Monday, May 15, 2017

Minneapolis Star Tribune since 1867 Online

Minneapolis Star Tribune Newspapers Since 1867 are now Digitized and Available Online

Until now, archives from The Minneapolis Tribune and The Minneapolis Star, which merged in 1982, weren’t all available in one place. Now, the Star Tribune has digitized more than 54,000 issues from the past 150 years.

The Star Tribune is giving away free PDFs of any front page from the archives right now. Getting to click through the past isn’t free, though. Access for 30 days costs $7.99, and a six-month subscription costs $29.95. The archives were digitized with underwriting from Thomson Reuters and in partnership with
You can learn more in an article at while the collection itself is available at

Saturday, March 11, 2017

BROOKINGS SD Family History Center 25th Anniversary Open House


of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

200 22nd Avenue, Brookings SD, NE doors

Saturday April 22 2017--1 to 4 pm

Individual Help Stations, Displays, Demos  

Celebrating 25 years of helping patrons
In the research and preservation of their family history
By providing access to records and free one-on-one individual assistance

Find an Ancestor in 5 minutes!

For all Ages!

Try, Learn, and Grow Your Tree

Plan to Scan a few old photos/documents---bring a flash drive

Bring your discs and a flash drive

Try Ancestry, NEHGS, Old Newspapers, Obituaries, FOLD3


How you can help!

How you can assist in the effort to index millions of digitized records

Get a taste of the world’s largest genealogy tech  conference!

 25 years of Family History Center
Directors and technology!


No registration required--Just Come and Enjoy 


Friday, March 10, 2017

Dropbox vs. Google Drive vs. OneDrive: Which Cloud Storage Is Best for You?

Dropbox vs. Google Drive vs. OneDrive: Which Cloud Storage Is Best for You?

I have written several times about the wisdom of keeping backup copies of your more valuable files. You can keep local copies or off-site copies but the important thing is to always have copies available someplace. One popular option is to keep copies in “the cloud,” using one of the file storage services, such as Dropbox or Google Drive or OneDrive.

Actually, there are dozens of available cloud-based file storage servies to choose from but Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive seem to be the three most popular, if not necessarily the best. 

Joel Lee has published a side-by-side comparison of the “big three,” pointing out the strengths and weaknesses of each. If you are thinking of using a file storage service, you might want to read the article on the Make Use Of web site at:

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Big 4: Comparing Ancestry, Findmypast, FamilySearch and MyHeritage

The Big 4: Comparing Ancestry, Findmypast, FamilySearch and MyHeritage

You may have asked, “Which is the best online genealogy service for me to use?” Or perhaps you want to know the best two or three services. Sunny Morton gave a presentation about these four online powerhouses at the recent RootsTech2017 conference that may answer your questions.
The one-hour four-minute presentation was videotaped and is now available as a video on the web site. I suspect this video will answer most of your questions. Topics covered include cost, record types, geographic coverage, genetic testing, DNA matching, search flexibility, languages supported, mobile-friendly, automated matching, and a lot more. Sunny provides the most information about these four sites that I have ever seen in any other one document or video.
As Sunny states, “No site has it all.”

This is a keeper! I have been using all four of these web sites for years and yet I learned several new facts about them, thanks to Sunny’s online video presentation. I suspect you will learn some things as well if you watch the video.
The Big 4: Comparing Ancestry, Findmypast, FamilySearch and MyHeritage with Sunny Morton is available at
Also, look at the size of that audience!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

How Accurate are DNA Kits used for Testing Ancestry?

How Accurate are DNA Kits used for Testing Ancestry?

dnaMillions of people are purchasing and using home DNA kits to determine their ancestry. The television program Inside Edition enlisted the help of two sets of identical triplets and one set of identical quadruplets to investigate the accuracy of the at-home tests. The ancestry of each group should be absolutely identical since they all came from the same egg.
Test kits from 23andMe, FamilyTree DNA, and AncestryDNA were used.
The results are surprising.

The medical experts were confused and disappointed because of the varied results. Does this indicate that some of our our beliefs about DNA are wrong?
You decide. You can watch the television program’s tests and the results at

Friday, December 2, 2016

Library of Congress, Digital Public Library of America To Form New Collaboration

Library of Congress, Digital Public Library of America To Form New Collaboration

This undoubtedly will affect many genealogists as more and more records are added to the Digital Public Library’s database of digital content records. Making such records available online results in much easier access for all than the present methods. The following announcement was written by the Library of Congress:
library_of_congress_logoThe Library of Congress today signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Digital Public Library of America to become a “content hub partner” and will ultimately share a significant portion of its rich digital resources with DPLA’s database of digital content records.
The first batch of records will include 5,000 items from three major Library of Congress maps collections—the Revolutionary War (, Civil War ( and panoramic maps collections (
“We are pleased to make the Digital Public Library of America a new door through which the public can access the digital riches of the Library of Congress,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “We will be sharing some beautiful, one-of-a-kind historic maps that I think people will really love. They are available online and I hope even more people discover them through DPLA.”
“We couldn’t be more thrilled to collaborate closely with the Library of Congress, to work with them on the important mission of maximizing access to our nation’s shared cultural heritage,” said DPLA’s Executive Director Dan Cohen, “and we deeply appreciate not only the Library’s incredible collections, but also the great efforts of the Librarian and her staff.”
The Digital Public Library of America is a portal—effectively, a searchable catalog—that aggregates existing digitized content from major sources such as libraries, archives, museums and cultural institutions. It provides users with links back to the original content-provider site where the material can be viewed, read or, in some cases, downloaded.
The Digital Public Library of America, the product of a widely shared vision of a national digital library dating back to the 1990s, was launched with a planning process bringing together 40 leaders from libraries, foundations, academia and technology projects in October, 2010 followed by an intense community planning effort that culminated in 2013. Its aim was to supersede the silo effect many digitization efforts were subject to. Based in Boston, the board of directors includes leading public and research librarians, technologists, intellectual property scholars, and business experts from across the nation. Its goal is to create “an open, distributed network of comprehensive online resources that would draw on the nation’s living heritage from libraries, universities, archives, and museums in order to educate, inform, and empower everyone in current and future ­generations.”
The Library of Congress expects to add a significant portion of its digital items to the original trio of collections over time, covering other collections such as photos, maps and sheet music.
Library of Congress items already appear in the DPLA database. Earlier in this decade, the Library digitized more than 100,000 books in its collections as part of its membership in the Hathi Trust and the Biodiversity Heritage Library, both current partners with the DPLA. As a result, those books are already in the DPLA’s collections through those partners.
The Digital Public Library of America strives to contain the full breadth of human expression, from the written word, to works of art and culture, to records of America’s heritage, to the efforts and data of science. Since launching in April 2013, it has aggregated more than 14 million items from more than 2,000 institutions. The DPLA is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit.
The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States—and extensive materials from around the world—both on site and online. The Library is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at, and register creative works of authorship at
My thanks to newsletter reader Ernie Thode for telling me about this announcement.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Find A Grave vs Billion Graves--Comments on Find A Grave Suggested Improvements

How FindAGrave Could – and Should – Be Made Better 

[Click on the 21 Comments link below to view some valuable responses on Find A Grave vs Billion Graves. Having used Billion Graves, to search, to document grave sites and to transcribe, I have found issues with both Apps but they both have their plusses and negatives.  I think both could be used in one cemetery]

Amy Johnson Crow has posted an article in her blog that illustrates one of the problems with FindAGrave and offers suggestions for how it could be better. If you have an interest in FindAGrave, you might want to read Amy’s article, How FindAGrave Could – and Should – Be Made Better, at:

Comment: FindAGrave’s biggest competitor,, certainly is not perfect. It has some problems of its own but does not share the problems that Amy wrote about. For one thing, starts with a picture of the tombstone. No picture? No entry on

Perhaps FindAGrave should adopt a similar policy.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Why You Might Want a Personal Genealogy Blog

Why You Might Want a Personal Genealogy Blog on WordPress 

Click here for more of the article below


You probably can find dozens of reasons for creating a blog. In addition, you can probably find dozens of companies that will host a blog for you. Given the choices and the reasons available, trying to decide on the best blog hosting service for you can be an overwhelming decision. How do you find the best one for your use? I will suggest there is no easy answer, but I will suggest that WordPress should be one of the services you evaluate.

NOTE: I will quickly admit that I am biased. The words you are reading right now are hosted on a WordPress blog. I have used several different blogging services over the years to host this newsletter. I switched to WordPress several years ago and am very happy with the company’s services. I have no plans to switch to anything else.

Why would you want a blog?

There are a number of reasons why a genealogist might want to crate a blog. Here are a few ideas I can think of:

Keep track of your own family history research and advise your relatives of your progress. If your relatives are monitoring your progress, it is possible they can contribute information to your research efforts, especially as they read about various items you discover. Reading about their ancestors’ lives often serves as a “memory jogger” for various bits of information they may have heard or known about years ago. Many of such bits may be new to you. In some cases, a blog reader who lives near the locations where your ancestors lived also may be able to perform some “in person” research for you.

Share your own life experiences. A blog can be similar to an online diary. Such a blog can be very interesting to your friends and relatives. Optionally, you can add a password to your blog so that it can only be read by the people to whom you grant access.

Genealogical and historical societies often use blogs to publish society newsletters online, to publicize upcoming events, to publicize books the society publishes, and to publicize all sorts of news and events of potential interest to society members and non-members alike. Some societies even add a “for members only” section that requires a password to access. A society blog often is one of the most powerful publicity tools a society can use.

Ethnicity interest groups often use blogs focused on specific ethnic groups and the genealogies of included families. Examples include Polish-American groups, African-American genealogy, Jewish genealogy, Hispanic genealogy, French-Canadian genealogy, Irish genealogy, German genealogy and more.

Almost all genealogy conferences now use blogs to publicize events, to distribute updates on speakers and presentations to be offered, to supply information about hotels and restaurants in the area, and myriad other reasons.

Archives and libraries often use blogs to provide news about recent additions to their collections, seminars, and other events being held by the archive or library, lists of holidays and other times the library or archive may be closed, solicitations for donations, and more.

Genealogy industry blogs are very popular. Almost every company in the genealogy business publishes a blog containing frequent updates about the latest additions and updates to the company’s offerings, publicity about future additions and changes, disseminating FAQs (Frequently-Asked Questions) that many customers ask, and many other customer support activities. Nearly 40% of US companies use blogs for marketing purposes. Two-thirds of marketers say their company blog is “critical” or “important” to their business.
Genealogy industry news: perhaps you want to compete with Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter. (Comment: Come on in! There’s room for more.)

A blog makes it easy to reach a sizable audience on the World Wide Web. Most people read blogs more than once/day. In a recent survey, 90% of the respondents said they read 5 to 10 blogs frequently. Among those respondents, 23 % of their Internet time is spent on blogs and social networks. See 10 Interesting Key Facts and Figures about Blogging, Bloggers should know at for details.

Friday, August 5, 2016

INSTANTLY Colorize Your Black/White Photos -- FREE

Instantly Colorize Your Black-And-White Photos

Do you have old black-and-white family photographs? A new service on Algorithmia uses a deep learning algorithm to add color to the photos. Yes, it works. The colors may not be perfect but they are almost always better than black-and-white. The service is easy to use and, best of all, is available FREE of charge.
For instance, here is one well-known black-and-white on the left and a computer-enhanced color version on the right. Algorithmia can do the same for your photographs.

To use Algorithmia’s service, your photo must be available online someplace that is accessible by a URL without requiring a password. The photo(s) might be stored as a shared photo in Dropbox, Google Photos, Shutterfly, Flickr, Apple iCloud, Amazon Cloud Drive, your own web site, or most any other online service that stores publicly-visible photographs.
NOTE: If the web site requires a user name and password to access the photograph, Algorithmia’s colorizing service will not be able to retrieve it.
To colorize a photo, go to the Algorithmia service at, paste the URL of a black-and-white image and tap “colorize it.” After a few seconds of processing, a comparison of the original and colorized images appears.

It seems like Algorithmia’s tool works best with images of faces, simple landscapes, and clear skies. The more complex and cluttered the photograph, the less successful the results.
For instance, here are before-and-after photographs of Samuel Finley Breese Morse (1791-1872), the inventor of the telegraph, that I colorized by using Algorithmia’s free colorizing service :
Not bad for a photograph of a man who died before color photography was invented!
Note that Algorithmia’s colorizing tool does add a small “watermark” to the lower right corner of every image that is colorized.
You can try this yourself at
Algorithmia’s colorizing tool is available FREE of charge unless you wish to convert thousands of images per month. Pricing information for high-volume users may be found at
My thanks to newsletter reader Terry Mulcahy for telling me about Algorithmia’s colorizing tool.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Why Was the Information Removed from Online?

Why Was the Information Removed from Online?

NOTE: This is a slightly updated version of an article I published about a year ago. A couple of newsletter readers have sent messages to me in the past few days expressing dissatisfaction with records that were available online but recently have disappeared. I am offering this republished article as an explanation about why we should not be surprised when that happens. I will also offer a suggestion as to making sure you keep your own copies of online records that are valuable to you.

Two newsletter readers sent email messages to me recently expressing dissatisfaction that a set of images of vital records has been removed from a popular genealogy site. Indeed, removal of any online records of genealogical value is sad, but not unusual. Changes such as these are quite common on FamilySearch, MyHeritage,, Fold3, FindMyPast, and many other genealogy sites that provide old records online. Removal of datasets has occurred dozens of times in the past, and I suspect such things will continue to happen in the future. I thought I would write a brief explanation.

In most cases, information of genealogical value obtained from government agencies, religious groups, museums, genealogy societies, and other organizations is provided under contractual agreements. The contracts specify what information is to provided, how it is to be made available, and what price the web site has to pay to the provider for the records. All contracts also have a defined expiration date, typically 2 years or 3 years or perhaps 5 years after the contract is signed.

When a contract nears expiration, the two parties usually attempt to renegotiate the contract. Sometimes renewal is automatic, but more often it is not. Maybe the information provider (typically an archive) decides they want more money, or maybe they decide they no longer want to supply the data to the online genealogy service. For instance, in the time the information has been available online, the information provider may have learned just how valuable the information really is. The information provider may decide to ask for more money or may even refuse to provide the information any more since the provider may have a NEW plan to create their own web site and offer the same information online on their new site for a fee.

Sure, that stinks for those of us who would like to have the information everywhere; but, it makes sense to most everyone else. I am sure the budget officer at most any state or local government archive thinks it makes sense.
Every contract renegotiation is different, but it is not unusual to agree to disagree. The contract ends, and the web site provider legally MUST remove the information from their web site. The same thing frequently happens to all the other online sites that provide old records online.

Moral of this story: If you find a record online that is valuable to you, SAVE IT NOW! Save it to your hard drive and make a backup copy someplace else as well. If there is no option to save, make a screen shot and save it on your hard drive or some other place where it will last for many years. Just because you can see the record online today does not mean that it will be available tomorrow.