Plus Edition Article

(+) How to Obtain Information from the 1950 and Later Census Records

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

Anyone who has been researching U.S. ancestors for very long is probably familiar with the U.S. census records. The census records of 1940 and earlier are publicly available; anyone may view them. However, the census records of 1950 and later are sealed and not available to descendants until 72 years after the date of the census. Or are they?

Click on the above image of a 1950 census form to view a larger version

In fact, genealogists can obtain limited information from the 1950, 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000, and even the 2010 U.S. census records. To be sure, the information available is limited, and the fees are high. However, this service is valuable to some people.

(+) 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. 

A recent discussion in this newsletter’s comments at the end of my Downsizing and Going Paperless article at http://goo.gl/nafMPm has shown 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, these 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 family’s homestead in Nebraska so that you can find it again when searching for all your Nebraska ancestors?

(+) Communicating in the Cemeteries

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

Communicating in the cemeteries??? No, I am not referring to communications with or amongst the “long-term residents” of a cemetery. Instead, I’m writing about communications for visitors to a cemetery. Namely, the genealogists who visit a cemetery looking for information about deceased relatives.

I generally try to visit a cemetery with a friend or two. We mentally divide the cemetery into sections, and then each person searches through his or her section alone. The other friends are doing the same in a different section. I have done this many times and suspect that you have, too. Having two or more people involved increases the enjoyment of the search as well as the safety of everyone involved.

There are disadvantages, however. Upon discovering a particular tombstone, you may have to shout to the other person to make them aware of your discovery. In a large cemetery, the other person(s) may be some distance away, making shouting impractical.

(+) Does Your Genealogy Society Have a Blog?

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

Individuals, non-profits, and companies publish blogs for a variety of reasons. Some blogs are launched for marketing purposes; others are posted just for fun. However, I will suggest that all genealogy societies should have a blog. In fact, a genealogy society’s blog is generally much more effective than a static web page or printed and mailed newsletters.

Here are a few reasons for starting a society blog:

(+) Are You a Family Historian or a Name Collector?

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

I have a question. None of my living relatives knows the answer to this question. I have not found the answer to this question in any public records, nor have I been able to find the answer in cemeteries. I have read a few magazine articles and Internet pages about the topic, but none of them have directly answered the question.

The question is… “Why do we study genealogy?”

What makes anyone so curious about his or her family tree? What drives us to dedicate time, effort, and sometimes expenses to go find dead people?

What is it inside of us that makes us spend hours and hours cranking reels of microfilm, then we go home and report to our family members what a great day we had?

(+) Waymarking for Genealogists and Historians

This article might be subtitled “How to Have Fun with Your GPS Receiver and Simultaneously Provide a Public Service for Others.”

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

Beatrix Potter used Hill Top, a 17 century farm house as a holiday home in the village of Sawrey. Here she wrote and based many of her books. N 54° 21.097 W 002° 58.227

A new hobby has appeared that is a “natural fit” for genealogists, historians, and many others. It is called “waymarking.” It is fun, gives you a chance to get a little exercise, and also provides a great public service. If you join in the waymarking activities of today, you can help future genealogists and others for decades to come.

Waymarking is a game/project/obsession which uses GPS coordinates to mark locations of interest and share them with others. You can even post online digital pictures of the location for others to see.

(+) The Web as We Knew it is Dead. Long Live the Web!

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

Are you using the latest and most convenient technology available today? Or are you using an ancient Windowsaurus (an old personal computing device from the paleo-Vista era)?

The history of the Internet began with the development of electronic computers in the 1950s. The US Department of Defense awarded contracts as early as the 1960s for packet network systems, including the development of the ARPANET (which would become the first network to use the Internet Protocol). Numerous people worked to connect computers together in a collaborative manner. Early examples include ARPANET, Mark I at NPL in the UK, CYCLADES, Merit Network, Tymnet, and Telenet. All were developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s using a variety of communications protocols.

(+) 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.

(+) Preserving Documents Digitally

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

What do the following headlines from past issues of this newsletter have in common?

Hancock County, Georgia, Courthouse Burned (August 12, 2014)

Van Buren County, Tennessee Offices Destroyed by Fire, Birth, Marriage, Death, and Many Other Records Lost (January 9, 2015)

Fire in Major Russian Library Destroys One Million Historic Documents (February 1, 2015)

Home of the Marissa (Illinois) Historical and Genealogical Society Destroyed by Fire (January 31, 2015)

Roof Collapses at Iowa Genealogical Society Library (December 31, 2009)

(+) How to Use Two Monitors on One Computer

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

Would you like to double the size of your computer’s screen? There is a simple method of doing that: add a second monitor. It is surprisingly easy and cheap to do so. In fact, right now I have two monitors on the computer I am using to write this article.

Did you recently purchase a new, large monitor? If so, is your older, smaller monitor gathering dust? Put it to use! The process I will describe works with almost any monitor, large or small. The two (or three or four) monitors do not need to be the same size. You can use the old and the new monitor simultaneously on one computer.

(+) Create Your Own Private and Secure Cloud

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

Cloud-based file backup services are very popular these days, including such services as Dropbox, Google Drive, Apple iCloud, SpiderOak, Amazon Cloud Drive, Amazon S3, Amazon Glacier, Box, Cubby, iDrive, Microsoft OneDrive, and a number of others. All of these can serve as your “disk drive in the cloud,” offering file space at prices that are usually cheaper than purchasing external disk drive(s). Some of the services even offer a limited amount of storage space free of charge. In addition, these services are monitored and maintained in professionally-run data centers with frequent backups being made and (usually) with duplicate copies maintained at different sites as well.

The biggest drawback of using a cloud-based file storage service is that some computer users have phobias about entrusting their data—including personal data—to the servers of some company. Indeed, everyone needs to be concerned about privacy, even if you think you have nothing to hide. Privacy is even more important when it comes to cloud storage. You have to trust the service you use to keep your files safe and secure and away from prying eyes. Whether you use your cloud storage for music, tax returns, or backups, it’s still important to know that your files are safe from prying eyes. While all of the major file storage services use heavy-duty security techniques, some computer users still aren’t willing to trust anyone to store their files.

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