Posts By Dick Eastman

New Records Available To Search This Findmypast Friday

The following announcement was written by the folks at Findmypast:

Over 10.1 million new records and newspaper articles are available to search this Findmypast Friday, including;

Canada Census 1881

The Canada Census of 1881 records the details of over 4.2 million Canadians. In 1881, Canada consisted of British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, and Quebec. The census began on 4 April 1881 and covered 192 districts broken up into 2,139 sub-districts. Census districts and sub-districts were composed of cities, towns, townships, Indian reserves, and less-defined areas. Areas that were less defined posed a particular challenge to enumerators and resulted in individuals being missed. This was particularly the case for Aboriginal people living in districts 187 (New Westminster, British Columbia) and 192 (Northwest Territories).

Family ChartMasters Announces a New Genealogy Chart Created for Showing Off DNA Test Results

The following announcement was written by Family ChartMasters:

CEDAR HILLS, Utah – June 9, 2017 – A beautiful new way to display the results of a genetic family history test has been created for the millions of people who are getting to know their ancestors through DNA testing. Family ChartMasters, the genealogy chart printing leader for over 15 years, has designed a new DNA ethnicity chart to help family history enthusiasts show off their genetic heritage.

“We hope that this new chart will help people who have become curious about their genealogy through DNA testing become even more excited about searching out their ancestors,” says owner Janet Hovorka. “At Family ChartMasters we believe that family history can save the world. The more people know about their background, the more they are inspired with civility, gratitude and compassion for other people because they find out we are all more alike than different. We want to help people make that easy to remember every day.”

Are You Pestered by Mosquitoes? If so, Blame Your Ancestors. It’s in Your Genes.

A study conducted by scientists at Pfizer Inc. and 23andMe and published in the journal Human Molecular Genetics, found 15 genetic variants associated with the size of welts left behind from mosquito bites, the intensity of itch, as well as how attractive some of us are to the insects.

The study looked at several mosquito bite traits together, and the researchers found overlapping genetic associations for each. Among the findings, the analysis in this study suggested that genetics play a slightly stronger role in how attractive a person is to mosquitoes.

You can read a lot more about this study on an article in the 23andMe Blog at

MyHeritage Adds Seven New Online Dutch Collections

An article in the MyHeritage Blog states:

“We’re happy to announce the publication on MyHeritage Super Search of seven large and significant historical record collections from the Netherlands. These new collections, totaling over 116 million records, cover about five centuries, and fascinating periods in Dutch history. During this time, the Netherlands’ population grew from an estimated 1 million people to over 4.5 million inhabitants. Migrates Its Entire Server Infrastructure to the Cloud

I have written often about the advantages and the disadvantages of storing your data, especially backup copies, in the cloud. Mostly, it is an efficient and effective method of keeping your information safe. A lot of industry leaders agree. Now’s entire data center has been moved to cloud computing.

A few years ago, I visited’s data center on two different occasions. While impressive, it was a typical data center. (I have been inside hundreds of data centers over the years.) One major disaster, such as a fire or earthquake, could have left the company without a lot of data processing capabilities. To be sure, maintains almost constant backups of their data. However, building a new data center after a disaster, probably in a new location, and restoring the backups would have required months, possibly years.

Volunteer Help Wanted at FreeUKGEN

FreeUKGen is an initiative to help make more high quality primary (or near-primary) records of relevance to UK genealogy conveniently available online, preferably for free, in a coherent, easy to access and search, facility or set of facilities. (See for details.) Now the all-volunteer organization is looking for additional help from Macintosh programmers.

According to the FreeUKGen help wanted advertisement:

Digital Maine Transcription Project

The Digital Maine Transcription Project (DMTP) encourages “crowdsourcing.” That is, you or anyone else with an interest can help make significant Maine documents accessible online so that others may benefit.

According to the DMTP web site at

DMTP started in 2016 as a collaborative project of the Maine State Archives and Maine State Library. The decision was made to open up access to as many digital images of original documents as possible, but staff lacked time to transcribe them.

Follow-Up: How Private is Your Genealogy Information?

Yesterday, I published an article entitled How Private is Your Genealogy Information? That article is still available at: In that article, I strongly suggested encrypting any sensitive information stored in your computer’s hard drive, on flash drives, or in any cloud-based file storage service. Encryption keeps your private information private.

A newsletter reader then asked a very simple question: “How do I encrypt my info?”

The question is simple although the answer is a bit more complex. I decided to post my answer here in a separate article so that everyone could read my reply:

Videotapes Are Becoming Unwatchable

How many videotapes do you own? Are any of them videos made at family reunions or videos of your children or grandchildren as they grew? Would you like to preserve them for a few more years? If so, you need to take action NOW!

Research suggests that videotapes aren’t going to live beyond 15 to 20 years. Some call this the “magnetic media crisis.” The problem is that many people don’t realize their tapes are degrading.

How Private is Your Genealogy Information?

A newsletter reader asked a question that I think many people are asking. I replied to him in email but thought I would also share may answer here in the newsletter in case others have the same question.

My correspondent wrote:

I am relatively new to genealogy technology. Are there tips you can provide to ensure the security of personal information? Would building a family tree in software only [in] my computer be more secure than syncing it to a webpage (like MyHeritage)? Is it a good idea to not include details (name, date and place of birth) for all living relatives and maybe back a generation or two? Thanks.

My reply:

No. In fact, quite the opposite.

New Indexing Projects on FamilySearch: June 2017

The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH, 5 June 2017–FamilySearch has published its June 2017 list of historic record collections available for indexing (see table below). If you have not contributed as a volunteer online indexer yet, these new projects might provide the perfect opportunity! This month’s indexing projects might also hold “that record” you need to break down another family history brick wall. There are new projects for Australia, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Italy, Peru, and the US. Help us unlock them through indexing. The indexing done by generous online volunteers is what makes historical records easily searchable online for free at FamilySearch. Click on a project of personal interest from the collections list below to see how you can help connect families to their ancestors.

A Weekend at the Auckland (New Zealand) Family History Conference

I must say that I had a pleasant 3-day weekend in Auckland, New Zealand. I attended the annual conference of the New Zealand Society of Genealogists and even had the opportunity to make several presentations myself. This was a major conference. I never heard the final headcount but I estimate that 500 or maybe 600 genealogists were in attendance.

I must say this is an enthusiastic group! They are both enthusiastic and knowledgeable genealogists.

I was especially impressed with the international “flavor” of this conference. In addition to myself, conference speakers included:

Over 5 Million Additional United States, WWI Draft Registration Cards Available to Search this Findmypast Friday

The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

Over 5.1 million new records have been added to our collection of United States WWI draft registration cards. This final update completes this fascinating collection, which now totals more than 25 million records.

The draft was authorized for the purpose of raising a national army in light of the United States’ entry into World War I. When, on April 6, 1917, the United States officially declared war on Germany, the US Army was far too small to effectively fight an overseas war. In response, the Selective Service Act was passed enabling men to be selected, trained and drafted into military service, as necessary. Following the Act’s passage on May 18th 1917, more than 24 million Americans (nearly 98% of the male population under the age of 46) registered for the draft, meaning that this collection records nearly half the male population at that time.

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.

Idaho State Archives to Digitize 27,000 Records

The Idaho State Archives is making more than 27,000 records available to the public by digitizing the documents in collaboration with

The Idaho Press Tribune at reports that birth, death, prison and other records are currently being scanned – a process expected to be completed in the next six months. The records will then be accessible through the Ancestry Institution online database.

Read Me! A Self-Correcting Tool for Reading Pre-Modern Handwriting

According to an article in the Echoes from the Vault web site:

“Palaeography skills develop with greater exposure and even experts will tell you that their ability to decipher a particular hand improves with acquaintance.”

The article then continues:

Recently Launched Indexing Projects On FamilySearch: May 2017

The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

FamilySearch has published its May 2017 list of historic record collections available for indexing (see table below). Indexing by generous volunteers is what makes historical records easily searchable online for free at FamilySearch. Click on a project of personal interest from the collections list below to help connect families to their ancestors.

MyHeritage Launches a Major New Comprehensive DNA Ethnicity Analysis

MyHeritage (the sponsor of this newsletter) has just announced a new and improved version of its DNA service. The new upgrade is called the Ethnicity Estimate. It provides MyHeritage DNA customers with a percentage-based estimate of their ethnic origins covering 42 ethnic regions, more than any other major DNA company, and many available only on MyHeritage.

Best of all, MyHeritage is also offering both a FREE ethnicity AND matching service for anyone who has had a DNA analysis from a different DNA company. To my knowledge, no other DNA testing service offers anything similar to that. Notice the announcement below states:

“MyHeritage is unique among the main industry players in allowing users who have tested their DNA already with another service to upload – for free – their data to MyHeritage. Those users receive DNA Matches for free, for finding relatives based on shared DNA.”

The announcement also states:

This benefit is not offered by any other major DNA company.

I would suggest this is a great opportunity to upload your DNA data to MyHeritage and enjoy free DNA Matching and Ethnicity Estimates. You can do so by going to

The following announcement was written by the folks at MyHeritage:

Maine’s WPA Cemetery Plans Are Now Online

Emily Schroeder, the genealogy specialist at Maine State Library, has published an article in her blog that describes a new resource for anyone with Maine ancestry. (Hey! That’s me!) Many Maine cemeteries have plans originally created courtesy of the Works Progress Administration, which reside at the Maine State Archives. Thanks to that staff and the folks who work on Digital Maine, all 543 of those images may now be seen at the touch of a button or two!

You can read more in Emily Schroeder’s blog at:

How a Synagogue Caretaker Used Google Maps to Solve the Mystery of a Forgotten Graveyard

Not so long ago, in Plymouth, England, Jerry Sibley discovered a Jewish cemetery that dated back to the 1700s. Sibley went to Google Maps, with a clue that placed the older cemetery on Lambhay Hill. After an initial effort failed to find it, he painstakingly over aerial images again until he found bright green spot. He zoomed in—and he could just make out some headstones.

The cemetery had gone unvisited for so long that no one at the synagogue knew how to open the door to the walled space. Sibley sorted through a box of 300 keys until he found the right one. When he opened the door he found a secret garden of trees, grass, flowers, and gravestones.

You can read the full story in an article by Sarah Laskow in the Atlas Obscura web site at: