Episode 57 Transcript

Welcome to the Genealogy News from Geneatopia

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

Today is Monday, January 26, 2015 and this is Episode 57.

The Genealogy Department at the Indiana State Library in Indianapolis is in danger of being eliminated. The new Indiana state budget proposed by Governor Pence will reduce funding for the state library by 24% and reduce library staff by 10%. This includes the elimination of the library’s genealogy department.

The Genealogy Department mostly contains items pertaining to Indiana. It is a destination for patrons of the nearby Indianapolis Marion County Public Library since this library donated its genealogy collection to the state library. The county library has in the past donated funds to the state library for the purchase of genealogy research materials.

Almost half of all reference questions to the state library are for research from the genealogy collection.

A State Visitor Center will be installed on the library’s first floor adjacent to the genealogy department. Staff members from the genealogy department have important roles as patrons visit the center in celebration of the state’s bicentennial that will occur in 2016.

This is a proposed budget and the legislators can change and adjust the budget. You can find out who to contact about this at a blog post by the Indiana Genealogical Society and of course I’ll have a link to that blog post in the show notes.


Ancestry has released the England and Wales, Death Index, 2007 – 2013 and Scotland and Northern Ireland, Death Index, 1989 – 2013. Both these collections did not list the source for where the records come from. It stated various sources.

Many people have complained that without sources, this resource can only be used as a guide for searching for other records.

After a few days, Ancestry did place under the sources that the data comes from GreyPower Deceased Data compiled by Wilmington Millennium, West Yorkshire. This is a database that is sold to marketers so they don’t waste their time mailing to those who are deceased.

Also many people have found that the collections are missing some information for those who did in fact die during those years. The collection for England states that it covers approximately 55% of the total deaths that occurred in this time period and the Scotland collection covers approximately 45% of the total deaths that occurred in this time period.


HeritageQuest Online is typically available from your local library. You can use it from computers at the library and you can use it at home by clicking a link for it from your library’s web site and then entering your library card number. There are some big changes planned for the site that you should be seeing in the first part of 2015.

It will contain the complete 1790 – 1940 Federal Census. There will be images and an every-name index for all years and interactive census maps.

There will be additional census records such as Mortality and Non-Population Schedules, Indian Census Rolls, and more.

The collection of genealogy and local history books will be expanded as well as city directories.

There will be a new user interface for the books and city directories. You will be able to see thumbnail images and there will be highlighting.

The Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land record collection will contain all records to make for a complete collection.

The Freedman’s Bank Records will have a full-page register view.

Periodical Source Index Archive (PERSI) will still be available for the years 1800-2009. The more recent version of PERSI can be found at Findmypast.

Also the U.S. Congressional Serial Set will still be available. These records contain memorials, petitions, and private relief actions made to the U.S. Congress back to 1789.

The new HeritageQuest Online will be powered by Ancestry. HeritageQuest is part of ProQuest. Last year it was announced that ProQuest would be the distributer for Ancestry Library Edition and this agreement included improvements to HeritageQuest Online.


The beta version of History Lines is now available. This is a simplified version of the planned full version of History Lines. Some of the functionality and advanced features have been disabled. They will be introduced in the coming weeks. This will allow beta testers to test individual features one at a time as they become available.

The site lets you add personal events and family members to a timeline. History Lines provides all the relevant historical and cultural background for the time your ancestor lived.

Currently, the site offers historical data for the British Isles, Ireland, and the United States from 1600 to present.

Anyone can signup at historylines.com to get access to the beta site.


There is another new web site the will be in beta soon. The name of that site is Vita Infinita. According the to web site

it’s “a web application that allows users to connect with socially active relatives worldwide, crowdsource the family relationships, collect personal memories and organise them in a simple genealogy and timeline system for the future generations.”

From the web site you can subscribe to be notified about the beta launch. They also have a Facebook page where they are announcing the progress of the web site.


Inmates from jails in Utah, Arizona, and Idaho have been indexing records at FamilySearch.org. Firewalls prohibit direct access to the Internet so the prisoners access microfilm and flash drives to obtain the documents.

After viewing the documents, the inmates enter data into a document that is later compiled into a searchable index and made available to the public.

Service missionaries are available to help the inmates with their indexing efforts. Some inmates have the opportunity to do their own family history research.


Last year the Smithsonian asked for help transcribing records. Over 6,500 records have been transcribed so far. Digitizing the records now costs about $1 per sheet and 3,500 sheets per day can be digitized. They have implemented a rapid capture system.

The process uses a conveyor belt and a custom-designed 80 megapixel imaging system to capture the images. There are markings on the belt for where items should be placed.

They are digitizing a quarter-million sheets that were used to print money from 1863 to 1930. These sheets are the only surviving record to the United States monetary history.

Digitization should be completed in March. Transcribing will continue after the digitization has been completed.

The Smithsonian can still use more transcribers to help with this effort.


The Saskatchewan Historic Newspapers Online collection currently contains newspapers published during the Great War period, from 1914 to 1918. This is the initial stage. Eventually the site will contain all newspapers from 1878 – 1964. These newspapers were published from over 100 separate communities across the province. They are currently held in the Saskatchewan Archives Collection.

The Saskatchewan Historic Newspapers Online collection was created in collaboration between the Saskatchewan Archives and Sask History Online.


The latest Findmypast Friday update was for Irish records. The Poverty Relief Loans, Clare Electoral Registers, the Ireland 1911 census, Ireland marriages, and over a million new Irish newspaper articles were added to Findmypast.

The Poverty Relief Loans collection comes from the The National Archives at Kew. These records contain information about loans to those affected by poverty and famine for the years 1821 – 1874. That time period includes the Irish Potato Famine.

The Clare Electoral Registers contain information about those individuals who owned or leased property worth at least £10 (pounds) between 1860 and 1910.

The 1911 census of Ireland is a good starting place for many with Irish ancestors. Most of the censuses taken in Ireland during the 19th century were destroyed. These records are free to search, you just need to register.

The Irish Marriages 1619 – 1898 collection contain transcripts of the original registers. You can search using different criteria.

10 new titles have been added to the Irish Newspaper collection. The full collection now has 60 titles.


As a result of feedback Findmypast has changed the search navigation at the site to make it easier to navigate.

Now you will see the categories and sub-categories in a column on the left hand side so you can see all the records at a glance.

There will be a count next to each category that tells you how many matches were found in that category. You can open up a category and see the number of matches in each sub-category.

The search criteria that was entered will be displayed in the top left corner of the page. You can also edit your search from there.

During the next few weeks you may see changes as more feedback is integrated to improve the search experience.


Some more libraries are digitizing their collections. The first one to mention is the Gambia National Library in West Africa. The director of the library has recently informed lawmakers that they are on track for the digitization of archival materials at the library.

The Qatar National Library’s online Qatar Digital Library is starting the second phase of its digitization project.

Qatar is a sovereign Arab country located in Southwest Asia.

Pages from the India Office Records dating from the mid-18th century to 1951 and historical maps and photographs will be digitized and added to the online collection. Also added will be pages of Arab Islamic sciences manuscripts and some private papers.

The digitization for this phase is expected to last until December 2018. It is in partnership with the Qatar Foundation and the British Library. The first phase was launched in October 2014.

The goal of the Qatar Digital Library is to create a resource to advance world’s knowledge and understanding of the Gulf’s cultural heritage.


National Genealogy Conference in Canada will be held in Nova Scotia July 17 – 19. The original registration was $850. They have lowered the price to $210. That’s in Canadian dollars. That new price would be about $170 US.

The full program for the conference has been released. There will be keynote presentations, workshops, and a roundtable discussion.

Registration is open for Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research held at Samford University in Birmingham, AL. There are seats still available for most courses. The following have a wait list

Intermediate Genealogy & Historical Studies with Angela McGhie
Advanced Methodology & Evidence Analysis with Judy Russell
Research in the South: The Colonies of the South with Mark Lowe

There are a total of 10 courses being offered during the week of June 7th


The combined RootsTech/FGS conference is almost here. The opening keynote speaker will be Tan Le. She will share her story about how she fled Vietnam with her mother and sister. She was named Young Australian of the Year and recognized by Fast Company as one of the most influential women in technology. Forbes has named her as one of the 50 names you need to know.


The first national Hellenic American Genealogy Conference is planned for Saturday, April 25, in New York City. This day long conference is focused on Greek genealogy. The cost of the conference is covered by the event sponsor but seating is limited so you need to register. The event is sponsored by the Education and Culture Committee of the Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce.


The 5th annual Family History Writing Challenge will be going on during the month of February. This is something The Armchair Genealogist has been organizing these past 5 years. It’s free to participate.

The guest authors have been announced. They are Sharon DeBartolo Carmack, Lisa Alzo, Jennifer Holik, and Biff Barnes.

I’ll have a link in the show notes where you can read their biographies.

Things coming up

Tuesday, February 3, 1pm Eastern
Ancestry Live Event
What’s New at Ancestry: February 2015 Edition
presented by Crista Cowen

Illinois State Genealogical Society Webinar
Tuesday, February 3, 9pm eastern
Basic Scandinavian Research
presented by Diana Crisman Smith

Wednesday, February 4, 2015, 2pm eastern
Legacy Webinar
One-Place Studies: Tracing the History of a Community from Research Mistakes
presented by Kirsty Gray

Wednesday, February 4, 8pm eastern
Minnesota Genealogical Society
Genealogy Do-Over™: A Year of Learning from Research Mistakes
presented by Thomas MacEntee

Thursday February 5, 1pm
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Webinar
History Library Catalog and Services

Thursday, February 5, 9pm Eastern
FamilySearch Webinar
Danish Resources on FamilySearch.org

Thursday, February 5, 9pm eastern
FGS Google+ Hangout on Air

North Carolina Genealogical Society
Pre-1913 Vital Records – Challenging and Elusive and Not Necessarily Impossible to Find
presented by Diane L. Richard
Webinar free viewing February 6 – 8

Friday, February 6, 2015, 2pm eastern
Legacy Webinar
Step-by-Step—Finding Confederate Soldiers and Their Records
presented by Mark Lowe

Saturday, February 7, 1pm eastern
Southern California Genealogical Society
Stickin’ to the Union: Using Labor Union Documents for Genealogy
presented by Jane Neff Rollins

Saturday, February 7, 3pm Eastern
FamilySearch Webinar
Registros civiles y censos

And don’t forget to check out what DearMYRTLE is doing. There’s Mondays with Myrt, Beginning Genealogy, Wacky Wednesday, Genealogy and the Law Study Group, and Saturday Genealogy Game Night. You can watch live or view later on her YouTube channel.

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 57.

Thanks for listening.


Listen to the episode.

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