Posts By Dick Eastman

(+) Facing Up to the Long-term Future of Your Genealogy Society

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

NOTE: This article contains several personal opinions.

I travel a lot, and I spend a lot of time with officers and members of many genealogy societies. Most everywhere I go, I hear stories of societies that are shrinking in size and even a few stories of societies that are struggling to maintain their existence. Even amongst all this “doom and gloom,” I do hear a few rare stories of genealogy societies that are thriving and growing larger. Not only are they attracting more members, but these few societies are also offering more and more services to their members with each passing year.

Why do so many genealogy societies flounder while a handful succeed?

Recent Updates to the Calendar of Genealogy Events

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

Ontario, California, Colorado, and Illinois

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.

Win Tickets to MyHeritage LIVE, Including a Free Stay at the Iconic Hilton Amsterdam

MyHeritage LIVE is shaping up to be a major genealogy conference. It will be held in Amsterdam on September 6 through 8, 2019. You can read about it in my earlier article at and also read a report from last year’s MyHeritage LIVE in Oslo, Norway at Last year’s event in Oslo attracted many overseas attendees, including many from the U.S., a few from Canada, two people from the Republic of Mali in West Africa, and other attendees from Brazil, Argentina, and I believe from some other countries as well.

Canal houses in Nieuwmarkt, Amsterdam

If you would like to attend this year’s event in Amsterdam, you will be interested to learn that you can win tickets to MyHeritage LIVE, including a free stay at the iconic Hilton Amsterdam. Details may be found in the MyHeritage Blog at


Randy Majors Adds Still More Functionality to his Genealogy Mapping Web Site that Works with Google Maps: Township, Range, and Section

Randy Majors has to be one busy person! He constantly is adding functionality to his popular genealogy maps web site at You can find past examples of that in my earlier articles by starting at:

Randy has now added Township, Range, and Section information to the maps. He described the new changes this way:

Search for Victorian Convicts in Milbank, Parkhurst and Pentonville Prison Records

The following announcement was written by TheGenealogist:

TheGenealogist has released over 100,000 individuals into their expanding Court & Criminal Records collection. With this release researchers can find the details of ancestors that had broken the law and were incarcerated in the harsh conditions of early Victorian convict prisons – including some that were only children!

Parkhurst Prison from The Illustrated London News March 13, 1847

The new data will allow the family history researcher to discover:

New Records Available to Search This Findmypast Friday

The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

There are more than new nine million new records and newspaper articles available to search this Findmypast Friday.

Kent Baptisms

Just under 20,000 new records covering two new parishes, Fawkham St Mary and Northfleet St Botolph, have been added to our collection of Kent parish baptisms. These new transcripts will reveal your ancestor’s birth date, baptism date, parent’s names, residence and father’s occupation. Some records may also provide you with further details such as the mother’s maiden name or additional notes.

Kent Marriages and Banns

Irish island of Arranmore is Looking for New Residents from the United States and Australia

Here is an opportunity to study your Irish ancestry: move to Ireland.

Actually, you would have to move to Arranmore, a tiny island 5 kilometers off the coast of County Donegal, Ireland. The island is twinned with Beaver Island in Lake Michigan. In the 1800s, families evicted from Arranmore relocated to Beaver Island and most of the residents who live on Beaver Island today can trace their roots back to Arranmore.

While Arranmore is a tiny place, it boasts very high-speed Internet access, enough musicians and good Irish whiskey to keep a party going well into the night, the best diving in Ireland on your doorstep, seafood to rival the tastiest New England chowder, and a daily commute that will never exceed five minutes. It sounds dreamy.

Arkansas State Archives Project Opens Access to Historical Newspapers

The following is an extract from an announcement published by the Arkansas State Archives:

In the next few weeks, the Arkansas State Archives will have scanned 40 newspaper titles, or about 103,000 pages, and sent them to the Library of Congress. People will have a whole new way to access these historical records online, said Wendy Richter, state historian and director of the Arkansas State Archives.

“One of my biggest goals for the Arkansas State Archives has been to make records more accessible to the public,” Richter said. “This project puts tens of thousands of documents at the fingertips of more people in Arkansas and nationwide.”

The Archives was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities grant of $208,128 in 2017 to be part of a National Digital Newspapers Program that created the website Chronicling America, which is an open-source website.

You can read the full announcement at:

New Free Historical Records on FamilySearch: Week of 10 June 2019

The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

FamilySearch added new, free, historical records this week from Spain, Bolivia, South Africa, Mexico, Russia, Peru, Sweden, and the United Statesincluding Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, North Dakota, Texas, California and Virginia.

Search these new records and images by clicking on the collection links below, or go to FamilySearch to search over 8 billion free names and record images.

Update: Libraries without Librarians

NOTE: This article contains personal opinions and beliefs.

I have been reading the comments in my earlier “Libraries without Librarians” article at and I believe that many of those newsletter readers have ignored a couple of basic facts when posting comments. I am moved to remind everyone of the facts that I believe are relevant.

Several people have expressed reservations about homeless people, vagrants, and other unwanted individuals having access to the unmanned library and by possible criminal activities by these individuals. Indeed, on first reading, that also was my concern. However, let’s look at the facts.

As stated in the earlier article:

“Self-service libraries are common in Europe”

“In North America, it’s still a novelty. Just five library systems — eight libraries total — have implemented it since 2016.”

“Officials at Bibliotheca, the leading company in North America that sells the required software, counts more than 750 libraries globally as users.”

The fact is that more than 750 self-service libraries are already using this business model today and are doing so successfully.

The Popularity of Your Last Name

The U.S. Census Bureau counts the number of Americans every ten years. The same government agency also asks a lot of questions of those people, such as how many bathrooms are in their house and whether or not the family owns a computer. The Census Bureau even counts how many people have the same first or last names.

There were 6.3 million surnames documented in the 2010 census. The 15 most common surnames in America were:

U.S. National Archives and Records Administration Considers Blockchain to Verify Records Amid Rise in Deepfake Videos

From an article by Jory Heckman published in the Federal News Network:

“The National Archives and Records Administration is exploring whether blockchain technology can help records management officials keep track of their vast stores of information, following the successful rollout of the emerging technology elsewhere in government.

“Eric “Kyle” Douglas, a records management policy and program support specialist for NARA’s chief records officer, said the future for blockchain looks promising, and could play a role in authenticating digital copies of its images and videos.

Libraries without Librarians

Several Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota) library systems are considering an “open libraries” model that would give patrons access to books, computers and other resources by themselves at times when the library isn’t open and staffed. Two west metro libraries already use the idea on a small scale.

The setup relies on technology — via a central management system — to let people enter the library, check out items and log onto computers — all while video monitors record their actions. There’s a phone connected to a central library or an on-call librarian so patrons can ask questions. Automated systems announce when the library is closing, flick the lights off and on and can even operate amenities like a gas fireplace on a schedule.

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:

(+) What is a Wiki and Why Should I Care?

Brooklyn Library Digitizes Thousands of Historic Newspaper Articles

How 23andMe Will Mine its Giant DNA Database for Health and Wealth

3 Arrested in France for Looting the Archives of Libraries Throughout Europe

New Irish Historical Birth, Marriage and Death Registers Available Online for Public to Access

Recent Updates to the Calendar of Genealogy Events

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

Ontario, Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas

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.

(+) What is a Wiki and Why Should I Care?

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

A funny-sounding word is being found frequently on the Internet: wiki. It is not a creature from Star Wars, and it is not a strange animal from Australia. In fact, a wiki is a bit of software that gets its name from the Hawaiian or Polynesian word for “quickly.” The shuttle buses at the Honolulu airport are called “Wiki Wiki,” meaning to go quickly and easily. Now the word is creeping into genealogy vocabularies.

In the words of wiki inventor Ward Cunningham:

“A wiki is the simplest online database that could possibly work.”

Imagine that you visit someone else’s web site and discover that you can change anything on that site at any time. You can edit the page you’re reading to comment on it, add to it, or correct the content. On a long page that has evolved over time, you can summarize portions and tighten up the wording. You can add a link to a relevant resource to help visitors who want to know more. You can even create new pages and link them to existing pages on the site. You can do all this, even though it is not your web site. This is the idea behind a wiki.

New Records Available To Search This Findmypast Friday

The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

There are more than 14.4 million new records and newspaper articles available to search this Findmypast Friday.

England & Wales Merchant Navy Crew Lists 1861-1913

Over 135,000 new Portsmouth records have been added to our collection of Merchant Navy Crew Lists. The records document the role and employment of each member of the crew. Individuals would ‘sign on’ when they began their employment, either at the start of the voyage, or when they joined the ship at one of its ports of call. They ‘signed off’ at the end of the voyage or, if they chose not to finish, at a port of call.

A ship that sailed in British coastal waters completed a crew list every six months. If a vessel sailed outside of British waters then a document called a crew agreement was completed for each voyage. Crew members include a wide variety of professions, such as deckhands, engine staff, stewards, nurses and maids.

Greater London Burial Index

Buy a Chromebook Laptop for $129

The following article has little to do with genealogy, family history, DNA, or the other topics normally covered in this newsletter. However, it does reflect my interests in low-cost computing and I think it may be of interest to many readers of this newsletter.

I have written often about the advantages of low-cost Chromebook computers. (See for my past articles about Chromebooks.) These low-cost and highly secure laptop computers have all of the essentials most computer users need. They are famous for how they “get things done efficiently and easily.” Best of all, Chromebooks are very secure and never get viruses. They also never lose data because all systems are automatically backed up online all the time. If a Chromebook gets lost, stolen, or crushed by a truck, the owner can obtain a new Chromebook and then restore all data within a matter of minutes.

Now you can purchase a new (not refurbished) Samsung 11.6-inch Chromebook 3 (originally $219) Chromebook for $129 US from Wal-Mart and that price even includes free shipping or else you can pick it up at your local Wal-Mart store. However, you will have to pay state and local sales taxes, if any.

How 23andMe Will Mine its Giant DNA Database for Health and Wealth

Since the launch of DNA testing service 23andMe, around 10 million people have spit a half-teaspoon of saliva into a 23andMe plastic tube and mailed it in to get their ancestry or health-risk results. Nearly 5 million customers did so last year alone, generating an estimated $475 million in revenue for the company, which has yet to turn a profit. It’s also made CEO Anne Wojcicki (No. 33 on this year’s list of Richest Self-Made Women) worth an estimated $690 million, almost entirely from her roughly 30% stake in 23andMe, which is valued at $2.5 billion by investors.

While it might make interesting cocktail conversation to reveal that you are 5% Scandinavian and have a genetic disposition to sneeze in the sun, 23andMe’s ambitions are much grander.

Brooklyn Library Digitizes Thousands of Historic Newspaper Articles

The Brooklyn Collection at the Brooklyn Public Library is making more than 40 borough-specific newspapers available for online hunting. Their digital archive of Brooklyn Daily Eagle articles is already an essential tool in borough research and the latest project adds thousands more newspaper pages for history buffs to hunt through.

The Brooklyn Collection started in 1997 as part of the History Division, with a small book collection focused on the borough. It now holds more than 5,000 books and an archive that includes 200,000 photographs, manuscripts, newspapers, sheet music and more.