Blogs and News for Genealogists, May 17, 2013

17 May 2013

Jennifer  R. James had a terrific post on the Huffington Post College Blog this week. With roots in Philadelphia, she wanted to work on her family history when she began graduate school at Drexel University. Unfortunately her white American mother (of English and German descent) and her Indian immigrant father became involved in a contentious divorce. This caused her difficulties, complicated by her multi-racial identity. Then one of her professors assigned family history as an assignment, and things started to change. Read more in Tangled Roots: Racial Identity and Family Trees.

Judy Russell, the Legal Genealogist, has an ongoing series about terms of use for websites. This week she discusses the terms for using the new The site has moved from a focus on records to a focus on sharing information. As Judy says, when a website encourages people to upload material, it is time to examine closely the site’s terms of use to see what they will do with what you upload. And Judy lays out the terms for FamilySearch in plain English for you. Read the full story in FamilySearch: Sharing is Forever. You can read Judy’s review of Mocavo’s terms of use in Terms of Use: Mocavo.

The National Geographic Daily News reported on a story out of Iceland about the Vikings coming to America—and taking a Native American when departing. Mitochondrial DNA (passed from mother to child) studies have found a number of people in Iceland with a genetic variant that is very similar to one found almost exclusively in Native American populations. The DNA seems to have appeared about 1000 C.E., about the time that Vikings were known to have sailed to America. Read more in American Indian Sailed to Europe With Vikings?


Carolyn Barkley


This week the genealogical community lost a good friend, Carolyn L. Barkley. She was well-known and well-liked, and a popular face at genealogical conferences around the country. Dick Eastman ran a lovely tribute yesterday that was written by Craig Scott. Carolyn wrote the Genealogy and Family History blog. She shared from her deep breadth of knowledge gained in her many years as a librarian as well as a genealogist. Her last post was made two weeks ago. In Searching for Your Collegiate Ancestor, she discusses resources for finding family members who attended college or university. While you are there, take some time to look at some of the many other posts she made you can learn a lot from her.

There are several new television shows involving genealogy that are about to start airing. The first is Christopher Guest’s new HBO show Family Tree. Last week June Thomas wrote a review of the show.  She sums it up by saying “That’s not to say that Guest is doing for family history what he once did for clapped-out rock bands, community theater, dog shows, folk music, or the Oscars. Although the eight-part series follows Tom Chadwick (Chris O’Dowd in charming loser mode) as he tries to learn more about his ancestors, its real subject is the international family of comedy.” You can read the full review in Christopher Guest’s Family Tree is Really About the Genealogy of Comedy.