Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Genome Sequencing's Affordable, and Frightful, Future - Businessweek

Will you be able to sequence your entire genome for less than $1,000 by 2017? Many experts believe this is realistic. The story linked below previews what we will find out when this becomes reality.

Genome Sequencing's Affordable, and Frightful, Future - Businessweek

New genetic discoveries are being made every week. Those discoveries will continue and the pace will accelerate. The appropriate use of this genetic information will become an increasingly important issue.

1. Will medical professionals be retrained to understand and use this information in personal treatment plans which will become possible when we know our personal disease risks and our personal reactions to specific drugs?

2. Who will have the right to request these tests?

3. Who will have access to the resulting information?

4. Who will store and possibly profit from the rapid growth of warehousing of genetic materials?

5. Who will benefit from the vast amount of intellectual property emerging from the digital databases built from individual genetic data?

The next couple of decades will be fascinating as our society wrestles with these and related questions.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

When will the 1940 US Census Images be Released?

Everyone seems to agree that the images of the 1940 US Census will be released on April 2, 2012. This event has been long awaited by genealogists and other social historians. Exactly when on April 2 NARA will release them has been has been debated by those wishing to begin exploring this national information treasure at the earliest possible moment.

There has been some confusion among the genealogical community about when that "earliest possible moment" will come. When NARA posted the first version of its countdown clock last year, it seemed to count down to noon Eastern time. More recently rumors circulated that the magic hour would be midnight. As of today NARA  states on its FAQ page:

Q. When will the 1940 census be available to the public?

A. The 1940 census population schedules will be available for research on April 2, 2012, at 9:00 AM (Eastern Daylight Time).

This should end the confusion. But maybe not. As part of a recently designed and wonderful web resource the countdown clock seems to be closing in on 9:00 AM (Eastern STANDARD TIME). 

This may not seem to be a difference of much consequence. However, for organizations planning tie-in events, timing is very important. One such event is being planned at the Midwest Genealogy Center. It is being called Ready! Set! Go! 1940 Census! Some had been planning overnight "lock-in" events to take advantage of the anticipated Midnight Eastern Time release. Countdown widget across the Web continue to reflect confusion about when the images will be released. Most of these have been created by third parties and are not under the control of NARA. However the countdown clock and FAQ page are. Are they really out of sync or am I imagining this.  NARA, 1-Step, Ancestry, FamilySearch, Archives.com, many libraries and other organizations have created a vast and rich array of tools to help us get ready to explore this window into our family stories. Are you ready to research yours?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Help Index the 1940 US Census

FamilySearch, Archives.com & findmypast.com have jointly announced:

"We Want You!

If you have been paying attention, you probably already know that the images of the US 1940 Census will be released 45 days from now on April 2nd. All name indexes will then need to be prepared as finding aids. At least two major efforts have been announced that will create such indexes. The Ancestry.com project was mentioned in an earlier post

Recently a second project was announced. Volunteer indexers are being sought to speed up this process. If you are willing to help check out this link. You will even be able to indicate the state on which you would prefer to work.

Friday, February 10, 2012

NARAtions » 1940 Census

The images of the 1940 Census will be released in less than two months. In anticipation of that glorious event The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has been releasing a series of blog posts to help us get ready.  NARAtions » 1940 Census Check out these blog posts as you anticipate and prepare to mine the data from these valuable records.