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Net Notes July 2006
Web sites and related news that are sure to be of interest

Center for Family History and Genealogy at
Brigham Young University
I didn’t need to spend too long in the world of genealogy before I learned how important Brigham Young University — and its hometown of Salt Lake City, Utah, for that matter — are to the field.

At some point, you may even travel there yourself to pursue your research. In the meantime, the Center for Family History and Genealogy (CFHG) website, which works, in part, to “utilize BYU resources to simplify the finding of ancestors and the discovery of the world in which they lived”, offers one virtual location to visit. Like me, you’ll probably choose to stay awhile, too.

The website’s “Publications” section is definitely worth viewing, with two particularly valuable online features. First is the Newsletter, published every month except August and December. The newsletter’s stated purpose is “to provide quick, up-to-date news about products, events, and websites relating to family history.” Formatted as a downloadable PDF document, the newsletter also lists job and volunteer opportunities. (Job listings — at the CFHG and elsewhere — are also posted within the site’s “Employment” section, though when I last checked, none were available at the CFHG.) Since this does not appear to be a subscription newsletter, I’ve bookmarked it on my computer and (try to remember to) recheck it each month.

The second is the BYU Family Historian, an annual online academic journal. Here you’ll find more in-depth research/scholarly articles. The current (Fall 2005) issue includes: “Documenting Victims of The Holocaust: The Mokotowskis of Otwock, Poland,” by Gary Mokotoff; “Communicating, Organizing and Sharing Family History: Problems, Solutions and Philosophy” by Marlo E. Schuldt; “New Zealand Research: Maori” by Irene Ashton Davies Beazley and “Identifying Ancestral Haunts: Family History, GIS and Information Needs”, by Mary B. Ruvane. You can download the issue (and back issues) through the website.

Chief among the site’s online instructional resources you'll find the Introduction to Family History Lessons, Accessed best through Internet Explorer 6.0 or better, these lessons teach fundamentals of family history research. Each lesson includes an assignment so you can begin to apply what you've learned. And the lessons extend to technology instruction: you’ll receive guidance on how to use FamilySearch Internet,, the Windows-based Personal Ancestral File (PAF) program and more. Possibly because another part of the CFHG mission is to “support the training of students for life-long temple and family history service”, a set of Teaching Outlines also accompanies these lessons.

Also worth checking out — and easily found on the Home Page — are a few online tutorials (which do seem to require very recent versions of Internet Explorer for maximum benefit; I wasn’t able, for example, to access a PowerPoint presentation on “Finding German Ancestors”) and an extensive set of country-specific research guides. Of course, like any site worth its salt, this one also includes a collection of
recommended web links.

— Erika Dreifus Ph.D.

British Passenger Records 1890-1960 Coming Online!
The records held at the National Archives in England for passengers who embarked on sea voyages from Britain’s shores between 1890 and 1960, are being put online by The scanning was to start this past April, and the records are expected to be online by the end of this year.

These estimated 30 million records will cover emigrations to many destinations including Australia, North America, South America, India and Africa. The records also include the one and only voyage of the ill-fated Titanic. is a family history website, providing over 400 million records in a variety of databases which link to scans of original records. The scans can be accessed on a pay-per-view basis. The databases include UK Civil Registration Indexes 1837-1983 (with scans) and 1984-2004 (transcribed), the UK 1861 census, the UK 1891 census and UK military records. is based in London, England and is a sister company to Title Research, which provides probate and succession genealogy services to lawyers and corporate and public trustees around the world.

— S.C. Meates

Old Disease Names and Their Modern Definitions
If you have looked at any number of old death certificates, chances are that you will have seen causes of death that look strange to our modern eyes. A simple explanation is that our ancestors used different words for the diseases, but that is not really the whole truth.

Modern medical knowledge, good training of doctors and improved laboratory equipment enable most ailments to be diagnosed and treated. Although many of us have problems that defy even modern medicine, generally, we are far healthier. Most illnesses are effectively treated and we are much better off than people in the past.

Tuberculosis is now, fortunately, a rare disease in western society but 150 years ago it was a major cause of death. At that time, this disease was known as consumption, but this also applied to other diseases with similar symptoms.

Malaria was known as “ague” but this term would sometimes be used for people with influenza, so direct translations are not as straightforward as they might appear.
Luckily, the website Old Disease Names and Their Modern Definitions alphabetically lists a significant number of disease names that we might find in old documents and records and gives us a good idea of the modern equivalent.

And when you discover that one of your ancestors had a bad case of “Grocer’s Itch”, you’ll know it’s not nearly as scandalous as it sounds. It’s simply a skin disease caused by mites in sugar or flour!

— Halvor Moorshead

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