Plus Edition Article

(+) Use Boolean Logic to Improve Your Online Search Results

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

In 1854 self-educated English mathematician George Boole published a paper that eventually resulted in 21st century genealogists finding more information about their ancestors. Boole published The Laws of Thought that illustrated new ways of looking at mathematical data.

NOTE: You can read The Laws of Thought at https://archive.org/details/aninvestigationo15114gut. However, you won’t find any mention of computers or of searching on Google in this 1854 publication!

Boolean algebra emerged in the 1860s and went on to become a standard method of analyzing all sorts of data. In the last half of the twentieth century, computer scientists and programmers found many applications for Boolean logic. Now Google and many other search engines and quite a few genealogy sites also use Boolean logic extensively. If you understand a few of the simpler Boolean search methods, you can greatly increase the probability of finding the information you seek.

(+) How to Become an Accredited Genealogist

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

In this newsletter you frequently see letters appended after the names of individuals, such as CG, CGL or AG. This means that the individual has received a genealogy accreditation of some level. This week I thought I would describe the various certifications and tell why perhaps you might be interested in obtaining accreditation.

Accreditation is valuable in many fields. We have CPA ratings for accountants and similar ratings for many other professions. When you hire an accountant, a lawyer, a financial planner, a surgeon, or almost any other professional, you want some assurance that he or she has passed an examination by a certifying board which ensures that its members measure up to proper standards. The same is true in genealogy: you want to hire someone who is qualified and has passed a rigorous examination that results in certification that the person is a certified expert in his or her field.

(+) How to Use the GPS You May Already Own but Didn’t Know You Had

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

GPS (Global Positioning System) devices are very useful tools for genealogists. These devices can be used to find locations easily and are often accurate plus or minus ten feet or so. Genealogists typically use GPS receivers to find or to document cemetery tombstone locations as well as to find old homesteads, courthouses, libraries, or even fast-food restaurants when traveling on research trips.

I have frequently used the U.S. Government’s Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) at http://geonames.usgs.gov/pls/gnispublic/ to locate old cemeteries, even small ones of only a dozen graves or even less. The information provided in the GNIS includes the exact latitude and longitude of each named feature, including cemeteries. GNIS provides the exact location of the entrance to each cemetery although not the location of individual tombstones within the cemetery. The GNIS data is “read only.” That is, you read the information in a web browser and then manually copy the displayed latitude and longitude into a GPS receiver of your choice. More sophisticated and easier-to-use systems are now available.

(+) Rescue Old Photos and Documents: Make a Humidification Chamber

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

Old documents, newspapers, and photographs are often improperly stored. They may have been rolled or folded for years. By the time that you, the family historian, find these items and wish to view them, the documents may be damaged if forced open. Old paper, especially that manufactured after 1885, becomes brittle with age. This will be doubly true if the document has been stored in a very low-humidity environment, such as an attic. Old or fragile items may even crack and crumble if not handled properly.

The primary problem is that old paper and photographs that have not been stored properly will become dried out over the years. Dryness creates brittleness, which then causes damage when the item is not handled properly. Have you ever seen someone tenderly – but wrongly – try to uncurl an old photo or unfold an old news clipping, only to see it crumble in their hands? It’s a sad sight.

Do not attempt to open brittle documents!

(+) How to Use Two Monitors on One Laptop Computer and Why You Might Want To

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

I have been using two 27-inch monitors on my desktop computers for years. Using two monitors at once is surprisingly easy to do. I love the convenience of my email program, a web browser, iTunes, and RSS newsreader displayed on the monitor to the left side of my desk while my word processor and my favorite genealogy programs are running in separate windows on the monitor to the right. Doing so is a time saver, and I believe it improves productivity significantly. I wrote about the use of two monitors in a Plus Edition article earlier this year at http://eogn.com/wp/?p=34734.

A picture taken in my hotel room a few minutes ago.

When traveling, I always have felt constrained by being limited to one small screen on the laptop computer. It certainly would be nice to also use two monitors at once on the laptop, especially as I already do so on the desktop at home. A few months ago, I found an easy, lightweight, and not very expensive solution: purchase a second monitor designed only for laptop use. Best of all, it is very is easily packed; it easily fits into any laptop bag or backpack designed for carrying a 16-inch computer, along with the laptop computer itself. My backpack has a pocket for carrying a laptop, and I find I can easily slide both the laptop computer and the external monitor into the one pocket.

(+) Finding Unmarked Graves with Ground Penetrating Radar

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

One of the vexing problems with old cemeteries and historical sites is the difficulty of finding the locations of unmarked graves. In many cases, the desire is to locate the graves so that they may be identified and left undisturbed by new construction. To be sure, the locations may have been marked at one time with wooden or even stone markers. However, the ravages of time, weather, animals, vandals, and acid rain over the years may have removed all traces of those markers. Locating unmarked graves is also vitally important in solving murder cases.

Historically, the only method of finding unmarked graves has been to start digging – not a very practical solution. However, modern technology now allows cemetery associations, historical societies, family societies, genealogists, archaeologists, police departments, and others to identify the locations of buried bodies and other objects with no digging required.

(+) One Week with the Apple Watch

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

Last week I wrote about the Apple Watch that I had just received. That article is available at http://goo.gl/pFI98u. Now that I have been using the Apple Watch for the past seven days, I thought I should write an update.

The new watch undoubtedly is Apple’s most personal product ever. As such, opinions about it will be highly subjective. Some people love the idea of a powerful communications device on the wrist while others will hate it. I suspect the average person is ambivalent.

(+) Tracing the History of Your House

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

Perhaps you have spent a lot of effort studying your family’s history. However, have you ever considered studying the history of the family’s home – either the home in which you live or perhaps the ancestral home in which your parents or grandparents lived? To be sure, many families may have lived in the same house, sharing the joys and tragedies of family life throughout the years. Are you curious who they were and perhaps what their experiences were? Who built your house? When was it built, and by whom? What did it cost? Who were the previous owners and residents? What did the interior and exterior originally look like? Those questions can usually be answered by a bit of investigation. In fact, you can create a social genealogy: facts about the owners and residents of the house.

House research is quite similar to genealogy research, often looking at the same records: old maps, deeds, and books. Through research, you can discover who lived in your home and probably what they did for a living. In short, you become a house detective.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 9,916 other followers