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Comment Re:Why are you so obsessed with genealogy ? (Score 1) 292

i dont get why americans are so obsessed with genealogy, ancestry and so on. maybe it is because it is a country of immigrants, and everyone is trying to have an identity extending to their past ?

For me it's mostly just a hobby. I love history to begin with, and my family history is specifically interesting to me personally. Finding out where my ancestors lived, what their lives would have been like, and why they immigrated to America is fascinating to me.

I've read that genealogy is the second most common hobby in America, after gardening. Of course, that depends on how a hobby is defined. I consider reading my favorite hobby. However, for some people, i.e. Mormons, genealogy has religious significance. That's why Salt Lake City, Utah is the biggest destination for many people doing genealogical research.

where i live, in anatolia (turkey), history goes thousands of years past into 8-9000 BC. actually, it was discovered that, the villagers living near the site of a recently discovered mummy that is dated 6500 BC or so (8500 years ago) had 100% exact dna with the mummy. (western anatolia) basically, those people lived there since that time, seasoning all that has happened around those parts.

I've also read that, which really interests me. Don't you find it fascinating that your (or at least some modern Turks) ancestors possibly spoke Hittite or another Indo-European or even Semitic language? I recently paid for a genealogical DNA test, which will tell me more specifically where my ancestors came from. My paternal ancestors immigrated to America from Germany in the 1880s (then Prussia), but there are several clues which point to them actually being ethnically Lithuanian. The area where they lived has been part of Lithuania, Poland, Russia, and Germany in just the last few hundred years.

Comment Re:only 20 years (Score 1) 292

The US census data is delayed by ~70 years so very little info on anything in the past 70 years will come up.

Census records are released 72 years later, to be exact. Also, although the US Census isn't available until then, many state listings of much more recent births, marriages, divorces, and deaths are available.

Comment Re:My experience with (Score 1) 292

My biggest complaint is the search functionality often returns way too much data.

Too much data is far more preferable than too little. Back in the old days, before many sources were available online, most searching had to be done by hand, paging through entire paper records until you found a possible match. The earliest online sources were often just indexes to paper records. It made it much easier to find the records, but then you still had to travel to a library, courthouse, church, etc. that might be in another state or even country.

Their search/matching algorithm is quite eager.

The reason the algorithm is so promiscuous is that it's probably using Soundex to match names. That's a good thing though, as I've found some of my ancestors names spelled in lots of different ways.

Comment (Score 1) 292

Hey OP, if all you found was addresses on, then you're not making any effort to find information. They do have metric boatloads of data of all sorts for your money, but you do have to have a clue about finding it, and make the effort.

Definitely agree, the anonymous reader didn't try very hard. And records for living people are necessarily scarce because of privacy issues.

That said, I do agree is a pricey service. Check out You can do a free 250-person tree, or add more with payment. The software is a free download and use, and is pretty thorough. The online piece includes the ability to match to other people's trees and import their data to your tree.

Actually, just creating and editing your family tree on Ancestry is completely free. And there's no limit to the number of people, AFAIK. The paid service is just for accessing their database of sources and connecting with other users who might have overlapping family trees.

Comment Re:hum... (Score 1) 292

However the fact that you paid to use is amazing to me :-) Check out your local library and see if they have a subscription. Also take a look at or even the LDS Family search centers for more resources (to find your local center).

I pay for because they have a huge database of sources online, and probably the largest number of users out of any other family tree websites. It's much more convenient for me to search and view their literally billions of records from the comfort of my own home than going to my local library or LDS center. If I did that, I'd have to copy their records and scan them myself. Ancestry's already done the legwork for me. Also, since they have so many users, I've connected to several other people doing research along the same family lines, which saved my quite a bit of time.

Comment Re:Data portability (Score 1) 292

If I was going to be spending a reasonable amount of time inputting data that I want to access for an extended period of time I would want it to be an open source program. That way you can always get the data out of the program again (possibly with some effort) and you are not stuck with regular upgrade fees for the latest version with the bug fix neeed to make it work with the latest OS version.

But that's really a non-starter with, they let you export your family tree as a GEDCOM file any time you want, which is the de facto standard file format for genealogy.

Comment Re:Geneweb (Score 1) 292

I agree wholeheartedly! Currently, I use for my main family tree, but regularly download a GEDCOM file and import it into GeneWeb (locally hosted) for offline access. I've tried several other programs, both open source and proprietary, but GeneWeb is my favorite by far. It doesn't make the prettiest family tree website, but it's easy to use and its functionality is great.

Even though the primary developer, Daniel de Rauglaudre, isn't developing it further right now, it has more features than I use regularly, and it's highly customizable. I'm somewhat tempted to learn OCaml, just to be able to modify this software.


Submission + - "Viacom hit me for infringing my own copyright ( 2

Chris Knight writes: "Long story short: I ran for school board where I live this past fall and created some TV commercials including this one with a "Star Wars" theme. A few months ago VH1 grabbed the commercial from YouTube and featured it in a segment of its show "Web Junk 2.0". Neither VH1 or its parent company Viacom told me they were doing this or asked my permission to use it, but I didn't mind it if they did. It was great to see the commercial was being enjoyed by a far wider audience than I'd expected. I was honored that they chose to use it and thought that Aries Spears's commentary about it was pretty hilarious, so I posted a clip of VH1's segment on YouTube so that I could put it on my blog. This morning I got an e-mail from YouTube saying that the video has been pulled because Viacom is claiming that I'm violating its copyright. Viacom used my video without permission on their commercial television show, and now says that I am infringing on THEIR copyright for showing the clip of the work that Viacom made in violation of my own copyright! Talk about chutzpah! Needless to say, I would like to fight this: not for any kind of monetary compensation, but just for the right to employ my own self-created material per Fair Use."

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