(+) A Few Words about PowerPoint

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

Warning: This article contains personal opinions.

As you might expect with any conference of 150 or more presentations, there are many stories to be told at most any major genealogy conference. One that I hear often concerns the high failure rate of hardware and software among the presenters. At some national conferences, I have heard stories of no less five or six different presenters who experienced major problems with their laptop computers, operating system, projectors, PowerPoint slides, or other critical computer tools.

Some of the problems happen at the very last moment as the presenters are setting up at the podium to begin their talks. I was involved with one such problem a while ago when the presenter suddenly found that the only copies of her PowerPoint slides for two presentations were corrupted and could not be used. Several people, myself included, worked on her files in an attempt to salvage anything at all, but we all were unsuccessful. She had no backup copies. Her only copies were on the hard drive of the laptop she had planned to use and apparently that hard drive malfunctioned and scrambled lots of files, not just the PowerPoint presentations.

Perhaps there are two or three lessons to be learned here.

William Deming Hornaday Photograph Collection is Now Online at the Texas State Archives

William Deming Hornaday (1868-1942) was a journalist and Director of Publicity for the University of Texas. He amassed a collection of about 5,800 items consisting of photographs, photographic postcards, photoengravings and negatives.

This photo of the Alamo is undated but the clothing styles of the people barely discernible in the picture provides some clues.

TheGenealogist Launches the First World War issues of The Sphere Newspaper

The following announcement was written by the folks at TheGenealogist:

TheGenealogist has expanded its Newspaper and Magazine collection with the release of The Sphere that cover August 1914 to June 1919.

Using the Historical newspapers and magazines resource on TheGenealogist enables researchers to follow current affairs that may have affected or concerned our ancestors at the time. Because the articles were written as events were occurring, they provide contemporary accounts of the world that our ancestors lived in and can furnish us with great insights into opinions of the time. In the case of the First World War years, covered by this release of The Sphere, we can gain information about individuals or read about situations that are similar to ones that our ancestors may have found themselves in.

New City of York Records Available to Search at Findmypast

The following announcement was written by the folks at Findmypast:

A Yorkshire Witch, the King of the Railways, a host of confectioners and the unfortunate Mr Chicken: over six centuries of life in historic York revealed online for the first time

  • Findmypast launch new landmark collection spanning 660 years of the city’s rich history in partnerships with Explore York
  • Over 290,000 records dating back to the reign of King Edward I now available to search and explore online
  • New records shed light on the city’s historic engineering & confectionary industries and document some of York’s most celebrated residents

Leading UK family history website findmypast.co.uk has today, 12th May 2017, published online for the first time hundreds of thousands of historic records in partnership with Explore York.

This landmark publication marks the creation of Findmypast’s York collection, a rich archive spanning the years 1272 to 1932. Comprising beautifully scanned images of original handwritten documents, the collection forms the largest online repository of historic City of York records in the world.

The collection is comprised of a variety of fascinating documents, including:

Book Review: The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy
By Blaine T. Bettinger
Family Tree Books. 2016. 238 pages.

Blaine Bettinger publishes his blog “The Genetic Genealogist” where he writes the relevance and worth of genetics testing used alongside the methodology of traditional genealogy research. He updates the readers on the latest approaches to the science and its applicability to our work. His long and close association with genetics genealogy qualifies him as a most apt author for a guidebook.

Guide to DNA Testing offers a lot of information for the beginner and advanced researcher alike.

U.S. Census Bureau Director John H. Thompson Resigns Unexpectedly

In a move that may have a major impact on the 2020 U.S. census, U.S. Census Bureau director John H. Thompson has resigned. The resignation apparently was not expected. Government watchers and policy experts are worried that Thompson’s departure on June 30 could bode poorly for the 2020 Census.

Thompson did not offer any explanation of why he resigned suddenly. However, speculation is a popular sport in the District of Columbia and several so-called experts have offered guesses as to the reasoning. You can read some of the guesses in an article in the Digg web site at: http://digg.com/2017/census-director-resigns.

Watch the MyHeritage DNA Journey

Ever wonder how a laboratory tests DNA samples? MyHeritage has released a video that shows the major steps involved. You can watch the video in the video player below or at: https://youtu.be/Z_806nvZF2o.

Remains of a Little Girl in a Forgotten Casket are Identified

This story combines detective work, genealogy, DNA, and public records.

A little girl about 3 years old died and was buried about 140 years ago in an unmarked metal casket in a wealthy San Francisco neighborhood. When workers recently discovered her elaborate coffin beneath a concrete slab, there were no markings or gravestone to say who she was. A team of scientists, amateur sleuths and history buffs worked tirelessly to solve the central question in this Bay Area mystery: Who was the little girl in the casket?

She has now been identified. The girl’s DNA was matched to that of a relative now living in San Rafael.

The story of the investigation is intriguing. Investigators found a scale plan of the cemetery development in 1865 at the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley. That provided an approximate location of the grave.

The Guild of One-Name Studies has Appointed its First Patron

The following announcement was written by the Guild of One-Name Studies:

At the Guild of One-Name Studies’ Annual General Meeting held on the 1st April 2017 Peter O’Donoghue, York Herald was appointed as the Guild’s first Patron.

Patron – The position of Patron is purely honorary and thus the Guild looked for someone who would enable the Guild to maintain and strengthen its position as a global organization committed to the study of surnames.  The College of Arms has been pursuing excellence in genealogy for over 500 years and a Herald from the College seemed like the perfect partner.

Appointment – The Patron selected for appointment at the Guild’s 2017 AGM is Michael Peter Desmond O’Donoghue. He was appointed to the position of York Herald of Arms in Ordinary at the College of Arms in London in 2012, prior to that he served as the Bluemantle Pursuivant at the College of Arms from 2005. During 1993-1994 he was President of the Cambridge University Heraldic and Genealogical Society. He has worked as a professional genealogists and researcher and is the usual spokesperson for the College on BBC television programmes Who Do You Think You Are (UK, USA and Irish versions), subsequently made available globally. Mr O’Donoghue has over 20 years’ experience in the field and has given numerous lectures (including the to the Guild) and written in several publications.

National Genealogical Society Presents Awards Honoring Excellence in Newsletter Editorship and Service to NGS

The following announcement was written by the (U.S.) National Genealogical Society:

Arlington, VA, 10 MAY 2017—The National Genealogical Society (NGS) honored excellence in the categories of newsletter editorship and service to the Society with the presentation of several awards at the Opening Session of the NGS 2017 Family History Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, on 10 May 2017. The Opening Session was a multi-media presentation, entitled Family History Lives Here, after which NGS President, Ben Spratling, JD, presented the following awards.

Each year, the NGS Newsletter Competition recognizes the hard work, long hours, and creativity that editors devote to their newsletters. A panel of three judges reviews each newsletter on material interest, variety, organization, quality of writing and editing, readability, and attractiveness. This year’s categories and winners are:

Arizona Mother and Daughter Meet after 43 Years Apart Thanks to a DNA Test

Here is a heart-warming story. An unwed teenager only saw her new baby daughter for a few minutes, then gave the infant up for adoption. The baby grew up not even knowing her mother’s name. For 43 years, both wondered about the fate of the other.

The mother eventually decided to use MyHeritageDNA, a company that uses DNA to trace a family tree. Just by chance, so did the daughter. They both received an email message from MyHeritageDNA saying they had a 49.1-percent match to be mother and daughter. A very happy reunion soon followed.

Details may be found in the ABC15 web site at http://bit.ly/2qSIHGv.

Registration is Open For the 2017 APG Professional Management Conference

The following announcement was written by the Association of Professional Genealogists:

The Association of Professional Genealogists is pleased to announce the opening of registration for the 2017 Professional Management Conference to be held 29 September through 1 October at the DoubleTree by Hilton-Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia. Here is the link: https://www.apgen.org/conferences/index.html.

WHY ATTEND THE PMC?

The Professional Management Conference is the one conference dedicated to the needs of professional genealogists, providing education on business topics as well as advanced genealogical education on unique record sets, methodology, DNA, and more. The conference offers three tracks over three days with classes, workshops, poster sessions, and discussion groups–all conveniently located in the conference hotel, the DoubleTree by Hilton-Crystal City, Arlington, VA.

Announcing c3 Heirlooms – a Web Server App for Recording the History of Family Heirlooms

Did you inherit any family heirlooms that have been passed down from generation to generation? If so, you need to record and preserve the history of each piece as you know it to make sure the history does not get lost for future generations. In fact, some history may have already been lost before the items came into your possession. You owe it to future generations to preserve whatever historical information you may have.

Scott Hampton, the creator of c3 Heirlooms, states on his web site:

“c3 Heirlooms was created to stop that trend and allow you and your family to easily record your heirlooms and their history. I created this because our family needed it. Maybe yours could use it as well.”

Some features are:

National Genealogical Society Announces The 2017 Filby Award for Genealogical Librarianship

The following announcement was written by the (U.S.) National Genealogical Society:

ARLINGTON, VA, 9 MAY 2017— Larry W. Cates is the 2017 recipient of the Filby Award for Genealogical Librarianship. Cates, who is librarian at the Heritage Research Center of the High Point Public Library, High Point, North Carolina, received his award and its $1,000 prize, which is underwritten by ProQuest, at the Librarians’ Day event of National Genealogical Society (NGS) 2017 Family History Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina., also underwritten by ProQuest. The Filby Award is named for the late P. William Filby, former director of the Maryland Historical Society and author of many core genealogical reference tools that genealogists have relied on for decades. Created in 1999 by NGS, the award has been sponsored by ProQuest and Mr. William Forsyth since 2006.

Cates has been Librarian at the Heritage Research Center of the High Point Public Library since October 2007. During the course of his career, he has created innovative programs for family historians. In 2010, Cates co-founded the Heritage Book Club to introduce genealogists to the historical context in which their ancestors lived. He initiated a “Field Trip to Archives” program with the Guilford County Genealogical Society to mentor inexperienced researchers. He also has provided programs to local genealogical societies; served as journal editor for the Randolph County Genealogical Society and Guilford County Genealogical Society; and helped to promote their activities through his library’s mailing list and at genealogy fairs at his library.

Follow-Up: Things You Don’t See Anymore

On December 14, 2015, I published an article at http://bit.ly/2qGwZin, Things You Don’t See Anymore. I described a number of things that used to be common in American life but have since almost disappeared. I listed a bunch of things, including “rotary telephones” and “telephone party lines.” I guess it is now time to update that list.

If I was to republish the list today, I would have to add “wired telephones.”

An article in the BBC News web site points out one major change in the past decade: the number of U.S. homes that have an old-fashioned, wired telephone obtained from the local telephone company has now dropped to less than 50%. That is a number that few people would have dreamed of ten years ago.

Google Streetview is Used to find Britain’s “Lost” 1930s-era Cycleways

You have to love technology, especially when it is used to study the history of the days before the technology was invented. One recent example is using Google Streetview to find miles and miles of “lost” British cycleways.

The Mickleham Bypass in Surrey

The following is an excerpt from an announcement from Carlton Reid:

The Lenovo Chromebook is Now Just $129

NOTE: The following article has nothing to do with genealogy. If you are looking for genealogy-related articles, I suggest you skip this one.

I have written a number of times about the usefulness of the low-cost Chromebook laptops. (My past articles about Chromebooks may be found by starting at: http://bit.ly/2pm21Iu.) I use my Chromebook more or less daily. It also has become my primary traveling computer and I also often use it from the living room couch whenever that is convenient.

While Chromebooks are cheaper than most any other laptops, WalMart is now offering an even lower price than I have seen before: $129. The Lenovo N22 Chromebook isn’t a used or refurbished system; it is brand-new and comes with a full warranty. The WalMart web site doesn’t say anything about a sale or a “special price” so I assume this is the regular price. Other web sites sell it for $150 to $200.

If you were thinking of picking up a Chromebook for yourself or for a family member, now might be the time. You can have it shipped to you or you can pick it up in person at a nearby WalMart store.

Georgia State Archives Digitizes Thousands of Confederate Muster Rolls and Places Them Online

The Georgia State Archives’ web site now contains digital images of the previously microfilmed Record Groups 22-1-63, Defense Dept., Adjutant General, Confederate Muster Rolls. The contents include the majority of the company muster rolls in this series are from military organizations created by the State of Georgia during the Civil War for service within the state. These military organizations include the Georgia Army (1861), the Georgia State Guards (August 1863-February 1864), and the Georgia State Line (1862-1865). The Georgia Militia is referred to as Georgia State Troops. Some units were later turned over to Confederate service. There are also nearly 250 muster rolls from Georgia Volunteer Infantry.

Please note these are not records for all Confederate troops from Georgia. It lists only the “military organizations created by the State of Georgia during the Civil War for service within the state.”

Each record of the muster roll includes:

(+) Essential Things I Never Travel Without – Part #2

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

As I explained in Part #1 of this article (still available at http://eogn.com/wp/?p=43332), I have become a fanatic on lightweight packing. I travel often and have too much “history” of dragging heavy luggage through airports as well as in and out of shuttle buses, taxis, hotel lobbies, through the snow or other inclement weather. As I get older, the muscles start to deteriorate as well. I used to carry a 50-pound suitcase without difficulty. I don’t ever want to do that again!

Even worse is the finances. U.S. airlines are now gouging their customers for every dollar they can get away with. US-based airlines collected over $4.1 billion in checked bag fees in 2016. (Reference: https://thepointsguy.com/2017/05/airline-baggage-fees-2016/) Yes, that’s “billions” with a “B.” Who paid these billions of dollars? Hapless travelers who didn’t know how to travel light.

Of course, that’s not the only price gouging that is going on. Now the passengers have to pay for food on the plane and it usually is nearly inedible food at that. Some airlines want to charge to put a single bag in the overhead bins. Then these same airlines advertise “the friendly skies” and other crap so that we have the “privilege” of being being packed in like sardines with shoulders overlapping. “Never have so many paid so much for so little.”

The New York Public Library has Released a Maps by Decade Tool

The New York Public Library has been creating some amazing digital tools in the past couple of years. The library wants more of its collection to be available to anyone with a computer or hand-held device, so it’s been digitizing its old maps and photos and presenting them in ways that make it easy for people accustomed to Google Maps and Streetview. In fact, its eventual goal is to allow people to travel back in time as if Google Maps had existed since the 19th century.

Last month, the library unveiled a Maps By Decade tool that lets people place old maps over the current street grid, and search by decade and neighborhood. They had made similar tools available before but never with this kind of handy decade-by-decade design.