Posts By Dick Eastman

Scottish Ancestral Research Company Releases New Records for Major Family History Show

The following announcement was written by the folks at Scottish Indexes:

Annan, Scotland – To celebrate the “Lanarkshire Family History Society Local and Family History Show” (the largest family history show in Scotland) is releasing thousands of historical Scottish paternity records. The total number of paternity records now indexed is 11,723!

These records give a unique insight into the lives of our ancestors and allows people with illegitimate ancestors to trace their male line more easily; often helping you overcome a ‘brick wall’ in your family tree!

FamilySearch opens a new Seattle Family Discovery Center

The following announcement was written by the folks at FamilySearch:

High-tech “Museum of You” concept for center guides visitors to discover, share, and preserve their histories and memories.

BELLEVUE, WA—FamilySearch International announces the grand opening of its Seattle Family Discovery Center, the first to open outside its headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah. Based in Bellevue, the center offers interactive experiences for visitors of all ages to discover, share, and preserve family histories and memories. It is free to the public. Find out more online at

At the Seattle Discovery Center in Bellevue, Washington, Trace Farmer of Seattle, Washington, discovers 4,586 people share his first name while using the “Discover My Story” experience.

At the Seattle Discovery Center in Bellevue, Washington, Trace Farmer of Seattle, Washington, discovers 4,586 people share his first name while using the “Discover My Story” experience.

Visitors to the center are provided with a tablet computer as a personal guide to interface with large touch screens, where they learn more about themselves, view family origins, and discover how ancestors may have lived and even dressed. Data used for the interactive experiences is drawn from online data at and select partners.

New Records Available To Search This Findmypast Friday

The following announcement was written by the folks at Findmypast:

This week’s Findmypast Friday marks the release of fascinating Probate Calendars containing more than 100 years of English and Welsh wills. Additional birth, marriage and death records have also been added to our collection of Hertfordshire parish records.

Probate Calendars of England & Wales 1858-1959

Containing over 500,000 records, the Probate Calendars of England & Wales 1858-1959 record the details of wills lodged with the National Probate Registry. Until 1858, matters of probate were dealt with by the ecclesiastical courts of the Church of England. After 1858 the civil government took over the settlement of all estates and all wills were now probated through the Principal Probate Registry system. There were 11 district registry offices with 18 sub-district registries located around England and Wales, with the principal office located in First Avenue House, London. The calendars will reveal if your ancestor left a will or was mentioned in one. They may also reveal the size of the estate in question and list the will’s executors or administrators. The executors/administrator may have been a bank, solicitor, beneficiary or a family member, providing you with links to other branches of your family tree and new avenues to explore. Once you’ve found your ancestor in the index you can use the information listed to request a copy of the will from the National Probate Registry.

Announcing the Launch of new Website for the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA)

The following announcement was written by the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives:

AGRAlogo_largeMost people researching their family will need a little expert help from time to time. Finding a reliable professional genealogist in England and Wales has just become a whole lot easier thanks to the redesigned AGRA website at

AGRA (the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives) was established in 1968 to represent genealogy professionals in England and Wales, and to maintain and promote the highest standards of work in this field. Although the Association has had a website for many years, it has now had a complete make-over.

New FamilySearch Collections: Week of August 17, 2015

The following announcement was written by the folks at FamilySearch:

Fun FamilySearch additions to the Colombia, France, Peru, and Philippines international collections this week including significant digital images for Colombia Catholic Church Records from 1600 to 2012. Significant additions were also made to the Texas and Wisconsin marriage collections.  Over 7 million searchable records have been added this week. Follow the links below to explore the new content!





Colombia Catholic Church Records 1600-2012



Added images to an existing collection

France Finistère Quimper et Léon Diocese Catholic Parish Records



Added images to an existing collection

Illinois Adams County Card Index to Deaths 1877-1990



Added images to an existing collection

Peru Lima Civil Registration 1874-1996



Added indexed records and images to an existing collection

Manila Civil Registration 1899-1984



Added images to an existing collection

Philippines Pangasinan Civil Registration 1945-1981



Added indexed records to an existing collection

Texas County Marriage Records 1837-1977



Added indexed records to an existing collection

United States Census 1890



Added indexed records to an existing collection

United States Obituaries American Historical Society of Germans
from Russia 1899-2012



Added images to an existing collection

Wisconsin County Marriages 1836-1911



Added indexed records to an existing collection

Run Windows Programs on your Macintosh with Parallels Desktop

Do you want to switch to a Macintosh for reliability reasons but hesitate to do so because you want to keep some of your Windows programs? Many Windows programs do have Macintosh equivalents (Word and Excel for both platforms), Calendar programs (replace Outlook with iCal), desktop publishing (replace Microsoft Publisher with Apple Pages), photo editing (Adobe Photoshop is available for both platforms), and dozens of other equivalents. However, maybe there is that one certain Windows program that you like that does not have an exact clone on the Mac. Perhaps your favorite genealogy program does not have a Mac version. What can you do?


Run the Windows program on the Macintosh!

Certificate of Irish Heritage Abandoned

CertificateofIrishHeritageThe Certificate of Irish Heritage was perhaps a good idea even though it always was a bit controversial. It was basically a scheme for the Irish government to raise a bit of money from Irish descendants around the world. The certificates were issued to descendants of Irish citizens who don’t qualify for Irish citizenship themselves, but are willing to pay up €40 (about $44.50 US) for a piece of paper to prove their Irish roots, or €120 (about $133 US) with a frame.

Requesting Public Records? Depending on the State, That Could Cost Money

This will be an issue for genealogists. Tennessee may become the latest state to start charging a fee for the time it takes to fulfill a public records request, a practice that’s emerging in some states and one that opponents say simply aims to discourage requests.

This fall, the Tennessee Office of Open Record Counsel will conduct several public hearings on charging a fee for the search and retrieval of public records. While the state can already charge for copies of public records, inspection is generally free. But earlier this year, the state’s School Board Association pushed legislation proposing an hourly labor charge for public records request (with no charge for the first hour of labor). The legislation, which was tabled until next year, also stipulated that the first 25 copies would be free.

The Tennessee Coalition for Open Government and the state press association vehemently opposed the legislation.

Ancestral Quest is Now Available for Macintosh

Great news! Macintosh users now have still ANOTHER high-quality genealogy program available. The following announcement was written by the folks at Incline Software:

Salt Lake City, Utah (August 19, 2015) – Incline Software, LC announced today that Ancestral Quest™, its family tree software, is now available for Mac.

AQiconFor over 20 years, Ancestral Quest has been a Windows program, providing excellent, easy-to-use yet comprehensive tools to millions of users worldwide, both professional and beginner. During that time, it has been sold directly by Incline Software, and licensed by others, often under different titles, including Ancestry Family Tree (AFT) by and with more extensive adjustments as Personal Ancestral File (PAF) by FamilySearch. This powerful family tree record keeping program is now available to users of Mac. Ancestral Quest for Mac will run on OS X 10.7 and later.

Ancestral Quest for Mac simply downloads and installs directly to the Mac, without the need for additional software. Those who have used Ancestral Quest on Windows computers will find that AQ for Mac is the same program as AQ for Windows.

Overview of Ancestral Quest for Mac

New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) Announces Appointment of Christopher C. Child as Editor of the Mayflower Descendant

The following announcement was written by the folks at the New England Historic Genealogical Society:

Christopher C. ChildAugust 19, 2015—Boston, Massachusetts—Christopher C. Child, Senior Genealogist of the Newbury Street Press at New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS), has been named editor of the Mayflower Descendant, the Society announced today. Child is an award-winning genealogist and author of important published studies of American family history. He will begin his assignment as editor with the winter 2016 issue of the journal, the first to be published by NEHGS, while retaining his responsibilities with Newbury Street Press.

Last week NEHGS announced that, as the result of an agreement with the Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants (MSMD), NEHGS will assume a ten-year stewardship of the Mayflower Descendant. First published in 1899 by George Ernest Bowman, under the auspices of the Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants, the journal is one of the most highly respected scholarly journals in the field of genealogy. NEHGS plans to continue twice-a-year publication, winter and summer, available by subscription.

In making the announcement of Child’s appointment, Penny Stratton, NEHGS Publishing Director, stated “Chris Child is an excellent choice for this new position, poised to bring his well-articulated vision of genealogical scholarship to this very important journal.”

eBook: Sources for Genealogical Research at the Austrian War Archives in Vienna (Kriegsarchiv Wien)

The 20-page booklet, Sources for Genealogical Research at the Austrian War Archives in Vienna (Kriegsarchiv Wien) by Christoph Tepperberg, Director of the Kriegsarchiv, is available online free of charge. Best of all, the booklet is published in English.

Here is the table of contents:

(+) A Lesson to be Learned From One Library’s Conversion to a Digital Library

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

ebooksOne prestigious coeducational college preparatory boarding school recently made a radical change to its library. With 140 years of academic excellence, one would expect the school to be steeped in tradition. However, a visitor to the campus might be surprised to learn that the 100+ year-old school’s library has gone almost all digital.

In a newspaper interview, the former headmaster said, “When I look at books, I see an outdated technology, like scrolls before books.”

Do Not Install Dictation Software on Your Windows or Macintosh Computer!

DragonAnywhereDictation software has been popular for several years and continues to improve its accuracy. The biggest drawback has been price: most dictation software is expensive. Nuance thinks it has a better option: Dragon Anywhere for iPhone and iPad and also available for Android.

“For years, professionals across industries have relied on Dragon on their PCs and Macs for completing the documentation and paperwork requirements that are critical to their businesses, and we are excited to extend that experience to mobile devices with Dragon Anywhere,” Peter Mahoney, senior vice president and general manager of Dragon, said in a statement.

The company pointed to field workers, lawyers, social workers, insurance adjusters, public safety officers, and other pros who conduct much of their work away from a desk. I would suggest that a genealogist will find that reading an old document out loud into dictation software is a lot more convenient that re-typing all the information, especially on handwritten documents that cannot be decoded with OCR (optical character recognition) software.

More than 82,000 FamilySearch Volunteers “Fuel the Find” for People Worldwide

The following announcement was written by the folks at FamilySearch:

Family Search LogoSALT LAKE CITY UTAH–A total of 82,039 volunteers helped to “Fuel the Find” during FamilySearch’s Worldwide Indexing Event, held August 7-14, 2015. Though short of the goal of 100,000 participants, the effort produced a number of remarkable achievements, among them an 89% increase in non-English language indexing activity. Volunteers produced more than 12.2 million indexed (transcribed) and 2.3 million arbitrated (reviewed) records during the weekly event (See infographic). As with all records indexed by FamilySearch indexing volunteers, those indexed during the global event will be made freely searchable at

For the Worldwide Indexing Event, FamilySearch sought volunteers who could decipher records recorded in a variety of languages, with a focus on French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. Volunteers from all over the world exceeded expectations by processing over 2,183,212 non-English records including 1,380,684 in Spanish, 147,568 in Portuguese, 226,734 in French, and 116,835 in Italian.

Millionaire Property Developer Used Children’s Gravestones to Build a Patio

Here is another “misuse of tombstones” story. You would think people would have more common sense than to desecrate graves.

Kim Davies took tombstones from a derelict chapel and cemented them to the walls of Llanwenarth House in Abergavenny, South Wales, where Cecil Frances Alexander penned the famous hymn. Planners were horrified when they saw the ‘decorative stone plaques’ had been used as part of a gaudy £1m makeover to the Grade II-listed home, turning it into a ‘palace for an Iron Curtain dictator’.

One of the 150-year-old gravestones was even engraved with the names of three brothers and a sister who all died while under the age of four.

Introducing SNAC

The Social Networks and Archival Context (SNAC) Project is addressing a longstanding research challenge: discovering, locating, and using distributed historical records. Scholars use these records as primary evidence for understanding the lives and work of historical persons and the events in which they participated.

SNAC_logoSNAC focuses mostly on the lives of historical persons, not on the general public. It may not help find the farmers, craftsmen, merchants, housewives, and other “common folk” in our family trees. However, if your ancestor was a person of some fame, SNAC could provide a lot of information about his or her life and work.

Wanted to Rent: New Home for 19,000 Arizona Genealogy Research Documents

A couple of weeks ago the Secretary of State of Arizona, who oversees the State Library, made a decision to close the the Arizona State Library Genealogy Collection on July 31. It is (or was) a vast collection of more than 20,000 volumes and file folders full of research notes, many of them irreplaceable. The decision was made with no public hearing or time for comments from Arizona citizens.

The Secretary of State apparently made the decision without knowing where all the books, and other volumes could be stored. The collection is now in limbo. (See my earlier article at for details.

Now the Arizona secretary of state’s office and genealogists are seeking a home for 19,000 books, files and documents that have not made the move to the state’s new genealogy library. And they’re racing against an Aug. 31 deadline to remove the collection from its longtime home on the third floor of the state Capitol addition.

Book Review: Evidence Explained

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

EvidenceExplainedEvidence Explained
Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace
by Elizabeth Shown Mills
892 pages. Published by Genealogical Publishing Co. 2015.

Boy, is it ever tough to bear the genealogist who slaps online family genealogies into his or her genealogy program and calls it good. Thank goodness I have Evidence Explained to come home to. Not just for the citation models, but for the reasoning, the rationale, and the script when I have the opportunity to discuss (stay calm, stay calm) the merits of citations to my Download The Genealogy friends.

Ms. Mills’ first citational guide, Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian is 124 pages long, published in 1997. Next came Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, 884 pages and first published in 2007. Now we have the Third Edition, 892 pages long, and Ms. Mills should finally be able to take a well-earned rest.

Forensic Genealogy Institute Announces Dates for 2016 Event

ForensicGenealogyInstituteThe 5th Annual Forensic Genealogy Institute will be held 10-12 March 2016. Sponsored by the Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy, the topics to be covered include: Marketing, Legal Issues, Advanced Practicum, and a DNA Workshop.

This year’s location is the Historic Menger Hotel in San Antonio, Texas. Conveniently located near the River Walk and the Alamo, The Menger Hotel was established in 1859 and is the oldest continuously operated hotel west of the Mississippi. Its bar has been voted one of the Top 10 Most Historic Bars in the US and the hotel is the site where Teddy Roosevelt recruited the Rough Riders.

NGS Announces a New Course in the American Genealogical Studies Series: Beyond the Basics

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

NGS_LogoARLINGTON, VA, August 17, 2015: The National Genealogical Society proudly announces the release of its newest American Genealogical Studies course, Beyond the Basics. This course joins The Basics and Guide to Documentation and Source Citation in the series of online courses developed by NGS to help those interested in discovering their roots.

Beyond the Basics offers advanced genealogical training. During the course, you will learn how to conduct a more systematic genealogical investigation as you build your family tree. Its modules are designed to challenge you as you learn how to read, write, decipher, and cite numerous genealogical documents. You will expand your proficiency by collecting, interpreting, analyzing, and evaluating genealogical information. You also will hone your skills as you write genealogical reports.


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