AncestryDNA announced last week that it has been able to identify six unique historic populations in West Africa. It’s a breakthrough they call a “finer-resolution genetic ethnicity estimate for individuals with West African ancestry.” They have even used this technology to start connecting the dots between those groups and millions of African-Americans whose ancestral paper trail was annihilated during the era of slavery.
For this latter development, the AncestryDNA team uses the “cluster genealogy” approach: the concept that people from the same location often migrated to the same areas. Of course, slavery forced apart families and other natural migration groups, both in Africa before the crossing and in the U.S. or other destinations. And the few records that remain of many of these folks and their enslaved descendants don’t include full names, place of origin or other data we rely on to make family connections. (Learn more about how to research African-American roots in Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 159 with Dr. Deborah Abbott.)
It’s encouraging to read that AncestryDNA has had some success hooking up regional groups of African-Americans with specific areas of Africa. “Though this project is still in its infancy, the science team has made some progress,” AncestryDNA reports. “First, we looked at the birth locations of individuals in the trees of all African Americans. Then, we looked for locations where, relative to all African Americans, there appeared to be an over-representation of birth locations in trees of individuals with a particular West African ancestry. For individuals with Senegalese genetic ethnicity, we found what seems to be an over-representation of birth locations in South Carolina and Georgia in the 1700’s and 1800’s.”
More than 13 million new records recently appeared on findmypast.com, thanks to a new agreement between findmypast parent company DC Thomson Family History (formerly brightsolid online publishing) and FamilySearch International.
Among these millions of records are “major collections of births, marriages and deaths covering America, Australia, and Ireland,” according to a FamilySearch.org press release. Millions more records from about 600 additional collections are yet to be added. findmypast hopes these records will help current subscribers and allow the company to expand to non-English-speaking markets.
The FamilySearch press releases describes the overall purpose of the collaboration as delivering “a wide range of projects including digital preservation, records search, technological development and the means to allow family historians to share their discoveries.”
More than 8.5 million newspaper pages from 1710-1954 are now available to search at The British Newspaper Archive. Recent titles cover England, Scotland and Northern Ireland and include the London Evening Standard, Glasgow’s Daily Record and the Northern Whig.
The first years from the following new titles have been added to The British Newspaper Archive:
- Biggleswade Chronicle, covering 1912
- Daily Record, covering 1914-1915
- Lake’s Falmouth Packet and Cornwall Advertiser, covering 1864
- London Evening Standard, covering 1860-1862 and 1866-1867
- Newcastle Evening Chronicle, covering 1915
- Northern Whig, covering 1869-1870
- Surrey Comet, covering 1854-1857 and 1859-1870
- Watford Observer, covering 1864-1865, 1867, 1869-1870
Check out the latest additions of old news now at The British Newspaper Archive here!
Want to learn more about using old newspapers in your genealogy research? Check out my book How to Find Your Family History in Newspapers. You’ll learn what kinds of family items you’ll find mentioned in old newspapers; how to find the right newspapers for your family; and how to locate old editions–both online and offline.