State of Rhode Island Proposal to Allow Wider Access to Death Certificates

The Rhode Island House of representatives is considering a bill to allow wider access to death certificates than what is allowed by present legislation. In short, bill H 5863 proposes to allow title examiners, attorneys, and members of genealogical societies to examine death certificates. No fees would be charged for searching or viewing said records.

The proposal does contain exceptions for such items as out-of-wedlock births. However, it specifically does allow “members of legally incorporated genealogical societies in the conduct of their official duties as defined in regulations shall have any access to, or be permitted to, examine the original or any copy of the birth certificate or birth record, of any person in the custody of any registrar of vital records or of the state department of health.”

Free Genealogy Advisory Service in the National Library of Ireland 2015

The following announcement was written by the folks at Eneclann and at the Ancestor Network:

Eneclann and Ancestor Network achieve a ‘Texas Hat-trick’

Eneclann and Ancestor Network  are delighted to announce their return to the Genealogy Service in The National Library  from Wednesday, 18th of March 2015 for a fourth year running.

Our panel of genealogists will work alongside the Library’s own dedicated staff members – Fran Carroll and Christina McDonnell – to deliver the service.

IGRS Launches Enhanced ‘Irish Genealogist Database’ on its Website

The following announcement was written by the Irish Genealogical Research Society (IGRS):

The GRS – “The Great Granddaddy of all Irish Family History Societies” – announces the launch of an exciting enhancement to its ‘Irish Genealogist Database’.

The Irish Genealogist (TIG) has been published annually since 1937 and comprises thousands of articles relating to Irish genealogy, noting details on family histories, pedigrees, leases, memorial inscriptions, deeds, newspaper extracts and transcripts of parish registers, voters lists, census substitutes, wills, letters, family bibles, rentals and militia & army rolls. The list is endless!

Today is Pi Day

March 14, 2015 can be written by North Americans as 3.14.15. That is also the digits used to represent the Pi: 3.1415. (Most other countries would write today as 14.3.15 so let’s just ignore everyone else, OK?)

In fact, today is the one and only Pi Day in the next 100 years that will actually reflect the first five numbers in everyone’s favorite irrational number, pi, which is 3.1415. The next time pi lovers will see such an event will not be until March 14, 2115.

NGS Publication Genealogy and the Law – Now Available on Kindle

The following announcement was written by the folks at the (U.S.) National Genealogical Society:

Arlington, VA, 12 March 2015—Genealogy and the Law: A Guide to Legal Sources for the Family Historian by Kay Haviland Freilich, CGSM, CGLSM, FNGS and William B. Freilich, Esq., is now available as a Kindle eBook. First published by the National Genealogical Society (NGS) as a softcover book on 1 September 2014, Genealogy and the Law guides readers through the variety of legal sources that genealogists need to explain many of the events that occurred in their ancestors’ lives. Land ownership, estate administration, and taxation are a few of the many aspects of life that cannot be fully understood without knowledge of the law in effect at the time. Will Be Closing Down

Findmypast will soon close down its subsidiary web site. As explained at

All of the records previously available at are now available right here at Findmypast. Explore over two billion records including millions of parish records, wills, probate and court records. What’s more, you can view the Oxfordshire Wills Index, 1516-1857, and three other record sets, completely free!

FamilySearch Adds More Than 2.2 Million Indexed Records and Images to Australia, Philippines, Slovakia, Ukraine, the United States, and Zimbabwe

The following announcement is from FamilySearch:

FamilySearch adds more than 2.2 million indexed records and images to Australia, Philippines, Slovakia, Ukraine, the United States, and Zimbabwe. Notable collection updates include the 133,189 indexed records from the Zimbabwe, Death notices, 1904–1976 collection; the 78,244 images from the US, Tennessee, Freedmen’s Bureau Field Office Records, 1865–1872 collection; and the 62,154 images from theUkraine, Zaporizhia Poll Tax Census (Revision Lists), 1811–1858 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

Another Winter in New England: 1888

Boston in 1888 – Click on the Above image to view a larger version.

I suspect most U.S. residents have heard about the severe weather this winter in the northeastern United States. Indeed, a huge amount of snow has fallen in the area and temperatures have been below average as well. However, the area is known for harsh winter weather. This year’s weather, as bad as it has been, is not a record breaker.

For instance, 127 years ago today, on March 11, 1888, one of the most destructive blizzards ever to strike the East Coast raged for 36 hours. Called “the White Hurricane,” the storm produced a combination of blinding snow, deep drifts, driving wind, and severe cold. Monster waves battered the coastline.

Massachusetts Proposed Legislation will Help Preserve Polish Heritage in the State

A bill introduced into the House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts proposes establishment of a Pioneer Valley Polish heritage institute at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

NOTE: The Pioneer Valley is another name for the Connecticut River Valley in the western part of the state. It was the final destination for many nineteenth and twentieth century European immigrants, especially those from Poland.

The bill has been referred to the committee on Higher Education. The legislative bill states, (in part):

An Act relative to preserving Polish heritage in the Pioneer Valley.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

The Drinking Habits of our Early New England Ancestors

The image has been often been painted of early new England Puritans and other religious citizens of the day as being strict and never having any fun. I was brought up in New England and always believed that my many Puritan ancestors would never touch liquor. A new exhibit at the US National Archives claims that I was mistaken.

Here are some of the facts cited:

Early Americans even took a healthful dram for breakfast, whiskey was a typical lunchtime tipple, ale accompanied supper and the day ended with a nightcap. Continuous imbibing clearly built up a tolerance as most Americans in 1790 consumed an average 5.8 gallons of pure alcohol a year, 7.1 gallons in 1830, but only 2.3 gallons of pure alcohol a year today.

Samuel Adams was a partner in his father’s malt house and Thomas Jefferson was famed for importing European wines.

The Limitations of Familial DNA Searching

The New Orleans Advocate has published an interesting article about the advantages and the limitations of familial DNA searching. I admit I was not familiar with that phrase until I read the article by Jim Mustian. He writes, “Familial searching differs from traditional DNA testing, a mainstream tool used to identify criminals. In familial searching, the number of partial matches — in which genetic profiles share several common “alleles,” or variant forms of genes — can be overwhelming.”

The process is controversial and does not provide positive identification of the individual in question. However, it apparently can identify close family members.

National Genealogical Society Announces Live Streaming Broadcast — 2015 Family History Conference (St. Charles, Missouri 13–16 May 2015)

The following announcement was written by the (U.S.) National Genealogical Society:

Arlington, VA, 9 March 2015 —The National Genealogical Society (NGS) announces the live streaming of ten lectures from its 2015 Family History Conference, which will be held 13‒16 May 2015, in St. Charles, Missouri. NGS members and others across the United States and overseas, who are unable to attend the conference in person, are invited to sign up for these live streaming lectures. Details of the live streaming program can be found on the NGS Conference website at

NGS has selected some of the most popular topics and nationally known speakers for the two featured tracks. Registrants for live streaming can sign up for either track or the bundled package that includes both tracks.

How to Print to PDF

A newsletter reader asked today, “How can I save an image on a web site, such as a census page image, as a PDF file?” I decided to answer here in the newsletter in case someone else has the same question.

The short answer is, “there are several methods of saving images to PDF files.” However, I will expand on that with longer answers below. First, you need to save the image to your computer’s hard drive in almost any format. With most web pages, that means saving it in the same format that is used on the web site. Then you need to convert it to PDF. In many programs, that is called “print as PDF.”

Paperspace: Your Computer in the Cloud

Would you like to obtain a fancy new, powerful computer with all the latest bells and whistles and even including nearly unlimited storage space? The new computer will run 3D CAD, rendering, simulations and photo and video editing as well as all of the other programs that are less demanding of computer power.

If so, would you be willing to pay $10 a month for it plus a broadband Internet connection? If so, read on. Now Supports Adoption is a very popular genealogy web site with many features. However, it is best known for showing how people are connected to one another. The term “connected” is not restricted to blood relatives. In’s definition, people are connected via marriage and by in-law relationships as well as by bloodlines. Now the company has added adoptees to show people as part of “the family.” I suspect most adoptees will agree with that definition.

Here is the announcement from

Today we are delighted to announce a long awaited new feature on Geni – adoption! We are releasing a great enhancement to the family tree that will allow you to show adoptive, foster and biological parent relationships when viewing your family on Geni.

HeritageQuest Online Now Provides Data from Ancestry

HeritageQuest Online (a division of ProQuest) has supplied genealogy information to libraries for years. Many public libraries subscribe to HeritageQuest Online and make the information available to patrons who visit the library. Some libraries also offer in-home access to library card holders through the library’s website.

HeritageQuest Online has now announced that the genealogy information within its service is being replaced with information from Indeed, I logged onto my local public library’s web site this morning, went to the HeritageQuest Online database, and performed a search for an elusive great-great-grandfather of mine. When a census page appeared on the screen it looked clearer than what I have seen before and it also had an Ancestry logo in the upper-left corner:

(+) 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)

Louisiana Digital Media Archive is Now Online

The Louisiana Digital Media Archive was launched last month with 1,600 digitized video clips from Louisiana Public Broadcasting’s and the Louisiana State Archives’ collections. An ongoing project and the first such partnership between a public television station and a state agency, the number of clips contained on the website will continue to grow.

Virginia Bill Seeks to Protect Digital Privacy After Death

The 2015 Virginia General Assembly has passed a bill that is now awaiting Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s signature. It is believed to be the first of its kind in the country. The Privacy Expectation Afterlife and Choices Act aims to assure that a person’s electronic footprint remains off-limits after death — even to his or her close kin — except under very strictly controlled circumstances.

The legislation gives the executor of an estate limited access to a deceased person’s online accounts for the purpose of settling the estate. But the contents of his or her correspondence can’t be disclosed except as provided in advance by a will or an agreement with an Internet service provider.

Colorado Springs Death Registers Index Now Available Online

The following announcement was written by the folks at the Pikes Peak Genealogical Society:

The Pikes Peak Genealogical Society has just completed indexing 19,187 individuals from the Colorado Springs, Colorado, Death Registers, 1872-1920, making them freely available in the online, searchable Pikes Peak NewsFinder index ( The indexing project was a collaboration between PPGS and the Pikes Peak Library District Special Collections.

Information contained in the Death Registers includes name, death date, age, color, marital status, sex, occupation, birth place, cause of death, complication, when and where contracted, place of death and burial location. Information extracted for the index are name, death date and burial location, however a link provides access to a digital image of the original record and all its contents.


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