Episode 34 Transcript

Welcome to the Genealogy News from Geneatopia

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

Today is Wednesday April 23, 2014 and this is Episode 34

There are over 2.4 million records of death certificates from the Pennsylvania State Archives now online at Ancestry.

The records start with the year 1906 since that is when statewide registration of births and deaths began.

Another set of records will be released in June for the years up to 1924 and another batch will be released in November to bring collection up to the year 1963.

Plans are to add death records eventually up to the year of 1963. The following year, 1964, marks the 50 year privacy window before records can be released. So next year the records for 1964 will be released and then an additional year will be become available every year afterward.

The plans are to add the birth records in March of 2015.

If you live in Pennsylvania you will have free access to those records so you don’t need an Ancestry subscription to view them.


Another thing lots of people have been talking about is an article about a review of obtaining access to the Death Master File or the Social Security Death index. Dee Dee King is a certified genealogist who now has certified Limited access to the Death Master File. That means access to all the data, including the last three years.

She has an article in the newsletter for the Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy. The article is called “Demystifying the DMF.”

She first goes through the history of the laws that were passed to restrict access to the Death Master file and then she explains how she filled out the form, paid the processing fee, contacted the NTIS with questions, and received access.

Next she describes how to access the records. You can only search by social security number or first and last name. You cannot search by birth or death date.

Searching is more restricted than the version of the Social Security Death Index that is still available for deaths that occurred before 2014.


Kenneth Marks has been listing newspaper sites for Canada. Previously he had newspaper lists for Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan.

Recently he’s completed the rest and he has announced that links to these posts can be found on the newspaper page at his site theancestorhunt.com

Last week he announced that he completed listing newspaper sites for all the states in the U.S.


The New York newspaper the Brooklyn Daily Eagle has been digitized and can be found online. You can access it for free from the Brooklyn Public Library web site. It’s also available at the paid subscription site Newspapers.com. The library collaborated with Newspapers.com to digitize the years 1903 – 1955. The earlier years were part of a digitization initiative funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences. From the library site you will find all the years from 1841 – 1955.

The site is called the Brooklyn Newsstand. The old Brooklyn Daily Eagle web site will be phased out in May. That web site contained the years from 1841 – 1902 and those are now at the new site along with all the other years the newspaper was published.


Black’s Law Dictionary is a great resource for looking up legal terms to understand what they mean. The older versions are especially useful for genealogists try to understand old documents.

The original dictionary was created by Henry Campbell Black and published in 1891. A second edition was published in 1910. The latest edition is the ninth edition published in 2009. That edition is used for reference in preparing legal briefs and court opinions today.

The second edition is in the public domain and you can find a copy of it at Google Books and at a dedicated web site where the definitions have been transcribed and searchable. There are also paid apps for your phone where you can access the dictionary.

Looking through new links at CyndisList I came across a web site that has the first edition and the second edition online.

There are images of every page in the book. And of course the dictionary is in alphabetical order, there is a link to each page with the first word and the last word on the page. This makes it very easy to find the word you want to learn what it means.

There’s a new genealogy quilting project being started by Julie Goucher. Julie writes a blog called Angler’s Rest and she has created another web site for the quilting project called In Memory of Quilt.

Plans are for people to create squares for the quilt. Each square can be embroidered or have a picture. The square will be created in memory of a loved one.

One square per person. So if you want to remember more than one person you will need to make a square for each person.

You can also submit a square without embroidery or a picture.

When you send the square you need to write a little story about the loved one represented in the square. These stories will be posted on the blog for the site.

The squares will be sent to Julie ,who lives in England. You will need to pay the postage and of course pay for any materials you used to make the square.

All the squares will be used to make a quilt and the quilt will be auctioned or sold with the money going to a charity.

FamilySearch has added an area on its web site dedicated to baseball. It’s a place to encourage family historians to share stories and photos of their ancestors who had an interest in or were involved with baseball.

At the baseball area you will find information about famous baseball players such as census records, birth and death records, and maybe a Word War II draft registration card for some of them.

The FamilySearch campaign for baseball is to encourage everyone to share anything they have that is related to baseball.

Ancestry still has the Branch Out Contest going. It started last November and continues until October when the 6th and last grand prizewinner will be announced.

To enter you fill out a form with your name and address and a brief story about your family history that is not more than 500 words. The story must be theme-related.

The winner is chosen randomly.

The grand-prize consists of twenty hours of ProGenealogists research. ProGenealogists is owned by Ancestry and specializes in historical and genealogical research.

The prize also consists of a one-year Ancestry.com World Explorer Plus membership, one Ancestry DNA kit, and one premium leather photo book from MyCanvas.com. MyCanvas is owned by Ancestry and it lets you upload photos to create books, calendars, and posters from your photos.

This contest is only available for those in the United States. There is a limit of one entry per person per email address.

You have until April 30th to submit you application. The prize winner will be selected on May 5th.

The contest will be held again in July and then one more time in September.


Ancestry’s latest research guide is for Louisiana. In the guide you’ll find the history of Louisiana, significant dates, where to find census records for the state of Louisiana, where to find vital records, military records, immigration and travel records, and other special collections.


Ancestry.ca, that’s ca for Canada, now has the Quebec 1825 and 1842 census records online and available for searching. These censuses were taken before Canada was officially a country.

The 1825 census is for Lower Canada which is known today as Quebec and the 1842 census is for Canada East which is Quebec.

These censuses contain the names of the heads of family, occupation, the number of people living in the house and some other information.


FindMyPast continues to release record sets are part of their 100 in 100 initiative which means that 100 record sets will be released in 100 days. The latest records released are the British Royal Navy & Marine Service records from 1899 – 1919. In the records you’ll find details about their service including the ships they served on. There are physical descriptions for the sailors and their occupation before they joined the navy.
FindMyPast has created a 6-minute video guide about the new features on the web site. It introduces the new features and explains techniques to help discover your family’s history.

They are still interested in feedback and they say they are listening to the comments and they continue to improve the site.

Many have complained that the new site is more difficult to use and they have posted in the FindMyPast forums their complaints.

Mocavo is still committed to bringing 1,000 databases online every day. Now they want to make it easy for everyone to get their family’s historical content online to be shared with others.

They started with a free scanning program last year that lets you mail books, documents, and photos to Mocavo for scanning. The scanned materials are added to the Mocavo index and the owner’s get a digital copy.

They want you to be able to add your scanned content to the index at Mocavo. The Contribute section of the web site has been completely redesigned. From there you can upload your content and all the text within it will become searchable. Once the content is online you’ll be able to collaborate with family members to make more discoveries. And by uploading your content you will know that it will be safely preserved forever.

From the Library and Archives Canada comes the announcement that Guy Berthiaume has been appointed as Librarian and Archivist of Canada. Mr. Berthiaume holds a doctorate in history and has been the president of the Bibliotheque et Archives nationales du Quebec since 2009.

He will be serving a 5-year term that will start June 23, 2014.

The person who previously held this position abruptly quit a year ago after it was discovered he spent nearly $4,500 of taxpayers’ money on personal Spanish lessons.

The Library and Archives Canada is trying to digitize records amid federal budget cuts. They have laid off staff, ended grant programs, and shut down inter-library loans. Needless to say many people are unhappy with the archives.

Mr. Berthiume was quoted as saying he looks forward to “working better with stakeholders, working on internal leadership and building morale while re-establishing the bridges with academia and the general public.”

There have been some parish registers from Nova Scotia placed online at RootsWeb. They’re for St. Ann Roman Catholic Church, Guysborough, Nova Scotia. A team worked on this and all the records were reviewed until all could agree on the transcription. The records span the years from 1819 to 1890.

Plans are to add more records in the future.


Heritage Canada announced that many digitized microfilms have been recently added to its web site. One of particular interest to genealogist are the parish registers of Manitoba.

This collection contains parish registers and other church records from Manitoba. The records are before the late 1800s. Government registration of vital statistics for baptism, marriage, and death began in the late 1800s. Before that time these types of records were kept at the parish or church.


A major research project to provide a detailed investigation of the origins, history, and geographical distribution of the most frequent surnames in the United Kingdom has reached a key milestone by completing 45,000 surnames. There are approximately 320,000 surnames in Britain.

They are looking at all names, not only those of English and Scots origin but also names of Irish, Gaelic, Welsh, and Cornish origin as well as Huguenot and Jewish. And they are studying recent immigrant names such as Indian, Chinese, and Muslim.

They are collecting information about when and where names were recorded and the different spellings of the names.

Eventually this project will be made publicly available as a database accessible like an online dictionary and it will be published in book form by Oxford University Press sometime in 2016.

A team at the University of the West of England is carrying out the project.


British Pathé has released its entire film archive of 85,000 videos on YouTube. You will now be able to browse more than 3,500 hours of history from the last century,

Pathé News was a producer of newsreels, cinemagazines, and documentaries from 1896 until 1976 in the United Kingdom. The archive for all this video is known as British Pathé.

The archive includes footage from around the globe of major events, famous people, fashion, travel, sport, and culture. There’s lots of coverage of the First and Second World Wars.

This project is being managed by German company Mediakraft, an online television network.

The videos were available on the British Pathé web site. Placing them on YouTube allows for browsing and sharing. The project was set up to allow everyone to view, share, and embed high-resolution videos.

British Pathé and Mediakraft plan to work together to create new and original programming that will give a contemporary take on historical events.


British Newspaper Archives has dropped the price for a subscription. The monthly price is 9.95 pounds or about $17 US. Previously the monthly price was 29.95 pounds or about $50 US.

It says the price is for unlimited access but if you read the fine print you will find that the access is for viewing 3,000 pages per month.

You can search for free but to view the images you need a subscription.

Irish TV will be launching a new television channel on May 1st. The channel will broadcast around the clock and it will be about the Irish diaspora in North America, Europe, and Britain. Not only will you find it at IrishTV.ie but it will be on Freestat, Sky and the US Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).

The station will be offering 50 home-produced programs a week and broadcast six hours of original programming nightly.

Many countries will feature their own half-hour programs on the channel each week.

The station will also produce and broadcast local news, children’s programs, and programs about culture, agriculture, and entertainment.


In Ireland, the 1901 census is the first complete census available. You can find it and the 1911 census at the National Archives of Ireland web site.

The censuses from 1821 through 1851 were mostly destroyed in a fire at the Public Record Office in Dublin. The parts that did survive are called census fragments.

According to Claire Santry from her Irish Genealogy News blog, these fragments will be uploaded to the National Archives of Ireland web site on April 28th. Also on that day, the census search forms will be uploaded.

Those were created when someone was applying for a state pension and they needed to prove their age. A search was made in the 1841 and 1851 censuses to prove the applicant’s age.


Now for some conference news.

The National Genealogical conference is almost here. It will be held May 7 – 10 in Richmond, Virginia. I’ll have a booth and I’ll have ribbons. Please drop by and mention you listen to the show and get a ribbon.

Lisa Louise Cooke has announced what she plans to do with the expanded booth she has in the NGS exhibit hall. She will be giving “Outside the Box Sessions.” They will 30 minute sessions at the booth area that will be topics that have been requested. At the sessions you’ll get a free eBook with the handouts and they’ll be prizes. There will be one of these sessions each day from Lisa and there will be session from Janet Hovorka of Family Chartmasters and Maureen Taylor, the Photo Detective.

The next conference after NGS will be the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree, June 6 – 8, in Burbank, California.

Ancestry will be there providing free scanning services. In the past many people have taken advantage of this service. You need to sign up for a 15 minute scanning session. You sign-up the day you want the scanning done. At the Jamboree blog you can pre-register to help Ancestry plan how many people will be needed for scanning. You will still need to register the day you plan to have your 15-minute session.

If you are going to Jamboree and you haven’t registered, early bird discount ends April 30th.

The Federation of Genealogical Societies will hold their conference in San Antonio, Texas. On August 28 – 30. There is a call for exhibit hall presentations. Approximately twenty half-hour presentations will be offered in the exhibit hall. The deadline for submission of exhibit hall proposals is Sunday, May 18th.

The 2015 FGS conference will held with RootsTech in Salt Lake City, February 11 – 15. There is a call for presentations. Submissions will be accepted during the month of May.


The “10th Annual Genealogy Conference and Cruise” will be November 29 – December 6, 2014, cruising the Mexican Riviera. It’s hosted by Heritage Books in consultation with Wholly Genes. Speakers will be Angie Bush, Cyndi Ingle, Bill Litchman, J. Mark Lowe, and Craig Roberts Scott.

If you plan on going, the cruise deposit of $450 is due May 15th.


Coming Up Online

Sunday, April 27, 2 – 4pm eastern
Scanfest from AnceStories

Tuesday, April 29, 1pm eastern
Ancestry Live Event
Same Name – Different Man

Tuesday April 29, 2pm eastern
ALCTS is the Association for Library Collections & Technical Services, a division of the American Library Association
Low-Cost Ways to Preserve Family Archives
presented by Karen E. K. Brown

Wednesday, April 30 2014, 2pm eastern
Legacy Webinar – Google Glass and Family History
presented by Devin Ashby

Thursday, May 1, 1pm eastern
Ancestry Live Event
What’s New at Ancestry.com: May 2014 Edition

Thursday May 1, 1pm
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Webinar
History Library Catalog and Services

Saturday, March 1, 9pm eastern
APG Virtual Chapter Meeting

Friday, May 2 2014, 2pm eastern
Legacy Webinar – Legacy Family Tree – Virtual User’s Group Meeting
presented by Legacy Family Tree Panel

Friday, May 2, 8pm eastern
Twitter #IDGChat – Conference preparation, what do you do?

Saturday, May 3, 1pm eastern
Southern California Genealogical Society
Nifty and Powerful Technologies for Genealogical Analysis and Documentation
presented by Ron Arons

Things that are ongoing

Mondays with Myrt and the Mastering Genealogical Proof Study Group 2. These are Google Hangouts that you can watch live or watch later on the Dear Myrtle YouTube channel.

And every Sunday the Sunday ScanDay Facebook group meets at 4pm eastern to encourage everyone to scan old photos and documents. It’s a closed group, you just need to ask to join to become a member

And that’s it for this episode.

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 as will as a transcript. The transcript can also be found in the Geneatopia Flipboard magazine.

This is episode 34.

Thanks for listening.

Listen to the episode.

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