Posts By Dick Eastman

(+) 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.

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.

The Internet Archive 78 RPM Records Archive is now Online

Want to listen to the music of your parents or grandparents? You can now do so, thanks to the Internet Archive. The Great 78 Project is a new project by the Internet Archive to preserve 78 rpm records that has released about 26,000 records as of today. One new digitized 78 rpm record is being added to the online collection every 10 minutes. More than 200,000 records are expected to be available online when the project is completed. In fact, you can even add your collection of 78 RPM records as well.

Disclaimer: Your taste in music will dictate the usefulness of this collection for you.

You can play the music online or else download any of the records to your computer and save them for later use. Downloads are available in a number of file formats including MP3 and M3U. Images of most of the records are also available.

Most Common Last Names in the US

For centuries, immigrants have come to the U.S. to escape war, oppression, and poverty, or to pursue employment opportunities and success. Most Americans can trace their roots to immigrant ancestors. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed census data to find the 50 most common last names in the U.S.

TheGenealogist releases 650,000 additional Parish Records for Nottinghamshire

The following announcement was written by the folks at TheGenealogist:

TheGenealogist has extended its UK Parish Records collection with a new and exclusive release of 650,000 parish records for Nottinghamshire. These records can be used to find your ancestors’ baptisms, marriages and burials in these fully searchable records that cover parishes from this important East Midland county of England. With records that reach back to 1633, this release includes the records of 56 parishes, including:

369,100 individuals in Baptisms, 168,000 individuals in Marriages and 112,800 individuals in Burials

You can use these transcripts to find the names of ancestors, parents’ forenames (in the case of baptisms), father’s occupation (where noted), abode or parish, parish that the event took place in, the date of the event, and in the case of marriage records the bride’s maiden name and the witnesses’ names.

FreeCEN Offers a Free-To-Search Online Database of the 19th Century UK Censuses

The following announcement was written by the folks at FreeCEN:

Did you know- FreeCEN gives free access to census records for England, Scotland & Wales? And we’re launching our new website…

FreeCEN offers a free-to-search online database of the 19th century UK censuses. Transcribed entirely by volunteers, we have more than 32 million individuals available on our website that anyone can search without having to create an account. The new ‘FreeCEN2’ website will launch on Monday 31st July 2017 with all of the records that the current website holds, but with a fresh new look and feel in-line with Free UK Genealogy and FreeREG. We believe that family history records should be free to access for everyone; our new website will offer more features for researchers, and make it easier for them to find what they’re looking for. FreeCEN2 also brings with it a host of improvements for existing and future volunteers, such as a members sign-in area and brand new messaging system. FreeCEN, FreeREG and FreeBMD are projects by Free UK Genealogy, a registered charity that promotes free access to historical records. FreeREG underwent this process in 2015, and FreeBMD is due to begin its renewal later this year.

Carlisle Indian School Cemetery Information is now Available Online

The United States Indian Industrial School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania was the flagship Indian boarding school in the United States from 1879 through 1918. According to Wikipedia, “Founded in 1879 by Captain Richard Henry Pratt under authority of the US federal government, Carlisle was the first federally funded off-reservation Indian boarding school. It was founded on the principle that Native Americans were the equals of European-Americans, and that Native American children immersed in mainstream Euro-American culture would learn skills to advance in society.”

Now the Carlisle Indian School Digital Resource Center team has launched an online resource, simply titled Cemetery Information. This resource aims to support the research of descendants, scholars, and others interested in the history of the Carlisle Indian School cemetery by providing easy access to a wide range of primary source documents about the cemetery and the Carlisle Indian School students interred there.

America’s Love-Hate Relationship with Immigrants

It does seem strange that a nation of immigrants has so often attempted to place restrictions on immigration. With today’s rules around immigration in flux, Angelica Quintero has provided a look at the enormously varied ways the U.S. has determined who can become an American throughout history. Her article in the Los Angeles Times explains some of the problems your ancestors may have faced when attempting to immigrate to America.

Quintero writes:

“In the 1800s, the Irish were a favorite target, and newspaper wants ads commonly included the phrase “No Irish need apply.” Later in the 19th century, anti-immigration sentiment was codified in federal laws that singled out Asians. Later federal laws targeted Italians and Southern Europeans.”

Book Review: International Vital Records Handbook

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

International Vital Records Handbook
By Thomas Jay Kemp. Genealogical Publishing Co. 2017. 756 pages.

Sooner or later, we all need to order vital records. Often from vital records offices far away from our homes. So we need to find the address, find out what they have, what is the time frame for the extant records, and how much do they cost.

Nowadays it’s even more involved than it used to be. Increased security concerns since 2001 have increased the hassle of providing identification and restriction of records that used to be easier to obtain.

This Vital Records Handbook has a printed form and information on each vital records office for each state of the United States. Each state section has that state’s application form for each record, i.e., an application form for a birth record, another page with the form for requesting a marriage record; however many forms you’ll need, there are pages for. You can scan or copy the page and use it to send in a request for the record you need.

GedTree.com Creates Beautiful Family Tree Prints in Minutes

I haven’t used this service yet but it certainly looks promising. GedTree.com creates beautiful genealogy charts, suitable for framing. The information is obtained from YOUR GEDCOM file.

Click on the above image to view a larger version.

Digital Library of Georgia Adds New and Previously Digitized Newspaper Titles to its Recently Released Georgia Historic Newspapers (GHN) Website

From the Blog of the Digital Library of Georgia at: http://blog.dlg.galileo.usg.edu/?p=6768:

In July 2017, the Digital Library of Georgia added both new and previously digitized newspaper titles to its recently released Georgia Historic Newspapers (GHN) website. Below is a list of newspapers titles slated to be added to GHN over the next six months.

In the fall of 2017, DLG will add the following newspapers:

Turn a Chromebook into a Powerhouse With the Best Chromebook Apps

I have written often about the low-cost Chromebook laptop computers. I have a Chromebook and love it. The cheap laptop has become my preferred laptop for traveling. I also use it frequently at home when watching TV. See http://bit.ly/2uewqi9 for a list of my past articles about Chromebook computers.

If you own a Chromebook, you probably will want to read Turn a Chromebook into a Powerhouse With the Best Chromebook Apps by Tyler Lacoma. It describes a number of free Chromebook apps that offer the power of many of the commonly-used Windows applications. You probably will want to install several of them on your Chromebook. All of the applications described by Lacoma are available free of charge.

Update on “What is Going On at the Northamptonshire Archives and Heritage Office?”

Last week I published an article entitled What is Going On at the Northamptonshire Archives and Heritage Office? I described an abrupt reduction in services announced by the Northamptonshire (England) Record Office. The article also mentioned an online petition asking the folks at the Northamptonshire Archives and Heritage Office to cancel the announced reduction in hours. The article is still available at: http://bit.ly/2hxafOu.

Now there is an update and it appears to be good news: the Northamptonshire County Council reportedly has dropped the plan to reduce available hours!

I am guessing the 3,862 signatures collected on the petition so far may have influenced the management at the Northamptonshire Archives and Heritage Office just a bit.

In an addition posted to the online petition’s web site, Mary Ann Lund wrote:

(+) Can You Trust Online Genealogy Data?

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

“I found it online, so it must be true!”

Of course not. If you have been involved in researching your family tree for more than a few months, you already know the truth about online genealogy data. Or do you?

You can go to almost any of today’s online genealogy sites and find information that appears to be false. I’ll pick on FamilySearch.org as it is a free and open database, making it a good example that everyone can see. However, similar examples exist on most of the commercial genealogy databases as well.

The first example is that of Mary Allyn. According to FamilySearch, Mary married Henry L. Brooks in Connecticut on 21 April 1564. You can find that “record” at https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F7G9-14N.

Today is the 125th Anniversary of Lizzie Borden’s (Possible) Act of Murder

Lizzie Borden

One of the more fascinating murder stories in the U.S. occurred 125 years ago today.

Lizzie Borden took an axe,
And gave her mother forty whacks.
And when she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.

Shortly before noon on August 4, 1892, the body of Andrew Borden, a prosperous businessman, was found in the parlor of his Fall River, Massachusetts, home at 92 Second St. The police were called and they started investigating the rest of the house. They soon found the body of Andrew Borden’s wife, Abby Borden, discovered in an upstairs bedroom. Both had been hacked to death with a hatchet.

While all the neighbors were shocked by the gruesome deaths, many in Fall River were perhaps not entirely surprised that Andrew Borden had met an untimely end. Frugal to a fault, he was a self-made man who had become the head of one of the town’s largest banks and was a substantial property owner. At the time of his death, his estate was valued at $300,000 (equivalent to roughly $8,000,000 today). The dour businessman had also made many enemies on his rise to the top. In fact, it appears he had no friends outside the family.

Early rumors in the days following the murders speculated that Andrew and Abby had perhaps been killed as revenge for Andrew’s shady business dealings.

New Season of PBS Genealogy Program, “Finding Your Roots” Starts October 3

Genealogists in the United States will want to mark their calendars for October 3, 2017. That will be the date of the first episode of the new season of Finding Your Roots With Henry Gates, Jr.

The 10-part series traces the ancestry of influential people from a variety of backgrounds and careers. The program focuses on the melting pot of cultures that has shaped the history of the United States, especially focusing on the various ethnic groups that live within our country. Most episodes explore the ancestry of three guests.

Celebrities who will learn about their ancestors in this season’s episodes include: Ana Navarro, US Senator Bernie Sanders, Larry David, Garrison Keillor, Mary Steenburgen, Scarlett Johansson, Ted Danson, Aziz Ansari, Bryant Gumbel, William H. Macy, and others