Posts By Dick Eastman

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

MyHeritage Launches DNA Quest — a Major Pro Bono Initiative for Adoptees and Their Biological Families to Find Each Other via DNA Testing

The following announcement was written by MyHeritage, the sponsors of this newsletter. The announcement was made in front of thousands of genealogists at an opening session of RootsTech by Aaron Godfrey of MyHeritage. The announcement and the in-person introduction of two long-lost sisters to the RootsTech audience was a major highpoint of the day. (You can view the session soon on the RootsTech videos at If you are an adoptee or a member of a birth family, I suggest you read this announcement about a FREE service carefully. You also will want to read the article in the MyHeritage Blog.

TEL AVIV, Israel & LEHI, Utah–MyHeritage, the leading global destination for family history and DNA testing, announced today the launch of a new pro bono initiative, DNA Quest, to help adoptees and their birth families reunite through genetic testing. As part of this initiative, MyHeritage will provide 15,000 MyHeritage DNA kits, worth more than one million dollars, for free, with free shipping, to eligible participants. Participation is open to adoptees seeking to find their biological family members, and to anyone looking for a family member who was placed for adoption. Preference will be given to people who are not able to afford genetic testing. The first phase of the initiative is open to USA residents, involving adoptions that took place in the USA. Application opens today on the project website,, which includes detailed information about the initiative.

Findmypast Helps North American Researchers Discover British & Irish Ancestors

The following announcement was written by the folks at Findmypast:

Your ancestors’ journeys to North America were tough.
Your discoveries shouldn’t be

Industry-leading British family history website Findmypast has introduced a unique approach to help North American family historians connect with ancestors in the British Isles.

As the home of the world’s most comprehensive online collection of British and Irish records, Findmypast is committed to making discoveries in the British Isles easier than ever before. Today Findmypast has launched a new subscription package for the North American market that provides all the tools needed to discover ancestors across the pond.

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.

Findmypast Acquires Genealogy Startup Twile – Winner of Two RootsTech Innovation Awards

I have written often in the past about Findmypast and several times about Twile. It is nice to learn of this “marriage.” Here is a major announcement made at RootsTech today, written by Findmypast:

Leading British family history website, Findmypast, has announced their acquisition of genealogy startup Twile, creators of the visual family history timeline and winner of two RootsTech innovation awards.

The acquisition reflects Findmypast’s drive to innovate and enhance customers’ family history experience by providing them with new ways to share their family stories.

Twile enables family historians to create interactive timelines with their family memories and set them against the context of world history. Twile provides new and engaging ways of telling your family’s story via beautiful infographics and other visualizations.

Founders, Fishermen, and Family History Cruise Features Genealogy and History

The following announcement was written by Gena Philibert-Ortega:

Sail from Boston to Nova Scotia in August 2019

28 February 2018 – Gena Philibert-Ortega’s Founders, Fishermen, and Family History cruise sponsored by MyHeritage will set sail August 10-17, 2019, from the Port of Boston, Massachusetts. Sailing on the Holland America Line ship ms Veendam, additional stops planned are Portland, Maine; Bar Harbor, Maine; Saint John, New Brunswick; Halifax, Nova Scotia; and Sydney, Nova Scotia.

Genealogists Gena Philibert-Ortega, David Allen Lambert, Daniel Horowitz, and Tami Osmer Mize will provide educational presentations, technology demonstrations, and consultations. In addition, a pre-cruise day (August 9, 2019) at the New England Historic and Genealogical Society includes an opportunity to learn more about the Society holdings and allows time for research. Additional events are being planned, including special presentations and a tour at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21.

Legacy Republic Launches in Salt Lake City to Save One Million Memories and Unlock Region’s Genealogy Treasure Chest

The following announcement was written by Legacy Republic and released at the RootsTech conference:

On a quest to save one million memories, the world’s most trusted family legacy service, Legacy Republic, is officially launching today in Salt Lake City to connect local families to their past through photo and video digitization. The company now has limited openings for up to 30 Legacy Maker consultants and Pro Services Executives, who will inspire and help their communities preserve, celebrate and relive their family stories.

At a time when the country has been facing massive natural disasters, and 500 million photo albums have yet to be digitized, Legacy Republic recognizes the importance of preserving and celebrating family history and heritage — tenants that are especially vital to the Salt Lake City community.

Book Review: The Family Tree Historical Newspapers Guide

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

The Family Tree Historical Newspapers Guide
by James M. Beidler. Published by Family Tree Books, Cincinnati, OH. 2018. 239 pages.

This new Historical Newspapers Guide covers research in traditional newspapers and online newspaper sources.

Part One includes chapters on the history of newspapers, and information you’d expect to find:

  • The Historical Role of Newspapers
  • Records in Newspapers
  • Vital Records and Events in Newspapers
  • Obituaries and Other Death Notices
  • Understanding Newspaper Media

On the Road Again to Salt Lake City and Beyond

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 two weeks.

Right now I am in Salt Lake City, Utah. I will be attending the annual RootsTech conference and hope to write in this newsletter about what I see and experience through next Saturday. Stay tuned!

On Sunday, I will fly home but will be there just over 24 hours before leaving again. I think that will be just about enough time to do my laundry. Then I leave for Shanghai, China.

A new ‘In-brief’ Concise Report has been Released for English & Welsh Ancestor Research

The following announcement was written by the Family History Researcher Academy:

The Family History Researcher Academy has added a new In-brief crib-sheet report to its website, to compliment its more in-depth online English & Welsh family history course.

The In-brief report shows researchers where to find the on and offline resources, for discovering ancestors in England and Wales, and looks at which top records to use.

The succinct 6 page document reveals which websites can be useful for finding ancestors, in this part of the world, and covers the free sites as well as the commercial ones along with those of The National Archives, The National Library of Wales, County Record Offices, the Society of Genealogists and more.

This In-brief introduces: