.

Its lead brand, also called Findmypast, is a searchable online archive of over two billion family history records, from parish records and censuses to migration records, military collections, historical newspapers and lots more. For members around the world, the site is a crucial resource for building family trees and doing detailed historical research.

In April 2003 Findmypast was the first to provide access to the complete birth, marriage, and death indexes for England & Wales, winning the Queen’s Award for Innovation. Since that time, the company has digitised records from across the globe, including major collections from Britain, Ireland, Australia, and the United States.

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A Sweetheart of a deal… #RootsTech #Genealogy

A Sweetheart of a deal…

myheritage

As I’ve written during the RootsTech conference, I’ve been hanging around the MyHeritage booth absorbing information. MyHeritage has been making exciting technological advances for several years. Their tech is allowing them to share billions of records, documents, and what they have termed Discoveries with subscribers.

I’m going to go into a lot more detail below about why I’m excited about MyHeritage and the huge potential for Discoveries (code word for ancestors). However, right up front, I have the distinct privilege to offer my readers what I’m calling a sweetheart of a deal. Play on words again. (Did any of you guys forget the flowers?) MyHeritage founder and CEO, Gilad Japhet has given me permission to offer my readers the best deal I’ve ever seen on a MyHeritage subscription. How about $99.95 for a full year of Full Access to MyHeritage – that’s their Premium Plus family site and their Data Plan… Everything!!! For way over half off! We are talking $20 less than the best price offered here at RootsTech, and that was a 50% off deal! Click on this link to purchase Full Access MyHeritage at only $99.95. Do it now, as this price will only be offered through February 24, 2015 – then it ends. Period.

Note that the offer is for Genealogy Newsline Readers. However, since I author and own Genealogy Newsline, I can also offer it to my GenealogyBlog.com readers and folks that read me through social media. The landing screen from the above link says “Genealogy Newsline Readers,” but in this case we’re being even more inclusive.

Most of my readers are already familiar with MyHeritage, and understand that they have huge and rapidly growing family trees – many of them produced in Europe by genealogists just like you, only they might be speaking a different language (Cool…, huh?). Here are a couple impressive numbers… How about 28,000,000 family trees and 2.5 billion tree profiles? What do I bet you have family in there? I’d nearly guarantee it. Here’s why.

I had the privilege to sit down for a half hour or so with Mike Mallin. He was a Keynote speaker here at RootsTech at the opening session Thursday morning. He’s also the chief product officer at MyHeritage. I asked some serious questions and got some serious answers. Mike has dedicated his life to offering “value” to MyHeritage subscribers, and he wants each of us to have Discoveries, not just more documents. Now how’s that?

You may be familiar with the Smart Matching, and Record Matching, where MyHeritage takes your data and matches against other data within their system. Smart Matching allows us to discover unknown relatives and ancestors through family tree matches. Record Matching automatically sends records to us that match people in our family trees. Well, the new Discovery feature that’s about to be launched will take these matching features to a new level. In a month or so, we will see a new button in the upper right-hand corner of the screen saying Discovery. We will be able to click on the button, and get a scroll-down menu of Discoveries – Click on a Discovery, and have the capability of instantly importing a group of people – not lots of people – maybe 30 or 40, but just enough to make the typical person do the “genealogy happy dance.”

MyHeritage is committed to the whole concept of “value,” and the need to offer people instant value that they can relate (play on words here) with. Here’s an astounding stat that Mike Mallin gave me, and is based on real-life product research they’ve done. An average of 60% of individuals who GEDCOM imported or manually entered just 50 people into the MyHeritage Family Tree, and clicked on the Discovery feature that’s about to go live, got over 30 more people automatically added to their family tree. Happy dance time again… This whole Discovery idea is unique and one that I believe will help get more total novices on board the genealogy train. I think it’s going to be of value to many of the rest of us besides.

And here are a few other things about MyHeritage you might be interested in.

  • The site allows you to create your own online family tree, making it private or public.
  • The site has what they call SuperSearch, doing searches of billions of historical records, getting results in seconds.
  • Record Detective – Save time with technology that uncovers new leads and related records for every discovery you make.
  • Mobile App – Build your family tree and research on the go. It’s perfect for family get-togethers. This is available for both Android and iPhone. A new version of the mobile app was launched just last week!
  • Family Tree Builder software for both Windows and Mac computers. Not only can you enter your data, but you can enjoy maps, charts, reports and much more with this award winning software.
  • Mike told me about another new MyHeritage product that’s exciting. It’s a new app called Weavee. It’s an app that captures pictures and integrates stories. The user can select pictures and weave them into a mobile story. The plan is to integrate the mobile pictures, stories, and one’s data from the MyHeritage database into a captivating, and fun mobile story that you can then share on your mobile via social networking or email. Hmmm. Maybe we could send that to cousin Jeannie? Maybe Jeannie will realize that our hobby isn’t so boring after all. Jeannie might start entering her data, her memories, and her pictures. The more family that gets on board, the more the fun multiplies. I’d say exponentially…

Goodness… I have gotten carried away here. As you can tell, I am excited. The future is now. Come join me. Following is that Sweetheart of a deal offer again.

$99.95 for a full year of Full Access to MyHeritage – that’s their Premium Plus Family Site, and their Data Plan… Everything!!! For way over half off! We’re talking $20 less than the best price offered at RootsTech, and that was a 50% off deal! Click on this link to purchase Full Access MyHeritage at only $99.95. Do it now, as this price will only be offered through February 24, 2015.

Again, note that the offer is for Genealogy Newsline readers. However, since I author and own Genealogy Newsline, I can also offer it to my GenealogyBlog.com readers and folks that read me through social media. The landing screen from the above link says “Genealogy Newsline Readers,” but in this case we’re being far more inclusive.

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I’m Having Way Too Much Fun at #RootsTech

I’m thinking that I must be sinning in some way or other, because I’m having way too much fun. I just enjoyed a second day at RootsTech, and even attended another general session before spending a day in the exhibit hall.

I started the day out at a wonderful breakfast, sponsored by FamilySearch. FamilySearch CEO Dennis Brimhall spoke, bringing us up-to-date on FamilySearch. Some of the stats were as follows:

  • 1 billion records added in 2014.
  • 3.5 billion records in the total FamilySearch database.
  • The site surpassed 1 billion records imaged.
  • 1/2 billion hints were added in January.
  • 1 billion persons are now on the Family Tree.
  • 48.5 million sources were added.

Digitization worldwide stats:

  • 286 teams with cameras onsite
  • in 46 countries
  • 44 cameras are in the USA
  • in 21 states

By the way, you can now sponsor a camera crew!

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Following breakfast, we headed to the general session where Josh Taylor gave us a peptalk sponsored by FindMyPast. Then former first-lady Laura Bush, and here her daughter, Jena, came onstage and spent an hour or so entertaining us with stories about living in the white house, as well as some before and after memories. Goodness, those two could be a comedy team. It was not at all what I expected, as my memories of them were warped by what the media allowed us to see… In my mind, Laura was the first lady that was always promoting reading and literacy, while her daughter was an air-headed teenager. Well, Jena is now in her 30s and a smart young lady – and Laura knows how to make people laugh. The audience loved them.

The Innovator Summit took place next. This is now an annual thing, and very exciting. See my previous blog for the news release on who won.

I did the exhibit hall today. I spent a lot of time in the MyHeritage booth, as they’ve got really cool stuff in the works, and I’m making some good friends among the staff. They seem to be willing to put up with me, so I’ve been taking advantage of it. I’ll be writing a lot more about exhibitors that I visited over the next weeks.

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I finished my day in the BackBlaze demo area, where a number of groups entertained us. There was a Scottish bagpipe and drum band, complete with dancers – Japanese traditional dancers – polynesian dancers (cut short by sound difficulties), and a “Sons of the Pioneers” – like group – with an additional two ladies. I asked around and was told that they were the Pecos Bill Band. Whoever they were, they had me wiping the tears from my eyes for most of the performance. They were very good. It brought back memories. Roy Rogers was a childhood hero and the Sons of the Pioneers records were some of the few my parents owned. My wife’s family were nearly all musicians in the same vain, playing western music for dances on the weekends… Memories… Delightful memories…

Click here to read a good article at the KSL website about the presentations given by Laura Bush and her daughter, Jena Bush Hager.

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StoryWorth Wins the RootsTech 2015 Innovator Showdown

The following news release is from FamilySearch:

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SALT LAKE CITY (February 13, 2015) – StoryWorth, a San Francisco start up company that offers an email-based storytelling service, today swept the RootsTech Innovator Showdown, winning both first prize and the People’s Choice award, and claiming a purse of $15,000. RootsTech is a global conference hosted by FamilySearch.

The Innovator Showdown is the first-annual event where entrepreneurs from around the globe presented their web or mobile app on stage in front of a live audience, vying for a total of $25,000 in sponsor-contributed prize money. Each of four finalists presented their ideas in five minutes and responded to questions from a panel of renowned judges. Judges and audience members voted on their favorite product in a Shark Tank-like setting. Darin Adams, former KSL Studio 5 host, served as emcee.

StoryWorth vied for the winning title alongside LucidPress, an intuitive design and layout provider of sleek digital scrapbooking; GenMarketplace, a web app that links those with family history roadblocks to those who can solve them; and ArgusSearch, handwriting recognition technology useful in searching un-indexed digital images of records.

Panel judges included AJ Jacobs, founder of The Global Family Reunion and a New York Times bestselling author; Amy Rees Anderson, managing partner of REES Capital; Curt Witcher, senior manager of The Genealogy Center, Allen County Public Library; Dan Mano, vice president of business development, MyHeritage; and Jay Verkler, advisor and corporate consultant, The Verkler Group.

StoryWorth brings memories to life and facilitates the preservation of memories and personal histories through simple question prompts, emailed directly to users each week. Questions such as “What is some of the best advice your mom ever gave you?” or “Did you ever pull any pranks?” or “How did you meet your wife?” are emailed to users weekly. Users respond via email, and StoryWorth automatically lays out the stories and privately saves them on the site. In time, with minimal effort and using only technology that’s already familiar, users create their personal histories, one story at a time.

“One of the most important things we can do for both the future and the past is to record our memories,” said Nick Baum, founder of StoryWorth. “When we write our stories, and share them with our families, it brings families closer together in the present.”

StoryWorth is highly customizable. There are over 600 engaging questions to choose from, and users can write their own questions. Storytellers can choose to either keep their stories private or invite other family members to receive them by email. There’s a phone option for storytellers who prefer to answer the questions by phone. Stories can be downloaded anytime, as well as printed and bound as books.

“Family history, at its heart, is about stories and connection. It’s about learning to love your ancestors by getting to know them,” said Don Anderson, FamilySearch senior vice president, FamilySearch Partners. “StoryWorth hits all the right notes, helping users ask questions they would otherwise never think to ask, and get answers they’d never expect.”

Innovator Showdown sponsors were MyHeritage, Grow Utah, Hero Partners, Sprint, IPOP Foundation, Utah Technology Council, and STG.

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Leland Attended a #RootsTech Opening Session…

I’ve been attending conferences for over 30 years, and this morning was the first time I’ve ever had the opportunity to attend an opening session. In past years I’ve always been in an exhibit booth getting ready to sell books. This year I came to RootsTech as an attendee, and got to be on the other side of the table…

The day started early with a breakfast sponsored by FindMyPast.com. It was great getting to sit with my friends, have a delightful breakfast, and then get all the latest dope on what was happening at FindMyPast. This British-based company (with a Dutch CEO) is making great advances in the American market. They started off here several years ago at what I considered an distinct disadvantage, but quickly overcame it, making them a major player. I’ll write more about that later.

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The opening session was really quite amazing. All very high-tech, with speakers that left us motivated to get on with a terrific RootsTech. It was announced that 21,927 people were registered for the event (at that moment) – coming from 35 countries, with about 200,000 additional people expected to live-stream worldwide.

Genealogy Roadshow genealogists Kenyatta D. Berry, Joshua Taylor (FGS President) and Mary Tedesco came on stage and brought us up-to-date on the War of 1812 Preserve the Pensions digitization project. The documents being scanned have never been microfilmed, but are now being digitized and made available for FREE on Footnote.com. Thus far, half the money needed to do the entire project of digitizing 7.2 million pages has been raised – that’s 1.6 million dollars raised, and that much more needed to finish. However, with corporate matching funds we only have to come up with half of that. This is an exciting project, as these records are the most-used of any of the original documents found at the National Archives.

Dennis Brimhall, the FamilySearch International CEO, brought us up-to-date on the latest work that FamilySearch is doing. He reported that there are now 1.1 billion names in FamilyTree. 100,000,000 names found in obituaries at GenealogyBank have now been indexed and made available at the website. Working with FamilySearch data that was obtained decades ago, Ancestry.com is currently indexing 80,000,000 Mexican vital records – planning to make them available by year’s end! Dennis spent some time talking about how excited he was about the new Discovery Center at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building (with elements of it in the exhibit hall). I will write more about that later. It’s amazing…

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Mike Mallin, the chief production officer for MyHeritage.com came onstage and gave a fascinating presention of what MyHeritage is doing. This company, based in Tel Aviv, Isreal, is making huge strides in worldwide family trees, making a “fun” experience for even the novice genealogist.

Tan Lee, a technology innovator and the founder of Emotiv, then came onstage and told her story – of the loss of family members in Vietnam, escape from the communists in a boat disguised as a fishing vessel, pirates, settling in Australia, overcoming hardship, education, awards, and family… An amazing story. We gave her a standing ovation.

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Original Copy of the Magna Carta Dating to 1300 Found in Scrapbook

The following excerpt, written by Stephanie Pappas, is from the February 9, 2015 edition of yahoo news.

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An original copy of the Magna Carta has been discovered in a scrapbook in Kent, England.

The tattered document dates back to 1300, 85 years after King John of England was compelled to sign the first agreement limiting the rights of kings. This version was issued by King Edward I (King John’s grandson), who was under pressure from the church and the barons to reaffirm good governance, said Sophie Ambler, a research associate with the Magna Carta Project.

“Nobody knew it was there,” Ambler said of the damaged document. “This Magna Carta had been stuck into a scrapbook by a Victorian official from the British Museum at the end of the 19th century.”

Read the full article.

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Jake Gerhing’s lecture on The Future of Family History Technology

Jake Gehring

Jake Gehring was one of the speakers in the afternoon at the BYU Family History Tech Conference. He works for FamilySearch. I know Jake very well, having worked with him at Heritage Quest for a while, and consider him a good friend. He knows a lot about what’s going on in the tech side of family history.

The following are notes I made during the lecture.

Convenience of Records Access…
At one time we had to go where our ancestors lived to get the records. Then microfilm came along, and we could search at libraries and Family History Centers. Now the images may be online and even searchable! In Jake’s words, the data is often “Ready when you are!”

Availability of Research Conclusions
At one time, your family wasn’t worth writing about if they were not rich – the patricians and prominents got written up.

This has changed. About the time of the bicentennial, genealogies and local histories were being printed at a greater rate than before. Ancestral File, World Family Tree, and so forth were a big step in making data available. These were later consolidated and made available online. Again – it is “Ready when you are!”

Challenges in the publishing field
130 million new digitized images were made by FamilySearch in the field last year. However, digital imaging still isn’t perfect. Quality of images vary. Getting the images to FamilySearch is usually done on hard drives. Streaming is happening, but is fairly new.

Redaction and data-privacy is a huge issue. Laws are getting more restrictive all the time. We need to get ahead of the curve as deals with ID left.

Systems need to continue to be made to get the right conclussions. We need to be able to search all prior work and conclussions – there’s quite a challenge.

FamilySearch only indexes abuot 1/4 of the images it brings in every year. Volunteers have helped a lot, but its not enough. 2012 was the high-year for volunteers at FamilySearch. In 2013, the number of volunteers dropped. 2014 was back up, but not reaching the 2012 level.

Computers can be used to do more work. They can help the human indexers accomplish what has to be done. OCR of newspapers is a good example. As better OCR is developed, newspapers will OCR better. (OCR is Optical Character Recognition)

How about making interviewing easier? How about getting that oral history without even being in the same room, city or even country? Much is yet to be done – and can be done, using tech to make genealogy more accessible and accurate.

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More on the Indiana State Library “#Genealogy” Cut

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Last week, I, and others blogged about the proposed elemination of the genealogy department of the Indiana State Library. Since about that time, folks have created quite an uproar. The following is just a teaser from a good article by Frank Phillips, a Times reporter, posted in the Feb. 10, 2015 edition of the Brazil Times.

Gov. Mike Pence’s plan to save money by eliminating the genealogy department of the Indiana State Library is drawing the ire of, not surprisingly, genealogists.

Pence has proposed cutting $400,000 from the state budget through the elimination of the department. He has proposed cutting INSPIRE ($1.3 million) and Public Library Standards & Certification ($150,000) also.

INSPIRE is an online research tool available to residents across Indiana.

Meanwhile, about $55 million has been allotted for the state’s bicentennial celebration next year.

Jill Scarbrough, director of the Brazil Public Library, doesn’t understand why the governor wants to cut spending for the state library.

“I don’t see how that can be an option,” she said. “People from all over the world go there for information.”

Read the full article.

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Gordon Clarke’s Presentation on New Apps, New Gallery, New Future

Gordon Clarke is the FamilySearch Certification Manager. Gordon spoke at the BYU Family History Tech Conference this morning. He started right off with one of cool ads that Mac used to run before they won the Mac OS VS Windows race – and he continued to use those ads throughout his lecture (I love those old ads!). I know Gordon to be a good guy, having worked with him on RootsTech Exhibit Hall issuses in past years. He’s a good ambassador for FamilySearch.

Following are notes that I took during the lecture:

Mobile has now surpassed desktop in users. Social Media has now surpassed eMail. How do we recreate history from Social Media? – because that’s where history is being recorded. Times are cetainly changing.

WW iOS & Android Smart Device time spent is used heavily for playing games, followed closely by social networking.

Genealogy Games and Social Networking Apps are important. And they are being made, with more coming.

App developers can partner with FamilySearch, allowing more stories, pictures and such online.

FamilySearch has a lot of help for developers who want to make up apps. The FamilySearch App Galary being one.

Social, Mobile, Stories, Searchability, and such are all important.

Gordon wrapped up by asking for even more help from app partners.

Look for far more apps to be certified and made available – my words, not Gordon’s.

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