Episode 64 Transcript

Welcome to the Genealogy News from Geneatopia

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

Today is Tuesday July 6, 2015 and this is Episode 64.

FamilySearch recently announced the release of 1.5 million hand written Freedmen’s Bureau historical records and they are launching a nationwide volunteer indexing effort. This announcement was made on June 19th which is also known as Juneteenth.

Juneteenth is a celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. It’s held on June 19th. On June 19th, 1865, which is two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, Union soldiers made it to Galveston, Texas with the news that the war had ended and that those who were still enslaved were free. This occurred 150 years ago and this announcement about the Freedman’ Bureau records is in celebration of this historic day.

The Freedmen’s Bureau records were kept from 1865 – 1872 and they contain data about African Americans and impoverished whites in the Southern States and District of Columbia who needed public assistance after the Civil War.

The records contain a wealth of information. For genealogists they contain full names and former masters and plantations. In the 1860 census the names of slaves are not given.

The records contain marriage information for those who were enslaved and wanted their marriages recorded. There is also information about who worked at the bureau, medical records and transportation records. The transportation records show where newly freed slaves relocated.

Often times the Freedman’s Bureau records hold the key to information about people who lived in the South.

The 1.5 million digitized records contain the names of about 4 million people. The Freedman’s Bureau records recently are being made available and accessible by a collaboration between FamilySearch, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society and the California African American Museum. Volunteers from these organizations as well as the general public will be indexing these records for everyone to use.

The goal is to have these records indexed by late 2016 in time for the opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

There is a website dedicated to the indexing effort. You can find it at DiscoverFreedmen.org.


Dennis Brimhall has been the chief executive officer of FamilySearch International since 2012. Dennis Brimhall has led FamilySearch’s initiative to simplify finding genealogical connectections, encourage young people to get involved with family history, and improving the customer experience.

He is now set to retire on October 1. Succeeding him will be Stephen Rockwood.

Mr. Rockwood is expected to facilitate further expansion of FamilySearch to audiences worldwide. He has experience with creating service offerings for worldwide customers and was a successful entrepreneur by building two companies from the ground up that were later acquired by larger companies.


As you know FamilySearch has lots of indexed records as well as collections where we can browse the images. Those collections may be indexed in the future. You can tell which collections are indexed by looking at a list of collections and if you see a number in the Records column, it’s indexed. If the collection is not indexed it will say “Browse Images”.

Now when you bring up a record from an indexed collection after you have searched for someone, you will see within the image what was transcribed. The person searched for is in blue and if other people are mentioned in the group, they will be highlighted in light blue.

This new improvement means you don’t have to go back and forth between different windows to look at the image and look at the transcription. They both appear together. This is accomplished with a split pane, the image is on top and the index appears below the image.

You can minimize the transcription so you can see more of the image. And you can get the transcription back by clicking an arrow for the index.


Ancestry is on track to place 140 million probate records from around the US on its site in the Fall. These come from microfilm held by FamilySearch. Ancestry is in the process of indexing the records.


Later this summer, ProQuest will add more than two billion new records to HeritageQuest Online.

These records will be powered by Ancestry and distributed by ProQuest. 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.

From that site you have access to the complete US census from 1790 – 1940, books and city directories, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land record collection, Freedman’s Bank Records, U.S. Congressional Serial Set, and an older version of PERSI (Periodical Source Index Archive).

By powering HeritageQuest Online, Ancestry hopes that beginners will become familiar with the interface for Ancestry and be inclined to join Ancestry.

According to the press release, here is the new content that will be added:

More than one billion birth, baptism, marriage, death and census records from the US, Canada, Europe, Africa, and Asia
915 million US public records, including the Social Security Death Index

133 million cemetery indexes from the US, Canada, Europe and Australia

More than 7 million names identified in a new map collection

600,000 images from the Library of Congress Photo Collection, 1840-2000


Findmypast Library Edition has been released for libraries and organizations in the United States. There is a free, no obligation, 90-day trail available for libraries and organizations to try this new service.

Some things you can find at Findmypast include parish records from the United Kingdom, the new PERiodical Source Index, some articles are available as images, and a comprehensive collection of Irish family history records.

The library edition will let patrons work with the Findmypast Library Edition from home as well as the library. Library patrons will be able to build their own family tree, save records, and have access to Findmypast’s hints to help with discovery of more records from their own family tree.


Findmypast continues to release records every Friday. The latest additions include Napoleonic Prisoner of War records from a partnership with The National Archives in the UK. This release marks the second phase of this project.

The Australia Convict Conditional and Absolute Pardons 1791-1867 lists convicts pardoned by the governor of New South Wales. These pardons were given based on good behavior.

The New South Wales Registers of Convicts’ Applications to Marry 1825-1851 collection contains information about convicts who intended to marry in order to obtain leave or pardon and receive assistance in establishing a household.

And the Australia Convict ships 1786-1849 contains details for some of the earliest convict settlers in New South Wales.

New records have been added to the Victoria Prison Registers 1855-1948. These records are from the Central Register of Female Prisoners, held by the Public Record Office Victoria.

Findmypast has added birth, marriage, burial and congregation records from a Scottish garrison church in Gibraltar and for North West Kent.

There are new Greater London Burial Index records.

There has also been substantial update to the collection of historic British newspapers. New titles have been added – the Cornish Times, Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal, Tadcaster Post, and the General Advertiser for Grimstone – as well as substantial updates to 37 existing titles. There have been many additions to the collection of historic Irish newspapers.

The Irish Sligo workhouse registers 1848-1859 and the Clare Poor Law Unions Board of Guardians Minute Books have been added.

1.9 million historic criminal records have been published at Findmypast. These records were held by The National Archives. They are from the Home Office, Metropolitan Police and Prison Commission files series, spanning over 150 years from 1779 to 1935. The records include mugshots and color images of historical records.

These records join existing crime, prison, and punishment records to make available almost 3 million criminal records.

This month at Findmypast is Crime and Punishment month. During the month Findmypast will be exploring these records and looking into some criminal ancestors of celebrities and members of the Findmypast team.


The Board for Certification of Genealogists will be making two changes to the certification process for new applicants.

Applicants will now be evaluated on their genealogically-related educational activities and the applications will be limited to 150 pages.

Years of data have shown that those with more genealogy education are more likely to produce successful portfolios for certification. These genealogically-related educational activities have not been evaluated in the past.

These new changes will go into effect in 2016 when the new Application Guide will be published.


Heredis 2015 has been released. Heredis is a French company and its genealogy software is popular in France and England.

This release is a major upgrade of the software. There is online searching that allows you to search collections and archives and libraries from a person’s profile. In the US you can search the American Battle Monuments Commission, Archive.org, CensusRecords.com, FamilySearch, FindAGrave, The National Archives in the US, and USGenWeb.

You can submit other sites to the Heredis team to be integrated permanently into the search portal.

From the program you click the link to the site, perform a search, and if you find a record, you can take a screen capture and add it a person in Heredis.

Now you can share events between different individuals in a single entry. For example, enter an event such as the census only once and you can associate it with the rest of the family that is in the record. That way you don’t have to enter the same event for different people over and over again. This saves time and prevents errors.

The Photo tool lets you identify persons in the photo and capture their faces. If the person doesn’t exist in your file you can create the person directly from the photo tool. The Photo tool also has the ability to crop or rotate a photo, enhance color, or convert color photos into black and white photographs.

With the Photo tool you can capture signatures from different documents and save them with an ancestor.

From your photos you can create slideshows. There are several themes available with music.

You can create photo albums on Heredis online to share with others so that they may get in touch with you if they recognize someone in your photographs. These photo albums are searchable.

The Family Tree Mapping function is a new tool with interactive maps that show the geographic distribution where your ancestors lived. There are several levels of zoom to see in detail the places on the map.

The map can display specific points in time to see where your ancestors lived or you can view the map by generations.

This new version of the software contains lots of tools necessary for your genealogy. No need to use additional software.

An Android version of Heredis will be available sometime in 2015. This will be compatible with the 2015 version of Heredis.

Heredis 2015 is available for Windows and Mac. It’s on sale until July 12. Existing Windows users can upgrade for $19.99, that’s 33% off the normal price. After July 12th existing users and new users will pay $29.99.

The Mac version is on sale for $24.99. 50% off the full price of $49.99. There isn’t an update version for the Mac because of requirements of the app store so all versions of the Mac are on sale for $24.99. All those prices were in US dollars.


There is a new minor version of Evidentia that has been released. The latest version is 2.4. All user with any version if Evidentia2 are eligible for a free upgrade.

This new version has revised templates based on Evidence Explained third edition which recently became available. They’ve removed the APA support which is an inappropriate citation format for genealogists and fixed an issue with loading new templates.

If you have any custom templates you will need to follow the directions on the website in order to see the new templates with this version.


There is now an official Legacy User Group Facebook Group. This is where users can share ideas and help each other. It’s also a place you can go to see what others are saying about Legacy before you purchase it.

The folks at Legacy will be monitoring the group but this is not a place for technical support. In the Facebook group you can post how you use Legacy and you can ask questions about how to do certain tasks in Legacy. Occasionally the Legacy staff will be posting things on the group also.


As of July 1 some adoptees in Connecticut will be able to obtain their original birth certificates. They must be at least 18 years old and their adoptions must have been finalized on or after October 1, 1983 to be able to request their birth certificate.

You’ll need to make a request to obtain this record because they are not kept on-site. The certificate will cost $65.


The Digital Library of Georgia has announced the expansion of the Savannah Historic Newspapers Archive. I’ll have a link in the show notes to the announcement so you can see all the new newspapers had been added.

The digital library of Georgia is based at the University of Georgia. There are many other newspaper archives to be found at their website.


The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) has announced a new research project called “Early Vermont Settlers to 1784.” It’s being led by Scott Andrew Bartley – a genealogist, former NEHGS librarian, and a Vermont native.

The research project will create profiles on the earliest settlers of Vermont. As these profiles and narratives are completed, they will be indexed and made available at the NEHGS website – AmericanAncestors.org.


The National Genealogical Society has a special arrangement with Findmypast. Members of NGS have a free one-year subscription to the US and Canada collection at Findmypast. Not everything at Findmypast, just US and Canada.

Existing Findmypast members and NGS members can extend their Findmypast US and Canada subscription by 1 year.

The US and Canada subscription includes PERSI, the PERiodical Source Index.

Findmypast is know for its British records. If you would like access to those you will need a World subscription. With that type of subscription you will also have access to Ireland, Britain, and Australia & New Zealand Records as well as US and Canada.

Once NGS members have claimed their Findmypast US and Canada account, they can upgrade to the Findmypast World collection for $89 for one year. A normal World subscription costs $200. This is a 55% discount for NGS members.


Nova Scotia has indexed more birth, marriage, and death records on their website, novascotiagenealogy.com. The records were released on their site December 31, 2014 but now they are indexed.

The birth records are for the year 1914 but some records may contain delayed entries for those born prior to 1914 but not registered until 1914. Birth records are not available until 100 years after the end of the year in which the birth was registered.

The marriage records are for the year 1939. Marriage records become available after 75 years.

The death records are for the year 1964. Death records are available 50 years after the death was registered.


The Archives of Manitoba has a searchable index of over 1,000 World War I casualties. The index was created from index cards created by the Government of Manitoba just after World War I. Some entries have more detail than others.

Not all Manitoba casualties will be found in the index.


Over in the UK, the Society of Genealogists & Pharos teaching & Tutoring have announced an new joint educational program. It’s a distance learning Certificate of Family History Skills and Strategies (Advanced).

They have been running an intermediate version of a certificate since 2010. The new advanced program will start October 1, 2015. The modules for the program are

Old Handwriting – An Introduction to Secretary Hand
Manorial Records for Family and Local Historians
Church & Community 1540 – 1800; Selected Records
Researching Online for Advanced Genealogists
An Introduction to Medieval Genealogy
Researching in Archives for Advanced Genealogists
Land and Legal Records
Advanced Reports and Methods

The two-year program is designed so students will reach the necessary standards for membership in the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA).


The National Library of Wales launched a beta version of its free Welsh Newspapers Online website in 2013. The beta version has been replaced with a new interface, new features, and an additional 400,000 pages. That makes a total of over 1 million pages. New titles have been added as well as pages added to titles already on the website.

The website is now responsive which means it will adjust to the size of your device. This makes the site easy to use on phones and tablets.

Images are browsable by category – cartoons, graphs, illustrations, maps and photographs.

Advanced search allows you to set parameters and you can easily cite an article you find on Wikipedia.


If you have Irish ancestors you probably know about the big day July 8. On that day the entire collection of Catholic parish register held by the National Library of Ireland will be online at a dedicated website. The images will be searchable by parish. There will not be transcripts or indexes for the records.

The NLI has been working for three years to digitize microfilm of this collection. This collection is considered the most important source of information for Irish research prior to the 1901 census.

The records consist mostly of baptismal and marriage records spanning the years 1740 to 1880.

More than 390,000 images will be available for free. Anyone will be able to access these registers without having to travel to Dublin as they have in the past to view them.


The PBS show ‘Finding Your Roots’ has been postponed for next season. This is the show with Henry Louis Gates where they look into the ancestry of celebrities and public figures.

When Ben Affleck appeared on the show, he requested that his slave-owning ancestor was not mentioned. His request was full-filled and that ancestor was not mentioned.

Emails between Henry Louis Gates and Sony chief executive Michael Lynton were leaked as a result of Sony emails revealed on the Wikileaks site. These were from the cyberattack against Sony that occurred in December 2014.

In the email Henry Louis Gates asks what to do about the request. He states that no other guest has asked that his slave-owning ancestors not be mentioned in the show. Mr. Lynton told Mr. Gates to remove those facts from the show and concentrate on other interesting ancestors. PBS was never informed about this decision.

Ben Affleck stated that he was embarrassed to have an ancestor who had 25 slaves and did not want this on television. He said that “Finding Your Roots” is not a news program and he assumed that the show would not be dishonest but respect his wishes.

PBS and the New York public television station that produced the show decided to launch an investigation about the request.

PBS has decided not to run the show’s third season until some staffing changes are made. They will need to hire a fact checker and an independent genealogist who will review the program episodes for factual accuracy. The episode with Ben Affleck will be withdrawn from all forms of distribution.

They also said that producers of the show violated the network’s standards by letting Mr. Affleck have “improper influence” over the show and they did not inform PBS or WNET, the New York public television station, about it.

The third season is on hold and they will decide later if there will be a fourth season. Celebrities have already been filmed for the third season.


Who Do You Think You Are? will be returning this summer starting Sunday, July 26 on TLC.

There will be four new episodes and one episode from the British version of the show. The episode from the British version features J.K. Rowling, the author of Harry Potter.

The new episodes will include

Tom Bergeron, host of “Dancing with the Stars”. He finds out about his French Canadian roots.

Bryan Cranston, actor on “Breaking Bad”, delves into his Civil War ancestor.

Ginnifer Goodwin, star of the ABC series “Once Upon a Time”, finds out about her paternal great grandparents who no one ever knew much about.

Alfre Woodard, an actress, explores her paternal side of the family and finds out about her surname.

The UK version of Who Do You Think You Are? have released the names of the celebrities for the 12th season which will air this summer on BBC.

There will be 10 episodes.

The celebrities are Great British Bake Off presenter Paul Hollywood, model Jerry Hall, Last Tango In Halifax stars Sir Derek Jacobi and Anne Reid, actress Jane Seymour, choirmaster and broadcaster Gareth Malone, stage and television actress Frances de la Tour, news reporter Frank Gardner, actor and writer Mark Gatiss and television presenter Anita Rani.

The Australia version of Who Do You Think You Are? will start their 7th season on Tuesday, August 4. The celebrities will be journalist Ray Martin, actress Toni Collette, champion swimmer and former politician Dawn Fraser, comedian Peter Rowsthorn, comedian Greig Pickhaver who is also known as HG Nelson, actor Geoffrey Rush, actor David Wenham and chef Luke Nguyen


Tuesday, July 14, 1pm Eastern
Ancestry Live Event
Top Ancestry Search Tips and Tricks
presented by Crista Cowen

Illinois State Genealogical Society Webinar
Tuesday, July 14, 9pm eastern
Dissect Obituaries for New Clues
presented by George G. Morgan

Wednesday, July 15, 2015, 2pm eastern
Legacy Webinar
Researching with Karen
presented by Karen Clifford

Wednesday, July 15, 8pm eastern
Georgia Genealogical Society
RootsBid: The Answer to Overcoming Genealogical Obstacles in Distance & Resources
presented by Amie Bowser Tennant

Wednesday, July 15, 9pm eastern
Southern California Genealogical Society
German Research Online
presented by James M. Beidler

Thursday, July 16, 11 AM Eastern
Findmypast Webinar
Crime and Punishment records at Findmypast
presented by Abigail Rieley
only for 12 month subscribers

Thursday, July 16 , 8pm eastern
Florida State Genealogical Society Poolside Chat
Using DNA To Explore Our Origins, Part 2
presented by Diahan Southard

#genchat – Making the most of your local library
Friday, July 17, 10pm eastern

Tuesday, July 21, 1pm Eastern
Ancestry Live Event
AncestryDNA: Handling the Unexpected
presented by Crista Cowen

Tuesday, July 21, 3pm Eastern
Ancestry Facebook Chat
Naturalization and Immigration Records LIVE Facebook Chat
presented by Crista Cowen

Tuesday, July 21, 8pm eastern
Wisconsin State Genealogical Society Webinar
Researching Your Wisconsin Polish – American Ancestors
presented by Anne Kasuboski

Wednesday, July 22, 2015, 2pm eastern
Legacy Webinar
Have Swedish Roots and Don’t Know How to Get Started?
presented by Kathy Meade

Thursday, July 23, 3pm Eastern
New England Historic Genealogical Society Webinar
New York Resources at NEHGS
presented by Chris Child

Thursday, July 23, 9pm eastern
Second Life National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ) Study Group
Donn Devine, “Sorting Relationships among Families with the Same Surname: An Irish-American DNA Study,” National Genealogical Society Quarterly 93 (December 2005): 283-293. See also, “Sorting Relationships among Families with the Same Surname: An Irish-American DNA Study,” National Genealogical Society Quarterly 95 (September 2007): 196.

Saturday, July 25, 12 noon Eastern
APG Webinar
Using Technology to Manage Multiple Genealogy Projects
presented by Melanie D. Holtz

And don’t forget about all the great Google on Hangouts with DearMYRTLE that are recorded or you can watch live.

Also, Second Life will have many chats during each month. Check the calendar at Geneatopia or the Geneawebinars calendar to find out when they are and the topic to be discussed.

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 64.

Thanks for listening.

Listen to the episode.


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