CDR Longevity – Manufacturers’ Reaction

There has been a lot of discussion all over the place about the life span of your typical CDR. It’s important to genealogists, because we store our data on them, we use them to distribute data to others, we use them as backups, etc. etc.

So just how long do they last? A few weeks ago PC World carried a story of an expert that made the case for a short life span for burned CDs. Now they are carrying a response from some manufacturers, namely TDK and Memorex. TDK says that if properly cared for, it’s products will last upto 70 years. A General Manager for TDK did stress that a controlled room temperature was important.

Keep in mind we are talking CDRs – most people, including those interviewed in the above article recommend against CDRWs.

Memorex is preparing a new product lineup, to be launched in April, called the Pro Gold Archival Media series (CD-Rs and DVD-Rs), that has some pretty beefy claims, including upto 300 years for CDS. No word on prices, but I’m sure many genealogists will be interested to see that lineup once it hits store shelves. We, of all people, realize how important data retention is.

Excerpt from the article:

The vendor claims that a 24-karat gold reflective layer, high-performance dye and a scratch-resistant technology will give the new product up to six times longer life than traditional media. Memorex claims a CD archival life of up to 300 years and a DVD archival life of up to 100 years.

“Laboratory tests prove Memorex Pro Gold Media to be resistant to the effects of rapid, artificial ageing such as ultraviolet light, heat and humidity exposure thanks in part to gold’s inert characteristics that prevent oxidation, a common cause of failure for most recordable media during long-term storage,” the company says in a press release announcing the upcoming products.

Cemetery Photography Books – Clarke County, Virginia

This is an older story from August of last year, that I came across recently. The Clarke-Times Courier (Virginia) had an article about a retired couple who photographically documented every cemetery in a county and assembled it into a book. That is something I’d love to do in my retirement years. Never the same thing twice, outside, and your helping out a lot of people.

Excerpt from the article:

Don and Mary Royston dodged snakes, groundhogs and bees while compiling a new book about the cemeteries of Clarke County.

The couple visited 19 cemeteries in the county and sometimes got down on hands and knees and gently rubbed away dirt to read the names and dates of ancient gravestones to copy down the information.

The couple published their labor of love, “Cemeteries of Clarke County, Virginia,” in April as the sequel to a similar book they put out in 2003 about the Green Hill Cemetery in Berryville.

Copies of Cemeteries of Clarke County, Virginia,
Purchase at:
Clarke County Historical Association
32 E. Main St.,

You can also call 540-955-2600.

The Clarke County Historical Associations’s office is open Monday through Friday, 1 to 4 p.m.’s Simplified Subscriptions

James M. Beidler, a genealogy lecturer in Lebanon, PA, has put together a nice little article detailing the changes that recently made, in regards to their subscriptions, in the Lebanon Daily News. For those just starting out, and thinking about such a subscription, you should definitely read the article.

Excerpt from the article:

…as the data amassed by has grown, the way it segmented its subscriptions into quite a number of different “collections” at varying prices became somewhat confusing — especially since the reality is that many people now get an subscription when they are beginners as a way of jump-starting their genealogy.

In part, became a victim of its own success as its number of databases grew by leaps and bounds and began to include large record sets, such as military records and U.S. and British censuses.

Acknowledging this confusion, last month announced two simplified subscription plans that will probably serve most genealogists well.

No mention of the Canadian Records Collection that just came online, and I’m not sure of pricing, but some of these are new:
* 1911 Census of Canada
* 1871 Census of Canada
* Ontario Marriage Index 1858-1899
* Ontario Birth Index 1869-1907
* Ontario Death Index 1869-1932
* Ontario & Nova Scotia Census Records 1800-1842
* Canadian Address & Phone Directories 1995-2002

The 1911 Census of Canada, they claim it’s the first and only online-indexed 1911 Census of Canada.

Want Your Family Tree Researched For Free?

If you have no problems sharing your family information with the world (or rather making it easier to find/see, since the information is already available), Kimberly Powell over at will research your family history online for free – she’s looking for people to do a case study on.


Are you new to genealogy? Wondering how to get started learning more about your ancestors? I’m looking for a guinea pig (or two) for a case study on researching your family tree on the Internet. The family history research is free if you’re chosen to participate.

Just send your name, email address, and the details that you already know on yourself, your parents, grandparents, etc. to Ask a Genealogist and, if you’re chosen, I’ll research your family online for you for free. The results will be published on About Genealogy in a step-by-step article, so if you would prefer to keep your family details private, this isn’t for you. No specific details will be published for any individuals that you indicate are still living (no dates of birth, social security numbers, etc.). And remember, the information included in this family history will all be located online and is already publicly available.

TV-Branded Genealogy Software?

Can you imagine genealogy software branded with the name of a popular TV show? That’s what happens when you combine the hit BBC TV show, ‘Who Do You Think You Are?‘ with Family Tree Maker. Genealogy Software News has information on a review of the software.

I’m not surprised considering the popularity, and it looks like it’s only for the UK market. The reviewers that Genealogy Software News points to complained that it felt like it was trying to pull them into subscribing to (or in their case). Hmmmm…didn’t see that coming….