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EOGN

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. 52 – December 31, 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 RootsWeb.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:

- 2001 in Review
- Predictions for 2002
- One-Place Genealogy
- Update: The First Maine Heavy Artillery CD-ROM
- GENTECH Hotel Rates
- Release of the 1930 U.S. Census
- Archives 1 Mailroom Now Open
- Help Wanted at APG
- APG Directory of Professional Genealogists, 2001-2002 Edition
- "Kansas Remembers" Project
- Bureau of Land Management Computers Knocked Offline by Judge
- Best Friends Find Out They Are Also Brothers
- Update on StarOffice 6.0 Beta
- A Mix-up in Terminology
- Home Pages Highlighted


- 2001 in Review

As I write these words, ought-one is nearly done. This is the perfect time to reflect on what has happened in the past twelve months and then to look into the crystal ball to guess on the next year’s happenings.

The year 2001 has been a grim one for most people in the Internet business. It was a year that many business people wish had never happened. Many of the "dot-coms" turned into "dot-bombs." Indeed, almost all software producers have seen a difficult year, even those not directly dependent upon their Web sites for income. Business is in a recession at this time, and the effects are certainly felt throughout the companies that serve genealogists.

One year ago I wrote about my predictions for 2001. I predicted that the major genealogy news of 2001 would be in five different areas:

  1. Genetics
  2. Free software
  3. Online data
  4. Pocket-sized computers
  5. Wireless access to online data

I also wrote, "None of these are totally new; they all are continuations of technology that is presently in use. We simply will see more and more such products and services in the next twelve months." Let’s examine each of the predictions I made a year ago.

 

First prediction: Genetics

Last year I wrote, "Genetics appears to be the "high-growth industry of the genealogy world." We have already seen examples of families proving their relationships to each other, even where names and primary records are unavailable."

It looks like this prediction was very accurate. In the following 52 newsletters, the letters "DNA" appeared in 19 issues. Genetics has become a major lecture topic at genealogy conventions. In fact, the upcoming GENTECH2002 conference will feature a tract for DNA and other genetics topics for the two-day conference. In 2001, several family associations have undertaken large DNA projects to prove and disprove family relationships. I recently wrote about one such project undertaken by the Graves Family Association.

Perhaps even more interesting from a technology point of view, a new program was released in 2001 to track one’s inherited genetic medical conditions. A full review of GeneWeaver is available at: http://www.ancestry.com/library/view/columns/eastman/5035.asp

 

Second prediction: Free software

Last year I wrote that Personal Ancestral File was the first widely used genealogy program to become available at no charge. Just before New Year’s Day of 2001, Legacy 3.0 became available at no charge. The trend was already underway in non-genealogy software as Netscape, Internet Explorer, Eudora, Opera and other programs moved to becoming free programs. I predicted the same would be true in genealogy.

In fact, I only scored a near hit on that prediction. None of the remaining major for-pay genealogy programs converted to free software in 2001. However, Ancestry.com did release a brand-new program that functions both as an excellent freestanding genealogy program as well as an online search tool. The new Ancestry Family Tree is as powerful as several other genealogy programs and is an excellent free program by itself. Ancestry.com hopes to make money on the program by charging for online access to huge genealogy databases. However, the free program can be used without accessing any for-pay databases, if you wish. Further details are available in my articles at http://www.ancestry.com/library/view/columns/eastman/5000.asp and at http://www.ancestry.com/library/view/columns/eastman/5001.asp.

 

Third prediction: Online data

Last year I wrote, "Collaborative online databases will become more and more popular. I expect that some of them will have genealogy programs bundled in with the databases. In fact, two online databases already include their own genealogy programs. " I also wrote, "I predict the merging of free programs and online programs in the very near future. It seems to me that the next logical progression for free genealogy programs is to store data online in a centralized database. The individual genealogist will have the option of granting access to others as he or she sees fit. "

That prediction scored a bull’s-eye. Ancestry.com’s new Ancestry Family Tree program is exactly what I predicted: collaborative online databases bundled with a free genealogy program. Ancestry’s online databases now contain more than 1.3 billion records about our ancestors. The user can access databases contributed by others and also can grant access to his or her own data as he or she sees fit. Again, further details are available in my articles at http://www.ancestry.com/library/view/columns/eastman/5000.asp and at http://www.ancestry.com/library/view/columns/eastman/5001.asp.

 

Fourth prediction: Pocket-sized computers

Last year I predicted an explosion in genealogy applications for shirt pocket-sized computers. I predicted that Palm and Windows CE users would see "more or improved programs in the next year." I also wrote, "I believe that several producers of existing genealogy programs have Palm computers or Windows CE computers in their hands today and are already writing software."

Again, this looks like a "bull’s eye." 2001 saw the release of GedStar Version 4.0, a freestanding genealogy program for Palm computers. In March, Personal Ancestral File 5.0 added an interface to copy a PAF database to a Palm computer. In the same month, Legacy 3.0 announced a new interface to work with The Pocket Genealogist, a program for handheld Windows CE computers that first appeared a few months earlier. Handheld computers moved into the mainstream for genealogy in 2001.

 

Fifth prediction: Wireless access to online data

Last year I wrote, "I recently purchased a Merlin wireless modem for $149.95, less than what I paid for a wired 300-baud modem 17 years ago. The new wireless modem is also 64 times faster than the wired modem I purchased in 1984. I suspect that prices will drop still more in the coming year. Genealogists and many others will be buying these wireless modems in 2001."

This prediction was a major miss. Oh, I’d guess that a few genealogists did purchase wireless modems in this past year, and I’m sure they occasionally use them to find genealogy data. However, the wireless data industry is still in its infancy and hasn’t grown as fast as I expected. In fact, the high-speed wireless service, Ricochet, went bankrupt during 2001, leaving all its subscribers with expensive modems that no longer access anything. My Merlin wireless 19,200-baud modem still works well with Verizon, however.

I still believe we will see a lot of growth in wireless data access, but perhaps not for a few more years.

So the final score? I see it as three bull’s eyes, a fourth that was close and one complete miss. Even that one miss will probably still come true although not in the timeframe that I originally predicted.


- Predictions For 2002

The crystal ball for the coming year appears to be a bit more murky than usual. The present business recession is causing a lot of upheaval in all sorts of businesses, not just amongst Internet dot-coms. No recession lasts forever. This one undoubtedly will end, but nobody seems to know just when the turnaround will come.

I believe the current recession will continue to cause problems among businesses in the genealogy market. I suspect that at least one more major player in the genealogy marketplace will either get out of the genealogy business entirely or else be bought out by a financially stronger company. If so, this is simply a continuation of what we already saw in 2000 and 2001.

Commercial companies are not the only ones to experience mergers and acquisitions. There are strong rumors that one of the major American genealogy societies will soon be acquired by another. I suspect this will happen early in 2002.

Technology will continue to evolve in the next twelve months, although perhaps at a slower pace than what we are used to. Three companies now provide programs that operate in your computer and access online databases stored on the Internet. Those three are Ancestry.com, OneGreatFamily.com and MyTrees.com. These three are quite different from each other, however. Ancestry.com’s new program uses both local databases on the user’s hard drive and online data on Ancestry.com’s huge Web servers. OneGreatFamily.com and MyTrees.com both store all data online with no local storage capability. I expect that in 2002 at least one more major player will release a genealogy program that stores its database online. The data entered into that program will then be shared or not, depending upon the user’s preferences.

In fact, looking a bit deeper into the crystal ball, I expect that in a few more years all genealogy programs will store their data online in huge, collaborative databases. These same programs may have the capability to copy data to local hard drives, but the primary focus will be on collaborative databases. As more and more people "groom" these databases, the quality of the shared data will improve far beyond what we see in today’s user-contributed data.

Genealogists’ use of genetics and DNA information will continue to expand. In 2002, I suspect that at least one of today’s major genealogy programs will add the capability to track inherited genetic disorders and then will generate genograms illustrating that data.

The final prediction for 2002 is simple: hardware prices will continue to drop. A computer store near me presently is selling complete computer systems, minus monitors, with a 1.1-gigahertz (equal to 1,100 megahertz) Intel Celeron processor, 256 megabytes of RAM memory, a 20-gigabyte hard drive, a high-speed CD-ROM drive and modem. The system also has Windows XP already installed. All this for $499. I’m certain that in another 12 months, that price will be significantly lower. In 2002, genealogists and everyone else will benefit from lower prices and more powerful hardware.

2002 should be a very interesting year!


- One-Place Genealogy

This week I had a chance to read a brand-new book called "One-Place Genealogy." The term "one-place genealogy" refers to the efforts of any person or organization that specializes in collecting all available information for one particular place, such as a town or a county. In this book author David Hawgood writes, "In most One-Place Studies researchers put together information about the people in a place from a variety of sources. They then make the information available to genealogists seeking ancestors in that place. In this book I describe the ways access is provided, and the types and variety of study."

In "One-Place Genealogy," Hawgood gives brief details of several hundred one-place studies, mainly from England, along with a few from the Isle of Man, Scotland, and Wales. He describes his own one-place study of Warminster in Wiltshire and then goes on to list many more such studies. "One-Place Genealogy" lists all identified studies alphabetically by county. Typical entries include the name of a place, the name and e-mail address of the person(s) conducting the one-place study, a brief description of the types of information available, along with any Web pages created for the one-place study. A typical effort can be seen at Jane McHugh’s Northeast Derbyshire Web page at: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~spire/. Hawgood’s book lists this site along with hundreds of others.

"One-Place Genealogy" also has an excellent introduction to the topic of one-place studies. Hawgood describes e-mail inquiries, old-fashioned mail inquiries, various books and articles available, plus publicly-available collections at museums and libraries. He also describes the various types of one-place studies; some are people-oriented, while others focus on historical events that transpired at a particular place.

"One-Place Genealogy" by David Hawgood will be of interest to anyone researching ancestors in England. This slim, 64-page booklet will also be of interest to anyone else conducting a one-place study in other parts of the world so that they can see how the British conduct their studies and publish the results.

"One-Place Genealogy" by David Hawgood sells for £3.80, which is roughly $5.50 in U.S. funds. The book may be purchased from a number of sources, including ABM Publishing Ltd at http://www.family-tree.co.uk, the Society of Genealogists at http://www.sog.org.uk/ and the Federation of Family History Societies at http://www.ffhs.co.uk. This is a brand-new book that is not yet listed on these Web sites. I suspect these sites will be adding "One-Place Genealogy" to their online catalogs shortly.

David Hawgood, author of "One-Place Genealogy," may be reached at: david@hawgood.com


- Update: The First Maine Heavy Artillery CD-ROM

A few weeks ago I wrote about CW Publishing’s new CD-ROM: "The History of the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery." In that article, I wrote, "I haven't seen the new disk yet but understand that it is an electronic reprint of the book of the same name written by Horace H. Shaw and Charles J. House in 1903."

Clarence Woodcock, owner of CW Publications, saw that article and kindly lent me a copy of the CD-ROM disk so that I could see for myself. I can now report that, indeed, this is an electronic reprint of Horace H. Shaw and Charles J. House’s book printed in 1903. In addition, there is a new Introduction by Joseph G. Bilby.

The "First Maine Heavy Artillery" CD-ROM is created entirely in HTML format. The CD-ROM producers say it will work on modern Windows web browser. I used it on a Windows XP system with Internet Explorer and it worked well. I also tried it on a Linux system running both Konquerer (a Linux Web browser) and Netscape. It worked perfectly on Linux as well. I suspect that the same CD-ROM will also work on a Macintosh system although I did not have an opportunity to try that.

The "First Maine Heavy Artillery" was printed as a very thick book of 557 pages and contains a wealth of information. It starts with a brief history of the United States with numerous references to slavery. It then goes on to talk about the early days of the U.S. Civil War and the raising of a heavy artillery regiment in Maine. Every battle is described in detail, as are many stories about training, travel, and the every-day life of a Civil War soldier. The book also includes many photographs and personal recollections written in later years by members of this regiment.

The CD-ROM version of the book includes:

  • A complete Regimental Roster, by Company, including many photographs
  • A comprehensive listing of Casualties, by battle
  • A detailed description of the Regiment's movements and battles
  • Commentary by Horace Shaw, Zemro A. Smith, and others regarding the Civil War period and the War
  • A description of the formation of the Regiment by Zemro A. Smith
  • Photographs of all Regimental Officers - over 100 photos including 7 large double page pictures
  • A comprehensive Index by subject and individual name
  • And much more

One item that I particularly enjoyed reading was the "Sketch from the Ranks" written by Thomas G. Libby of Lincoln. He wrote:

I enlisted in the spring of 1862, Company A, at the age of fourteen years, weighed 102 pounds, height 5 feet 3 inches, being one inch less than the required height, secured mother’s consent, father, Thomas S. Libby, having enlisted in the spring of 1861, Company C, 7th Maine. After receiving advice and assurance from Dr. Wilson, our family physician, that I would not be accepted, mother gave her consent. After having her sign her name to the Government papers I put my age down as sixteen years. I had never been away from home, had never seen a sailing vessel, steamboat or train of cars. ……. Imagine my surprise and wonderment on reaching Bangor to behold such a large city with its vast fleet of vessels, steamers and cars: everything that my eyes beheld was a continual panorama of a new life.

One wonders what else raced through the mind of this fourteen-year-old lad from a small rural community. I also wonder what thoughts his mother had as her fourteen-year-old child marched off to war, a war in which her husband was already a soldier.

Thomas G. Libby’s paperwork later listed his age at enlistment as eighteen, and he wrote that he stuffed cotton batting from his mother’s quilt into his boots to appear to be taller than his 5 feet 3 inches. He writes more about his experiences in the war, both in battle and in camp life. Libby was wounded on June 17, 1864 and eventually discharged on April 21, 1865. The article includes two pictures: one showing the young recruit in a uniform that is obviously too big for his 102-pound body, and a second photograph taken many years later showing a healthy and heavier war veteran.

The above description of an article in the "First Maine Heavy Artillery" CD-ROM was picked at random as an illustration of what is available. There are many, many more such articles in this lengthy work.

The pages of the original printed book have been scanned and saved as images on the CD-ROM disk. The words have not been converted to text by OCR (optical character recognition) or by manually re-typing the information. As a result, it is not possible to search for individual words within the text. However, the table of contents and the back-of-book index both provide links to the appropriate pages. It is easy to look in the index, then find the Surname list, then click on "Surnames E" to look at the first page of a list of all soldiers whose last names started with the letter "E." Each name is shown with the page number from the original printed book where the name appeared. You can type that page number into the "Go To Page #" field, and the appropriate page is displayed on the screen. All in all, I felt this was a rather easy method of navigating through an electronic book.

The "First Maine Heavy Artillery" CD-ROM is an excellent addition to the library of anyone with ancestors in the regiment, as well as being of interest to Civil War history buffs. The men who experienced it provided much of the information on this CD-ROM. The disk is easy to use as well as being easier to store on the bookshelf than the original printed volume. At $31.95 plus shipping, the CD-ROM is also a lot more cost-effective than purchasing the printed book, assuming that you can even find it in a used book store.

More information about "The First Maine Heavy Artillery" CD-ROM may be obtained at the Publisher's website: http://www.cwpublishing.com


- GENTECH Hotel Rates

The GENTECH2002 conference is only a few weeks away: January 25 and 26. This year’s event is being held in Boston and promises to be equal to or even better than the previous GENTECH conferences. These conferences are the largest annual events focusing upon the use of technology for genealogy research. There are many presentations and seminars at this event. The various sessions are aimed at beginners and intermediate users as well as advanced experts. The intended audience of each session is listed in the conference brochure.

Travel to Boston is easy, both by automobile and by airline. Many are reluctant to use air travel these days, so I would remind those people that rail travel is also popular in the Northeast and works well. Boston's South Station is a short taxi ride from the conference hall and hotels. Amtrak is offering a discount off the lowest available fare to Boston for GENTECH attendees. Travel must take place between January 20 and January 30, 2002. To book space, call Amtrak at 1-800-872-7245 or contact your local travel agent. Make sure you refer to Fare Code X-44S-920 when making your booking. This offer is not valid on Auto Train, Acela Express, or Club or Business Class service or on sleeping accommodations. The reduced fare is valid on Metroliner Service during off-peak weekday travel and all departures on weekends.

As expected, rooms at the conference hotel sold out early. However, two other well-known Boston hotels in the same neighborhood are offering reduced rates to GENTECH attendees. Both have rooms available at this time.

In the heart of Boston’s Back Bay, and directly across the street from the Hynes Convention Center, the Back Bay Hilton invites you to take advantage of this special rate and enjoy all the amenities this first class hotel has to offer including fitness room, business center, and lobby coffee bar. Walking from the Back Bay Hilton to the Hynes Convention Center involves about 30 seconds’ exposure to the outdoor air.

On the south side of the Hynes Convention Center is the four-star Colonnade Hotel offering elegantly appointed rooms in the European style. On the lobby level, Boston’s first and only authentic French brasserie offers fine casual dining featuring food from the Alsace region. Walking from the Colonnade Hotel to the Hynes Convention Center will entail a 2 or 3-minute exposure to the weather elements.

Both hotels will offer rooms for $119.00 per night, but only if you mention the GENTECH Conference. For reservations call direct:

Hilton Back Bay 617-236-1100
Colonnade 617-424-7000

These two hotels do require a brief exposure to the elements when walking to the convention center. However, three other hotels, probably 20 or 30 restaurants, plus a large number of stores are all connected to the convention center via climate-controlled walkways. You can walk among these businesses in shirtsleeve comfort, regardless of the outside winter weather.

For more information about the GENTECH2002 conference, look at: http://www.gentech.org/


- Release of the 1930 U.S. Census

The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration will release the 1930 Federal population census for the first time on April 1, 2002. At that time, the microfilmed copies will be available for research at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, at 13 of the National Archives regional facilities across the nation, and through the National Archives rental program.

The 1930 census is the 15th Federal census mandated by the U.S. Constitution, which states, "The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct...".

The 1930 census consists of 2,667 rolls of population schedules and 1,587 rolls of Soundex indexes for 12 southern states, totaling 4,254 rolls. Even though the statistical summaries collected by enumerators are made public shortly after the census is taken, information on individuals and families is restricted by law for privacy reasons for 72 years. [92 Stat. 915; Public Law 95-416; October 5, 1978].

For a complete listing of National Archives locations and opening times, check the web site at http://www.nara.gov/genealogy/genindex.html#regional/


- Archives 1 Mailroom Now Open

In the December 12 newsletter, I wrote about the closing of the mailroom at the National Archives and Records Administration at 700 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC. The mailroom was closed, along with many other government mailrooms in Washington, due to the anthrax scare. The result was a hold in the delivery of photocopies of records ordered by genealogists and many others.

The National Archives now reports that the mailroom has been thoroughly examined and no trace of anthrax was found. Normal mail delivery has now resumed. National Archives officials have asked for their customers' continuing patience regarding the fulfilling of any orders that may have been quarantined in the USPS Brentwood mail distribution center since late October, as these are only just now beginning to arrive in National Archives mailroom on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Details are available at: http://www.nara.gov/research/mailalert.html


- Help Wanted At APG

The following is an announcement from the Association of Professional Genealogists:

The Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) is seeking two qualified individuals for the positions of APGQ Editor and APGQ Advertising Manager. The APGQ Editor is responsible for production of the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly beginning in the year 2002 and is a paid independent contractor position. The APGQ Advertising Manager, also a contract position, is paid on commission.

The Quarterly is a quality publication, which serves as the main source of communication to APG members, and is an important part of the public image of the association.

To be considered, resumes must be postmarked no later than 15 January 2002. For more information on the responsibilities and required skills, go to http://www.apgen.org/pdffiles/index.html


- APG Directory of Professional Genealogists, 2001-2002 Edition

Here is another announcement from the Association of Professional Genealogists:

The Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) has published the "APG Directory of Professional Genealogists, 2001-2002 Edition" and copies are now available. This newest edition of the directory has a new format, listing all members alphabetically. The directory includes:

    • Biographies, research specialties, and related services of more than 1,300 U.S. and international genealogists
    • Information about professional genealogical certification and accreditation programs
    • Guidelines for the use of credentials and postnominals in the genealogical profession
    • APG Code of Ethics
    • Tips on hiring professionals

Previous editions of the directory have already proven to be helpful in a variety of ways for:

    • Genealogists who need on-site research in a distant area
    • Librarians and archivists who need to assist patrons in locating a researcher
    • Authors needing historical and genealogical research
    • Attorneys who need assistance locating unknown heirs or missing persons
    • Reunion planners who need assistance locating distant cousins
    • Researchers seeking consultation on a specific research problem or source

The directory is $15 postpaid (book rate) or $19 (priority mail) within the United States; $21.50 to Canada or Mexico; and $28.50 outside North America. Libraries and other research facilities will receive one free copy of the directory upon postal or email request to: mailto:admin@apgen.org

Postal orders should be sent to the Association of Professional Genealogists, APG Directory, P.O. Box 40393, Denver, CO 80204-0393. Enclose a check or money order, made payable to the Association of Professional Genealogists, or credit card number and expiration date. APG accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover. The directory can also be ordered directly from the APG Web site at: http://www.apgen.org/mcart . The online version of the directory is updated continuously.


- "Kansas Remembers" Project

The Kansas State Historical Society has started a statewide effort to document Kansans' responses to the events of Sept. 11 and subsequent events. This effort is called the "Kansas Remembers" Project. The society hopes the collections will include written remembrances, printed materials, photographs, and objects.

The following is an excerpt from an announcement by the Kansas State Historical Society:

As genealogists, we have a special obligation to our descendents to leave them information about what it was like to live in these historic times. I hope you will share information about this project with your readers. Additional information about the project, and a list of questions for reflection can be found on our website at: http://www.kshs.org/whatsnew/remembr.htm

Individuals who are residents of Kansas, or who consider themselves native Kansans (even though they may be living elsewhere) are eligible to participate in this project. Persons who are not eligible to participate in the Kansas Remembers project may wish to consider organizing similar efforts in their own communities and states.


- Bureau of Land Management Computers Knocked Offline By Judge

Because of a lawsuit, Corbell v. Norton, genealogists are being denied access to the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management Web site. This site contains (or did contain) hundreds of thousands of records related to homestead claims and land sales. The site has been very popular amongst genealogists looking for records of ancestors in the western states. The site is offline today with no planned date for its return.

It seems that U.S. District Judge Royce has threatened yet again to hold Secretary of Interior Gale Norton in contempt as he ordered her department to "immediately" disconnect from the Internet every single computer, server, and system that has access to individual Indian trust data. The problems and lawsuit arose from the government’s extremely long delays in paying for oil royalties and grazing leases. The records were housed in a computer infrastructure that was so weak that a court-appointed investigator and his team of security experts were able to break in and repeatedly access, modify and even create data -- all without raising a response from the government.

Judge Royce ordered Secretary Norton to "immediately" disconnect from the Internet every single computer, server, and system that has access to individual Indian trust data. The Secretary of Interior did just that. If you try to access the Bureau of Land Management sites, you simply get an error message saying, "Not available."

You can read more about this ongoing issue at several news sites. One with a lot of details is the admittedly biased Indian Trust site at: http://www.indiantrust.org/clips.cfm

My thanks to Judy Swett for letting me know about the BLM online access problems.


- Best Friends Find Out They Are Also Brothers

Gary Klahr of Wilton, Connecticut and Steven Barbin of nearby Trumbull met decades ago and became close friends -- so close that Klahr was best man at Barbin's wedding and once signed a photograph: "You are truly my brother." Those words turned out to be much more accurate than Gary Klahr ever expected. A search of adoption records three years ago revealed that Barbin, 49, and Klahr, 52, really are brothers.

Klahr never knew that he was adopted because the couple that raised him never told him. In fact, he was the youngest of thirteen children, nine of whom were given up for adoption.

This is a fascinating story with several unusual twists. Three years ago, another sibling contacted state officials seeking information from his adoption file for medical reasons. That man also discovered he was one of nine in a family of 13 whose parents had given them up for adoption. The others included Gary Klahr and Steven Barbin, along with a girl that Klahr briefly dated in the 1970s. Klahr only learned recently that his former date was actually his sister. "If there was any forgiving to do, we did it pretty quickly," Klahr said. "Thank God we didn't get married."

More information on this fascinating story can be found at: http://www.telegram.com/news/inside/brothers.html


- Update on StarOffice 6.0 Beta

In the last newsletter, I wrote about a great free program for Windows, Linux and Solaris. StarOffice by Sun Microsystems offers an excellent word processor, spreadsheet, personal calendar, and more. It is roughly equivalent to Microsoft’s Office, a software suite that contains Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. There is one major difference, however: StarOffice is free while Microsoft Office costs more than $400. I also described the new StarOffice beta version 6.0 and told how to obtain it. You can read the full article at http://www.ancestry.com/library/view/columns/eastman/5041.asp.

Apparently a lot of people downloaded this beta version and tried it. Quite a few people wrote to me with concerns about the following statement in StarOffice’s README file:

This beta version will expire on March 31, 2002. After expiration you will no longer be able to start the program!

Some people interpreted that statement to mean that either no version would be available after March 31, 2002 or that perhaps the program’s creators would start charging for it. Not true!

Such statements are quite common in beta software. In this case, it simply means that a release version of the program or perhaps a later beta version will be available before March 31, 2002. That future version is to replace the beta version that is available today.

Most beta software does have built-in expiration dates, and StarOffice is no exception. Previous beta versions of StarOffice also had expiration dates. Production versions of the software have always appeared before the beta expiration dates. Production versions of StarOffice have always been free and do not have expiration dates. Anyone using a beta version has always been able to later update to the production version at no charge, and users of Beta 6.0 will be able to do the same.

In fact, Sun Microsystems recently released the source code to StarOffice, and a new group is now taking over development of the program although they are sponsored by Sun Microsystems. StarOffice is being renamed to OpenOffice, and the program will remain free to everyone. You can expect a free updated version will be released before March 31, 2002. OpenOffice will still be available for Windows, Linux and Solaris. The new group is also porting OpenOffice to Macintosh OS X. A new Web site is now online with full details at: http://www.openoffice.org


- A Mix-up In Terminology

This story supposedly really happened: Recently a man walked up to the Maine State Archives front desk and asked in all seriousness, "Is this where I look up my posterior?"


- Home Pages Highlighted

The "Home Pages Highlighted" section consists of new genealogy-related home pages that you, the readers of this newsletter, nominate for publication in this newsletter. While anyone may nominate any genealogy-related home page, the process seems to work best when the webmaster for a home page nominates his or her own work. Nominations are now done online at http://www.rootsforum.com. I will review the nominations and then will list the better ones in this newsletter. If you have recently created a new genealogy-related Web page of some sort, I would strongly suggest that you enter it at http://www.rootsforum.com. You may later see your home page listed in this newsletter, which is read by 40,000 or so avid genealogists.

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

Cairns genealogy. Other surnames include Sullivan, Hodgins, Andrews and Morning: http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Bluffs/8957/

Pine/Pyne Connections - The Robert Pine Family in America Being the Comprehensive Genealogical Record of the Descendants of Robert Pine (1765-1849) of Ireland and later of Monroe County, Virginia. Also Cottle and Pyne: http://user.txcyber.com/~billpine/

The Irish Genealogical Project, an all-island initiative supported by public sector agencies in the North and the South of Ireland; http://www.irishgenealogy.ie/

William Loughry Descendants - William Loughry reportedly came to this country and settled first in Pennsylvania and later moving his wife and children to Steuben County, New York: http://members.tripod.com/loghry515/

Index of over 60,000 people buried in central Arkansas counties; pictures are available for sale: http://www.arkansasties.com

Italian Genealogy Online and all things Italian - Italian genealogy info, links, searchable Italian Surname Message Board, and genealogical resources on the web. Links to Italian and Italian American sites plus lots of Italian art and Italian history. Includes plenty of general interest items on Italy: http://www.angelfire.com/ok3/pearlsofwisdom/index.html

The Manion family history site. Starting with Patrick Manion, born 1797 Galway Ireland, sent as convict to Australia 1830: http://www.goldweb.com.au/~gerard/

Thurman's Quest on-line surname repository for all THURMAN/THURMOND and related surnames. Data pages, biographies, obituaries, cousins’ list, newsletter, photographs and much more: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~lthurman/

Redfield Families All Across America is the project of collecting and connecting all descendants of William and Rebecca Redfen/Redfield of Cambridge, Mass and New London, Connecticut from the early 1600's: http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Shores/7019/index.html

Purfűrst Genealogy - This Web site contains genealogical one-name research on the German surname of PURFÜRST and its anglicized variations of PURFURST, PURFUERST and PURFEERST. Research of the surname throughout the world is identified as well as by individual city in Germany. The surname index currently contains over 16,000 names: http://www.purfeerst.com

Family histories, stories, pictures. Descendants of George Rebbeck, born1847 West Harnham, Wilts. and Helen Eliza Moody, born 1849 Hale, Hants. ancestry and descends lists: http://members.farmline.com/rebbeckhistory

The Keicher, Kiker, Kyker families from NC, westward thru TN, GA, AL: http://www.geocities.com/dkiker_liddell/

Resource community for Polish descendants and friends interested in genealogy and the heritage of their ancestors: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~atpc/

To submit your genealogy page to this newsletter, enter the necessary information at: http://www.rootsforum.com. 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 reserves 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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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.


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. Due to the volume of e-mail received, he is unable to answer every e-mail message received.


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