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Plus Edition Newsletter Has Been Sent

To all Plus Edition subscribers:

The EOGN Plus Edition newsletter was sent to you a few hours ago. If your email provider blocked it, don’t forget that the latest Plus Edition newsletter is ALWAYS available at: http://www.eogn.com/wp/thisweek.htm. Your email provider cannot block that address so the newsletter is always available to you.

Here are the articles in this week’s Plus Edition newsletter:

(+) Scanning Old Books

(+) OCR Explained

(+) Follow-Up: OCR Explained

Are You Missing Most of the Available Genealogy Information?

Adding Listings to the Calendar of Genealogy Events

Book Review: The Jewish Presence in Early British Records 1650-1850

Child Migrants Have Been Coming to America Alone Since Ellis Island

One-Click Publishing of an eBook Directly from Google Drive

Who Do You Think You Are? with Cynthia Nixon

(+) Scanning Old Books

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

Genealogists love old books. Many of us would love to scan some of these books for our own use or to make them available to others when copyright laws allow. Scanned books can easily be distributed on CD-ROM disks or via online web sites. The only difficult part is the scanning of the original books.

Almost any scanner can be used to make images of old books. However, using a desktop scanner purchased at the local computer store has significant disadvantages. For one thing, these units are designed for scanning photographs and other individual sheets of paper. They do not work well for bound books. Trying to place a bound book onto the glass plate of a typical inexpensive scanner can damage the book’s binding. In addition, words printed near the center binding will not be flat against the glass, causing “curling.” That is, the images of the words seem to curve away from the reader. If OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software is used, the words near the center binding are difficult to decode and will lead to high error rates.

Here are some pictures illustrating the problem of obtaining good scanned images of pages bound in a book:


A scanner made for scanning bound books easily avoids these problems.

Are You Missing Most of the Available Genealogy Information?

I recently received a message from a newsletter reader that disturbed me a bit. He wrote, “I have been doing genealogy research for 10-15 years but only through the Internet.” He then went on to describe some of the frustrations he has encountered trying to find information. In short, he was disappointed at how little information he has found online.

I read the entire message, but my eyes kept jumping back to the words in his first sentence: “… but only through the Internet.”

Doesn’t he realize that 95% of the information of interest to genealogists is not yet available on the Internet?

(+) Follow-Up: OCR Explained

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

Two days ago, I published a Plus Edition article entitled (+) OCR Explained at http://eogn.com/wp/?p=31639. In the article, I described several products that will convert images of text into machine-readable text documents, auch as .DOC files or .TXT files or something similar. Two of the methods I mentioned are available free of charge and do not require installing software in your computer.

While I mentioned the products, I did not provide step-by-step instructions for any of them. One of the products apparently has interested a number of newsletter readers and several have asked, “How do I do that?” Actually, I won’t write the instructions as someone else has already written an excellent step-by-step guide that is now available online.

The World’s First Mobile Phone?

According to an article in The Daily Mail, Philadelphia experimenter W W McFarlane invented a mobile telephone in 1920 that required three pieces of stove pipe stuck to a board as an aerial. It reportedly worked over a range of up to 500 yards.

I find it interesting that the person talking on the “telephone” in the above picture was not driving. I wish people today would not drive and talk on the phone simultaneously.

“Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.” Returns to PBS for a Second Season

The PBS Series Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. will return Tuesday, September 23 for its second season. The 10-part series explores the heritages and ancestries of 30 of today’s leading entertainers, athletes, chefs, and media personalities, including Ben Affleck, Jessica Alba, Khandi Alexander, Tom Colicchio, Tina Fey, Sally Field, Derek Jeter, Stephen King, Nas, Anna Deavere Smith, Sting, and Courtney Vance

According to an announcement issued by the television program’s producers:

“The basic drive to discover who we are and where we come from was at the core of the first season of the PBS series Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. In the second, 10-part season, Professor Gates, the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University and director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, continues his journey into the past to illuminate the familial histories of 30 of today’s most recognizable names in sports, music, film, television, theatre, and literature. Filmed on location around the world, season two of Finding Your Roots, premieres nationally Tuesdays, September 23rd – November 25th at 8 p.m. ET (7 p.m. CST) on PBS (check local listings).”

(+) OCR Explained

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

Do you have a document or even a full-length book that you would like to enter into a computer’s database or word processor? You could re-type the entire thing. If your typing ability is as bad as mine, that will be a very lengthy task. Of course, you could hire a professional typist to do the same, but that is also expensive.

We all have computers, so why not use a high-quality scanner? You will also need optical character recognition (OCR) technology.

One-Click Publishing of an eBook Directly from Google Drive

Genealogists, engineers, teachers, and thousands of others have an interest in publishing books. Traditional publishing methods have made it difficult to publish your own book, but modern technology is changing the process dramatically. Publishing a book is becoming easier and easier almost daily. A new service called Liberio provides simple ebook creation and publishing straight from Google Drive. Best of all, Liberio is available free of charge.

Publishing your own books is now only a push of a button away. The ebook you produce can be read on almost any computer, tablet, Kindle, iPad, Android smartphones and tablets, or any similar device used as an ebook reader.

Google’s New Baseline Study Wants to Map Your DNA

Google has begun a new project aiming to define what constitutes a healthy human being. The project, called Baseline Study, will collect “anonymous genetic and molecular information,” initially from 175 people but eventually thousands of others. The hope is that the Baseline Study will help researchers detect killers such as heart disease and cancer far earlier, pushing medicine more toward prevention rather than the treatment of illness. Google will use its computing power to analyze the info and find patterns, called biomarkers. The hope is that these biomarkers can be used to detect any disease a lot earlier.

This is a hugely ambitious project which could lead to better preventative measures enabling us all to live longer.

Relative History, a Windows 8 Genealogy App, is Now Available

Software developer Philip Colmer has released a beta version of Relative History, a Windows 8 genealogy app. The beta version allows users to test some of the editing functionality that is being added to the app. The release supports the adding, editing and deleting of media, source and repository records as well as source and repository citations.

Quoting from the description in the Windows Store:

Child Migrants Have Been Coming to America Alone Since Ellis Island

Barry Moreno, a librarian at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum and author of the book Children of Ellis Island, is quoted in an article about unaccompanied children who immigrated to America. The Immigration Act of 1907 declared that unaccompanied children under 16 were not permitted to enter in the normal fashion. But it didn’t send them packing, either. Instead, the act set up a system in which unaccompanied children — many of whom were orphans — were kept in detention awaiting a special inquiry with immigration inspectors to determine their fate. At these hearings, local missionaries, synagogues, immigrant aid societies and private citizens would often step in and offer to take guardianship of the child, says Moreno.

One of these children may have gown up to become your ancestor. You can read the interesting story, written by Tasneem Raja, in the Moyer & Company web site at http://goo.gl/rhGBRx.

Create a Family Tree Chart in Excel

Microsoft has created a free template to create a five-generation family tree chart. It has space for each family member’s name and title. There’s very few “bells and whistles” in this template. There is no automatic importing of data or anything else. Simply download the template and manually enter the data. You can then print a very nice-looking five generation chart.

It is free and is available at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/templates/family-tree-chart-TC001021967.aspx.

Looking for Descendants of a World War I Glasgow Kilt Maker

Economic historian Dr Helen Paul, of the University of Southampton, found a hand-written message when she was removing the packing stitches from a kilt that has been passed down in her family for decades. The message reads: “I hope your kilt will fit you well, & in it you will look a swell. If married never mind. If single drop a line. Wish you bags of luck, & a speedy return back to Blighty.” Underneath was the name of Helen Govan, of 49 Ardgowan Street in Glasgow.

Dr. Paul reports, “This garment has been in our family for a number of decades, and until recently, we were completely unaware there was such an intriguing secret hidden in its folds. It was a real surprise when the note fell out.

“My father tried to trace any relatives of the note’s author a few years ago, but his efforts failed and I’m hoping to pick up where he left off.”

Introducing Gaenovium, the Genealogy Technology Conference

I find the following announcement to be very interesting. Gaenovium is a new genealogy technology conference being launched by two well-known genealogy technologists: Bob Coret and Tamura Jones. It also has two major sponsors: MyHeritage Ltd. and RootsMagic, Inc. With those people and organizations behind it, Gaenovium 2014 could be a great success.

The following was written by the Gaenovium 2014 organizers:

Introducing Gaenovium, the Genealogy Technology Conference

new genealogy-technology conference is different in every important way.

Quick Summary

New conference is not big & overwhelming, but small & intimate. Independent organisation. Not national, but international. Not in the USA, but in Europe. Not for genealogy technology users, but the technology creators. Conference fee includes all-attendee dinner.

Background

Genealogy without technology has become unthinkable. Nowadays, every genealogy conference has presentations that use or mention technology used by genealogists, but until now, even the most technology-oriented genealogy conferences were squarely aimed at the users of that technology.

Gaenovium

FamilySearch Adds more than 1.7 Million Indexed Records and Images to Canada, Croatia, Peru, Poland, and the United States

The following announcement was written by the folks at FamilySearch:

FamilySearch has added more than 1.7 million indexed records and images to collections from Canada, Croatia, Peru, Poland, and the United States. Notable collection updates include the 1,160,179 indexed records from the UnitedStates, Hawaii, Honolulu Passenger Lists, 1900–1953, collection; the 50,858 indexed records from the Peru, Cusco, Civil Registration, 1889–1997, collection; and the 99,950 indexed records from United States, Panama Canal Zone, Employment Records and Sailing lists, 1905–1937, collection. See the table below for the full list of updates. Search these diverse collections and more than 3.5 billion other records for free at FamilySearch.org.

Who Do You Think You Are? with Cynthia Nixon

The new season of Who Do You Think You Are? started this evening with an episode featuring actress Cynthia Nixon, best known for her portrayal of Miranda Hobbes in the HBO series, Sex and the City (1998–2004), the film, Sex and the City (2008), and its sequel, Sex and the City 2 (2010). She is an Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Award winner.

Cynthia had asked the show’s producers to trace her father’s ancestry. Cynthia’s parents were divorced when she was young. Cynthia was raised primarily by her mother with her father having visiting rights on weekends. In the program, Cynthia mentioned that her father rarely talked about his family. Cynthia was curious about them. Indeed, the professional genealogists who performed the research for the television program found one very interesting ancestor: Cynthia’s great-great-great-grandmother murdered her husband with an ax and served hard time for the crime. Apparently, he had been a very abusive husband. A newspaper account hinted that his cruelty was far beyond what was common in those days, so horrible that the newspaper would not print the details.

Book Review: The Jewish Presence in Early British Records 1650-1850

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

The Jewish Presence in Early British Records 1650-1850. By David Dobson. Published by Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore . 2014. 123 pages.

You may recognize Mr. Dobson’s name. He has published numerous books of lists of names culled from historic records for the benefit of our genealogical research.

His introduction to this book is better than mine:

There had been a Jewish presence in England since the days of William the Conqueror however in 1290 King Edward I of England banished them from his possessions. From that date until 1655 when Oliver Cromwell encouraged them to return there were officially no Jews in England. In Scotland there had been no similar legislation banning Jews though few, if any, settled there in the medieval period. During the seventeenth century the activities of the Spanish Inquisition encouraged Sephardic Jews to emigrate, some went north to the Netherlands while others moved to Brazil.

Digital Collections of Historic Newspaper Available on Veridian

Veridian is a company that provides newspaper digitization services to libraries and other cultural heritage institutions. Services offered include: scanning services, Optical Character Recognition (OCR) services, software for online discovery and delivery of digitized newspapers, hosting services for online digital collections of any size, and long-term digital preservation solutions. The company’s web site includes links to many of the newspaper collections that have been digitized for the libraries and other organizations. As a result, the web page is an excellent “starting point” to find many of the collections.

Digitized newspaper collections that may be found by starting at http://www.veridiansoftware.com include:

Ancestry.com LLC Reports Second Quarter 2014 Financial Results

The following press release was issued by Ancestry.com:

Q2 Non-GAAP Revenues $156.1 Million, Up 13% Year-Over-Year

PROVO, Utah, July 23, 2014 — Ancestry.com LLC, the world’s largest online family history resource, reported financial results today for the second quarter ended June 30, 2014.
“Despite softer performance in the second quarter, our core subscriber base retention remains solid and the business is healthy,” said Tim Sullivan, Chief Executive Officer of Ancestry.com. “We’re continuing to make strategic investments in content, product and technology as well as new product initiatives like our rapidly growing AncestryDNA business, all of which are designed to drive long-term growth, further strengthen our market leadership, and leverage the benefits of our attractive business model.”

Second Quarter 2014 Financial Highlights

Tennessee State Public Library Adds more than 1,500 Digitized and Searchable Family Bibles Online

Before the 20th century, Tennessee and many other states did not keep comprehensive records of births, marriages, and deaths. Families recorded their own vital records in family Bibles that were passed down through generations. The Tennessee State Library and Archives holds hundreds of family Bible records in several formats and within many collections. The Bible records recently placed online were taken from photocopies in TSLA’s vertical files; additional records will be added as they are donated or discovered in manuscripts collections. The bulk of the records in this collection date between the late 18th and early 20th century. Many prominent Tennessee families are represented here; some records even include the names of families’ slaves.

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