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<2008 August>

More Links

# Friday, 01 August 2008
Google Creates Wikipedia Rival
Posted by Grace

Wikipedia—the crowdsourced encyclopedia—has a lot of strengths. Calling on the knowledge of all its users, Wikipedia is able to revise and rewrite articles to update them instantly. Because there's no space limit, even Alabama's Boll Weevil Monument, government cheese and Hoovervilles have their own entries.

But it also has one big weakness: Because anybody can edit or write practically anything, it's difficult to have absolute confidence that all its contents are accurate.

Knol, a new project from Google, aims to collect information on every topic under the sun—from experts, not anonymous editors. Google refrains from editing knols (units of knowledge), but other users can submit comments and reviews. Think of it as a more moderated version of Wikipedia's Wild West.

The site debuted (as Wired reported) with articles mainly on medical conditions. I'm curious to see how long it takes Knol to amass an amount of articles to compete with Wikipedia. Knol's articles on genealogy currently are pretty limited. Any volunteers?

Genealogy Web Sites | Research Tips
Friday, 01 August 2008 14:22:02 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, 31 July 2008
Free Database of the Week: Irish Mariners
Posted by Diane

The tip for this free database comes from a post to the Forum:

At Irish Mariners, researcher David Snook has built an index to 16,000 Irish-born merchant seamen who served between 1918 and 1921, and whose ID cards (called CR 10 cards) are in the Southampton (England) Civic Archives.

Irish Mariners index entries give the mariner’s name, ID number, birth date and place, next of kin and dates of voyages.

Snook also offers contact information and ordering tips for requesting photocopies of the original cards—which bear photos of the mariners—from the Southampton archives. It'll cost around 2.5 pounds (about $5) plus postage and possibly a research fee, depending on the information you provide.

Free Databases | Genealogy Web Sites | International Genealogy | UK and Irish roots
Thursday, 31 July 2008 15:58:25 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
101 Best Sites Highlight: LOC and Diigo
Posted by Diane

Among our 101 Best Web Sites for 2008, this week we're highlighting the Library of Congress and Diigo:
  • Diigo, short for Digest of Internet Information, Groups and Other Stuff, is a tool that lets you highlight and annotate parts of Web pages for yourself or for sharing with other researchers. You can organize and search your bookmarks, and it all works in your favorite Web browser.

Genealogy Web Sites
Thursday, 31 July 2008 09:20:46 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 30 July 2008
UK Genetic Genealogy Patent Dispute Ends
Posted by Diane

A patent dispute between British genetic genealogy companies Oxford Ancestors (headed up by Seven Daughters of Eve author Bryan Sykes) and DNA Heritage ended in favor of the latter.

Oxford Ancestors obtained a UK patent for ““Method of using Y chromosome haplotyping in forensic and genealogic tests” in 2004 (it filed for the patent in 1999). The patent consisted of seven claims about the company’s Y-chromosome haplotype analysis and its use in surname and genetic genealogy research.

Oxford ancestors accused DNA Heritage two years ago of infringing upon its patent. In January, DNA Heritage asked the UK Intellectual Property Office to re-evaluate four of the claims, contending the science behind them wasn't sufficiently “novel and inventive” over previous genetic research.

In April, the office issued an opinion (subject to a subsequent three-month review period) that the four claims did not involve inventive steps.

"Other researchers had already shown the connection between surnames, Y-chromosomes and family history," says DNA Heritage president Alastair Greenshields. He added the finding would help keep genetic testing prices affordable because companies won't have to pay royalty fees for their tests.

We're currently seeking comment from Oxford Ancestors and will post it here.

Genetic Genealogy
Wednesday, 30 July 2008 14:47:49 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 29 July 2008
FamilySearch Answers Questions about Free Census Indexes
Posted by Diane

Since announcing joint US and English census projects with and FindMyPast, FamilySearch has gotten questions from its record indexing volunteers, who want to know if the indexes they’re creating will continue to be free to the public.

FamilySearch released a statement today saying that “The answer is a resounding YES!”
“All data indexed by FamilySearch volunteers will continue to be made available for free to the public through—now and in the future,” says the statement sent by FamilySearch spokesperson Paul Nauta.  “Access to related digital images may not always be free to everyone.”

Why's that? Here’s the bottom line:
  • FamilySearch works within the needs of historical record custodians (such as governments, local and national archives, and historical societies) around the world.
  • Indexes will always be free at FamilySearch, even if the index costs elsewhere.
  • If FamilySearch is able negotiate with record custodians to get free access to record images for everyone online via the FamilySearch site, it will.
  • For some records, FamilySearch may only be able to negotiate free image access for visitors to the 4,500 worldwide Family History Centers (which are open to anyone), along with limited home access to FamilySearch members.
  • Those FamilySearch members eligible for limited home access to the restricted record images would include volunteer indexers who contribute a certain amount of work, and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (whose tithes help keep FamilySearch operating).
Web developers are coming up with a way to verify the identity of FamilySearch members and expect to have it ready next year.
  • You also often can get free access to the record images by visiting the custodial repository.

census records | FamilySearch
Tuesday, 29 July 2008 13:31:09 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Monday, 28 July 2008
Video Tour of Cincinnati Library Genealogy Center
Posted by Diane

We’re lucky enough to work up the road from an excellent research resource—the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County’s Genealogy and Local History Department. It’s one of the biggest and best genealogy collections in the country. Our latest video tells you how a recent reorganization stands to benefit genealogists, and highlights resources that just might lead to ancestral answers in your tree.

You’ll find more video tours and how-tos on Family Tree Magazine’s You Tube Channel.

Libraries and Archives | Videos
Monday, 28 July 2008 15:10:50 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, 25 July 2008
Geni Says Goodbye to Beta, Hello to New Features
Posted by Diane

The free Los Angeles-based family networking site Geni, honored in May as one of Time magazine’s top 50 sites of 2008, has emerged from beta with new features including tree merging and video sharing.

Here’s how tree merging works: When you add an e-mail address to a profile, Geni looks for the address on existing trees. If found, the site sends a merge request to the person asking if they’d like the profiles merged. Conflict resolution tools help find and resolve duplicate people. Find more on tree merging in Geni’s online forum.

Video sharing is free and unlimited, with videos viewable only by your family. As with photos, you can tag videos by event name, creating a kind of virtual multimedia scrapbook of the event. Get more details—including supported file formats and browsers—on Geni’s Forum.

Other, smaller additions include a Recently Online notice of which family members have visited Geni recently, Tree Stats on your home page ,and a Complete Your Family module for inviting relatives to join you on Geni.

Former executives and early employees of such esteemed sites as PayPal, eGroups, eBay and Tribe launched privately held Geni in January 2007. Financial backing comes from venture capital firms Founders Fund and Charles River Ventures.

Genealogy Web Sites
Friday, 25 July 2008 10:02:53 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Thursday, 24 July 2008
101 Web Sites: DNA and Mapping Tools
Posted by Diane

Two more great genealogy sites you should check out (for more recommendations, see the full list of this year’s 101 Best Web Sites):
  • GeneTree combines social networking and genetic genealogy. You can make profiles for yourself and your ancestors, keep track of DNA test results and search for matches. Use the site free even if you didn’t take advantage of  GeneTree’s testing services, which include both mitochondrial- and (as of this week) Y-DNA tests.
  • Search the USGS Geographic Names Information System for towns (even those no longer in existence), landmarks, waterways, cemeteries and more in this database of more than 2 million places. You can map any result using a variety of online tools.

Genealogy Web Sites | Genetic Genealogy
Thursday, 24 July 2008 08:54:12 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 23 July 2008
Free Database of the Week: FBI Records on Footnote
Posted by Diane

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Federal Bureau of Investigation  July 26, historical records subscription service Footnote is making its collection of FBI Case Files free through the end of August.

The files date from 1908 to 1922 and number 2 million records that might hold some surprises for genealogists.

One 1918 case I happened across in the Miscellaneous Files category involved the discovery of a trunkful of whiskey at the Central Union Depot in downtown Cincinnati. A report named witnesses, the FBI agents who investigated, the man accused of shipping the trunk in violation of the Reed Amendment (which prohibited transporting alcohol to dry states), and the perpetrator's female accomplice. Later documents show the pair was sentenced to 30 days in jail.

Other types of cases include
  • “Mexican Files,” 1909-1921: investigations of violations of Mexican neutrality
  • “Old German Files,” 1915-1920: records of German enemy aliens, sympathizers, and others suspected of disloyalty, mainly during World War I
  • Bureau Section Files, 1920-21: records transferred from the Department of Justice concerning violations of federal laws.
The original records are at the National Archives and Records Administration in Record Group 65.

Click here to search the FBI Case Files database (you also can get to the database using the See All Databases link on Footnote’s home page).

Free Databases | Genealogy Web Sites
Wednesday, 23 July 2008 11:17:40 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 22 July 2008
FamilySearch Cleans Up Well
Posted by Diane

If you haven't been to FamilySearch lately, go take a look—webmasters quietly changed the look of the home page last week.

Now it’s a lot cleaner, with a general search plus a pared-down list of links for the site’s research guides and other most-used resources.

As before, the general search here covers the Ancestral File, Pedigree Resource File, International Genealogical Index, Socal Security Death Index, Mexico and Scandinavian vital records, and the 1880 United States, 1881 British Isles, and 1881 Canadian censuses.

To find the indexes and record images coming out of the FamilySearch Indexing and Records Access initiativess, look under the Search Records pull-down menu and select Record Search Pilot. Eventually, this and other genealogy tools will be integrated into the main FamilySearch site.

You’ll find many of the links that previously cluttered the FamilySearch home page neatly stashed in the drop-down navigation menu or arranged at the bottom of the page.

Just FYI, many of the interior pages haven’t gotten the makeover treatment yet.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008 16:15:50 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]