Joan Griffis/Illinois Ancestors: Alaskan genealogy cruise set for 2018

Joan Griffis/Illinois Ancestors: Alaskan genealogy cruise set for 2018

Unlock the Past will be hosting its 14th genealogy cruise Sept. 7-14, 2018, aboard Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas, leaving Seattle and visiting Juneau, Skagway and Tracy Arm Fjord, Alaska, and Victoria, British Columbia.

While at sea, there will be 40-45 talks (in three simultaneous sessions) by an international team of 12-15 expert genealogists (including Dick Eastman, whose Online Genealogy Newsletter is often quoted in this column). Visit for more information. According to the site, “An optional full day extra seminar is being considered the day before the cruise to offer additional value to the many who will travel from a distance.”

Chris Paton, a featured speaker on this and three past cruises, has said, “Only one thing beats a good genealogy conference, and that is a genealogy conference that offers a chance to see a bit of the world, to enjoy some top class entertainment, and above all else, meet many other people sharing a similar interest. It’s also the perfect family holiday with plenty of fun activities for your partner and kids to get up to on board whilst you’re attending conference sessions!”

Technical genetic journal back online

The first issue of the newly revived Journal of Genetic Genealogy is now available free online at Although most of the articles in this publication may be too technical for the average researcher, anyone who is working on the surname Fox would probably be interested in the article “Y-DNA Testing of a Paper Trail — The Fox Surname Project.”

Joseph M. Fox and David E. Fox have used a case study “that models the use of yDNA” in conjunction with a paper trail to assess family trees.”

Another article, “The History of Genetic Genealogy and Unknown Parentage Research: An Insider’s View,” by CeCe Moore, is most interesting — especially this comment: “A surprising number of genealogists taking DNA tests and discovering, unexpectedly, that half of their trees, often the results of decades of research, was not their true genetic pedigree.”

JOGG was revived “as a venue for academic and citizen scientists to contribute to the field of genetic genealogy.”

Is genealogy blogging dead?

Amy Johnson Crow, a certified genealogist and genealogy blogger, has written a thought-provoking article online, “Is Genealogy Blogging Dead?” at Similarly, the value of genealogy columns in newspapers can also be questioned, as well as printed (as compared with free, online) genealogy society newsletters. Such a list can go on and on.

It seems appropriate to state that genealogical research is constantly evolving — new methods, new technology, new ideas, and different approaches. If something new is effective, it will continue. If something old is found to be not as effective as the new approach, the old will gradually be replaced.

Do readers of this column have any thoughts on the value of genealogy columns such as this one? For example, early columns had many queries in which readers could advertise their search for missing ancestors. The internet has enabled genealogists to advertise online. Are there any success stories that illustrate advantages of either method?

Another blog ends

As Dick Eastman recently announced: “Another blog bites the dust. The Ancestry Insider blog provided an unofficial, unauthorized view of and for more than 10 years.” The official announcement can be read at

Although this blog will no longer be furnishing readers with news, the website has a link to a very interesting category, “Serendipity in Genealogy.” Read and enjoy!

Underground Railroad memorial at Chicago McDonald’s

The Lake Street McDonald’s in Chicago’s village of Maywood has a memorial to Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. The McDonald’s there is on the site of a former stop, The Ten Mile Freedom House. Read of this historic location at

Queries, genealogical questions from researchers and genealogical materials readers would like to share will be printed in this column free. Joan Griffis may be reached via email at or by sending a letter to Illinois Ancestors, c/o The News-Gazette, P.O. Box 677, Champaign, IL 61824-0677.

Sections (1):Living
Topics (2):Internet, Technology