Monday, March 06, 2017

10 Ways to Search Google for Information that 96% of people don’t Know about

I've read lots of articles on how to use search engines more effectively, but few of them have been as useful as this one.

10 Ways to Search Google for Information That 96% of People Don’t Know About:

1. Either this or that

Sometimes we’re not sure that we’ve correctly remembered the information or the name we need to start our search. But this doesn’t have to be a problem! Simply put in a few potential variations of what you’re looking for, and separate them by typing the “|“ symbol. Instead of this symbol you can also use ”or." Then it’s easy enough to choose the result that makes the most sense.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

This Data Will Make You Question Every Census Record You've Collected

A useful article on interpreting data from censuses. Most of us ignore the "Instructions to Enumerators" and rush on to record the data themselves, but if we do that, the data can easily be misinterpreted. This Data Will Make You Question Every Census Record You've Collected:

At first glance Instructions to Enumerators sounds pretty benign — it certainly doesn’t sound like it should be shaking any foundations. But it turns out that these documents provide some very surprising insights into the data recorded in the US census. The Instructions to Enumerators specified for the census takers what information was to be collected for each census year, how to properly collect that information, what data should be questioned and what data should be excluded. The instructions put much of the information that we often take at face value into a whole new light. They provide a context to the information that could easily change how that information should be read, understood and used.

Monday, January 23, 2017

The New GRO Searchable Database – AncestorCloud Blog

Until a few months ago, if you wanted access to English birth, marriage and death registrations, you had to buy a certificate, which was expensive. A new scheme mkakes it possible to get PDF copies of the original register entries, at least in the case of births and deaths, and there are also better partial indexes available. The New GRO Searchable Database – AncestorCloud Blog:
During November 2016 the GRO trialled the first of 3 pilot schemes, allowing the purchase and emailing of PDF copies including birth records dated 1837-1934 and death records dated 1837-1957. These copies can only be used for research purposes not for official identification purposes as they are not certified. Marriage certificates were not included in this trial. Phase 2 would pilot the delivery of the PDF records within 3 hours, and phase 3 the delivery of PDF copies of civil registration entries that are not held by GRO in a digital format.
For the indexes
To assist in the ordering process a free online searchable database was also introduced. To access this you must register and login into the GRO website. Unlike the original GRO indexes, which many UK based family history researchers are familiar with, these indexes include the mother’s maiden name for most birth registrations prior to 1911, and ages of death prior to 1860. Both of these will be a huge boost for researchers. Sadly, the birth index only goes up to 1915, although the death index continues to 1957. This means that in order to purchase a PDF copy of a post 1915 birth record, the reference details must be found on the FreeBMD website or other partner databases. There is currently no searchable GRO index for marriages.
The linked arti9cle has useful tips on how to use the sire.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The 13 Reasons You Can't Break Down Your Brick Walls | Family History Daily

The 13 Reasons You Can't Break Down Your Brick Walls | Family History Daily:
Searching for and locating records about our ancestors is seldom a simple process. Of course, we all have those easy-to-find individuals that seem to appear in every single record at just the right time — but many of us spend most of our time searching for those elusive members of our tree that appear to have avoided being recorded on purpose. If you’ve hit a brick wall in your research, check our list of 13 common reasons why people fail to find the genealogy data they’re looking for. These are not the only reasons a person might hit a brick wall, but in the vast majority of cases one or more of these observations apply. If you feel that something on the list describes your research, take the time to address it and you might find that you tear down your family history obstacle once and for all.
Blogged for future reference!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Huge Genealogy Mistake We All Need to Stop Making Now

The Huge Genealogy Mistake We All Need to Stop Making Now | Family History Daily:
As genealogy grows as a hobby, and information becomes easier and easier to find and share, one particular mistake has become a huge problem online – copying and sharing other people’s research. The reasons NOT to do this are numerous, and yet so many people continue the practice that longtime researchers can’t help wondering why? Perhaps it is because the reasons why not to are not as obvious as they seem — especially to those who are just starting out. So here is a breakdown of some of the top reasons you should avoid this practice at all costs, even though it can seem like the easiest route to a full family tree.
This article is definitely worth reading, and the problem is especially serious on sites like Ancestry.com, where such copying is easy and actively encouraged. I've seen ten trees on Ancestry.com that reproduce the same error, because they all copied it from each other. Three trees had the correct version, but because they are outnumbered by the false version, the error is more likely to spread than the correct version. How do I know? I found these trees on Mundia (Ancestry.com's discontinued free version) and because they were inconsistent, I wanted to find which was the correct version. That meant going back to the sources, and checking census returns for both households to see which children belonged to which family. The problem was that in two censuses the wife was away from home visiting other members of her family, so some researchers assumed that a woman of the same name in a different family was her. And those researchers' work got copied more than the work of those who found the correct family. In the past, one of the pieces of advice given to genealogist was to check first whether someone else had not already done it. Many people found that they had done a lot of painstaking research only to be told "Oh Uncle Jack worked all that out years ago". So by all means find out if someone has already done it. But in such cases, at least someone knows where Uncle Jack fits into the family (and even then, you should still check his work). The problem nowadays is that many peiople simply copy the work of complete strangers, and don't even attempt to make contact with them to find out how they know.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Google's New Free App Could Revolutionize How We Preserve Family Photos and Records | Family History Daily

Google's New Free App Could Revolutionize How We Preserve Family Photos and Records | Family History Daily:
Google has announced a new app today that brings the ease of scanning and preserving old family photos and records to a whole new level. And Anil Sabharwal, vice president of Google Photos, was inspired to create the free app by his own family’s past. According to CNET “His grandparents, who were Hindus living in what had just become the Muslim state of Pakistan, faced soldiers at the door who ordered them to gather what belongings they could carry to cross the Indian border. Leaving behind jewelry and other valuables, Sabharwal’s grandparents made sure to grab photos.”

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Hard To Read Gravestones

Hard To Read Gravestones |:
An alternative to traditional wax or crayon type rubbings is that of aluminum foil & a damp sponge. Place foil on marker, dull side up so the sun doesn’t reflect back into your eyes Using the damp sponge press gently so as to not tear the foil around the carving or writing areas and instantly you have a 3-D impression of the marker that you can keep or ball it up and put it into your recycling bin. Also try reading the foil impression under different lighting situations. Sometimes it works better if the foil is placed on a tabletop under artificial light when trying to read it.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

50 Free Genealogy Sites to Search Today

50 Free Genealogy Sites to Search Today:
Looking for a list of free genealogy sites to search? Here are 50 no-cost family history resources where you will find birth, marriage and death records, obituaries, cemetery listings, newspaper articles, biographies, research tips and so much more. We had a lot of fun compiling this list of excellent websites. Remember, most free genealogy sites have been made available by the hard work and dedication of many volunteers! Don’t forget to thank them and give back when you can. Enjoy the search!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Was Darwinism Banned from Nazi Germany? - Evolution News & Views

Was Darwinism Banned from Nazi Germany? - Evolution News & Views: universities embraced Darwinism before the Nazis came to power, but the Nazi regime continued to appoint Darwinists to biology and anthropology professorships. Karl Astel, whom the Nazis appointed professor of human genetics and later promoted to rector (equivalent of president) of the University of Jena, was an avid Darwinist. He was also an SS officer who wanted to turn the University of Jena into a fully Nazified university. In order to accomplish this goal, he received Himmler's help in recruiting the biologist and SS officer Gerhard Heberer as a professor of human evolution at the University of Jena. Nazis appointed many other Darwinian biologists and anthropologists to professorships, too.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Revealed: The most common surnames in Britain and Ireland – and where they come from

Revealed: The most common surnames in Britain and Ireland – and where they come from:
A new comprehensive 'dictionary of names' revealing the origins of more than 45,000 of the most popular in Britain and Ireland has been published. The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland features the most common surnames and details about their origins. Smith, Jones, Williams, Brown and Taylor are among the most common names, while names including Farah, Twelvetrees and Li are amongst the 8,000 family names explained for the first time.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Millions of Free Records on FamilySearch Can Not Be Found via Search: Here's How to Access Them | Family History Daily

Millions of Free Records on FamilySearch Can Not Be Found via Search: Here's How to Access Them | Family History Daily:
It’s an often overlooked fact that a vast amount of FamilySearch’s collections can not be found via the search on their site. Millions of free family history records are waiting to be discovered but have not yet been indexed and are, therefore, somewhat hard to find. These records are invaluable tools for genealogists and cover a wide range of locales and time periods so we thought we’d offer a quick rundown on how to access them.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

How to Collect Oral History in Your Genealogy Research

How to Collect Oral History in Your Genealogy Research: As genealogists we are remiss if we do not gather our family’s oral history when we can. Oral history will give you facts about your family that cannot be found in formal records. For example, oral history told the story of why a great grandfather did not appear in the 1920 census. The casual researcher would have assumed he died when he was very much alive and working on a road crew in a neighboring state. This was how he, a farmer, earned extra money in the off-season of farming.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Rootsweb mailing lists

For some time now I have not seen any new messages on Rootsweb Mailing Lists.

There are more than 30000 genealogy mailing lists hosted by the Rootsweb servers, which have been managed by Ancestry.com and I've been using them for more than 20 years to communicate with and keep in touch with genealogists around the world, and suddenly they seem to have stopped working.

Some of the mailing lists have been gated into other forums, such as Usenet newsgroups and Googlegroups, so they have been fairly widely available, but suddenly they seem to have stopped working.

There's been no announcement on the Rootsweb Home Page, and no response from the Helpdesk.

Does anyone know what's going on?

For what it's worth the general African list is still working, but it's not hosted by Rootsweb but by YahooGroups. If you would like to subscribe, just send e-mail to:

afgen-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

with the word "subscribe" (without the quotes) in the subject line and the body of the message.

It's a continent-wide list,  so it doesn't have the specialised focus on a particular province of a particular country, but you can use it for queries and comments about genealogy in any country in Africa.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Oliver Growden and crime fiction

I was updating my GROWDEN and GROWDON family history files, trying to tie up some (well, rather a lot, actually) loose ends, when I came across this bibliography of crime fiction with the following entry Crime Fiction IV - Allen J. Hubin:

GROWDEN, OLIVER H(ENRY WARDROP). 1866-1923. Born in Dunedin, New Zealand; died in Melbourne, Australia.
I found that rather intriguing.

If I have understood the purpose of the web site, it means that he was an author of crime fiction, something I did not know.

What I do know is that his death was somewhat mysterious, and might itself have formed part of the plot of a murder mystery.

A Google search brought up the information that he was the author of Matthew Redmayne: a New Zealand romance, and it seems that there are some copies on sale at Amazon. It was apparently first published in 1892, and, perhaps not surprisingly for the time, justified British imperialism and the land wars in New Zealand.

According to GoodReads the book has recently been reprinted, but nobody seems to have read or reviewed it there.

According to newspaper reports his body was found in the Yarra River, at Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia, on 15 April 1923, and was eventually identified as belonging to him, and the inquest reached a verdict of suicide, though it said he was not of unsound mind.

His wife was Annie Theresa Growden, and she died in 1949. When he went to Australia he lost touch with his New Zealand family, and they did know what had happened to him. It seems that he and his wife had no children.