Find Ancestors in WW1 Red Cross Military Files


When someone you love becomes a Memory, the memory becomes a Treasure…

Ceramic Outdoor Memorial Plaques with Online Virtual Family Legacy Memoir!

Here’s another great “HowTo” that I thought you would like!

If you are searching for an ancestor who fought in World War One, the Red Cross Military Files are a valuable resource. During the war the Red Cross provided vital services for prisoners of war, and wounded or missing soldiers.

Hundreds of thousands of volunteers were engaged in the war effort under the Red Cross supervision and often this resulted in records being kept of the volunteers and soldiers. Not all Red Cross records in all countries have survived and in some countries the records were never made. However some countries’ files have been digitized and are available online.

My February article for Legacy Family News will no doubt interest many genealogists. I have compiled a brief history of the Red Cross Military Files and provided links to any that survive for United States, Canada, Australia and Great Britain.

Continue reading  Find Your Ancestor in WW1 Red Cross Military Files

Fear by Phone: High Anxiety for You, High Profits for Scammers


When someone you love becomes a Memory, the memory becomes a Treasure…

Ceramic Outdoor Memorial Plaques with Online Virtual Family Legacy Memoir!

Here’s another incredible “Tip” that I thought you would enjoy!

The telephone is a scammer’s best weapon, used in 77 percent of money-netting schemes, reports the government’s latest scam-tracking data. The best ammo: Fear, and here’s how it bangs best for the biggest bucks:

“Official” intimidation. The most profitable and most-played schemes have fraudsters posing from a government agency – Medicare, the Social Security Administration, FBI, local police and, of course, the IRS. (Until busted last year, one India-based ring of IRS imposters was netting $150,000 per day preying on retirees and other Americans.)  These self-described G-men threaten dire consequences – lost benefits, impending arrest and hefty fines – for supposed (even minor) offenses unless a fine is immediately paid and/or ID theft-worthy personal information is “verified.”

Why hang up: If there’s really an issue, government agencies will contact you by U.S. mail – not phone. Arrests aren’t pre-announced. Tax-supported agencies do not demand, or may even accept, scammer-requested payments such as prepaid debit and iTunes cards.

“Friendly” fraud. Along with emotions, the fear factor climbs with scare tactics made by those you supposedly know and trust: Grandchildren claiming trouble while traveling (which nets some imposters $10,000 per day) or in a recent resurgence, subject to a telephoned virtual kidnapping. Online sweethearts with a sudden overseas emergency that requires financial help. Your bank, credit card or utility company, supposedly warning of account problems and lost service.

Why hang up: So you can verify the claim and contact your loved one or institution before providing money or information to those just claiming to be. Scammers can glean call-convincing information like relatives’ names from social media and online directories.

Robocalls. The messages are terrifying in many of 2.4 billion robocalls made each day: You are being sued. You can fall and die without that “free” medical alert device. You are overpaying interest on your plastic. You need quick action to avoid these and other problems.

Why hang up: Notice what isn’t mentioned in these robocalls? Your name. Autodialers are programmed to blast millions of prerecorded calls per day; until recipients respond, fraudsters typically have no idea of who gets their robocalls, or if dialed numbers are active. So don’t say anything after “Hello” or push any key, not even to supposedly “opt out” of future calls; that only alerts callers that your number is live. Meanwhile, the Federal Communications Commission recently proposed new rules, expected to take effect in coming months, to allow phone companies to block robocallers that “spoof” Caller ID numbers to conceal their actual area codes and identities or make them appear as to belong to a trusted entity.

Debt collectors. Generating more complaints than any category – including identity theft – debt collectors often try to scare targets into paying a debt…whether legitimately theirs or not.

Why hang up: It’s illegal for collectors to threaten or be abusive. Despite their lies, police don’t arrest for unpaid debts and garnished wages or Social Security benefits can only occur for delinquent state or federal debts such as unpaid student loans, taxes, government-backed mortgages or child support – not private debt.

If you really owe, you may want to talk once with calling collectors to try to resolve the matter. If it’s not your debt or you don’t wanted continued calls, write a letter saying so – sent by certified mail with “return receipt.” Once receiving your letter, collectors may not contact you again, with two exceptions: to tell you there will be no further contact or to let you know that they or the creditor intend to take a specific action, like filing a lawsuit. (Your letter doesn’t get rid of legitimate debts, only calls related to them). Report violators to the Federal Trade Commission or Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

For information about other scams, sign up for the Fraud Watch Network. You’ll receive free email alerts with tips and resources to help you spot and avoid identity theft and fraud, and keep tabs of scams and law enforcement alerts in your area at our Scam-Tracking Map.

Photo: ponsulak/iStock

Also of Interest

8 easiest (and no-cost) steps for a scam-free 2017
New uptick in government scams post-election
Get help: Find out if you’re eligible for public benefits with Benefits QuickLINK
Join AARP: Savings, resources and news for your well-being


See the AARP home page for deals, savings tips, trivia and more.

The BYU Family History Library posts a plethora of videos


When someone you love becomes a Memory, the memory becomes a Treasure…

Ceramic Outdoor Memorial Plaques with Online Virtual Family Legacy Memoir!

Here’s another awesome article that I thought you would enjoy!

In the past month, the Brigham Young University Family History Library has uploaded 22 new videos, averaging almost one a day counting the days the Library is open to the BYU Family History Library YouTube Channel. The uploaded videos fall into two distinct categories: webinars lasting about an hour and shorter instructional videos lasting about 10 to 15 minutes. The shorter instructional videos are used to teach the missionary staff of the Library. The longer webinars are live broadcasts which are recorded and uploaded. The webinar broadcast schedule is available online from the BYU Family History Library webpage.

There is a link to the webinars and classes in the upper right hand corner of the webpage. The BYU Family History Library YouTube Channel was opened about three years ago. Only about 20 videos were uploaded during the first year. During the second year of operation, the Library began incorporating videos of live presentations and classes. However, the technical difficulties of recording live classes resulted in a reappraisal of the process. Eventually, the videos were converted entirely to slide presentations recorded directly. As a result, the quality of the presentations improved.

About a year ago, the Library acquired the equipment and programs to begin broadcasting live webinars. The Library also funded hiring student help in presenting the webinars. One of the biggest challenges has been scheduling webinars around the University’s academic schedule. Over the past year, quite a number of people have volunteered to produce both the webinars and the instructional videos.

YouTube is not particularly known for providing genealogical support, however, nearly every major genealogical website has a corresponding YouTube channel. What is unusual about the involvement of the Brigham Young University Family History Library YouTube channel is its sponsorship by a university library. There are quite a few YouTube offerings by University libraries but they focus primarily on library orientation and library databases with a sprinkling of library tours. However considering the number of colleges and universities in the world, the actual online presence of university libraries is relatively small.

In addition, genealogy is not exactly a hot topic on YouTube. Many YouTube videos garner more than a million views matter of hours and even many instructional videos have hundreds of thousands or even more than a million views. The demographics of genealogists is such that it is unlikely that genealogy will ever achieve star status on YouTube.

We have a full schedule of videos planned in the coming weeks and you can be assured that there will be many new videos uploaded.

Honoring a Loved One at Home


When someone you love becomes a Memory, the memory becomes a Treasure…

Ceramic Outdoor Memorial Plaques with Online Virtual Family Legacy Memoir!

Here’s another cool “HowTo” that I thought you would enjoy!

Photo Collage

How will you remember your loved ones when they are no longer with you? By honoring a loved one in a special way within your home, you can pay tribute to those who’ve passed, while making peace with the present. The way in which you honor your loved one at home should be personal, and unique to that individual. Having the Talk of a Lifetime now will allow you to better memorialize a loved one when they die. Browse through these suggestions to bring a little brightness into the home with decorative, sentimental touches.

Plant a Tree

Planting a tree can be a great way to commemorate a life well lived, and there are a wide variety of types to choose. Consider a gorgeous flowering tree for someone who loved nature, or Have the Talk with your family and friends about what kind of tree they think best represents the person you’re honoring. Every year, you can remember your loved one while admiring the colorful blossoms. If your loved one was a baker or chef, a fruit tree may be a wonderful tribute to memories in the kitchen.

Create an Indoor Space

With a little creativity, you can set up a special space indoors that is dedicated to your loved one. Was your loved one an avid reader? Create a little reading nook with books from his or her collection of books. Did they enjoy photography? Mount a portrait and frame their old pictures on the wall. Was fashion their passion? Display memorable garments, like hats and even dresses. Developing this space can also be a great time to involve the little ones in the process, so they can make peace as well. Kids can illustrate their favorite memories, draw portraits, or write out stories to remember family members in a personalized way. Invite your family and friends over and use our Activity Guide (insert link here) for tips on how to share other memories.

Honor Special Memories

Did your loved one have any special hobbies that defined them? You may want to integrate a few of these pieces into your home, like sports memorabilia and artwork, but you also may share these pieces with other collectors. Whether handing a signed baseball to a cousin or selling a painting to an art aficionado, your loved one would want these cherished items to be enjoyed.

The Talk of a Lifetime

Honoring a loved one at home is a beautiful way to keep their memory alive for years to come. Gathering with friends and family to Have the Talk of a Lifetime in your remembrance space is also a great time to talk about the future. Find out their proudest accomplishments, their favorite memories, and other ways that they would like to be remembered. Visit the Have the Talk of a Lifetime website to see how you can get started.

The post Honoring a Loved One at Home appeared first on FAMIC.

Response to Should Cursive Handwriting Die?


When someone you love becomes a Memory, the memory becomes a Treasure…

Ceramic Outdoor Memorial Plaques with Online Virtual Family Legacy Memoir!

Here’s another great “HowTo” that I thought you would enjoy![Note: you might have to read the linked blog post from FamilySearch to understand some of my comments.]

Many of my own ancestors did not know how to write. The direct evidence of their lives is an “X” mark on a deed or marriage record. Today, the ability to communicate by voice and text is almost universal although there are still pockets of humanity that do not have the tools of communication. When I was very young, I lived in a small isolated town. Our only form of communication with the outside world besides handwritten letters was a rudimentary telephone system. I had virtually no contact with relatives who did not live in the same small town. Today, in a matter of seconds, I can connect with any one of my seven children’s families and, if we care to do so, see and talk to them as if they were sitting in the same room.

We often have feelings of nostalgia for conditions in the past. In many ways, my early childhood in a small town has some very appealing characteristics, but in longing for the past, we tend to skip over the problems and challenges that were inherent in what was comparatively a primitive society. For example, when we got sick, there were no Urgent Care facilities, no doctors without hours of travel and no drugstores with an array of medications that actually worked.

From a genealogical standpoint, we sometimes wring our hands over the loss of the ability to write in cursive. I have written several posts over the years about the fact that cursive is no longer universally taught in our schools in the United States. Very few children today are comfortable writing at all much less writing in cursive. But let’s take a quick check at a genealogical reality: none of us initially have the background to read handwriting from 100 or 200 years ago. We all have a steep learning curve if we reach the point where we do research into old, handwritten documents.

In my small town, everyone knew how to ride a horse. I have a number of photographs showing my grandmother, who died long before I was born, riding a horse. People still have horses and still ride them, but few have a horse as their only method of transportation other than walking. Personally, I do not care to ride horses. I have done a lot of horseback riding even for extended periods of time and I do not nostalgically long for the days of horseback riding. For me, horseback riding was painful and unappealing.

Guess what, I have exactly the same attitude towards handwriting. During my entire life, I have had a condition called “essential tremors” that make small motor skills almost impossible. Handwriting is a torture to me. Without a keyboard, I would not write much at all. (Just think what you would have been spared from reading!)

I am certainly not taking the position that quantity equals quality. But to take the attitude that poetry and all of the world’s literature will die simply because we cannot write by hand is a little bit silly. It is also a long stretch to claim that we will all become stupid because we do not learn to write by hand. How much of the world’s literature was lost in the past because of the time-consuming effort it took to write it all out by hand?

What about the ability to “read old cursive handwriting?’ Here is an example of some very good handwriting from Entre Rios, Argentina in the 18th Century. You can click on the image to see it larger.

“Argentina, Entre Ríos, registros parroquiales, 1764-1983,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 19 May 2014), Paraná > Nuestra Señora del Rosario > image 2 of 386; parroquias Católicas, Entre Ríos (Catholic Church parishes, Entre Ríos).Are you able to write in cursive? Can you read this text?

Learning to read old documents is a different skill from writing in cursive. Just because you learned to write cursive in school does not mean you can read. Reading and writing are two different skills and reading in a language that is not your own is an additional skill. Even if you know the language this text was written in, it would still be a challenge to read it.

This example points out a simple fact: the ability to do genealogical research is a challenging skill that must be learned. Learning to write cursive conveys no special abilities to those who are trying to read old handwriting in a language they do not know. Genealogists may be more aware of the loss of the skill of cursive writing in today’s schools, but to assume that our society will collapse because of this one skill makes no sense.

Quoting from the above post, the writer asks this question:
Without skills in writing and reading cursive, how can future generations read such important and carefully preserved original documents as the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution?When was the last time you read the U.S. Constitution in its original form? Have you ever read the U.S. Constitution in its original format? I must admit that even though I have taught college courses in Constitution Law, I have never actually read the entire U.S. Constitution in its original handwritten form. Why would I need to do so?

What is really lacking among today’s youth and even most older Americans, is a feeling for and knowledge of history. The examples given by the author of the FamilySearch post points out the need to rediscover and benefit from our collective history. The most telling statement made in the post is the following:
Family heritage is preserved in handwritten records. Nonprofit FamilySearch International’s free online databases of historical documents relies [on] more than a million online volunteers who read digital images of handwritten documents from all over the world, identifying formal names and critical facts to make the digital images easily searchable online. “We are heavily dependent on individuals who can read not only handwriting, but variations of older cursive writing used over time in over 100 languages,” said Collin Smith, FamilySearch indexing manager. While fewer people are currently learning cursive, Smith noted, many tools and handwriting tutorials can help volunteers of all ages learn to read old styles of handwriting.Hmm. What is there that is fun and easy about genealogy? By the way, when was the last time you read a Browning sonnet either the original handwritten document or even a printed version? Have any of the original Browning manuscripts even survived? The answer is actually, yes. Here is a sample of Robert Browning’s handwriting.

25 June 1888. Robert Browning and Sarianna Browning to Fannie Browning and Robert Barrett Browning.
Can you read it? My point exactly.

Looking for Grave of King Henry I


When someone you love becomes a Memory, the memory becomes a Treasure…

Ceramic Outdoor Memorial Plaques with Online Virtual Family Legacy Memoir!

Here’s another informative “HowTo” that I thought you would like!

An archaeological project is trying to find the tomb of King Henry I (1068-1135), son of William the Conqueror. Radar technology has found some intriguing evidence at Reading Abbey Quarter which was a monastery that was destroyed during Henry VIII’s reign.

It is known that King Henry was buried at this monastery in January 1136 after his death in Normandy. The monastery is closed to the public for the dig but is expected to re-open in 2018. It will be very interesting to see what has been found when the results are made public. 

Read the following stories for more details:

MoJ plans to dig for Henry I’s remains at Reading Prison

Graves discovered in King Henry I dig
Search Is On for King Henry I, Who May Be Buried Under a Parking Lot

What ever happened to Family Tree Maker?


When someone you love becomes a Memory, the memory becomes a Treasure…

Ceramic Outdoor Memorial Plaques with Online Virtual Family Legacy Memoir!

Here’s another awesome “HowTo” that I thought you would like!

For some time now, the Family Tree Maker program has been among the most popular programs for recording personal genealogical research. In the past, it is been sold through mass merchandise such as Costco. The program was developed and sold by Over a year ago, discontinued selling the program and eventually at the end of 2016 discontinued support for the program. However, just over a year ago rights to the program were purchased by a company called Just recently, released a new version of the popular Family Tree Maker program. Here is a link to a description of the newly updated program.

Board Member David Walker Comments on Legislation Aimed at State-Sponsored Savings Plans


When someone you love becomes a Memory, the memory becomes a Treasure…

Ceramic Outdoor Memorial Plaques with Online Virtual Family Legacy Memoir!

Here’s another informative “Tip” that I thought you would like!

Let states help people save for retirement.

It’s the idea behind the long-running AARP-supported drive to establish new retirement savings plans for the 55 million private sector workers in America – who don’t have access to a workplace savings program. The idea was the brainchild of current AARP Senior Strategic Policy Advisor David John and Mark Iwry, a former Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute.

About ten years ago, David and Mark created a campaign that sought to give workers – often low-income and employees of small businesses – a little “nudge” to save by pushing automatic savings into a simple payroll deduction IRA.  That is, unless the employee chose to opt-out.

A 2017 AARP study titled “Access to Workplace Retirement Plans by Race and Ethnicity” and other studies showed that workers are 15X’s more likely to save if they have a savings deduction plan at work.

Auto-IRA was first considered in Congress, with the Automatic IRA Act of 2007, but the legislation did not move ahead.  However many states, with powerful backing from AARP, moved to fill the gap with their own versions.

Current AARP Board member and former US Comptroller General David Walker is still very passionate about this push and spoke about it in a recent op-ed in that ran in USA Today. In the op-ed, Walker remarked that “the states are closer to the people and they are often more willing and able to test creative solutions.”

At this time, thirty states are in some stage of considering what AARP calls “Work and Save” state-based, private sector programs. The states include: Utah, Arkansas and Utah.  Illinois, California, Connecticut, Maryland, Oregon, Washington State and New Jersey have already approved their programs.

Some in Congress are seeking to – as Walker says –  “undermine bipartisan state solutions to the retirement savings deficit faced by many Americans” by considering a veto of Department of Labor regulations that would make it easier for American workers to save – without a viable workplace retirement savings option.   And the Senate is contemplating following the House’s lead.

Read Walker’s op-ed in support of Work & Save, here.

What is and What is Not Private for Genealogists


When someone you love becomes a Memory, the memory becomes a Treasure…

Ceramic Outdoor Memorial Plaques with Online Virtual Family Legacy Memoir!

Here’s another incredible article that I thought you would like!

The question of privacy seems to arise frequently in the context of what is what is not private when putting genealogical data online particularly in public family trees. To start out, most if not all of the online family tree programs have provisions to hide information about living people. For example, the Family Tree program creates a “Private Space” for all living contributors. Anything created for a living person is hidden from public view. In addition, any individual added to the Family Tree without a death date or marking deceased will not appear or be visible to anyone besides the person who created or entered the individual.

Notwithstanding these safeguards for living people, many potential contributors are afraid to add even basic vital information about living people. In the case of the Family Tree, as I already indicated, none of this information about “living” people is visible to anyone except the main contributor. There is one exception where living people in photographs may become visible to the general public if a dead person in the photo is tagged.

At least in the United States, there is a substantial disconnect between what is considered private by individuals and what actually turns out to be private. The entire subject of “privacy” is controversial and very political. In the process of writing this post, the following news post appeared, “The House just voted to wipe away the FCC’s landmark Internet privacy protections.” Because this post uses the word “privacy” you would tend to believe that it concerns what you consider to be “privacy.” But in thinking this, you would be wrong. The issue really involves differing political opinions about the government regulation of internet service providers.

On any given day, there is probably an online news story that involves some issue about “privacy.” The reality is that the degree of isolation people could maintain when they lived on farms and there were no methods of communication other than writing letters and the spoken word have long since disappeared in almost the entire world. Let me give an example. You live in a house or an apartment. Do you receive mail from the U.S. Post Office? Is your home address public or private? Have you ever received a birthday card or letter? If you work, does your office celebrate or acknowledge your birthday? Have you every obtained a driver’s license in the United States? Did you have to fill in a form that asked for your date of birth? Have you ever gotten any medical treatment in the United States? When you got a vaccination or obtained some medicine, did you have to tell the provider your name and birth date? What makes you think either your physical home address or your birthdate are private information?

I will examine each of the three major types of vital records and indicate what is and what is not private.

Birth Information
Names, dates, and places are the basic building blocks of genealogical research. Contrary to common belief, information about vital records is entirely public in the United States. Since the early 1900s, birth registration has been universal in the United States. I routinely obtain the birth and death information about my ancestors. It is only slightly less complicated to find the birth information about anyone living today. For example, how many times have you seen birthday greetings on Facebook? It is just silly to think that birth information in the United States is private information. Many newspapers routinely publish birth information and people send out birth announcements to friends and relatives either my traditional mail or online. When a child goes to school in the United States, they will need a birth certificate to prove eligibility. There is nothing private about birth information.

Marriage Information
Marriage records are even less private than birth information. If you buy or sell any property in the United States you have to identify your spouse and usually, the spouse has to sign some sort of document. This is the case because marriage affects property interests. Do not assume that because a state or local agency will not release information about a birth or marriage to anyone on demand that the information that this has to do with privacy. The main reason is that the agency charges and fee for the information and they want to protect the revenue stream. Some types of official documents are restricted because they can be used for illegal purposes.

Death Information
There is even less “privacy” about a death in the United States. Have you ever attended a funeral and been given a funeral program. I happen to have dozens of these programs that I routinely use to post death information to my genealogy files. Obituaries are published in newspapers even in this age of online news. Cemeteries are certainly not private and headstones can be viewed by anyone who wishes to drive or walk to a cemetery.

These short illustrations are only the beginning. Are tax returns private information? We hear a lot of news about public figures being forced to disclose their tax returns. Does this make the returns private? No. You file your Federal tax return with the U.S. government. How private is that? Do you really know who can and who cannot see your tax return? I could go on and on, but the idea that the information gathered by genealogists is somehow private is ridiculous.

Here are some simple rules about what is and what is not private information.

1. If anything about you can be obtained by searching the internet or paying a fee to a government entity, that information is not private.

2. If you tell anyone about something that you consider to be “private” then that information is no longer private.

3. If you engage in any publicly available activity, then what you did or how you obtained access to that activity i.e. going to the doctor or buying something in a store, is not at all private.

4. Any information that can be obtained through legal action in the United States can not be considered to be private.

This list could also go on and on. Privacy is a bugaboo. People are unduly concerned about their privacy because they do not realize how little there is about their lives that is truly private.

Caregiving takes center stage at BET’s Leading Women Defined Summit


When someone you love becomes a Memory, the memory becomes a Treasure…

Ceramic Outdoor Memorial Plaques with Online Virtual Family Legacy Memoir!

Here’s another cool “Tutorial” that I thought you would enjoy!

In a room full of chief executives, entrepreneurs, media moguls and some of Hollywood’s best talent – the topic of caregiving took center stage. AARP hosted a panel session called “Caregiving: The Circle of Love” at BET’s 8th Annual Leading Woman Defined (LWD) Summit in North Miami Beach, last week.

The event was a celebration of sisterhood and achievement. And the women in attendance were there to use their influence to highlight some of the most challenging issues facing our communities.

The current health care debate in Congress offered a backdrop for huddled discussions, while conference speakers addressed issues, such as: financial security, health and wellness and reimagining possibilities. Sound familiar?

Our activation was a caregiving panel discussion, moderated by me, featuring AARP’s new Caregiving Ambassador Holly Robinson Peete and four-time Grammy Award winner Regina Belle. We all spoke, candidly, about our personal caregiving journeys.

Holly serves as the primary caregiver for her father and a son with Autism; while Regina previously cared for her grandmother and currently cares for her ailing brother. Both women act as caregivers while balancing self-care and career – which particularly resonated with the audience at BET’s Leading Women Defined Summit.

What we learned during the panel discussion is that everyone has a caregiving story and we all have much to gain by sharing our stories with each other. At the culmination of the discussion, BET President and CEO Debra Lee briefly spoke about the need for women to bond, grow and challenge each other in moving the country forward. And now more than ever, I agree.

Edna Kane-Williams is the senior vice president of Multicultural Leadership at AARP.