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4 New DNA Guides for Easy Reference to a Complex Subject – Get all 4 Togther and SAVE 15% Through Monday, October 27th

lu13You first learned about DNA in high school biology. You probably then did your best to forget about DNA until about a decade ago when DNA testing became a reality as an affordable, relatively speaking, individual identifier and tool for tracking one’s family history. Now every genealogist is a DNA expert. Right? OK, probably not. The language and process of DNA testing is still a science with words that belong to scientists, all of which can be difficult for the rest of us to understand. In addition, there have been so many recent books and articles on the subject it can be easy to get confused over all the types of tests, let alone just trying to get a general understanding of the whole practice.

Finally, someone has come up with a guide to help genealogist understand the basics of DNA, DNA testing, and how each type of test may benefit the genealogists. Genealogy Gems Publications has put together a series of laminated guides under the series title, Your DNA Guide. Each one will be outlined in its own blog post. The four guides are:

Each guide follows the popular standard as four laminated pages in a single center folded guide measuring 8.5 x 11 inches. Each guide was written by Diahan Southard (who worked for Sorenson Molecular).

Click on the title, above, for each guide to read a review with a listing of contents, or simply click here to order the bundle from Family Roots Publishing and save 15%.

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Autosomal DNA for the Genealogist

AT-DNA-Genetics-Laminate-200pwYou first learned about DNA in high school biology. You probably then did your best to forget about DNA until about a decade ago when DNA testing became a reality as an affordable, relatively speaking, individual identifier and tool for tracking one’s family history. Now every genealogist is a DNA expert. Right? OK, probably not. The language and process of DNA testing is still a science with words that belong to scientists, all of which can be difficult for the rest of us to understand. In addition, there have been so many recent books and articles on the subject it can be easy to get confused over all the types of tests, let alone just trying to get a general understanding of the whole practice.

Finally, someone has come up with a guide to help genealogist understand the basics of DNA, DNA testing, and how each type of test may benefit the genealogists. Genealogy Gems Publications has put together a series of laminated guides under the series title, Your DNA Guide. Each one will be outlined in its own blog post. The four guides are:

  • Getting Started: Genetics for the Genealogist
  • Y Chromosome DNA for the Genealogist
  • Mitochondrial DNA for the Genealogist
  • Autosomal DNA for the Genealogist

Each guide follows the popular standard as four laminated pages in a single center folded guide measuring 8.5 x 11 inches. In Autosomal DNA for the Genealogist, you will learn, obviously, about Autosomal tests and what they are. Learn about SNPs or SNiPs and the idea that “your genetic pedigree is not the same as your genealogical pedigree. Also discussed using your “best matches” in your genealogy.

Here is a contents list based on specific headers in the guide:

  • What is Autosomal DNA?
  • What can atDNA do for You?
  • Connect with Living Relatives
  • Getting Started with atDNA Testing
  • SNiPs of Inheritance
  • Matching: Finding Relatives
  • How to Use Your Best Matches in Genealogy
  • Get Organized
    • Organize Your Email
    • Get Organized with Spreadsheets
    • Get Organized with Your Word Processor
    • New Tools to Try
  • Ethnic Heritage
    • Your DNA
    • Matching Algorithms

There are also embedded FAQs as well as spotlighted information. Each guide was written by Diahan Southard (who worked for Sorenson Molecular)

 

Order copies of Autosomal DNA for the Genealogist from Family Roots Publishing.

Or, bundle all four together for a deal. Get the DNA bundle for 15% off through October 27th. Click here to order the bundle at a discount.

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Mitochondrial DNA for the Genealogist

MT-DNA-Laminate-200pwYou first learned about DNA in high school biology. You probably then did your best to forget about DNA until about a decade ago when DNA testing became a reality as an affordable, relatively speaking, individual identifier and tool for tracking one’s family history. Now every genealogist is a DNA expert. Right? OK, probably not. The language and process of DNA testing is still a science with words that belong to scientists, all of which can be difficult for the rest of us to understand. In addition, there have been so many recent books and articles on the subject it can be easy to get confused over all the types of tests, let alone just trying to get a general understanding of the whole practice.

Finally, someone has come up with a guide to help genealogist understand the basics of DNA, DNA testing, and how each type of test may benefit the genealogists. Genealogy Gems Publications has put together a series of laminated guides under the series title, Your DNA Guide. Each one will be outlined in its own blog post. The four guides are:

  • Getting Started: Genetics for the Genealogist
  • Y Chromosome DNA for the Genealogist
  • Mitochondrial DNA for the Genealogist
  • Autosomal DNA for the Genealogist

Each guide follows the popular standard as four laminated pages in a single center folded guide measuring 8.5 x 11 inches. In Mitochondrial DNA for the Genealogist, you will learn what it is and how useful it can be to you as a genealogist. Understand your mtDNA testing options, including Full Mitochondrial DNA Sequencing, get more about DNAs relationship to your health and more about haplogroups.

Here is a contents list based on specific headers in the guide:

  • What can mtDNA do for You?
  • How does mtDna Work?
  • What do I Get?
  • Getting Tested
  • Your mtDNA Profile
  • Your mtDNA Markers
  • Matches Map
  • mtDNA Haplogroup
  • mtDNA and Your Health

There are also embedded FAQs as well as spotlighted information. Each guide was written by Diahan Southard (who worked for Sorenson Molecular)

 

Order copies of Mitochondrial DNA for the Genealogist  from Family Roots Publishing.

Or, bundle all four together for a deal. Get the DNA bundle for 15% off through October 27th. Click here to order the bundle at a discount.

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Y Chromosome DNA for the Genealogist

Y-DNA-Genetics-Laminate-200pwYou first learned about DNA in high school biology. You probably then did your best to forget about DNA until about a decade ago when DNA testing became a reality as an affordable, relatively speaking, individual identifier and tool for tracking one’s family history. Now every genealogist is a DNA expert. Right? OK, probably not. The language and process of DNA testing is still a science with words that belong to scientists, all of which can be difficult for the rest of us to understand. In addition, there have been so many recent books and articles on the subject it can be easy to get confused over all the types of tests, let alone just trying to get a general understanding of the whole practice.

Finally, someone has come up with a guide to help genealogist understand the basics of DNA, DNA testing, and how each type of test may benefit the genealogists. Genealogy Gems Publications has put together a series of laminated guides under the series title, Your DNA Guide. Each one will be outlined in its own blog post. The four guides are:

  • Getting Started: Genetics for the Genealogist
  • Y Chromosome DNA for the Genealogist
  • Mitochondrial DNA for the Genealogist
  • Autosomal DNA for the Genealogist

Each guide follows the popular standard as four laminated pages in a single center folded guide measuring 8.5 x 11 inches. In Y Chromosome DNA for the Genealogist, you will learn about testing for male ancestry, hence the “Y.” You also get to learn about haplotypes and groups, and of course, markers.

Here is a contents list based on specific headers in the guide:

  • Is this Test for Me?
  • Why the Y?
  • What do I get?
  • Your Haplotype
  • How many Markers Should be Tested
  • Which Testing Company?
    • Marker Setting
    • Total Number of Matches
    • Genetic Distance
    • Name
    • Information Column
    • Most Distant Ancestor
    • Deep Ancestry Information
    • TiP
    • 12 Marker Matches
  • Your Haplogroup
  • Getting Tested

There are also embedded FAQs as well as spotlighted information. Each guide was written by Diahan Southard (who worked for Sorenson Molecular)

 

Order copies of Y Chromosome DNA for the Genealogist from Family Roots Publishing.

Or, bundle all four together for a deal. Get the DNA bundle for 15% off through October 27th. Click here to order the bundle at a discount.

 

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Getting Started: Genetics for the Genealogist

Getting Started GeneticsYou first learned about DNA in high school biology. You probably then did your best to forget about DNA until about a decade ago when DNA testing became a reality as an affordable, relatively speaking, individual identifier and tool for tracking one’s family history. Now every genealogist is a DNA expert. Right? OK, probably not. The language and process of DNA testing is still a science with words that belong to scientists, all of which can be difficult for the rest of us to understand. In addition, there have been so many recent books and articles on the subject it can be easy to get confused over all the types of tests, let alone just trying to get a general understanding of the whole practice.

Finally, someone has come up with a guide to help genealogist understand the basics of DNA, DNA testing, and how each type of test may benefit the genealogists. Genealogy Gems Publications has put together a series of laminated guides under the series title, Your DNA Guide. Each one will be outlined in its own blog post. The four guides are:

  • Getting Started: Genetics for the Genealogist
  • Y Chromosome DNA for the Genealogist
  • Mitochondrial DNA for the Genealogist
  • Autosomal DNA for the Genealogist

Each guide follows the popular standard as four laminated pages in a single center folded guide measuring 8.5 x 11 inches. In Getting Started: Genetics for the Genealogist, you will learn the basics of what DNA can do for your genealogical research. You will get a basic understanding of testing, who offers these test, a simple glossary, and a chart to help you decide which test to take.

Here is a contents list based on specific headers in the guide:

  • What can DNA do for Your Research?
  • What CAN’T DNA do?
  • Who Should be Tested?
  • Just Begin!
  • Sample Collection
  • Choosing a Testing Company
  • Quick Guide Glossary
  • Which Test?

There are also embedded FAQs as well as spotlighted information. Each guide was written by Diahan Southard (who worked for Sorenson Molecular)

 

Order copies of Getting Started: Genetics for the Genealogist from Family Roots Publishing.

Or, bundle all four together for a deal. Get the DNA bundle for 15% off through October 27th. Click here to order the bundle at a discount.

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Changes at the Family History Library

Pager

A few days ago, FamilySearch posted a blog about changes they are making both in layout and in service at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

The blog covers the following 5 major points. Click to get more in-depth info from the post itself.

  • Reference desks on the B1, B2, and 2nd floors are being removed and new consultation areas are being placed on each floor.
  • Guests can visit with a scheduler who will give them a restaurant-style pager. They will then be paged, allowing consultation time with library specialists.
  • Photo scanning equipment that can be used to scan photos and documents is now accessible.
  • Family Story booths are available where it is possible to make a video and audio recording of family stories and save them to a flash drive.
  • A children’s area where parents can entertain their children while a family member works on their family history in the Library is now available.

James Tanner posted a blog entitled Changes at the Family History Library – More than Decorative. It’s worth a read…

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Finding Your Chicago Ancestors

When talking about the origins of ancestral roots in America, New York may come first to mind for many people. However, no major city can be ignored in research. Many people can trace their family trees through one or more ports and through one or more major metropolitan areas. Chicago was home to people from all over the world. Many immigrant families spent time or settled down in the windy city. Grace DuMelle literally wrote the book on searching one’s ancestral trail through Chicago. Her book is Finding Your Chicago Ancestors: A Beginner’s Guide to Family History in the City and Cook County.

Other books on Chicago and Cook County exist. But none take the approach DuMelle has taken. As a reference desk professional staffer and researcher, she has learned to see the questions researches want to have answered. This book tries to help the researcher answer the questions they have. Instead of pointing to some records group and saying go there, DuMelle tries to instruct and guide the research to finding their own answers. Part I of this book attempts to help researcher answer basic questions:

  • Where do I start?
  • When was my ancestor born?
  • When did my ancestor come to America?
  • What did my ancestor do for a living?
  • When did my ancestor live?
  • Where is my ancestor buried?

These questions jump straight at the heart of research. Who was your ancestor and what can you learn about him/her.

Part II of this book takes research to greater specifics. Here the reader learns to go into greater depth on a topic, to find answers and ancestors. What the book doesn’t provide is information that changes too often to keep updated without costly new editions on a regular basis. Why tell how much copies were or what a books catalog number is a library, when that information may change tomorrow. However, knowing there is a library and what is hold is enough. Finding a records is easy with that information.

The book contains plenty of examples, tables, and illustrations to help the reader find and understand records. Addresses are given for major resource locations. Websites, too, provide online help not available just a few years ago. From the questions researchers ask to the nuts and bolts of researchers, this book cover what is needed to successfully find one’s Chicago ancestors.

 

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements

Introduction: Family History: The Ultimate Reality Show

Part I: Getting Your Questions Answered

1 Where Do I Start?

  • Step 1: Gather Your Family’s Information
  • Step 2: Organize Your Information
  • Step 3: Begin Research using the Census, Vital Records, and City Directories
  • Three Beginner’s Mistakes to Avoid

2 When (and Where) Was My Ancestor Born?

  • Strategy No. 1: Birth and Baptismal Records
  • Strategy No. 2:Birth Announcements
  • Strategy No. 3: Census
  • Strategy No. 4: School Records
  • Strategy No. 5: Social Security Application
  • Strategy No. 6: Post-1906 Naturalization Records
  • Strategy No. 7: Death Records

3 Who Were the Parents of My Ancestor?

  • Strategy No. 1: Birth and Baptismal Records
  • Strategy No. 2: Delayed and Corrected Birth Certificates
  • Strategy No. 3: Death Records
  • Strategy No. 4: Census
  • Strategy No. 5: Marriage Records

4 Who Were the Siblings of My Ancestor?

  • Strategy No. 1: Census
  • Strategy No. 2: Death Notices and Obituaries
  • Strategy No. 3: Proof of Heirship
  • Strategy No. 4: Divorce Records

5 When (and Who) Did My Ancestor Marry?

  • Strategy No. 1: Civil Marriage Records
  • Strategy No. 2: Church Marriage Records
  • Strategy No. 3: Unindexed Marriage Records

6 Where Did My Ancestor Live?

  • Strategy No. 1: Sources for Addresses
  • Strategy No. 2: Sources for Photographs
  • Strategy No. 3: Fire Insurance Maps

7 What Occupation Did My Ancestor Have?

  • Strategy No. 1: City Directories
  • Strategy No. 2: U.S. Census
  • Strategy No. 3: State Census
  • Strategy No. 4: Sources for Teachers
  • Strategy No. 5: Sources for City Workers (Chicago)
  • Strategy No. 6:Sources for Railroad Workers
  • Strategy No. 7: Sources for Professionals

8 When Did My Ancestor Die and Where is My Ancestor Buried?

  • Strategy No. 1: Determine the Death Date
  • Strategy No. 2: Determine the Place of Burial

9 When Did My Ancestor Come to America?

  • Strategy No. 1: U.S. Census
  • Strategy No. 2: Death Certificates
  • Strategy No. 3: Late Nineteenth-Century Voter Registrations
  • Strategy No. 4: Church Records
  • Strategy No. 5: Naturalization Records
  • Strategy No. 6: Passenger Lists

Part II: Practical Advice

10 Nuts and Bolts of the U.S. Census

  • Tips for Finding Your Ancestor’s Entry
  • Census Indexes
  • Soundex and Miracode Indexes
  • Find Your Ancestor by Address
  • Where to Find the Census

11 Nuts and Bolts of Newspaper Searching

  • Before You Start
  • Selected Chicago Newspapers and Where to Find Them
  • Indexes to Chicago Newspapers
  • Selected Suburban Cook County Newspapers
  • Obituary and Other Search Services

12 Nuts and Bolts of Birth and Death Records

  • Birth Records
  • Death Records

13 How to Use Machines and Catalogs

  • Microfilm and Microfiche Machines
  • Library Catalog

14 What to Expect at Chicago-Area Research Facilities

  • Chicago History Museum (CHM)
  • Chicago Public Library
  • Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County Archives
  • Cook County Bureau of Vital Statistics
  • Family History Center (FHC)—Wilmette, Illinois
  • Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD)
  • National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)—Great Lakes Region
  • Newberry Library
  • University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Richard J. Daley Library

15 Top Web Sites for Chicago-Area Research

  • Local Institutional Web Sites
  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
  • Free Internet Sources
  • Subscription Databases
  • 16 Ethnic Resources
  • General Resources
  • Resources by Ethnic Group
  • Cultural Organizations

Beginner’s Bookshelf

Index

About the Author

 

Order  Finding Your Chicago Ancestors: A Beginner’s Guide to Family History in the City and Cook County from Family Roots Publishing; Item #: LCP256, Price: $16.61.

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Delaware County, Pennsylvania Quarantine Station’s Dead to be Memoralized

The following excerpt is from the October 21, 2014 edition of philly.com

Megan-Harris-Arlington-Cemetery-PA

One of the nation’s first quarantine stations had been transformed into a playground for the wealthy, and the dead buried on the property were no longer welcome.

Nobody wanted to play baseball on top of the departed. So, in 1900, the bodies were dug up and moved out.

Until last year, the final resting place of the immigrants who sailed to the United States in the 1800s but died at the Lazaretto in Tinicum Township, Delaware County [Pennsylvania], was the subject of informed speculation. No one was certain until Megan Harris’ work.

“When I actually found something, I thought I was going to cry,” said Harris, archivist at Arlington Cemetery in Drexel Hill.

Read the full article.

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History is Made as Israeli Child is Registered as an Aramean

The following excerpt is from the October 21, 2014 edition of israeltoday.co.il:

Yaakov Khalloul, a two-year-old Christian child from the Galilee, made history on Monday when he became the first person in Israel’s modern history to be officially registered as an Aramean.

To date, all Christians in Israel have been registered with population authorities as Arabs, given that for most, their mother tongue is Arabic. But last month, outgoing Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar issued a directive permitting local Christians to now be voluntarily registered according to a more ancient ancestry.

“We are not Arabs. We are simply Christians who speak Arabic,” noted Father Gabriel Naddaf in an interview with Israeli media last year. The Nazareth-based priest who has been actively encouraging young Christians to join the Israeli army, noted that Aramean Christians were living in this region long before the Arab Muslim conquest.

Read the full article.

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CSI-Genealogy to be Held in Galesburg, Illinois

Carl Sandburg College has announced that CSI-Genealogy is to be held in Galesburg, Illinois, May 28 through June 1 of 2015. This four and a half day event will feature speakers Cyndi Ingle, Debbie Mieszala, Teresa Steinkamp McMillin and Michael John Neill coordinating topics including:

  • Refining Internet and Digital Skills for Genealogy
  • Advanced Methodology and Analysis
  • The Advancing Genealogist: Research Standards, Tools, and Sources
  • Germanic Research Sources and Methods

Classes will be held in modern comfortable classrooms and attendees will have complimentary access to wifi to enhance their educational experience. Registrants can add an optional meal package to their registration. The college is completely handicapped accessible and all activities will be held under one roof.

Additional information can be found at: http://www.sandburggenealogy.com.

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Detroit News Archival Materials Moving to the State Archives of Michigan

If you have Detroit-area ancestry, you’ll be interested to know that The Detroit News is moving their archival collections to the Michigan State Archives. These collections include items that Michigan researchers will want to check out. The following teaser is from the October 20, 2014 edition of detroitnews.com:

Detroit-News-Clip-files-1930s-200pw

As The Detroit News packs up for the move to our new Fort Street location Friday, staffers have been poring through treasures and oddities from almost 100 years of producing journalism at 615 W. Lafayette Blvd.

Think of it as a cross between “American Pickers,” “History Detectives” and “Hoarders,” if the latter show featured a 141-year-old newspaper instead of someone’s elderly, pack-rat uncle.

The good news is that much of our archival material will be available for the first time for the public to see and use as research, because the bulk of it is going to the state Archives of Michigan, and is being digitized and preserved for our access, and the future.

One of the most interesting tools for genealogists and historians will be 2 million typed index cards that Pulitzer Prize winner David Ashenfelter said are “worth their weight in gold.”

Read the full article.

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Juneau Archives Named for William L. Paul, Sr.

It’s been announced that the Juneau Alaska archives at the new Walter Soboleff building will be named for Tlingit Native rights champion, William L. Paul, Sr. The following excerpt is from an article posted in the October 19, 2014 edition of JuneauEmpire.com:

Juneau-Archives-Naming-Paul-150pw

The archives facility at the new Walter Soboleff building will be named for Tlingit Native rights hero William L. Paul, Sr., who was a major force in Alaska history and is recognized as the father of the Alaska Native land claims.

The William L. Paul, Sr., Archives houses 3,100 linear feet of archival and historical manuscripts and papers, photographs, and audio and visual recordings. The archives also include historical documents, manuscripts, and papers of individuals of importance to both the indigenous people of the region and Alaska history, and over 60,000 historic photographs.

Read the full article.

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23andMe and MyHeritage Announce Strategic Collaboration & Product Integration

The following news release was received from Daniel Horowitz, Chief Genealogist and Translation Manager for MyHeritage:

MyHeritage-23andme-colloboration-200pw

New collaboration combines family trees and DNA to empower individuals to discover and document their ancestry

MOUNTAIN VIEW, California & TEL AVIV, Israel – October 21, 2014: 23andMe, the leading personal genetics company, and MyHeritage, the leading destination for discovering, sharing and preserving family history, announced today a strategic collaboration that will provide an enhanced experience for individuals to discover their legacy based on genetic ancestry and documented family history.

23andMe pioneered autosomal DNA ancestry analysis for consumers, and has created the largest DNA ancestry service in the world. With a simple saliva sample 23andMe can reveal the geographic origins of distant ancestors and help people discover unknown relatives. MyHeritage helps millions of families worldwide find and treasure their unique history with easy-to-use family tree tools, a huge library of more than 5.5 billion historical records and innovative matching technologies for automating discoveries. Integrating the market leading solutions in ancestral DNA and family trees will provide an unparalleled experience for customers of both companies.

“We believe this collaboration with MyHeritage will offer our customers a vastly improved opportunity to build their family tree and discover new connections,” said Andy Page, President of 23andMe. “Given MyHeritage’s technology leadership in the ancestry space and vast global reach, we are excited about the value this relationship will bring to our customers around the world.”

“Combining genealogy with DNA-based ancestry is the next evolution in uncovering family history,” said Gilad Japhet, Founder and CEO of MyHeritage. “DNA testing can connect you to relatives you never knew existed, who descend from shared ancestors centuries ago, but family trees and historical records are critical to map and fully understand these connections. We have great respect for 23andMe’s technology and values, and its pioneering approach to genetics represents strong potential value for our users in the future.”

23andMe will offer its more than three quarters of a million customers around the globe access to MyHeritage’s family tree tools. This will allow 23andMe’s customers to enjoy automated family history discoveries. Smart Matching™ automatically finds connections between user-contributed family trees and Record Matching automatically locates historical records from the billions of records available on MyHeritage, pertaining to any person in the family tree. MyHeritage will utilize 23andMe’s API to provide the best experience for customers, by allowing any two people with matching DNA to explore their family tree connections. MyHeritage will also offer 23andMe’s Personal Genome Service® to its global community of more than 70 million registered users, in addition to the DNA tests it already offers.

The first phase of integration will be complete by early 2015.

About 23andMe
23andMe, Inc. is the leading personal genetics company dedicated to helping people access, understand and benefit from the human genome. The company’s Personal Genome Service® enables individuals to gain deeper insights into their genetics and ancestry. The vision for 23andMe is to personalize healthcare by making and supporting meaningful discoveries through genetic research. 23andMe, Inc., was founded in 2006, and the company is advised by a group of renowned experts in the fields of human genetics, bioinformatics and computer science. More information is available at www.23andme.com. 23andMe’s health reports are not cleared by the FDA. US customers may purchase 23andMe’s ancestry-only product.

About MyHeritage
MyHeritage is the leading destination for discovering, sharing and preserving family history. As technology thought leaders and innovators in the space, MyHeritage is transforming family history into an activity that’s accessible and instantly rewarding. Trusted by millions of families, its global user community enjoys access to a massive library of historical records, the most internationally diverse collection of family trees and ground-breaking search and matching technologies.
MyHeritage empowers families with an easy way to share their story, past and present, and treasure it for generations to come. MyHeritage is available in 40 languages. www.myheritage.com

You can watch MyHeritage Founder and CEO, Gilad Japhet, break the news live on Bloomberg TV earlier today (And watch Oscar Pistorius being given five years for Reeva Steenkamp death at the same time): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1MefhlGTA8

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Ebola, Disease, Pestilence & Family History

Ebola-Virus

Anyone not totally brain-dead knows that the world community is extremely concerned about the rise of Ebola virus disease (EVD). It was earlier known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF), since victims bleed both within the body and externally. The disease kills about 50% of those who get it. As of this writing the current outbreak is on the rise in three countries, those being Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, with no end in site. According to the Ebola site at Wikipedia, “As of 15 October 2014, 8,998 suspected cases resulting in the deaths of 4,493 have been reported.” I’ve seen numbers that were considerably higher, but no one really knows… There is currently no widely-available drug that is known to cure those with Ebola. What drugs are available are in extremely short supply and they are all still being tested for effectiveness.

Why am I writing about Ebola? Because I believe that this virus has the potential to dramatically change family history on a world-wide basis. In not-so-nice language, it can very quickly kill millions of folks – and not just those in far-off (not so far-off?) Africa. Talk about an effect on family history, and genealogy… The disease has already altered the families of thousands of people, and we have no idea where this will end.

Diseases have come and gone, rising and eventually falling, for the history of mankind. The overarching importance of good hygiene was only recognized in the nineteenth-century, so our human ancestors spent thousands of years in relative squalor, and the resulting disease, pandemics, and epidemics that go with it – Justinian’s Plague of the fifth-century, and the Black Death of the fourteenth and later centuries possibly being the worst of those found in recorded history. Note that epidemics are the rapid spread of infectious disease, with pandemics being epidemics that spread over large regions (often continents or worldwide). Justinian’s Plague, as well as the Black death are now commonly ascribed to Yersinia pestis. It was carried by infected fleas. The Plague again broke out in the 1300s, that time thought to have originated in Asia. By 1347 it had reached Italy, carried by the occupants of twelve Genoese galleys. According to medieval historian Philip Daileader, The trend of recent research is pointing to a figure more like 45–50% of the European population dying during a four-year period. There is a fair amount of geographic variation. In Mediterranean Europe, areas such as Italy, the south of France and Spain, where plague ran for about four years consecutively, it was probably closer to 75–80% of the population. In Germany and England … it was probably closer to 20%. Philip Daileader, The Late Middle Ages, audio/video course produced by The Teaching Company, (2007) ISBN: 978-1-59803-345-8. The Kingdom of Poland seems to have been spared.

A few other major diseases that decimated populations were Cholera, Influenza, Malaria, Smallpox, Typhus, and Yellow Fever.

The first cholera pandemic took place in India starting in 1817 and ran through 1824. The disease spread from India to Southeast Asia, China, Japan, the Middle East, and southern Russia. The second pandemic was from 1827 to 1835 and spread to the United States and Europe. Later Cholera pandemics spread to Africa and South America. Cholera transmission takes place mainly by ingesting food or water that has been contaminated by the feces of an infected person, who can pass on the disease even though they may not have any apparent symptoms. Water treatment and good sanitation has all but wiped out cholera in developed countries. Many of our American ancestors lost their lives to cholera. New York State had several epidemics during the 1800s, attributed to cholera’s spread in waterways (like the Erie Canal), and off the Atlantic Coast. See the Cholera History pages at Wikipedia. In 2010, it’s been estimated that 100,000 to 300,000 cholera deaths took place worldwide.

According to the CDC, there are numerous different influenza A viruses. Some flu viruses are found in humans, while others are in animals such as avian flu in birds and poultry. Flu season usually starts about October every year, and many of us get annual vaccinations in an attempt to not get sick. The virus keeps changing, and the drug companies scramble to come up with vaccines that alleviate the virus in its most current form. The vaccines now help keep the mortality rate down. However, it wasn’t long ago that we had no protection against the virus. It’s a fact that between 50 and 100 million people died just during the 1918-1919 pandemic alone! Some of the viruses have produced worse symptoms than others, with the 1918 pandemic being extremely lethal. Since this wasn’t even 100 years ago, many of us have found death records of our ancestors who succumbed to this round of the flu. See the Influenza History pages of Wikipedia.

Malaria is said to kill a child about every 60 seconds… The disease is a microorganism carried and spread by mosquitos. The WHO has estimated that in 2012 alone, there were 207 million cases of malaria, with between 473,000 and 789,000 people killed, many of whom were children in Africa. Vaccines to fight malaria have never been successfully produced, and insect control seems to be the only effective preventative technique. See the History of Malaria pages at Wikipedia.

Smallpox alone has killed so many people that it’s mind-boggling. According to the History of Smallpox pages found at Wikipedia, “During the 20th century, it is estimated that smallpox was responsible for 300–500 million deaths.[5][6][7] In the early 1950s an estimated 50 million cases of smallpox occurred in the world each year.[8] As recently as 1967, the World Health Organization estimated that 15 million people contracted the disease and that two million died in that year.[8] After successful vaccination campaigns throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the WHO certified the eradication of smallpox in December 1979.[8] To this day, smallpox is the only human infectious disease to have been completely eradicated.[9]See the History of Smallpox pages at Wikipedia. It’s known that smallpox was one of a number of European diseases that Native Americans succumbed to during the post-Columbus expedition to the Americas. There’s some evidence to show that it was used as a “weapon” against them by the British during the French and Indian War.

Typhus is a bacterial disease that is spread by lice, ticks and fleas. It’s estimated that 100,000 Irish died of the disease during the famine of 1815-1816. An epidemic appeared again in the 1830s, and again during the Great Irish Potato Famine. Typhus killed hundreds of thousands of Nazi concentration camp prisoners in during World War II. Many soldiers died of typhus during World War I. It’s said that more French soldiers died of the disease during Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow in 1812 than were killed by the Russians. Read the History pages at the Wikipedia website.

Yellow Fever is a viral disease that causes liver damage – thus the yellow skin of those afflicted with it. It’s spread by mosquitos and leads to about 30,000 annual deaths, most occurring in Africa. Yellow fever epidemics hit Philadelphia, Baltimore, and New York in the 18th and 19th centuries, coming there by steamboat routes from New Orleans. The epidemics caused some 100,000–150,000 deaths. The 1793 Philadelphia epidemic caused the death of about 9% of the city’s population. See the Yellow Fever History pages at Wikipedia.

Although the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) is attempting to reassure us that chances of an outbreak of Ebola virus disease in the USA are low, their assurances sound pretty hollow. We know that the now-deceased Eric Duncan, a Liberian man who flew to the USA, was able to do so by just stating that he had had no contact with anyone with the disease (he lied)… We now know that the nursing staff at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas didn’t have the protective clothing needed to shield them from the virus.. As of today, we know that two nurses caring for Duncan caught the virus… We now know that one of the nurses was given permission to fly by commercial airliner even though she had reported an elevated temperature to the CDC… The CDC is attempting to find all 132 people that were on that flight, and an additional 800 people who later flew on that Frontier Airlines jet. The CDC and the U.S. government as a whole does not want us to panic. That can have bad results both for the economy, as well as the politicians who we seem to think can protect us. The President has appointed Ron Klain to act as his “Ebola Czar” in an attempt to manage the crisis. Although Klain has no medical experience, he is said have a successful management background.

Common sense tells us that those areas where the disease is spreading rapidly should be put under quarantine and travel to and from those areas suspended. However, that’s easier said than done. It just happens that the disease is currently spreading exponentially in countries that have little in the way of resources, and appropriate health-care. If “western” countries and health-care professionals don’t go into the areas and help, what will happen? Possibly mass-death, with the disease finding it’s way outside the borders anyway? At the moment, there seems to be no appetite for stopping outbound airline flights from leaving those countries. These are living, breathing, human beings, many of whom may be our own kin… Keep in mind that Liberia was settled by freed slaves from the United States. Sierra Leone got started as a colony of African-American loyalists and poor blacks from England in 1787. The United States is sending troops into harm’s way in the attempt to build badly needed healthcare facilities.

I’ve written a bit about a number of diseases in this blog. Note that some of these diseases have and continue to kill untold numbers of our family members. Disease is nothing to disregard. Once an epidemic gets underway, it can quickly become a pandemic, and the entire human family can be involved. Thus far, the Ebola death numbers seem small when compared to annual death rates of some diseases. Those directly involved may seem far away. But that can change – and quickly. I pray to Jehovah God that we quickly get a handle on Ebola and stop it before many more lives are lost. Remember – each person lost is someone’s family member.

For further online reading check out the following sites (and one book):

The Center for Disease Control website: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/

The World Health Organization Website: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs103/en/

Ebola virus disease pages at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebola_virus_disease

Black Death pages at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Death#cite_note-50 This site has a good gif illustration showing the spread of Black Death throughout Europe from 1346 to 1343.

Plague of Justinian pages at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plague_of_Justinian

Armies of Pestilence, The Impact of Disease on History, by R.S. Bray compiles a lot of interesting information from numerous sources. It’s a bit “heavy,” but in my search for information, I found it useful. I’ve read the book and have referred to it many times since obtaining a copy a few years ago. Not for casual reading…

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Evernote for Mac for Genealogists

Evernote-for-Mac-300pwLast year Lisa Louise Cooke brought us Evernote for Windows for Genealogists. Here is a portion of the review I wrote for this guide:

Evernote has quickly become a very popular tech tool among genealogists. Likewise, laminated guides have also become popular among family historians looking for solid reference materials to assist in a variety of research tasks. Given both statements, it was only time before someone created an Evernote guide for genealogical application. And, who better to write Evernote for Windows for Genealogists, than Lisa Louise Cooke, author of tech favorites like the The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox.

Cooks followed this guide with a version for Mac users, Evernote for Mac for Genealogists. Like the Windows version, this guide covers more ground than most guides, as outlined below, page by page:

Page 1 covers the basics of working with notes, including a complete list of note taking quick keys and a “Getting Started Checklist”

Page 2 examines the task of clipping, with basics, quick keys, and an informative chart on which tasks work best with the desktop client vs. web clipper

Page 3 digs into the desktop client, including another extensive list of desktop quick keys

Page 4 breaks down two topics. First is genealogical organization, with tagging, notebooks, and stacks. There is also a chart covering the free vs. premium benefits.

So why Evernote at all? Cook explains:

“Evernote is a free tech tool that enables you to instantly capture and retrieve everything that is important to your research, Cloud storage of your notes allows you to access them anywhere, from any computing device. And Optical Character Recognition (OCR) makes images in notes keyword”

Weather you have already discovered the value of Evernote in your research, or you have been waiting for a little push that direction, Lisa has you covered with Evernote for Windows for Genealogists and Evernote for Mac for GenealogistsAvailable from Family Roots Publishing, Price: $8.77 each.

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