Ruth’s Recommendations

This is another long list of favourites. I have been busy getting ready for the Ontario Genealogical Society Conference this weekend. Happy reading everyone.

Irish Genealogy News has several posts of interest. The first is “Too many histories…” Hedge School debate online.” It is the latest podcast from the Hedge School.

The next post is “More Church of Ireland transcriptions go online.” This is the latest release to the Anglican Record Project. The last post is “So what? So plenty!” which is about the Irish Government’s intention to put the civil registration indexes online.

The British GENES blog also has several posts of interest. The first is “Republic of Ireland’s GRO indexes to go online at” The next is “1895 Scottish Valuation Roll now online.” The last post is “Scottish Online Catalogue Project” which is going to be a wonderful resource for people researching Scotland.

Chris’ other blog is Scotland: Walking in Eternity and here he had a post called “The Tourist’s Matrimonial Guide Through Scotland.” This is a wonderful post and provides a warning to tourists about Scottish marriage customs.

The “Are My Roots Showing?” blog has a couple of good posts. The first is “Evidentia and Mastering Genealogical Proof” where she looks at how the program Evidentia has been adapting to the release of Thomas W. Jones’ book “Mastering Genealogical Proof.” The second post is “My Digital Filing System for Genealogy (Windows).” This came about via the new group on Facebook called “The Organized Genealogist.” I think we are all looking for ways to organize our collections and doing it right the first time.

Dick Eastman had a post called “Save Library & Archives Canada: How Ordinary Citizens can Make an Impact.” If you want to make an impact then check this out.

The Genealogy Canada blog has a post called “Want to track down descendants of immigrants who were on the Empress of Ireland.” If you had people on the Empress of Ireland when it went down in the St. Lawrence River on 29 May 1914 then you need to read this post.

John Grenham’s has a column entitled “Genealogy in Time” where he looks at the ranking system of genealogy websites. He starts with Genealogy in Time which is a Canadian website and says it is ranked as the fifth largest family history website in the world.

GeneaPress announces that “Southern California Genealogy Jamboree: Free Live-Streamed Sessions Announced.” Sign up now to attend the free live streamed sessions from Jamboree.

The Genealogy’s Star blog had a post called “2,000,000,000th Holding Record goes into” If you haven’t used then you need to go and check it out.

The Anglo-Celtic Connections blog had an interested post called “The First 20 Hours – How to Learn Anything.” It is an interesting video.

The last blog post is from a blog I follow not because of genealogy but because of a general interest. They had a post this week that crossed general interest with genealogy. The post entitled “Simply Divine” is about St. Werburgh’s Church in Dublin. This is of interest to me because in the late 1700s my family worshiped there and one collateral ancestor is buried there. I enjoyed the brief history but what really caught my attention was the photographic essay of the church. The last time I was in Dublin the church was closed so I never got to go inside. This helps make up for a missed opportunity but it also makes me more intent on getting in to see it the next time I am in Dublin.

What were your favourite blog posts?

Let me know in the comments below.

Other bloggers that write their own lists are:

Jana’s Genealogy and Family History Blog

Genealogy Insider – Genealogy News Corral

©2013 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

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FGS Ambassador Blogging Prompt – Why Genealogy Conferences?

Conferences are fantastic and everyone should attend at least one a year. I know sometimes it is difficult to get to them because of distance and the cost involved. These days we can get a lot of information from the conference on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and sometimes live streaming.

The FGS Conference this year is in Fort Wayne Indiana which has the Allen County Public Library. It is is one of the largest genealogy libraries around. I was able to attend the conference the last time it was in Fort Wayne and got to research at the APCL for the first time. You wouldn’t believe all the research possibilities!

Genealogy conferences provide a lot of networking opportunities and the chance to meet new people. I always meet at least five new people at every conference I attend. The fun part is meeting the bloggers I follow on a regular basis in person. Putting a name to the face and having a nice conversation about genealogy without the noticeable glaze over that you get from family and friends who aren’t interested in your passion.

Besides being able to do some research at the ACPL the lectures offered by FGS this year are great. I am not representing a society but I still find the society lecture series informative. This year I am looking at “Creating Master Databases from Local Genealogical Resources” and “Creating a Virtual Cemetery Project.”

The methodology stream holds a lot of interest for me as well. This year I would like to learn more about DNA. Of course you always want to see speakers like Elizabeth Shown Mills and Thomas W. Jones not to mention Paul Milner. Since I am from Canada I am interested in lectures on the Border States such as Ohio, New York and Michigan. It can also be the lure of a great story even if I have no interest in the area of research.

All these are on offer this year at the FGS Conference in Fort Wayne Indiana. Have you registered yet? Why not go in and see what is available on the program schedule. Don’t forget to start working on your research plan for the ACPL.

See you in Fort Wayne!

©2013 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

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Ruth’s Recommendations

This week’s favourite blog posts cover a couple of weeks because I was away at the NGS conference in Las Vegas and then took several days in Salt Lake City to do some research.

Abroad in the yard had a post called “Century Chest’ time capsule reveals pristine 100 year-old artefacts and messages for the future.” This was a very interesting post about a time capsule found in an Oklahoma church.

Randy Seaver from Genea-Musings has a post called “Changes to the Evidence Analysis Process Map in GPS.” Looks like there are some changes coming and I am sure more discussion.

This is not exactly a blog post but a friend sent me this link to a newspaper report from The West Australian Regional Newspapers called “Genealogist finally has the answers.” Now I just wish the Family History Society of Rockingham and Districts recorded this presentation so I could know how it turned out.

The Mocavo Genealogy Blog has a post called “Tracking Your Genealogy Library: iBookshelf” this is about an app in iTunes to help you keep track of your genealogical library.

Chris Paton of the British GENES blog is “amused by a small archival storm over in the United States” in the post called “Cataloguing conundrums!” He also has several other posts. The first is “TNA adds digitised naturalisation and denization papers.” These records cover the period from 1801 to 1871 and can be searched at The National Archives in Kew.

Irish wills calendars 1858-1922 now online” is an announcement from the National Archives of Ireland and the addition of this record group to their genealogy platform. It is free to search and view.

WW1 Lantern slides found in Belfast church loft” is about the discovery of 77 lantern slides depicting Belfast soldiers from the First World War. If your ancestor is on one of the 77 slides then what a treasure.

The last of the British GENES posts is “Who Do You Think You Are Live 2014 – change of dates” they have changed the dates for the show next year starting on Thursday 20th February and going to Saturday 22nd February.

The Irish Genealogy News Blog has several posts of interest. The first is “Follow the decade of 100 years ago on Century Ireland.” This post looks at a new website that tells the story of “Ireland’s most tumultuous years: 1912-1923.” It is worth a look.

The next post is “17th-century Ireland revealed in 300-year-old-maps” This is about the Down Survey website and the maps from 1656 to 1658.

The last post is “1926 Irish census moves closer to release?” What I don’t like is the question mark at the end. There may be problems with the private members bill to amend the wording of the Statistics Act.

I am very pleased it is a long weekend in Canada because that means that the Canadian Lib Genie (aka Elise) got to post on Librarians Helping Canadian Genealogists Climb Family Trees. Her post is called “Baptism record that appears to solve mystery of Samuel de Champlain’s birth arrives in Canada.” This post makes me want to take a trip to Ottawa to the Museum of Civilization to view the document and others that mark the 400th anniversary of Samuel de Champlain’s trip up the Ottawa River to the Ottawa Valley.

What were your favourite blog posts?

Let me know in the comments below.

Other bloggers that write their own lists are:

Jana’s Genealogy and Family History Blog

Genealogy Insider – Genealogy News Corral

©2013 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved 

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MyHeritage launches Record Detective™ to accelerate family history discoveries

Global family history network makes technology breakthrough that turns dead-ends into new leads

PROVO, Utah, and Tel Aviv, Israel, May 13 2013: MyHeritage, the popular family history network, today announced the launch of Record Detective™, the first technology of its kind to automatically extend the paper trail from a single historical record to other related records and family tree connections.

Record Detective™ turns historical records into smart objects that determine which people they are about, and conducts further research about them. Records found in MyHeritage’s digital archive, SuperSearch, will now include a summary of additional records and individuals in family trees relating to them, thanks to the Record Detective™ technology. This will provide users with new information and clues to take their research to new directions.

Examples of how Record Detective™ benefits users:

• When a user finds a gravestone photo, Record Detective™ is capable of automatically finding and displaying who was buried there, and providing a link to the person’s family tree, plus birth, census and marriage records and even newspaper articles about that person.

• For users viewing a page in a digitized yearbook on MyHeritage, Record Detective™ will show the people mentioned on the page in their respective family trees and allow users to learn more about their families and get in touch with their relatives (subject to privacy protections).

• When viewing a record in the US census collection, Record Detective™ will provide census entries of the same person in former or subsequent years, and do this for the entire household. The additional information could include newspaper articles about the person’s son or the immigration papers of his parents.

The new technology is highly accurate with almost no false positives.

To maximize its benefits, the technology behind the Record Detective™ uses an innovative technique called the Transitive Conclusion Trail. For example, it can link a death record to a birth record of the same person, by first linking the death record to a matching person in a family tree with the same death date, then linking that person through his parents to the same person in another family tree, this time having a birth date, and then use that extra information to locate the birth record of that person. During the process checks are made to ensure the lack of contradictions, and conclusions are made only if they are statistically solid. Users are not aware of the calculations behind the scenes, and are only handed the related information with confidence scores. This way Record Detective™ helps users find relevant information they may have never found on their own.


To extend the benefits of this new technology to the wider community, MyHeritage is making Record Detective™ available for license to other family history websites and services that provide historical records, with revenue sharing. By adding just a few lines of code to their webpage, partners can harness Record Detective™ and display for each record, other records and family trees related to it, providing better value for users. Interested parties can contact
“We’re excited to unveil Record Detective™ – a major addition to the tool arsenal of any family history enthusiast”, said Gilad Japhet, Founder and CEO of MyHeritage. “Record Detective™ makes a single discovery more interesting and rewarding by linking to more information about the same person. With this powerful new technology, our users will be able to make even more exciting discoveries. This is an industry first, and a testament to our focus on creating truly innovative technologies for family history.”

A summary of any record can be viewed for free and users can choose between affordable pay-as-you-go credits or a Data subscription for full unlimited access to all historical records.

About MyHeritage

MyHeritage is a family history network helping millions of families around the world discover and share their legacy online. As technology thought leaders and innovators in the space, MyHeritage is transforming family history into a pastime that is accessible, exciting and easier than ever before. MyHeritage empowers its global community of users with unique social tools, a massive library of historical content and powerful search technologies. The site is available in 40 languages. For more information visit

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MyHeritage Announces the “Record Detective”

On the last day of the NGS Conference in Las Vegas I had breakfast with Daneil Horowitz and the people of MyHeritage.

©2013 Dick Eastman

MyHeritage invited the Official Bloggers at the NGS Conference in Las Vegas to attend a breakfast meeting to present their latest release called “Record Detective.”

©2013 Dick Eastman

MyHeritage focuses on technology and how it relates to family history. They want to help you discover more about your family history in a shorter time. You can upload your family tree to their “Family Tree Builder” and it will help you find and match records related to the people in your family tree. There is 97% accuracy in the matches. You can decide to confirm or reject the matches.

If you search a person “The Record Detective” will help you find related records and family trees where you can contact people to share information. You can’t harvest data from other trees.

The program extracts data from a record that you have found and you can click a button to transfer it into your family tree. MyHeritage have a blog post called “New Feature: Extract Info from Records” which describes the process.

The “Family Tree Builder” is now on version 7 and there is a mobile app. The program is available in about 40 languages. You can match names of families in different languages.

You will need to manually add the new people found. I find this is a good idea because it helps you become more familiar with the information you are adding to your family tree.

Ruth Blair, The Passionate Genealogist; Sandra Gardner Benward of the Root Cellar Sacramento Genealogical Society Blog and “The Research Detective.”
©2013 Dick Eastman

New content has been added to their database. You can now get the US Federal census from 1790 to 1940. The only Canadian records they have at the moment are related to headstones. They are hoping to expand their Canadian collection.

The website is a pay per view website and you can chose to use credits or purchase a subscription.

MyHeritage officially announced the “Record Detective” on Monday. They have a video on YouTube that describes the “Record Detective.”

©2013 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

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NGS Conference Las Vegas – The Final Day

The last day of conference is always a busy one as you are trying to attend the lectures you want to see, going to the Marketplace to get your final purchases, ordering the audio recordings for the lectures you were not able to attend and saying a final good bye to your genealogy pals until the next conference.

My day started early with a breakfast meeting with MyHertiage. The Official Bloggers were invited to learn more about the new offerings on their website. We were greeted by “The Record Detective” complete with spy glass. They escorted us to the conference room where we caught up with the other bloggers and learned more about the changes to MyHertiage. I will write more about this in another post.

Then it was off to the first lecture of the day at 8 am. I decided to attend “Research Tools in RootsMagic” which provided me with some good information but he spent so much time on some items he missed some of the ones that I really wanted to learn more about.

The lecture I was really interested in attending today was “Landlords and Tenants: Land and Estate Records for Irish Family History” presented by Brian Donovan of Eneclann. He provided so much wonderful information and also told us about some new releases for Irish research coming later this year.

The next lecture was “The Elements of Genealogical Analysis” and it examined a different way to look at the Genealogical Proof Standard.

The last lecture of the conference and the day that I attended was “Visual Aids: Enhancements to the Presentation, NOT Show & Tell.” This lecture provided some good suggestions on creating presentations.

I had lunch in the area outside the Marketplace and met up with some ladies who were attending the Ancestry Day stream. There was a Youth Camp being held as well and they had room for 40 children but 77 attended so that is a good sign. There were 1981 attendees at the 2013 National Genealogical Society Conference and a good time was had by all.

The water show at the Bellagio
©2013 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

On Saturday evening my friend and I went to the Las Vegas Strip and saw the sights. We had dinner at Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant in the MGM Grand and had a lovely meal. When you go to conferences it is important to get out and see the sights of the city where the conference is being held. It is fun to get out and you never know you might learn and/or see something new.

The conservatory at the Bellagio
©2013 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

This post is a little late because after the conference we traveled to Salt Lake City to do a little research. We got home a couple of days ago and it is a long weekend in Canada so I am catching up.

Now we look forward to the 2014 NGS Conference which will be held in Richmond Virginia 7-10 May 2014. See you all there!

©2013 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

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New Irish records to be released later this year

This morning I attended Brian Donovan’s lecture entitled “Landlords and Tenants: Irish Land and Estate Records for Irish Family History Research.” As usual Brian did not disappoint. The lecture was great and very informative. He also provided some good background information into the records.

He did announce that some new records are going to be put on Findmypast and on the National Archives of Ireland website.

It looks like we can look forward to seeing records relating to church records, original wills, workhouse registers, school pupil rolls and all pre 1901 census survivors and search forms should be available in the next 12 months. The pre 1901 census suvivors and search forms and the will indexes will be available for free on the National Archives of Ireland website.

In the next six months the Field & House books will be availalbe for free from the National Archives of Ireland.

These records will help Irish researchers to find out more about their family history. The land records in particular can be invaluable.

©2013 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

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Press Release: National Genealogical Society Presents Shirley Langdon Wilcox Award for Exemplary Volunteerism to Julie Miller, CG

ARLINGTON, VA, 10 May 2013: The National Genealogical Society presented the Shirley Langdon Wilcox Award to Julie Potter Miller, cg, at its annual banquet on Friday evening, 10 May, at the NGS 2013 Family History Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. Established in 2011, the Shirley Langdon Wilcox Award for Exemplary Volunteerism recognizes long-term volunteer service to NGS and the genealogical community at large. Julie has served on the NGS Board of Directors since October 2006 and has been vice president since October 2010. She served as conference chair for the NGS 2010 Family History Conference in Salt Lake City and for the NGS 2012 Family History Conference in Cincinnati. This year she continued to serve on the conference committee overseeing the conference blog and social media publicity and provided knowledgeable guidance whenever asked.

“Julie is consistently out in front, leading the charge,” said NGS President Jordan Jones. “She is knowledgeable, fair, and thinks about the long term, consistently pushing the board to explore new and innovative ways to use technology to better serve NGS members.” Stefani Evans, 2013 NGS conference chair added, “Julie has freely shared her experience and project management skills while serving on the conference committee again this year. In every interaction, she has been kind, thoughtful, and patient.”

In addition to her service to NGS, Julie has served as president of the Colorado Genealogical Society, Colorado Chapter of APG, and the Bloomfield Genealogical Society. She served on the board of directors of the Association of Professional Genealogists and the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors and volunteers at the National Archives Rocky Mountain Regional Branch.

Founded in 1903, the National Genealogical Society is dedicated to genealogy education, high research standards, and the preservation of genealogical records. The Arlington, Virginia, based nonprofit is the premier national society for everyone, from the beginner to the most advanced family historian, seeking excellence in publications, educational offerings, research guidance, and opportunities to interact with other genealogists. Please visit the NGS Pressroom for further information.

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Press Release: Excellence in Genealogy Scholarship and Service Honored by National Genealogical Society Awards

Arlington, VA, 10 May 2013: The National Genealogical Society held its annual banquet on Friday evening, 10 May, at the NGS 2013 Family History Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, to present awards that acknowledge and honor genealogical scholarship and service. Each year, these awards are presented to organizations and individuals who have made outstanding contributions to NGS programs or have performed outstanding work in the field of genealogy, history, biography, or heraldry.

National Genealogical Society Hall of Fame: Beginning in 1986, the National Genealogy Hall of Fame program, administered by the National Genealogical Society, has honored outstanding genealogists whose achievements in the field of American genealogy have had a great impact on our field. Qualified nominations are solicited annually from genealogical organizations. Those nominated must have been deceased for at least five years and have been actively engaged in genealogy for a minimum of ten years. Their contributions to the field of genealogy in this country need to have been significant in a way that was unique, pioneering, or exemplary. Such contributions could have been as an author of books or articles that added significantly to the body of published works, served as a model of genealogical research or writing, or made source records more readily available. Nominees could also have been a teacher or lecturer, or contributed to the field through leadership in a genealogical organization or periodical.

Entries are judged by a panel of genealogists from various parts of the United States. This year, Earl Gregg Swem, whose nomination was made by The Virginia Genealogical Society, was elected to the NGS Hall of Fame. For thirty-seven years his career was devoted to the collection and publication of materials on Virginia and Virginians. He was the assistant librarian at the Virginia State Library for twelve years and then became the head of the William and Mary College Library from which he retired in 1944.

Fellowship in the National Genealogical Society recognizes a valued servant of the National Genealogical Society. This year’s Fellow, Donn J. Devine, is a retired Brigadier General with the Delaware National Guard and a resident of Wilmington, Delaware. He has been the archivist of the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington since 1989. He served eight years as a director of NGS from 1994-2002. Donn was one of the first lecturers on the appropriate use of DNA and serves as the administrator of two family DNA projects. He has been Board-certified since 1987 and has performed many services for the genealogical community at large. He chaired NGS’s committee on standards and currently serves on the Records Preservation & Access Committee and is a member of the NGSQ Editorial Board. He is a former trustee of the Board for Certification of Genealogists (1992-2006), for which he currently serves as general counsel. He is a past president of the Delaware Society, Sons of the American Revolution, and is a trustee of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania.

Among Donn’s publications are “Sorting Relationships Among Families with the Same Surname: An Irish American DNA Study” published in The National Genealogical Society Quarterly in December 2005. His articles have been published in The American Genealogist and The Delaware Genealogical Society Journal. His most recent article, “The European Origin of George Falk (1823-1900), Brooklyn Watchmaker” was published in The New York Genealogical & Biographical Society Record in January 2013.

For his years of service to the genealogical community; his dedication to meticulous adherence to best practices in the field of genealogy as researcher, writer, and lecturer; and for his unflinching volunteer efforts on behalf of the National Genealogical Society and the genealogical community at large, the NGS Board has elected Donn J. Devine a Fellow of the National Genealogical Society.

William Filby Award for Genealogical Librarianship is awarded to a librarian whose primary focus is genealogy and local history and who is employed in a public, academic, or special library. This year’s award, and a $1,000 prize underwritten by ProQuest, went to Elizabeth Crabtree Wells, manager of the Special Collection Department at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. Active in the genealogical and historical community, she served as past president of the Alabama Genealogical Society, the Birmingham Genealogical Society, and is a founder and past president of the Society of Alabama Archivists. She is a regular lecturer at the Samford Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research. She is co-author of The History of Judson College. Elizabeth holds a BA from Judson College, an MA from Auburn University, and a MLS from the University of Alabama.

The Award of Merit is presented to an individual or non-profit genealogical or historical organization to recognize exceptional contributions to the field of genealogy over a period of five or more years, which has significantly aided research or increased interest in genealogy. For over twenty-five years Carolyn Marguerite Hutchinson Brown has taught genealogy classes and passionately and unabashedly promoted genealogy. She has published six books on her family and her husband’s family lines and has authored many articles published in a variety of genealogical publications. She also founded the Bouse Genealogical Society in Bouse, Arizona, in 2008. She continues to chair, teach, and mentor the group today. As the nomination form concluded, “One person can and does make a difference!”

Family History Writing Contest: Paul K. Graham of Salt Lake City, Utah, was the winner of the Family History Writing contest with his entry, A Love Story Proved: The Life and Family of Laura Lavinia (Kelly) Combs. This award is to encourage NGS members to write a family history that covers at least three generations and not more than four generations of their family.

National Genealogical Society Quarterly’s Award for Excellence: This award is presented for an outstanding article published in the NGSQ in the previous calendar year. The winner of this year’s award emphasized the importance of cultural practices, comprehensive research, and creative problem solving. For 2012, the editors have chosen Without Land, Occupation, Rights, or Marriage Privilege: The Bittner Family from Bavaria to New York, by F. Warren Bittner, cg, published in the September 2012 issue of the NGSQ.

Award for Excellence: Genealogical Methods and Sources: This year’s recipients were Robert S. Davis of Hanceville, Alabama, and Ted O. Brooke of Cumming, Georgia. The title of their entry was Georgia Research: A Handbook for Genealogists, Historians, Archivists, Lawyers, Librarians, and Other Researchers. This award is for a specific, significant single contribution in the form of a book, an article, or a series of articles that discuss genealogical methods and sources, which serves to foster scholarship and/or advances or promotes excellence in genealogy.

Award for Excellence: Genealogy and Family History Book: This year’s recipient was Helen Schatvet Ullmann, cg, fasg, of Acton, Massachusetts. The title of her entry was Some Descendants of Roger Billings of Dorchester, Massachusetts. This award is for a specific, significant single contribution in the form of a family genealogy or family history book published in the past five years. Entries serve to foster scholarship and/or otherwise advance or promote excellence in genealogy.

Senior Rubincam Youth Award (for students in grades 10-12 or between the ages of 16 and 18): Andrew Staton of Simpsonville, South Carolina, was this year’s winner. The title of his entry was My Windsor and Young Ancestors. The Senior Rubincam Award was established in 1986 to honor Milton Rubincam, cg, fasg, fngs, for his many years of service to the National Genealogical Society and to the field of genealogy. The award encourages and recognizes our youth as the next generation of family historians.

Home Study Course Scholarship: Kristin Harms of Alpharetta, Georgia, was the winner of the Home Study Course Scholarship. Harms received the award for having demonstrated her serious interest in pursuing a career in genealogy. Criteria include attending genealogy conferences and training, subscribing to genealogical publications, and membership in NGS.

The renowned NGS Home Study Course provides a solid foundation for researchers just starting out and new possibilities for experienced researchers more difficult problems. The self-paced, year-long course is published on CD and is offered with a grading option. Learners receive feedback from experts while conducting their personal research.

Ann C. Hilke was presented with the NGS Past President’s pin in recognition of her dedication and service to NGS.

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