The following is a Plus Edition article, written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.
I have a question. None of my living relatives knows the answer to this question. I have not found the answer to this question in any public records, nor have I been able to find the answer in cemeteries. I have read a few magazine articles and Internet pages about the topic, but none of them have directly answered the question.
The question is… “Why do we study genealogy?”
What makes anyone so curious about his or her family tree? What drives us to dedicate time, effort, and sometimes expenses to go find dead people?
What is it inside of us that makes us spend hours and hours cranking reels of microfilm, then we go home and report to our family members what a great day we had?
The following pages have recently been updated in the Calendar of Genealogy Events:
United Kingdom, California, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee
Some of the above changes may have been deletions of previous events.
All information in the Calendar of Events is contributed by YOU and by other genealogists. You can directly add information to the Calendar about your local genealogy event.
Prices keep dropping in technology and especially for services on the Internet. Everyone needs to make backups of their critical files and many people, myself included, make those backups to web-based services such as DropBox, SugarSync, iCloud, Google Drive, and numerous others. Some of those services even give away a modest amount of storage space free of charge. For instance, DropBox allows users up to 2 gigabytes of free space. Google Drive and Microsoft’s OneDrive service both are free for the first 15 gigabytes of storage space. Other services may offer more or less storage free of charge.
If the free storage space is large enough to meet your needs, I’d suggest you take advantage of the offers. However, many of us need more space than what is available free of charge. In many cases, we need a lot more space to store family photographs, genealogy databases, email messages, last year’s tax returns, and much, much more. One terabyte (1,000 gigabytes) on Dropbox costs $100/year, on Google Drive it’s $120/year, and iCloud charges $240/year.
For some period of time, Amazon S3 and Amazon Glacier have been the low-priced leaders in the off-site file storage services. Now the same company has even dropped its prices further.
One of my favorite holidays will occur this week: April Fools’ Day. Perhaps it is not an official holiday but I will suggest it should be. It is a day for the playing of harmless pranks upon one’s friends and neighbors. How did this custom get started? Did our ancestors play similar jokes on their friends? Like many things that started centuries ago, the origins of April Fools’ Day are shrouded in mystery.
Some historians will suggest that April Fools’ Day’s origins may be related to religion. It possibly is derived from the Roman festival of Hilaria, a day of rejoicing, or the Holi festival of India, a springtime celebration of love, frolic, and colors. However, proof seems to be lacking.
Or should that be spelled “Colour?”
In the late 1920s and early 1930s National Geographic sent photographer Clifton R. Adams to England to record its farms, towns and cities, and its people at work and play. Adams happened to record it all in color using the Autochrome process, something that was radically new at the time. Prior to 1928, many people had only seen black-and-white photographs.
Captain Donald Alexander Malcolm Jr., 60, died Feb. 28, 2015, nestled in the bosom of his family, while smoking, drinking whiskey and telling lies. He died from complications resulting from being stubborn, refusing to go to the doctor, and raising hell for six decades. Stomach cancer also played a minor role in his demise.
His full obituary may be found at http://homertribune.com/2015/03/obituary-march-25.
Many people own cemetery plots that are no longer needed or wanted. If you contact the cemetery office, you probably receive a reply that they do not repurchase cemetery plots. Why should they? After all, the cemetery’s owners probably have more plots of their own still for sale.
Google Books Reduces its Digitizing and Preservation of old Books while Internet Archive Increases its Efforts at the Same Thing
An article in The Message states that Google is reducing its efforts at digitizing old books. That certainly is a loss for genealogists, historians, and many others. In what appears to be an unrelated move, the Internet Archive is INCREASING its efforts at digitizing old books, adding 1,000 books to the online collection EACH DAY. Perhaps there is hope for genealogists after all.
In 2004, Google Books signaled the company’s intention to scan every known book, partnering with libraries and developing its own book scanner capable of digitizing 1,000 pages per hour. Since then, the company has digitized millions of old books, creating a valuable archive. Google Books is still online, but has curtailed its scanning efforts in recent years, likely discouraged by a decade of legal wrangling still in appeal. The Google Books Blog stopped updating in 2012 and the Twitter account has been dormant since February 2013.
FamilySearch Adds More Than 5.8 Million Indexed Records and Images for Australia, Canada, Hungary, Russia, South Africa, and the United States
The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:
FamilySearch has added to its collections more than 5.8 million indexed records and images for Australia, Canada, Hungary, Russia, South Africa, and the United States. Notable collection updates include 2,435,483 indexed records from the Canada Census, 1911 collection; 2,069,202 indexed records from the Australia, Queensland Cemetery Records, 1802–1990 collection; and 310,900 images from the Russia, Tula Poll Tax Census (Revision Lists), 1758–1895 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.
The following announcement was written by the folks at Findmypast:
Over a million fascinating British and US military records are now available to search thanks to the latest installment of Findmypast Friday. Over 1.3 million US Civil War pension records are now available to search and the ability to search by surname has been added to our collection of British Mariners, Trinity House Calendar records. Nearly 29,000 records containing the details of Officers and enlisted men who served with the Royal Artillery are also now available to search along with a First World War Roll of Honour from Clacton on Sea in Essex.
United States Civil War Pension Files Index 1861-1934
Containing over 1.3 million records, the United States Civil War Pension Files Index, 1861-1934, is an index of pension application cards for veterans and their beneficiaries. This time period actually covers veterans of numerous wars including the Civil War, the Indian Wars, the Spanish-American War, the Philippine Insurrection and World War I. The bulk of these files pertain to service in the U.S. Civil War, which saw millions of Americans enlisted into the Union Army. Pensions were received by soldiers or their beneficiaries for service rendered and were available to widows, children under the age of sixteen, and dependent relatives of soldiers who died in military service from war-related injuries or diseases. Each record includes a transcript and many include an image of the original index card. Most transcripts will list the applicant’s name, relation and year of application, while images can reveal the veteran’s unit, the time he applied for the pension, names of his widow or children, pension application numbers, previous pension application numbers, certificate numbers, and the name of his attorney.
Ancestry.com Contract Worker at National Records Center in St. Louis Fired for Mishandling Draft-Card Information
An employee of ancestry.com who was working at the Federal Records Center in St. Louis was fired for allegedly throwing out draft-card information, a federal administrator said.
Bryan McGraw, director of the National Personnel Records Center, said Friday that his staff recovered all the papers, some of them from a trash can. The incident on March 12 prompted the federal agency to halt contract work by Ancestry Inc., which operates as ancestry.com, at St. Louis and four other sites.
Details may be found in an article by Tim O’Neil in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch at http://goo.gl/FrQcze.
Sean Hayes’ estranged father has a troubled past, so Sean goes on a journey to discover the root of the problem on Who Do You Think You Are?, airing this Sunday, March 29 at 10/9c on TLC.
Sean’s journey takes him to Chicago where he uncovers the sad details of his grandfather’s early death on skid row. Sean then follows his ancestral trail to Ireland, where court documents reveal the chaos in the Hayes family runs generations deep. Through Sean’s search, he is able to deepen his understanding of his father and appreciate that he’s broken a turbulent family pattern on his own.
Key details from Sean’s episode include:
- Sean’s father left the family when Sean was just 5, and they’re currently estranged. Since there’s such a big disconnect with his father’s family, Sean wants to know more about his paternal roots. He’d like to know what led to his father’s troubled past; why his father and his siblings were placed in an orphanage when at least one of their parents was still alive.
The following announcement was written by the (U.S.) National Genealogical Society:
ARLINGTON, VA, 26 MARCH 2015—Time is running out to submit lecture proposals for the NGS 2016 Family History Conference. Speakers and sponsoring organizations must submit their proposals by 1 April 2015. The conference, entitled Exploring the Centuries: Footprints in Time, will be held 4–7 May 2016 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The ethnic makeup of Florida is, and always has been, diverse. Native Americans—including Miccosukees, Choctaw, Creek, Timucua, and Calusa—lived throughout the area, which became known as La Florida after the arrival of Ponce de León in 1513. The Spanish were followed by other groups such as the French, British, Irish, German, and Greeks. The importation of African slaves also affected society in Florida as did the formation of the Seminole alliance. All of these people have left many footprints in time and a rich repository of records to trace our ancestry.
I ditched Microsoft Word several years ago and started experimenting with different word processors. I eventually settled on LibreOffice, a FREE suite of programs that includes a word processor (replacing Microsoft Word), a spreadsheet program (replacing Microsoft Excel), a presentation program (replacing Microsoft PowerPoint), a drawing program, a database creation and management program, and a formula editor that can be invoked in your text documents, spreadsheets, presentations and drawings, to enable you to insert mathematical and scientific formulas. LibreOffice is available for Windows, Macintosh, and Linux.
NOTE: The LibreOffice programs are similar to, but different from, Microsoft Office. It is not 100% compatible. For instance, macros in LibreOffice’s spreadsheet program are different from those in Microsoft Excel. Even so, the LibreOffice suite of programs meets the needs of hundreds of thousands of computer users, corporations, and non-profits around the world.
Best of all is the price tag: FREE. LibreOffice never asks for payments although the sponsoring organization will accept donations. Most of the articles published in this newsletter, including the article you are reading at this moment, were created with LibreOffice.
This article might be subtitled “How to Have Fun with Your GPS Receiver and Simultaneously Provide a Public Service for Others.”
The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.
A new hobby has appeared that is a “natural fit” for genealogists, historians, and many others. It is called “waymarking.” It is fun, gives you a chance to get a little exercise, and also provides a great public service. If you join in the waymarking activities of today, you can help future genealogists and others for decades to come.
Waymarking is a game/project/obsession which uses GPS coordinates to mark locations of interest and share them with others. You can even post online digital pictures of the location for others to see.
The Daughters of the Republic of Texas sued the state General Land Office, accusing the state agency of “an unlawful attempt” to take some 30,000 books and artifacts at the Alamo that the group says belong to the DRT.
The suit comes shortly after Land Commissioner George P. Bush decided to remove the Daughters as overseers of the Alamo, ending the nonprofit’s 110-year role there.
A new web site appeared online this afternoon. It is a significant new undertaking by Avotaynu Inc. Best of all, it includes all articles from 2007 through 2011 published in AVOTAYNU, the International Review of Jewish Genealogy. The following announcement was written by the folks at Avotaynu Inc.:
Avotaynu Inc is pleased to announce the creation of “Avotaynu Online,” an exciting new venture intended to stimulate collaboration among Jewish genealogists in all its forms. Leading participants in the various areas of genealogical research will provide in-depth articles on events and discoveries on a regular basis.
Avotaynu Online will be available free of charge from the venture’s website at http://avotaynuonline.com/, which will be shared simultaneously on Facebook and Twitter. Reports will be delivered in different formats, including text, video, and podcasts.
Dr. David Dobson, noted author of books pertaining to Scottish origins of American colonists, has introduced a new series designed to identify the origins of Scottish Highlanders who traveled to America prior to the Great Highland Migration that began in the 1730s. His first volume lists groups of Highlanders from Argyll who headed for North Carolina and New York.
The following announcement was written by the folks at FamilySearch:
SALT LAKE CITY, March 25, 2015 — The Knowles Collection, a quickly growing, free online Jewish genealogy database linking generations of Jewish families from all over the world, reached its one-millionth record milestone and is now easily searchable online. The collection started from scratch just over seven years ago, with historical records gathered from FamilySearch’s collections. Now the vast majority of new contributions are coming from families and private archives worldwide. The free collection can be accessed at FamilySearch.org/family-trees.
The databases from the Knowles Collection are unlike other collections in that people are linked as families and the collection can be searched by name, giving researchers access to records of entire families. All records are sourced and show the people who donated the records so cousins can contact one another. New records are added continually, and the collection is growing by about 10,000 names per month from over 80 countries. Corrections are made as the need is found, and new links are added continually.