Posts By Dick Eastman

A Genealogy Society’s Guide to Building Simple, Low-Cost Web Sites

I was planning to write a Plus Edition article aimed at genealogy societies who wish to create a new web site or to improve an existing web site. While researching the article, I discovered that a similar article has already been written. The other article isn’t specific to genealogy societies, but the information in A Nonprofit’s Guide to Building Simple, Low-Cost Websites is about 95% the same as I would have written in my article for genealogy societies.

Since most of the information I planned to offer is already available elsewhere, I will suggest any interested reader should first read the A Nonprofit’s Guide to Building Simple, Low-Cost Websites article by Chris Peters at http://goo.gl/s3uVEN. I offer the following comments to supplement the original article with the other 5% of the information that I wanted to write about.

First, I strongly support Chris Peters’ suggestion to use blogging software as the society’s primary web-development tool. Most of today’s blogging software offers a variety of options so that any genealogy society should be able to tailor any of the leading blogging products in a manner to meet the needs of the society. Blogging software is easy enough to learn, and it lets you place your newest information—an announcement, article, or something else—right at the top of the web site’s home page to greet your viewers as soon as they enter your website. This dynamic display encourages viewers to return to your website time after time.

US Census Bureau Selects Sites for 2018 End-to-End Census Test in Preparation for 2020 Census

The following announcement was written by the US Census Bureau:

JULY 22, 2016 — The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that it selected the sites for its largest and most advanced systems and operations test in preparation for the 2020 Census. The 2018 End-to-End Census Test will take place in three locations, covering more than 700,000 housing units. The test locations are Pierce County, Wash.; Providence County, R.I.; and the Bluefield-Beckley-Oak Hill, W.Va., area.

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New Records Available to Search this Findmypast Friday

The following announcement was written by the folks at Findmypast:

This week’s Findmypast Friday marks the release of over 257,500 new records including:

PERiodical Source Index

18,257 articles from 94 publications have been added in our June update. The PERiodical Source Index is the world’s largest and most widely used subject index for U.S. genealogy and local history literature. Read our June update blog to find out more about the individual series included in this update.

British Army Service Records Image Browse

Our British Army Service Records are now available to browse. Containing roughly 7.8 million records, Findmypast’s British Army service records is one of the most significant British Army collections available online. The collection includes a myriad of Army forms including attestation papers, medical forms, discharge documents, pension claims, and proceedings of regimental boards.

Australian Privacy Advocates say People’s Names in Census Records should not be Retained

Census records are some of the most useful records available to genealogists. However, if some Australians have their way, future genealogists will not have access to these records. Privacy advocates are calling on the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) not to collect names of individuals in next month’s census, due to privacy concerns.

Actually, this is not as big a loss as it sounds. All Australian census records in the past few years have only kept the names for 18 months. Unlike many other countries, the Australian Bureau of Statistics does not preserve the names and then make them public after 72 or 100 years.

Instantly Colorize Your Black-And-White Photos

Do you have old black-and-white family photographs? A new service on Algorithmia uses a deep learning algorithm to add color to the photos. Yes, it works. The colors may not be perfect but they are almost always better than black-and-white. The service is easy to use and, best of all, is available FREE of charge.

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For instance, here is one well-known black-and-white on the left and a computer-enhanced color version on the right. Algorithmia can do the same for your photographs.

Southern California Genealogy Jamboree Call for Presentations

The following announcement was written by the folks at the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree:

2017-Jamboree

Call for Presentations to the 48th Annual Southern California Genealogy Jamboree Conference (Friday through Sunday, June 8 – 11, 2017 at the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport Hotel, Burbank, California), the 5th Annual SCGS Genetic Genealogy Conference (Thursday, June 8, 2017), workshops throughout both conferences, AND, the 2017 Jamboree Extension Series Webinar program. Presentations will be accepted through the online portal July 15, 2016 – August 21, 2016.

Ancestry.com is Used to Catch a Florida Man Living Under an Assumed Name for More Than 20 Years

Terry Jude Symansky was a Florida man who drowned in 1991 at age 33. However, his nephew recently was working on a family genealogy project and found his uncle’s information on Ancestry.com. Knowing the uncle died in 1991, the nephew was shocked to find a later marriage license associated with his name. After some investigation, police found that the new Terry Jude Symansky is actually Richard Hoagland, a man who disappeared from Indiana about 25 years ago and was declared dead in 2003.

CanadianHeadstones.com now Exceeds 1.5 Million Records

canadian_headstones_logoThe folks at CanadianHeadstones.com (CH) sent a note announcing that the online web site has now surpassed 1.5 Million records. The announcement states, “CH was founded in 2009 as a completely FREE archive of headstone photographs. As a Canadian non-profit corporation, CH is staffed and controlled by unpaid-volunteer Directors. As a corporation, its longevity does not depend on a single person or private control. CH is the only fully Canadian site which indexes every name on the headstones, provides the complete transcription and is fully searchable on multiple levels including the text of the transcription.

“Hundreds of volunteers and volunteer groups are submitting over 800 records per day!”

You can learn more or even submit your own headstone photos for others to enjoy at http://www.CanadianHeadstones.com.

Staten Island Historical Newspapers Now Online

The New York Public Library just posted more than 9,000 pages from The Richmond County Advance online, covering the years 1886 to 1910. Find them at nypl.org/sinewspapers. This “NYPL Innovation Project” began with the scanning of the Advance from the collections of Historic Richmond Town. It is the largest batch of historical Staten Island papers ever posted to the Web — and it is changing the way we explore the Island’s past. The Advance joins the Richmond County Mirror online, which was previously posted by the New York Public Library.

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Historical newspapers can be useful to many different people:

City Directories of Peterborough, Ontario are now Online

A collection of 115 Peterborough city and county directories, dating back to 1858, have been digitized. They’re now available online for anyone to search – for free – at https://archive.org/details/peterboroughcitydirectories.

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For years, city directories were published annually with lists of names, addresses and professions of people in a particular city. Look up your house address in a directory and you can see the names of those who lived there in that particular year. You can also look for your ancestors and other relatives who lived in Peterborough. Then you can look up the name of that person in the same directory – under a different section – to find out what that person did for a living.

Zoho Writer in the Cloud

If you already have a word processor installed in each of your computers and are happy with your present choice, you probably will want to skip this article. However, if you do not have a good word processor, or if you want to look at other possibilities, this may be the article for you. If you are presently using Google Docs or Microsoft Word Online or some other cloud-based word processor and are frustrated by your program’s lack of some features you want, this is the article for you. If you need a better word processor for sharing documents with co-workers or with family or even with genealogy society members, this is the article for you. If you want a good word processor for an iPad or Android tablet computer, this is the article for you.

Oh, by the way, this article describes a word processor that is FREE for personal use.

zoho_onlineZoho is an online Web service that lets you do almost anything online that you can do on a desktop computer, from creating documents to building a spreadsheet to managing a database, plus conferencing, project-management, chatting, and a dozen other functions. Zoho also duplicates many applications that Google offers with sophisticated calendars, spreadsheets, presentations, email and chat. In some cases, Zoho’s products may be more powerful than Google’s; but, in other cases, the opposite may be true. For this article, I will focus on one product called Zoho Writer.

Zoho Writer is an online word processor that is very easy to use. Yet it has most of the bells and whistles of an expensive, traditional word processor. I also find it to be much more powerful and useful than the word processor available with Google Docs.

Ancestry.com LLC Reports Second Quarter 2016 Financial Results

The following is an excerpt from Ancestry.com LLC’s Second Quarter 2016 Financial Results, as reported this afternoon:

Second Quarter Revenues of $211.4 million, Up 25% Year-Over-Year

AncestryDNA Database Now Includes More Than 2 Million Samples

LEHI, Utah, July 20, 2016 — Ancestry.com LLC (the “Company”), the leader in family history and consumer genomics, reported financial results today for the second quarter ended June 30, 2016.

“Ancestry’s performance continued to accelerate in the second quarter,” said Tim Sullivan, Chief Executive Officer of Ancestry. “The combined value proposition of our market-leading family history and DNA offerings has helped deliver over $750 million in revenue in the last four quarters. We are excited about the opportunities ahead and remain focused on execution and investing in the long-term growth of the company.”

Second Quarter 2016 Financial Highlights

Early Irish Marriage Index Reaches 80,000 Records

The following announcement was written by the folks at the Irish Genealogical Research Society:

The Irish Genealogical Research Society’s Early Irish Marriage Index has now been updated, with several thousand more records being added, all noted from obscure and underused sources. The database now holds reference to more than 80,000 marriages.

cat-d-015Combining the names of brides, grooms with the various relatives mentioned in the database, the Marriage Index now notes almost 177,000 named individuals. A good many of the latest batch were extrapolated from Index of Nuns, a CD publication in 2015 by the Catholic Family History Society, which notes biographical information for about 14,000 nuns, many of them from Ireland. For many, their date of birth and parents’ names are recorded, allowing for an approximation of the year by which their parents had married.

Newly Available Online: Marriage Notices Appearing in Troy, New York, Newspapers 1797 – 1860

The Troy Irish Genealogy Society (TIGS) has added yet another online database. (This has to be one busy genealogy society!) The following was written by the Troy Irish Genealogy Society:

An index to 6,177 marriage notices covering 12,354 names that were published in five different Troy, New York newspapers from 1797 to 1860 was created by staff at the Troy Public Library in 1938 through 1939. The Troy Irish Genealogy Society was allowed by the Troy Library to scan this book so these important records could be made available on-line for genealogy researchers.

To see these records go to the TIGS website – www.troyirish.com – click on PROJECTS and then, under Marriage Records, click on MARRIAGE NOTICES APPEARING IN TROY NEWSPAPERS.The five different Troy newspapers mentioned in the introduction to the index were:

A Call to Action! Finding the Fallen on July 30

This is a follow-up to the Join the Nationwide Service Project “Finding the Fallen” article I published at https://goo.gl/Vq0SAU on June 6. That article described a joint effort between BillionGraves and the Boy Scouts of America to honor of the veterans of the Armed Forces. Everyone is welcome to participate. This follow-up reminder was written by the folks at BillionGraves:

On July 30, 2016, in honor of the veterans of the Armed Forces, BillionGraves and the Boy Scouts of America will host the nationwide service project, Finding the Fallen. We are asking for everyone’s help to make this project a success! By joining the project, you will serve these heroes by photographing and logging the GPS locations of the headstones and markers in our national cemeteries and uploading them to the BillionGraves.com website.

To organize this commemorative event in your area, visit https://billiongraves.com/create-event/. Easy step by step instructions will guide you in selection of a National cemetery in your area and allow you to invite others to take part in this amazing project with you.

You will need to download the free Billiongraves app on your smart phone. https://billiongraves.com/mobile-device.

ABBYY FineScanner – a Document Scanner for Android and iPhone/iPad

Handheld devices grow more and more powerful every year. Now the mobile device in your hand can not only create digital images of documents and pages from a book, it also can even perform OCR (optical character recognition) that converts the printed words into computer-readable and editable text. This should be a very useful tool for genealogists, historians, and anyone else who does a lot of research and needs to save much of the information found.

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A scan from the Redbook. Click on the image to view a larger version. Your image viewing program in your computer should allow you to zoom in or out as needed and also to print.

Does This Photograph Belong to Your Family?

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A woman rummaging through a box of post cards at an Olympia, Washington, flea market found a one-of-a-kind treasure Sunday: a beaming young couple captured in a black-and-white photograph. Kresta Duncan said she has no idea who it belongs to, but would love to reunite the photo with its rightful owners.

GenTeam adds Records from the old Austro-Hungarian Empire

logo-genteam

GenTeam is a European online genealogy service for historians and genealogists who work independently or as a team on databases. All data at GenTeam is available free of charge. The use of GenTeam also requires no membership fee. The collection currently contains 14,409,435 entries and will be continually updated. GenTeam recently added:

Preserving Medieval Graffiti

st-georgeWe have all read about the Middle Ages, right? A time of kings, princes, knights and fair damsels in distress. It is a vision of the past that includes the splendor of great cathedrals and the brooding darkness of mighty castles. A past of banquets and battles.

There’s only one thing wrong with that vision: 95% of the people were not a part of it.

Most men, women and children were commoners. 95 per cent of the population performed about 99% of the work. This undoubtedly includes your ancestors and mine.

We rarely read about the 95% of the population who were common people. With low levels of literacy throughout much of the Middle Ages, these people did not leave written records behind. The few texts that described the common people were actually written and compiled by the priests, scribes and lawyers of the elite. They refer to the lower orders, but are most certainly not in their own words. However, many of these common folks did leave something written behind: graffiti.

MyHeritage Introduces New SuperSearch Alerts

MyHeritage has just launched a new feature — SuperSearch™ Alerts — that repeats previous searches that MyHeritage users have made in SuperSearch and seeks new results that did not exist at the time of the original search.

When MyHeritage finds new results for those previous searches, the company will send you an email message with links to view the records, and if you’d like, you can save it to your family tree, extract information to the relevant people in your family tree, or add new individuals to your tree.

SuperSearch-Alerts

SuperSearch Alerts works automatically in the background ensuring that you won’t miss new records that have been added to MyHeritage’s collections that are relevant to your past searches. As stated in the MyHeritage Blog:

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