Posts By Dick Eastman

Michigan Death Certificates 1921-1939 are now Available for FREE at Seeking Michigan

The following is a quote from the web site at

Today (March 17, 2015) is Seeking Michigan’s sixth birthday, and the Archives of Michigan is thrilled to announce that images of Michigan death certificates from 1921-1939 are now available for free here at Seeking Michigan. The index for records from 1940-1952 will be made available in the next few weeks, with additional certificate images to be released each year as privacy restrictions are lifted; for example, 1940 images will be released in January 2016. Together with the records from 1897-1920 that have been available here for years, this collection makes Seeking Michigan the one-stop destination for more than 2.6 million free, publicly-available 20th century death records for your Michigan ancestors.

Tour a Jewish Cemetery in Bialystok by Drone

Drones have received a lot of negative publicity recently but we should never ignore the fact that these device have dozens of useful purposes, even one or two uses in researching family history. An article in the Jewish Heritage Europe web site describes a tour of a Jewish cemetery in Bialystok, Poland, by drone.

Participate in the #1000pages Transcription Challenge from the US National Archives

David S. Ferriero, the Archivist of the United States, has challenged all history enthusiasts and citizen archivists to participate in the Transcription Challenge this week. The goal is to transcribe more than 1000 pages of historical documents.

Transcribing is fun, but also an important open government activity.

You can read more in David Ferriero’s blog at, then visit the Transcription Challenge webpage at for more information.

Ohio to Open Adoption Records Sealed for 50 Years

Ohio birth certificates and court decrees, some sealed as long as 51 years, will soon become available to adoptees or to their direct descendants for the first time without a court order. As many as 400,000 documents will now become available. The new law goes into effect Friday, March 20, 2015.

The state doesn’t plan to make the request form available on line until just before it begins accepting requests Friday. The forms may be submitted only via postal mail or in person at the vital statistics office because of the notarized documentation required. It could take six weeks for requests to be processed. A video spelling out the process is available at

In advance of St. Patrick’s Day, Findmypast is Making Records from Ireland’s Western Seaboard Available Online for the First Time

The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

Includes detailed information from the Irish Reproductive Loan Fund’s Poverty Relief Loans, and role they played in the mass immigration of the Irish to America

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, March 16, 2015 – Findmypast, a leading family history site which provides access to more than two billion international ancestry records, will mark St. Patrick’s Day 2015 by making records pertaining to the Irish diaspora in the United States available online for the first time.

The depth of data included in these records offers much more than just names, dates and monetary figures. The archives also reveal details which allow researchers to build an accurate story of the events, challenges and emigration dreams of people living during and in the immediate aftermath of The Great Famine.

Update: Want a Cheap Laptop? Add a Keyboard to an iPad or Android Tablet Computer

Yesterday I published a Plus Edition article of (+) The PC and the Macintosh are Dying. Several newsletter readers posted comments about how they felt that the “keyboards” of tablet computers are insufficient for daily use. Actually, there is a simple and effective solution, one I have been using for about two years.

I am republishing an article I wrote last April that shows how easy it is to add a good keyboard to an iPad, an Android tablet, or even to a cell phone. I never take my iPad with me without the Logitech keyboard. Both slip into the same carrying case that also protects against scratches or other damage from dropping the devices.

Many people own and love their tablet computers. I have an Pad Mini and it has become my primary traveling computer. I hear similar statements from owners of various Android tablets as well. As useful as these tiny powerhouses may be, they are still seriously hampered by the lack of a keyboard. The solution? Add a keyboard!

Many people own and love their tablet computers. I have an Pad Mini and it has become my primary traveling computer. I hear similar statements from owners of various Android tablets as well. As useful as these tiny powerhouses may be, they are still seriously hampered by the lack of a keyboard. The solution? Add a keyboard!

iPad with Logitech Keyboard

That suggestion is obvious. Adding an external high quality keyboard converts a tablet computer into a reasonably-priced laptop computer. Perhaps it should be called a netbook.

(+) The PC and the Macintosh are Dying

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

Most of today’s genealogists use some sort of computer program to keep track of the information found during their searches. Popular programs include RootsMagic, Legacy Family Tree, Family Tree Builder, Reunion, Family Historian, AncestralQuest, Family Tree Maker, Heredis, Mac Family Tree, and quite a few others. They all have one thing in common: they are all becoming obsolete.

The Myths of St. Patrick’s Day

Many people of Irish ancestry love to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. After all, it is a great way to celebrate one’s Irish heritage. However, some of the celebrations are a bit questionable. In fact, many of the commonly-held beliefs about St. Patrick are wrong. Before making plans, you might want to consider a few facts:

St. Patrick wasn’t Irish

Patrick was probably born in what is now England, Scotland or Wales around A.D. 390. Different historians have different beliefs about his place of birth. After all, the borders moved a bit over the years as well. Most agree that St. Patrick’s parents were Roman citizens living in the British Isles. Therefore, Patrick himself was a Roman citizen even though he was born somewhere in what is now Great Britain.

BCG Offers Free Webinar

The following announcement was written by the Board for Certification of Genealogists:

“Elementary, My Dear Watson! Solving Your Genealogy Puzzles with Clues You Already Have”

What can a genealogist do when key direct evidence is missing or inadequate? The Board for Certification of Genealogists will present a webinar on this question free to the public at 8pm EDT 17 March 2015. James M. Baker, CG, will offer step-by-step approaches for using inferential and analytic thinking to solve these challenging genealogy problems – including the use of naming patterns, birth/marriage witness data, inheritance data, sibling research, timelines, and family migrations.

The Netherlands to Give a Face to 10,000 Killed U.S. WWII Soldiers

The American War Cemetery in the town of Margraten, the Netherlands contains the remains of more than 10,000 U.S. servicemen who gave their lives to keep the Netherlands and the rest of the world free from tyranny. Through The Faces of Margraten project, during a Memorial Weekend from the 2nd till the 5th of May 2015, the Dutch will pay special tribute to these soldiers by decorating their more than 10,000 graves and names on the Walls of the Missing with personal photos of the soldiers. The project has started a quest to locate more soldiers’ photos. Perhaps you can help.

“Maybe you’re related to one of the soldiers, and have a photo tucked away in an album you haven’t looked through in years. Please look again, and if you find one, help us honor the sacrifices of thousands of other Americans by contributing the photo to The Faces of Margraten,” said Sebastiaan Vonk, chairman of the Foundation United Adopters American War Graves. “Each photo matters, even if the quality is not great, because it means another soldier who will be honored.”

State of Rhode Island Proposal to Allow Wider Access to Death Certificates

The Rhode Island House of representatives is considering a bill to allow wider access to death certificates than what is allowed by present legislation. In short, bill H 5863 proposes to allow title examiners, attorneys, and members of genealogical societies to examine death certificates. No fees would be charged for searching or viewing said records.

The proposal does contain exceptions for such items as out-of-wedlock births. However, it specifically does allow “members of legally incorporated genealogical societies in the conduct of their official duties as defined in regulations shall have any access to, or be permitted to, examine the original or any copy of the birth certificate or birth record, of any person in the custody of any registrar of vital records or of the state department of health.”

Free Genealogy Advisory Service in the National Library of Ireland 2015

The following announcement was written by the folks at Eneclann and at the Ancestor Network:

Eneclann and Ancestor Network achieve a ‘Texas Hat-trick’

Eneclann and Ancestor Network  are delighted to announce their return to the Genealogy Service in The National Library  from Wednesday, 18th of March 2015 for a fourth year running.

Our panel of genealogists will work alongside the Library’s own dedicated staff members – Fran Carroll and Christina McDonnell – to deliver the service.

IGRS Launches Enhanced ‘Irish Genealogist Database’ on its Website

The following announcement was written by the Irish Genealogical Research Society (IGRS):

The GRS – “The Great Granddaddy of all Irish Family History Societies” – announces the launch of an exciting enhancement to its ‘Irish Genealogist Database’.

The Irish Genealogist (TIG) has been published annually since 1937 and comprises thousands of articles relating to Irish genealogy, noting details on family histories, pedigrees, leases, memorial inscriptions, deeds, newspaper extracts and transcripts of parish registers, voters lists, census substitutes, wills, letters, family bibles, rentals and militia & army rolls. The list is endless!

Today is Pi Day

March 14, 2015 can be written by North Americans as 3.14.15. That is also the digits used to represent the Pi: 3.1415. (Most other countries would write today as 14.3.15 so let’s just ignore everyone else, OK?)

In fact, today is the one and only Pi Day in the next 100 years that will actually reflect the first five numbers in everyone’s favorite irrational number, pi, which is 3.1415. The next time pi lovers will see such an event will not be until March 14, 2115.

NGS Publication Genealogy and the Law – Now Available on Kindle

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

Arlington, VA, 12 March 2015—Genealogy and the Law: A Guide to Legal Sources for the Family Historian by Kay Haviland Freilich, CGSM, CGLSM, FNGS and William B. Freilich, Esq., is now available as a Kindle eBook. First published by the National Genealogical Society (NGS) as a softcover book on 1 September 2014, Genealogy and the Law guides readers through the variety of legal sources that genealogists need to explain many of the events that occurred in their ancestors’ lives. Land ownership, estate administration, and taxation are a few of the many aspects of life that cannot be fully understood without knowledge of the law in effect at the time. Will Be Closing Down

Findmypast will soon close down its subsidiary web site. As explained at

All of the records previously available at are now available right here at Findmypast. Explore over two billion records including millions of parish records, wills, probate and court records. What’s more, you can view the Oxfordshire Wills Index, 1516-1857, and three other record sets, completely free!

FamilySearch Adds More Than 2.2 Million Indexed Records and Images to Australia, Philippines, Slovakia, Ukraine, the United States, and Zimbabwe

The following announcement is from FamilySearch:

FamilySearch adds more than 2.2 million indexed records and images to Australia, Philippines, Slovakia, Ukraine, the United States, and Zimbabwe. Notable collection updates include the 133,189 indexed records from the Zimbabwe, Death notices, 1904–1976 collection; the 78,244 images from the US, Tennessee, Freedmen’s Bureau Field Office Records, 1865–1872 collection; and the 62,154 images from theUkraine, Zaporizhia Poll Tax Census (Revision Lists), 1811–1858 collection. See the table below for the full list of updates. Search these diverse collections and more than 3.5 billion other records for free at

Another Winter in New England: 1888

Boston in 1888 – Click on the Above image to view a larger version.

I suspect most U.S. residents have heard about the severe weather this winter in the northeastern United States. Indeed, a huge amount of snow has fallen in the area and temperatures have been below average as well. However, the area is known for harsh winter weather. This year’s weather, as bad as it has been, is not a record breaker.

For instance, 127 years ago today, on March 11, 1888, one of the most destructive blizzards ever to strike the East Coast raged for 36 hours. Called “the White Hurricane,” the storm produced a combination of blinding snow, deep drifts, driving wind, and severe cold. Monster waves battered the coastline.

Massachusetts Proposed Legislation will Help Preserve Polish Heritage in the State

A bill introduced into the House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts proposes establishment of a Pioneer Valley Polish heritage institute at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

NOTE: The Pioneer Valley is another name for the Connecticut River Valley in the western part of the state. It was the final destination for many nineteenth and twentieth century European immigrants, especially those from Poland.

The bill has been referred to the committee on Higher Education. The legislative bill states, (in part):

An Act relative to preserving Polish heritage in the Pioneer Valley.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

The Drinking Habits of our Early New England Ancestors

The image has been often been painted of early new England Puritans and other religious citizens of the day as being strict and never having any fun. I was brought up in New England and always believed that my many Puritan ancestors would never touch liquor. A new exhibit at the US National Archives claims that I was mistaken.

Here are some of the facts cited:

Early Americans even took a healthful dram for breakfast, whiskey was a typical lunchtime tipple, ale accompanied supper and the day ended with a nightcap. Continuous imbibing clearly built up a tolerance as most Americans in 1790 consumed an average 5.8 gallons of pure alcohol a year, 7.1 gallons in 1830, but only 2.3 gallons of pure alcohol a year today.

Samuel Adams was a partner in his father’s malt house and Thomas Jefferson was famed for importing European wines.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 8,126 other followers