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  • 17 May 2023 11:16 AM | Anonymous

    Have you already made out a will? This article discusses the situation where one dies intestate (without a legal will). While it discusses the U.K., similar rules apply in most other countries.

    There are an estimated 8,000 unclaimed estates throughout the UK. This includes estates that have been left without a will, estates where the heirs are unknown, and estates that have been abandoned. The value of these estates is estimated to be in the billions of pounds.

    As of April 25, 2023, there were 1954 unclaimed estates in London alone. These estates are worth a combined total of £600 million (based on the average value of unclaimed estates in London).

    Unclaimed Estates in England and Wales are listed on the Government’s Bona Vacantia list, with cases often listed for years before an entitled relative can be traced and the legitimacy of their claim proven.

    Daniel Curran, MD Finders International comments; “When a person passes away they may do so without leaving a Will or the Will they made is invalid. In both cases the estate is then treated as ‘intestacy’ and the rules of intestate succession come into force, according to the Country in which they died.

    In most cases, the rightful heirs are out there. They might not be closely related – or even know of the deceased – but there are almost always family members who can be traced and can find themselves the recipients of an unexpected windfall.

    Sometimes, this money can be life-changing; more often than not, it’s a nice windfall that can be used for a holiday, new car or anything else that might not have been possible without it.”

    So, what do you do if you think you may be entitled to an unclaimed estate?

    Each week publish the details of Unclaimed Estates as they arise. ‘Bona Vacantia’ means vacant goods and is the name given to ownerless property, which by law passes to the Crown. It lists a range of information known about the deceased including their name, age, place of death and any other relevant information known about their life including spouses.

    Most recently, surnames such as: Searle, Berry, Hardie, Locke, Bellamy, McCarthy, Quinlan and Coombes have been listed with London as the place of death. Do you recognise any of these names?

    If you believe that you may be the rightful owner of an unclaimed estate, you can contact Daniel Curran’s team at Finders International.

    You can read more at:
  • 17 May 2023 10:44 AM | Anonymous

    Celebrate Jewish genealogy, heritage, and immigration with music, food and more!

    New York’s first-ever Mishpachah Festival: A Celebration of Genealogy, Heritage, and Immigration, will take place on Sunday, May 21, at the Museum of Jewish Heritage.

    Mishpacha, which means “family” in Hebrew, will celebrate Jewish culture via genealogy lectures, Jewish heritage panels, cooking demonstrations, live music, and more family-friendly activities. And speaking of family, folks in attendance may connect with some new relatives, thanks to genealogy experts on hand to help with family history research. 

    “We are proud to present the inaugural Mishpachah Festival, where we will celebrate and explore Jewish genealogy, heritage, and immigration along with our partners,” said Jack Kliger, CEO and President of the Museum of Jewish Heritage. “There will be insightful lectures and activities for people of all ages, as we open the Museum to welcome our ‘family’ and together discover more about heritage and community.” 

    You can read more in an article by Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner published in the web site at:

  • 17 May 2023 10:26 AM | Anonymous

    In April 2023, MyHeritage added 20 historical record collections and 16 million historical records from the U.S., Australia, Canada, Ireland, Norway, and Scotland. The collections include baptism, marriage, death, obituary, census, military, school, business, and naturalization records. 

    The full list of newly-added records is quite lengthy and can be viewed in the MyHeritage Blog at:

  • 16 May 2023 8:55 PM | Anonymous

    Footprints left on a beach. Air breathed in a busy room. Ocean water.

    Scientists have been able to collect and analyze detailed genetic data from human DNA from all these places, raising thorny ethical questions about consent, privacy and security when it comes to our biological information.

    The researchers from the University of Florida, who were using environmental DNA found in sand to study endangered sea turtles, said the DNA was of such high quality that the scientists could identify mutations associated with disease and determine the genetic ancestry of populations living nearby.

    They could also match genetic information to individual participants who had volunteered to have their DNA recovered as part of the research that published in the scientific journal Nature Ecology & Evolution on Monday.

    “All this very personal, ancestral and health related data is freely available in the environment and is simply floating around in the air right now,” said David Duffy, a professor of wildlife disease genomics at the University of Florida.

    Environmental DNA has been obtained from air, soil, sediment, water, permafrost, snow and ice cores and the techniques are primarily being used to help track and protect endangered animals.

    Human DNA that has seeped into the environment through our spit, skin, sweat and blood could be used to help find missing persons, aid in forensic investigations to solve crimes, locate sites of archaeological importance, and for health monitoring through DNA found in waste water, the study noted.

    However, the ability to capture human DNA from the environment could have a range of unintended consequences — both inadvertent and malicious, they added. These included privacy breaches, location tracking, data harvesting, and genetic surveillance of individuals or groups. It could lead to ethical hurdles for the approval of wildlife studies.

    You can read more in an article by Katie Hunt published in the CNN Health web site at:

  • 16 May 2023 8:39 PM | Anonymous

    We always say, never start a blogpost with the words, 'We are delighted to announce that'.

    So, in true time-honoured fashion, we are thrilled to release a list of all the rolls and charters digitised as part of our Medieval and Renaissance Women project. There are 25 rolls and 219 charters in total, in addition to the 93 manuscript volumes that we announced in a previous blogpost. The Medieval and Renaissance Women project has been made possible thanks to generous funding by Joanna and Graham Barker.

    The seal of the Empress Matilda

    The seal of the Empress Matilda, between 1141 and 1142: Add Ch 75724

    Here begins the list. This may take some time, but it's worth it, we promise. From the top... The will of Sibylla Frances of Dunwich. A confirmation by Sybilla of Kaversfeld, widow of Hugh Gargate, to Bicester Priory of land in Stratton. An acknowledgement by Marie, abbess of St Stephen’s Abbey, Soissons, to the Knights Templar of Mont-de-Soissons. A sale by Katherine von Solmesse and Salentin, lord of Isenburg, her husband, to Baldwin, archbishop of Trier. A letter of attorney from Ismania, widow of Laurence Berkerolles. A certificate for the safe delivery of Margaret of Anjou to Louis XI of France. A chirograph of Fredescendis, abbess of Maubeuge, granting land to Guarin, abbot of Vicogne…

    Actually, why don't you simply peruse the list for yourself? It's great fun, we promise (again)!

    A confirmation by Sybillia of Kaverfield, featuring her seal.

    Confirmation by Sybilla of Kaversfeld, widow of Hugh Gargate, to Bicester Priory of land in Stratton, early 13th century: Add Ch 10608

    You can download the full list of charters and rolls here, with links to the British Library’s Digitised Manuscripts site and the Universal Viewer. There, you'll be able to read these manuscripts in full and for free from the comfort of your own living room. 

    PDF: Download Medieval_and_renaissance_women_digitised_charters_rolls_may_2023

    Excel: Download Medieval_and_renaissance_women_digitised_charters_rolls_may_2023 (this format cannot be downloaded on all web browsers)

    You can read a lot more at:

  • 16 May 2023 5:59 AM | Anonymous

    1950 Census logoOn April 1, 2022, the National Archives released the 1950 Census (kept confidential for 72 years) online at See the press release. Anyone, anywhere can search freely—experienced researchers, genealogy buffs, and novices! 

    Speak with a trusted expert: Are you a member of the media who is covering the release of the 1950 census records? Upon request, we can share a list of historians, genealogists, and archivists who can provide you with more information for your coverage. Email:

    Here is a condensed version of the 1950 Census tabulation picture. In the foreground is a punch card machine. Holes are punched in the card according to a prearranged code, transferring the facts from the questionnaire into statistics. The man operating the machine labeled “140” is running a sorter. This machine sorts cards into any desired classification. The other two machines are tabulators which add up the final results.

    1950 Census Release: What's Old?

    • Outlined in the Constitution and taken every 10 years since 1790, the census is used to define “We the People" by providing a snapshot of the nation's population.

    1950 Census Release: What’s New?

    • First time using optical character recognition/artificial intelligence (OCR/AI) for handwriting recognition
    • First time using a transcription tool to improve the name index
    • First chance to download the entire census in bulk
    • First time releasing the census during a pandemic
    • First 1950 Census National Archives Genealogy Series on our YouTube channel

    Getting Started

    Visual Resources

    NARA Blog Posts

    refer to caption

    Door-to-door census-taking, April 1950.

    View in National Archives Catalog

    ​Posts from NARA's Experts

    View all the 1950 Census posts on History Hub

    Useful Links

    U.S Census Bureau Resources

  • 16 May 2023 5:51 AM | Anonymous

    The following is a press release  issued by the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA):

    Washington, DC

    On Wednesday, May 17, at 6 p.m., ET, the National Archives, in partnership with the White House Historical Association, presents an evening discussion of the new book Mourning the Presidents: Loss and Legacy in American CultureKate Clark Lemay, Acting Senior Historian at the National Portrait Gallery, will lead a discussion with co-editors Lindsay Chervinsky, Senior Fellow at the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University, and Matthew Costello, Vice President of the David M. Rubenstein National Center for White House History. They will be joined by contributors Andrew M. Davenport, Public Historian at the Thomas Jefferson Foundation and Director of the Getting Word African American Oral History Project, and David B. Woolner, Professor of History at Marist College, Senior Fellow and Resident Historian of the Roosevelt Institute, and Senior Fellow of the Center for Civic Engagement at Bard College.

    The program is free and open to the public and will be held in the William G. McGowan Theater at the National Archives Museum in Washington, DC, and livestreamed. Attendees should use the Special Events entrance on Constitution Avenue at 7th Street, NW. Metro accessible on the Yellow and Green lines, Archives/Navy Memorial/Penn Quarter station.

    Panel Discussion – Mourning the Presidents: Loss and Legacy in American Culture

    Wednesday, May 17, at 6 p.m. ET

    William G. McGowan Theater, National Archives Museum

    Register to attend in person or online; watch on the National Archives YouTube Channel.

    Mourning the Presidents brings together renowned and emerging scholars to examine how different generations and communities of Americans have eulogized and remembered U.S. Presidents since George Washington’s death in 1799. The program will be followed by a book signing.

    This program is made possible in part by the National Archives Foundation.

    About the National Archives

    The National Archives and Records Administration is an independent federal agency that serves American democracy by safeguarding and preserving the records of our Government, so people can discover, use, and learn from this documentary heritage. The National Archives ensures continuing access to the essential documentation of the rights of American citizens and the actions of their government. From the Declaration of Independence to accounts of ordinary Americans, the holdings of the National Archives directly touch the lives of millions of people. The agency supports democracy, promotes civic education, and facilitates historical understanding of our national experience. The National Archives carries out its mission through a nationwide network of archives, records centers, and Presidential Libraries and online at

  • 15 May 2023 4:45 PM | Anonymous

    Millennials face digital end-of-life planning

    From an article by John Dias published in the CBS News web site:

    Millennials were the first digitally-native generation, and now they're some of the first planning for their digital end.

    When you think about end-of-life planning, having a well thought out plan for how you want your social media accounts handled may not have been a popular topic in the past. But for millennials, it's a new thought process: Who controls your social media when you're gone? 

    "This stuff can out live you in ways that tangible stuff may not," said Mitch Mitchell, associate counsel of estate planning at Trust & Will. "Used to be family photo albums, or tax returns and things you would leave in boxes." 

    Facebook was created in 2004, Twitter in 2006, Instagram in 2010 and TikTok in 2016. Nearly 20 years of social media means two decades of information, pictures and videos uploaded for countless to see. 

    Millennials have been around for all of it. Which is why Mitchell says some are thinking about what will happen to their digital legacy upon death. 

    Many are now designating a particular person to control their social media, called a legacy contact or digital executor. 

    You can read the entire article at:

  • 15 May 2023 1:14 PM | Anonymous

    From an article Justin Zooby and published in the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) (an agency of the United States Department of Commerce) web site:  

    Twenty years ago, scientists mapped more than 90% of the entire human genome. A huge accomplishment involving many scientists, mapping our genes has allowed researchers to better understand inherited diseases and led to many other scientific advancements.  

    If a researcher wanted to analyze your DNA, they’d compare you to that single reference genome that’s been in use for years and try to figure out how your DNA is different from that reference.

    Last year, we were part of a large international team that finished the last 8% and completed the first human genome. This has enabled insights into previously unexplored parts of the genome, including providing a map of millions of genetic variations, or stretches of DNA that vary from person to person.

    But here’s the problem — the composite human genome, while taken from a diverse group of people from all over the world, does not represent the full diversity of human DNA. Even the first “complete” human genome is missing sequences that only exist in some individuals. That can make medical research or testing someone’s genes for diseases a challenge for scientists. This is especially true for people with ancestry from regions of the world that have high genetic diversity — though it affects everyone. 

    Say you have an extra copy of a gene that’s not in the reference. That could be missed when comparing your DNA to the standard reference.   

    My colleagues and I are helping scientists make a new form of a genome — the pangenome — or “all genome.” The pangenome has been released in a draft version with about 50 people’s DNA, with the long-term goal of having about 350 people’s DNA in the completed pangenome in the next two or three years. It will allow us to understand the full diversity of our genes and advance medical research. 

    So instead of researchers comparing one person’s DNA to one standard reference, researchers can compare the person’s DNA to a reference library containing potentially hundreds of diverse people’s DNA. 

    You can read the full article at:

  • 15 May 2023 11:02 AM | Anonymous

    This strikes me as a very useful article for genealogists with old family photographs and modern photos alike as well as for millions of others also with photos that are "less than perfect:"

    From an article by Eoin Wiley published in the web site:

    Are you still manually removing image backgrounds using Photoshop or other photo editing tools? Well, you shouldn’t be, at least not anymore. In this blog post, we have compiled a list of the 10 best online tools to remove image backgrounds effortlessly.

    These image background-removing tools, with the assistance of AI, are designed to make your life easier, save you time, and help you achieve professional-looking results.

    Whether you are a graphic designer, a social media manager, or just someone looking to enhance your images, these online tools will undoubtedly come in handy. Let’s check them out.

    The entire article may be found at:

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