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Genealogy This Week - 23 January 2010


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

View Historic Sites with Google Street View – Google has done something really neat for genealogists with their Google Street View application. Google teamed up with the UK’s National Trust to provide 3-D panoramic views of National Trust sites. National Trust is responsible for preserving and promoting many of the UK’s finest castles and country homes. The first release from Google just came out today and covers 20 National Trust sites in England and Ireland. This application is fun to play with. Hopefully, it will be expanded to include many more historically significant sites of interest to genealogists in many different countries. [Link]

UK National Archives Podcasts for Genealogists – We seem to be on a bit of a UK theme this week. The UK National Archives has just released a new 54 minute podcast entitled “New Britons – Immigration to the United Kingdom” that describes how to trace your ancestors that immigrated to the UK between the 16th and 20th century. This website also has several other very useful podcasts for genealogists including “Researching the British Empire and Commonwealth”, “Modern Sources for Immigration” parts 1&2 and “Tracing Births and Deaths at Sea”. [Link]

An Apple, a Tree and Sir Isaac Newton – One of the most iconic stories in science is the anecdote of how Sir Isaac Newton, a deeply religious man, developed the theory of gravity by observing an apple falling out of a tree. Now, for the first time, you can read online an account of this famous episode written by a contemporary of Newton’s. The interesting twist is that Britain’s Royal Society has made available digital facsimiles of the original documents. You need to download a free special (and very cool) viewer to be able to read the documents. It certainly beats the typical e-book format. [Link]

When Genealogists Get Angry – Local cemetery trustees in Hampton, Maine were on the receiving end of some angry genealogists this week. The genealogists, members of the local historic society, accused the trustees of being much too slow in allowing the digitization of burial records from the town’s cemeteries. The genealogists came up with a simple workaround – put forth a resolution to eliminate the trustees! The takeaway from this story: never stand between a genealogist and their records. [Link]

Updated Stats on the Internet – Now that 2009 is out of the way, all sorts of updated statistics on internet traffic are becoming available. Here are some of the more interesting stats:
• 81% of all email is spam. Yikes. As well, there was a 24% increase in spam in 2009.
• The internet now has 234 million websites, with 47 million new websites added in 2009 alone.
• There are an amazing 126 million blogs on the internet. What do they all say?
• There are now about 1.7 billion internet users. Asia has the most users (42%) followed by Europe (24%) and North America (15%).
• 67%, or two-thirds, of all internet searches are done through Google. The other one-third of searches is divided amongst several players. Yahoo is second after Google with only a 7% share. And, in a new trend, social networking site have now become popular places to perform searches.

Is This Website Down? – Have you ever gone to a website and waited forever for it load wondering whether it was a problem on your end with a slow internet connection or whether the website itself was down? Well, wonder no more. This great and invaluable little website called Is My Website Down Or Is It Just Me? will check for you. Simply type in any website address and hit enter. It will quickly tell you if the website is running or not. Crashed websites is a surprisingly common problem with genealogy websites that post large new record sets and then underestimate the amount of traffic they will receive. Sometimes, these sites can crash and be down for several days. Now you have a way to check. [Link]

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