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Genealogy This Week - 30 January 2010


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

How to Read Old Handwriting – Trying to read the handwriting in an old document is a constant challenge for genealogists. Handwriting styles change over time and across languages. The UK National Archives offers a free online tutorial for reading old writing from 1500 to 1800. This is a good place to get you started if you need to decrypt old letters or documents. [Link] As well, Brigham Young University has a free website devoted to resources for old handwriting and documents. The languages covered are English, German, Dutch, Italian, French, Spanish and Portuguese. [Link]

British Library Launches Virtual History Timeline – One of the more enjoyable aspects of genealogy is relating historical events to our ancestors. If you have British ancestors, then this site is for you. The interactive history timeline runs from 1210 to the near present and includes material from the British Library’s considerable collection. Everything is presented in 3-D. This site definitely ranks high on the cool-o-meter. We could talk about this site all day, but it is better if you check it out for yourself. [Link]

Luxembourg National Library Now Online – Luxembourg’s National Library just launched their new website this week. The purpose is for the library to broaden its online services and to showcase the huge number of diverse collections held at the national library. This site is in French. [Link]

US National Archives to Ban Photography – The US National Archives is about to ban all photographs and video in the main exhibit hall according to The Washington Post. The new rule will take effect February 24th, ironically shortly after President’s Day. The purpose of the ban is to help protect the Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights from the degrading effects of flash photography. There is already a ban on flash photography, but apparently about 50,000 visitors chose to ignore the warnings and still use the flash on their cameras. The main exhibit hall gets about one million visitors a year.

Lowcountry Africana Expands to Georgia – The website Lowcountry Africana traditionally focused on the family and cultural heritage of African Americans in South Carolina and northern Florida. Starting this week, the website has expanded its coverage to include Georgia. [Link]

Bing Adds Features – The search engine Bing has added several new features focused on travel, shopping, health and local matches. Nothing specifically to do with genealogy, but fun anyways and you can take a tour of their new features. [Link]

Microsoft to Delete Yahoo and Bing Search Data After Three Months – Here is another reason to use Bing or Yahoo over Google. All those records that search engines keep about your searches will be deleted after three months by Bing and Yahoo. Google still keeps records on you for nine months.

Facebook Privacy: What Privacy? – We keep writing about Facebook privacy, or a lack thereof (see Facebook Announces Tighter Privacy Standards). Now, according to the Telegraph Newspaper, Facebook is only going through the appearance of improving their weak privacy standards. [Link]

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