Plus Edition Article

(+) How to Sell Tickets Online for Your Society’s Events

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

I publish a lot of notices of future genealogy-related meetings, conferences, seminars, and such events. One thing that always amuses me is a statement in many of those notices similar to the following:

“You can download the registration form on our web site. Please fill it out, put it in an envelope, enclose a check, and mail it to us.”

Such a statement is so 1980s! In today’s day and age, it is easier and safer to accept payment online than it is to manually handle checks. Handling orders online also allows you to receive the registration forms instantly and have the funds deposited to the society’s bank account, all without a trip to the bank or even to the post office. The price for doing this is either free or a small percentage of the admission fees. It is also safer and more secure than sending checks in the mail and even safer than handling the checks after receipt.

(+) How To Self Publish Your Own Printed Book or eBook

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

Many genealogists dream of publishing the results of their research efforts. Whether it is to be a collection of childhood memories of time spent with grandparents or a scholarly study of all the descendants of a family’s immigrant ancestor, publishing books is still the best way to distribute information amongst relatives as well as to preserve the information for future generations.

Publishing most genealogy books has always been done by the use of “vanity press” publishers. A vanity press, vanity publisher, or subsidy publisher is a publishing house in which authors pay to have their books published. Unlike mainstream publishers, a “vanity press” publisher requires the author to pay in advance to have the book published. The price usually includes publishing some predetermined number of books. In many cases, the author takes immediate delivery of all the books, stores them, and then sells the individual books as best he or she can. The vanity press publisher may or may not also make the books available for ordering in the company’s catalog.

(+) Which Protects Better: Cloud Storage or Local Backups?

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

I have written often about the need to make frequent backups in order to protect your valuable information. After reading a message from a newsletter reader, I decided to write one more article about the topic to clear up one possible misconception.

The email message asked:

“You tell us to back up our data often, to many places, in case of physical disaster. But what happens if you get a virus that infects your computer, in spite of having virus protection. Do all the copies then have the virus also? What is the solution for that?”

First, let’s define some terminology. A file copy program is not a true backup program.

(+) 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.

(+) 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.

(+) Calendars Explained

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

What could be simpler than a calendar? The printed one from the local real estate office shows twelve months, each with 28 to 31 days. Simple, right?

Well, it hasn’t always been so simple. After all, I keep stumbling upon genealogy records that are logged with “double dates.” That is, a birth record might state “22 February 1732/3.” Which was it: 1732 or 1733? Well, it actually was both. Just to make things more complex, most of our ancestors didn’t know what day it was. You see, most people in the early 1700s and earlier were illiterate. They couldn’t read a book, much less a calendar. Most people did not know what day it was or even how old they were. Very few remembered their own birthdays.

(+) Don’t Print This Article!

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

Consider the environment. Do you really need to print out this article?

I occasionally receive e-mail messages from newsletter readers asking various questions about how to print the newsletter. I also frequently hear comments at genealogy conferences and elsewhere from family historians stating, “I printed it out to save it and…” or similar words.

I have one question: Why?

(+) Convert 35mm Slides to Digital

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

I have hundreds of 35-millimeter slides stored in boxes. They might as well be shoeboxes although the boxes I use are a bit different size. I collected them over the past few decades and must admit I never looked at any of them again until recently. I find that storing slides or any photos or home movies in any inconvenient location means that they are rarely viewed again. Why did you or someone else spend all the money for cameras, film, and processing if no one ever looks at the results?

I will suggest the solution is to digitize the films and slides. Once digitized, the images are easy to view at any time and very easy to share with others. Your children, grandchildren, cousins, and other relatives might like to receive digital copies of pictures taken long ago. With today’s technology, that is easy to do.

(+) Forget Smart Watches. Introducing the SmartRing!

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

Five days ago, I published a Plus Edition article entitled, (+) Carry Your Genealogy Database in Your Wristwatch at http://eogn.com/wp/?p=32323. I described the miniaturization of computing devices, from mainframe computers of the 1960s that filled one or more rooms, to desktop personal computers, to laptops, to handheld tablets, and to today’s “smartphones” that are really powerful computers with built-in cell phones included. I described the use of a new high-tech wristwatch that is more powerful than the first iPhone. Now, only five days later, I found an article that proves the electronic devices are shrinking even further.

(+) One Laptop, Two Computer Screens

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

I must admit I have become accustomed to having two computer screens attached to my one computer at home. I have long used two 27-inch monitors connected to my one desktop computer. However, there is a problem when traveling: the tiny, single 11-inch screen on my laptop computer seems very constraining after using two side-by-side 27-inch monitors at home!

With both monitors on my desk at home, side by side, I can operate them as separate monitors or even create the illusion of one giant screen. I can open a website on one screen and a word processor on the other, then copy and paste from one screen to another. I can even open a spreadsheet and stretch it across the full width of both screens if I want. Why can’t I do that when in a hotel room? After watching my friend Kevin Grooms do exactly that, I was hooked. I started looking at portable external monitors.

Click on the above image to view a larger version.

More often than not, I have my favorite word processing program displayed on one screen while the second screen displays incoming email messages, a chat window, perhaps the local weather report, and whatever else I wish to monitor while seated at the computer. One of my friends displays the latest stock market quotes all day long on a second screen while he works at his office. You probably can find multiple uses of your own for two or even three monitors.

(+) Carry Your Genealogy Database in Your Wristwatch

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

A recent article by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, published in the ZDnet web site (at http://goo.gl/kbp7Vi), got me thinking about genealogy data. Kingsley-Hughes described Samsung’s new Galaxy Gear S smartwatch, and he compared it to the first iPhone that was released only seven years ago. He points out that many of the smartphone apps that a lot of us now use should work well if converted by programmers to operate on the new smartwatch. Can’t we say the same about genealogy apps? Maybe. Obviously, programmers would have to port the software over to the new watches, but the technology already exists to run and display mobile apps that many of us already use.

Eight years ago, before the invention of smartphones and before the popularity of tablet computers, genealogists were limited to keeping their databases in desktop and laptop computers. A few tablet computers existed in those days but never became popular until Apple released the first iPad. Taking your data with you seven years ago meant carrying a 5- or 6-pound computer although lighter laptop computers have since become popular.

(+) What is a Genogram and Why Should I Create One?

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

Almost all genealogists are familiar with pedigree charts. These are basic charts for recording parents, grandparents, and earlier generations for an individual. Pedigree charts are used to show bloodlines and are limited to displaying only ancestors. Pedigree charts do not display siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles or other extended relatives. Here is an example of a pedigree chart:

Click on the above to view a larger image.

Pedigree charts have long been a standard tool used by genealogists and others. They are easy to understand and clearly display a lot of information in a small amount of space. However, pedigree charts are limited in what they can display, normally showing only the name of each individual and the places and dates of birth, marriage, and death. They do not show relationships of siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, or other extended relatives. They also do not display the dynamics of a family over multiple generations.

Medical professionals also have a need to show family relationships in order to understand inherited medical conditions. The medical community often needs to collect and display information about patterns of mental and physical illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder, cancer, substance abuse, and other diseases that seem to run in families. Pedigree charts are ineffective for such uses.

(+) How to Preserve Water-Soaked Books and Papers in an Emergency

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

Hurricane season is upon us and we should learn from the experiences of past storms. The 2012 “superstorm” Sandy in the northeastern United States and other floods from around the world taught all of us again that paper is a very fragile storage medium for old records. However, paper is also the most common storage method in use today. The news reports from Sandy told of numerous libraries, public records offices, and more that had water in their offices. In some cases, the water reached records that should be saved for centuries. Many families also lost family documents, old photos, and even examples of their children’s art work. Unfortunately, water-soaked paper documents will only last for a few days unless treated immediately.

For the best-known loss of records by water damage, ask the U.S. Census Bureau about water-soaked documents. Most U.S. genealogists have been told that the 1890 census records was “destroyed by fire” in 1921. In fact, the fire damaged only a small percentage of the records. Far more damage was caused by the firehoses of the fire department called in to battle the blaze. Most of the damage was caused by water being poured onto the fire, water that soon seeped into millions of otherwise undamaged records. The fire did not go above the basement but water poured into the upper floors drained into the basement, extinguishing the fire. Unfortunately, in the process of water draining through the upper floors, a high percentage of the otherwise undamaged documents became soaked with water.

(+) My Method of Filing Digital Images and Documents

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

This is an updated version of an article I published last year. Someone asked about the same topic today, and when I looked at the earlier article, I found that much of the information has since changed. I updated the article and decided to publish it again today.

Here is a copy of the message I received (slightly edited):

I’m a newcomer to genealogy and I’d like to know your suggested file naming convention for downloaded census images that pertain to more than one person. I’d like to settle on a format before my tree gets too big. I save the FamilySearch or Ancestry web page as a PDF for each person listed in the census record and a single image of the census. That way I have a “transcribed” reference for each person as well as the image. For example:
JOHNSON Daniel Joseph Family 1940 US Federal Census.jpg
JOHNSON Daniel Joseph (1940 US Federal Census).pdf
JOHNSON Ethel Blanche (1940 US Federal Census).pdf
JOHNSON Joseph Delone (1940 US Federal Census).pdf

Your thoughts and suggestions would be appreciated.

I did answer him in email but thought I would also share my answer here in case others might have the same questions.

(+) The True Expense of Genealogy Research

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

Image copyright by CartoonStock.com. All rights reserved.

Today’s story about the closing of the Hiram Whittington Arkansas Local History and Genealogy Room in the Garland County Library in Hot Springs, Arkansas, is sad news. (See http://wp.me/p5Z3-Ji for details.) However, in this case, I have to agree with Library Director John Wells, who is quoted in the article. If a valuable resource at a taxpayer-supported public library is being used less and less, managers of that library need to re-evaluate where the funds are being spent. Libraries are under constant financial pressure. They obviously need to spend their meager budgets in ways to obtain the “most bang for the buck.”

In fact, John Wells is correct. Anyone with a computer can now obtain more genealogy information online that what any public library in a town or a small city can provide. The online information is available quickly and conveniently, is usually faster to search, and (in many cases) is available for less money. In fact, it is often cheaper to search online than it is to travel to a repository to search.

Perhaps the phrase “less money” requires some clarification.

A Quick Note for Plus Edition Subscribers

If you are a Plus Edition subscriber, you probably already know I normally send the weekly Plus Edition newsletter to you by email on Sunday evenings. However, this week I will be a bit busy. On Sunday, I will fly from Glasgow, Scotland, to London, England, sit on the ground for a few hours, then take another flight from London to the United States. That, along with a five-hour time zone change, should result in one tired traveler by the time I arrive home. I suspect that once my head hits my own pillow, I will soon be asleep.

The Plus Edition newsletter will be sent on Monday or Tuesday. Thank you for your patience.

 

(+) Archival Quality Ink and Paper

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

I often hear genealogists make states similar to this: “I don’t trust digital media for long-term storage so I am going to use paper and ink to make sure my data lasts for a long, long time.”

Indeed, there is a lot of truth to that sentiment. I can point out a few problems, such as storing audio or video recordings, but the idea of storing information on paper certainly has a lot of appeal to genealogists, historians, and others who are concerned with long-term preservation. Paper documents are simple, easy to produce, and last a long time. Or do they?

(+) Turn Vacations into Genealogy Fact-Finding Trips

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

This is an update to an article I published two years ago. Since I am in a hotel room in Scotland right now, it seems like a good time to add several new ideas to the original article.

“If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium.”

Where will you go on your next vacation trip? A trip to New England? Washington, D.C.? How about to the beach? Or how about a European vacation? How about taking a trip to the town where your grandparents grew up or a visit to the country of your ancestors? Wouldn’t you like to actually walk the same streets as your great-great grandfather or see the home where your grandmother was born? This is something you probably want to put on your bucket list.

A trip back to the home town or to “the old country” can be an immensely satisfying experience. Those who prepare for the trip usually report they have great memories and photographs of the experience.

(+) Genealogy Myths: Real, Fool’s Gold, or Both?

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

Family stories are a wonderful thing. They often give you insights into the lives of your ancestors. However, beware! Not all family stories are true. Many such stories are fictional. Yet, even the stories that are either entirely or part fiction may contain clues to facts. Good genealogical practice requires that we admit the fiction. But the next step the genealogist takes separates art from science. Before we discard these stories altogether, we need to mine them for nuggets of truth. Let’s look at a few of the more common “family legends” to see which ones you can mine for real gold.

Myth #1: Our name was changed at Ellis Island.

Fact: No evidence whatsoever exists to suggest this ever occurred. In fact, Ellis Island had rigid documentation requirements.

(+) A Comparison Chart of Genealogy Software for Windows

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

Genealogy Software for Windows Comparison

A side-by-side comparison of all programs reviewed to date: RootsMagic and Legacy Family Tree

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