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Genealogy This Week - 18 July 2009


Our weekly compilation of interesting new tools, resources and stories for genealogists:

Bing versus Google for Genealogy Searches - We have been asked by several readers about our opinion on using the new Microsoft search engine Bing for genealogy searches. Our assessment of Bing is that it is not as good as Google at finding genealogy records. It is, however, pretty good at finding living relatives. This raises an interesting aspect of search engines. Genealogy records are (by definition) archived records. Most search engines focus on live content because it is easier to find than archived content. Google is one of the few search engines that has the capacity and resources to reach to the far corners of the web, which is where many archived records reside. However, we would not rule Bing out. It is backed by Microsoft and it was just launched a month ago. Give Bing six more months to see whether it's webcrawlers have managed to find more genealogy records. [Link to Bing]

Ontario Invests $15 million in Online Genealogy Research - Ontario has signed a two-year license agreement for Proquest's Ancestry Library Edition. This is one of the largest genealogy databases in the world and it covers Canada, the US, the UK and some European countries. Access to all these genealogy databases will be free to anyone walking into any branch of an Ontario public library. Now you can cancel those expensive online genealogy subscriptions and visit your local library instead. [Link to press release]

Understanding the UK National Archives - The UK National Archives has put together a series of animated guides to help you get the most out of your research at their website. Well worth looking at if you use the UK National Archives website. [Link]

Late Motherhood Linked to Longer Family Lifespans - A recent medical study has shown that women who have babies in their 40s or 50s are much more likely to live longer and also to come from families with longer-than-normal lifespans. An interesting genealogy fact if you are trying to reverse engineer when someone may have died. Check out how old the mothers were when they had their children. [Link]

News Websites to Charge for Content? - As news junkies, we have noticed a subtle but disturbing trend over the last two months regarding some of the leading world newspapers that generate the most unique content (think New York Times, Financial Times, etc.). These sites have begun to put up modest roadblocks against news aggregator sites and sites like Digg. As we described in our article Why Are Newspapers Dying? (which reviews the implications for genealogy), the business model of many newspapers has been broken by the internet. Now the Financial Times editor is quoted in this Guardian article as saying that most news websites will charge money within a year. [Link] Even Google is toying with the idea of charging money to upload some videos to YouTube. [Link]

Oldest Archaeological Site in Maryland - Archaeologists have found what they think is the oldest settlement yet discovered in Maryland. Located along the Patuxent River and dating to around 1290 AD, it appears to be a Native American site that predates the Colonial period by some 350 years. [Link]

US Revolutionary War Gravesite Overrun? - We constantly see headlines about forgotten gravesites being overrun. However, this time the cemetery in question is very large and is located in Fishkill, New York at a large military depot that was pivotal during the US Revolutionary War. [Link]

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