Posts By Dick Eastman

Why Did Outhouses Often Have Crescent Moons in Their Doors?

OK, here is today’s history question. I suspect our ancestors all knew the reason for the markings on outhouse doors but those reasons are fast being lost to today’s generation of people who have only been exposed to more modern conveniences. Perhaps the information has already been lost. After all, our ancestors often wrote about many topics but few seemed to have documented the minute details of their outhouses.

An article by Eric Grundhauser in the Atlas Obscura web site insists:

“From cartoons to films to modern-day replicas of historic toilets, the cut-out shape of a crescent moon in an outhouse door seems like something that is so ingrained in our cultural consciousness, that it must have existed in real life. But it doesn’t seem to have been much of a historic reality.”

Genetic Communities™ Beta: New Innovation from AncestryDNA

The following announcement was written by AncestryDNA:

Today, we are pleased to share the roll-out of a new beta experience for AncestryDNA we call, Genetic Communities™. This new experience gives you a more detailed connection to the people, places, cultures, and stories that led to you.

Taking DNA testing to a whole new level

This new advancement is only possible through the millions of AncestryDNA members around the world who have chosen to participate in the Research Project as well as the massive collection of family trees, only available on Ancestry. The science behind this feature was recently published in one of the prominent scientific journals Nature Communications here).

At launch there will be over 300 Genetic Communities all around the world to go and explore, with many more on the horizon. We will compare you to all of them and list the ones you have a connection to based on your DNA. These Genetic Communities dot the globe and are often more specific than what’s possible to discover with an ethnicity estimate, providing a more recent connection to your past.

And, this is just the beginning. We are just scratching the surface of advancements in science and technology that will translate into faster, more insightful discoveries about who we are and where we come from. Genetic Communities is a very BIG and exciting step in this direction.

Watch this video to see why we are so excited about this new experience.

TheGenealogist Launches Various London Educational Records

The following announcement was written by the folks at TheGenealogist:

TheGenealogist has just released a batch of London school and university records to join its ever growing educational collection.

Researchers can use this new data to find ancestors who attended or taught at a variety of Educational establishments within London between 1831 and 1927. Also listed are the names of those who held high office in the institutions, such as the patrons; deans; visitors and professors, in the case of universities and the principles, masters and governors in the case of the schools.

This release covers the names of those who graduated from the University of London between 1836 and 1926 – while for King’s College London, it also provides a list of Fellows from 1847 to 1920, registered students for 1920-1921 and those awarded degrees in 1920 and 1921 as well as the prizes given at King’s.

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 minutes ago. Here are the articles in this week’s Plus Edition newsletter:

(+) Understanding Optical Character Recognition

Recording the Locations of Your Family Photographs

MyHeritage Genealogy and DNA Results Described on Fox News

Search Historical Newspaper Archives with Elephind.com

Family History Hosting Announces Free Software Offer

Software MacKiev introduces FamilySync™ for Family Tree Maker Software

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, Georgia, Kansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Utah

Colorado, Connecticut, Missouri, and Ohio

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 Historic Records On FamilySearch: Week of March 20, 2017

The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

Summary

Hundreds of thousands of indexed records from all over Italy are featured in these newly published collections. Additionally, find newly searchable records from Canada, Ecuador, Germany, The Netherlands, Peru, Sweden and the United States. Search these new free records and more at FamilySearch by clicking on the links in the interactive table below.

(+) Understanding Optical Character Recognition

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

Do you have a document or even a full-length book that you would like to enter into a computer’s database or word processor? You could re-type the entire thing. If your typing ability is as bad as mine, that will be a very lengthy task. Of course, you could hire a professional typist to do the same, but that is also expensive.

We all have computers, so why not use a high-quality scanner? You will also need optical character recognition (OCR) technology.

OCR is the technology long used by libraries and government agencies to make lengthy documents available electronically. As OCR technology has improved, it has been adopted by commercial firms, including Archive CD Books USA, Ancestry.com, ProQuest, and other genealogy-related companies.

Update: Is the Smartphone Becoming the PC Replacement?

Last December, I wrote the following in this newsletter at http://bit.ly/2nNh4gC:

“Today, the smartphone can become a person’s only computer, used alone when away from home or the office, then used with a “docking station” when at home or at the office. Of course, most smartphones already have internal cameras, even webcams. With a docking station to accommodate a keyboard, a larger screen, stereo speakers, printers, scanners, and more, today’s home computer may soon become a thing of the past.”

I also wrote:

“Will your next PC be a smartphone? Do you really need a desktop computer for checking email, surfing the web, or doing genealogy research? The smartphones of today will do most everything your present desktop computer can do.”

It looks like some people agree with me. One company with plans for converting a smartphone into a desktop or laptop computer is a rather well-known producer of personal computers and of smartphones: Apple.

A new patent application from Apple shows the company is toying with the idea of a laptop powered by an iPhone that’s docked face up where the touchpad is normally positioned.

Honorary Research Fellow Appointed at the University of Strathclyde

The University of Strathclyde is well-known for having a Genealogical Studies programme offering a range of courses from beginner level up to a Masters degree. Now the University has announced a major addition to the staff:

Dr Iain McDonald has been appointed as Honorary Research Fellow in the Genealogical Studies Department, University of Strathclyde.

Iain comes originally from an Aberdonian family, and began his interest in genealogy 15 years ago, whilst trying to identify any family connection to the Lords of the Isles. Unfortunately, there was no connection, but the process led to an avid interest in Scottish genealogy, and the early history and movement of the Scottish people.

By day, Iain is an astrophysicist, working at the University of Manchester. By night, he has been using physical, statistical and mathematical techniques to develop tools, for both conventional and genetic genealogy.

Forces War Records – 5 FREE Military Genealogy Tutorials are now Online and Available to Download

The following announcement was written by Forces War Records in the UK:

With 10 million records covering over 300 years of conflict, and thousands of new records being added daily, there’s always something new to find on the site. But there’s so much more to gain from a visit to Forces War Records. The military and genealogy specialists have a wealth of knowledge and information to help anyone researching their family tree, or with those with military queries.

These 5 free guides have been put together in-house and are free to all, perfect for complete beginners to advanced researchers:

1: Understanding your ancestor’s record
All the details of your ancestor’s record made easy

Recording the Locations of Your Family Photographs

When going through a box of old photographs or viewing the latest digital pictures on your computer, did you ever ask, “I wonder where this photograph was taken?” Now a free software tool can record the exact location of every digital picture in your collection. This includes old family photographs that you have scanned as well as new pictures that you or someone else takes with a digital camera.

This product will not do the detective work for you. You must still find where the picture was taken in the traditional manner. For instance, “Here is Aunt Millie and Uncle Fred at Niagara Falls” or something similar. You then scan the photograph, saving it as a JPEG image. Once the photograph is on your hard drive, you use this small Windows program to embed the longitude and latitude information into the photograph in a hidden area of the image. Once the information is recorded, you and future viewers of the image will wonder no more. Even better, with the appropriate software, you can just click on an icon to display a map that shows the exact location.

Panorado Flyer adds the latitude and longitude to any JPEG image, available to any EXIF (geographic-aware) program for future use. This is possible because Panorado Flyer takes advantage of the fact that JPEG image files can contain supplementary information (so-called Metadata).

Actor Noah Wyle to be Guest on U.S. Version of Who Do You Think You Are? on Sunday

On this Sunday’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? at 10/9c on TLC, actor Noah Wyle unravels the mystery of his mother’s family line, searching for answers to a lifelong question about his family’s participation in the Civil War. He discovers an ancestor who was catapulted into one of the bloodiest battles of the time, and whose life spiraled out of control from remarkable success to a shocking and tragic end.

You can catch a sneak peek of the episode at: http://bit.ly/2nbYjAE.

MyHeritage Genealogy and DNA Results Described on Fox News

Genealogy and especially using DNA in genealogy research received a lot of positive publicity on American television yesterday morning. The 3 hosts of the popular morning show, Fox & Friends, were presented with their DNA ethnicity results supplied by MyHeritage, augmented by genealogy research also performed by the company.

The three hosts’ experiences also may be seen in online videos that you can watch now:

Search Historical Newspaper Archives with Elephind.com

Elephind can be a great FREE resource for anyone who wishes to search old newspapers. The purpose of elephind.com is to make it possible to search all of the world’s digital newspapers from one place and at one time. Elephind.com allows you to simultaneously search across thousands of articles using key words and phrases.

Elephind presently contains 174,143,178 items from 3,306 newspaper titles. You can find a list of libraries that have contribute their archives on the site by clicking on “List of Titles.” It is a very long list! Clicking on any library’s name displays the newspapers in that collection.

Elephind.com is much like Google, Bing, or other search engines but focused only on historical, digitized newspapers. By clicking on the Elephind.com search result that interests you, you’ll go directly to the newspaper collection which hosts that story.

Of course, newspapers can be a great resource of genealogy information. Birth announcements, marriage announcements, court news, and more can be searched within seconds. If your ancestor was a merchant, you probably can also find his or her advertisements placed in the newspaper.

Dropbox vs. Google Drive vs. OneDrive: Which Cloud Storage Is Best for You?

I have written several times about the wisdom of keeping backup copies of your more valuable files. You can keep local copies or off-site copies but the important thing is to always have copies available someplace. One popular option is to keep copies in “the cloud,” using one of the file storage services, such as Dropbox or Google Drive or OneDrive.

Actually, there are dozens of available cloud-based file storage servies to choose from but Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive seem to be the three most popular, if not necessarily the best. Joel Lee has published a side-by-side comparison of the “big three,” pointing out the strengths and weaknesses of each. If you are thinking of using a file storage service, you might want to read the article on the Make Use Of web site at: http://bit.ly/2mRQmyW.

Family History Hosting Announces Free Software Offer

I always like FREE offers but this one is especially attractive. Family History Hosting’s CEO, John Cardinal, is offering a free license for either of the company’s two major products: GedSite or Second Site. The offer can be used when you purchase a any hosting plan from Family History Hosting between now and March 31, 2017. This is an excellent way of placing your genealogy (or your family surname society’s genealogy) on the World Wide Web. Note that this is a limited time offer, as described in this announcement from Family History Hosting:

Limited-time offer: Free web site creation software with purchase of any FHH hosting plan

North Andover, MA – March 21, 2017 – Family History Hosting, LLC  [at] http://www.familyhistoryhosting.com/ is pleased to announce a free software offer: purchase any hosting plan from Family History Hosting between now and March 31, 2017, and receive a free license for either GedSite or Second Site!

“Family History Hosting is a great choice for genealogists who want to publish on the web,” said John Cardinal, CEO and Founder of Family History Hosting. “We provide comprehensive support to eliminate any technical barriers, and combined with GedSite or Second Site, publishing a genealogy project online has never been easier.”

British Newspaper Archive Announces Major New Milestone

The following announcement was written by the British Newspaper Archive, a partnership between the British Library and Findmypast:

World’s largest online collection of historic British newspapers now covers every single county in England

March 21th 20017

The British Newspaper Archive, has today announced a major new milestone in their project to digitise up to 40 million newspaper pages from the British Library’s vast collection of historic British & Irish newspapers. Following the addition of a newspaper for the country’s smallest county, Rutland, the Archive now covers every corner of England as, for the first time, at least one title from each of the country’s 48 counties is now available to search and explore.

The British Newspaper Archive now contains over 18.7 million pages from 747 titles from England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland and spans nearly 300 (1709-2003) years local, national and world history.

How Your Ancestors’ Environment Determines the Shape of Your Nose

It may seem strange, but a recently-published study in the PLOS Genetics journal claims that whether your nose is long and narrow or short and wide, you may have your ancestors’ climate to thank.

Researchers from Ireland, Belgium and the U.S. used 3D facial imaging to collect nose measurements on nearly 500 participants of South Asian, East Asian, West African and Northern European descent. The researchers analyzed specific measures including nose height, nostril width, distance between nostrils, protrusion and total surface area of the nose and nostrils. Then, they compared these measurements with local temperatures and humidity in various geographical regions. The findings revealed that nostril width was strongly linked with climate. Wider nostrils were found in more hot and humid areas, and narrower noses were more common in cold and dry areas.

You can read more in the PLOS Genetics journal at http://bit.ly/2mNF2os as well as in dozens of media sites by starting at http://bit.ly/2mO6tOX.

Personally, I’m blaming my nose on Uncle Albert. I seem to have inherited his nose.

Software MacKiev introduces FamilySync™ for Family Tree Maker Software

If you use Family Tree Maker software, you need to be aware of the following announcement written by Ancestry.com and Software MacKiev:

Last year, we announced the purchase of Family Tree Maker desktop software by Software MacKiev and because we wanted to make the transition to a new owner as smooth as possible, we committed at least a year of customer and product support. The goal has always been to maintain the capability to share your family tree data between files on your computer with your personal Ancestry online trees. We’ve been hard at work co-developing a new Ancestry gateway with Software MacKiev to use in their Family Tree Maker 2017, which will be available soon. We believe Software MacKiev continues to deliver the best value to users of Family Tree Maker with their focus and expertise in software solutions.

What you should know:

D. Joshua Taylor Named as One of the “Movers & Shakers 2017 – Educators” by Library Journal

D. Joshua Taylor, President and CEO of New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, one of the hosts on PBS Television’s Genealogy Roadshow, former president (for four years) of the Federation of Genealogical Societies, and all-around “good guy” has received another honor. Library Journal has named Josh as one of the movers and shakers in the industry.

According to the magazine article, “Working with different libraries on the show and in other pursuits, Taylor has helped to highlight the many ways librarians are go-to resources for all genealogists, as guides to online services and by leveraging their own on-site collections.”

You can read the full article at: http://bit.ly/2n7zxE0.