Free Talking Book Program: BARD Mobile App for Android


I thought this latest news from the Library of Congress was rather fascinating:

People who are blind, visually impaired or have a physical disability may now download talking books to their Android phone or tablet, if they are registered with the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) in the Library of Congress.


The Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) Mobile app is now available through Google Play for devices running Android OS 4.1 or later. The free app allows readers to download talking books from their NLS BARD accounts. Access to BARD is provided through local cooperating libraries. BARD contains nearly 65,000 books, magazines, and music scores in audio and braille formats, with new selections added daily.


“The BARD Mobile app allows searching, downloading, and reading books and magazines on one fully accessible, mainstream device,” NLS director Karen Keninger said. “It’s a library in your pocket.” NLS released a BARD Mobile app for iOS devices in 2013. The addition of an Android app “will give on-the-go access to an even larger number of patrons,” Keninger said.

My husband has a family member who is losing his vision due to macular degeneration. It makes me very sad because he was the family genealogist for many years and can no longer see well enough to do any research. My husband seems to have taken up that mantle now, but we miss the contributions and insight from his cousin. :-(

Read the rest of the article here.



Debbie Gurtler Lectures on Finding Hispanic Ancestors

Debbie GurtlerDebbie Gurtler will present two free lectures on resources and research techniques for finding your Hispanic ancestors from Spain, Mexico, or other Latin American countries on Saturday, July 11, 2015, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 2107 Santa Barbara Street, Santa Barbara, California, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00.p.m. 

Debbie graduated with honors from Brigham Young University with a BA Degree in Family History. She worked for several research firms in Salt Lake before beginning her present employment at the Family History Library where she is currently the supervisor of the International Floor. She is fluent in Spanish and presents classes in both English and Spanish. Her areas of research specialty include Spain, Latin America, Brazil, Portugal and the United States. She is also familiar with the research basics for Quebec, France, and Italy. In addition to Spanish, her language expertise includes the ability to read documents in Portuguese, Italian, French, and Latin. She is an Accredited Genealogist® for the United States, Mid-south region and Spain. She is a commissioner on the board of ICAPGen where she serves as webmaster. She is the mother of three and the grandmother of three.

She also worked with a team of genealogists on the ancestry of Tim McGraw for the NBC program “Who Do You Think You Are,” and has taught various Hispanic research beginner and methodology classes at conferences and in the Family History Library in both Spanish and English.

Registration: 8:15am to 9:00am. Register here for FREE.

This lecture is co-sponsored by the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society and the LDS Family History Center of Santa Barbara. You do not need to be a member to enjoy this wonderful, free presentation.

For information, contact or visit



Global Family Reunion: Second Life Branch Party



The Global Family Reunion Second Life Branch Party

WHEN: Saturday, June 6, 2015

TIME: 8:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. SLT (Pacific Daylight Time)

WHERE: Second Life, Just Genealogy (Wollah (76,43, 72)


What is the Global Family Reunion?

Genealogy and family history have received a big boost in the last decade from inexpensive DNA testing, and the growth of online source databases and user-built family trees. A. J. Jacobs, a writer and editor, plugged himself into several websites and got excited, as many of us do, at the history and connections that opened up.

In honor of his new-found cousins, Jacobs is sponsoring the Global Family Reunion, a day-long event in New York City, with “branch parties” in other locations, including Second Life. The NYC events include education, famous speakers, and many, many cousins, near and far removed.

Additionally, the Global Family Reunion is a fundraiser for two organizations devoted to finding a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease: the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund and the Alzheimer’s Association New York Chapter. Goals of the event are threefold: 1) to find cousins through the new online, crowdsourced family trees, 2) to raise money for Alzheimer’s Disease research, and 3) to have fun!


Second Life Branch Party

Can’t make it to New York City? Then join the Second Life Branch Party at Just Genealogya day of “virtual” fun, music, dancing, educational presentations and discussions, prizes and games… all in a carnival atmosphere. The New York City event will be live-streaming on the big screen, and people will be available to help with your family history research. 

And PRIZES! Just a few of the prizes to be given away are a 6-month subscription to, and copies of the popular family tree software FamilyTree Maker (Mac and for PC) and RootsMagic. EVERY attendee will be eligible for prizes! :-)


What is Just Genealogy?

Just Genealogy is the enduring home for genealogy in Second Life. Originally founded by Krag Mariner, Just Genealogy is now owned by Clarise Beaumont and Genie Weezles (Relatively Curious). Barbara Collazo joined Second Life to “do” genealogy, and has been at Just Genealogy since her first days in Second Life (though she does many other things too).

Just Genealogy hosts the Second Life Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), whose members strive for the highest scholarly and ethical standards in genealogy research. The group offers monthly continuing education programs, and all genealogists – not just APG members – are welcome to attend their meetings. The Second Life NGSQ Study Group also holds monthly meetings at Just Genealogy. Additionally, there are educational displays and other scheduled discussions about genealogical topics.

Just Genealogy is a friendly community that understands when you start to talk about your second cousins five-times-removed. Genealogists of all skill levels, and from all walks of life, frequent Just Genealogy. It is a great place for people who may be physically disabled or otherwise isolated; for many, Second Life can be a lifeline where one can meet like-minded individuals who share your interests.

Join the Just Genealogy in-world group to be part of the largest Second Life group devoted entirely to genealogy.


How to Participate in the Second Life Branch Party

If you are new to Second Life, download the free software, follow the instructions to create an avatar, and enter the world. (Note: You must be 18 years of age to use Second Life.)



Search for Genie Weezles or Barbara Collazo in-world, or teleport directly to Just Genealogy.

Newcomers to Second Life are most welcome to join the party. If you are new to genealogy, stop by and listen to stories. Ask for help. Or come and offer help!

For more information, or to volunteer your time and talents, please contact Genie Weezles.



Indexed Family History Records Now Available Through the DAR Genealogical Research System

The NSDAR: Celebrating 125 Years of ServiceThe National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) is excited to announce a new resource has been added to its Genealogical Research System (GRS). The new resource is an index of over 40,000 digitized family Bible records, and each day more records are digitized and added to the Index. This is one of the largest known collections of such genealogical materials in existence. The DAR collection spans many decades, so even those researchers who are not looking for Revolutionary War era ancestors, may find the new Bible Records Index useful.

“The DAR is committed to making family research materials more readily available to the public,” said DAR President General Lynn Forney Young. “Many of these transcripts of the Bible records may be all that is left of these family Bibles, so it is important to preserve them for our future generations and make them accessible to researchers.”

Genealogists often rely on vital records, among other resources, to aid in their research, but sometimes these records may be difficult to find or are non-existent, which is why these Bible records are such important research tools. Historically, families kept detailed accounts of the family’s history in their Bibles, including births, baptisms, confirmations, marriages and deaths and handed the Bible down through the generations. The Bible Record Index may contain unique information that researchers today are unable to locate anywhere else.

As with any resource there are some disadvantages to Bible records, including errors or inaccuracies, but they are still a useful source when other materials may not be available. Bible records may be an acceptable form of documentation when applying for membership in the DAR. Learn more about the parameters in the application instructions.

Family Bible records can be found in the DAR’s many genealogical collections, but the largest group of these records is found in the reports of the Genealogical Research Committee (GRC). The new Bible Records Index was collected, compiled and digitized by the hard-working DAR members of the GRC. In 1913, this committee of members began to gather and transcribe unpublished genealogical source materials such as military records, deeds, vital records, estate records and Bible records. Through this work, DAR was able to expand its genealogical holdings, made genealogy resources available to the public and today it has now facilitated the creation of the Bible Record Index.

“This new index may be helpful to those researchers who have reached a ‘brick wall’ in their research,” said Eric G. Grundset, Director of the DAR Library. “These Bible records contain information that had previously been extremely difficult to find. The index opens these records for the future.”

To use this new database, researchers will enter a name and the GRS will search the more than 40,000 Bible records for a match. If a match is found, the researcher will see information about the record including: surname, the source, book title, book description and the page on which the name first appears. If the researcher is on-site at the DAR Library they are able to view the Bible records and print off the pages that are needed. If the researcher is not at DAR Headquarters they can use the DAR Library Search Service to acquire the records or they can start planning their trip to the DAR Library so they can access the records.

The DAR Bible Record Index is one of the largest collections of this type of genealogical materials available today and we are excited to make these resources available to the public for research purposes and to help preserve these unique records for future generations.

The GRS Bible Records Index can be found at

For more information about joining the Daughters of the American Revolution, visit

# # #

The DAR Genealogical Research System (GRS) is a free resource provided by the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) to aid general genealogical research and to assist with the DAR membership process. The GRS is a collection of databases that provide access to the many materials amassed by the DAR since its founding in 1890. To access the DAR Genealogical Research System, visit

The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution was founded in 1890 to promote historic preservation, education and patriotism.  Any woman 18 years or older, regardless of race, religion, or ethnic background, who can prove lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution is eligible for membership. With more than 177,000 members in approximately 3,000 chapters worldwide, DAR is one of the world’s largest and most active service organizations. Encompassing an entire downtown city block, DAR National Headquarters houses one of the nation’s premier genealogical libraries, one of the foremost collections of pre-industrial American decorative arts, Washington, D.C.’s largest concert hall, and an extensive collection of early American manuscripts and imprints. To learn more about the work of today’s DAR, visit



James D. Stonecipher, Jr: Are You My Cousin?

Last weekend, my family went out to the Santa Maria Cemetery to put flags on veterans’ graves, as we have done for the past 6 years or so. From a couple of rows away, my husband called out, “Hey, isn’t Stonecipher one of your family names?” Ummm, yes… why? 

This was obviously not my first visit to the cemetery. And now that I think about it, I have actually seen this stone before, but never made a big enough mental note about it to do any follow-up. Stonecipher isn’t exactly a common name, so there has to be a connection somewhere, even if it’s just a distant one. So this time, I made a photographic note, and decided to come home and do a bit of research. 


James Dallas Stonecipher Jr. was born on 18 March 1922, in Burkburnett, Wichita County, Texas. His parents were James D. Stonecipher and Emily Thorp. I was lucky enough to find a birth certificate for a baby “Stonecipher” (no first name) on, under “Texas, Birth Certificates, 1903-1932.” At the time of James Jr.’s birth, James Sr. was listed as 28 years old, born in Alabama, and working as an oil field worker. Emily was born in Texas, and either 20 or 30 years old (the writing is hard to read). She was a housewife.

Also on, I found the application for James’ headstone in “U.S., Headstone Applications for Military Veterans, 1925-1963.” From that, I learned that his middle name was Dallas (so Texas!), he was a Seaman 1st Class in the U.S. Coast Guard, and he was discharged from active duty on 22 June 1945, almost a month and a half before the end of WWII. The stone was requested by a Mrs. Velma Stonecipher of Santa Maria, California, who, I am guessing, was James’ wife.

According to the “California, Death Index, 1940-1997” James died on 6 October 1958, in San Luis Obispo, California.


Above is a close-up of the photo on James’ grave marker. Doesn’t he look like a fun guy? The word “jolly” comes to mind here…

Incidentally, while at the cemetery, I checked the Find A Grave app to see if a memorial and/or photo had been posted for James. Turns out my husband had posted a photo of his grave marker back in 2012. Hmmm. A search of Stoneciphers buried in California turns up 46 names. They can’t all be related… can they? Is Stonecipher kind of like Smith in German??

I have started a family tree to track James and his ancestors on WikiTree, to which I will be adding to as I learn more about his ancestry. If you are related to this family, or have any information about them, please contact me. I would love to know how these Texas/California Stoneciphers are related to my North Carolina/Tennessee branch!


Gratuitous photo of my descendant standing beside a random grave marker. She may, or may not, be a cousin of James D. Stonecipher, Jr., but she is definitely not related to Sgt. Jack W. McCollum.



Best Bytes for the Week of 29 May 2015


Best Bytes is an eclectic collection, in no particular order, of things I thought were interesting during the past week. I hope you find something to enjoy here!


What’s Hot

Will they or won’t they? Exclusive: Genealogy website explores sale: sources

Better safe than sorry: Ancestry Up for Sale? and my post How To Download Your Tree

ICYMI: Shutters SMGF Database Amid Murder Case Controversy

Jamboree 2015 – Registration Now Open for FREE Jamboree Live Streaming

GENEii Writers Contest Winners Announced

Announcement: Burbank Public Library, Ancestry and SCGS Join Forces

Reserve Your Hotel Room for the NGS 2016 Family History Conference


Cool Stuffs

99-year-old woman gets 16,000 birthday cards from strangers on Facebook

Google ATAP’s Project Jacquard Wants To Weave Sensors Into Your Clothes

Google Photos’ Unlimited Free Storage Could Clobber Apple’s Expensive iCloud

Now You Can Search the Entire US Census, 1790-1940, FREE on Mocavo

7 Tricks With the New Eyefi Mobi Card

Because some of us are visual learners: Visualizing Data From the Shared cM Project


In the News

Access to records for adults who were adopted scuttled in the Senate

‘Father’ and ‘son’ dissolve adoption in order to get married

First World War hero’s relatives united by century old photograph

Human gene sequencing gets an official yardstick

New Species of Human Ancestor Found in Ethiopia

Army of family historians go online to identify unknown soldiers

Arms outstretched, a terrified mother and child before they were entombed by ash: Restoration work begins on bodies of those who died when Vesuvius engulfed Pompeii


Help Wanted

ICYMI: Veterans History Project — Let’s Make Sure That No More of Their Stories are Lost!

The Family History Guide – A New Genealogy Tool

Magazines: Do you subscribe to genealogical magazines? Do you find them useful?


From the Blogs

Lovely records from The Legal Genealogist

The Shared cM Project – An Update by The Genetic Genealogist

Yes, daily: Do You Ever Wonder Who Else Might Be Researching Your Ancestor? by Geneamusings

Mystery Monday – Beware of those bible pages! by The Sum Of All My Research

My husband has this problem: Help! I am a victim of Pedigree Collapse by Genealogy’s Star


Fave Photo of the Week

A great story about a rather average photo: Someone Did Want That Picture by A Family Tapestry

But I also loved this: First Gravestone Photograph from Granite in my Blood


Just for Fun

Stay classy, genealogy bloggers: Anchorman-Inspired Tips to Help you Blog Your Way to the Top.


The Last Byte

So you’re related to Charlemagne? You and every other living European… Intriguing? Or disappointing? Discuss. 



NGSQ Study Group Meets in Second Life Tonight

Genealogists are everywhere. Even in the places you’d least expect. For example, did you know there are genealogists in the virtual world of Second Life?


Yep, there is a busy, growing community of genealogists in Second Life, and YOU are welcome to join us!

Drop by Just Genealogy tonight for the NGSQ Study Group. What is this group, you ask? Well, it is a group of genealogists who study scholarly articles from the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, and meet monthly to discuss the evidence and methodology used in the case study. The Second Life group meets on the 4th Thursday of the month at 6:00 p.m. PDT. Tonight, in other words.

This month’s reading is: Morna Lahnice Hollister’s “Goggins and Goggans of South Carolina: DNA Helps Document the Basis of an Emancipated Family’s Surname,” National Genealogical Society Quarterly 102 (September 2014): 165-176.

I should point out that at the recent NGS Conference, this article received the National Genealogical Society Quarterly’s Award for Excellence: So, it’s a good one. :-)

For more information, feel free to contact me via this blog, or in-world as Ellington Sweeney. I’ll be happy to send you the reading list and help you get started.

Stay tuned for information about more genealogy events in Second Life!



How To Download Your Tree

With all the recent speculation about a possible sale of, genealogists are being advised to download a copy of their Ancestry Family Tree. Here’s how to do this:

Step 1: Under the Family Trees menu, select the Ancestry tree you would like to back up. Once you are in that tree, select Tree Settings from the Tree Pages drop-down menu.


Step 2: Click on the Export tree button on the bottom right side of window. This will start the download of the GEDCOM.


Step 3: When the download is complete, click on the Download your GEDCOM file. This will open a window allowing you to select a place for the downloaded file (note: if all of your downloads automatically go to your Downloads folder, check there).


What next? Well, you can open the file in your family tree software or upload the tree to another online family tree host. Personally, I recommend WikiTree, which is now, and always will be, free to use.

Whether or not a sale of actually occurs, it is always a good idea to back up your data. What is your preferred method of back-up?



Tech Tuesday: Fix Your Broken Links

I’ve been super sick with bronchitis for the past 2 weeks, so I’ll keep this post short. On a side note, however, being so sick has really made think about how the ancestors managed, back in the day. I mean, if I’d had this bug 150 years ago, I would probably be dead. Antibiotics have saved my life more times than I can count (although they have also almost killed me a few times). Just think about how strong our ancestors must have been to have survived what we now consider “routine” infections. And then there were those who did not survive. Things that make you go, “Hmmm.”

Anyway… I wanted to share this cool plug-in with those of you who are WordPress users (apologies to those of you using other platforms). I’ve been blogging for about 7 1/2 years – which is like 412 in blog years. When I moved my blog from Blogger to WordPress, I made a critical error in not moving my domain quickly enough, so about eleventy zillion of my links are now going to error pages. How do I know this? I installed the Broken Link Checker plugin. Day after day, this awesome tool does the tedious task of crawling my blog for broken links, so I won’t have to. And every 3 days, it nags emails me with a list of more broken links to be fixed (345, at present count, ugh). This task would have taken me forever to do on my own, post by post. I know; it’s going to take me forever as it is, but at least I know exactly where to look.



BTW, you can vary the amount of time between nags updates, and you can have the emails sent to whichever email address you prefer. Make these changes in the settings for this plugin.

So why should you care if your links are current? Well, for one thing, you might be losing readers who have already clicked onto your blog, especially if you have posts that are cross-linked. Readers who wander onto a 404 Not Found page will most likely click away rather than stick around and use your search feature (assuming you have one of those). Also, you are losing readers via search engines. You want to make sure that your important posts are being found high up in searches, not buried under other, irrelevant stuff, right? And lost readers = lost cousins. We don’t want cousins to miss the bait. 

So give this plugin a try, and let me know what you think. And now, I’ve got to get busy fixing those 345 broken links… ugh.



Best Bytes for the Week of 1 May 2015


Best Bytes is an eclectic collection, in no particular order, of things I thought were interesting during the past week. I hope you find something to enjoy here!


What’s Hot

Starts today! FamilySearch Indexing Announces First Worldwide Arbitration Event

BillionGraves’ Million More in May Madness 2015 (every user that uploads 50,000+ unique photos or transcribes 50,000 records will win an iPad mini)

Save 25% on a [] gift membership this Mother’s Day

Geneabloggers Contest: Win a 6-month Membership

The International Society of Family History Writers and Editors (ISFHWE) 2015 Excellence-in-Writing Competition – Open for Entries

SCGS Jamboree 2015 – Calling All Members of GeneaBloggers

AncestryDNA Soon Available in Canada!

Introducing Ancestry Academy, a New Way to Learn About Family History is hiring: Job Search


Cool Stuffs

How Old Do I Look?, A New App From Microsoft That Tries to Detect the Age of a Person in a Photograph

Free App for Making Videos

Geotaggers’ World Atlas: Photo Spots Reveal the Most Interesting Places on Earth

Chrome add-on stops scammers from getting your Google password

For you frequent fliers: Dufl, A Service That Packs And Ships Your Suitcase, Is A Traveler’s Dream


In the News

R.I.P. Messenger: The little spacecraft that could

72 Year Old Message Found During Renovations

Spring Cleaning Leads to Creepy Find in Family’s Attic

Stuck on your Irish genealogy? Good news!

Deleting the Family Tree: When shuttered its social network for relatives, it erased 10 years’ worth of my family’s correspondence and memories

Amy Choate-Nielsen: Newspaper gives glimpse into ancestor’s actions — but it’s only a piece of the puzzle (part 1) and Amy Choate-Nielsen: Case of mistaken identity solves family history mystery (part 2)

Ewwww. A French Company Will Turn Your Dead Relatives Into Perfume


Help Wanted


Archivists, genealogists, historians: What Inspired You to Do What You Do? #archivistinspiration

Two Men—Or One?



3 Generations, Do You Know Them?

Please Pass the Salt…And Tell Us About Your Ancestors

Jamboree 2015 – Calling All Volunteers!


From the Blogs

How Mad Men Will Really End—With a Shaky Leaf from Clue Wagon

An open letter to genealogy societies from

Repurposing Your Posts from the Moultrie Creek Gazette

Who was Donald Lines Jacobus, and why should you know about him? from In Search of Our Common Heritage

No wonder they didn’t smile: Old Timey Toothbrushes from Blind Pig & the Acorn

Why are we using unsupported genealogy programs? from Genealogy’s Star

Finding time to do your research from Organize Your Family History


Fave Photo of the Week

The look on her face (first photo) is priceless: Manchester New Hampshire Shoemaker, Mechanic, Harley Motorcycle Dealer, Motorcycle Club Founder: Joseph Exilia Forest (1880-1929)


Just for Fun

“Luke… I am your father.” Now he has the perfect way to show it. Fan Chart for Star Wars Fans


The Last Byte

Food for thought: Does the digital era herald the end of history? (h/t @DJoshuaTaylor)



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