Posts By Dick Eastman

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 over 2.5 million fascinating Dublin Workhouse records that highlight the devastating impact the great famine had on Irish society. This week’s additions also include baptism and burial records from the English county of Nottinghamshire, birth, marriage and death Index records from Australia’s Northern Territory and millions of historic British newspaper articles.

Dublin Workhouses Records

Containing over 1.5 million records, the Dublin Workhouses Admission & Discharge Registers 1840-1919 list the details of those who passed through the workhouses of the North and South Dublin Unions. Levels of poverty in Ireland were far higher than in England and the workhouse was often an inescapable part of life that would have touched many, if not most Dublin families. The North and South Dublin Unions were among the busiest in Ireland, not simply because they were in the capital but because they often took in paupers from across the country. This was especially true during the years of the Great Famine in the 1840s when crowds of desperate, starving people came to Dublin from all over the country. Given the lack of 19th century census material in Ireland, the registers will be an incredibly valuable resource to those with Irish ancestors. Dublin was the largest point of embarkation from Ireland during the 19th century era of mass Catholic migration and a significant number of those who emigrated would have passed through these workhouses.

Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation DNA Database has been Shut Down

The Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF) was an early collector of DNA information to be used for genealogy purposes. It was founded by inventor and philanthropist James LeVoy Sorenson and Brigham Young University professor Dr. Scott Woodward. Mr. Sorenson envisioned the development of a genetic-genealogical blueprint of all humankind. Some years later, the database and supporting infrastructure was acquired by and became the basis for what is now Ancestry DNA. It has since served the interests of thousands of genealgists as well as several other communities.

Sadly, Ancestry has now announced the closure of this valuable service. The announcement at states:

We regret to inform you the site you have accessed is no longer available.

(+) How to Use Two Monitors on One Laptop Computer and Why You Might Want To

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

I have been using two 27-inch monitors on my desktop computers for years. Using two monitors at once is surprisingly easy to do. I love the convenience of my email program, a web browser, iTunes, and RSS newsreader displayed on the monitor to the left side of my desk while my word processor and my favorite genealogy programs are running in separate windows on the monitor to the right. Doing so is a time saver, and I believe it improves productivity significantly. I wrote about the use of two monitors in a Plus Edition article earlier this year at

A picture taken in my hotel room a few minutes ago.

When traveling, I always have felt constrained by being limited to one small screen on the laptop computer. It certainly would be nice to also use two monitors at once on the laptop, especially as I already do so on the desktop at home. A few months ago, I found an easy, lightweight, and not very expensive solution: purchase a second monitor designed only for laptop use. Best of all, it is very is easily packed; it easily fits into any laptop bag or backpack designed for carrying a 16-inch computer, along with the laptop computer itself. My backpack has a pocket for carrying a laptop, and I find I can easily slide both the laptop computer and the external monitor into the one pocket.

NGS Conference in St. Charles, Missouri – Day #2

The second day of the four-day National Genealogical Society’s 2015 Family History Conference was held today at the St. Charles Convention Center in St. Charles, Missouri. It was held as planned. What else can I say? You can read about all the lectures and the lecturers at

I was very impressed at how smoothly everything seemed to work yesterday and today. I attend a lot of genealogy conferences and am used to seeing a few last minute glitches and rough edges. I saw nothing like that yesterday or today. Everything just worked. Maybe the organizers dealt with a few problems but, if so, I didn’t see any indications of problems.

GENLIB: an R Package for the Analysis of Genealogical Data

The following announcement was published by BMC Bioinformatics:

Founder populations have an important role in the study of genetic diseases. Access to detailed genealogical records is often one of their advantages.

These genealogical data provide unique information for researchers in evolutionary and population genetics, demography and genetic epidemiology. However, analyzing large genealogical datasets requires specialized methods and software.

The GENLIB software was developed to study the large genealogies of the French Canadian population of Quebec, Canada. These genealogies are accessible through the BALSAC database, which contains over 3 million records covering the whole province of Quebec over four centuries.

FamilySearch Adds More Than 2.9 Million Indexed Records and Images for Australia, Canada, Peru, and the United States

The following announcement was written by the folks at FamilySearch:

FamilySearch has added to its collections more than 2.9 million indexed records and images for Australia, Canada, Peru, and the United States. Notable collection updates include 643,899 images from the Peru, Áncash, Civil Registration, 1888–2005 collection; 608,881 images from the Peru, Junín, Civil Registration, 1881–2005collection; and 531,346 images from the US, Illinois, Northern District Petitions for Naturalization, 1906–1994 collection. See the table below for the full list of updates. Search these diverse collections and more than 5.8 billion other records for free

Searchable historic records are made available on 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 Learn more about volunteering to help provide free access to the world’s historic genealogical records online at

NGS Conference in St. Charles, Missouri – Day #1

The 4-day National Genealogical Society’s 2015 Family History Conference started this morning at the St. Charles Convention Center in St. Charles, Missouri. This year’s event is co-sponsored by the host society, the St. Louis Genealogical Society.

More than 2,100 genealogists pre-registered to attend this event and I am sure a few more tickets will be sold at the door. I think all 2,100 of the attendees were at the opening session this morning. At least it felt that way when we all filed out of the very large room at once, trying to walk through the single hallway and down the one escalator!

Actually, that was the only inconvenience caused by the big mob that I saw all day.

Robert “Bob” John Szucs, R.I.P.

Bob Szucs was well known within the genealogy community. He traveled to dozens of genealogy conferences with his wife Lou Szucs who is a popular genealogy lecturer, writer, board member of many organizations over the years, and recently retired as a vice president of She was Employee #1 at Ancestry, having started with the small book publisher some time before it ever launched its first web site.

Bob Szucs usually stayed in the background when accompanying his wife to genealogy events but a few of us got to know this quiet and modest man. He and a few others, myself included, had a tradition of “ducking out” of an event for a short period of time to jump into an automobile together to find the best local ice cream shop in every city that hosted a national genealogy event. We usually succeeded.

Bob Szucs passed away on April 23. His obituary mentions his wife Lou, his daughter Juliana (also well-known in the genealogy community), three other daughters, and ten grandchildren. It also lists his many professional accomplishments. I never knew that Bob held a number of patents. He didn’t talk much about his many accomplishments.

National Genealogical Society Presents Awards Honoring Excellence in Newsletter Editorship and Service to NGS

The following announcement was written by the National Genealogical Society:

Arlington, VA, 13 May 2015—The National Genealogical Society (NGS) honored excellence in the categories of newsletter editorship and service to the Society with the presentation of several awards at the Opening Session of the NGS 2015 Family History Conference in Saint Charles, Missouri, on 13 May 2015. The Opening Session keynote speaker was J. Mark Lowe, who spoke on the topic “The Tales of Pioneer Paths: Rivers, Roads & Rails” after which NGS President Jordan Jones presented the following awards.

Each year, the NGS Newsletter Competition recognizes the hard work, long hours, and creativity that editors devote to their newsletters. A panel of three judges reviews each newsletter on material interest, variety, organization, quality of writing and editing, readability, and attractiveness. This year’s categories and winners are:

GEDCOM Support Coming to QromaScan

I recently wrote about a newly-announced product called QromaScan. It will convert an iPhone into a scanner. What separates QromaScan from the other scanning products is that QromaScan adds voice commands and transcriptions. You can read my earlier article at to read the details.

I have since exchanged email messages with Tony Knight at QromaScan. He found me after he started receiving lots of “hits” on his web site that were redirected from my earlier article and he alo received email messages from quite a few pople asking about genealogy applications of his newly-announced product. He apparently then realized that genealogists often scan photographs! Well, I think he already suspected that as Tony is bit of a genealogist himself. However, the response from the announcement in this newsletter told him just how big the genealogy marketplace is.

Now the following announcement has been written by Tony Knight:

Irish Lives Remembered FREE Digital Genealogy Magazine

If you have an interest in Irish ancestry, you should check out Irish Lives Remembered. It is an e-magazine with lots of tips and articles about tracing your family tree in Ireland. In fact, the magazine is produced in Ireland as well. The best part is the price tag: FREE.

You can read Irish Lives Remembered online in a web browser or you can download it in PDF format to save and read at your leisure in Windows, Macintosh, Linux, iPad, Android, Kindle, or most any other device. You also can subscribe to Irish Lives Remembered online. With a subscription, you receive one email notice about every two months notifying you of a new edition and providing a link where you my view the new edition online or download it.

The May/June edition has just been released and it contains the following articles:

QromaScan: A New, Smarter Way to Scan Photos

Here is a simple scanner to help you organize those boxes of old photos you’ve got gathering dust in the attic. One caveat: it only works with an iPhone. Oh, and another caveat: it isn’t available yet.

QromaScan is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter. If successful, the developers plan to start shipping in July. It looks like they may be successful. The developers have a goal of $20,000 to fund production. As of today, with 19 days left to go in the 30-day Kickstarter campaign, they have already raised more than half of the amount needed.

Kalkaska County (Michigan) Library’s Digital Newspaper Archive

The Kalkaska County Library’s digital newspaper archive, featuring issues of The Leader and Kalkaskian and predecessor newspapers, from 1879 to 2012, is not well publicized. However, if you have family from Kalkaska County, this could be a gold mine.

Quoting from the library’s web site:

“The newspapers in our collection were scanned from microfilm to PDF format utilizing OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology, enabling historians, professional and amateur alike, to more easily search and discover information.

A.J. Jacobs and the World’s Largest Family Reunion

A.J. Jacobs

A.J. Jacobs would like to invite you to the world’s largest family reunion. Best of all, he is offering a 25 percent discount to readers of this newsletter who would like to attend. (The regular price is $30.)

According to the New York Times:

The “family of man,” it seems, is no longer just an Age of Aquarius-era cliché. Research, like a 2002 study published in the journal Science, has shown that humans share 99.9 percent of their DNA. And our family ties to each other are becoming increasingly transparent in the era of mail-in DNA-testing services like 23andMe that purport to provide detailed data on shared bloodlines, and online genealogy databases that compile family super-trees that include millions of people from around the globe.

Realizing these vast familial connections, Mr. Jacobs said to himself, “I have millions of relatives — why not throw the biggest family reunion ever?”

On the Road Again

By the time you read these words, I should be in Bowling Green, Kentucky, a short stop along my planned route to St. Charles, Missouri. Later this week, I will attend the annual conference of the National Genealogical Society. I hope to post articles in this newsletter about the things I see and hear at the conference. You can read more about the conference at

I am also “relocating” for the summer. I am fortunate enough to be a “snowbird.” That is, I spend my summers in the (usually) delightful weather of New England and winters in the sunbelt. Since it is now springtime, it is time to “fly north” for the summer. Actually, I am driving, not flying, and am traveling by a circuitous route. I am first taking a detour to Bowling Green, Kentucky, to visit a museum dedicated to one of my other interests, not genealogy. I will then drive to Missouri for the NGS conference. Once the conference ends, I will drive to New England to spend the summer, except for a trip in July to Israel for the 2015 conference of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies.

(+) Finding Unmarked Graves with Ground Penetrating Radar

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

One of the vexing problems with old cemeteries and historical sites is the difficulty of finding the locations of unmarked graves. In many cases, the desire is to locate the graves so that they may be identified and left undisturbed by new construction. To be sure, the locations may have been marked at one time with wooden or even stone markers. However, the ravages of time, weather, animals, vandals, and acid rain over the years may have removed all traces of those markers. Locating unmarked graves is also vitally important in solving murder cases.

Historically, the only method of finding unmarked graves has been to start digging – not a very practical solution. However, modern technology now allows cemetery associations, historical societies, family societies, genealogists, archaeologists, police departments, and others to identify the locations of buried bodies and other objects with no digging required.

Book Reviews: Manitoba Scrip 2nd Edition and Northwest Half-Breed Scrip – 1885

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

Manitoba Scrip 2nd Edition
Compiled by Gail Morin
Published by Genealogical Publishing Co., 2015. 330 pages

Northwest Half-Breed Scrip – 1885
Compiled by Gail Morin
Reprint by Genealogical Publishing Co., [1997] 2015. 287 pages.

Ms. Morin has compiled a massive number of names of Canadian Half-Breed scrip recipients, those persons of mixed white and Indian blood.

Manitoba Scrip contains the names of scrip recipients who were Mètis, as well as recipients who were Half-Breeds. Original white settlers also were entitled to land or cash scrip if they had settled in Manitoba between 1813 and 1835.

Northwest Half-Breed Scrip contains names of residents of the Northwest territories who were Half-Breed heads of family or Half-Breed children who received land and money scrip.

Let’s Clear the Air About Ancestry DNA Sharing Customers’ Data

I thought this was settled but apparently not. I read a lot of online news reports about genealogy and also about DNA. Reports surfaced several days ago claiming that shared customer DNA data with police officials. Some of those reports stated that this was done without a search warrant while others stated that a search warrant was obtained first before the police contacted Ancestry DNA. The articles were confusing, at least to me, and it apparently confused a lot of other people as well. I have now read a number of later articles and have talked with the folks at Ancestry DNA.

As is often the case, it seems the original articles were mostly correct but one report contained a major error concerning the warrant. I don’t know who published the first report but the first one I saw was in the New Orleans Advocate at It clearly stated that a search warrant was obtained. Next, the Electronic Frontier Foundation picked up the story but claimed there was no search warrant. I have a high opinion of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and their fight for the rights of consumers in an online world but I think they blew it this time. Their article at states, “Without a warrant or court order, investigators asked the lab to run the crime scene DNA against …” That statement has now been proven to be false. As I write these words, I cannot see where the Electronic Frontier Foundation has since changed their article or issued a correction.

For a rather long and very detailed report on the entire manner, I strongly suggest you read Judy Russell’s explanation of the entire affair in her Legal Genealogist Blog at I know Judy well enough to know that she is a stickler for facts and I believe her version is correct.

This Newsletter is Converting to Five Days a Week

Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter was launched in 1996 as a weekly publication. In 2004, I converted it to a daily publication and it has continued as such for the past 11 years. Admittedly, I have missed a (very) few days for vacations, travel commitments, hospitalizations, and an occasional day off. Most of the time, the newsletter has been published 7 days a week for 11 years.

I don’t remember why I decided to publish it 7 days a week. I think the decision was caused by poor planning on my part. Whatever the cause, working 7 days a week for 11 years has been a bit tiring! That’s more than 4,000 days with only an occasional day off! I have decided it is time for a change. I want to work like “regular folks.”

Starting now, Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter will be published five days a week most of the time.

Digital Files May Last Much, Much Longer than Paper or Microfilm

NOTE: This is an updated version of an article I originally published several years ago. A newsletter reader recently questioned the life expectancy of digital files versus paper. I referred him to my earlier article but noticed that it was a bit out of date. I have now rewritten part of the original article and am republishing it today.

I often write about digital products for use in genealogy. Here is a comment I hear and read all the time: “I am going to keep my files on paper to make sure they last for many years, longer than digital files.”

Wrong! Properly maintained, digital files will always last much, much longer than paper or microfilm. Let’s focus on the phrase, “properly maintained.”


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