Friday, July 26, 2019

Funeral Home Records

Funeral homes are business entities and, as such, maintain records of each person for which services were provided. You may identify the funeral home which handled an individual’s arrangements by the consulting death certificate or obituaries and other death notices published in newspapers.
Funeral home records typically include the name of the deceased, dates and locations of birth and death, parents’ names, and details of services provided. They also include itemized lists and charges for products and services such as: casket and vault; clothing; cosmetological services; floral arrangements; a hearse, limousines, and other hired vehicles; newspaper notices; musical selections and performers; thank you cards; opening and closing of a grave; and other charges. The place where the funeral will take place and the name(s) of any clergy may provide clues to religious institutions and records. The record will include a cemetery or instructions for transport of the remains to another location for interment. Instructions for cremation and disposition of the cremains may be included. Finally, accounting information may include the name and address of the responsible family member or other person responsible for paying the bill.
Funeral home records that still exist may be in the possession of that company or in storage. Older records may have been donated someplace else, including to public or academic libraries, genealogical or historical societies, or elsewhere. Inquire at these places to determine where you might locate the older records. Some records have been digitized and placed online at sites including,,, and

Thursday, July 25, 2019

MyHeritage Updates Their Theory of Relativity DNA Tool

We've received news from MyHeritage about an update to their Theory of Family Relativity™ DNA Tool. Not only that, but they have  have also just refreshed all the data for the Theory of Family Relativity!
What that means is that you'll get new and updated theories that explain how you and your DNA Matches may be related. This much-anticipated update may provide you with answers about relationships that have baffled you, as well as offer new insights about your ancestors and family relationships.
Here is the announcement from MyHeritage with a link to their blog in which they explain in detail this important update.
The Theory of Family Relativity™ scans billions of family tree profiles and historical records to craft detailed theories of how DNA Matches on MyHeritage may be related to each other. Since launching the feature in February, our DNA database has grown significantly, the number of family trees on MyHeritage has reached 45 million, existing trees have grown, and more historical records have been added to SuperSearch™.

A new notification system has been created to update MyHeritage users about new theories as they are discovered, one theory at a time. This email will be sent periodically, as of this week.

We hope that MyHeritage DNA users will enjoy the current update, which has more than doubled the number of theories available.
Read more about this update and some key facts and figures in the blog post.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Evidentia Offers Class on July 25th

Ed Thompson of Evidentia has announced a new live class about the popular software program.

On July 25, 2019 at 9PM Eastern (7PM Mountain) we will focus on what it means to catalog a claim in Evidentia, and what it means to tag a claim in Evidentia.
We will explore the benefits of each, and see how cataloging claims is at the core of Evidentia.
There is only room for 100 active participants, but the class will be recorded and shared on our website as well as YouTube.
If all goes well, expect to see more frequent mini classes on a single topic.


See you Thursday!?

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Reminder: Unsung Heroes Awards Nominations Due August 1st

Don't forget that nominations for this quarter's Unsung Heroes Awards are due by midnight August 1st! Full details and links to the nomination forms can be found at the website for Aha! Seminars, Inc., producer of The Genealogy Guys Podcast, at

The Unsung Heroes Awards is a quarterly awards program designed to recognize its recipients in five categories: individuals, genealogical/historical societies, libraries/archives, young people, and a new posthumous certificate award. The awards are presented by The Genealogy Guys, George G. Morgan and Drew Smith, co-hosts and producers of the oldest continually produced genealogy podcast, and Rick Voight and Randy Fredlund, the principals of Vivid-Pix, makers of RESTORE photo and document restoration software.

We want to sing your praises!

Friday, July 12, 2019

Old Letters and Postcards

Don't condemn your relatives for being packrats. Sometimes the materials they maintain can be the source of tremendous clues for your research. Ask your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles if you may look through old letters and postcards for addresses and dates. Sometimes the dates and return addresses will help you locate or place a lost or missing relative. The contents of these written communiqu├ęs can provide additional details on their lives and those of other family members. This information may be just the missing link you need to make the connection to the next research step.

In addition, savor the images you find on vintage postcards. They may show the places where your ancestors lived at the time they were there, and that can provide you with a visual perspective of their daily lives. Picture postcards from places they may have visited and their observational comments on the obverse side of the card may expand your understanding of a journey they made. Either way, you are building the context of their lives.

Vintage postcard from the early 1920s of Peace Institute (now Peace College)
in Raleigh, North Carolina. The author's aunt was attending at the time and
this postcard provides a visual context of where she lived for two years.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Using Vivid-Pix RESTORE on Downloaded Images

Anyone who reads this blog already knows that I'm a huge fan of Vivid-Pix RESTORE software. I'm using it every day these days, not just for my own digital photos and documents but also for images I find on the Internet that I feel could be made clearer and more helpful. This applies to photographs, of course, but to digitized documents such as census records, parish records, civil registrations and vital records, wills and probate records, land records, and newspaper images.

My attention is often piqued by just seeing an historical image that I want to see more clearly. That happened again this morning when The Florida Historical Society posted the image shown below on its Facebook page. This photo dates from 1898 and shows some of the forces who processed through Florida on their way to Cuba in the Spanish American War. You remember ... that's the one during which Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders captured San Juan Hill.

I saved this photo to my computer and opened it in RESTORE. With one click I selected the image you see below. (I could have made adjustments to lightness and contrast and fine-tuned the image a bit more.) However, before I saved the image, I also added metadata to it. The metadata window I completed looks like this:

Essentially what I added in the way of metadata was what the Florida Historical Library of Florida had placed on the typed label it scanned with the photograph. Once I added metadata, I clicked the OK button. I then saved the image to my computer. The new image is shown below.

You can now see a lot more detail that you might not have noticed before, including the shadow cast by the photographer in the lower right corner. I could have cropped the image to eliminate the label because I now have all of that in the metadata I saved with the image. When I locate the image (on my Mac in this case), I highlight the image in the directory, right-click my mouse, and select Get Info. The image below displays all the metadata I had added. I can use that to search for files on my computer, including the keyword tag I added for Spanish American War.

Now I not only have a cleaner image, I have incorporated data that I can use to more effectively manage my images. 

Take advantage of a free trial of RESTORE at Vivid-Pix for PC or Mac by entering the code 3GenealogyGuys3R. I think you will be as impressed as I am with the results. And don't forget to use it on documents and newspapers, digital microfilmed images, and more.

In the meantime, improve your knowledge of history and learn more about the Spanish American War at Wikipedia at