Posts By Dick Eastman

Last Chance (?) to Sign Up for an 8-Night Eastern Caribbean Genealogy Cruise

This may be your last opportunity to sign up for an 8-night genealogy cruise, hosted by Gary and Diana Smith. Other speakers will include Donna Moughty, and some guy named Dick Eastman who writes a genealogy newsletter. If you would like to join this fun group of genealogy cruisers, you might want to mark April 15-23, 2018, on your calendar. While 2018 sounds like a long time in the future, it is only 6 months from now. This is the time to be making cruise ship reservations!

The 2018 Eastern Caribbean Genealogy Cruise will be on board the Celebrity Equinox and will sail the Eastern Caribbean. It holds 2,850 passengers. The Equinox was voted the “Best Overall Cruise (Large Ship)” by the Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Awards in 2015. You can learn more about the Celebrity Equinox at https://www.celebritycruises.com/cruise-ships/celebrity-equinox.

On the Road Again, This Time to Beijing, China

If you have been reading this newsletter for some time, you already know that I travel often. That will continue to hold true for the next week. This time I am traveling to Beijing, China.

Unlike most of my travels, this is not a genealogy-related trip. I have some “downtime” in my calendar and decided to take a vacation… by traveling again!

Many years ago, I spent a year in mainland China, back when the country was still a backwater third-world country. I managed a team effort for my employer when we installed multi-million dollar mainframe computers at 13 major Chinese engineering universities in 11 different cities. (This was before the invention of the desktop PC.) It was a great experience.

I understand the country has advanced radically since I left. For years, I have said to myself, “I would love to go back and see all the changes.” A recent email ad for a really cheap airfare to Beijing convinced me that, “If ever I want to go back, now is the time.” So I am flying to Beijing this week.

Now for the impact to this newsletter:

The Truth about Christopher Columbus and His “Discoveries”

Alternative Title: Columbus was Really Bad at Math

Almost all the “facts” you learned in school about Christopher Columbus are wrong! Amongst other things, Columbus never proved that the earth is round and he never set foot in what is now North America. A YouTube video below and also available at https://youtu.be/3MJoKhO9G1g sets the record straight.

(+) Do You Already Have a Local Area Network Installed in Your Home?

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

NOTE: This article has nothing to do with genealogy. If you are looking for genealogy-related articles, I suggest you skip this one. However, it answers a question that a newsletter reader asked and I suspect that many other readers have similar questions.

Several years ago, I published I Added Four Terabytes to My Personal Cloud at http://bit.ly/2hS5teP where I described my recent addition of a high-capacity networked disk drive to the local area network in my home. I now have more than five terabytes of available storage space, counting the new four terabyte disk drive plus some older devices I have used for several years. The space is available to be shared amongst all the computers owned by family members. In addition, any of us can access our files from anywhere in the world, using an Internet connection and a user name and password.

In addition, anyone with an in-home local network also can share the Internet connection with multiple computers, game consoles, VoIP telephones, cell phones (using wi-fi), tablet computers, home security systems, modern Internet-connected thermostats, FAX machines, and other Internet-compatible devices.

A newsletter reader recently wrote, “How can I use that if I don’t have a local network?”

I suspect the reader does have a local area network in her home but probably doesn’t know it. The same may be true for you.

You Can Help Fund the Work of Raleigh’s Photo History Detective

The State Archives of North Carolina collects photographs as an important and popular part of the Archives’ mission. Proper identification is key to their accessibility and usefulness. A significant number of the photographs in the collections are only marginally labeled, and some are completely unknown. The State Archives is raising money via an IndieGoGo campaign to fund the work of local historian Karl Larson, who is instrumental in the research and identification of the unidentified photographs in the holdings.

As of the time these words are being written, $7,267 has been raised from concerned citizens such as yourself. That is 81% of $9,000 goal.

Gold Olympian Scott Hamilton to Keynote RootsTech 2018

The following announcement was written by the RootsTech organizers:

Olympic gold medalist Scott Hamilton will keynote RootsTech 2018

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (6 October 2017), RootsTech 2018 is delighted to announce that Scott Hamilton, American champion figure skater, Olympic gold medalist, motivational speaker, author, philanthropist, cancer survivor, TV broadcaster, and husband and father will be the RootsTech 2018 keynote speaker on Friday, March 2, 2018, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Hamilton is hailed as one of the greatest male figure skaters of all time. He won a gold medal for his stunning performance in the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo. He won four consecutive US figure skating championships and four world championships from 1981 to 1984. In 1990, Hamilton was inducted into the United States Olympic Hall of Fame and the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame. In all, he has earned more than 70 titles, awards, and honors for figure skating.

4 Mitochondrial Lines Can Now Prove Ashkenazic Jewish Descent in Israel

An Israeli court has declared DNA as a legal proof of as proof of Jewish descent for certain Ashkenazi Jews, especially for those from the former Soviet Union who don’t have paper documentation available. The finding should help Jewish descendants worldwide prove their Ashkenazi ancestry from their maternal ancestors and even obtain an Israeli passport, if they wish. You can find the article by Jeremy Sharon in the Jerusalem Post at: http://bit.ly/2wCpVTJ.

My thanks to newsletter Ernest Thode for telling me about the article.

Researchers Shed Light on Neanderthals’ Legacy in Humans

Do you like to sleep in until mid-morning? Blame your Neanderthal ancestors! Some human traits that are linked to sunlight – including mood and sleep patterns – may be influenced by a person’s Neanderthal forefathers, according to a study published Thursday.

Researchers examined the genome of more than 100,000 Britons who inherited DNA from Neanderthal ancestors and found they reported higher rates of listlessness, loneliness, staying up late and smoking.

New Records Available To Search This Findmypast Friday

The following announcement was written by the folks at Findmypast:

There are over 609,000 new additions available to search this Findmypast Friday, including;

Warwickshire bastardy indexes

Containing over 5,000 records, the Warwickshire bastardy indexes consists of an assortment of bastardy applications, registers, returns and appeals spanning the years 1844 to 1914. ‘Bastard’ was a contemporary term which meant a child born outside of marriage. Bastardy records were created to establish who is responsible for the financial maintenance of illegitimate children. At the time of these records, bastardy cases were held in the petty session. Mothers could ask the court for an order against the child’s father to provide child maintenance. It was the mother’s responsibility to provide evidence of the paternity. This could be in the form of witness statements about the individuals’ relationship. Fathers were to pay the maintenance under threat of imprisonment.

Each record provides the name of the mother, and most records include the name of the putative father. The putative father is the individual who is alleged to be the father of the child. The records do not contain the name of the child.

Berkshire Baptism Index

The Mysterious Tree Carvings of America’s Basque Sheepherders

The Atlas Obscura web site has an interesting article about Basque immigrants to the United States. The article begins:

“Some Americans, to learn about their ancestors, can dig through documents detailing when they passed through Ellis Island or flew in or got married, or where they lived at the time of a census. But for some Basque families in the United States, the only record they have of their immigrant ancestors is carved into trees in secluded aspen groves throughout the West. Names, dates, hometowns, and other messages and art scar the pale bark of aspens where Basque men watched over herds of hundreds of sheep from the 1850s to the 1930s.

Make Your Voice Heard Regarding the Proposed Restrictions on Access to New York City’s Birth and Death Records

Genealogists’ access to public domain records is still being threatened in many locations. One of the biggest threats these days is New York City. However, you can make your voice heard.

The following was written by D. Joshua Taylor, President of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society:

Dear Friends,

As promised, the NYG&B has launched a landing page outlining steps everyone can take in making our voices heard regarding the proposed restrictions on access to New York City’s birth and death records.

The page can be found at: https://www.newyorkfamilyhistory.org/nyc-vital-records-access and allows visitors to do the following:

The Best Online Cloud Backup Service

I have written many times about the wisdom of backing up your important genealogy and other files off-site. That is, at least one copy of your multiple backups should be stored at a location that is some distance away from your computer(s). That provides protection from in-home disasters, such as hurricanes, tornados, fire, floods, or burst water pipes. There are dozens of backup servies available to choose from.

The Wirecutter is a highly-respected web site that publishes reviews of all sorts of things. I tend to trust The Wirecutter reviews more than most other web sites simply because the reviews all seem to be unbiased. As Jack Webb used to say on Dragnet, “Just the facts ma’am. Nothing but the facts.” Now The Wirecutter has published reviews of cloud-based backup services and selected one of them as “the best.”

Quoting from the web site:

USCIS Genealogy Program Improvements Announced

The following is an announcement from the U.S. government’s Citizenship and Immigration Services:

To improve efficiency and decrease wait times for USCIS Genealogy Program customers, processing of USCIS genealogy requests will transition from Washington, D.C., to the USCIS National Records Center in Lee’s Summit, Missouri.

TheGenealogist Expands their Parish Record Collection with the Addition of 2.2 Million Individuals for Somerset & Dorset

The following announcement was written by the folks at TheGenealogist:

TheGenealogist has released Baptism records for Somerset covering the years 1538 – 1996, along with Burial and Crematorium records for Somerset & Dorset covering 1563 – 2003. In association with Somerset & Dorset FHS, these new records cover hundreds of parishes for the counties.

Somerset and Dorset Family History Society worked with TheGenealogist to publish their records online, making over 2.2 million individuals from baptism and burial records fully searchable. Ann-Marie Wilkinson, the Chair of Somerset and Dorset FHS said:

How 19th Century Women Were Taught to Think About Native Americans

It is always interesting to try to guess what happened in the minds of our ancestors. Writing in the Jstor Daily web site, Erin Blakemore offers insights into the minds of many 19th century women in the US:

“What did nineteenth-century Americans know about Native Americans? For years, scholars have focused on stereotypes of indigenous Americans as brutal and sadistic—depictions that dominated press portrayals and that reverberate in culture to this day. But a look at those portrayals with an eye on gender reveals a slightly different story, writes Linda M. Clemmons—one that suggests Native American women were portrayed as equal with their white sisters.

Portrait of a young Choctaw woman, 1850 (via Wikimedia Commons)

(+) Is Your Genealogy Database Insane?

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

I’d like to make a bet with every reader of this newsletter: I’ll bet five bucks that you have errors in your genealogy database. Keep in mind that I am not a gambler; I only bet on “sure things.” In this case, I am sure that I could win at least 90% of the bets, guaranteeing that I could then afford a vacation on some sun-drenched tropical isle.

I get to see a lot of genealogy databases and a lot of online genealogy information. Almost all of the data I see has errors. Luckily, many of these errors are easy to find with just a bit of electronic assistance from your computer.

Laura G. Prescott Award for Exemplary Service to Professional Genealogy

The following announcement was written by the Association of Professional Genealogists:

Association of Professional Genealogists Creates the Laura G. Prescott Award for Exemplary Service to Professional Genealogy

First Recipient Prescott Presented with Award at APG Professional Management Conference

Laura G. Prescott

WASHINGTON, D.C., and WHEAT RIDGE, Colo., 29 September 2017 – The Association of Professional Genealogists (APG®) unveiled a new award at the APG 2017 Professional Management Conference (PMC) in the Washington D.C. area. At today’s opening session, APG President Billie Stone Fogarty presented an engraved crystal award to Laura G. Prescott, a past APG President and longtime, active member. The award, named for Prescott, will be given yearly to recognize service to the field of professional genealogy.

It is the First Day of the Month: Back Up Your Genealogy Files

BackUpYourGenealogyFilesIt is the first day of the month. It’s time to back up your genealogy files. Then test your backups!

Actually, you can make backups at any time. However, it is easier and safer if you have a specific schedule. The first day of the month is easy to remember, so I would suggest you back up your genealogy files at least on the first day of every month, if not more often.

New Records Available To Search This Findmypast Friday

The following announcement was written by the folks at Findmypast:

There are over 3. 2 million new records and newspaper articles available to search this Findmypast Friday, including:

Connecticut Baptisms, 1600s-1800s

Connecticut Baptisms contains over 41,000 records covering the towns of Coventry, East Hampton, Mansfield, New Haven, Norfolk, Norwich, Simsbury, Windsor, and Woodstock. Each record includes a transcripts that will reveal your ancestor’s birth year, baptism place, baptism date and parent’s names.

Connecticut Church Records, 1600s-1800s

The RootsTech 2018 Innovation Showcase Needs Your Nominations

The following was received in a message from the RootsTech organizers:

Help us identify the latest and greatest innovations impacting the genealogy industry as a whole by nominating your favorite products or technology! Then, watch the all-new Innovation Showcase on Wednesday, February 28, 2018, to see winners from around the world demonstrate their products on stage.