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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
Topics of Interest to Online Genealogists

Vol. 6 No. 30 – July 23, 2001

This newsletter was 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/columns/eastman/eastman.asp


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:

- Scandinavia Vital Records Index CD-ROM
- Gloucester Parish Records on CD-ROM
- Gammel's "The Laws of Texas 1822-1897" Online
- Finding Your Irish Ancestors
- Discovering Your Jewish Ancestors
- Looking for Relatives of the Hunley Crewmembers
- Gensolver
- Get Rid of Obnoxious X10 Pop-Up Ads
- Home Pages Highlighted


- Scandinavia Vital Records Index CD-ROM

This week the Family History Library (operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) began selling its long-awaited Scandinavia Vital Records Index CD-ROM set. The new index is similar to the already-released indexes to vital records from North America (including, in a separate set, Mexico), the British Isles, and Western Europe.

Quoting from the product description that the Family History Library posted to its Web site:

This set contains 7 CDs and a viewer. The Scandinavia Vital Records Index contains information from birth, christening, and marriage records from selected jurisdictions only and is not a complete collection of events from the Scandinavian countries. Coverage for any particular jurisdiction may not be complete. Your ancestor may not be found even though the locality where he or she came from may be represented.

The Scandinavian church records in this collection contain approximately 3.6 million birth or christening records and 1 million marriage records. The source information is included to allow you to view the original record on microfilm. Also included are the names of the principal individual, parents, and (for christenings) often the grandparents.

Like the other Index CD-ROM sets from the Family History Library, the Scandinavia Vital Records Index requires:

  • Windows 95/98/NT 4.0 or later
  • Pentium processor or higher
  • 8 megabytes of RAM memory as a minimum with 16 megabytes recommended on Windows 95/98. Windows NT users will require more.
  • 25 megabytes of hard-disk space
  • VGA monitor with 256-color capable video card
  • CD-ROM drive (4-speed or faster recommended)

The Scandinavia Vital Records Index CD-ROM set with 7 CD-ROM disks sells for only $16.50 (U.S. funds), and that even includes shipping. For more information, or to order the disks online via a secure Web server, go to: http://www.ldscatalog.com/cgi-bin/ncommerce3/ProductDisplay?prrfnbr=3573785&prmenbr=1402&CGRY_NUM=1440461&RowStart=436660&LocCode=FH


- Gloucester Parish Records on CD-ROM

S&N Genealogy Supplies has been releasing many CD-ROM disks containing genealogy information from the United Kingdom. This week I had a chance to use one of the Gloucester Parish Records disks, a series of over 20 CDs that is still being expanded. Each CD-ROM disk covers a different area. I used Volume I, which covers:

  • King’s Stanley 1573-1812
  • Owlpen 1687-1895
  • Quedgeley 1559-1836
  • Rendcombe 1566-1812
  • Swindon 1638-1837
  • Forthampton 1687-1812
  • Nimpsfield 1679-1812
  • Slimbridge 1635-1812

While I used Volume 1, there are many, many more volumes, each covering different parishes. A complete list of volumes and the parishes covered is available on S&N Genealogy Supplies’ Web site. Each volume will operate in the same manner as Volume 1.

These records were originally compiled by W.P.W. Phillimore and published in a book in 1896. The CD-ROM contains images of the original book of 1896, along with one major enhancement: the ability to search for words.

Most of the entries are short: the names of the bride and the groom and the date of their marriage. A typical example would be the first one listed in Rendcombe: "Thomas Marshall & Elinor Baynton, 7 June 1566." If either party were from another parish, the name of that parish would be listed as well. A few entries listed the occupation of the groom.

The original books were not indexed. The records were grouped by location and then listed more or less in chronological order. Looking for a particular name could be a tedious process. With the CD-ROM version, finding a name is simple: press Control-F and enter the name (or other word) of interest. The software will then search for the first occurrence of that name. Pressing Control-G will search for the next occurrence. You can press Control-G again and again until you find the record of interest. This one tool alone can save many frustrating hours.

The CD-ROM also contains a number of other enhancements, such as the ability to zoom in and out on the displayed book’s pages. This can be quite helpful as an aid to reading some of the images. I also found that I could print entire pages from the book. The result on my inkjet printer looked a lot better than the typical photocopy made from an original book.

The Gloucester records CD-ROM disks were created with Adobe Acrobat software. The Adobe reader program for Windows is included on the CD-ROM disk. Reader programs for Macintosh, Linux and other operating systems may be downloaded from Adobe’s Web site at no charge.

The Gloucester Parish Records on CD-ROM disks are an excellent source of genealogy data, available at a price much cheaper than that of printed books. They are easier to store and easier to use as well. The Gloucester Parish Records CD-ROM disks sell for £19.95 each, about $33.00 U.S. funds.

To see a list of all the Gloucester records available on CD-ROM from S&N Genealogy Supplies or to order any of them from a secure Web site, look at: https://secure.virtuality.net/vimerchant/site.cgi?db=electrocomp&action=search&search=gloucester. To view the entire S&N Genealogy Supplies catalog, go to: http://www.genealogy.demon.co.uk


- Gammel's "The Laws of Texas 1822-1897" Online

The University of North Texas Library has a fascinating project underway that will benefit historians as well as genealogists. The university’s Web servers now contain "The Laws of Texas 1822-1897" by H.P.N. Gammel. This resource is now available to researchers throughout the world at no charge.

Quoting from the website:

H.P.N. Gammel's The Laws of Texas, 1822-1897 has long been one of the most important primary resources for the study of Texas' complex history during the Nineteenth Century. His monumental compilation charts Texas from the time of colonization through to statehood and reveals Texas' legal history during crucial times in its development. The Laws consist of documents not only covering each congressional and legislative session but [also] comprise other documents of significance, including the constitutions, select journals from the constitutional conventions, and early colonization laws. Texas state librarian, C.W. Raines, introduced the 1898 set as "the essential connecting links of our legal and political history . . . Not a heterogeneous mass, but a related whole, this compilation is the ethical expression of the period covered, or more plainly speaking, the prevailing idea of right and wrong as applied to social compact."

Although Gammel's editions of The Laws of Texas were published over one hundred years ago, they are still one of the main sources for researchers of early Texas law. Renowned Texas bibliographer John H. Jenkins calls the set "the most valuable compilation of early laws of Texas, and still the most useful" (Basic Texas Books 69). Despite The Laws' continued use, they have never been reprinted. Thus, although several libraries in Texas do own a copy of the set, the set in its entirety has become quite rare and is virtually impossible to obtain, even in the rare book market. Furthermore, the existing sets are now often found in poor condition. They were printed on unstable paper, which is now brittle. When the original bindings are still found on the volumes, they often have boards separating, leather rotting, and pages loose and torn. And, because of the brittle paper, the volumes cannot be easily rebound. Due to these factors, access to the physical volumes is sometimes difficult; therefore, historians, legal professionals, students, and other researchers in the state and elsewhere will benefit from the electronic access offered in the proposed project.

You won’t find much information about individuals in this online database, but you will learn a lot about the conditions under which your Texas ancestors lived. Gammel's "The Laws of Texas 1822-1897" is available online at: http://texinfo.library.unt.edu/lawsoftexas/

My thanks to Trey Holt for letting me know about this resource.


- Finding Your Irish Ancestors

Brian Mitchell wrote the "Pocket Guide to Irish Genealogy" some years ago. This slim book is one of the best books on genealogical research in Ireland ever written. Now Mr. Mitchell has released "Finding Your Irish Ancestors – Unique Aspects of Irish Genealogy," published by Clearfield Company, Inc. I had a chance to read the new book this week.

"Finding Your Irish Ancestors" is intended as a companion volume to the earlier "Pocket Guide." The newer book expounds on topics that are not found in the earlier book and expands on others that are. For example, "Finding Your Irish Ancestors" includes two chapters on the importance of surnames and the importance of place names in family history. The place name chapter explains the etymological origins of a number of Irish townlands and the importance in Irish research of the all-important finding aid, the General Alphabetical Index to the Townlands and Towns, Parishes and Baronies of Ireland.

The chapters in the new book include:

  • Tracing Your Irish Ancestors: An Overview
  • The Importance of Surnames in Family History
  • The Importance of Place in Family History
  • Emigration and Irish Passenger Lists
  • Using Record Sources in the US and Canada to Identify Your Irish Ancestor
  • How to Make the Best Use of Church Registers
  • Genealogy Centres in Ireland: How to Make the Best Use of Them
  • Local History and the Family Historian

The 84-page book ends with a complete index.

I found "Finding Your Irish Ancestors" to be easy to read while providing an excellent introduction to many topics. It doesn’t go too deeply into any topic; it gives general information about each and then refers the reader to other publications and archives for all the details. The book is illustrated with a number of maps. If you have Irish ancestry, "Finding Your Irish Ancestors" will be an excellent addition to your bookshelf. I suspect that you will use it time and again.

"Finding Your Irish Ancestors – Unique Aspects of Irish Genealogy" sells for $12.50. Any bookstore can order it for you if you specify ISBN 0806351004. You can also order it directly from the publisher’s secure online Web site at: http://www.genealogybookshop.com/genealogybookshop/files/The_World,Ireland_Irish/9408.html


- Discovering Your Jewish Ancestors

"Discovering Your Jewish Ancestors" is a brand-new book by Barbara Krasner-Khait, published by Heritage Quest. The book is a comprehensive guide to discovering family history from "the old country" and chronicling immigration to the U.S. I spent some time reading the book this week.

Barbara Krasner-Khait has excellent credentials for a book of this sort; she is a historian, author of more than sixty genealogy articles published in various magazines and newspapers, a Contributing Editor on Jewish Genealogy for Heritage Quest Magazine, a member of the Board of Directors for the Jewish Records Indexing – Poland project and is on the Steering Committee of the Galicia Special Interest Group. She also is an excellent writer who can present detailed information in a manner that is easy to read.

"Discovering Your Jewish Ancestors" guides the reader through the myriad of publications, archives, institutions and Web sites that hold the keys to locating information about Jewish ancestors. It even gives hints about finding records for towns that have long since been destroyed. The book also shows the reader where to find historic data unique to the Jewish genealogy experience, including records about surname changes, migration patterns, family members who perished in the holocaust, and much more.

The chapters of "Discovering Your Jewish Ancestors" include:

  1. One Family
  2. A Crash Course in Jewish History
  3. What’s in a Name? Jewish Surnames and Naming Patterns
  4. Locating Your Ancestral Town
  5. Passenger and Naturalization Records: Crossing to the "Other Side"
  6. European Records
  7. Israeli Records
  8. Rabbinic Research
  9. Sephardic Research
  10. Jews in Sons of the American Revolution? Colonial Jewish Families
  11. Holocaust Research
  12. Cemetery Research
  13. Surf’s Up! Researching Your Jewish Ancestry on the Internet
  14. Shtetl-based Research Groups
  15. Jewish Genealogical Societies and Special Interest Groups
  16. Jewish Genetic Disease
  17. Developing Your Medical Pedigree
  18. Case Study: Stanley Diamond and Beta-Thalassemia
  19. Archives and Repositories Preserve Your History
  20. Case Study: The Dvorkin Family

The book ends with an 8-page bibliography and an extensive index.

"Discovering Your Jewish Ancestors" is a "must have" book for any beginners in Jewish genealogy. It costs $24.95 plus shipping. The ISBN number is 0944931855. For more details, or to order the book online safely on a secure Web site, go to: http://www.heritagequest.com/cgi-bin/nspage26.cpg?catalog=store2&file=bk.htm&@where.Z_ID@eq=A0376


- Looking for Relatives of the Hunley Crewmembers

Nearly 140 years after they went to the bottom of the Atlantic, crewmembers of the first submarine to sink an enemy warship are awaiting a proper burial. The Hunley Commission is now looking for crewmembers’ relatives to honor and mourn these Confederate naval veterans at military internment services.

The story of the Hunley is as fascinating as its crew is baffling. During the U.S. Civil War, the Union Navy’s largest ship, the Housatonic, helped blockade southern ports. On February 17, 1864 the Housatonic was on patrol just outside Charleston Harbor, approximately four miles off Breach Inlet on the moonlit sea. Silently, a primitive, hand-powered submarine called the H.L. Hunley approached the warship from a direction that lookouts could not see: from underneath.

The crew of the Hunley was successful in approaching the warship. Then they created history by plunging the Hunley’s long metal spar deep into the stern area of the Housatonic and planting a 135-pound torpedo. The men inside the Hunley lunged forward from the impact, then quickly backed their sub out as the 150-foot attached detonation rope played out. Within seconds the world rocked, and every man - above and below - became enveloped in a concussion of destruction. The explosion caused the USS Housatonic to burn for three minutes before sending the sloop-of-war collapsing to the bottom, killing five sailors. Unfortunately, the hand-cranked Hunley also went down. The 39 1/2-foot iron submarine settled to the bottom of Charleston Harbor, taking her crew to a watery grave.

The wreck of the Hunley lay at the bottom of the Atlantic, defying all efforts to find her. P.T. Barnum even offered $100,000 to the person who could locate the Hunley. The sub was finally discovered six years ago, about four miles off Sullivans Island. Last year, the Hunley was towed back into Charleston Harbor amid great fanfare.

Eight skulls have been removed, including one believed to be that of Lt. George E. Dixon, the Hunley's commander. Researchers also found the $20 gold piece, supposedly given to Dixon by his fiancée, which deflected a bullet at the Battle of Shiloh and probably saved his life. They recovered bits of fabric, uniform buttons, an intact half boot, and other objects. But one thing still eludes researchers: proof of the crew's identity. A crew list for the submarine's fatal cruise contains nine names. Three of the men were listed only by their last names.

Friends of the Hunley, the group that has overseen the sub's recovery and preservation, wants to bury the nine in Charleston's Magnolia Cemetery, alongside the victims of two earlier Hunley accidents. When the ceremony takes place in November 2002, submariners and other mourners are expected from all over the world. The Friends of the Hunley want to find out who these men were and to make sure their families are there to honor them.

The Hunley had a reputation as a suicide machine even before its encounter with the Housatonic. Thirteen men, including sub designer and financier Horace L. Hunley, had died in two tests of the sub, so it is logical that most of the men volunteering to climb into the 4-foot-wide cylinder would be bachelors. As far as historians know, James A. Wicks was the only man on the Hunley who left a wife and children.

Genealogist Linda Abrams is working diligently to identify the men of the Hunley. Normally, Abrams deals with people who left behind detailed records and, conceivably, still have living relatives who remember them. With the Hunley, she is dealing with men who lived barely long enough to be counted in one census and who died, for the most part, childless bachelors.

"It's harder than I thought it was going to be," says Abrams. "When you're doing research, you have to ... write down in front of you the known facts and then let your mind open up to where to go with those known facts. And the last known fact with these men is that date, that fateful date in February of 1864."

The Hunley group wants to use DNA to match living relatives with the crewmembers' remains, and even use the skulls to do facial reconstructions of the men. But in order to truly determine next of kin, Abrams has to find someone in each man's maternal line. If the crewman had no brothers or sisters, then Abrams would have to go back to the man's grandmother, great-grandmother or farther to find a line that can be traced to the present. Unfortunately, historians are not even clear where some of the crewmembers came from.

Several people have already come forward to offer DNA samples in hopes of being declared a Hunley family member. But to date, Abrams has been unable to confirm a single living Hunley relative.

Abrams began her search with Dixon, the Hunley's commander, who was reputed to have come from Kentucky. The 1850 Census for Kentucky lists 91 Dixon families. Abrams found several Georges, but all of them survived the Civil War.

Dixon reputedly served on riverboats before the war. So Abrams has searched all the counties that border both Kentucky and the Ohio River. "That's how painstaking this is," says Abrams, who stalks the stacks at her local National Archives branch with a magnifying loupe dangling from her neck. "I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about Dixon."

It's possible that Dixon was on the river and missed the census altogether. "I'm not at all thinking that this is going to be a dead end -- not at all," she says. "It can't be a dead end. I mean, everybody has family."

Today, the Hunley sits in a 55,000-gallon tank at the old Navy yard in Charleston. The water is kept at 47 degrees to avoid any further degradation of the remains still inside. If genealogy research and DNA tests meet with success, these remains will be put to rest in the presence of family members.

For more information about the Hunley, look at: http://www.hunley.org


- Gensolver

Julian van der Veer has established an interesting new commercial service called Gensolver as part of his GenFindIt Web site. The site promotes genealogy research for a fee. However, one thing that makes Gensolver different is that it charges only for successful searches.

Here is a press release from Genfindit that describes the services offered:

Gensolver is an interesting new incentive based concept for solving brickwall genealogy problems. Julian van der Veer, who began the Genfindit Online Vital Records Ordering Service three years ago, now invites all genealogists to post free brickwall problem ads at its online website at http://www.Genfindit.com/emp

Registered experts offer to solve brickwall problems in return for a displayed reward. If there is no success, no reward is payable. Ads can be instantly updated, deleted or new postings added anytime, making it very easy for researchers to change their ads as new information is acquired.

Many genealogists will be challenged by these ads, where you can earn up to US $250 for solving an advertiser's problem. Sounds like a potentially profitable retirement hobby for some researchers and will also attract professional genealogists looking to supplement their income.

Brickwall problems can be difficult to solve unless a researcher has access to local archives in their ancestor's research region. Now with Gensolver, local experts have the incentive to solve your brickwall problems.

Genfindit is based in Sydney, Australia, but invites brickwall problems from around the world. Full details are at http://www.Genfindit.com/emp/


- Get Rid of Obnoxious X10 Pop-Up Ads

NOTE: The following article is not genealogy-related. However, it describes a solution that I found useful, and I would like to share it with others.

If you use the World Wide Web very much these days, you have probably seen those annoying pop-up ads from X10. The company seems to be spending millions of dollars advertising their spycams. They do this by backdoor ads, which pop up under your browser window. X10 claims the "pop-under" ads are less intrusive than traditional pop-up ads because they don't obscure the page you're reading and only appear when you close or minimize your browser window.

Balderdash. The ads are obnoxious. One might wonder, who is gullible enough to buy products from stupid advertising like this? Apparently lots of people are that gullible as the company reports brisk online sales of their spycams.

There is an interesting twist to this, however. The good news is that X10’s Web site contains a link, which lets you banish the ads from your screen for 30 days. Unfortunately, the ban is not permanent. If you examine the URL of the link used to banish the ads, it looks like this: http://www.x10.com/home/optout.cgi?DAY=30&PAGE=http://www.x10.com/x10ads1.htm

The company claims that all you have to do is visit this URL once, and the ads will disappear from your computer for 30 days (Note that you must have cookies enabled.). Notice the "DAY=30" in the above URL. Can I change to a number bigger than 30? I don’t know. But I did experiment a bit last week. I plugged the following into my Web browser: http://www.x10.com/home/optout.cgi?DAY=365&PAGE=http://www.x10.com/x10ads1.htm

It should be interesting to see if that deletes the ads from my computer for 365 days. All I can report so far is that I haven’t seen an obnoxious X10 ad for the ten days since I tried that. You might want to try the same.


- Home Pages Highlighted

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

Kin2Me – a commercial genealogy research service with emphasis on Texas, Pennsylvania and Ireland. The site also provides software and database support for users of most major genealogical software packages: http://www.kin2me.com

Estrada web pages with information on the origin of the surname and views of the place of origin: http://estrada-familia.org

Connie Spindel’s Family History Page with lots of transcribed records and documents, census, birth, marriage, death, obituaries, will and probate records, cemetery listings, newspaper articles publications, land purchase, maps, military, church records, school census and much more: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~familyhistorypages

Drew’s Scottish Genealogy and Ancestor Search offers free census information and downloads for Scotland with the Counties of Fife & Angus in particular. The site also has links to other Scottish databases: http://members.aol.com/drewhss/drew.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. 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.


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:

  1. You do so strictly for non-commercial purposes
  2. Your re-distribution is limited to one or two articles per newsletter; do not re-distribute the newsletter in its entirety
  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 2001 by Richard W. Eastman. It is re-published here with the permission of the author.

Thank you for your cooperation.


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Method #1: to subscribe, to cancel an existing subscription or to read back issues, go to: http://www.rootsforum.com/newsletter

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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