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Monday CoronaBuzz, March 30, 2020: 35 pointers to new resources, useful stuff, research news, and more.

This newsletter now has its own Twitter account at @buzz_corona. I have managed to kludge up an IFTTT recipe so the same tweets will also appear on the @ResearchBuzz Twitter feed, only the hashtags aren’t good and the link is to RB Firehose, and not directly to the articles. I apologize but it’s the best I can do without adding a good chunk to my workflow. I’m only doing one of these newsletters a day so they’re going to be enormous. Wash your hands. I love you.


Metro: Mental health support website launched for NHS staff battling coronavirus. “Trained cognitive behavioural hypnotherapists Slee Parrish and Alex James designed NHS in Mind after feeling that staff were being ‘sent out with watering cans to put out a bush fire’. The new website features instructions for a set of eight techniques, accompanied by simple YouTube videos, for employees who are experiencing feelings of fear or stress while at work.” These are basic, quick exercises that look like they’d be good for anybody experiencing anxiety or stress.

Patch: MA Coronavirus: Companies Can Donate, Sell Protective Gear Online. “State officials have launched a new website allowing companies to donate or sell masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment to hospitals battling the new coronavirus. Gov. Charlie Baker announced the launch of the state’s ‘COVID-19 PPE Procurement and Donation Program.’ The site went live Sunday.” The site also has volunteering opportunities.

KCRG: New website hopes to streamline small businesses efforts to stay open. “While [Adamn] Hadjis and many other restaurants struggle to adapt in these unprecedented times, Monica Vernon, the Executive Director of the Czech Village New Bohemia, is hoping to streamline people’s efforts with a new website “Loveyourlocaliowa. The website launches Monday and will allow businesses to show people what they are doing to stay open while also giving customers a chance to learn how to get in touch with them all in one place.” The formatting for the URL is a little messed up; I’m hoping that’ll be fixed.

News 5 Cleveland: Web developer creates website to help shoppers navigate COVID-19 pandemic. “With COVID-19 concerns causing many to panic-buy items at the grocery store, getting the essentials might end up a struggle for many shoppers. That’s how one web developer got the idea for a new website to help shoppers out., the website created by Chris Violette, allows users to check the stores around them and see what they have in stock before they leave the house.”

Williamson Herald: UT Extension identifies resources for direct farm marketers during COVID-19 outbreak. “Like other businesses and families, Tennessee’s direct farm marketers, value-added agriculture entrepreneurs and agritourism operators are facing new and imposing challenges posed by the COVID-19 outbreak and by local, state and national efforts to flatten the curve of infections. Navigating the situation is a daunting task, so the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture has developed a website to support farmers who are making critical decisions and business adjustments.”

Hawaii News Now: Entrepreneurs launch website to collect data, provide info on coronvirus in Hawaii. “A group of entrepreneurs with Hawaii ties is launching a new website to provide information to the public — and to gather data on the spread of COVID-19 in the islands. The ‘Hawaii Towards Zero’ website was developed by Traven Watase, Rose Wong, Denise Sangalang and Leo Koloamatangi. Their site will include links ranging from local businesses to health advice and financial tips for those affected by the coronavirus.”

The Local France: France sets up website for people wanting to help out during coronavirus crisis. “The French government site aims to connect those who need help during the strict lockdown with those who want to help – while keeping to the principle of social distancing to avoid spreading coronavirus further.”

PR Newswire: Trip. com launches COVID-19 international traveler’s guide (PRESS RELEASE). ” In light of the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on international travel, today launched the ‘COVID-19 International Traveler’s Guide’, a one-stop information source designed to make planning travel safer and easier in a period of uncertainty.” Am kind of ambivalent about posting this. On one hand I don’t think you should travel if you can possibly avoid it. On the other hand I can imagine scenarios where you can’t avoid it.

KTVL: My NeighbOR initiative helps over 200 foster families during COVID-19. “According to Lynette Hasse, Every Child Director of Jackson County, ‘As of Friday, there have been 650 Oregonians that have stepped up to say they would like to help the foster care crisis and 207 foster families have stepped up to say “we need help.”‘ My NeighbOR was created to help foster children and foster families during the COVID-19 spread throughout Oregon.”

Reason: New Twitter Feed, @EpidemicLaw, for Posts About Law and Epidemics (and This Epidemic). “I’ll post links there to interesting new items, from both our blog and elsewhere.” That’s pretty much the whole article.

Vintage Guitar: Vintage Guitar Opens Large Digital Back Issue Archives to All. “Subscribers to Vintage Guitar enjoy access to the magazine’s online digital archive of every complete issue going back to 2013. Now, to celebrate our 400th issue and help entertain homebound guitarists worldwide, we are waiving the subscription requirement and making the entire archive available to everyone for the next two months (ends May 31, 20120.)”

PR Newswire: NotForgotten Announces Free Video Archives to Record the Real History of the COVID-19 Pandemic (PRESS RELEASE). “NotForgotten enables users to capture stories, significant life events and journal them through an easy-to-use app interface. NotForgotten is inviting the general public to contribute to a future, accurate record of history. People can share their personal experience of the COVID-19 pandemic that will be immortalized for generations to come.”


Slate: My Anxiety About COVID-19 Is Through the Roof. “I want to begin by saying this: Anyone who is not anxious right now is in denial. That’s fine: If denial helps them to cope, I’m not criticizing them—as long as they are also following the guidelines for social distancing, hand-washing, and other sensible precautions.”

Food & Wine: How to Support Your Favorite Wineries During the Pandemic. “The wine industry as a whole is bracing for the reality of continued uncertainty. From California to Oregon and Washington, east to Texas, Virginia, and New York, along with every state in America where wine is made, wineries are adapting as fast as they can. The best advice the industry is giving itself is: don’t panic; and to everyone else the message is: keep buying wine.”

TODAY: This anti-bullying advocate is hosting virtual knitting circles. Here’s how to join. “Twice a day, Shira Blumenthal has become a calming presence for her followers who join her for Facebook Live knitting sessions while they’re practicing social distancing. It’s about ‘having that opportunity not only to talk to someone, but see someone,’ she told TODAY. ‘I’m cooped up in my apartment in Manhattan with my two cats. I am quarantining and haven’t seen any people and it’s hard for me.’”

CNET: How to help restaurants, hospitals and people during the coronavirus outbreak. “While the world braces for cases of the COVID-19 disease to swell and for the economic and social impacts to fully make themselves known, read on for ways you can act — from donating personal protective equipment to hospitals to remote volunteering or sending a letter to a stranger just to let them know you’re there.”

Philadelphia Inquirer: The best ways to professionally network while socially distancing during coronavirus. “A record 3.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, the U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday. And 540,000 of those new lost jobs claims came from Pennsylvanians, the Labor Department reported.This makes it even more important to stay connected as business conversations resume on Slack, Skype and Zoom from our dining room tables.”

Wired: Coronavirus lies are going viral. It’s essential we all fight back. “Once again, the agents of disinformation are hijacking the algorithms of social media to sow chaos and confusion. Some are doing so to make money, others more maliciously to undermine public trust in our governments and institutions. As the coronavirus lockdowns continue, and the infection rates continue to rise, these problems will only get worse. At a time when people need to be able to rely on accurate public information, this problem is more serious than ever.”

Chicago Tribune: Bored and on a budget? Here’s how to read for free while social distancing. “In the past week, publishers and audio entertainment companies have offered a deluge of free e-books and audiobooks to keep readers of all ages engaged while they’re hunkered down at home. Parents, teachers and kids can choose from electronic editions of beloved stories such as Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein,’ Ann McGovern’s ‘Stone Soup,’ Jack London’s ‘The Call of the Wild’ and Charlotte Brontë’s ‘Jane Eyre.’”


New York Times: Liberty University Brings Back Its Students, and Coronavirus, Too. “Mr. Falwell — a staunch ally of President Trump and an influential voice in the evangelical world — reopened the university last week, igniting a firestorm, epidemiologically and otherwise. As of Friday, Dr. Eppes said, nearly a dozen Liberty students were sick with symptoms that suggest Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus. Three were referred to local hospital centers for testing. Another eight were told to self-isolate.”

Hindustan Times: Zoom, the viral video conferencing app, races to the top of Google Play Store. “On the Google Play Store (India version), Zoom’s Android app is at the top under the ‘top free’ section. The app is followed by TikTok, UVideo, Aaj Tak, Helo, and Shareit. WhatsApp is at the sixth position of the rankings. Zoom, rated 4 stars on Play Store, has over 50 million downloads. Most downloads have come in the recent weeks.”

Search Engine Journal: Facebook Focusing on Live Streaming As Usage Spikes During COVID-19 Lockdowns. “Facebook is abruptly shifting the focus of product development toward live streaming as COVID-19 lockdowns lead to increased demand. Fidji Simo, head of the Facebook app, told Bloomberg over the weekend that Facebook Live is ‘exploding’ right now.”


Defense One: How to Counter China’s Coronavirus Disinformation Campaign. “Whether we like it or not, the United States is engaged on a new battlefield defined by the ‘speed, spread, and accessibility of information,’ as P.W. Singer and Emerson T. Brooking write in their prescient book, Like War: The Weaponization of Social Media. But our government does not appear to have received the memo. As a result, we’re losing the global war over the narrative about COVID-19 in the midst of a global pandemic. And there is much more at stake than words.”

The Globe and Mail: Love is not cancelled: How these Canadians found coronavirus-safe ways to mark weddings, birthdays and more. “They were about to get married, retire from a fire department, celebrate the end of cancer treatment – and then COVID-19 changed their plans. These are their stories.”

DMARGE: Influencers Face Criticism For ‘Blogging As Usual’ During Bali Shutdown. “Indonesia has so far recorded just 790 positive cases of Covid-19 across a nation of more than 270 million, and 58 deaths. However, ‘For the past few days, the number of positive cases has increased by about 100 each day.’ ‘Many health care professionals fear Indonesia is on the brink of a crisis and that the true number of cases and deaths is much higher.’ In other words: for now, stay inside. This is exactly what couple Marie Fe and Jake Snow, who make a living blogging the world, are doing.”

The Guardian: New Zealand site to report Covid-19 rule-breakers crashes amid spike in lockdown anger. “So many New Zealanders have reported their neighbours to the authorities for breaking lockdown rules that a new police website to record such incidents crashed. More than 2,000 people rang an emergency police line last week to report rule-breakers. As a result, a dedicated website was set up in the hope it would dissuade them from ringing 111.”

Asharq Al-Awsat: Exclusive – Egyptians Turn to Jokes to Break Fear Barrier amid Coronavirus. “Traffic in Cairo, which used to move at 11 kilometers an hour before the virus struck, has now reached humanly possible limits. The choice to remain in self-isolation is being laxly implemented during the day and turns into curfew at night at the order of the prime minister. This has weighed heavily on nighttime internet traffic. People have clamored to send and receive information about the pandemic, but above all else, they exchange jokes in order to break the barrier of fear.”

Ahval News: Confined to homes, Turks post comedic lockdown videos on social media. “As Turkey’s deadly coronavirus figures continue to soar, the public is seeking to lighten the sombre atmosphere created by the nation-wide restrictions in effect during the pandemic. People have been creating comical social media videos about the hurdles faced in complying with the precautionary measures.”

Tech Times: Social Media Misinformation That Led to 300 Deaths in Iran Claimed That Drinking Methanol was a Cure for COVID-19. “300 Iranians have died and at least 1,000 became sick from poisoning after drinking methanol. This was because of misinformation being passed around saying that it was a cure for the novel coronavirus or COVID-19.”

Vice: Instagram Parents Are Documenting ‘Baby’s First Pandemic’. “As we all try to find levity by any means possible, some parents have turned to a new Instagram milestone: “baby’s first pandemic,” the hashtag for which has close to 1,300 associated Instagram posts as of this writing. (There’s also #myfirstpandemic.)”

Canton Repository: Readers flock to apocalyptic fiction amid coronavirus outbreak. “Many people are choosing to seek out fiction that hits close to home right now. Rachel Colby’s choice for a recent Sunday night movie was hardly the sort of escapism that many people seek in times of crisis. Instead, it was the all-too-real 2011 Matt Damon movie ‘Contagion.’ But rather than add to any possible distress due to the current coronavirus crisis, the film about a deadly infection spreading across the globe allayed some of Colby’s fears.”


Khaleej Times: BCG vaccine a potential new tool to fight Covid-19: Study. “Examining how the Covid-19 has impacted different countries, researchers have found that Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG), a vaccine for tuberculosis (TB), could be a potential new tool in the fight against the disease.”


CNN: Exclusive: Justice Department reviews stock trades by lawmakers after coronavirus briefings. “The Justice Department has started to probe a series of stock transactions made by lawmakers ahead of the sharp market downturn stemming from the spread of coronavirus, according to two people familiar with the matter.”

Turkey Purge: Turkey investigates at least 372 social media users over coronavirus posts: report. “Turkish prosecutors have launched investigations into 372 people due to their social media posts or behavior that violates prohibitions aimed at controlling the spread of the new coronavirus. As part of the investigations, three people have been arrested and three others have been indicted, while 21 of them have been released from detention on judicial probation.”

New York Times: The U.S. Tried to Build a New Fleet of Ventilators. The Mission Failed.. “Today, with the coronavirus ravaging America’s health care system, the nation’s emergency-response stockpile is still waiting on its first shipment. The scarcity of ventilators has become an emergency, forcing doctors to make life-or-death decisions about who gets to breathe and who does not. The stalled efforts to create a new class of cheap, easy-to-use ventilators highlight the perils of outsourcing projects with critical public-health implications to private companies; their focus on maximizing profits is not always consistent with the government’s goal of preparing for a future crisis.”

CoronaBuzz is brought to you by ResearchBuzz. I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment, send resource suggestions, or tag @buzz_corona on Twitter. Thanks!

UPDATE #18: Genealogy Cancellations and Postponements Due to Coronavirus

New updates: United Kingdom, Georgia, Minnesota, and Virginia

As the COVID-19 (or Coronavirus) outbreak spreads, many public events are being canceled, postponed, or turned into virtual events. Whether as a result of travel bans, laws banning large gatherings, or an abundance of caution, officials are canceling, postponing, or converting events to virtual conferences… leaving show organizers, attendees, exhibitors, and sponsors scrambling to make alternative plans.

Genealogy events are not immune to these concerns. I plan to publish notices of cancellations of genealogy-related events for as long as there is a need for these notices.


New updates since the last update are marked with an asterisk (*).

New Zealand – DNA Discovery 2020 Classes in New Zealand to be Held Online as Virtual Meetings

Not only is this planned in-person classroom sessions being changed because of concerns about the CoronaVius pandemic, the change on “virtual classes” means that many more people will be able to attend from around the world. The following is an announcement from the DNA Discovery Team:

The virus may have stopped them hopping on a plane to New Zealand, but it won’t stop Blaine Bettinger & Angie Bush from sharing their knowledge.

Our Christchurch and Wellington DNA Discovery 2020 classrooms are now going virtual and you can attend them online from anywhere in the world.

For those that would like to attend virtually, click on the links below to book your ticket.

21-22 March – Virtual (was Christchurch), 10.00am – 4.30pm

27-28 March – Virtual (was Wellington) – 9.30am – 4.00pm

These events are in NZDT. Check our guide for converting your times.

USA – National Events

USA – National Genealogical Society’s Annual Conference scheduled for Salt Lake City, May 20 to 23, 2020

Click here to read a longer report concerning planning for this very large conference.

USA – Genealogy Cruise from New Jersey to Bermuda, with a stop in Newport, R.I., has been Canceled

We regret to announce that we have canceled our genealogy cruise to Newport and Bermuda, which had been scheduled for July 2020. We look forward to seeing you all when this passes. Those registered are being notified by the travel agency.

USA – Polish Genealogical Society of America Annual Conference, September 18-19, 2020, Has Been Cancelled

With the growing uncertainty surrounding the current coronovirus outbreak, plus the declaration of a nationwide medical emergency in the USA, the PGSA Board has unanimously agreed to cancel this year’s PGSA Conference, scheduled for September 18,19 in Chicago.

As we watch the media reports on the coronavirus pandemic, we see that it has become a global health concern, and although we pray that it fully abates in the coming months……. no one can predict when we’ll return to normal activities, such as travel, and group events such as conferences, etc. We regret cancellation of the 2020 Conference, but we believe it is the best course of action…

The PGSA Board will also be discussing possible options, such as organizing a “virtual conference” later this year, and we’ll be in touch with everyone with any updates along those lines.

USA by States, listed Alphabetically

USA – California – (Update of a previous announcement) The Sacramento Genealogical Society (also often referred to as “Root Cellar”) has postponed the Society’s Spring Seminar 2020 to September 19, 2020.

The Spring Seminar 2020 will be held at the same location as previously planned (Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church). The seminar is SOLD OUT according to their website. Details may be found at

USA –  California – The Southern California Genealogical Society Library Will Be Closed for the Remainder of March and All of April

From the SCGS web site at

Due to the threat of Covid-19, we will be closing the library for the reminder of March and for all of April.

Health providers are recommending that people over 60 avoid even small gatherings. Since many of our librarians and researcher have gained this age, we wish to protect their health and well-being. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation during this period of time.

USA – California – The Genealogy Society of Santa Cruz County is suspending all presentations and in library help through April 15.

USA – Connecticut – March 28, 2020 – Descendants of the Founders of Ancient Windsor Spring Meeting and Luncheon

This event has been cancelled due to the potential COVID-19 threat.

USA – Connecticut – Connecticut Society of Genealogists Program has been rescheduled for Saturday, September 19

Originally scheduled for March 21, 2020, the Connecticut Society of Genealogists presentation of Sandra Taitt-Eady of the Baobab Genealogy Society speaking on “The Connecticut-Caribbean Connection” has been rescheduled for Saturday, September 19 at 1:30 p.m.

USA – Georgia – Augusta Genealogical Society

The Adamson Library of the Augusta Genealogical Society will be closed until at least March 31st, as well as all scheduled workshops and meetings. Please check the website for updates at

(*) USA – Georgia – the Owsley Family Historical Society meeting scheduled for June 4-6, 2020, in Savannah, GA, has been cancelled until 2021.

All Owsley, Ousley and Housley descendants and friends, can refer to OFHS.ORG, for information.

USA – Indiana

The Indiana Genealogical Society’s 2020 Conference has been changed to a virtual one.More information will be available soon on the webpage:

USA – Iowa – Iowa Genealogical Society

Beginning on Friday, March 20th, at 4:00 PM Daylight Savings Time (our regular Friday closing time), the IGS library will be closed to the public until further notice. We WILL still have staff in the building to handle the day-to-day matters, but we just do not have enough staff or volunteers to complete the kind of rigorous, continuous cleaning and distancing necessary to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

We are also postponing all classes and interest group meetings until further notice, as well as our Spring Conference (originally slated for Saturday, April 18th). We will continue to communicate via our Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as this website,, and will keep you updated as new information becomes available. Please take care of yourselves and stay home as much as you can!

USA – Kansas – 2020 Heartland Family History Conference has been Canceled

We are very sorry to announce that, due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, we are cancelling the 2020 Heartland Family History Conference scheduled for April 3 – 4, 2020 in Topeka, KS. We are really disappointed to have to do this, as we have been looking forward with great excitement to the conference. This is a situation that none of us could have anticipated, and all of us must do our part to help contain the spread of this disease and protect the health of our friends, families, colleagues and community members.

The Conference Planning team is currently exploring alternatives such as rescheduling or other possible methods of making the conference content available to you. We will be meeting with the Topeka Genealogical Society Board in the upcoming week to determine how we will proceed from here. More information will be forthcoming.

USA – Kentucky – The National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (NSSAR or SAR) has closed their national headquarters and genealogy library in Louisville, Kentucky until further notice. Keep an eye on for further updates.

USA – Maine – The Maine Genealogical Society has cancelled its workshop with Cyndi Ingle scheduled for Saturday, April 18 in Augusta.

USA – Massachusetts – the Massachusetts Genealogical Council’s 2020 Seminar is now VIRTUAL
The Massachusetts Genealogical Council has switched gears and have changed the traditional format to a VIRTUAL SEMINAR on the same dates – April 4 and 5, 2020.  And the price is right – $42.50 for BOTH days (originally $85/day.). You’ll need to provide your own breakfast/lunch, but will be safely in the comfort of your home, benefitting from the same type of programming lineup, with access to an electronic syllabus, online chats with speakers, a chance to win participant prizes (think doorprizes), and plans for other content available over the following weeks.

USA – Maryland – Harford County, Maryland Library’s Genealogy Conference is Postponed until the Summer

Harford County Public Library’s seventh annual Genealogy Conference, which had been scheduled for later this month, has been postponed due to concerns over coronavirus. It will likely be rescheduled sometime this summer.

USA – Minnesota – Minnesota Genealogy Center to Close through April 18 because of CoronaVirus Concerns

The following is an announcement from the Minnesota Genealogical Society:

The Minnesota Genealogy Center and the Hoffman Research Library will be closed March 15 through April 18 to protect the health of our members and guests during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The scheduled March 28-29 MGC Open House and the April 18 MGS Spring Conference have been canceled; these events will possibly be rescheduled at a later date. Paid Spring Conference registrations will be fully refunded.

USA – Minnesota – The upcoming quarterly meeting of the Swedish Genealogical Society of Minnesota scheduled for March 21st has been cancelled.

After careful consideration, due to uncertainty and concerns about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) we have decided to err on the side of caution rather than the potential risk of our members being exposed to the virus.

(*) USA – Minnesota – The Irish Genealogical Society International (IGSI) April 25, 2020 “Getting Ready to Search Irish Records” class by Kevin Cassidy has been postponed to Saturday, September 19, 2020.

For details check

USA – Missouri – The St. Louis Genealogical Society’s Annual Family History Conference has been Halted

The St. Louis Genealogical Society’s Annual Family History Conference, “Proof Positive…Evidence in Court Records” featuring Judy Russell, JD, CG, CGL, was scheduled to be held on Saturday, 4 April 2020. The conference registration has been halted. We are working on online presentation at this time, but there will be no conference on Saturday, April 4. Details and future updates may be found at

USA – New Jersey – The Ukrainian History and Education Center

The “Nashi Predky — Our Ancestors” Family History Conference is transitioning to an ONLINE format due to the CoronaVirus Pandemic.

The conference will be on the same date (April 4, 2020) with the same great speaker lineup, and at a reduced price! There will be interactive presentations with an opportunity to ask questions and to participate from the comfort of your own home. Registration link and details available at

USA – New York

The New York branch office of the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration will remain closed until at least March 20th due to the CoronaVirus concerns. See for the details.

USA – New York – The Bronx – June 4 – Cancelled: DNA Testing – Get into Your Hand-Me-Down Genes

USA – North Carolina – Tar Heel Discoveries, originally to be held 19-24 April 2020, has been postponed indefinitely.

Until 109 E. Jones St., Raleigh, NC, home of the State Archives of North Carolina and The Government & Heritage Library (State Library of NC) reopen, it is not possible to see if the program can be rescheduled.

USA – Ohio – April 11 – the April Meeting of the Montgomery County Chapter, Ohio Genealogical Society has been canceled

USA – Ohio – The Ohio Genealogical Society annual conference (April 29 – May 2) has been cancelled.

With much regret, the Ohio Genealogical Society has cancelled the 2020 Annual Conference (scheduled for Apr 29-May 2) due to the Governor of Ohio’s mandate on large meetings during the coronavirus pandemic.

The safety and well-being of those attending is our utmost concern. These are unique times and circumstances for all of us.

Those that have registered will receive an email within the next week outlining your refund options. Refunds make take up to 60 days to process.

We thank you for your continuing support. We look forward to seeing you in 2021. If you have questions, we can be contacted at

USA – Oregon – March 13-23: Genealogical Forum of Oregon Postpones Genealogy Open House Due to Coronavirus Concerns

Observing an abundance of caution, the Genealogical Forum of Oregon is postponing its free Genealogy Open House which had been due to begin March 13 and run for 10 days.

As the coronavirus has been detected in the Portland metro area, people are increasingly worried about gathering in public groups. We share that concern.

All 40 free classes will be rescheduled to this fall. Special guest speaker John Schmal, expert on Mexican Ancestry, is also postponing his appearance originally scheduled for the evening of March 18.

The Genealogical Forum of Oregon also is immediately suspending all 17 Special Interest Groups and meetings of the Portland Mac Users Group from the GFO Library. We have also canceled the GenTalk about PERSI Resources scheduled for March 21.

We are following the instructions of Governor Kate Brown. Today she asked all groups to cancel events hosting 10 people or more in high risk populations. Older adults are considered high risk. A large percentage of our members and SIG participants are older.

The GFO library itself remains open for family history research.

USA – Oregon – April 4 & 5 – Genealogical Forum of Oregon Postpones its Spring Seminar

Given concerns about large public gatherings, the Genealogical Forum of Oregon is postponing its Spring Seminar, Solve Puzzles with DNA with certified genealogist Karen Stanbary, which had been scheduled for April 4 and 5.

We’re pleased to announce the new dates: Karen will come to Portland August 8 and 9 for this seminar.

The GFO library itself remains open for family history research. Small gatherings of genealogy special interest groups continue to meet in the classroom.

USA – Oregon – Genealogical Forum of Oregon Library to Close for a While

The Genealogical Forum of Oregon is immediately closing its library in Portland until April 1. We will re-evaluate that status later based on how the coronavirus progresses in our community.

In addition, here is a full summary of all GFO Events canceled and rescheduled:

    • Canceled Special Interest Group meetings and Volunteer Work Parties.
    • Canceled GenTalk about PERSI on March 21.
    • Rescheduled the free Genealogy Open House to Sept. 25-Oct. 4.
    • Rescheduled the DNA Seminar with Karen Stanbary to August 8-9.

We need to control the contagion. If closing our library to the public helps to “flatten the curve,” as epidemiologists say, then we want to play our part.

USA – Tennessee – March 21 – Middle Tennessee Genealogical Society’s bi-monthly meeting is being converted to an online meeting only! Check for a link to the presentation.

USA – Texas – March 21 – The Williamson County Genealogical Society’s annual seminar scheduled for March 21 in Round Rock, Texas has been canceled.

The seminar was going to feature Amy Johnson Crow with a series of presentations. According to the organizers:
“Due to current issues surrounding the spread of the corona virus, the decision was made to cancel the event. Unfortunately, we were unable to come up with a solution that would have allowed Amy to present to us virtually at the venue.”

USA – Texas – The Czech Heritage Museum and Genealogy Center in Temple, Texas will be temporarily closed as a preventative measure.

The Texas Czech Genealogical Society Workshop scheduled for April 3-4 has been postponed. Additionally, all Tarok games and film screenings have been temporarily canceled.

For more information or updates, visit

USA – Texas – The Texoma Genealogy Group has reluctantly decided to cancel our April & May meetings.

With the current uncertainty of closures and everyone being asked to practice “social distancing,” we are taking our part of any uncertainty out of our members’ lives.

USA – Utah – Temporary Family History Library in Salt Lake City Closure

Out of concern for the health and safety of our guests, volunteers, and staff, the Family History Library in Salt Lake City will temporarily close starting at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 13, 2020 until further notice. This closure is to support preventive efforts to control the spread of COVID-19.

Regional FamilySearch centers and libraries have been asked to consider the direction of their local and government leaders, and then make informed decisions about temporary closures. If you plan to visit a FamilySearch center soon, please call ahead to ensure it is open at the regular times. (Included at the bottom of this post is a list of centers that are currently closed.)

We appreciate your understanding and encourage you to use the vast genealogical resources available at to continue your family discoveries. During the time the Family History Library is closed, personal assistance will continue to be provided online through FamilySearch Communities and Family History Library Classes and Webinars.

USA – Utah – 52nd annual BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy, Scheduled for July 28–31, 2020, is Cancelled

We are sad to announce that in accordance with BYU COVID-19 Guidelines the 2020 BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy from July 28-31 will be cancelled. The pre-conference on July 27 will also be cancelled. We know the guidelines were given after careful and prayerful consideration and with concern for the health of all. All who have registered for the conference will automatically be issued a full refund. We are so disappointed that we are not able to gather with you on campus this year, and look forward to joining with you again next year.

USA – Virginia – The Fairfax Genealogical Society in Fairfax County, Virginia has canceled its Spring Conference scheduled for 3-4 April, 2020.

Additional information is available on the society’s website at :

(*) USA – Virginia Genealogical Society and the Library of Virginia (update to a previous listing)

From the Virginia Genealogical Society: “Today, Thursday, 12 March, we were notified by the Library of Virginia that all public programming through the end of April has been cancelled in light of the coronavirus situation. Consequently, the Virginia Genealogical Society library day and spring conference scheduled for 17 and 18 April are affected. The library day is cancelled.”

Future updates will be posted on the VGS website at and on the VGS Facebook page.

USA – Washington – Tacoma-Pierce County (Washington) Genealogical Society Cancels their 2020 Spring Seminar

From “TPCGS 2020 Spring Seminar CANCELLED – It is with deep regret that TPCGS has decided that it is in everyone’s best interests to cancel our 2020 Spring Seminar. We hope to be able to reschedule it at a future date. All registrations that we have already received will be refunded. Thank you for understanding.”

USA – Washington – Saturday, April 3, Eastern Washington Genealogical Society Spring Seminar is CANCELLED

The Eastern Washington Genealogical Society Spring Seminar scheduled for April 4th has been postponed till May 2nd. If you have already paid and can not make the May date you can get a refund, or the money carries over for the May Seminar.

Saturday, May 2,2020
Enhancing Your Genealogy Repertoire (Seminar)
9:30 pm to 3:30 pm
Prince of Peace Lutheran – 8441 N Indian Trail Rd. Spokane, WA 99208

USA – Wisconsin – the Wisconsin State Genealogical Society is cancelling the 2020 Gene-A-Rama Conference. See for the details.


– United Kingdom –

United Kingdom – London – The National Archives (TNA) at Kew is closed until further notice. Watch for further updates.

United Kingdom – London – The offices of the Society of Genealogists are closed until further notice.

United Kingdom – London – RootsTech London Postponed to 2021 Due to CoronaVirus Concerns

In consideration of COVID-19, FamilySearch International announced today that the RootsTech conference planned for London 5–7 November 2020, will be postponed until the fall of 2021.

The health and safety of all RootsTech London attendees, exhibitors, and speakers is the highest priority of FamilySearch International.

Those who have already registered for the event will be issued refunds.

To receive announcements and other updates regarding RootsTech London, please visit

RootsTech in Salt Lake City is still scheduled for 3–6 February 2021.

(*) – United Kingdom – London – The Family Tree Live conference, due to have been held on 17 & 18 April 2020 at Alexandra Palace, has been cancelled.

Due to the current health implications concerning the Covid-19 pandemic, we have no choice but to put the well being of all concerned first, and cancel our two-day family history show. We would like to thank sincerely the many people and organisations who have put considerable time and effort into organising the event and apologise for this disappointing but unavoidable news. Further information may be found at

United Kingdom – Birmingham – THE Genealogy Show 2020 is Cancelled

From THE Genealogy Show web site at

After much careful consideration, it is with deep regret that we announce the postponement of THE Genealogy Show 2020 which was to be held on Friday 26 and Saturday 27 June 2020 at the NEC, Birmingham, UK.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertain state of affairs we have all found ourselves in, we feel it is the right decision to ensure the safety and well-being of all those involved with or due to visit THE Genealogy Show 2020.

United Kingdom – Dorset Family History Society – March 21

The Dorset Family History Society has reluctantly made the decision to cancel the Family History Day on Saturday 21st March 2020. This is out of consideration for the health and well being of our volunteers, exhibitors, speakers and potential visitors because of the Coronavirus.

The Family History Day was going to be held at Parkstone Grammar School, Sopers Lane, Poole and we also didn’t want to be responsible for potentially bringing the virus onto the school premises.

Please regularly check the society’s website at for future events which will be organised as soon as we feel it is safe to do so.

United Kingdom – Oxford

The 41st Guild of One-Name Studies Conference scheduled for April 24th to 26th 2020 at Jurys Inn, Oxford, UK has been postponed and will now be held at the same venue April 23rd to 25th 2021. The AGM that was due to place on April 25th as part of the 2020 conference will now be an online meeting starting at 20.00 BST (DST). Details may be found at

—End of Notice(s)—

If you would like to have any cancellation, postponement, or change to a virtual conference of any genealogy-related event, please go to to send the notification.

Serendipity in a Box

Glenda U'Ren Clyde photograph of John and Grace Uren childrenOver 40 years ago Glen and Joyce Alt lived in Platteville, Wisconsin where they became friends with Glenda Clyde and her husband. After several years, the two couples moved their separate ways, the Alts to Massachusetts, the Clydes to Washington state, and the couples had no further contact.

Years passed by. One day Glen’s parents were participating in a household auction in Dodgeville, Wisconsin. When they bought a box of stuff for a few dollars, the auctioneer threw in another for free. The Alts found the second box contained a bunch of old photographs and a piece of paper with names, dates, and places. For some reason, Glen’s mother threw them into a drawer instead of throwing them away. Eventually, she passed them on to Glen. Glen felt there must be someone out there who would place great value on the photographs, so he began investing great efforts in finding them. He had a clue. The paper identified the family as the Urens of Blanchardville, Wisconsin.

Glen started looking, but without success. When he went to Wisconsin on vacation three years later, he availed himself of the opportunity to ask around. He asked some old friends in Platteville if they knew any Urens. One remembered that they had a mutual friend whose maiden name was U’Ren: Glenda Clyde.

Twenty-eight years after they had last communicated, Glen found Glenda on social media. She thought the photographs and information might be of her family, so Glen sent the photographs and the paper to her. Glenda discovered that the pictures and paper were of her great-grandfather’s brother’s family. The information gave her seven new families and 31 new names.

“These precious pictures/paper were bought in the Midwest, given to Glen on the East Coast and then sent to me, a family member, on the West Coast,” Glenda wrote. “Considering the incredible preservation and journey of this valuable information, to us, it truly is a miracle.”


Retold with the permission of Glenda Clyde. You can also read her story in R. Scott Lloyd, “Family History Moments: Package Deal,” Deseret News ( : 16 March 2017). Photograph contributed by Glenda Clyde.

Tom Hanks Surprised by Ancestry® Discovery That He’s Related to Mr. Rogers, His Onscreen Character

At the New York City Red Carpet Screening for “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” this week, Tom Hanks was shocked to learn he is a distant relative to Fred Rogers, the beloved television personality who he will portray in the movie. Access Hollywood revealed the powerful Ancestry® discovery to Tom and his wife, Rita Read More

The post Tom Hanks Surprised by Ancestry® Discovery That He’s Related to Mr. Rogers, His Onscreen Character appeared first on Ancestry Blog.

Sunday CoronaBuzz, March 22, 2020: 26 pointers to articles, new resources, useful stuff, and more.

This newsletter now has its own Twitter account at @buzz_corona. I’m only doing one of these newsletters a day so they’re going to be enormous. Wash your hands. I love you.


TNW: Learning during the quarantine: You can read JSTOR’s Open Access content without an account. “Yesterday, JSTOR, the famous digital academic library, tweeted that 6,000 of its eBooks and over 150 journals are open for anyone to read. The organization noted it’s bringing out 26 public health journal archives, which you can read until June 30. For folks who previously haven’t had access to JSTOR’s library, you can now rifle through all its open access content without having to create an account.”

Zywave: Zywave Launches COVID-19 Resource Center. “Zywave, the leading insurtech provider powering agency growth, today announced the launch of its COVID-19 Resource Center, an online library offering insurance professionals access to free compliance, HR and employee-facing content and resources related to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

TechCrunch: Volunteer group develops a COVID-19 testing location database for the U.S.. “A new group of volunteer coders and medical professionals, including Air Force software organization Kessel Run‘s Chief Data Officer Andrew Kemendo, and data-driven doctor and researcher Jorge A. Caballero, have created a new website, which aims to provide up-to date location info for all testing sites in the U.S. Immediately, please note that a resource like this is not meant as a directory for private individuals who are looking to show up at a test site, expecting to receive diagnostics.” Emphasis mine.

Hunterdon Review (New Jersey): State will match talent with opportunities on coronavirus outbreak front lines. “The state is building a centralized resource to match talent with opportunities in industries on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak. The state is starting the roll-out of this new tool with critical industries like grocery stores, shipping and logistics, healthcare, janitorial services, and warehousing, but over time it will expand to work with all industries that need to tap into New Jersey’s best-in-class talent pool during this extraordinary time.”

Just Launched: Project N95: The National COVID-19 Medical Equipment Clearinghouse. “Rapid response teams have been coordinating with manufacturers globally with the capacity to produce. Within weeks, millions of units of personal protective equipment (PPE) should be available for distribution. We are working with governments to determine where demand is and where it is most urgent. This is a tool designed to gather data as efficiently as possible to assist in distribution efforts. Please note this process is rapidly evolving and we are doing our best to be as responsive to emergent needs as quickly as possible. However, please bear with us given the rapidly evolving nature of the pandemic.”

Daily Comet: New website connects Louisiana restaurants with customers during coronavirus crisis. “A new one-stop website is connecting Louisiana restaurants with their customers during the coronavirus crisis. With so many Louisiana restaurants scrambling to alter their menus to accommodate take out and delivery service, is compiling a listing of Louisiana restaurants offering take out, curbside and delivery options while a state order has shuttered their dining rooms through April 13.”


From RadioTimes, with a big thanks to Dori S. Listen, if you see something you think I should include in this newsletter tag me at @ResearchBuzz on Twitter. Yes, I am normally very good on staying on top of things. Right now there is so much news flying around I know I’m missing more than I used to. And if I’ve already seen it, so what? I’d rather see it ten times than miss it once. So anyway: Audible just made hundreds of titles completely free to help during coronavirus crisis. “Good news for those stuck at home in isolation: Audible is making hundreds of titles available for free during the coronavirus pandemic. The audiobook platform has said that, for as long as schools are closed, anyone can listen to a vast selection of its titles. This means books read by Westworld’s Thandie Newton and Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens are available to stream at no cost at all.”

CBS News: How to donate personal protective equipment like masks and gloves to health care workers. “Public health experts have advised people not to stockpile masks — they say only people who are already sick and medical professionals should wear masks. But panicked members of the public had already exhausted existing supplies, leading to widespread shortages. Desperate doctors and nurses are taking to social media to plead for donations of much-needed supplies using the hashtag #GetMePPE. However, it can be difficult to figure out exactly how to get these supplies into the hands of the people who need them.” Good-sized list.

Vox: Here’s how you can help people who’ve lost jobs or housing in the wake of coronavirus. “Social distancing measures recommended by authorities mean helping in person isn’t an option for the vast majority of Americans right now, but there are many worthy organizations seeking monetary donations to continue their work for a variety of affected communities. For many, money has never been tighter. But for those with a few dollars to spare, they can help vulnerable communities have a buffer long after the spread of Covid-19 is contained. Here are a few ways you can assist.” Good, well-annotated list.

Stylist: How to start an online book club, and the top Instagram accounts to inspire you. “As many of us turn to reading during self-isolation, here are tips on how to start an online book club. And, if you need a little inspiration, we’ve rounded up some of the best ones already out there.”

New York Times: I Spent a Year in Space, and I Have Tips on Isolation to Share. “When I lived on the International Space Station for nearly a year, it wasn’t easy. When I went to sleep, I was at work. When I woke up, I was still at work. Flying in space is probably the only job you absolutely cannot quit. But I learned some things during my time up there that I’d like to share — because they are about to come in handy again, as we all confine ourselves at home to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Here are a few tips on living in isolation, from someone who has been there.”

Entrepreneur: 65 Free Tools to Help You Through the Coronavirus Pandemic. “In response to the pandemic, Zoom CEO Eric Yuan recently reminded us that we can all help each other in our own ways. He has provided K-12 educators with free access to the videoconferencing platform so students can continue learning. Inspired, I shared an idea with Jason Feifer, editor in chief at Entrepreneur: a simple, organized list of free product and service offerings from all types of companies. Access to these powerful tools can help organizations, teams and families.” Middling annotation but lots of resources.

Parade: 50+ Places Where Families Can Get Free Meals for Kids During COVID-19—By State . “Right now, there are millions of school children who are at home with the new reality of keeping up with their studies remotely and navigating educational goals and expectations. Making sure kids are well-fed should be at the top of all our lists. Working together to keep kids fed is just as important as ever as we get through this Coronavirus pandemic. That’s why so many restaurants, both local and fast-food or fast-casual chains, have stepped up to provide free meal resources for kids in need.” There are also national resources here. The list is being updated.

Rhinegold Publishing: How to watch piano recitals online. “As concerts across the world are cancelled and artists face strict social distancing and self-isolation measures, many are taking to the web to share their music-making with us. From live social media streams to archive concert recordings, here are a few ways to watch fantastic piano performances online.”

Pitchfork: You Can Read Every Issue of Wire for Free This Week. “The long-running British avant-garde music magazine The Wire has announced it has opened its online archives to the public for the next week.” The magazine’s been going since 1982, so this is a lot of content.

School Library Journal: School Library Journal Offers Free Full Access to Content, Digitized Magazines. “School Library Journal (SLJ) is offering temporary free access to digitized editions of SLJ, as well as all content on its website, ‘We want to support you as you grapple with the challenge of advancing your work through the COVID-19 crisis,’ says Rebecca T. Miller, group publisher of Library Journal, School Library Journal, and The Horn Book.”

Morocco World News: COVID-19: Moroccan Museums Stream Live Visits for Art Lovers. “In light of Morocco’s state of emergency and the closure of several art events and institutes such as museums, the Moroccan National Foundation of Museums (FNM), decided to offer free online museum visits through a 360° virtual immersion.”

MLB TV: We’re Opening The 2018 And 2019 Archives. “Stream the 2018 and 2019 ARCHIVES free on MLB. TV for a limited time. Log in or create an account to start watching today.”


New Lenox Patriot: New Facebook group created for children to virtually read to seniors. “And since creating the group on March 17, more than 300 people have joined from all around the country. The group allows people to join upon approval by Green where parents can then sign their child up to read on a certain day. Multiple children read each day.”

Business Insider: Google says it has removed ‘millions of ads in the past week’ relating to coronavirus, but users are still seeing ads for products like face masks. “Weeks after Google said it was banning ads from companies attempting to profit off of panic surrounding the novel coronavirus, users still reported seeing ads for products like face masks served by Google Ads.”


Hollywood Reporter: Costume Designers Guild Sewing Masks for Health Care Facilities. “IATSE’s Theatre Wardrobe Locals, the Hollywood Costumers Local and Costume Designers Guild are leading an effort through which its members will sew protective masks for immediate distribution to health care facilities. The effort addresses the enormous shortage of masks, gloves and additional protective gear that doctors and other health care workers rely upon as they treat individuals with coronavirus symptoms.”

DishaBytes: From Yoga To Dance Classes: Bollywood Goes Online Amid Corona Crisis. “The novel coronavirus outbreak in the country may have brought the ever-bustling film industry to a halt, but it hasn’t stopped Bollywood celebrities from utilising their massive online influence to entertain their followers as well as engage them in fitness, dance and yoga routines. As government encourages more social distancing, people from the film fraternity are finding ways to connect to people and ensure their self-isolation isn’t wasted.”

National Geographic: Fake animal news abounds on social media as coronavirus upends life. “People are compelled to share posts that make them emotional. When we’re feeling stressed, joyous animal footage can be an irresistible salve. The spread of social phenomena is so powerful, 2016 research shows, that it can follow same models that trace the contagion of epidemics.”

PSFK: The Pandemic Inside the Pandemic: Leveraging Social Media to Fight Disinformation. “Misinformation is commonplace in today’s digital- and social-first media landscape. Here’s how consumers and creators alike are putting existing platforms to new uses to creatively halt the spread.”


University World News: Hunt for coronavirus cure is making science more open. “…while cities are locked down and borders are closed in response to the coronavirus outbreak, science is becoming more open. This openness is already making a difference to scientists’ response to the virus and has the potential to change the world. But it’s not as simple as making every research finding available to anyone for any purpose. Without care and responsibility, there is a danger that open science can be misused or contribute to the spread of misinformation.”


Hurriyet Daily News: Turkey detains 64 over sharing ‘unfounded and provocative’ posts on social media. “Turkey has detained 64 people for sharing ‘unfounded and provocative’ posts on social media about the deadly coronavirus outbreak, according to the Interior Ministry. The Interior Ministry on late March 19 said that 64 of 242 suspects have been detained for allegedly making unfounded and provocative coronavirus posts on social media since March 11.”

CoronaBuzz is brought to you by ResearchBuzz. I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment, send resource suggestions, or tag @buzz_corona on Twitter. Thanks!

Thursday CoronaBuzz, March 19, 2020: 35 pointers to articles, new resources, useful stuff, and more.

TONS of free/useful resource pointers today. This newsletter now has its own Twitter account at @buzz_corona , if you want to see individual items as they’re added. I’m only doing one of these newsletters a day so they’re going to be enormous. Wash your hands. I love you.


Big Island Now: State Unveils New COVID-19 Website. “The Hawai‘i Department of Health said it provides timely information and resources on the coronavirus, including guidance on how to prevent and mitigate community spread, common symptoms of COVID-19 and frequently asked questions.”

WXYZ: Website aims to help bartenders and servers affected by COVID-19 shutdowns. “The website,, allows bartenders and servers to enter their own digital money transaction names and people can send them a “tip” of $1, $2 or $5, as you would if you were in a restaurant.”

Milwaukee: UWM Archive is Chronicling Milwaukee’s Coronavirus Experience for History. “The site’s goal is to memorialize how Milwaukee experienced this global pandemic. Cantwell and one of his classes have taken on the task of curating submissions and material for the collection. They are enlisting the help of every Milwaukeean who wants to contribute something to the archive, be it photographs of shuttered businesses, notifications from employers, personal stories, examples of social distancing in the community, and anything else that records the strange times around us.”

WMTV: New website initiative connects Wisconsin volunteers and organizations amid COVID-19. “A new website in the state is helping to connect volunteers and organizations in Wisconsin to address pressing needs during the coronavirus outbreak. The United Way of Wisconsin, Serve Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin Volunteer Coordinators Association created the COVID-19 Response initiative on the Volunteer Wisconsin website.”


IGN India: Netflix Party Launches As A Google Chrome Extension. “You can still have a party despite social distancing, and Netflix has the perfect way for you to jam. The streaming giant launched a chrome extension that allows you and your compadres to watch Netflix shows and movies together right from the comfort of your own homes.”

Variety: Grammy Museum to Bring Artist Programs Online, Starting With Billie Eilish, Brandi Carlile, Yola. “Included in the initial rollout from the archives: nine programs featuring Eilish with her brother Finneas, Carlile, Yola, Bob Newhart, Greta Van Fleet, Kool and the Gang, X Ambassadors, Larkin Poe and Scarypoolparty, many of them recorded in the last few months. All were filmed at the 200-seat Clive Davis Theater inside the museum, located in the LA Live complex.”

Slate: Am I Expected to Home-School My Kid Right Now?. “As COVID-19 continues to spread, schools nationwide are shutting their doors for extended periods in an attempt to limit virus transmission. I’ve spent the last week or so fielding questions from parents about what this means for their children’s education, what parents should be doing to help their kids, and how best to handle all of this uncertainty. Here’s a list of some of parents’ most pressing questions, along with my answers, which I hope may help you navigate this difficult time.”

Vogue: 8 Soothing Social Media Accounts to Help Keep You Sane. “Staying informed about the latest developments of the global coronavirus pandemic, or the impending presidential election is undoubtedly important right now. But so are moments of self-care, even when ‘unplugging’ isn’t exactly feasible. Below, Vogue staffers weigh in on the social media accounts that offer welcome moments of respite on their Instagram feeds and a much-needed Twitter timeline cleanse.”

6SqFt: All of the performances, exhibits, and events from NYC cultural institutions you can stream online. “Although the coronavirus has shuttered most of the city, many museums, performance centers, libraries, and other organizations are offering free (or nearly free) online resources to entertain New Yorkers throughout this difficult period. From virtual storytime with Brooklyn Public Library librarians to live-streamed performances by the Metropolitan Opera, support local organizations safely from your home.” A bunch of listings here.

Hypebae: ‘Vogue Italia’ Grants 3 Months Of Free Access To Its Online Archives. “Through June 13, Vogue Italia has opened its digital archive of every issue from 1964 to the present. Every page is scanned in high-resolution color, and the archive’s advanced indexing system allows users to search images by designer, photographer, brand and more.”

Expats CZ: The Czech National Library has made its 206,000-title archive available online for free. “Temporary online access to the collections of the National Library and public higher-education institutions has been granted to the public on Tuesday, March 17. General Director of the National Library, Martin Kocanda and Jiří Srstka, the Director of the Collective Copyright Association (DILIA), reached the decision on Monday morning. More than 206,000 titles of monographs and periodicals will be made available online, representing over 59 million pages.”

RadioTimes: BBC to bring classic TV and radio back to iPlayer “in unprecedented times”. “The BBC has announced it will make classic TV box-sets and radio programmes available on iPlayer as part of a wide-ranging set of measures to help the nation through “challenging times” as the coronavirus pandemic continues.”

NBC Sports: How you can watch every Eagles game of last decade for free. “Through May 31, NFL Game Pass will be free for all fans. If you’re not familiar with NFL Game Pass, it’s basically the NFL’s online library of every NFL game. It includes all games from 2009-19 and multiple versions. Those versions include the full broadcast, condensed games and even All-22 access if you want to break down some film.”

Digiday: Publishers are unlocking fitness classes for people stuck at home. “Unlocking paid online fitness classes may seem like a strange move when the only option for most people is to work out at home. But some fitness and wellness publishers have done exactly that.”

The National: The show goes online: where to stream live concerts and operas. “A growing number of artists, ensembles and orchestras are migrating online for free performances – ranging from intimate bedroom jams to full orchestral concerts in empty theatres – to provide healing through music during challenging times. Leading the charge in the region is The Fridge. Known for its concert season, held in Al Quoz, the events company is taking their shows on the virtual road and have announced that its 22nd season will all be streamed online.” A lot of Middle Eastern and European artists I had not seen elsewhere.

Attitude: Cancelled BFI Flare Goes Online With 230 Films, And We Are Pumped. “Some cinema lovers are already stuck at home over the coming weeks due to the Corona Virus pandemic, which forced the BFI Flare London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival due to start yesterday [18 March] to cancel. But in great news for queer film fans everywhere, the festival will now become BFI Flare at Home.”

Lowyat: Scribd Makes Entire Digital Library Of eBooks And AudioBooks Free For A Month. “Scribd, the US-based ebook and audiobook subscription service, announced that it is making its entire digital library free for everyone to access for the next 30 days. As you can guess, one of the main reasons the company is making its content accessible is to provide individuals who are self-quarantining or working from due to the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) health issue.”


Vice: Google Is Putting Amazon Prime Ads on Russia-Backed Sites Spreading Coronavirus Conspiracies. “New research by the Global Disinformation Network has revealed that 1,400 fake news websites spreading coronavirus conspiracy theories across Europe have been funded to the tune of $76 million by ad tech companies — with more than 60% of the revenue coming from Google alone. Many of those websites are linked to the Kremlin or directly funded by the Russian government.”

Neowin: Google pauses Chrome releases to keep it stable. “Typically, a new update for Chrome and Chrome OS arrives every six weeks, but Google is temporarily halting new releases. The reason is to keep things ‘stable, secure, and reliable’ for all of the folks that are working from home due to the COVID-19 coronavirus.”

Techdirt: Social Media Promised To Block Covid-19 Misinformation; But They’re Also Blocking Legit Info Too. “Sing it with me, folks: content moderation is impossible to do well at scale. Over the last few weeks, all of the big social media platforms have talked about their intense efforts to block misinformation about Covid-19. It appeared to be something of an all hands on deck situation for employees (mostly working from home) at these companies. Indeed, earlier this week, Facebook, Google, Linkedin, Microsoft, Reddit, Twitter, and YouTube all released a joint statement about how they’re working together to fight Covid-19 misinformation, and hoping other platforms would join in. However, battling misinformation is not always so easy — as Facebook discovered yesterday.”

Bing Blogs: Stay informed on the coronavirus pandemic with Bing and Microsoft News. “Simply search for ‘covid19’, ‘coronavirus information’, or a related term, and you’ll find a tally of the cases in your geographic region as well as an up-to-date summary of global cases. This information is aggregated across multiple sources such as the Center for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and other authoritative sources. As the situation is changing rapidly, we’re refreshing the data multiple times per day, and show a timestamp for when we published the latest available data.”


Las Vegas Review-Journal: Las Vegas strip club to offer drive-thru peep shows. “Little Darlings strip club will begin offering drive-through strip shows for those who want to indulge in some adult entertainment, but do not want to enter the building, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending people keep 6 feet in distance between themselves and others.”

Digital Trends: Spanish police are using drones to scold citizens who go outside. “While the majority of people are taking social distancing and shelter-in-place orders seriously, some aren’t, and police in Spain have adopted a new tool to help convince those people to stay indoors: Drones.”

KMIZ: With Cincinnati Zoo closed, Fiona the hippo goes online. “Fiona, the three-year-old hippo who became a worldwide celebrity when she was born at a record-breaking low weight of 29 pounds and managed to survive against the odds, will kick off a series of “Home Safari” livestreams from the Ohio zoo.”

The New York Times: Without Places to Gather, Debut Novelists Reimagine Book Promotion. “For many first-time novelists, years of hard work (and often solitary time) culminate in seeing their book come into the world: going to festivals and bookstores to read sections aloud and connecting with readers face to face, inhabiting with others the worlds they built. But with social distancing guidelines discouraging gatherings of more than 10 people, publishing a debut has changed in ways that authors couldn’t have foreseen just a few weeks ago. We spoke to several debut novelists about their books, their plans to promote their work and their days during this unusual time.”

LADBible: Musicians Are Playing Mini Concerts On Social Media For People. “The coronavirus has caused some of the biggest music festivals around the world to cancel or postpone. Artists have suspended their world or national tours, leaving many fans reeling that they won’t be able to see their favourite act up close and personal. But some of these mega celebrities have decided to give people a show on social media instead.”

Vogue: “Stay Safe and Strong, Love You”: How 15 Designers Are Spreading Digital Messages of Hope During the Coronavirus Crisis. “In the fashion community, many designers and founders of independent labels are feeling the angst of social distancing too. Like all of us, they feel sad, frightened, and stuck, but still motivated to make change. Many have taken to Instagram to speak out about the effects of the virus and the uphill battle that we all still have in the fight against it. Their storefronts are closing and their businesses are more than likely declining, but many, including Cate Holstein, Kerby Jean-Raymond, Simon Porte Jacquemus, and Brandon Maxwell are staying positive via social media.”

BBC: US jails begin releasing prisoners to stem Covid-19 infections. “US jails are to let out inmates as cases of coronavirus infections are being reported in prisons. New York City is releasing ‘vulnerable’ prisoners, the mayor said on Wednesday, days after Los Angeles and Cleveland freed hundreds of inmates.”

BBC: Coronavirus protest in Brazil sees millions bang pots from balconies. “People in Brazil have expressed anger at President Jair Bolsonaro’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic by banging pots and pans together on balconies. Millions of protesters in the cities of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro appeared at windows on Wednesday evening calling for the president to step down.”


Slate: Coronavirus Diaries: I’m a Biologist in Milan Working Nonstop to Understand COVID-19. “On Feb. 21, COVID-19 broke into our laboratory and turned everything upside down. It was supposed to be a day like any other, but nothing goes as planned anymore. That afternoon, we should have gone to the graduation of a student who did his thesis with us, but in the end only one colleague of mine went. The rest of us immediately put our heads down and started working on the virus.”


Geeks are Sexy: Thank God For the Motherf*cking Nerds Right Now – A Rap Homage to Coronavirus Fighters. “In these surreal, frightening times, I’ve been realizing more than ever how helplessly reliant and dependent I am, as a non-smart person, on all the incredibly intelligent, hard-working professionals who’ve dedicated their lives to becoming experts in their respective fields. To the doctors, healthcare workers, epidemiologists, immunologists, microbiologists, and all the other ‘ists,’ we would be F&#ked without you.” As you might imagine, lots of swearing.

Insider: This online calculator tells you exactly how much toilet roll you actually need to buy. “London web developer Dave Stewart created online and mobile app Got Paper? in 24 hours over the past weekend in an attempt to solve a human problem while adding a bit of British humor into the mix.”


ZDNet: Thousands of COVID-19 scam and malware sites are being created on a daily basis. “In the midst of a global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, hackers are not letting a disaster go to waste and have now automated their coronavirus-related scams to industrial levels. According to multiple reports, cybercriminals are now creating and putting out thousands of coronavirus-related websites on a daily basis.”

The Siasat Daily: 2 US Senators slam Google for face mask ads. “Two Democratic senators have slammed Google for allowing face mask-selling ads on its platform, asking the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to pursue enforcement action against the tech giant.”

BetaNews: Hackers using COVID-19 specials to drum up business on the dark web. “We all know that hackers and cybercriminals are keen to cash in on any opportunity to spread their wares. Researchers at Check Point have uncovered that hackers are using COVID-19 to offer specials and discounts on the dark net.”

CoronaBuzz is brought to you by ResearchBuzz. I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment, send resource suggestions, or tag @buzz_corona on Twitter. Thanks!

The Coronavirus is New, But Not Much Different from Viruses Suffered by Our Ancestors

The news stories these days are full of articles about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) infections. I won’t repeat them here, but I will point out that this is nothing new. Our ancestors frequently suffered with similar and often much worse epidemics.

About a month ago, before the Coronavirus had become much of a problem in the US, I published a Plus Edition article entitled Epidemics. In the introduction, I wrote:

“Our ancestors lived in fear of epidemics, and many of them died as the result of simple diseases that could be cured today with an injection or a prescription.

“If you ever wondered why a large number of your ancestors disappeared during a certain period in history, you may want to investigate the possibility of an epidemic. Many cases of people disappearing from records can be traced to dying during an epidemic or moving away from the affected area.”

You can read that article at A Plus Edition user name and password are required to read it.

Of course, one of the more recent epidemics (“only” 102 years ago) was the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918-1920. It infected 500 million people around the world, or about 27% of the world population of between 1.8 and 1.9 billion. The death toll is estimated to have been anywhere from 17 million to 50 million, and possibly as high as 100 million, making it one of the deadliest epidemics in human history. Some historians and epidemiologists have theorized that the flu originated in Kansas while others believe it started in the close quarters of the trenches and military encampments of World War I. Whatever the origins, the Spanish Flu quickly spread worldwide.

Frederick (Friedrich) Trump (or Trumpf)

Then as now, the virus showed no favoritism. After a one-day illness, on 30 May 1918, Donald Trump’s grandfather, Frederick Trump (or  Friedrich Trumpf in the original German) succumbed to a case of pneumonia that would later be identified as a complication of the “Spanish flu.” In fact, the President’s grandfather was one of the first domestic casualties of the world’s worst modern pandemic, which ultimately killed millions.


The death toll from the Spanish Flu was undoubtedly worsened by the efforts of President Woodrow Wilson’s administration to talk down the health risk. Even President Wilson could not avoid the contagious disease; he became ill in the midst of the World War I peace talks held in Paris. In April 1919, Rear Admiral Cary T. Grayson, personal physician to the President, wrote to a friend, explaining that: “These past two weeks have certainly been strenuous days for me. The President was suddenly taken violently sick with the influenza at a time when the whole of civilization seemed to be in the balance.”

The extent of President Wilson’s illness was not revealed to the American people, however. Instead, to maintain confidence in the President, Grayson informed the press that it was merely a cold caused by the “chilly and rainy weather” in Paris.

Sound familiar?

An interesting history of the Spanish Flu, as observed in Chicago, can be found in an article in the Chicago and Cook County Cemeteries web site at:

The article provides an interesting historical perspective of the experiences of our ancestors in the days before penicillin and other modern drugs.

Over 8,000 Chicagoans died in a matter of months despite signs placed in theaters, streetcars and elevated trains to warn against the danger of spitting, coughing, and sneezing. Undertakers and cemeteries were overwhelmed. There were orders that wake attendance be limited to 10 people at a time. Public funerals were totally prohibited for a time.

Yes, life and death from diseases and viruses is not a modern peril. In fact, it was far worse in “the good old days.”

Tuesday CoronaBuzz, March 17, 2020: 27 pointers to articles, new resources, useful stuff, and more.

This newsletter now has its own Twitter account at @buzz_corona , if you want to see individual items as they’re added. I’m only doing one of these newsletters a day so they’re going to be enormous. Wash your hands. I love you.


WAFF: Scholastic creates free, digital hub for students disrupted by coronavirus . “As school closures increase nationwide due to the spread of coronavirus, there is an unprecedented need for supporting our teachers, children, and families in learning. Scholastic has curated a free digital learning hub designed to support virtual learning plans: Scholastic Learn At Home allows open access to daily learning journeys divided into four grade spans—Pre-K–K, Grades 1–2, Grades 3–5, and Grades 6–9+, covering ELA, STEM, Science, Social Studies, and Social-Emotional Learning.”

MIT Technology Review: Over 24,000 coronavirus research papers are now available in one place.”The news: Today researchers collaborating across several organizations released the Covid-19 Open Research Dataset (CORD-19), which includes over 24,000 research papers from peer-reviewed journals as well as sources like bioRxiv and medRxiv (websites where scientists can post non-peer-reviewed preprint papers). The research covers SARS-CoV-2 (the scientific name for the coronavirus), Covid-19 (the scientific name for the disease), and the coronavirus group.”

WBIR: ‘Stay vigilant’ | Better Business Bureau announces new website for COVID-19 scams. “The Better Business Bureau started a new website to tackle COVID-19 scams. As the virus spreads, scams related to the virus are becoming more common: price-gouging, travel scams and more.”

KPEL: LA Dept Of Health ‘Heat Map’ Shows Latest COVID-19 Numbers. “A new tool aims to inform the public of the spread of COVID-19 as state health officials work to contain it. The interactive map from the Louisiana Department of Health shows where cases have been confirmed and how many active cases there are.”

Religion News Service: New website shares lists of multi-faith online worship services during pandemic. “The Online Faith Collective was announced Friday and launched Saturday, with dozens of faith communities sharing their worship services – and more are flooding in. ‘With the new reality of closings, faith leaders are finding ways to reach out safely to support and grow their communities through online worship,’ said Rev. Marian Edmonds-Allen, creator of the project.”


Chambanamoms: 300+ Resources to Keep Kids Entertained and Learning – Online and Off. “Some of them are explicitly learning tools or curricula; others are more along the lines of educational entertainment. (Since we have not personally vetted each resource, the boundary separating learning from entertainment can be pretty difficult to pin down.) We’ve included separate categories for toddler specific activities, for middle/high school audiences, for non-screen indoor activities, for therapy resources, and even a whole category just for online tours. And our final category will help kids get moving while they are stuck indoors (or even outdoors).” Extensive, growing list with tons of stuff I haven’t seen anywhere else. Good.

Cambridge University Press: Cambridge University Press increases coronavirus support for academic customers. “Cambridge University Press is offering free, online access to higher education textbooks and coronavirus research during the COVID-19 outbreak. In addition, existing customers are being offered free access to key reference works on request to help them overcome the disruption caused by the global response to the pandemic. All 700 textbooks published and currently available in HTML format on Cambridge Core – the online home of academic books and journals – are available regardless of whether textbooks were previously purchased.”

Cyberbulling Research Center: Coronavirus, Online Learning, Social Isolation, and Cyberbullying: How To Support Our Students. “My university was quick to mandate that professors move all instruction and interaction online, and we know by now that most universities across America have done the same. School districts as well have followed en masse. This is absolutely the right thing to do. But I was just talking with my colleague Randy Ross over at the National School Climate Center about how there will likely be some unintended consequences here which merit our attention and response.”

CNET: Coronavirus alerts: How to get news updates on your phone right now. “You can use sources such as Twitter, Google Alerts and your favorite news sites to receive updates and notifications about where the coronavirus is and what you can do to help keep yourself and your community safe. You can also sign up for text alerts to receive information about how many cases are in your area and what’s closing down, like schools and churches. Read on to learn how to set up for alerts about coronavirus developments.” Basics for most of y’all but might be useful for less tech-savvy people.

News-Press: Florida small businesses impacted by coronavirus can now apply for interest-free loans. “Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday announced the activation of the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program. Florida small businesses with two to 100 employees that suffered an economic loss can apply for up to a $50,000, interest-free loan with a one-year term. The application period runs through May 8.”

Popular Photography: Adobe offering free Creative Cloud tools for students impacted by Coronavirus through May 31. “Through May 31, higher-education and K-12 customers who currently use the Creative Cloud apps through computers in on-campus labs will be able to request temporary at-home access for no additional fee. The request will need to be made by an IT admin though. Details to make the changes can be found here. As educators and students transition to a long-distance learning experience Adobe is also offering a number of curated resources to help educators tailor their curriculum to an out-of-classroom experience.”

Inoreader Blog: Get Free Local COVID-19 Alerts with Inoreader. “We have combined 3 of our best Pro features together for a custom solution that will keep you updated about new cases in your region, new measures from local government bodies, and other critical updates. To begin just click the new orange notification in the sidebar.” Great resource if you’re looking for news in a country you’re unfamiliar with.

PopSugar: 36 Free Educational Websites Parents Can Access While Schools Are Closed. “With a lot of schools shut down for the foreseeable future due to the coronavirus outbreak, many parents are finding themselves at home trying to juggle their jobs with raising their kids, which for now includes providing education as well. Although many teachers have sent home work so kids don’t fall behind and some schools are conducting classes online, there’s also a slew of free educational websites and apps at parents’ disposal.”


Reuters: Social media giants warn of AI moderation errors as coronavirus empties offices. “Alphabet Inc’s YouTube, Facebook Inc (FB.O) and Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) warned on Monday that more videos and other content could be erroneously removed for policy violations, as the companies empty offices and rely on automated takedown software during the coronavirus pandemic.”

Times of Oman: New Twitter account for unified updates of COVID-19 in Oman. “The Government Communication Center (GCC) has launched a new Twitter account to update the latest developments in Oman’s fight against COVID-19.”


Which-50: How Hyper-Local Social Media Platforms And AI Are Assisting COVID-19 Prevention Efforts. “As concerns over the coronavirus pandemic grow, Australians are banding together on social platforms to share resources and mitigate the challenges of self-isolation. Medical authorities are also leveraging the platforms to disseminate information more quickly and credibly than in the past.”

The Conversation AU: Why haven’t the Olympics been cancelled from coronavirus? That’s the A$20bn question. “The IOC has also remained resolute the games will go ahead on the scheduled start date of July 24. However, it has scheduled emergency talks with international sporting bodies this week to discuss the actions being taken to respond to the crisis. This is not a decision to take lightly. Cancelling the Tokyo Games would, by some estimates, reduce Japan’s annual GDP growth by 1.4%.”

BBC: L Devine: ‘Coronavirus delayed my tour so I’m touring on social media instead’. “L Devine isn’t the only artist to offer fans an alternative to cancelled or postponed shows. YungBlud streamed a gig on YouTube followed by a live chat, featuring Machine Gun Kelly and Bella Thorne. He encouraged over 200,000 viewers to send pictures of themselves during the set.”

Good Morning America: #Quarantinelife trending across social media. “Welcome to #QuarantineLife. As millions of Americans begin adjusting to staying at home for at least the next several weeks, the hashtag “QuarantineLife” was the top trending topic on Twitter Monday morning.”

New York Times: The Coronavirus Crisis Is Showing Us How to Live Online. “I expected my first week of social distancing to feel, well, distant. But I’ve been more connected than ever. My inboxes are full of invitations to digital events — Zoom art classes, Skype book clubs, Periscope jam sessions. Strangers and subject-matter experts are sharing relevant and timely information about the virus on social media, and organizing ways to help struggling people and small businesses. On my feeds, trolls are few and far between, and misinformation is quickly being fact-checked.”

CNN: Luxury perfume makers Dior and Givenchy will produce free hand sanitizer for French health authorities. “Luxury goods conglomerate LVMH, the parent company of Christian Dior, Guerlain and Givenchy, wants to help French health authorities by manufacturing hand sanitizer and providing it to them for free. LVMH said it will use all the production facilities of its perfumes and cosmetics brands to produce large quantities of hydroalcoholic gel, or hand sanitizer, starting Monday.”

Chemist+Druggist: Simon Dukes: Coronavirus may lead to permanent pharmacy closures. “Financial pressures caused by COVID-19 may cause pharmacies to close permanently unless the government provides a funding boost, PSNC chief executive Simon Dukes has said. The coronavirus outbreak could mean that pharmacies closing due to staff sickness “may not open again”, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) chief executive said on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning (March 16).”

MyLondon: Iceland in Crawley dedicates exclusive shopping slot for elderly amid coronavirus outbreak. “Some Iceland stores across the UK will have dedicated opening hours for the elderly and more vulnerable shoppers to buy their products following the coronavirus outbreak. Iceland said it was not a company-wide policy, but it was allowing individual stores to decide how best to meet the needs of shoppers in their local areas.”


South China Morning Post: Chinese government launches new tech database to help communities fight the coronavirus.”The Chinese government is compiling a database of technologies that can be used to combat the novel coronavirus after its top leadership highlighted the increasing importance of tech in bringing the disease under control at home. Officials have compiled a list of more than 2,000 ‘new technologies’ and their providers, ranging from automatic temperature detection to diagnosis and hospital information systems, according to a post by the Ministry of Science and Technology on Monday.”

AP: AP Exclusive: Coronavirus Vaccine Test Opens With 1st Doses. “With careful jabs in the arms of four healthy volunteers, scientists at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Research Institute in Seattle began an anxiously awaited first-stage study of a potential COVID-19 vaccine developed in record time after the new virus exploded out of China and fanned out across the globe.”

Stanford News: People’s uncertainty about the novel coronavirus can lead them to believe misinformation, says Stanford scholar. “As people increasingly social distance themselves to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, social media is an appealing way to stay in contact with friends, family and colleagues. But it can also be a source of misinformation and bad advice – some of it even dangerously wrong.”


CNN: A coronavirus patient refused to quarantine, so deputies are surrounding his house to force him to. “A Kentucky novel coronavirus patient checked himself out of the hospital against medical advice. So to prevent him from spreading the virus, officials are surrounding his house to keep him there. The 53-year-old man in Nelson County refused to quarantine himself after testing positive for Covid-19, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said.”

CoronaBuzz is brought to you by ResearchBuzz. I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment, send resource suggestions, or tag @buzz_corona on Twitter. Thanks!

Monday Genea-Pourri – Week Ending 9 March 2020

Here are the highlights of my family history and genealogy related activities over the past week:

1)  Attended the Chula Vista Genealogical Society Board Meeting on Wednesday and reported on the Research Group, DNA Interest Group and Newsletter activities.  Wrote, edited, published, and distributed the March 2020 edition of the CVGS Newsletter.

2)  Watched the Wednesday and Friday keynote sessions from RootsTech, plus two of the livestreamed classes.  

3)  Wrote and posted a biographical sketch of 7th great-grandmother #531 Sarah (Clark) Hubburd (1681-1720) for my 52 Ancestors biographical sketch on Friday.  

5)  Added Notes to about 15 more AncestryDNA matches with cM values, relationships and known common ancestors, and added four ThruLines to the RootsMagic family tree database.  Reviewed new DNA matches on AncestryDNA, MyHeritageDNA, FamilyTreeDNA and 23andMe.  

6) There were several sessions working in the RootsMagic software program to match with and update FamilySearch Family Tree profiles for Seaver families and my ancestral families, with occasional additions to the RootsMagic profiles. I have matched 34,54 of my RootsMagic persons with FamilySearch Family Tree profiles (up 50).

7)  Used Web Hints and Record Matches from Ancestry, MyHeritage, Findmypast and FamilySearch to add content and sources to my RootsMagic profiles.  I now have 56,355 persons in my RootsMagic file (up 110) , and 116,954 source citations (up 464).   I TreeShared two times this week updating 231 profiles, and I resolved 907 Ancestry Hints.  I’ve fallen behind on the Ancestry Record Hints with 125,598 to be resolved, but I work on them weekly.    

8)  Wrote 20 Genea-Musings blog posts last week, of which five were press releases.  The most popular post last week was The GeneaBloggers Lifetime Achievement Award with over 392 views.  


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Historic Migration Patterns Are Written in Americans’ DNA

Genetic, geographic, and demographic data from more than 30,000 Americans reveal more genetic diversity within ancestry groups than previously thought.

The following is a press release written by the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard:

Studies of DNA from ancient human fossils have helped scientists to trace human migration routes around the world thousands of years ago. But can modern DNA tell us anything about more recent movements, especially in an ancestrally diverse melting pot like the United States?

To find out, researchers from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) analyzed data provided by more than 32,000 Americans as part of the National Geographic Society’s Genographic Project. This project, launched in 2005, asked Americans to provide their DNA along with their geographic and demographic data, including birth records and family histories, to learn more about human migration.

The research team found distinct genetic traces within many American populations that reflect the nation’s complicated history of immigration, migration, and mixture.

Writing in the American Journal of Human Genetics, the team also reported subtle but potentially important levels of diversity within certain groups, such as the Hispanic population.

They also call on genetics researchers to increase the ancestral diversity of the participants in their studies so that their findings capture more of the genetic diversity in US populations. This will help ensure that precision medicine will benefit as many people as possible in the US.

“Understanding the genetic structure of the US is important because it helps illuminate distinctions between populations that studies might not otherwise account for,” said Alicia Martin, a geneticist in the Broad Institute’s Program in Medical and Population Genetics, a research fellow in MGH’s Analytical and Translational Genetics Unit, and co-senior author of the study with Carlo Ratti, director of MIT’s Senseable City Lab. “If we want genetic technologies to benefit everyone, we need to rethink our current approach for genetic studies because at the moment, they typically miss a huge swath of American diversity.”

Martin, Ratti, and their colleagues, including study first author Chengzhen Dai of MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, partnered with the Genographic project because they wanted to understand the geographic patterns of genetic ancestry and admixture across the US over time, and learn how much people’s genetics across the US reflect historic demographic events.

Some findings caught the researchers by surprise. For instance, their analysis revealed a striking diversity in the geographic origins of participants who identified as Hispanic or Latino. The genetic patterns of these participants indicated a complex mixture of European, African, and Native American ancestries that varied widely depending on where participants lived, whether they were in California, Texas or Florida, for example.

Results like this, Martin noted, could hold implications for precision medicine as it becomes available to more and more Americans.

“There are subtle genetic differences within ancestry groups that arise from their population history,” she said. “Those differences will be important but challenging to account for, especially as genetic testing is used by more diverse groups of patients than have been studied so far.”