Monday, April 14, 2014

Big News! PRA Announces Newsletter to Start and Pedigrees to End

The Board of Directors met recently in a special meeting to discuss the Pennington Pedigrees.  The Pedigrees has been the major publication of the PRA since 1968 but the past few years the cost of printing and mailing it to our Members as well as keeping an Editor on staff have challenged the Board.  The Pedigrees went digital in 2010 being distributed at first on a CD to our Members.  Then the Pedigrees were made available to our Members by a direct download from our website.

With the recent resignation of the Pedigrees Editor, the Board decided it was time to once again discuss the future of the Pedigrees.  An open forum to discuss the future of the Pedigrees was recently held via an online meeting.  Many outstanding comments and suggestions were made.  These were shared with the Board of Directors who met on April 12, 2014 for the sole purpose of deciding the future of the Pedigrees.

Here is a summary of my notes from the Board meeting held on Saturday, April 12, 2014.  I’m sure there are some things I left out but Betsy has the exact wording of the motions, etc.

The Board voted to NO longer publish the Pennington Pedigrees effective July 1, 2014.  That means the current issue for Spring 2014 will be the last Pedigrees.  The Board accepted Melinda’s offer to continue to be the Editor of the Pedigrees and to publish the last issue.

The Board voted YES to start a newsletter.

The Board decided to publish a newsletter quarterly with the first one being issued for the 3rd quarter 2014.  The newsletter will be distributed via our e-mail blast system on our website.

The Board approved moving the News (blog) to the Members-only section of our website and to rename it.  It is now called “Members Only Blog”.  This means only current PRA Members can read and/or post to this blog.

The concept is to encourage members to post their material to the Members-only blog and/or to their own personal blog, and then for a yet to be determined person to select which material they think should be published in the next newsletter.  They will then copy/paste just a summary (or snippet) of the blog message (post) into the newsletter.  We’ll use links as much as possible to minimize the size of the newsletter. 

The Board approved moving the Discussion forum to another location in the website and to rename it.  It is now called “Public Blog”.  This means that the public can read and/or post to this blog (same as before).

I told the Board Marsha Hanson-Smith had offered to “play around” with the newsletter templates on our website and I demonstrated the templates.  From my testing (brief) it appears that each template layout is different but they all appear to allow you to either type or copy/paste into each topic/subject area on the template.  As you add more text and/or pictures, the section expands.  It does not appear that it flows over onto additional pages.  So it looks to me that we could have a long (due to stretching of the page by adding content to each section) newsletter but each newsletter does have a content section with links to each section.  We want to keep the newsletter to as few as 3 – 6 pages.

There was much discussion on the “nuts and bolts” of how to do the newsletter, formatting, links, content, distribution to libraries, etc.  We also discussed, briefly, the role and responsibility of members to submit material to our blog and how an editor would be responsible for selecting material from the blog and posting it in the newsletter.  We all agreed that we’d have to use links to other’s blogs so we don’t fill up our own newsletter with their material and thus make the newsletter too long, etc.

We agreed we have to all work together to discuss and work out the procedures and details to make the new blog (with the new title) and the newsletter work well for our members.

I added a paragraph to the Members-only blog and to the public blog to cover the consent to publish issue so we don’t have to worry about obtaining a consent to publish form from each person who posts/publishes on either blog.  I’ll will probably have to modify the wording as we move through the process to make sure we cover as many of the circumstances as possible with regards to copyright and posting material that is not appropriate.

Melinda will write an article for publishing in the Spring 2014 issue of the Pedigrees explaining the Board’s decisions and how the PRA will now publish material.

We will send out additional information on some of the procedures as soon as we can.  If you have any suggestions or comments, please use the “Reply to All” feature so all of us are kept up to date on the discussions.

I hope this helps to clarify our meeting and the direction the Board has taken with regards to the Pedigrees, using our blog and the newsletter.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Important News! Research on Sir Isaac Pennington Now Available

After several months of work, the PRA has the research reports for Sir Isaac Pennington, b. 1587, d. 1661, that were completed and provided to us by Kristina Bedford, Research and Transcription Services, owner of Ancestral Deeds, London, England.

This is an impressive research project and it contains many reports, pedigree charts, citations and resources.

PRA Members can access this import work by going to and login.  Then go to the Members-only section and look for the web page titled “Sir Isaac Pennington”.  Click on the page and enjoy!

The gedcom file (family tree) for Sir Isaac Pennington will be uploaded to the PRA’s MyHeritage website soon.

If you’re not a PRA Member but wish to join, click here to join.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

PRA & New MyHeritage Website - Important Message

I recently met with Carmen Johnson and Daniel Horowitz, Chief Genealogist at MyHeritage, in separate meetings to discuss our MyHeritage website.  I discussed many issues, concerns, settings and “how to” aspects of the website with both Carmen and Daniel.  I met with Daniel first and then with Carmen so I could share Daniel’s information, comments and suggestions with her so she could help me decide what step/s to take next.

I’m pleased to share with you that we are moving forward with our original plan but we have modified the dates of the stages.  I’ll post the new target dates for the plan in a few days.

The most important changes to our plan are:

· The PRA will keep our Members-only website hosted by until it expires or is closed by – Note:  The current subscription will expire in March 2015.

· The PRA will continue to use our family tree software connected to our family trees which are linked to our website.

· The PRA will “turn on” our MyHeritage website using the features and settings suggested by Daniel and Carmen and myself.  These features and settings are now working and have resulted in some very interesting things (I’ll discuss more later in a new message). 

· The PRA will continue to move forward with our plan but modify the target dates for the stages.  These new dates will be posted later.

· Carmen and I agreed we should have two (2) more system administrators to help the current three (3) admins.  This will give us a total of five (5) system administrators.  After going through all the features and settings, we believe having five (5) system administrators will help make the tasks associated with the “smart matches” and “record matches” easier and spread the work so not any one person is over loaded.

· Note:  As of April 13, 2014, we now have five (5) site managers.

· Carmen and I agreed that PRA Members who join our MyHeritage website will be allowed to upload their own family tree (gedcom file) to the PRA’s MyHeritage website.  They will be responsible for managing any “smart matches” and “record matches” for their personal family tree/s.  This is in keeping with the plan approved by the Board.

There are a couple of other things we discussed but we are waiting a few more days for answers to questions we raised before we announce any other changes.

I look forward to your help, comments and suggestions.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

1765 North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia Map | Native Heritage Project

Here is a great blog article on a map resource website.  I recommend the article and the website that has a great many genealogy research resources as well as some excellent historical maps.

To read the blog post, go to:  1765 North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia Map | Native Heritage Project:

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