Episode 44 Transcript

Welcome to the Genealogy News from Geneatopia

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

Today is Sunday July 13, 2014 and this is Episode 44.

The US National Archives is planning to upload all its holdings to Wikimedia Commons. They’ve been uploading content to Wikipedia since 2010 as part of their Open Government Plan. But now according to their Open Government Plan 2014 – 2016, they will be uploading digitized holdings to Wikimedia Commons. The reason they are doing this is to provide better access to records to the public. The goal is to get these records available for as many people as possible to use. Wikimedia Commons is used by many people already making the records of the National Archives easily accessible.

It’s easy to drag-and-drop to add files to Wikimedia Commons but the National Archives needs to do this in bulk, not one image at a time. So they’ve been working on an upload script using the Wikimedia Commons API, which allows computer programmers to write code to access Wikimedia Commons. This bulk upload script should be finished by the end of the year.


After Ancestry suffered a distributed denial of service attack in mid-June, they’ve decided to extend the deadline for shutting down some services to give people more time to access their data. The new date will be September 30, 2014, the previous date was September 5th. The services that are being shutdown are MyFamily, MyCanvas, Genealogy.com, Mundia and the Y-DNA and mtDNA tests for AncestryDNA.

During this time users should be downloading any data they would like to save. They need to finish any projects they’ve started at MyCanvas and get them ordered by September 30th. You can still create new projects and you have time to finish any photo books, calendars, or posters that were in progress. If you’ve posted to GenForum, which is part to Genealogy.com, you should update your email address in anything you posted there so people can contact you in the future. These forums will be read-only after September 30th.


Need some help using Ancestry? Well, Ancestry has a new Search Strategy Guide to help you get organized so you can find the information you’re looking for. It’s based on the idea when you get ready to go on a research trip. You organize who you want to research and what you hope to find when you travel to an archive or library.

There are many different ways you can search on Ancestry. Different strategies work better in different situations. The guide helps you determine which type of search works best for different situations.

Look for more types of search guides in the coming months to help you search better at Ancestry.

Ancestry’s latest research guides are for Tennessee and New Hampshire. In the guides you’ll find the history of the state, significant dates, census information for the state, where to find vital records and military records. You’ll also find links to some other collections, statewide research resources, and help and advice sites.


The New York State Department of Corrections has been digitizing prison records from Newgate in Greenwich Village, the first New York State penitentiary that was known as being sent “up river”, Clinton, and Sing Sing. You’ll find the records at Ancestry. New York residents can access the records for free.

Also at Ancestry you’ll find records from San Quentin and Folsom prisons in California. Included in that collection are the California School for Girls, the Ventura School for Girls, and the Whittier State School. In the records you’ll find a picture of the inmate, a physical description, and biographical information. Records of minors often contain the name of the parent or guardian.

FamilySearch adds more than 4.9 million indexed records and images to Belgium, Mexico, Peru, Spain, Sweden, and the United States.

New browsable image collections added include
United States Enumeration District Maps for the Twelfth through the Sixteenth US Censuses, 1900–1940
United States Freedmen’s Branch Records, 1872–1878
U.S., Mississippi, Freedmen’s Bureau Field Office Records, 1865–1872
U.S., Missouri, Freedmen’s Bureau Field Office Records, 1865–1872

The next collection has new indexed records and images
U.S., North Carolina, Freedmen’s Bureau Assistant Commissioner Records, 1862–1870

Next these collections have indexed records added to an existing collection
El Salvador Civil Registration, 1704–1977
Mexico, Distrito Federal, Catholic Church Records, 1514–1970
Peru, Lima, Civil Registration, 1874–1996
Peru, Puno, Civil Registration, 1890–2005
Spain, Province of Sevilla, Municipal Records, 1293–1966
Sweden, Gävleborg Church Records, 1616–1908; index 1671-1860
U.S., BillionGraves Index
U.S., Indiana, Marriages, 1811–1959
U.S., Maine, Vital Records, 1670–1907
U.S., Maryland, Baltimore Passenger Lists Index, 1820–1897
U.S., Montana, Lake County Records, 1857–2010
U.S., Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Passenger Lists Index, 1800–1906

These collections have added images to an existing collection.
Belgium, Hainaut, Civil Registration, 1600–1913
Mexico, Coahuila, Catholic Church Records, 1627–1978
Netherlands, Limburg Province, Civil Registration, 1792–1950
Spain, Province of Granada, Municipal Records, 1607–1955
Ukraine, Donetsk Church Books, 1809–1928
U.S., Massachusetts, Plymouth County, Probate Estate Files, 1686–1915
U.S., Virginia, Freedmen’s Bureau Field Office Records, 1865–1872

FamilySearch has added some new classes in the Learning Center. The new classes are

A report from a 2013 Czech genealogy conference.
An introduction to doing Hispanic research.
Research classes for Spain, Latin America, and Mexico.
A class on doing Slovak Family History.

FamilySearch is having a 24 hour worldwide indexing event on July 20 to the 21st. It starts at 8 PM Eastern Time on Sunday, July 20 and it ends 24 hours later at 7:59 PM on Monday, July 21. During these 24 hours DearMYRTLE will be hosting a GeneaSleepOver. It will be a Hangout on Air. You can participate by doing some indexing and then joining the panel in the Hangout to talk about what you indexed or posting a comment in the community.

Some new maps have been released by the United States Geological Survey. Actually they’re old maps dating back to 1884.

There’s a new web site with a Topographic Map Explorer. At the site you can search by city to see what maps are available and see a current map for the area. Clicking on an old map will overlay the current map in the viewer.

There are more than 178,000 maps available at the site.


MyHeritage has a new version of the MyHeritage mobile app that has some improvements for managing photos. You can now manage your family site photos directly from your mobile device. You can see the photos and tag photos for any individual in your tree .

Photos can be added directly to an album by taking a new photo or selecting an existing photo.

These new features make it easy to show your family tree to others and snap photos of anyone in the tree.

The app is available on iOS and Android for free.

MyHeritage is offering free access to over 1.5 million World War I records until the end of July. In the records you may find details of soldiers who died, prisoners of war, casualties, and those who returned home safely.

Findmypast and Wall to Wall Television who produces the UK version of Who Do You Think You Are? will be launching a new project soon. They will be launching a commercial web site and online product at the Who Do You Think You Are? Story website.

At the site you’ll be able to create your own personalized Who Do You Think You Are? story and share it. Once you add the details about your family going as far back as you can, the site will create a unique visual experience. It will contain key events in the family’s history as well as important contemporary issues, which would have had an impact on their lives.

Who Do You Think You Are? Story draws information from Findmypast’s archive of historical records, British newspaper articles, war records, and other sources.

Findmypast has added back the enumerator summary pages for the 1911 census. They were on the old site and now have been included at the new site. You’ll find these from a link at the bottom right corner when you are looking at an image from the census.

These records reveal the neighborhood. You can see a list of all the homes an enumerator visited. This lets you see at a glance who lived in the neighborhood. And there is a description of the neighborhood or enumeration district.

In its weekly update, Findmypast mentions they are working to improve the record set search screens. They are focusing on birth, marriage, and death records to standardize the search options and results. They’ve complete 45% of UK record sets.

To help you search better at Findmypast, they released a blog post that shows you how to search. They discuss using keywords, searching categories, using wildcards, and searching the census by address.

While making these improvements, they are extracting details about the collections so you better understand the information contained in them.

Collections added to the 100in100 campaign include
Ireland dog license registers
Irish petty sessions court registers
British Royal Air Force records
Kent, Dartford census
New England naturalizations
Warwickshire, Witton cemetery memorial index
Sheffield, Norton cemetery burials
marriage records for Wyoming, Montana, and Oklahoma

The 100in100 campaign is winding down and Findmypast says they will be bringing more records online very regularly from now on.

BillionGraves and the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) have partnered to image all cemetery markers for participants of the War of 1812.

BillionGraves would like everyone to concentrate on War of 1812 veterans during the month of July. After you’ve uploaded an image they would like you make a post about it on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #1812today, #warof1812, or #billiongraves.

These cemetery markers of War of 1812 veterans will be immediately searchable.

FGS will help spread the message about cemetery markers for War of 1812 veterans. They are also trying to raise more money for digitizing the pensions for those who participated in the War of 1812. They hope to raise an average of $1,812 each day of July. You can donate at the web site preservethepensions.org.

RootsMapper has released version 2. It’s a web site that displays migration patterns of your ancestors. It uses data in your FamilySearch Family Tree to plot the data. You can login at the RootsMapper site with your FamilySearch credentials and a map will be created based on the data in your Family Tree. RootsMapper is free and only works with a FamilySearch account.

In the new version you can bookmark static URLs, access an interactive pedigree browser, display country of origin statistics, isolate an individual generation, and there is a new redesigned user interface. You can also highlight countries and export to KML which is file format used to display geographic data in an Earth browser such as Google Earth or Google Maps.


The homestead records for Arizona are almost all digitized. The Homestead National Monument of America is in the process of digitizing homestead records from the National Archives. The homestead records for the state of Nebraska have already been digitized.

The Homestead Act of 1862 allowed any adult citizen, or intended citizen, who had never borne arms against the United States, could claim 160 acres of surveyed government land. After 5 years of living on the land, the original filer was entitled to the property. The Homestead Act lasted until 1976.

Many documents were created when people filed to live on the land and then proved after 5 years that they had built a house and grown crops. In the records you will find a description of the house, other buildings on the land, how many acres were plowed, and if they were not yet U.S. citizens there will be information about the naturalization paperwork.

You can find the homestead records at Fold3, a subscription web site.

The University of Southern Mississippi plans to double its digital archive of civil rights era oral histories. They’ve been collecting oral histories since 1971 from people who were involved with civil rights and voting rights movements.

About 450 of these oral histories have been digitized. The University has received funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities to digitally preserve additional audio interviews, index some interviews that have not been transcribed, and publish more interviews to the university’s digital collection.

There is a new web site to honor those who served in World War I in Canada. It’s called The Great War (1914 – 1918) and it contains lots of photographs and illustrations. You can also listen to music that was popular at the time.

The site is broken into sections called Faces of War, Home Front, Battlefront, After the War and Memory Project.

The Memory Project is where you can see what other Canadians have submitted. Anyone can e-mail stories, photos, documents, or other memorabilia that will be placed on the web site about Canadians who served during the war.


Another web site dedicated to the stories of World War I is Lives of the First World War. It’s run by the Imperial War Museums in the UK in a partnership with DC Thomson Family History. They run the Findmypast web site.

They have announced that with the Library and Archives Canada, they have placed the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) databases and attestation papers at the site. These papers were filled out at the place of enlistment. They include the recruit’s name and address, next-of-kin, date and place of birth, occupation, previous military service, and distinguishing physical characteristics. They signed the papers to indicate their willingness to serve overseas.

Now at the Lives of the First World War web site is information about 600,000 Canadian men and women who played a role in the war. They’re asking for your help to remember each and every person by sharing your stories online at the site.

The Library and Archives Canada has listed newly digitized microfilms that are available at the Heritage portal web site. Some collections that will be of interest to genealogist are parish registers for New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec and World War I: Veterans claim cards.

The British Newspaper Archive has added 240,000 newspaper pages in June. Included in that number is a new title called London’s Illustrated Times. This paper reported on local, national, and international news. Each edition featured illustrations.

60 other newspaper titles were updated with more pages.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission website has a new section at its web site for World War I. This new section is called Discover 14 – 18 to help people visit cemeteries and memorials related to World War I and learn more about the war. The site will continue to be developed to explain more about the conflict and where those who died are commemorated today.

The General Register’s Office in Ireland has released indexes to the Registers of Civil Records at irishgenealogy.ie. These were enhanced indexes to the records that were previously only available to the General Register’s Office staff. The new index allows for searching by dates for birth, marriage, and death, and surnames of both marriage partners.

Onward to Our Past Genealogy Services has started a crowdsourcing effort to determine the first Bohemian/Czech immigrant settlers across the United States. They ask that you start by leaving comments on their web site or on their Facebook page.

They would like you to identify any Czech communities you know of and what you know about the Czech immigrants who lived there. They also would like to know if you would like to participate in this project and any information you already know about the subject.

Genealogy Roadshow is coming to St. Louis and would like people in that area to submit their stories now to see if it can be included in the show. They will be filming on August 22 – 23. They’re interested in family mysteries, if you’re related to a historical figure, if you were adopted and want to find out more about your birth family, or any burning questions you may have.

Registration is now open for the 2014 British Institute to be held in Salt Lake City, October 20 – 24. The following courses will be offered

From Simple to Complex: Applying Genealogy’s Standard of Acceptability to British Research with Tom Jones
Researching Your Irish Ancestors with David Rencher
Scottish Research: The Fundamentals and Beyond with Paul Milner
Welsh Family History Made Simple with Darris Williams

The new season of Who Do You Think You Are? will be starting on Wednesday, July 23rd. Cynthia Nixon will be featured. She will be exploring her father’s side of the family that will reveal an ancestral mystery of deceit and murder.

The show will air at 9pm eastern.

Starting at 1pm eastern TLC will start airing the episodes they acquired from NBC. Stars in those shows include Trisha Yearwood, Zooey Deschanel, Chris O’Donnell, Jim Parsons, Kelly Clarkson, Christina Applegate, Chelsea Handler, Sara Jessica Parker, and Matthew Broderick.

The episode with Cynthia Nixon will be rebroadcast at 11pm eastern and then 3 more episodes will be repeated after that.

The show Who Do You Think You Are? has been nominated for the second time for an Emmy in the category Outstanding Structured Reality Program.

Tuesday, July 15, 1pm eastern
Ancestry Live Event
Genealogical Proof Standard: A Reasonably Exhaustive Search

#genchat – Where in the world… have you researched?
Wednesday, July 16th, noon eastern

Wednesday, July 16 2014, 2pm eastern
Legacy Webinar – When Freedom Came – Documenting the Family’s Freedom Story
presented by Angela Walton-Raji

Thursday, July 17, 1pm eastern
Ancestry Live Event
AncestryDNA: Managing Multiple Tests

North Carolina Genealogical Society Webinar
available from July 18 – July 20 free to everyone
encore presentation
“Tarheels in Your Family Tree?, Part I”
with Helen F. M. Leary

Sunday July 20, 8pm eastern
Event is for 24 hours, ends July 21st at 7:59pm

Wednesday, July 23, 2pm eastern
Legacy Webinar – Researching Your Illinois Ancestors
presented by Thomas MacEntee

Wednesday, July 23, 2pm eastern
MyHeritage Webinar MyHeritage Mobile App

Thursday July 24, 1pm eastern
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Webinar
“Records Found” Case Studies

Thursday, July 24, 9pm eastern
Second Life National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ) Study Group
Warren C. Pratt, “Finding the Father of Henry Pratt of Southeastern Kentucky,” National Genealogical Society Quarterly 100 (June 2012):85-103.

#genchat – DNA: best resources to understand the science
Friday, June 25th, 10pm eastern

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

This is episode 44.

Thanks for listening

Listen to the episode.


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