Friday, August 25, 2017

UN will focus on witchcraft-related violence for first time | The Wild Hunt

UN will focus on witchcraft-related violence for first time | The Wild Hunt:
Although the published reports do regularly populate the international news media, this human rights crisis has gotten very little attention on the international political scene. To date, most of the work has been done by private organizations, such as the Witchcraft and Human Rights Information Network (WHRIN) and Under the Same Sun. Or it is being handled by local governments, such as in the creation and enforcement of anti-witchcraft accusation laws. Over the past ten years, an increasing number of countries have, in fact, instituted such laws, including Papua New Guinea, India, South Africa, Tanzania, and others. In 2018, Liberia will play host to a new U.N. human rights office that will reportedly help the country’s government better address, in part, the “accusations of witchcraft and ritualistic killings.”

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Natal marriages in FamilySearch

I've recently being following up some of the "hints" on FamilySearch for possible connections.

Among the records in the "hints" were "Natal Civil Marriages", and at first I rejoiced because they appeared to give an actual date of marriage, whereas I had only had a month and a year.

But on reflection it seems to me that these "marriage dates" are misleading. About 25 years ago I think I looked at some of these records in the Natal Archives and if I recall correctly they are not marriage registers but marriage notifications, and the date recorded is the date of the notification, not the date of the marriage.

This seemed to be confirmed for me when one couple were shown as having married on 8 Oct 1886, but their ante-nuptial contract was only signed on 22 October, which means they could only have got married after the latter date.

Update 24 August 2017

On checking the records concerned again, with a different link for which an image was available, it seems that it was indeed from the original register, so the date is correct. It appears that the couple concerned had a post-nuptial ante-nuptial contract -- they were married on 8 October 1891, and their ante-nuptial was dated 22 October.

The other misleading thing is that it was in fact a church marriage, and not a civil marriage.

So this record at least was indeed from the original registers, and not from the "marriage notifications" in the Natal Archives.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Can HistoryLines Really Build an Instant Personal History of Your Ancestors?

when I read this, I was rather sceptical, and thought it was one ofn those "too good to be true" things Can HistoryLines Really Build an Instant Personal History of Your Ancestors?:
The HistoryLines website bills itself as “Instant Personal History.” Those of us who love family history get really excited when we think we can get a lot of valuable information quick and easy. So at first glance HistoryLines can seem a little disappointing. Instant personal history may be overselling it. But, like any good tool, the more you put into it the more you get out. And on second glance, HistoryLines is a good tool.
But since they offered a free trial, I thought I'd have a look, and, as I suspected, it offered a time line and some boilerplate text.

The first one I chose was my great great grandfather John Bagot Cottam (1836-1911). He was born in Salford, Lancashire, England, and emigrated to Natal in 1863, with his wife Adelaide Herbert (1831-1909) and three daughters. They had more daughters in Durban where he died in 1911.

Now it's possible that the paid-for version offers a bit more, but the free version asks for the first name and surname, date and place of birth and death, and sex of the person and that's all. If it asked for a couple of residence dates and places, or an emigration date and place, it might have been able to come up with more relevant boilerplate information, but it didn't.

It did have the First and Second Anglo-Boer Wars, but failed to mention the Union of South Africa in 1910. It also failed to mention the American Civil War. But why should it, if he was born in England and died in South Africa and was never in the USA?

In the case of John Bagot Cottam, however, that was probably a relevant fact. He emigrated to Natal in 1863 to be accountant to the Natal Cotton Plantation Company. Cotton planting never took off in Natal, but in 1863 the cotton mills of Manchester were desperately looking for alternative sources of raw cotton, since the US Civil War had made the American supply dry up.

If HistoryLines had come up with something like that, I might have seriously considered paying for it. But one can probably get more relevant results by doing your own Google searches using the dates in your family member's time line.

The second test was not a direct ancestor, but a relation who lived in the USA. I thought that as HistoryLines was an American project, it might do better with people in the US, so I thought that to be fair I should try one.

The one I chose was William Nelson Growden (1893-1979). He was born in Tennessee, died in Los Angeles, but spent most of his adult life in Alaska. He lived in Ruby, Alaska, and was in government service, and was at one time a member of the Alaska Territorial House of Representatives.

Again, perhaps if HistoryLines had correlated residence information it might have come up with more relevant boilerplate text, but as it was it did not mention the earthquake and tsunami in Valdez, Alaska, in 1964, which killed William Nelson Growden's youngest son and two of his grandchildren.

So no, though it sounds good in the blurb, I'm not tempted by this one.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

10 Free Genealogy Apps to Help You With Your Research

I tend to use my computer rather than my phone for research, but some of these can copy stuff to your computer as well. 10 Free Genealogy Apps to Help You With Your Research:
Taking the time to properly organize is key to productive and fruitful research. We cover this in detail in our online course. Here are three apps that are a great choice for this purpose. 4. Evernote Organizational apps come and go, but Evernote has had true staying power. Available for the iPhone and Android, it also integrates with numerous other apps and systems in addition to offering a host of its own separate apps that can help with specific tasks – everything from scanning to keeping contact lists. The app is so popular because it’s a powerhouse with seemingly endless possibilities. The downside of that is that because it offers so much it can be a bit intimidating to figure out in the start, but once you invest the energy to learn the system the payoff can be enormous. Warning to iPhone users: the latest version has received very low ratings in the Apple Store.