Posts By Dick Eastman

(+) Don’t Print This Article!

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

man_looking_at_stack_of_papersConsider 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 articles published in this 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?

Board for Certification of Genealogists and Legacy Family Tree Webinars Form Webinar Partnership

The following announcement was written by the Board for Certification of Genealogists:

The Board for Certification of Genealogists and Legacy Family Tree Webinars are excited to announce a new partnership. Legacy, host of the webinar series at FamilyTreeWebinars.com, will now also serve as host, producer, and publisher for future BCG webinars. This arrangement will produce and promote high-quality education in genealogy standards and methodologies by one of the leading creators of genealogy webinars.

Legacy Family Tree Webinars is a leader in the field of webinar production and management. BCG is excited to bring this level of technical quality and experience to its webinar series, which offers educational opportunities on topics of certification, genealogy standards, and methodologies.

Short Course Videos Added to Ancestry Academy

Ancestry Academy has started something new: the first five videos in a new series written by the team of Academy experts and presented by outside talent. This is a different format from the previous long course structure.

The new courses are brief, but targeted, and more like the lessons within each of the full courses. The topics include:

  • Pre-1850 Censuses
  • 1850 Census: An Introduction
  • 1880 Census: An Overview
  • 1890 Census: Where is It?
  • Introduction to the 1940 Census

Details may be found in the Ancestry Academy web site at https://www.ancestry.com/academy/courses/short_hosted_videos.

Ancestry Tourism

The New York Times has an online article that will interest many genealogists: A Personal Sort of Time Travel: Ancestry Tourism by Amy Zipkin.

America is a nation of immigrants, and as many people age they grow interested in tracing their family heritage and group traditions back to their origins. Zipkin’s article describes the experiences of several genealogists who visited the home towns of ancestors, whether in the US or in “the old country.”

Travelers usually combine such trips with other forms of sightseeing, but along the way they may gain a greater appreciation of the obstacles their ancestors faced and a deeper sense of who they are and where they come from.

Chromebooks are Built to Run Anything and Everything on the Web

I have written often about Chromebooks. (See https://goo.gl/AAaOZr for a list of my past articles about Chromebooks.) One of the most common questions asked by readers after those articles is, “Will a Chromebook run my favorite genealogy program?” In most cases, the answer is “No.”

Chromebooks will run a lot of programs when offline (see http://goo.gl/8pr4dd for Everything You Can Do Offline With a Chromebook by David Nield). However, all Chromebooks are really intended for use when connected to the Internet. A Chromebook will run applications hosted on web sites, including MyHeritage.com, FamilySearch.org, Ancestry.com, Werelate.org, WikiTree.com, The Next Generation of Genealogy Site Building, WebTrees, as well as non-genealogy apps such as FaceBook, LinkedIn, Google Docs, Zoho Writer, thousands of online games, and most email services.

Jerry Hildenbrand has published Should You Buy a Chromebook at http://www.androidcentral.com/should-you-buy-chromebook. He writes:

Postcards Provide Link to Edwardian Social Media

You can see postcards that your UK ancestors may have seen from 1901 to 1910. The following announcement was written by the folks at Lancaster University:

A new public searchable database provides access to a unique and inspirational treasure trove of amazing stories and pictures through what Lancaster University researchers term the ‘social media’ of the Edwardian era.

Piccadilly Circus

Piccadilly Circus – Click on the image to view a larger version.

Described by researchers at Lancaster University as the social media of its day, with features of Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Messenger and SMS texts, the ‘hands-on’ database includes 1000 postcards, written and sent between 1901 and 1910, together with transcriptions and carefully researched historical data about the people who wrote and received the fascinating cards.

2.5 Million Crime Records Released This Findmypast Friday

The following announcement was written by the folks at Findmypast:

Findmypast logoThis week’s Findmypast Friday marks the release of over 2.5 million historic crime records in association with The National Archives. The release marks the final installment of the Crime, Prisons and Punishment collection, the largest searchable database of English and Welsh crime and punishment records available online, containing over 5.5 million records.

England & Wales, Crime, Prisons & Punishment, 1770-1935 Phase 3

New Series added to the collection include:

Elephind: A Digital Newspaper Collections Search Engine

elephind_logo_bigElephind is a great service that searches online digital newspaper collections. Best of all, it is available free of charge.

Elephind.com is a search engine that operates much like Google, Bing, or other search engines. The one thing that is different with Elephind is that it searches only historical, digitized newspapers. It enables you to search, for free, across many newspaper sites simultaneously, rather than having to visit each collection’s web site separately.

At this time, Elephind has indexed 2,779 newspaper titles containing more than two and a half million editions, ranging from March 1803 up to January 1, 2015 in some titles. The Elephind search engine has indexed 149,363,907 items from 2,779 newspaper titles. These include such well known sites as the Chronicling America (the U.S.’s Library of Congress) and Trove (National Library of Australia), as well as smaller collections like Door County Library in Wisconsin. Many of the smaller newspaper sites are not well known and may be difficult to find with the usual search engines but are searchable from Elephind.com. A list of available newspaper collections that have been indexed so far is available at http://goo.gl/VRQN5l.

Additional newspaper collections are added to Elephind’s indexes frequently.

The Future of Cloud Storage

I have written often about the advantages and disadvantages of file storage in the cloud. (See https://goo.gl/mO4cjC for a lengthy list of my past articles.) Now BackBlaze, one of the major providers of file space in the cloud, has published an article with an infographic showing how popular cloud file storage services have become and also makes some predictions.

Amongst the facts mentioned:

(+) The Problems with OCR

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

OCRMuch of the genealogy information available on the World Wide Web is obtained from old books, published many years ago. With today’s technology, vendors are finding it easy to scan the books and to convert the pages into computer text. The results are placed online and the text becomes searchable in Google and other search engines, as well as each site’s own “search box.” The conversion from printed pages to computer text can be performed at modest expense and the information derived can be valuable for many genealogists. There is but one problem: it doesn’t always work very well.

Scanning a page from a book creates a picture of the page. However, a picture is not easily searchable. The image is similar to taking a picture with a digital camera: while it is easily readable by a human eye, the computer cannot “see” the words in the picture. A conversion process, called Optical Character Recognition, is required.

FamilySearch Event Preserves over 10 Million Global Family Records

As a result of the FamilySearch Worldwide Indexing event, 116,475 volunteers from around the globe saved nearly 10.5 million historic family records. This three-day event shattered previous week-long indexing event records. Here is the announcement written by FamilySearch:

Worldwide genealogy event recruits more than 116,000 volunteers and shatters previous record

SALT LAKE CITY (July 25, 2016)—From July 15 to 17, FamilySearch International hosted the world’s largest known indexing event, bringing 116,475 people from around the globe together, saving nearly 10.5 million of the world’s records by making them easily discoverable online for future generations. Volunteers ranged in age from 8 to 65 and pitched in from as far away as Asia, Africa, and the Pacific Islands.

What Can a Hacker Do with Your Genetic Information?

Apparently not much, according to an article by Kaleigh Rogers in the Motherboard web site at http://goo.gl/fYKz2A.

Rogers focuses on the idea of someone hacking into the big databases used by genealogists at 23andMe, Family Tree DNA, Ancestry DNA, and similar companies. She points out that there are easier ways to obtain someone’s DNA than by trying to hack into encrypted databases:

“Someone could hack into your account on a genetics site, or even just collect your DNA from a used coffee cup and send it away for analysis—something New Scientist reporters proved was remarkably simple back in 2009.”

Mike Pence’s Irish Roots

On July 25, I wrote (at https://goo.gl/jj4H2u) about vice-presidential nominee Tim Kaine’s Irish ancestry and his visit to ancestral locations in Ireland. A newsletter reader then pointed out that his competitor, Mike Pence, also has Irish ancestry and also has made the trip back to the homeland. It’s interesting that we have two Irish Americans running for Vice-President with traceable genealogical roots.

Mike_PenceAn article from 2013 in the IndyStar describes Pence’s Irish interests:

“Pence’s grandfather emigrated to Ellis Island from Tubercurry, Ireland, about a century ago and later worked as a bus driver in Chicago, according to the governor’s staff. His grandmother was born and raised in Doonbeg, Ireland.

“Their experiences left a lasting impression on Pence, who as a member of Congress sought looser immigration restrictions than many of his fellow conservatives liked.”

On a trip to Ireland, Pence visited the small house where his great-grandfather, James Moloney, was born. He also was able to meet his grandmother’s first cousin, 92-year-old Patrick Moloney.

15 Years of the Raeford News-Journal now Available on DigitalNC

Thanks to a partnership between the University of North Carolina at Chapel-Hill and the Raeford News-Journal, 15 more years of the Raeford News-Journal are now available on DigitalNC. With this addition, more than 1,000 issues of the paper are now online, dating back to 1943.

You can check out all of DigitalNC’s digitized community newspapers of the North Carolina Newspapers Collection at http://www.digitalnc.org/collections/newspapers/.

Sir David Goodall, R.I.P.

The following sad announcement was written by the Council of the Irish Genealogical Research Society:

Sir David GoodallThe Council of the Irish Genealogical Research Society regrets the announcement of the death of the Society’s former President, Sir David Goodall.

Sir David died peacefully at his home on the morning of Friday, 22 July, aged 84. He was a career civil servant, serving with the British Diplomatic Service in Austria, Germany, Indonesia and Kenya. He was later Deputy Secretary at the Cabinet Office and was a senior UK representative during the negotiations that led to the Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985. In 1987 he was appointed British High Commissioner to India, a post he held until his retirement 1991.

Tim Kaine, VicePresidential Nominee, Harmonica Player, and Irish Genealogist

TimKaineTim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s pick for Vice President, has many talents and interests. Of interest to genealogists, Tim Kaine’s great-grandfather, PJ Farrell, emigrated from Ireland to Kansas, where he became a successful farmer.

Kaine certainly feels Ireland in his heart. Kaine is a member of The Irish National Caucus and of the Congressional Friends of Ireland. During his acceptance speech for The American Ireland Fund Leadership Award, he talked about his family’s 2006 trip to Ireland, where they found the ruins of his great-grandfather’s cottage in Killashee Parish, in Longford. He stated at the dinner: “I am about as stone Irish as you get for somebody whose family has been in the country for 150 years.”

He spoke at the American Ireland Fund about finding his roots:

Prince Edward Island Historian Jean Bernard Publishes Last of 7-Volume Acadian Genealogy

JeanBernard_2I suspect a lot of people will be scrambling to look at these new books. P.E.I. historian Jean Bernard says he has completed the last volume of his books on Acadian genealogy.

The seven volumes contain 4,600 pages and are all in French. Bernard has begun translating the first volume into English.

You can read more in an article by Gail Harding in the CBC News web site at http://goo.gl/25PRRz.

Plus Edition Newsletter Has Been Sent

To all Plus Edition subscribers:

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

MyHeritage Introduces New SuperSearch Alerts

Zoho Writer in the Cloud

A Genealogy Society’s Guide to Building Simple, Low-Cost Web Sites

ABBYY FineScanner – a Document Scanner for Android and iPhone/iP

Free UK Genealogy, Freereg, FreeBMD and Freecensus Might Not be Free Much Longer

Instantly Colorize Your Black-And-White Photos

Does This Photograph Belong to Your Family?

A Call to Action! Finding the Fallen on July 30

Free UK Genealogy, Freereg, FreeBMD and Freecensus Might Not be Free Much Longer

Economics may have caught up with Free UK Genealogy, Freereg, FreeBMD and Freecensus. After all, it costs a lot of money to offer “free” services. The trustees of those web sites now have proposed to change the availability of data transcribed by volunteers from being “free” to “pay to view.”

The following survey was sent by the trustees:

Free or pay to view Survey

The trustees of Free UK Genealogy, Freereg, FreeBMD and Freecensus propose to change the availability of data transcribed by volunteers from being “free” to “pay to view”.

This survey is being carried out to determine which option is preferred and is open to all past, present and future volunteers of these organisations.

Feel free to send this message to any website, chat group and anyone with an interest in the future of these organisations.

Recent Updates to the Calendar of Genealogy Events

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

British Columbia, California, Illinois, and Tennessee

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.

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