Posts By Dick Eastman

Genealogy as Big Business

Neal Ungerleider has written an article that has been published on the Fast Company web site that compares two of genealogy’s major providers: and The article also makes some comparions to the non-profit FamilySearch organization sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

everyStory, New Cloud-Based Story-Sharing Platform, Launches Open-Beta on iPad

everyStory is a new app for the iPad that allows users to store audio and image files for many purposes, including to preserve family history stories. The following announcement was written by the folks at everyStory:

Interactive photo-album platform aims to preserve memories by saving photos and audio for generations to come

SAN DIEGO – everyStory, a new cloud-based story-sharing platform, launches today. This one-of-a kind tool is now available for iPad devices during open-Beta and can be downloaded in the App Store. everyStory allows users to store audio and image files to a secure cloud-based system with the option of sharing photos and stories between other everyStory individuals and groups.

Hands on with Google Photos using Unlimited Storage

Have a lot of photographs? If so, would you want to save backup copies of them in the cloud? Would you like to optionally share some of those photographs with friends and family? How about saving as many photos and videos as you wish without ever running out of space? How does the price tag of FREE for unlimited storage sound?

I wrote about the brand-new Google Photos service in the June 1, 2015 newsletter. (See The service was so new that I only had a chance to use it briefly before writing the article. I have now uploaded more than 34,000 photos from my cell phone and from my desktop computer’s hard drive, photos I have saved over the years. The collection includes more than 100 photos taken during my recent trip to Jerusalem. I thought I would write about my experiences.

Index to French Canadian Revolutionary War Patriots

American schoolchildren all learn about our glorious ancestors who fought for American independence in 1776 and for a few years following the Declaration of Independence. However, the history books published in the U.S. rarely mention that the desire for independence was not unanimous. Many Americans and Canadians wanted to remain loyal to the King of England they are generally referred to as Loyalists. While discredited in the U.S., these same Loyalists are considered to be heros by the Canadians. In fact, Canadian history books generally devote more pages to the Loyalists than to those who fought for independence. Likewise, many Canadians supported the Patriot cause even though they lived north of what is now the U.S.-Canadian border.

Was Your British Ancestor a Slave Owner?

Slavery was abolished in the British Empire in 1833. Those who had owned slaves were compensated at the time for their financial losses when they lost their slaves. Historians from University College London (UCL) have catalogued the 46,000 British subjects who were compensated by the British government for losing in total 800,000 slaves as a result of abolition. Descendants of the last British slave owners can now find out about their ancestors’ involvement.

These 46,000 slave owners were compensated a total of £20 million (£17 billion today). The research team discovered that it was not only the rich elite that had vested interest in slaves but also clergymen, shop owners and ‘ordinary’ members of the British middle classes. It is estimated that 10 per cent of Britons who died in the 18th century had benefited from slavery and that up to 15 per cent of the British elite were involved. Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha as well as actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Ben Affleck have all been revealed as having ancestors linked to the slave trade.

Quip – Group Collaboration of Documents, Spreadsheets, and Lists

If you use your computer only for your own work and never collaborate with anyone else, Quip is not a program for you. However, if you are working on a genealogy project with a relative, if you are working with an editor on an article for future publication, or if you have any other need to collaborate with other people, Quip may be a powerful tool for you. It certainly beats emailing files back and forth!

Quip is an office productivity application, similar to Microsoft Word and Excel. However, it is designed to help you and your team members get work done faster and easier. It works best when there are several members of the team working on the same project. With Quip, each team member sees the latest version of a file at all times. There’s just one document and one chat thread, not a bunch of attachments with indecipherable titles like “FutureArticle-Kevin-Version3.doc.”

Best of all, Quip is free for use by private individuals. A somewhat more powerful version for corporate use costs $12 per user per month.

(+) When Your Descendants Become Curious About Their Ancestors

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

You probably have enjoyed collecting bits and pieces of information about your ancestors and their lives. Is it possible that one of your future descendants will want to do the same for you and for your present relatives? If so, should you help your future genealogist-descendant by making sure the information about your life and the lives of your relatives will be available in the future?

For years, genealogists, historians, and others have preserved information on paper. Sometimes it is in the form of books while a less formal method is to collect paper documents and keep them in a file. Paper has served us well for centuries and probably will not disappear anytime soon. However, paper isn’t as useful or expected to last as long as it once was. Perhaps we should seek alternative solutions.

From e-journals and e-books to emails, blogs and more, electronic content is proliferating fast, and organizations worldwide are racing to preserve information for next generations before technological obsolescence, or even data loss, creep in.

Book Review: Blood Legacy: The True Story of the Snow Axe Murders

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

Blood Legacy: The True Story of the Snow Axe Murders

by James Pylant. Jacobus Books, 2015. 246 pages.

From the back cover of the book:

In 1925 Texans were stunned when a teenager’s severed head was found in an abandoned farmhouse near the town of Stephenville. An investigation led to ex-convict F.M. Snow and the mysterious disappearances of his wife and mother-in-law.

But this shocking, bloody saga began 50 years earlier.

The IAJGS2015 Conference in Jerusalem was a Great Success

I just finished a five-day genealogy conference and I am exhausted. That’s my measurement of success: If I am this tired, I know it was a successful event.

I wrote a few days ago at about the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) conference held this year in Jerusalem, Israel. I am not Jewish but have attended a couple of past IAJGS conferences held in the U.S. and already knew these are high-energy affairs packed with presentation after presentation. Many years ago, I also had an opportunity to spend a summer in Israel but had never been back since then. When I learned the 2015 IAJGS conference was to be held in Jerusalem, I decided it was time to go back and see what has changed in the country.

In my earlier report, I wrote, “This year’s conference has attracted about 800 attendees from all over.” In fact, that was the EXPECTED number that I heard from the show’s organizers on the first day. They had hoped and planned on attracting about 800 attendees. They were wrong. On the last evening of the conference, the organizers announced the conference had attracted almost exactly 1,000 registered attendees!

Avoid Advertising Email Messages with 10 Minute Mail

Did you ever give your email address to a web site in order to retrieve some information and then the site bombards you with advertising messages for weeks? Yes, me too. There is one rather unique tool that will reduce the filling of your in-box: 10 Minute Mail

10MinuteMail is a secure, temporary email service. This means that it lets you have a private email address that anyone can send mail to. The email message and the address both self-destruct in 10 minutes, so you don’t have to worry about SPAM or anything like that.

New Genealogy Resource Should Boost Irish Tourism

Taoiseach (the head of government or prime minister of Ireland) Enda Kenny recently stated that an online resource for researching family history from the 18th and 19th centuries will prompt a wave of genealogical tourists to visit Ireland in the coming years. Mr. Kenny was speaking at the announcement of the National Library of Ireland’s parish records website, which contains digitized details of births, deaths and marriages in almost every Catholic parish during the 1700s and 1800s.

(See my earlier article about the new National Library of Ireland’s parish records website at

“What you’re doing here in the National Library, I absolutely applaud it because you are giving a facility to the Irish diaspora all over the world to connect, and in a world that is changing so rapidly isn’t it important to have a sense of place, a sense of who we are,” Mr Kenny said.

Findmypast Adds More than 197,000 Records Online

The following announcement was written by the folks at Findmypast:

This week’s Findmypast Friday highlights two fascinating sets of Criminal Petitions and nearly 7,000 Judges Reports on Criminals released early this month as part of our England and Wales Crime, Prisons and Punishment collection. Over 94,000 British Army, Northumberland Fusiliers records and 1831 census fragment records covering the parish St Julian’s in Shrewsbury are also available to search.

Registers of Criminal Petitions (HO18)

The Registers of Criminal Petitions HO 18 contain just over 19,000 further records. Some petitions have additional documents attached, such as returns of convicts recommended for early release by the governor, newspaper cuttings and other documentation. It is worth browsing through the connected images as some petitions are quite lengthy documents that will give details of family circumstances and the grounds on which they are hoping to appeal their sentence.

MyHeritage Launches Breakthrough Global Name Translation™ Technology

I think this is a huge advancement in online searches for genealogy information. I saw the brand-new Global Name Translation demonstrated earlier today at the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) annual conference in Jerusalem and I am very impressed.

Global Name Translation is the easy way to search through MyHeritage’s massive multilingual and international database of 6 billion family tree profiles and historical records. As stated in the announcement below, the Global Name Translation “…automatically translates names found in historical records and family trees from one language into another, in very high accuracy, generating all the plausible translations, to facilitate matches between names in different languages. In addition, a manual search in one language will also provide results in other languages, translated back to the user’s language for convenience.”

Click on the above image to view a larger version

A search for “Jacob Schmidt” will find all the results shown above and more.

Yes, that’s right. If your ancestors came from a country that keeps its records in a language other than your preferred language, you can enter the search in your own language and MyHeritage will find matches for the same or very similar names in other languages as well. For instance, a search for Alexander or for Alessandro (Alexander in Italian) will also find “Саша” which is the Russian form of Sasha, a popular nickname of Alexander in Russia.

The first version successfully translates names to and from English, German, Dutch, French, Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Greek, Hebrew, Polish, Czech, Russian and Ukrainian. The next version currently in development will add Chinese and Japanese, and additional languages will follow.

I am not aware of any other genealogy service that has anything like this.

The National Library of Ireland Places Adds Catholic Parish Registers Back to the 1740s Online

The National Library of Ireland in Dublin today (Wednesday) has placed the entire collection of Catholic parish register microfilms held by the National Library of Ireland (NLI) online. Involved are over 370,000 digital images of the microfilm reels on which the parish registers are recorded and which will be accessible free of charge.

These parish register records are considered the single most important source of information on Irish family history prior to the 1901 Census. Dating from the 1740s to the 1880s, they cover 1,086 parishes throughout the island of Ireland, and consist primarily of baptismal and marriage records. The NLI has been working to digitise the microfilms for over three years under what is had described as its most ambitious digitisation programme to date.

How to Safely Secure All Your Files in the Cloud’s File Storage Services with Encrypto

Some people are afraid to use file storage services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, SpiderOak, iCloud, and the many other services. The odds of anyone hacking into these services are very small but not zero. Actually, it is probably easier to hack into your computer in your house than it is to hack into Dropbox, Google Drive, SpiderOak, iCloud, or the other services. However, it is easy to protect your files against hackers regardless of where they are stored: simply encrypt them.

In fact, you should encrypt all sensitive files that are stored in your computer at home in order to protect against devious people around the world who are trying to gain access to your home computer as well as to protect against anyone visiting your home and surreptitiously gaining physical access to your computer. Once encrypted at home, you can safely save copies of those encrypted files on any of the online services as the files will remain encrypted. Only you can decrypt and read them. Even if a hacker should obtain copies of the files from your home computer or from the cloud, he or she will be unable to read them.

Luckily, that is easy to do and the required software can be found free of charge.

On This Day in History: the Greatest Thing Ever Was First Sold

Here’s your trivia factoid for the day: Sliced bread was sold for the very first time on Tuesday, July 7th, 1928 in Chillicothe, Missouri. Details may be found at

Which Is Better For Translations: Man Or Machine?

Google Translate is an excellent tool for genealogist and many others. It translates text from one language to another and presently supports 117 different languages. People use Google Translate to translate over 100 billion words a day!

Machine-generated translation was sometimes laughable a very few years ago but the technology has improved greatly in the past 2 or 3 years. Still, the translations are rarely perfect. For many of us, the use of a human translater is still critical.

Verbal Ink is a company that uses humans who are fluent in various languages to translate documents, audio recordings, and to provide various other services. How well does Verbal Ink’s human translators match up to the machines? Could the machines imbue their translations with the nuances and thoughtful choices that we expect from human translators?

A Report from the IAJGS2015 Conference in Jerusalem


This article was written in a room at the Ramada Jerusalem Hotel, located near the entrance to the city on the main road leading to all sections of Jerusalem. It is also the site of this year’s International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) conference. I’m not Jewish, but the organizers let me in the door anyway. So far, after two days of the five-day conference, I must say I have enjoyed myself. I have also seen lots of smiles on the faces of the other attendees.

Amazon Cloud Drive’s UNLIMITED Plans: $11.99/year for Photos and $59.99/year for Everything

I have written a number of times about various online file storage providers and why every computer user, especially genealogists, should be using at least one of these services to store critical files off site for safekeeping. It seems as if every time I write about some file storage service’s new, low-priced offering, a competitive service soon announces an even cheaper plan. That has now happened again. This time the plans are for UNLIMITED storage space. Yes, unlimited. Fill ‘er up.

Amazon now has two UNLIMITED storage plans for its consumer cloud-based storage service, Amazon Cloud Drive. This represents a massive price reduction for its giant hard-drive in the sky. If you are an Amazon Prime member (which I have used since that service was first introduced, and it saves me a lot of money every year), the first service is called the Unlimited Photos plan and costs $11.99 per year. This plan will appeal to professional photographers, advanced amateur photographers, and anyone who simply has lots of digital pictures that need to be safely stored off site. A price of about $1 a month strikes me as very attractive. Where are your backup photos of your grandchildren?

Drouin Institute’s Free Online Database Now Holds more than 1.6 million Canadian Obituaries

The Drouin Institute has added 246,000 recent obituaries to its bilingual website GenealogyQuebec for a total of 1,685,650 Canadian obituaries, from 1999 to 2015. A short article providing a bit of information and links to the new database may be found in Gail Dever’s Genealogy à la carte blog at


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