Posts By Dick Eastman

The Endangered Archives Programme

A service of the British Library, the Endangered Archives Programme now contains 5 million images of people’s memoirs and diaries from rural societies, paper archives, and photographs. Many of the items saved and digitized might never have been preserved otherwise.

Items preserved by the Endangered Archives Programme include:

Announcing the Newly-formed Society of Families of the Old Northwest Territory

The following announcement was written by the Ohio Genealogical Society:

Families-of-the-Old-Northwest-TerritoryThe Ohio Genealogical Society (OGS) is proud to announce the formation of its fifth lineage society, The Society of Families of the Old Northwest Territory (SFONT). This new lineage society will be open to members and non-members. Applications will be accepted starting on January 1, 2016 with the first induction ceremony to be held during the 2017 annual conference in Sandusky, Ohio.

The Old Northwest Territory, officially called the United States Territory Northwest of the Ohio River, was created by the U.S. Congress through the Northwest Ordinance, and it existed between 13 July 1787 and 3 March 1803. The territory encompassed today’s Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin and parts of Minnesota.

(+) Digitize Your Life

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

scanner-and-cell-phoneOne of my ongoing projects involves digitizing most every document that I might need in the future and then having it available at my fingertips at any time. You might consider doing the same. Today’s technology makes it simple to have all your required documents available whenever you need them.

For instance, I had a doctor’s appointment recently, and the doctor asked what medications I was taking. I can’t remember the names as each has a long name that looks like a mumbo-jumbo collection of random letters. Instead, I grabbed my “smartphone,” touched an icon for my notes program, entered “prescriptions,” and then touched SEARCH. A second or two later, a list of my prescribed medications appeared on the screen of the cell phone, which I was able to show to the doctor. Total time elapsed: about twenty seconds.

Find Historical and Genealogical Information with WolframAlpha

Wolfram-AlphaThe WolframAlpha web site claims it is “Making the world’s knowledge computable.” It offers all sorts of analyses about people, surnames, first names, family relationship, old occupations, historical events, and even the value of a US dollar at various times throughout history. Have an ancestor who paid $200 for a farm? You can find the value of that farm expressed in today’s dollars.

WolframAlpha says that it “introduces a fundamentally new way to get knowledge and answers— not by searching the web, but by doing dynamic computations based on a vast collection of built-in data, algorithms, and methods.” It will not find information about individuals unless they are famous for some reason. However, it will provide a lot of facts that are useful to anyone researching a family tree.

ISFHWE’s 2016 Excellence-in-Writing Competition

The following announcement was written by the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors (ISFHWE):

ISFHWE-logoThe International Society of Family History Writers and Editors (ISFHWE) is reminding writers IN ALL MEDIA (magazines, newspapers, journals, websites, blogs) that the 2016 Excellence-in-Writing Competition is now open for entries through 15 June 2016.

The competition is open to both MEMBERS and NON-MEMBERS of ISFHWE; both published and non-published authors may enter (see category list below). Members of ISFHWE receive a discount on the entry fee (after logging in to the ISFHWE members’ corner; new members allow up to ten days to receive login information). The categories are:

Category I – Columns. This is for columns of original content, published on a regular basis, in any medium, published in 2015. Each entry must consist of 2,000 words or fewer. These are entries from the author’s regular column-not features. Note that these may be print or online columns (including blogs).

New FamilySearch Collections Update: October 5, 2015

The following announcement was written by the folks at FamilySearch:

Major additions this week to the United States World War II Draft Registration Cards 1942Brazil Sao Paulo Immigration Cards 1902-1980, Colombia Catholic Church Records 1576-2014, Italy Asti Civil Registration (State Archive) 1803-1814 1911-1935, Maryland Baltimore Passenger Lists 1820-1948Massachusetts Boston Crew Lists 1811-1921, and New Zealand Archives New Zealand Probate Records 1843-1997 collections. Twelve additional collections were also updated this week. See the table below for details.

Genealone/Genealone WP 2.0 Has Been Released

Genealone is a product that easily allows you to easily build your own genealogy website. You can use the program to create a freestanding web site or as a WordPress plug-in to add your genealogy information to a blog. Whether you want to start a simple pedigree page, build a large genealogy website with thousands of persons and complicated family relations, add your family tree to your WordPress blog or you just want to write down your genealogy data in private, Genealone probably is a good choice for you.

With Genealone, everything is as simple and intuitive as possible. Even installation is easy. You can view a number of web sites created with Genealone by starting at

David Nebesky has now released an update to the program. Genealone 2.0 adds the following new features and improvements:

Ancestral Background can be Determined by Fingerprints

Really? That seems unlikely but a study at North Carolina State University finds that it is possible to identify an individual’s ancestral background based on his or her fingerprint characteristics — a discovery with significant applications for law enforcement and anthropological research.

New Passenger Lists Go Online on TheGenealogist

The following announcement was written by the folks at TheGenealogist:


RMS Campania, one of the ships included in the passenger lists.

TheGenealogist has just released five million Emigration BT27 records as part of their growing immigration and emigration record set. These contain the historical records of passengers who departed by sea from Britain in the years between 1896 and 1909. These new records significantly boosts the already strong Immigration, Emigration, Naturalisation and passenger list resources on TheGenealogist.

Dozens Attend Taping of PBS’s “Genealogy Roadshow” in Providence

Last week I wrote, “Genealogy Roadshow” to Videotape in Rhode Island This Week and You Can Attend. The article is available at The event obviously was a success, as described by Linda Borg in the Providence Journal. She writes:

“On Sunday, the PBS television show “Genealogy Roadshow” came to the Providence Public Library, drawing dozens of truth-seekers and history buffs. The show’s producers sought out New England residents with fascinating stories, people hoping to solve a family mystery or fill in a missing link.

“A team of experts spent weeks combing through family heirlooms, letters, historical documents, even DNA testing, to find answers to these questions.”

You can read more and also see photos of the event at

New York Genealogical & Biographical Society Seeks New President

There is good news and sad news. It is good news for McKelden Smith: he is retiring and is planning to enjoy the newly-found time available. It is sad news for members of the NYG&B as he will leave behind big shoes to be filled. However, this might also be good news for “a high-energy, entrepreneurial leader with strategic business-building skills who also has a deep interest in family history.” If that is you, or if it is someone you know, you will be interested in this announcement from the NYG&B:


The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYG&B) has announced that McKelden Smith, president of the Society since 2009, will retire in December of this year.

Jeanne Sloane, chairman of the board of trustees, has appointed a search committee and named Stephen Madsen, a member of the board, as its chairman.

On September 24, the full board ratified the selection of PBR Executive Search in New York City to manage the search for a new president. A detailed position description is at

My Trip to Indianapolis

I must say that I had fun on Saturday in Indianapolis, Indiana. I spoke at an all-day session sponsored by the Genealogical Society of Marion County. I found the society to be a very active and enthusiastic group. It was fun.

The Genealogical Society of Marion County has offices in the former offices of Memorial Park Cemetery. The building is on the grounds of the Cemetery at 9370 East Washington St. The offices have been expanded and now offers an accessible library, as well as the ability to host educational programs, special interest groups and educational meetings. The Genealogical Society of Marion County publishes both Indy Lineages, a bi-monthly newsletter, and Family Quest, a quarterly journal.

If you have ancestry in Marion County or if you live in the county, you need to check out this society! You can read more at

(+) Get a Facelift: Why You Want Your Own Domain Name

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

Domain_namesDo you have a blog or a personal web pages? If so, you want to make it easy for others to find on the World Wide Web. Which do you think works better?


Insert the name of your blog or personal web pages in place of “smithfamily” in the above examples.

For instance, the “real address” of this newsletter used to be, but I found that nobody could remember that. I changed it to and found that most people could remember the four-letter domain name of eogn, which stands for “Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter.” The number of readers of this newsletter jumped dramatically within a few weeks after I changed the domain name.

Having your own domain name looks a lot more professional than does “piggybacking” onto someone else’s domain name.

Blog Your Family Tree

Wikipedia’s definition of a blog states, “A blog (a truncation of the expression weblog) is a discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web and consisting of discrete entries (“posts”) typically displayed in reverse chronological order (the most recent post appears first). ”

Blog-iconIndeed, a blog is an easy-to-use web site where you can quickly post thoughts, interact with people, and more. Blogs can be personal, written by one person, or they can be produced by the marketing departments of multi-billion dollar corporations. A blog is simply an easy-to-use process that allows anyone, including you, to “get the word out.” A blog is a great method of publishing whatever you wish to tell the world.

This newsletter is a blog although I don’t use that term very much, preferring to call it a newsletter. I use this newsletter’s web site at to publish the articles that I write and to publish articles from a few other writers whose work I admire. If I had been restricted to publishing the old fashioned way, on paper, this newsletter would not exist; costs of printing and mailing are much too high. However, publishing on the Internet and by e-mail costs very little and sometimes is even free. Wins its Petition of the NYC Municipal Archives Using Freedom of Information Law

In the September 9, 2015 newsletter, I wrote about the petition of Brooke Schreier Ganz and in trying to obtain what should have been public domain records from the New York City Department of Records and Information Services (DoRIS). Now there is good news: the petition was granted!

Reclaim The Records has won its first legal case, winning access to over 600,000 never-before-public genealogical records!

Details may be found at and in Avotaynu Online at

Multiple Redundant Backup is the Best Way to Safeguard Your Photo Collection

I have written numerous times about families who lost their photo collections due to a disaster. That includes physical photographs as well as digital images. Yet when I read about the recent loss suffered by Oakland, California photographer Jennifer Little, I gasped.

Jennifer had 21 hard drives — containing some 70,000 photos spanning more than 10 years — stolen from her apartment. Gone. She had no other backups. Her multiple hard drives WERE her backups. Unfortunately, they all were kept at the same location and all disappeared at the same time. She had no off-site backups.

The First Digital Archive on Moon

I have written before about the need for off-site storage but I never meant this far off-site! Astrobotic Technology Inc. and Lunar Missions Ltd, the company behind the global, inclusive, not-for-profit crowd-funded Lunar Mission One, have signed a deal to send the first digital storage payload to the Moon. The payload will support Lunar Mission One’s ‘Footsteps on the Moon’ campaign, launched yesterday, which invites millions of people to include their footsteps – in addition to images, video and music – in a digital archive of human life that will be placed on the moon during Astrobotic’s first lunar mission.

The announcement at gives very few details but the words “invites millions of people to include their footsteps” sure sounds like they will accept genealogy information.

It is the First Day of the Month: Back Up Your Genealogy Files

BackUpYourGenealogyFilesIt is the first day of the month. It’s time to back up your genealogy files. Then test your backups!

Actually, you can make backups at any time. However, it is easier and safer if you have a specific schedule. The first day of the month is easy to remember, so I would suggest you back up your genealogy files at least on the first day of every month, if not more often.

Online Genealogy Programs for Invited Family Members

A newsletter reader asked a question today: “I am wondering if there is an online genealogy program [where the data] can be seen, added to and shared only by family members so that we can all see each other’s descendants.”

I assume my correspondent wants a service that is visible ONLY to invited family members, not to everyone in the world. Indeed, there are many such programs. Actually, they are web sites where such data can be entered and shared, but only visible to people who have been given access to the site.

While I did answer her in email, I thought I would copy my answer to a public article in this newsletter in case anyone else has the same question. Here are a few of the web sites and service I can think of at the moment:

(+) Follow-Up: Hands On with QromaScan: A New, Smarter Way to Scan Photos

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

In last week’s Plus Edition newsletter, I described (at my experiences with the brand-new QromaScan device that converts an iPhone into a scanner. I pointed out a couple of deficiencies with the new product. Now the producing company has fixed one of the major drawbacks with the new release of QromaScan software.

In a letter to all QromaScan customers,  Tony Knight wrote:


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