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.
EOGN: Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter
A Weekly Summary of Events and
Vol. 6 No. 13 – March 26, 2001
This newsletter was sponsored by Ancestry.com,
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Copyright© 2001 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:
- London Marriage Licenses 1521-1869
- London Marriage Licenses 1521-1869
S&N Genealogy Supplies has released a number of genealogy CD-ROM disks. This week I had a chance to use one: "London Marriage Licenses 1521-1869." This CD-ROM disk contains scanned images from a book of the same name, written by Col. Joseph Lemuel Chester and edited by Joseph Foster. The book was published in 1887. The CD-ROM version contains a scanned image of every page from the original printed book.
"London Marriage Licenses 1521-1869" gives details of marriages from the following sources:
Colonel Chester saved these entries from obscurity when discovering a huge number of unindexed marriage records in Latin. This work was alphabetized and published by Joseph Foster in 1887; it contains over 1,500 pages of entries. The record of these marriages otherwise would elude those tracing a family name because of the marriages being scattered geographically.
Col. Chester describes his book this way:
Here is a typical entry to illustrate the information that may be found in this book:
The letter "B" after the date indicates that this record was transcribed from the Bishop of London’s Office.
This CD-ROM version of the reference book was created using Adobe Acrobat, an excellent choice in my opinion. A copy of Adobe Acrobat reader for Windows is included on the CD-ROM, so the Windows user does not need any other software. The same CD-ROM should work on a Macintosh or on a Linux system although S&N Genealogy Supplies does not guarantee such usage. Users of Macintosh or Linux will have to obtain the appropriate Adobe Acrobat Reader software fromhttp://www.adobe.com. I used a Windows 2000 PRO system for my testing, and it worked flawlessly.
The "London Marriage Licenses 1521-1869" CD-ROM is fully searchable by surnames, including the Brides’ Index that was at the end of the original book. I found the CD-ROM version easy to use and always intuitive. The searches for surnames seemed a bit slow as apparently it searches the CD-ROM one page at a time. However, it was still much faster than searching a printed version in the same manner!
I was able to print any page or combination of pages I wished on my local printer. The printouts were better quality than the typical photocopies made from the original book. I also suspect that printouts from my inkjet printer will be legible for many more years than the typical photocopy image. I was not able to perform any "cut-and-paste" operations, however.
S&N Genealogy Supplies has produced a valuable and easy-to-use product that will be of interest to individual genealogists, societies and libraries. It is modestly priced at £19.95, which is roughly $32.00 in U.S. funds. This price does not include shipping. S&N will ship internationally, and ordering by credit card avoids the problem of converting local currency into Pounds Sterling.
For more information, or to order the "London Marriage Licenses 1521-1869" CD-ROM disk online using a secure web server, go to:http://www.genealogy.demon.co.uk/
- Genealogies in the Library of Congress
The U.S. Library of Congress contains one of the leading genealogical collections in the country. The Library has more than 40,000 genealogies and 100,000 local histories. The collections are primarily focused on North American, British Isles, and German sources. However, some information about other countries is also available. The Library of Congress also contains what is probably the largest royalty, nobility, and heraldry collection in North America.
Of course, finding information in this huge collection is a challenge. The Library of Congress has an excellent Web site, and many of the books are indexed in the online card catalog. However, this online card catalog is still under construction, and many hundreds of thousands of books are not yet indexed online. For genealogists the primary reference is a set of books called "Genealogies in the Library of Congress." This excellent set of references has a much more complete listing than what can be found online. "Genealogies in the Library of Congress" first appeared in 1972 as a 2-volume bibliography of 1,866 pages, edited by Marion J. Kraminkow. Additional volumes were released in later years, and now "Genealogies in the Library of Congress" is a 5-volume set. It was out of print for some time, but Genealogical Publishing has now re-released all of the "Genealogies in the Library of Congress" volumes. I had a chance to look at the new release this week.
Each entry in these volumes is listed by family name, followed by title, author, publisher, date of publication, number of pages and the Library of Congress’ catalog number. For instance, looking at a typical entry for my own surname:
This volume listed the books that are available at the Library of Congress for this surname. Armed with the catalog number of CS71.E137, I can visit the Library of Congress and look at this particular book in person. Likewise, now that I know the name and author of the book, I can also search numerous online library card catalogs to see if another copy is available at a location closer to me.
This bibliography also lists family surnames frequently found in other genealogies. For instance, I already knew that many people in the Eastman family married into a number of other families in the area where the first immigrant settled. I noted that the last entry for Eastman said, "See also: Carpenter, 1930; Corliss, 1875; Dickey, 1935; Field, 1877; Flagg, 1903." I would not have known to look in those family genealogies for information about my own family name without such a cross-reference.
The first two volumes of "Genealogies in the Library of Congress" appeared on the shelves of most every major genealogy library shortly after their release in 1972. The two-volume set soon became one of "the standard references" for American genealogists as it listed thousands of family histories that had been published to that date. These two volumes include titles and descriptive details of genealogies listed in the Family Name Index of the Local History and Genealogy Room in the Library of Congress up to 1972. The 20,000 entries, arranged by surname and covering every entry in the Family Name Index, include published as well as unpublished genealogies, with 25,000 cross-references directing attention to spelling variations and collateral family names. The entries in these two volumes are heavily oriented to United States and English works, but there are also references to genealogies from Germany, France, Scandinavia, Spain, and many other countries.
The first two volumes were quite popular, and a very few years later Marion J. Kraminkow released "Supplement to Genealogies in the Library of Congress," a third volume of 285 pages that listed acquisitions made by the Library from 1972 through 1976, a total of several thousand works. Some years later, a second 861-page supplement was released that listed genealogies in the Library of Congress catalogued between January 1976 and June 1986. This ten-year supplement listed an additional 10,000 titles acquired by the Library of Congress. Unlike the previous volumes, this volume was based upon a printout from the Library of Congress’ database
In between the two supplements, Kraminkow also released "A Complement to Genealogies in the Library of Congress: A Bibliography" in 1981. This 1,118-page work lists 20,000 genealogies that were not found in the Library of Congress when the "Bibliography" and "First Supplement" volumes were published but were found in other libraries. Genealogy holdings of 24 other major libraries are listed, although this figure may actually be said to represent 45 libraries since the Allen County Library of Fort Wayne, Indiana, possesses photo and microform copies of genealogies from 21 additional libraries. The "A Complement to Genealogies in the Library of Congress" also includes additions and corrections to the earlier volumes as well as an index of 10,000 secondary names.
In order to find all entries about a family name, the researcher needs to check at least four different volumes in this five-volume set (the first two volumes are in alphabetical order, so only one of these two needs to be checked for one surname).
If you did the math in the previous descriptions, you already know that these five volumes contain a total of 4,120 pages. The five volumes fill about ten inches of shelf space. As you might expect with such a large and detailed reference set, prices are a bit steep for the individual genealogist. The entire five-volume set sells for $395.00 plus shipping. However, rather than purchasing the reference set yourself, you might suggest a purchase by your local genealogy society or library. The volumes are also available individually, with prices ranging from $190 for the original two volumes down to $45.00 for the 1972-1976 Supplement.
You can obtain more information and even order online at Genealogical Publishing’s secure online Web site at:http://www.genealogical.com
More information about the Library of Congress is available at:http://www.loc.gov. Genealogists will want to look at the Library of Congress’ Local History & Genealogy Reading Room services at: http://lcweb.loc.gov/rr/genealogy/
- Cornell Library’s "Making of America" Online Collection
I wrote about Cornell University’s online digital history collection in the Oct. 9, 1999 and August 5, 2000 editions of this newsletter. However, the "Making of America" (MOA) collection continues to expand. This week I re-visited the University Library’s online site and found numerous items I had not found before.
The MOA collection is a major resource for the study of 19th-century America. While it is not a genealogy collection, it does provide an insight into the lives of your ancestors. It shows what the major journals of the period had to say about developments in politics, literature, and science. While initially created as a collaborative project with the University of Michigan and funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the new MOA Web site has been developed with the support of the Library of Congress.
The Making Of America Web site now provides full-text access to more than 900,000 pages of primary sources in American cultural and social history. MOA contains some material published as early as 1815, but the bulk of the collection is focused on publications issued between 1840 and 1900. It is particularly strong in the subject areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology. MOA's 22 serial titles include the Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, Scribner's, and Scientific American, as well as lesser-known journals such as the American Whig Review, The Old Guard, and The Living Age. These serial publications hold approximately 150,000 works by Americans such as John Muir, Kate Chopin, Herman Melville, Frederick Douglass, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Edison, Walt Whitman, Harriet Beecher Stowe, General George Custer, and countless others.
New since my last visit, the Making Of America site now includes 267 monographs, among which are The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, The Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, and several local New York State histories and genealogies.
All of the information is available online as full text and is open and free to everyone.
The user can search for individual words found in the collection of published texts. One can also browse by title, author, journal, or year. Search results can be displayed as images of the scanned pages or as text, and individual pages can be converted to PDF format for printing. In other words, you can print copies of the original pages on your local laser or inkjet printer.
I found that the method of searching this huge database is excellent. The user can do simple searches for word or phrases as well as more complex Boolean searches or even searches for words that appear near other words. For instance, I did a search for the word "Eastman" that appears within five words of the word "Washington." Several such occurrences were reported within 2 or 3 seconds. I looked at one promising one: "Official records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion. / Series I - Volume 5: Operations on the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers (December 7, 1861 - July 31, 1865); Atlantic Blockading Squadron (April 4, 1861 - July 15, 1861)." I clicked on that and found myself looking at a scanned image of page 459, which listed the contents of a telegram from Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy, sent to Lieutenant-Commander T. H. Eastman at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. on July 10, 1864. Secretary Welles ordered several boats to be deployed to different locations to be ready for battle in the Civil War.
I then spent more time doing advanced searches, looking for names of ancestors and also conducting Boolean searches of family surnames and the towns in which they lived. Most of the searches came up empty, but a couple of gems did appear. For instance, I found a great-great-great-uncle listed in a magazine published in 1851. The article cited him as a farmer and merchant of some success, a fact that I did not know previously.
The Library’s staff reports several success stories have been relayed to them. In one instance, a man in Alaska located a photograph of his wife's grandfather in a journal in the collection. His wife had never before seen a photograph of her grandfather, Beniah, a Dog Rib Indian leader. Beniah had served as a guide on an exploration of the north country, and the photograph appeared in an article reporting on the expedition.
In short, the Cornell Library "Making of America" Online Collection is an excellent resource with many thousands of original documents available online. Like any large collection of popular literature, finding information of genealogy interest is a bit of a "hit or miss" proposition. However, you’ll never know until you try!
You can look for yourself at:http://cdl.library.cornell.edu/moa
- A Free Online Database That You Can Share
Are you involved in a group genealogy research effort? Perhaps you and some of your distant cousins are collaborating together? Or your genealogy society is indexing local tombstone records? You may want to keep one master database that everyone can share. Until now, such databases were difficult to find, complex, expensive, and required a systems administrator to set them up for everyone’s use. Now Intuit, the producer of Quicken, has a new online offering that may change all that. Depending upon what features you want and how many databases are required, the service may be free or it may require a small expenditure.
QuickBase was released a few weeks ago. The company’s Web site says:
QuickBase also is sharable with anyone who has an e-mail address plus access to the World Wide Web. Information can be shared among users of Windows, Macintosh, Linux, UNIX and more. Best of all, the creator of the database controls access to the QuickBase by specifying who can view, modify or create records. The creator can grant "view only" permission to some users while giving full "modify and create" access to others. You can grant access to everyone in the world, even strangers to you, or you can limit access to only the individuals you specify.
QuickBase is a rather simple database program. It isn't as powerful as a genealogy program, nor is it as powerful as FileMaker or Access or other professional database packages. Yet it is simple to use, and someone else has the headaches of making backups (QuickBase lives on an Intuit server farm in San Diego). Sharing of information in QuickBase is much easier than in most other database products.
I looked through the sample templates supplied on the site. While I could not find any for genealogy, I did see templates for Little League team schedules and standings, non-profit fund raising tracking, and other templates of interest to non-profits. You will have to create your own genealogy template for your project, a task that seems to be simple and straightforward.
One of QuickBase's most powerful features is the ability it gives you to import a spreadsheet or other file into it. QuickBase then builds a database from a spreadsheet table. I decided to build a small database as an example. I created a tab-delimited list of some of the people in my database, which is stored in The Master Genealogist. Then I went to QuickBase’s Web site, created a database and imported the tab-delimited file into it. You can see my sample database at:https://www.quickbase.com/db/6x5sy9ri?act=ListAll. It isn’t very sophisticated, but keep in mind that it took me less than ten minutes to create the original file in The Master Genealogist, create a new QuickBase database, import the file into the database, and make the results visible to everyone on the World Wide Web. While simplistic, that’s still not bad for ten minutes’ work using a free service! The sample database that I created is visible to everyone on the Web, but only people that I designate are allowed to add or modify records.
QuickBase has several options. One that I liked is that the creator of the database can be notified by e-mail anytime someone else adds or modifies records.
One thing that might concern you is security. My sample database is visible to everyone on the Web, but you can limit access as you please on your databases. The data is encrypted when it's on the Internet between you and the server and is "lightly" encrypted on the server itself. This is probably more than sufficient for most genealogy purposes, but I wouldn’t recommend keeping your checkbook information or credit card information online.
QuickBase offers three levels of accounts:
All three levels allow for the controlled sharing of information among multiple users. On the two higher-level plans, only the database creator has to pay. People who access shared data -- even to add records -- do so for free.
The trend of the future in software appears to be going to Web-based applications that users can access from anywhere. QuickBase is an excellent example of a Web-based application as the software is all installed at Intuit. The user simply opens a Web browser to access the application. The people who provide this kind of service are called Application Service Providers (or ASPs), and I believe that within a very few years an entire small business could be run from a Web browser. There will be no need for separate word processing, spreadsheet, database or e-mail programs. Everything will be done from your Web browser by accessing those applications online at someone else’s facility. In the 1970s we called this "timesharing." The computers have now come full circle back to that model.
QuickBase is not the first ASP database product that I have seen, but it certainly is the lowest-cost service. Free is hard to beat! Not everyone will be able to use the free service, but I suspect that many can.
For more information, or to create your own free, online database, go to:https://www.quickbase.com
- Troubles in Iceland
I have written several times about deCODE Genetics, a company that used the genealogy and medical records of Iceland to find genes that carried inherited medical conditions. Iceland is unique among the world’s populations in that it has a small population (roughly 280,000 people), excellent genealogy records going back for centuries, and excellent medical records of each Icelandic citizen for close to one century. Such a well-documented pool of closely-related people is a geneticist’s delight.
Kari Stefansson’s company, deCODE Genetics, was formed to mine the nation's heredity to find treatments for cancer, Alzheimer's disease, mental illness, and other common afflictions. Then it would sell those cures to pharmaceutical companies in the United States and Europe. deCODE was established with a great amount of hoopla that extended even into small publications, such as this genealogy newsletter. deCODE soon went public, with its stock shooting to $65.00 a share soon after the IPO.
deCODE made several announcements. The first was that the company had mapped a gene for essential tremor, a shaking syndrome that affects 5 percent to 10 percent of those over 65. Later it announced that it had mapped a gene that affects a person's chances of having a stroke. It also said that it had studies in progress to find genes for Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, osteoporosis and peripheral arterial occlusive disease, a circulatory disorder.
All was well for a while until a few scientists, doctors, and other concerned individuals started to raise some objections. In short, these people claimed that it was unethical for a private company to use databases containing personal information about individuals for the purpose of creating profits. Opponents argued that the use of the Icelandic database by private corporations violated international conventions on medical research involving human subjects. It would violate the privacy of people with sexually transmitted diseases, mental illness, and other stigmatizing conditions. The information in it could be used to discriminate against people based on their genetics. And the law did not compensate people for giving valuable information about themselves to a profit-making enterprise.
When Iceland's parliament passed a law in December 1998 to give deCODE a license to use the government’s database, it offered a nod to those objections by allowing people to ''opt out'' of the database. Almost 20,000 people, about 7 percent of the population, have excluded themselves so far. But because the dead cannot be excluded by their surviving relatives and there is no way for parents to keep their children out, opponents plan to challenge the law in Icelandic court this spring on the grounds that it violates human rights.
deCODE has had other problems, too. It has suffered from the recent decline in stock prices, as shares now trade in the $9.00 range, a big drop from last summer’s $65.00 a share. Einar Arnason, a respected Icelandic researcher, also claims that deCODE will never discover anything valuable because Stefansson's initial assumption about the genetic homogeneity of Icelanders is false. ''Iceland is actually one of the most heterogeneous European countries,'' he says.
A long and detailed story about the problems of deCODE may be found online at:http://www.boston.com/dailynews/083/world/Adventures_in_the_gene_trade_P:.shtml
- Commentary About Genetic Databases
There are some interesting issues for genealogists in the above story about deCODE Genetics. As genealogists, we are experts at compiling databases about families. Geneticists and other researchers who study inherited medical conditions can use our data to help further their research.
We know that genealogical data can help save lives or prolong lives and improve the quality of life for many people. This will happen once the medical community uses our data to discover new cures for inherited conditions. Yet, are we also in danger of violating international conventions on medical research by supplying this data without the knowledge or approval of the human subjects involved? Are we violating the privacy of people with inherited medical conditions, including mental illness and other stigmatizing conditions?
If I release information about my great-great-grandparents who have been deceased for a century or more, am I also unwittingly giving personal medical information about all of my distant cousins who descend from these same ancestors? Potentially, I am giving away personal medical information about thousands of people, most of whom I have never met, nor do I know their names. Am I giving information that will someday be used by insurance companies to charge higher rates to my distant cousins because of their increased risk of inherited medical conditions? Could my distant relatives someday be denied medical care or education or employment or other opportunities because of inherited medical risk, based in part on the information I supplied? This could even happen to my own descendants, including those not yet born.
I do not know the answers to these questions. I’ll bet that you do not know, either. But I will suggest that it is time that we, the genealogists, start to wrestle with these issues.
- House Speaker Goes Back To His Roots
U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Illinois, is taking a trip back to his ancestral village in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg this week. The Speaker traced his roots to a great grandfather named Christian, who at the age of 17 emigrated to the United States in 1868. The elder Hastert settled in Aurora, Ill.
Speaker Hastert began the journey last week with a brief audience with Grand Duke Henry in Luxembourg city and then was scheduled to go on to the Hastert ancestral village of Osweiler. Speaker Hastert is scheduled to receive honorary Luxembourg citizenship in a ceremony in Osweiler. Hastert will also put a plaque on his ancestors' house, receive a copy of his grandfather's 1851 birth certificate, and be given a copy of his family tree, which local authorities say dates back to 1695.
Hastert is making the trip in a personal capacity, as part of a larger working visit to Europe. The event is generating strong interest in Luxembourg, where people with the Hastert name are flooding the government with phone calls.
- Home Pages Highlighted
The following is a list of some of the genealogy-related World Wide Web home pages that have been added recently onhttp://www.rootscomputing.com:
Chapman Family: Its members, History and Other Odds and Ends: Numerous connected family names and a listing of some of the cemeteries where Chapman's are buried as well as links to some interesting genealogy sites.http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~johnjay
Mayfair Research Services, a commercial company specializing in Welsh genealogy research:http://genealogypro.com/mayfair-research.html
Dragoo Family Association Reunion to be held in Sacramento, California in September 2002:http://geocities.com/dfareunion/
Beth Davies, a professional genealogist specializing in Quebec research. This site also contains basic information about sources available for doing research in Quebec, Ontario, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Michigan:http://www.daviesgenealogy.com
Trounce and Hipfner family information plus links to pages containing census tracts for Veryan parish in Cornwall, England and Breage parish in Cornwall.http://home.ican.net/~dtrounce
Gentleman Research - researching the unusual surname of Gentleman:http://www.geocities.com/gentleman12001
Wertman Family Association - seeking Wertman researchers worldwide, but primarily focusing on descendants of George Philip Wertman, who warranted land in 1749 Lynn Township in present-day Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. Our goal is to produce an accurate description of our Wertman Family heritage. The objective of the Association is to collect, analyze, disseminate and preserve genealogical, historical, and biographical data pertaining to the Wertman surname:http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~wertman
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. The CompuServe forums are free and are available to anyone using Netscape, Internet Explorer or CompuServe’s own software Go to:http://www.rootsforum.com.
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