Posts By Dick Eastman

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.

Announcing the Unlock the Past Holy Land Tour and Genealogy Conference

The following announcement was written by Unlock the Past:

Adelaide, South Australia, 8 March 2017 – Unlock the Past announces another innovative event – a Holy Land tour and associated genealogy conference (Israel).

10-day Holy Land tour – 23 October – 1 November 2017

This is organised in partnership with the Israel Travel Centre. It is a general Holy Land tour timed around, and taking in, the 31 October centenary commemoration of the Charge of the ANZAC Light Horse on Beersheba on 31 October 1917.

The general tour will visit many places of Christian/biblical interest, as well as later Christian and general history – Caesarea built by Herod the Great, the Sea of Galilee, Nazareth, Jerusalem (2 days and 2 nights), the Dead Sea, Masada (the last stronghold of the Jewish rebellion against the Romans) and Abrahams Well and Visitor Center, Beersheba … and more.

Book Reviews: David Dobson’s Books

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

DAVID DOBSON continues his work compiling names into published lists which are absolutely indispensable to our genealogy work. Featured here are some of Dobson’s more recent publications.

The People of Belfast 1600-1799.
Genealogical Publishing Co. 2016. 155 pages.

Belfast, Ireland, grew from small village to important city after receiving a Royal Charter in 1613. The population stood at about two thousand residents. This volume contains lists of about two thousand names of Belfast residents transcribed from forty-five primary sources in Ireland, Scotland, England, and elsewhere, which are listed in the back of the book. A short introduction describes the history of Belfast.

The People of the Scottish Burghs.
Genealogical Publishing Co.

This set comprises a series of eleven Genealogical Source Books. Two recent examples are:

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

Many of us have collected all sorts of genealogy information. Not only do we have our personal data, most of us also have collected books, magazines, photographs, and more. Someday, somebody will have to dispose of all that material. Perhaps your heirs will make that decision soon after you die. If it was me, I would prefer to make those decisions myself long before my demise.

Another reason for planning to get rid of materials is a word that I fear. This word sends shivers up and down my spine:


Again, I prefer to make decisions about downsizing while I am still able to do so. I don’t want to wait until someone else makes the decision for me.

It’s a Grave Misunderstanding

I have written frequently about the preservation of tombstones. Apparently, one person did not “get the word.” A rather old article in the Los Angeles Times describes how one well-intentioned person has caused potential long-term damage to many Civil War tombstones. He thought he was helping preserve the tombstones but his efforts had the opposite effect. Not only did he not realize the damage he was causing, he even received commendations from cemetery officials, Representative Loretta Sanchez (D-Santa Ana), the Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society and the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War.

For three years, Gene-o Platt cleaned tombstones, removing fungus and lichen. He then brushed several layers of white-pigmented sealer onto the Georgia marble tombstones. Using drills and grinding tools, he also enhanced worn lettering and then painted them gold. He invested thousands of hours and dollars in the project, hoping his example would be copied nationwide.

What Mr. Platt did not realize is that the sealer will cause the marble to deteriorate from the inside out because moisture in the rock can’t escape. In addition, black lithochrome paint should be used for lettering, not gold.

LiteBook – the Impressive $249 to $269 Linux Laptop

NOTE: the following article has nothing to do with genealogy. If you are looking for genealogy-related articles, you might want to skip this one. Instead, it reflects one of my other interests: low-cost hardware that can be used for multiple purposes. I decided to publish the article here in case others might have similar interests.

Linux has always been known as a more secure operating system than Windows and even more secure than Macintosh. For most installations, Linux also requires less computing power than do either of its two major competing operating systems: Windows and Macintosh. Therefore, it is interesting (to me) that a company called Litebook has released a new Linux laptop that is priced to compete with Chromebooks and other low-cost laptops. The price? $249. If you want to add the one (and only) option available, it may cost you $269. Those prices include a one-year warranty.

Even at those prices, the LiteBook has some impressive specifications.

Dropbox Transforms Teamwork with New Products and Business Plans

Dropbox, with more than 500 million registered users, seems to be very popular amongst genealogists and for good reasons. It provides safe and secure storage of important files to guard against hard drive crashes, fires, floods, and other disasters that can destroy thousands of hours of a genealogists’s research within in a second or two. Dropbox also offers (optional) capabilities to share information with others.

Today, Dropbox announced a number of new services. Admittedly, most of the new offerings are aimed at teams, such as corporations or non-profits where many people work together on a common goal. Most of today’s announcements will not appeal to individual genealogists. However, one or two of the announcements may be of interest to a present Dropbox user. Also, perhaps all of today’s announcement will be of interest to anyone working in a group effort with other relatives or even a family association to research common ancestors. Anyone who is involved in co-authoring a future magazine or journal article also may be interested.

The new announcements include:

Why You Might Want to Use a Secure, Virtual Credit Card from

NOTE: The following article is “off topic.” That is, it contains no genealogy information. Instead, it describes a new credit card service that I have been using for a while. If you are looking for genealogy-related articles, I suggest you skip this one. If you are looking to save money and to add security to your online shopping experiences, you may be interested in this article.

virtual-credit-cardMore than 205 million Americans – more than half the population – uses online shopping. While all of these online shoppers apparently are comfortable with the security, a few others are still nervous about using credit cards online. That’s sad as millions of people prove every day that online shopping is safe.

Federal laws specify that you’ll only be liable for up to $50 of any bogus transaction. However, the credit card companies exceed this legal minimum; they will reimburse you for the first $50 as well as the remainder of the charge.

However, if someone needs a bit more assurance, a virtual credit card may be just what they need.

Genealogy and History Reportedly Will Suffer if the New Jersey State Archives Moves

In an article in the web site, Daniel Klein of the Jersey Journal warns that a relocation of the New Jersey State Archives could be detrimental for everyone. He writes:

“Some disturbing news for researchers working on the New Jersey genealogy came to light this week. The State of New Jersey has proposed a plan which will affect the New Jersey State Archives office in Trenton and move some operations to an alternate location due to a five-year renovation to the New Jersey State House. The current Archives building, which also houses the New Jersey Historical Commission and the State Council on the Arts, will be used to house the Governor’s office as renovations take place.

Courtney Cox to be Featured in the Season Opener of “Who Do You Think You Are?” (US Version)

On Sunday’s season seven premiere of Who Do You Think You Are?, Friends star Courtney Cox goes back to Europe to trace her maternal line, but what she learns is far more intriguing than she could have expected.

Cox will visit the same castle her 18 times great-grandfather lived in the Middle Ages and she inquires about a letter she had been told he had sent to the king saying his father had died.

You can watch the program on TLC television (on cable and satellite services) or, on the Internet, on truTV or on DIRECTV NOW or on PlayStation Vue.

New Records Available To Search This Findmypast Friday

The following announcement was written by FindMyPast:

Over 833,000 records are available to search this Findmypast Friday including;

Scotland Post Office Directories

Scotland Post Office Directories contains over 382,000 records and allows you to explore thousands of pages of directories to learn more about the life and work of your Scottish ancestors. Many of these directories focus on a particular town or district although a number of national postal directories are also included. The majority comprise a description of the place along with lists of people by occupation. For example, you will find lists of magistrates, councillors, sheriffs, police officers, and merchants.

The records are presented as images and do not contain transcripts. The detail you will find on each page will depend on the type and date of the directory, although most will reveal your ancestor’s residence and occupation.

Scotland Post Office Directories Image Browse

Book Review: Unofficial Workbook

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

unofficial-ancestry-workbookUnofficial Workbook
A How-To Manual for Tracing Your Family Tree on the #1 Genealogy Website
By Nancy Hendrickson. Published by Family Tree Books. 2016. 191 pages.

In leafing through the pages of this workbook, a variation on an old commercial came to mind:
Subscribing to Ancestry……199 dollars.
Finding that elusive record…..priceless.

This is a workbook that could be very useful when you’re working and poking around on Ancestry. It’s filled with guidance on navigating the various tabs and links in order to get the most out of Ancestry. There are examples of records you’ll find, the various dialog boxes you’ll come across, sidebars containing explanatory text and image graphics to present clues and hints for your searches, and worksheets that are nicely formatted for recording your data. There are links for downloading more copies of the worksheets, nicely avoiding copyright infringement.

Converting a Society Newsletter from Print to Digital

A newsletter reader asked, “How can I encourage people to sign up for electronic delivery of our quarterly newsletter? I am sending out 15 by email and 405 by US Postal Service. Any savings we can spend on other worthwhile activities.”

My suggestion is simple and I know it has been effective for others. First, you need to determine how much it costs to print and mail the printed newsletter. Calculate the printing costs, the postage, the cost of envelopes (if used), and any labor charges incurred.

Next, send an announcement to all members that they now have an option: each member can now receive the newsletter at no additional charge if they accept it electronically. That means by email or on the society’s web site or both. Those who wish to continue with the printed version can do so but at an additional charge that is equivalent to the actual cost to the society for printing and mailing.

Sleuth Along Interstate Highways for Your Ancestors

The thought of your ancestors of 100 or 200 years ago traveling along a modern-day interstate highway may seem amusing as interstate highways didn’t exist until the 1950s. Yet, it is quite possible that your ancestors traveled along the same routes as today’s interstates, plus or minus a very few miles.

Westward migration in the United States usually took place in the path of least resistance: on riverboats where practical or on pathways along rivers when boat travel was not available. In cases where there was no river to follow, overland travel generally went along the path of least resistance, too: through valleys, through mountain passes, and perhaps straight across the flatlands and prairies.

When studying migration patterns throughout history in the United States, we can see hundreds of examples. In New England, the first inland areas to be settled were along the Merrimack River, the Connecticut River, the Penobscot River, and the others.

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

BackUpYourGenealogyFilesIt is the first day of the month as well as the first day of the year. 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.

When High-Class Ladies Wore Masks That Made It Impossible to Speak

Here is a bit of history about some of our ancestors that I had not heard before. For refined, upper-class ladies in 16th-century Europe, getting a tan, especially on your face, was not a good look.

The implication of such coloring was that one must work outside, and thus, quite possibly be poor (cue gasps and swooning faints). So to make sure they didn’t get burned, some 16th-century ladies wore face masks called visards (or vizards) that covered their delicate visages. Unfortunately, the masks also made it so they couldn’t speak. And, look as if they belonged to an evil cult.

You can find this interesting article by Eric Grundhauser in Atlas Obscura at:

CLARIFICATION: How To Watch Who Do You Think You Are Online Without Cable

The article entitled How To Watch Who Do You Think You Are Online Without Cable (at refers to watching Who Do You Think You Are? on streaming video over the Internet, not to watching it on cable or satellite television.

truTV is the Internet television division of Turner Entertainment Networks, Inc., a Time-Warner company. All references to truTV in the How To Watch Who Do You Think You Are Online Without Cable article refer ONLY to watching television programming over Internet streaming video, not to watching it on cable or satellite television. truTV typically is available via Roku boxes, Amazon Fire TV Stick, and similar “set-top boxes” as well as on Windows and Macintosh computers and on iPad, Android, and similar tablet computers.

Who Do You Think You Are? is also being broadcast on the TLC network, which is available on most cable and satellite television services.

Again, as the article title of How To Watch Who Do You Think You Are Online Without Cable at refers ONLY to watching Who Do You Think You Are? on the Internet. For satellite or cable TV, look at TLC.

I have re-worded the original article in hopes of clarifying the differences.