Plus Edition Article

(+) Why Isn’t It Available Online?

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

NOTE: This article contains personal opinions.

Earlier today I received an email message that announced the publication of a new (printed) book that documents all the readable tombstones in a cemetery and provides a map of that cemetery. The only copy of this hand-made book is available at a public library near the cemetery that was documented. That effort results in a valuable resource for anyone researching ancestry in the area IF THEY CAN TRAVEL TO VIEW THE BOOK. For some descendants, that may require travel of thousands of miles.

Of course, thinking about the publication of a single book immediately begs the question, “What about those of us who are unable to travel to a specific library that might be thousands of miles away?” I will suggest it is time to change everyone’s thinking about publishing.

(+) Preserve Newspapers for Years!

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

Most all paper manufactured in the past one hundred years or more contains acids. If left untreated, these acids will slowly decompose the paper itself. The use of acids in the manufacture of paper did not become popular until the early 20th century. Older newspapers of the 19th century were printed on paper that had no acids so they tend to last much longer.

Newspaper clippings or any other documents not printed on acid-free paper will eventually disintegrate. Today’s newspapers usually contain more acids than other paper so newspapers are often the first to disintegrate. Luckily, modern science has created methods of slowing down or even stopping the decay of such paper.

(+) One Secret to Making Money from Your Genealogy Web Site

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

Disclaimer: I think all computer users should be aware of this information. In fact, I would suggest that all computer users should be aware of this so that each of us can understand why some sites are trying to obtain some of your money, and how. The information is provided here for your education only and should not be interpreted as an endorsement or a recommendation by me. I will list some of my opinions and experiences near the end of the article.

This week I will tell you how to make money from your genealogy web site. Yes, it is true: you can place genealogy data online about your own family tree although you can probably make more money by providing “how-to” information or even images of old records or even digitized books. You will quickly ask, “How much money can I make?” I can only answer, “It all depends.” You might only make enough to buy a cup of coffee, perhaps not even at Starbucks’ inflated prices. Then again, rumors float around claiming that a handful of genealogy-related sites are making thousands of dollars per month.

(+) Which Protects Better: Cloud Storage or Local Backups?

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

I have written often about the need to make frequent backups in order to protect your valuable information. After reading a message from a newsletter reader, I decided to write one more article about the topic to clear up one possible misconception. The email message asked:

“You tell us to back up our data often, to many places, in case of physical disaster. But what happens if you get a virus that infects your computer, in spite of having virus protection. Do all the copies then have the virus also? What is the solution for that?”

First, let’s define some terminology. A file copy program is not a true backup program.

(+) Is it Protected Under Copyright Laws?

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

Genealogists often republish information from old books as well as from archives, courthouses, web sites, and other sources. Sadly, many modern day genealogists simply ignore copyright laws. Doing so can result in an unpleasant notice from a law firm appearing in your mailbox. The laws that limit someone’s right to copy a work have changed in recent years. Your awareness of the current laws can protect you from land mines of liability as you prepare your research for publication.

This article will address copyright laws and issues in the U.S. Other countries will have different laws concerning copyrights.

Here is one of the most important issues concerning copyrights, as written by an attorney:

(+) How to Watch TLC and other Live TV on Roku

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

NOTE: At first glance, this might seem to not be a genealogy-related article. However, it is a follow-up to my previous Plus Edition article, (+) How to Watch “Who Do You Think You Are?” on the TLC Network without Cable.

Scissors cutting the cable cord saving money not paying for cable television.

I “cut the cable” on my television a few weeks ago when my local cable company sent me a notice saying that the company was going to increase my monthly bill significantly. I reacted by calling the cable company and demanding they cancel my subscription to cable television but keep my subscription to the company’s high-speed broadband internet service.

Even before calling the cable company to cancel their service, I purchased an inexpensive indoor television antenna and experimented with it for a bit. I found that I received picture-perfect signals from many television stations, including the local CBS, ABC, and PBS affiliates. I received a marginal signal from the nearest NBC station as that station’s transmitter site is further away from my home than the others. In addition, I discovered a lot of local independent stations, some of them broadcasting in foreign languages, some devoted to religious programs, and others that simply broadcast constant reruns of old or even ancient television programs. I must admit I am not too interested in constant reruns of The Honeymooners with Jackie Gleason. I have little interest in such programming but occasionally have found a program worth watching on these local independent stations.

(+) Questions to Ask Your Elders

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

For every genealogist who is completely content with the results of their efforts, I wonder how many more are nagged by questions they wish they had asked family members when they had the chance. We scour the vital records, consult the census reports, and probe the probate for clues about those lost to us. If you’re lucky enough to have old diaries or letters, you try to piece together their lives to discover what they really thought and felt. We spend hour after hour reconstructing our ancestors’ lives. However, if you have the ultimate good fortune to have older relatives still among you, think of the priceless memories they may have to share today!

“If only I had asked her before she died.” How many of us have uttered those words? I know that I have, and I suspect that you have, too. The greatest resource in family history is carried within the memories of our older relatives. Not only are names and dates remembered, but so are the many wonderful stories that were never recorded elsewhere. When someone dies, that information is lost forever.

You need to take steps now to record information that is available today but otherwise will be lost in coming years. In short, you need to capture the family stories and trivia that are known only to your older relatives. The time to do that is now! In fact, you probably want to do so at family gatherings during this holiday season. Any delay increases the risk of valuable information being lost forever.

You cannot go back and recapture information that has been lost. However, you can record available information today, before it is lost forever. Your efforts could preserve wonderful family stories, along with specific facts, for the benefit of many future generations.

(+) How to Watch “Who Do You Think You Are?” on the TLC Network without Cable

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

The most popular television program amongst genealogists in the United States probably is Who Do You Think You Are? Admittedly, I don’t have statistics to prove its popularity, but my conversations and the email messages I receive from genealogists mention that program more often than any other.

Who Do You Think You Are? is broadcast on the TLC Network, a service normally available only on cable television channels and on satellite television. That’s a problem for anyone who doesn’t have one of those services.

NOTE: That includes me. I “cut the cable” a few weeks ago when my local cable company sent me a notice saying that the company was going to increase my monthly bill significantly. I reacted by immediately calling the cable company and demanding they cancel my subscription to cable television but keep my subscription to the company’s high-speed broadband Internet service. Actually, this is the second time I have “cut the cable.” I did the same thing a few years ago when I lived in a different place and had cable television service provided by a different company.

Luckily, for me and for other genealogists, there are multiple methods of legally watching each episode of Who Do You Think You Are?

On the Web

(+) Boolean Basics – Part #2

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

NOTE #1: This is part #2 of a 2-part article.

Part #1 of this article introduced the concept of Boolean search terms for use on Google. That article is still available to Plus Edition subscribers at https://eognplus.com/2018/12/10/boolean-basics-part-1/. You might want to read that article again now to refresh it in your mind before proceeding with new topics. This week I will describe several advanced topics.

(+) Boolean Basics – Part #1

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

NOTE #1: This is part #1 of a 2-part article.

Probably all genealogists have used Google for genealogy searches. For many of us, we go to https://www.google.com, enter the name of an ancestor, click on SEARCH and hope that a reference appears that points to the person we wish to find. Sometimes the name search works well, and sometimes it doesn’t. When it doesn’t work, many genealogists give up and move on to something else. This is especially true with common names when a standard Google search may find hundreds of people with the same name. However, with just a little bit of effort, you may be able to quickly narrow the search to a single person or at least to a manageably small group of people. The trick here is to use some search terms defined 164 years ago.

(+) Consider the Source: Original, Derivative, or Copy

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

Experienced genealogists are always aware that they must verify information by looking at original documents or a microfilm or digital image of an original document. We should know better than to believe a statement on a web site, in a genealogy book, or a verbal statement from Aunt Tilley about the “facts” of our family trees. However, what is the definition of an “original document?”

Let’s take one well-known claim of an original document that isn’t really accurate: the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Almost all American schoolchildren are familiar with this document; and, if we paid attention in class, we know that the document is on display at the U.S. National Archives building in Washington, D.C. In fact, millions of us, myself included, have visited that building to view the document on display. However, how many of us were ever told that the document displayed in Washington is not the original, hand-written document? Instead, it is one of many copies that were produced on a printing press.

No, this isn’t a story plot from a Nicholas Cage movie.

(+) What Format Should You Use to Store Your Files?

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

One question that pops up frequently is: “What format should I use to save my files?” The question is often asked about digital pictures. Should they be saved as JPG or PDF or GIF or PNG or TIFF or some other format? Similar questions are often asked about word processing files, although there seem to be fewer options available. I thought I would offer a few suggestions and also tell what works for me.

Digital Pictures

Today’s technology allows for a selection of image file formats, including JPG, GIF, TIFF, BMP, PSD, RAW, PNG, EPS, PDF, and others in a seemingly endless alphabet soup of abbreviations and acronyms.

You can find many good reasons and bad reasons for selecting any of these file formats. However, from a genealogist’s point of view, there are two significant issues to deal with: image size and image compression.

(+) Where is Genealogy Technology Headed?

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

NOTE: This article contains personal opinions.

The genealogy software world is changing around us. This week, I thought I would look at the history of such software and then look into the crystal ball to see if the future can be discerned.

I have been using genealogy programs in my home computers for 34 years. In 1984, I started with Family Ties, a program written by Neil Wagstaff. I ran it on a homemade CP/M computer with two 8-inch floppy disk drives and a huge memory capacity of 64 kilobytes. No, that is not a typo error: those were 8-inch floppy disks drives. Many of today’s computer users have never seen an 8-inch floppy disk although the later 5 1/2-inch and 3 1/2-inch disks became quite popular.

8-inch, 5 1/4-inch, and 3 /12 inch floppy disks

Over the years, I kept upgrading both the hardware and the software in use. I upgraded from the CP/M operating system to MS-DOS, then to Windows 2.0 and through a series of Windows releases: 3.0, 3.1, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT, Windows 2000 (which I still believe is the best version of Windows ever released), Windows XP, and Windows Vista. In fact, after using Vista for a few weeks, I finally made my best upgrade: to Macintosh OS X. (I really hated Windows Vista!)