Posts By Dick Eastman

County Employee Charged with Theft from Cape May County (New Jersey) Historical and Genealogical Society

A Lindenwold woman has been charged theft in excess of $500 from the Cape May County Historical and Genealogical Society, according to a statement from Cape May County Prosecutor Robert L. Taylor.

Judith Davis, 52, a Cape May County employee was arrested and charged with third degree theft and second degree official misconduct criminal charges, the prosecutor said. The prosecutor’s office conducted an investigation recently into the finances of the Society.

Taylor said that people convicted of a second degree crime are subject to a term of imprisonment of 5 to 10 years in prison; and people convicted of a third degree crime are subject to a term of imprisonment of 3 to 5 years.

Hebridean Connections now Online

A website which brings Hebrideans, and their descendants, together has been launched to share the Isles’ culture, history and genealogy. Hebridean Connections combines local and family tradition, clan histories, church records and legends, that are matched to provide the real stories behind a family tree.

At the core of the database is the genealogy of the area, sometimes reaching back to the mid-15th century. Add to this a huge array of photographs, documents, stories, songs, recordings, maps, ephemera and background history, and the result is a collection that brings the history of these island communities to life.

(+) Update: Free or Nearly Free Cell Phone and Wi-Fi Telephone Calls

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

This is an update to a Plus Edition article I wrote in June. This article has nothing to do with genealogy. However, one of my personal interests has always been saving money. Last year I found a cell phone bargain that was almost too good to be true, so I decided to try it. I wrote about my experiences at the time.

The company that supplied the cell phone later changed their offerings a couple of times. Now I have switched to a new service from the same company at roughly one-fourth the price of what I was paying earlier. I also found it to be a great tool for placing free calls back home when traveling internationally, instead of paying the normal, outrageous international roaming charges often associated with using cell phones when traveling in foreign countries.

A Prediction That Didn’t Work Out

Predicting the future is always a questionable idea. Even the experts can get it wrong.

Television at the 1939 World’s Fair

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the world’s first television broadcast. RCA televised the 1939 World’s Fair in New York. Few people could afford TV sets at the time and many predicted that the new-fangled invention would never catch on.

The New York Times wrote, “The problem with television is that the people must sit and keep their eyes glued to a screen… the average American family hasn’t time for it.”

It strikes me that television indeed has become a success, despite the predictions from “experts.”

Multispectral Imaging Decodes a Burnt Magna Carta for First Time in 283 Years

Click on the above image to view a larger version.

More than 280 years after it was damaged in a fire, one of the original copies of the Magna Carta is legible again. There were four copies of the document created at the time. One, held by the British Library, was badly damaged in a fire in 1731. That copy can now be read on a computer screen after scientists used multispectral imaging to decipher the text of the “Burnt Magna Carta” without touching or further damaging the delicate parchment.

Multispectral imaging is a process that photographed the burnt parchment, using a variety of LED lights, spanning the spectrum from ultraviolet to infrared, outside the range of human vision. The various images each produces a few clues to the original ink. By combining the multiple images, text that is invisible to the naked eye is suddenly visible.

CNN’s Upcoming “Roots: Our Journeys Home”

Anderson Cooper of CNN News was recently featured on the PBS Series Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates. CNN apparently is taking advantage of the publicity generated to create the network’s own series of “family tree television.”

“Roots: Our Journeys Home” is a new series featuring Anthony Bourdain, Anderson Cooper and other familiar CNN faces. It kicks off Sunday, October 12, with a two-hour primetime special airing Monday, October 20 at 9 p.m. Eastern Time.

You can learn more on CNN at

My thanks to newsletter reader Joseph Martin for telling me about the new series.

(+) How to Make Money With Genealogy

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

You can make a career out of genealogy! How?

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people have turned their avocation into a vocation, either part-time or full-time. Indeed, there is a need for many people with skills and knowledge of family history research. Not only can you become a professional genealogist who researches family trees for other people, but there are many related positions available as well. In fact, for a few of these positions, you don’t even have to be a skilled genealogist.

I thought I would describe a number of the job positions that you can find that are related to family history research.

Hawaii State Archives Go Digital

Hawaii’s state archives are going digital. Soon, from the comfort of your home you can check records that include your genealogy and marriage licenses.

Paper state government records have been preserved at the archives for decades. However, for years now the government has gone paperless for many documents and that became a problem. A team is now working on how to store the digital data properly to make it available for everyone online.

35th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy

The following announcement was written by the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies:

Registration is now open at for the IAJGS 35th International Conference on Jewish Genealogy taking place at the Jerusalem Ramada 6-10 July 2015. The Conference is being held in cooperation with MyHeritage and with the support of individual, organizational and corporate sponsors presently including Harvey Krueger of New York and Yad Vashem. We will be updating our sponsors listing to include longstanding friends of Jewish Genealogy and a host of new friends.

The Ramada Hotel near the entrance to Jerusalem was chosen as our conference venue as it is the only Jerusalem Hotel able to host a conference of our size, has easy access to city and interurban transportation and is close to many Archives, Museums and cultural attractions. The Ramada has two wings – the Royal Hotel (3 stars) and the Ramada (4 stars) and reservations in the Conference block are available following your registration to the Conference. To get the Hotel Conference rate and special perks such as in-room free wi-fi you must register and reserve through

Discovery of an Inherited Heart and Gut Disease

You can blame your ancestors again! I recently wrote (at about an inherited disease called Oculopharyngeal Muscular Dystrophy (OPMD). It is passed down from generation to generation amongst French-Canadians and several other ethnic groups. The French-Canadians are unique in that the disease has been traced back to specific ancestors. Other ethnic groups that suffer from OPMD generally cannot identify the individuals in the family tree that passed the problem on hundreds of years ago.

Of course, many medical conditions are inherited and can be traced back to ancestral origins, even if not to specific individuals. One newly-discovered inherited medical condition can be traced back to Viking ancestors. Again, specific 17th-century ancestors who passed the problem on to their descendants have been identified.

Who Do You Think You Are? Watched by 4.6 Million Viewers on BBC

Here is another testimonial to the popularity of genealogy. This past week’s episode of the U.K. version of Who Do You Think You Are? was seen by 4.6 million viewers on BBC One, according to overnight figures.

The genealogy documentary show, which featured on Twiggy as the celebrity guest, earned 4.61m (21.2%) in the 9pm hour.

On the Road Again

As I often write in this newsletter, I will be traveling for a few days. I will be making presentations at the Western Michigan Genealogical Society’s Annual Seminar this weekend in Grand Rapids, Michigan. (See for the details of the conference.) I have attended a conference at the Western Michigan Genealogical Society before and enjoyed it. I suspect this year’s event will be the same.

I am already on the road. This article is being written in Baltimore’s BWI Airport where I am awaiting a connecting flight. I will return home very late Sunday evening.

Heredis for $10.99

Heredis is a popular genealogy program available for both Windows and Macintosh operating systems. The producing company has just announced a 3-day sale. Each program is available for just $10.99, instead of the normal price of US $59.99 for the Macintosh version or $39.99 for Windows.

The Plan to Digitize the Vast Holdings of the National Archives

Writing in his blog, David Ferriero, the Archivist of the United States, describes a simple, but audacious initiative: to digitize the analog records of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and to make them available for online public access. He writes:

“We have over 12 billion pages of records, so yes, this is our moon shot.

“To achieve this goal, we know we need to think in radically new ways about our processes, and we have started by creating a new digitization strategy. From the time we published our 2008 digitization strategy through today, we have scanned over 230 million objects. This is a huge number, but we have a long road ahead. Our new strategy pushes us further.”

Travelling the World by Digitizing Cemeteries

This sounds like a great project that will benefit many other genealogists. Michael Kerr and his wife, Sabrina Rowe, decided to leave the comfort of their home, and bicycle across Europe, stopping to photograph entire cemeteries on the way. All the photos are being shared with the community for free on MyHeritage and on

Michael and Sabrina have always wanted to travel, but they craved a deeper experience than just a short vacation that they were normally able to take once a year. In May 2011, they packed up and stored the contents of their Montreal apartment, and embarked on their journey. They planned to travel by bike to improve their fitness, and to enable them to see beautiful surroundings more easily.

An Automotive Family Reunion: Remember Your Father by Buying his old Car

Stock photo of a 1973 Corvette Convertible, not the one mentioned in the article. Click on the above picture to view a larger version.

Scott Bachman’s father passed away some time ago. When thinking of his father’s life and the times Scott spent with his father, some of his most cherished childhood memories were those of his late father’s beloved orange 1973 Corvette Stingray convertible. Scott was three years old when his father purchased the car. His father died while working on the car.

Years after the father’s death, Scott’s mother sold the car. Scott recently began searching for the car, and when he found it, he bought it.

FamilySearch Adds More Than 2.8 Million Indexed Records and Images to Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Ghana, Spain and the United States

The following announcement was written by the folks at FamilySearch:

FamilySearch Adds More Than 2.8 Million Indexed Records and Images to Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Ghana, Spain and the United States. Notable collection updates include the 1,113,932 indexed records and images from the BillionGraves Index, collection; the 990,332 images from the Colombia, Catholic Church Records, 1600-2012, collection; and the 243,908 images from the Ghana Census, 1984, 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

Searchable historic records are made available on through the help of thousands of volunteers from around the world. These volunteers transcribe (index) information from digital copies of handwritten records to make them easily searchable online. More volunteers are needed (particularly those who can read foreign languages) to keep pace with the large number of digital images being published online at Learn more about volunteering to help provide free access to the world’s historic genealogical records online at

Here is a Chance to Own a Piece of Computer History: an Original Apple 1 Computer

Click on the above picture to view a larger version.

The upcoming History of Science auction at Bonhams New York could provide fine opportunities for investments in rare collectibles, including a 1976 Apple 1 motherboard. According to Bonhams, around 200 Apple 1 computers were built and were the first pre-assembled personal computers to hit the market. This particular model is believed to be part of a first batch of 50 and was sold for US$666.66 at the time. It is said to be in working order and, complete with vintage keyboard, Sanyo monitor and owner’s manual, is expected to attract bids between US$300,000 and $500,000.

German-American Day Assistance from the Deutsche Arbeitsgemeinschaft genealogischer Verbände e. V. (DAGV)

This happened two days ago but I learned of it today. Anyone with German ancestry will probably be interested in this web genealogy resource year-round.

October 6 is German-American Day, commemorating the first German settlers in what later became the USA on October 6, 1683. 300 years later, in 1983, President Ronald Reagan declared this date to become the German-American Day in the U.S. The Deutsche Arbeitsgemeinschaft genealogischer Verbände e. V. (DAGV) has created a new section on the organization’s web site called German-American Genealogy.

Quoting from the web page:

Following the historical path and also in further development of the Declaration of Salt Lake City by the DAGV and the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) in the US on March 22, 2013 we as German umbrella organisation present this site for intensify the contact not only between the our two but between all genealogical societies and researchers on genealogy in both of our countries dealing with people that are interested in that special topic.

We are supporting contacts to make researching more easy on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean: for the one who wants to find his ancestors coming from Germany mostly by leaving the ports of Hamburg or Bremerhaven, for the other one who wants to find offspring of former immigrants to America in today. Both could lead to a vivid connection in present families.

FGS 2015 and RootsTech 2015 Together: How Will That Work?

The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) has held an annual conference for many years. RootsTech also has held annual conferences in the past few years. In a few months, the two organizations will do something unusual: they will each hold their own conferences in the same facility at the same time. The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) and RootsTech are teaming up to bring you that event in Salt Lake City, Utah, February 11–14 at the Salt Palace Convention Center (SPCC). Yes, two conferences, one location.

This radical change will provide two genealogy conferences happening at the same time under one roof while sharing some activities, sessions, and space. There will be only one exhibitors’ hall. How will all that work? Most of the answers are given at


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