Note: The information in this archived copy was accurate on the date of publication. Since then, Web sites have appeared and disappeared, companies have been merged and many other facts have changed. You may find references in this archived copy that are no longer accurate.
Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter
A Weekly Summary of Events and
Copyright © 2000 by Richard W. Eastman. All rights reserved.
If you do contact any of the companies or societies mentioned in this newsletter, please tell them that you read about their services in this newsletter.
IN THIS ISSUE:
- A Brave New Millennium
- A Brave New Millennium
This is the week in which we see how accurate the opportunists, scammers and doomsayers have been recently. Even a few days ago the newspapers at the local grocery store checkout stand were still predicting that airplanes would be falling out of the sky, that the global economy would be in meltdown, and that thousands would freeze to death because of widespread power outages, all caused by the Y2K bug.
I am writing these words on January 1, 2000. It is perhaps still a bit early to measure the full impact of the computer glitches, but I must admit that I havent heard of any airplanes falling out of the sky. The news services are reporting a "ho-hum" Y2K start as far as computers are concerned.
Over the next few days I am sure we will here of many inconveniences and glitches, but none approaching the hysteria that was being broadcast only a few months ago. I suspect that the folks who all wrote books predicting huge catastrophes are now in hiding. So much for modern-day "Chicken Little" wannabees
- Family Tree Detective
Genealogy.com, formerly known as Broderbund, has long been famous for their popular genealogy program called Family Tree Maker. The same company also produces Family Origins and Ultimate Family Tree. However, Genealogy.com has recently introduced still another genealogy program, called "Family Tree Detective" for Windows. This week I took the program for a test drive.
Family Tree Detective is advertised as "The Fun, Hi-Tech Way to Uncover Your Roots." I found it a bit strange when the same advertisement also said, "Family Tree Detective is designed for people who are curious about their family history but don't want to print family trees or store lots of information about their relatives." Just what is a genealogy program that doesnt store information or print family trees?
When I opened the box, I found two CD-ROM disks, a registration card and a single sheet of advertising. There was no users manual at all. Installation was simple and even included automatic registration of the program by modem. Within two minutes I was looking at the main screen for Family Tree Detective.
The program starts with an invitation to enter your family tree. It asks for your name as well as the names of your parents and grandparents. Subsequent screens ask for dates and places of birth and death, if possible. After that information is entered, Family Tree Detective connects to the Internet and does an online search on Genealogy.coms Web site, looking for matches. The generated report prioritizes the findings with a 5-star rating system so you can easily tell which links will provide the best information for you. A 5-star match is 95% likely to be an exact match of your family member.
The search did find my mother, my father and one grandmother, all of whom are deceased. While the program listed them only with four stars, they were the proper individuals. The matches were found in the Social Security Death Indexes. In addition, a number of other possible matches were displayed, but with only one star beside each one. In my case, none of the other matches looked likely. The sources displayed during my search included a Canadian genealogy index, a marriage index for Mississippi and Florida, along with Genealogy.coms World Family Tree. I was able to copy the search results to the Windows Notepad and then transfer it to a word processor of my choice. I could also print the search results directly on my printer.
The Family Detective program advises you to run online searches every time you add information about several new people or any time you add a new surname.
The second CD-ROM in the box contains a free 2-month trial subscription to http://www.GenealogyLibrary.com. This online resource makes it easy to search online genealogy books and government records from your home computer. This CD also has a multimedia tutorial that shows you how quick and easy it is to begin your adventure into your family history.
The primary purpose of Family Tree Detective seems to be for genealogy newcomers who want to make online searches. The program does do this smoothly and efficiently. It also provides links to online sources for writing letters of inquiry (in English, French, German, Italian or Spanish), links to more than 71,000 genealogy sites provided by Helm's Genealogy Toolbox, genealogy message boards, and also direct links to online "How to get started in genealogy" guides that can provide a wealth of information. While the program is advertised for those who "don't want to print family trees", Family Tree Detective will indeed print a simple pedigree chart.
Family Tree Detective will appeal to the person who has not yet done any genealogy research. That person may still be in the "idle curiosity" stage, and this software tool may help them get started. If you have a friend who is thinking about starting genealogy research, you could recommend this program. However, if that friend already has done some online searching and has already looked at a reel or two of microfilm, he or she will want a more powerful solution.
Family Tree Detective Version 1.0 for Windows should operate properly on any modern Windows 95, 98 or NT system. It requires:
Family Tree Detective sells for $39.99 (U.S. funds) plus shipping. Further details are available at: http://www.genealogy.com/soft_ftd.html
- American & European Family Forest Millennium Edition
This week I had a chance to use a pre-release version of the new "American & European Family Forest Millennium Edition" CD-ROM disk for Windows. A "family forest" is a term coined by Millisecond Publishing Company. It refers to a lineage-linked databases of thousands of people showing their connections with each other and with the history they created.
Previous "family forest" products from Millisecond Publishing include a Presidential Family Forest CD-ROM showing all the U.S. presidents and their wives, with some ancestries going back a claimed 2000 years, linking many of the presidents to European royal families. This collection shows how many of the U.S. presidents were related to each other. Other "family forest" CD-ROM disks include The Founders and Patriots Family Forest, a web of family ties that includes many thousands of people who actually founded the United States and/or fought in the American Revolution, and the Delaware Family Forest, a database of tens of thousands of people from Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Delaware.
Millisecond Publishing now has created the American & European Family Forest. This "forest" concentrates on royal families of Europe and many Americans who descend from those families. Quoting from the information on the CD-ROM:
The Family Forest CD-ROM disk uses Progeny Softwares "Family Explorer" software, which I have always liked. This software is very intuitive; a users manual isnt needed. All the required software is included on the CD-ROM itself, and installation was quick and simple.
I had a lot of fun with this CD-ROM. It has many thousands of individuals listed. I found royal houses that I had never heard of, complete with thousands of individuals in each "house," showing their marriages to each other and to other royal houses. The Progeny Family explorer allows for the creation of pedigree charts and descendant charts that go for page after page. I found that I could "walk" up and down pedigree charts for 50 or more generations. The folks at Millisecond Publishing Company told me that it is possible to calculate and display a 5-mile high pedigree chart.
I spent some time looking at President John Quincy Adams claimed ancestry. It went back many, many generations. I found such individuals as King Hengist of Saxons and Kent, who lived back around 500 A.D. President Clintons ancestry, however, is only shown back to the mid-1600s.
Millisecond Publishing Company described one test they made: they created a 25-generation Ancestor View (without siblings, and with Cousin Smart de-selected) for Prince Andrew of Greece. It took about 35 minutes to calculate and format the chart on a 600-megahertz Pentium III system with 384 megabytes of RAM memory. According to the counters within Family Explorer, the resultant printout would fill in 975,750 boxes, and the space required to print it is 4 pages wide by 29,259 pages high. At 11 inches high per page, the height of this chart would reach from sea level to more than 6,500 feet above Mt. McKinley, the highest peak in North America. Although navigating through a chart this large is too slow to be practical now, it gives a good preview of what is coming as processing speed increases and memory becomes cheaper and more abundant. I elected to not try that printout myself.
While the above test was made on a rather high-powered Pentium III system with a lot of memory, you really dont need that much power to use this CD-ROM. It should work well on any Windows 95, Windows 98 or Windows NT system. There is no Macintosh version, however.
How accurate are the connections and information? The Family Forests contain information from many different sources. Not only are conflicts and inconsistencies between different sources recorded, but there are also frequent conflicts and inconsistencies within a single source. Millisecond Publishing Company simply presents the information "as is" and leaves the validation task up to the user to properly research which records are accurate.
This is a fun CD-ROM disk. Again, I was using a pre-release copy, but the final edition should be available any day now. The American & European Family Forest Millennium Edition CD-ROM disk retails for $49.95 (U.S. funds) plus shipping charges. However, Millisecond Publishing is offering a 20% discount for any orders placed before January 30. In addition, they will throw in free shipping and handling. Therefore, any orders placed now will only cost $39.20.
Details were not yet available online when I was writing this article, but I suspect they will soon be available at: http://www.familyforest.com
- Internet Medieval Sourcebook
The Fordham University Center for Medieval Studies has a great resource available online: the Internet Medieval Sourcebook. The online site is divided into three main sections:
The Full Text Sources include Church Councils, writings of the church fathers, history of Byzantium, Islam and Christian religions and a lot more.
If you have an interest in this sort of history, look at: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/sbook.html
- Early Vital Records of Norfolk County, Massachusetts
This week I had a chance to use a new CD-ROM disk produced by Search & Research Publishing Corporation. "Early Vital Records of Norfolk County, Massachusetts" is another in their series of early vital records for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Like the earlier CD-ROM disks from Search & Research, this one operates both on Macintosh and Windows. The CD-ROM "engine" software is Folio Views, an excellent choice. Folio Views is used on a number of CD-ROM disks produced by other companies as well. All software required is included on the CD-ROM disk itself; you do not need to purchase any other programs. I already had the latest version of Folio Views installed on my hard drive, so I didnt have to do an installation. However, anyone using the software for the first time can install the software in Windows or on a Macintosh in a minute or two.
The "Early Vital Records of Norfolk County, Massachusetts" contains records for the following towns:
The towns listed with asterisks were founded in later years, so early records will be found in the parent towns.
The information on the CD-ROM consists of scanned images from the Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 "Official Series." This is supplemented by an every-name index. You can search for names of locations in the index and click on the reference, and you are immediately looking at the original page from the book. The information available typically includes individuals names, dates, and places listed for births, marriages, deaths and some burials.
I found the software to be very easy to use. I did a search on my own last name and found one reference, listed as being on page 253. I clicked on the number "253," and a second or two later I was looking at page 253 from the book "Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850" for Norfolk County. Indeed, there was the listing for the marriage of Miss Jane Eastman of Stoughton to Mr. Enoch Dickerman of Canton. My searches were quite simple as I was only looking for a few names. However, the Folio Views software will support rather complex Boolean searches. For instance, you can build searches specifying combinations of OR, AND, NOT or XOR (Exclusive OR). However, these Boolean searches are limited to the indexes, not to the pages of data. The actual data pages are scanned images and therefore are not directly searchable. Only the index may be searched. Once an entry is found in the index, the appropriate scanned image of the original book is displayed after one more mouse click.
I was able to print any page from this CD-ROM on my own printer. The output looks a lot better than the typical photocopies of the same pages that I have made in years past. However, I was unable to copy any of the information to the Windows clipboard. Therefore, I couldnt paste the original image into another document.
The Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 "Official Series" has long been a standard research tool for anyone tracing Massachusetts ancestry. While these volumes have been available in print for many years, they are quite expensive. Search & ReSearch Publishing has transferred these volumes to CD-ROM with the result being much more cost-effective for the private researcher. The "Early Vital Records of Norfolk County, Massachusetts" sells for $59.95 (U.S. funds). For more information, look at: http://www.SearchReSearchPub.com
- Heritage Books Online Library
Heritage Books has opened an "online library" modeled upon a traditional library. A subscription is required to access the library, although a free sample is available. Here is the announcement from Heritage Books:
- Genealogical Periodical Annual Index Now Available On-Line
Heritage Books also released a second announcement this week:
The Genealogical Periodical Annual Index is available at: http://www.heritagebooks.com/library
- From the Mailbox
Last weeks article on the "Top Ten Genealogical Web Sites" sparked a lot of interest and e-mails. Author Cole Goodwin sent along the following updates:
The correct URL for Military History would be as follows: U.S. Army Military History Institute - http://carlisle-www.army.mil/usamhi/
At the time I wrote the article, and again, recently, Ancestry.com was allowing free access of the military databases. Should you have access to Ancestry.com (it is a premium service), or if you should be taking advantage of their free access offer through January 4, 2000, I would highly recommend their holdings, too. Incidentally, you can access their free offer through January 4th at the following URL: http://www.ancestry.com/home/celebrate/holidays.htm
Last week I wrote "Here's a question you might ponder: If you could enter a time machine and go back 100 years, how would you explain all this to one of your ancestors that you met on the morning of January 1, 1900? I suspect that your ancestor would think you were crazy as you described all the tools available to you today." Jim Slade sent along a message saying,
If I know Leslie, this will be great presentation.
- Upcoming Events
The Upcoming Events section of the newsletter is published once per month. Each event will be listed very briefly: title, date(s), location, and sponsoring organization, all followed by either an e-mail address or a Web page that you can use to find more information. Since detailed information is available via e-mail or the Web, I will not list the details in this newsletter. If you do contact any of these organizations, please tell them where you heard about the event.
Here are the listings, arranged by date. An asterisk indicates a new listing that has been added since the last time this list was published:
The Lake Havasu (Arizona) Genealogical Society will be holding its 7th Annual Seminar on Feb 26, 2000. Guest speaker will be Bill Doty from the NARA discussing Military Sources. For further information, look at: http://www.ctaz.com/~shadgraf/society.htm
Carl Sandburg College in Galesburg, Illinois, will be offering a series of one-day computer workshops on the following genealogical topics during the month of March 2000: PAF 4.0, Windows for Genealogists, From Document to Computer, Using Online Library Catalogs, Sharing/Exchanging Information Online, Family Tree Maker, Genealogy on the Internet. The presenter will be Michael John Neill. More information is available at: http://www.rootdig.com/sandburg.html
On March 4, 2000, the New Brunswick Genealogical Society, South Eastern Branchs Lecture Series will feature "Making Sense of the Census" by Eleanor Goggin and "How To Conduct Successful Interview" (with the lecturer to be announced). These lectures are held in Moncton, New Brunswick. Details can be obtained from: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Williamson County (Texas) Genealogical Society will hold its annual seminar March 11, 2000 in Round Rock, TX. The speaker will be Leslie Smith Collier of Dallas, TX. For more information contact: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Slippery Rock (Pennsylvania) Heritage Association will present an all day workshop on April 1, 2000. The speaker will be Ernest Thode, speaking on various German topics. For more information, contact: email@example.com
The April 8, 2000 Lecture Series of the New Brunswick Genealogical Society, South Eastern Branch will feature "Recording Your Research Right the First Time" by Dawn Kinnie and "Picking the Computer Program That is Right for Your Research" by Stan Balch. Meetings are held in Moncton, New Brunswick. For information, send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Sonoma County Genealogical Society will hold its annual all-day seminar on 15 April 2000 featuring Curt B. Witcher, Department Manager for the Historical Genealogy Department of the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana. For details, see: http://www.rootsweb.com/~cascgs/witcher.html
*The Eastern Washington Genealogical Society will hold their Annual Spring Seminar, in connection with the Washington State Genealogical Society Conference, on 15th April 2000 in Spokane, WA. The all-day seminar will feature Dr. John Phillip Colletta with lectures on passenger lists, naturalization records among other titles. For information, contact: email@example.com
The Martin County Genealogical Society will hold its annual all-day seminar on Tuesday, 25 April, 2000 in Stuart, Florida. Researching in Ireland will be the topic. Shane MacAteer and Dr. Brian Traynor of the Ulster Historical Foundation of Belfast, Ireland will be the featured speakers. Details are available from: firstname.lastname@example.org
ROOTS XVI, the 16th annual all-day seminar sponsored by The Genealogy Workshop of the Huntington Historical Society, Huntington, New York, will be held April 29, 2000. For information, send an e-mail to: email@example.com
*The Monmouth County Genealogy Society will host a Civil War Day at the Fort Monmouth facility on 29 April 2000 featuring speakers, war games, and other activities. For information, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
*The David Families of France, Louisiana and Canada Reunion will be held April 30, 2000 in Welsh, Louisiana. For further details see http://www.angelfire.com/or/davidlegacy/index.html
*The Alabama Genealogical Society, Inc. will hold its annual spring seminar on May 6, 2000 in Birmingham, Alabama. Leslie Smith Collier will be the lecturer. Details are available from: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Ontario Genealogical Society will hold Seminar 2000 at the Ottawa Congress Centre in Ottawa on May 12-14, 2000. Details are available at: http://www.cyberus.ca/~ogsottawa/sem2000.htm
The May 6, 2000 New Brunswick Genealogical Society, South Eastern Branchs Lecture Series will feature "The Internet and Genealogy. Mailing Lists, News groups and E-mail" by Stan Balch and "The World Wide Web and Search Engines, How to Make Them Work for You" by Ron Messenger. Details about this Moncton, New Brunswick meeting are available from: email@example.com
The National Genealogical Societys "Conference in the States" will be held in Providence, Rhode Island from May 31 through June 3, 2000. This is the largest genealogy conference in the United States each year. This years event will feature more than 100 presentations, seminars and meetings. Details are available at: http://www.ngsgenealogy.com
The CASSELMAN Ancestral Society will be holding an international family reunion July 7-8-9 2000 in Morrisburg, Ontario, Canada, open to all members and friends of the Casselman/Castleman (and other spellings) family. For info, look at: http://www.glen-net.ca/casselman
The Germans From Russia Heritage Society (GRHS) will celebrate its 30th anniversary at its year 2000 convention in Bismarck, North Dakota, July 13-16, 2000. Additional details are available at: http://www.grhs.com.
*The Crandall Family Association will hold its biennial meeting on Saturday 15 Jul 2000 at the First Hopkinton Seventh Day Baptist Church Parish House in Hopkinton, Rhode Island. The theme of this year's reunion will be "Prudence Crandall of Hopkinton". For further details go to: http://www.cfa.net/cfa/reunion.html
*The German Interest Group is hosting "Improving Your German Research" on 15 July 2000 in Whitewater, Wisconsin. The speaker is Shirley J. Reimer from Sacramento, CA, who is the author of "The German Research Companion". For more information see: http://www.angelfire.com/biz/origins1/gig.html
The Alden Kindred of America will hold its 100th meeting in Duxbury, Massachusetts, August 2-6, 2000. Events include a cruise to Provincetown, the Centennial address by The Reverend Professor Peter Gomes at the First Parish Church, Duxbury, a 1620 Theme Dinner at Plimoth Plantation, and the 100th Reunion Celebration at the historic John Alden House Museum. Full details are at: http://www.alden.org.
*The Timen Stiddem Society, a family association for the descendants of this immigrant from Sweden in the 17th century, is holding a "Reunion of the Descendants of Timen Stiddem," August 18-20, 2000, in Wilmington, Delaware, site of the origin of the Stidham family in America. Surname variations include: Stidam, Stidom, Steadham, Stedham, Steddom, and Stedum. More information can be found at: http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~tstiddem/index.html
The Colorado Council of Genealogical Societies will host its Annual Rocky Mountain Regional Conference, 22-23 September 2000, Lakewood CO. Featured speakers will be Cyndi Howells, Henry "Hank" Jones, and Christina Schaefer. For details, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A reunion for anyone who has an interest in, or ancestors from, the Dutch island of Goeree-Overflakkee in the province of Zuid, Holland, will be held in September 2001. This reunion will take place in or near the village of Ouddorp, which has been inhabited since before 300 BC. Participants will not only visit the Genealogical Center in Middelharnis, but also the annual genealogical day, organized by the Zeeland chapter of the NGV, (Dutch Genealogical Society). Details are available at: http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Lake/1588/
*The Dragoo Family Association (DFA) Biennial Reunion will be held October 12-15, 2000 in San Antonio, Texas. For more information, contact: GWatson3@Compuserve.com
*An O'Mahony get-together to be held in Ottawa, Ontario Canada on October 13-15, 2000. This will be the first Canadian gathering. For information about the society and fall gathering, contact: email@example.com
If you would like to see your event listed, send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org. You must include either a Web page that gives details or an e-mail address for the organization or for someone within the organization who is willing to supply the meeting details upon request. Please limit your listings to events where you expect 100 or more people to attend.
Are you interested in the articles in this newsletter? Would you like to learn more or ask questions or make comments about these articles? Join this newsletters online discussion group on CompuServes Genealogy Techniques Forum. CompuServe members using Netscape, Internet Explorer or CompuServe 2000 can go to http://go.compuserve.com/GenealogyForum. If you are using Classic CompuServe, you can GO ROOTS.
If you would like to submit news, information or press releases for possible inclusion in future newsletters, send them to email@example.com. The author does reserve the right to accept or reject any articles submitted.
DISCLAIMER: This newsletter is being written and sent via e-mail at no charge. I expect to write one new issue on a more or less weekly basis. However, life sometimes interferes, and the need to earn a living may create an occasional delay.
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About the author: Dick Eastman is the forum manager of the four Genealogy Forums on CompuServe. He also is the author of "YOUR ROOTS: Total Genealogy Planning On Your Computer" published by Ziff-Davis Press. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org