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USGS Historical Topographic Map Explorer

This has to be one of the best tools I have seen for finding old maps. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) recently launched a GIS-based website that allows viewers access to more than 178,000 USGS maps, dating back to 1884. The maps can be searched by location by starting with current maps. If you like old maps as much as I do, you will want to check this out.

Click on the image to view a larger map of Los Angeles

Adding Listings to the Calendar of Genealogy Events

The Calendar of Genealogy Events is a feature of this newsletter’s web site at http://calendar.eogn.com that lists all sorts of genealogy conferences, cruises, webcasts, and similar events of interest to genealogists. It has sections for every U.S. state, every Canadian province, and for a number of other countries.

I received an email message today from someone who was a bit dismayed that an event he cares about was not listed in the Calendar of Genealogy Events. Apparently, he did not realize that all information in the Calendar of Genealogy Events is contributed by users. Thinking perhaps that others were also not aware of how it works, I decided to write this short note.

How They Made Books in 1947

Back before ebooks, printing was a time-comsuming laborious process. Once the author finished the writing tasks, teams of people working together were required to produce just one book. An Encyclopaedia Britannica Films documentary created in 1947 is available on YouTube that shows the process.

Personal Data Removed from Irish Genealogy Site over Security Fears

The Irish government closed part of its genealogy website on Friday, after the country’s data protection commissioner warned that potentially sensitive personal details were available to all.

Irish Genealogy, a website at http://www.irishgenealogy.ie/en created by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, offered people born or married in Ireland the ability to search for civil records such as birth certificates as part of their research into their heritage.

Actress Cynthia Nixon to be Featured This Week on TLC’s “Who Do You Think You Are?”

Cynthia Nixon, perhaps best known for her role as Miranda Hobbes on HBO’s Sex and the City, will be the celebrity guest on this week’s episode on the U.S. version of Who Do You Think You Are? In her episode, the New York City-born actress traces her father’s family to Missouri. Through her research, she discovers a tale of murder but also of social reform.

In the story, Nixon makes stops in Jefferson City, Columbia, Leasburg and St. Louis.

Cynthia Nixon’s episode will be aired on July 23 at 9 p.m. EST/PST. Check your local listings for the time and channel number on your cable or satellite television service.

 

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:

(+) How to Virtually Drive the Roads Your Ancestors Traveled

(+) Two Easy Methods of Creating PDF Documents from Evernote

Citing Sources

EOGN: The Swimsuit Edition

(+) How to Virtually Drive the Roads Your Ancestors Traveled

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

Google is a wonderful online tool with many uses, including genealogy. Most genealogists already know that using the online search giant allows us to find records that would be difficult to locate otherwise. However, are you also aware that Google offers other services that allow you to find the location(s) of your ancestor’s land and even to virtually travel to that place, all without leaving home?

One of my close friends did just that recently. She was able to locate a deed selling land to Silvanus Clark of Haddam, Connecticut, in 1787. The location of the land was described in the deed, but a description alone is not as satisfying as seeing the land yourself. Of course, travel to Connecticut is difficult for anyone who lives many miles away. A variation of the old phrase, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” allows the genealogist to see pictures, maps, and more, thanks to Google. Nothing beats an in-person visit, but Google allows for the next best thing.

I’ll retrace my friend’s steps as she followed her ancestor’s steps online.

Virus False Positives: How Can You Be Sure?

Almost every time I write an article about some web site or perhaps about a Windows program that can be downloaded and installed on your computer, I will receive at least one email message or other report from someone saying something like, “I downloaded it but my anti-virus program says it has a virus.”

My response usually is, “Well, maybe…”

In many cases, the claim of a virus is a so-called “false positive.” That is, the anti-virus program reported a virus that isn’t really there. In fact, there is no virus at all, but the anti-virus program thinks there is. All anti-virus programs will occasionally report “false positives.”

How do you determine the truth? Actually, there are several ways.

Johnny Appleseed Exhibit to Hit the Road

If you picture Johnny Appleseed as a loner wearing a tin pot for a hat and flinging apple seeds across the countryside, experts say you’re wrong. A traveling exhibit funded by an anonymous donation to the Johnny Appleseed Museum at Urbana University will help clear misconceptions about the folk hero and the real man behind the legend.

John Chapman, known as Johnny Appleseed to generations of Americans, was a pioneer nurseryman in the late 18th and early 19th centuries credited with introducing apple trees to portions of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and West Virginia. While it’s probably true that he lived outdoors and wore ragged clothes, at least sometimes, researchers doubt he wore a pot on his head or just gave his seedlings and nurseries away.

102-Year-Old Woman Accused of Murder, May Face Life in Prison

I often write about various “achievements” of senior citizens but this one surprised me. A 102-year-old woman who prosecutors say killed her 100-year-old roommate in a Massachusetts nursing home nearly five years ago faces a second-degree murder charge. Laura Lundquist is the oldest murder defendant in the state’s history.

Details may be found at http://goo.gl/oqicwv.

Millions of Staffordshire Historical Records Go Online

An 18th century Admiral, a freed Jamaican slave and the founder of the Wedgwood pottery company are all included in records to be published online for the first time. The Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Archive Service and Findmypast website will make 2.8 million documents available.

The baptism, marriage and burial records span 1538 to 1900. Accounts of floods, riots and an earthquake are also included.

You can read more in an article in BBC News at http://goo.gl/jMvD2q.

U.S. Marine Corps Offers Historical Database

Family members of Marines who were wounded, killed, deemed a prisoner of war or missing during past wars can now access their loved ones’ casualty card using the Marine Corps History Division’s new online database. Each casualty card lists the military member’s unit, service number, type of casualty and date of death. Currently, there are digitized casualty cards for World War II, Interwar period 1946-50, and for war dogs, trained military dogs that served in combat. Korean War cards are scheduled to be complete and released this summer and Vietnam in the fall. To access the online database, visit the U.S. Marine Corps History Division Casualty Card Databases webpage, or to request a copy of the original card, send an email to history.division@usmc.mil or a request in writing to:

Webinar: Women Who Lost Citizenship through Marriage: Naturalization and Repatriation Records, 1922-1956

The Expatriation Act of 1907 mandated that all women acquired their husband’s nationality upon marriage. As a result, between 1907 and 1922, countless women lost their U.S. citizenship through marriage to non-citizens. This month’s “Records Found” webinar examines citizenship records documenting these women’s resumption of U.S. citizenship, first through naturalization under the Married Women’s Act of 1922 and then through an expedited repatriation program inaugurated in 1936.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services division of the Department of Homeland Security will hold an online “webinar” on July 24 at 1:00 PM Eastern time. Details may be found at http://goo.gl/TqcZwP.

I Added Four Terabytes to My Personal Cloud

Click on the above image to view a larger version

In the past 18 years that I have been writing this newsletter, I think I have written the following statement at least a dozen times: “The price of disk storage keeps dropping.” Today I am writing that statement one more time. This weekend, I purchased a four-terabyte NAS hard drive and added it to my in-home network. I now have even more space for my backups and those of my family members. Best of all, the price was so low as to be undreamed of only a few years ago. You can do the same.

I elected to purchase a network-attached storage (NAS) drive, not the normal USB drive.

Reminder: the U.S. Version of Who Do You Think You Are? Returns This Week

The new season of Who Do You Think You Are? is launching on July 23rd with an outstanding cast on TLC. The series, which delves into the ancestral history of public figures and celebrities, will feature contributors including Valerie Bertinelli, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Lauren Graham, Kelsey Grammer, Rachel McAdams and her sister Kayleen McAdams, and Cynthia Nixon.

The fifth season premieres on July 23 at 9 p.m. EST/PST. Check your local listings for the channel near you.

Ooma is now Available at the Lowest Price Ever

I fired the local telephone company years ago. I replaced the old-fashioned telephone service with a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) telephone that connects to the Internet router in my home. There are no telephone lines connected to my house. The VoIP system works well, providing crystal-clear voice calls and also works perfectly with security alarms, FAX machines, and more.

Over the years, I have experimented with a number of different VoIP services. Back in the “old days” when VoIP was new, making phone calls meant leaving your computer powered up and online 24 hours a day and wearing headphones when you wanted to talk on the phone. Thankfully, those days are over. Almost all of today’s VoIP providers use normal telephones, such as those you purchase at the local computer store or department store.

I experimented with different providers but eventually settled on Ooma. I am republishing below a Plus Edition article I published about Ooma in January of this year.

If You Leave Out the Legally Inedible Parts, Haggis is Edible

Do you have Scottish ancestry? If so, you may have heard of haggis, considered the national dish of Scotland. It is a savoury pudding containing sheep’s pluck (heart, liver and lungs); minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally encased in the animal’s stomach and simmered for approximately three hours. Haggis apparently was a food staple in Scotland for centuries.

If you have an interest in the food of your ancestors, you might want to read Nick O’Malley’s description of his recent encounter with haggis. (Spoiler alert: it wasn’t real haggis as it didn’t have sheep’s lung in it. Sheep’s lung cannot be sold as “food” in the U.S.) You can read about Nick’s recent experience in the MassLive web site at http://www.masslive.com/dining/2014/07/i_ate_it_so_you_dont_have_to_h.html. The article also tells where Americans can purchase “pseudo-haggis” in a can.

UN Opens Secret Archive on WWII Massacres, Murders, Torture to Public

CBS News reports that the U.N. War Crimes Commission archive that has largely been locked away for the past 70 years under restricted access at the United Nations will be made freely available to visitors to the research room of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. Many of those named in the archive were never held accountable for the atrocities they committed.

While many of the crimes detailed in the archive are horrible to even imagine, the contents can be valuable to historians and to genealogists alike. The names of victims are often mentioned, along with the details of their incarceration and deaths. In many cases, families may be able to learn what happened to their missing relatives.

You can read more in an article in the CBS News web site at http://goo.gl/GCRrqi.

You Are Invited to the Biggest Family Reunion Ever

A.J. Jacobs

There are 7 billion – yes, billion – people on our planet and A.J. Jacobs says we are all related, albeit distantly. Jacobs plans to throw the world’s biggest family reunion next summer in New York.

It all began after Jacobs received an email from a fan in Israel, who informed Jacobs that he was a distant cousin of his wife, and was related to notables like Karl Marx and 80,000 more. The revelation sparked Jacob’s fascination with genealogy, and prompted him to start playing the connections game. So far, he has mapped out his family tree to include up to 77 million distant relatives.

Teresa Wenzel to Receive Top Award from MoSGA

The Missouri State Genealogical Association (MoSGA) announced Teresa Wenzel, member of the Vandalia Area Historical Society, will be a recipient of the MoSGA Director’s Award to be presented at the state’s annual conference in Columbia on August 1-2, 2014. The MoSGA Director’s Award is given to individuals who have made an exceptional contribution to the field of genealogy and family history over an extended period of time.

You can read the details in an article in the Vandalia Leader web site at http://www.vandalialeader.com/?p=14390.

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