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Genealogy This Week - 6 February 2010


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

Tracing Your Ancestors Through Drink – Every European nation seems to have a national drink. For example, Germany has beer and France has wine. But did you know that Europe actually has alcohol belts? As shown in the image below, certain parts of Europe have historically favoured certain kinds of alcoholic drinks (red = wine, gold = beer, blue = distilled spirits). This could be a tantalizing new avenue of exploration for genealogists: tracing the origins of your ancestors by the types of drinks they favoured. You can read all about the European alcohol belts in this fascinating article. [Link]

map of Europe showing alcohol bands or favoured drinks by country

Black History Month – Now that February is here, Black History Month is upon us. We thought we would highlight two new websites. The first is the New England Historical Genealogical Society’s brand new AfricanAmericanAncestors.org website. This site is full of useful articles and guides as well as many records. [Link] The second new website is Yahoo’s Celebrating Black History website. This site is structured as a clickable timeline full of interesting pictures and facts. [Link] Finally, we would like to point out the US National Archives website Genealogy Notes page contains links to various government genealogy resources. Included are African American History resources. [Link]

Big Changes at Facebook – Facebook is rolling out a new home page design this weekend. You can read about it on their official blog. [Link] There are also rumours swirling around that Facebook is about to launch a full-featured webmail product. The objective seems to be to overtake Google’s popular Gmail program. [Link]

Who Has the Biggest RSS News Reader? – Many genealogy blogs and websites depend on RSS feeds to attract viewers. Google Reader dominates this market as the preferred news reader. Or do they? It turns out that Facebook is even more popular than Google Reader as a news consolidator. Personally, we always though RSS was overdone. Only about 5% of the traffic to our website comes via RSS. Anyways, you can read about how Facebook is becoming the dominate conduit for news. [Link]

How to Get Through to Customer Support – When something breaks or doesn’t work as promised, there are always two frustrations. The first frustration is having to figure out how to deal with something that doesn’t work. The second frustration is dealing with customer support. Whatever happened to customer service? Most company websites will direct you to telephone numbers that are nothing more than automated response systems. After all, talking to a real live human costs them money and why should they spend money on you? This is where the website GetHuman can help. GetHuman can provide you with the backdoor telephone numbers and steps you need to take to talk to a real person. This website can help save your sanity. Hundreds of companies are listed for North American and the UK. [Link]

Don’t Get Buried in Denver – Apparently, there is a mortuary in Denver that seems to have a knack for mixing up bodies. Like placing the wrong woman’s body in a casket and then trying to pass it off as someone else. Yikes! [Link]

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