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Bits, Bytes & Thoughts from Donna

Leland gives “big information” to you in this blog; I’m delighted to share “bits, bytes and thoughts” as well as the Salt Lake Christmas Tour Week’s Peek. 
I, too, was at RootsTech last week and spent most of my time in the exhibitors’ hall asking questions and learning. 
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This was half of the 360-vendors exhibit hall…………. talk about the world’s largest candy story for genealogists!  If you look closely you’ll see that many of the exhibitors had mini-demo areas set up right in their booth and gave a demo/class every half hour. Combine that with the every-30-minutes-demos in the Demo Theater and the 260 big classes and you can see why I say I was submerged in learning. The energy and enthusiasm and eagerness made for a wildly happy atmosphere that it was just so much fun to be there.  I felt submerged in knowledge and by osmosis was smarter for having been there. 
RootsTech 2017 is 8-11 February.  You just might want to consider coming. ​Start dropping dollar bills into an empty mayonnaise jar………….. :o) 

 

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Governor Mike Leavitt Speaks at Saturday’s RootsTech Opening Session

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This morning, one of the folks for whom I have great admiration spoke at the Family Discovery Day opening session here at RootsTech 2016. Former Governor of Utah Mike Leavitt spent a few minutes telling stories. Posted to the screen were the topics for a number of stories that he’d selected. He let the audience pick the stories they wanted to hear by text messaging, using their smart phones. The same approach was used Friday, during the Innovator Showdown, when the audience voted for the People’s Choice award.

The audience picked the stories they most wanted to hear, and Mike proceeded to tell them. He told about how there had been a fire in the governor’s mansion, caused by faulty wiring to a Christmas tree, and how that became the most memorable Christmas ever – the outpouring of help given to the family, the hours spent helping out in a local homeless shelter,and more. He told us a bit about the delegate-winning process that was used in getting the Republication nomination for Governor Romney, and how that same process is being used today. He told us of the day that he informed Olene Walker that she was about to become governor, as he had been called to serve at secretary of Health and Human Services in the Bush Administration in Washington. Mike also told us about the Oval Office and how it’s said that it’s called that as there are no corners to hide in.

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The Governor acutally started and ended his story-telling by speaking of the excitement of the moment that it was announced that Utah had won the Winter Olympics – and how needing a last-minute runner for the Olympic flame, a 5th grader was chosen to carry the torch and how it changed that young person’s life.

He ended by saying something like this – and these probably are not his exact words… “The fire on the stick – it’s family.” Wow, what a great start for the final opening session of RootsTech 2016.

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FindMyPast Announces the Launch of 10 Million Irish Parish Registers

The following news release is from Alex Cox, with FindMyPast:

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Salt Lake City: 5 February 2016 – Leading family history site, Findmypast, announced today at Rootstech that it will launch 10 million Irish Catholic Parish Registers, one of the most important Irish record collections, in March 2016.

Covering over 200 years from 1671-1900 and over 1,000 parishes, Findmypast has worked to transcribe the National Library of Ireland’s online image collection of 3,500 baptism and marriage registers. This is the first time that the collection has been indexed with the images linked online, making the search much easier and the records more accessible. As a result, family historians will now be able to make all important links between generations with the baptism records and between families with the marriage registers. These essential records cover the entire island of Ireland, both Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.

Ben Bennett, Executive Vice-President North America and International for Findmypast said:
“The Irish Parish Registers will be a gold mine for anyone with Irish heritage. The 10 million baptism and marriage records will help even more people to trace their Irish ancestors. In addition to being able to search this valuable collection, customers with family trees on Findmypast will benefit from leads that automatically connect the records related to their family directly to their trees. The Catholic Parish Registers are a hugely important addition to Findmypast’s Irish collection, the largest and most comprehensive source for online Irish family history research.”

Click on the link’s to go to the FindMyPast website.

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Family Tree Builder, Version 8.0 Released

I got the following note from Daniel Horowitz, at MyHeritage.com today:

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We’re delighted to let you know that we’ve just released a new version of Family Tree Builder, version 8.0!

The new version has all of the well-known and loved features of previous versions, including sync, Record Matches, Smart Matching™, charts and more, with a totally rewritten internal infrastructure that adds support for very large family trees (up to 500,000 individuals), and delivers faster performance.

In addition to being much quicker and more responsive, version 8.0 delivers improved data integrity. It’s downloadable for free for Windows, with a Mac Extension for Mac users to follow next month.

Our Family Tree Builder team will continue to enhance Family Tree Builder and evolve it in the future, adding new features and making improvements, based on the new infrastructure introduced in version 8.0. We will continue to provide users who like the power and convenience of desktop software with the ideal tool for growing their family tree and advancing their family history research, while the sync allows them to also benefit from having their data online and accessible in a mobile app.

For more information, please see our official blog post: http://blog.myheritage.com/2016/02/introducing-family-tree-builder-8-0/

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TapGenes Wins the Innovator Showdown at RootsTech 2016

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The Innovator Showdown at RootsTech 2016 took place this morning. The field had narrowed to just six contestants, but only 3 or 4 could win. I say four, because there were 3 prizes of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd – and a People’s Choice award made by audience members, as well the online audience. It just happens that the People Choice award ($10,000) was won by the 3rd place winner.

The winners of $100,000 in cash & services were:

  1. TapGenes – whom I had voted for for People’s Choice – I love what this company is doing.
  2. Studio, by Legacy Republic
  3. Twile

As posted in an earlier entry, the following six were the finalists:

Click on the links and check out their websites to learn more about them.

The following is from a RootsTech News Release:

2016 RootsTech Showdown Winners

  • First Place Judges Choice ($20,000 cash, $25,000 in-kind), Heather Holmes of TapGenes.
  • Second Place Judges Choice ($14,000 cash, $15,000 in-kind), Studio (by Legacy Republic), Technology hardware and software for digitizing hard copy photo albums.
  • Third Place Judges Choice Award ($6,000 cash, $10,000 in-kind), Twile, a web app that populates a visual family timeline with data and media.
  • People’s Choice ($10,000 cash), Twile

This is TapGenes’ second year as an Innovator Showdown contestant. Holmes credits the great exposure from its RootsTech 2015 booth which focused on FamilySearch data sharing integration, and listening to user feedback as key differentiates in advancing from semi-finalist in 2015 to first place in 2016. Holmes said they plan to use the prize winnings to expand TapGenes worldwide to save lives by making family medical history more available internationally.

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FindMyPast Announces USA Marriage Collection of 450 Million+ – 33M Names FREE thru Feb 15

FindMyPast has a huge booth here at RootsTech 2016. Their big announcement was made this morning, stating that they will release millions of marriage records every quarter and aims to complete the entire digitization project by the end of 2017. Thirty-three million records have been launched and are available for free access through the 15th of the month. The following announcement was made by FindMyPast.

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FINDMYPAST ANNOUNCES LARGEST ONLINE COLLECTION OF U.S. MARRIAGES FROM 1650-2010 100 MILLION RECORDS, 450 MILLION+ NAMES

Salt Lake City: 4 February 2016 – Time: 7am MT, 9am EST, 2pm GMT: Leading family history company, Findmypast , announced today at RootsTech that, in partnership with FamilySearch International, it will launch the single largest online collection of U.S. marriages in history.

Covering 360 years of marriages from 1650-2010, when complete this landmark collection will contain at least 100 million records and more than 450 million names from 2,800 counties across America. More than 60 per cent of these marriage records have never before been published online. When complete, this collection will only be found in its entirety exclusively on Findmypast.

To kick start the collection, Findmypast has launched the first 33 million records of this ambitious project today and is offering them to the public for free from now until 15 February. The records include marriage date, bride and groom names, birthplace, birth date, age, residence as well as fathers’ and mothers’ names. Customers with family trees on Findmypast will benefit from leads connecting relatives on their trees with the marriage records, thus generating a whole new source of research.

Those seeking a bit of star dust will find the marriage records for actors from Bette Davis to Jimmy Stewart, actor turned President, Ronald Reagan, founding father Samuel Adams, writers including F. Scott Fitzgerald and John Steinbeck, jazz great Duke Ellington and baseball legend Babe Ruth to name but a few among the hundreds of millions of names.

Commenting, Annelies van den Belt, CEO, Findmypast said:
“We are delighted to be working with FamilySearch to bring this hugely important collection online. The launch of the U.S. marriages project is central to our growth strategy in the U.S. The millions of new U.S. records will complement Findmypast’s massive collection of British and Irish data allowing us to provide many more connections and a more comprehensive experience to family historians in the US and all over the world.

Steve Rockwood, CEO of FamilySearch said:
“We greatly value our close working relationships with our partners and record archives. They enable us as a community to get important records available to family history researchers online much, much faster. The US marriage records agreement with Findmypast is an excellent example. We are delighted to assist making these records available.”

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Forever Launches PDF Document Functionality

Forever, Inc, has had a big impact on the exhibit floor at RootsTech 2016. I became interested in Forever’s memory-keeping solutions at RootsTech a year ago. They made the following announcement today.

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Forever, Inc. announces that it now supports PDF documents at Forever.com to help families save their memories for generations.

(SALT LAKE CITY) February 4, 2016Forever, the complete memory-keeping solution where genealogists, moms and other family historians collect, curate, and celebrate their memories now and for generations, is pleased to announce that it has launched PDF document functionality across their entire platform of products and services. Forever made the announcement at RootsTech 2016, which is the largest family history conference in the world and is being held at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, Utah from Feb. 3-6, 2016.

“Our ability to support documents is a significant addition to the Forever platform,” said Glen Meakem, Forever Founder & CEO. “This development proves that we are becoming a complete memory-keeping solution, one that empowers users to tell life’s stories for generations.”

The new functionality enables users to save and share valuable family documents, such as genealogical records, family trees, birth certificates, baptismal certificates, and marriage licenses, all in their permanent digital homes at Forever.com. Users can also protect private and personal documents, such as financial records, legal contracts, and private correspondence.

While speaking to a group of RootsTech attendees, Meakem said, “Imagine writing letters for your children or grandchildren to read many years into the future. Perhaps those letters are congratulatory notes meant to be delivered during events to come, such as graduations, weddings, or anniversaries. Or perhaps those letters are reminders of important family values, traditions, or beliefs. Forever’s powerful platform of products and services enables you to choose how and when you share important family memories and personal content with others, and Forever’s patent-pending guarantee ensures that you can leave a legacy that speaks for generations. Whether you choose to share your documents with others, or keep them private, you can rest easy knowing that they will be protected for many, many years to come.

The company plans to add support for video later in 2016.

About Forever
Forever, Inc. offers the world’s first and only guaranteed permanent online media storage and sharing service, which is backed by the patent-pending Forever Guarantee. Forever was founded and is led by Glen Meakem, previous Founder and CEO of the highly successful business-to-business e-commerce company, FreeMarkets, Inc. Forever provides a permanent, secure, trustworthy place in the internet cloud – a permanent digital home with a complete set of memory keeping services – where moms and families can collect, curate, celebrate and permanently save their precious personal and family memories. The company offers highly secure, triple backed up cloud storage, with encryption of critical locator data. It also offers award winning mobile apps for iOS and Android that automatically back up to member accounts at www.forever.com, as well as web and desktop apps so customers can upload, access, edit, organize, and protect their content from virtually any device. Forever guarantees customers who buy “permanent sharable storage” that their photos and memories will be saved for their lifetimes plus 100 years with the goal of many generations beyond. The company can make this guarantee because a large portion of the money customers pay for “permanent storage” is deposited into the Forever Guarantee Fund, a restricted fund that acts like a permanent endowment or reserve, with earnings paying for storage, bandwidth, and migration to new file formats for generations into the future.

The company also offers Forever Artisan, the leading digital desktop scrapbooking software, and Forever Historian — photo organization and management software, as well as Forever digital art, desktop uploader (Forever Valet), digital photo project design applications (such as Forever Projects), printing, photo scanning and media conversion services.

Visit Forever.com for more information or follow us on our blog, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

About RootsTech
RootsTech, hosted by FamilySearch International, is a global conference celebrating families across generations, where people of all ages are inspired to discover and share their memories and connections. This annual event has become the largest of its kind in the world, attracting tens of thousands of participants worldwide.

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Check Out the RootsTech 2016 Innovator Summit Finalists!

The big event of the day at the Innovator Summit was the Innovator Showdown Semifinal. Representatives from twelve innovative businesses did 2-minute presentations, with questions asked by the judges for another 2 minutes or so. Fifty small companies applied, these 12 making the cut. Those finalists were:

  • Famicity – they have 150,000 users in France alone.
  • GenSoup – from Austria
  • JRNL.com – the site allows collaboration in Journaling
    Kindex – Indexing is their focus.
  • TapGenes – now accessible from Ancestry, FamilySearch and Facebook. This site allows secure sharing of medical histories within families and their health care providers.
  • The History Project – Compiling histories that include multimedia & artifacts.
  • Ancestorcloud – Allows folks to offer $ for documents and research anywhere worldwide. A method of bidding on genealogy-related work.
  • Legacy Scribe – They scan, index and save journals to the cloud.
  • Scribbit – Expansive journaling – coming in 2016
  • Studio by Legacy Republic – a potable smartphone-based photo album scanner.
  • Family History Guide – Links to all kinds of genealogy help.
  • Twile – out of Lancaster, England

This evening, RootsTech threw a Media Dinner for bloggers, and others. At the dinner, it was announced who won the semifinals – narrowing the contestants to six.

Check out the following sites.

Those who will enter the next round tomorrow were:

Click on the links to see some of the latest in new genealogy tech products. Keep in mind that most of these sites are still in alpha or beta, so we can expect much more from them over the next few months.

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Four Days of RootsTech Fever – and What’s Up With Meitzler…

I am now nicely settled in an attractive room at the Salt Lake Plaza Hotel, looking forward to four busy days at RootsTech 2016. I understand the registration tables will open at 7 in morning, and I plan to be in line. I will spend much of tomorrow taking in classes at the Innovator Summit. I’m looking forward to the many classes at RootsTech, as well as the exhibit hall. I love exhibit halls, having worked them since 1985. This year I get to be on the other side of the table! I will post a few blogs dealing with RootsTech as the weekend wears on.

If you are at RootsTech and want to purchase Family Roots Publishing books, see Martha at the Maia’s Books booth.

As my readers know, I had rotator cuff surgery on the 18th of December. Last Thursday I began stengthening excerises at physical therapy. Suddenly the pain has decreased and every day I have more movement with my right arm. I am doing excercises twice a day for about 20 minutes. I really love having my arm back. Did you ever try to floss with one hand? (I know – they make little things to do that, but I like the string).

MY ONLINE TREES
I think I commented earlier that my priorities have changed. I have now launched into the process of cleaning up, adding to, and securing my own genealogy. The last few years, I haven’t taken the time to keep up with all the data and opportunities that have been presented to me. My excuse is that I have been very busy running a successful company – and I moved from Utah to Washington (a trek that took 10 months). I’ve started the process by resolving to get my online genealogy sourced and expanded as never before. I have online trees at MyHeritage, Ancestry, and FamilySearch. Most of the data is excellent, as I never take stuff found on other’s trees and add it to my database. Sure – some ancestors and facts get added, but only after I’ve proven the case myself. I haven’t made my online MyHeritage tree public, as I know that there may be error in family group that I compiled years ago – the source being a cousin who I now suspect was grasping at relatives… I will either prove or disprove that info, then make it public. The MyHeritage Database is over 5000 individuals, all entered one at a time. Another downside is that I didn’t go back and source everything that I started the tree with years ago. In 99% of the cases, I have the documents to back it up, so it’s just a matter of doing the work.

I will be writing about my experiences on my blog and in social media as I go along, and I invite my readers to ride along with me. We may be able to do this thing together… I also invite comments, suggestions, and questions.

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RootsTech Innovator Summit – Wednesday, Feb. 3

I will be attending the RootsTech 2016 Innovator Summit on Wednesday. I used the RootsTech 2016 App to make up my schedule of classes I wish to attend just this afternoon. It looks to be a lot of fun! I’ll post about it Wednesday evening.

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The following is from RootsTech:

If you want to change the future of family history, or have an idea that can transform how we celebrate and honor our family, then the innovator summit is for you. Developers, business leaders, and entrepreneurs from around the country will come together on Wednesday, February 3, to collaborate and share insight.

It’s a unique one-day chance to help dreams become reality. Ken Krogue, tech entrepreneur and co-founder of Insidesales.com, will keynote at the Innovator Summit General Session starting at 9 a.m. The Innovator Summit will also include a full day of classes on Wednesday, the Innovator Summit Networking Social and a hackathon at the end of the day.

An innovator summit pass is required to attend. For event information and registration, visit RootsTech.org/InnovatorSummit.

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Family Tree Maker Will Continue to be Produced and Upgraded & RootsMagic Will Sync to Ancestry.com

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Kendall Hulet, at Ancestry.com, announced today that Family Tree Maker isn’t dead after all. He also commented to the media community that “contracts hadn’t been signed yet,” and that this is the reason that they earlier announced that they were “stopping Family Tree Maker,” while leaving no other options for users.

Ancestry isn’t run by a bunch of amateurs, and I find it hard to believe that they would do something so absolutely stupid as making that December announcement, while in negotiations with MacKiev and RootsMagic. But that’s what they did – angering thousands of users. Maybe the “end of year” 2015 and deadlines imposed thereby had something to do with it. No matter what Ancestry may have done earlier, I’m just thrilled with the changes that are now taking place!

Now – the good part!
MacKiev will continue to produce Family Tree Maker for Mac – and take on Family Tree Maker for Windows as well.

EVEN BETTER YET!
Bruce Buzbee, at RootsMagic, was able to cut a deal with Ancestry, allowing RootsMagic to have the same functionality as deals with Ancestry.com that Family Tree Maker has. They have announced that we will be able “to connect Ancestry with the RootsMagic software by the end of 2016. With this new relationship, RootsMagic can serve as your desktop family tree software, while having access to Ancestry hints, Ancestry searches, and the ability to save your tree on Ancestry.” Why so long? I’m guessing that an API has to be produced to allow Ancestry.com to sync their online data to RootsMagic. I’m absolutely thrilled that this is happening, for up until now, Ancestry hasn’t been willing to share the code with RootMagic that would allow them any interface whatsoever with the Ancestry.com Family Tree data.

So – this is a good day for both Family Tree Maker as well as RootsMagic users!

Following is the press release from Ancestry.com:

Since our Family Tree Maker announcement last December, we have continued to actively explore ways to develop and support Family Tree Maker and ensure you have choices to preserve your work in ways that matter to you.

Today, I am pleased to announce two options for desktop software that will work with Ancestry.

Software MacKiev
Software MacKiev, with whom we have a long-standing relationship, is acquiring the Family Tree Maker software line as publisher for both Mac and Windows versions. Software MacKiev has been the developer of Family Tree Maker for Mac for more than six years and is thrilled at the opportunity to publish future versions of Family Tree Maker for Mac and Windows.

This new agreement means you will receive software updates and new versions from Software MacKiev, and have the ability to purchase new versions of Family Tree Maker from Software MacKiev as they are released. You will have continued access to Ancestry Hints, Ancestry searches, and be able to save your tree on Ancestry with Family Tree Maker moving forward.

RootsMagic
We have made an agreement with RootsMagic, a leading genealogy desktop software program publisher, to connect Ancestry with the RootsMagic software by the end of 2016. With this new relationship, RootsMagic can serve as your desktop family tree software, while having access to Ancestry hints, Ancestry searches, and the ability to save your tree on Ancestry.

We have heard your concerns and are working to provide the solutions you requested. These new agreements will make it possible to preserve your work on Ancestry and Family Tree Maker and enable future features and benefits to help you discover your family history. Be assured that Ancestry, in cooperation with Software MacKiev and RootsMagic, will continue to support you as you discover your family history.

We ask for your patience as we work diligently through all the details to make these solutions available. Be sure to check back on our blog as we share more information about Family Tree Maker in the next few months.

For more information on Software MacKiev and RootsMagic, click below:

● Software MacKiev: http://www.mackiev.com/

● RootsMagic: http://www.rootsmagic.com/

Click on this link to check out Bruce’s extensive announcement from RootsMagic.

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“Long Lost Family” to Debute on TLC March 6, at 10/9c

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Oh, good… Another genealogy show! And it looks like this one is also researched and sponsored by Ancestry.com.

The following excerpt is from a news items posted February 2, 2016 @ 11:39 am at thewrap.com:

Open a fresh box of Kleenex and flip over to TLC: The cable channel has ordered “Long Lost Family” to series.

The show features highly emotional and touching stories of people who have suffered a lifetime of separation and are yearning to be reunited with their birth parents and biological families. The reverse also applies on this reality show: Parents who wish to find children they had to place for adoption long ago.

Ancestry, the largest provider of family history and personal DNA testing, is teaming up with TLC as a sponsor of the upcoming season. As part of the show sponsorship, Ancestry provides family history research on each of the featured individuals to help make discoveries possible.

Read the full article.

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Expo Hall Vendors List Assistance Available at ConferenceKeeper.org

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Tami Osmer Mize compiled a listing of the RootsTech 2016 conference Exhibit Hall venders. The RootsTech 2016 mobile app has a good map of the hall, but it’s difficult to locate the booths. Click here to go to the iPhone RootsTech App.

Tami has two lists. One list is sorted by booth number. The other is sorted alphabetically by vender. See the lists at ConferenceKeeper.org.

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MyHeritage Adds Audio Recordings For Interviewing Your Relatives

Now this is cool… And just in time for RootsTech 2016! Check out the following note from MyHeritage, and then go read their blog full blogpost about the new feature.

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We’ve just released a new feature in the MyHeritage mobile app: Audio Recordings. You can now interview your relatives directly from their profile in the family tree, and store your family’s stories for future generations in your MyHeritage family site.

The MyHeritage mobile app is free. It’s available for iPhone, iPad and Android, and it lets you access and enhance your family tree on the go. The Audio Recordings feature is now available in both the iOS and Android versions of the mobile app.

Read the full blogpost at MyHeritage.com.

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Old Canada Road Historical Society Launches Online Database

The following teaser is from www.centralmaine.com:

BINGHAM — The Old Canada Road Historical Society recently announced the launch of its online collections database, a new resource for those interested in the history of the Upper Kennebec Valley…

The society covers the towns and plantations on both sides of the Kennebec from Bingham to Parlin Pond, including Moscow, Caratunk, The Forks, West Forks, Concord, Pleasant Ridge, Carrying Place and Bowtown.

See the full article.

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