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  • 18 Feb 2021 11:38 AM | Anonymous

    From an article by Trent Toone in the Deseret News:

    "With the world’s largest family history conference less than a week away, Feb. 25-27, more than 315,000 participants from more than 200 countries and territories worldwide have registered with nearly 90% of those participating for the first time.

    Thousands attend RootsTech at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020. This year’s free, virtual RootsTech Connect is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of participants. Photo by Scott G Winterton of the Deseret News.

    That’s a dramatic increase from previous years in the Salt Palace Convention Center, with about 30,000 attending in person and an average of 100,000 online viewers, according to Jen Allen, one of RootsTech Connect’s director of events at FamilySearch and one of the event’s main organizers.

    "'It has been a challenge and a learning curve,” Allen said. “But the fact that so many people can engage in the learning and the inspiration from around the world, it’s been just incredible to watch that grow. ... This is a game changer. The global approach of it will never go away.'"

    There is a lot more information, including a list of the 2021 keynote speakers, at

  • 18 Feb 2021 11:18 AM | Anonymous

    The following is a press release from Vivid-Pix:

    Vivid-Pix will Help Family, Class Alumni, and Military Reunion Participants & Planners

    Relive the Past, Make New Memories, & Find New Ways to Celebrate

    Press Release:

    Savannah, GA, February 18, 2021 – Vivid-Pix, the leading provider of AI-powered image restoration software, announced today that it has acquired Reunions magazine, a leading publication for reunion planning and celebration for the past 30 years. From its beginnings as a print magazine and expanding online, Reunions magazine provides education, resources, and event sharing – pre, during, and post the reunion event. 

    Reunions magazine will be Updated & Expanded for Easy Access to Ideas, Features, & Education

    Vivid-Pix will operate the expanded Reunions magazine website and online magazine as a resource to assist families, class alumni, and military reunion participants relive the past and make new memories. The Reunions magazine site ( will be redesigned and updated to provide easy access to ideas, features, and education for reunions and reunion planners alike.

    Edith Wagner, Editor and Founder of Reunions magazine, said, “We are delighted to be able to continue our long service of information, inspiration and ideas to reunions and reunion planners. Working with Vivid-Pix expands our reach with a redesigned website as well as appealing to their audience. Their services are of great interest to our readers who are always looking for new ways to celebrate. The eagerly awaited future of reunions will be bright.”

    Vivid-Pix Provides Patented Photo Restoration Software & Education to Relive and Share Memories 

    For the past 8 years, Vivid-Pix has provided patented image improvement software and helpful education to relive and share cherished memories from yesteryear and yesterday. “Reunions are a great way to stay connected with family and friends. These events often include ‘a journey down memory lane.’ Photos provide the best way to relive these journeys and reminisce,” said Rick Voight, CEO, Vivid-Pix. “Reunions create new memories and, of course, new pictures. It’s our sincere pleasure to be working with Reunions magazine, organizations involved with reunions, and all the family and friends, as you plan, get together, and celebrate!”

    For more information on Reunions magazine and Vivid-Pix, see and

    About Vivid-Pix

    Vivid-Pix RESTORE patented AI software automatically restores faded old black and white, sepia, and color photos and documents; and provides image organization, editing, and saving. Vivid-Pix recently launched a new version of RESTORE that improves a wider variety of image formats; metadata tagging for research, transcription, and sharing of family stories; and Crop/Recalculate to hone-in on specific areas that need fixing – details essential for genealogists and family historians.

    The U.S. Patent Office has awarded two patents to Vivid-Pix for its image processing techniques used to automatically correct images. Vivid-Pix RESTORE is available for Mac and Windows for $49.99 at: with a 10 Free-Fix Trial without a credit card required at: See Vivid-Pix RESTORE in action at: For more information, see the website at:

    Vivid-Pix was founded by Rick Voight and Randy Fredlund, who have a combined 47 years of experience from Eastman Kodak Co. They brought Kodak’s “You Press the Button, We Do the Rest” philosophy to the design of Vivid-Pix RESTORE software. For more info, see:

  • 18 Feb 2021 11:10 AM | Anonymous

    The following is an announcement from Findmypast:

      • Findmypast announce a variety of new tools and features designed to enhance user discoveries
      • Major update improves accessibility to detail rich genealogical resources
      • Users can now locate and decipher the hidden details within images of original documents 

    Leading family history website, Findmypast, have today announced a major new update to their record image viewer.

    Now available to all users, the upgraded viewer introduces a raft of new tools and features all designed to enhance user discoveries.

    For both beginner and expert family historians, digitised images of original documents are an essential resource that often provide significantly richer levels of detail than transcripts alone.

    With many millions of images available to explore and with millions more being added to the site each month, Findmypast have launched this upgrade to help users make the most of this vast genealogical goldmine by making the contents of historical documents easier to access and understand.

    These new features and tools include;

      • Brightness and contrast adjustors – to help improve the legibility of difficult to read documents. Also included is the option to ‘invert colours’ for those who prefer to read light text on dark backgrounds
      • Previews of previous subsequent pages - Thumbnails of the images either side of an individual record have now been added. This helps users understand what might lie beyond the page they’re initially looking at - whether a volume cover, new volume or record. For the 1911 Census, Findmypast have also created thumbnails for additional information about each volume
      • Page numbers - where available, page numbers have also been made visible. To help navigate volumes in their entirety, users can now see exactly where they are within the document, the total number of pages available, and can jump to any one of them immediately
      • Easier access to transcripts - Where an image has transcripts available, Findmypast now enables users to access any transcript for a person featured in that image from within the viewer itself. This enhances users’ ability to ability to see what names are included in any given image, particularly helpful in cases where old handwriting may be difficult to read. This is available on many record sets such as the 1939 register, Crime and Punishment record set, Passenger Lists etc. 
      • View transcript on the page within the 1939 Register - Findmypast have used data coordinates to show users transcripts in situ when viewing on desktop, making it much easier to identify individuals and households at a glance
      • Enhanced viewing on mobile or tablet devices – including an improved interface and the ability to flip documents for improved viewing of landscape images
      • Simplified access to important tools – Findmypast have grouped the most popular user actions such as printing, downloading and adding to tree at the top of each image and have added explanations for new users

    As well as making it easier for users to quickly and accurately access the information they need, today’s announcement also lays solid foundations for future updates.

    Following significant and continued investment in the development of new tools and features, Findmypast will continue to work hand in hand with their passionate online community to further enhance their unique offerings and deliver the best possible experience for all.

  • 17 Feb 2021 8:12 PM | Anonymous

    I received an email message a while ago from a newsletter reader asking about an experience she had with a county records clerk. I answered her in email but decided to also publish my reply here in this newsletter because I suspect her experience is going to become more common with every passing year.

    I deleted the name of the city, county, and state because I believe this is a nationwide and even international issue. It could have happened anywhere. Let's focus on the issues, not on the location:

    "Hi, Mr. Eastman

    "I wanted to share this with you. I am researching genealogy for a friend of mine. He told me that his parents were married in {city and state deleted} and he wanted proof of that. He did not have any more information than that.

    "Today, I contacted the County Clerk of that location to verify that they were married there. The clerk found the record. I asked how much would it would cost to obtaine a certified copy. She said that 'I will mail the original to you.' I said, 'The original?' She replied, 'Yes, we do not keep original documents anymore. We scan them into the computer system and mail them to the nearest family member.'

    "I just wonder how many genealogy seekers know this about {city deleted} or is it this way throughout {state deleted}? I thought I would let you know about this."

    My reply:

    That is still unusual but not unheard of. I have heard that a number of other places do the same thing.

    All government offices are cost-constrained. Buying filing cabinets to keep millions of pieces of paper is expensive. However, creating new buildings or expanding present buildings to provide space for all the filing cabinets, along with the required climate controls (heating, air conditioning, and humidity controls), building maintenance, and salaries of people to maintain the place are cost-prohibitive… always costing millions of taxpayer dollars. In addition, storing paper is a poor method as it is sensitive to fires, floods, mold, insect damage, theft, and other problems.

    Storing digital copies (with backup copies stored in second or even third locations) is more reliable, safer, easier to handle (such as giving copies to those who ask), and is always much cheaper for the taxpayers.

    My guess is that, within 25 or 50 years, no government office will be storing paper, except for a very few exceptions of important historical documents, probably kept in a local museum.

    Just think… if that marriage certificate had already been digitized in the past, when you recently talked to the clerk, he or she could have asked, “What is your email address?” and you then would have received your copy within 15 or 20 seconds. Faster, more convenient, and much cheaper for the taxpayers of the county.

    - Dick Eastman

    What is your opinion? Should government offices keep purchasing filing cabinets, expanding their buildings or making new buildings for their archives, and pay for the “required climate controls (heating, air conditioning, and humidity controls), building maintenance, and salaries of people to maintain the place?”

  • 17 Feb 2021 4:04 PM | Anonymous

    Do you have Wyoming ancestors? If so, you will be interested in an announcement from the Wyoming State Library:

    February 16, 2021

    University of Wyoming Libraries and the Wyoming State Library have partnered to launch the Wyoming Digital Newspaper Collection online.

    This collection of historic newspapers combines the digital holdings of both institutions with a new interface that is more robust, providing easier, customizable searches and better results. More than 800,000 pages are now available, with new content added monthly. To search the Wyoming Digital Newspaper Collection, go to

    “This collaboration is yet another example of libraries working together to bring additional information resources to the people of Wyoming and bringing the world to Wyoming,” says Thomas Ivie, Wyoming State Library research and statistics librarian.

    The Wyoming State Library has long been home to the Wyoming Newspapers database, which includes more than 340 historic newspapers with over 800,000 pages consisting mostly of newspapers from 1849-1922. Along with this existing content, the Wyoming Digital Newspaper Collection includes content digitized by UW. In 2019, UW received a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to digitize 100,000 pages of Wyoming newspapers -- dating from 1863-1963 -- as part of the state’s participation in the National Digital Newspaper Program.

    “Combining the newspaper holdings of both the Wyoming State Library and University of Wyoming Libraries gives users an opportunity for increased access through a single point of contact,” says Bryan Ricupero, UW Libraries metadata librarian and interim department head of Digital Collections. “This should make for a much improved research experience.”

    UW Libraries and the Wyoming State Library also teamed up with the Colorado State Library to launch the Plains to Peaks Historic Newspapers database, a one-stop collection that combines the Wyoming and Colorado historic newspaper collections. The combined regional collection can be found at

  • 17 Feb 2021 11:09 AM | Anonymous

    Monument on top of the gravestone for Malcolm Alexander MacLean, the first Mayor of Vancouver, at Mountain View Cemetery

    An article by Eve Lazarus probably will interest anyone with relatives buried in Mountain View Cemetery, Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. It is a brief history of why the cemetery was formed and the burial, exhumation, and reburial practices of that cemetery.

    The article also states, "Mountain View Cemetery may have been Vancouver’s first official cemetery when it opened in 1886."

    You can read the article at

    My thanks to newsletter reader Jim Benedict for telling me about this article.

  • 17 Feb 2021 10:31 AM | Anonymous

    Verogen is a company in the DNA business that is attempting to assist in solving violent "cold cases" by the use of DNA samples taken at the crime scene. The company released a new press release yesterday that describes DNA testing procedures that I don't fully understand. What really caught my eye, however, was the mentions of GEDmatch PRO,  described as "providing secure access to the largest source of voluntarily contributed profiles for law enforcement matching."

    Here is the press release:

    SAN DIEGO--Verogen Inc. announced today that it is expanding capabilities for the NDIS-approved MiSeq FGx® Sequencing System with the commercial launch of the ForenSeq® Kintelligence Kit, a solution optimized for low input and degraded samples. The kit targets 10,230 forensically curated SNPs, alleviating genetic privacy concerns by minimizing medically informative markers. The seamless integration of this workflow with GEDmatch® PRO, a dedicated forensics portal for investigative comparisons, will empower the criminal justice community to maintain chain of custody while generating deeper investigative insights.

    GEDmatch PRO advances the genealogy database of consumer site GEDmatch, which was acquired by Verogen in 2019, by providing secure access to the largest source of voluntarily contributed profiles for law enforcement matching. “The launch of GEDmatch PRO delivered on our commitment to data privacy and best-in-class kinship analysis tools in an environment designed for forensic labs," said Brett Williams, Chief Executive Officer at Verogen. "ForenSeq Kintelligence is built on a forensically validated sequencing platform designed to simplify the workflow and yield more informative data, enabling our customers to truly realize the promise of forensic genetic genealogy while retaining the best practices and high-quality standards essential to their operation."

    “Our mission is to employ the most advanced technology tools to aid investigations. Cold case samples are usually severely degraded, inhibited and have very low inputs, which is why we have invested in the ForenSeq Kintelligence workflow,” noted Danny Hellwig, Laboratory Director at Intermountain Forensics, one of the first labs to utilize the new technology. “It is a targeted sequencing technology that can enhance our ability to provide robust results without compromising on our mission."

    The ForenSeq Kintelligence Kit and the ForenSeq Kintelligence Analysis Module in Universal Analysis Software are now available for purchase. For more information, visit


    Verogen is a dedicated developer of human identification products for sequencing and analysis of forensic genomic samples. Working closely with the forensic community, Verogen places exceptional value on flexible, scalable solutions that deliver reliable results.

    Footnote: “ForenSeq Kintelligence is built on a forensically validated sequencing platform designed to simplify the workflow and yield more informative data, enabling our customers to truly realize the promise of forensic genetic genealogy while retaining the best practices and high-quality standards essential to their operation.”

  • 16 Feb 2021 11:29 PM | Anonymous

    The following is a press release from Forces War Records, an organization in the United Kingdom:

    An exciting ‘new’ collection of records has been added to the Forces War Records database that may contain your WW2 Royal Air Force ancestor. A collection of over 178,000 records from the ‘Air Ministry - Casualty Communiques 1939-46’ are now available to view online.

    Search the ‘Air Ministry - Casualty Communiques WWII’

    Throughout the Second World War, the Air Ministry regularly published Casualty Communiques through the Ministry of Information which announced, or updated the status of missing Air Force personnel. Once the next of kin had been informed these reports were then released to various newspapers and periodicals of the era including The Times, many Daily Gazettes and magazines such as Flight.

    Services covered are:

      • Royal Air Force

      • Royal Australian Air Force

      • Royal Canadian Air Force

      • Royal New Zealand Air Force

      • South African Air Force

      • Royal Indian Air Force

      • Women’s Auxiliary Air Force

    The size and scope of WW2 Records held by Forces War Records makes them a fascinating resource for genealogists. These records, cover Armed Forces personnel injured or killed in action, those receiving awards, mention in dispatches or those captured as a P.O.W. and so much more!

    You may not be aware of this, but the Ministry of Defence has a 100-year disclosure rule on service records, this applying to all service post 1921. Although, at Forces War Records we have over 7 million WW2 Records.

    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 -

  • 16 Feb 2021 8:38 AM | Anonymous

    The following press release was written by the (U.S.) National Genealogical Society:

    FALLS CHURCH, VA, 16 FEBRUARY 2021—The National Genealogical Society (NGS) will host a new Focus on Societies Day on Friday, 21 May 2021, as part of its weeklong virtual NGS 2021 Family History Conference.

    NGS recognizes that genealogical societies, historical societies, and family organizations are the backbone of the genealogy community and are an important source of information and knowledge for budding family historians. The all-day event is devoted to presentations offering expert advice for society leaders on managing and growing their genealogical or historical societies. Jill Morelli will kick off the event with ideas and new opportunities for societies based on lessons learned during the pandemic. The day will feature fourteen session topics to choose from focused on sharing best practices, building leadership, attracting new members, planning online meetings and events, developing newsletters and other publications, and more.

    Societies are invited to fill out an online form to hear their societies mentioned during the event. NGS will record some portions of the workshop and make them available to member organizations on its website.

    Registration for the Focus on Societies Day is now open. To learn more about the NGS 2021 Virtual Family History Conference’s weeklong events, 17−21 May, visit the conference website. A discounted Early Bird registration fee is available through 15 March 2021.

  • 15 Feb 2021 3:04 PM | Anonymous

    To all subscribers:

    Here is a list of all of this week's articles, all of them available at

    (+) Hands On With My New Android Tablet

    MyHeritage Adds the Records of United States Border Crossings from Canada, 1895-1956

    Announcing an Update to Theory of Family Relativity™ on MyHeritage

    Abraham Lincoln As You’ve Never Seen Him Before

    How Many Ancestors Do You Have?

    Federal Judge Blocks Sale of Seattle's National Archives Facility

    Florida Bill Would Classify ‘DNA Theft’ as a Felony Property Crime

    Ancestry Says It Fought Two Police Requests to Search Its DNA Database

    Man Keeps Bumping Into Siblings On Dating Apps Thanks To His Sperm Donor Dad Now Offers Free Cloud Storage for Saving Your Most Important Family Photographs

    Lloyd George Domesday Survey Records on TheGenealogist Top Over 800,000 Individuals With Latest Release

    Explore Welsh roots and more this Findmypast Friday Announces a Major Update to its Online U.S. Newspaper Listings

    New Free Historical Records on FamilySearch: Week of 8 February 2021

    Call for Applications from the IAJGS Board of Directors

    Announcing the Board for Certification of Genealogists' Next Free Monthly Webinar

    The article with a plus sign (+) in the title is only visible to Plus Edition subscribers.

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