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(+) Why Your Wi-Fi Stinks

The following is a Plus Edition article, written by and copyright by Dick Eastman. 

slow-wi-fiI installed a new wi-fi router in my home a few days ago and was amazed at how much faster it is than the router I was using previously. My old router was supplied by the local cable company when I moved here a three years ago. It seemed to work well so I never questioned it. After all, I had nothing to compare it to. It was my only router for three years.

The old router was a single-band unit, running at 2.4 gigahertz. Almost all the more inexpensive wi-fi routers you purchase at the local computer store are the same. In fact, most in-home wi-fi routers (I’ll call them base stations) probably are the same: single-band 2.4 gigahertz units that were designed several years ago, even if they were only manufactured recently. I know that was true of my Motorola modem/wi-fi router/base station.

The world of wi-fi has changed a lot in the past few years.

220 Million Records of British Voters Available to Search Online for the First Time

The following announcement was written by the folks at Findmypast:

Electoral Registers document the evolution of modern British democracy from the passage of the Great Reform act of 1832 to votes for women in 1918, and voting equality in 1928

Records include details of property ownership, allowing you to uncover the history of your home

Now available online for the first time at

9th October 2015

Leading family history website Findmypast and The British Library have announced today the online publication of an estimated 220 million records of English and Welsh voters.

The period covered by The England and Wales Electoral Registers 1832-1932 includes some of the most important events in the history of British democracy and demonstrates how the British electorate changed during the 19th and early 20th centuries: from the vote being extended to working class men and the reform of representation up until women’s suffrage.

Pat Couture, R.I.P.

The many friends of Pat Couture will be saddened to learn that she passed away yesterday. She suffered from pancreatic cancer. Pat was a mother, professional singer, genealogist, ham radio operator, member of Mensa, an expert on African violets, and many other things. She was well known as a French-Canadian genealogist and, in recent years, became active in a couple of Jewish genealogy societies as well. She was a frequent public speaker, usually speaking about French-Canadian topics.

Pat Couture shown here with her husband and constant companion, Paul

Pat Couture shown here with her husband and constant companion, Paul

In a Facebook posting early today, Pat’s daughter, Amy, wrote: “To all who knew my mother and have been sending warm wishes, Mom passed away yesterday after her year long battle with cancer. She made a big impact on everyone that knew her. She was a mother, professional singer, genealogist, member of Mensa, and many other things. I miss her already! Thank you all for your nice words in the end. They made her happy.”

Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.

Yale Places 170,000 Photographs From 1935 to 1945 Online

Yale University had posted online 170,000 Library of Congress photographs taken in the United States from 1935 to 1945. The photos come from all over the U.S., and can be accessed with this easy-to-use interactive map. They also used the original captions allowing the viewer to get an honest feel for the time period.

No guarantees but you might find one of your ancestors in this series of photographs. You can start at


The above photograph is from Caribou, Maine in 1940.

Missing: a 40-year-old Time Capsule Missing In Brevard County, Florida

Attention all residents and former residents of Indialantic, Florida. If you remember where the time capsule was buried in 1976, the Hoover Middle School alumni would like to talk with you.

A tiny time capsule, filled with a 8 mm camera, newspaper clippings and more school mementos from the mid-1970s was buried on the former junior high school property to commemorate the nation’s bicentennial year. They planned on opening the time capsule in 1996 — 20 years after it was put in the ground. There’s but one problem: the time capsule isn’t buried where they thought it was.

The Best Scanning Apps for Android and iPhone

Genealogists love to copy old documents, census records, wills, deeds, and even old photographs. We used to make photocopies and save those in various filing systems. The 21st century solution is to make digital copies, either with a scanner or, even more common, with a cell phone camera.


Making digital copies is quick, easy, and also is easier to save for posterity. Digital images are also easier to insert into various reports and genealogy programs that you may use. In short, digital images provide convenience and security. Even better, for most of us, the cell phone camera is with us wherever we go.

Dallas Genealogical Society Celebrates its 60th Anniversary and Seeks Memorabilia

The following announcement was written by the Dallas Genealogical Society:

The Dallas Genealogical Society will celebrate its 60th Anniversary later this year with a Commemorative Issue of Pegasus: the Journal of the Dallas Genealogical Society.

The issue will focus on significant events in the Society’s history, and on the individuals who helped make it a success for six decades. The Publications Committee is asking all members and former members of the Society, no matter where they now live, to send their memories, pictures, anecdotes, etc., for possible publication in this Special Issue.

Chronicling America Posts its 10 Millionth Historic Newspaper Page

Chronicling America, an online searchable database of historic U.S. newspapers, has posted its 10 millionth page today. Way back in 2013, Chronicling America boasted 6 million pages available for access online. Obviously, the site is growing rapidly.


Why Do So Many Americans Think They Have Cherokee Blood?

native-american-indian-edward-s-curtis-1910It is one of the most popular myths in American genealogies. Millions of Americans think they have Cherokee ancestry. It is a nice thought but is almost always erroneous. In the 2010 U.S. Census, 819,105 Americans claimed at least one Cherokee ancestor. If true, that must have been a huge tribe!

Gregory D. Smithers has published an article in Slate that examines this myth and tells why so many Americans claim to possess “Cherokee blood.” The article is available at

The Endangered Archives Programme

A service of the British Library, the Endangered Archives Programme now contains 5 million images of people’s memoirs and diaries from rural societies, paper archives, and photographs. Many of the items saved and digitized might never have been preserved otherwise.

Items preserved by the Endangered Archives Programme include:

Announcing the Newly-formed Society of Families of the Old Northwest Territory

The following announcement was written by the Ohio Genealogical Society:

Families-of-the-Old-Northwest-TerritoryThe Ohio Genealogical Society (OGS) is proud to announce the formation of its fifth lineage society, The Society of Families of the Old Northwest Territory (SFONT). This new lineage society will be open to members and non-members. Applications will be accepted starting on January 1, 2016 with the first induction ceremony to be held during the 2017 annual conference in Sandusky, Ohio.

The Old Northwest Territory, officially called the United States Territory Northwest of the Ohio River, was created by the U.S. Congress through the Northwest Ordinance, and it existed between 13 July 1787 and 3 March 1803. The territory encompassed today’s Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin and parts of Minnesota.

(+) Digitize Your Life

The following is a Plus Edition article, written by and copyright by Dick Eastman. 

scanner-and-cell-phoneOne of my ongoing projects involves digitizing most every document that I might need in the future and then having it available at my fingertips at any time. You might consider doing the same. Today’s technology makes it simple to have all your required documents available whenever you need them.

For instance, I had a doctor’s appointment recently, and the doctor asked what medications I was taking. I can’t remember the names as each has a long name that looks like a mumbo-jumbo collection of random letters. Instead, I grabbed my “smartphone,” touched an icon for my notes program, entered “prescriptions,” and then touched SEARCH. A second or two later, a list of my prescribed medications appeared on the screen of the cell phone, which I was able to show to the doctor. Total time elapsed: about twenty seconds.

Find Historical and Genealogical Information with WolframAlpha

Wolfram-AlphaThe WolframAlpha web site claims it is “Making the world’s knowledge computable.” It offers all sorts of analyses about people, surnames, first names, family relationship, old occupations, historical events, and even the value of a US dollar at various times throughout history. Have an ancestor who paid $200 for a farm? You can find the value of that farm expressed in today’s dollars.

WolframAlpha says that it “introduces a fundamentally new way to get knowledge and answers— not by searching the web, but by doing dynamic computations based on a vast collection of built-in data, algorithms, and methods.” It will not find information about individuals unless they are famous for some reason. However, it will provide a lot of facts that are useful to anyone researching a family tree.

ISFHWE’s 2016 Excellence-in-Writing Competition

The following announcement was written by the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors (ISFHWE):

ISFHWE-logoThe International Society of Family History Writers and Editors (ISFHWE) is reminding writers IN ALL MEDIA (magazines, newspapers, journals, websites, blogs) that the 2016 Excellence-in-Writing Competition is now open for entries through 15 June 2016.

The competition is open to both MEMBERS and NON-MEMBERS of ISFHWE; both published and non-published authors may enter (see category list below). Members of ISFHWE receive a discount on the entry fee (after logging in to the ISFHWE members’ corner; new members allow up to ten days to receive login information). The categories are:

Category I – Columns. This is for columns of original content, published on a regular basis, in any medium, published in 2015. Each entry must consist of 2,000 words or fewer. These are entries from the author’s regular column-not features. Note that these may be print or online columns (including blogs).

New FamilySearch Collections Update: October 5, 2015

The following announcement was written by the folks at FamilySearch:

Major additions this week to the United States World War II Draft Registration Cards 1942Brazil Sao Paulo Immigration Cards 1902-1980, Colombia Catholic Church Records 1576-2014, Italy Asti Civil Registration (State Archive) 1803-1814 1911-1935, Maryland Baltimore Passenger Lists 1820-1948Massachusetts Boston Crew Lists 1811-1921, and New Zealand Archives New Zealand Probate Records 1843-1997 collections. Twelve additional collections were also updated this week. See the table below for details.

Genealone/Genealone WP 2.0 Has Been Released

Genealone is a product that easily allows you to easily build your own genealogy website. You can use the program to create a freestanding web site or as a WordPress plug-in to add your genealogy information to a blog. Whether you want to start a simple pedigree page, build a large genealogy website with thousands of persons and complicated family relations, add your family tree to your WordPress blog or you just want to write down your genealogy data in private, Genealone probably is a good choice for you.

With Genealone, everything is as simple and intuitive as possible. Even installation is easy. You can view a number of web sites created with Genealone by starting at

David Nebesky has now released an update to the program. Genealone 2.0 adds the following new features and improvements:

Ancestral Background can be Determined by Fingerprints

Really? That seems unlikely but a study at North Carolina State University finds that it is possible to identify an individual’s ancestral background based on his or her fingerprint characteristics — a discovery with significant applications for law enforcement and anthropological research.

New Passenger Lists Go Online on TheGenealogist

The following announcement was written by the folks at TheGenealogist:


RMS Campania, one of the ships included in the passenger lists.

TheGenealogist has just released five million Emigration BT27 records as part of their growing immigration and emigration record set. These contain the historical records of passengers who departed by sea from Britain in the years between 1896 and 1909. These new records significantly boosts the already strong Immigration, Emigration, Naturalisation and passenger list resources on TheGenealogist.

Dozens Attend Taping of PBS’s “Genealogy Roadshow” in Providence

Last week I wrote, “Genealogy Roadshow” to Videotape in Rhode Island This Week and You Can Attend. The article is available at The event obviously was a success, as described by Linda Borg in the Providence Journal. She writes:

“On Sunday, the PBS television show “Genealogy Roadshow” came to the Providence Public Library, drawing dozens of truth-seekers and history buffs. The show’s producers sought out New England residents with fascinating stories, people hoping to solve a family mystery or fill in a missing link.

“A team of experts spent weeks combing through family heirlooms, letters, historical documents, even DNA testing, to find answers to these questions.”

You can read more and also see photos of the event at

New York Genealogical & Biographical Society Seeks New President

There is good news and sad news. It is good news for McKelden Smith: he is retiring and is planning to enjoy the newly-found time available. It is sad news for members of the NYG&B as he will leave behind big shoes to be filled. However, this might also be good news for “a high-energy, entrepreneurial leader with strategic business-building skills who also has a deep interest in family history.” If that is you, or if it is someone you know, you will be interested in this announcement from the NYG&B:


The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYG&B) has announced that McKelden Smith, president of the Society since 2009, will retire in December of this year.

Jeanne Sloane, chairman of the board of trustees, has appointed a search committee and named Stephen Madsen, a member of the board, as its chairman.

On September 24, the full board ratified the selection of PBR Executive Search in New York City to manage the search for a new president. A detailed position description is at


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