Thursday, July 27, 2017

My (very informal) research log - Organize Your Family History

My (very informal) research log - Organize Your Family History:
I keep my log in Evernote. I have a notebook there called “2017 Research Log” and each time I do some research I try to create a log entry. I create a new note in the aforenamed notebook and head it with the date. Then I just type notes that I think might be useful in the future. I try to include what I was looking for, what I found and what next steps would be.

Ahmed Timol inquest unravels apartheid cover ups that protected security police | News | M&G

Ahmed Timol inquest unravels apartheid cover ups that protected security police | News | M&G:
The second sitting of the inquest into apartheid activist Ahmed Timol’s death began at the Pretoria high court on Monday. Witnesses have begun testifying and with them the doors of the security branch’s violent history in Johannesburg have once again been pulled wide open to deliver scrutiny on systematic cover-ups to protect police during apartheid. They were called the “resident sweepers” and their job was to make sure apartheid police forces were never implicated in unlawful acts such as torture or murder even if they had to fabricate evidence to the courts in the process. Paul Erasmus, a former member of the Security Branch, revealed an extent of the apartheid-era cover ups in his testimony at the Timol inquest.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

When Incest Is Best: Kissing Cousins Have More Kin - Scientific American

When Incest Is Best: Kissing Cousins Have More Kin - Scientific American:
It is not quite incest. And though it will increase your chances of birthing a healthy baby, it is a bit unorthodox, to say the least. Still, scientists at Icelandic biotechnology company deCODE genetics say that when third and fourth cousins procreate, they generally have scads of kids and grandkids (relative to everyone else).
It's interesting that the canon law of the Orthodox Church prohibits marriage between second cousins or people more closely related, which means there could be quite a lot of third-cousin marriages in small isolated Greek villages, for example.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

German Genealogical Research in South Africa

German Genealogical Research in South Africa:

This page is to help you in doing specifically German genealogical research in South Africa. Obviously the general directions are the same as for all other South Africans, but there are a few extra sources, which are to be discussed here. To start you off have a look at these pages:

  • Germans in South Africa 
  • A list of early German immigrants to the Cape 1652-1806 
  • A list of German surnames in South Africa 
  • A list of Berlin Missionaries in South Africa 
  • A list of Hermannsburg Missionaries in South Africa 
  • A list of Moravian Missionaries in South Africa 
  • Ship's passenger lists Hamburg-South Africa 
  • Surname interest list for families of German origin in South Africa 
  • Individual Immigrants of the 19th Century 
  • An address book of Germans in Cape Town in 1886 
  • Genealogy in the old German colonies in Africa 

(You can search all these lists from the Home page.)

Sunday, July 02, 2017

No, You DON'T Need a Paid Subscription to Do Genealogy Research

If you subscribe to one of the paid genealogy services, or if you are thinking of doing so, please read this. No, You DON'T Need a Paid Subscription to Do Genealogy Research:
If you have been doing family history research for a while, you are probably fully aware of the fact that there are many free genealogy sites available to you. But for those that are just starting out, it can be very hard to see past the well-promoted paid subscription sites and many people become frustrated when trying to locate records and resources that are actually free.
If you are just starting out, it is in fact better not to use one of the paid services. Many of them will lead you astray, and encourage you to create a completely false genealogy. They offer "hints" and suggestions and "Smartmatches" which can be (and often are) completely false and misleading, and inexperienced users don't know enough to sift the good from the bad.

Begin your research using free resources, and perhaps paying for things like birth, marriage and death certificates, and then, when you've gone as far as you can and perhaps got stuck, join one of the paid services that has records for the area where you are researching.But until you've done some of the basic initial research you won't be able to tell which area you are looking at -- you need to find where your recent ancestors lived first.

And until you've done the basic research, you won't be able to discriminate between good genealogy and bad. Just as there's a lot of fake news out there in the Internet, so there is also a lot of fake genealogy.

In addition, once you subscribe to a paid genealogy site, they will try to lock you in, and keep you as a prisoner. If you add your genealogy to such a site, other members of your family won't be able to see it unless they also subscribe. So make sure that if you do subscribe to a paid site, you don't only keep your fasmily tree there. Keep it on your computer at home, and preferably contact other family members by e-mail, and exchange information that way.

If a distant cousin contacts you and says you may have some relations in common, don't refer them to your tree on Rather communicate with them directly to exchange information.

I once put my family tree on a free web site. A commercial firm bought it, incorporated all the data, and now they want me to pay to access the data I put there. What is more, they keep telling others that they have links to information on my tree, but they can only communicate with me through that site, and can't do so unless I pay their unaffordable fee. I've added to my family tree and corrected a lot of errors since then, but their clients can't see that, nor can they communicate with me, because they are "locked in" to only communicate with other paid subscribers.