International Roots Conference Cancelled


A new genealogy conference planned for July 14-18 in Dearborn, Mich., was cancelled because it didn't have enough registrants. A newcomer to the national conference scene, the International Roots Conference had only 300 people signed up to attend-about 1,700 fewer than its organizers expected, according to their attorney, David Miller. The business that planned the conference, My Conference Planners, has more than $300,000 debt and closed its doors last week. Registrants and others who paid money to the conference will not receive refunds, Miller says. Registrants paid $60 per day or $199 for five days ($230 if registered after May 1, 2002), plus additional fees for special events and meals.

For more information about the cancellation, call Miller's office at (248) 827-4100. To make a complaint to Michigan's attorney general, call the Consumer Protection Division at (877) 765-8388 or visit My Conference Planners' address was 24901 Northwestern Highway, Suite 313-B, Southfield, MI 48075.


New Resources for British, St. Louis Researchers


Heads up to those of you looking for ancestors in Great Britain (1750 to 1800) or St. Louis (1780 to 2002). recently added the Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills Index to its subscription-only English records site at The index lists first and last name of the testator (person who leaves a will), the person's residence, and the month and year when probate was granted, for more than 208,000 entries. The other new resource is a CD index of 488,000 Catholic burial records, produced by the St. Louis Genealogical Society. The Mac- and PC-compatible CD costs $25 for members and $30 for nonmembers, plus $2 postage. Visit for ordering information.


Preserving Precious Papers


Documents, newsprint, color photographs and books printed on poor-quality paper are all prone to deterioration due to the acid in the paper. The poorest quality paper is usually newsprint and tends to be the first to deteriorate. It will turn brown and brittle. Another problem that causes paper deterioration is acid migration. This occurs when low-quality paper bleeds on neighboring pieces of paper. Some old letters, invitations or documents may have brown stains on them that were caused by the acid migration. The better the quality of the paper, the less acid migration you will see.

For some paper items, the best solution is to photocopy the information on acid-free, buffered paper. This works especially well for newspaper clippings. Place the photocopy in your heritage album. Store the original document in an acid-free page protector to help preserve it because it may continue to deteriorate.

You may want to include the original document in your heritage album. For those items, use Preservation Technologies' Archival Mist deacidification spray. It allows you to remove most of the acid content from paper and newsprint. You spray both sides of the document or newspaper item with Archival Mist, and this product will help protect paper against deterioration and crumbling for hundreds of years. You can then place the treated newsprint or document in your heritage album on a mat of buffered paper to reduce further acid migration. Archival Mist cannot be used on photographs.

-Excerpted from New Ideas for Crafting Heritage Albums by Bev Kirschner Braun, $24.99. Reprinted here with permission from the publisher, Betterway Books. Available in bookstores or online at


Melungeon Heritage Revealed through DNA


After centuries of speculation about their ethnic origins, a multiracial group in southern Appalachia known as the Melungeons may finally have some real answers about where they come from. Kevin Jones, a biologist at the University of Virginia's College at Wise, completed a two-year study of Melungeon DNA and announced the results to the Melungeon Heritage Association last week. Among 150 people studied, 5 percent of Melungeon DNA is of African descent, 5 percent is Native American and 90 percent is Eurasian, according to Wired News. Previously, it was thought that European men intermarried with Native Americans and African-Americans to produce the Melungeons. Now Jones plans to research genetic links between Melungeons and unusual diseases, such as familial Mediterranean fever.

Learn more about how DNA can reveal your roots in the August issue of Family Tree Magazine; highlights are at


Pack Rat Has Last Laugh


A tip from Sue in Missouri:

"I have discovered I have been a pack rat! It sounds like that is a bad thing, but in my interest in tracing various family lines backward, and the struggle to find the smallest item or bit of information, I realized that often I receive many wonderful 'future' treasures in my mail and newspapers. I have saved many items from my children's birth and adulthood, but also I save wedding, birth and graduation announcements-anything that provides a detail about an important event in our current, everyday lives.

"I save these in plastic Ziploc bags until the bag begs mercy, or until I can take a few moments to add these items to my scrapbooks or scan for family files. I have found many things that have occurred within the family during the last 20 years or so that have aided me in my research to update current family members and new generations to come. I think that someday, some of our future generations will take on my research and I hope that they will find how wonderful my treasures are. Every day of our lives creates a memory and a treasure that we will appreciate later. At our family reunion this summer, I plan on taking my treasure books to show family, and I know some will laugh and some will have a tear or too, but I think that all will enjoy "The Pack Rat's Stuff."