31 March 2016

RIP Ronnie Corbett: best jokes

News that entertainer Ronnie Corbett, best known for The Two Ronnies, has died aged 85. The BBC offers a compilation of his best jokes.


Historical Research Using British Newspapers

At WDYTYA? Live you sometimes find products available before they're officially released. I'm hoping that Pen & Sword, a regular exhibitor, have this interesting looking book on British Newspapers by Denise Bates available even though the official publish date is 30 April.

The publisher's blurb reads:

Thanks to digitisation, newspapers from the seventeenth to the twenty-first century have become an indispensable and accessible source for researchers. Through their pages, historians with a passion for a person or a place or a time or a topic can rediscover forgotten details and gain new insights into the society and values of bygone ages.
Historical Research Using British Newspapers provides plenty of practical advice for anyone intending to use old newspapers by:
* outlining the strengths of newspapers as source material

* revealing the drawbacks of newspapers as sources and giving ways to guard against them

* tracing the development of the British newspaper industry

* showing the type of information that can be found in newspapers and how it can be used

* identifying the best newspapers to start with when researching a particular topic

* suggesting methods to locate the most relevant articles available

* demonstrating techniques for collating, analysing and interpreting information

* showing how to place newspaper reports in their wider context

In addition nine case studies are included, showing how researchers have already made productive use of newspapers to gain insights that were not available from elsewhere.

There a bit more here.

Another interesting looking book coming from Pen and Sword, scheduled for release at the end of July, is Tracing Your Ancestors in County Records: A Guide for Family and Local Historians, By Stuart A. Raymond.

British Newspaper Archives additions for March

The British Newspaper Archive now has 13,629,517 (13,316,832 last month) pages from 606 (593) titles online.
The full list of additions this month, including a decent run of a Norfolk paper, is:

30 March 2016

Memorable locations?

Why do these locations, decades before these images from Google Street View and Flickr were taken, have a particular significance for me?

Those at the Ottawa Branch OGS banquet on Saturday evening will find out.

Ancestry adds Cornish records

The following databases from the Cornwall Record Office are now on Ancestry.

Cornwall, England, Bodmin Gaol Records, 1821-1899,  36,362 records
Information on inmates which might include: Name, Residence, Age, Birth Place, Marital Status, Number of Children, Religion, Gaol Employment, Occupation, Debt, Sentence, Date Admitted,
Date Discharged.

Cornwall, England, Workhouse Admission and Discharge Records, 1839-1872, 14,694 records
Information may include: Name, Date and place of admission, Date and place of discharge, Parish, Age, Marital status, Religion, Cause of admission, How or by whom discharged, Other details regarding the person’s condition and care.

Truro, Cornwall, England, Police Charge Books, 1846-1896, 9,624 records
Includes: Name, Age, Description, Address, Date and charge brought against each person by police.

Cornwall, England, Penzance Dispensary Admissions, 1828-1841, 4,592 records
Details provided typically include: Name, Age, Description, Residence, Date Admitted.

Cornwall, England, Militia and Sea Fencibles Index, 1780 - 1831, 4,151 records
The following information may be included: Name, Birthplace, Age, Service Status, Year of Military Service, Military Unit or Occupation, Amount Paid, Spouse's Name, Number of children.

Falmouth, Cornwall, England, Congregational and Baptist Church Registers, 1763-1923, 4,748 records
Events included in this collection are : Membership to the church, Baptisms, Deaths, Burials

Marriages (a limited number).

Bodmin, Cornwall, England, Inmates at St. Lawrence's Asylum, 1840-1900, 1,466 records

Details given include the inmates' name, date of admission and parish of residence, year of birth, religion and, on occasion, occupation.

29 March 2016

Irish? . . . no, our real mother tongue is English

In his latest blog post Why are there no genealogical records in the Irish language? John Grenham buries the myth of the ancient Irish language, a position best left to someone with impeccable Irish credentials.

NWMP connections?

The following is a note from Wayne Shepheard, editor of Relatively Speaking, the quarterly journal of the Alberta Genealogical Society.

Relatively Speaking is involved in a new joint project with the Bulletin, the journal of the Saskatchewan Genealogical Society, and Generations, the journal of the Manitoba Genealogical Society. In each of our summer issues (August for AGS and SGS and September for MGS) we will feature a theme of Families of the North-West Mounted Police.

We picked the summer issues in 2016 to dedicate to the subject of Families of the NWMP as that gave us the time to solicit papers and work together to put it all together. The various issues will be published closely in time to each other. Invitations have been sent out to our respective members and others, for articles concerning this subject.  As submissions, or expressions of interest come in, we will look at how we might distribute the articles between our respective journals. We will make the three respective issues available to every member of each society by sending them electronic copies.

Our three societies all share the same objectives with respect to family history research and the same general geography of the plains, so it made sense to do such a project together. This project will give each of us an expanded readership for this, and possibly, future issues and also a greater author pool from which we might source future articles.

We have already had indications from a number of people from across Western Canada who want to contribute a paper, some of whom have themselves been associated with the RCMP. Interested family researchers from across Canada are, of course, welcome to send us their stories if they had a NWMP member in their past. We are excited by the opportunity to share stories of these early pioneers. Perhaps the stories may even make it into a book for wider distribution although we have not yet discussed that aspect.

Contact the Editor for more information on how to get your story published.

28 March 2016


One of the sites I'll mention in my presentation on Canadian resources at WDYTYA? Live in Birmingham is CanadianHeadstones.com.
With no comprehensive source like the free index to civil registrations of births, marriages and deaths in England and Wales (until recently), gravestones are an especially important source for the Canadian genealogist.
Canadian Headstones has over 1,418,000 gravestone photo records from across Canada, up from 1,006,536 when I last counted in February 2015. Best represented is Ontario with over 807,300 entries followed by Quebec with 392,100.
Search by specifying the area, province and county options).
Along the way there are opportunities to donate and contribute, CanadianHeadstones.com is registered under the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act as Corporation Number 7646712.
There's an active Facebook presence at www.facebook.com/Canadianheadstones which includes news on recently added cemeteries. This month's additions are: ST. HEDWIG'S ROMAN CATHOLIC CEMETERY, Barry's Bay. Renfrew County, Ontario; ST. PAUL'S ROMAN CATHOLIC CEMETERY, Plantagenet, Prescott & Russel County, Ontario; ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST ANGLICAN CEMETERY, IROQUOIS - Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry , Ontario.

BIFHSGO Conference 2016

The full program of presentations for the 22nd Annual Family History Conference September 9-11, including the Friday seminars and Friday evening Whiteside lecture, is now posted at http://bifhsgo.ca/cpage.php?pt=241.

Online registration opens on 29 April.

27 March 2016

KISS in colour

The KISS principle came to mind when I observed the latest genealogy meme.  Attributed to US genealogist J Paul Hawthorne folks are colouring their pedigree charts according to place of birth, or sometimes other attributes like cause of death.

It's a simple way to get an insight into your ancestry, useful for comparing to DNA ethic origins results. I've seen the same thing done previously with national flags, and even used it myself.

You can make a chart by hand, although I read with the current craze for adult colouring books coloured pencils are in short supply. Most are using a spreadsheet. I used a basic Excel sheet for this four generation chart of my father. For something a little more fancy use this Google docs sheet, click Make a copy under the File menu item to make an editable copy. Enjoy.

LAC Seminar: A case for the Constitution

A most interesting Library and Archives Canada event:

Michael Smith: A case for the Constitution

Did you know that LAC hold the two original copies of the Proclamation of the Constitution Act (1982) in its collection? These are two of Canada's most important constitutional documents.

Come to this seminar and learn how remarkable technologies have been used to preserve and provide access for future generations to these precious testimonies of our history.

Date: Tuesday, April 5, 2016, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. (EDT)

Place: 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa, Ontario

Speaker: Michael Smith, Collection Manager, Textual and Cartographic, Unpublished and Unbound, Library and Archives Canada

Language: This event will be given in English with simultaneous French translation.

Registration for this free public event (required) by email at: bac.marketing.lac@canada.ca.

26 March 2016

Irish Lives Remembered Spring 2016

With a note that the latest issue of Irish Lives Remembered is now available came information on a change in ownership from Brian Donovan, CEO of Eneclann Ltd.

We are delighted to announce that this excellent magazine is joining Eneclann, who many of you will already know. We are an independent company based in Dublin who have been providing excellence in family history since our foundation in Trinity College in 1998. Our research team are well known through their work for popular TV series like Who Do You Think You Are? and Finding Our Roots.

Many of you will know Fiona Fitzsimons, Research Director of Eneclann and a columnist at Irish Lives since the early issues. Many other columnists will be familiar, some from previous issues and we also have some welcome new additions.

Eileen Munnelly who established this magazine in 2012 has provided a wonderful service to the family history community, not least by her professionalism, inclusivity, good nature and dedication to quality. She is joined by a new co-editor, Shane Fitzsimons, who brings a wealth of experience from mainstream newspaper publishing.

The Eneclann team have worked hard to get this issue out in time for the Centenary Commemorations of the 1916 Rising. No doubt there will be teething pains as we learn the ropes, so please bear with us. We have some exciting plans too that we'd love to share with you.

Connect with Irish Lives Remembered here.

Tools of the Trade

A survey published in the 2013 book Canadians and their Pasts by a team of seven prominent Canadian researchers found that while Canadians engage most with the past by looking at old photographs (83%) and watching historical movies on TV (78%), third most common was passing on heirlooms (74%). That’s well ahead of creating family trees (20%).
What kind of heirlooms?
Perhaps medals. Many of us have them from ancestor’s war service. Issued by the million they’re unique only for the name inscribed on the rim.
I have a silver tea service inscribed as a gift from his parishioners to my great grandfather in 1894 when he left the Lancashire parish where he was vicar. While not a tool of the trade it speaks to his calling.
As a kid growing up I remember curiously play with a slide rule my father had in his desk drawer. I didn’t understand how to use it at the time. He perhaps used it as an engineer plying the seas with the New Zealand Shipping Company, or perhaps while training. There was also a wood and brass mariner’s telescope perhaps used to scan the horizon in the spare moments he wasn’t in the engine room on voyages between the UK and New Zealand.
From my mother, she treasured a book on radio engineering that belonged to her brother killed in a flying accident with the RAF.
As a former meteorologist I'd choose to hand down a geostrophic wind scale or tephigram (Google them!).
What ancestor’s tools of the trade handed down do you value and what will you be handing down?

25 March 2016

Ancestry FREE weekend

Ancestry usually offers an Easter free period.
This year ancestry.co.uk sent an email that "for four full days, until 28 March, you can hunt through billions of records from all over the UK and the British Commonwealth—from Australia to Canada—and uncover even more of your unique family story."
You do have to register a free Ancestry account so that can have you on their radar.

Billion Graves Cemetery Index additions at Findmypast

In addition to the gateways at Billion Graves own website and FamilySearch you can now search an augmented Billion Graves index at Findmypast for Australia (1,151,510 entries), Canada (821,781), England (502,263), Ireland (8,888), New Zealand (118,284), Scotland (81,992), USA (12,404,668), and Wales (51,986).
Search and view a transcription for hits. There's a link to the Billion Graves site to view the gravestone image (with registration).

Deceased Online adds West Yorkshire Halifax and Brighouse cemeteries

Deceased Online is working on records for seven cemeteries and the crematorium managed by Calderdale Council in West Yorkshire.

Now available are:
Brighouse Cemetery, 5 km ESE of Halifax, with 20,000 records from 1874 to 1996. 45 are Commonwealth War Graves Commision burials from both World Wars.
Lister Lane (aka Halifax General) Cemetery 1 km SW of Halifax, with 21,000 records from 1842 to 1962, There are four CWGC burial from the First World War.

Emma Jolly has a blog post on these Calderdale cemeteries and the social setting.

24 March 2016

FTDNA and GEDmatch nearing agreement

The following is posted on the GEDmatch website.

Note that existing 'F' (FTDNA) kit numbers on GEDmatch will be changed to 'T' followed by a random kit number. This will probably happen in the next few days. If you need to make copies of your results with the old kit numbers, please do so now.

New on Ancestry: Web: England, London Lives Index, 1690-1832

The source University of Sheffield website at www.londonlives.org/boasts "240,000 manuscripts from eight archives and fifteen datasets, giving access to 3.35 million names."
The new Ancestry web-scraped index has 1,653,830 names. Ancestry provides little by way of detail on the sources so check www.londonlives.org/static/Project.jsp to see if there might have something of interest.
I found a man, who is likely my four times great grandfather serving on several coroner's juries in the 1790s.

Searching Chemist and Druggist: Beechams Pills - not quite the thing

A post Searching for a solution from the Wellcome Library blog describes the work-around found for searching the journal Chemist and Druggist digitized from 1859 through to 2010.

There are 535,000 pages of OCR data for the journal freely available. You can search within a particular issue, either through the Library catalogue, or on the Internet Archive website. The challenge was searching across the whole corpus. Google to the rescue.

I tried the search looking for a report on the trial of a great grand-uncle who admitted selling knock-offs for the patent medicine Beecham's Pills. In addition to information I already had from newspaper reports I learned details of the trial including that he had been trading at the same location in Shadwell for 20 years.

23 March 2016

Mocavo closing

A note from second tier genealogy database company Mocavo informs that the website will be closing midnight tonight (Wednesday 23rd March 2016) and, over the coming weeks, all of Mocavo’s records will be available on Findmypast.
Cliff Shaw, serial entrepreneur, launched Mocavo from Boulder, Colorado in 2011. Likely the objective was always to develop it to the point where it could be sold to a larger company.
The email I received included the sentences "As you already have a Findmypast account, we’ll give you a 30 day trial completely free as a little welcome gift. You'll receive more information about this in a follow-up email after it’s been applied."
Could that be a 30 day extension of my Findmypast subscription! Too good to be true?

Capital Punishment U.K

Was your ancestor hung subject to capital punishment?

Capital Punishment U,K, takes a comprehensive look at the death penalty in Britain, including lists of those executed and many of their victims. There are also lists for Canada 1867-1962, and Australia 1870 - 1867. Worth a browse.

World Meteorological Day

Wednesday 23 March is set aside as World Meteorological Day under the leadership of the World Meteological Organization.

This year the theme is Hotter, Drier, Wetter. Face the future. A recent UN report found that worldwide, over the last twenty years, 90% of major disasters have been weather-related.

I won't have time for more than a very brief mention of climate change in my talk to Gene-O-Rama on 2 April. There are too many other interesting aspects to Ottawa's weather history.

Has Ottawa's climate changed? At the Central Experimental Farm it’s clearly warmer, wetter, and with less snow now than when observations were first taken in 1889.

22 March 2016

Ancestry adds TNA files for Ireland pre-independence

Two smaller collections of interest for Ireland are new on Ancestry.

Ireland, Courts Martial Files, 1916-1922 has 1,913 records containing evidence against individuals suspected of being involved with the Nationalist movement in Ireland. Half are for 1920. Files include charge sheets and detailed court transcripts running to more than 1,000 pages in some capital cases.

Ireland, Intelligence Profiles, 1914-1922 has 766 files with photographs, newspaper clippings and notes recording Sinn Fein meetings as well as the everyday movements of those deemed to be suspects in the eyes of the British forces. Most are for 1917 onward.

Home Front stories of the First World War.

Given the heroics and horrors of battle it's easy to overlook that a world war involves everybody.
A TNA blog post Building a virtual First W orld War village describes an experiment in telling stories of events on the Home Front, and to showcase related documents.

John Grenham evaluates the Irish Catholic parish record transcripts

In his latest blog post John Grenham looks at How good are the new Ancestry/FindMyPast Catholic transcripts?
I had not been aware that the indexing was a cooperative project between Ancestry and Findmypast. That fact is obscured by the subtleties of the search engines used by the two companies, notably different treatment of surname variants.
Grenham points to a case study where a large number of variants were not caught by the indexing, perhaps in part as the indexing was done from poor quality microfilm copy. Just because you don't find someone doesn't mean they weren't there - so goes the game of genealogical hide and seek with indexed records.

21 March 2016

Honouring Arthur Doughty

22 March 2016 is the 156th anniversary of the birth of Sir Arthur George Doughty.

Born in England he came to Canada in 1886  and was the longest serving Dominion Archivist and Keeper of the Public Records of Canada, from May 1904 until 1935.

He is buried with his second wife in Ottawa's Notre Dame Cemetery.

What's special about 10 May?

14 questions in five steps. The first is your telephone number, the second your email address. What's asked on the 2016 short form Canadian census of population would never have been contemplated in 1666. That's when the first ‘Canadian’ census was taken in New France by Intendant Jean Talon. It enumerated 3,215 inhabitants and collected information on age, sex, marital status and locality.

In 2016 Statistics Canada has set the official date of the census as Tuesday 10 May.

The questions on the short form census are here. For the long form census the questions are here.

Again this census you will have to positively agree to having your data released after 92 years, otherwise according to current law, the individual data will never be released.

Expect to receive information from Statistics Canada in early May. They are asking most people to respond online.

Ancestry updates Derbyshire and Essex parish records collections

This may be nothing more than a couple of minor corrections so, FWIW, take note that
Essex, England, Select Church of England Parish Registers, 1518-1960 now has 2,220,120 records and Derbyshire, England, Select Church of England Parish Registers, 1538-1910 has 3,309,988 records.

Also Isle of Man, Select Parish Registers, 1598-1936 now has 764,286 records.

20 March 2016

From Steamboats to the NHL: The Ottawa Valley’s Cowley Family

Hot off the press from the Historical Society of Ottawa (HSO) is the latest in their Bytown Pamphlet Series—From Steamboats to the NHL: The Ottawa Valley’s Cowley Family (no. 98, 5.5”x 8.5”,
soft cover, 68 pp, includes a personal name index).

Researched and written by Christine Jackson, a long-time family historian and active member of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa and HSO, this booklet traces the early Ottawa Valley history of the entrepreneurial and pioneering riverboat captain, Captain Daniel Keyworth Cowley—or “Captain Dan” as he was to become known—and his descendants.

Christine reveals Captain Dan’s connection with Champlain’s iconic lost astrolabe as well as his family’s role in the Ottawa Valley’s history and economic development, including their surprising and great contribution to Canada’s national winter game. Also included is an account of the Cowley family’s origins in England, reaching back into 16th century Derbyshire.

The HSO publishes several of these popular research papers on aspects of the history of Ottawa and region each year. They are a benefit of membership for HSO members and are available to the public for a small fee. Back issues on a huge range of topics are listed on HSO’s website at http://hsottawa.ncf.ca/pamphlets.html and may be consulted at the Ottawa Public Library’s Main (Ottawa Room) and some other branches, the Ottawa City Archives and in the Ottawa Resource Room of Carleton University’s MacOdrum Library.

To order this pamphlet ($5) or any of the others in the series back to 1981, contact George Neville at 613-729-0579 or george.neville at ncf dot ca

Follow-up on FTDNA and GEDmatch

Continuing the developing matter of suspension of uploads of FTDNA autosomal (Family Finder) results to GEDmatch, he following is posted at GEDmatch.com.

Family Tree DNA and GEDmatch jointly announce that we are in serious conversations regarding issues that have resulted in GEDmatch discontinuing uploads of FTDNA data. Both companies recognize the importance of these talks to their customers and are committed to quickly resolve differences. We regret any inconvenience that may have been caused and assure our users that our primary focus and efforts are geared toward your benefit.
We appreciate the overwhelming support GEDmatch users have expressed on public forums. 
It would seem the reaction of the community is having the desired effect.

Welcome vernal equinox

Spring has sprung, arriving on Sunday, March 20, 2016 at 12:30 AM EDT

The vernal equinox, with the sun is directly overhead at the equator, was thought to be a time of equinoctial gales.  Although there may be gales at the equinox, storms are not especially prevalent and there's no cause and effect relationship.

In Calendar Curiosities for 29 February, a presentation given at Gresham College in London last 29 February, lecturer Tony Mann points out oddities such as that while the two great writers Cervantes and Shakespeare both died on 23 April 1616 they did not die on the same day.

You may also learn a calendar calculation trick useful for genealogy, and daily life -- if your mental arithmetic skills are up to it.


Browse The Glengarry News

I'm a sceptic when it comes to claims such as that included in the latest OGS weekly eNewsletter that the Glengarry County Archives, in Alexandria, is the largest archives in Eastern Ontario. On what basis, floor-space, volume of the collection, visitors? The claim is taken from the archives website.

However, the claim achieved the objective in encouraging a virtual visit where I learned that browse images of The Glengarry News, a weekly, published from 1892 to 1956, and the short-lived Glengarrian from 1895 to 1898, are online. The images are from microfilm so the quality is poor. If you're hunting for news for a specific date, perhaps a family event, death of a local soldier or other locally newsworthy happening this is a resource you'll want to consult. With no OCRing there's no realistic expectation of successfully fishing for casual mention of a person who was, say, a long time resident.

I checked for reports on a major late December 1942 storm only to find that the paper was unable to publish full editions for three weeks owing to general lack of power. When they were able to report on the storm the copy was largely illegible. Photos in the January 24 edition of Bell repairmen at work, again poor microfilm copy, had a caption that the weight of ice was estimated as 24 ounces per foot of wire, and that it was the worst such storm in 40 years between Ottawa, Montreal and Brockville. That would put it in league with the 1998 ice storm in the hardest-hit areas with 100 mm of ice accretion.

19 March 2016

Rick Mercer's take on AncestryDNA

Worth a look at www.cbc.ca/mercerreport/videos/clips/ancestry

Irish police records from Findmypast

Irish Revenue Police, 1830-1857 consists of 37,800 records, transcript indexes and images, consisting of minutes of appointments, which recorded transfers of privates between stations or parties, dismissals of privates and, appointments to permanent positions at the end of their probation period. Disbanded on 1 October 1857 the role was assumed by the Irish Constabulary. Read more at http://irish-police.com/irish-revenue-police-1832-1857/

Royal Irish Constabulary pensions 1873-1925, with 112,581 entries records amounts paid monthly to RIC pensioners and their dependents. Includes pension registers, registers of deceased pensioners, pension rolls upon disbandment (1922), and registers of widows and children. In the pension registers find name, rank, where pension paid as well as year and age when pensioned.

Royal Irish Constabulary History & Directories contains over 1,670 pages from 6 different publications printed between 1871 and 1920 that provide further insight into the daily operations of the police force and the history of the organisation.

A timely Flickr set from LAC

This snippet is from one of the images included in a weather related Flickr set placed online by Library and Archives Canada. They're from across Canada, this one is of snow clearance on Sparks Street. Ottawa, taken by William James Topley ca 1891.
It's timely as it gives me another excuse to mention my Gene-O-Rama banquet talk Blowin' in the Wind: Ottawa Weather events and people. I'll be giving on 2 April.  None of the images in this set are in my talk.
Find out more on Gene-O-Rama at http://ogsottawa.on.ca/Gene-O-Rama/

18 March 2016

Findmypast adds Western Australia BMD indexes

Just added at Findmypast. Will you find the British stray you've long been seeking?

Western Australia Birth index, 106,049 records from 1841 to 1989 with transcripts of name, birth year and place.
Western Australia Marriage index, 527,168 records from 1841 to 1965 with transcripts of name, spouse's name and marriage year.
Western Australia Death index, 450,353 records from 1841 to 1980 with transcripts of name, death year and place with birth year and parents names in later years.

FreeBMD March update

The FreeBMD database was updated on Thursday 17 March 2016 to contain 253,123,910 (252,514,853 last month) distinct records.
Years with major updates, more than 5,000 new entries, are for births: 1963, 1964, 1966, 1971, 1974, 1976; for marriages: 1965-66, 1968-69, 1974-76; for deaths: 1973-77.

Ancestry adds Web: Global, Gravestone Photograph Index, 1265-2014

Ancestry has another database added, scraped from Gravestone Photographic Resource, an international directory of grave monuments at www.gravestonephotos.com/.

Ancestry claims 876,327 entries in the database.
Toronto's Mount Pleasant and St John Norway's cemeteries are well represented. Other Ontario communities I noticed are: Durham, Glenelg Township, Gravenhurst, Maple, Markdale, Maxwell, Nottawasaga, Orange Valley, Oro, Pickering, St Catharines, Vespra, Whitevale, and Williamsford.

There are some BC and Alberta entries, and just two for Manitoba.  Only Nova Scotia in the east has and entries.

The UK has over 750,000 entries.

Claire Santry has published 'New Irish Genealogy Records 2011-2015'

If you research Irish ancestry you'll want this. Leading blogger, #1 Irish Rockstar Genealogist, Claire Santry has just made available this "handy e-book setting out all the Irish family history records released in the last 5 years"
If you were able to view the recent webinar by Irish genealogy expert Brian Donovan, or his presentation at Rootstech (available here on YouTube) you'll be aware, if not before, of the masses of Irish information which has become available on Findmypast.
There's more than Findmypast and Claire's book New Irish Genealogy Records 2011-2015 sets out all the new, mainly online, records at your disposal. All the links are clickable so no retyping as you'd have to do with hardcopy or taking them from a webinar presentation.
Find out more, view a sample and purchase a copy at the introductory price here.

17 March 2016

Family Tree DNA uploads to GEDmatch suspended

This notice posted on the GEDMatch website got a lot of attention in the genetic genealogy community.

This is strange. FTDNA has formerly been supportive of citizen scientists who want to delve further into their DNA results than is possible on the company website. Why the suspension? An answer from FTDNA was posted on Facebook

"We have reached out to GEDMatch expressing our concern that their website could potentially lead to breach in privacy of our customers. Given this, we propose to discuss the subject with them, but in parallel we suggested that until further clarification and assurances that the privacy of out customers records are protected, Family Tree DNA uploads should be suspended. We hope that with the cooperation of GEDMatch we can reestablish the uploads in the near future."

It's unclear how a FTDNA client who voluntarily go through the process of transferring their own results to GEDMatch could in any way assign blame to FTDNA for any such breach. One can speculate and there may well be more to it.

Most recently GEDmatch posted the following.

We regret we had to make the decision to stop accepting FTDNA DNA uploads. FTDNA has threatened to sue GEDmatch over claimed privacy issues. We have been asked not to discuss the details, because it would be to FTDNA's disadvantage. Suffice it to say that FTDNA's own site seems to currently violate these same issues. 

We would prefer to work closely with FTDNA in solving this problem to everybody's benefit, but we have not received a response to any of our suggested compromise solutions. The technical obstacles to satisfying FTDNA current demands are significant. It appears that our only alternative may be to remove all FTDNA DNA match results from GEDmatch. The issues raised by FTDNA do not apply to kits from other testing companies. 

We appreciate the overwhelming support GEDmatch users have expressed on public forums. 

Hopefully this gets resolved quickly as FTDNA risks losing clients to other companies and existing clients could be deprived of a facility they formerly had the option of using.

Developing ...