Sunday, August 30, 2020

Have you check on your own citations lately?

 When was the last time you went back through your “early research” and checked your citations and determined where the information was actually located? Sometimes early in our research, the rush to discover, and possibly because our experience and skill level still needs to be developed, conclusions are made that are not quite correct and sources are used that are not as reliable as others.

Cleaning up old citations for me has been a great brick wall breaker and “leads I never followed up on” finder. Sometimes that’s all it takes to get my research started again.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Have you written your bio?

 Chances are you have at least one ancestor that you wish had left some sort of written record behind. Most genealogists would be happy with just a page or two about an ancestor’s life–a complete five-volume autobiography is not necessary.

Have you left such information behind for the family members who may come after you? Write about your early life, your work years, your raising children years, political beliefs, etc.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

GEDmatch Security Breach

Please note that information retrieved from the GEDmatch breach may be being used to send phishing emails intending to lure users into signing into a fake website set up to look like MyHeritage, but is not. If you receive an email that seems suspicious or has the title “Ethnicity Estimate v2,” do not click. Do delete that email. Please read the MyHeritage article, here. To be very clear, MyHeritage has NOT been breached, but bad actors have harvested emails and are using them to try to lure targeted MyHeritage users.

Original article:

I always hate to have to report security breaches within the genealogy community, but GEDmatch not only experienced a breach over the weekend, they are still down while the situation is under investigation.

In a nutshell, for about 3 hours on Sunday, July 19th, all of the accounts, including law enforcement kits, were available in match lists for everyone. Also, kits that had been opted out of law enforcement matching were apparently, based on screen shots of their security settings taken by users who signed on during that time, also available to law enforcement in match lists.

Here are the three announcements on their Facebook page in order of posting.

The first one was posted on July 19 at 6:09 PM.

The update was posted on Monday, July 20th. GEDmatch was up for part of the day, but is now down again and will be for some time.


Saturday, August 22, 2020

Getting to Know Mexican Church & Civil Registration Records - free webinar by Colleen Robledo Greene, MLIS now online for limited time

 The recording of today's webinar by Colleen Robledo Greene, MLIS, "Getting to Know Mexican Church & Civil Registration Records" is now available to view at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com for free for a limited time.

Webinar Description

These records are often described as the best family history records in the world due to the wealth of genealogical information typically included in these records. Learn how to find and analyze Mexico civil and church registration collections to build out your Mexican family history. Even a non-Spanish speaker can be successful at this research.

View the Recording at FamilyTreeWebinars.com

If you could not make it to the live event or just want to watch it again, the 1 hour 30 minute recording of "Getting to Know Mexican Church & Civil Registration Records" is now available to view in our webinar library for free. If you have a webinar membership, it is available anytime.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Blackstone Group Acquires Majority Interest in Ancestry.com

 Today, Bloomberg announced that Blackstone Group has acquired a majority ownership stake in Ancestry.com for 4.7 billion dollars. Yes, billion, with a b. You can read the article, here. Blackstone, out of New York, will own 75% of Ancestry and GIC Pte, formerly known as Government of Singapore Investment Corporation will own 25%.

Ancestry sold in 2012 for 1.6 billion to Permira. In 2016 the company was valued at 2.6 billion when it was acquired by Silver Lake and GIC. Their value now has significantly grown, which is interesting since the 18 million DNA kits have already been sold and that market is slowing. That means that the revenue generators are subscriptions and their health research partnerships which provides Ancestry a second opportunity to obtain revenue from DNA kits.

According to Bloomberg:

Blackstone, the world’s largest alternative asset manager with $564 billion in assets, is also focused on growing its life sciences group. It has spent more than $1 billion this year investing in drugs that target high cholesterol, kidney disease in children and devices for diabetes patients.

Blackstone made a press release in July about their Life Sciences Fund.

Blackstone also acquired 21Vianet, a Chinese internet data center/service in June, 2020.

Monday, August 17, 2020

How DNA kits spell the end for Ireland's family secrets

Long-lost parents and unknown siblings are being discovered through easily available genetic tests, often unwittingly. Are those who take them mentally prepared for the results?

All over Ireland and across the world, family secrets are being revealed for the first time because of commercial DNA tests.

Whether by accident, through mere curiosity or as part of deliberate and painstaking detective work, individuals are finding out about a hidden biological parent or an unknown sibling.

They are discovering affairs and liaisons that were covered up for decades, and the results are often painful, but enlightening. Siblings such as the abandoned babies Helen Ward and David McBride, whose story was told in these pages this month, are suddenly united.

In some ways, the process of doing a DNA test seems simple. In return for a fee of less than €100, a company such as Ancestry or 23andMe will send you a test tube for you to spit in and send back for analysis.

Weeks later, reams of information come back, showing up relatives who have also given DNA samples.

Dolores Quinlan, a psychotherapist who herself found her mother through DNA and helps adoptees who are going through the process, says: "People give DNA tests as Christmas presents, but they should come with a government health warning.

"People might do the test for the craic, and they may get back a chart showing how Irish they are," she explains. "People can keep their information public or private, but many don't know that, and they leave their information on the database, where other DNA samples will be automatically linked with their sample if they match - including those of future DNA contributors.

"All of a sudden, they are contacted by someone who is a daughter of the husband from a previous relationship that they never even knew about. The husband might not even have known that their ex-girlfriend got pregnant and had a baby. Or else it could be a half-brother or sister that suddenly contacts you."

The State may be notoriously reluctant to release adoption records, but the emergence of relatively cheap DIY databases such as Ancestry has driven a coach and horses through that cloud of bureaucratic secrecy.

To read the article, hit here

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Searching for your indigenous Roots in Mexico

Please join us in hearing John Schmal's online presentation on Thursday September 24th at 4pm.

 For more information please hit here

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

DNA testing kits: Family secrets revealed

It might seem like the perfect birthday present - a DNA test you can do at home to find out a bit more about where you come from. More than 26 million people have done tests with the leading companies worldwide. But as the database gets bigger - so does the number of surprises thrown up. Secrets that once went to the grave, are now being revealed years later. To watch the video, hit here

Saturday, August 8, 2020

The Unbelievable Way 3 Men Found Out They Were Triplets Separated As Babies

Megyn Kelly sits down with two of the triplets from the documentary “Three Identical Strangers,” which tells the story of three identical boys separated at birth who found each other years later, having grown up within 100 miles from each other. The pair join Megyn Kelly TODAY with the story of their emotional reunion as well as the reason they were separated: a secret scientific study. To watch the video, hit here

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Work on Your Family Tree With These Free Online Genealogy Resources

Whether you come from a family that proudly displays their coat of arms in the foyer, or knows very little about where they came from, you may have some questions about your background. Being stuck at home thanks to the coronavirus pandemic means that we may have more time on our hands, but conducting genealogical research isn’t as straightforward as a simple Google search.

To read more of the article, hit here

Sunday, August 2, 2020