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
Vol. 5 No. 33 – August 12, 2000
This newsletter was sponsored by Ancestry.com,
To learn about Ancestry.com’s
Past issues of this Newsletter
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:
- The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to
New England, 1620-1633
- The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633
Genealogists have used a number of well-known genealogy reference books time and time again. These standard references have helped thousands of people find their ancestry. A few of the long-time references that pop to mind are:
When future genealogists make similar lists of the great genealogy reference works of all time, I predict they will add one more: Anderson’s "Great Migration." This is a work in progress that eventually will document all identifiable European immigrants to New England who arrived between the years 1620 and 1643. "The Great Migration Study Project" was initiated in 1988 and obviously will require many more years to complete. Director Robert Charles Anderson and assistants George Sanborn and Melinde Lutz Sanborn have spent tens of thousands of hours researching the material, cataloging it and then publishing the results.
The first phase of the Great Migration Project has been published. "The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-33" has been available in print for some time, in a set of three volumes published by the New England Historic Genealogical Society. This set sells for $125. Recently, Ancestry.com released the same information at lower costs, both on CD-ROM and online. This week I had a chance to use both the CD-ROM version and the online version.
Quoting from Ancestry.com’s description of the online version:
Robert Charles Anderson. The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633 [database online] Provo, UT: Ancestry.com, 2000. Original data: Robert Charles Anderson. The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633, vols. 1-3. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1995.
This first phase of the Great Migration Study Project documents those who arrived between 1620 and 1634. The latter date was chosen because of the steep increase in migration beginning in 1634 and continuing for the rest of that decade. As a rough estimate, about fifteen percent of the immigrants to New England arrived in the fourteen years from 1620 to 1633, with the remaining eighty-five percent coming over in half as many years, from 1634 to 1640.
The CD-ROM version requires Windows 95 or higher; there is no Macintosh version. I found it easy to install, about the same as any other Windows program. All of the required software is included on the CD-ROM disk itself; you do not need to obtain any external software. The hardware requirements are quite modest by today’s standards: a minimum of a 486/33 or faster processor (but a Pentium is recommended), at least 16 megabytes of RAM memory, 15 megabytes of available disk space, and a monitor with at least 800-by-600 pixels.
The user interface is quite easy to use. One option is to use the index, a list of all the names. You can scroll down the list to find someone, click on his or her name, and then immediately read the biographical sketch. However, I suspect that most people will prefer to use the search wizard.
You can search the CD-ROM version by every word in the text. Not only can you search by names, you can search by locations, by ships’ names or by anything else that appears in the text. You can also search for combinations of words. For instance, to find any information on William Gowen and his wife Elizabeth Frost, you might enter "William Gowen Elizabeth Frost." The results will show all occurrences that contain all four of those words, although not necessarily near each other. A better search would be "William Gowen" "Elizabeth Frost." Using the quotes specifies that the combination of the words "William" and "Gowen" must appear together close to the combination of the words "Elizabeth" and "Frost."
The CD-ROM software even gives the user the ability to tag records, insert bookmarks, and enter margin notes. In fact, the margin notes can even include graphical images. You will probably want to bookmark all of your identified ancestors and perhaps add margin notes that contain more information that you obtained elsewhere. Tagging records allows you to mark individual records for future viewing, printing or saving.
I was very impressed with the amount of information found on this CD-ROM disk. Not only does it give you those important names, dates and locations, but it also provides many biographical sketches, many of which are rather extensive. The information often includes church memberships, court appearances, business dealings and more. I looked for several to cut-and-paste into this newsletter as examples. However, time and time, again the sketches were much too lengthy.
I did, however, find this information about Nicholas Frost of Kittery, Maine to be quite interesting:
The above court record is not the least unusual; there are hundreds of such records on this CD-ROM disk. Apparently our seventeenth-century ancestors were not as pious and straight-laced as we sometimes like to believe!
As you can see from the above "cut-and-paste," it is easy to copy data from the Great Migration Begins CD-ROM to a word processor or any other Windows application, something you cannot do with many genealogy CD-ROM disks.
The text often has different-colored links embedded. Burgundy-colored links take the user to source information, green links take the user to specific records, and graphic buttons take the user to different data locations to manipulate the data (copy, paste, etc.). For instance, in the above information about Nicholas Frost, the phrase "[MBCR 1:100-01]" is highlighted in burgundy. When I clicked on it, a small window displayed a reference to the source of the information: "Records of the Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New England, 1628 -1686, Nathaniel B. Shurtleff, ed., 5 volumes in 6 (Boston 1853 – 1854)."
I decided to look at the online version of "The Great Migration Begins" to do a comparison of the two versions. The online version is available to members of Ancestry’s Premium Members program. This is one subscription option that is available for as little as $5.00 a month.
I did a search for the same Nicholas Frost as mentioned above and found the same information. The online version seems to have the same text as the CD-ROM version. It does not, however, have exactly the same search capabilities. You cannot search for every word in the text. Instead, you can search for last name, first name, keyword and then a long list of "filters." The filters include birth, death, marriage, children, index, origin, migration, first residence, return trips, bibliographic note, occupation, occupation, education, church membership, freeman, offices, estate, associations, comments and removes. Strangely, the CD-ROM version does not have the "search by filters" capability.
The online version does not have the capability to add bookmarks or margin notes or to tag records for later use. Also, the online version is a bit slower. Even though I access the Internet with a high-speed cable modem, no Web site can operate as fast as a PC’s internal CD-ROM drive. (I used a 48x CD-ROM drive during this test.)
Whether you use the CD-ROM or the online version, this is genealogy data at its best. This compilation by one of the leading genealogy experts of our time contains voluminous information about the early settlers of New England. Every fact stated is accompanied by a reference as to where the information was found. All genealogy publications should be this good!
The "Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633" CD-ROM disk retails for $59.95 but is being offered as an "Early Bird Special" right now for $53.95 (U.S. funds) plus shipping. Details are available at:http://shop.myfamily.com/ancestrycatalog/product.asp?dept%5Fid=20202000&pf%5Fid=2089
The online version is available in any of Ancestry.com’s Premium Memberships. The most popular membership is the Preferred Plan for $59.95 a year ($5.00 a month). This offers access to all 2,500+ databases plus the Ancestry Reference Library 2000 CD-ROM and Generations™ Easy Family Tree software. Another option is the Gold Plan for $99.95 ($8.50 a month), which includes the above, plusa one-year subscription to Ancestry Magazine and a copy of "The Source," a huge genealogy guidebook. Members of the Gold Plan also receive a 15% discount on all store purchases from Ancestry.com.
A third option is the Quarterly Plan, $19.95 for a three-month membership ($6.67 a month). The Quarterly Plan does not bundle in any other products.
Details of the online memberships are available at:http://www.ancestry.com/subscribe/dualmembership.htm
Is the CD-ROM version or the online version better for you? The only answer I can offer is, "It all depends." If you have other genealogy interests besides the Great Migration Project (and who doesn’t?), the online membership is more cost-effective as it includes more than 2,500 other databases for the same membership fee. However, if you want the high-speed access and the every-word search capability, you may prefer to pay $53.95 for the CD-ROM. Also, the online subscriptions do expire some day. You have to renew and pay more money if you want to look at these databases again. The CD-ROM version is more or less forever; you purchase it and then can use it as long as you own the proper hardware and software to support it. The CD-ROM version also is the obvious choice for anyone who wants to use it in a laptop while traveling. High-speed wireless access for laptop users simply isn’t practical just yet.
Of course, if you use a Macintosh or a UNIX system, there is no decision at all: you will select the online version.
The Great Migration Study Project also publishes the Great Migration Newsletter, a quarterly publication that provides news of the Project itself and presents studies of the records of individual New England towns, of particular categories of records, of research methodology and of aspects of the migration process. Information about the newsletter is available at:http://www.newenglandancestors.org/nehgspubssection/pubs_greatmigration.asp
- Albany County, NY Naturalization Records Online
Do you have an ancestor who lived in Albany County, New York? Was he or she possibly naturalized there? If so, you may discover information about him or her in the Albany County Hall of Records new online database.
The county Web site has this description of the database:
I took the database for a test drive and found it easy to use. You can search by any combination of first name, last name, nation of origin or place of residence in Albany County.
Here is a typical entry in the database:
You say your ancestor lived in Albany County but was never naturalized? Try this database anyway. I was quite surprised to find a lot of names listed with the word "Rejected" in the date field. Their application will still be on file, and you may very well find valuable genealogy data in the papers. From a genealogy viewpoint, a rejected application could easily be as valuable as an accepted one.
Remember, these are only indexes to the records. If you find a name you were searching for and would like a copy of the complete record, simply print out the Research Request Form that is available on the same Web site, complete it and send it with a check for US$14.00 to the Albany County Hall of Records. They will send a photocopy of the requested application to you.
This is an excellent example of valuable transcribed indexes becoming available on the Web. Even if you do not have ancestors in this county, you might want to encourage your local officials to look at this site as an example of what every county should be doing. To look for yourself, go to: http://www.albanycounty.com/achor
My thanks to Robert Fenner for letting me know about this valuable site.
RootsView for Windows by Natural Software is a both a GEDCOM file viewer and a Web page generator. It creates attractive, graphical HTML pages from standard GEDCOM files that come from your genealogy program. You can use the HTML files to create your own personal Web site showing genealogy data. Typical data might be your ancestry or perhaps all the descendants of a particular person. Many family societies publish extensive Web pages of data they have collected over the years. RootsView can create all the Web pages for you automatically and quickly.
To be sure, most modern genealogy programs can create HTML files. However, the visual appearance of many of the Web pages that I have seen is a bit plain. RootsView creates nicer-looking Web pages than almost any other program I have seen. Of course, if you are using an older program or one of the simpler ones that doesn’t create HTML files, RootsView will add functionality that you may want.
I downloaded RootsView from the developer’s Web site and was up and running within a few minutes. Setup was simple; if you have installed other Windows programs, you can handle RootsView. No manual was included, but I found the online help pages to be very effective. I was appalled, however, to see the Help pages repeatedly spell genealogy as "geneology." I consider that to be a huge blunder in a genealogy utility program.
RootsView uses HTML style sheets, making it easy for the amateur Web designer to create a professional-looking Web site. While many programs will create HTML files, the RootsView templates offer some wise suggestions for your layout. If you want to further personalize your design, you can easily customize the "look and feel" of the Web pages you create by selecting a new style sheet or by modifying an existing one..
I imported a 4,000-person GEDCOM file and was soon looking at my genealogy data in a Web-like view. RootsView displays the data in much the same manner as a Web browser. You can experiment with style sheets and other parameters. Once satisfied with the pages, you select "Save File" or "Save Website" and the program creates HTML files. The "Save File" option simply saves one HTML file. By contrast, "Save Website" also saves pictures and support files as needed.
When working within RootsView, the data is displayed in a Web page-like format, complete with photos. It doesn’t use a Web browser although you might think that one is in use. Once you save the HTML file, you can use any Web browser to look at the output.
Of course, GEDCOM files do not contain pictures. To add pictures, you use a RootsView style sheet that supports pictures. Once the text data has been imported, you can create an image file list which you will use to link images to specific people. When you select "Save Website," the pictures are included. You then can upload all the files to your personal home page.
Describing the appearance of the output is difficult in this text-only newsletter. However, Natural Software’s Web site has two different examples. You can see the output for yourself.
Don’t forget that you are not limited to RootsView alone. You could use this program to create HTML files and then use any HTML editor that you like to add "final touches," such as new introductions, maps, sound files or even full-motion video, if you like.
You may not want all the people in your GEDCOM data to be visible. For example, you may filter out living people to protect their privacy. Or you may just want to protect the birth dates of living persons. Or, you may want to show a single lineage -- just the descendants or the ancestors of one person. RootsView can handle any of those options.
One nice feature is the capability to send information on a floppy disk or even a CD-ROM. The recipient does not need to purchase software in order to view your data. You can send the program's viewer along with your GEDCOM file and photos to your relatives so that they can view your family tree without being required to purchase and install your genealogy program. The results may also be published on a "real" Web page.
RootsView is a very useful program. Even if your present genealogy program already creates HTML files, you still might want to look at RootsView to see if its output is more to your liking. RootsView is a shareware program. That is, you can legally install it and use it for a while to see if you want to use it regularly. If you do decide to keep it and use it, you should pay a registration fee of $29.00 (U.S. funds).
You can order the full version of RootsView online on the company’s Web site. However, the order form isn’t secure; therefore, credit card data could be intercepted. I’d recommend that you not order RootsView online. If the company switches to a secure order form in the future, then credit card safety will no longer be an issue. The Web page does give a telephone number, however. You can call and give your credit card number over the telephone.
For more information, to look at sample output or to download the program, go to:http://home.earthlink.net/~naturalsoft/rootsview.htm. Again, I recommend that you do not order the full version on that nonsecure site. Use the telephone instead.
- French-Canadian Genealogy Conference in New Hampshire
The American-Canadian Genealogy Society will present their Fall Conference Weekend in Manchester, New Hampshire on September 22, 23 and 24, 2000. I have attended a number of these events in the past and can tell you that this society always puts on a great conference.
The featured speaker this year will be Georges Arsenault, who will speak on the "Folklore and History of the Acadians of Prince Edward Island." Mr. Arsenault has published numerous books and articles on the Acadians of Prince Edward Island. He was a cultural officer for the Société Saint-Thomas-d'Aquin (Acadian and Francophone Society of Prince Edward Island) and then became Visiting Professor in Acadian Studies at the University of Prince Edward Island. Since 1986, he has hosted Radio-Canada's morning radio show for Prince Edward Island.
You may make advance reservations or buy tickets at the door. However, if you are traveling from out of town, you are advised to make hotel reservations now. The conference is being held at the beginning of foliage season in New Hampshire, and the leaf peepers will be out in force. Hotel reservations will be difficult to find at the last minute. By the way, you might want observe some foliage yourself when you are in the area. It is a spectacular sight.
Full details on the American-Canadian Genealogy Society’s "Fall Conference Weekend" are available at: http://www.acgs.org/
- Civil War-Era Submarine Recovered Off S. Carolina
The wreckage of the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley, the first submersible to sink an enemy warship in battle, was raised on Tuesday from the floor of the Atlantic Ocean off the South Carolina coast. The cigar-shaped vessel was raised intact by a barge off Sullivan's Island near Charleston after spending 136 years on the ocean floor.
Nine crewmen died when the 40-foot-long submarine sailed into history on the night of Feb. 17, 1864. It slipped through a Union blockade off Charleston harbor during the Civil War and rammed its 90-pound black powder charge into the USS Housatonic. The Housatonic sank in under five minutes, but the Hunley -- fashioned from a boiler and propelled by a nine-member crew turning a hand crank -- never returned from the mission.
You can read a Reuters news story describing all this at:http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20000808/ts/life_hunley_dc_1.html
- A Great Reference Site
I recently was told about a great Web site. It isn’t genealogy-related, but I quickly bookmarked it and have returned to it several times since. The Delaware Division of Libraries maintains a set of links to all sorts of reference materials, including;
Bookmark this one -- it’s a keeper:http://www.lib.de.us/delaweb/reference.shtml
My thanks to Barbara T. Raley for telling me about this great reference site.
- From The Mailbox
Last week I wrote about an upcoming speech I will deliver in Boston at the New England Historic Genealogical Society’s "Computer Resources for Genealogists" seminar on September 15 and 16. This talk will be on "Creating Your Own Genealogy CD-ROM Disks," and I plan to discuss the hardware and software required. I also plan to offer suggestions on gathering and presenting information.
This week quite a few people sent e-mails asking if the session would be recorded or if they could obtain the handouts. If this subject proves popular, I will probably write about it in a future newsletter. However, let’s first see how well this topic is received in Boston.
- Recent Announcements
The Recent Announcements section of the newsletter is published once per month, usually in the third newsletter of each month. Each announcement is a brief mention of a new product or service, followed by either an e-mail address or a Web page that you can use to find more information. Items mentioned may include software, Web sites, CD-ROM disks, books or almost any other genealogy-related products and services.
I have not had a chance to look at these products and services myself, so the information is presented "as is."
Since detailed information is available via e-mail or the Web, I will not list those details in this newsletter. If you do contact any of these companies or organizations, please tell them where you heard about the announcement.
The Ellis Island Experience(tm) is a CD-ROM disk that has just become available. This disk was created by The History Channel(r) and developer/publisher SouthPeak Interactive in conjunction with The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. This interactive documentary includes dramatic recreations, original documents and artifacts, photographs, remembrances of people who passed through Ellis Island and interactive video vignettes. The CD-ROM disk costs $39.95. Details are at:http://www.southpeak.com
The "Family of Ronald W. Reagan" is now available. This 259-page book contains information about 12 families with kinship reports of each family (leading to the head of that family) and 850 indexed people. Relationship to Reagan is found in notes with the individuals. The book sells for $25 plus $4 shipping and handling. A version without the kinship reports of 205 pages but containing all the other material is $20 plus $3 shipping and handling. Further information is available from:email@example.com
Genealogy for Windows is a special purpose software database program for researching family history, recording your ancestors and creating your family tree. Genealogy for Windows is "Event" or "Source" oriented. This means that you record the data that you collect in the database as your research progresses. Genealogy for Windows is supplied by Deltadrive Limited, a UK based company. For more information and ordering visit http://www.deltadrive.co.uk
AncestorNews has launched a new Web site for beginning Internet genealogy. While any search engine can find millions of genealogy-related pages, this new site claims to simplify the "needle in a haystack" problem of finding the information you seek. Other resources include articles on finding Civil War ancestors, suggested books on specific genealogy topics, links to free computer lessons, the AncestorNews e-mail newsletter and more. Look at:http://www.ancestornews.com
Heritage Quest™ now offers the first complete index for the 1870 U.S. Census. In the past, available indexes offered only parts of the 1870 index. Heritage Quest™ recently finished a two-year process of digitizing all publicly available U.S. Federal Census Records, from 1790 to 1920, and is now indexing each year so that the information is more easily accessible, both on CD-ROMs and online at GenealogyDatabase.com (available by subscription this fall.) The 1870 Census is a significant post Civil War resource for family research, particularly for African American genealogy, as this was the first U.S. Federal Census to list freed slaves as families. Details are available at:http://www.HeritageQuest.com
If you would like to see your announcement listed in a future newsletter, please 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 someone within the organization who is willing to supply the meeting details upon request.
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About the author: Dick Eastman is the forum manager of the three 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: email@example.com