26 September 2010

Browsing the Archives: Bible Records

by Toby Webb

Between us, my father and I wasted over sixty years of genealogical research, trying to identify the New York City parents of the earliest Webb we knew. Our family Bible said that he had been born in New York City in 1797, but no amount of digging could find his parents there. How I wish I had seen the NGSQ (National Genealogical Society Quarterly) special edition on family Bibles (Volume 90, Number 4, Decemember 2002), which I recently stumbled upon in my review of the NGSQ digital archive. It speaks to the great value, but also the possible unreliability, of Bible records. Had I read the issue earlier, I would have placed far less trust in our Bible's earliest entry.

The issue opens with a nice historical piece by Jerome Anderson on the use of Bibles as one of several traditional recording places for family events. (Coincidentally, it was a suggestion from Jerry Anderson in 2008 that helped me finally break through my Bible-based brick wall.) Marsha Hoffman Rising then writes about ways to examine and analyze a Bible record so that the reliability and validity of its data can be judged. A series of articles from leading genealogists then demonstrates how different complex research problems have been solved with Bible records - even a case where there were no names in the Bible record at all, only dates!

This special issue on Bible records is another example of the valuable tools available to the new family historian in the NGSQ digital archive. It instructs, both with an overview and then with examples from the work of our most skilled fellow researchers. Download and enjoy!

Be sure to log in on the NGS website – or take this opportunity to join if you're not yet a member. Then choose the Publications and Videos tab, and click on NGS Member Periodicals.

10 Resources to Help Long Distance Relationships

Staying in touch with family and fellow researchers is an important aspect of our genealogical efforts. Our thanks to Sheryl Owen for sharing this article with UpFront readers.

When one person in a relationship moves due to work, school, or any other reason it can naturally cause a lot of strain on the relationship.  It’s really hard to explain just how difficult this can be until you have gone through the experience yourself.  However, there are a lot of advancements in technology that have made it somewhat easier to be in a long distance relationship. To read a short list of 10 of the best resources for people struggling with this problem, click here.

23 September 2010

Ancestry.com to Acquire iArchives, Footnote.com

The following is a release from Ancestry.com.

Provo, Utah, September 23, 2010 – Ancestry.com Inc. (Nasdaq: ACOM) announced today it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire iArchives, Inc. and its branded Web site, Footnote.com, a leading American History Web site, for approximately $27 million in a mix of Ancestry.com stock, cash and assumption of liabilities. This acquisition will provide the company with a complementary consumer brand, expanded content offerings, and enhanced digitization and image-viewing technologies.

iArchives digitizes and delivers high-quality images of American historical records of individuals involved in the Revolutionary War, Continental Congress, Civil War, and other US historical events to Footnote.com subscribers interested in early American roots. iArchives has digitized more than 65 million original source documents to date through its proprietary digitization process for paper, microfilm and microfiche collections.

“Footnote.com is highly complementary to Ancestry.com’s online family history offering,” said Tim Sullivan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ancestry.com. “By promoting Footnote to our Ancestry audience, we hope to expand its reach among researchers who care about early American records. iArchives also brings outstanding image-viewing technology and content digitization capabilities that will improve our leadership position in bringing valuable historical records to the market. We welcome the iArchives team to the Ancestry.com family.”

Upon completion of the transaction, iArchives will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ancestry.com. As part of the transaction, Ancestry.com currently expects to issue approximately 1.0 million shares of common stock. The transaction is subject to various closing conditions and is expected to close early in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Ancestry.com also announced today that its Board of Directors has approved a share repurchase program of up to approximately $25 million of its common stock. Under the authorization, share repurchases may be made by the Company from time to time in the open market or through privately negotiated transactions depending on market conditions, share price and other factors and may include accelerated or forward or similar stock repurchases and/or Rule 10b5-1 plans. Part of the rationale for the repurchase is to offset dilution of equity resulting from the iArchives acquisition. No time limit was set for the completion of this program. The share repurchase program may be modified or discontinued at any time by the Board of Directors.

About Ancestry.com

Ancestry.com Inc. (Nasdaq: ACOM) is the world's largest online family history resource, with approximately 1.3 million paying subscribers. More than 5 billion records have been added to the site in the past 13 years. Ancestry users have created more than 19 million family trees containing over 1.9 billion profiles. Ancestry.com has local Web sites directed at nine countries, including its flagship Web site at www.ancestry.com.

About iArchives

iArchives is a leading digitization service provider that also operates Footnote.com, a subscription Web site that features searchable original documents, providing over 35,000 paying subscribers with a view of the events, places and people that shaped the American nation and the world. At Footnote.com, all are invited to come share, discuss, and collaborate on their discoveries with friends, family, and colleagues. For more information, visit www.footnote.com.

Forward-looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements. These statements relate to future events or to future financial performance and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors that may cause our actual results, levels of activity, performance, or achievements to be materially different from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by the use of words such as "appears," "may," "designed," "expect," "intend," "focus," "seek," "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "predict," "potential," "should," "continue" or "work" or the negative of these terms or other comparable terminology. These statements include statements concerning among other things, the proposed transaction between Ancestry.com and iArchives, Inc., including the consummation and anticipated timing of the transaction as well as the expected benefits of the proposed transaction, and the effects of the proposed transaction on Ancestry.com, our subscriber base, our reach, our activities to enhance subscribers' experience, our business outlook, our leadership position and our opportunities and prospects for growth. These forward-looking statements are based on information available to us as of the date of this press release. Forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated by these forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include a variety of factors, some of which are beyond our control. In particular, such risks and uncertainties include the risk that the transaction does not close when anticipated, or at all; difficulties encountered in integrating acquired businesses and retaining customers, and the additional difficulty of integration when continuing the acquired operation; the adverse impact of competitive product announcements; failure to achieve anticipated revenues and operating performance; changes in overall economic conditions; the loss of key employees; competitors’ actions; pricing and gross margin pressures; inability to control costs and expenses; and significant litigation.

Information concerning additional factors that could cause results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements is contained under the caption "Risk Factors" in our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarterly period ended June 30, 2010, and in discussions in other of our SEC filings.

These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing our views as of any subsequent date and we assume no obligation to publicly update or revise these forward-looking statements for any reason, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.

13 September 2010

Pennsylvania Vital Records Legislation Coming Soon

The People for Better Pennsylvania Historical Records Access (PaHR-Access) has been working to provide genealogists access to that state's vital records. In the following message they are seeking support from the genealogy community for the coming legislative session, in late September:

Pennsylvania SB 683 (Vital Records Legislation)

The PA state legislature will be in session one last time this year in late September for a short time. In order to get them to do something we are pushing to get them to make death certificates after 50 years and possibly birth certificates after 100 years open records even if they are not made available online right now. Just making them open records will not cost the State of Pennsylvania a penny. If anything it would actually increase revenue coming in because more people would be able to request these records including professional researchers. The September 1st, 2010 entry on The Latest News section of our website explains this in more detail: http://users.rcn.com/timarg/PaHR-Access.htm.

Please send a letter or an email to Public Health and Welfare Committee Chairperson Senator Vance asking her to support SB 683. Your help in this push would be appreciated.

By the way there are now fifteen states that have scanned images of their older state death certificates available online: Arizona, Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Utah and West Virginia. Eight other states have extracted data available online: Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, New Mexico, Tennessee, and Washington. The states of Arizona, Delaware, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia now have scanned images of their older state birth records online. The links to the various states (except Delaware and Vermont) can be found on the Death Certificates for Other States, Etc section of our website. However, it will not happen in Pennsylvania unless we make enough noise about it.

09 September 2010

NARA Researcher Notice

The following notice was released by the National Archives and Records Administration:

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is proposing to revise its regulations that provide NARA facilities’ hours of operation. The proposed regulations will remove NARA facilities’ hours of operation from the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and establish procedures that NARA offices must follow when changing facilities’ hours of operation. The proposed procedures will provide the public with advance notice of any proposed changes in hours and will include justification for the change in writing.
Note that there are no proposed changes to hours of operation at any NARA facility at this time.

A link to the proposed rule will be available at http://www.archives.gov/comment/regulations.html shortly. In the
meantime, you may view the proposed rule at http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-22336.pdf.

08 September 2010

A new offering for members in the NGS Online Interview Series: Leslie Anderson, MSLS

NGS is delighted to invite our members to an interview with Leslie Anderson, Reference Librarian at the Alexandria Library in Local History/Special Collections. A natural story teller and philosopher, in her professional role Leslie was the lead editor of the Virginia Slave Births Index, 1853-1865, compiled by the staff of the Alexandria Library and published by Heritage Books, Inc. As a reference librarian and expert in slave research she brings new perspectives to the series. 

You will hear Leslie talk about:
  • Putting Information Together with People
The joy of being a librarian
  • My Family Research
“Stories that confirm your own being”
  • Cousins
A surprising discovery at a conference
  • The Value of NGS
NGS as a resource for learning
  • Getting Young People Interested in Genealogy
“You try to throw enough stuff on the wall so that some of it sticks.”
Now showing for Members Only. 
Log in to NGS (http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/), click on the Members Only tab, and then click on NGS Videos in the sidebar menu.
  • Leslie Anderson, MSLS
  • Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA
  • David E Rencher, AG, CG, FIGRS, FUGA
  • Willis H. White, CG
Also showing for everyone
  • Thomas Adams, 2009 Rubincam Youth Award Winner
  • Helen F. M. Leary, CG (EMERITUS), FASG, FNGS
  • Paths to Your Past 
  • American Genealogy: Home Study Course
  • NGS Conferences: What to Expect
Coming attractions
  • Thomas  H. Jones, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA 
  • National Archives and Records Administration (with Reginald Washington, Archivist, and John Humphrey, CG)
  • Laura DeGrazia, CG
The NGS Online Interview Series was produced by the award winning team Kate Geis and Allen Moore.
Enjoy and learn!

From all of us at NGS

07 September 2010

Association of Professional Genealogists Welcomes Two New Chapters to Support Real and Virtual Communities

Northland Chapter to Serve Five States While Second Life Chapter to Serve Virtual Members Worldwide
Editor's Note: The Association of Professional Genealogists has released the following announcement.

WESTMINSTER, Colo., September 7, 2010—The Association of Professional Genealogists (APG®) announced today that its board has approved two new chapters for the organization. The Northland Chapter will serve members from Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. The board also approved the organization’s first virtual chapter, to be held in Second Life. Both chapters have commenced operations as of today.

“We welcome these new chapters and the support they will provide to our members,” said APG President Laura Prescott. “These chapters will benefit underserved geographies, both real and virtual. The board and executive committee discussed at length the implications of chartering a virtual chapter and felt that it would be an exciting and effective alternative for members who don’t have a local chapter or who cannot attend meetings in real life.”

Northland Chapter to Cover Much Ground

The Northland Chapter serves a broad region of northern states that are not currently served by an APG chapter. Chapter organizers, Sandy Mochal Thalmann, [email protected], and Jay Fonkert, CG, [email protected], have centered the operation in the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota.

Virtual Chapter in Second Life Provides a New Outlet for Professional Collaboration

The Second Life APG Chapter meets in Second Life and is open to all members anywhere in the world with Internet access, who may use their Second Life avatar personas. The chapter plans to meet monthly to preview and critique presentations in progress, discuss research resources, and share ideas about professional business practices and standards. Tami Glatz, or Genie Weezles in Second Life, is the contact, [email protected].

About the APG
The Association of Professional Genealogists (http://www.apgen.org), established in 1979, represents more than 2,000 genealogists, librarians, writers, editors, historians, instructors, booksellers, publishers, and others involved in genealogy-related businesses. APG encourages genealogical excellence, ethical practice, mentoring, and education. The organization also supports the preservation and accessibility of records useful to the fields of genealogy, local, and social history. Its members represent all fifty states, Canada, and thirty other countries.

04 September 2010

Free Immigration Records Through Sept. 6

Subscription genealogy site Ancestry.com is making its entire US Immigration Collection searchable free through Labor Day, Sept. 6. (You’ll need to register for a free account to access full search results.)

The immigration collection has virtually every available passenger list for U.S. ports, as well as the Passenger and Immigration Lists Index. It also includes nearly 2 million new U.S. naturalization record indexes dating from 1791 to 1992, part of the World Archives Project. The indexes cover the states of Alaska, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maine, Montana, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Washington. The Boston Passenger and Crew Lists, 1820-1943, database has been enhanced with nearly 2 million records documenting crew members on ships who arrived in Boston.

Ancestry's announcement includes the following details:
The voyage to America was an experience filled with hope, fear, disappointment and promise. And nothing can capture these emotions like hearing the stories of those who lived it, in their own words. Our unique collection of Ellis Island Oral Histories practically puts you on the ship with these brave immigrants.
Our U.S. Naturalization Records Indexes, 1791-1992, offer invaluable details about your immigrant ancestors, like their birth date, arrival date, occupation and address. We’ve just expanded this informative collection, adding 1.8 million new records indexed by World Archives Project contributors.
Our complete New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 collection is a great place to start your search. Immigrants also came through ports like Philadelphia, Baltimore, New Orleans and San Francisco, so be sure to explore passenger lists from those cities, as well as our Boston collection which includes 2.4 million new crew records.

01 September 2010

NGS Announces New Education Manager: Patricia Walls Stamm, CG, CGL

The National Genealogical Society (NGS) announces the appointment of Patricia Walls Stamm, CG, CGL, of St. Louis, Missouri, as Education Manager. In her new position, Stamm will oversee the development of online education courses and will be responsible for keeping the current education courses updated as related to content and technology.

Stamm has an extensive background as an instructor at the St. Louis Community College, the St. Louis Genealogical Society, and the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research in Birmingham, Alabama. She has served as conference program coordinator and education director for the St. Louis Genealogical Society. Stamm is a life member of the State Historical Society of Missouri and the St. Louis Genealogical Society. She received the St. Louis Genealogical Society President’s Award in May 2009 for work that led to an expanded educational program for the society.

Stamm holds a tested concentration of genealogical instruction from the Board for Certification of Genealogists and has lectured both locally and nationally. She is a published author with articles appearing in the NGS NewsMagazine, APG Quarterly, and Genealogical Computing. A member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and NGS, she currently chairs the NGS’ Rubincam Youth Award Committee.

Founded in 1903, the National Genealogical Society is dedicated to genealogy education, high research standards, and the preservation of genealogical records. The Arlington, Virginia-based nonprofit is the premier national society for everyone, from the beginner to the most advanced family historian, seeking excellence in publications, educational offerings, research guidance, and opportunities to interact with other genealogists. Please visit the NGS Pressroom for further information.