55,000 Massachusetts Burial Records Now Online

For the first time, anyone can perform Jewish Massachusetts genealogical searches online. So, if someone is looking for late Uncle Ben on their mother’s side of the family, chances are they can locate his burial records at any one of the Jewish Cemetery Association of Massachusetts’ 100+ cemeteries. Just go to www.jcam.org, click on “Services,” then click “Genealogy Search,” enter the name (or just the first four letters of the last name) and Voila! With just the click of a button, the burial location, name of cemetery and directions are displayed on the screen!

People are fascinated with their family histories making genealogy one of the fastest growing popular research endeavors. Now the Jewish community has access to JCAM’s 55,000 online burial database to fill in the blanks on family trees or simply for visitation purposes. This is another way of reconnecting Jewish families with their past and perpetuating the continuity of Jewish cemeteries well into the future.

Visit the website and try the genealogical search link. You may just find someone you’ve been looking for!

Contact Stanley Kaplan, Executive Director of the Jewish Cemetery Association of Massachusetts at 617-244-6509 or for more information on the work of JCAM, or visit their website at www.jcam.org.

ProQuest Cuts Service to Societies

ProQuest has announced that it’s cutting service to genealogical societies. Service to Everton Publishers and Godfrey Memorial Library was cut some time ago. It is recommended that you first check with your local library to find out if they offer the service. If not, encourage them to do so. In many cases, entire states have signed up for HeritageQuest Online.

Loretta “Lou” Szucs Receives Award

The International Society of Family History Writers and Editors (ISFHWE) announced at its Gala Awards Banquet that its first recipient of the new and prestigious Myra Vanderpool Gormley Award of Merit was to go to “Lou” Szucs, Executive Editor and Vice President of Community Relations at Ancestry.com. Lou has done so much for genealogy over the years… And she’s a dear friend. Congratulations, Lou.

World War II Old Men’s Draft Cards Now Online

I finally got the chance to jump over to Ancestry.com’s site, and try out the new WWII Old Men’s draft registration cards that they posted.

Boy, oh, boy – did I find relatives. Note that the old men’s draft registration was conducted on 27 April 1942 and was for men born on or after April 28, 1877 and on or before February 16, 1897. The “old men” would have been between 45 and 64 years old.

Following is an example of the information found on the typical card. I’m using an example of a card dealing with my own family.

  • Serial #1340
  • Order #: none listed
  • Name: Grover Hurley Cornett
  • Place of Residence: Flatridge, Grayson County, Virginia
  • Mailing address: Same
  • Telephone: none listed
  • Age in years: 48
  • Place of Birth (town or county: Grayson [county]
  • Date of Birth: Aug. 20, 1843
  • State or Country of Birth: Virginia
  • Name and address of person who will always know your address: Mrs. Grover H. Cornett, Flatridge, Va.
  • Employer’s name and address: Hercules Powder Co., Radford, Va.
  • Place of employment: Radford, Va.
  • Registrant’s Signature: Grover H. Cornett

As I’ve said before. Good stuff… Of course, you have to be an Ancestry.com subscriber to access this data. Visit the Ancestry.com website to use these records.

Genetic Genealogy On MSNBC

msnbc-genetic MSNBC has created a webpage about Genetic Genealogy. Several of the NBC journalists have participated in DNA testing and have written about their experiences. Their stories and other articles are available now at the new webpage, www.msnbc.msn.com . Here are some of the stories posted there:

• Columbus mystery nearly solved—genetic researchers say their tests are closing in on answers to two nagging mysteries: where was Christopher Columbus really born? And where are his bones buried?
• Lab takes on Joan of Arc legend—are purported remains really hers?
• Irish king left a wide genetic trail—3 million men said to be descended from King Nial.
• Mozart mystery just gets murkier—DNA test of skull adds to confusion.
• Billy the Kid investigation resurrected.
• Jamestown DNA sleuths strike out.
• Gene study links Polynesians to Taiwan.
• Revolutionary War mystery still unsettled.
• DNA preserves Native American heritage.
• Using DNA to reunite adoptees and parents.
• John Kerry’s family traced back to royalty.
• Black statesman finds his African roots.
• Are you related to Genghis Khan?
• DNA shoots hole in Captain Cook legend.
• Can genes unravel a Viking mystery?
• DNA said to confirm Lindbergh kids.

Take a look and see what interesting stories MSNBC comes up with. To see the website, go to: www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3038411/

The New Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture

Prompted by a short article in the May 20, 2006 Baxter Bulletin in honor of a group of volunteers from the Baxter County Historical and Genealogical Society, I spent some time on the new Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture that launched May 2nd. If you have Arkansas roots, you’ll want to check out the site. Plan on spending some time. There’s a lot to see – and a lot more is planned. By the way, have you ever heard of the Jonesboro Church Wars of the 1930s? I mean real war, machine guns and all…

To view the website, go to: http://encyclopediaofarkansas.net/

New Browser for the 1790―1930 Census Images

Steve Morse has posted a new 1790―1930 federal census browser that allows the user to go directly to any particular image on any roll of federal census microfilm posted on Ancestry.com’s website. Once there, the utility allows the user to move back and forth within the images, not just a page at a time, but by 1, 2, 3, or even 4 pages.

The utility also allows anyone to browse the film roll descriptions 1790―1930, and ascertain exactly what counties are on what rolls.

If you are an Ancestry.com subscriber and you wish to use the utility to browse images, click on the “year” arrow in the lower left corner of your screen, highlight the year of interest, and click on enter. Then pick the roll number (which has the state 2-letter abbreviation attached to it). Enter an image number if you know it. Click on “Display Frame.” You’ll find yourself in Ancestry.com’s website looking at the image you selected. You may then browse within that roll as mentioned above.

If you don’t know which exact roll to go to to get started, click on the “View all Rolls” button at the top of the browsing page in Steve’s site. You will go to the Census Schedules Descriptions page –find the roll number by browsing down the page until you come to the year and county you’re looking for. Make note of the roll number there – and go back to the original browsing page. Enter the image number, and click on “display frame.”

To use Steve Morse’s new browser, go to: www.stevemorse.org/census/censusbrowser.html

The DNA Says the Tuscans of Central Italy are Not Descended from the Etruscans

You would think that where you have a civilization – seemingly living in an area for millennia – that DNA tests would show that them to be descended from ancient burials in the area. It seems this doesn’t hold true in central Italy.

“For the first time, Stanford researchers have used novel statistical computer modeling to simulate demographic processes affecting the population of Tuscany over a 2,500-year time span. Rigorous tests used by the researchers have ruled out a genetic link between ancient Etruscans, the early inhabitants of central Italy, and the region’s modern day residents.

“The findings suggest that something either suddenly wiped out the Etruscans or the group represented a social elite that had little in common with the people who became the true ancestors of Tuscans, said Joanna Mountain, assistant professor of anthropological science…

“The Etruscans are the only preclassical European population to date that has been genetically analyzed… Two years ago, Italian geneticists extracted maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA from the bones of 27 people called Etruscans found in six different necropolises (burial sites) in Tuscany. The female lineage was investigated because, unlike the male Y chromosome, many copies of mitochondrial DNA are found in each cell and thus are easier to extract… The data represent one of the best collections of ancient human DNA in existence. If you get DNA out of one bone, you can try to say something about the past… But they managed to get DNA out of quite a few bones. The DNA of 49 people living in the region today was also sampled. Although data from the two groups revealed several differences…, the researchers could not interpret if these were meaningful or significant…”

Read the full article in the May 17 edition of the Stanford University website. http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2006/may17/mountain-051706.html

Canton, Illinois’ Greenwood Cemetery Gets New Maps and History

An amazing number of cemetery and funeral home records have never been computerized in any way. How often have you pored over a cemetery map that was nearly 100 years old, faded, and tattered at the edges? And that was the only map available? Are there records of this nature where you live? How about volunteering to create digital representations of them?

Greenwood Cemetery in Canton [Illinois] has delivered a computerized hard copy history and map system to Parlin-Ingersoll Library to help people locate grave sites.

This system can be used in conjunction with the publications of the Fulton County Historical and Genealogical Society.

From the time the original 112 cemetery plots were laid out, 167 years ago, four city engineers had created separate grids within the property limits. Early maps were printed on cloth, cardboard, or paper. Daily burial entries were made by the sexton. These became the permanent record of burial activity.
The current board, appointed in 2002, immediately recognized that if the system was not entered into digital storage within the next few years, the disintegrating paper pages of the daily entries would no longer be readable. The maps were fading. Photocopies could not bring back the detail needed to find site locations.

In 2002, the process began of creating computer graphics for the 122 acres of ground that is today represented on 23 maps and five charts. Two instruction pages explain how to use the records. The burial records are in the process of being entered on a master data base. In 1895, a fire destroyed all cemetery records. Fulton County Historical and Genealogical Society headstone inscriptions allow most of the lost records to be restored.

From the May 15, 2006 edition of the Canton Daily Ledger.

Clooz 2.0 Released

UPDATE: Clooz 2.1 is now available at the same website.

Clooz 2.0 is now available. You can download the full version at: http://www.clooz.com/ The program starts in clooz2-logodemo mode. This means that anyone can try the program for 30 days, or 15 tries. In order to keep using the program after the 30 days or 15 tries, you’ll need to enter a serial number. If you have not yet purchased the program, feel free to take Clooz 2.0 for a test drive. If you find that you like it, you can click on the Buy Now link and purchase the program.

The initial release of Clooz 2.0 doesn’t have all of the reports in the program yet. Therefore, the program is only available as a download at this point. As soon as we’ve finished putting in all the reports, those who have purchased the full version of Clooz will receive a CD in the mail. You can also purchase just a download version, for the same price but with no shipping added. The download-only purchase does not come with a CD, and is non-refundable. Therefore, before you purchase the download only, please download the full version and try it.

Clooz 2.0 requires Windows XP to run properly. It may work on Windows 2000, but the program is only supported on Windows XP machines. It may also work on Mac systems with Windows emulators, but, again, we don’t support that operating system at this time. The print manual for version 2.0 is not yet available. As soon as it’s available, it will be linked here for a free download as a pdf file and will be available for purchase. There will also be a Clooz 2 Tutorial available on DVD soon.

The download of Clooz 2.0 is about 100MB.

Booth Library to Reopen in Elmira, New York this Fall

The Chemung Valley History Museum in Elmira, New York, where people flocked for genealogical research and historic anecdotes, was closed nearly two years ago when the floor began to buckle under the weight of its history.

Now, the library will reopen in September, thanks to a grant from The Community Foundation of the Elmira-Corning Area, which gave the historical society $30,000 to reinforce the floor and make the library safe to use again, said Amy Wilson, the director.

Time, gravity and pressure played a role in the library’s sinking stature that led Wilson to close the research room in June 2004, followed by the library itself in January 2005.

“The Community Foundation preserves legacies in charitable ways and the historical society is preserving our historical heritage,” said Suzanne Lee, president of the Community Foundation.

“If you don’t have a library, then you don’t have a place to preserve that history and legacy.”

The $30,000 grant, a fairly large grant for the Community Foundation, according to Lee, will cover most of the estimated $36,000 in costs to reinforce the second-floor library where the society houses its heaviest collection, Wilson said.

From the May 14, 2006 edition of the Star-Gazette.

New Yakima Valley Genealogical Society Library Opens

The new Yakima Valley Genealogical Society Library opened early this last Spring. “The new library is the result of a fund-raising campaign that began in 1987. For years, the society was housed in cramped quarters in the basement of the old First Christian Church, 221 E. B St. When that building was purchased by the Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Yakima, the society moved to another cramped facility on Riverside Road.

Three years ago, ground was broken at the northwest corner of West Washington and South 12th avenues on an acre-plus site donated by Gardner Nursery. Last fall, the $425,000 structure was done, and the society was finally able to unpack and display all of its materials in one spot, some 15,000 volumes, as well as microfiche.”

From the May 04, 2006 Yakima Valley Republic.

Access to Public Records Closes at a Frightening Rate

According to an AP article of April 27, 2006, it seems that in a survey of all 50 states, it was found that 616 new laws restricting access to government records, databases, meetings and other public information have been passed since Sept. 11, 2001. Two hundred eighty-four (284) laws have loosened access. That makes a net loss of 332! Coming from someone who knows something about losses, I can tell you that this is not a good thing.

GPC Announces New Book Search

Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., (GPC) of Baltimore, Maryland, is America’s foremost publisher of genealogical books & CDs. The company recently revamped its website, which now features a free name search to over 2 million names, indexed from over 2,000 publications GPC has published over the past 45 years. Whether you buy a book from them or not, a quick search in the index may be worthwhile.

GPC also has an e-newsletter, called Genealogy Pointers, which is free to anyone. The newsletter is sent to all who register for it, e-mailed every Tuesday.
Visit www.genealogical.com/ for more information.