Quarterly Reminder #1 - 01 February, 2010

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Quarterly Reminder #1 - 01 February, 2010

Postby bimjim » Mon Feb 01, 2010 2:47 pm

Hello, researchers...

** Special note for the Procrastinators: If you registered more than a week ago but within the last two weeks, you are about to be deleted from the registry - you MUST make a worthwhile Post within two weeks of registering!!! **

Well, this is the first quarterly "reminder" from the Caribbean Surname Index that this (free) resource is still on line on your behalf, making sure your outreach is there for whenever someone else comes looking for you. I announced this new feature in a "broadcast" sent out a couple of months ago, and the feedback I did get back was - without exception - extremely positive.

So, this quarterly reminder/newsletter is here to stay. I will do my best to keep it focused and not waste your time, but necessarily this is the first so may be a bit longer than those which follow.

And I will try to insert a heading for each section, so you can scan those quickly for items of interest (if you don't have much time), and some sections in later quarterly missives will necessarily be repeated for those who recently joined - and for those who finally do have some time - who want to increase the internet exposure of their particular search/es.

Onwards and upwards now... first, one teeny-tiny unpleasant bit to get out of the way...

Let me state that I have received verbal abuse before, when I sent out circulars of importance (which have been very few and far between, I don't abuse this privilege). So l let me repeat what I said when I asked about starting this "reminder"... start abusing me and I will delete you and your Posts from the Index. You signed up to use this free resource, and I do NOT have to take anyone's abuse. I'm already pretty annoyed with "entitled" people in general, and that superior behaviour is NOT going to be taken as appropriate here.

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If you don't have much time...

May I take this opportunity to suggest to all of my - over 750 - users that you take time now, just a few seconds, to visit and search the Index with your desired surnames, just in case someone else made a Post which is of interest to you but without searching for themselves... it's very possible you can "catch" a new connection that way...
index.php

Yes, I know the Index sends you an email if there is a reply to your Post/s or if someone sends you a PM, but that does not work for new Posts. Visiting the Index and searching the Posts of those who joined since you last searched is always a good idea - this periodic "reminder" will be coming your way four times a year now, so maybe you could keep that in mind and use the arrival of this circular as a reminder to do that.

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Appeal for researchers...

I get requests on a frequent basis for information on how to get research done, or how to get certificates and/or other documents out of a Registrar. In the more than a decade I have been doing this, I am still unable to find at least one researcher for every country/island. Indeed, the total number of researchers listed on my resources is less than five - for the entire Caribbean.

So, if you know of ANYONE who does genealogy research in or about the Caribbean, whether it is professional or a hobby, (not necessarily living regionally but) more especially a local person on the ground where a Registrar is, PLEASE send me their email address so I can invite them to be listed.

It's all free to researchers, as it is to you... I provide the listings free of charge, and I also provide a custom contact form free of charge - so their email address is hidden and does not attract SPAM. There is no obligation or fee whatsoever. Ever. Promise!

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Free newsletters... and one to avoid...

One of the fastest growing ways of "keeping up" is by a number of free newsletters which have popped up recently. The price is right - you don't have to upgrade to the paid subscription, if there is one - and on an intermittent basis they keep you reasonably informed of new records that may be made available on the internet, so you could fit the research in between your other commitments one at a time instead of being flooded with "to-do" things you don't have time for.

Please check the Useful Links section, where I have started to Post links - as I find them - to free email genealogy newsletters.

** May I respectfully suggest that you create a new HotMail or Yahoo email address where you can subscribe to these, OR I can supply you with a (yes, free) "Forward" address which you use to register for the newsletter, and then that address sends the email on to you. If SPAM does start, it is easy to disable the address I gave you and free your own address of the incoming SPAM. **

Admin's Note: One of these is Dick Eastman's newsletter, claimed to be the largest in the world (his claim). But unless you enjoy a USA-centric focus (as so many of them are) and being SPAMmed in his newsletter with about half of it covering software, hardware, technical and all the useless gadgets he seems to . and use I'd suggest you avoid it. The free version usually contains about four articles, the "Plus" (paid) one a few more, but I have noticed that they both have strong technical content - which is irrelevant to the vast majority of family genealogists. I have pointed this out to Mr. Eastman, but his disinterested responses indicate he dies not plan to make any changes. The last free one I received had four articles - two were on hardware/software, including the iPad - which he has not yet got his hands on.

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The famous IGI - International Genealogical Index...

The Mormons' web site - with the IGI (International Genealogical Index) - and its enormous database is constantly adding records.

The links in the "Useful Links" Board make it easy for you to run a quick check. One new feature I have found is that one link can search a group of countries - all of the Caribbean Islands, for instance - while the other will search only a specific country - such as only Jamaica. Each has it's strengths, but they both use the same immensely huge database in different ways...
viewtopic.php?f=29&t=307

Also on the Mormons IGI, a new development is that not only can you search by last name only, you can now also search by first name only... which I discovered by communicating with them asking a special favour. I have only a first name of one person (an unusual one) and was looking for a marriage.

I guess, in their Biblical terms, I asked and was given!!

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Still no SPAM/porn annoyances on the Index...

On this side of the Index, I continue to process all registrations manually and check all new Posts myself on a daily basis. This is part of what keeps the resource free of the annoying elements who spoil it for everyone else - SPAM, porn, the argumentative, entitled, demanding and/or childish people who think only of themselves, and I continue to try and make sure this is a reliable and solid resource for personal family tree research.

In that vein, I am heartened and encouraged to see about one solid contact between previously disconnected family members a week - usually in the Jamaica area - and I hope that kind of progress will continue, although I would also hope for other areas to have such success as well.

PLEASE remember - NO EMAIL ADDRESSES ARE ALLOWED IN POSTS, IN ANY FORM.

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Posting tip...

Did you know that, even a year afterwards, you can still edit your original Post?

Go to the Post and look for the "Edit" button either at the top or bottom of the Post text, click on it, and make your changes.

Your info may change, your research may shift, but whatever the reason you can keep your Post current by revisiting and making a simple change to the text.
You can edit your Posts, but you can not edit anybody else's.

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We all have DNA, BUT...

Please note that some time ago I added a DNA section. This is a fast-growing area of genealogy, and there are several databases already on the web which range between pro-active (they contact you with potential matches) and passive (you want it, come and get it).

But here's the thing... 12 is not enough... 24 is not enough... 36 is not enough... and no, 48 is not enough either...

There is a very important fact the majority of people doing research do not yet understand in DNA profiling and matching: 12 markers do nothing - zero - for finding recent relatives (in the last 30 generations or more). If you want to have a reasonable chance at matching with someone else and actually even sharing a last name anywhere in your family tree, your starting point ought to be around 67 markers - preferably more.

Just 12 markers were sought from millions of people around the world by the National Geographic's Genographic Project to try to document the "path out of Africa" for the human race. The Project provided participants with a probable trail map of their ancestors, but the Genographic Project was not even slightly interested in your recent genealogy, thousands of years after when they finally ended up in Asia or Europe and onwards - possibly even before the Stone Age.

FamilyTreeDNA.com did those 12-marker tests for the Genographic Project, still have all of those frozen samples, and - from what I read - seems to be the most interested and reliable lab doing DNA testing. When I realised that my basic 12 markers were so inadequate, I took advantage of FTDNA's occasional specials to upgrade - from the same samples they still held from the Genographic Project - all the way to 67 markers. As a control I later also had my DNA tested at another lab, with 42 markers, and what I got back matched the FTDNA results exactly.

I believe in FamilyTreeDNA.com... I am not asking for direct contributions, but if you use the link provided below you will not pay more for your order but you will make a small contribution to my expenses by way of commission and help me pay my technology bills. This resource is free to you, but it's not free to me...
http://www.familytreedna.com/cj.asp?ftdna_ref=367

I also placed an FTDNA banner at the bottom of every page in the Index which does the same thing.

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Procrastination under more pressure...

The vast majority of you will have passed this initial phase already, but our "Procrastination Period" allowance (time between registration and first Post) is now down to two weeks... I guess this is a big challenge to many people, because I am still deleting the same 75% of new registrations two weeks later that I was deleting four weeks later. Most of these "missing links" never even logged in (I can see that from the Admin Panel), even at the time when they received their registration email.

Periodically sending reminder emails to this ever-changing group of folks seems to make no difference... having registered, they just ignore the registration email, the reminder email, and sail on as if they had never registered. If they were logging in without Posting, I could attribute that to using the Index to make connections through Private Messaging amd exchanging emails that way, but it looks like they register and then just ignore it. Disappointing...

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Now, if you DO have time to spare...

You CAN get greater exposure for your search. It's pretty simple, really... near the top of the Index, on the left side, you will see the link "Board index". Under that is "User Control Panel • View your posts". Click on the "View your posts" link and review what you have already done. For each Post, look at the contents and make sure you Posted in every qualifying Board - Surname, Specialty, Country, etc., as well as ROLL CALL.

For instance, if your Post is for your surname - let's say "Richards" - as well as your mother's maiden name - let's say "Fernand" - and your grandmother's maiden name - let's say "Hotten" - and the fact that between them they lived in Jamaica, Anguilla, Grenada and St. Croix, you have quite a number of Boards you can Copy just that one Post to - and get much more exposure.

Having Posted it in Surnames R (for Richards), at the bottom of the Post look for the drop-down box that starts with "Lock Topic"... if you click on that, it allows you to select "Copy Topic". Having done that, click on the "Go" button, and select from the drop-down box the Board you want it Copied to (the first one in this example would be "Surnames F", for Fernand"). Click on the "Yes" button, and you're done (for now - this only takes a few seconds).

Now click on the browser's "Back" button until you get back to your original Post. Do the same for "Surnames H" (for Hotten), the countries Jamaica, Anguilla, Grenada and St. Croix. This sounds like alot of work, but from the second time you do it you will see there's nothing to it - in any case, here are the instructions to follow.

There's at least one more... ROLL CALL. Simply re-arrange your Post so that all the surnames are in the Subject line, leave the information in the body the same, and post it to the "ROLL CALL surname listings" Board - at the end of the Surnames list.

Of course, if you have the names of estates and/or plantations and/or specific locations you are free to Post to the "Research specialties - Locations, properties, estates, etc." Board as well - near the bottom of the Research specialties section.

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Something new...

I have added a "Hit Counter" at the bottom of every page of the Index so we can all see where our traffic is coming from. This one even provides the flags of the originator countries, so you don't need to know the code for your country, just look for your flag! I think we will all be surprised to see how universal the visitor count is!!

Because it is embedded in a common footer, all of the counts are for the entire site, by the way... not just for the page you see the counts on.

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More Indexes...

I'd like to announce here that I also created the Irish Surname Index and the Canadian Surname Index... I am considering a Scottish Surname Index as well, if anyone wants to offer me additional encouragement!

I am also open to suggestions as to other Country/Region Indexes.

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Good hunting, everyone!!

And all the best for 2010!!

Jim Lynch

user bimjim
Owner/Administrator
Caribbean Surname Index
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