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  • 17 Dec 2020 3:10 PM | Anonymous

    A woman says a Detroit family doctor fathered hundreds of babies, which included her. The woman says she took a DNA test and traced it back to her family's doctor.

    Jaime Hall says Dr. Peven, who’s now 104, admitted to fathering her and potentially hundreds of others and says it was a group of doctors who were doing this for decades.

    “I go, 'I think my Mom's doctor is my Dad,'” Hall said.

    The woman says she couldn’t believe it when she took a DNA test.

    This isn't the first story of a doctor fathering possibly dozens or even hundreds of children. Stories like this undoubtedly will become more and more common as more and more people take genealogy DNA tests.

    You can read more about this case and watch a video in an article by Alan Campbell in the WXYZ web site at:

  • 17 Dec 2020 2:07 PM | Anonymous

    The following is a news release from the Society of Genealogists:

    Our Chief Executive Officer, June Perrin, has retired as of 16 December. Having been with the Society of Genealogists for twenty years, June first joined the Society to work with former Director Robert Gordon. They directed and refreshed the Society’s finance and HR operations. After Robert Gordon stood down as Director, June continued to guide the Society and became CEO in her own right.

    The Society’s finances in the early years of the 21st century have remained precarious, as the hoped-for rewards of digitisation and growth weren’t as anticipated. June worked with several Chairmen and Trustees to guide the Society. It has always fallen upon June to implement and managing the difficult but necessary systems and personnel changes needed to keep the Society’s nose above water.

    During her time as CEO significant partnerships and contracts were achieved within the Genealogical Community. These include digital publishing companies for SoG Data on our platform and in partnerships with Findmypast, FamilySearch and others. The Society’s web presence and digital offerings have grown apace and have been improved for members. The Society has become host to the Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain, the Irish Genealogical Research Society and is now an Affiliate Search Library for FamilySearch.

    Having joined the SoG in the middle of our major refurbishment of the buildings, June oversaw the recent refresh of the building, the transfer of SoG storage facilities from London to Essex and latterly successfully negotiated the sale of the current building thus enabling the Society to lay the foundations for our transformation.

    Highlights during her tenure include our centenary celebration in 2011 and the Society’s huge active presence at the major genealogical shows. These included our own event at the RHS Hall, eventually partnering with Who Do You Think You Are? and RootsTech both in the USA and in the UK.

    As CEO and Company Secretary to the SoG and its trading arm SoG Enterprises and Secretary to the Fellows, June’s calm direction of the Society and her contribution to the Society and its members is much appreciated. June leaves many friends amongst the board, membership and staff.

    Now she has decided to retire we all wish her the best in the future and hope she enjoys her life with her children and grandchildren.

    June has been a great CEO for the Society and a terrific colleague. She has guided the Society through significant transformation and changes, and I am very grateful for her excellent stewardship.

    Laura Doyle has agreed to step down from the Board of Trustees and act as Interim CEO, effective immediately, until we find a permanent successor to June. Laura has been a member of the Trustee Board for five years including a term as Treasurer. A Chartered Accountant by training, she has spent 20 years in the City working as Investor Relations for FTSE listed companies. She has been involved in genealogy for some 25 years, custodian of the One-Name Study for the surname Blissenden, is a Trustee/Treasurer for the Halsted Trust and is currently working towards an MSc in Genealogical, Palaeographic and Heraldic Studies at the University of Strathclyde.

    I’m sure you will join me in thanking June for her service and to welcome Laura to the helm.

    Wishing you all a Happy Christmas and looking forward to 2021.

    Edward Percival, Chairman , Society of Genealogists

  • 17 Dec 2020 1:52 PM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

    • All Findmypast Family Tree users can now benefit from a variety of improved navigation features
    Developed in direct response to customer feedback and in-depth user testing
    • Marks the latest in a series of substantial updates designed to enhance user discoveries

    Leading UK family history website Findmypast have announced a major update to their online Family Tree.

    As of today, all users will benefit from a powerful new Family Tree view that has been launched to enrich user discoveries.

    Developed in line with customer feedback and in-depth user testing, the improved Findmypast Family Tree features a fresh design as well as a variety of enhanced navigation capabilities.

    Specifically tailored to make online research more intuitive, accessible and rewarding than before, Findmypast’s upgraded tree now includes;

    • The ability to view five full generations at once
    • The ability to zoom in and out on specific individuals or branches
    • The ability to easily return to a family tree's “Home” person by selecting the house icon
    • A sidebar menu allowing easier editing of ancestor profiles
    • Highlighting “focus” individuals for easier navigation

    Today’s announcement marks the latest in a series of major updates to the Findmypast Family Tree following significant investment in the development of new tools and features.

    It builds on the success of recent updates including Tree-To-Tree Hints and Private Messaging, both features that enable users to directly benefit from the existing research of experienced family historians with shared ancestors.

    Findmypast’s Family Tree is now one of most powerful tools available for tracing roots in the British Isles. By combining cutting edge tech with the best of British and Irish records, it provides researchers worldwide with millions of unique opportunities for discovery.

    With billions of automatic record hints, the Tree enables users to make the most of Findmypast’s unique offerings, connecting customers to vital resources and family stories that would otherwise remain undiscovered.

    Findmypast care deeply about the discoveries of their community members and continue to work closely with researchers of all ability levels to ensure the best possible experience for all.

    While the old family tree view has now been phased out, Findmypast are keen to improve their product even further, and invite all users to help by submitting their feedback to

  • 17 Dec 2020 1:30 PM | Anonymous

    Preservica has issued an announcement and video concerning the product's trusted and powerful active digital preservation technology. I doubt if many individual genealogists will be interested in this product but it should appeal to archivists and preservationists at many large libraries, archives, museums, and elsewhere.

    The following was written by Preservica:

    BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec 16, 2020--

    Preservica is pleased to announce Preservica Starter, a brand new set of FREE (forever) and low-cost (from $199 per month) digital preservation solutions, making it easy and affordable for institutions of all sizes to preserve, curate and share digital content online in minutes.

    View the full release here:

    Preservica Starter, a brand new set of FREE (forever) and low-cost (from $199 per month) digital preservation solutions, making it easy and affordable for institutions of all sizes to preserve, curate and share digital content online in minutes. (Photo: Business Wire)

    The first 250 users of the new free 5GB Starter edition will also be automatically enrolled in a free of charge digital preservation training series starting January 2021, where they will join fellow archivists, records managers and Preservica experts to explore the practical steps of building a digital preservation archive using Starter.

    Digital preservation made easy.

    Starter edition combines Preservica’s trusted and powerful active digital preservation technology with an all-new intuitive user interface. This makes it easy for archivists and records managers to quickly build a digital archive to showcase to colleagues, stakeholders and the public, safe in the knowledge that all the vital steps to keep content safe and usable over decades are automatically taken care of.

    The free solution is fully hosted in the cloud with 5GB of secure AWS storage, with no software downloads required. All stored data is highly resilient and includes duplicate copies to ensure integrity and accessibility.

    Designed by archivists for archivists.

    Preservica Starter solutions are the result of close collaboration between the archives and records management community and Preservica, with dozens of participants from academic, public sector and culture and heritage institutions contributing to its design and testing using real digital collections.

    “I never thought I would say this about digital preservation, but Preservica’s Starter edition is fun,” says Limestone County, Alabama Archivist Rebekah Davis, an early participant in the design of the new solution. “It’s easy to use and has great features that I enjoy working with to upload, organize and enrich our collections of government records, as well as historical videos and special collections.”

    Preservica CEO Mike Quinn adds, “In a year in which the records and archival community has had to pivot to working from home, document world-changing events as they are being made and make materials available online, the importance of digital archiving and being digitally savvy has never been more important. It is one of the reasons why we wanted to make digital preservation accessible to every archive and include free best practice workshops.”

    Learn more and sign up to use the FREE 5GB Preservica Starter edition (it’s free forever, not a trial, no credit cards and no software to download) now by visiting:

    Preservica Starter at a glance:

      • Upload, preserve, organize and share your content online in minutes
      • Quickly get content safely in alignment with NDSA levels and OAIS
      • Transform files into recommended preservation formats on upload
      • Instantly render hundreds of formats without the original application
      • Easily organize your collections and enrich metadata on demand
      • Engage your audience online with easy sharing and discovery
      • Control which assets and folders are private or public
      • Learn about digital preservation practices as you go
      • Quickly demonstrate the value of digital preservation to your stakeholders
      • Everything you need in one simple and intuitive application
      • Start now with free 5GB Starter edition

    About Preservica

    With offices in Boston, Massachusetts and Oxford, U.K., Preservica is changing the way the world future-proofs and accesses critical long-term digital information – enabling organizations to drive innovation, confidently meet compliance and legal requirements and safeguard digital content of unique cultural and brand importance.

    Our world-leading cloud-hosted (SaaS) and on-premise active digital preservation software is trusted by a rapidly growing customer base of organizations across the globe, from major corporations, to government bodies, and iconic cultural institutions, including HSBC, Associated Press, British Telecom, Yale, MoMA, 22 US state archives and 15 national and pan-national archives.

    A video of the product also may be found at:

  • 16 Dec 2020 8:42 PM | Anonymous

    For years, genealogists learned that anything published in 1923 or later might still enjoy copyright protection. Well, that changed 2 years ago, again last year, and is about to change again.

    We’re rapidly approaching another Public Domain Day, the day at the start of the year when a year’s worth of creative work joins the public domain.

    On January 1, 2021, copyrighted works from 1925 will enter the US public domain where they will be free for all to use and build upon. These works include books such as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, Ernest Hemingway’s In Our Time, and Franz Kafka’s The Trial (in the original German), silent films featuring Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton, and music ranging from the jazz standard Sweet Georgia Brown to songs by Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, W.C. Handy, and Fats Waller. Even Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf becomes public domain in 2021.

    Of course, many less-popular genealogy books published in 1925 will also become public domain.

    You can read more in an article by Jennifer Jenkins in the Duke University's Center for the Study of the Public Domain web site at:

  • 16 Dec 2020 8:09 PM | Anonymous

    Growing genetic databases have proven to be rich resources for discovering distant relatives, However, law enforcement agencies have perhaps been the biggest benefactors of this biometric boom.

    An article by Megan Molteni in the web site describes the process the recent rise of genetic genealogy—a technique that makes it possible to identify people through relatives who have added their genetic information to genealogy databases—changed the odds. A skilled genetic genealogist can now turn an unknown DNA profile that strikes out in traditional forensic searches into a suspect’s name nearly half of the time that it used to require. That article may be found at

    In addition, a different article by the same person (Megan Molteni) published 2 years ago in the same web site describes the risks involved in the same investigations by law enforcement personnel. The older article focuses in the intrusion into your personal privacy created by such investigations. This is especially true even if you have never taken a DNA test. In short, the government can discover most everything about you, your ancestors, and your relatives. That includes your rather distant relatives.

    The second article is available at

    Which is more important to you and to other citizens: solving often violent crimes or protecting your personal privacy against massive  government spying, even if you were not involved in the crime?

    Are you in favor of "Big Brother" watching you?

    I don't know the answer to those questions but I believe those are questions we all need to think about. I suggest everyone should read these 2 somewhat contradictory articles by the same person and then decide what is more important: personal privacy or wide-open access to everyone's ancestry and relatives in the name of solving crimes?

  • 16 Dec 2020 3:50 PM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by the Association of Professional Genealogists:

    WHEAT RIDGE, Colo., 16 December 2020—The Association of Professional Genealogists (APG®) has selected Anne Leishman Merrell of Marshall, Virginia, as Marketing Communications Manager of the Association.

    Anne Leishman Merrell began her career as a professional genealogist after earning a B.A. in Family History and Genealogy from Brigham Young University. Anne enjoys exploring the professional genealogy world. Previous work has included directing family history youth camps for teenagers, researching for private clients, assisting in the creation of family archives, and working as a DAR staff genealogist.

    Through this varied work, Anne discovered many genealogists and societies often lack marketing knowledge and struggle to find their ideal customers. With that problem in mind, Anne turned her focus to digital marketing for genealogists and societies. She improves their revenue and reach by implementing modern marketing strategies that utilize important tools such as social media and email marketing.

    Anne is excited work to with APG in their efforts to communicate the Association’s mission and values to a broader audience. “I look forward to highlighting the great professionalism found in our field while sharing the immense skillset and expertise of APG’s membership,” said Merrell.

    About the Association of Professional Genealogists
    The Association of Professional Genealogists (, established in 1979, represents more than 2,700 genealogists in various genealogy-related businesses. APG encourages genealogical excellence, ethical practice, mentoring, and education. The organization also supports the preservation and accessibility of records useful to the fields of genealogy and history. Its 2 members represent all fifty U.S. states, Canada, and forty other countries. APG is active on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

  • 15 Dec 2020 12:33 PM | Anonymous

    An article by Trace Christenson in the Battle Creek (Michigan) Enquirer describes a new effort to bring genealogy research to a group of people who traditionally have not often performed such searches. The article describes the successful results of one such person. Several people who have begun looking at their heritage are using a new program called Roots Matter, begun by Jonathan Matthews.

    Using genealogy programs and DNA, Matthews, 34, said he is providing facts and history to low-income families who couldn't afford the searches. Williams started his historical search using web-based sites Ancestry, African Ancestry and Family Search. Matthews' program is designed to pay for the cost of the genealogy and DNA fees and also assist people with their research.

    You might like to read the article at

    Comment by Dick Eastman: I found the article to be very interesting although any experienced genealogist will consider it to be a bit too brief. In short, the article probably will successfully encourage non-genealogists to start a genealogy search but will create additional questions for experienced genealogists.

    After reading the article, I immediately wondered "Did they verify the claimed information?"

    Experienced genealogists all know that all claimed information needs to be verified. Online web sites and old genealogy books alike often contain errors. Is the need for verification being taught to people using Roots Matter?

    I suspect the Roots Matter program is successfully achieving its goals: increasing awareness of genealogy studies. However, I hope it also also doing a bit more.

  • 15 Dec 2020 12:33 PM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

    Discover your ancestors in the 1900 Norway Census this week on FamilySearch and additions to Catholic Church records for Mexico, Nuevo León 1667–1981Sinaloa 1671–1968, and Germany, Rhineland-Palatinate, Diocese of Mainz 1540–1952, plus more for Ecuador, Guatemala, Peru, S. Africa and Venezuela.  US collections were expanded for Seattle, Washington Passenger Lists 1890–1957Port of Del Rio, Texas Indexes and Manifests, 1906–1953Maine, Mississippi, South Dakota, and Washington.   

    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 list here. However, you can view the full list at:

  • 14 Dec 2020 11:40 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by the Association of Professional Genealogists:

    WHEAT RIDGE, Colo., 14 December 2020—The Association of Professional Genealogists (APG®) has honored several members for their achievements and service to the profession. President David McDonald presented the awards at the 2020 APG Annual Meeting & Holiday Party.

    The Laura G. Prescott Award for Exemplary Service to Professional Genealogy was presented to Loretto Dennis Szucs. This award recognizes a career devoted to uplifting fellow genealogists and improving their career circumstances and opportunities, and dedicated service to the field of genealogy. Loretto served the genealogy community for nearly 30 years. She kept communication lines open between Ancestry and the field of professional genealogy. At the time of her retirement, Lou was the Vice President of Community Relations at Ancestry.

    Billie Stone Fogarty, MEd was awarded the Grahame T. Smallwood, Jr. Award of Merit for her outstanding service to the Association. Billie’s commitment to APG included serving ten years on the board, four of which were spent as APG President. In addition to her years of committed service to APG, Billie has also served as the president of the Genealogical Speakers Guild. She serves the Oklahoma Genealogical Society (seven terms as President, Board of Directors) and the Oklahoma Historical Society (Board of Directors and Executive Committee, Research, Publications, and Development Committees) and is currently active on the regional, state, and local level in advancing genealogical research and open records access as the state liaison for the Records Preservation and Access Committee.

    The Professional Achievement Award was presented to Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG. This award recognizes a record of long-term exceptional professional achievement with contributions to the field of genealogy through individual excellence and ethical behavior. This is the second time Elizabeth has been honored with the Professional Achievement Award. This year’s award recognizes Elizabeth’s 2019 PMC Keynote Address on “how to become successful as a professional genealogist in a world in which ‘genealogy information’ is free all over the Internet.” Elizabeth’s presentation emphasized the “value added” by professional genealogists. Professionals add value to raw information provided by clients, value drawn from experience, and value pulled from the knowledge that there is much more to “research” and “information” than meets the eye. We appreciate the value Elizabeth has added to the genealogy field.

    Honorary Life Membership was awarded to Amy E. K. Arner. Amy served on the Website Committee from 2015 – 2020. Her leadership, efficiency, and proficiency were instrumental in the creation of the new APG website.

    Mark A. Cross was awarded the APGQ Excellence Award for his article “Books for Professional Genealogists: The Recommendations of Bibliophiles,” September 2019 issue.

    About the Association of Professional Genealogists
    The Association of Professional Genealogists (, established in 1979, represents more than 2,500 genealogists in various genealogy-related businesses. APG encourages genealogical excellence, ethical practice, mentoring, and education. The organization also supports the preservation and accessibility of records useful to the fields of genealogy and history. Its many members represent all fifty U.S. states, Canada, and forty other countries. APG is active on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

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