I don't covet much. Besides it being one of the big top 10 Thou Shall Nots (the listicle of all listicles for Christians), it's a waste of time to covet. Okay, there was that time when I was eight that I coveted my best friend Christie's above ground ivy-covered atomic bomb fallout shelter that she had in her backyard. That was SO cool in the late 1970s to play in. One day we were princesses locked in the tower by the mean old witch of a queen. Another, we were mad scientists.
We played in that thing for hours upon hours until I had to go home for dinner at dark thirty. So, you can't blame me too much for coveting that, right?
Like I said, I don't covet much as an adult. [Hard to beat the fallout-shelter-then-playhouse.] However, I felt a twinge of yearning when I saw this new dynamic search map on Ancestry.
Most of you are probably aware (at least, I hope you are) of the handy dandy clickable search map on the Ancestry Search Page. It looks like this:
You simply click on the map the state you want to search the database collections of (or the name of the state below the map) and you get the following.
Like I said, handy dandy. You can also click on the tabs above the map to select different countries. All very nice. But then I was on Twitter and saw the Ancestry UK Twitter account tweet this:
So I clicked on their link and then gasped! Take a look at this:
You can zoom in and out with the roller ball on your mouse. Or, if on your iPad, you can use your fingers in what I like to call the pinch and anti-pinch moves to zoom in and out. Fancy schmancy. And then when you click (or tap) on the collections map marker, it tells you the number of collections Ancestry has for that state and then gives you this on another page on your computer:
And then it looks like this on the iPad:
I want that new Explore(r) Map like I wanted that ivy-covered fallout shelter playhouse in *my* backyard.
Christie never taunted me like this.
Do you have it? Have you seen it?
Previously MyHeritage released Instant Discoveries™ in December 2014 to make it easier for newcomers to family history to begin their family-seeking journey. When launched, using MyHeritage's Smart Matching™, New Discoveries™ allowed a user to add a "package" of family history to their tree all at once as long as a person in their tree matched a branch in an existing tree in MyHeritage's database of user-created family trees. The "package" can contain up to 40-50 people. Thus, giving the user a whole new branch of people to their tree.
Now, this feature is available to all MyHeritage users. So, instead of carefully adding people to their family tree, MyHeritage users will be able to add 40-50 people at a time to their family tree using MyHeritage's Smart Technology™ and New Discoveries™.
My extreme caution to MyHeritage users is that they fully research those 40-50 people before adding them to their tree because even if they are not sure if they are truly related to these people, Smart Technology™ will turn around and use their family tree to help match with another person's tree. And so on and so on. But that's only if the user cares about if they are truly related to these people. If not and they are just wanting to have a little fun, then go for it. It makes for a fun game. Some matches might even be correct if the tree they add from is correct.
After all, no technology—smart or otherwise—is checking the validity of any information contained in a tree or the "packages" of information. It is matching data entered. If it matches, then it suggests you add it. But if the original information they suggest is wrong and it matches your wrong information you got from another online family tree service, then it will be wrong.
MyHeritage has also created this nifty World Map of Discoveries. With this interactive map, you can watch users having fun as they add these Instant Discoveries™ to their trees on MyHeritage all across the world "almost" in real time. Are they truly related to those people they are adding to their family tree? Not sure. But the map is fun to watch.
For more information about Instant Discoveries™, please visit the MyHeritage Blog.
So, what do you think? Do you use MyHeritage? Will you be using Instant Discoveries™? And if so, will you check the validity of the information before adding the "package" or after or not at all? Comment below.
The following press release and 30% lifetime discount offer was just received from HistoryLines. Disclosure: I met Jeff Haddon, co-founder of HistoryLines, at FGS 2014 in San Antonio, Texas, where he showed me HistoryLines. I then viewed it in beta, and I also received and took advantage of a lifetime 50% discount off the regular membership price available to beta testers. And next up from me is a blog post about using HistoryLines, but take a look at their press release and their offer. ~Caroline
Site provides instant life sketches and personal timelines for ancestors, saving genealogists time
OSWEGO, Ill.—April 20, 2015—HistoryLines, a leading provider of historical solutions for genealogists and educators, today announced the official launch of historylines.com, a new website for users interested in genealogy and family history. The site allows anyone to better understand the lives of their forebears by describing the historical events and cultural influences that surrounded their lives. Users see their relatives in historical context with a personalized timeline and map, and can read a detailed, editable life sketch based on when and where their ancestor lived in history.
“After several months of large-scale beta testing, we’re very excited to be able to offer the HistoryLines experience to the world,” says Jeff Haddon, HistoryLines co-founder. “HistoryLines addresses two major pain points in the genealogy research process: the scarcity of personal details that tell an ancestor’s life story, and the time it takes to compose a life sketch from research results.” According to Haddon, HistoryLines hopes to dramatically simplify that process for genealogists and family historians.
“Anyone interested in giving HistoryLines a try can create their first two stories for free to explore all the features,” says Haddon. HistoryLines offers subscriptions at $9.99 per month or $59.00 per year. To encourage new users to try out the site, the company is offering 30% off new subscriptions forever with the promo code EARLYBIRD30. As long as the promotional subscriptions don’t lapse, the discount will continue indefinitely. The introductory offer is good through April 30, 2015.
In conjunction with the official launch, HistoryLines is introducing some new features that beta testers haven’t seen yet, including the ability to export and share their ancestors’ life sketches on social media and in PDF format. In addition, users are now able to pursue further research by accessing the source citations for all of the historical data that is presented.
Additional features include the ability to edit the existing life sketch and to add personal events to the timeline and story. Users can build a family tree on the site, or import their family tree via GEDCOM file upload, or from FamilySearch.org, thanks to HistoryLines’ partnership with FamilySearch.
Much of the technology and processes behind the HistoryLines site functionality is protected by a pending a U.S. patent. “As useful as the product is now, it’s only the beginning. We have a rich roadmap of exciting features and capabilities ahead of us. Our mission is to make genealogists’ lives easier,” says Haddon. Embargoed until 5:00 a.m. EDT on 4/20/2015
Formed in 2014, HistoryLines is dedicated to solving persistent obstacles to genealogical research and ancestral understanding. Its initial product offering, HistoryLines.com, is a subscription-based service that places ancestors in historical context and automatically creates an editable life sketch for each of them.
This press release was just received from the Guild of One-Name Studies. ~Caroline
Join the Guild of One-Name Studies at the Who Do You Think You Are? – Live Birmingham show (16th to 18th April 2015), thereby saving £1 on the normal rate for April joiners and receive a special “show time only” goody bag.
A special show offer of £22 will cover full membership to the Guild of One-Name Studies for a period of 19 months up to 1 November 2016. The current rate for anyone taking out an extended Guild membership in April 2015 is £23. New Guild members joining at the show will receive a goody bag comprising a “Special Guild 8Gb USB drive” (priced £9.00 at the show) which has the Guilds Members handbook, The Art of One-Name Studies “Seven Pillars of Wisdom” book (hard copy usually £7.00), the 2014 Guild Register and all 132 back issues of the Guild Journal of One-Name Studies pre-loaded, a Guild Lanyard and a Guild pen, along with their normal Guild joining pack.
All visitors attending the Guild stand will also be offered free prints of the distribution map for their selected surname as recorded in the British 1881 census provided by Steve Archer’s “Surname Atlas” program.
This special offer of full membership to the Guild of One-Name Studies for a period of 19 months up to 1 November 2016 is also available Worldwide via the Guild’s website – www.one-name.org from the 16th April 2015. The joining fee is: UK £22.00, Australia AUS$44.00. Canada CAN$44.00, Europe €31.00, New Zealand NZ$47.00 and USA US$37.00.
Details of all the Guild facilities can be found at: www.one-name.org/guildsvces.html
- where you can find more about:
Cliff Kemball, the Guild Publicity Manager, said today:
“Visit the Guild Stand (Stand T7-T9) at the WDYTYA Birmingham show (16th to 18th April 2015) and learn more about the Guild of One-Name Studies and what excellent value for money membership of the Guild provides. Alternatively join the Guild on-line at http://www.one-name.org/about-the-guild/how-to-join.html from the 16th April and benefit from the reduced membership fee.”
I'm trying to find evidence of a birth in 1860. I have his birth date and place from his death certificate and the census records loosely support that but I need something closer in time to when he was born. His obituary cannot be found which would not be closer, but still...
And he died intestate and rather poor. His wife was appointed administratrix over...almost nothing. (I hate those slim envelopes in the mail from courthouses most of the time and this was one of those times.) Again, not closer in time to his birth.
I first thought that since his mother had grown up Catholic and married in the Catholic church, it might not be so hard. After all, I already knew the Catholic records for Galveston, Texas were pretty easy to access.
However, the archivist at the Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston disabused me of that silly notion rather quickly with a thin envelope in the mail of her own. She also seemed kind of sad in her letter to me about not finding it or his marriage record. I was almost consoled by that. <grin>
So, it would seem this family line had a change in church denomination. Maybe. But I had no clue which denomination his father had been or what anyone else in the family had been.
I knew my guy had been married in Galveston because I finally obtained his marriage record. Only cost me a day of driving in the pouring rain with high winds and a Fitbit. (Yes, I lost my Fitbit that day either in the McDonald's I stopped at to go to the bathroom or at the courthouse or in either of those establishment's parking lots. Stupid thing had been popping off lately and it did one last time...in the pouring rain.)
When I got home and dried off I looked at the marriage record and transcribed it and the other lovely records I managed to wrangle from an obstinate clerk and then cooked dinner.
Several days later I'm looking in the Galveston, Texas newspaper not for my guy but his brothers. Everyone is prominent in this family because of their grandfather and great uncle and two are lawyers including my guy. However, other than being a lawyer and advertising his business, his paper trail is slim. (Of course.) His lawyer brother is in the papers too because he flirted with politics. So, I get lots of hits for both of them in the newspaper searches.
But his other brother?
A minister. At least, that's what his death certificate lists as his occupation and the census records too.
So, I was looking in the newspaper to see what I could see about the minister in this prominent family. And on the day this minister brother was ordained as a Presbyterian Minister up north, there was a 3 column write-up in the newspaper about it in Galveston. And I carefully began to read it. (Okay, I first skimmed it for personal family information which was at the end and quite abundant but I'd expect no less from this prominent family.) But then I went back and carefully read it from the beginning and then I recognized a name...
...a name of one of the ministers a part of my guy's brother's ordination.
I pulled out my guy's marriage record and voila. The minister who had married my guy had also been a part of his brother's ordination and according to the article was the minister of the First Presbyterian Church in Galveston who had been next on my list to look up in the newspaper but wasn't my first choice because I figured he'd pop up a lot in the search. (Could you imagine? The christenings, marriages, & funerals he presided over as well as the titles of the sermons he gave? Because it appears after looking him up those made the papers too.)
Of course, the city directories would have identified him as well, but I just thought, perhaps, since this was a prominent family in Galveston that my guy's minister brother would have showed up in the paper for...something. (And I had other clues I was looking for as well.)
And a quick Google search told me the church was still open. So I called and found out that their historical records are kept at the Rosenberg Library.
Of course, I already knew she meant the Galveston and Texas History Center which is the archives on the 3rd floor of the library which has an online searchable database of finding aids of their manuscript collections. And, presto — I have an inventory of all the church's records that they have.
Looks like I'll be going back to the Island to see what I can see. (I'll have plenty of steps. Just no Fitbit to count them. If you lose your Fitbit but you still step, does it count?)
But the clue was his brother was a minister.