News/Opportunities

 

 

 

 

June 3, 2021

conferencekeeper.org is a new site that tracks genealogy events online, by location (including international).  Includes a grants and scholarships page,  genealogical education programs,  volunteer opportunities, conferences and calendars,  even a page of genealogy job openings (which mostly aren’t genealogy).  In other words,  a jewel.  Sort of a Cyndi’s List of events.

YouTube has posted a lecture from David Lambert, chief genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, on research on ancestors who live in 1600’s New England.  It’s at www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6MW7W9LpFI and is sponsored by the DAR.  Look for other lectures in the DAR Genealogical Lecture Series.  Free.

MyHeritage has developed a new filtering option on its DNA Matches page that shows only member of a Genetic Group  (of which there are 2,114).   Lets you pinpoint locations to winnow down matches.  And their latest photo toolbox algorithm is Photo Repair, which erases photo damage.   Try it out free for limited use.

Clayton Library is now open for in-person research,  Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  You can also get help and lookups with a request to cla.reference@houstontx.gov.

The Lone Star Slavery Project is looking for volunteers for a projected research project,  collecting records for enslaved Texas.  Email ainswortk@sfasu.edu,  Kyle Ainsworth.

The National Archives has more than 3,000 reports on escalate and evasion activities of US soldiers serving in Europe in WWII.  There’s a new transcription mission for volunteer citizen archivists at https://www.archives.gov/citizen-archivist/missions?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=wwii-ee-may2021.  Volunteers are also needed for other projects, including African American History.

Leah Larkin at the The DNA Geek reports that Ancestry now has more than 20 million tested people in their DNA database.  23andMe has sold more than 12 million kits.  MyHeritage has nearly five million people in their database.

The Texas State Historical Association is providing its TexasAlmanac 2020-2021 free at 

https://join.tshaonline.org/ebook-offers/texas-almanac/2020-2021/   Scroll down the page.

The 41st annual Hispanic Genealogical Conference will be at South Padre Island Oct. 14 – 16.  Check it out at https://www.facebook.com/events/4173394736016510.

Looking for the best genealogical websites?   Family Tree Magazine has just come out with a list of 101 Best Websites for 2021.  Many will be familiar.

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May 19, 2021

It’s been nearly 15 months since we stopped having live meetings,  and to all of our surprise,  we have more members and friends coming to Zoom meetings than we did to in-person meetings.   Easier than driving.  Still,  we miss the camaraderie of live meetings.   Plus,  we can videotape the Zoom meetings and post them behind the member wall,  if speakers agree (they generally do).

The thinking of the board is this:    we miss our genealogy friends.  We find it easy to participate via Zoom (and if you’re having trouble,  contact Karen or me).  Two truths. Contradictory.   So we’re going to experiment with having both kinds of meetings,  just not at the same time.  Starting at the end of the year,  assuming that immunity grows,  we’ll schedule two Zoom meetings in a quarter,  and one in-person event,  yet to be determined.  If you have thoughts,  let us know.  The advantage of Zoom, other than not driving in Austin traffic, is that we can get a greater variety of speakers and subjects.

The advantage of in-person meetings is that we can be with each other.  We’ll let you know more as plans develop,  but as of the moment,  we’re on Zoom for the rest of this year.

Yes,  there are still website kinks.  Not too many, though.  The disappearance of our new site was due to malware, our developer discovered as we were rebuilding.  Some of us are adding more security to our home computers,  which you might want to consider.

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Using DNA, researchers have identified the remains of a sailor who disappeared in the Arctic 176 years ago.  nytimes.com/2021/05/05/science/hms-erebus-sailor.html.

Identifiers International has cases coming in every day and is actively recruiting experienced genetic genealogy independent contractors to collaborate with law enforcement in solving cases.  Best way to reach them is on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/identifinders.

If you’re doing Canadian research,  the Archives of Ontario just announced that thousands of their archived microfilms are now digitized on Family Search.  Check it out at http://www.archives.gov.on.ca/en/access/digitized_microfilm_collections_on_familysearch.aspx

The Texas Oral History Association is asking folks who are interested in oral history research to submit proposals for papers and presentations at their 10th annual conference Sept. 24 -25 in San Antonio.  Inquiries and proposals should be emails to aschnur@trinity.edu.

Brigham Young University and its famed Family History Library has a collection of short (5 to 10 minute) videos to help people who are just getting started in genealogy. If you know someone who wants to dip their toes in the genealogy waters,  you might refer them to  https://fh.lib.byu.edu/classes-and-webinars/basic-tutorials/.  There are lots of options for more experienced genealogists there, too.

TxGenWeb is celebrating its 25th anniversary and its annual seminar on May 22 is open and free. Virtual.  Get more information by mailing txgenweb.conference@gmail.com. 

The Second Annual We Are Cousins Conference (virtual) is Sept. 15 – 17,  with early registrations ending May 31.  The conference will appeal to general education needs with an emphasis on southwest Texas/Hispanic genealogy.  24 speakers are already scheduled.   For more information,  https://wacconference.com/speakers/.   If you’re looking for Spanish military orders and their detailed records (Order of Santiago),  go here:  https://mexicangenealogy.info/records-of-the-order-of-santiago-1501-1799/

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May 3, 2021

Website

We’re loading the last changes to the second version of website,  and the membership section is working.   Because we’ve had to redo the site,  there are a few items that aren’t perfect yet.  You probably won’t notice them.  But you might.

The membership list has been recreated (thank you Karen!),  and you can now log in if you’re a member.  You can use your-last-used password,  or change it.  If you have any problems with it,  contact Karen at mom2mischief@gmail.com.

Scholarships

Betty Fowler and Dee Sanchez won the two Jean and John Marostica Scholarships to attend this year’s session of the Texas Institute for Genealogical Research,  which  will be meeting virtually June 13-18.   Congratulations!   The scholarships were created after the passing of both Jean and John in recognition of their separate and joint contributions and commitments to AGS.

Texas State Library and Archives

Archivists and librarians hold 20 minute Zoom webinars every month,  open to the public.  Check out their schedule at TSL.Texas.Gov.   While you’re at it,  take a look at their impressive Genealogy Resources section.

Future proofing Your Genealogy Research . . .

. . . an ebook by May’s speaker Thomas McEntee is available free at his website,  genealogybargains.com.

Forensic genealogy identifies three murder victims

The story of how investigators identified three young victim from 1983 and 1988 using DNA,  and how investigators across the country are revisiting unsolved crimes.  Article features (among others) Kevin Lord,  our speaker last year.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/03/science/cold-cases-genetic-genealogy.html

National Archives Genealogy Series

To replace its 2020 Virtual Genealogy Fair — another Covid cancellation,  the National Archives is producing a genealogy series throughout May and June via YouTube.  The series will focus on tools for getting to federal records.  No reservations required. May sessions are broad;  June sessions are more focused.  Videos will be posted with presentation materials after the broadcasts.

The first session on preserving digital material is scheduled for this Tuesday (the 4th)

at 1 p.m. ET.   You can get the rest of the schedule at https://www.archives.gov/calendar/genealogy-fair.

Missing 1890 Census and Substitute Records

Genealogist Lisa Louise Cook presents a 45-minute video and an extensive list of ways to cope with the missing census and replacement resources at https://lisalouisecooke.com/2021/04/27/1890-census-substitute-records-guide/

Most of  the regular players are offering reduced prices on Mothers Day DNA kits.

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April 26, 2021

Don’t forget that outstanding speaker Thomas McEntee will be talking by Zoom May 25 on Utilizing Social Networks for Genealogical Research.

DNA Day is Saturday!!!!!   Most purveyors of DNA are having sales.

In honor of DNA Day,  Diahan Southard and Nathan Dylan Goodwin, author of the Chester Creek Murders, will  be on Zoom this Saturday at 1 p.m. CST talking about using the same sleuthing skills for finding murderers and ancestors.  1,000 can join the live webinar but anyone who registers ahead of time can get a link to the video.  Goodwin has a forensic genealogy series on Amazon.

TSLAC (Texas State Library and Archives Commission has a Zoom webinar once a month.  This Friday:  Locating County Records.  Check their site for registration.

The Round Rock Library has Fold3 and newspapers.com for home use.  All you need is a free Round Rock Library card, Betty Jean Steinke reports.

Seattle won a lawsuit against the federal government,  keeping the Archives in their building.  The feds wanted the land for real estate.

MyHeritage is offering free access to all birth records on their site until April 24.

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April 4, 2021

When it rains, it pours. Right after we discovered that our website hosting company had lost our entire new website, another website glitch appeared and our members were notified that they were no longer members. That was wrong. An error.

A big error of unknown causes, although we think it had something to do with the software deciding that old data just wasn’t real anymore.

We do have a new hosting company and are putting the new website back together. Not surprisingly, it’s complex. Our highest priority is making sure that the membership software is working. A couple of people have been able to log in and join, but there’s editing to do everywhere. On the membership page,  it still says 2020, for example. Thank you for hanging in with us.

Fold3 — the Ancestry-owned military database — is offering a 25 percent reduction on its annual membership,  reduced to $59.95. No word on how long it will be available.

We continue to be big fans of the Legacy Family Tree Webinars. Here’s their top 10 March webinars, with links:

FamilySearch.org – 10 Links You Have to Try by Devin Ashby

British Genealogy Online: The Top English & Welsh Family History Websites by Rick Crume

An Introduction to DNA Painter by Jonny Perl

Polish genealogy online – portals and databases by Kinga Urbańska

‘What are the Odds?’ An online tool that can help solve DNA puzzles by Jonny Perl

Why are Parent/Sibling DNA Comparisons so Confusing? (TechZone) by Michelle Leonard

How to locate an ancestor in Ontario, Canada West or Upper Canada (when you don’t know where they lived) by Janice Nickerson

Researching Ancestral Locations in Prussian Genealogy Records by Nancy E. Loe, MA, MLS

Four ways DNA Painter can help with your family history research by Jonny Perl

Reporting on Research: Standards Encourage Better Communication by Nancy A. Peters, CG, CGL

The 1950 Census is coming. It will be released on April 1 of next year.  How can you maximize your research?   You can help with transcriptions at the National Archives or Ancestry,  and other genealogical sites.

Member Gayle Boyce sent us a cheat sheet on using Family Search she got from another meeting.  There are bound to be new items on it  (attached here)

If you’re interested in the family histories,  memoirs and genealogies at the German Texas Heritage Society,   board member Margo Blevins at their office would like to hear from you about how they can make those properties more accessible.