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Genealogy This Week - 22 May 2010


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

How to Find the US 1890 Census – Now that we are talking about the US census this week (see US 1780s Census Found), we thought that we should make mention of the lost US 1890 Census. As many genealogists know, most of the US 1890 Census results were destroyed in a fire (see Top Ten Interesting Facts about the US Census). However, parts of the 1890 Census did manage to survive. The US National Archives maintains a page devoted to the topic and lists the surviving parts of the 1890 Census and where to find them. [Link]

British Library to Digitize Newspaper Collection – The British Library announced this week that they will allow a private company to digitize its 40 million page collection of historic newspapers. The British Library holds one of the world’s finest collections of newspapers, with 52,000 local, regional, national and international titles. The collection spans over three centuries. The digitization partner is brightsolid, a leading UK genealogy company responsible for such sites as 1911census.co.uk (in partnership with the National Archives), findmypast.co.uk and genesreunited.co.uk. The company plans to incorporate the British Library newspaper collection into its fee-based genealogy websites. Technically, the British Library will make the content available for free to anyone who takes the time and effort to physically show up on-site at the British Library. This is a bit of a good news / bad news story as there does not appear to be any plans to make the collection available for free on the internet.

Basically, brightsolid pays for the digitization process so they get to charge people to access the content. Is it just us, or does this seem to be somewhat of a stretch against the British Library’s founding charter of making its collections available free to all? No timeline was given as to when the content would become available online.

Google to Offer Encrypted Search – Next week, Google will begin rolling out encrypted search as an option to its users. The change is in response to a flood of concern about privacy on the internet. People will be able to perform Google searches using https://, a protocol normally associated with online banking. This protocol prevents network eavesdropping. This is the first time a major search engine has allowed encrypted search.

Google Wave Goes Public – Google Wave is an application from Google that allows users to communicate and collaborate in real time. Basically, it is a mash-up between email, instant messaging and social networking. It looks like a very promising tool for genealogists wanting to collaborate with other genealogists. Prior to this week, the only way to join Google Wave was by invitation. Now Google has just opened it up to the general public. We would be interested in hearing from anyone who gives it a go. [Link]

Genealogy Triage – Every genealogist’s nightmare is to lose their archive of collected data. Unfortunately, it can happen to institutions as well as individuals. A recent case study happened this week. A Parks Canada photo archive in Revelstoke B.C. was struck by disaster when the basement holding the photo archive flooded. Thousands of historical photographs were affected. Unfortunately, this archive covered an important milestone in Canadian history – the creation of the Trans-Canada railway through the Rocky Mountains. If you click on the link you can view images of how Parks Canada staff dealt with this disaster. [Link]

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