(+) Communicating in the Cemeteries

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

Communicating in the cemeteries??? No, I am not referring to communications with or amongst the “long-term residents” of a cemetery. Instead, I’m writing about communications for visitors to a cemetery. Namely, the genealogists who visit a cemetery looking for information about deceased relatives.

When searching for tombstones of ancestors and other relatives, I generally try to visit a cemetery with a friend or two. We mentally divide the cemetery into sections, and then each person searches through his or her section alone. The other friends are doing the same in a different section. I have done this many times and suspect that you have, too. Having two or more people involved increases the enjoyment of the search as well as the safety of everyone involved.

There are disadvantages, however. Upon discovering a particular tombstone, you may have to shout to the other person to make them aware of your discovery. In a large cemetery, the other person(s) may be some distance away, making shouting impractical.

Antivirus Software Is ‘Increasingly Useless’ and May Make Your Computer Less Safe

This is a follow-up to my article, Virus False Positives: How Can You Be Sure?, published yesterday at https://goo.gl/ydVT0i. Today, CBC News published an article by Emily Chung that says that anti-virus software is essentially useless. In fact, that software may be making your computer more hackable than a computer with no anti-virus software installed at all!

This week, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT) issued a warning about popular antivirus software made by Symantec, some of it under the Norton brand, after security researchers with Google’s Project Zero found critical vulnerabilities. “These vulnerabilities are as bad as it gets. They don’t require any user interaction, they affect the default configuration, and the software runs at the highest privilege levels possible,” wrote Google researcher Tavis Ormandy in a blog post.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania Offers a Course in Researching Family in Pennsylvania

The following announcement was written by the folks at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania:

Historical Society of PennsylvaniaTwo openings remain for new genealogy course:

Researching Family in Pennsylvania

Five-day genealogy course offered 1-5 August 2016

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania (HSP) and the Greater Philadelphia Area Chapter, Association of Professional Genealogists are sponsoring a weeklong program, Researching Family in Pennsylvania, to be held at HSP in Philadelphia.

More than 8.7 Million New US Immigration and Travel Records Available to Search this Findmypast Friday

The following announcement was written by the folks at Findmypast:

This week’s Findmypast Friday marks the release of two brand US collections that will help you learn more about your immigrant ancestors.

United States Naturalization Petitions

United States Naturalization Petitions contains more than 7.8 million records spanning the years 1905 to 1950. The collection currently covers four states: Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania, and allows you to discover when and where your immigrant ancestor was born, how old they were when they first crossed the Atlantic and their port of entry. Images of the original documents may even include a photograph of your ancestor.

A Windows Laptop for $149.99

I have written a number of times about low-cost Windows and Chromebook laptops. (To find my earilier articles, go to https://duckduckgo.com/?q=site%3Aeogn.com+%22cheap+laptop%22+OR+chromebook&t=hb&ia=web.) As a follow-up article, I will point out a bargain being offered today by BestBuy in the US: a 2.2 pound Lenovo Ideapad 100s 11.6-inch laptop with Windows 10 Home for $149.99 plus your local state’s sales tax, if any. My local BestBuy doesn’t have them in stock but can order one and deliver it within a few days with free shipping. Another option is to order it yourself online, bypassing the local store entirely.

Lenovo Ideapad 100s$149.99 is an attractive price for a laptop but Lenovo sells them for only ten dollars more: $159.99. (See http://goo.gl/4Zn4Jj.)

To be sure, the Lenovo Ideapad 100s will never be described as a powerhouse. You probably won’t want to use it as your only computer, unless perhaps you are under the age of 15. However, as a second computer that will only be used for occasional trips outside the home, such as to a local genealogy library or archive, it should be more than “good enough.”

SLIG Scholarship Winner Announced

The following announcement was written by the folks who manage the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy:

Paula FurickThe Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) is pleased to announce Paula Furick as the winner of the Jimmy B. Parker Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy scholarship for 2017. Hosted by the Utah Genealogical Association, SLIG provides a week-long, in-depth learning experience for intermediate to advanced genealogists.

Many candidates submit applications for this scholarship annually. Their submissions include an essay, biographical information, and a letter of recommendation. Of the applications received this year, Ms. Furick’s was determined to most exemplify the culture of giving back to the genealogical community as demonstrated by the late Jimmy B. Parker.

FEEFHS announces an Eastern European Family History Conference

The following announcement was written by the Foundation for East European Family History Studies:

feefhs_logoPerhaps the best-kept secret in Salt Lake City is a small, personalized conference on how to do research on Eastern European ancestors. Hosted annually by the Foundation for East European Family History Studies (FEEFHS), the conference is a bit more like a workshop – with intentionally small class sizes to allow sufficient attention to individual questions and needs. The 2016 conference will be held 8 -12 August 2016 at the Plaza Hotel in Salt Lake City.

This year’s program is country-research-rich, with a full 3-day track on German research, and extended Polish, Russian, and Austro-Hungarian research tracks. Class instruction levels include getting started research in a specific east European country (assuming a foundational knowledge of genealogical research), as well as more in-depth topics and unique record sources for advanced researchers. Optional consultations are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

DPLA Workshop: DPLA for Genealogy and Family History

The following announcement was written by the folks at the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA):

DPLA_logoJuly 26, 2016 at 3:00pm EST

Following the recent announcement of our partnership with FamilySearch, we are pleased to invite our extended community to attend a free DPLA workshop webinar — DPLA for Genealogy and Family History, taking place on July 26, 2016 at 3:00pm EST.

In this hour-long workshop webinar, DPLA Community Reps and experienced genealogists Tamika Maddox Strong and Amy Johnson Crow will introduce DPLA as a resource for family historians, genealogists, and anyone interested in learning about new research skills and cool collections in DPLA. You will leave this workshop with new tips for searching for family names in DPLA and exploring resources in your family’s hometown or region. We’ll also take a peek at some of the collections that may prove invaluable for your family research: yearbooks, letters, newspapers, military records, family Bibles and more! With content from 2,000 libraries, archives, and museums across the country, DPLA also offers a unique opportunity to dig deeper and add context to the lives of our ancestors. The workshop is free and open to all so whether you are new to DPLA, new to genealogy, or highly experienced, the workshop will have something for you.

The Strange Tale Of 19th-Century Quack Doctors

BeechamsPillsDuring the 19th century, quack “doctors” outnumbered legit ones three to one. A growing interest in science and a booming open market proved irresistible to businesspeople who rushed to bring products with dubious medical claims to health-starved consumers. These were the people who treated (and mistreated) our ancestors’ medical woes. Among these were Wallace and Willis Reinhardt, twin brothers who helmed a kind of fraudulent dynasty in the Midwest.

After being run out of Minnesota for fear of a grand jury investigation of their faux medical institute, the brothers set up shop in Milwaukee. Under the guise of the “Wisconsin Medical Institute,” they took advantage of ailing patients, diagnosing “sexual ailments” and pushing pricey treatments on their victims. Those who were unable to travel to their office could experience the Reinhardt’s “cures” from afar thanks to mail-order books, devices and medicines.

Virus False Positives: How Can You Be Sure?

Almost every time I write an article about some web site or perhaps about a Windows program that can be downloaded and installed on your computer, I will receive at least one email message or other report from someone saying something like, “I downloaded it but my anti-virus program says it has a virus or a trojan”

My response usually is, “Well, maybe…”

In many cases, the claim of a virus or trojan or other malware (malevolent software) is a so-called “false positive.” That is, the anti-virus program reported a problem that isn’t really there. In fact, there is no virus or other problem at all, but the anti-virus program thinks there is. All anti-virus programs will occasionally report “false positives.”

How do you determine the truth? Actually, there are several ways.

Legacy.com: the Largest Online Publisher of Obituaries

memorial-obitIf you haven’t yet used Legacy.com, you have overlooked a powerful genealogy resource. The company started collecting and publishing obituaries on its web site in 1998. (Older obituaries are not available.)

Today, Legacy.com is the global leader in online obituaries, a top-50 website in the United States, and a destination for over 40 million unique visitors each month around the world. The company publishes obituaries from more than 1,500 newspapers and 3,500 funeral homes across the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Europe.

As any genealogist might imagine, Legacy.com provides information about people, their lives, their immediate ancestors, and other relatives. It also allows visitors to express condolences, share direct support for families, and celebrate the people who have touched their lives.

Genealogy Articles in the Journal of Multidisciplinary Research

JournalOfMultidisciplinaryResearchThe Journal of Multidisciplinary Research is an international, peer-reviewed academic journal. It has just published a Special Issue on Genealogy & Family History. This is a huge step in the long journey towards academization of genealogy.

Genealogy-related articles in the Special Issue on Genealogy & Family History include:

  • Critical Family History: Situating Family within Contexts of Power Relationships by Christine E. Sleeter
  • Memory and Belonging: The Social Construction of a Collective Memory during the Intercultural Transition of Immigrants from Argentina in Israel by Yaakov M. Bayer
  • Recuperating Ethnic Identity through Critical Genealogy by Christine Scodari
  • 200 Years of Scottish Jewry: A Demographic and Genealogical Profile by Kenneth Collins, Neville Lamdan, and Michael Tobias
  • The Genealogist’s Information World: Creating Information in the Pursuit of a Hobby by Crystal Fulton
  • Review of Genealogía Cubana: San Isidoro de Holguín: Padrón de las casas y familias de este Pueblo de San Isidoro de Holguín hecho en el mes de Febrero del año del Señor del 1735, by W. Navarrete and M. D. Espino by Lourdes Del Pino

Virginia Tech’s Civil War Newspaper Collection is Online

The American Civil War Newspapers website can be a valuable resource for genealogists researching Civil War era ancestors, even those outside of Virginia. The ultimate goal of the American Civil War Newspapers website is to index newspapers from the Civil War era — Northern and Southern, Eastern and Western, urban and rural, white and black — in order to offer a balanced cross-section of opinion, observation, and experience, from all across America.

CivilWarNewpaper

Quoting from the newspaper collection’s web site:

“For many years the newspapers of the Civil War era were probably the most neglected of all sources, and yet they are one of the richest. The reason no doubt lay in the sheer mass of them, their inaccessibility, and the fact that they were not indexed. Few if any scholars had the time or resources to spend weeks and months scanning page by page in the hope of finding something of use to their projects. Yet the newspapers are the surest windows on the attitudes of the time, despite their inevitable editorial bias.

Jay Verkler Appointed Interim CEO At Findmypast

This is a major business news story: The former CEO of FamilySearch, Jay Verkler, will take over from Annelies van den Belt as interim CEO of Findmypast. The announcement states he has agreed to serve as interim CEO for six months. My assumption is that the board of directors of Findmypast will be using that time to find a permanent replacement.

The following announcement was written by the folks at Findmypast:

Jay Verkler

Jay Verkler

London, Tuesday, July 5th 2016

Jay Verkler, former CEO of FamilySearch, has been appointed as interim CEO of Findmypast. He takes over from Annelies van den Belt who has stepped down after three years.

In a decade as CEO of FamilySearch, Jay pioneered the digital transformation of the world’s largest genealogical organisation. He oversaw the shift from vast paper and microfilm record stores to accessible digital archives. He broadened the audience for family history by developing partnerships with genealogy and technology companies, societies and archives across the world. Since leaving FamilySearch, he has been a consultant on strategy, product and technology for many organisations.

Genealogists Support Access to State and Local Records

The following is an announcement written by the Records Preservation and Access Committee (RPAC), a group sponsored by the Federation of Genealogical Societies, the National Genealogical Society, and the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies, and is supported by the Association of Professional Genealogists, the Board for Certification of Genealogists, the American Society of Genealogists, and the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists:

RPAC_logo

Austin, Texas, 5 July 2016—With access to many state and local government records threatened by decreasing budgets, the Records Preservation and Access Committee (RPAC) announced today its support of the Joint Statement by the Council of State Archivists, the National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators, and the Society of American Archivists, which affirms that the “preservation of and public access to government records is of paramount importance” and “government archives play a critical role in ensuring citizens’ rights and preserving the nation’s history.”

Brexit Fuels Increased Online Irish Ancestry Searches Seeking Information About Irish Passport Applications

Anyone born on the island of Ireland before 1 January 2005 or whose parents are Irish automatically qualifies for Irish citizenship. In some cases, those who have an Irish grandparent can also apply. The recent Brexit vote apparently is encouraging many people to consider applying for an Irish passport.

Ancestry.com has reported a 40% surge in new trial memberships in the week since the UK voted to leave the European Union, with daily searches of the site’s Irish records up by 20%. Some Northern Ireland Post Offices ran out of Irish passport applications in the wake of the referendum result.

Welsh Almanac Collection Online

The National Library of Wales has digitized and placed online a large collection of almanacs. An almanac is an annual publication that includes information such as weather forecasts, farmers’ planting dates, tide tables, and tabular information often arranged according to the calendar.

For instance, Thomas Jones’s almanac, usually published under the title Newyddion oddiwrth y sêr (News from the stars), consisted of 20 or 24 leaves. It contained an astronomical and astrological guide for twelve months, lists of fairs and markets in Wales and the Borders, samples of Welsh poetry and literature, a chronology of important historical events, a guide to reading Welsh and keeping accounts, a list of the law terms, the names of Welsh bishops, and miscellaneous advertisements. It was aimed at poor farmers who relied on detailed weather forecasts for their livelihood, and who also held a superstitious belief in astrology.

Photographs of Men Who Fought in the Revolutionary War

LemuelCookYes, you read that right. Photographs of Americans who fought in the Revolution are exceptionally rare because few of the Patriots of 1775-1783 lived until the dawn of practical photography in the early 1840s.

Utah-based journalist Joe Baumam spent three decades researching and compiling the images. These early photographs – known as daguerreotypes – are exceptionally rare camera-original, fully-identified photographs of veterans of the War for Independence – the war that established the United States.

You can see the photographs in an article in The Daily Mail at http://goo.gl/S3s7g8.

If one of them happens to be your ancestor, right-click on the image to save a family heirloom!

Australia’s Trove Online Database may be Shut Down due to Funding Cuts

The Trove-NLA-logo_Alt_Colour. It includes more than 4 million digitised items, including books, images, music, historic newspapers and maps. Many of these online items, especially the newspapers, are valuable to genealogists and historians. As well as providing a service to people overseas, Trove has been an important educational resource for academics and rural communities in Australia. In 2014, the database’s fifth year, an estimated 70,000 people were using the website each day.

Australia Library and Information Association chief executive Sue McKarracher said Trove was a visionary move by the library and had turned into a world-class resource. “Trove isn’t just a nice thing to have, it’s not just about digital access to museum pieces or library documents, this is a fundamental piece of our national research infrastructure,” she said.

Who Wrote the Declaration of Independence?

The Constitution

The Constitution

In school, I was taught that Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence. I was also taught that it was signed by all the members of the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. Now an article by Matthew Wills says that both “facts” are erroneous.

Wills says that Jefferson did actually write the first draft, aided by a committee that consisted of Jefferson himself plus John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert Livingston. In later years, Thomas Jefferson claimed that credit must go to Locke, Montesquieu, the Scottish Enlightenment, and the long struggle for English civil liberties.

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