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Genealogy This Week - 21 August 2010

Our weekly compilation of interesting new tools, resources and stories for genealogists. This week:

Warsaw in Ruins – The Warsaw Rising Museum has created an amazing digital reconstruction of the destroyed city of Warsaw, Poland in 1945, at the end of the Second World War. This reconstruction is fascinating for anyone with Polish ancestry. It is also important to anyone with an interest in genealogy. This reconstruction is the first time historical images have been married with advanced computer modeling to create sophisticated 3 dimensional simulations of the past. This provides an entirely new dimension to genealogy! Watch the chilling video below. [Warsaw Rising Museum]

How Many Books Have Ever Been Written? – Here is a supposedly simple question: How many books have ever been written? The short answer is nobody knows. In fact, nobody even seems to have a reasonable estimate. Google, which is trying to digitize the world’s libraries, put out an estimate a couple of weeks ago. They like to assign numbers to everything and they estimated 146 million books (or 129,864,880 books, plus serials). This Google estimate set off a firestorm of claims and counterclaims on the internet on the accuracy (or lack thereof) of Google’s estimate. The bottom line once again: nobody knows. This did, however, get us thinking. If we cannot reasonably estimate how many books exist, then what is our chance of providing even a vague estimate of the number of genealogy records in existence? The bottom line: we really don’t know our past. [Google Book Claim]

How Much Space Do All Those Books Take Up? – Ever wondered how much space all those books and original documents take up in a large archive? For the UK National Archives (one of the largest in the world), it is 31 kilometers of space. The National Archives store most of their documents in the Winsford Rock Salt Mine in Cheshire. This vault, 150 meters underground can be seen in the just-released video below.

Yahoo Search Becomes Bing Search – We mentioned several months ago that Microsoft had struck a deal with Yahoo whereby in the future Microsoft’s Bing search engine would fuel all Yahoo internet searches. Well, the future arrived this week for all Yahoo users in North America. Effective immediately, all Yahoo searches in the US and Canada are now powered by Bing. This is an important development for genealogists because Yahoo genealogy searches will now produce different results. Take note! We suggest that any GenealogyInTime™ member who still prefers Yahoo Search to try using Yahoo UK, which has not yet been switched over to Bing. But be forewarned. This will only buy you a couple of months before Yahoo UK also falls under Bing. [Yahoo UK]

Finding Old US Government Websites – Here is a good genealogy brick wall solution. Have you ever gone looking for a US government website only to find that it no longer exists? No, you are not dreaming. For example, the 9/11 Commission website is gone. Fortunately, the University of North Texas maintains a ‘cybercemetery’ of over 50 defunct US government agency and commission websites. Very useful if you need it. [Cybercemetery]

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