Blog Archives

Genealogy, Google, Maine, More: Sunday Morning Buzz, March 2, 2014

Because I don’t want you to get bored: 40 genealogists to follow on blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube.

More genealogy: Dick Eastman takes a look at a couple of online tutorials for reading Latin or Old English documents.

More more genealogy: wills of Scottish soldiers killed in World War I will be made available online. “Among the 26,000 individual wills are 2,584 from the Gordon Highlanders, including those of Privates Alexander Craig and John Wood from Portlethen, just two of about 9,500 men who died during the conflict.”

Transparency reports are the new black. The latest one is from CloudFlare.

ProPublica has launched a data store. “There’s not too much for sale yet, but among the “wares” you can purchase are “Recovery Tracker Data” ($200 for journalists, $2,000 for academic researchers) and national data on payments to doctors by pharmaceutical companies (the most expensive item in the store at $1,000 for journalists and $10,000 for researchers). “

Google has released a new tool for “interactive learning” – Oppia. “We’re excited to announce Oppia, a project that aims to make it easy for anyone to create online interactive activities, called ‘explorations’, that others can learn from. Oppia does this by modeling a mentor who poses questions for the learner to answer. Based on the learner’s responses, the mentor decides what question to ask next, what feedback to give, whether to delve deeper, or whether to proceed to something new.”

More Google: Google has launched Google Maps Gallery. “Maps Gallery works like an interactive, digital atlas. You can explore historic city plans, climate trends, housing affordability, shipwrecks and up-to-date evacuation routes. In addition to finding these maps through Maps Gallery, they can be viewed in Google Earth and are discoverable through major search engines.”

From Hongkiat.com: 9 Sites for Free Online Courses and Open Courseware.

The state of Maine has a new tool to track corporate filings (press release.) “Users who sign up for the service will create an online profile that will keep track of the business entities they want monitored. This profile will allow users to review, add, or delete entities from their monitoring account, to review add, delete or edit email addresses on file for notifications, and to view a list of filings or changes completed against the entity/entities over the past one year.”

I do not like this particular slang but in this case it utterly fits. Google asked for reports of scraper sites and — well, they got pwned. Good morning, Internet….

I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment on the blog, or @ResearchBuzz on Twitter. Thanks!

Ancestry.com Offering Free Access to Immigration Records Through September 2

Ancestry.com is celebrating the American Labor Day holiday with some free records access! Through September 2 (or specifically September 2 at 11:59pm EST), you can access Ancestry.com’s immigration records for free. This includes collections like passenger lists for ship, passport applications, naturalization petitions, and a lot more.

The link above also points to some instructional resources on how to make the most of your search for your immigrant ancestors.

Enjoy!

Google, Yahoo, Creative Commons, Genealogy, More: Morning Buzz, July 31, 2012

Now available: a map of storm surge data for over 400 storms worldwide: “Needham scoured more than 67 sources to create a database of storm surge heights along the Gulf Coast from 1880 through 2011, including more than 250 surges in the north Atlantic region.”

The Utah Historical Society is starting an online photo archive documenting Topaz, a Utah internment camp for Japanese during WWII. “It has 220 images, showing everything from schoolchildren saying the Pledge of Allegiance to a New Year’s Eve party to agricultural work crews.”

So apparently Google still has some gathered WiFi data after claiming over a year ago that all of it was deleted. The HELL, Google?

TechCrunch has an article about Mashape, which is an API — aggregation? Broker? Hub? Something.

Interim Yahoo CEO Ross Levinsohn has left Yahoo. Kind of surprised about that, unless he wasn’t planning to stick for anything but the CEO slot. And apparently he’s not the only one.

Wanna take a guess about how many Creative Commons-licensed videos are up on YouTube? Try over four million.

You can now Google Chat with multiple people (or you’ll be able to soon — Google’s still rolling out the feature.)

Ubuntu 12.10 has hit Alpha 3.

The National Archives has put up more videos of its genealogy workshops. They’re available at YouTube; there are 23 videos there now.

Now you can timelapse the Earth! “Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute, working with colleagues at Google and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), have adapted their technology for interactively exploring time-lapse imagery to create a tool that enables anyone to easily access 13 years of NASA Landsat images of the Earth’s surface.” Good morning, Internet…

Census, Google, Dropbox, Twitter, More: Morning Buzz, July 11, 2012

Those 1940 US Census Community Project volunteers are indexing rock stars! “Aiming to propel volunteer contributions past the previous high of nearly 4.9 million records set April 30, the challenge motivated more than 46,000 volunteers to index 10.3 million records in a single 24-hour period that began July 1 at 6:00 p.m. (MDT) — more than twice the previous record.”

Google has added more than 20 US museums to its indoor map collection.

Twitter has updated its mobile apps.

Coming soon: a new database collecting studies of nervous system repair. “Tentatively called RegenBase – for Regeneration Database – the proposed knowledge-based system will incorporate and build on the BioAssay Ontology that Schürer, Lemmon and their team of UM programmers and computer scientists developed with a federal stimulus grant to enable chemists and biologists on the hunt for new therapeutic agents to quickly search repositories of thousands of experiments on hundreds of thousands of small-molecule compounds.”

The state of Utah Web site now has a registered notary search.

Wow, this idea has been kicked around for ages. Is it going to happen? “After years of rejecting the idea, the Pentagon is now considering the creation of a publicly accessible database of military valor awards as a way to deter military fakers.”

Google to pay FTC over $22 million? It may be a record fine but it’s still couch cushion money to GOOG.

Pay for Dropbox? You’re getting goodies. Dropbox has announced that prices are staying the same but you get double the storage. Hmm. Might have to start paying for Dropbox. Good morning, Internet…

Genealogy, Japan, Wales, More: Afternoon Buzz, July 10, 2012

Harvard Metalab has a blog post reflecting back on the first week of beta release for the Digital Archive of Japan’s 2011 Disasters. “Now, through the power of this custom implementation of the Zeega Engine, anyone can browse, annotate and visualize the 884,669 items (current) indexed by the archive; they can also use these items to build and share collections.”

Dick Eastman hips us to new offerings from FamilySearch: “76 million much-anticipated state census, naturalization, immigration, and vital records were added this week for 22 states, including Ohio, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.”

More genealogy: censuses from Iceland.

Wales gets crazy organized with the plants: “Wales has become the first country in the world to DNA barcode all of its flowering plants—a scientific breakthrough that opens up vast potential for the future of plant conservation and human health…. The Barcode Wales project was led by Dr. Natasha de Vere, head of conservation and research at the National Botanic Garden. Working closely with Dr. Tim Rich of the National Museum Wales, and with significant commitment from Garden volunteers and staff, she and her team have created a reference database of DNA barcodes based on Wales’ 1,143 species of native flowering plants and conifers, assembling more than 5,700 DNA barcodes.”

LifeHacker has a quick article on TopHQBooks, a search engine for free PDF books. Well, PDF items — I saw a catalog when I was poking around. But there are still over 5.5 million items here. Search or browse by country.

NSF.gov, the National Science Foundation Web site, has gotten a redesign. “The updated home page features a number of changes that include new graphics, more ‘white space,’ fewer overall links and a larger area for highlighting stories important to the work NSF supports.”

More Creative Commons por voo: “For anyone interested in Greek and Latin manuscripts, the scholarly landscape changed dramatically last week when the e-codices project announced that all its material is now available under a Creative Commons license.” Good afternoon, Internet…

National Library of Scotland Post Office Directories Collection

Doing some research in/about/for Scotland? The National Library of Scotland has the Scottish Post Office Directories site at http://digital.nls.uk/directories/index.html. This site has over 700 digitized directories spanning 1773 to 1911.

The directories are browsable so you can, if you wish, page through them, but searching is available as well. I found the online browser mechanism slow, but the NLS also offers the ability to download the directories. And that is why I have a copy of “Pigot & Co.’s new commercial directory of Scotland for 1825-6″ sitting on my desktop, but man, that 169MB was a slow download. (You can also download high-quality individual pages as well, if you don’t have hours to hang around.)

Search allows you to search the first several letters of a last name, a place, and a year. (There is an advanced search as well but I thought the basic search enough, as long as you can narrow down by year or place.) A search for Cal, covering 1871-1889, found 821 results. Results are presented in a gallery with a thumbnail of the relevant directory, and a link to take you to the page where the partial name is found. Click on that link for a larger version.

What you’ll get depends on the directory. Looking at the Inverness County Directory from 1887 I found names, addresses, and yearly rent or values, while looking at the County Directory of Scotland from 1872, I found names, addresses, and in many cases occupations. For the most part the scans were excellent and easily readable, but I did have a problem with the “Royal national commercial directory and topography of Scotland” from 1872, as it was pretty faded. Downloading a high-resolution single page fixed that, however.

If you just want to get a sense of what’s available in the collectoin, the NLS has put together a few goodies for you. There’s a pointer to several pages of advertising in a Glasgow directory, a page from the 1809 Dundee directory, and a directory title page. An about the directory section gives you a good overview of what you might find (and why it might be wrong.)

A fascinating collection. Worth a browse but I recommend downloading anything you want to do a lot of research on.

National Archives Puts Genealogy Workshops on YouTube

National Archives on YouTube

The National Archives announced yesterday that video of some of its genealogy how-to workshops have now hit YouTube (though looking at the dates on some of these they appear to have been up for a while, BUT ANYWAY.) The URL for the archive’s YouTube channel is http://www.youtube.com/user/usnationalarchives. Videos available include:

“Genealogy Introduction — Military Research at the National Archives: Regular Service” (available here.)

“Genealogy Introduction — Immigration Records at the National Archives” (available here.)

“Genealogy Introduction: Census Records at the National Archives” (available here.) (This appers to be, by far, the most popular of these three!)

The channel has 878 videos in total, with playlists that include “Inside the Vault,” “Public Programs from the National Archives,” and “ARC Film Clips.” So you’ll be better prepared this spring, there’s also a series of four short films, produced around 1940, about the 1940 Census.

As you might imagine, 878 videos equals a LOT to see here.

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