From Sephardic Jews to Popular First Names: Blog Posts and News Stories for Genealogists, October 25, 2013
This week’s roundup starts with “mathematical genealogy” being used to calculate the number of Sephardic Jews today. We move on to another series of term definitions from The Legal Genealogist, commentary on genealogy television from Cyndi Ingle, a letter from a famous 10-year-old Perkins School for the Blind student, and closes out with a seris of maps showing the most popular names for girls from 1960 to the present.
I love Wired magazine. They had a very interesting story this week about Jewish genealogy. Last year Spain decreed that the country would create a fast track to citizenship for Sephardic Jews. These are descendants of the Jews who were expelled from the country in 1492. Only 20% of modern Jews identify themselves as Sephardic, but a Georgia Tech biologist wondered how many would have Sephardic ancestry. Using mathematical models he determined that the likelihood is that all modern Jews actually have Sephardic ancestors, even if they do not identify as such today. Get the full story in The Universality of (Sephardic) Ethnicity, As Explained by Mathematical Genealogy.
The Legal Genealogist, Judy G. Russell, continued her series of term definitions this week as she travelled the high seas on a genealogy cruise. This week’s terms included malas, landlocked, jubilacion, stews, and autosomes. Now you may think you know what some of these terms mean. For example, landlocked refers to land with no access to water, right? And stews are delicious brothy meals, right? In both instances, from a legal perspective, you would be wrong.
Cyndi Ingle of wrote an interesting piece recently on the Cyndi’s List Blog. It has been almost twenty years since she first went online in 1995. At the time the internet was just starting to take off, and there was a lot of cynicism about it. Now, similar thoughts are surrounding the latest trend in genealogy: television programs geared towards family history. Read more in Why Genealogy on TV is a Good Thing.
The Massachusetts Historical Society had a great post in their blog, The Beehive. A member of the collection services team was processing the papers of George E. Ellis, a nineteenth-century Unitarian minister and historian from Boston. While working with the collection, a particular letter caught her eye. A student at the Perkins School for the Blind in South Boston had written Ellis (along with many others) in 1891 to solicit donations for four-year-old Tommy Stringer, a fellow student who was deaf and blind and whose family could not support him. The strident support of Stringer’s cause: 10-year-old Helen Keller. Find out more and see the letter at Helen Keller in Boston.
Finally this week is an interesting series of maps from Jezebel. They show the most popular names for girls born in the United States from 1960 to day. The maps show the most popular names in each state for each year. You can blow up each map to make it more readable. A slide show at the top of the article runs through the maps on an endless loop. The big winner for names is Jennifer, which held the top rank for a decade and a half from 1970 to 1984. View them at Maps: Six Decades of the Most Popular Names for Girls State by State.