Posts By Dick Eastman

Genealogy’s Often-Misspelled Words

You might want to save this article someplace. I have no idea why, but many of the words used in researching your family tree are difficult to spell. I constantly see spelling errors in messages posted on various genealogy web sites. When someone misspells a word, it feels like they are shouting, “I don’t know what I’m doing!”

Here are a few words to memorize:

Genealogy – No, it is not spelled “geneology” nor is it spelled in the manner I often see: “geneaology.” That last word looks to me as if someone thought, “Just throw all the letters in there and hope that something sticks.” For some reason, many newspaper reporters and their editors do not know how to spell this word. Don’t they have spell checkers?

Follow-up: Mother Gave Birth to her Own Brother and Sister

I published an article in the April 9, 2015 newsletter about a woman who is a surrogate mother for her own mother, giving birth to her own half-brother and half-sister.

The picture (shown above) is a bit confusing when it describes the relationships. Newsletter reader Tim Lyons posted a comment at the end of the article:

“Genograms seem to be the best way to show the family tree. There are ‘standard’ symbols for surrogacy in Genograms suggested by the Multicultural Institute (available here: However, these do not seem particularly convenient in this case, as well as the problem that it is not actually clear what the solid and dotted lines represent (perhaps you have to pay for their new pdf).

Someday You Will be Able to Use Virtual Reality to Bring Your Loved Ones Back from the Dead

I am not sure if this is a good idea or not but the software developers seem serious about it. Project Elysium plans to use virtual reality to offer chats with a computer-generated representation of a deceased relative. The project’s web site explains:

“A place that offers you alleviation while dealing with the Goodbye. A place of remembrance and reconcile.

“The Elysium Project is a custom made virtual reality where people have the opportunity to spend time with their deceased loved ones.

“It’s intended to be a therapeutic experience aimed to help the people left behind deal with and work through their grief.”

Would you want to live forever in a computer simulation?

I would like to ask great-great-grandfather some questions, however.

Video: Who Do They Think They Are? – A Lighthearted Look at Today’s Genealogy Searches

A hilarious Aussie spoof of Who Do You Think You Are? has become popular on YouTube. Created by The Checkout, an Australian television program, Who Do They Think They Are? pokes fun at the Who Do You Think You Are? television program, at, the Mormon Church, DNA, and even a quick jab at trying to find genealogy information on Google. It also delivers a serious message about the proper methods of searching one’s family tree.

Book Review: Historic German Newspapers Online

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

Historic German Newspapers Online
Compiled by Ernest Thode
Genealogical Publishing Co., 2014. 223 pages.

Ernest Thode is a name readily recognized in the German-researching community. His big, red, softbound German-English Genealogical Dictionary is likely on every German researcher’s bookshelf. I took it to Salt Lake City one year to help me transcribe microfilmed German church records, and it was a great help.

In German Newspapers Online, in the introductory pages, Mr. Thode writes, “…I contend that any search for a German or Eastern European ancestor is incomplete without looking in German-language newspapers for that area….There are now thousands of titles online, many scanned with OCR software, some full-text searchable, and others viewable by going chronologically and page by page (like the olden days of cranking a microfilm reader).” Newspapers of 50 years or older are the subject of his book, with some more current editions noted for their genealogical value.

Thank You Albuquerque Genealogical Society

I must say I had a delightful time at the Albuquerque, New Mexico, Library last Saturday. I was invited by the Albuquerque Genealogical Society to deliver several presentations to the society. All of the presentations seem to “go over” well. At least, the applause was significant. My thanks to Marianne Eaton, Michael Dietz, and a number of others for making my visit a pleasant experience.

If you live in or near Albuquerque or if you have ancestors from that area, you really need check out this very active group. The society publishes a quarterly newsletter; indexes old newspapers, hotel registrations, church baptism, marriage, class and other records; and more. The Society also subsidizes the Special Collections Branch (genealogy and local history) of the Rio Grande Valley Library System in its acquisitions, and purchases books, microfilms, and microfiche for patron use. Besides, they seem to be a fun group!

You can learn more about the Albuquerque Genealogical Society at

Three Days Left to Register for the NGS 2015 Family History Conference and All Ticketed Events

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

ARLINGTON, VA, 27 APRIL 2015—Have you registered for the NGS Family History Conference in St. Charles? The deadline for pre-conference registration is 29 April 2015. Registration will be available on-site beginning at 12:00 noon, 12 May 2015, in the St. Charles Convention Center.

Registration for all meals, social events, and workshops closes on 29 April 2015. No ticket purchases will be available on-site. Registration for Librarians’ Day also closes on 29 April 2015. Many events have already sold out, so don’t delay! For conference information and to register, go to

NGS Luncheon and Sponsored Luncheons

Latest Version of Who Do You Think You Are? featuring Melissa Etheridge is now Available on iTunes

If you missed last night’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? featuring Melissa Etheridge (as I did), you can now retrieve the episode from iTunes for $2.99. Last night’s episode is the final one for this season.

Previous episodes of Who Do You Think You Are? are also available. A Season Pass to all of this year’s episodes costs $14.99.

To view the episodes, launch the iTunes Software on your Windows, Macintosh, Apple TV, iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch device and search for “Who Do You Think You Are?”

I will be watching the latest episode later today as I was riding on an airplane when it was broadcast yesterday on TLC.

On the Road Again

By the time you read these words, I should be on my way to Albuquerque, New Mexico to attend an all-day conference on Saturday presented by the Albuquerque Genealogical Society.

I am traveling with an iPad and a laptop computer, a wireless cellular modem, and wi-fi networking as well, so I should be able to post new newsletter articles while I am traveling. However, my experience when traveling has shown that the biggest problem usually is the lack of time available. I expect to be busy! As a result, you may not see as many new articles posted here as usual for the next days.

NEHGS announces the Publication of Deborah Child’s, Soldier, Engraver, Forger: Richard Brunton’s Life on the Fringe in America’s New Republic

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

April 23, 2015 – Boston, Massachusetts – New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) announces the publication of the latest work by Deborah Child.

In this richly illustrated biography, the author follows in the footsteps of Richard Brunton, a British grenadier who fought in the American Revolution before deserting in 1779. A trained engraver and diesinker, his primitive but charming works include some of the earliest pre-printed family registers in America. Despite his many talents and efforts, he was never able to make an honest living from his craft. Instead, he spent years living on the fringes of society, forging and counterfeiting currency, until his death in a New England almshouse in 1832.

Melissa Etheridge featured on Who Do You Think You Are? Sunday on TLC

The season finale of Who Do You Think You Are? features singer Melissa Etheridge as she goes on a journey to uncover her father’s maternal roots. The episode airs this Sunday, April 26 at 10/9c on TLC.

Melissa finds French Canadian ancestors who were shaken by a scandalous lawsuit, a turbulent relationship entangled with tragedy and an adventuresome ancestor who prospered in colonial America.

Catch a sneak peek of the episode at:

Phase 2 of the Yorkshire Collection and new POW records available to search this Findmypast Friday

The following announcement was written by the folks at Findmypast:

This Findmypast Friday marks the release of over 5 million parish records in the second phase of Findmypast’s Yorkshire collection and over 43,000 prisoner of war records released in partnership with the National Archives to coincide with the centenary of the Gallippoli landings. This week’s new additions also include Australian military and land survey records, Irish local government records and newspapers and the United States BillionGraves Index.

United States Billion Graves Index

The United States Billion Graves Index contains 9 million cemetery records from right across the United States. Findmypast’s partnership with BillionGraves aims to make available all the cemetery records held on their site for free. BillionGraves is the largest resource for GPS-tagged headstone and burial records on the web, with over 12 million headstone records. This index will be regularly updated throughout the year and pertains solely to U.S. headstones. Each entry has a transcript, which includes a link to an image of the headstone with GPS details. The amount of information varies, but transcripts will usually include the deceased’s name, birth date, death date, cemetery and a link to an image of their headstone.

Yorkshire Records

The Secret of Erikoussa

MyHeritage (the sponsor of this newsletter) has been working closely with Emmy Award winning writer, producer and author, Yvette Manessis Corporon. About a year ago Yvette published a book called “When The Cypress Whispers”. The book is fictional but some of it is based on true stories she grew up hearing from her grandmother, including the secret of the Greek Island of Erikoussa.

When the Nazis invaded Corfu, most of the Jewish citizens were killed, but a tailor by the name of Savas was able to escape with his three daughters, and a girl called Rosa, to the nearby Island of Erikoussa. Savas had customers and acquaintances on the island, but what was incredible was that the entire island joined forces – at risk of death – and gave refuge to Savas and his girls, and kept their identity secret from the Nazis, for the duration of the war.

Free or Nearly Free Cell Phone and Wi-Fi Telephone Calls

Earlier this week, I published a brief article in this newsletter (at about a new cell phone service from Google. I mentioned that I thought it was overpriced at $20 to $30 a month or more. For more than two years, I have been using a similar service from a small-time cellular service provider that provides essentially the same service. I usually pay $10 a month for unlimited voice minutes and text messages but occasionally upgrade to $25/month for a week or two when traveling and expect to use the wireless data plan frequently. When I return home, I then “downgrade” to $10/month again. The service has proven to be very reliable and I am happy with it.

I also found this to be a great tool for placing free calls back home when traveling internationally, instead of paying the normal, outrageous international roaming charges often associated with using cell phones when traveling in foreign countries. I used this cell phone several times last week while in England to call back to my family in the U.S. at no charge.

Ancestry Launches Ancestry Academy, Educational Video Courses for Family History Researchers

The following announcement was written by the folks at Ancestry:

New resource will feature high-quality video courses spanning a variety of family history topics; Expert guidance to help experts and novices alike

(PROVO, Utah) – April 22, 2015 – Ancestry, the world’s leading family history service, has launched Ancestry Academy, a new educational resource that offers high-quality video instruction from family history and genealogy experts. Covering a wide range of topics of interest in family history research, including Native American ancestry, online US census research, and DNA testing, this new educational content will help anyone, no matter their knowledge, better research and understand their family’s unique history.

“Whether you are just beginning your family history research or an expert genealogist, nearly anyone can learn something new from the terrific lineup of expert instructors featured on Ancestry Academy,” said Laura Prescott, Director of Ancestry Academy. “Our goal is to deliver the best online video instruction library of family history courses to as many people as possible to provide an educational and rewarding experience while researching their family history.”

The Reincarnation Machine: Who Might You Have Been in a Past Life?

Who were you in a previous life? To help you find out, Slate Magazine scraped tens of thousands of people from Wikipedia and built the Reincarnation Machine. Type in your birth date, and the machine will match you to somebody who died on your birth date or close to it. Then, it will match that person to somebody who died close to his or her birth date, and so on through history. Were you Elvis Presley? Lyndon Johnson? A Welsh stage actress? Type your birth date at to find out!

Yeah, like I almost believe this stuff. I still want to see the documentation! to Offer Free Access to Australian, New Zealand, and Commonwealth Soldiers to Commemorate the Anzac Day Centenary will open the site’s New Zealand and Australian military history collections, and UK collections with information on Commonwealth soldiers, until 2am Monday (27 April). The site has more than 12 million individual military records pertaining to Kiwis and Aussies, including who enlisted where and when, who served in what capacity and what happened to them. Many records also show addresses, occupations and next of kin.

The databases to be made freely accessible include:

(+) How to Host a Successful Huge Genealogy Conference

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

I attended a great genealogy, history, and heritage conference this past week with thousands of attendees. I have been to the same conference in the past, as well as to other genealogy conferences that attracted up to 20,000 or so attendees. I also attend some conferences that attract from a few hundred to perhaps 1,000 attendees, all held by organizers who would like to attract many more people.

When I compare the larger events to the smaller ones, I am struck by the fact that there is not a lot of difference in the amount of effort required of the organizers. Attracting 1,000 attendees appears to require about as much work as attracting 15,000. The conference organizers simply do things a bit differently, and the result attracts larger crowds.

I thought I would share my observations. Perhaps these remarks might help increase the attendance of your next conference.

Practice Makes Perfect First Quarter 2015 Financial Results: Revenues $164.6 million, Up 7% Year-Over-Year; Up 8% on Constant Currency Basis today released the company’s financial numbers for the first three months of 2015. “Our first quarter results reflect the strengthening business trends we began to see last fall, highlighted by strong Adjusted EBITDA growth and 104,000 net subscriber additions since the end of 2014,” said Tim Sullivan, Chief Executive Officer of “We are executing well in the core business and execution will remain a major theme in 2015 as we focus on content acquisition, product enhancements, continued momentum at AncestryDNA, which now has a database of genotypes from approximately 850,000 people, and the penetration of targeted new international markets.”

Some of the highlights:

Book Review: Elements of Genealogical Analysis

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

Elements of Genealogical Analysis
By Robert Charles Anderson
New England Historic Genealogical Society. 2014. 168 pages.

Robert Charles Anderson secured his place in the pantheon of genealogical greats when he became Director of the Great Migration Study Project. Supported by the New England Historic Genealogical Society, the published volumes titled the Great Migration Series represent a set of colonial biographies that anchors New England research. His Santa-Claus beard belies a suffers-no-fools independence and an intellect that his admirers immediately pronounce as “genius.” The American Society of Genealogists, limited to a lifetime membership of fifty Fellows, received Mr. Anderson as one of its own in 1978.

Mr. Anderson discovered his own New England roots some forty years ago. His investigations broadened beyond his own family to encompass the biographies of the New England colonists. The Migration Project subsequently issued:


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