Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Introducing, a FREE searchable database


Quoting from an email announcement:

Hello again from Reclaim The Records! Today, we come into your e-mail with a long-awaited present: millions of new free genealogy records -- or at least, new searchable and downloadable indices to those millions of records, and helpful instructions on how you can order the underlying certificates, even very recent ones. And of course, we also have yet another Kafkaesque story about why the world is still missing public access to even more years of this great data, and how we're working to fix that.

Introducing! It's a FREE searchable database of 576,638 births, 2,180,700 marriages, 2,086 civil unions, and 2,772,116 deaths from the state of Connecticut, spanning three centuries. Some of this data had been online before, scattered across several other websites, but with fewer years, in non-downloadable and non-shareable formats, locked behind paywalls, and/or with tools that couldn't handle searching the quirks and oddities in the data very well. Well, now it's all in one place, and we think we've got better data and better tools, and we're here to tell you all about it!

In addition, includes the first-ever online publication of Connecticut birth index data from 1897-1917, and this new data is the only statewide index of Connecticut births that exists publicly online anywhere. (Yay!) We also acquired marriage and death index data from 1897 through 2017, while the next most complete online version of the index only had data through 2012. And our search engine is set up to better handle some of the weirdness in this data, such as the official records from 1969-1979 only having the first five letters of each person's given name, and some of the pre-1925 data missing some names entirely. Our search engine also has all the fun bells and whistles like automatic nickname and partial name searches, wildcard searches, automatic typo or letter transposition searches, date range searches (even down to the exact day, not just the year), and so on.

And we even geo-coded all the data, and we also auto-supplemented all the data with county names. 

Its been a while since I heard from Reclaim the Records and it is nice to see that they are still working away at liberating records.  

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

MyHeritage's Reimagine Image Editing on your SmartPhone

 Some time ago, in May 2023, announced the new Reimagine App. Reimagine is a groundbreaking new mobile app for family photos developed by MyHeritage. It is available on both iOS and Android platforms. The app harnesses the power of MyHeritage’s world-class AI technologies for improving historical photos and boasts a powerful photo scanner that enables high-speed scanning of entire album pages. 

Reimagine is a one-stop-shop where you can scan, improve, and share your photos, and indulge that sweet sense of nostalgia. The app comes with a state-of-the-art, multi-page scanner feature developed by MyHeritage’s AI team. This enables quick and easy scanning of entire album pages or multiple standalone photos in a single tap. The scanner then uses cutting-edge, cloud-based AI technology to automatically detect the individual photos and crop them, saving hours of work traditionally required with other scanners.

Scanned photos are saved in an album within the app and backed up to an account on MyHeritage. In just a few taps, an old, damaged black and white photo can be scanned and beautifully restored, enhanced, colorized, and even animated. The improved photos, or their original scanned versions, can easily be shared with family and friends on social media or through your family site on MyHeritage.

Reimagine currently supports 11 languages: English, French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Danish, Portuguese (Brazil), Swedish, Norwegian, Italian, and Finnish. Additional languages will be added in the future. You can download Reimagine from the App Store or Google Play.

Monday, August 14, 2023

PhotoDater™ from MyHeritage: Another Amazing Technological Advance


You can read about all the details of this amazing addition to the arsenal of photographic innovations in this blog post: "Introducing PhotoDater™, an Exclusive, Free New Feature to Estimate When Old Photos Were Taken."

Here is a quote from the blog post:

If you are like most genealogists, you probably have cherished old family photos whose details, such as when they were taken, remain a mystery. Perhaps you flipped them over hoping to find more details, only to discover that your ancestors who treasured these photos didn’t leave any information behind. Until now, missing details about your photos could have remained a mystery forever, but here at MyHeritage, we set out to find a solution. Today we’re excited to announce the release of PhotoDater™, a groundbreaking, free new feature that estimates the year a photo was taken, using Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology.

PhotoDater™ is one-of-a-kind: MyHeritage is the only genealogy service that offers date estimation for historical photos. Using powerful technology developed by our AI team, PhotoDater™ gives its best guess when a photo was taken. This can help you unlock further clues about who appears in the photo and the event at which it was taken, to solve mysteries in your genealogy research. PhotoDater™ is completely free!

I tried it out on several different photos and having spent most of my life involved in photography, I was still impressed with the estimates. I currently have more than 13,000 media items on, so it is unlikely that I can date all of them, but having this tool will be a help in identifying unknown individuals and giving dates to a series of photos of one individual or family. This feature was mentioned at RootsTech 2023 earlier this year and it is really great to finally see it in action.  

Friday, August 11, 2023

Free Access to 38,518,064 eBooks and Texts

The Library of Congress is usually acknowledged as the "largest or most extensive library in the world." Here is a Google Generative AI quote about the Library of Congress with some links to sources. 
The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. is the largest library in the world. Basic PlanetVeena World+6 more It's the national library of the United States and contains materials in over 450 languages. Bustle The Library of Congress has a budget of over $600 million per year and a catalogue of over 160 million items. Veena WorldKoha library system cloud hosting & support – KohaSupport It's made up of four buildings, with enough room to accommodate as many as 30 million books. Basic Planet

As of the date of this post, the Internet Archive or has 829 billion webpages, 38, 518, 064 million books and texts, 10,532,859 movies, films and videos, 15,505,536 Audio files, 2.6 million TV shows (mostly newscasts), 1,026,649 archived software programs, 4,713,159 images, 244,024 concerts in its live music archive, and 1,829, 180 assorted media files. This collection is entirely free and completely searchable, and it also dwarfs the collections of the Library of Congress.

So why aren't you using the Internet Archive for genealogical research? Think about it. 

Hint: The most efficient way to search the Internet Archive is using Google searches. 

Just for interest's sake, here is a quote from Google's Generative AI about the collections in the Internet Archive.

As of January 1, 2023, the Internet Archive holds more than 36 million print materials, 11.6 million pieces of audiovisual content, 2.5 million software programs, 15 million audio files, 4.5 million images, 251,000 concerts, and over 808 billion web pages in its Wayback Machine. The Internet Archive is a non-profit digital library that offers free access to books, movies, music, and archived web pages.

If you compare the numbers I extracted from the website as of the date of this post, you can see how fast some parts of the website are growing. But, you can also question the accuracy of an AI search if you want.  


Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Introduction to the 10 Million Names Project

Quoting from the Project website:

10 Million Names is a collaborative project dedicated to recovering the names of the estimated 10 million men, women, and children of African descent who were enslaved in pre- and post-colonial America (specifically, the territory that would become the United States) between the 1500s and 1865.

The project seeks to amplify the voices of people who have been telling their family stories for centuries, connect researchers and data partners with people seeking answers to family history questions, and expand access to data, resources, and information about enslaved African Americans.

This is an ongoing project and will likely be in the news for an extended time. You can see some of my recent videos about African American research as follows:

The Great African American Migration 

Part One: The Great Northward Migration 1915-1970 Overview and Methodology for Beginning Research

There are five more videos on the website. 

MyHeritage DNA kits for the lowest price ever


Here is the link address 

The lowest price ever is $36. You can order a DNA kit by clicking on the link above or going to MyHeritage DNA Sale

Quoting from the emailed notice:
MyHeritage DNA is the ideal DNA test for genealogy thanks to our comprehensive set of genetic genealogy tools and the global spread of our user base. Testing additional family members is key to making progress with genetic genealogy, and this is the perfect opportunity to stock up!

I have been helping people recently that are beginning to solve some of their most difficult genealogical research issues using DNA testing results.  

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Always New Records on


If you look closely at the date these records were added to, you will see that they are the same day that this post is being written. The process of adding all these records and thousands more each day is complex. It starts with a pile of paper documents in an archive or other repository of genealogically valuable records. 

These documents need to be processed so that they can be digitized. This means unfolding and without damaging the document making it as flat as possible. 

Once the documents are prepped, they can be made available to the volunteer/missionaries who are going to digitize each document. 

The documents are then digitized (photographed) one at a time, one page at a time.

The images are stored on hard disk drives and then sent to Salt Lake City, Utah to FamilySearch. FamilySearch processes the "raw" images and eventually uploads them to the website in the Images section. 

Eventually, the images stored in the Images section geographically and over time, are cataloged and indexed. Meanwhile, you can search through the images page by page. If you haven't looked at the images section of the website, you are missing a few billion records that appear only in the Images section and are not listed in the catalog or indexed. 

If you need help finding these records, watch this video.