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Convert an Address to Latitude and Longitude

You can pinpoint any place on Earth using a single set of coordinates: latitude and longitude. These coordinates look like a string of numbers. Once you have those numbers, you’ll be able to plug them into a web map, GPS, or other mapping device and find what you’re looking for in an instant — no matter where on the planet it is.

Using latitude and longitude information makes it easy to find your ancestors’ homestead, your own house, the county courthouse in a distant city, or any other location of genealogical interest.

The coordinates are similar to the Xs and Ys you used to plot in algebra class. Imagine if the surface of the Earth could be stretched flat. Then suppose you place a grid on top of the flattened world. You could pinpoint any location by finding the spot where the horizontal and vertical grid lines intersect. The horizontal x-axis is the equator, while the vertical y-axis is the Prime Meridian, which runs through the Greenwich Observatory in England.

Click on the above image to view a larger version.

Chromebooks vs. Windows Laptops: What Should You Buy?

I have written often about the advantages of Chromebooks when compared to Windows systems. (See my past Chromebook articles by starting at http://goo.gl/nz9UMN.) Now Laptop Magazine has published a side-by-side comparison by Anna Attkisson of Chromebooks versus Windows. If you are considering the purchase of either a Windows or Chromebook laptop, you will want to read the article.

Attkisson compares the following:

Funeral Home Offers Drive-Thru Viewing

Click on the image to view a larger version.

The Paradise Funeral Chapel of Saginaw, Michigan, isn’t the first funeral home to offer a drive-though viewing window. However, the funeral home’s services do sound a bit more high-tech than most of the others.

The funeral home has installed a window that displays a body set up in a special area inside the building with a raised and tilted platform for the casket. Curtains over the window automatically open when a car pulls up, and mourners get three minutes to view a body as music plays overhead.

(+) Carry Your Genealogy Database in Your Wristwatch

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

A recent article by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, published in the ZDnet web site (at http://goo.gl/kbp7Vi), got me thinking about genealogy data. Kingsley-Hughes described Samsung’s new Galaxy Gear S smartwatch, and he compared it to the first iPhone that was released only seven years ago. He points out that many of the smartphone apps that a lot of us now use should work well if converted by programmers to operate on the new smartwatch. Can’t we say the same about genealogy apps? Maybe. Obviously, programmers would have to port the software over to the new watches, but the technology already exists to run and display mobile apps that many of us already use.

Eight years ago, before the invention of smartphones and before the popularity of tablet computers, genealogists were limited to keeping their databases in desktop and laptop computers. A few tablet computers existed in those days but never became popular until Apple released the first iPad. Taking your data with you seven years ago meant carrying a 5- or 6-pound computer although lighter laptop computers have since become popular.

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:

(+) What is a Genogram and Why Should I Create One?

Was Jack the Ripper REALLY Identified through DNA? I Doubt It.

Your Picture in an Automobile

What Is the Cloud?

With Genetic Testing, I Gave My Parents the Gift of Divorce

MacBridge for RootsMagic 6: Run RootsMagic on Your Mac without Windows

(+) What is a Genogram and Why Should I Create One?

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

Almost all genealogists are familiar with pedigree charts. These are basic charts for recording parents, grandparents, and earlier generations for an individual. Pedigree charts are used to show bloodlines and are limited to displaying only ancestors. Pedigree charts do not display siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles or other extended relatives. Here is an example of a pedigree chart:

Click on the above to view a larger image.

Pedigree charts have long been a standard tool used by genealogists and others. They are easy to understand and clearly display a lot of information in a small amount of space. However, pedigree charts are limited in what they can display, normally showing only the name of each individual and the places and dates of birth, marriage, and death. They do not show relationships of siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, or other extended relatives. They also do not display the dynamics of a family over multiple generations.

Medical professionals also have a need to show family relationships in order to understand inherited medical conditions. The medical community often needs to collect and display information about patterns of mental and physical illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder, cancer, substance abuse, and other diseases that seem to run in families. Pedigree charts are ineffective for such uses.

Recent Updates to the Calendar of Genealogy Events

The following pages have recently been updated in the Calendar of Genealogy Events:

British Columbia, Ireland, Ontario, United Kingdom, Genealogy Cruises, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Washington.

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.

New Images Added to PERSI

The Periodical Source Index, or PERSI, is the largest subject index to genealogy and local history periodical articles in the world. It is an index to more than 2.5 million entries from thousands of historical, genealogical and ethnic publications. Most of PERSI’s articles are from periodicals covering the United States and Canada, but you can also find thousands of genealogy and local history entries (in both English and French) from Britain, Ireland and Australia.

Created by the staff of the Allen County Public Library Foundation and the ACPL’s Genealogy Center, PERSI is widely recognized as a vital tool for genealogical researchers. For years, PERSI was available in a series of books but now is available online at the FindMyPast web site. PERSI is updated frequently. Now FindMyPast has images to the indexes, allowing the user to access articles, photos, and other material that might be difficult to find using other research methods. PERSI’s titles may be searched free of charge although viewing the contents found requires a paid FindMyPast subscription.

According to the FindMyPast Blog, the list of images added to periodicals in the past month include:

Your Picture in an Automobile

Sometimes we take certain things for granted. We often don’t stop to realize what life was like for our ancestors. We may have skills that our ancestor did not possess. Today I stumbled across some old photographs that made me stop and think.

In 1905 the automobile was a novelty. Very few people had ever driven one, much less owned one. After looking at a couple of photographs, I realized that most people did not know how to drive in those days.

Today most adults are familiar with driving automobiles. However, 100 or more years ago, that was not true. In fact, the idea of someone driving an automobile was so unique that commercial photographers of the time often took advantage of the automobile to sell more photographs.

Senator Demands US Courts Recover 10 Years of Online Public Records

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) says the removal of the thousands of cases from online review is essentially erasing history. The documents were deleted last month from online viewing because of an upgrade to a computer database known as PACER.

“Wholesale removal of thousands of cases from PACER, particularly from four of our federal courts of appeals, will severely limit access to information not only for legal practitioners, but also for legal scholars, historians, journalists, and private litigants for whom PACER has become the go-to source for most court filings,” Leahy wrote Friday to US District Judge John D. Bates, the director of the Administrative Office of the Courts (AO).

One Person Works to Preserve the Records of the District Clerk of Houston and of Harris County, TX

David Furlow has written about the great effort of Francisco Heredia, Team Leader of Harris County District Clerk Chris Daniel’s Historical Documents Records Center, to preserve the important documents of the County’s and Houston’s heritage.

Furlow writes, “A little more than a decade ago, courthouse records with dramatic tales of Harris County’s history lay moldering like John Brown in his grave. An unmarked grave of docket sheets, judgments, orders, evidence and appeals, many dating back to the decade-long Republic of Texas, occupied a red brick building on a grubby corner of downtown Houston at the intersection of Texas and Austin. Climate control consisted of a single window-unit familiar to anyone who suffered through their buzzing, rattling and periodic breakdowns during the Fifties and Sixties. The acidity of paper, high humidity, the ravages of hurricanes and floods, the jaws of rats and roaches, and decades of neglect were reducing Harris County’s judicial history to fading stacks of confetti.”

FamilySearch Adds More Than 3.8 Million Indexed Records and Images to Brazil, Columbia, England, India, and United States

The following was written by the folks at FamilySearch:

FamilySearch has added more than 3.8 million indexed records and images to collections from Brazil, Columbia, England, India, and United States. Notable collection updates include the 634,582 images from the Colombia, Catholic Church Records, 1600–2012, collection; the 928,307 images from the US, Kentucky, County Marriages, 1797–1954, collection; and the 899,395 images from the US, Ohio, County Death Records, 1840–2001, 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.

Searchable historic records are made available on FamilySearch.org through the help of thousands of volunteers from around the world. These volunteers transcribe (index) information from digital copies of handwritten records to make them easily searchable online. More volunteers are needed (particularly those who can read foreign languages) to keep pace with the large number of digital images being published online at FamilySearch.org. Learn more about volunteering to help provide free access to the world’s historic genealogical records online at FamilySearch.org.

Minnesota Genealogical Society 2015 Webinar Series – Call for Papers

The following was written by the folks at the Minnesota Genealogical Society:

The Minnesota Genealogical Society invites proposals for our 2015 genealogy webinars. The webinars are via our GoToWebinars.com account on the 1st Wednesday of February, March, April, May, June, August, September, October, November, and December.

The MGS Education Committee especially encourages proposals for presentations with content relating to Minnesota and Upper Midwest resources and important Upper Midwest ethnic groups, including, but not limited to, Swedish, German, Norwegian, French Canadian, and Yankees.

The Committee invites proposals for any of three broad topical areas.

Use CensusReporter to Learn About Your City and Census Tool to Dig Through Decades of Data

An interesting article by Justin Pot in the MakeUseOf web site describes a couple of tools that can make U.S. census data even more useful.

With CensusReporter, you can type in the name of your town and you can start scrolling through all kinds of census data. You’ll see charts that let you absorb the information at a glance, along with comparisons to regional and state numbers. Scrolling through the information offered by default is a great start, but you can also search for other reports.

Have you ever wondered about the people who used to live in your house? Census Tool may be able to help. You can find your old house in the 1940 and earlier U.S. census records and then discover a little about what life was like for its former residences. You’ll see their name, what they did for a living, even how much money they make.

DeceasedOnline adds Blackburn with Darwen Burial and Cremation Records

The following announcement was written by the folks at DeceasedOnline:

deceasedonlineBlackburn with Darwen burial and cremation records available on family history website

One of the North West’s first councils to digitize records for global access

All burial and cremation records for Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council have been digitized and added to the specialist family history website www.deceasedonline.com.

With Genetic Testing, I Gave My Parents the Gift of Divorce

DNA testing can be a wonderful thing. It solves family mysteries, brings families closer together, and more. Sometimes…

A stem cell and reproductive biologist had his own DNA tested. After all, he is a DNA expert. He even teaches a college course about the genome. He recently gave DNA kits to both his mother and his father and was anxious to see the results. As he wrote, “I was very interested in confirming any susceptibility to cancers that I heard had run in my family, like colon cancer. I wanted to know if I had a genetic risk.”

He received a surprise, to say the least. It seems 23andme found a close relative, closer than anyone had expected.

What Is the Cloud?

One word that has crept into computer terminology in the past few years is “cloud.” Just what is the cloud? I hear that question often. Luckily, a new video from LearnFree.org does a nice job of answering the question in 3 minutes and 28 seconds.

The video is explains the basic concepts although it ignores the many more sophisticated cloud-based technologies available. Then again, that’s perfect for an introductory explanation.

You can watch What Is the Cloud?  at http://youtu.be/gu4FYSFeWqg or in the video player below:

Genealogy Software Review: MacBridge for RootsMagic

I wrote a rather long software review a few weeks ago about RootsMagic, a very popular genealogy program for Windows. You can find my earlier review at http://wp.me/p5Z3-Dk. Yesterday the producers of RootsMagic announced a new addition: MacBridge for RootsMagic 6, a software product that allows RootsMagic to run on a Macintosh without installing Windows. Today, I will review MacBridge for RootsMagic.

NOTE: This article will focus primarily on the new MacBridge for RootsMagic and how well it functions. I will not describe RootsMagic in detail as I already did that only a few weeks ago at http://wp.me/p5Z3-Dk. If you would like to know more about RootsMagic, please refer to my earlier article at http://wp.me/p5Z3-Dk.

RootsMagic has many devoted customers who love the product and have no interest in switching to any other genealogy program. However, more than a few of those customers have replaced or would like to replace their Windows computer with a Macintosh system in order to gain better performance, better reliability, no issues with viruses, and easier operation. However, installing RootsMagic on a Macintosh system has always required software that creates a virtual computer inside the Mac (VirtualBox, Parallels, or VMware Fusion) or the dual-boot capability called BootCamp. Using any of the virtual computer products also results in a slower running system. Use of BootCamp is quite speedy but means the loss of using Macintosh programs simultaneously while using Windows programs. The dual boot option called BootCamp requires running either the Macintosh operating system or the Windows operating system, but not both at the same time.

With any of these solutions, a copy of Microsoft Windows has always been required, adding expense and complexity while introducing virus issues again.

The new MacBridge for RootsMagic is advertised as being much simpler to install and operate, and it does not require a copy of Microsoft Windows. Quoting from the announcement:

Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research to Offer Unique Opportunities in Genealogical Education

I am not yet familiar with this new organization but the announcement looks very interesting. The following was written by the folks at the Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research:

RALEIGH, North Carolina, 9 September 2014. Professional genealogists Catherine W. Desmarais, CG, Michael Hait, CG, and Melanie D. Holtz, CG, are pleased to announce the formation of the Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research (VIGR). VIGR is a unique educational opportunity for genealogists of all skill levels.

The Institute will offer courses on a wide variety of genealogical subjects, providing “Vigorous” year-round education for the genealogical community using a virtual platform. Each course will consist of a total of four 90-minute lectures, two each presented on consecutive Saturdays, extensive syllabus material, and practical exercises. Limited class sizes of only one hundred registrants per course allows for a higher level of class participation and instructor feedback than typically offered by genealogy webinars.

Back To Our Past Presentations, Dublin, Ireland, 17-19 October 2014

The following announcement was written by the folks at Back To Our Past:

Brian Boru, Oliver Cromwell and Napoleon Bonaparte all feature in the titles of the Presentations at the 5th annual Back To Our Past [BTOP] event at the RDS, Dublin, on the weekend of 17-19 October 2014. As usual, over the three days of BTOP there will be two concurrent strands of free talks on a range of Irish heritage topics. Oral tradition, graveyards, school records and newspapers feature as sources, while there are several lectures on emigration. Online research, London record repositories and tracing ancestors in British India all feature.

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