Posts By Dick Eastman

The Easy Way to Store Backups on Multiple Online Services with cloudHQ

cloudhqThis article has nothing to do with genealogy. However, having backup copies of all your important documents, pictures, videos and other items is a must for everyone. I will suggest that having backups of your important data can be a lifesaver.

I believe that everyone should have a MINIMUM of three copies of every digital file that is important: the original file stored in the computer’s hard drive, plus a copy of that file stored on a backup device (hard drive, flashdrive, CD-ROM disk, or whatever you choose) that is stored near the computer for convenience, PLUS AN ADDITIONAL copy or two, stored off-site where the copies will be safe from in-home disasters, such as fire, flood, or burst water pipes.

Three copies are a barebones MINIMUM. For safety, I would recommend even more copies be kept in more locations. Luckily, that is easy to do.

Colonial Roots Acquires the Antient Press

The following announcement was written by the folks at Colonial Roots:

ColonialRootsMillsboro, Delaware: Colonial Roots, genealogy book publishing firm specializing in the Mid-Atlantic region, has acquired The Antient Press, publisher of Virginia genealogy books. Over 500 new titles have been added to the ever- expanding list of genealogy books published by Colonial Roots.

“The acquisition of The Antient Press is a perfect fit for our company. Colonial Roots specializes in genealogy books for the Mid-Atlantic area. Our heaviest concentration is in Virginia, so this just made sense for both Colonial Roots and The Antient Press,” stated Debbie Hooper, a board-certified genealogist and owner of Colonial Roots.

Ancestry Releases Transparency Report, Updated Privacy Statement and Guide for Law Enforcement

Ancestry has released the first Ancestry Transparency Report, which covers law enforcement requests to Ancestry sites for member data in 2015. Yes, the law enforcement folks are spying on you and on other genealogists.

The announcement in the Ancestry Blog states, in part: “As we continue to make our members’ privacy a priority, our intent in issuing this report is to help explain to our members and the public the types of law enforcement requests Ancestry and its family of companies received, how we responded, and the nature of the investigations that sparked those requests. With each request, we continue to represent the rights of our members and always advocate strongly for their privacy.”

You can read the full article in the Ancestry Blog at

January 25 is Robert Burns Day So Let’s Eat Vegetarian Haggis

The great Scottish poet Robert Burns was born January 25, 1759. In celebration of his birthday, Burns Suppers range from formal gatherings of esthetes and scholars to very informal dinners throughout Scotland and in restaurants and the homes of Scottish descendants worldwide. Most Burns Suppers adhere, more or less, to some sort of time honored form which includes the eating of a traditional Scottish meal, the drinking of Scotch whisky, and the recitation of works by, about, and in the spirit of the Bard.

NOTE: American and Irish liquor producers spell it as WHISKEY, while Canadian, Scottish, and Japanese producers usually spell it without an “e”: WHISKY.

Almost anyone can enjoy a Burns Night celebration. All that’s needed is a place to gather, plenty of haggis and neeps to go around, a master of ceremonies, friendly celebrants, and good Scotch drink to keep you warm.

Genealogy Cruise by Cruise Everything is a Success

Another genealogy cruise finished on Saturday. A group of genealogists on board the Celebrity Reflection arrived in Miami, full of new genealogy ideas to try. I was fortunate enough to be one of the presenters on board the seven-day cruise, along with Gary and Diana Smith and Donna Moughty. We made several genealogy presentations during the days at sea. We also had informal in-person discussion periods, one-on-one consultations, and group dinners. There was a LOT of genealogy discussed on this cruise!

2016_Cruise_Website_Header (1)

The Celebrity Reflection made stops in Cozumel, Mexico; Georgetown, Grand Cayman; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; and and unscheduled stop in Nassau, Bahamas. The unscheduled stop occurred because the weather was a bit too rough to stop at our planned day in Coco Cay, Bahamas. Nassau was a last-minute substitution. Actually, I have been to both places in the past and preferred Nassau over Coco Cay anyway so I was pleased. I also did not hear any other passengers complaining.


(+) A Potential Clearinghouse of Genealogy Information

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

WARNING: This article contains personal opinions.

For decades, the standard method of genealogy research has been to peruse original records as well as compiled genealogies, looking for information about each ancestor, one fact at a time. In modern times, we typically have used IMAGES of the original records published on microfilm and, more recently, images that appear on our computer screens. We then supplement these original records with compiled genealogies from many sources, including printed books, online web sites, and even GEDCOM files online or on CD-ROM disks. Experienced genealogists also understand the importance of VERIFYING each piece of information, regardless of where it was obtained. Yes, even original hand-written records made at the time of an event may contain errors.

Compiling a genealogy typically requires hundreds or thousands of hours of work, sometimes great expenditures of money, and, when original records have not been easily available locally, additional time and money on travel.

To be kind, I will simply say that the results have been variable.

Diary of Anne Frank Subject To Copyright Dispute

A legal case involving the Diary of Anne Frank may affect many other publications, even including genealogy books published in the United States and many other countries.

Anne Frank was a Jewish teenager killed by the Nazis whose writing survived in the Amsterdam building where she had hidden. 70 years have passed since her death. As the author, she owned the copyrights. After her death, the copyrights are legally passed on her heirs. In this case, Anne Frank’s heirs were her parents and, later, other relatives who would inherit the property and the rights of the parents. Under European laws, any book published at that time becomes public domain 70 years after publication.

A French academic has made the Diary of Anne Frank available online with profits going to charity. However, the Anne Frank Fonds, the foundation established by Anne’s father Otto Frank, claims that: “Otto Frank and children’s author and translator, Mirjam Pressler, were inter alia responsible for the various edited versions of fragments of the diary” in 1947 and 1991. They add: “the copyrights to these adaptations have been vested in Otto Frank and Mirjam Pressler, who in effect created readable books from Anne Frank’s original writings.” In other words, the book should not be considered to be in the public domain today.

New Records Available To Search This Findmypast Friday

The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

This week’s Findmypast Friday marks the release of over 196,000 records. The new records now available to search include a rich and varied collection of family history publications from Scotland, new additions to our collection of Lincolnshire Monumental Inscriptions and medal records of Indian Defence and Auxiliary Force volunteers. Also included in this week’s release is the Phillimore Marriage Registers, a substantial collection of PDF’s recording marriages from all over England.

England, Phillimore Marriage Registers, 1531-1913

The Phillimore Marriage Registers, 1531-1913, consist of 241 volumes of parish marriages from 29 English counties. The registers were created by Nottingham lawyer William Phillimore Watts Stiff. William founded the publishing company Phillimore & Co. Ltd in 1897 and published works related to British family history. Later in life, William transcribed and printed parish marriage registers for over a thousand parishes and continued to work in family history until his death in 1914.

The registers contain approximately 2.3 million names and cover over 1,500 English parishes. Each record consists of a PDF image of the original Phillimore marriage register that will list the names of the married couple and the date of their marriage. In a number of registers, entries will also include the individuals’ residences and state whether the couple was married by banns or license.

Scotland Registers & Records

Book Reviews: Jeff Bowen, Transcriptionist Extraordinaire

The following was written by Book Review Editor Bobbi King:

This article highlights the prodigious work of Jeff Bowen.

JeffBowen-1Western Navajo Reservation
Navajo, Hopi and Paiute 1933 Census with Birth and Death Rolls 1925-1933
Transcribed by Jeff Bowen
Published by Genealogical Publishing Co., 2015. 171 pages.

This is a follow-up volume to Mr. Bowen’s previously-published 1932 census transcriptions of the Navajo, Hopi, and Paiute Native Americans accompanied by transcriptions of the birth and death rolls.

A Sneak Peek Inside the MyHeritage HQ

MyHeritageHQThe MyHeritage Blog has an article that provides a quick peek at the company’s business offices. MyHeritage began in Founder and CEO Gilad Japhet’s living room in Bnei Atarot, a village founded by the Templers. Then for several years the company’s headquarters were located in a Templer family estate and farmhouse in the same village. This picturesque setting is where the company grew from 2 to 70 employees.

The company now has three offices in Israel; the main office in Or Yehuda, and two others in Tel Aviv. MyHeritage also has two offices in the US; one in Lehi, Utah, and another in Burbank, California, home of the Geni team.

Announcing Branches FREE for iPad

Sherwood Electronics Laboratories Inc. has announced the release of a new “Viewer that has a Unique Google Earth™-like Graphical Interface for Viewing Genealogy and Family History Data from the FamilySearch™ Website.” Here is the announcement:

BranchesFREEforiPadSherwood Electronics Laboratories, Inc. announces the release of Branches FREE for iPad, an innovative new viewer specifically designed to view family trees and data downloaded from the FamilySearch™ website.

Branches FREE for iPad is an entry level app for downloading family trees from FamilySearch™ through the free FamilySearch™ service.

It allows you to download your own tree or that of any deceased person back as many generations as you like.

U.S. National Archives has Recently Launched a History Hub

The National Archives and Records Administration has recently launched a FREE History Hub, an online research support community, where members of the public can ask questions about research at NARA. The new site is a pilot for the next 6 months, and hopefully will be fully funded after that time. However, there is no guarantee of that.

There’s a dedicated Genealogy section in the History Hub. To access it, go to and register for an account, and then you can contribute in any way that you’d like!

Findmypast Offers the 1939 Register and a Free Weekend

The following announcement was written by the folks at Findmypast:

Findmypast Announces Free Weekend 22-25 January 2016

  • Findmypast announces free access to historical records this weekend
  • Billions of records available to everyone to search for free
  • Local subscribers granted World access, and World subscribers enjoy 3 days added to their subscription

Findmypast-300x250-animatedLondon, UK, 20th January 2016 – Findmypast has announced that this weekend, they will be opening up their archives and giving unlimited free access to billions of records and newspaper pages from all over the world. From 7am on Friday, January 22nd to 7am on Monday, January 25th (EST), absolutely everyone will have access to Findmypast’s comprehensive collections of historical records and innovative research tools, including:

Federation of Genealogical Societies Announces $2 Million Dollar Mark Surpassed for Preserve the Pensions Project

The following announcement was written by the Federation of Genealogical Societies:

Significant Milestone Reached in Landmark Project Thanks to Donors

preserve_the_pensionsJanuary 19, 2016 – Austin, TX. The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) announces the $2 million dollar mark has been surpassed in 2015 with the support of donors in the fundraising efforts to digitize the 7.2 million pension images for the 180,000 pensioners of the War of 1812 in the Preserve the Pensions project.

This is a landmark project. It marks the first time the genealogical community has come together to raise such a significant amount of money to preserve priceless documents. When completed, this project will save tax payers $3.45 million dollars. FGS’ previous successful efforts to index the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System with the help of volunteers produced a $6.3 million dollar tax savings. Hence, these two projects will result in nearly a $10 million dollar savings to tax payers.

2016 Edition of the BCG Application Guide is now Available

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

BCG today released a 2016 edition of the BCG Application Guide. The new guide implements two changes for initial applicants approved by the board last May. Two clarifications address common problems in new portfolios.

The most significant change will see applicants evaluated on their genealogically related educational activities. Initial applicants have long been asked to describe the activities that helped them prepare for certification but only now will this information be evaluated. The new practice is meant to stress the importance of development activities as these have been statistically shown to increase an applicant’s chances of attaining certification.

Findmypast and sister site Mocavo Come Together

Today’s announcement strikes me as an excellent marriage. Formerly known as DC Thomson Family History, Findmypast is a British-owned provider of more than a billion records of interest to genealogists. The company has 18 million registered users across its family of online brands, which includes Lives of the First World War, The British Newspaper Archive and Genes Reunited, amongst others.

Mocavo is a web site that provides the most effective genealogy search engine available today. It works in a similar fashion as other search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, and others) with the exception that Mocavo indexes only genealogy web sites and does so with extra software tools not available in the other search engines. As a result, it is very effective at finding historical information about people.

New Illinois State Genealogical Society Genealogy ‘Newsletter’ is now Online

Illinois_State_SocietyThe Illinois State Genealogical Society’s latest “Newsletter” (January/February 2016) and previous issues also are now available free on the ISGS website at Most genealogists will find this publication interesting — even those without Illinois ancestors.

Exact Location of Hangings of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 has been Identified

salemwitchtrialhangingsProctor’s Ledge has now been identified as the exact location of the gallows used to execute 19 innocent people during the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. The site was confirmed as the hanging site last week by the Gallows Hill Project, a group of seven scholars who spent the past five years pinning down the exact spot. The rocky, wooded area has grabbed attention from not only visitors who want to grab a picture, but news crews and even direct descendants of some of the victims.

(+) Why We All Need to Ignore Our Old Ideas about Filing Systems

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

Man_with_filing_cabinetIn various discussions and email exchanges, I have found that many genealogists do not understand the power and ease of use available in modern computerized filing systems. This article is an attempt to clear some of the mysteries.

Most of us are old enough that we were trained to organize paper files in folders and filing cabinet drawers in some hierarchical manner. For filing papers about people, we were taught to perhaps file first by surname, and then by first and middle names. For locations, we were taught to file first by country, then by state or province, then perhaps by county, then by city or town, and lastly perhaps by street address. And so on and so on. Those systems have always worked well with paper-based files, and many of us tend to use the same thought process when creating computer files. However, hierarchical filing methods often are not the best method possible with today’s technology. For instance, if you have a filing cabinet for genealogy materials, and you file a note about a particular person under the surname of “Axelrod,” where do you file information about the Axelrod family’s homestead in Nebraska so that you can find it again when searching for all your Nebraska ancestors?

Think about Google for a minute. The search engine sorts, files, and organizes hundreds of millions of web pages. Does Google organize them by names or by locations of by any other hierarchical method? No!

New Records Available to Search this Findmypast Friday

The following was written by the folks at Findmypast:

This week’s Findmypast Friday marks the release of over 2.3 million UK records and newspaper articles. The latest additions include a collection of pollbooks and directories from 1830’s England, a register of London apprentices and significant updates to our collection of historic British newspapers.

England, Pollbooks and Directories 1830-1837

England, Pollbooks and Directories, 1830-1837, contains over 62,000 records. Each record includes both a transcript and an image of the original source material. The information recorded may vary depending on the source and date, although most will include your ancestor’s name, details of the event that was being recorded and were it was recorded. In many cases, Pollbooks will also include details of their residence and occupation, as well as the names of eligible voters who did not vote. In this collection, you will also find The Quaker Annual Monitor. The Monitor is a list of all the British Quakers who died within the last twelve months. For many of the individuals listed, obituaries with short biographies including causes of death were printed. In some cases, the obituary or memorial is several pages long and details the individual’s dedication to the faith. The Monitor is an excellent source for family historians as the obituaries may include the names of other relatives.

Surrey, Southwark, Newington Apprentice Register 1891


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