Episode 58 Transcript

Welcome to the Genealogy News from Geneatopia

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

Today is Thursday February 5, 2015 and this is Episode 58.

AncestryDNA is now available in the United Kingdom and Ireland. AncestryDNA has been available in the United States since 2012.

Those who requested an email when this service was available have received their invitation to buy a kit. The kit will cost £99 which is about $150 US.

Ancestry plans to make AncestryDNA available to more countries this year.

The more people who test with AncestryDNA, the larger the database will become. It’s one large database, there aren’t separate databases for each country.

This database is used to compare to family trees found at Ancestry. If your DNA matches and you share a common ancestor you will see a match. You will need a subscription to Ancestry in order to see your matches. The minimum subscription costs $49 and you get access to see the trees of those you match with, DNA hints, and DNA Circles . You don’t get access to search the records for that price.

Last year Ancestry would let you see partial trees of your matches without a subscription but that feature is now gone. That was a benefit to get more people to test with AncestryDNA in order to grow the database. The database currently has over 700,000 people.

Ancestry.com announced their fourth quarter and full year earnings.

Net subscribers were negative in Q4. Ancestry has 2,115,000 subscribers. That is down a little over 1% from last year.

Annual renewals this year was 40%, last year it was 42% of base subscribers was in annuals.

Subscriber mix has been more monthly than yearly.
54% of subscribers are in some sort of premium package, last year it was 50%.

Increase in monthly subscribers is 36%. Last year it was 32%.

Both those make for a 5% increase of average revenue per subscriber.

They see this strengthening result from the marketing strategy for 2014.

And they see consistent renewal rates.

There is an increase in subscriptions from those who have purchased a DNA kit and have not been previous subscribers.

AncestryDNA is still selling very well. 100,000 new kits were sold in December. More than double from that time last year. There are approximately 700,000 samples in the AncestryDNA database. This does not include most of the kits that were sold in December.

Ancestry launched DNA in the UK and Ireland in January. It is the first international market for the DNA product.

DNA is a complimentary product for both existing users and new users. It goes along with Ancestry’s mission to help everyone discover, preserve, and share their family history.

AncestryDNA is still in early stages and its anticipated to be a very large market. Ancestry has been investing in the product experience. This should be a nice growth area for Ancestry for quite some time.

The core Ancestry.com business had a big investment year. There were 3.1 billion records added which brings total records to 15.8 billion records in the global collection at Ancestry.com.

New notable collections added include:

• Pennsylvania Vital Records, 1708-1985
• American Indian Collection
• UK WWI Service Medal and Award Rolls, 1914-1920
• Sweden Selected Indexed Household Clerical Surveys, 1880-1893
• New York Sing Sing Prison Admission Registers, 1865-1939

There has been progress in new international markets including Germany and Mexico.

In Q4 Ancestry released 31 new databases and nearly 12 million records in Germany covering three important areas of the country – Berlin, Bavaria and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

The year 2014 was focused on investment.

The year 2015 is all about execution in the core business.


Ancestry has announced some improvements coming to the website based on extensive research and testing gathered from user feedback of the existing site.

The new site will be shown at RootsTech next week. Visitors to the Ancestry booth will be able to opt in to participate in the beta. If you are not going to RootsTech, you can signup to be placed on a waitlist to access the site. Those on the waitlist will be asked to join the beta sometime over the next few months.

According to Ancestry the improved website includes:

• A new LifeStory view to transform your ancestors’ facts and events into engaging, unique stories
• A new, intuitive, modern look to streamline your work flows and make your family story the focus
• Historical Insights to discover significant historical events that your ancestors may have experienced
• A new Facts View to make it easier to validate facts with sources, and edit and review facts contextually
• A new Media Gallery where you can consolidate all your media in one place

The new site should be easy to use and puts the focus on your family story. It’s been designed to work well with tablets and smartphones.

They hope the improvements will make it easier for anyone to discover their family.


Ancestry will be building a new company headquarters in Lehi, Utah. Lehi is located 25 minutes south of Salt Lake City, between Salt Lake City and Provo. For the past thirty years Ancestry has been headquartered in Provo, Utah. The Utah facility has 1,000 people working there.

Hopefully the new facility will help the company attract and retain top talent and have room for growth.

The new facility will have a sleek modern design with floor to ceiling windows for phenomenal views of the mountains and surrounding valley. The cost is $35 million.

Pre-construction started in January and it is expected to be ready for occupants some time mid-year 2016.


Ancestry has announced a collection of New Zealand Cemetery records. There are more than 1.6 million records spanning from two centuries from 1,400 cemeteries across the country. The records were digitized by Ancestry from transcriptions made over the years by The New Zealand Society of Genealogists.

This coming weekend from Friday February 6 through Monday February 9, all the New Zealand records at Ancestry can be accessed for free. You will need to sign up with a free account to view the records. There will also be free access to all the UK records during the same time frame.


FamilySearch adds more than 37.9 million indexed records and images to Austria, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Guatemala, Indonesia, Italy, South Africa, and the United States
More new records at FamilySearch

New indexed record collections
International, Current obituary.com index, 2001–2014
US, Delaware, Marriages and Marriage Licenses, 1713–1894

The following have new indexed records and images
U.S., Massachusetts, Boston Passenger Lists, 1820–1891
US, Minnesota, Clay and Steele County Obituaries, 1865–2006
US, New York, Records of the State National Guard, 1906–1954

New browsable image collections added include
Canada, Newfoundland Census, 1935
Canada, Newfoundland Census, 1945
Canada, Newfoundland, 1921 Census
Germany, Saxony-Anhalt, Halberstadt Kreisarchiv, City Directories, Citizen Rolls, Residence Lists, and School Directories, 1700–1933
Guatemala, Alta Verapaz, Civil Registration, 1877–1994
Guatemala, Baja Verapaz, Civil Registration, 1877–1994
Guatemala, Chimaltenango, Civil Registration, 1877–1994
Guatemala, El Progreso, Civil Registration, 1877–1994
Guatemala, Escuintla, Civil Registration, 1877–1994
Guatemala, Guatemala, Civil Registration, 1877–2006
Guatemala, Huehuetenango, Civil Registration, 1877–1994
Guatemala, Izabal, Civil Registration, 1877–1994
Guatemala, Jalapa, Civil Registration, 1877–1994
Guatemala, Jutiapa, Civil Registration, 1877–1994
Guatemala, Petén, Civil Registration, 1877–1994
Guatemala, Quetzaltenango, Civil Registration, 1877–1994
Guatemala, Quiché, Civil Registration, 1877–1994
Guatemala, Retalhuleu, Civil Registration, 1877–1994
Guatemala, Sacatepéquez, Civil Registration, 1877–1994
Guatemala, San Marcos, Civil Registration, 1877–1994
Guatemala, Santa Rosa, Civil Registration, 1877–1994
Guatemala, Sololá, Civil Registration, 1877–1994
Guatemala, Suchitepéquez, Civil Registration, 1877–1994
Guatemala, Zacapa, Civil Registration, 1877–1994
Italy, Reggio Calabria, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1896–1943
Luxembourg, Church Records, 1601–1948
South Africa, Transvaal, Estate Files, 1950–1993
U.S., Colorado, Naturalization Records, 1876–1990
U.S., Hawaii, Index to Filipino Arrivals to Honolulu, 1946
U.S., Louisiana, Freedmen’s Bureau Field Office Records, 1865–1872
U.S., Massachusetts, Federal Census Mortality Schedule, 1870
U.S., Massachusetts, Federal Census Mortality Schedule, 1880
US, Texas and Arizona Arrivals, 1903–1910
U.S., Virginia, Alexandria Passenger and Crew Lists of Vessels, 1946–1957
US, Wisconsin, Milwaukee Passenger and Crew Lists, 1922–1963
United States, Freedmen’s Bureau, Records of the Assistant Commissioner, 1865–1872

Next these collections have indexed records added to an existing collection
El Salvador Civil Registration, 1704–1977
US, Hawaii, Honolulu Passenger Lists, 1900–1953
US, New York, Passenger Lists, 1820–1891
U.S., North Dakota, Census 1925
US, Texas, El Paso Manifests of Arrivals at the Port of El Paso, 1905–1927
US, United States Passport Applications, 1795–1925

The next collections have had indexed records and images added to an existing collection
US, BillionGraves Index
US, United States, GenealogyBank Obituaries, 1980–2014

These collections have added images to an existing collection
Belgium, Hainaut, Civil Registration, 1600–1913
Belgium, Liège, Civil Registration, 1621–1914
Belgium, Limburg, Civil Registration, 1798–1906
Belgium, Luxembourg, Civil Registration, 1580–1920
Belgium, West Flanders, Civil Registration, 1582–1910
Indonesia, Jawa Tengah, Mungkid, District Court Records, 1985–2013
Italy, Mantova, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1496–1906
Italy, Napoli, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1809–1865
Italy, Pescara, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1865–1929
US, California, Oakland, Alameda County, Newspaper Record Collection, 1985–2011


FamilySearch has certified the ‘Relative Finder’ app. This app was developed by students at Brigham Young University.

Once you login at the web site with your FamilySearch login, your family tree is downloaded. It will then show how you are related to famous people or you can create a group of friends and it will show you are you are related to each other. You can create and join many different groups.

The comparison to famous people is done using groups that have been created for U.S. Presidents, European Royalty, Constitution Signers, and LDS Prophets.

Eventually Relative Finder will be a free mobile application for Android and iOS. It currently can be run from its web site. A Bluetooth function is being planned that will let users find relatives in the same room.


The eight semifinalists have been announced for the annual Innovator Challenge. This is a global competition where developers create apps revolving around family history.

Out of a total of 51 entries, 8 were selected to move forward in the competition.

According to the FamilySearch blog post, here are the 8 semifinalists and a description about what they do:

Argus Search
Google-like full text search in historic and handwritten documents without prior referencing.

Find experts for your specific family history needs with Dutch auction pricing.

An instant biography for any ancestor: Explore the lifestyles, places and events that impacted their lives.

Legacy Stories
Your stories making history.

Where Everyone Makes History.

Bring your family history to life with interactive stories that let your family discover their ancestors.

The easiest way to record your family stories.

Personalized health through genealogy, health histories, & genetics to help families minimize risks & live well.

Four finalists will be chosen to show their creations on stage at the RootsTech conference to be held February 12 – 14. The winner will receive $25,000 worth of prizes.


MyHeritage has added 900 million global historical records to SuperSearch. This makes the total number of records on MyHeritage to be over 6 billion.

This new content comes as a result of MyHeritage’s partnership with FamilySearch. It consists mostly of family trees submited by FamilySearch users. This information is updated daily to reflect any changes that are made to trees at FamilySearch.

From MyHeritage, with a subscription, you can search the family trees at FamilySearch. And these records will show up in results for SuperSearch that searches all the records.


Some new records have been added to Findmypast. The Kindertransport records from the National Archives have been added. These records contain information for young Jewish children who sought refuge in Britain at the beginning of the Second World War.

Kinder means children in German. The Kindertransport was created by the British Jewish and Quaker communities to allow at-risk children in Germany and Austria to immigrate to Britain. Many of these children were the only members of their families who survived the Holocaust.

The collection contains lists of refugees, British government correspondence, and official reports. There are passenger lists that tell you the name of the child, their birth date, place of birth, date they left Germany, the name of the ship they traveled on, and the port of arrival.

Findmypast has also added 2.7 million obituaries from Ohio, deaths from Tasmania, Australia, and parish records from Essex, and Warwickshire, England.


BillionGraves now has a new feature that allows you to request a photo be taken of a tombstone that is not already on the site. You will need to be a registered user at BillionGraves in order to place a photo request. Registration is free. There is a paid subscription plan that gives you more options.

Emails for photo requests are sent to registered BillionGraves users who are near the location of the request. From the email you can accept the request, which allows you to communicate with the user who requested the photo.

In order for requests to be sent to you that are near where you are, you will need to make sure your location is correct in BillionGraves. You do this from the dashboard.

The location defaults to the location of your IP address. This is a number that is assigned to you when you access the Internet. It is given to you by your Internet service provider and it may be the location of their offices. You may want to change it at BillionGraves so it reflects where you actually are.

Multiple people can collaborate on the same request. One can take the photo, another can transcribe it, and someone else may provide additional sources and information.


February is Black History month in the United States. Just as they did last year, Fold3 has free access to its Black History Collection for the month of February.

There are many different types of records in the collection. You can search by a specific collection or by categories such as slavery, the Civil War, reconstruction and Jim Crow laws, World Wars, or the civil rights movement.

You need to sign up for a free account to look at the records.


The New England Historic Genealogical Society on Newbury Street in Boston has offered to be the repository for Armenian genealogical history. They will be accepting family trees, letters, and oral histories from the Armenian community in New England. All the materials should relate to family history and genealogy.

NEHGS plans to add these materials to its collections of New England Irish-American materials, New England African-American materials, and New England Jewish-American materials.

NEHGS collects family documents to preserve them for future generations. They accept materials from members and non-members.

At their web site AmericanAncestors.org there are searchable databases of Armenian births, marriages, and deaths in Massachusetts between 1880 and 1915. These particular databases are free.


Accessible Archives is a paid-subscription site. They specialize in newspapers and books from the 18th and 19th century reflecting American history and culture. It costs $59.95 per year.

They have just announced an agreement with the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library to preserve in digital format some of their collections. The library holds Lincoln family letters and assassination materials. It contains materials on Illinois history, maps, personal papers, and other records relating to Illinois history. The county history collection contains history from each of Illinois’s 102 counties.

Once digitized the materials will be available at the Accessible Archives web site.


The Library and Archives Canada has released a new version of the online database Canadian Directories. There are newly digitized directories and full versions of the directories in PDF format.

The 152 new directories are for the Ontario cities of Hamilton (1853-1895), Kingston (1865-1906), and London (1875-1899), and for the many counties of Southwestern Ontario for various years from 1864 – 1899.


The Ulster Historical Foundation in Ireland has some video tutorials available to its members and visitors to the site about how to search the databases.

Members now have access to audio recordings from some of the Guild’s past conferences. To launch this new feature one lecture has been made freely available. It called Family Research in the Registry of Deeds with Dr. Katherine Brown.

At the web site you can view records on a pay-as-you go basis. Right now there is a 50% off sale until February 9th.


Portugal will be giving dual citizenship to the descendants of Jews expelled or forcibly converted to Christianity during the Spanish Inquisition.

The date has not been announced when the law will take affect to allow the dual citizenship.

Since Portugal is a member of the European Union, citizenship means that a person who obtains it will have the right to live and work in any of the EU member states.

Spain has a similar law waiting for approval.


The Quebec Family History Society will be having a conference June 19, 20, and 21. The conference is called Roots 2015 and will be held at McGill University, Montreal. It will offer several lectures about Quebec genealogical research. There will be many topics to choose from.

All lectures and activities will be in English. Registration is $135 for nonmembers and $125 for members of the Quebec Family History Society.


Who Do You Think You Are? will be returning to TLC this spring on Sunday, March 8th. It was previously announced that the new season would start earlier in February.

There will be a total of eight episodes. They already announced that Julie Chen, Angie Harmon, Bill Paxton and Sean Hayes would be on the show. Now they have announced four more and they are:

Melissa Etheridge – a singer and songwriter. She will be traveling to Quebec in search of her ancestors.

America Ferrera – an actress known for her role as Betty Suarez in the series Ugly Betty. She will be learning about her father who she never knew.

Tony Goldwyn – an actor. He will be exploring his mother’s side of the family.

Josh Groban – a singer and songwriter. He learns about an ancestor who was renowned scientist that studied astronomy.


Legacy Family Tree has some recorded webinars that are only for those who subscribe to Legacy Family Tree Webinars. The first one is called “Nebraska, A Genealogy Journey.”

Besides the webinar, there is a new book available – Genealogical Research in Nebraska by Ruby Coleman. Ruby Coleman is the same person who recorded the webinar.

The second recorded webinar for subscribers is “Women Homesteaders and Genealogy” with Gail Blankenau. The webinar discusses women at the time of the 1862 Homestead Act.

A subscription costs $49.95 per year and gives you access to all previous Legacy webinars.

Coming up

Wednesday, February 11, 9pm eastern
Legacy Webinar
Zigzagging through German Church Records
presented by James M. Beidler

Thursday February 12, 1pm Eastern
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Webinar
Genealogy Program Introduction

#genchat – #genchat in SLC for #FGS2015 : The 1-2-3’s of genealogy
Friday, February 13, 10pm eastern

Tuesday, February 17, 8pm eastern
Wisconsin State Genealogical Society Webinar
Grandmothers, Mothers & Daughters: Researching Your Female Lines
presented by Lisa Alzo

Thursday, February 18, 1pm Eastern
FamilySearch Webinar
FamilySearch og Slægtsforskning (This webinar will be taught in Danish)

Wednesday, February 18, 2pm eastern
Legacy Webinar
Researching Your New Zealand Ancestors
presented by Jan Gow

Wednesday, February 18, 8pm eastern
Georgia Genealogical Society
Claws or Clues: Scratching for the Elusive Ancestor
presented by C. Ann Staley

Wednesday, February 18, 9pm eastern
Southern California Genealogical Society
6 Steps to Choreograph Your Research Across the Internet
presented by Janet Hovorka

Thursday, February 19, 2 pm Eastern
New England Historic Genealogical Society Webinar
Using Manuscripts in Your Genealogical Research
presented by Timothy X. Salls

Thursday, February 19, 8 PM Eastern
APG Webinar
The Ins and Outs of Speaker Proposals
presented by Julie Miller

Thursday, February 19, 8pm eastern
Florida State Genealogical Society Poolside Chat
A Guide to Overseas Genealogy
presented by Jacqueline Krieps Schattner

Thursday February 19, 9pm eastern
Utah Genealogical Association
The ABC’s and 123’s of DNA
presented by Angie Bush

Friday, February 20, 2pm eastern
Legacy Webinar
Researching Ancestors in the Era of Freedom
presented by Angela Walton-Raji

Saturday, February 21, 3pm Eastern
FamilySearch Webinar
¿He buscado aqui? El uso de notas y listas de investigación
Have I sought here? Using notes and lists research

And that’s it for this episode.

You can find all the webinars mentioned and more at the calendar at Geneatopia.com.

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 58.

Thanks for listening.

Listen to the episode.

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