Episode 59 Transcript

Welcome to the Genealogy News from Geneatopia

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

Today is Thursday February 19, 2015 and this is Episode 59.

This past week was the RootsTech/FGS combined conferences held in Salt Lake City, Utah. There were many announcements.

The theme for RootsTech was “Who Inspires You?”

Estimates were over 22,000 people attended the combined conferences. The area for the keynotes held about 5,000 to 10,000 people. There were 5 screens setup so thousands of people could see the stage.

The conference started with the hosts of the Genealogy Roadshow, Joshua Taylor, Kenyatta Berry, and Mary Tedesco, talking about the Preserve the Pensions project to digitize the pension records from the War of 1812. FGS is working closely with the National Archives, FamilySearch, Ancestry, and Fold3 to accomplish this.

The pension records are one of the heaviest records sets used at the National Archives. These records have never been microfilmed or digitized before.

The project is a community project that is financed by funds from organizations and individuals. Every dollar donated is matched by Ancestry. When the records are digitized they will be free to search and view.

They have announced that they have raised over 50% of their target. And they encourage everyone to donate to raise the rest of the money needed to complete the project.

Dennis Brimhall, CEO of FamilySearch International, was the first speaker for the first keynote session. His background is in the medical field. He has been CEO of FamilySearch for 4 years.

He said he felt like a deer in a headlight, a little lost, when he first started at FamilySearch. He is now enrolled in the BYU Idaho class to obtain a degree in Family History.

The theme for last year was how to get more people interested in family history, and that will probably be the theme for years to come. Last year they sent out recordings so other countries could create mini RootsTechs.

Last year they hoped to create 600 mini conferences and they almost doubled that number. This year already 600 have signed up and it’s estimated that the total number of mini conferences will exceed the number from last year.

Volunteer indexing is growing. Last year FamilySearch announced the obituary indexing initiative. So far 100 million names have been indexed in obituaries.

Indexing has allowed FamilySearch to do record hints. These hints allow people to connect sources to their families at Family Tree. This makes their family history more accurate and easier.

FamilySearch has partnered with many organizations such as Ancestry, MyHeritage, and Findmypast.

With help from Ancestry, the Mexican church and civil records that were microfilmed in 1952 should be indexed by the end of this year.

FamilySearch has partnered with Findmypast to digitize records in England, Australia, and the United States. They are working to integrate trees and hints at both websites to help families connect.

Another partner MyHeritage was the sponsor for the first day of the conference.

They’ve announced partnerships with the New England Historic Genealogical Society and Family.me. NEHGS is the oldest genealogy society and its located in Boston. It specializes in New England records.

FamilySearch will provide NEHGS with more than 2 billion records from its record collections and its online Family Tree. Those records will be added to the NEHGS website AmericanAncestors.org. NEHGS will provide millions of records to FamilySearch from its holdings.

Family.me is a website for collaboration among family members. Their website debuted at the conference. Some features of the site include

• a tree builder
• invite family members
• share photos
• search records

Family.me is working with FamilySearch to make those records available to Family.me users.

LDS members will have free access to the NEHGS website AmericanAncestors.org and free access to Family.me.

When we start our family history we start with ourselves. FamilySearch has created a Museum of Me. This is a new place is also called the Discovery Center. It’s located next to the Family History Library.

It starts out by telling you about the history of your first and last names. It can tell you how many other people have the same first and last names in the United States.

It shows you things that happened the year you were born. You can then select other years to see if you can remember what happened, as you were a child.

That was the first station at Discovery Center. Another station helps you learn more about your ancestors by showing a map of where your ancestors were born. On the map you can specify how many generations you want displayed.

You can add your own content to the Museum of Me.

Another station is all about photos and pictures. There are pictures of people in costumes. You see the ones where your ancestors were in different countries. Your face is replaced with the one in the photo so it looks like you are wearing the costume.

You can put all the exhibits from the Museum of Me into one place that you can email to yourself so you can share it.

Currently the Discovery Center is in Salt Lake City. The next one will be in Philadelphia. It will be located in the new museum of the American Revolution. They are looking for a location in London to place another Discovery Center.

A smaller model of a Discovery Center is currently being built in Seattle. It will be completed in a few months.

The third speaker for the first day keynote was Mike Mallin from MyHeritage. He talked about making instant discoveries at MyHeritage. People can find their ancestors by entering in a little information about their parents and grandparents.

The main keynote speaker for the first day was Tan Le. She is an amazing woman who became highly successful with her company Emotiv, a startup company dedicated to brain research to advance understanding of the human brain to enable early identification of mental and other neurological conditions.

She talked about how she and her family came to Australia from Viet Nam. At the end there was a standing ovation.

Many people said that it was so quiet in the hall while she was talking that you could hear a pin drop. Remember there were thousands of people listening to her talk, it seems everyone was moved by her talk. You can watch it at RootsTech.org along with other sessions that were streamed live and recorded at the conference.

The keynote speakers on the second day of the conference where the former first lady Laura Bush and her daughter Jenna Bush Hager.

Laura Bush talked about her years in the White House and she also shared stories about her family. She stressed that you should always make time for family.

After Mrs. Bush’s speech, Jenna Bush Hager interviewed her mother about memories she had and the years at the White House.

At the end the women received a standing ovation.

The keynote speakers for the last day of the conference were A. J. Jacobs and Donny Osmond.

A. J. Jacobs talked about the projects he has worked on and the Global Family Reunion that will be held on June 6th in New York. In preparation for the reunion everyone is encouraged to see how they are related to A. J. Everyone at the keynote received a sign that said “I am a cousin!” He had everyone hold up the sign and then he took a selfie with the audience in the background.

Next was Donny Osmond. People were so excited to see Donny Osmond that he got a standing ovation when he walked in. Of course he sang. He recently released his 60th album. There is a Donny Osmond app you can download for iOS or Android to hear the songs on the album. If you can’t find it by searching the app store or play store, you can find links to the apps at donny.com/app.

He also talked about researching his family history. He has all of his mother’s genealogical research and in his spare time he researches his family history.


The day before the conference was the Innovator Summit. This day is meant for developers and business leaders who create family history data and services. These sessions were recorded and they should be available for everyone to see soon at RootsTech.org.

They have a contest to find the best product for the year. There were 51 submissions. They were narrowed down to eight and then at the Innovator Summit they narrowed it down to four. These four presented their submission after the keynote session on the second day. This was called the Innovator Showdown.

The top four contestants were

ArgusSearch – a full text search engine that has handwriting recognition technology.

GenMarketplace – a place to post jobs where experts will select jobs they want to work on. The fast and easy jobs will be done first at the lowest cost and more difficult and tedious jobs that take longer will cost more over time.

Lucidpress – a rich experience for telling stories with pictures and videos.

StoryWorth – breaks up storytelling into small chunks. An email is sent each week with a simple question to help you tell your story.

Each of the four finalists gave a 5 minute presentation and responded to questions from a panel of judges. The judges were AJ Jacobs, founder of The Global Family Reunion and a New York Times bestselling author; Amy Rees Anderson, managing partner of REES Capital; Curt Witcher, senior manager of The Genealogy Center, Allen County Public Library; Dan Mano, vice president of business development, MyHeritage; and Jay Verkler, advisor and corporate consultant, The Verkler Group.

People in the audience and judges voted by texting on a phone. And the winner was StoryWorth.

StoryWorth helps you create the story of your life with simple question prompts in an email each week. Users respond to the email and StoryWorth automatically lays out the stories and saves them on its website. In time users create the story of their life.


Now for some news from Findmypast. They had lots of announcements at the conference plus some other news.

Their Friday records release during the conference was for over 101 million records for the US, UK, and Australia.

The US records consisted of 75 million records added to the US Immigration and Travel records. These consist of passenger lists, arrivals, and naturalization records.

Over a million records were added to the US military records. These contain details of soldiers who fought in the Indian Wars, Civil War, and both World Wars.

Over 11 million records have been added to the US Census and Substitute records. The following censuses for the states of California, Minnesota, South Dakota, Alabama, Florida and Colorado were added.

In the US Life Events collection over 13 million records have been added for birth, marriage, and death records from 11 different states.

PERSI (the PERiodical Source Index ) has been updated with an addition of over 12,000 images. These are from publications around the United States, including historical society yearbooks, genealogy magazines, state-specific collections and county registers plus a few more from other countries.

The New South Wales Will Books, 1800 – 1952 have been added to Findmypast. The records are copies of original Will Books held by the State Records Authority of New South Wales.

The Gloucestershire Parish Records have been added to collection of UK Parish records. These are baptism, marriage, burial records.


Other Findmypast Friday records for the previous Friday include First World War Merchant Navy medal cards and Dorset baptism, marriage, and burial records.

Findmypast has announced some new partnerships. Their partnership with FamilyTreeDNA will allow Findmypast annual subscribers to get a special rate on FamilyTreeDNA tests. This is part of their premium service for annual subscribers.

Family Search will also be partnering with Family Tree DNA to link from the Family Search Family Tree to Family Tree DNA results. Initially only Y DNA and mtDNA results will be linked.

Family Tree DNA users will have an icon that will link to their tree at Family Search.

Another partner with Findmypast is StoryPress. StoryPress makes it fun and easy to create and save stories. These stories live in the cloud at the StoryPress website.

StoryPress and Findmypast hope to bring together the world’s largest repository of digital stories and memories. This free service and be found at storypress.com/findmypast.

The third partnership announced was with BillionGraves. Findmaypast and BillionGraves will add more than 12 million grave marker indexes to Mocavo and Findmypast. Findmypast owns Mocavo. This content will be available for free and it will make it easier for subscribers to find BillionGraves content.

Billion Graves has partnered with The Federation of Genealogical Societies so societies can use the BillionGraves Rewards Program to drive revenue to fund genealogical societies.

BillionGraves has release a new iOS app version 4.0. This version changes how users utilize the app to perform functions that previously were only found on the website.

The app was originally designed for users taking photos. This version adds tools to better search and mange records at BillionGraves.

There will be new tutorials and support for the new version.

There is now a beta version of the BillionGraves app for Windows. Windows phones are not popular in the United States but they are popular overseas. They are looking for beta testers. If you have a Windows phone and you would like to participate, send an email to windows@billiongraves.com. Include your full name, type of Windows device, and your Windows email address. You will receive a link to download the app.

Back to Findmypast, there’s still more to talk about.

Before the conference Findmypast announced a partnership with the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society. Findmypast will host a newly expanded digital library for the society. This will give members of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society another benefit. They will be able to access the United States collections at Findmypast.

Findmypast will get new content for its collections. Collections to be added to Findmypast include the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, vital records, bible extracts, and cemetery transcriptions.


The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society has published the New York Family History Research Guide and Gazetteer. This book was three years in the making. The review committee consisted of top experts in New York research.

There are chapters on major record groups and research resources, information on ethnic and religious groups that have lived in New York, bibliographies, and timelines of key events in New York history.

There are gazetteers, maps, and research guides to each of New York’s counties, including the five boroughs of New York City.

The cost is $65 for members of the society and $85 for nonmembers. The book is 856 pages.


FamilySearch adds more than 2.4 million indexed records and images to Canada, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Philippines, and the United States

More new records at FamilySearch

New indexed record collections
US, Delaware Baptisms, 1697–1886
US, Delaware Church Deaths, 1750–1886

New index records and images collection
US, Indiana, Daviess County, Washington Times Herald Obituaries, 1984–2012

New browsable image collections added include
Netherlands, Friesland Province, Church Records, 1543–1911
Netherlands, Overijssel Province, Church Records, 1542–1893
US, California, Airplane Passenger Lists from Honolulu, Hawaii, 1947–1948
US, California, Chinese Partnerships and Departures from San Francisco, 1912–1943
US, California, Immigration Registers of Japanese, Filipinos, and Hawaiians at San Francisco, 1928–1942
US, California, San Francisco Airplane Arrival Card Index, 1936–1949
US, Hawaii, Passenger Lists of Airplanes departing Honolulu, 1942–1948
US, Maine, Crew Lists Arriving at Robbinston, 1947–1954
US, Maryland, Piney Point Crew Lists, 1950–1956
US, New York, Ogdensburg Passenger and Crew Lists, 1948–1972
The following has new indexed records and images
Canada, Nova Scotia Delayed Births, 1837–1904

Next these collections have indexed records added to an existing collection
United States Passport Applications, 1795–1925
United States, New England Passenger and Crew Lists, 1911–1954
US, Hawaii, Honolulu Passenger Lists, 1900–1953
US, Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1878-1939, 1955–1994
US, Indiana, Marriages, 1811–1959
US, Ohio, Crawford County Obituaries, 1860–2004

These collections have added images to an existing collection
Czech Republic, School Registers, 1799–1953
Philippines, Civil Registration (Local), 1888–1983
Philippines, Manila, Civil Registration, 1899–1994
United States Muster Rolls of the Marine Corps, 1798–1937
US, Massachusetts, Boston Crew Lists, 1917–1943


Puzilla premium services are now free at Family History Centers. Puzzilla, found at puzzilla.org, reads your family tree at FamilySearch, and shows you places where your family tree needs more information. It helps you to visualize complete and incomplete lines in your family tree. You can also view all of someone’s descendants.

The premium version allows you to do the following

Highlights people that may have missing family members where more research is needed
Search by name, location, or FamilyTreeID
Hints to show pre-matched historical records
Highlight records that have sources attached
Highlight records that were created or changed by you
Highlight records with possible duplicates
Find ordinance opportunities for records that do not have possible duplicates


If you are interested in UFOs, military sightings, or aliens you can find some documents related to those things at Fold3.

Fold3 is owned by Ancestry and they had many images removed from a website called The Black Vault. This site contained material related to the US military’s Project Blue Book. Project Blue Book ran from 1952 to December 1969. It looked into UFOs to determine if they were a threat to national security and analyzed any UFO-related data.

Ancestry claims that it owns the copyright to the digital reproductions of these records and The Black Vault website was infringing on its copyright. They claim the website was using the digital copies found at Fold3.

The owner of The Black Vault site acknowledged that he was using images found at Fold3 and removed the images. There are copies of other declassified government documents still at The Black Vault website.


Some time this month Ancestry plans to release the first update to its iOS app. Right now the app allows you access to your family trees and hints.

With the update you will be able to search some collections at Ancestry. Initially only the four most common categories of records will be included. That would be birth, marriage, death and census.

In the coming months military and immigration will be added.

In the timeline view you will find a new Guided Search feature where the details of your ancestor’s life is compared to records at Ancestry.


Ancestry has added parish registers for Gloucestershire, England. These are baptism, marriage, burial, and confirmation records.

They have also added lots of German records. They’ve added census, deeds, indexed cards, birth, marriage, and death records for some areas of Germany.


In a press release the CEO of Ancestry, Tim Sullivan, was quoted as saying that in the fall they are expected to release more than 170 million probate and wills images. Over the next year Ancestry will be introducing more new features to help you tell your family story. Some major product developments include:

• a new and improved Ancestry website
• full search feature coming to the iOS app
• Ancestry Academy will launch in April to provide educational resources

The press release also mentioned AncestryDNA will be available in Australia and Canada soon. This will connect major English-speaking migrations and connect families.

DNA Circles will be launching a new experience so those taking the test will discover new ancestors without researching records or building a family tree. Those results will come from trees of those in DNA Circles where there is a DNA match.


MyHeritage has started to bring online records from Scandinavia. The records are searchable to MyHeritage users using SuperSearch.

In December MyHeritage entered an agreement with the National Archives of Denmark to digitize and index all the Danish census records from 1787 – 1930 and Parish records from 1646 – 1915.

The 1930 Danish census is now available. The remaining censuses and Parish records will be released during 2015 and 2016.

Swedish Household Examination Rolls for certain counties for the years 1880 – 1920 are available. All counties will be available by the end of June 2015.


February is Black History Month in the United States. Sirius XM has launched “African Ancestry Radio” in celebration of Black History Month. The show has celebrity guests and it guides listeners to more accurately and reliably trace their roots.

Each show reveals one celebrity guest’s African ancestry.

This was a three-week series of live, call-in shows. After the broadcast, “African Ancestry Radio” will be available on SiriusXM On Demand for subscribers on the Sirius app or website.


The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) now offers you the ability to purchase supporting documentation that was submitted with an application. This will cost $20 and you will be able to download it as a pdf.

You can order the application for $10. Sometimes in the application it will mention the supporting documents such as bibles, personal papers or deeds. Not all applications will have supporting documentation available.


Manitoba will be opening birth records related to adoption starting in June 2015. This is when some new legislation will come into effect.

Adult adoptees and birth parents can access birth record information and allows them to keep their information confidential if they wish.

Before this new legislation comes into effect you can file a Disclosure Veto to prohibit the agency from releasing any identifying information about you.


Over in the UK, The House of Lords passed the Deregulation Bill, which will allow the Registrar General to issue birth, marriage, and death information in other ways besides expensive certified copies.

It costs £9.25 to order a birth, marriage or death certificate from the General Register Office (GRO). Hopefully we will be able to order the same information online for a small fee similar to how it’s done in Scotland.


A graveyard was found back in 2013 during excavations to construct a high-speed tunnel under Central London. This is a graveyard for those buried 400 to 500 years ago from the Bedlam Psychiatric Hospital.

Parish records have been researched and there is now a database with names, identities and occupations of about 5,000 people who were buried there. Occupations can be poor men, servants, strangers, apprentices, bachelors, or householders. Some are described as sons, wives, or daughters.

Starting in March, about 3,000 skeletons will be disinterred and examined scientifically. After the work is complete the bodies will be reburied in consecrated ground. They hope to uncover more knowledge about the times in London’s past.


Some graves have also been found recently in Philadelphia. An historian accidentally stumbled upon a mention of a cemetery he had never heard of when he was researching for a documentary film project. He gathered about 1,500 names of the interred and estimates that another 1,500 need to be added. He plans to make these freely available at a website.

There is a playground on top of the graves and the city plans to renovate the playground with trees and underground utility lines. Once this was announced the historian contacted those involved to tell them about the graves.

Now a team of archaeologists are examining the 19th century burial site. The cemetery was for the Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church. This is the oldest African-American church in the country. The burial site was used from 1810 to 1864.

The cemetery was filled in sometime during the mid-19th century and eventually the playground was placed there.

The Archaeological dig was to determine what was under the asphalt. Next they will develop a plan to properly remember the people buried there.

The Irish Genealogical Research Society has added the Early Births Index to its website IrishAncestors.ie. This new database is being managed by Roz McCutcheon. She is the one who created a database with over 66,000 marriages that is available at the website. She continues to add to the marriage database.

The new birth index uses the same sources as the marriage index and covers the same years – 1660 to 1863.

These indexes do not contain information from parish registers since this can be found online. The information is mainly from newspapers, gravestones and early census fragments. It also comes from details of births culled from Memorials held by the Registry of Deeds, from Naval records at the UK National Archives in Kew, from evidence of birth provided for Trinity College Dublin admissions, and from private diaries.

The first upload to the birth index is more than 5,000 entries. This index is only available from the members-only section of the website. The marriage index is free to all.


The Who Do You Think You Are? Live show will be held in Birmingham, April 16 – 18, 2015. The first celebrity set to make an appearance at the event has been announced. That will be Reggie Yates. He is a DJ and television presenter. He appeared on the UK television show Who Do You Think You Are? where he headed the Ghana to uncover his roots. He will be discussing his trip at the show.

Registration for the New York State Family History Conference is now open. The three-day conference will be held September 17 – 19 just outside of Syracuse, New York. This event will also be a Federation of Genealogical Societies Regional Conference.

Many nationally know speakers are scheduled to give sessions.

Cost for all three days is $125 for members and $150 for non-members. This is the early bird price which is good until March 31st. You can also purchase tickets to attend one day or two days.


The FGS 2016 National Conference will be held August 31 – September 3, 2016 in Springfield, Illinois. There is a Call for Presentation Proposals for this conference. The title of the conference is “Time Travel: Centuries of Memories.” They list many topics that they are interested for presentation at their website. Deadline for submissions is April 10, 2015.


RootsTech 2016 will be held on February 3–6, 2016, again at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.


There are some new DNA classes coming up from the DNAadoption group. You don’t need to be researching adoptions to take the classes.

There are some intro classes for each of the testing companies, FamilyTreeDNA, 23andME, and AncestryDNA. These focus on how to navigate the website and view your results. Each class is $5.

The Y-DNA Basics class will show you how to analyze Y-DNA results. This class is $25.

The Working with Autosomal DNA Results costs $35. They are working on a course called Autosomal DNA for Beginners that will cost $25. This should be taken before the Working with Autosomal DNA Results course.

Registration is open for these classes and they are filling up fast. There are multiple sections available.


Every year in July, the week-long National Institute on Genealogical Research is held in Washington, D.C. The program offers on-site examination of federal records held at the National Archives.

It will not be held in 2015 due to the recent death of the director. It will be held in 2016 under the leadership of a new director, Malissa Ruffner.

The National Archives has expressed strong support the National Institute on Genealogical Research and will be working with the new director to assure the institute’s success.

The will be another season of Genealogy Roadshow. They are now casting for season 3.

At the grcasting.com website there is a form to fill out with all the usual information about yourself and some other open-ended questions such as

• What is your story and why is it important to you to find out now?
• Summarize the specific questions that you would like answered by the show.
• Have you or any member of your family or outside group looked into any branches of your family’s history?
• What would uncovering this information about your family mean to you and your family?
• Upload a GEDCOM file if you have one
• List anyone else who would like to come to the taping
• Have you ever been on television before?


Now for some things coming up.

Sunday, February 22, 2 – 4pm eastern

Thursday, February 24, 1pm Eastern
Ancestry Live Event
Smarter Searching: Look for Records Not People
presented by Crista Cowen

Wednesday, February 25, 2015, 2pm eastern
Legacy Webinar
9 Strategies for Finding Living Relatives
presented by Lisa Louise Cooke

Thursday February 26, 1pm
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Webinar
Guide to I&N History Research

Thursday, February 26, 4pm Eastern
FamilySearch Webinar
German research: The Hamburg Passenger Lists

Thursday, February 26, 8pm Eastern
FamilySearch Webinar
FamilySearch Historical Records Collection
presented by Joni Kesler

Thursday, February 26, 9pm eastern
Second Life National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ) Study Group
Paul Graham, “A Love Story Proved: The Life and Family of Laura Lavinia (Kelly) Coombs of Atlanta and Augusta, Georgia,” National Genealogical Society Quarterly 101 (December 2013): 245-266.

#genchat – What did you learn?
Friday, February 27, 10pm eastern

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

Wednesday, March 4, 2015, 2pm eastern
Legacy Webinar
Researching with Karen!
presented by Karen Clifford

Wednesday, March 4, 8pm eastern
Minnesota Genealogical Society
Midwestern & Plains State Level Census Records
presented by Paula Stuart-Warren

Friday, March 6, 2015, 2pm eastern
Legacy Webinar
Technology & Techniques for Differentiating Two People with the Same Name
presented by Geoff Rasmussen

Saturday, March 7, 1pm eastern
Southern California Genealogical Society
Fish and Chips Genealogy: Finding your Common English Ancestors
presented by J. H. Fonkert

And don’t forgot about the 5 Google+ Hangouts on Air with Dear Myrtle. There’s Mondays with Myrt, on Wednesday there’s Beginning Genealogy and Wacky Wednesday, on Fridays it’s Genealogy and the Law, and then there’s Saturday Game Night. You can participate live in most of them or watch the recording later.

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

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 59.

Thanks for listening.

Listen to the episode.

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