This Newsletter is Sponsored by MyHeritage

Molasses Flood Victims’ Death Certificates Now Online

This is a follow-up to my earlier article, The Great Molasses Flood of January 15, 1919, available at:

The Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has announced a new online database: the Massachusetts Archives Digital Repository.

21 people, including two school children and one 65-year-old house wife were killed in the Great Molasses Flood in the North End. Now, their death certificates are online as part of a new online archives system. In addition to the death certificates from the 1919 molasses flood, the same database also contains records from a variety of state agencies and collections, such as: an index of Massachusetts casualties in World War II, records of the administration of Governor Deval Patrick, town plans from 1830 to 1974, and more are all searchable in the online database.

Free Genealogy Programs

A newsletter reader wrote recently and asked if there are any free genealogy programs available today. I thought perhaps others might have the same question so I will respond here in the newsletter where anyone interested can read the answer.

In fact, there are many free, full-featured genealogy programs available for Windows, Macintosh, Chromebooks, Linux, or even for installing in a web server you control. The various programs do vary widely in features and capabilities.

In addition, the handheld systems that run Chrome or Apple’s iOS operating system also have many free genealogy apps available although most of them are somewhat limited in capabilities. I would not describe any of the genealogy apps for handheld devices as “full featured” programs that compete with the desktop genealogy products for Macintosh, Linux, and Windows. However, even that is changing.

The following is a list of free genealogy programs that may meet your needs. However, the paid programs usually offer more features.

On the Road Again, This Time to Bangkok

By the time you read this, I will probably be en route to Bangkok, Thailand. I will warn you there may not be as many articles as normal posted in this newsletter in the next week.

If you have been reading this newsletter for some time, you already know that I often travel to genealogy conferences. This time it is a personal trip, not related to genealogy.

I will have a laptop computer with me and will be staying in a modern hotel with wi-fi connectivity. However, I hope to maximize my time sightseeing and minimize my online time.

In addition, when traveling, one sometimes encounters unpleasant and unexpected problems, such as wi-fi that doesn’t work properly or a laptop computer that suddenly fails. Please don’t be surprised if I disappear for a few days.

Browse and Search Historical Publications with the New Washington Digital Newspapers Website

The following announcement was written by the Washington State Library:

The Washington State Library, a division of the Office of Secretary of State, has launched a new website for the Washington Digital Newspapers program:

The site features new titles in the State Library’s digital newspaper collection, with full-text article search of more than 400,000 pages from the State Library’s collection of historic Washington newspapers. Visitors can interact with the site with the help of text correction features to improve search results on dark or damaged pages, by attaching subject tags to articles, and saving their search history for larger research projects.

“This new resource provides students and other researchers with access to a rich trove of publications across decades of Washington history,” State Librarian Cindy Aden said. “Through viewing these historic digitized newspapers, it’s possible to understand important Washington experiences as they were viewed by the people who lived them.”

This Newsletter is Twenty-Three Years Old!

It’s time to raise a glass of bubbly and celebrate! Yes, I am celebrating this newsletter’s twenty-third anniversary.

Wow! Where did the time go? It seems like only yesterday that I decided to start writing a genealogy newsletter for a few of my friends and acquaintances. Well, it wasn’t yesterday… it was 23 years ago today!

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever dream that 23 years would be so interesting, so much fun, and so rewarding. The very first edition of Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter was sent on January 15, 1996.

Federal Judge Blocks Trump Administration From Asking the Citizenship Question from 2020 Census

I have written about this question before. See for my past articles about the 2020 U.S. Census.

Now a New York Judge has ruled that the 2020 US Census may not include the proposed citizenship question. The opinion from US District Court of Southern District of New York Judge Furman stated:

“Secretary Ross’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census—even if it did not violate the Constitution itself—was unlawful for a multitude of independent reasons and must be set aside”.

How to Extract Your Own DNA at Home by using Vodka

Yes, you read that right. Explore your own DNA at home by using liquid soap, salt and vodka. Oh yes, you will also need some saliva.

Disclaimer: I am not recommending this “test” as a suitable substitute for DNA testing by one of the laboratories that specialize in DNA analysis. However, it is an interesting story so I will repeat it here. After reading this, you are on your own!

One other problem: while you can extract your own DNA from your saliva sample, Dr Brian Cox does not describe how to examine the DNA to determine your ethnic heritage. Maybe that will be in the follow-on video. Then again, maybe not.

As for me, I think I will save the vodka for other purposes…

The Great Molasses Flood of January 15, 1919

Today is the 100th anniversary of one of the biggest twentieth-century disasters in the city of Boston, Massachusetts. Genealogists normally like to study the current events of the times in which our ancestors lived. Wars are easy to study as they are well documented in history books. Yet other calamities of bygone times are often not so well known and documented.

One great disaster in the early twentieth century was the great Molasses Flood of January 15, 1919, in Boston, Massachusetts. This sounds humorous until one reads that 21 people died when an eight-foot high wall of molasses rolled down Commercial Street at a rather high speed. Two million gallons of crude molasses can move quickly when warmed by the sun. The result was an explosion heard many miles away.

Boston Post of January 16, 1919

Genealogy Guys and Vivid-Pix Partner to Recognize Genealogy’s Unsung Heroes

The following announcement was written by the Genealogy Guys (George G. Morgan and Drew Smith) and by Vivid-Pix:

The Genealogy Guys, George G. Morgan and Drew Smith, co-hosts and producers of the oldest continually produced genealogy podcast, and Vivid-Pix, makers of RESTORE photo and document restoration software, today announce that they are partnering to acknowledge and to celebrate those members of the genealogy community who digitize or index photos and other documents of value to genealogical researchers. The Unsung Heroes Awards will be a quarterly awards program designed to recognize its recipients in four categories: individuals, genealogical/historical societies, libraries/archives, and young people.

Completed nomination forms (see below for link to the form) should be emailed to and winners will be selected each quarter. Winners will receive: a custom-made commemorative mug with their choice of image; an announcement on an episode of The Genealogy Guys Podcast; a profile of the winner published on The Genealogy Guys Blog and the Unsung Heroes Blog; and recognition at the Vivid-Pix website (

Help Wanted: A Part-Time Archivist in Franklin, Massachusetts

An article by Scott Calzolaio in the Milford Daily News‘ web site describes a job opening for a part-time archivist for the Franklin Historical Museum. If you live in or near Franklin and are interested in the position, you can find the article at:

Cullman County, Alabama, Historic Photographs Online

Wallace State Community College’s Genealogy online collection features photographs from Cullman County’s past for the public’s use. Wallace State’s Library has collected many other photographs over the years including an entire defunct newspaper’s archives. Those images will join the other collections on the Wallace State website at

Croom Family Reunion 1930

Plus Edition Newsletter Has Been Sent

To all Plus Edition subscribers:

A notice of the latest EOGN Plus Edition newsletter was sent to you a few minutes ago. Here are the articles in this week’s Plus Edition newsletter:

Next Week’s Plus Edition Newsletter Might Be Late

(+) Is it Protected Under Copyright Laws?

The Impact of the U.S. Government Shutdown to Genealogists

Portland Genealogy Library Waives Fees to Federal Workers During Shutdown

Bill Filed in Texas to Place 125 Year Embargo Period on Birth Records

Nevada Issues Almost 1,000 Marriage Certificates on the Ethereum Blockchain, But Government Acceptance Varies

Don’t Store Books or Documents in Sealed Plastic!

Don’t Print These Articles!

(+) Is it Protected Under Copyright Laws?

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

Genealogists often republish information from old books as well as from archives, courthouses, web sites, and other sources. Sadly, many modern day genealogists simply ignore copyright laws. Doing so can result in an unpleasant notice from a law firm appearing in your mailbox. The laws that limit someone’s right to copy a work have changed in recent years. Your awareness of the current laws can protect you from land mines of liability as you prepare your research for publication.

This article will address copyright laws and issues in the U.S. Other countries will have different laws concerning copyrights.

Here is one of the most important issues concerning copyrights, as written by an attorney:

The Impact of the U.S. Government Shutdown to Genealogists

The news media is full of reports about the impact of the U.S. government shutdown, both to government employees and to private citizens alike. I see no point in repeating those stories here. However, I will say that genealogists should be aware of the impact to their research efforts.

If you were planning a genealogy research trip in the near future, you need to be aware that:

Recent Updates to the Calendar of Genealogy Events

The following pages have recently been updated in the Calendar of Genealogy Events:

Online Webinars, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania

Some of the above changes may have been deletions of past events.

All information in the Calendar of Events is contributed by YOU and by other genealogists. You can directly add information to the Calendar about your local genealogy event.

New Library Director at the Godfrey

The following announcement was written by the Godfrey Memorial Library in Middletown, Connecticut:

January 9, 2019 – The Godfrey Memorial Library is pleased to announce that Carol Ansel has been appointed Library Director as of January 1, 2019.

Carol has been the Reference Librarian at the Library since July 2018. She has over 35 years of experience in various libraries in Connecticut and is a Board member of the Connecticut Library Consortium.

New Records Available To Search this Findmypast Friday

The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

There are more than 500,000 new records and newspapers articles available to search this Findmypast Friday, including:

Kent Baptisms

Over 23,000 new records covering Anglican and Wesleyan baptisms in Dover, Gravesend, Higham, Nettlestead and Maidstone have been added to our collection of Kent parish baptisms.

The new additions span the years 1736-1917 and will reveal a combination of your ancestor’s birth year, residence, parent’s names and father’s occupation as well as the date and location of their baptism. A number of records may provide a variety of extra details such as the mother’s maiden name, the child’s relationship to the parents or guardians, a dedication or any additional notes.

Kent Marriages

Portland Genealogy Library Waives Fees to Federal Workers During Shutdown

Here is a great example of a genealogy society and library helping the Federal workers who are not being paid because of the government shutdown. The following announcement was written by the Genealogical Forum of Oregon:

The Genealogical Forum of Oregon will waive admission fees to use its library for all federal workers for the duration of the federal shutdown.

The GFO recognizes these workers are not getting paid and have unscheduled time available.

Federal employees can show their federal employment identification to save the $7 daily use fee while researching their ancestry.

Findmypast Announces a new CEO and a new CTO

Findmypast has announced the appointment of two new executives. Elaine Maddison will fill the role of CEO while Bryan Lambe will join the DC Thomson-owned company as CTO.

Bryan Lambe and Elaine Maddison

Former Findmypast CEO, Elaine Van Der Berg, Moves to Amazon Web Services

Elaine Van Der Berg is well-known in the genealogy community as the former CEO of Findmypast. Her friends and acquaintances will be interested to know that she has a new position at Amazon Web Services in Edinburgh, Scotland. Her new role involves assisting European public sector clients.

Elaine has had an international career with Dell, and other technology companies, before returning to Scotland to work as managing director of G2G3, part of Capita, and then at Brightsolid.