Posts By Dick Eastman

NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Adopts Birth & Death Embargo Dates and More

The following is a message posted to the IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee’s mailing list today by Jan Meisels Allen:

On March 13 the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene officially adopted their proposed regulation on Access To Birth and Death Records With Original Access Years of 125 for Birth and 75 for Death. This was mentioned in the IAJGS Records Access Alert posted on March 8, 2018. The final regulation may be read at:

Joshua Taylor, President of the NY Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYGBS) reported to their members this morning about the meeting earlier today. The report may be read at:

New Historic Records on FamilySearch: Week of March 12, 2018

The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

Find your ancestors with new historic records published on FamilySearch this week from AustriaBillionGravesBrazilEnglandFranceGermanyGuatemalaIdahoIllinoisMexicoSpain, and Texas. Search these new free records by clicking on the collection links below or search over 6 billion free records at  FamilySearch.

A Major Family History Conference in the UK: Secret Lives. The Hidden Voices of our Ancestors

This sounds like a great event! Secret Lives: Hidden Voices of our Ancestors will focus on the unusual and often untold stories of our ancestors’ lives. The following announcement was written by the four sponsoring organizations:

Four major genealogical organisations in the UK are coming together to host a major family history conference held from Friday 31st August to Sunday 2nd September 2018 at Jury’s Inn, Hinckley Island Hotel Watling Street, Hinckley, Leicestershire LE10 3JA

Bookings for the Secret Lives genealogy conference hosted by the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA), the Guild of One Name Studies, the Halsted Trust and the Society of Genealogists are going very well. In fact they are going so well that the early bird allocation of rooms from the venue are now all sold. But don’t worry we’ve secured some more accommodation and there are still places available at the hotel for full or day conference attendance.

Findmypast announces New & Improved Irish Civil Registration Indexes Available

The following announcement was written by the folks at Findmypast. The article was sent Friday, March 9, although I did not receive it until today because of my travels:

The home of the world’s largest online collection of Irish family history records, Findmypast, today announces the publication of two new and improved Irish Civil Registration Indexes.

Both collections are completely free to search and explore, providing family historians around the world with even greater chances of learning more about the lives of their Irish ancestors.

The two indexes, the Ireland Civil Birth Registers Index and Ireland Civil Marriage Index, contain over 5.3 million transcripts of Irish civil births and marriages compiled from original entries in General Register Office registers. Today’s release marks the first phase of a collection that will continue to grow as additional records are added throughout 2018.

Family History Hosting Announces Archive Hosting Plans

Who will keep your online genealogy web site active and available to others after you are gone? Family History Hosting, LLC has a solution that will appeal to many. Here is the announcement:

Keep your project online after you are unable to maintain it.

Narragansett, Rhode Island – March 12, 2018 – Family History Hosting, LLC is pleased to announce low-cost, long-term hosting plans that will keep your content online for an extended time. Using an Archive hosting plan, your genealogy project will stay online for 10 years from your last renewal payment.

Archive plans include a Yearly Fee and a one-time Setup Fee that is nine times the Yearly Fee. When you stop paying the Yearly Fee, the funds from the one-time fee extend your hosting subscription for an additional nine years.

Archive plans include only minimal features: the focus is on keeping your content available online and keeping the cost as low as possible.

A Cell Phone App Stops You from Accidentally Dating your Long-Lost Cousin

This app only works in Iceland. I was in the country last year and learned about it from several local residents.

With a population of only 320,000 people, Icelanders all know that everyone on the island is related to everyone else. In some cases, they might be closely related, such as second cousins. This presents a quandary when dating: is your date a candiate for marriage or perhaps could such a marriage lead to an incestuous relationship?

How to Trace your Irish Family History: a Step-By-Step Guide

Irish genealogy expert John Grenham has published an excellent beginners’ guide to Irish genealogy. If you are new to genealogy and are interested in tracing your Irish heritage, I suggest you first read his tutorial published in The Irish Times at:

For Your Info: I am Back Online After Being in Shanghai

Yes, I was “Shanghai’d” in more ways than one.

A week ago, I wrote a brief announcement saying I was going on vacation, spending a few days in Shanghai, China. The announcement is still available at I also stated that, “I probably will publish a few new articles in this newsletter during the week but not as many as usual. Also, that is true only if the Great Firewall of China cooperates.”

Well, the Great Firewall of China did not cooperate. I was held incommunicado. I was unable to publish any new articles for the past week.

The Chinese government does not allow its citizens or visitors to the country to have free and open access to the Internet. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of web sites are blocked. “The Great Firewall of China” blocks access to anything the Chinese government believes might be critical of anything in the Chinese government. The “Firewall” is a combination of legislative actions and technologies enforced by the People’s Republic of China to regulate the Internet domestically.

1771 Massachusetts (and Maine) Tax Inventory is Available Online

A free online searchable database called the “1771 Massachusetts Tax Inventory” is available online. While the title says “Massachusetts,” keep in mind that what is now the state of Maine was still a part of Massachusetts at that time. Since the database includes all of what was then the Province of Massachusetts Bay, the property owners in what is now Maine are also listed in this database.

The collection of data contains the names and descriptions of taxable property of nearly 38,000 individuals who resided in 152 Massachusetts towns in 1771. Data include enumerations of the type and value of real estate and buildings, as well as tabulation of livestock and farm commodities produced.

The on-line version allows you to browse the data by selecting items to view and “drilling down” through totals for counties and towns to the holdings of individual taxpayers.

On the Road Again… and I am Being Shanghai’d

If you have been reading this newsletter for some time, you already know that I often travel to genealogy conferences. However, for the next week I’ll be traveling again and this time I am on vacation. In fact, I’ll be resting and relaxing in Shanghai, China.

Unlike most of my travels, the trip to Shanghai is not a genealogy-related trip. 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. While I traveled almost constantly while in China, I was based in Shanghai and returned there whenever I didn’t have an assignment in some other city. As a result, I spent more time in Shanghai than in any other single city in China.

Why You Might Want to Attend a Virtual Conference

I believe virtual conferences are the wave of the future. I just returned from a 4-day genealogy conference in Salt Lake City. With the air travel, hotel expenses, restaurant meals, and conference admission, I spent more than $1,500 US. I also spent six days away from home: one day traveling to the event (in the cheapest airline coach seats I could find), four days at the conference, and one more day returning home. I am sure that attendees from overseas spent much more than I did.

Obviously, many people are not able to pay that much money or to take that many days out of their lives to attend such an event, regardless of their interest level. Luckily, technology can provide an alternative.

(+) The Web as We Knew it is Dead. Long Live the Web!

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

Are you using the latest and most convenient technology available today? Or are you using an ancient Windowsaurus (an old personal computing device, from the paleo-vista era)?

The history of the Internet began with the development of electronic computers in the 1950s. The US Department of Defense awarded contracts as early as the 1960s for packet network systems, including the development of the ARPANET (which would become the first network to use the Internet Protocol). Numerous people worked to connect computers together in a collaborative manner. Early examples include ARPANET, Mark I at NPL in the UK, CYCLADES, Merit Network, Tymnet, and Telenet. All were developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s using a variety of communications protocols.

A major revolution began, however, when Tim Berners-Lee, an independent contractor at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Switzerland, posted a short summary of his implementation of something he called the World Wide Web project on August 6, 1991 in the alt.hypertext newsgroup, inviting collaborators. This date also marked the debut of the Web as a publicly available service on the Internet. The world was never the same again.

In fact, the World Wide Web was implemented and then has changed significantly over the years. We’ve really had 3 generations:

A Report from RootsTech2018, with Pictures

RootsTech2018 was held in Salt Lake City on February 28 through March 3. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend. I can also state that I am exhausted. It must have been a great event!

The crowds were huge. I never heard the final attendance figures but I believe about 14,000 genealogists attended the sessions on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Saturday was Family Discovery Day in which an additional 12,000+ adults and teenagers attended sessions specifically designed for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There were times you could barely walk sideways through the throngs of people in the hallways and in the exhibits hall.

Ukrainian Genealogy Group to Host a Virtual Conference

The following announcement was written by Nashi Predky, the family history group of the Ukrainian History and Education Center:

The Ukrainian History and Education Center (UHEC) is proud to announce the first-ever virtual event for Ukrainian genealogy. Nashi Predky (Our Ancestors), the family history group of the UHEC, will be hosting their 2018 Spring Workshop virtually on Saturday, March 17th .

Since the group’s formation in 2013, all of the workshops and annual conferences have been held at the Ukrainian Cultural Center in Somerset, New Jersey. This year, the committee is excited to offer this event to fellow researchers who may not be able to travel for an in-person event.

MyHeritage Releases New Collections with 325 Million Historical Records

MyHeritage has announced still another collection of records of genealogy interest. At the RootsTech conference, I had a chance to look at the new U.S. Yearbooks Name Index and even found myself in my high school’s yearbook with a picture of myself taken during my sophomore year. Boy, did I look like a geek back then! (Can I get the picture removed from the database??? No? Oh, OK.) You might want to find your picture as well as those of your friends and relatives.

Here is the latest announcement released at this week’s RootsTech conference:

Latest additions are the 1939 Register of England & Wales; a unique and innovatively structured U.S. yearbooks collection; and a collection of Canadian obituaries

TEL AVIV, Israel & LEHI, Utah–MyHeritage, the leading global destination for family history and DNA testing, announced today the addition of three important historical records collections that provide value for family history enthusiasts worldwide.

MyHeritage releases new collections with 325 million historical records

Book Review: American Settlements and Migrations: A Primer for Genealogists and Family Historians

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

American Settlements and Migrations: A Primer for Genealogists and Family Historians
by Lloyd de Witt Bockstruck. Published by Genealogical Publishing Company. 2017. 108 pages.

This is a smallish book, indeed a primer, “any book of elementary principles.” This book reviews the population movements of the New England states and colonies as well as the western states and Pacific coast areas.

Primer is an easy read, but full of information. Chapters overview the settlements of:

Book Review: History for Genealogists

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

History for Genealogists
By Judy Jacobson. Published by Genealogical Publishing Co. 2016. 310 pages.

This is a timeline style of book.

Understanding the social setting of our historical families sets the stage for appreciating why they moved, why they married those particular people, and why they undertook those particular occupations and endeavors of their lives.

History covers chronologically the events for military battles and wars, disease epidemics, economic events, migration trails, politics, disasters, and other momentous happenings.

MyHeritage Releases Chromosome Browser Upgrade to Facilitate Better Exploration and Interpretation of DNA Matches

The following announcement from MyHeritage should prove to benefit many genealogists who are using DNA to prove or to supplement traditional DNA methods:

TEL AVIV, Israel & LEHI, Utah–MyHeritage, the leading global destination for family history and DNA testing, announced today a major upgrade of its chromosome browser, making it easier for users to make the most of their DNA matches.

A chromosome browser is a graphical tool that represents a person’s chromosomes. It visualizes DNA segments shared by two people who have matching DNA, that may originate from one or more shared ancestors. By studying those segments and testing the DNA of additional relatives, it is possible to determine who the segments originated from and understand the relationship path between the two people.

Findmypast Brings New York Catholic Records Online for the First Time

The following announcement was written by the folks at Findmypast:

  • Findmypast adds indexes containing over eight million New York records to its exclusive Catholic Heritage Archive
  • Released online for the first time, family historians can now search for Catholic ancestors in the second-largest diocese in the United States
  • New records date back to 1785, span more than 130 years of New York history and cover more than 230 parishes across the Archdiocese. Images will be added to the collection later in the year.

Leading family history website, Findmypast, has today announced the online publication of indexes containing over eight million New York sacramental records in partnership with the Archdiocese of New York.

This landmark release is the latest in a series of substantial updates to Findmypast’s exclusive Catholic Heritage Archive, a groundbreaking initiative that aims to digitize the historical records of the Catholic Church in North America, Britain and Ireland for the very first time.

MyHeritage Science Team’s Research Featured in the Prestigious Journal Science

The following announcement was written by the team at MyHeritage:

We are proud to share that our science team, led by MyHeritage’s Chief Science Officer, Dr. Yaniv Erlich, has had a groundbreaking paper published today in Science, one of the most influential academic journals in the world.

The research was conducted with scientists at Columbia University, the New York Genome Center, MIT and Harvard, and provides fresh insights into the last couple of centuries of marriage and migration in Europe and North America, and the role of genes in longevity. Other than Dr. Erlich who led the research, MyHeritage Science Team member Tal Shor is also one of the authors.

Massive Family Tree Yields New Insights about Humanity