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Latest Standard Edition Articles

  • 1 Aug 2022 11:39 AM | Anonymous

    Do you have an old family photograph that "needs work?" That is, does it have cracks or is it badly faded? A newly-released artificial intelligence (AI) model called the “Generative Facial Prior” (GFP-GAN) can repair most old photographs in mere seconds, and it can do it for free.

    A YouTube video is available at:

    Anyone who has old photographs of their families and friends that have not held up well against time, regardless of the small and/or poor condition of the image, now has the chance to restore their faded and cracked images, returning them to their original state, or even better.

    In the eight-minute video above from What’s AI, Louis Bouchard describes how well the “Towards Real-World Blind Face Restoration with Generative Facial Prior” project (published in March of 2022), worked at photo restoration with details on how to use it for free.

    According to Bouchard, the AI model works with even very low quality and low-resolution files, yet it can still seemingly outperform many other photo restoration AI tools providing incredible results. While the restored images are impressive, Bouchard says “They do not represent the actual image. It’s important to understand that these results are just guesses from the model — guesses that seem pretty damn close.

    You can read more at as well as in the YouTube video above.

  • 1 Aug 2022 11:19 AM | Anonymous

    More than two million records detailing baptisms, marriages and burials in York, England over five centuries have been released online thanks to a new partnership between the University of York and Ancestry.

    Marriage certificate of Robert Duck and Catherine Peacock, 1837. Image credit: University of York

    The records, which are held at the University’s Borthwick Institute for Archives, date from between 1538 and 1995 and will enable people with roots in Yorkshire to trace missing pieces of their family history from wherever they are in the world.

    The records are from the archdeaconry of York, which covers the City of York and roughly 20 miles around. They feature famous families from York’s history, such as the Fawkes and Clitherow families, along with members of York’s chocolate dynasties - Rowntree, Craven and Terry.

    You can read more in the University of York web site at:

  • 1 Aug 2022 9:46 AM | Anonymous

    Do you make genealogy-related presentations to clubs and other groups? Would you like to expand your audience to larger groups all over the world?

    If so, take a look at Top 100% Legal Streaming Services That Don’t Cost a Dime at:

  • 1 Aug 2022 9:30 AM | Anonymous

    Here is another story that encourages me to write again about one of my favorite suggestions: we need to make digital copies of every document of historical interest (and other documents too!) and then store the digital copies off-site.

    Who knows how much history has been lost in Kentucky in recent days?

    A good bit of Appalachian history and arts got soaked in the record flooding in Eastern Kentucky. In Whitesburg, water may have breached the vault at Appalshop, where the arts and media collective stored more than 20,000 items, including decades worth of film, oral histories, videotapes of musical performances, photo collections and other records.

    Driven by rainfall of eight inches or more in places in just a few hours, the North Fork of the Kentucky River in Whitesburg swelled to more than six feet above the old record flood, inundating downtown.

    “Some of the film from Appalshop was all through the streets and everything,” said Austin Caudill, 24, who lives downtown. “We could lose not just businesses but history.”

    You can read more in an article by Bill Estep and Austin Horn that has been published in the web site at
  • 1 Aug 2022 5:27 AM | Anonymous

    Today is the first day of the month, an excellent time to back up your genealogy files. Then test your backups!

    Your backups aren't worth much unless you make a quick test by restoring a small file or two after the backup is completed.

    Actually, you can make backups at any time. However, it is easier and safer if you have a specific schedule. The first day of the month is easy to remember, so I would suggest you back up your genealogy files at least on the first day of every month, if not more often. (My computers automatically make off-site backups of all new files every few minutes.)

    Given the events of the past few months during the pandemic with genealogy websites laying off employees and cutting back on services, you now need backup copies of everything more than ever. What happens if the company that holds your online data either goes off line or simply deletes the service where your data is held? If you have copies of everything stored either in your own computer, what happens if you have a hard drive crash or other disaster? If you have one or more recent backup copies, such a loss would be inconvenient but not a disaster.

    Of course, you might want to back up more than your genealogy files. Family photographs, your checkbook register, all sorts of word processing documents, email messages, and much more need to be backed up regularly. Why not do that on the first day of each month? or even more often?

  • 29 Jul 2022 7:00 PM | Anonymous

    The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman. 

    If you are concerned about anyone snooping on the Internet and seeing what you are doing (Google, Facebook, Microsoft, your internet service provider, or any of dozens of other companies that spy on their customers), you might consider installing a Virtual Private Network, or VPN. A VPN creates an encrypted tunnel between your computer and a distant server to let you conduct your online activities (visit the websites you want, make online transactions, download files) anonymously, without being tracked and spied upon. VPN technology uses a combination of features such as encryption, tunneling protocols, data encapsulation, and certified connections to provide you with a secure connection to private networks and to protect your identity. Luckily, VPN products are available for Windows, Macintosh, iPhone/iPad, Android, and Chromebook systems. One product will even work with Xbox, VoIP telephones, and other devices that do not allow for installation of networking software.

    I believe my Internet connection at home is somewhat secure, although certainly not iron-clad. When at home, I perform "casual web surfing" with a VPN when conducting online transactions where my credit card information may be transmitted or to access any web site where I might be exposing sensitive information, even such things as my mother's maiden name.

    The biggest appeal for me, however, is when traveling. I always use a VPN when connected to the Internet through a wi-fi connection or via any other public network while in a hotel room, at the airport, in coffee shops, or anyplace else where I am dependent on someone else's potentially insecure network connection.

    If you don't use a VPN, your internet connections can be subjected to spammers, snoopers, and hackers. These villains silently monitor your online activities and steal your sensitive data, including credit card information and passwords, when you least expect it. In many cases, they track your I.P. (Internet Protocol) address as you move from web site to web site. By tracking your online activities, these villains can learn a lot about you and your online habits. If you connect with a VPN, you get a new I.P. address to mask your actual IP address and to surf the Internet anonymously.

    VPNs also provide other benefits. Perhaps one of the most popular uses is to bypass filters and firewalls set by your network administrator or by government censors so that you can access your favorite content anytime and anywhere you want. Perhaps you want to access a "forbidden" site from school or from the office. A more serious use is for citizens in countries with repressive governments that block some web sites or perhaps monitor web traffic to spy on the country's citizens. Such repressive governments include Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, and the United States of America. A VPN will block most government spies and simultaneously allow access to almost anything available online.

    Many corporations use VPNs to allow remote employees or customers to securely access company servers for business purposes. If your company has trade secrets that need to be protected (and what company doesn't?), a VPN may be the answer. A genealogy society that posts data for its members' use may have the same concern as a company, so a VPN can meets their need for privacy as well.

    Another use is to allow access to sites that restrict access to one country, such as many of the online movie and television video streaming sites. Such sites include Netflix, Hulu, and several others. If you want to watch U.S. television programs or Netflix movies from another country, a VPN network that connects to a VPN server in the U.S. will allow such access.

    For instance, you may be sitting inside a coffee shop in Dubai; but by connecting to a remote VPN server, you can appear to connect to the Internet from another location (i.e. San Francisco or New York) which hosts the VPN server you’re connecting to. This enables you to bypass regional Internet restrictions and get access to content (i.e. YouTube, Facebook, BBC) or Internet services (i.e. Skype, Gmail, Signal, Zello, etc.) that are otherwise restricted or censored in the location you are staying in. I have used a VPN to watch the U.K. version of Who Do You Think You Are? while I was in the U.S.

    A VPN provides a secure, encrypted connection between your computer and a VPN "gateway server" located some distance away. Your encrypted data gets decrypted at that "gateway server" and then gets sent on to the web server you are accessing at the moment. The information being sent shows that it originated at the I.P. address of the "gateway server," not from your local computer. This makes it difficult, perhaps impossible, for anyone to track down your real IP address and pinpoint your geographical location.

    VPNs encrypt traffic in both directions. That is, both the information you send and the information you receive is encrypted, although everything you see on your computer's screen looks normal. Encryption for devices connected to a VPN goes beyond just web browsing. It includes VoIP communication, Skype, emails – anything that uses an online connection.

    The remainder of this article is reserved for Plus Edition subscribers only. If you have a Plus Edition subscription, you may read the full article at:*)-Plus-Edition-News-Articles/12874958.

    If you are not yet a Plus Edition subscriber, you can learn more about such subscriptions and even upgrade to a Plus Edition subscription immediately at

  • 29 Jul 2022 5:36 PM | Anonymous

    The Virtual Record Treasury is recreating much of what was lost in a Dublin fire a century ago.

    On June 30, 1922, MORE than 700 years of Ireland’s history went up in flames.

    After the explosion at the Public Record Office of Ireland in June 1922, Dubliners rushed to rescue smoldering scraps of history. COURTESY OF THE LIBRARY, TRINITY COLLEGE DUBLIN

    Handwritten parish records noting centuries of baptisms, marriages, and burials; courtroom files laying out the details of lawsuits and criminal cases on brittle parchment; census data; parliamentary transcripts; wills; deeds; and financial ledgers—nearly all were lost when an explosion and fire tore through the Public Record Office in Dublin at the start of the year-long Irish Civil War. The war, which pitted the newly formed Irish government against a rebel faction that opposed a treaty with Britain, would leave hundreds dead, along with a bitter legacy that affected Irish politics for decades. Meanwhile, its impact on the country’s history would also remain an open wound.

    “The history of a country is founded upon its archives,” wrote a doleful Herbert Wood, who was serving as deputy keeper of the Public Record Office of Ireland—the country’s de facto chief archivist—at the time of the fire. “Accordingly, the destruction of a great accumulation of records… comes as a tremendous shock to those who were anxious to wrest the truth from these memorials of the past.”

    Thanks to international collaboration and 21st-century technology, a good portion of what was lost has finally been restored.

    Supported by a €2.5 million grant from the Irish government and employing 14 full-time archivists, Beyond 2022: Ireland’s Virtual Record Treasury is a massive effort to recreate as much of the archive as possible. Begun five years ago, as the centenary of Irish independence—and of the fire—approached, it went live online this summer, with a searchable database, a selection of curated stories, and a 3D virtual-reality recreation of the building itself as it would have looked in the days before the fire.

    You can read the full story in an article written by Amy Crawford and published in the Atlas Obscura web site at:

    My thanks to newsletter reader Leslie Rubinson for telling me about this story.

  • 29 Jul 2022 9:37 AM | Anonymous

    If you have stored files on Amazon Drive, you need to be aware of this announcement today by Amazon:

    "Over the last 11 years, Amazon Drive has served as a secure cloud storage service for Amazon customers to back up their files. On December 31, 2023, we will no longer support Amazon Drive to more fully focus our efforts on photos and video storage with Amazon Photos. We will continue to provide customers the ability to safely back up, share, and organize photos and videos with Amazon Photos."

    The same announcement also states:

    "If you rely on Amazon Drive for your file storage, you will need to go to the Amazon Drive website and download your files by December 31, 2023."

    If you have a small number of files that should be stored off-site (for backup or other purposes), you can find other free file storage services listed at:  17 Best Free Cloud Storage Services for Backup in 2022 at

    You also might want to read my earlier article, Best Cloud Storage Service in 2021, at

    If you don't yet have any files stored in a cloud service, you probably should read What Is Cloud Storage, and Why Should You Use It at

  • 29 Jul 2022 9:29 AM | Anonymous

    The $470,000 grant will support research based on Yiddish-language testimonies from the USC Shoah Foundation.

    Isaac Bleaman, an assistant professor of linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, has received a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation to study the speech of native Yiddish speakers who survived the Holocaust.

    The five-year $470,000 grant will support research that documents the Yiddish language as it was spoken by survivors who were interviewed for the Visual History Archive of the USC Shoah Foundation, an organization that was founded by film director Steven Spielberg in 1994.

    The goal of Bleaman’s project is to analyze the grammatical and phonetic properties of European Yiddish and to address the impact of the Holocaust on the development of the language. The award will finance the construction of a new digital language corpus containing transcripts, media files, and metadata.

    These materials will be made available to researchers, Yiddish language instructors and students, as well as the general public for free online. Currently most of the Yiddish interviews can only be viewed at institutions that subscribe to the full Visual History Archive, and none are available with transcripts.

    You can read more in an article in the web site at:

  • 29 Jul 2022 9:03 AM | Anonymous

    Historic photographs of World War Two Jewish refugees who started new lives in Suffolk have been donated to the county archives in Bury St Edmunds.

    On Monday, July 25, Claire Duncan, from Bungay, donated the family photographs to the archive after recognising people featured in the 'We Have To Move On' exhibition at the National Horse Racing Museum, in Newmarket.

    The exhibition looked at refugees living in the Palace House Stables hostel in Newmarket during the 1939-45 conflict.

    You can read much more in an article by Toby Lown published in the East Anglican Daily Times web site at:

    Fritz and Eva Ball – Originally from Berlin, Fritz and Eva arrived at Palace House Stables in May 1939 and lived there until 1943. - Credit: William E Barton

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