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# Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Show Your Stuff in the Genealogy Blogger Olympics
Posted by Diane

Challenge yourself to go for the gold in your family tree research by participating in the Summer 2008 Genea-Blogger Group Games.

The Games, sponsored by bloggers at AnceStories and elsewhere, are open to members of the Facebook Genea-Blogger Group (which you can sign up for after becoming a member of Facebook).

No shotput-hurling or pole-vaulting here. The five events in the Genea-Blogger Games include citing sources, backing up data, organizing your research, writing about your family history and performing acts of genealogical kindness.

You’ll keep track of your own points and record your progress on your blog. Win enough points, and you’ll receive a medal to display there.

Competitors must register by 3 pm PDT Aug. 7, and the Games are on Aug. 9-23. See the AnceStories blog for registration instructions, detailed descriptions of each event and scorekeeping guidelines.

Now’s the time for all that genealogy training to pay off—let the games begin!


Genealogy Events | Genealogy fun
Tuesday, August 05, 2008 2:20:23 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [3]
Genealogical Society Fundraising Idea
Posted by Diane

Several members of the FamilyTreeMagazine.com Forum have mentioned fundraising as a challenge for genealogical societies.

If you register with the shopping site GoodShop, your society can earn money when people select it from a list of charities and schools, then shop on participating Web sites (including eBay, PetSmart, Target, J. Crew and more). The retailer then donates a designated portion of the purchase (averaging about 3 percent) to your group.

How do you add your society to the potential beneficiaries? If the group is a registered nonprofit, you can submit it for participation. The approval process takes a couple of days.

GoodShop has a search engine called GoodSearch that works similarly: A Web surfer selects a charity and then does a search (powered by Yahoo!), and the charity gets a small donation from advertisers on GoodSearch.

I counted at least 15 genealogical societies already on the GoodShop/GoodSearch list. See if your society is one of them here.


Genealogy societies
Tuesday, August 05, 2008 1:16:27 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Monday, August 04, 2008
Let the Games Begin!
Posted by Grace

Attention around the world is already turning to Beijing, where the 2008 Summer Olympics begins this Friday. To get you in the sporting mood, we've collected some great resources on Olympics history.

The New York Times has a great audio slideshow about legendary Olympians. The interviewees include John Carlos (the runner who raised a gloved fist during the awards ceremony in 1968), Nadia Comaneci and Mark Spitz.

Britannica.com has an in-depth history of the games, and Kodak shows great Olympics moments in pictures.

The New York Times' Olympics blog also has a roundup of past official songs of the games complete with YouTube videos. Some are very memorable (like Gloria Estefan's "Reach")—others I'd much rather forget I ever heard.



More current Olympics information:


Genealogy fun | Oral History | Social History | Videos
Monday, August 04, 2008 1:48:15 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Friday, August 01, 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, August 01, 2008 2:22:02 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Thursday, July 31, 2008
Free Database of the Week: Irish Mariners
Posted by Diane

The tip for this free database comes from a post to the FamilyTreeMagazine.com 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, July 31, 2008 3:58:25 PM (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, July 31, 2008 9:20:46 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, July 30, 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, July 30, 2008 2:47:49 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, July 29, 2008
FamilySearch Answers Questions about Free Census Indexes
Posted by Diane

Since announcing joint US and English census projects with Ancestry.com 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 FamilySearch.org—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, July 29, 2008 1:31:09 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Monday, July 28, 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, July 28, 2008 3:10:50 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, July 25, 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, July 25, 2008 10:02:53 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]