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Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

A Weekly Summary of Events and
Topics of Interest to Online Genealogists

Vol. 5 No. 35 – August 26, 2000

    This newsletter is sponsored by Ancestry.com,
    a leader in providing print and electronic
    research information to genealogists.

    To learn about Ancestry.com’s
    state-of-the-art online genealogy databases
    and other fine products,
    visit the company’s three Internet properties,
    MyFamily.com, Ancestry.com, and FamilyHistory.com

    Past issues of this Newsletter
    are available at:
    http://www.ancestry.com/library/view/news/articles/d_p_1_archive.asp


    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:

    - Cyclopedia of Ireland on CD-ROM
    - Family History Made Easy: Step By Step
    - Five Thousand Ways to Earn a Living
    - What County is It In?
    - Circle Pedigree Chart
    - Genealogy: From Social Status to Global Obsession
    - President Harrison Resurrected
    - Directory of North American Railroads
    - National Grandparents Day
    - Whatever Happened to S.W. Erdnase?
    - Home Pages Highlighted


    - Cyclopedia of Ireland on CD-ROM

    This week I had a chance to use a "new old book" on CD-ROM. A "new old book" is an old book that has been long out of print but is now available on a CD-ROM disk. New old books are valuable resources for family historians. Best of all, they are usually much cheaper than the printed editions, assuming you could still find a copy of the printed book(s) for sale; many of these old books are only available on CD-ROM today. The CD-ROM versions of the books often are easier to search than the printed ones, and they obviously consume a lot less space on the bookshelf.

    The new old book that I read this week is properly entitled the "Atlas and Cyclopedia of Ireland" as told by A. M. Sullivan, continued by P. D. Nunan. Murphy & McCarthy of New York City originally printed this 688-page book in 1900. The book contains two major sections. Quoting from the intro pages:

    Part I. A Comprehensive Delineation of the Thirty-two Counties. With Beautifully Colored Map of Each, Arranged Alphabetically, Showing over 11,000 Cites, Towns, Villages and Places of Public Interest. By P. W. Joyce, LL.D. Embracing over two hundred Illustrations of the Natural Scenery, Public Buildings, Abbeys, Round Towers and Other Romantic and Historic Places, Reproduced by Eminent Artists from Photographs Especially Taken for this Work.

    Part II. The General History, as Told by A. M. Sullivan. And Continued by P. D. Nunan. A Complete and Authentic History of Ireland, from the Earliest Ages. With Graphic Descriptions of the Battles of Clontarf, Strongbow’s Invasion, Death of Roderick O’Connor (Last King of Ireland), Cromwell’s Invasion, Siege of Derry and the Battle of the Boyne; Siege of Limerick, Penal Laws, The Volunteers, The United Irishmen, Catholic Emancipation and Repeal, the Young Irelanders, Fenian Insurrection, Home Rule and Land League Agitations, bringing it down almost to the United Irish League. Embellished with Portraits of the Leading Statesmen, Orators, Poets and Martyrs of the Emerald Isle, Taken From the Original Painting of Haverty, Reynolds, Lesage and Others.

    This description omits a couple more items that can be found: there are also more than 400 full color Irish family crests (coats of arms) along with mottoes as well as a small, full-color map of each of the 32 different Irish counties.

    The Cyclopedia of Ireland CD-ROM is in Adobe Acrobat format. I believe that Acrobat is the most popular viewer for electronic documents available today. Chances are that you already have the needed Adobe Acrobat viewer installed on your PC or Macintosh. If not, the CD-ROM includes all the viewer software needed for Windows 3.1, 95, 98, NT and Windows 2000. Macintosh users can download the free viewer software directly from Adobe’s Web site.

    I have seen quite a few new old books published in Adobe Acrobat, but I must say that this particular one was the most colorful that I have seen yet. The frontispiece is reproduced in a very detailed, full-color image. The color maps are great, and I found it easy to read the details in tiny print. The family crests were also in full color although not as colorful as some of the other pages.

    The original "Atlas and Cyclopedia of Ireland" had an extensive back-of-book index, and that, too, is reproduced in the electronic version. You can look for an entry in the index, and then manually turn to the page cited. I found that I could print any page on my local printer. In fact, I could have printed the entire book had I wanted to. At 688 pages, I decided to not print the entire thing.

    The "Atlas and Cyclopedia of Ireland" CD-ROM does have a few drawbacks. There is no electronic index and no capability for "every word search" like you see in many other electronic books, that is, you cannot search for every occurrence of a particular word. The "cut and paste" option does appear on the menus, but I could not make it work properly on my Windows 98 system. I was unable to cut and paste a page or two into another Word document. I also did not see any capability for margin notes, nor could I find any method of adding my own bookmarks.

    Even with these minor drawbacks, this remains an excellent reference book. The 688 pages of the original book have been compressed into a half-ounce of plastic. If you could find a used copy of the original book or a photo reproduction of the original, you probably would have to pay well over $100 for it. The same information on CD-ROM sells for $39.95, plus shipping.

    For more information about the "Atlas and Cyclopedia of Ireland" or to order it online, go to Quintin Publications’ Web site at: http://www.quintinpublications.com/irelandcd.html

    You can order the CD-ROM online at the same URL. Quintin Publications provides a secure order form so that you can safely enter your credit card data.


    - Family History Made Easy: Step By Step

    The Internet has quite a few sites that give instruction on how to get started in genealogy. A new addition to that list is a series of how-to guides written by Terry and Jim Willard, hosts of the first ten-part PBS "Ancestors" series.

    Terry and Jim write in a conversational manner that is easy to understand. They seem to avoid the buzzwords used by long-term genealogists, making this an excellent text for anyone just starting to find their family tree.

    "Family History Made Easy: Step By Step" is a work in progress; nine chapters have been posted online to date, and more are expected in future months.

    The following articles are already available online:

    Step 1: Getting Started
    Step 2: Treasures in the Attic
    Step 3: Living Sources
    Step 4: Beginning Your Library Research
    Step 5: At the Library
    Step 6: Secondary Source Research
    Step 7: Primary Sources and Vital Records
    Step 8: Census Records
    Step 9: Immigration Records

    Upcoming topics will include:

    - Naturalization Records
    - Military Records
    - Wills and Probate Records

    If you are new to genealogy, you should read "Family History Made Easy: Step By Step." It is available on Ancestry.com’s Web site at: http://www.ancestry.com/library/view/ancmag/2082.asp

    Heck, some of us old-timers should read it too!


    - Five Thousand Ways to Earn a Living

    So you found a record of your ancestor in the census? And it listed his occupation as a "barilla manufacturer?" Now you want to know what a barilla manufacturer is? A new Web site can help.

    Judith B Glad and an unnamed partner have teamed together to place a list of 5,000 trades and professions, as listed in old documents. I don’t know if this includes all the occupations in the English language or not, but the list certainly must include most occupations! As a precaution from having the entire list "ripped off," only the occupation names are listed. To obtain a definition of a particular occupation, you need to contact Judith Glad directly. She will provide you with the definitions of up to five trades.

    The explanation and the entry to the occupations list can be found at: http://www.teleport.com/~heyjude/genealog.htm

    I looked through the long list and found many terms that I had never seen previously. OK Judith, so just what is a "geezer"?


    - What County is It In?

    Ever spend time looking for the county where an ancestor lived? Perhaps you have the town name but not the county. In some states, county names predominate; you may find the name of the county, but you don’t know which towns are contained therein. A new computerized tool can help.

    GetZips.com is a ZIP-code lookup site that just happens to include county information. You can enter the name of a town and find out what ZIP code(s) and county are associated with that town. Likewise, you can enter the county name and find all the towns (and ZIP codes) in that county.

    You can access this data online with your PC, Macintosh or other system. However, the same Web site also has a free Windows utility with even more functionality that you can download to your PC and use over and over, even when offline. Zip Express allows easy look-up of U.S. zip codes and their associated cities, states, counties, area codes, time zones and even the current time. You can even automatically paste zip code information directly into your Windows applications via hot keys. Zip Express is "adware." That is, the program is free, but it displays advertisements when being used. If you want to turn off the ads, you can register the program for $25.00 and the ads will then disappear.

    Keep in mind that both the online and offline versions display only current county information. County lines have shifted a lot throughout history, and your ancestor may have lived in a location that has been in different counties over the years. The county that normally stores records is the one that had jurisdiction at the time of the event recorded. Even with that limitation, GetZips.com and Zip Express can be useful tools for the genealogist.

    For more information, or to look up a few counties, go to: http://www.getzips.com

    My thanks to Stephen Comfort-Mason for telling me about GetZips.com.


    - Circle Pedigree Chart

    I had a chance to use an interesting genealogy chart this week. The Studio, Inc. has produced a "fill in the blanks" pedigree chart that is 37 inches square. This large chart will look good pinned to the wall next to the computer where you do your genealogy record keeping. The Circle Pedigree Chart is suitable for framing.

    The pedigree chart is in the circle pedigree format. That is, the base person is shown in the exact center of the chart, with all his or her ancestors displayed in a full circle. Paternal ancestors are in the upper half of the chart and maternal ancestors are shown below. There is room for 510 ancestors. The chart is printed in four colors, one for each quadrant. This quickly identifies the ancestors of your grandparents.

    This is a "fill in the blanks" chart. It is laminated front and back. A black marker pen is included, which you use to record names along with dates and places of birth, marriage and records. The laminated surface allows you to easily erase and re-enter information as corrected information is found.

    It is tough to describe this colorful chart in a text newsletter. Luckily, you can view pictures of the chart at: http://www.123genealogy.com/store/misc/chart.htm

    The Circle Pedigree Chart is a great tool for organizing your family history and also for displaying that information to other family members. The chart costs $15.95 plus shipping. To obtain more information or order to online, go to: http://www.123genealogy.com/store/misc/chart.htm

    123genealogy.com does maintain a secure online order form, so you can safely enter your credit card information.


    - Genealogy: From Social Status to Global Obsession

    The Salt Lake Tribune ran an article in its online edition that I found interesting. It starts off:

    Tracing your genealogy was once little more than a chance to improve a family's social status.

    Dubious data was often coupled with questionable assumptions as practitioners tried to link up with British royalty or Catholic saints or even biblical figures all the way back to Adam.

    Since World War II, however, genealogy has evolved into a science. And with the advent of the personal computer and the Internet, genealogy has exploded into a global, multicultural obsession.

    The article goes on at length to detail the fabrications of past years and how modern genealogists have turned to more scientific and more accurate research methods. Of course, this didn’t start with the Internet, but the online services have helped a great deal by making information and "coaching" more available than in years past.

    You can read this interesting article for yourself at: http://www.sltrib.com/08262000/saturday/15753.htm


    - President Harrison Resurrected

    When studying American history, President William Henry Harrison usually rates only a brief mention. Our 23rd chief executive was small (he stood at 5 feet, 6 inches tall) and not big on self-promotion of his accomplishments, but he was capable and apparently was well liked during his presidency.

    The President Benjamin Harrison Home is now a museum dedicated to the President’s life. The museum operates an online Web site that has a great deal of information about Harrison, including a brief genealogy. The same Web site also has information about the successful passage of Harrison's programs: the McKinley tariff, Sherman anti-trust bill, Pan-American conference and the silver coinage act. You can even listen to a recording of Harrison’s voice recorded sometime during his presidency from 1889 to 1893.

    Nineteenth century presidents do not receive federal funds for presidential libraries, and putting Harrison's history online is an economical way of keeping his memory alive. Jennifer Capps, the curator of the museum, says the Web site went live about five years ago after she took a class in designing Web pages. "We get a lot of school kids who need information to do reports, and we plan to add more family history and genealogy," Capps says.

    The Web site for this former president generates about 200 hits a week, although the site saw increased traffic after C-Span did a special on Harrison. You can add to that count by going to: http://www.surf-ici.com/harrison/


    - Directory of North American Railroads

    This week I had a chance to read a rather interesting book with a long title: "The Directory of North American Railroads, Associations, Societies, Archives, Libraries, Museums and Their Collections," compiled by Holly T. Hansen. This isn’t strictly a genealogy book, yet many people will find it a useful reference for genealogy research. This will be especially true for any ancestors who worked for a railroad.

    "The Directory of North American Railroads" can help you discover many things among rail collections, including records documenting the building of the rail, original survey records, photographs and treaties documenting the Native American encounter, passenger lists, land records, directors' and stockholders' minutes, deeds, rights-of-way, journals, huge photograph collections and more.

    I must admit that I have not used a railroad collection before, so I was intrigued by what could be found there. This book lists 1,600 railroads and other entities, most of which are now defunct. Even though the railroad may have gone out of existence a century or so ago, the company’s records often are still available at libraries, historical societies, railroad historical societies and other places. Each listing is arranged alphabetically with a state/province index in the back of the book to help you locate resources geographically.

    I looked for information about the Sandy River Railroad, a long-defunct company that I have read about before. Since everything is alphabetic, it only took me a few seconds to find that a lot of information and even photographs of this old railroad are still available in Phillips, Maine. As I skimmed through the book, I found that almost every railroad listed has similar entries. A few even have information available online, including company records that are available online at the Digital Library and Archives of the University Libraries of Virginia Tech.

    "The Directory of North American Railroads, Associations, Societies, Archives, Libraries, Museums and Their Collections" is an extensive compilation of repositories of railroad information. It sells for $25.00 plus shipping; details are available at: http://www.ancestryresearch.com


    - National Grandparents Day

    Just in case you don’t have it marked on your calendar already, you might want to know that National Grandparents Day will be observed on September 10 this year. This holiday has three purposes: to honor grandparents, to give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children's children, and to help children become aware of the strength, wisdom, and guidance older people can offer.

    You might want to spend the day with your grandchildren. Or grandparents.

    You can read more about this special day at: http://www.grandparents-day.com


    - Whatever Happened to S.W. Erdnase?

    When poring through old records in search of your ancestors, you might keep an eye open for a few more names. S.W. Erdnase has been missing for a long time.

    Professional and amateur magicians alike will quickly recognize the name of S.W. Erdnase. In 1902, he published a book called, "The Expert at the Card Table." In vivid detail and elegant prose, the book revealed the secrets behind intricate card tricks and quick-fingered cheating techniques.

    Erdnase obviously was a pseudonym, one that has never been revealed. Erdnase never made public appearances and never wrote another book - at least not under that name. Yet for nearly 100 years, the book has never vanished from print. It has sold hundreds of thousands of copies worldwide and been translated into many other languages. It has become the bible of card magic.

    Now the search for Erdnase is heating up. Earlier this year, Steve Pepoon of Chatsworth, Calif., paid $10,259 in an eBay auction for a first edition of the "Expert" signed by its illustrator. The auction also included some of the illustrator's letters, which contained clues to the identity of Erdnase. "Everyone loves a good mystery," says the 44-year-old television scriptwriter and amateur magician. The sale made a splash inside the world of magic and ignited a new wave of Erdnase research.

    S.W. Erdnase was almost certainly a pen name. But for whom? Conferences, books, magazine articles and monographs have all attempted to unmask Erdnase. Every Erdnase hunter has his own pet theory. Some believe the author was someone named "E.S. Andrews" - the name spelled backward. Magicians trawling census records, magician-society membership rosters, and other documents have yet to find an E.S. Andrews with deep card knowledge and the education necessary to write such an articulate book. Then there's the question of whether such a clever master of deception would succumb to something so obvious as the old backward-name trick.

    The pioneer of Erdnase research is Martin Gardner, an 85-year-old author and mathematics columnist. He began in 1946 by interviewing Marshall D. Smith, the book's illustrator. Unfortunately, the artist remembered very little about Erdnase, whom he had last seen in 1901. But the details he did remember remain the key clues for Erdnase hunters.

    According to Mr. Smith, Erdnase was a handsome, well-bred East Coast man with unusually soft, well-pampered hands. He was about 5 feet 6 inches tall and about 40 years old. The illustrator couldn't remember the author's name but thought it might have been Andrews. The author also claimed to be related to Louis Dalrymple, a popular turn-of-the-century cartoonist, according to the illustrator.

    Mr. Gardner corresponded with other magicians who said they had known Erdnase, conducted lengthy archival research, and by 1949 believed he had cracked the case. Erdnase, he claimed, was a man named Milton Franklin Andrews, found dead in 1905 following a grisly murder-suicide in a San Francisco apartment.

    In many ways, Mr. Andrews seemed a good fit. A well-bred, East Coast gambler, he died soon after the book's publication - providing a nice explanation for the silence surrounding the author. But Mr. Andrews was also much taller than the man Mr. Smith recalled. And an 18-page letter written by Mr. Andrews and found after his death was nowhere near as eloquent as "The Expert."

    Some professional magicians refuse to believe that a murderer penned the card-trick masterpiece. That notion helped spur another theory: that the book was ghostwritten, perhaps by Mark Twain, a childhood chum of Mr. Andrews in Hartford, Conn.

    Mr. Hatch, who brokered the eBay sale, thinks E.S. Andrews might be short for James Andrews and is investigating a man with that name. He also is focusing on another candidate, a railroad worker named Edwin Sumner Andrews, whose wife shared Louis Dalrymple's mother's maiden name of Seeley. The book dealer spends at least two hours a day searching magic-society archives, census records, Library of Congress authorship lists, and genealogy Web sites for men named Andrews who fit the author's profile. Earlier this summer, he spent several days of his family vacation digging through the genealogical archives in Salt Lake City. However, Hatch still has not located the proof that he seeks.

    David Alexander has approached the Erdnase puzzle another way. Last winter, the magician and former private detective from Long Beach, Calif., assembled a "forensic profile" of the type of man who might have written the book, then conducted a complex linguistic analysis of the book's title page. He thinks S.W. Erdnase was really W.E. Sanders.

    Alexander came to that conclusion by studying the book itself. One Erdnase trick was a card shift called the "S.W.E. Shift," named for his initials. A shift is a furtive card action in which top cards are moved to the bottom of the deck. Performing a "shift" on the initials S.W.E. results in W.E.S.

    Mr. Alexander's search through Library of Congress records and census reports turned up an Erdnase contender named Wilbur Edgerton Sanders. Mr. Sanders, a mining engineer born in Akron, Ohio, in 1861 but educated at Philips Exeter Academy, fits the profile. (In German, "Erdnase" means "earth-nose," which Mr. Alexander deems significant.) Mr. Alexander is currently reading Mr. Sanders's diaries, dated from 1875 to 1890, and believes the writing style is similar to that of Erdnase. The diaries are filled with mundane details of 19th-century life, including meals, chores and family relations, and so far make no mention of card tricks. But that, too, could be a ruse. The best tricks, after all, are those that are never revealed.

    When researching old census records, death records or other sources of genealogy information, keep an eye open for a 5 foot 6 inch magician born around 1860.


    - Home Pages Highlighted

    The following is a list of some of the genealogy-related World Wide Web home pages that have been listed recently on http://www.rootscomputing.com:

Klamath County, California - the county that is no more. Klamath County, California, was created in 1851 and was disbanded in 1874. The county is now distributed between Del Norte, Siskiyou, and Humboldt Counties. Records from Klamath County may be found in any of these three counties as well as some southern Oregon counties. The web site is an attempt to consolidate the data needed to successfully search for those early records: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~klamathcountycalif

    What’s What In Irish Genealogy doesn't list all services and websites dealing with Irish family history research. The aim is to help you locate worthwhile information and websites without having to wade through piles of irrelevant material: http://indigo.ie/~gorry

    Roots & Branches -- Genealogy from the Carolinas: http://angiesplace.behosting.com/roots/index.htm

    Christopher G. Hartman, an antiquarian bookseller with a concentration in family history books and genealogy, primarily original printings. Focused on hard-to-find books, manuscript material, correspondence and ledgers: http://www.raregenealogies.com

The LaBar/LaBarre home page is for researchers of the surname LaBar in the Easton, Pennsylvania, area: http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Meadows/8605/Labar/LaBar.htm

To submit your home page to this newsletter, enter the necessary information at: http://www.rootscomputing.com/register.htm. Due to the volume of new Web pages submitted, I am not able to list all of them in the newsletter.


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 newsletter’s online discussion group on CompuServe’s Genealogy Techniques Forum. CompuServe members using Netscape, Internet Explorer or CompuServe 2000 can go to http://www.rootsforum.com. 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 richard@eastman.net. 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.


COPYRIGHTS: The contents of this newsletter are copyright by Richard W. Eastman with the following exception:

Many of the articles published in these newsletters contain quotes or references from others, especially from other Web sites, software users manuals, press releases and other public announcements. Any words in this newsletter attributed to another person or organization remain the copyrighted materials of the original author(s).

You are hereby granted rights, unless otherwise specified, to re-distribute articles from this newsletter to other parties provided:

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  3. You may not republish any articles containing words attributed to another person or organization until you obtain permission from that person or organization. While you do have permission to republish words written by Richard W. Eastman, you do not have automatic authority to republish words written by others, even if their words appear in this newsletter.

. Also, please include the following statement with any articles you re-distribute:

The following article is from Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter and is copyright 2000 by Richard W. Eastman. It is re-published here with the permission of the author.

Thank you for your cooperation.


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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: richard@eastman.net