Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research Offers New Interactive Option for Courses


RALEIGH, North Carolina, 17 December 2014:

The Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research is evolving!

Student responses to our first course have reinforced our plans concerning the need for additional instructor interaction and feedback. Beginning in 2015 we will offer instructors and students this option.

Previously our courses came in a single format: four 90-minute lecture sessions with Q&A, extensive syllabus material, and at least one practical exercise.

Plus courses will consist of:

  • the same four 90-minute lecture sessions and syllabus material offered to standard students; plus
  • an additional one-hour Q&A/discussion session held on an evening either midweek or at the conclusion of the course;
  • individualized instructor feedback on practical exercises by email;
  • a Certificate of Completion for the course.

The Plus option for any course will cost $99.99, as compared to the $69.99 cost of standard courses.

J. Mark Lowe’s “Preparing the Field: Understanding the Agricultural Records of Our Ancestors” will be the first course to offer this new option. Beginning on Wednesday, 17 December 2014, buttons will appear on the website to purchase either the Standard or the Plus option for this course. Many of the Institute’s future courses will also offer this option.

For more information visit www.vigrgenealogy.com or email vigrgenealogy@gmail.com.

About the Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research

The Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research offers virtual, year-round courses on a wide variety of genealogical subjects from top experts in the field. For more information visit www.vigrgenealogy.com or email vigrgenealogy@gmail.com.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The National Genealogical Society Introduces New Course: Researching Your Revolutionary War Ancestors



Arlington, VA, 16 DECEMBER 2014: The National Genealogical Society announced today the release of its newest Continuing Genealogical Studies (CGS) course: Researching YourRevolutionary War Ancestors. Developed by military records expert Craig Roberts Scott, CG, FUGA, the new course expands on NGS’s offerings for teaching military research strategies, and helps achieve NGS’s goal of providing quality educational opportunities to the genealogical community.

In addition to his role as CEO and President of Heritage Books, Inc., Craig Scott has spent decades honing his military research expertise and teaching these skills within the genealogical community. He has coordinated military courses at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh, and Samford University’s Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research in Birmingham, Alabama. His books include Understanding Revolutionary War and Invalid Pension Ledgers 1818‐1872 and Pension Payment Vouchers They Represent, and The “Lost” Pensions: Settled Accounts of the Act of 6 April 1838.

In this eight‐module cloud‐based course, Scott introduces numerous U.S. based records related to those who fought for independence, including compiled service records, prisoner of war records, and pension files. He will also teach strategies to identify and locate information about ancestors who lived at the time of the Revolution.

Researching YourRevolutionary War Ancestors is available to NGS members for $45.00 and to non-members for $70.00. For additional information or to purchase the course, visit the NGS website at http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/researching_your_revolutionary_war_ancestors.

The NGS Continuing Genealogical Studies courses are designed for both beginners and established genealogists who wish to focus on a specific topic and put their ensuing knowledge to work quickly. The courses allow individuals to complete genealogical coursework at their own pace and from the convenience of their own homes.

Two other cloud-based CGS courses are also offered:

  • Introduction to Civil War Research
  • Genetic Genealogy, The Basics

In addition to the CGS courses, NGS also offers several courses from its American Genealogical Studies (AGS) series, including:

  • The Basics
  • Guide to Documentation and Source Citation

Advanced AGS courses in a new series called Beyond the Basics are currently in development. This cloud-based series is scheduled for release in 2015 and will complete American Genealogical Studies, which replaces the NGS Home Study Course, the standard in genealogical education for decades.

Founded in 1903, the National Genealogical Society is dedicated to genealogy education, high research standards, and the preservation of genealogical records. The Arlington, Virginia-based nonprofit is the premier national society for everyone, from the beginner to the most advanced family historian seeking excellence in publications, educational offerings, research guidance, and opportunities to interact with other genealogists.

“CG”, “Certified Genealogist”, “CGL”, and “Certified Genealogist Lecturer” are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, and are used under license by authorized associates following periodic, peer‐reviewed competency evaluations. The board name is registered in the US Patent & Trademark Office.

AncestryDNA Reconstructs Partial Genome of Person Living 200 Years Ago


Genetic Networking Technology of DNA Circles(TM) Enables Advancements in Human Genome Reconstruction Methods


PROVO, Utah, Dec. 16, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- AncestryDNA genetic scientists have pushed the boundaries of human genome reconstruction methods by using the DNA of many living people to reassemble an unprecedented proportion of the human genome attributed to a 19th Century American and his two successive spouses. This scientific feat is a step forward in the use of consumer genetics in family history, providing a glimpse into what a long ago ancestor may have looked like or which traits they may have passed down to descendants.

"Imagine if you could go back in time and see your ancestors. Would you see a part of yourself in one of them? Genetics is starting to answer questions about what an ancestor may have looked like and the specific traits they passed down to you. This is very exciting, not just for those exploring their family history, but in better understanding those who came before us," said Catherine Ball, Vice President of Genomics and Bioinformatics who led the effort at AncestryDNA.

Human genome reconstruction methods involve using science and technology to marry the past with the present. By using genetic material of living people, AncestryDNA has reassembled pieces of the human genome from a man named David Speegle and his successive spouses Winifred Crawford and Nancy Garren who lived in the early 1800's Alabama. With many children between the two marriages during his lifetime, David and his spouses Winifred and Nancy were excellent candidates for reconstruction given the number of living descendants that all potentially carry a piece of their DNA.

Ancestral Genome Reconstruction

The AncestryDNA team of scientists leveraged more than 500,000 DNA samples and 60 million family trees from Ancestry to form more than 150,000 DNA Circles. DNA Circles™ is a feature now available to AncestryDNA customers who subscribe to Ancestry that uses genetic information to connect people who are all likely descendants of a common ancestor. Most DNA Circles connect customers to an ancestor living four to six generations ago or about 150-200 years ago.

Leveraging the technology underlying DNA Circles, AncestryDNA scientists identified one of these shared ancestors as David Speegle. Using an approach similar to reassembling a document that has been shredded, the team was able to piece together fragments of genetic code from David Speegle and his spouses Winifred and Nancy for roughly 50 percent of the length of the human genome. In some cases, the team was even able to identify pieces of the genome that were unique to David Speegle because of the unique family tree structure. Six generations back, everyone has 64 great-great-great-great-grandparents from whom they have inherited their DNA — thus, attributing segments of DNA to any one or two of them is an impressive feat.

"We've already learned some interesting facts about David Speegle and his spouses Winifred and Nancy," said Ball, "For example; we've identified pieces of the genome that indicate David Speegle or his spouses had a gene attributed to a higher likelihood of male pattern baldness. And David apparently passed along a gene needed for blue eyes." DNA technology, involving genome reconstruction and other methods, has the ability to fill in the holes in family lineages where historical records may drop off - providing a new way to experience family history and gain a better understanding of one's self.

"This is a significant achievement that will have implications in population genetics, genealogy, anthropology and health and offers a preview into future advancements that will be made possible by large databases of genetic and genealogical information," said Dr. Kenneth Chahine, Senior Vice President and General Manager of AncestryDNA. "It feels like science fiction, but it is very much a reality and only the beginning. Future insights may come in the form of tracing the source of particular traits in a population, reaching a better understanding of recent population history and enabling more targeted genetic genealogy research."

The new DNA Circles experience and the genome reconstruction project are part of the AncestryDNA science team's ongoing efforts to explore the potential of genetic data, not only to improve the AncestryDNA service, but to bring the excitement around the possibilities of personal genomics to all. By leveraging AncestryDNA's expanding database of DNA samples paired with Ancestry family tree data, the team will continue to innovate in order to provide unique insights to both consumers and the scientific community— potentially even elucidating the genetic makeup of many more distant ancestors.

For a more detailed description of the methods used by the AncestryDNA science team in the reconstruction of the Speegle genome, view this video.

For more information about AncestryDNA, or to join the more than 500,000 customers that have taken the test and made discoveries about themselves, visit www.ancestrydna.com.

About Ancestry.com DNA, LLC

AncestryDNA is owned and operated by Ancestry.com DNA, LLC, a subsidiary of Ancestry.com LLC. AncestryDNA uses a simple test to analyze an individual's DNA. AncestryDNA offers the potential of identifying new insights into people's ancient ancestry to help them collaborate with distant cousins and make even more discoveries in their family history. For more information visit www.ancestrydna.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated by these forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include a variety of factors, some of which are beyond the company's control. In particular, such risks and uncertainties include the company's ability to add tools and features and provide value to satisfy customer demand. Information concerning additional factors that could cause events or results to differ materially is contained under the caption "Risk Factors" in the Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for our parent, Ancestry.com LLC, for the period ended September 30, 2014, which was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on November 3, 2014, and in discussions in other of Ancestry.com LLC's Securities and Exchange Commission filings. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing our views as of any subsequent date and we assume no obligation to publicly update or revise these forward-looking statements.

Monday, December 15, 2014

One terabyte of space for your family, for free, forever.


London, England (December 16th, 2014) To celebrate the move to new server facilities, Famberry, the popular collaborative family tree builder, is giving all users who sign up, a massive one terabyte of space to store their photos and memories. That’s enough space to store over 300,000 photos, so all your family’s memories can be shared for generations to come. All for free.

As part of the project to move onto new, physically secure, high-grade servers, Famberry has been completely re-written to work even more seamlessly on mobile phones, tablet devices and desktop computers, with no additional software or plug-ins; your family can always stay connected, wherever they are.

The move to the new server cluster means that you can finally keep your private family memories are safe & secure, with information replicated automatically to 3 different locations within the UK.
“This really has been a team achievement and the foundation for other exciting announcements that we plan to make over the next few months.” Steve Bardouille, co-founder, Famberry.
In addition to the award-winning family tree building features that users have grown to love, the new version has hundreds of improvements including:

  • New facilities for cropping and uploading multiple photos
  • Personal photo albums for each member of the family tree
  • Easier navigation for mobile devices
  • Centralised timeline for the whole Family

… and much more, in fact the site continues to be updated weekly with new features based on user feedback.

Famberry is only offering this unprecedented offer for a limited time - on a first come, first served basis, so sign up today at www.famberry.com to secure a space for your family’s history.