6    Oct 20112 comments

Guest Post: How a Professional Genealogist uses MyHeritage

Professional genealogist Sandra Underwood (APG and AGRA) has written this guest post. She provides family history research services in Durham, Northumberland, Yorkshire and Scotland.

I became a member of MyHeritage.com in 2009 when I was undertaking my own family history research. I looked at the site after reading an article and uploaded my family tree to see what would happen. Within a short time,  an e-mail arrived advising me of possible “Smart Matches” in my tree. I was able to confirm them, and from then on, I was hooked.

Through the site, I have made contact with several living relatives across the UK and we have been able to share stories and photographs of our ancestors. Imagine finding a whole new set of relatives you knew nothing about!

In addition, I am a self-employed professional genealogist and have found MyHeritage.com a huge help as I can import my clients’ trees (GEDCOM), work on them and then invite the client as a member  so they can view  information I have located for them. Similarly, I have also been invited by clients’ to join their trees as members.  This has allowed me to export trees to my own family history program on my laptop. In turn, this allows me to access the electronic tree in my software program and update it when I visit various archives without wireless internet access. I can then export it to MyHeritage.com again so that that there is always an up-to-date tree online. Continue reading "Guest Post: How a Professional Genealogist uses MyHeritage" »

5    Oct 20111 comment

Solar Challenge: Technology for future generations

The 2011 World Solar Challenge is about to commence on October 16 and people around the planet will be keeping an eye on the 37 teams from 21 countries as they traverse the sun-drenched outback of middle Australia to see who has built the world’s most energy efficient solar vehicle.

The competition - made famous by the 1990 movie “Race The Sun,” featuring American actress Halle Berry - is run between Darwin in the north of Australia to Adelaide in the south, a journey of over 3000km.

It features research teams from some of the world’s most famous universities and companies all looking to use the unique conditions of the course to test their work in a real-world environment.

While the goal of the event is to be the first team to arrive in Adelaide, the true objective of the competition is to promote research into solar-powered cars and, more generally, sustainability.

Continue reading "Solar Challenge: Technology for future generations" »

4    Oct 20111 comment

Video: Building a Family Tree for Humanity!

Today we're posting a remarkable video from the clever people over at TED. TED is a a non-profit organisation dedicated to providing paradigm shifting content from inspirational speakers.

Spencer Wells, over this 20 minute talk, demonstrates how to extend genealogy far beyond the usual boundaries. In essence, the geneticist demonstrates how the earliest origins of human ancestry can be examined through the usage of DNA techniques. He has some truly fascinating conclusions:

3    Oct 20116 comments

Social Networks: Our ancestors had them

This is a guest post by Caroline M. Pointer*

He had done it again.

Joseph Marshall WWI

Joseph Marshall WWI

My grandfather had managed to shock me again. Had it not been enough that he had three wives before my grandmother? Had it not been enough that my grandmother had been his mistress before she became his wife? Had it not been enough that he had been estranged, if not formally excommunicated, from the Catholic Church? Had it not been enough that he had successfully sued his sister? Had it not been enough that he had been estranged from his family for nearly his whole adult life? Had it not been enough that he changed our surname from Marschall to Marshall, unlike the rest of his family?

Apparently not.

The irony of this whole situation with my grandfather, a.k.a., Joseph Marshall and Big Paw Paw, has not escaped me. He had many relationships that left paper trails, but he wasn't very good at maintaining those relationships. In retrospect, Big Paw Paw had had a social network, and I have been able to uncover bits of his story through it.

Since Big Paw Paw’s story was the first I had tried to uncover six years ago, I did everything in a roundabout way with plenty of backtracking. And I wish I had had a clue about looking at ancestors’ networks. It makes sense now. I mean, I don’t live in a bubble. Do you?
Continue reading "Social Networks: Our ancestors had them" »

2    Oct 20110 comments

Genealogy News: North America – 2 October 2011

This week's edition includes expansion of a digital newspaper archive, new and updated FamilySearch records, African immigration to Nova Scotia, classes, seminars and more.

ProQuest, considered the world’s largest digital newspaper archive, is expanding its Historical Newspapers collection. It is accessible for free at most US public libraries.

The newest offerings are historic American Jewish and regional newspapers dating from 1841 and covering Boston, the Ohio Valley and New York City, offering primary resources for researchers.

The papers include The Jewish Advocate (the oldest continuously-circulating Jewish newspaper in the US, a Boston-based weekly) and The American Hebrew/Jewish Messenger (from 1857, covering events before and during the Civil War). Later this year, the Jewish Exponent (1887-1990, Philadelphia) will be added, as well as the Jerusalem Post (1932-1988).

Regional coverage will expand with Newsday (1940-1984, mainly covering Long Island, NY), and the Cincinnati Enquirer (1841-1922, Ohio River Valley)

ProQuestHistorical Newspapers™ began with digital archives of a handful of major American newspapers and has grown to encompass more than 20 dailies from around the world. Collections such as Historical Black Newspapers™ and the growing number of regional papers enable researchers to conduct deep dives on specific topics and also to compare multiple perspectives of the same events. The archive is continually growing and now encompasses more than 30 million pages.

The ProQuest platform allows researchers to share, create and collaborate. Check with your local library to see if it subscribes. I know my library does. For more information, visit ProQuest.com.

Just in time for the collection is a free podcast- available on iTunes - by Lisa Louise Cooke, offered by Family Tree Magazine and focusing on tips for searching old newspapers online, finding historic books on the Web and more. Don’t know what a podcast is? Click here for Lisa's podcast primer.

Looking for more records?

Continue reading "Genealogy News: North America – 2 October 2011" »

1    Oct 20118 comments

Siblings: Lessons learned

We’ve written about  the importance of mothers and fathers, uncles and aunts and even grandparents on this blog, but we’ve never really spoken much about siblings - until now.

Siblings are unique in our family life because, for the most part, they are more than just family - they are peers.

In our siblings, we see our future or our past reflected in the familiar face of someone who shares our genes, cultural beliefs and, most importantly, family context.

That idea of context is an important one. We often attribute the success or failings of friends,  cousins or strangers to their particular set of conditions. Luck of circumstance or, in some cases, a lack thereof, is how we justify our differing fortunes from those of our other peers.

Siblings, however, don’t afford us that opportunity.

It is for this reason we learn so much from our brothers and sisters - how to succeed, how to overcome adversity, how not to waste our talents – these are examples of the learnings and teachings that are shared daily among siblings all over the world.

Sometimes we learn the most important life lessons from our brothers or sisters. Sometimes it’s as simple as how to skim a rock on a lake or how to draw a tree. It doesn’t matter. The point is that shared experience makes those lessons some of  the most valuable and longest held lessons in our lives. Continue reading "Siblings: Lessons learned" »

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