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U.S. Justice Department Sets Rules for Using Genealogy Sites to Solve Crimes

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has released new rules governing when police can use genetic genealogy to track down suspects in serious crimes—the first-ever policy covering how these databases, popular among amateur genealogists, should be used in law enforcement attempts to balance public safety and privacy concerns.

The policy generally limits law enforcement to considering genealogy sites when a candidate sample belongs to a possible culprit, or when a likely homicide victim is unidentified. Prosecutors can greenlight the use of these sites for violent crimes beyond murder and sexual assault, but only when the circumstances create a “substantial and ongoing threat” to the public. Agencies can’t use the sites unless a sample has first been uploaded to the FBI’s DNA profile database and hasn’t produced a match. Also, the investigators in the relevant jurisdiction need to have followed “reasonable investigative leads,” and case info need to be entered into national databases for missing people and violent criminals.

There’s more even after meeting these rules. You can read more in an article by Jon Fingas in the Engadget web site at:

My thanks to the several newsletter readers who notified be about this new Justice Department ruling.

Added and Updated Record Collections at – Week of 22 to 28 September 2019

I am trying to keep up with the new and updated record collections at FamilySearch   ( every week.

As of 28 September 2019, there were 2,589 historical record collections on FamilySearch (an increase of 5 from last week):

The added or updated collections are (as Marshall provided them):

— Collections Added   —

*  Ireland, Diocesan and Prerogative Marriage License Bonds Indexes, 1623-1866     (; 218,434 indexed records with 218,434 record images, ADDED 27 Sep 2019

Illinois, Kane County, Elgin, Gail Borden Public Library District, Local Newspaper Obituary Digital Index, 1922-2017    (; 66,820 indexed records with 66,820 record images, ADDED 26 Sep 2019

Ireland, Diocesan and Prerogative Wills & Administrations Indexes, 1595-1858    (; 364,122 indexed records with 364,122 record images, ADDED 27 Sep 2019

England, Lancashire, Rusholme Road Cemetery 1821-1933   (; 67,177 indexed records with 67,177 record images, ADDED 27 Sep 2019

*  France, Gironde, Civil Registration, 1696-1912  (; Index only, no images, ADDED 25 Sep 2019

— Collections Updated —

Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, Allegheny Cemetery Records, 1845 – 1960       (; 195,720 indexed records with 39,635 record images (was 193,352 records with 39,613 images), Updated 24 Sep 2019

Nova Scotia Deaths, 1864-1877   (; 9,148 indexed records with 27,717 record images (was 9,063 records with 27,717 images), Updated 27 Sep 2019

Minnesota Deaths, 1887-2001     (; 66,323 indexed records with 66,279 record images (was 39,099 records with 39,068 images), Updated 28 Sep 2019

Manitoba Church Records, 1800-1959      (; 9,862 indexed records with 6,567 record images (was 8,879 records with 6,567 images), Updated 28 Sep 2019

United States Deceased Physician File (AMA), 1864-1968  (; 532,940 indexed records with 707,724 record images (was 532,611 records with 707,724 images), Updated 23 Sep 2019

England, Huntingdonshire Parish Registers       (; 248,616 indexed records with 12,382 record images (was 126,104 records with 5,959 images), Updated 27 Sep 2019

Germany, Bavaria, Diocese of Augsburg, Catholic Church Records, 1615-1939       (; Browse 1,165,845 Images only, no index (was 0 records with 835,572 images), Updated 24 Sep 2019

England and Wales Census, 1871  (; 22,933,411 indexed records with 1,281,291 record images (was 22,933,411 records with 1,281,291 images), Updated 27 Sep 2019

Delaware Vital Record Index Cards, 1680-1934    (; 52,015 indexed records with 134,797 record images (was 4,343 records with 134,797 images), Updated 28 Sep 2019

United States, GenealogyBank Obituaries, 1980-2014      (; 34,153,315 indexed records with 46,885,712 record images (was 34,153,315 records with 46,885,712 images), Updated 27 Sep 2019

Peru, Cemetery Records, 1912-2013       (; 121,589 indexed records with 2,995 record images (was 120,038 records with 2,993 images), Updated 28 Sep 2019

Colorado, Jefferson County, Wheat Ridge, Crown Hill Cemetery Records, 1900-1950 (; 27,111 indexed records with 1,299 record images (was 26,150 records with 1,254 images), Updated 27 Sep 2019

New Jersey, Death Index, 1901-1903      (; 94,450 indexed records with 1,031 record images (was 94,301 records with 1,029 images), Updated 23 Sep 2019

Colombia, Bogotá, Burial Permits, 1960-1991     (; 1,023 indexed records with 4,645 record images (was 288 records with 1,108 images), Updated 28 Sep 2019

Hawaii, World War I Service Records, 1917-1919  (; 9,527 indexed records with 9,512 record images (was 9,527 records with 9,512 images), Updated 24 Sep 2019

Virginia, Slave Birth Index, 1853-1866  (; 151,551 indexed records with 2,561 record images (was 148,016 records with 2,501 images), Updated 27 Sep 2019

South Carolina, Charleston County, Charleston, Birth Registers, 1901-1926       (; 16,917 indexed records with 1,096 record images (was 16,636 records with 1,078 images), Updated 27 Sep 2019

Alabama, County Birth Registers, 1881-1930      (; 212,623 indexed records with 35,777 record images (was 152,807 records with 27,223 images), Updated 28 Sep 2019

Louisiana, Orleans Parish, Birth Records, 1819-1906     (; 21,693 indexed records with 10,829 record images (was 16,609 records with 8,304 images), Updated 28 Sep 2019

Peru, Huánuco, Civil Registration, 1889-1997    (; 10,153 indexed records with 708,628 record images (was 4,392 records with 708,628 images), Updated 28 Sep 2019

— Collections with new images —

England, Hampshire Parish Registers, 1538-1980  (; 1,856,675 indexed records with 140,294 record images (was 1,856,675 records with 134,436 images),  26 Aug 2019

France, Dordogne, Church and Civil Registration, 1540-1896      (; 7,882,907 indexed records with 3,099,653 record images (was 7,882,907 records with 3,097,802 images),  28 Mar 2018

Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1500-1971   (; 3,503,512 indexed records with 8,061,512 record images (was 3,503,512 records with 8,060,529 images),  14 Mar 2019

Germany, Rhineland, Diocese of Trier, Catholic Church Records, 1704-1957        (; 2,043,205 indexed records with 206,456 record images (was 2,043,205 records with 194,182 images),  12 Sep 2019

Oregon, Multnomah County, Voting Registration Records, 1908-1958        (; 988,549 indexed records with 982,465 record images (was 988,549 records with 980,956 images),  5 Jul 2019

— Collections with images removed —

United States, Native American, Census Rolls, 1885-1940 (; 5,344,149 indexed records with 281,154 record images (was 5,344,149 records with 292,272 images),  27 Aug 2019

United States, Cemetery Abstracts       (; 468,634 indexed records with 64,640 record images (was 468,634 records with 69,349 images),  17 Sep 2019

South Africa, Pietermaritzburg Estate Files 1846-1950   (; 439,965 indexed records with 315,683 record images (was 439,965 records with 316,352 images),  3 May 2019

United States, Veterans Administration Master Index, 1917-1940  (; 6,931,032 indexed records with 5,610,973 record images (was 6,931,032 records with 5,610,978 images),  9 Aug 2019

— Collections with records removed —

United States Public Records, 1970-2009 (; Index only (875,610,644 records), no images (was 875,610,657 records with 0 images),  17 Jun 2015

California Birth Index, 1905-1995       (; Index only (24,589,479 records), no images (was 24,589,480 records with 0 images),  1 Mar 2012

In order to select a specific record collection on FamilySearch, go to and use the “Filter by collection name” feature in the upper left-hand corner and use keywords (e.g. “church england”) to find collections with those keywords.

My friend, Marshall, has come up with a way to determine which collections are ADDED, DELETED or UPDATED.  Thanks to Marshall for helping me out here!

Each one of the collections listed above has a Research Wiki page (use the “Learn more” link).  It would be very useful if the Wiki page for each collection listed the dates for when the collection was added as a new collection and the dates for major updates also.


The URL for this post is:  

Copyright (c) 2019, Randall J. Seaver

Please comment on this post on the website by clicking the URL above and then the “Comments” link at the bottom of each post.  Share it on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest using the icons below.  Or contact me by email at

“What an unparallel’d Stock of Assurance & Self-Confidence”

In the fall of 1769, Boston’s non-importation controversy heated up. The town’s merchants, supported and pushed by the radical Whigs, had agreed not to order anything but necessities from Britain until Parliament repealed the Townshend duties.

Boston’s merchants had set up a committee of inspection to enforce that boycott, which had the added effect of showing the merchants of other towns that they were serious.

Edes and Gill’s Boston Gazette ran on the front of each issue a short list of the merchants who hadn’t signed on. One of those names was the bookseller John Mein.

Mein, who also published the Boston Chronicle newspaper, responded by running documents from the Customs office showing what goods were being imported and by whom. Many of Boston’s most prominent merchants appeared in those documents, and they filled the newspapers with angry denials that they had actually imported anything. Or if they had, they had very good reasons.

Few of those angry denials were as angry and denialist as what Francis Green (1742-1809) published in the Boston Evening-Post on 25 Sept 1769, two hundred fifty years ago today. Mein had published Green’s manifest in late August. Green responded with a denial in the Boston Gazette on 4 September. Mein answered in his Chronicle on 7 September and then, when no reply appeared, again on 18 September.

Green then unleashed this magnificent diatribe:

To the PUBLIC.

A Most thorough Disdain of John Mein, is the true Cause of my not having hitherto given any Attention to his late public impertinent and arrogant Queries and Objections.

What an unparallel’d Stock of Assurance & Self-Confidence must this contemptible Fellow be possessed of, to imagine himself entitled to call, Time after Time, with the most audacious Effrontery, upon one and another of his Superiors, for Answers to the most pert and saucy Questions that ever issued from the conceited, empty Noddle, of a most profound Blockhead!

Who gave this Mushroom Judge, Authority, to summon even a Chimney-Sweeper to his ridiculous Tribunal? or wantonly, presumptuously, and very fallaciously to assume the respectable Title of The Public, in his romantic and indecent Addresses to an affronted Community? From whence does this so late an abject and Cap-in-Hand Beggar of Favours in a strange Country, derive the Shadow of Right, to put on a dictatorial Air, and publickly to insult his Benefactors? Ingratitude, Perverseness, and the most obstinate Self-Sufficiency, with a large Share of egregious Folly, can alone account for such Insolence and Stupidity; to the natural Consequence of which I drop him with ineffable Contempt.—

But lest any Part of the Public should be deceived by his Insinuations respecting my Importation in the Susanna, H. Johnson, Master. I now assure the World, that, (tho’ I hold not myself so cheap as to yield any Account to John Mein) if any Gentleman is yet unsatisfied, and chuses to apply either to the Committee of Merchants or to me, he may and shall be convinced, beyond all Possibility of Doubt, that I did not deviate from the Agreement in any Instance, of Course did not import any Tea.

But as I consider the entering into any kind of Contest with John Mein, as too great a Stoop, and as any Notice being taken of him, even in Opposition, may tend to make him of some little Consequence, and seems to be what he is aiming at, the Public, will, I doubt not, excuse my adding to the general Neglect of him, by never answering any of his future Publications, even though his consummate Impudence, should prompt him to be more vulgarly scurrilous, than he has already repeatedly been to the Committee of Merchants.

Sept. 20, 1769.

Green thus attacked Mein as an upstart mechanic, a recent arrival in Boston, and a purveyor of fake news who didn’t deserve to question a gentleman like himself.

For all his anger, however, Green proved to be a less than staunch supporter of non-importation. He had brought in proscribed goods. According to the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, “he was dropped from [the Whigs’] ranks in 1769 for violating the non-importation agreement.” By May 1770 Green was probably arguing to end the boycott, and in early 1774 he was among the Loyalists voting to have the town meeting quash its committee of correspondence.

During the siege of Boston, Green stayed in town with the British military, was an officer in a Loyalist militia company, and evacuated to Halifax. He became just as much of a Loyalist as John Mein.

Announcing: DearMYRTLE’s new blog "Myrt’s Musings"


Yup! I’ve taken the plunge and designed a new blog called Myrt’s Musings. It will include all the news, hangouts announcements and opinionated moderating my DearREADERS have come to expect.

So head on over to

Frankly, I’ve had a ball experimenting with Wordpress. After consulting with 3 experts, we realize its impossible to import my old DearMYRTLE’s Genealogy Blog posts over without a ton of broken links. It had something to do with a custom domain redirect. Yikes!

Yes, I love Blogger, but I’m loving Wordpress, too. 

That sounds like a line from a country western song.

P.S. Genea-friend and fellow GeneaBloggerTRIBE member Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings said it’s ok if Ol’ Myrt here uses the word “musings.” I’m guessing he doesn’t have a copyright on the use of that word.

P. P. S. – I’ve got a whole new color scheme. Wonder if that means I’ll need to make a new quilt backdrop for our upcoming hangouts? Hmmmm.

Happy family tree climbing!

Hangouts: Pay what you want. So it’s simple. If you value the work Ol’ Myrt, +Cousin Russ and our beloved panelists do week in and week out on your behalf, please:

Check the DearMYRTLE Hangouts Calendar for upcoming study groups and hangouts. There you’ll find links to the GeneaConference (in-person) and the GeneaWebinars Calendar with over over 200 hours of online genealogy classes, webinars, live streams and
tweetchats from other hosts and presenters over the next 12 months.

Dear #NGS2017GEN Attendees

The Ancestry Insider is a member of the NGS 2017 conference social media press.For those headed off to the 2017 National Genealogical Society Conference, in Raleigh, North Carolina, from 10‒13 May 2017, I have two items: syllabus and conference app.

I attended a genealogy conference recently and heard that some attendees—first time conference attendees—were confused when presenters kept referring to handouts and syllabi. They were surprised that other attendees seemed to have copies of these handouts when they, themselves did not.

Don’t be caught in the same situation at NGS.

If you paid for a printed syllabus or syllabus on a flash drive, then you will receive said syllabus when you check-in at the conference. If not (or even if you did), you should download the syllabus PDF file beforehand and print any pages that you wish to hold in your physical paws during the conference. All conference attendees should have received by now an email with instructions on how to download the syllabus. (I received my email on Friday, 28 April 2017.) The file is 70 megabytes, so it will take forever to download if you wait and try to do it using the conference center wi-fi. Wi-fi connections at conference centers are seldom robust.

I also wanted to point out that the conference app is available now for download. To download it, visit The app offers another way to access class syllabi. To access the syllabus through the app requires a password. You received that password in the same email that gave instructions on downloading the PDF. Reading the syllabus on a phone is difficult, but it isn’t bad on a tablet.

If you have attended an NGS conference before and never deleted the conference app, then when you install this time, there is an additional step you must take to see this year’s conference. The new conference app uses a blue color scheme (below, left). If you see the green color scheme from last year (below, right), you need to tap the icon on the bottom row that is titled “Exit to Conference List.” Then select the 2017 conference.

2017 National Genealogical Society Family History Conference app2016 National Genealogical Society Family History Conference app

The third of the two things I wanted to mention was the class schedule. Look through it beforehand to decide which classes you wish to attend, and which classes to attend if your first choices are full. If you are inclined to purchase recordings of some sessions, consider attending other sessions at corresponding times. Sessions marked “(R)” will be audio recorded and those marked “(LS)” will be lived streamed and video recorded.

Hope to see you next week, at the 2017 National Genealogical Society Family History Conference!

Genealogist-on-Demand: Virtual Consultation Service announced by Legacy Tree Genealogists

Legacy Tree Genealogists is a well known and highly respected genealogy research company. Now the company has announced expansion into a slightly different service for genealogists. The following announcement was written by Legacy Tree Genealogists:

[SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH, September 19, 2019] – Legacy Tree Genealogists, the world’s leading genealogy research firm, announced today the launch of a new service—45-minute, virtual one-on-one consultations with a professional genealogist. At only 100 USD, these consultations provide users with a cost-effective resource to have their research questions answered in real-time by a professional genealogist, from the comfort of their own home.

Users have the option to schedule either a DNA Consultation with a genetic genealogist who can explain their DNA test results, or a Genealogy Consultation with access to one of their worldwide researchers with expertise in regions around the globe, including England, Ireland, Scotland, and Australia.

“We recognize that not everyone interested in learning more about their personal family history may have the budget, or the need, for in-depth research services,” said Legacy Tree president, Jessica Taylor. “Many people enjoy the challenge that genealogy research can provide, but may benefit from having a professional genealogist provide them with research strategies that will help them extend their family history even further. These consultations are the perfect solution.”

Tailored to your specific research questions, the one-on-one consultations are conducted utilizing screen sharing technology that allows the user to share documents, records, or DNA results with the genealogist in a secure, virtual environment.

“We pride ourselves on being innovators within the industry, and will continue to lead out on ensuring everyone has access to professional genealogy research assistance and can experience the satisfaction that comes from connecting with ones’ roots,” said Taylor.

Legacy Tree will continue to expand its consultation offerings to include additional regions in the near future in order to continue to serve the global genealogy community.


About Legacy Tree Genealogists

Legacy Tree Genealogists is the world’s leading genealogy research firm. Founded in 2004, the mission of the company is to bridge the divide between clients and their ancestors, helping them discover their roots and personal history. Legacy Trees’ team of professional genealogists search the world for answers and find the un-findable. Based near the world’s largest family history library in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah, Legacy Tree has developed a network of professional researchers and archives around the globe. Visit

Dear Randy: Do You Ignore Ancestry Hints?

Sherry asked a question in email recently concerning Ancestry Hints:

Do you use the ignore button to get rid of a hint once you have recorded your information or do you leave it there are try to remember where you were on the list of hints?”

Here is my response:

I do IGNORE every Record Hint that I look at for my Ancestry Member Tree, perhaps with a few exceptions.  That way, I know that I’ve at least looked at it, and often include the record information in my RootsMagic tree, add a source citation, perhaps a Note.  If it’s a useful record for one of my ancestors, I will save the record image to my computer files and add the Media item to the person profile in my RootsMagic tree. 

On Ancestry, even the IGNOREd hints are saved on the Hints page, so I can go look at them if I choose to.  I like that capability, because occasionally I find that I need to look at them again.  

The RootsMagic WebHints feature shows all of the Ancestry WebHints found for a person, and the list includes New, Ignored, and Accepted Hints.  I can accept or reject them from RootsMagic also.

I would never remember where I was on the list of Record Hints!  I have over 115,000 Record Hints now.  Sometimes it is days later when I come back to the Hint list, and Ancestry has added dozens or hundreds more hints.  I usually start with the latest first, and try to work through 200 or so in one sitting.  I try to do this 3-4 times a week.  I never seem to catch up!  I do what I can, but am resigned that I will never be “finished.”

Note that I don’t add information to my RootsMagic tree for every Hint – I already have events and source citations for many of them, and don’t add information for other trees, for duplicate entries (some state vital records are in multiple collections), or for general collections (e.g., Millennium File, AGBI, etc.).  I seem to add information for one in every 10 to 20 Record hints (I haven’t collected statistics on this).  On the other hand, I look at the “Suggested Records” for a person in a record to determine if there are other records of use to me.

I have found that if I TreeShare every other night I can limit the number of new Record Hints and am able to work through some of the older Hints.  

I look at the Photo and Story Hints occasionally so as not to miss something for one of my ancestors.  

Some readers may wonder “don’t you help Ancestry by telling them why you accepted or rejected a Hint?”  

This task is a bit time intensive for me, so I don’t do that – I just Ignore them.  


Disclosure:  I have had a fully paid subscription since 2000. has provided material considerations for travel expenses to meetings, and has hosted events and meals that I have attended in Salt Lake City, in past years.

Copyright (c) 2019, Randall J. Seaver

Please comment on this post on the website by clicking the URL above and then the “Comments” link at the bottom of each post.  Share it on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest using the icons below.  Or contact me by email at

Follow-Up to Another “Interesting” Obituary about Joseph Heller, Jr.

Last week I published an article at about Joe Heller’s obituary. It seems that his funeral and burial ceremony have now taken place and, as you might expect, both were a bit “unusual.”

According to the New York Times at

On Friday morning, Mr. Heller’s body, in a coffin draped with an American flag, was placed on the 1941 Mack fire truck he helped restore and taken to Centerbrook Cemetery to be buried next to his wife, Irene, who died in 2015, and whom he embarrassed daily “with his mouth and choice of clothing,” according to the obituary.

Family members followed the fire truck in Mr. Heller’s immaculately restored 1932 Plymouth roadster with, as per his request, a set of plastic testicles dangling from the rear bumper.

There’s more information available at:

Darned Record: No Father — Just Growed

imageWe depend upon records to reveal the “truth” about the past. Yet sometimes records have anomalies. Some are amusing or humorous. Some are interesting or weird. Some are peculiar or suspicious. Some are infuriating, or downright laughable. Records say the darnedest things!

Reader Steve Squier shared this:

Hello, I thought you might like to use the attached image for one of your “Records Say the Darnedest Things” posts. The first entry in this register of births is for an unnamed daughter of a Miss Knox, of whose father the clerk wrote: “hain’t got none just growed.”

Source: Taylor County, Iowa, Register of Births, vol. 1 (1880–1897): 160, entry no. 110 for [unnamed female]; County Courthouse, Bedford; digital images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 April 2017); imaged from FHL film no. 1,035,143, item no. 1.

Unfortunately, I can’t show you the image. To see it, visit your local family history center and click here:

New Free Historical Records on FamilySearch: Week of 9 September 2019

The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

FamilySearch added newfree, historical records this week from Bolivia, Costa Rica, Germany, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Russia, Spain and the United States. 

Search these new records and images by clicking on the collection links below, or go to FamilySearch to search over 8 billion free names and record images.

Country Collection Indexed Records Digital Images Comments
Bolivia Bolivia Catholic Church Records, 1566-1996 120,328 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
Costa Rica Costa Rica, Civil Registration, 1823-1975 42,462 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
Germany Germany, Prussia, Westphalia, Minden, Miscellaneous Collections from the Municipal Archives, 1574-1912 18 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
Germany Germany, Prussia, Saxony, Census Lists, 1770-1934 61,223 0 New indexed records collection
Panama Panama, Catholic Church Records, 1707-1973 36,461 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
Paraguay Paraguay, Catholic Church Records, 1754-2015 159,525 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
Peru Peru, Puno, Civil Registration, 1890-2005 9,161 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
Peru Peru, Lima, Civil Registration, 1874-1996 306,796 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
Portugal Portugal, Porto, Catholic Church Records, 1535-1949 27,59 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
Russia Russia, Samara Church Books 1748-1934 6,463 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
Spain Spain, Province of La Coruña, Municipal Records, 1648-1941 30,264 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
United States United States, Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Military Servicemen in World War I Records, 1919 4,736 0 New indexed records collection
About FamilySearch

FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at or through over 5,000 family history centers in 129 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.