Update Dec 15, 2019
To GEDmatch users,
As you may know, on December 9 we shared the news that GEDmatch has been purchased by Verogen, Inc., a forensic genomics company whose focus is human ID. This sale took place only because I know it is a big step forward for GEDmatch, its users, and the genetic genealogical community. Since the announcement, there has been speculation about a number of things, much of it unfounded.
There has been concern that law enforcement will have greater access to GEDmatch user information. The opposite is true. Verogen has firmly and repeatedly stated that it will fight all unauthorized law enforcement use and any warrants that may be issued. This is a stronger position than GEDmatch was previously able to implement.
There has been concern that Verogen will eliminate GEDmatch free tools and raise Tier 1 rates. In fact, Verogen has made it clear that the free tools will remain, and there are no immediate plans to raise Tier 1 rates.
It has been reported on social media that there is a mass exodus of kits from the GEDmatch database. There has been a temporary drop in the database size only because privacy policies in place in the various countries where our users reside require citizens to specifically approve the transfer of their data to Verogen. As users grant permission, that data will again be visible on the site. We are proactively reaching out to these users to encourage them to consent to the transfer.
The sale to Verogen will be a tremendous benefit to genealogists. Verogen has pledged to continue the GEDmatch philosophy of providing free services. It recognizes that all information belongs to the users who have placed it on GEDmatch, that this information may be removed by the users at any time, and that strong privacy protections need to be in place. It is to Verogen's advantage to build the consumer database, meaning more and better matches for users. Verogen recognizes that law enforcement use of genetic genealogy is here to stay and is in a better position to prevent abuses and protect privacy than GEDmatch ever could have done on its own.
Bottom line: I am thrilled that the ideal company has purchased GEDmatch. The baby I created will now mature for the benefit of all involved. If anyone has any doubts, I may be reached at email@example.com. I will do my best to personally respond to all concerns.
THE MICHIGAN GENEALOGICAL COUNCIL POLICY CHANGES FOR DONATIONS:
Michigan Genealogical Council has decided to change the way donations are collected to Stern-NARA Fund, Library of Michigan, and Archives of Michigan. In the past, MGC has accepted these donations when societies paid their dues. MGC is asking member societies who wish to donate to these three organizations to send their donations directly to the recipient.
The Stern-NARA fund was passed through to Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS). FGS will be merging with NGS in the coming year. During this process FGS has worked on tightening up their fundraising process and related compliance requirements for each state when fundraising may occur or where donors may reside. Faye Stalling, President of Federation of Genealogical Societies, notified us that FGS will no longer accept checks made payable to the Stern-NARA gift fund. If you have donated in the last year to this fund, MGC will be sending your society a check for the donation amount you sent to MGC.
National Archives Foundation
700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20408-0001
Donations to the Library of Michigan may be sent to:
Library of Michigan Foundation
P.O. Box 11027
Lansing, MI 48901
Donations to the Archives of Michigan may be sent to:
Michigan History Foundation
P.O. Box 12331
Lansing, MI 48901
When donating to the Michigan History Foundation, please specify that you would like your donation to benefit the Archives of Michigan.
Thank you for your fundraising efforts for these three important organizations. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me at President@mimgc.org
Brenda Leyndyke, President
Michigan Genealogical Council
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UPDATE FROM THE LIBRARY OF MICHIGAN:
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NEW MICHIGANOLOGY.ORG WEBSITE GOES LIVE:
The Archives of Michigan has launched a new Michigan genealogy website that makes ore than 10 million records available online, free of charge. The documents include death and naturalization records which genealogists use to learn more about their family's history. The new website replaces "Seeking Michigan", the archives' first online platform sharing digital records.
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THE LATEST FROM MICHIGAN GENEALOGICAL COUNCIL:
Michiganology.org database continues to be updated. The 1942 and 1943 Michigan death certificates are available. I find I get the best results by using advanced search function. Be sure to give a date range rather than an exact date. For example, if you are looking for a 12/15/1942 death certificate, use the range of 12/14/1942 to 12/16/1942.
Are you looking for ways you or your society can give back to the genealogy community? Indexers are still needed for the Michigan Naturalization Indexing Project at Family Search. Use these cold winter days to index a batch or 100! Also, the archives and Family Search are in the process of scanning Michigan Probate Records. If interested in helping with this project, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The work that you would be doing would be getting the records ready for scanning and returning them to their packets after the scanning is done. Family Search personnel does the scanning.
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December 10, 2019
Dear Society Leaders,
You have all likely seen some mention of an outrageous proposed fee increase by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). Essentially what they are proposing for fees are: raising the search fee 269% from $65 to $240 and the cost of the actual file 481% from $65 to $385.
For those not familiar with the types of records genealogists want from USCIS, here is a sample:
- Naturalization Certificate Files (C-Files), September 27, 1906 to March 31, 1956
- Alien Registration Forms (Form AR-2), August 1940 to March 1944
- Visa Files, July 1, 1924 to March 31, 1944
- Registry Files, March 1929 to March 31, 1944
- A-Files, April 1, 1944 to May 1, 1951
If you had relatives who immigrated to the United States in the 20th century, USCIS is the place to order the above records.
USCIS has provided an opportunity for the genealogical community to comment on this proposed Rule that dramatically impacts the USCIS Genealogy Records Program. In coordination with the leadership of other organizations in our community, we want to encourage our members to make their voices heard and express your concern with this outrageous proposal.
The Records Preservation and Access Committee (RPAC) is sending in a letter outlining some of our objections.1 Your help is needed!
The RPAC letter is also a sign-on letter and it is attached. We are asking you to agree to sign-on with your societies' name, city and state with the number of members in your organization,
and send that to the NGS Executive Director who is coordinating the sign-on part of the campaign. If you agree, please email the information by December 22 to Matt Menashes at email@example.com.
If you would like to read the proposed rule, see:
The USCIS has announced an extension of time to comment until December 30. We strongly urge our society members to support this RPAC sign-on process. We also encourage the individual members of your societies to get behind this process and let USCIS and your local representatives know that you object to this unsupportable, exorbitant charge for access to value genealogical documentation.
Thank you for your consideration. If you have any questions, you may feel free to contact me.
1 The Records Preservation and Access Committee (RPAC) is sponsored by the Federation of Genealogical Societies, the National Genealogical Society, and the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies, and supported by the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG), the American Society of Genealogists (ASG), and the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPGen).
August 13, 2019
Important Notice: NGS 2018 Grand Rapids Conference and Seeking Michigan Changes:
We would like to share with you—and all those who attended the NGS 2018 Family History Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan—an important update. SeekingMichigan.org
, an eminent Michigan archive site, which was referenced by many speakers at the conference, is changing its name and its website address. Beginning 1 September 2019, the site will be known as Michiganology and will be found at Michiganology.org.
Note: The Michigan History Center was unable to offer a redirect functionality. As a result, all links to SeekingMichigan.org will stop working on 1 September 2019.
The new website Michiganology.org will go live on 31 August 2019. It promises to improve public record access and searching capabilities.
A quick note on the July 16th FTM-2019 presentation.
1.The new FTM-2019 is still scheduled for release “this summer”. People were able to “purchase” the upgrade at a discount price, but could not get it until it is released.
2.“Family Book Creator” will be a plugin for Family Tree Maker Windows. It will turn your tree information into a detailed personalized book with just a few clicks.
3.The new version will include a “Tree Vault” cloud services option . Your tree can be uploaded and available for emergency recovery - the example given was if there was a fire and your computer and files at home were destroyed.
4.There will be an option to “Turn back time” if you made a mistake and want to go back to just before the mistake was made – it will keep track of the last 1,000 changes.
5.The new version will allow a download of an entire branch from a FamilySearch tree and get historical record hints when you match a person in your tree to a person in a FamilySearch family tree.
6.Hints will now appear in the people index.
7.“Charting Companion 7” software will be accessible from within FTM and will use tree data to provide enhanced sharing capabilities, including color coding and several chart types that are not available in FTM, including new DNA driven charts. The key DNA data link will be the DNA Marker information under FTM “Facts”. Currently in FTM-2017 a user can add the date of the DNA test and the individual’s haplogroup. The 2019 version will also have a field for the unique kit identification number that will be used for the various DNA charts:
a.DNA matrix to show how DNA ties in the members of your family.
b.DNA simulation will assist in solving how an adoptee or orphan fits in a family.
c.DNA Matches will help prioritize and group potential cousins into branches of the family.
I am sure we will be discussing the DNA charts further at the DNA Interest Group meeting in a couple of weeks (July 27th
, 10am at CADL Downtown). The software is still fairly new and we cannot do much until FTM-2019 actually comes out.