Posts By Dick Eastman

Genealogy Roadshow, Season 2, Episode 2

Genealogy Roadshow aired earlier this evening. It was the second episode of the new season. Hosts Kenyatta D. Berry, Joshua Taylor and Mary Tedesco worked with guests in St. Louis to prove and disprove family stories handed down over the years and to make new discoveries for the guests.

This week’s episode was videotaped at the St. Louis Central Library and featured several interesting stories. The first story may have been the most interesting. It started with a family legend that a great-grandmother’s immigration from Italy was for an arranged marriage to an American cowboy from Wyoming. However, when she met the man, she didn’t like him. The Genealogy Roadshow researchers found that this story was like many other family stories: a kernel of truth that had been twisted and embellished over the years.

Dayton, Ohio, Metro Library’s Genealogy Collection to Relocate

The Dayton Metro Library’s construction takes another step at the Main Library when the Genealogy Collection moves to temporary quarters at 359 Maryland Avenue. Library staff will move collections, equipment, and other materials over a three-day period beginning on Saturday, January 24, 2015, requiring temporary suspension of genealogy services.

When it reopens on Tuesday, January 27, the Dayton Metro Library Genealogy Center at Maryland Avenue will offer collections and services during regular Library hours: 9:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday; 9:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, Friday and Saturday (no Sunday hours).

A Relationship Chart by Betty Eichhorn

Click on the above image to view a larger version.

In the recent comments to earlier newsletter articles, several readers suggested that one or more relationship charts may be difficult to read. Betty Eichhorn suggested to me that she has an easier-to-read chart that is also accompanied by a description of relationships.

After looking at her chart and the accompanying description, I agree. Betty’s chart is easier to read and understand. Betty has graciously agreed to share her two page chart and description with everyone.

Patricia Shawker, R.I.P.

Click on the above image to view a larger version

Sad news. The following was written by Claire Bettag and Marie Melchiori:

With profound sadness we learned that our colleague and friend, Patricia Shawker, CG, FNGS, died Friday, 16 January 2015, after a two-and-a half-year battle with cancer. Patty’s husband, Tom, also our genealogical colleague, has asked us to reach out to the larger community with this unexpected news. The funeral will be on Saturday 24 January, noon until 2PM at Gasch’s Funeral Home, 4739 Baltimore Avenue, Hyattsville, MD, 20781. An obituary will be published later this week and will be forwarded to you at that time.

Vita Infinita Hopes to Connect Socially Active Relatives Worldwide

Vita Infinita is a web site under development. There is almost nothing available on the site just yet except for a tantalizing statement: “Vita Infinita is a web application that allows users to connect with socially active relatives worldwide, crowdsource the family relationships, collect personal memories and organise them in a simple genealogy and timeline system for the future generations.”

The site does say that it will maintain privacy as well as to allow collaboration amongst relatives to build a family tree.

This Week’s Genealogy Roadshow was Videotaped in St. Louis

Click on the above image to view a larger version.

Genealogy Roadshow, featuring stories videotaped at St. Louis’ historic central library, will be broadcast on Tuesday evening, January 20. The program will feature a mystery writer who discovers her mother has hidden a life-changing secret; a woman who finds out whether she is descended from the infamous pirate Blackbeard; a mother and daughter who seek connections to a famous author; and a young man who seeks connection to the Mali tribe in Africa.

The program is scheduled to be broadcast on PBS at 8 pm Eastern time, 7 PM Central. However, PBS stations often “time shift” programs to different times or dates. Check your local listings to find the time and PBS station near you.

Kentucky Genealogy Enthusiast Recovers Central Ohio Library Time Capsule

A tin box holding records of daily life in Marysville was inside the cornerstone of the city’s Carnegie library for 75 years before its 1997 demolition. The box arrived at the current public library earlier this month from a genealogy enthusiast from Kentucky who bought it at a yard sale about a decade ago, the Marysville Journal-Tribune reported.

A New Family Relationship Chart and Infographic

Crestleaf has created a family relationship chart to explain how you’re related to other people and start asking yourself questions, including:

  • How exactly am I related to Uncle Bob, who I only see once a year?
  • There are a bunch of kids running around these days – how do they fit into the family tree?
  • How in the world do I fit into all of this?
  • Boy, these people are weird. Am I completely sure I’m related to them?

A Message for Plus Edition Subscribers

The Plus Edition version of the newsletter is sent to every Plus Edition subscriber once a week. Usually it is on Sunday evenings although occasionally it will be on Monday. The process works well although not perfectly.

Based upon feedback from Plus Edition subscribers, I am guessing that about 95% to 98% of the email messages get delivered to the addressees. The other 2% to 5% get blocked by spam filters in the receiving email servers. Sadly, that is a very common for all individuals and companies that send a lot of email messages, especially if they are long messages. The longer the message, the more likely it will be blocked by spam filters.

The problem seems to be getting worse in the past few weeks. I am receiving more and more reports of non-delivery these days. Luckily, there is a simple solution.

(+) Perform Focused Searches on Google

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

Google is a wonderful invention for genealogists and all other Internet users. The world’s most popular search engine is capable of finding specialized information about most anything imaginable. However, many users do not know much about ll the options available when using Google’s most powerful search tools.

Many of us only know how to enter a query into Google’s Search Box.

Such a search can find all sorts of information, often overwhelming you with too many “hits.”

How to Read Kindle eBooks on non-Kindle Devices

In the recent newsletter comments, a couple of readers have expressed displeasure that certain ebooks were available only in Kindle format. Actually, that shouldn’t be a problem for anyone. Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

The free Kindle apps are available for most major smartphones, tablets and computers. With the Kindle reading apps, you can buy a Kindle book once, and read it on any device with the Kindle app installed. In fact, with most computing devices, you can read the first part of a Kindle ebook on one device, turn the device off, then later pick up on the page where you left off, even if you are using a different computing device.

The Truth Behind George Clooney’s Irish Roots

The Irish ancestors of Hollywood star George Clooney were victims of grotesque human rights abuses that drove them out of their small cottage on the Kilkenny Tipperary border, the Sunday Independent has revealed.

George Clooney’s ancestor, Nicholas Clooney, and his siblings were driven out of post-Famine Ireland by the land-owning Irish around Windgap, Co Kilkenny. These wealthy Irish were involved in the “cleansing” of the Clooneys and their kith from their homesteads in the three years after the Great Famine ended in 1852.

After the Famine, during which a million died from starvation and disease and another million emigrated, there was a “survival of the fittest” battle among the natives as land ownership was consolidated. In the eyes of big farmers, their odious “middlemen” and the landlords, cottiers like the Clooneys had no rights and were effectively disposable.

And they used crooked law to get rid of the Clooneys and their neighbours.

Transcript: A Windows Program for Transcribing Documents

Click on the above image to view a larger version.

Many times I have transcribed information from books and older documents such as wills, deeds, and other documents that genealogists often use. In this day and age, most of the documents are in electronic format. I may have downloaded an image of a document from the World Wide Web, or I may have scanned it or snapped a picture of a document or a few pages from a book with my cell phone while visiting an archive or library. Obtaining the image is easy, but transcribing later into a text file or into a genealogy program is a bit more tedious.

In the past, I would open two windows simultaneously on the screen of my computer. I would display the image in one window and the word processor or genealogy program in another window. That works although with a few minor frustrations. Keeping the two windows in sync with each other can lead to an excessive amount of mouse movement and clicking.

Transcript 2.4 is a Windows program that simplifies and improves the process. It doesn’t eliminate all the mouse movements and clicking, but it does reduce the tedious actions a bit. The program is available in two versions: free and a Pro version for 15 Euros, roughly $17.50 US. Luckily, you can pay with PayPal, so there is no need to obtain a check or money order in Euros.

Ulster Historical Foundation Offers a Half-Price Sale on Online Records

The following is a quote from the web site of the Ulster Historical Foundation:

Take advantage of our January sale!

All our 2 million pay-per-view birth, marriage & death records for Counties Antrim & Down are half-price on until 31 January 2015.

Our website includes virtually all Roman Catholic baptismal registers prior to 1900 and a large number of Church of Ireland and Presbyterian baptismal registers for Counties Antrim and Down and the city of Belfast as well as many civil birth records for Belfast.

Economic Recessions Throughout History

The world economies change every few years. Right now, the economy is in a boom period; the stock market is at or near its highest numbers in history, inflation rates remain low, and home mortgage prices in the U.S. are at their lowest rates in decades. However, we all know that nothing lasts forever. Sooner or later, there will be a downturn and a recession of some sort is inevitable.

We are not alone in this, of course. Throughout history, our ancestors lived through many recessions and economic downturns. Of course, every crisis has also brought new opportunities. Most of our ancestors survived the various economic problems of their day and went on to raise families and to prosper in various ways.

(+) Turn any Smartphone into a Scanner and Document Management System with OCR Capabilities

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

Let’s say you are at a county courthouse looking at old land records, and you find what you have been looking for: the transcription of your ancestor’s deed showing his purchase of property. Of course, you need a copy; but the only available copy machine doesn’t handle oversized documents. Even more important, you always prefer a digital image whenever possible as it is easier to store, copy, and include in your reports. However, there is no scanner available. What to do?

Use your cell phone’s camera!

Here is an example of a book image made by my iPhone’s internal camera:

Click on the above image to view a larger version.

Rose Hill Cemetery in Hagerstown, Maryland, is Now Online

The largest and oldest public cemetery in Western Maryland now has a wealth of burial information online. Since the nonprofit Rose Hill Cemetery in Hagerstown was established in 1866, there have been more than 42,000 burials on its property. The primary purpose of the online database is to save labor and expenses for the cemetery.

Britain’s Oldest Person Has Died at the Age of 114

Ethel Lang was believed to be the last person living in the UK who was born in the reign of Queen Victoria. She apparently lived a long and happy life, according to an article in the BBC News web site at

However, when was the last time you read an obituary that included the words, “… is survived by a 91-year-old daughter”?

HistoryLines Announces Beta Site

I have not yet used this new service but the press release sounds interesting:

Site provides instant biographies and personal timelines for ancestors, saving genealogists time.

Click on the above image to view a larger version.

Oswego, IL – January 15, 2015

HistoryLines, a new website for genealogists and family historians, has announced the release of its beta site at The site allows anyone to understand the story of their forebears by discovering the historical events and environment that surrounded their ancestors. Users see their relatives in historical context with a personalized timeline, and read a detailed biography based on when and where the ancestor lived in history.

A Successful Library Without Physical Books

I have published several articles in the past two or three years about ebooks versus traditional printed books. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, as discussed by newsletter readers in the comments to the articles. Today, I noticed an article in the Mother Nature Network that says San Antonio’s newest public library is missing something: books.

It seems that BiblioTech, a project of the San Antonio, Texas, Public Library, opened in September 2013 with the goal of providing books and other library information in low-income areas where the city could not justify the financial investment required to build a traditional library. BiblioTech houses no physical books. However, it has 48 iMac computers for visitors to use, and members can check out an e-reader for two weeks and read from a selection of 25,000 titles. More than 103,000 patrons visited BiblioTech in its first year of operation.

The digital-only library was built, stocked and staffed for $2.2 million. In contrast, about an hour away in Austin, the Texas capital’s new downtown library has a budget of more than $100 million.


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