Posts By Dick Eastman

FREE Access to All Irish Resources on from March 15-22

The following announcement was written by the folks at the New England Historic Genealogical Society:

Unique Databases, Boston Catholic Records, “How-to” Irish Research Guides, a Webinar, and More Resources Available with Free Guest Registration

March 14, 2017—Boston, Massachusetts—Honor your Irish heritage this St. Patrick’s Day by researching your Irish ancestry on, the award-winning website of New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS). Learn the essential concepts and techniques for Irish research, and find out which manuscripts, collections, and sources are used by genealogists at American Ancestors to crack the toughest research cases.

Irish resources will be free and open from Wednesday, March 15, through midnight (EDST) on Wednesday, March 22. Access requires a free, brief sign-up on Owners Reportedly Weigh 2017 IPO of Genealogy Website

An article in the Bloomberg Markets web site reports that the owners of privately-held are weighing an initial public offering of the company this year. The company’s owners, which include Permira and Silver Lake, have held talks with banks and are taking formal pitches from potential advisers who want to have a role in the offering, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.

No final decision has been made and the owners may opt to keep the business for now, the people said.

A Glimpse Into the Life of a Slave Sold to Save Georgetown University

The New York Times has published an interesting article by Rachel L. Swarns about the life of a slave who was sold by the Jesuit college, now known as Georgetown University. He was then shipped to Louisiana and would survive slavery and the Civil War. He would live to see freedom and the dawning of the 20th century. One thing is unusual about this man: pictures of him still exist today.

The photos had been stored in the archives of the Ellender Memorial Library at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, La., not far from where Mr. Campbell was enslaved.

Clifton Theriot, the library’s archivist and interim director, made the connection late last year after stumbling across an article in a genealogical quarterly about the Jesuit slaves who had been shipped to Louisiana. He was startled to see Mr. Campbell’s name listed among them.

Findmypast Grant Five Days of Free Access to All Irish Records in Celebration of St Patrick’s Day 2017

The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

  • Findmypast makes entire collection of more than 116 million Irish records free for five days
  • All 116 records free from the 13th to the 17th March 2017Leading family history website,

Findmypast, has just announced that they will be making their entire collection of Irish records free for five days to help budding genealogists uncover their Irish heritage ahead of St Patrick’s Day 2017.From today, Monday 13th March, until 11.59pm (GMT) Friday 17th March, all 116 million records within Findmypast’s Irish collection will be completely free to search and explore, providing family historians from around the globe with the opportunity to learn more about the lives of their Irish ancestors.

This includes free access to;

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:

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Book Reviews: David Dobson’s Books

Winter Genealogy Cruise is a Success

Announcing the Unlock the Past Holy Land Tour and Genealogy Conference

What to do with Your Genealogy Collection When You Downsize or Die

Selecting an Online File Backup Service

Winter Genealogy Cruise is a Success

Diana and Gary Smith annually organize one of the more interesting genealogy cruises of the year. While a bit smaller than some of the other genealogy cruises, it is noted as being one of the friendliest. The camaraderie amongst the “cruisers” needs to be seen to be appreciated. Luckily, I was one of the genealogists on board and had a chance to talk with most everyone while at sea. This year’s cruise ended last week and the genealogists on board all seemed to be wearing smiles when they departed the Celebrity Silhouette.

Photo courtesy of Harry Benson.
Click on the above image to view a much larger version.

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

How many ancestors do you have?

It is a simple question and would appear to have a simple answer: Any of us can count the number of our ancestors by performing a very obvious mathematical progression: two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, and so forth. In the past twenty generations, you have a mathematical chance of having more than one million ancestors. Thirty generations produces more than a billion ancestors, and forty generations results in more than one trillion.

The numbers are correct from a mathematical viewpoint but deliberately ignore one obvious fact: there have never been that many humans on the face of the earth since the dawn of evolution! The reality is that it is impossible to have one trillion unique ancestors, regardless of the mathematics involved.

PaperPort Professional 14

If you are drowning in paper, having a difficult time managing all the documents you have amassed in your genealogy research, you might want to look at PaperPort Professional 14. It is useful for genealogy work as well as for dozens of other uses as well. I have written in the past about document management with Evernote and with OneNote. However, Nuance PaperPort Professional 14 could be described as the “industrial strength replacement” for either Evernote or OneNote. Even better, the price of PaperPort Professional 14 recently dropped from $200 to $59.99. Amazon has an even lower price: $44.99.

PaperPort provides a single way to scan paper, create PDF files, and access, view, edit, and convert your files on your PC. (It is only available for Microsoft Windows; there is no Macintosh version.)

PaperPort has long had the distinction of being a leading product for document management. It allows the user to sort, file, and organize even tens of thousands of documents and to retrieve any of them within seconds. The latest version 14 has now added some capabilities to smoothly work with the cloud, allowing the user to quickly retrieve or even to share document with users of Windows personal computers, netbooks, tablets, and smart phones.

A Card Index on Jewish Holocaust Victims is now Online

The International Tracing Service (ITS) has published two further resources in its online archive. They include the card index of the Reich Association of Jews in Germany and material on death marches from concentration camps.

What is left of the card index of the Reich Association of Jews in Germany (Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland) comprises 32,264 registration cards, primarily those of Jewish school pupils, emigrants and deceased persons. Now interested persons all over the world have access to these cards. The ITS has moreover placed an additional 15,000 documents pertaining to the death marches online, thus supplementing the first group of documents on that subject published on its internet portal last year. “We chose two sets of documents that, while they are small, are of especial interest to the public. They conclude the successful test phase of the online archive,” ITS director Floriane Hohenberg explained. “More extensive holdings will follow, with which we aim to make documents on deportations, the Holocaust and forced labor available to people all over the world.”

You can read more in the International Tracing Service web site at: while the online archive is available at:

Naturalization Index CrowdSourcing Project on the Web Site

This sounds like a great new project: “The Archives of Michigan is pleased to announce the launch of a digitization and indexing project to make naturalization records from nearly 70 Michigan counties freely available online. In a partnership with FamilySearch, and with the support of the Michigan Genealogical Council, the Archives of Michigan is asking you to help transcribe key genealogical information from the records. Once completed, the collection – including both the images and index – will be freely available only at Seeking Michigan.”

The project uses FamilySearch’s indexing software which is probably the best available software for the job.

You can learn more about this new project from the web site at:

My thanks to newsletter reader Kim Wickman for telling me about this project.

New Records Available To Search This Findmypast Friday

The following announcement was written by the folks at Findmypast:

Over 1.4 million new records and 2.5 million newspaper articles are available to search this Findmypast Friday, including;

Victoria Wills & Probate

Victoria Wills & Probate is a vast index containing over 1.3 million records. It lists the names of deceased persons whose estates passed probate through the Supreme Court of Victoria in Melbourne between 1841 and 1989. Wills and probate records are invaluable in family research. Such documentation can provide details of next of kin, property owned, and significant dates. Each record includes a transcript and a number also include images of original Probate documents. Transcripts will reveal your ancestor’s death date, occupation, residence, the date of the grant, the nature of the grant and to whom it was committed. They also include the file number and a link to order a copy of the original from Public Record Office Victoria.

TheGenealogist releases Quarter Session Records and Middlesex Colour Tithe Maps

The following announcement was written by the folks at TheGenealogist:

TheGenealogist is adding to its Court & Criminal records by publishing online a new collection of Quarter Session rolls and books from Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Shropshire, Surrey and Middlesex covering dates from as far back as the 16th century and up to, in some cases, the Victorian period.

Also released at this time are the Middlesex Colour Tithe Maps to join the grayscale maps of the National Tithe records already available on TheGenealogist. This latest issue covers parishes in the County of Middlesex and will allow researchers to view the plots where their ancestors may have owned or occupied land at the time of the survey which took place at the start of Victoria’s reign.

Colour Tithe Map for New Brentford, Middlesex 1838

Click on the above image to view a larger version.

Spring Forward into Daylight Saving Time

Most of the United States will “spring forward” this weekend, as we enter Daylight Saving Time at 2:00 a.m. – which will immediately become 3:00 a.m. – Sunday morning. There is a lot of history connected with Daylight Saving Time.

Benjamin Franklin proposed a form of daylight time in 1784. He wrote an essay “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light” to the editor of The Journal of Paris, suggesting, somewhat jokingly, that Parisians could economize candle usage by getting people out of bed earlier in the morning, making use of the natural morning light instead. This 1784 satire proposed taxing window shutters, rationing candles, and waking the public by ringing church bells and firing cannons at sunrise. Despite common misconception, Franklin did not actually propose Daylight Saving Time. In fact, clocks were not synchronized in Europe at that time; each owner of a clock would set it to whatever time he or she thought was correct. Standardized time did not occur until railroads became popular. Train schedules had to be planned for designated times.

Actress Julie Bowen on Who Do You Think You Are? Sunday on TLC

On this Sunday’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? at 10/9c on TLC, actress Julie Bowen uncovers fascinating stories of her ancestors on both sides of her family, including her 3x paternal great-grandfather, Francis Julius LeMoyne. Julie learns that Francis was a highly sought after speaker and a radical abolitionist who risked his life and the lives of his family to help free fugitive slaves. Julie notices the parallels between the work of her ancestor with what’s going on in today’s world.

You can catch a sneak peek of the episode here:

Selecting an Online File Backup Service

I have written several times about the need for genealogists and most everyone else to make frequent backups. I strongly recommend that everyone make at least two backups of every important bit of information: one backup should be kept very near the computer where it is conveniently available when needed plus a second backup should be stored a long distance away for use in case an in-home disaster destroys both your computer and the local backup. Such disasters include fire, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and more. The second backup might be a file storage service in the cloud or simply a CD-ROM backup stored in a desk drawer in some distant location.

Actually, I believe everyone needs MORE THAN TWO BACKUPS to be stored in more than two different places. But I’ll leave that discussion for another time.

I wasn’t planning to write any more articles about backups but a newsletter reader today asked what is probably the most important question of all:

Might Dick or someone have advice on the best on line or cloud back up service

I did answer the question but decided to also copy my answer here in the newsletter in case others are wondering the same thing.

Danish National Archives Observes the Centennial of the Transfer of the Danish West Indies (U.S. Virgin Islands)

The Danish National Archives has created a new Web site in commemoration of the March 31, 2017, Centennial observance of Transfer Day, the day on which the Danish West Indies were transferred to the United States of America as the Territory of the Virgin Islands of the United States. The site is available at:

Quoting from the announcement:

“All researchers everywhere now have free, online access to over 5 million scanned images (over 8.5 million pages) of original documents, maps and drawings from the records of the Danish West Indies held by the Danish National Archives.

The National Archives (of England and Wales) Fees are Changing

On 1 April 2017, the fees charged by The National Archives at Kew, Richmond, Surrey, for research, paper and digital copies of records, and some other services, will change.

The National Archives is allowed to charge for the statutory services provided under the Public Records Act (1958). However, the agency is not permitted to make a profit on these services but is expected to recover actual costs.

A summary of the new pricing structure, in effect from 1 April 2017, is available at:

For reference purposes, the older summary of prices that has been in effect for a year is also available at:

New Historic Records On FamilySearch: Week of March 6, 2017

The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:


This week’s update brings good news for everyone with French heritage. Over half a million France 1876 census records have been added to FamilySearch’s database. Search new free records from British Columbia, The United Kingdom, France, Ghana, The Netherlands, Spain, Maine and Texas, and more at FamilySearch by clicking on the links in the interactive table below.

Immigration and National Security in George Washington’s Day

After reading today’s news, it seems strange that Americans and other countries used to actively encourage immigration. In the eighteenth century, it seemed obvious to the leaders of Western countries that population was a key to a nation’s strength.

In fact, there is a complaint in the Declaration of Independence that King George III “has endeavored to prevent the population of these states.” Nine of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were immigrants.

You can read an interesting article by Livia Gershon about immigration in the eighteenth century at:

Introducing the Archives World Map

The Archives World Map is a new, collaborative project to map every archival institution in our planet. The project is in its infancy with 201 archives listed so far in the United States, 76 in Canada, 54 in Spain, 50 in Great Britain, and smaller numbers in several other countries. If you and other genealogists contribute more information, those numbers could grow into the thousands.

Archives World Map is a project started by Ricardo Sodré Andrade. Anyone can collaborate by using a link on the web site to add information about any archival institutions. The project maintainer will check the data and will publish as fast as possible. The database is free to use.