Posts By Dick Eastman

Crowd Sourced Indexing is Now Available for Your Society’s Project

CSI, the newest technology available for genealogy indexing, is now available to genealogy societies, special interest groups, and to any group of genealogists with records they want to transcribe.

One of the more valuable trends of recent years has been crowd sourcing. The term is a contraction of “crowd” and “outsourcing.”

Crowdsourcing is the process of getting work or funding, usually online, from a crowd of people. The idea is to take work and outsource it to a large crowd of volunteers. Each person contributes a little bit and, if enough people contribute, everyone benefits. Wikipedia is one famous example. Instead of Wikipedia creating an encyclopedia on their own, hiring writers and editors, a small group of people developed the required software and then gave a crowd of millions the ability to create the information on their own. The result? The most comprehensive encyclopedia this world has ever seen.

New Records Available to Search This Findmypast Friday

The following announcement was written by the folks at Findmypast:

There are over 7.1 million new records and newspaper articles available to search this Findmypast Friday, including:

Muster Rolls of The Marine Corps

Explore over 1.7 million muster rolls records from the United States Marine Corps spanning the late 1700s up to the end of the nineteenth century. The rolls record the details of men who were serving with the Corps and were chronologically arranged by month and then ordered by detachment or unit. The exception to this is the records pertaining to World War I when they were sorted in two subseries: by posts and stations and by mobile units.

As seen in the column headings on the images of the original records, muster rolls generally include the space to record the following details: name, station, rank, enlistment date, re-enlistment date, desertion or apprehension date, and offence and court-martial sentence.

Buckinghamshire Baptism Index

FGS National Conference to be held in Pittsburgh on August 30 to September 2

The annual conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies will be held soon: August 30 to September 2. This year’s event is shaping up to be a good one with a theme of Building Bridges to the Past. This year’s event is expected to attract close to 2,000 attendees from all over the United States and the world. If you can be in Pittsburgh during this event, you absolutely will want to attend at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

The Federation of Genealogical Societies is an “umbrella organization” of local, statewide, and regional genealogical societies. In fact, FGS includes 500+ member societies representing more than 500,000 genealogists.

The David L. Lawrence Convention Center is a good venue for an event of this size. First, it is modern with all the state-of-the-art one expects on a convention center these days. In addition, it is close to numerous restaurants, shops, research facilities, and historic sites.

UPDATE: Advice to White Supremacists: You Might Not Want to Test Your DNA

The news story I published yesterday has since gone viral. The original news article listed in my article has since been knocked offline, probably because thousands of people were accessing it simultaneously. However, dozens of other news services have since picked up the story and now it is one of the top trending articles on the Internet.

You can find dozens more stories about this by starting at: http://bit.ly/2wWKhr6.

Advice to White Supremacists: You Might Not Want to Test Your DNA

UPDATE: This news story is mushrooming. The original news article listed in the article below has since been knocked offline, probably because thousands of people were accessing it simultaneously. However, dozens of other news services have since picked up the story and now it is one of the top trending articles on the Internet.

You can find dozens more stories about this by starting at: http://bit.ly/2wWKhr6

The recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia, this past weekend speak for themselves. The various news media are full of stories about bigotry, racism, and fringe far-right political activities that resulted in murder and also in a lot of embarrassment to the American people. However, there is one genealogy issue that might affect the motivations of these extremists:

Are these white supremacists really “all white?”

I suspect that many white supremacists won’t like to learn the truth.

A geneticist at the University of California at Los Angeles ran a project for months that culminated in the presentation of a paper in Montreal this week at the annual gathering of the American Sociological Association. It seems that DNA testing of many members of one white supremacy organization indicates that a number of those who were tested have mixed racial ancestry. In other words, these white supremacists are not 100% white.

Write Your Notes in a Rocketbook

Introduction: I must say that I have mixed emotions about Rocketbook. On the positive side, it is an excellent use of technology to improve low-tech methods that have been in use for centuries. I can envision this being used extensively in genealogy research and note-taking.

On the negative side, use of any paper-based note-taking product is contrary to the paperless lifestyle I have been following for a few years. I try to never use paper as I find paper is easily lost, damaged, or at least is difficult to find when I need the information later. That is especially true if I am not in the place where the paper notes are stored. For a list of my past articles on going paperless, see http://bit.ly/2wfDaw6.

On the positive side, I realize that not everyone is comfortable with a paperless lifestyle. Paper notes are still used by hundreds of millions of people around the globe. If that includes you,  Rocketbook may be an attractive product for you. It helps store everything safely and securely in the cloud where you can quickly and later easily find digital images of your notes, drawings, and other paper-based items.

In short, if Rocketbook appeals to you, I’d suggest you try it out! As for me, I will write about it but am unlikely to use Rocketbook myself.

Are you still writing notes and transcriptions in a spiral notebook? It’s time to move into the 21st century!

A Rocketbook looks like many other notebooks. It has paper and even a spiral binding. You can write in a Rocketbook with a pen or pencil. What’s different is what you can do AFTER you have written your notes. In short, you can upload your precious notes to your own private area in the cloud where they can be easily accessed at any time. Your notes will never be lost unless you deliberately erase the online notes later.

New FamilySearch Online Indexing Tool is Now Available

A new online indexing tool is now available. Now you can index directly on Familysearch.org.

  • Nothing to download. (Hooray!)
  • Find projects easily.

You can try it today at: https://familysearch.org/indexing.

SLIG Announces New Dates and Format

The following announcement was written by the folks at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy:

The Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) is pleased to announce they have recently signed contracts with the Hilton Salt Lake City Center for years 2019 through 2023. And with that, they reveal a new two-week format.

It was just two years ago that changes in the Salt Lake City meeting landscape facilitated a SLIG move to more preferred dates. Recent changes in that same landscape opened a new window of opportunity, one that more fully supports the ongoing growth and expansion of SLIG in meeting the advanced educational needs of the genealogical community.

Beginning in 2019, SLIG will utilize a new two-week format as follows:

Genealogy’s Often-Misspelled Words

You might want to save this article someplace. I have no idea why, but many of the words used in researching your family tree are difficult to spell. I constantly see spelling errors in messages posted on various genealogy web sites. When someone misspells a word, it feels like they are shouting, “I don’t know what I’m doing!”

Here are a few words to memorize:

Genealogy – No, it is not spelled “geneology” nor is it spelled in the manner I often see: “geneaology.” That last word looks to me as if someone thought, “Just throw all the letters in there and hope that something sticks.” For some reason, many newspaper reporters and their editors do not know how to spell this word. Don’t they have spell checkers?

Announcing an October 2018 Genealogy Research Trip to Dublin or Belfast, Ireland

The following announcement was written by Donna Moughty:

Sarasota, FL — Donna Moughty, a professional genealogist and specialist in Irish research, will again be taking a group of researchers to Ireland in October of 2018. The Belfast Research Tour from Oct 7-13 will visit the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland, the Ulster Historical Foundation, the Linen Hall Library and the Ulster American Folk Park and Mellon Library for Emigration Studies. The Dublin Research Tour from October 14-21 includes the National Library of Ireland, National Archives, General Register Office, Valuation Office and Registry of Deeds. In both cases, other repositories can be scheduled as needed.

Hotel Reservations Now Open for the National Genealogical Society’s 2018 Family History Conference

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

ARLINGTON, VA, 15 AUGUST 2017— Effective 15 August 2017, you may reserve accommodations for the National Genealogical Society’s fortieth annual Family History Conference, Paths to Your Past, which will be held 2−5 May 2018 at the DeVos Place Convention Center, 303 Monroe Avenue NW, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The conference program will focus on ancestors’ migration paths with an emphasis on the states that border the Great Lakes, strategic waterways that aided Americans moving west and immigrants coming from overseas through Canada to settle and develop the Midwest throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Some lectures will enhance your proficiency as a researcher and your methodological and analytical skills. Other presentations will broaden your understanding about your ancestors’ ethnicity, occupation, religion, military experience, economic status, and associations. In addition, the program will feature tracks that highlight DNA and technology.

Act Now to Save the 2020 Census

An article by Diane W. Schanzenbach and Michael R. Strain in the Bloomberg News web site describes the risk of the 2020 US census not being taken, as required by the Constitution. The article blames “Bad budget planning and a lack of leadership threaten the most basic mission of government” as the primary cause of the problems.

The article also states, ““You may have missed the news that the head of the Census Bureau, John Thompson, resigned a few months ago. In normal circumstances, the departure of a government statistician would not be worth highlighting. But Thompson’s departure adds to the growing uncertainty surrounding the success of the 2020 decennial census. About that, you should worry.”

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:

(+) How to Keep Your Files Stored in the Cloud Private for Your Eyes Only

MyHeritage Record Week: Search 1 Billion Census Records for Free!

Book Review: International Vital Records Handbook

Turn Your Phone into a Document Scanner for Free

A Michigan Newspaper Digitization Project is in Peril as Time Runs Out to Find a New Storage Facility

(+) How to Keep Your Files Stored in the Cloud Private for Your Eyes Only

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

Storing information “in the cloud” have fewer security issues than storing data on your own hard drive or in a flash drive but that doesn’t mean that you can ignore the security issues involved. security issues, although not as many. Luckily, those issues are also easily solved. Let’s start first with a definition of the cloud.

What is The Cloud?

The word “cloud” is a collective term. The cloud is not a single thing. Rather, it is a collection of hardware, software, data, and networks. It exists in thousands of data centers located around the world. No one company or government controls the cloud; it is a collection of many things owned and operated by thousands of different corporations and non-profit organizations.

The cloud also may be envisioned as the next evolution beyond the World Wide Web. While the original World Wide Web delivered information one-way to the user, the cloud does all that and more. The cloud provides two-way data as well as multi-user and even collaborative applications. Do you use Google Docs? If so, you are already using the cloud. Do you use Find-A-Grave? If so, you are already using the cloud. Do you pay bills online? If so, you are already using the cloud. The same is true for Facebook, Flickr, Shutterfly, Twitter, Mozy, Carbonite, Gmail, and thousands of other cloud-based services.

MyHeritage Record Week: Search 1 Billion Census Records for Free!

MyHeritage recently passed a significant milestone: surpassing 8 billion historical records on SuperSearch. In celebration, the company has announced that they are making all of the major census collections from the U.S., U.K. and Ireland, Canada, and Nordic countries free for everybody, for one week!

Starting on Monday, August 14, until August 20, no Data Subscription will be required to access these documents, and you can search through this treasure trove of census records for free. That’s 94 collections, containing over 1 billion census records! Some of the census records are found exclusively on MyHeritage. This is available to users of MyHeritage as well as people who have never used MyHeritage before.

Recent Updates to the Calendar of Genealogy Events

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

Connecticut, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, 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.

Turn Your Phone into a Document Scanner for Free

Rick Broida, author of the Cheapskate Blog, has an article today that will interest many genealogists. He describes using software that will turn your “smartphone” into the equivalent of a desktop scanner. It works well for digitizing one side of one piece of paper at a time. It isn’t so convenient when digitizing both sides of multi-page documents although that can still be accomplished by using additional software to merge the pages together after scanning.

Actually, I have been doing exactly what Rick describes for years and have had very good experiences with using my cell phone as a substitute scanner. I use it in genealogy libraries, archives, or for digitizing receipts, eyeglass prescriptions, business cards, and most anything else that is worth saving. I agree with Rick’s experiences.

New Records Available to Search This Findmypast Friday

The following announcement was written by the folks at Findmypast:

Over 2.9 million new records are available to search this Findmypast Friday including:

Billion Graves Cemetery Indexes

We regularly update our collection of cemetery records from BillionGraves. All of the record sets have been added to this time, allowing you to pinpoint your ancestor’s final resting place across a number of countries via GPS-tagged headstones.

This latest update includes:

A Michigan Newspaper Digitization Project is in Peril as Time Runs Out to Find a New Storage Facility

The Downriver Genealogical Society in south-eastern Wayne County, Michigan, has been working on a great project to preserve old newspapers that were about to be tossed out by The News-Herald, due to lack of storage space. Had the society not taken them, the newspapers since 1943 probably would have been thrown away.

The Downriver Genealogical Society also does not have storage space to keep the old newspapers for a long time but decided to take on a worthwhile volunteer project: digitize the old newspapers, make them available online, and then toss the originals away. The society took possession of the newspapers on Jan. 17, 2013. They’re currently being stored without charge at a building in Huron Township and digitization is underway.

There are problems with the plan, however. First, the owner of the storage facility has plans to lease the building in the very near future. The digitization project isn’t anywhere near completion. The newspapers and cabinets have to go. That is, they need to be moved or else thrown away.

Next, a leaking water issue recently damaged several of the papers entrusted to the Society.

Zoho Workplace: My Favorite FREE Replacement for Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office has been the leading word processing/spreadsheet/presentation program for a couple of decades, maybe longer. It is powerful, feature-rich, and able to create files that are universally compatible with all sorts of other programs. There is only one major drawback: Microsoft Office is very expensive.

Prices for Microsoft Office vary from about $80 to around $350, depending upon the version selected. The more expensive versions typically are bundled with additional Microsoft programs, useful primarily in corporations or other environments where groups of people work together on shared projects.

Another big drawback is that the price is charged PER COMPUTER. If you own two computers, perhaps a desktop system and a laptop system, you need to pay twice in order to comply with the shrink-wrapped licensing agreement that you agreed to abide by when installing the product.