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(+) Why Isn’t Your Society Accepting Credit Card Payments?

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

Now_Accepting_Credit_CardsMost genealogy societies now have web sites to publicize their activities and to attract new members. However, I am still amazed at how many of those sites have an online application for membership that states something similar to the following:

“To join the society, please print the following application on your printer, put it into an envelope, enclose a check, and mail it to the society.”

That is so 1990s!

I suspect that many would-be members stop when they see such requirements and then move on to something else. They don’t join simply because it isn’t convenient to do so.

MemoryStoria Declares War on “the Right to be Forgotten”

I met the two founders of MemoryStoria at the Who Do You Think You Are? Live! conference in Birmingham, England, last spring. Their start-up company was so new at the time that they didn’t yet have a product ready for announcement. However, they told me of their plans and I must say their future sounded bright.

Ryan and George recently sent an email to me saying, “We spent the summer developing the features and now the platform is live (and free to use). A selection of public stories are available on our home page. The end result of a user’s storytelling journey is a digital book that can be shared online with friends and family.” They have launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the development. The following press release explains their plans in some detail as does the MemoryStoria web site at

MemoryStoria’s digital book preserves your life stories for future generations. Its Christmas campaign is putting to a test the self-centered culture of Kickstarter crowdfunding.

November 27, 2015

George and Ryan got together in 2014 to work on a dream. They wanted to create a world where no one is ever forgotten. This is how one of London’s socially-responsible startups was born, as a collaboration between a Bulgarian and a Scot. They called it MemoryStoria, to remind people of “memories of stories”, or as a gentle encouragement to “store your memories”.

Ryan And George

6,300 Nazi Holocaust Documents Found Behind Wall of a Budapest Apartment

A vast and historically valuable trove of Holocaust-era documents, long thought destroyed during World War II, has been found hidden in a wall cavity by a couple renovating their Budapest apartment. The haul of 6,300 documents are from a 1944 census that was a precursor to the intended liquidation of the Hungarian capital’s 200,000 Jews in Nazi death camps. This census contains the names of Jews and Christians alike.

61 kilogrammes (135 pounds) of dusty papers were found. The forms found in the Budapest apartment contain names of each building’s inhabitants, and whether they are Jewish or not, with total numbers of Christians and Jews marked in the corners. The yellowed papers were given to the Budapest City Archives where they are being prepared for long-term preservation.

Bah Humbug Black Friday – Forces War Records says Stay in and Search Friday


No, it doesn’t need to be “Black Friday.” In the run up to ‘Black Friday,’ Forces War Records is putting a message out on the company’s social media pages to ‘Stay in and Search’ and avoid the crush of the shoppers, and to help the company’s members search their military ancestors, Forces War Records is providing a blog a day:

The SS United States has been saved from the Scrapyard

This story isn’t genealogy-related but it does describe history. Besides, I think I think it is a wonderful turn of events.


The SS United States Conservancy announced Tuesday that it has received more than $600,000 in donations to keep the SS United States from being sold for scrap metal, after the nonprofit revealed in early October that it was running out of funding to maintain it and was exploring its sale.

Christmas Offer: Heredis at 50% OFF

Christmas is still a month away but the sales are already starting. One interesting announcement is that both the Macintosh and Windows versions of Heredis genealogy software are available now through January 3 at big discounts from the normal prices. Heredis is a full-featured genealogy program that is very popular worldwide.

Today’s announcement states:

Looking for Descendants of the Orphan Train Riders

2015SBAGSOrphanTrain-smallerFrom the 1850s until the 1900s the Children’s Aid Society’s orphan trains brought children to families in the Midwest. During the early years, Indiana received the largest number of children.

If you are descended from one of the orphan train riders, at the program the South Bend Area Genealogical Society would like the opportunity to recognize you and honor your ancestor’s experience.

You can read more about the South Bend Area Genealogical Society’s meeting in the poster to the right. Click on the image to view a larger version.

Launch of North of Ireland Family History Society Biennial Writing Competition 2016 – My Family Odyssey

The following was written by the North of Ireland Family History Society:

Twitter poster oblong

The North of Ireland Family History Society (NIFHS) runs a writing competition every other year for its members. Organised by the Belfast Branch for all members of the society, it attracts entries from all around the world. The purpose of the competition is to encourage people to write up stories about their family history, going beyond just constructing a family tree.

The title of this year’s competition is ‘My Family Odyssey’. Weave a story on this subject which you can share with members of your family, fellow members of the North of Ireland Family History Society and others by entering the society’s Biennial Competition for 2016.

Heirloom Registry Family History Holiday Campaign

The following announcement was written by the folks at Heirloom Registry:

‘White Friday’ Anyone? Heirloom Registry Launches Family History Campaign as Alternative for Holiday Shoppers

FERNDALE, WASH. – NOVEMBER 24, 2015 – The Heirloom Registry’s fourth “No More Stuff” campaign will officially kickoff with “White Friday,” an alternative to Black Friday that encourages shoppers to stay home with families and have fun with family history instead of simply buying more “stuff.”

“Instead of waking up earlier and earlier on Friday, battling the traffic and fighting the crowds for more stuff, what if you gave White Friday (#WhiteFriday) a try instead?” asks Mike Hiestand, Heirloom Registry founder. “We’ve run our campaign to encourage people to re-think the relationship they have with the objects and things that surround them before they head out shopping for things they may not really need or even truly want.”

The holiday campaign (#NoMoreStuff) runs from Nov. 27 through Dec. 31. It first started in 2012, but the declaration of White Friday as the official launch date is new to 2015. Participation in White Friday is easy, Hiestand explains. Participants sleep in, have a leisurely breakfast and then gather family and a few family heirlooms from around the house.

Book Review: Endogamy: One Family, One People

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

EndogamyEndogamy: One Family, One People
by Israel Pickholtz. Colonial Roots, Millsboro, DE. 2015. 201 pages.

Endogamy is “marriage within a specific group as required by custom or law” as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

Mr. Pickholtz writes that European Jews, for generations, married within their own tribes leaving behind a limited genetic pool among the descendants. Members of a tribe today are all related to one another multiple times, creating endogamy, and a situation of research difficulty for the Jewish genealogist.

Endogamy is the account of Mr. Pickholtz’s DNA research of his family. He is of Jewish roots, and notes that he hasn’t seen anything written about the genetic genealogy of Jews. So he wrote this book as his “How I Did It” chronology and hopes to guide along others with similar “closed family” relationships.

Menus of the 1850s and 1860s

The Hilton College of the University of Houston’s Hospitality Industry Archives includes a wonderful selection of menus from the 1850s and 1860s. It is interesting to see that our ancestors’ food choices were quite different from what we might choose today. My favorite is shown below. (Click on the image to view a larger version.)


Was the First Thanksgiving Held in Florida?

Did the first Thanksgiving held in the New World happen in Saint Augustine, Florida on September 8, 1565? One person with significant credentials in history claims Thanksgiving started decades before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock.

“The first Thanksgiving that involved a feast and lots of local food and inviting the local people, the Timacuan Indians here in St. Augustine to be part of it, and that’s our Thanksgiving,” says Kathleen Deagan, Ph.D., the distinguished research curator emerita at the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida. “Most of us associate our early history and our founders of the English colonies of Jamestown and of Plymouth, and really the first settlement was here in St. Augustine in 1565.”

Dr. Deagan continues, “It never ceases to astonish people the first thanksgiving meal was smoked meat and fish. Ham. Garbanzo beans. Red Wine. Olives and Olive oil. There wasn’t any corn as far as we know, no turkeys, no mashed potatoes, no pecan pie for sure!”

Call for Presentations for the Ontario Genealogical Society Conference 2017

The following announcement was written by the folks at the Ontario Genealogical Society:

OGSConf2017The annual Ontario Genealogical Society Conference 2017 will be held in Ottawa on June 16-18, 2017 at Algonquin College. The theme of the conference is Our Canada – Your Family: Building a Nation. As 2017 will be the 150th anniversary of the birth of Canada, Ottawa Branch OGS will host the annual OGS conference and give the Conference a national flair, bringing together genealogists and family historians from all over Canada. We are looking for speakers and talks of interest to genealogists from all provinces.

(+) Does It Still Make Sense to Buy Genealogy CDs?

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

nocdSeveral articles have appeared online in the past few years describing the slowly dying music CD business. In short, sales of CD disks are being replaced by directly downloading music online to iPods, computers, and other music playback devices. Remember the record and CD stores that used to be available at your local mall? Where have they all gone?

You can find dozens of articles about the declining sales of music CDs if you start at Those articles got me thinking: if sales of music CDs are plummeting, can data CDs be far behind?

A Windows 10 Laptop for $150

I have often written, “the price of hardware keeps dropping,” and that has never been more true than today. Lenovo, a well-respected manufacturer of laptop and other computers, has just announced a Windows laptop with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $199. Of course, retailers are always able to discount retail prices, and BestBuy has done just that. The Lenovo IdeaPad 100S is available from BestBuy for only $149.99. The BestBuy web site lists that laptop as “on sale” but does not list a sale ending date.

Lenovo IdeaPad 100S

This is not a Chromebook or some stripped-down tablet computer. It is not a refurbished computer. Instead, it is a full-sized Windows 10 laptop, capable of running any Windows genealogy program available today and probably most other Windows program as well. It is available today from BestBuy.

Deceased Online Adds Records for North East Lincolnshire

The following announcement was written by Deceased Online:

Grimsby’s Scartho Road cemetery, Scartho Road crematorium, and Cleethorpes cemetery are the three sites managed by North East Lincolnshire Council with their records now on

There are nearly 400,000 records and over 170,000 named burials and cremations for the area, which date back to 1877 and feature records that represent the history and economy of the region. The records available comprise digital scans of original burial and cremation registers, grave details for each burial and cemetery maps indicating the section for each burial.


Cleethorpes Cemetery Register Page

Possible Method to Validate “Family Legends” and Other Questionable Claims

Most families have “legends,” claims of ancestry that have been handed down from generation to generation. Examples include claims of an ancestor who was a Cherokee princess, three brothers who immigrated together then later split up to go to three different locations, and claims that the family name was changed at Ellis Island.

NOTE: Almost all these claims turn out to be bogus.

Dave Jack of Timaru, New Zealand, is devising a framework for assessing claims of family links, including how DNA samples could be used to verify them. adds Freemasonry Membership Registers for England and Ireland has added two new collections to hep find the the Freemasons in your family. The announcement came from but the same records seem to be available on These records include a lot more than English and Irish records. They also include some entries for lodges located in Canada, India, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Some of the records in this collection include: Brecon and Carmarthen (Wales), Montreal, Halifax and Portland (Canada),  Christiana, Port Elizabeth, Barkley West, Cape Town and Machadodorp (South Africa), Invercargill (New Zealand), also South Australia.

The new Freemasonry Membership Registers for England and Ireland typically include name, profession, initiation date and other personal information.

The collections are individually titled as follows:

New Records Available To Search at Findmypast

The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

This week’s Findmypast Friday marks the release of two fascinating UK collections, updates to our collection of historic British newspapers and the ability to browse Findmypast’s largest single collection.

Almost 10,000 volumes of England & Wales electoral registers are now available to browse, making it is now easier than ever before to uncover the history of your home and local area. Records available to search this weekend include social & institutional records covering daily life in 18th and 19th century Devon, a list of British WW1 volunteers from Argentina and millions of brand new British newspapers articles.

England & Wales, electoral registers 1832-1932 Browse

National Genealogical Society Announces Program for the 2016 Family History Conference

The following announcement was written by the U.S. National Genealogical Society:

ARLINGTON, VA, 20 NOVEMBER 2015—The National Genealogical Society is pleased to announce the release of its 2016 Family History Conference program. The program, which includes more than 170 lectures, is now available online at and as a sixteen-page registration brochure, which can be downloaded at

Nationally known speakers and subject matter experts will address a broad array of topics, including records for Florida and its neighboring states; migration into and out of the region; military records; state and federal records. Other topics will discuss genealogical research on African Americans and women; methodology; analysis and problem solving; and the use of technology, including genetics, mobile devices, and apps useful in genealogical research.


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