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. 6 No. 50 – December 10, 2001
This newsletter was sponsored by Ancestry.com,
To learn about Ancestry.com’s
Past issues of this Newsletter
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:
- Ancestry Family Tree
- Ancestry Family Tree
As predicted in last week’s newsletter, Ancestry.com has just launched a new service. It is called Ancestry Family Tree. I have used Ancestry Family Tree a bit and had some successes with it that I will describe later. First, here is the press release from Ancestry.com:
Ancestry.com has just announced the launch of a new service for family historians that combines the personalization and ease of family tree software with the depth, speed, and power of the Internet. Ancestry Family Tree (AFT) is an innovative combination of tools that opens a whole new world of discovery and possibilities!
WITH ANCESTRY FAMILY TREE YOU CAN:
- My Experiences With Ancestry Family Tree
I always like to experiment with new services and new software, especially if genealogy is involved. As soon as I heard about Ancestry Family Tree, I decided to check it out. I was especially interested in the "searching more than 1.2 billion records at Ancestry.com." I also wanted to "view search results directly from the software."
Ancestry Family Tree is a program that you download one time from the Ancestry.com Web site and then install onto your Windows PC. The software will operate on Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows ME, Windows NT, Windows 98 or Windows 95. There is no Macintosh or Linux versions available. The software also requires Internet Explorer 4.01 Service Pack 1 or higher as well as 10 megabytes of available disk space.
I am already a subscriber of Ancestry.com, so there was no additional signup process for me to go through. I went tohttp://aft.ancestry.com/, logged in, and downloaded the 4.5-megabyte software installation file onto a Windows 2000 system. The installation was simple; all I did was answer a few questions that appeared on the screen.
I launched Ancestry Family Tree and was asked if I wanted to use an existing family database that was already stored on Ancestry.com or if I preferred to create a new one on my local hard drive. I decided to start with a new database. The program also asked if I wanted to use LDS data or not and also prompt me for my preferences, such as whether or not to display surnames in all upper case. I entered a bit of information about the first person in the new database, and then a pedigree chart appeared on the screen. Of course, only one person was shown; all the other entries were blank.
I found that I could enter data directly into Ancestry Family Tree. It works in much the same manner as any other genealogy program. The user can enter data, retrieve data, sort, find and also print numerous reports. In short, Ancestry Family Tree is a full-featured genealogy program, similar to most other genealogy programs I have used. The data is stored on the user’s hard drive and then seamlessly connects with databases on Ancestry.com. It can function as the user’s only genealogy program as it performs most all the functions that other lower-cost genealogy software can perform.
Ancestry Family Tree installs an icon on the user’s Windows desktop as well as an entry in the START menu. To launch the program, one simply double-clicks on the icon. There is no need to open a Web browser to visit the Ancestry.com databases; everything is handled directly from the Ancestry Family Tree program. In fact, the basic functions of the program can be used without being online. You can enter data, search the database, and run reports while offline.
I entered a few names into the program. The data entry process appeared to be quite similar to a number of other genealogy programs I have used. In fact, the data entry is quite similar to Personal Ancestral File for Windows. The individuals even have RIN numbers and marriages have MRIN numbers, similar to Personal Ancestral File. Legacy 3.0 and Ancestral Quest also use similar numbering systems. A RIN number is a number assigned to an individual within the database while an MRIN number is assigned to each marriage record. RIN and MRIN numbers simply are methods the software uses to keep track of individuals and marriages and have no meaning outside of the local database.
Data entry fields include surname, given names, nickname, title prefix (such as Doctor, Professor, etc.), title suffix (such as Jr., III, etc.), birth date and place, christening date and place, death date and place, burial date and place, address for living individuals (including telephone number, e-mail address and personal home page), biography notes, birth notes, christening notes, death notes, burial notes, and source citations. I did not use the fields that are specific to the LDS religion. If the user specifies to use LDS data, then there will be additional entry fields for LDS-specific information as well.
The Ancestry Family Tree database also stores photographs, sound clips, and video clips associated with an individual. In fact, it can create slide shows and multimedia scrapbooks from your genealogy database. Ancestry Family Tree also has extensive reports available, including pedigree charts, family group sheets in a number of different formats, ancestry charts, descendant charts, scrapbooks, and full Register Reports that will automatically generate genealogy books based upon the data in your database. If that isn’t enough, you can also generate a custom report that shows any number of fields and is sorted in your choice of several different methods. For instance, you could generate a customer report showing a Christmas card mailing list or perhaps a list of e-mail addresses for all the living individuals in your database.
I have about 3,000 individuals in my primary genealogy database. With this amount of data already in my computer in a different genealogy program, I didn’t want to re-enter every record by hand into Ancestry Family Tree. I created a GEDCOM file with the genealogy program I have been using and then imported that file into Ancestry Family Tree. The import process was simple. Within a couple of minutes every one of the individuals in my database appeared within Ancestry Family Tree’s database stored on my hard drive.
Ancestry Family Tree then began a background process of checking this data on my hard drive with that stored on Ancestry.com’s servers. (My cable modem is on the Internet all the time, so I didn’t have to initiate a connection.) Then, as I watched, something rather interesting began to appear. One by one, the record for each person in the on-screen pedigree chart started to have more data appear in blue characters. To the right of each person’s name two new lines appeared: one listing trees and another listing records. I looked at the record for one of my great-great-grandfathers and then clicked on the line that read, "2 trees." I clicked on that and soon was looking at family trees that included men with similar-sounding names and birth dates within a year or two of great-great-grand-dad. All of this was done for me automatically; my data was compared with the stored data of tens of thousands of other users of Ancestry.com.
The first search for great-great-grand-dad didn’t work out. I have been looking for his parents for nearly two decades. Unfortunately, it seems that nobody else has entered any data about him into Ancestry.com. I then started "walking around" my family tree as displayed on the screen. I started looking at all my "dead ends"; those individuals with no identified parents. It wasn’t long before I found success!
In my database I have Lyford Dow, born 4 September 1763 in Epping, New Hampshire. Lyford was the son of Daniel Dow, whose vital statistics I also have. However, I have never been able to find the name of the woman who was Daniel Dow’s wife and the mother of Lyford Dow. Here, within ten minutes after starting with Ancestry Family Tree, I was looking at a record that listed Daniel Dow’s wife as Mary Grant. The record in Ancestry.com also listed their child as Lyford Dow.
Is this record accurate? Can this be believed? At this time I do not know. I do know that I will be looking for records of the Grant family in and near Epping, New Hampshire, the next time I visit a genealogy library. Also, the name and e-mail address of the person who submitted this data to Ancestry.com is clearly listed on the same page along with the data about Daniel Dow. Had that person entered any source citations for this record, those citations would also have been displayed. In this case, there was no source citation listed. I clicked on the submitter’s name, and my e-mail program was then launched with the addressee’s e-mail address already filled in on a new message. You better believe that I sent him a quick e-mail asking him where he found that information!
Ancestry Family Tree will even automatically copy Mary Grant’s vital information and all of her listed ancestors into my database. I elected to not copy it into my primary database until I have the information verified. However, I think I will create a new database called "Possibilities" and then copy her data into that. My "Possibilities" database will hold information that I wish to verify. Once I am confident the information has been verified through independent means, I will copy the record from "Possibilities" into my primary database.
I kept moving around the database and was pleased to find possible parents for two more of my "dead ends." In my case, both were almost an exact repetition of the first: a man listed in my database with an unknown wife appears on Ancestry.com with the name of a wife displayed. In all three cases, there was no source cited, but the names and e-mail addresses of the submitters were displayed. I sent e-mails to all three asking them where they obtained that information.
I was delighted to find that the data not only includes ancestors within the U.S, but almost all of my French-Canadian ancestors were listed there as well. Ancestry Family Tree also supports European alphabets so the accents acute, grave, circumflex, and other French characters in their names and the associated locations were properly displayed. I assume the same would be true for German, Spanish and Italian names, and probably for other European languages as well.
The databases contributed to Ancestry.com also have records for many people in the British Isles and throughout Europe as well as in Australia, New Zealand, and many other countries.
Ancestry Family Tree also has built-in capabilities to contribute your data to Ancestry.com. You click on INTERNET and then on CREATE WEB PAGE. You are then presented with a number of options. You may elect to have your own e-mail address displayed or not. Likewise, your name and mailing address may be displayed or not, at your option. I was pleased to note that the software has the option of hiding details for living individuals. In fact, you can elect to hide the names entirely or else show names but with no other identifying information. All of this is under the control of you, the user. You can also update or delete your information on Ancestry.com at any time. Of course, you will also want to know that Ancestry.com has pledged to never sell your data on CD-ROM disks.
All in all, I am quite pleased with Ancestry Family Tree. I would have said this even if Ancestry.com was not the sponsor of this newsletter. Ancestry Family Tree is an easy genealogy program to use, and it quickly and easily suggested three new ancestors whom I had not discovered previously. Like all genealogy data, the names must be independently verified before I accept the information as factual and before I will enter the data into my primary database. However, I am pleased to have these three suggestions that I did not have previously.
To be sure, the same information was already on Ancestry.com prior to my using this new program. I did not really need to use Ancestry Family Tree to find this information. I could have manually searched for those records by using a different genealogy program, looking at a "dead end" ancestor, then switching to a Web browser, going to Ancestry.com, and re-entering all the data there, one person at a time. To search for several hundred unidentified ancestors and to find three new possibilities would have required hundreds and hundreds of mouse clicks and keystrokes. Ancestry Family Tree did the same thing but at a fraction of the manual work and in a fraction of the time. The end result is that Ancestry Family Tree easily accomplished something that I probably would never have done manually. Without Ancestry Family Tree, I would need to repeat this major effort every few months to see if any new data had been submitted. Now all I have to do is to periodically load Ancestry Family Tree and then sit back and watch as it does the comparisons for me.
Ancestry Family Tree is an evolutionary new product that advances today’s technology another step forward. As our society moves more and more towards being an online, "networked society," the capability to automatically compare your data against huge compiled databases seems to be a natural application for home computers. Unlike some other services, your Ancestry Family Tree data is not stored online unless you wish to place it there. Your data remains on your local hard drive under your control. You can add data, correct data, and otherwise groom your information as many times as you want. Should you wish to share your information with others, you may do so at any time, but everything still remains under your control. Even after you place your data online, you may go back later to make corrections, add new data or to even remove your data entirely from the online database. These methods of user control should be emulated by the other online genealogy databases!
The Ancestry Family Tree software is free to members of Ancestry.com and available to others for $19.95. That price includes a 14-day trial that allows the user to view and import Ancestry World Tree search results directly into Ancestry Family Tree.
Ancestry Family Tree has more power than some of the commercial genealogy programs. It is a full-featured genealogy program that stores data on your local hard drive and optionally on the World Wide Web. You can use it offline as much as you like. In fact, there is no requirement to ever log onto Ancestry.com and search the databases there. However, I am sure you will want to use this most powerful database search feature.
For more information about AncestryFamily Tree, go to: http://aft.ancestry.com/
- GeneWeaver Is About To Ship
Some babies require more than nine months before their birth. GeneWeaver is one such "child." I first mentioned GeneWeaver in the Sept. 9, 2000 edition of this newsletter and then wrote about it again in the May 21, 2001 edition. In both of those articles, I briefly described a new program that was under development. Now the program has "gone gold," and the master disk is at the manufacturing facility for duplication. The program’s producer, Genes & Things, Inc., plans to ship the product before Christmas.
GeneWeaver is not a genealogy program. Instead, it is a genealogy-based family health history program. GeneWeaver is used to create a family health history and medical genogram. As a result, it can often identify potential risks in advance of the appearance of symptoms. In some cases, GeneWeaver can even save lives.
Here is the announcement from Genes & Things, Inc.:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Plymouth, MI, December 6, 2001—Genes & Things, Inc., a Michigan corporation, is proud to announce the release of its new product GeneWeaver™, a genealogy-based family health history computer software program. GeneWeaver™ was created by professional genealogists for use by genealogists, health care professionals, and anyone who is concerned about family health issues or who is unsure of how to go about creating a family health history and medical genogram.
The American Medical Association recommends every family maintain a family health history. A family can learn much about its future by examining its past since genetic factors are known to underlie all aspects of health and disease. GeneWeaver™ can assist in providing health care workers with the background information they need to give individuals and families appropriate preventive health care, diagnosis, and medical treatment.
GeneWeaver™, a Windows based program, has the ability to generate the following printable charts/tables:
I hope to get my hands on a copy of GeneWeaver soon and write a review of its operation. I must say I am especially looking forward to documenting a couple of inherited conditions within my family that some of my relatives recently discovered. A tool such as GeneWeaver should be a big help in identifying the relatives likely to inherit these medical problems.
- Update: Canada Census Campaign
Gordon A. Watts runs a mailing list for those concerned about the Canadian government’s plan to permanently lock up or perhaps even destroy old census records. He advises that the government now plans to hold a series of "Town Hall Meetings" where concerned citizens may offer their opinions and observations. The following was written by Gordon A. Watts:
en français http://globalgenealogy.com/Census/Index_f.htm
Permission to forward without notice is granted.
HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA
FREDERICTON, NEW BRUNSWICK
ST. JOHN'S NEWFOUNDLAND
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA
The Environics Research webpages relating to these meetings are now online athttp://erg.environics.net/. For further information look at http://globalgenealogy.com/Census and en français at: http://globalgenealogy.com/Census/Index_f.htm
- Norfolk Records Added To Boyd's Marriage Index
The following is a press release from Origins.net:
http://www.englishorigins.com ). Over 240,000 names are listed in these indexes bringing the total number of names in Boyd's to just under 1.5 million. As with Suffolk, Cambridge and Essex, the records cover the years 1538-1837. For full details of the Boyd's Marriage Index, please go to: http://www.englishorigins.com/bmi-details.html
For more information about Norfolk Parishes, please go to:http://www.rootsweb.com/~nfhs/ib/cp/cont-intro.htm
About Boyd's Marriage Index
Boyd's Marriage Index is an index to English marriages taken from copies of parish marriage registers, Bishop's Transcripts and marriage licences, for the period 1538 to 1837 (when statutory registration began). It was principally the work of Percival Boyd, MA, FSA, FSG (1866-1955) and his staff. It was made at his expense between 1925 and 1955, and has since been expanded.
The index is particularly important to anyone researching East Anglian ancestry for not only is the coverage comprehensive (three quarters of all the ancient East Anglian parishes are included), but little of this data is available anywhere else (for example, the International Genealogical Index has very limited coverage of this area) Most English counties are covered, none completely (some, e.g. Cambridge, are almost complete), and the periods indexed vary according to the copies of records which were readily available. Registers from over 4,300 parishes have been indexed, a total of between six and seven million names.
All index entries contain the surname and forename of the bride and groom, the year, county and parish where the marriage took place, and source of the record: BT for Bishops' Transcripts, ML for marriage licences, BANNS for banns.
The Norfolk records are the fourth set of digitised original printed indexes to be added to English Origins, further announcements will be made as each county is completed.
About the Society of Genealogists
The Society of Genealogists offers a unique combination of research material, guidance and support for those interested in family history. It is a charity whose objects are to promote, encourage and foster the study, science and knowledge of genealogy. Their library is the foremost in the British Isles with a large collection of family histories, civil registration and census material, and the widest collection of Parish Register copies in the country (over 9,000).
The director of the Society of Genealogists said of English Origins: "As an educational charity, the Society is eager to make its unique collection available to family historians world-wide - not just to those who find it convenient to come to our Library in London when we are open."
Origins.net was founded in 1997 to work with the custodians of valuable genealogical information to assist them in using the Internet to provide broader access to family history researchers. Since this time it has been home to Scots Origins, providing exclusive on line access to the General Register Office for Scotland's birth, marriage and death records, covering the period 1553 to 1925
Origins.net is quoted in The Good Web Guide as: "an absolutely central resource for all genealogists..." Scots Origins has been praised by The Herald as: "a model consumer website with clear instructions and an excellent demo."
Ian Galbraith, CEO and founder of the company, stated: "Origins.net and the Internet allows millions of family historians worldwide to access an extraordinary amount of genealogical material, allowing for more productive research. Using the Internet for family history research eliminates distance barriers, and creates strong 'virtual communities', linked together by family, heritage and history. We are delighted to work with the Society of Genealogists to allow Web access to their rich holdings."
More information may be found at:http://www.englishorigins.com
- U.S. National Archives Mail Delivery Suspended
Have you requested a copy of Passenger Arrival records or Pension Applications or Military Service Records from the U.S. National Archives? If so, you can expect an extended delay before receiving copies of the records in the mail. The problem is the recent anthrax scare.
The following is an announcement from the National Archives and records Administration’s Web site at:http://www.nara.gov/research/mailalert.html:
My thanks toDolly Ziegler for letting me know about the mailroom closure.
- Online Connecticut Databases
Jane Devlin has created a great online resource for anyone researching early Connecticut ancestors. The site has close to 300 data files. Most of them are for Connecticut, but there are also a few for Massachusetts and for Michigan. New additions are being made weekly.
Jane has data available from the Barbour Collection and from a number of other sources. She and several others transcribed the data. Here is a partial list of the data files available when I looked at the site:
The above is only a partial list. There is much more available at no charge at:http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~jdevlin/
- Revolutionary War Pension & Bounty Land Warrants on CD-ROM
This week I had a chance to use a new CD-ROM disk from Heritage Quest: the Revolutionary War Pension & Bounty Land Warrants. Actually, this is a series of 898 CD-ROM disks. I had a chance to use just one of the disks, #293. The CD-ROM disks contain images of original records and are in alphabetical order by applicant’s name. Disk #293 that I used conveniently has the records for all the applicants with the same surname as my own.
The Revolutionary War Pension & Bounty Land Warrants contain images of original records. The National Records and Archives Administration originally microfilmed these records, and genealogists have used those microfilms for years. Heritage Quest has now scanned images of the same microfilms and made them available on CD-ROM disks. Each CD-ROM disk holds the contents of one reel of microfilm. The order number of the CD-ROM disk that I looked at, M805-293, is the same as the reel number of the microfilm.
The indexed files originated from a variety of sources, including:
The extracted information usually found in these applications includes:
The M805 series reproduces papers that the National Archives considered genealogically important from each file. Original papers may provide:
The Revolutionary War Pension & Bounty Land Warrants CD-ROM disks use Heritage Quest Resource Viewer software to display the data. The required Windows software is included on each CD-ROM disk. Installation only took a minute or so and was simple to follow.
Upon inserting the CD-ROM disk, an image of the first page appears. Below this page is a listing of all the images on the disk. Since the list is in alphabetical order, I found it easy to scroll down to the one I wanted. This list shows the surname and given name of the applicant. A wife’s name is often included. The list also displays the state, the image number and the page number. To display a particular record, all you have to do is click on the entry in the images list.
I have viewed these same records on microfilm in years past, so I was able to quickly locate records of interest. I simply scrolled to the name I was interested in and clicked on it; an image then appeared on my screen, showing the pension application. The image on CD-ROM is identical to the image on microfilm. I first looked at the application of Jacob Eastman and his wife, Abigail. I was able to "page" through the multi-page application by clicking on the forward and back buttons. On every page I was able to zoom in and out on the image as much as I pleased. This capability of "zooming in" is a big help when reading poor handwriting.
I spent some time viewing the CD-ROM "enhanced image." I then dug out a photocopy that I made from microfilm some years ago and compared it to the image on my screen. I also made a printed copy from the CD-ROM disk and compared it to the photocopy made from microfilm. The CD-ROM version seems clearer and easier to view than the copy I made from microfilm. Admittedly, this depends upon the quality of the microfilm copy and of the photocopying machine used. I suspect the CD-ROM images were made from a rarely used "master copy" of the microfilm, not from a well-used and scratched copy that typically is found in your local genealogy archive. The images I printed on my inkjet printer are clearer and easier to read than the photocopies I made at the National Archives’ Regional Library. Obviously the CD-ROM images will not deteriorate from constant use, another advantage of CD-ROM disks over microfilm. The printouts made from CD-ROM are also labeled, "Copyrighted by Heritage Quest" and include the date and time the local copy was produced.
These CD-ROM disks require a modest Windows system to operate. The minimum requirements include: Windows 2000/ME/NT/98/95, a Pentium or compatible CPU, 16 megabytes of RAM memory, 88 megabytes of hard drive space, a 4-speed or faster CD-ROM drive, 16-bit color depth and at least 800x600 screen resolution. Any Windows computer sold in the past few years should meet or exceed those requirements.
The "Revolutionary War Pension & Bounty Land Warrants" on CD-ROM is an excellent example of the use of today’s technology for genealogy research. The CD-ROM contains images of original source records. It stores the data in high-quality scanned images. Unlike the microfilm version, the CD-ROM images do not deteriorate with usage. The CD-ROM disks are both cheaper and easier to store than the microfilms. Best of all, Windows computers are more plentiful than microfilm viewers. And I dare say today’s computers are probably cheaper than microfilm readers.
The Revolutionary War Pension & Bounty Land Warrants CD-ROM disks are selling right now for $14.96 U.S. funds. Members of Heritage Quest’s Research Club receive a discount, with a final price of $11.21. These prices do not include shipping. For more information about the Revolutionary War Pension & Bounty Land Warrants on CD-ROM, or to order the disks directly from Heritage Quest’s safe and secure Web site, go tohttp://www2.heritagequest.com/qsearch/sr.asp?s=M805
- The Wayback Machine
Despite its name, the Wayback Machine is not a time travel machine from a science fiction movie or from a television cartoon. Instead, it is an archive of Internet pages.
Would you like to look at a Web page as it existed several years ago? Perhaps you want to look for information that was available on the Web at one time but has since disappeared? The Wayback Machine may be the tool you need. Now you can surf the Web as it was.
The Internet Archive, working with Alexa Internet, has created the Wayback Machine. This free service makes it possible to surf pages stored in the Internet Archive's web archive.
The Wayback Machine currently contains over 100 terabytes of data and is growing at a rate of 12 terabytes per month. (A terabyte is 1,000 gigabytes or one million megabytes.) The Wayback Machine is the largest known database in the world, containing multiple copies of the entire publicly available web. That is one huge disk farm!
The Wayback Machine was unveiled on October 24th at Berkeley's Bancroft Library. I used it this week to look at some Web pages that I have been maintaining for years, some of which are not connected with genealogy. It was interesting to look at some of my older HTML work. I also looked at some of today’s more popular genealogy Web sites. I must say that Ancestry.com has come a long way from their home page of October 28, 1996!
You can search the 100-terabyte Web archive on The Wayback Machine at:http://www.archive.org/
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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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:firstname.lastname@example.org
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