Episode 29 Transcript

Welcome to the Genealogy News from Geneatopia

I’m Patty Roy, also known as Dinah Larkham in Second Life

Today is Thursday, March 20, 2014 and this is Episode 29
Richard III is still making news. Last week there was a judicial review over his reburial. Remember that his remains were found buried beneath a parking lot in Leicester, England. The University of Leicester holds a license from the Ministry of Justice that allows it to decide where the remains are reinterred and they chose Leicester Cathedral.

However, King Richard’s distant relatives want him reinterred in York. They believe that he spent most of his life in York; he would have chosen to be buried there.

After King Richard’s death there was a Catholic ceremony and he was buried with full Catholic rites in a marked grave even though a body was not found.

The final resting place for King Richard will bring more tourists to the area.

Last week the judges heard arguments for a consultation to determine the fate of King Richard. The judges have decided to that they will reserve judgment and they also decided to defer their decision. The final decision is expected in four to six weeks.


The United States National Archives has announced that the facility in Anchorage, Alaska, will close. The archival records will be moved to a facility in Seattle, Washington where the records will be digitized so the records will be viewed through the Internet. Employees at the archive in Alaska will be offered positions at other National archives and the National Archives will pay relocation expenses.

Also two facilities in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area will be consolidated to a single site. Records at the Market Street facility will be moved to the Townsend Road facility. These two facilities are in the same commuting area and employees from the Market Street facility will be transferred to the Townsend Road facility. The Townsend Road facility already contains the majority of archival records for the area and plans are to modify the facility for better access.

And within the next two years two facilities in Fort Worth, Texas will be consolidated into a single site. There are two facilities in Fort Worth, one at John Burgess Drive and a smaller facility at Montgomery Plaza. The smaller facility will be closed and employees will be moved the John Burgess Drive facility. Records are not stored at the smaller facility so only the employees need to be relocated.

These changes are estimated to save the National Archives over 1 million dollars annually.


Family Tree DNA has launched a new learning center where all learning materials will now be found in one place. At the learning center you will find a blog, FAQs, list of upcoming webinars, archived past webinars, a forum, group projects, user guides, group administrator guides, a glossary, and links to papers.

There is a tutorial about how to use the learning center. And you can search the learning center to find exactly what you’re looking for.


Ancestry has dropped “old search.” You will no longer find a link to old search and of course you will no longer be able to access old search. Ancestry mentioned last year that this option would be going away.

Old search is no longer supported by Ancestry because it doesn’t scale to meet the needs of the growing amount of records being added to Ancestry.

Ancestry has been supporting two search engines making it difficult to add new functionality to both. They have consolidated the two systems to make it easier to maintain and update.

New search was rolled out 5 years ago. People have been choosing to use the old search even though new search was available. Many were using new search and not even realizing it. That was the default search method and if you used advanced search, you were using new search.

New search is now called primary search. Ancestry has plans to add many more improvements to search over the next year.

New search is more efficient and technology for new search makes it easy to add new collections so they are searchable. Ancestry will be able to add more features to what you can add to your search to narrow down the results.

Of course with change, many people complain. Some complaints are that new search takes more steps than old search to find the same information and you can’t search for exact matches. Some have said they will be cancelling their Ancestry subscription because old search is no longer available.

According to Ancestry, less than 3% of users used old search. New search is more powerful and can do more than old search.

There is help to learn how to use new search. Dear Myrtle’s hangout on March 10th had a special guest Amy Johnson Crow from Ancestry. She demonstrated how to use primary search.

Some in the audience tried her suggestions and found new records during the broadcast.


Ancestry has added records pertaining to Irish ancestry in the Emerald Isles. These include more than 25,000 birth, marriage and death records.

They’ve added over 750,000 new records to the Irish Roman Catholic Church collection. The types of records in that collection are baptism, confirmation, marriage, and death.

They’ve also added the Massachusetts State Census for 1855 and 1865. And they have added to the birth, marriage, and death records for Massachusetts from 1840 – 1915.

Some other large collections they’ve added include Argentina, national Census, 1895 and Ohio tax records 1800 – 1850.


Ancestry has produced a research guide for Ohio. The guide contains an overview of Ohio history, census information, significant dates, where to find vital records, and where to find other resources.


Ancestry is one of the sponsors for the International Conference on the Frontiers of Handwriting. They have also submitted a proposal that was accepted for the handwriting recognition competition. The Ancestry proposal is about word recognition from segmented historical documents. As part of this project there is a new image database that will be used called ANWRESH-1 which stands for ANcestry.com Word REcognition from Segmented Historical Documents. So it’s a combination of the first letters or first two letters of each word.

The image database is being made available to the document analysis research community. It consist of image snippets of handwritten text from the 1920 and 1930 U.S. censuses. The fields used for the competition are Name, Relation, Age, Marital Condition, and Place of Birth.

The challenge in the competition is to take the fields and transcribe them into their textual representation.

The conference will be held September 1 – 4, 2014 on the island of Crete, Greece.


MyHeritage recently announced a global initiative, together with BillionGraves, to digitally preserve the world’s cemeteries. Gravestones play a key role in family history and they are becoming illegible as time goes on.

Eighty MyHeritage employees in Israel went to a cemetery with the BillionGraves mobile application to digitize gravestones. They wanted to practice before they ask others to join them in this initiative. They’re goal is to determine best practices and improve methodologies for digitizing cemeteries efficiently.

Over the course of 3 hours, the group took 51,000 gravestone photos. Volunteers using the BillionGraves app or web site will transcribe the photos. The records will be found at BillionGraves and added to MyHeritage SuperSearch.

MyHeritage hopes others will help with this initiative and photograph gravestones with the BillionGraves app. You can find out how to do this at billiongraves.com/myheritage.


Wholly Genes has released a new version of The Master Genealogist, version 9. The major changes focus on making data entry faster and easier. Some features include

Add a new source without leaving the Citation screen
A button to preview the source output from the Citation screen
Add shared events to multiple people
An age column so if you enter an age the birthdate will be calculated automatically
Reminders can be added to roles
Some enhancements to tag entry
New variables have been added for event tags
A column for place styles has been added to the Master Place List
And lots of bug fixes

If you purchased version 8 within the last 90 days, you will receive a free update to version 9.


If you have a Mac, you may be using the free program Personal Ancestry Writer II to keep track of your ancestors. There has been an update recently to version 103. From what I could find out from another site other than the official Personal Ancestry Writer site, the update fixes two errors – using the tab key in the main window when no people were tagged, and not updating the tagged people count when exchanging cached people.

Personal Ancestry Writer combines most of the features of the LDS Personal Ancestral File program, which has been discontinued, with additional features such as generating web pages and rtf files.


Legacy QuickGuides contain four or five pages of information covering one topic. New Legacy QuickGuides have been released for Finnish Genealogy, Anatomy of a Death Record, Using Maps in Your Genealogy Research, Hungarian Genealogy, and Anatomy of a Marriage Record. That makes for 87 QuickGuides total that are available.


The site UKPressOnline is a newspaper archive site with papers such as the Daily Mirror, Daily Express and other major titles. It’s a subscription site. They have recently rescanned the existing pages of the 1960’s copy of the Daily Express. They have also added any previously missing pages. All the pages have been rescanned at a higher resolution from better quality original pages.


The UK National Archives has published the second batch of World War I unit diaries on its Word War I portal web site. You can search the diaries by regiment, battalion, brigade, or division number.

The second batch of diaries is from France and Flanders. There are records from the Indian Cavalry who were the first troops from the Commonwealth to join the British army in 1914, the South African Brigades who lost 80% of their men at the Battle of Delville Wood in 1916, and the Welsh Guard regiment which was formed in 1915.

This crowd sourced project is called Operation War Diary. It’s a joint project of the UK National Archives, the Imperial War Museums, and Zooniverse. Anyone can participate to tag the entries in the diaries.


The National Library of Scotland has added to its map collection the Ordnance Survey Six-inch England and Wales from 1842 – 1952. It’s a comprehensive topographic map of England and Wales. Most features in the landscape are shown as well as greater detail for buildings and railways.

There is a ‘Find by Place’ viewer that allows searching place names, street names, postcodes, and grid references. You can zoom in with a smaller-scale locational mapping in the background.


Communities across Scotland are being asked to help find forgotten history of the First World War. The Home Front Legacy 1914 – 1918 project will be recording the physical remains of the war in Scotland. They want to survey, research and record buildings and sites that played a key role during and after the war.

People can sign up at the Council for British Archaeology’s Home From Legacy website. There you will find a recording toolkit, guidance and resources. There’s an app that allows you to record sites in the field and it has a photo gallery of sites that have been recorded.


The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland has added 170,000 Will Indexes from 1918 – 1921 and 1944 – 1965. These were from Armagh, Belfast, and Londonderry District Registries. This makes more than 400,000 Will index entries between 1858 – 1965 that can be searched for free at the web site.

The search results may contain an address for the deceased, an occupation, the value of the estate, and the name of the person who probate was granted.


There was a program on PBS called the Genealogy Roadshow. That same program is also produced in Ireland on RTE television. Season two will start in May. It’s co-hosted by historian Turtle Bunbury with genealogists John Grenham and Susan Chadwick. They will be working with the public to determine if somebody is related to someone famous or connected to an historical event. Season two was filmed in Derry.


Coming Up
Tuesday, March 25, 3pm eastern
New England Historic Genealogical Society
Irish Resources at NEHGS
presented by Judy Lucey

Wednesday, March 26, 2pm eastern
MyHeritage Webinar: Discover family history through gravestones
presented by Daniel Horowitz

Thursday March 27, 1pm
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Webinar
“Records Found” Case Studies

Thursday, March 27, 8:30pm eastern
Saving Memories Forever
Saving Memories Forever – Advanced Webinar
presented by Thomas MacEntee

Thursday, March 27, 9pm eastern
Second Life National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ) Study Group
Melinda Daffin Henningfield, “A Family for William Gray of New Madrid County, Territory of Missouri,” National Genealogical Society Quarterly 101 (September 2013): 207-230.

#genchat – Migration routes across the U.S.
Friday, March 28th, 10pm eastern

Sunday, March 30, 2 – 4pm eastern
Scanfest with ancestories

And that’s it for this episode

If you use Flipboard on your phone or tablet, be sure to check out the Geneatopia magazine by searching for genealogy or Geneatopia in Flipboard.

You can send email to geneatopia@gmail.com

You can find links to things mentioned in this show in the show notes at Geneatopia.com. This is episode 29.
Thanks for listening.


Listen to the episode.

Posted in Transcripts