MyHeritage Acquires Family Social Network Kindo

The following was written by MyHeritage staff:

London, England and Tel Aviv, Israel; September 22, 2008 – MyHeritage, one of the world’s most popular family Web sites, today announced the acquisition of family social network Kindo. MyHeritage has more than 25 million members worldwide and is known for its powerful technology that helps families research their history and stay connected, including Smart Matching and automatic photo tagging. The Kindo team’s experience in social networking will help MyHeritage realize its vision to be the Facebook for families. As part of this acquisition, MyHeritage will also establish new commercial operations in London.

“Adding the Kindo team to MyHeritage puts the company in an even stronger position to realize its vision of connecting families around the world,” said Gilad Japhet, founder and CEO of MyHeritage. “The synergy of our innovative, sophisticated technology and Kindo’s social networking and marketing expertise will further solidify our position as industry leader. Kindo successfully created a friendly service with an excellent reputation and great base of users.”
Founded by CEO Gilad Japhet, MyHeritage helps people around the world discover, connect and communicate with their extended family network and easily research their family history. The service is unique in its international reach, currently translated into 25 languages with more to follow. Its impressive growth is based on an increasing desire of families to stay closely connected, learn more about each other and share their photos. MyHeritage can be accessed through the Web site or by downloading a simple piece of software for free. Combining MyHeritage and Kindo will create a larger family network and instantly provide more value to its collective user base.

The London-based Kindo team will become an essential part of MyHeritage, joining forces to accomplish the company’s vision of creating the best online destination for families. Kindo’s users can now get easy access to MyHeritage’s unique technology, helping them discover and learn even more about their family history. They will also benefit from MyHeritage’s photo tagging technology, which automatically scans and identifies people in photos, making it easier for families to organize, search and share their photos.

MyHeritage and Kindo share a common vision for the future of families online. We both want to give people an easy and fun way to stay connected, organize events, share memories, and strengthen ties across geographies,” said Nils Hammar, co-founder of Kindo. “When I worked at Skype, we saw first hand how powerful the Internet could be in helping families communicate, and now we want to take that a step further with MyHeritage.”

From the Sept. 22, 2008 edition of PRWeb.com

Grant to Godfrey Memorial Library Makes Three Standard Middlesex County Histories Available Free Online

The following was written by Godfrey staff:

Middletown CT (September 22, 2008) – Three basic sources for anyone researching the history, biography, or genealogy of Middlesex County, Connecticut, are now available in their entirety free to the public at the Godfrey Memorial Library’s website, www.godfrey.org. A $5,000 grant from the Middlesex County Community Foundation/Connecticut Humanities Council made digitization of these materials possible.

The three books are The History of Middlesex County, Connecticut, with Biographical Sketches of its Prominent Men, published in 1884; The Commemorative Biographical Record of Middlesex County, published in 1903; and A Statistical Account of the County of Middlesex, in Connecticut, by David Dudley Field, originally published in 1819. These volumes, each more than a century old, are difficult to access in their hard copy format. Hard copies in Connecticut libraries are typically part of the reference collections and thus do not circulate. They are often too fragile to be photocopied.

Researchers living outside of Connecticut may have no access at all to hard copies. The digitization project funded by the Middlesex County Community Foundation has put on line more than 1,700 pages of material about the county, its towns, and its people.

Middlesex County Histories
David Dudley Field’s 1819 Statistical Account of the County of Middlesex, in Connecticut, includes all manner of intriguing information about events major and mundane, from murders to mining to the mysterious Moodus noises.

The 1884 History of Middlesex County includes detailed histories of each of the 16 towns in the county, highlighting religious, military, and industrial heritage along with interesting tidbits about fixtures of local life such as taverns, newspapers, and schools. It includes biographies of more than 150 notable individuals, and portraits of more than 50 of them.

The 1903 Commemorative Biographical Record of Middlesex County features biographies of more than a thousand men – and a few women – who were prominent at the turn of the twentieth century, along with their family lineages, and hundreds of portraits. The majority of the biographies are of individuals with roots that extended back to the colonial era, some of whose names are still part of the landscape today, such as Russell, Wilcox, Pelton, Lyman, and Gildersleeve. However, among them are included biographies of a number of recently arrived immigrants from Ireland, Scotland, and Germany, with names like Dunn and Inglis and Kretzmer, who had prospered in their adopted homeland.

The three volumes can be accessed at the Godfrey Memorial Library’s web site, www.godfrey.org, by clicking on the “Search’ tab, then on “Mdlsx Co Hist,” which opens a page with links to the histories and background on the project.

The Godfrey Memorial Library is a privately supported, non-profit library of genealogy and local history located at 134 Newfield Street, Middletown, Connecticut.

The Middlesex County Community Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in Middlesex County. Its mission is to work with charitably-minded individuals and organizations to build permanent endowments and other charitable funds and to support local non-profit organizations through effective grantmaking to address community needs. Since its founding in 1997, the Community Foundation has provided over $850,000 in grants to more than 142 organizations for the arts; cultural and heritage programs’ educational activities’ environmental improvements; and for health and human services.

Courtesy of Diana McCain

APG Honors Sandra Hargreaves Luebking

The following was written by APG staff:

Members of the Association of Professional Genealogists gathered in Philadelphia on September 5th to honor a long-time member for her professional accomplishments.

The Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) named Sandra Hargreaves Luebking as the second recipient of the APG Professional Achievement Award. The award was presented during the association luncheon at the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The award was created in 2007 to recognize significant contributions to the field of genealogy by APG members. APG created the Professional Achievement Award to highlight a record of exceptional professional achievement through individual excellence and ethical behavior.

Luebking, a nationally-known author, editor, instructor, lecturer and researcher, has been recognized for her excellent example of genealogical professionalism and numerous contributions to the field through writing, lecturing, and service.
Luebking’s contributions to the genealogical community have been vast. In nearly three decades as a professional genealogist, Sandra has presented over one thousand lectures, appeared on television and radio programs, and been featured on educational videos.

For 23 years, she has edited FORUM, the national magazine published by the Federation of Genealogical Societies. With Loretto Dennis Szucs, she co-edited three award-winning books, including two editions of The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy; and The Archives: A Guide to the National Archives Field Branches. Leubking also wrote two chapters for Professional Genealogy (Elizabeth Shown Mills, editor) titled “Classroom Teaching” and “Setting Realistic Fees.”

Since 1979, Luebking has taught at Samford University’s Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR) and has twice accompanied their British Research tour. She is a Fellow of the Utah Genealogical Association (1996) and was named Outstanding IGHR Alumni by Samford University in 1995.

Courtesy of Kathleen W. Hinckley, APG Executive Director

APG Presents First Young Professional Scholarship

The following was written by APG staff:

Westminster, Colo., September 9; The Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) presented the first Young Professional Scholarship award to Michael Melendez of Fullerton, California. The award was presented during the APG Professional Management Conference (PMC) during the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Melendez, a senior at Troy Hill High School in Fullerton, already has a long resume of genealogical achievements. He performed a 150-hour internship at the Orange Regional Family History Center in California. He completed the Staff Training Program and is currently a staff member at the center.

He is also a member of the Federation of Genealogical Societies’ Youth Committee as well as the Future Genealogists Society. As part of his Eagle Scout project, Melendez put on a Beginners Family History Jamboree.

APG created the award as a scholarship opportunity for a young genealogist to attend its annual Professional Management Conference. The scholarship included conference registration and a $500 award toward travel and accommodations. The PMC is held in conjunction with the Federation of Genealogical Societies annual conference.

The Association of Professional Genealogists (www.apgen.org), established in 1979, represents over 1,800 genealogists, librarians, writers, editors, historians, instructors, booksellers, publishers, and others involved in genealogy-related businesses. APG encourages genealogical excellence, ethical practice, mentoring, and education. The organization also supports the preservation and accessibility of records useful to the fields of genealogy, local, and social history. Its members represent all fifty states, Canada, and twenty-six other countries.

Courtesy of Kathleen W. Hinckley, CG, Executive Director

Pharos and the International Society for British Genealogy and Family History Announce New Online Courses

The following was written by Pharos staff:

September 6, 2008; The International Society for British Genealogy and Family History (ISBGFH) and Pharos Teaching and Tutoring, a British company, have teamed up to offer quality online courses to those researching their roots in the British Isles.

ISBGFH has presented the British Institute in Salt Lake City since 2001 and wants to expand its educational opportunities to those who cannot travel to the class room sessions each year, a factor that is increasingly important as fuel costs rise. Pharos has extensive experience with distance learning and offers a selection of programs in British and Irish research. One of the Pharos instructors, Sherry Irvine, taught for five years at the British Institute.

Under the new arrangement, courses are open to everyone, whether or not they are members of ISBGFH. Currently, three courses are available: US Immigration and Naturalization, taught by George G. Morgan; England, Scotland and Wales Online: Transfer Your Skills taught by Sherry Irvine; and, British Isles Research – Solving Problems, Planning Strategies taught by Sherry Irvine. These courses will be offered successively between October and next September.

Details on the contents of each course, length, cost, and how online learning works can be found on the website of each organization.
• Pharos www.pharostutors.com
• ISBGFH www.isbgfh.org

Gordon Gray, President of ISBGFH, said: “We are excited about our new partnership with Pharos and offering high quality online courses to people researching their ancestors in the British Isles. It creates the opportunity for people to take courses on their own schedule, at a reasonable cost, in small groups and with the guidance of well-known instructors.”

Sherry Irvine, Course Director for Pharos, said: “This is a good fit. It was stimulating and rewarding to teach at the British Institute and I now look forward to continuing educational efforts with ISBGFH. Online courses are the best way for genealogists to expand their research skills and records knowledge, not only because of flexibility but because the Web helps research in so many ways – history, geography, catalogues, records guidance as well as data.”

Courtesy of Pharos

Family Trees Grow Virally on Geni.com

The following was written by Geni.com staff:

Site Traffic Tops 1 Million Unique Visitors in August.

Los Angeles, CA; September 4, 2008 — Genealogy and family social networking website, Geni.com, announced today that its traffic in August exceeded 1 million unique visitors for the first time and continues to grow rapidly.

Since Geni spends nothing on marketing, its growth is entirely organic and driven by the virality of its family tree application, which asks users to invite a relative when they add him or her to the tree. That relative can then invite other relatives.

The largest tree on Geni now contains profiles of over 600,000 people and was built by over 40,000 users. No other genealogy site can boast of so many users simultaneously participating in a single tree. As a free, easy-to-use web application, Geni is able to mobilize the efforts of anyone interested in their family, in addition to genealogy enthusiasts.
Geni’s goal is to build a family tree of the entire world, enabling families to connect, preserve, and share their lives. Geni’s features include but are not limited to photo and video sharing, a timeline to preserve family history, and a family calendar for birthday and anniversaries.

Geni has also invested heavily in privacy features based on relatedness, so user information is shared only with close relatives. This automatically protects privacy-minded users who happen to find themselves in a fast-growing tree.
Recently, Geni released a tree-merging feature, which enables two trees to merge when a common relative is invited to both. This process can be repeated many times over, leading to the discovery of new family relationships and strengthening Geni’s network effects compared to other genealogy sites.

David Kaleita, a Geni user, stated, “As recently as six weeks ago, I was connected to approximately 3,000 profiles (2/3 of which were manually entered by me and the rest manually entered by other family members) before merging with anyone. Now, several tree merges later, the stats report that I am now connected to 263,288 profiles! More than half of that growth came within the last two days.”

Geni spent a year preparing for tree merging. “Prior to developing the intricate tree-merging feature in itself, we needed to develop an extra layer of privacy features that would maintain the safe family environment necessary for sustainable and continuous growth,” said David Sacks, CEO of Geni.

By default, user profiles can be seen only by those in their own blood tree or in directly-connected inlaw trees. Inlaws of inlaws are limited to seeing search results only.

Rhineland Map Guides Now Shipping

It’s taken a while to get back into production, but the Map Guide to German Parish Registers is again being authored by Kevan Hansen, with the three Rhineland volumes (11 through 13) coming off the press first.

vol-11-rhineland-i-308pwide

Family Roots Publishing is now shipping German Map Guide Volume 11 – which covers the Regierungsbezirks of Aachen and Düsseldorf – in both Soft cover and Hard cover.
Also shipping is German Map Guide Volume 12 – covering Regierungsbezirks Köln and Koblenz – in Soft cover. We will be shipping the Hard bound volumes on Wednesday, May 9.
The Rhineland III volume is in final edit and will be shipping soon.
Please note that this is a reconstructed post from May 6, 2007.

Ground-breaking for the New Mid-West Genealogy Center of the Mid-Continent Library

They broke ground for the new Mid-Continent Library’s Mid-West Genealogy Center in Independence, Missouri, yesterday. The new 52,000 square foot facility may rival the famed Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana, when finished. Congratulations to my friends, Janice Schulz, Debbie Strodtman and the staff at the Mid-Continent Library, as well as all those thousands of researchers who are waiting to do research in this new facility.
Please note that this is a reconstructed post from May 5, 2007.

United States Ports Passenger Lists Now Available at Ancestry.com

Ancestry.com has announced that it has added to its online service all readily available U.S. passenger lists from 1820 to 1960. Wow! This is a lot of data. I’m not surprised, as I spent days reviewing the immigration digital data sites at Ancestry.com for the Sept-Oct issue of the Net Family History section in the Genealogical Helper. I realized as I wrote the reviews that Ancestry.com had posted a lot more data than I previously knew about.

“More than 100 Million Names on All Readily Available U.S. Passenger Lists from 1820 – 1960; Includes the Complete Ellis Island Collection, as well as Records from Over 100 Other U.S. Ports of Arrival.

“PROVO, UTAH – November 9, 2006Ancestry.com, the world’s largest online family history resource, today announced that it has added to its online service all readily available U.S. passenger lists from 1820 to 1960. An estimated 85 percent of Americans have an immigrant ancestor included in the passenger list collection which covers the height of American immigration, making Ancestry.com the only source for the largest compilation of passenger list records available and fully searchable online. … The passenger list collection, which took more than three years to digitize and transcribe, celebrates the courage, hopes, fears and memories of more than 100 million passengers…

“Until the completion of this project, U.S. passenger list records could only be found on microfilm or in limited selections online at various dispersed locations such as libraries and museums across the nation. For the first time, people can look to a single centralized source online to find all readily available passenger list records. More than 100 American ports of arrival are represented in the compilation including the entire collection of passenger list records (1892-1957) from Ellis Island, a historic landmark and icon of immigration. The collection also accounts for popular ports in Boston, Baltimore, New Orleans and the Angel Island receiving station in San Francisco.

NGS Call For Papers for Kansas City 2008 National Conference

The following announcement was published in the November 2006 edition of Upfront with NGS.

“This conference will feature record types from across the country. Speakers interested in participating in the 2008 NGS conference are invited to submit lecture proposals for the event. Possible topics include:

• National, regional, and state government records
• Settlers and settlement of the Midwest and West: migration patterns, trails, and transportation methods
• Military records for the nineteenth and twentieth century
• Land topics: federal and bounty land records, early land grants, and homesteading
• Ethnic topics: African Americans, French, German, Native Americans, and Spanish
• Family history writing and publishing
• Methodology, problem solving, and technology, and other general subjects

Each speaker will be limited to a maximum of four presentations; however, an unlimited number of proposals may be submitted. First consideration for speaking opportunities will go to NGS members.

Speakers receive a complimentary conference registration, honorarium, and travel allowance. Hotel accommodations and per diem compensation are based on the number of lectures presented.

Most sessions will be one hour, which includes a brief question and answer period. Camera-ready syllabus material is required in early 2008.

Prospective speakers may submit proposals online at the NGS Web site at from 1 January to 1 March 2007.

Roots Television (on the Internet) is a Big Hit!

Roots Television is off and running on the Internet. It’s pretty impressive. Everything from short how-to segments to full lectures can be found on the site. And that’s not all… Following is a news release from Megan Smolenyak.

“When Roots Television™ debuted on September 29, 2006, it was a quiet launch in beta mode intended to draw enough traffic to test the site and work through the inevitable technical bugs that accompany new ventures into cyberspace. That “quiet” launch quickly became an international roar, as word spread lightening-fast and Roots Television™ drew viewers from five continents in the first 24 hours! Not surprising really, since family history commands one of the largest and fast-growing markets in the world.

“Perhaps what is surprising is that no one thought of launching a family history channel sooner. After all, there’s a golf channel, a wine channel, a sailing channel, a horse channel, and poker channel, and even a shipwreck channel. Why not a channel for what’s said to be the second most popular hobby?

“Today, roots fever is hotter than ever, with over 113 million Americans interested in their family history, and roots-sleuthing running at near-epidemic proportions in other countries, such as the U.K. Yet this audience has been largely neglected by television. Roots Television™ is uniquely positioned to be one of the first media outlets to take advantage of the inevitable merge between television and the Internet – and in so doing, serve this global and long-ignored audience.

GenealogyBank Launches with Thousands of New Resources

I had the privilege and opportunity to try out the new GenealogyBank.com just as it launched in mid-October. In the process I searched many early newspapers, historic books, documents, and other resources.

Along with numerous other items, I found a letter written by my third great grandfather, William Canfield – the first thing I’ve ever seen written by the man. This letter was published in the Albany (New York) Argus in February of 1819. Wonderful!!!

Most of the content found at GenealogyBank is unique, not found on other sites. You may search it for free to see how many records there are for your family. If it looks good, sign-up to see the full records. The cost is currently $19.95 per month for full access.

Honestly, folks, if you have colonial ancestry, you can’t afford not to use this new resource. For the first time ever, you will be able to access newspapers and documents not previously indexed or in many cases, accessible at all. What makes this collection unique is that much of the data is from the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts. This organization holds the earliest American printed materials, including newspapers – and now, for the first time, much of this material is accessible to you and I – all in digital format.

Available NOW, you will find the following resources at GenealogyBank:

Historical Newspapers 1690 – 1977
Over 1,300 historical newspapers from 1690 to 1977. This content is found no where else. Quickly find names and keywords in millions of articles, obituaries, marriage notices, birth announcements and other items published in more than 500,000 issues of over 1,300 historical U.S. newspapers.

America’s Obituaries 1977 to current
More than 22 million obituaries from 1977 to the present. More than any other site. Obituaries contain helpful information such as names, dates, places of birth, death, marriage and family information. Over 22 million obituaries make this the most complete collection from the 20th and 21st centuries – includes more than 800 U.S. newspapers.

Historical Books 1652 – 1900
A unique source that provides you with complete text of more than 17,000 books, pamphlets and printed items including: genealogies, biographies, funeral sermons, local histories, cards, charts and more – all published in the U.S. prior to 1900.

The complete American State Papers (1789-1838)
Find military records, casualty lists, Revolutionary and Civil War pension requests, widow’s claims, orphan petitions, land grants and much more including all of the American State Papers (1789-1838) and all genealogical content carefully selected from the U.S. Serial Set (1817-1930). More than 81,000 reports, lists and documents. All of the genealogical content in the US Serial Set from 1817-1930… more than 81,000 reports, lists and documents.

Social Security Death Index – 1937 to current
More than 78 million death records from the Social Security Death Index.

The Nanaimo Family History Society Passenger Lists Project

The manifests of ships arriving at Canadian Ports listing passengers have been preserved on microfilm at Library and Archives Canada. The goal of the Nanaimo Family History Society is to index arrivals at Halifax and Quebec (Montreal is included in the Port of Quebec) from 1900 to about 1921 when the passenger lists were discontinued for a time in favor of the form 30A.

Quebec Ports for the periods 2 Jul 1908 to 13 Oct 1910 has been completed and the index, made up of 284,365 listings from 586 ship arrivals, is shown at their website. The pages of the index are PDFs with a comprehensive “Names Starting With” page that allows quick access to all portions of the index.

Vermont Historical Society Receives Catholic Parish Histories

BARRE, Vt. (CNS) — The official newspaper of the Diocese of Burlington celebrated its 50th anniversary by giving a gift.

The Vermont Historical Society’s collection of Catholic materials increased significantly in September with a donation of 83 parish histories from the Vermont Catholic Tribune newspaper.

Pat Gore, editor of the newspaper, and Father Peter Routhier, vicar general of the statewide Diocese of Burlington, presented a dozen white binders filled with booklets or typewritten parish histories, as well as several hardcover histories, to Paul Carnahan, Vermont Historical Society librarian.

“This is a unique donation in that a denomination has pulled together for us histories of various parishes,” Carnahan said.

The idea for the donation was generated by the staff of the Catholic Tribune, as a way to commemorate the diocesan newspaper’s 50th anniversary.

Google to Digitize Wisconsin Historical Society Books

It has just been announced that the Wisconsin Historical Society Library will be one of the libraries in which Google will scan and digitize books and “genealogy materials.” This is important to genealogists, because this library has one of the premier genealogy collections in the country.