Welcome to the Genealogy News from Geneatopia
I’m Patty Roy, also known as Dinah Larkham in Second Life.
Today is Sunday July 8, 2018 and this is Episode 119.
Well-known genetic genealogist Blaine Bettinger has launched DNA Central. This is a membership-only website that will cost $99 a year or $9.95 a month.
Blaine Bettinger is an intellectual property attorney by day and a genetic genealogist at night. He has written the book The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy and cowrote the book Genetic Genealogy in Practice with Debbie Parker Wayne. He blogs about genetic genealogy at TheGeneticGenealogist.com.
DNA Central has self-guided courses, webinars that are recorded and a biweekly newsletter that contains the latest news and developments in genetic genealogy. There are forums where people can ask questions about DNA or the various testing companies.
Over the course of the next few months several new webinars and courses will be added as well as short videos and quizzes.
There’s also a section that contains resources for educators. There are charts and graphics that can be used by those who are educating members of their society about genetic genealogy.
23andMe Adds Four New Trait Reports
23andMe has added four new trait reports. These new reports have been added to the list of more than two dozen trait reports. Trait reports illustrate how genetics may influence more than just physical traits such as the color of hair but also food preferences and certain behavioral traits.
The four new reports are about cilantro taste aversion, misophonia which looks at the feelings of rage triggered by certain sounds, wake-up time or are you a morning person or a night owl, and hair thickness.
These trait reports are meant for informational purposes. They have been created from data about 23andMe customers who consented to participate in research.
23andMe Donates Kits to Reunite Migrant Families
23andMe will be providing DNA kits to help reunite hundreds of migrant families separated at the border. The kits will be used to reunite children separated from their parents under President Trump’s zero tolerance policy. This policy will prosecute anyone who crosses the border illegally.
The next step to reach out to federal officials for directions on how to move forward with DNA testing.
MyHeritage Offers Kits to Migrant Families
MyHeritage has also offered free DNA kits to help reunite separated migrant children with their parents. This will be part of MyHeritage’s DNA Quest program. This program gave out thousands of DNA kits to adoptees and parents of those children who were adopted.
MyHeritage has pledged to give away 5,000 DNA tests for separated parents and children who are interested in this opportunity. MyHeritage has begun contacting relevant government agencies that are able to provide assistance with distribution of the DNA kits. Also, anyone who could help with the distribution of DNA kits and is in touch with separated families is asked to contact MyHeritage.
MyHeritage Opens European Distribution Center for DNA Kits
DNA testing is growing so fast at MyHeritage that they have opened a new distribution center in Tilburg, Netherlands, to ship DNA kits in Europe. This means that DNA kits ordered by European customers will no longer be sent from the United States. They will be shipped directly to European customers form the Netherlands. This will shorten the lead and transit times and will decrease the shipping costs for European customers.
MyHeritage New Filtering System for DNA Matches
MyHeritage has announced a new filtering system for DNA matches. Filtering will let you view a subset of your DNA matches at a time. You can filter by country or ethnicity as well as relationship. The relationship filtering is for close family, extended family which means a good DNA match, or distant relatives.
There is a filter toolbar to make selections for filtering. You can combine multiple filters and filter matches by additional criteria such as those that have a family tree or have shared ancestral surnames with you or Smart Matches.
Many of these new filtering options are available for free. Some such as viewing the ethnicity of a DNA match will require a subscription to MyHeritage.
Update on Lawsuit 23andMe vs. Ancestry.com
Ancestry has filed a motion to dismiss the 23andMe lawsuit. You may remember that 23andMe filed a lawsuit against Ancestry in May. The suit accuses Ancestry.com of infringing on a 23andMe’s patent which is for DNA kits that identify a person’s relatives who share parts of their DNA. It also accuses Ancestry.com of running ads that falsely state that its test tests five times more regions that its rivals.
The 23andMe patent was issued in 2013. The title of the patent is “Finding Relatives in a Database.” It states the if two people have a DNA match then the first user is notified about the relative relationship with the second user. 23andMe analyzes “identical by descent” regions of the genome to determine the degree to which two people found in their database are related.
AncestryDNA produced a white paper that describes how they match people who share DNA. 23andMe claims that this white paper describes a method that is similar to theirs.
Also included in the lawsuit is the word “ancestry” which the company Ancestry has trademarked as a logotype. 23andMe denies that it infringes on the trademark for the word “ancestry” but it believes that the company Ancestry should not have a claim to the word. 23andMe has asked that the trademark be invalidated because the word has become a generic term used by other companies in the field.
Ancestry denies all charges. They say that 23andMe’s patent is nothing more than an abstract and non-inventive method of collection DNA from two people and comparing it to determine a relationship using a naturally-occurring phenomenon.
The patent does not cover any new technique for genetic testing, gene sequencing, or DNA analysis, or any new or improved computer hardware, software, or database to perform any such techniques. The patent is a generic “relative finder system,” implemented on generic computer components, utilizing a generic database. These generic components are used to find similarities in two peoples DNA to suggest a common ancestor at some point in the past.
Ancestry then goes on to a detailed list of how many times and what changes 23andMe made to obtain the patent. It was rejected many times because it did not transform any particular physical article and 23andMe was trying to patent an abstract idea.
23andMe did not state how or why statements used by Ancestry were false or misleading in advertising. 23andMe has failed to allege any facts to establish Ancestry’s statements to be false.
Ancestry’s intellectual property is the trademarked term “Ancestry,” which was registered with the Patent and Trademark Office in 1990. 23andMe is one of Ancestry’s competitors and offers products and services that compete with Ancestry’s products and services, including 23andMe’s “Ancestry” and “Health + Ancestry Services.” There is not controversy concerning using the term ancestry with the Ancestry trademark.
The Motion will be presented in court on August 16, 2018.
Unites States District Court for the Northern District of California San Fransisco Division
23andMe, Inc. Plaintiff, v. Ancestry.comLLC
Defendant’s Notice of Motion and Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s Complaint
Reclaim The Records sues New York State Department of Health giving Ancestry Preferential Treatment
Reclaim the Records has sued the New York State Department of Health over preferential treatment to Ancestry.com.
Reclaim the Records wants transparency about how agencies choose to grant or withhold access to records from the public. They also want to show if there is improper and potentially illegal favoritism to large corporations over individual citizens or non-profit organizations.
When Reclaim the Records requested the New York State death index for 1880 – 1956, they had many hurdles to get through. The New York State Department of Health wanted the following (as quoted from Reclaim the Records)
“They tried to block us with everything from an inflated initial $152,000 cost estimate (!), to an illegal ten-day “exploding offer” with a 50% down payment, to requiring that a state archivist sign-off on the quality of the deteriorating microfiche sheets in the state vault, to demanding that we hand over the product manual for the high-tech microfiche scanner we proposed to use to do the scanning, to limiting the hours and days we could potentially use that scanner, and even then only with supervision from state employees, and more.”
Reclaim the Records request for marriage and birth records from the same agency are dragging on as if someone else has access to them first.
Ancestry has gained access to the same records in only three months. They did not encounter any of the roadblocks that Reclaim the Records did.
A government agency should not get to sell public access records and they should not put up roadblocks when others want to access those records.
In October 2017 Reclaim the Records requested all correspondence between the New York State Department of Health and Ancestry. The state has refused to comply with this request. They did turn over some Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests that Ancestry had filed over a year after Reclaim the Records filed theirs. The requests from Ancestry were identical to the requests from Reclaim the Records, word-for-word.
Ancestry got access to the records, Reclaim the Records did not.
So, Reclaim the Records is suing to find out why this happened.
New Website to Submit FOIL Requests
There is a new website to submit Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests for the State of New York. From the site you have access to 59 state agencies and public authorities. This website provides a single point of access to request records from New York State agencies and authorities.
In 2019 the website will provide an online tracking system to enable users to submit, track, and receive digital records relating to their FOIL requests by creating a My Open FOIL NY account through the website my.ny.gov.
Last October RootsWeb, which is owned by Ancestry, suffered a major outage due to a system crash and poor backups. Many societies hosted their website at RootsWeb.
If you are a society and your website has not been restored, you are asked to contact RootsWeb to request that it be restored. It will take 2 to 4 weeks to restore a website. I’ll have a link in the show notes where you can find a form to make the request.
If your website is there, you will need to request that your password be reset.
About 98% of all sites hosted at RootsWeb have not been restored.
Ancestry Suggests Possible Ancestors for Ancestry Online Trees
Ancestry is rolling out a new feature that suggests new ancestors for you in the Ancestry member trees. The suggestions will be listed as Potential Father and/or Potential Mother as the names of the new ancestors.
Clicking on the potential ancestor will let you review the details for the new person or add manually. Clicking Review the Details will let you review the information and you can select it to add to your tree. No source information is given.
You need to treat this new feature with caution, the potential ancestors may come from other member trees that may have the wrong person.
Ancestry Brings Back Family Group Sheets
Ancestry has brought back Family Group Sheets. These let you view parents and children in a family. It’s designed to show names, dates, and places of birth, marriages, and deaths in an easy-to-read format.
You can find the Family Group Sheet by selecting the drop-down menu for the tree you’re viewing in the upper left-hand corner, and then choosing “Family Group Sheet” at the bottom of the list. From the Family Group Sheet you can click the Profile button for a person to edit their information. You can also get to hints for each individual.
The Family Group Sheet has been used by genealogists for many years.
Fold3 Adds new Naval Records
Fold3, which is owned by Ancestry, has added another group of naval records. They have added Navy Court Martial Records, 1799-1867, Area File of Naval Records Collection, 1775-1910, and Miscellaneous Records of the Navy Department.
The last collection contains miscellaneous letters, muster rolls, pay rolls, war diaries, naval record acceptances, and resignations.
More new records at FamilySearch
Now for some new records added at FamilySearch
These collections are new indexed record collections
Arkansas Confederate Soldier Home,1890-1963
Denmark, Copenhagen City, Burial Registers, 1805-1968
England, Leicestershire Parish Registers, 1533-1991
France, Saône-et-Loire, Censuses, 1836
Idaho, Jerome County Historical Society, Minidoka Japanese Relocation Center Military Records, 1942-1945
New Zealand, Cemetery Transcriptions, 1840-1981
North Carolina, County Divorce Records, 1926-1975
Texas, Cooke County, Birth Records 1873-1876
United States, Native American, Census of the Ute Tribe, 1944
Uruguay, Passenger Lists, 1888-1980
Utah, Delayed Birth Certificates, 1900-1960
New browsable image collections added include
Mexico, Sinaloa, Civil Registration, 1861-1929
The following is a new indexed records and images collection
Michigan, County Births, 1867-1917
Next these collections have indexed records added to an existing collection
Albania Census, 1930
Australia, South Australia, Immigrants Ship Papers, 1849-1940
Chile, Cemetery Records, 1821-2015
Chile, Civil Registration, 1885-1932
Colombia, Catholic Church Records, 1576-2014
District of Columbia, Glenwood Cemetery Records, 1854-2013
Ecuador, Catholic Church Records, 1565-2011
Find A Grave Index
France, Coutances et d’Avranches Diocese, Catholic Parish Records, 1533-1894
France, Haute-Garonne, Toulouse, Church Records, 1539-1793
Georgia, Fulton County Records from the Atlanta History Center, 1827-1955
Georgia, Houston County, Marriage Records, 1832-2015
Germany, Baden, Archdiocese of Freiburg im Breisgau, Catholic Church Records, 1678-1930
Germany, Bavaria, Diocese of Augsburg, Catholic Church Records, 1615-1939
Germany, Prussia, Westphalia, Minden, Miscellaneous Collections from the Municipal Archives, 1574-1912
Germany, Rhineland, Diocese of Trier, Catholic Church Records, 1704-1957
Iowa, Old Age Assistance Records, 1934-1946
Italy, Asti, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1803-1814, 1911-1935
Italy, Brescia, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1797-1943
Italy, Pescara, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1809-1929
Italy, Rieti, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1840-1945
Italy, Terni, Civil Registration, 1861-1921
Kentucky Death Records, 1911-1965
Maine, United States Naturalization Records, 1918-1991
Missouri, Confederate Pension Applications and Soldiers Home Applications, 1911-1938
Netherlands, Archival Indexes, Public Records
New Brunswick Late Registration of Births, 1810-1899
Ohio, Crawford County Obituaries, 1860-2004
Peru, La Libertad, Civil Registration, 1903-1998
Slovakia Church and Synagogue Books, 1592-1935
South Africa, Cape Province, Probate Records of the Master of the High Court, 1834-1989
South Africa, Transvaal, Probate Records from the Master of the Supreme Court, 1869-1958
Sri Lanka, Colombo District, Dutch Reformed Church Records, 1677-1990
Switzerland, Fribourg, Census, 1880
Tennessee Death Records, 1914-1963
FamilySearch Adds Records for Denmark, Finland, and Sweden
FamilySearch has added over 135 million records from Denmark, Finland, and Sweden. These new records were digitized in partnership with MyHeritage and the National Archives of Denmark and Finland.
The new collections contain church records, including birth, marriage, and death records, confirmations, moving-in and moving-out records; court; tax lists; examination books; and more.
Many of these records required a subscription at other websites and now they are freely available at FamilySearch
FamilySearch Digitizing Record for South Australia
FamilySearch is digitizing and placing online records from South Australia. There are passenger lists, school admission registers, hospital records, police records, social welfare and more. FamilySearch will continue to add more records from South Australia.
Most of these new collections are not listed in the datasets. I’ll have a link to Alona Tester’s blog post with direct links to all the new datasets.
New Records at Findmypast
Findmaypast has added lots of new records for Wiltshire. They’ve added Wiltshire baptism, marriage, and burial indexes and Wiltshire Social & Institutional Records 1123-1968.
They’ve added the parish registers of Great Hampden in Buckinghmashire and from Orwell and St Michael’s in Cambridgeshire.
More records have been added to the Yorkshire burials. These records come from Stoney Royd Cemetery in Halifax.
More records have been added for Thames & Medway for baptism and burials.
And the Kent, Lydd Midwife’s Birth Register 1757-1815 has been added.
They’ve add the Scotland, Fife Death Index, 1549 – 1877. These are death records that were recorded in Fife’s old parish records including deaths and burials from St Andrews and Edinburgh Testaments, sheriff court wills, Fife newspapers, kirk session account books for mortcloths, lair registers and more.
More monumental inscriptions have been added for Sussex and more memorial inscriptions have been added for Northumberland and Durham.
Canadian obituaries from Genealogy Quebec’s online obituaries have been added to Findmypast. These are free at the Genealogy Quebec website. They cover the years from 1999 to today.
Florida Memory at DPLA
Florida’s Sunshine State Digital Network (SSDN) has announced that more than 62,000 new records from Florida Memory are now discoverable through the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA).
Florida Memory provides free online access to collections held by the State Library and Archives Florida. The latest contribution includes voter records from 1845 and 1867-68, registration cards for Floridians who served in World War I, and histories of Florida counties and churches compiled by the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression, and colonial Spanish land records.
Massachusetts Yearbooks Online
The Boston Public Library is digitizing yearbooks from Massachusetts and putting them online at the Internet Archive. The yearbooks range from the 1920s to today. So far yearbooks from 140 cities and towns have been digitized.
California Library Receives Grant to Digitize Maps
The Henry Madden Library at Fresno State in California was awarded a grant to digitize 20,000 maps of the California State Lands Commission and make them available to the public.
There will be two teams of trained undergraduate student assistants who will do the work of digitizing and geo-referencing the maps, plus a trained graduate student supervisor.
The project is expected to take a year to complete.
Home Movies and Town Films of Georgia Online
The Digital Library of Georgia has announced a collection of town films and home movies that have been digitized are now available on their website. The DLG staff has provided enhanced descriptions of these moving images so you can easily find the place in the footage you are interested in without have to watch the entire thing.
The DLG staff also assigned Library of Congress subject headings to each of the films so that librarians and researchers can locate relevant information without having to refer to different versions of names or keywords.
More Additions to DigitalNC
DigitalNC, the online library for institutions across North Carolina, has added many new items.
Additions include a book about life in Brookford, North Carolina.
Documents, photographs, scrapbooks, and artifacts from the Kings Mountain Historical Museum. Kings Mountain is west of Charlotte.
Scrapbooks created by the Ladies’ Auxiliary of the Raleigh Professional Fire Fighters Association Local 548 are now available on DigitalNC. The scrapbooks cover the years 1951 – 1972.
Several yearbooks from Mecklenburg County have been added.
New obituaries have been added R. Kelly Bryant Obituary Collection, from the Durham County Library. This is a collection of funeral programs and obituaries of African American residents of Durham that was compiled by R. Kelly Bryant, a historian of Durham.
Ten issues of the student newspaper from the Henderson Institute, six Issues of The Barker, the student paper from Walter Williams High School, issues of the Charlotte Post, an African American newspaper out of Charlotte, have been added to DigitalNC.
Indiana University Southeast Digitizes Student Newspaper
Indiana University Southeast has digitized its student newspaper, The Southeastern Student, for the years 1947 – 2007. The newspaper started in 1947.
The issues are freely available at the Indiana University Southeast Library website.
Hill Air Force Base’s Hilltop Times Available Online
The University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library has made available online the complete run of Hill Air Force Base’s Hilltop Times. The newspaper covers the years from 1943 to 2006.
Vermont’s Newspaper Archive
Those living in Vermont can access Vermont newspapers that are found on Newspapers.com. Millions of pages of old papers are available from the 1700s up to 1922. Vermont secretary of state’s office worked with Newspapers.com to make these newspapers free to Vermonters.
Arnprior Chronicle Available Online
The newspaper for the town of Arnprior located in the eastern portion of Southern Ontario, Canada is available online for the years 1885 – 1937.
Not all issues for those years are available. The Arnprior & McNab-Braeside Archives hope to get the missing issues from donations.
The digitization of the newspaper was funded by a grant from the Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society.
GRO Again Extends PDF Pilot
The General Register Office (GRO) for England and Wales has extended its PDF pilot service for digitized birth and death certificates indefinitely. In January they said the PDF pilot would last until July 2018.
This pilot is for obtaining birth records from 1837 – 1917 and deaths from 1837 – 1957. Marriages are not included. This pilot started in October 2017.
The GRO is offering PDF copies of the certificates for £6 each, instead of the usual price of £9.25. A PDF is not a replacement for a certified copy that is needed for legal purposes.
Additions to TheGenealogist
TheGenealogist, a subscription website in the UK, has added more records to its poll book collection. Poll books can be used to find an ancestor’s residence before the census was taken. They list people who were entitled to vote. The newly released poll books range from 1705 to the 1830s.
TheGenealogist has expanded the headstone and war memorial collections. Fifty-three new cemeteries have been added to the headstone collection and various war memorials from Australia, Britain, Canada and the US have been added to the war memorial collection.
There is a new database that can be searched at TheGenealogist to find ancestors who officially changed their forename or surname in Britain. The database was created from a number of sources including Private Acts of Parliament; Royal Licenses published in the London and Dublin Gazettes; notices of changes of name published in The Times after 1861 with a few notices from other newspapers; registers of the Lord Lyon [King of Arms] where Scottish changes of name were commonly recorded; records in the office of the Ulster King at Arms and also some private information.
TheGenealogist has added the Color Tithe Maps for the North Riding and the East Riding of Yorkshire. These can be used as a visual aid to find where your ancestor lived in the mid 1800s.
National Library of Wales Adds 4800 Portraits to Wikimedia Commons and Wikidata
The National Library of Wales has added nearly 5000 portrait prints, photographs and paintings to Wikimedia Commons. These are all in the public domain.
The Library hopes that the images will be used to illustrate Wikipedia articles about Welsh sitters, artists, printers and photographers. They also encourage others to reuse the images for any purpose they see fit. These images are a free resource for anybody.
ScotlandsPeople Adds Maps, Plans and Drawings
More than 4,200 historic maps, plans and drawings have been made available at the ScotlandsPeople website. The maps show the changing Scottish landscape over time. They also record where people lived or worked
Most of the maps and plans originate in the records of court cases, Scottish government departments, Heritors’ records, as well as in private collections gifted to or purchased by National Records of Scotland.
You can access the maps, plans and drawings for free with a log on to ScotlandsPeople. Plans are to add more maps and plans to the ScotlandPeoples website.
RootsIreland Adds Westmeath Records
RootsIreland has added baptisms, marriages, deaths and headstones from Westmeath. There have been over 9,000 records added.
RootsIreland is a subscription website costing about $212 a year.
Archive of Middle Eastern Photography
There is a new archive for Middle Eastern Photography. It currently contains 9,000 out of the 62,000 images from the Akkasah Photographic Archive at New York University Abu Dhabi.
The collections range from the nineteenth century to the late twentieth and covers a variety of themes and topics, from early images of the Holy Lands and the Ottoman Empire, to images from family albums, institutional archives and the history of Egyptian cinema.
Virtual Genealogical Society Changes Its Name to Virtual Genealogical Association
The new Virtual Genealogical Society has had to change its name to the Virtual Genealogical Association. This is the result of receiving a cease-and-desist letter from a lawyer retained by the Virginia Genealogical Society. Both societies have the same initials – VGS.
The Virginia Genealogical Society has used VGS in connection with its society for 45 years. They quickly filed VGS as its trademark once the Virtual Genealogical Society was formed. Now the Virginia Genealogical Society is saying that the Virtual Genealogical Society infringes on its trademark.
So, to avoid confusion and abide by the law the Virtual Genealogical Society will become the Virtual Genealogical Association.
OGS 2019 Call for Presentation Proposals
The Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) has issued a call for presentation proposals for its 2019 conference to be held at the London Convention Center in Ontario from June 21 – 23.
The theme is “Breaking Down Genealogical Barriers.” Chosen speakers will receive an honorarium with appropriate expenses and complementary conference registration.
SLIG Registration is Open
Registration for the January 2019 Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) is open. This is the first year they will be offering two-week sessions. The first week will be held in a familiar format for SLIG where the focus will be on high-intermediate to advanced genealogical education. Those wishing to stay on for the second week will focus on profession development. The second week is called SLIG Academy for Professionals.
There are fifteen courses to choose from for the first week and five courses for the second week.
Be sure to check out the calendar at Geneatopia.com for the webinars coming up.
The calendar also has all the Google Hangouts that are scheduled, events going on in Second Life, and online events that you pay for.
And that’s it for this episode.
You can send email to email@example.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 119.
Thanks for listening.