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Genealogy This Week - 24 October 2009


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

Link Genealogy In Time™ to Social Network Sites - We upgraded our website this week to make it easier to link our articles and content to social network sites like Facebook, Twitter and Digg as well as 45 other social network sites. Simply click on the "Share This With Friends" link at the top of every article. Now you can more easily share your favorite online genealogy magazine with friends and family.

Finding Free UK Genealogy Records - Before signing up for paid subscription services, we always encourage our readers to look for free genealogy alternatives on the internet. A good place to start for anyone looking for free UK genealogy records is FreeBMD. This site has 175 million free records of births, marriages and deaths for England and Wales. It also contains links to free UK census records and free UK parish records. [Link]

US National Archives and Records Administration to Shrink Services - We have written extensively on how the global recession has impacted genealogy (see, for example, Genealogy and the Global Economic Recession). Many libraries and archives have been forced to scale back hours and genealogy services. Now, even NARA in the has been affected, as detailed in the National Genealogical Society's blog. [Link]

British Library to Preserve National Newspaper Collection - The British Library has just received a sizeable grant from the UK government to preserve their newspaper collection. The British Library collects a copy of every local, regional and national newspaper published in the UK. Unfortunately, 15% of their collection is "beyond use" and another 19% is in questionable condition. The purpose of the grant is to both preserve the collection and make it more accessible to the public. Hopefully, this will mean improved internet access. [Link]

Childhood Home of Canada's First Prime Minister to be Demolished - John A. Macdonald was Canada's first Prime Minister. He grew up in central Glasgow before emigrating to Canada at the age of five. Now, his childhood home in Glasgow is about to be demolished by (ironically) a Canadian company so that it can be turned into a parking lot. How pathetic is that? Perhaps we should start a campaign to stop the demolition. [Link]

Microsoft's Bing Search Engine to Focus on Social Search - Microsoft announced two deals this week with both Facebook and Twitter to provide near real-time search capability of the two popular social network sites. Bing is trying to find a niche for itself against Google's search engine by focusing on real-time social networking searches. Social networking is very popular with genealogists wanting to share genealogy information online. In this aspect, Bing may become useful for genealogy. Unfortunately, the antithesis of real-time searches is searching for archived records, which is where most genealogy information is located. Thus, Bing's emphasis on real-time records at the expense of archived records would suggest that Bing is not likely to be the search engine of choice for people looking for records of their ancestors.

Google to Index Tweets and to Launch Social Search - Not to be outdone by Microsoft, Google announced that they have inked a deal with Twitter to perform real-time indexing and searching of Tweets. Google is also going to launch in the next few weeks a new product called Social Search that will allow users to see the results of queries of people that are in their social network.

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