FamilyLink.com soft launch

I have been in NY and Chicago this week, and haven't found the time to blog about this yet, but our wonderful sleepless team at World Vital Records has quietly opened up FamilyLink.com to the public. We are hoping for a few thousand early users, experienced genealogists primarily, to set up personal profiles, tell us what cities they do research in (and where they live), create some ancestor pages, and most of all, give us lots of feedback about the site features and design.

Physical Libraries vs Electronic Libraries

The Everton Collection at the Logan Library in Logan, Utah could use more visitors. Last September Leland Meitzler on his excellent genealogyblog broke the following news about one of the largest private genealogical collections in the U.S.:
I really feel that I'm being premature in posting this blog, but since the word is now circulating on the Internet, I'm forced into it. Yes - plans are underway for the Everton library to open in early October. I will announce the actual opening when it happens. The Everton collection, which has been unavailable to the public for over two years now, will be opening soon. Logan Library Director Ron Jenkins has been interviewing potential librarians for the collection - and earlier this month, Jenkins hired Jason Cornelius, who is moving from Salt Lake City to Logan. Cornelius will be a full-time librarian, cataloging and overseeing the daily operations of the collection.

Search U.S. Patents with new Google patent search

For nearly 20 years I've dreamed of an easy to use search engine that would index all US Patents and make it easy for any inventor or entrepreneur to do sophisticated patent research. As an employee of Folio Corporation in the late 1980s, my job was to index huge data collections, such as AICPA content, all the IRS publications, and the US Code for our reference publishers who licensed our search engine technology. We looked at patent data several times, but it was never a project that actually got a sponsor.

Google and History

I am very impressed with Google's recent launch of its News Archives Search. Basically, in partnership with major content owners, Google is indexing newspaper and magazine articles going back to the 18th century. I spent an hour doing various searches and found the content very interesting, although a lot of the historic newspaper content is full of typos and OCR errors, and much of the best content is available only for a fee. Over time, more and more good historical content will be free. The Time Magazine content is very useful.