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Learned This Week - 20 June 2009


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

Tracking First Names - A website designed to help parents pick a baby name contains a wealth of useful tools for genealogists trying to track a first name. Like most websites of this type, it contains a large database of first names and their meanings. However, in addition, it allows wildcard searches in case you have a partial name (a common occurence when trying to read old handwritten documents). Also included is a function called Name Voyager, which maps the popularity of any first name over the last 130 years. Another function called Name Mapper shows the distribution of any first names across each American state. This is a good site for any genealogist to bookmark. [Link]

Tracking Last Names - This US Census Bureau site has been around for a while, but it provides a nice complement to the above site. The Census Bureau site has a calculator that can tell the frequency distribution of both first and last names in the United States. The data is from the 1990 census. [Link]

Early Immigration Videos - YouTube has just posted a very early video of immigrants arriving at Ellis Island in 1906. The video provides a rich context for anyone who had immigrant ancestors arriving in America during this period. If you click on the link below you will see a variety of free early genealogy videos listed on the right side of the page. Included is everything from early videos of the Statue of Liberty to Scottish Immigrants 1900. [Link]

US Government Personnel Records Now Available - The National Archives National Personnel Records Center located in St. Louis now contains both civilian and military personnel records that can be ordered for a fee. [Link]

Google Book Search Enhanced - Google has significantly enhanced the ability to search through its digital book archive. Google has the largest digital book archive in the world. The new search features make it easier to search and find books. Read about all the search enhancements in the official Google blog. [Link]

New Mormon History Library - After 15 years of planning and the moving of a million artifacts, the new Mormon history library is scheduled to open this week. [Link]

Interesting Case Study of Stolen Family Photo - This week we published a news story about online privacy (see Privacy Fears Raised Over Genealogy Application on Facebook). See an interesting case study of an American woman who had her family photo ripped from her website only to appear in an unauthorized advertising billboard in the Czech Republic. Reading this story will put a chill down the back of any genealogist who has considered posting family photos online. [Link]

Arizona Town Decides Mayor by Game of Chance - We once wrote a story about a town that elected a dead man as mayor (see Dead Man Elected Mayor). Now a town in Arizona that had a tie in a mayoral race decided the winner with a deck of cards. [Link]

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