Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Rockstar genealogist publicity thanks

Thanks to Kirsty Gray (@TheKirstyGray, first off the mark), Jill Ball (@geniaus), Gail Dever (genealogyalacarte.ca/), Ken MacKinlay ( @kmwebott), @BIFHSGO, Thomas MacEntee (hidefgen.com/), and @GuildOneName for publicizing that nominations are open for Rockstar Genealogists 2014.

Nominations and corrections, thanks Randy, are being added to the list as they are received.

Genealogy: back to school

On this day when we start to put away summer gear (in the Northern hemisphere), students and teachers get out the books, and parents breath a sigh of relief.

Genealogists don't need to feel left out.

The (UK) National Archives has posted a series of webinars well worth spending some time with. On the menu:

An introduction to emigration sources for family historians, given by Mark Pearsall, a Family History Records Specialist at TNA;

An introduction to medieval and early modern sources for family historians, given by Nick Barratt, head of the Medieval and Early Modern team at TNA;

Army musters – more than just accounts, given by William Spencer who is The National Archives’ Principal Records Specialist in military history;

Tracing British battalions or regiments during the First World War, given by David Langrish, a member of the TNA military records team.

Also available is Cloud storage and digital preservation, a recording of a webinar with reduced sound quality and of less direct interest for genealogy, given by Neil Beagrie, Andrew Charlesworth and Paul Miller.

Kudos to TNA for finding a way to respond to repeated comments about the lack of the visuals in podcasts.

September backup nag

Your priority today, if you didn't do it yesterday, is to back up your hard drive.

No need to think about it.

Just do it.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Rockstar Genealogists 2014: Who Do You Think They Are?

It's nomination time for the 2014 Rockstar Genealogist survey.

Rockstar genealogists are those who give "must attend" presentations at family history conferences or as webinars. Who, when you see a new family history article or publication by that person, makes it a must buy. Who you hang on their every word on a blog, podcast or newsgroup, or follow avidly on Facebook or Twitter?

Voting for 2014 Rockstar Genealogists, the third annual, gets underway soon.

Based on last year's voting, and other input, the following is a list of those already nominated, in alphabetical order. No doubt some are missed. If you have additional suggestions please send a nomination in a comment by 6 September.

Despite this open invitation every year I get comments, too late, along the lines of "how could you possibly have missed Mary Bloggs?" If you have a blog or do social media please let your readers know of this nomination opportunity, and let them know when voting starts in about a week.

Lisa Alzo
Lesley Anderson
Jen Baldwin
Jill Ball
Nick Barratt
Claire Bettag
Kyle Betit
Warren Bittner
Paul Blake
Katherine Borges
Diane Boumenot
Jana Sloan Broglin
Ruth Burkholder
Peter Calver
Paul Carter
Pauleen Cass
Else Churchill
John Philip Colletta
Audrey Collins
Lisa Louise Cooke
Crista Cowen
Jackie Depelle
Gail Dever
Richard M Doherty
Marie Dougan
Bruce Durie
Dick Eastman
Roberta Estes
Kerry Farmer
Colleen Fitzpatrick
Angela Gallagher
Michael Gandy
Heather Garnsey
Maurice Gleeson
Jan Gow
Kirsty Gray
John Grenham
Bennett Greenspan
Diane Haddad
Michael Hait
John Hanson
Alison Hare
Celia Heritage
Jean Wilcox Hibben
Shauna Hicks
Yvette Hoitink
Daniel Horowitz
Cyndi Ingle
Sherry Irvine
Tim Janzen
Hank Z. Jones
Tamura Jones
Thomas W. Jones
Debbie Kennett
Martyn Killion
Turi King
Eric Kopittke
Michael J. Leclerc
J. Mark Lowe
Dan Lynch
Thomas MacEntee
Jane MacNamara
Ken McKinlay
Leland Meitzler
Brenda Dougall Merriman
Elizabeth Shown Mills
Paul Milner
CeCe Moore
George G. Morgan
Rosemary Morgan
Stephen P. Morse
Janice Nickerson
Diane Nolin
Dave Obee
Beryl O'Gorman
Gena Philibert Ortega
Frances Owen
Chris Paton
Marian Pierre-Louis
Elissa Scalise Powell
Kimberly Powell
Laura Prescott
Marian Press
Terrence Punch
Geoff Rasmussen
Linda Reid
David Rencher
Pat Richley-Erickson
Christine Rose
William Roulston
Judy G. Russell
Claire Santry
Gary Schroder
Craig Scott
Randy Seaver
Sharon Sergeant
Drew Smith
Megan Smolenyak
Louise St. Denis
Roy Stockdill
Paula Stuart-Warren
Geoff Swinfield
Loretto Szucs
James Tanner
D. Joshua Taylor
Maureen Taylor
James F.S. Thomson
John Titford
Alec Tritton
Helen Tovey
Sylvie Tremblay
Judy Webster
Sharn White
Curt B. Witcher
Russ Worthington
Glenn Wright

Benchmarks update for August

Even if August is a quiet month in the family history world there has been some movement.

Familysearch.org has added or updated record collections for a total of 1,804 (1,794). Census & lists account for 159 (154); birth, marriage, & death 1,057 (1,049); probate & court 182 (184); military 123 (124); migration & naturalization 124 (124); and with a change in categories, other 142 (142); miscellaneous 17 (16). Familysearch.org edged up in Alexa rank 4,239 (4,242).

Ancestry sites all advanced in rank: the .com site 651 (688); the .co.uk site 6,138, (7,827) and the .ca 22,127,(23,618). The number of datasets in the collection grew to 32,375 (32,363); including 1,981 (1,981) for Canada, 1,811 (1,806) for the UK, 141 (139) for Australia and, 25,679 (25,674 ) for the USA.

MyHeritage.com's Alexa rank declined to 7,666 (6,400).

Findmypast.co.uk slipped further in Alexa rank to 18,625 (15,997) while .com made another healthly gain to 69,406 (75,169).

Alexa rank for canadiana.ca rose to 401,780 (429,924).

Family Tree DNA slipped again in rank to 32,161 (29,479) while claiming a total of 696,851  (693,810) records. 23andMe at 15,923 (15,285) continued its decline since the FDA halt to its personal genetics health business.

GenealogyinTime.com ranked 26,466 (30,307) ; Mocavo.com 27,594 (29,429) and, eogn.com 31,460 (31,239).

Britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk contains 8,572,037 (8,412,982) digitized pages, an average addition of 5,131 (5,062) pages per day. Alexa rank 110,925 (131,799).
Newspapers.com contains 3,289 (3,252) newspapers including 669,469 (669,141) pages for England and 1,672,744 (1,611,611) pages for Canada. The Alexa rank continued a rapid advanced to 17,321 (21,001).

Cyndislist.com claims  332,447 (332,819) total links in 204 (204) categories, with 990 (990) uncategorized; Alexa rank continued to advance to 30,076 (33,336).

FreeBMD.org.uk quietly added records mid-month, now with 240,217,566  (238,293,287) distinct records. Years will more than 5,000 records added in 2 months were, for births 1940, 1943, 1958, 1960, 1962, 1964-66, 1969-73; for marriages 1962, 1964-66, 1968-73; for deaths 1970-71, 1973. Alexa rank 51,004 (49,360).

CanadianHeadstones.com has 948,000 (920,000) gravestone photo records from across Canada. Alexa rank is 455,376 (443,628). Deceasedonline.com crept up in rank 566,691 (568,964). The Canadian Gravemarker Gallery (gravemarkers.ca), with over 854,000 (849,000) photographs from across Canada, declined to 6,748,685 (6,655,434) on Alexa.

Among Canadian family history societies bifhsgo.ca ranked 2,455,914 (3,694,712), qfhs.ca 6,716,891 (-), and ogs.on.ca 448,063 (417,298).
In the US, ngsgenealogy.org ranked 474,862 (458,128), americanancestors.org ranked 82,246 (98,663), scgsgenealogy.com tumbled to rank 877,999 (591,619).
In the UK, sog.org.uk ranked 546,878 (632,638).

And in case you're curious, Canada's Anglo-Celtic Connections has 5,877 (5,807) posts; on Alexa the .ca site ranked 249,917 (285,046).

Did I miss something significant? If so please post a comment with statistics if applicable.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Ireland census 1821 to 1851

FamilySearch make available remaining parts and extracts of these early Irish censuses with an index developed by findmypast. Browse images are organized by county, pariah parish and townland.
For 1821 there are 275,103 records in 10,459 images covering Mayo, Antrim, Carlow, Cavan, Dublin, Fermanagh, Galway, Kilkenny, King's, Limerick, Meath and Unknown.
For 1831 there are 80,338 records in 3,818 images, mainly from Londonderry, with a few from Antrim and Unknown.
For 1841 there are 15,850 records in 2,358 images, a few parishes in each from Mayo, Antrim, Carlow, Cavan, Cork, Down, Dublin, Fermanagh, Limerick, Longford, Meath, Monaghan, Queen's, Tipperary. Tyrone. Waterford, Westmeath, Wicklow, Unknown.
For 1851 there are 58,795 records in 9,450 images from Mayo, Antrim, Armagh, Carlow, Cavan, Clare, Donegal, Down, Down - Part 2, Dublin, Fermanagh, Galway, Kerry, Kildare, Leitrim, Limerick, Londonderry, Longford, Mayo - Part 3, Meath, Monaghan, Queen's, Roscommon, Sligo, Tipperary, Tyrone, Waterford, Wexford, Wicklow, Unknown, Unknown - Part 9.
Also made available on FamilySearch are 136,152 records from Ireland,1841 and 1851 Census Search Forms compiled for purposes of verification of birth. The contain the applicant's name, address, residence in 1851 with county, barony, parish, townland and street as well as the parent's names and head of household in 1851.

FamilySearch adds New Brunswick, County Birth Registers, ca. 1812-1919

There's a new way to access New Brunswick, County Birth Registers, ca. 1812-1919, through FamilySearch. These browse images, not as extensive as the title suggests, cover the counties of Gloucester (1851-1907) , Northumberland (1888), Restigouche (1888-1917), Saint John (1888-1905), Victoria (1888), Westmorland (1888) and York (1888). They are from the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick.

Don't overlook the new records added to the PANB site in August: City of Fredericton Burial Permit Listing with 1,497 records and; County Council Marriage Records, 1826-1887 with 41,062 records.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Newspaper news

What do Australia, Finland, Russia, Vietnam and the United States have that Canada doesn't? The answer, according to this blog post, historic/old digitised newspaper sites that offer public text correction/transcription. Pioneered by the National Library of Australia on the Trove site crowd-sourcing OCR correction is catching on.
Meanwhile OCR capabilities for old newspaper digitization are improving slowly. A paper from UC Berkeley claims to achieve a word error rate of 25.6 compared to 49.2 for ABBYY Fine Reader a widely used commercial product.

Will parliament return the long-form census?

Lots of genealogists will cheer to learn that Ted Hsu, MP for Kingston and the Islands, has put forward a private member’s bill to protect the independence of Statistics Canada and reinstate the long-form census. Now that we know the replacement survey cost more to provide less statistically valid data data it only makes sense.
Or does it? Another Ottawa Citizen article reports that Statistics Canada is exploring compiling a virtual census from a variety of databases. Although a couple of censuses away, and if privacy concerns can be addressed, the agency leaders believes major costs could be saved - although no consideration of genealogical requirements appears to have been given.

BIFHSGO Conference: Debbie Kennett blog

Debbie Kennett who is coming to the BIFHSGO conference, 19-21 September writes a blog characterized as "The day-to-day activities of the Cruwys/Cruse one-name study with occasional diversions into other topics of interest such as DNA testing and personal genomics."

If you subscribe you won't be overwhelmed with posts, just three in August so far. Two of them are DNA related; the emphasis has shifted from the Cruwys name at the start in April 2007 to genetic genealogy now. Following Debbie's blog is an excellent way to keep up with developments in genetic genealogy - with a British perspective.

Find the blog, plus information of Debbie's books and publications, at http://cruwys.blogspot.com/

Friday, 29 August 2014

WDYTYA: Minnie Driver and Brendan O'Carroll

Less than 5 min. into Wednesday evening's episode of Who Do You Think You Are? on cable channel TLC actress Minnie Driver found her way from Los Angeles to London and the hidden story of her father's Second World War heroism while in the RAF. Researching his parents, and tracing forward to descendants of living siblings illustrated how much easier genealogical searching is in England and Wales with open access, at a price, to national BMD records than in Canada or the US where they are held on the sub-national level and subject to long embargo periods.

The BBC episode on Thursday evening took place in Ireland and featured comedian Brendan O'Carroll trying to get to the truth behind the 1920 murder of his grandfather during the civil war just prior to independence. It was a fascinating if not very typical Who Do You Think You Are? episode, more like CSI. To O'Carroll's surprise the identity of the likely murderer, according to IRA sources, was revealed. One criticism, a segment showed O'Carroll supposedly searching a newspaper on microfilm, an almost laughably casual approach, flipping through images which in most cases would lead to missing vital information.

BIFHSGO conference: Paul Milner blog

Paul Milner who is coming to the BIFHSGO conference, 19-21 September, writes a blog which highlights British Isles research, resources and book reviews, and occasionally his own ancestors.

Recent Posts have included a three part series on search techniques for the findmypast website, the Guardian newspaper collection of Untold Stories of World War One and, a book review of Tracing your Army Ancestors. Second Edition, by Simon Fowler.

These and earlier articles, back to February last year, are found at http://www.milnergenealogy.com/?page_id=4

Think Rootstech 2015

Registration for Rootstech 2015 is open. The event runs February 11–14 in Salt Lake City, Utah and will be even better as it teams up with The Federation of Genealogical Societies 2015 conference to offer "two great conferences in one great venue."
Despite the hype that it's a global conference, and there are many attendees from outside the US,RootsTech, like FGS, is US-dominated. There's lots that isn't county-specific.

If you need convincing check out nineteen videos from the 2014 Rootstech.