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  • 7 Oct 2020 11:40 AM | Anonymous

    The following is an excerpt from an announcement by the organizers of the FHF REALLY USEFUL Family History Show, an online virtual event sponsored by the Family History Federation:

    The Family History Federation and Parish Chest report an excellent uptake of tickets on the “early-bird” bookings for the FHF REALLY USEFUL Family History Show. Bookings are increasing daily – the 1,000th booking will be suitably rewarded!

    There will be twenty-four presentations and talks by specialists providing helpful and interesting information for everyone from beginners to seasoned researchers.

    All presentations will be available online for ticket holders for 48 hours after the show.

    Regular announcements providing further details of the presentations and talks at the show will be on the show website and associated media.

  • 7 Oct 2020 11:05 AM | Anonymous

    Great news for anyone researching Irish ancestry! An article in the IrishCentral website states:

    "Irish birth and marriage certificates from as far back as 1864 are now available for free online, while death certificates between 1878 and 1968 are also accessible.

    "A plethora of Irish genealogy records were made available online thanks to a joint initiative from the Department of Culture, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht and the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, in 2019.

    "A wealth of historical registers of marriages, births, and deaths are available to view for free on the website Irish Genealogy and covers births from 1864 to 1918, deaths from 1878 to 1968, and marriages from 1864 to 1943.

    "The new additions include deaths in 1967 and 1968, births in 1917 and 1918, and marriages from 1864 to 1869 and 1942 to 1943..."

    You can read all the details in the IrishCentral website at:

  • 6 Oct 2020 12:51 PM | Anonymous

    An online video about DNA, produced by Momondo, is very impressive. I would suggest every genealogist should watch it. Perhaps every human on the face of the earth should view it. I decided to encourage YOU to click on  to see what a DNA test could do for you.

    I was not familiar with Momondo so I looked it up on

    “Momondo (stylised momondo) is a travel fare aggregator and travel fare metasearch engine. Momondo also operates a travel information blog, Inspiration. The website is a white-label of the subsidiary of Booking Holdings.”

    So why would a “travel fare aggregator and travel fare metasearch engine” produce videos about DNA? It seems that the company asked 67 people from all over the world to take a DNA test.

    I am not going to give you the results. The video will do that.

    Check it out for yourself. Watch the DNA Journey at

    My thanks to Terry Mulcahy for telling me about the video.

  • 5 Oct 2020 9:25 PM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

    Discover more of your German roots in 8M new German Catholic Church records added online at FamilySearch this week for Germany, Württemberg, Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart (1520–1975) and Germany, Hessen–Nassau, Diocese of Limburg (1601–1919), along with 4M new Find A Grave Index records and 700K Chihuahua, Mexico church records. Other country collections expanded were Brazil, Canada, FrancePeru, S. Africa and Sweden; and United States collections (California, Hawaii, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Virginia and Washington). 

    Search these new records and images by clicking on the collection links below, or go to FamilySearch to search over 8 billion free names and record images.

    The full announcement may be found at

  • 5 Oct 2020 12:42 PM | Anonymous

    I had hoped to announce this weekend that the new replacement for this newsletter’s web sites had been launched. But of course things never go exactly as planned.

    See and for the history of how the web sites got into their present condition.

    The new web site is waiting for “one more thing.” Unfortunately, it is a background check of me supplied by an outside company and I have no control over when it will be received. I also suspect that during the pandemic, all of that company’s employees are working from home which possibly will slow things down a bit.

    All I can say is, “Any day now.”

    I do expect to send an email notice to all subscribers on the day the new website goes online, replacing the old websites. Stay tuned…

  • 5 Oct 2020 11:00 AM | Anonymous

    The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

    Diverse Gashes
    Governor William Bradford, Alice Bishop, and the Murder of Martha Clarke, Plymouth Colony 1648

    By Donna A. Watkins. Published by American History Press. 2020. 353 pages.

    The book opens on a bold note: the recitation of the rituals in early Plymouth Colony of the hangings of men and women convicted of such crimes that would cause the imposition of such ghastly punishment.

    The descriptions of these particularly unfortunate and grim events, commonly held at fairs and as public displays of community justice, are presented in an unexpectedly straightforward and detailed manner, and set the tone of the book—the telling of the tale of the harsh environment and living conditions, and the strict governance, both legal and social, of the Pilgrim society that struggled to grow the Plymouth Colony amidst the fear of Indians, the burden of satisfying investors’ demands of a lucrative venture, and compliance with the Pilgrim code as interpreted and imposed by their governor and judge, William Bradford.

    The “Diverse Gashes” were the cause of death of four-year old Martha Clarke, the daughter of Alice Bishop, a re-married mother of three young children and wife of a successful Plymouth farmer. Without apparent reason, Alice brutally took the life of her daughter, on an ordinary day, with no witnesses present, and with no pleas of innocence. Alice meekly submitted to the investigation led by William Bradford, offered no reasons for her impulsive act, and was subsequently convicted. She became the first and only woman in Plymouth Colony to be hanged.

    Alice is the author’s ninth-great-grandmother.

    The book especially considers the circumstances of women whose submission and compliance to the men, their lifelong heads of household, their fathers and husbands, was particularly onerous and stifling. It seems there was simply no room, in the Pilgrim sphere, for female opinion, wishes, words of wisdom, wants, or needs. Even from the age of a young girl, the Pilgrims mandated absolute female compliance to the male authority.

    The murder of a child by her mother is the event from which the author tells the peripheral stories of Separatism, Puritanism, the settlement and divisiveness of Plymouth Colony, with a fresh look and attention to the many tasks, duties, and few pleasures of the colonists’ daily lives that draws in the reader with easy reading that is deceptively interesting, recounting the never-ending pursuits of daily cooking, family-raising, crop-producing, church-going, peace-keeping, and child-rearing.

    Ms. Watkins introduces the Pilgrim practice of “watchfulness,” the Neighborhood Watch of its day. “Watchfulness” was the assumption of responsibility by the entire community for the welfare of the entire community. But the “watchfulness” principle may have felt like a habit of “spyfulness” to some inhabitants. Might this have contributed to the tragedy of Alice Bishop and her daughter Martha? The author discusses the question.

    The final third of the book is devoted to Ms. Watkins’s analysis of the extant records and circumstances on the whole matter of Alice Bishop and her time. William Bradford, staunch protector of the Pilgrim code and belief system, and his male counterparts, governed the investigation and likely influenced the lack of historical mention in the Colony records of Alice’s case, not typical for a man who sought to document and preserve, in his many writings, the complete history of his Plymouth Colony.

    An extensive bibliography offers numerous rich resources for additional research, and the source notes indicate the approach of a careful and thoughtful researcher.

    Alice Bishop could never have imagined being remembered some eight generations and three hundred fifty years later, but she has been.

    Ms. Watkins memorialized her ancestor in a compassionate and sympathetic fashion. And she set the scenes of colonial life with an unidealized eye that seems more believable than the Pilgrim story we re-enacted in second grade.

    Diverse Gashes: Governor William Bradford, Alice Bishop, and the Murder of Martha Clarke, Plymouth Colony 1648 by Donna A. Watkins is available from the publisher, American History Press, at as well as from Amazon at

  • 4 Oct 2020 3:30 AM | Anonymous

    If you have one of the surnames listed at, you might inherit money, land, and who-knows-what-else. There are hundreds of unclaimed estates in the West Midlands of England worth huge sums of money. Dozens of people across Worcestershire could potentially be entitled to huge sums of money after residents died and no rightful heir could be found.

    You can find the article and the (lengthy) list of surnames in the BirminghamLive web site at

    I will mention that I already checked the list for my surname. That isn't one of names listed. (sigh)

  • 2 Oct 2020 11:57 AM | Anonymous

    Mount Auburn Cemetery was the first garden cemetery in the United States, located on the city line between Cambridge and Watertown in Massachusetts, 4 miles west of Boston. The cemetery is credited as the beginning of the American public parks and gardens movement.

    Prior to the establishment of Mount Auburn Cemetery, the early American cemeteries were established as places under churches for burial of deceased church members. As the available space under a church was filled, cemeteries often were built on available land in front of, beside, or in back of the church. These graveyards sometimes created serious health problems as graves were not always dug 6 feet deep. As a result, diseases often were spread amongst a population that had little or no knowledge of germs or the causes of the spread of diseases.

    As these spaces became filled with bodies and as the population became more aware of health issues, “burying grounds” were established in most any space that was suitable for the purpose. As early as 1711, the architect Sir Christopher Wren advocated for the creation of burial grounds on the outskirts of town, “inclosed with a strong Brick Wall, and having a walk round, and two cross walks, decently planted with Yew-trees”.

    In fact, the word “cemetery” was not common in Colonial days. The term “cemetery,” derived from the Greek for “a sleeping place,” became popular in the 1800s as a replacement for “graveyard.” Many were placed in rural areas, some distance from human habitation.

    Mount Auburn Cemetery was one of the first to be planned as a pleasant place to visit with gardens, waterfalls, and even walkways that were pleasing to the eye. Quoting Wikipedia:

    “The first rural cemetery in the United States was Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts, founded by Dr. Jacob Bigelow and Henry Dearborn of The Massachusetts Horticultural Society in 1831. The City of Boston became concerned about the health hazards caused by decomposing corpses in cemeteries in the middle of the city. A citizens’ group led by Bigelow pulled together residents to discuss the design and location of a cemetery outside city limits. The search for a site took six years and land was eventually purchased on a farm known as Sweet Auburn along the Charles River about four miles from Boston.

    (NOTE by Dick Eastman: This selected location was open farm land in 1831 but the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts expanded greatly over the years. Now Mount Auburn Cemetery is a pleasant public garden or even a city park totally surrounded by the city.)

    “Coinciding with the growing popularity of horticulture and the Romantic aesthetic taste for pastoral beauty, Mount Auburn was developed as a “domesticated landscape” popularized by 19th century English landscape design. Its plan included retention of natural features like ponds and mature forests with added roads and paths that followed the natural contours of the land, as well as the planting of hundreds of native and exotic trees and plants. United States Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story delivered the dedication address on September 24, 1831.

    “Mount Auburn also began the practice of allowing the purchase of family plots large enough to allow the burial of several generations of a single family.”

    The cemetery soon became a tourist attraction, attracting locals as well as tourists from across the country and Europe. Mount Auburn Cemetery also became the location of many of Boston’s leading citizens, including ministers, politicians, army generals, Civil War heroes, authors, industrial leaders, and many more.

    A few years ago, I became one of those tourists and spent most of a day in the Mount Auburn Cemetery. I had planned to go for only an hour or two early in the morning. The place was so interesting, however, that I remained there most of the day.

    A short time later I moved into a home in the Boston suburbs, only a few miles from the Mount Auburn Cemetery. I returned to the cemetery and took a video camera with me. I took many videos of the tombstones, the gardens, the scenic ponds, and the winding roads and pathways. I have since selected the better videos and combined them into a “digital tour” of the garden cemetery. You can watch the video on YouTube at or in the video player below:

    There are thousands of tombstones and memorials in the cemetery. A video of all of them would be several hours long! Instead, I am only showing a small sample of them.

    This 8-minute video is a sampling of two things: (1.) the beauty and artistry of the Mount Auburn Cemetery and (2.) a number of hints about taking pictures or videos of tombstones.

    Statues and memorials often include depictions of angels and cherubs as well as botanical motifs such as ivy representing memory, oak leaves for immortality, poppies for sleep, willow trees for sorrow and grieving of the families in mourning, and acorns for life.

    You can learn more about the Mount Auburn Cemetery in Wikipedia at and in the cemetery’s own web site at:

  • 2 Oct 2020 11:37 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

    To mark the beginning of Black History Month UK, a range of historically rich new records join the site this Findmypast Friday. Findmypast will also be celebrating Black British History on their UK blog throughout the month of October.

    Findmypast’s latest record releases highlight lesser-known facets of British history, important family events in the Caribbean and much more. They include;

    London, Black Poor, 1786

    Listing destitute Londoners, this small but intriguing collection provides a glimpse into a largely forgotten chapter of Black British history

    Over the course of 1785, it became apparent that increasing numbers of Black people were living in extreme poverty in London with no means of support. Although some were distressed mariners from both the merchant service and the Royal Navy, a significant proportion are thought to have been Black Loyalist refugees who were evacuated to Britain following American Revolutionary War. 

    Great sympathy was felt for the plight of these poor Londoners and support was initially a matter of private charity, beginning with a concerned baker and a bookseller. However, it developed during early 1786 into a broader group of affluent and influential figures – abolitionists, Quakers, philanthropists and others – and became formalized as the Committee for the Relief of the Black Poor. In addition to providing a dole in the form of bread or alms, the Committee also provided healthcare facilities at a sick-house in Fitzrovia. The transcripts included in this collection document those who received support under the scheme.

    Sierra Leone Resettlement Scheme, 1787

    The Sierra Leone resettlement scheme of 1787 was designed to address the number of Black poor on the streets of London while populating the West Coast of Africa with loyalists who would establish industry and trading links in the British Colony.

    After arriving at Frenchman's Bay in Sierra Leone on 10th May 1787, the venture soon proved unsuccessful. The new colonists were offered little to no official support and were expected to fend for themselves. There were many deaths due to disease, some hostility from the indigenous people and a number of those who did not die were captured by passing ships and sold into slavery.

    The passenger lists for the vessels provide fascinating insights and group the colonists under a number of descriptions – the most common being single black men. Each transcript includes a passenger’s name, description, marital status, embarkation date and location as well as the name of the ship they sailed on.

    Caribbean Marriage Index 1591-1905

    Findmypast’s Caribbean Collection has been bolstered with over 15,000 new marriage records from Barbados, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica and Puerto Rico.

    Dating as far back as 1591, the records can reveal useful details for the Caribbean branches of your family tree. Discover the bride and groom's names, where and when they married and more.

    Devon Burials

    Over 19,000 additional burials from three Devon cemeteries are now available to search on Findmypast. These new additions cover:

    • Tavistock, Dolvin Road Cemetery (1834-1886)
    • Tavistock, Plymouth Road Cemetery (1882-1995)
    • Plympton, Drake Memorial Park (1943-1966)

    Use these detailed records to find out where and when your Devon ancestors were laid to rest and uncover valuable details for searching Findmypast’s wider, extensive collection of Devon family records.


    Over 95,000 new pages from three brand new titles have been added to Findmypast’s collection of historical British and Irish newspapers along with updates to 15 existing titles.

    Newly-released are: 

    • Stratford Express covering 1877, 1888 and 1892-1893
    • Flintshire County Herald covering 1896
    • Principality (Cardiff) covering 1880

    While more pages have been added to: 

    • Runcorn Weekly News from 1963, 1971-1972 and 1974-1976
    • Liverpool Courier and Commercial Advertiser from 1892 and 1909-1910
    • Fife News from 1881, 1884 and 1887
    • Marylebone Mercury from 1947
    • Waterford News Letter from 1849 and 1869
    • John Bull from 1906-1945
    • Dundalk Herald from 1887
    • Shetland News from 1893
    • Cork Daily Herald from 1900
    • Call (London) from 1917
    • Communist (London) from 1923
    • Clare Advertiser and Kilrush Gazette from 1877
    • Cavan Weekly News and General Advertiser from 1869, 1899 and 1904
    • Strabane Weekly News from 1911
    • Ballinrobe Chronicle and Mayo Advertiser from 1880
  • 2 Oct 2020 10:26 AM | Anonymous

    The following is an update to an article I published earlier::

    DNA evidence is persuasive that James Blaesing, 70, is the grandson of the 29th president and his mistress. But his cousins are upset by his plan to exhume Harding’s remains with a reality TV crew.

    There is no real dispute that James Blaesing is the grandson of Warren G. Harding and his mistress. But the wounds of that revelation have resurfaced in court, as relatives of the 29th president, many now in their 70s, argue over a proposal to exhume President Harding’s body as the 100th anniversary of his election approaches.

    On one side is Mr. Blaesing, who says the exhumation is necessary to prove with “scientific certainty” that Harding was his grandfather, even though the DNA evidence is already persuasive, and to confirm his and his mother’s “membership in a historic American family.” He also wants to bring along a television production crew to document the opening of the tomb.

    On the other side are several Harding relatives who say the disinterment would create an unnecessary spectacle. One has questioned the motives of the television production company, believing it is fixated on the unfounded theory that Harding, who died in office in 1923, was poisoned — perhaps by his wife, Florence Harding.

    You can read more in an article by Heather Murphy published in the New York Times at:

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