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  • 26 May 2021 9:22 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by Forces War Records:

    The leading family history website Ancestry has announced that it is acquiring UK military records website Forces War Records.

    Clever Digit Media, which operates the UK military records website Forces War Records, are delighted to announce that our business and websites and have been purchased by UK Limited.

    Ancestry, which holds over 27 billion family history records from 80 countries, knows how crucial it is to connect with the military heroes in our family trees, so we can preserve their stories and honour their sacrifices. From regimental databases to medal rolls and from POW records to casualty lists, military records hold rich and important information about our ancestors. That is why we are pleased to announce that Ancestry has acquired Forces War Records.

    Since it was founded in 2010, Forces War Records has transcribed over 26 million Commonwealth military service records and has been connecting its users with these wartime stories. Ancestry is excited to help expand the product and bring these collections to new customers worldwide.

    We are looking forward to the future with great excitement and enthusiasm as our business has much to benefit from the involvement of Ancestry, and we believe that Forces War Records in return adds an authoritative and specialist brand to the Ancestry family, offering even more resources, tools and records to empower customers on their journeys of personal discovery.

    Are you looking for the war heroes in your family?

    Do you know enough about your ancestors and their military past?

    Why not log on to Forces War Records and search our vast collection of records to find out more – there could be a war hero in your family just waiting to be discovered, and remembered…

    SEARCH -

  • 25 May 2021 4:54 PM | Anonymous

    If you are researching Irish ancestors, you will undoubtedly want to look in a new online web source: the Church of Ireland Gazette Digital Archive Complete (1856-2010). Quoting from the announcement:

    The Church of Ireland Gazette Digital Archive is complete. All editions of the newspaper, from its foundation in 1856 up to and including 2010, are freely available electronically, allowing the worldwide audience to view and search it using any name, place, or other search term. This gifts everybody from the cursory reader to the academic researcher with access to this extensive resource here:

    Written and read by lay and clerical members and others, the Gazette provides the longest-running public commentary on the Church’s affairs, and as such is recognised as a valuable primary source for understanding the complexities and nuance of Church of Ireland and indeed wider Protestant identity, as well as the Church’s contribution to political and cultural life north and south. From 2010, as regular readers will know, the Gazette becomes available as an e-paper.

    In 2013, the RCB Library’s ambitious goal to digitize and make freely available the complete run of the newspaper began modestly with the content of the 1913 editions uploaded. Since then, a combination of state funding, private sponsorship and the support of central Church funds has enabled evolutionary growth of the project, and thanks to the generous grant from the Irish Government’s Reconciliation Fund, administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs, this is now complete, with a permanent digital archive available online for future generations of researchers.

    You can read more at:

  • 25 May 2021 4:43 PM | Anonymous

    From an Associated Press article by William J. Kole:

    BOSTON (AP) — A highly contagious disease originating far from America’s shores triggers deadly outbreaks that spread rapidly, infecting the masses. Shots are available, but a divided public agonizes over getting jabbed.

    Sound familiar?

    Newly digitized records — including a minister’s diary scanned and posted online by Boston’s Congregational Library and Archives — are shedding fresh light on devastating outbreaks of smallpox that hit the city in the 1700s.

    And three centuries later, the parallels with the coronavirus pandemic are uncanny.

    “How little we’ve changed,” said CLA archivist Zachary Bodnar, who led the digitization effort, working closely with the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

    “The fact that we’re finding these similarities in the records of our past is a very interesting parallel,” Bodnar said in an interview. “Sometimes the more we learn, the more we’re still the same, I guess.”

    You can read the full article at:

  • 25 May 2021 10:21 AM | Anonymous

    The following is an article from the MyHeritage Blog that I am sure will interest many people here:

    This Memorial Day, we’re giving you a chance to learn more about the ancestors in your family tree who put their lives on the line in service of their country. For one week, Wednesday, May 26 through Tuesday, June 1, all military records on MyHeritage will be completely free to access.

    Search Military Records on MyHeritage

    MyHeritage is home to 69.6 million military records from all over the world, including draft, enlistment, and service records, pension records, and other military documents. These collections contain valuable information about men and women who served, and often, information on their families as well. Military records can contain birth and death dates, names and addresses of family members, and details about the soldier’s service. In some cases, military records provide details not found in other types of records, such as notes on physical characteristics like height, weight, and eye color.

    Normally, records on MyHeritage are free to search, but viewing the full record and saving it to your family tree is available only to those with a paid Data or Complete plan on MyHeritage. But this week, in honor of Memorial Day, anyone wishing to learn more about their ancestors’ military history will be able to access the full records at no cost.

    Whether you already know about the heroes in your family and want to discover more about them, or you have yet to learn about the individuals in your family who served, finding their military records is a perfect way to honor their service this Memorial Day.

    Search the records now — who knows what you might find?

  • 24 May 2021 8:10 PM | Anonymous

    From an article by Diane Sagers published in the latest issue of the FamilySearch Blog:

    The Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City, Utah, has long been a go-to place to find genealogical research materials and is the flagship library for FamilySearch International. With the closure of the library a year ago due to the COVID 19 pandemic, people have had to rely largely on online materials, unable to access records that are only viewable at the Family History Library or other locations. A new Library Lookup Service will soon provide greater access to these records globally.

    Online Records and Limited Access Records

    With a free FamilySearch account, you can search through a large database of records online on This search often provides a text index of the record for quick reference and a complete image of the record. Some books and materials, however, only have the index available. The full images for these records can only be accessed at the Family History Library, family history centers, or affiliate libraries—primarily due to copyright restrictions or partner agreements.

    Due to COVID-19 conditions, visiting one of these facilities to look at materials has not been possible. To offset pandemic restrictions and as part of an effort to serve a global audience living too far away to visit the library, the Family History Library has launched its own lookup service.

    How the Lookup Service Works

    Upon request, staff and volunteers at the library will look up specific records in their collections that cannot be viewed online. Since Library Lookup is not a research service, people will need to identify the specific record from that they need to see.

    As mentioned, an online search might provide only basic information from a document, yet frequently the original document contains more information. To use the Lookup service, visit the online request form to request a copy of the image of the original document.

    Requests may take a few weeks to process, depending on the volume of requests being handled at a given time.

    Special Cases for Books

    Many books in the FamilySearch collections have not yet been digitized, also because of copyright limitations. Those same restrictions mean that the library cannot copy large numbers of pages from any one book.

    When requesting a book, please be as specific as possible about what you are seeking. Using the same online request form, guests can provide the title or call number of the book, along with the page number they would like copied. The staff will send a PDF copy of the page or pages, as allowed. In cases where page numbers are unknown, staff can check the index in a book for the listing of a name or chosen term to help provide the right pages.

    Available in Many Languages

    The FHL Library Lookup Service is available in about 15 languages and can help you access various records from countries worldwide. Sometimes books at the Family History Library are also available through other sources, as explained here.

    Continuing Service after the Reopening

    Renovation work has been done inside the Family History Library during the closure to prepare for guests when it is time to reopen. The exact date for reopening for the library and FamilySearch centers is dependent on government and local leadership guidelines. That date will be announced as soon as it is available. After the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and the library reopens, the Library Lookup Service will continue as part of the FamilySearch global outreach.

  • 24 May 2021 7:14 PM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

    FamilySearch published over 36M US Enlisted and Officer Muster Rolls and Rosters, 1916–1939 (originally housed in National Archives at St. Louis), and over 100K Louisiana, Orleans Parish Cemetery Records 1805–1944, plus vital records for Alaska, Illinois, and Washington.  

    Thousands more Catholic Church records were also newly added from Mexico for Coahuila 1627–1978, Distrito Federal 1514–1970, Hidalgo 1546–1971, México 1567–1970, Oaxaca 1559–1988, Querétaro 1590–1970, Veracruz 1590–1978, Zacatecas 1605–1980 and other parishes.

    Search these new records and images by clicking on the collection links below, or go to FamilySearch to search over 8 billion free names and record images.

    (The full list is very long, too long to publish here. However, you can find the entire list at:

    About FamilySearch

    FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at or through over 5,000 family history centers in 129 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

  • 24 May 2021 10:51 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

    • 42 million newspaper pages currently searchable on the British Newspaper Archive and Findmypast, with a further 14 million planned by 2023 thanks to the renewal of their long-term partnership with the British Library
    • The collection continues to grow at an unprecedented rate, with over 900 newspaper pages being digitised every hour
    • Explore for less with a 30% discount on all British Newspaper Archive subscriptions between May 24th and midnight May 31st

    Leading family history website Findmypast and the British Library have today announced an extension of their long term partnership; the British Newspaper Archive.

    Originally launched in 2011, this ambitious ten-year project has delivered the most significant mass digitisation of newspapers the UK has ever seen.

    The British Newspaper Archive, now the largest online collection of British and Irish newspapers in the world, has published more than 42 million pages from over a thousand regional, national and speciality titles covering all corners of the UK, Ireland and beyond.

    Spanning four centuries and including 34,000 local, regional, national and international titles, the British Library holds one of the finest collections of newspapers on earth. Prior to digitisation, this vast cultural treasure was held entirely in hard copy and microfilm, necessitating travel and hours of painstaking manual research for anyone wishing to use the collection.

    Large parts of this unparalleled resource have since been made available online for the first time, revolutionising access and searchability for users worldwide while reducing wear-and-tear on the Library’s fragile collection items. This includes hundreds of regional titles with long and rich heritages that capture changing times in local areas and communities across the centuries.

    Now anyone from amateur researchers to academics can discover the billions of stories that lie within in just a few simple clicks, transforming their understanding of past events both great and small while adding color, context and depth to their research.

    Researcher Suzanne Williams, a student from Swansea said, “The British Newspaper Archive has been an amazing resource throughout my PhD research--I write about late nineteenth century music, and it's given me access to so much information, like details of events and people's opinions from all over Britain that simply aren't recorded anywhere other than in the press. To have that all in one place and so easily accessible is amazing.”

    Today’s announcement will result in the online publication of a further 14 million pages over the next three years, including the addition of 1 million new free-to-access pages each year.

    With technology and processes becoming more efficient over time, Findmypast’s digitisation suite at the British Library’s Boston Spa site in West Yorkshire is now digitising the Library’s collection at an unprecedented rate. Since 2019 digitisation has increased dramatically, with over 5 million pages made available to search online in the past 12 months alone. Nearly every page is packed with new opportunities for discovery, containing an average of 80 names each.

    The partnership has already transformed access to this vital part of the national memory and is a much loved resource for historians, researchers, genealogists, students and many others that brings past events and people to life with great immediacy and in rich detail. As well as being available online via the British Newspaper Archive and Findmypast, the archive can also be searched for free by users of the British Library’s Reading Rooms in London and Yorkshire.

    Originally focused on specific geographic areas, along with periods such as the census years between 1841 and 1911 as well as key events and themes such as the Crimean War, the Boer War and the suffragette movement, the archive has since expanded dramatically scope and scale to form a digital “ archive of everything”, covering all facets of British and Irish life between 1699 and 2009.

    The extension of Findmypast’s partnership with the British Library as preferred digitisation partner for mass newspaper digitisation is further evidence of their proven track record of digitising archive materials, making them available to new audiences and preserving them for future generations. Although much of the content on the site is out of copyright, Findmypast have worked with rights holders to make a wide range of more recent content available too.

    Trusted by the world’s most prestigious archives, museums, and governments to digitise important historical records, Findmypast has been a pioneer in the heritage sector, providing the first online access to the complete birth, marriage and death indexes for England & Wales in 2003 and winning the Queen’s Award for Innovation.

    Tamsin Todd, CEO of Findmypast, said: “We are thrilled to extend Findmypast’s partnership with the British Library to continue developing the British Newspaper Archive which has been such a game changer for researchers everywhere. Newspapers have been the powerhouse of the UK’s free press, and I am proud of the work we are doing to use cutting edge digitsation technologies to ensure this national treasure is preserved and accessible for future generations.”

    Roly Keating, Chief Executive of the British Library, said: “Over the past decade, the British Newspaper Archive has transformed access to the extraordinarily rich collection of historic newspapers in our care. As well as protecting the fragile originals, digitisation has transformed the ways in which researchers can search newspaper content and make connections and discoveries that might never have been possible using print or microfilm. We are delighted to renew our strategic relationship with Findmypast, which has done so much to help expand the online audience for newspapers, whether they are accessing them for research inspiration or enjoyment.”

    Explore for less

    In celebration of their partnerships and everything the Archive has achieved so far, Findmypast are offering history enthusiasts the chance to explore this archive of everything for less with a discount of 30% on all subscription options.

    This limited time offer is available to all new and returning British Newspaper Archive subscribers from Monday May 24th until midnight on Monday May 31st. Simply visit and enter the promotional code LIBRARY30 to claim your discount and open a window to four centuries of local, national and world history.

  • 24 May 2021 10:38 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by the folks at

    [Glasgow, Scotland 22 May 2021] Graham and Emma Maxwell of today announce the release of over 100,000 prison register entries to This announcement was made during the Scottish Indexes Conference, the 10th free Scottish family history conference of the pandemic.

    It’s perhaps a sad reality that when our ancestors fell on hard times or got themselves into trouble we are much more likely to find out more about them. An ancestor who spent just one night in jail is likely to have had their age, birthplace, height, weight, scars, education level, hair colour and eye colour recorded. This makes prison registers vital not only to tracing your ancestors but also in discovering the people behind the names.

    These entries have been added to ‘Scotland's Criminal Database’ which includes High Court, Sheriff Court and prison records. All indexes on are free to search and the added features such as the free tutorials in the Learning Zone make the website easy to use.

    This update includes entries from the following prisons:

    • Ayr, Ayrshire
    • Greenock, Renfrewshire
    • Edinburgh, Midlothian
    • Barlinnie, Glasgow, Lanarkshire
    • Duke Street, Glasgow, Lanarkshire
    • Hamilton, Lanarkshire
    • Stirling, Stirlingshire
    • Maxwelltown, Troqueer, Stewartry of Kirkcudbright
    • Perth, Perthshire
    • Paisley, Renfrewshire
    • Stranraer, Wigtownshire
    • Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire
    • Wigtown, Wigtownshire
    • Dumfries, Dumfriessire
    • Dundee, Angus
    • Lanark, Lanarkshire
    • Kirkcudbright, Stewartry of Kirkcudbright

    Sadly not all prison registers have survived and this is an ongoing project. To see a precise breakdown of coverage of ‘Scotland's Criminal Database’ please see:

    About is run by husband and wife team Graham and Emma Maxwell, both experienced Scottish genealogists. As well as helping clients with their family history, Graham and Emma also index historical Scottish records and make them available for free on their website.

  • 24 May 2021 8:41 AM | Anonymous

    The following is an extract from an article by Elias Visontay and published in The Guardian at

    Historians are aghast that the National Archives have had to resort to crowdfunding to protect irreplaceable historical records.

    A damaged photograph from the collection of the National Archive of Australia

    Historians are calling it an international embarrassment for Australia and saying it is “inconceivable that it has come to this”, as they preemptively mourn the loss of “irreplaceable national history”.

    The National Archives of Australia doesn’t often make headlines, but when it does, it’s rarely good news.

    Last year, it famously lost a years-long legal battle to keep secret the Palace letters – a trove of correspondence between Australia’s governor-general and the Queen’s private secretary in the lead up to the dismissal of Australia’s then prime minister, Gough Whitlam, in 1975.

    As the institution – which is required by legislation to preserve records from Australian government agencies – was licking its financial wounds from the costly legal battle, it was dealt a further blow in this month’s federal budget, which largely ignored a “digital cliff” the archives was facing.

    Last week, it was revealed the archives had resorted to launching a crowdfunding site in a last ditch attempt to raise tens of millions of dollars to digitise disintegrating historical materials.

    The crowdfunding push has outraged Australia’s archivists and historians, and raised questions about the value Australia places on its national history.

    There is a lot more information available at:

  • 21 May 2021 3:34 PM | Anonymous

    The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman. 

    Experienced genealogists are always aware that they must verify information by looking at original documents or a microfilm or digital image of an original document. We should know better than to believe a statement on a web site, in a genealogy book, or a verbal statement from Aunt Tilley about the "facts" of our family trees. However, what is the definition of an "original document?"

    Let's take one well-known claim of an original document that isn't really accurate: the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Almost all American schoolchildren are familiar with this document; and, if we paid attention in class, we know that the document is on display at the U.S. National Archives building in Washington, D.C. In fact, millions of us, myself included, have visited that building to view the document on display. However, how many of us were ever told that the document displayed in Washington is not the original, hand-written document? Instead, it is one of many copies that were produced on a printing press.

    No, this isn't a story plot from a Nicholas Cage movie. In fact, the document displayed at the National Archives building in Washington, D.C. is a copy made by Philadelphia printer John Dunlap, official printer to the Congress, during the evening of July 4, 1776, after the original, hand-written document was given to him. Admittedly, the original and the copies made by John Dunlap had no signatures. The "copy" now on display at the National Archives is the only copy that was actually signed by each delegate and therefore is the one that we can now refer to as the real Declaration of Independence. However, it was produced on a printing press and is not the original, hand-written piece of paper.

    The original Declaration of Independence was written by hand by Thomas Jefferson. After making alterations to his draft as suggested by Ben Franklin and John Adams, Jefferson later recalled that, "I then wrote a fair copy, reported it to the Committee, and from them, unaltered, to Congress." 

    The committee sent the hand-written manuscript document, probably Thomas Jefferson's "fair copy" of his rough draft, to John Dunlap, official printer to the Congress. Dunlap printed the copies on the night of July 4, 1776. It is unknown exactly how many copies were printed, but the number is estimated at about 200.

    The remainder of this article is reserved for Plus Edition subscribers only. If you have a Plus Edition subscription, you may read the full article at:*)-Plus-Edition-News-Articles/10530485.

    If you are not yet a Plus Edition subscriber, you can learn more about such subscriptions and even upgrade to a Plus Edition subscription immediately at

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