[Guest Post] Commemorating the Titanic

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Nick Barratt
Nick Barratt

This is a guest post from Dr Nick Barratt, (author, historian and broadcaster) who runs Sticks Research Agency and is a regular presenter of TV shows as well as his own vodcast www.familyhistoryshow.net, in association with MyHeritage.com. He currently serves as the President of the Federation of Family History Societies, Vice President of AGRA, Executive Director of FreeBMD, Editor in Chief of Your Family History magazine, Honorary Teaching Fellow at the University of Dundee, and Trustee at the Society of Genealogists.

Don’t forget to
send your family’s Titanic stories to stories@myheritage.com by Friday for your chance to win a copy of Dr Barratt’s book – Lost Voices from the Titanic.

2012 is meant to be a year about celebration. We have the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics, shaping the tone of our approach to public occasions – a chance to forget the doom and gloom surrounding the economy and have a party.

Maybe that explains some of the celebratory noises associated with the centenary of the Titanic’s maiden voyage, and subsequent place in the annals of maritime history when it struck an iceberg and sank. As this anniversary approaches, it is terribly easy to forget the horrific loss of life – over 1,500 people died in a few minutes – as plans are made to re-release the Hollywood blockbuster,  hold events and exhibitions, even street parties in a couple of locations.

In the main, though, the feeling is of commemorating rather than celebrating this moment of contemporary history.  I have a personal bias towards this approach, having written the book – Lost Voices from the Titanic - which features eyewitness statements rarely used or published in their own right, having been collated by historian Walter Lord in the 1950s, as he wrote his own account of the tragedy, made into a haunting film, “A Night to Remember.”

The majority of the collection is at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, and it is distressing to read. Each one transports the reader back in time to that fateful night, placing you where the people themselves stood – on the deck waiting for instructions, in the bowels of the ship trying to save the stricken vessel, in the communications room frantically trying to raise the alarm and secure rescue, and in the lifeboats, watching the ship sink below the icy waters of the Atlantic.

You cannot help but be moved by some of these accounts. Among the most poignant and eloquent is Charlotte Collyer, who watched her husband Harvey remain on board as the lifeboat containing her and their daughter, Marjorie, descend towards relative safety, knowing there was little chance of seeing him again. She describes the emotional scene as a young lad tries to jump in with them, and is ordered at gunpoint by the officer on board to leave the ship and act like a man; sobbing, the youth leaves to meet his fate. She transports us to the deck of the Carpathia, the first ship on the scene, as women desperately tried to see if their husbands had made it to safety, in the main to be bitterly disappointed as she was. Her story ends with a letter back to her parents-in-law, grief stricken and having to face the journey home having lost everything but her daughter.

I was fortunate enough to meet the last surviving passenger, Millvina Dean, before she passed away in 2009. She summed up the way I think we should approach the Titanic; it changed her life in so many ways, but she cannot bear the thought that people would visit the wreck, or bring up objects from the sea bed. “After all,” she said, “that’s my father’s grave. He lies down there, somewhere. Let him rest in peace.”

Now that the last living link with the ship has passed away, we should commemorate the centenary, and only then begin to look afresh now that the Titanic has become part of history, not a living reminder of personal tragedy.

Laura Mabel Francatelli and Other Survivors (Taken from the Discovery Channel – http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2007/04/05/titanicslide_03.html)

Family History Expo – Albuquerque, New Mexico April 13 and 14

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The Albuquerque New Mexico Family History Expo April 13, 14 2012

Crowne Plaza Hotel

More information

Schelly Talalay Dardashti and Mark Olsen

Schelly Talalay Dardashti and Mark Olsen from MyHeritage and WorldVitalRecords will be in New Mexico this weekend for another Family History Expo

Here is the agenda of our events – we hope to see you there!

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1940 Census: at the Houston Family History Expo

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We at WorldVitalRecords and MyHeritage are very excited to announce that we have all states and territories from the 1940 United States Census now live on our sites!

This week we will get the opportunity to show you the 1940 census  live via Google Hangouts and in person if you are in Houston, Texas at the Family History Expo.

We will also have a booth where you can try the WorldVitalRecords and MyHeritage sites and learn more.

1940 US Census

1940 US Census

Houston Texas Family History Expo MyHeritage/WorldVitalRecords Events

Friday April 6th

3:30 CT       Galveston Room               US Census Records 1850-1940              Mark Olsen

7:50CT        South Padre Room          MyHeritage Online Family Tree            Mark Olsen

Saturday April 7th

11:20CT     Galveston Room                 Google Hangout – Connecting Genealogists      Mark Olsen

2:30CT       Houston Classroom         Facebook vs. Google+ Do I want both?                 Mark Olsen

We will bring each class to you live via Google Hangouts but may be limited by the internet connection speed at the event.  Check www.familyhistoryexpos.com Houston Expo Link  for the live feed at the appropriate times above.  The feed may also be found here where you can participate via comments.

Tara McIntosh

tara@myheritage.com

The 1940 Census: State Status

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The 1940 Census was released by the United States National Archives just one day ago and already we have many of  them ready for you to search at WorldVitalRecords!

We’ve heard many success stories and look forward to sharing those with you in the coming days. The most common comment is how fast and easy it is to search the new census images using our site.

At the time of this post there are 26 states online at www.worldvitalrecords.com/1940 census.  Our Engineers our working tirelessly to make these important records available to you as soon as possible.

We hope you enjoy your time flipping through the pages of the census and connecting with your past!

Please share your 1940 success stories in the comments below.

Happy Census Searching!

1940 Census States on WorldVitalRecords

1940 Census States on WorldVitalRecords

The 1940 Census: Why all the hype?

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The 1940 Census – What’s the big deal?

If you’re not a diehard genealogist or family historian you may not have even noticed that the 1940 census is the talk of the town over the past few months.  Yet genealogists around the world are going nuts over the April 2nd release.

Why all the hype? What’s a census?

In 1787, the founding fathers of the United States of America mandated that a census be taken every 10 years to count the entire population of the country to direct taxes and state representation.

Representation and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers…The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.

– Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution of the United States

The 1940 Census on WorldVitalRecords.com

The 1940 Census on WorldVitalRecords.com

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Discovering Family Tree Records

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NEW: MYHERITAGE FAMILY TREES COLLECTION

We’ve just added a powerful new resource to World Vital Records – the MyHeritage Family Trees Collection, an exclusive database with more than 400 million tree profiles and tens of millions of associated photos.

Using this data collection, researchers can find trees which connect with their own or lead to new information about ancestors.  Now you can quickly find information and learn from other researchers and discover family members and yet unknown distant cousins as you search this large, dynamically updated collection.

SEARCHING THE COLLECTION

To search the trees, simply log on to your World Vital Records account and click “Search>Card Catalog” to go to a new page showing the MyHeritage Family Trees Collection.

Read more »

Combining Social Media with Family History

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As Facebook enters its eighth year and many other social networking sites become publicly-traded companies (LinkedIn, Groupon, Yelp, Zynga, Twitter), it seems that social media is here to stay.

As genealogists, how can we embrace today’s online social media tools to further our research? I’ve spoken to people who – through social networking – find both long lost cousins and other family members. Some find family they did not know they had.

One society I know of uses the free online meet-up technology available through GooglePlus – they are called Hangouts – to hold weekly meetings without leaving home.

There is so much knowledge and shared experience in the blogosphere. Whether it is a wiki website with user-submitted articles or a professional genealogist sharing his or her experience, blogs offer relevant hints and tricks. If you are not already familiar with blogs, follow a few presenters from a recent conference, company page or visit Geneabloggers.com for a comprehensive list of genealogy blogs. Once you find writers who resonate with you on your favorite social networking site, it’s like checking the daily news. You’ll receive valuable insights and entertaining snippets.

Microblogging, blogging but on a smaller scale, allows people to share quick bits of content. Whether you want to share a link to a great video or just your thoughts at the moment, Twitter is the most common forum for microbloggers. If you aren’t into sharing right away, following others is a fascinating way to learn about current trends. It feels as if you are listening simultaneously to 100 conversations. It is easy to see what topics are most commonly discussed. Are you are a visual person? There are sites to pin images of products, fun ideas or content as well like Pinterest. Whatever your style, share the best of what you find online within your network and learn new ideas from others — that’s what it’s all about. Read more »

Meet our historical content team

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The Provo, Utah office is delighted to welcome two new members to the MyHeritage Family: Russ Wilding and Roger Bell.

Roger Bell (L) and Russ Wilding (R)
Roger Bell (L) and Russ Wilding (R)

They are the former founders of Footnote.com, which was acquired by Ancestry.com in 2010. Russ has been appointed chief content officer and Roger is VP Product.  They will be based in the MyHeritage Utah office.

Russ and Roger will be responsible for increasing the volume of international historical record content for our users. This will be a major benefit to our user base as it will complement the massive amount of user-contributed content that has made MyHeritage the world’s largest family social network for discovering and sharing family memories. Read more »

The missing link: Finding an enumeration district

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The missing link: Finding an enumeration district

As a genealogist, I’m excited about the release of the 1940 census. Not only will it be online but – better yet – it will be available directly from WorldVitalRecords.com and MyHeritage.com on the very day that NARA releases the census to the public.

It is essential for researchers to know their enumeration districts (EDs) to ensure their early success on April 2nd. The last thing you want to do is call Grandma to help you find the location you should be searching instead of actually spending time in the census images.

I thought I was going to easily find my grandmother’s ED. Wow – was I wrong! Here’s my story and I hope it will provide some tips for you.

First, I called my family and asked for the city and state where my grandmother lived in 1940. The answer wasn’t immediately given, but within a day, we had an exact address: 217½ Clubhouse Avenue, Venice, California.

I went to the NARA ED finder site and to SteveMorse.org and expected a very fast ED response. However, I ran into a problem on both sites, as there was no city of Venice.  I was perplexed – Venice is a rather well known place southwest of Los Angeles, so I thought it must have been a case where the county – in 1940 – is no longer the county today.

After some research, I thought it could be under San Joaquin County – and tried that on the ED calculator, with no luck. I talked to some friends and some experienced genealogy buffs, but found no answer.  I was not overly concerned because I did find a range of EDs where it could be listed under the “other” field and typing in Venice.  I had a list of 10 or so possible EDs.  This would limit my image search but would still require a lot of work.

Hoping for better results I tried again a few days later – still no Venice.  I had read the early history of Venice up to and beyond 1940 on Wikipedia. Despite much information, there was nothing to help determine the ED.  I decided to read more slowly and look for something.

Here is what I found – and was surprised to find. Read more »

1940 Census: Just six days away – Get prepared

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Genealogists around the world and members of WorldVitalRecords.com are thrilled that the release of the 1940 census is less than one week away!

Here at WorldVitalRecords, a MyHeritage Company, we are excited about the news released last week that the census images will be available at www.worldvitalrecords.com/1940census for free as well as on the MyHeritage 1940 Census Site.

On April 2nd the census images will be made available via both sites the same day they are released by the National Archives. The census images will also be indexed and – as quickly as they are made available – added to the sites.

From April 2 and beyond, you’ll be able to search our sites and census images free of charge.  To search, it will be best if you do some preparation ahead of time and know where to look among the 132 million estimated individuals included in the 1940 census images.

Census images are broken down to the state and county levels and then to enumeration districts (EDs), the area which an enumerator could cover in a limited amount of time. In big cities, the ED may only be a few blocks. In rural areas, the ED was much larger and the census-taker had a month to cover that. Read more »