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Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

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

Vol. 7 No. 26 Ė July 1, 2002

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

To learn about Ancestry.comís
state-of-the-art online genealogy databases
and other fine products,
visit the companyís three Internet properties,,, and

Past issues of this Newsletter
are available at:

This weekly newsletter is available in both HTML and ASCII text editions. Details are available at:

Please feel free to forward copies of this newsletter to other genealogists.

Copyright© 2002 by Richard W. Eastman. All rights reserved.

If you contact any of the companies or societies mentioned in this newsletter, please tell them that you read about their services in this newsletter.


- More on the Canceled International Roots Conference
- KStableau
- Genelines 2.0
- Canterbury Wills Index Online
- Jeanne Bunting Honored
- Update: California Vital Record Closures
- Genealogy Database Helps Map a Hypertension Gene
- 10th Edition of the Handybook for Genealogists
- England's Most Senior Nobleman Dies
- Dead Manís Switch for Windows
- Upcoming Events

- More on the Canceled International Roots Conference

As many newsletter readers know by now, the International Roots Conference in Dearborn, Michigan has been canceled. A "Special Edition" of this newsletter went out last week to notify those planning to attend about the cancellation. The Special Edition also mentioned that a lawyer was sending letters to those who had pre-registered to announce the cancellation and to state that the organizers were ceasing operation. The letter further stated that everyone who sent in an advance payment is out of luck; no refunds will be issued.

Many of you wrote back. My mailbox filled up for several days after the "Special Edition" was sent. Most messages questioned, "How could this happen?" Many also questioned the organizersí refusal to refund money paid in advance for conference registrations. Several people with experience in presenting major genealogy conferences questioned the claimed indebtedness. Several of the would-be conference speakers shared their knowledge and experiences. Events are still unfolding, but I can share what I have been told so far.

Quite a few people who sent money in advance stated that they have not yet received letters from the organizersí lawyer. For those people, I am publishing a transcribed copy of the letter sent by attorney David M. Miller to several of those who pre-registered:

Erman, Teicher, Miller, Zucker & Freedman
100 Galleria Officentre, Suite 333
Southfield, Michigan 48034
Tel: 248-827-4100
Fax: 248-827-4106
June 21, 2002

To the creditors of: My Conference Planners, LLC

Please be advised that this office represents My Conference Planners, LLC.

My Conference Planners, LLC, was formed for the express purpose of presenting premier national genealogical conferences, including one scheduled for July 14-18, 2002 in Dearborn, Michigan. Unfortunately, response to the inaugural conference has been insufficient to sustain the costs of presenting such a premier event. The company has over $300,000 in debt, and no assets.

The anticipated level of last-minute attendees cannot compensate for the severe cash deficiency to date. Therefore, the conference has been canceled, and My Conference Planners, LLC has ceased operations, closed its doors, and gone out of business.

As there are no assets on hand, there will be no monies available for creditors. If circumstances change, I will be contacting you to file a letter claim with my office.

My Conference Planners, LLC regrets the necessity of the cancellation, but it has no choice.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Very truly yours,

/s/ David M. Miller


I need to correct one statement in my earlier story. I wrote, "My Conference Planners, LLC ceased operations and declared bankruptcy;" however, I have now been told that the second part of that sentence is incorrect. If you read the attorneyís letter carefully, you will note that there is no bankruptcy statement. My Conference Planners, LLC has not made any statement about filing for bankruptcy protection from their creditors. As the letter states, "My Conference Planners, LLC has ceased operations, closed its doors, and gone out of business."

Those who sent money for advance registrations will remain as creditors of My Conference Planners, LLC. even though the company has not filed for bankruptcy protection from their creditors. Without protection from a bankruptcy court, the company still owes that money, even though they claim that no funds are available. As mentioned later in this article, there are several possible methods of recovering preregistration fees.

The potential financial loss to those who pre-registered is significant. Those who registered in advance paid $60 per day or $199 for five days ($230 if registered after May 1, 2002), plus additional fees for special events and meals. Some correspondents this week told me they paid more than $400 each in pre-registration fees that included multiple special events and meals.

As a side issue, many would-be attendees purchased non-refundable airline tickets, adding another $200 to $500 in non-refundable expenses. While lamentable, one cannot hold My Conference Planners, LLC accountable for the airfares purchased.

At this point, one can only guess the number of advance reservations, but it must have been only a few hundred. The conference Web site at predicted 2,000 attendees. (That Web page is still in operation as these words are being written, even though the home page at is no longer available.) With only a few hundred advance reservations at $200 to $400 each, plus an unknown number of exhibitors who paid $190 per exhibit booth ($225 after May 1st) and a few more dollars for advertising in the syllabus, the organizers probably received less than $100,000. Perhaps much less.

My Conference Planners, LLC has not released details about their finances, other than the lawyerís statement that "the company has over $300,000 in debt, and no assets." Various e-mail messages are questioning that amount of debt. In fact, if the International Roots Conference had met their goal of 2,000 attendees, the figure of $300,000 advance debt still seems very high. This debt divided among the 2,000 expected attendees equals a debt of $150 per person before the doors opened! By contrast, other major genealogy conferences have made the same arrangements for an advance debt of approximately $20 to $40 per expected attendee. With similar attendance projections, the other genealogy conferences in the U.S. have been only $30,000 to $50,000 in debt before the start of the conference. The only significant expenses incurred before the conference start date normally are for speaker airfares, venue deposits, printing, postage, and advertising.

Of all the expense items, the largest expense historically is for speaker airfares. The International Roots Conference brochure listed 33 speakers. A number of them are from the Detroit area, however, and presumably did not need airfare. If as many as 25 speakers would have flown to Detroit at an average airfare of $500 (that number reflects discounted airfares purchased months in advance, all of which included a Saturday night stay), the airfare expense would be about $12,500. Thatís only about 4% of the claimed debt of $300,000. In another interesting point, at least one speaker found that his travel voucher was canceled by the airline for non-payment, which might further diminish the actual expense. The number of speakers whose airfares were never paid is not known at this time.

Other conference expenses, such as meals, speakersí fees, and equipment rental, are not incurred until the event opens. As the conference was canceled three weeks before the scheduled start, there should be no charges for those items. The conference hotel probably has a cancellation fee of a few thousand dollars, but most of the other planned expenses should have no such cancellation charges, according to several organizers of other major genealogy conferences.

How could this conference become $300,000 in debt? E-mail discussions speculate that the major difference between this conference and others held around the country is in compensation to the organizers. The other major conferences are all sponsored by non-profit organizations, which rely heavily on volunteer labor. The International Roots Conference was different in that the organizer, My Conference Planners, LLC, was a private, commercial corporation. It seems likely that the organizers and employees would have received some compensation for time spent in advance of the conference. No information on wages paid for this event or comparison data of time expended on similar events has been offered as of this time.

Several e-mail correspondents reported on conversations they have had with Attorney David Miller. All reported that Mr. Miller was very friendly and cooperative and appeared to be trying to do "the right thing." Mr. Miller apparently has the companyís books in his office and reportedly has offered to show them to any creditor who is willing to travel to the law firmís offices in Southfield, Michigan. The financial records will not be photocopied and sent elsewhere, however.

Perhaps it would be appropriate for the creditors to appoint one person with a financial background to examine the books and then report to all. Creditors are certain to want an accounting that is more detailed than the brief explanation offered so far. An auditorís report would put this issue to rest. The auditor might be a representative from either a Michigan genealogy society or a national genealogical organization, or perhaps someone from the Michigan State Attorney Generalís Office.

The following is written for those who spent money for advance registrations: If you have concerns about the money you have been asked to forfeit, you have the same courses of action that are available to all consumers.

If you paid by credit card, you should immediately contact your credit card company and ask for a refund. As stated on Mastercardís Web site (see ), "Under certain circumstances, you may have recourse if a service or product you purchase with a MasterCard card does not meet your satisfaction." Credit card companies are very experienced in dealing with non-delivery of purchased goods and services. They know what the proper procedures are, what laws are involved, and what your recourse is. Credit card companies will gladly advise you, their customer.

Credit card companies often do not pay the merchants for days or weeks after a charge is made. If your money is still in this "pool" that has not yet been paid to My Conference Planners, LLC., the credit card company will likely refund your money. Even if you made your reservation months ago and the funds have already been paid, you may still have a chance of obtaining a credit card "chargeback."

In addition, a few credit cards provide insurance against charges that do not meet your satisfaction. This insurance pays you even if the merchant involved has no assets left.

Despite what the conference organizers claim, those who paid by credit card might be able to recover the funds but must take action immediately to ask for a refund. Do not wait until the next credit card bill arrives. A delay of even a few days reduces the odds of you receiving your money back.

Comment: This is another good reason for using a credit card in place of a personal check or money order, especially for online transactions. Anyone who paid by check, money order or cash will not have this option. Sometimes it is nice to have the credit card company on your side.

Next, you may want to contact the lawyer handling the case for My Conference Planners, LLC. Attorney David Miller can be reached at the address listed above in his letter or by telephone at (248) 827-4100.

You also may want to contact your own lawyer.

Finally, you obviously will want to contact the Attorney General for the State of Michigan. The more consumers who report financial losses, the greater the odds of an investigation, audit, and possible refunds. Because the loss of consumersí money is involved, the organizers will be required to disclose detailed financial information to the Attorney Generalís office.

To be sure, the Attorney Generalís Office may find that there is no reason for an investigation. If so, the would-be attendees will have the satisfaction of having received a "second opinion" from someone with legal authority. That would also vindicate the owners of My Conference Planners, LLC as well as squelch the various rumors floating around.

The Attorney General for the State of Michigan is Jennifer M. Granholm. Her office has an online Web site for those who wish to file consumer complaints, at:

If you do file a complaint, you will be asked for the company's name and address. It is:

24901 Northwestern Highway, Suite 313-B
Southfield, Michigan 48075-2207
(248) 415-0159

I should mention that I had hoped to attend this conference but was not sure I would be available that week. As a result, I never registered in advance. Since I did not spend any money on this conference, I havenít suffered any financial loss. My Conference Planners, LLC does not owe me any money nor even an explanation. However, I would suggest that they do owe money and explanations to the people whose money they have accepted and are now refusing to return. Tens of thousands of dollars are involved.

Hopefully, one sentence in Attorney David Millerís letter will come to pass: "If circumstances change, I will be contacting you to file a letter claim with my office."

[Return to Table of Contents]

- KStableau

A few weeks ago I wrote about a number of Windows and Macintosh utility programs that will convert a GEDCOM file to HTML output for publishing your genealogy on the Web. That article is available at: One very powerful GEDCOM-to-HTML utility wasnít listed, however, as I just found out about it in the past few days.

KStableau for Windows will generate HTML files for the display of graphical family trees. Such a chart is a great way to visualize your family tree. You can also use it to analyze kinship amongst distantly-related individuals. It also shows inbreeding. (Before you chuckle, keep in mind that every person on the face of the earth has inbreeding in his or her family tree. There are only so many ancestors to go around, and nobody has a completely separate set. You certainly have duplicates in your family tree, even if you havenít discovered them yet.)

KStableau was developed by Tom de Neef, a native of the Netherlands. Tom claims that he learned HTML by reading a book. It must have been a very good book, judging by the outputs his program produces.

To use KStableau, you first generate a GEDCOM file, using your favorite genealogy program. All modern genealogy programs are capable of generating GEDCOM files although you may need to read the userís manual or check the online help to find the instructions for your program. KStableau reads that file, asks you a few questions, and then generates the HTML output. You can view the HTML data on your computer screen as much as you like. You may want to change some settings in KStableau time and again until you obtain the exact output you want. Once you are satisfied with the results, you may copy the HTML files to your personal Web pages on the World Wide Web or to a CD-ROM disk for distribution to others.

The HTML output file is intended to be displayed in the top frame of a page with text details of the persons shown in a bottom frame. Each person displayed in the chart can act as a hyperlink to the details in the text file.

I wonít try to describe the output when you can see it for yourself online. Go to KStableau/GraphicalFamilyTrees.htm and click on some of the names listed as having a source of "KStableau." That list contains links to many other HTML files created with KStableau and placed on Web servers around the world.

The best part of all this is that KStableau is a free program. You can download it online and use it all you want. Tom de Neef has generously given his program to the genealogy community.

You can read a lot more about KStableau online at Tom de Neefís Web site. To read this information, to see sample outputs, or to download the program yourself, go to KStableau/index.html

[Return to Table of Contents]

- Genelines 2.0

Progeny Software has released GeneLines 2.0. While I have not yet seen this latest release, I can tell you that the earlier version 1.3 of this Windows program produced the best timelines for genealogists that I have seen.

The key features of Genelines 2.0 reportedly include:

  • Reads PAF, FTM, Legacy, Ancestral Quest, Ancestry Family Tree data files without importing.
  • Reads GEDCOM format.
  • Provides seven unique, fully customizable chart styles, including a new Full Descendant chart and time based Fan chart.
  • Text View provides a text version of a timeline report that lists, in chronological order, all the events, dates, notes, etc. for the people in a chart.
  • Allows you to create and modify your own historical events and timelines.
  • Comes with some ready to use timeline files, plus you can download more for free from the Timeline Exchange.
  • Displays charts in full color, with a variety of border options.
  • Exports charts to PDF format.
  • Provides on-screen manipulation of chart colors, borders and fonts.
  • Prints charts in a full range of sizes. Insert into publications, or print as wall charts.
  • Estimates and visually points out unknown dates, making it easy to see where more research is needed.
  • Makes it easy to see illogical or contradictory data.

My earlier review of GeneLines Version 1.3 is available at but I hope to write a review of the latest version within the next few weeks. Stay tuned. In the meantime, you might want to look at:

[Return to Table of Contents]

- Canterbury Wills Index Online

The Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills Index for 1750 to 1800 is now available online. Wills have been proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC) since 1383 and are now preserved in the Public Record Office, London. The index created by the Society of Genealogists and now available on English Origins covers wills proved in the period 1750 to 1800 (inclusive).

Each index record has the Forename and Surname of the testator, the Place (usually the English county) where they resided, and the Month and Year when probate was granted. Where the place of residence was not England, the country may be given (most commonly Scotland or Ireland) or may appear as 'Foreign Parts,' which may be any place outside the British Isles.

This index contains 208,000 entries created from the typewritten index and includes a hard copy service that allows users to order extracts online. For more information about the data contained in this index, please go to:

[Return to Table of Contents]

- Jeanne Bunting Honored

Many newsletter readers will recognize Jeanne Buntingís name. She is an expert British genealogist, writer, and lecturer. She perhaps is best known for all her efforts for the Society of Genealogists in London. She has been one of the principal organizers of the Societyís annual Family History Fair and a frequent lecturer at those conferences. This year she and John Hanson ran the Computer Help Section of the Family History Fair and also gave lectures. I also see Jeanne Buntingís name listed frequently as a lecturer at other conferences around England.

Jeanne Bunting frequently writes for several British genealogy publications and Web sites. One of my favorites is her article for beginners, entitled "What Is genealogy?" which is available on GENUKIís site at CompuServe members know Jeanneís work from her participation on CompuServeís Genealogy Forums. She is also very active on GENUKI and several other mailing lists.

Jeanneís friends and admirers will be pleased to hear that she was named as a Fellow of the Society of Genealogists at the Societyís annual general meeting last week. Please join me in congratulating her for this richly deserved reward.

Jeanne Bunting can be reached at:

[Return to Table of Contents]

- Update: California Vital Record Closures

In the May 20, 2002 edition of this newsletter, I wrote about the threat to close California records that are vital to genealogists researching ancestors in that state. That article reported the efforts of the California State Genealogical Alliance and other organizations to keep these records open. The Alliance asked genealogists to write to the California legislators.

The response from that appeal was overwhelming, and the bill was put on hold at that time. Now some legislators are going to try again. This time they are moving on very short notice, perhaps in an effort to "sneak it through" before the opposing groups notice.

The bill has been changed, so you may want to read it again. Genealogists are specifically targeted in the bill as we are not included in the list of people who can now have access, although even private investigators can see the records.

The following alert is from Iris Carter Jones, California State Genealogical Alliance Legislative Coordinator



SB1614 was passed by the California Senate and will now be heard by the California State Assembly Judiciary Committee on MONDAY, JULY 1st. This bill is trying to zip through under the radar, and must be derailed NOW. Please call, fax, and e-mail ALL MEMBERS OF THE CALIFORNIA STATE ASSEMBLY JUDICIARY COMMITTEE TODAY and urge a DO NOT PASS vote on SB1614. Fax and e-mail should be sent by FRIDAY, JUNE 28th. The bill, sponsored by Senator Jackie Speier, seeks to remove California's birth and death indices from the public domain, where they have been generally available to the public since 1905. The passage of this bill will transform a century of public information into closely guarded state secrets.

SB1614 would foster secrecy in government. Citizens would no longer be able to access government-held, public information on their own histories and identities. This bill would create a right of confidentiality that has never before existed. The birth and death indexes are not and have never been personally owned, confidential information; they are and have always been public records. SB1614 seeks to reverse a century-long free flow of public information by placing the use of both indexes back under strict government regulation.

The birth and death indices are used extensively for genealogical and historical research, population studies, public health queries and public policy research. SB1614 will do little to help the problem it was intended to address - identity theft. According to the First Amendment Coalition, most identity theft occurs through the literal theft of mail, purses, and wallets by friends, relatives, neighbors, and strangers - not through use of the birth and death indices.


  1. This bill would remove the comprehensive birth and death indices from protection of the California Public Records Act. Instead, it would make the indices confidential information - except to government agencies.

  2. This bill would prohibit a government agency from selling or releasing these indices. This bill would also prohibit specified businesses and individuals, who legally purchased the indices from the State prior to December 31, 2001, from releasing and sharing with others. The bill authorizes a civil penalty to enforce this prohibition.

  3. This bill would require the State Registrar to establish a separate, NON comprehensive electronic birth and death indices, available for public inspection at county recorders' offices statewide and at the office of the State Registrar. The information to be included in the non comprehensive indices will be determined by the State Registrar. No printing will be allowed at these special computer terminals. Individuals who wish to view the non comprehensive birth or death index must certify, UNDER PENALTY OF PERJURY, that the information they view will not be used for criminal purposes.

  4. This bill would permit the release of SPECIFIED personal information to financial institutions and consumer credit reporting agencies, for the sole purpose of determining if the person whose information is being released is still living.

Read the full text at:

Please share this information with any lists you are on.


Send one copy of your letter to the Judiciary Committee and one to each committee member.

California State Assembly Judiciary Committee
1020 N Street, Room 104
Sacramento, CA, 95814
Fax: (916) 319-2188

Ellen M. Corbett (Chair)
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 94249-0001
Phone: (916) 319-2018
Fax: (916) 319-2118

Tom Harman (Vice-Chair)
State Capitol, Room 5158
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 319-2067
Fax: (916) 319-2167

Patricia C. Bates
State Capitol, Room 6031
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 319-2073
Fax: (916) 319-2173

Robert Pacheco
State Capitol, Room 4177
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 319-2060
Fax: (916) 319-2160
E-mail: assemblymember.robert.pacheco@asm/ca/gov

Rod Pacheco
State Capitol, Room 2130
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 319-2064
Fax: (916) 319-2164

John A. Dutra
State Capitol
P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 94249-0001
Phone: (916) 319-2020
Fax: (916) 319-2120

Hannah-Beth Jackson
State Capitol
P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 94249-0001
Phone: (916) 319-2035
Fax: (916) 319-2135

Howard Wayne
State Capitol
P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 94249-0001
Phone: (916) 319 -2078
Fax: (916) 319 - 2178

Darrell Steinberg
State Capitol
P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 94249-0001
Phone: (916) 319-2009
Fax: (916) 319-2109

John Longville
State Capitol
P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 94249-0001
Phone: (916) 319-2062
Fax: (916) 319-2162

Juan Vargas
State Capitol, Room 2188
Sacramento, CA 94249-0001
Phone: (916) 319-2079
Fax: (916) 319-2179

Kevin Shelley
State Capitol, Room 319
Sacramento, California 95814
Phone: (916) 319-2012
Fax: (916) 319-2112

Also send a copy of your Assembly Judiciary Committee letter to these three additional addresses:

Governor Gray Davis
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916-445-2841
Fax: 916-445-4633

Assembly Republican Caucus
Mark Redmond
Fax: 916-319-3902

Bastard Nation

[Return to Table of Contents]

- Genealogy Database Helps Map a Hypertension Gene

I have written before about deCODE Genetics. This biotech firm studies DNA genetics information, based upon what is undoubtedly the most complete genealogy database of an entire nation. You can read my previous articles at: and at

deCODE Geneticsí genealogy database contains information about all known Icelanders for the last 1100 years. In fact, Icelanders have always kept excellent genealogy records. Most records in Iceland have been preserved, including church records with christenings, confirmations, marriages, and deaths. The country also has excellent land deeds and census records. Also, many old family trees have been maintained through sagas and family tree books.

Genealogy has always been a common interest in Iceland. Almost all Icelanders can track their roots for all ancestors back 200 years, and some trace ancestors back to the year 800 A.D. and even earlier. deCODE Genetics recognized that this data, matched against DNA information from living Icelanders, was an excellent source of information genetics. Several discoveries have resulted, and this week the company announced a new finding.

The following is an announcement from deCODE Genetics:

deCODE Announces Mapping of a Hypertension Gene on Chromosome 18

deCODE Study Published This Month Reveals the Strongest Genetic Linkage Ever Found to the Common Form of the Condition

REYKJAVIK, Iceland, June 26 -- deCODE genetics (NASDAQ:DCGN) Nasdaq Europe today announced that a team of its scientists has located a gene contributing to high blood pressure. The gene was mapped to a small region on chromosome 18, which previous studies have suggested may play a role in blood pressure regulation in humans, mice and rats. The discovery is thus an important and encouraging advance in understanding the human genetics of high blood pressure, which affects roughly one in four adults in the industrialized world and is a leading risk factor for heart attack and stroke. An article reporting the findings, "Linkage of essential hypertension to chromosome 18q," authored by the deCODE team and collaborating cardiologists from Iceland's National University Hospital, is published in the latest edition of the American Heart Association journal Hypertension. The article is available online at

deCODE is analyzing the locus to identify and characterize the gene involved. The company plans to employ its findings to develop new treatments as well as DNA-based diagnostic products that can assist in clinical diagnosis, indicate predisposition to high blood pressure, and permit the prescription of the most effective medications for individual patients. High blood pressure and related conditions represent one of the world's biggest public health problems, an area of significant unmet medical need and a growing, multibillion-dollar therapeutic market.

The deCODE study is the largest population genetic study ever carried out in patients with essential hypertension -- high blood pressure without a known secondary cause -- and reports the strongest genome-wide linkage of any research on this condition to date. From a list of more than 5000 Icelandic patients receiving treatment for hypertension, deCODE used its genealogy database of the Icelandic population to draw up 120 extended families with a high incidence of the condition. Nearly 500 volunteer patients and more than 300 unaffected relatives were genotyped with 900 microsatellite markers. Additional markers were then analyzed in a small region on chromosome 18 showing significant linkage to the disease. Patients from just over half of the families in the study appear to be sharing a genetic factor at this locus, suggesting that it may be an important factor in the onset of the condition.

"Virtually all of us know about high blood pressure and the danger it poses to health, either because we suffer from it ourselves or know someone who does. The discovery we are reporting is an important contribution to unravelling the human genetics of heart disease and a step towards applying this knowledge to develop new diagnostic tools, drugs and prevention strategies," said Dr. Kari Stefansson, CEO of deCODE. "This study underscores yet again the power of our population approach and unrivalled genotyping capabilities for homing in on key genetic factors underlying the most common, most broadly-defined diseases. It will also help us to develop a new understanding of the relationship between high blood pressure and related conditions such as high cholesterol, obesity and diabetes, heart attack and stroke. We plan to apply the findings announced today to create and bring to market new products that can better treat and prevent high blood pressure and other related diseases."

[Return to Table of Contents]

- 10th Edition of the Handybook for Genealogists

In the May 20, 2002 edition of this newsletter, I reported on new announcements at the annual conference of the National Genealogical Society. Many vendors time their announcements of new products and services to coincide with that conference. In the May 20 report, I wrote, "Everton Publishers will release a new update of their popular "Handybook for Genealogists." This new reference should be available in three to four weeks."

It looks like the company met their goal. The book became available within four weeks. The following is an announcement from Family History Network, Inc., the parent company of Everton Publishers:

10th Edition of The Handybook for Genealogists Now Available

ATLANTA and SALT LAKE CITYóJune 14, 2002óEverton Publishers, a division of Family History Network, Inc. (FHN), today announced the availability of the 10th edition of The Handybook for Genealogistsô at the American Library Association Conference and Exhibition being held in Atlanta, Georgia.

With more than one million copies in circulation, the Handybook is the most popular reference book for genealogists and family history researchers in the United States. The 10th edition of the Handybook has 896 pagesómore than 300 new pages, including 69 detailed color maps, expanded U.S., state and county bibliographies and information, web site addresses and information about Internet-based resources.

"Professional genealogists have spent thousands of hours checking addresses, telephone numbers and web sites to make sure that we could offer the most accurate information for contacting record keepers at the county level," said Lee Everton, president of Everton Publishers. "Our goal as a company is to connect people searching out their family histories with the people who can help. This newest edition of the Handybook makes it easier than ever before for anyone doing genealogy to identify valuable resources throughout the country."

Another new section in the 10th edition of the Handybook describes each type of record held at the county level and the information it contains. Efforts were also taken to research and compile a comprehensive bibliography of books and publications available and organized by state that will help a reader more easily navigate and find information on their ancestors and family origins.

Other information in the Handybook includes state historical information pertinent to searching family history records, genealogical and historical society listings and contact information, and census and cemetery information.

"The Handybook is one of the most-used reference books in our department," said Joyce Loving, a manager at the St. Louis County Library. "We keep a copy at the reference desk as one of the first sources to help genealogists.""

The Handybook for Genealogists has a suggested retail price of $59.95 (USD), and is available by calling 800-443-6325, or by visiting

[Return to Table of Contents]

- England's Most Senior Nobleman Dies

The Duke of Norfolk died in his sleep June 24 at his home in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, west of London. No cause of death was given.

On the death of his cousin in 1975, Miles Francis Stapleton Fitzalan-Howard succeeded to England's oldest dukedom, created in 1483 by King Richard III for John Howard, his loyal supporter in the Wars of the Roses. The dukes of Norfolk are referred to as the premier dukes -- the highest rank of peers -- because their title is the oldest.

Like his predecessors, the 17th duke was earl marshal of England, one of the Great Officers of State, senior members of the royal household. The earl marshal, whose position now is largely ceremonial, is responsible for state ceremonies such as coronations. Genealogists will note that the earl marshal also heads the College of Arms, which is the authority in England and Wales on genealogy and heraldry.

The 17th duke served in the army for 30 years and retired as a major general, having taken several appointments in the Ministry of Defense, including director of service intelligence in 1966-1967. During World War II, he served in France, North Africa, Sicily and Italy and was awarded the Military Cross for reconnaissance of mined roads on foot under enemy fire.

He remarked in later years that "anyone can be Duke of Norfolk, but I'm rather proud of that medal," The Times said in its obituary.

The duke and his wife of more than 50 years, the former Anne Constable-Maxwell, had two sons and three daughters, including actress Marsha Fitzalan. His elder son Edward, the Earl of Arundel, succeeds him.

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- Dead Manís Switch for Windows

When you die, do you want to send an e-mail to loved ones? Or even to an old enemy? Want to tell your boss what you really think of him or her? Now you have the opportunity to send some "final remarks." Best of all, no one can answer because, after all, youíre dead!

Dead Manís Switch is a program designed to carry out those last minute computer details that you are concerned about when you are on your deathbed. It's a program that, if not reset on a regular basis, assumes you are off to that great motherboard in the sky. It then sends emails to loved ones or to anyone else you wish. It also posts messages to (some) Web sites and even deletes files or encrypts files to prevent embarrassment or snooping. Hmmm, perhaps this is the tool to use to tell somewhat where to find the keys to the safe deposit box. Or to notify a distant relative that "youíre not really the son of the man you think you are." Iím sure that each of us could dream up a dozen other uses.

Dead Manís Switch installs on any Windows system. To keep it from launching its tasks, you must periodically "reset" the program by entering a secret password. If the password hasnít been entered for the period of time that you specify, the program assumes that you are deceased and then executes the tasks you have previously specified.

Dead Man's Switch gets its name from a safety device that used to be installed a century ago in locomotives: a spring-loaded pedal or lever the engineer would have to stand on or pull to operate the train. If the engineer left his assigned position -- or if he fainted or died while at his post -- the pedal or lever would be released, and the train would automatically stop.

Iím not sure how you handle the possibility of being incapacitated and unable to reach your computer for some time. You could even be delayed from returning home by an airline strike or some similarly unpredictable event while on vacation. Would Dead Manís Switch activate and send those messages? Perhaps those situations are covered in the userís manual or elsewhere. Iíll leave that for you to investigate.

Dead Manís Switch for Windows is twenty-first century software that uses steam-age ideas and sensibility. You can download this free Windows program at:

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- Upcoming Events

The Upcoming Events section of this newsletter is published once per month, usually in the first newsletter of each month. Each event will be listed very briefly: title, date(s), location, and sponsoring organization, all followed by either an e-mail address or a Web page that you can use to find more information. Since detailed information is available via e-mail or the Web, I will not list the details in this newsletter. If you do contact any of these organizations, please tell them where you heard about the event.

Here are the listings, arranged by date. An asterisk indicates a new listing that has been added since the last time this list was published:

The Genealogical Society Of Hispanic Americaís Genealogical Conference will be held July 5-7, 2002 in Pueblo, Colorado. This yearís theme is "We Are All Related." A special attraction at this yearís event is the Molecular Genealogy Research Project- DNA Research Project. Bring a 4-generation pedigree chart and participate in the blood draw. Once the database is completed, the Project will be able to map out the origin of families and populations. For details, visit the conference website:

The FREY family reunion is planned for Saturday, July 6th, at Petties Lake, Sellersville, Pennsylvania for the descendants of Jacob and Barbara (Schnepf) FREY, 1830 immigrants from Alsace Lorraine, France, to Schuylkill County. Events include discussion of family descendants and photos, genealogy reports, and family activities. For information contact:

The Friends of Genealogy (FOG) at the Newberry Library will present "The Children Are Coming!" on Thursday, July 11, at 6 p.m. at the Newberry Library in Chicago. In 1853, a process began in New York whereby the overcrowded orphanages and foundling homes were to be relieved of their pressures by the "placing out" of children who were considered orphans. By 1929, an estimated 200,000 to 250,000 children were relocated from large eastern cities to families in other parts of the nation or territories. In researching oneís own family during this 75-year period, one may have discovered an "adopted" son or daughter or a non-apparent family member listed as a boarder, servant or apprentice. The history of the Orphan Train may have a clue to a genealogistís "brick wall." For more information, call (312) 255-3510.

The Fourth National Stidham Family Reunion, sponsored by the Timen Stiddem Society, will be held July 11-14, 2002, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Special guest speaker at the annual membership meeting on Friday July 12th will be Curt Witcher, manager of the Historical Genealogy Department at the Allen County Public Library and current President of the National Genealogical Society. For complete details of the weekend's activities, including a printable reunion registration form, go to the Timen Stiddem Society web site at:

*The 31st Annual Workshop of the South Carolina Genealogical Society will be held Friday and Saturday, July 12th &13th, at the South Carolina Archives and History Center in Columbia. There is a long list of sessions planned. For additional information, look at:

The German Interest Group - Wisconsin is hosting "Workshop on German States" on 13 July 2002 in Whitewater, Wisconsin. German states to be presented are: Rhineland, Pomerania, Mecklenburg, Prussia, Posen, Wuerttemberg, Hanover, Schleswig-Holstein, East and West Prussia, and German Bohemia. Additional general German genealogical topics will also be offered. For more information and registration see:

*The 72th Clewell Family Reunion will be held Sunday July 14, 2002 in Nazareth, Pennsylvania. Full details are available on the Clewell website at

The "Hooked on Genealogy Tours" has been taking annual tours to Salt Lake City and the UK since 1992. This year's tour leaves Auckland, New Zealand, on Wed 17 July. Tour members will attend the British Isles Family History Society USA's Annual Conference on the Queen Mary. This will be followed by a trip to Salt Lake City. For more details, look at:

The British Isles Family History Society - U.S.A. presents their 15th annual Genealogical Seminar aboard the Queen Mary, in Long Beach, California on 18-19-20 July 2002. Speakers will be Kyle Betit, Jan Gow, Else Churchill, Linda Jonas, Barbara Renick, Judith Eccles Wight, Dr. I. D. E. Thomas and Dr. Ivan Johnson. For more information please see:

The sixth annual family reunion for the Wisner/Wezenaar descendants and families will be held July 19, 20, and 21, 2002 in Marinette, Wisconsin. Planned events include a cemetery tour, big picnic, fish fry dinner, family bloodline charts, genealogy reports and more. For information, contact:

The Brion/Carson 77th annual reunion will be held July 21, 2002 at the Little Pine State Park in Waterville, Pa. For more information please contact:

The Cleveland County Genealogical Society of Norman, Oklahoma will host their 17th annual Seminar on July 27, 2002. Michael John Neill will be the featured speaker. His topics are: "Tried and Tested Tidbits," "Organization of Information," "Illinois Research" and "I Found It: Now What do I do?" Details are available at:

*Heritage Quest Research Library, Summer Quest 2002 will be held Saturday, July 27, 2002 in Tacoma, Washington. The speaker will be Myra Vanderpool Gormley, CG, on "Finding Buried Treasures." Details are available at:

The Boone Society, Inc. Family Reunion will be held in Wilsonville, Oregon, on July 31- August 3rd. Two full days will be devoted to touring this historic and stunningly beautiful area! Included on the agenda are the Columbia River Gorge, Mt. Hood, Barlow Road (part of the famous Oregon Trail), Multnomah Falls, the Oregon Coast, and Salem, the state capitol. Of course many Boone sites will be visited and observed. For additional information, look at:

Mid-Wales Event: The Fourth Annual Local and Family History Fair is to be held on Saturday 3 August 2002 from 10am to 4pm at The Pavilion Conference Centre, Spa Road, Llandrindod Wells, Powys. It will be hosted by Powys Family History Society. Exhibitors invited include local and family history societies from Wales and the Border; Gwent and Powys Archives Offices, Brecon Military Museum; Capel; The Radnor Society; and trade stands etc. Richard & Marjorie Moore are in attendance again with their genealogical 'Help Desk'. For further details please see:

The 28th Annual Seminar of the Kentucky Genealogical Society is set for Saturday, 3 August 2002, in Frankfort, Kentucky. The seminar speaker is Christine Rose, from San Jose, CA. Her four one-hour sessions are: - 1/Estates: A Goldmine!; 2/Avoid the Crooked Past! Genealogical Problem Solving; 3/Too Young for the Revolution; too Old for the Civil War - Military Records Between the Wars; 4/Using Little Known and Neglected Sources; A Potpourri. Information is available from:

The 2002 Bi-Annual reunion for the Jacob Mica Truman Family will be held in the Salt Lake City area on the 3rd of August. Details of the event can be found by clicking on "Reunion 2002" at the following web page:

*The 22nd IAJGS International Conference On Jewish Genealogy will be meeting in Toronto, Canada on August 4-9, 2002. This huge conference has a long list of lectures and other events. It is the larges Jewish genealogy conference in the world. Full information is available at:

The Federation of Genealogical Societies and the California State Genealogical Alliance invite you to attend the 2002 FGS Conference, to be held in Ontario, California on August 7 through 10, 2002. This is one of the larger conferences held in the U.S. Details are available at:

*The BLACKBURN FAMILY ASSOCIATION, Inc. [descendants of John Blackburn, immigrant from Armagh to Adams County, Pennsylvania in 1736], will hold its fifth triennial family reunion and meeting in the Steubenville, Ohio, area, August 9 - 11, 2002. For complete details, please visit the associationís Web site at:

The 115th Annual Mapes Family Reunion will be held on August 10, 2002 in Phillipsport, NY. Phillipsport is between Wurtsboro and Ellenville on Route 209. Copies of the 3-volume Mapes genealogy will be available at special Reunion prices, and laptop computers will be available with the complete current Mapes Family database for genealogical research. For additional information, contact:

*The Second National Reunion of the Chenoweth Family will be held at Elkins, West Virginia on August 15 through 18. Elkins, Randolph Co., WV is located in the Appalachian Mountains and is where the majority of the family resettled in the 1740s. More Reunion info may be found at:

The annual John Teeter Beam reunion is scheduled for August 18, 2002 at New Prospect Baptist Church near Shelby, North Carolina. This is the location where John Teeter Beam formed a church. More information is available at:

The third Annual Gliszczynski, Glisczinski, Glischinski Reunion for the Descendants of Michael Von Morzak Gliszczynski and Casimire Von Morzak Gliszczynski will be held on August 18th, 2002, at the South Park in Belle Plaine, Minnesota. For information please contact:

An Arner/Orner family reunion will be held August 24 and 25, 2002 at the original homestead of Hans Ulrich and Verena Eberhard Arner, in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. Over 100 participants are presently registered for the reunion and memorial dedication. For complete information see:

The annual reunion of the Tarvin Family Association will be held September 12-14, 2002, in Indianapolis, Indiana. Nearly all Tarvins in the U.S. descend from Richard Tarvin, immigrant from England to Maryland in about 1708. Further reunion details are on the Tarvin Family Association web site at

The 7th K/Cavanagh C/Kavanaugh World Rally will be assembling in Ferns, County Wexford, Ireland, on September 20, 2002. Anyone with a direct or indirect connection is invited. There will be field trips, workshops, and the inauguration of the new clann chief. Details are available at

The Yellowstone Genealogy Forum celebrates its 25th anniversary year by hosting the Montana State Genealogical Society Conference in Billings, Montana on September 20-21, 2002. John Colletta is the featured speaker. For information, contact

The British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa will hold its Eighth Annual Fall Conference on September 20-22, 2002 at the National Archives of Canada in Ottawa, Ontario. This year's theme is "Emigration/Immigration -- Focusing on your UK ancestors". The keynote speaker will be Tom Devine, Institute Director, Research Institute of Irish and Scottish Studies, and Research Professor in Scottish History, University of Aberdeen. Further information will be posted on

The Howes Family Reunion is scheduled for September 21, 2002 at the Fairgrounds in Cummington, MA. The theme for this reunion is "Maple in Massachusetts". The society was founded in 1987 and currently holds a reunion every three years. Many of the members, but not all, are descendants of Thomas Howes, who came to Plymouth Colony in 1637. For more information about this Reunion, please contact President Adelia Bardwell, PO Box 83, 159 Haydenville Rd., Whately, MA 01093

Heritage Hunters is sponsoring a conference Saturday, September 21, 2002, at the Greenwich Elks in Greenwich on Rt. 40. The workshops will include: New Immigration Sources, United States Land and Tax Records, Arm Chair Genealogical Research and Tracing the Ladies on Your Pedigree. For information on registration and reservations, contact:

*The McHenry County Genealogical Society and the British Interest Group in Wisconsin and Illinois (BIGWILL) are co-sponsoring an all-day workshop, "Over Here, Over There" on September 21 in Crystal Lake, Illinois. Speakers for this conference on the British Isles will be Maureen Brady, Joanne Harvey and Elizabeth Kelley Kerstens. For more information, go to

*The Louisville (Kentucky) Genealogical Society is presenting a Family History Fair and Seminar, Saturday, September 21, 2002 in Louisville. Patricia Law Hatcher, CG, FASG, is the featured speaker. Her topics are: "íThey Just Showíd Upí-- Where to Look When You Donít Know Where to Look," "Techniques to Help Good Genealogists Become Better Genealogists" and "Evaluating Evidence: A Methodology For Every Day." For more information, contact the society at or

The Lee County (Florida) Genealogical Society will sponsor an Ancestor Tracking Seminar on September 27, 2002 in Ft. Myers. The keynote speaker will be George G. Morgan, who will present "All About Census Records" and "Developing Your Ancestor's Profile" (an interactive session involving participants). For more information, contact:

The Irish Genealogical Conference will be held in Braintree, Massachusetts, 10 miles south of Boston, on September 27 and 28, 2002. The conference is co-sponsored by the New England Historic Genealogical Society and by TIARA (The Irish Ancestral Research Association). The program will include two days of lectures on Irish genealogical research from some of the top experts in the field. For further details on the Irish conference, including lecture topics, speakers, and hotel information, please visit

The Grand Traverse Area Genealogical Society (GTAGS) is having a seminar on September 28, 2002 in Traverse City, Michigan. The theme of the seminar is "Immigration to Michigan." The speakers for the seminar are Jana Sloan Broglin: "Migration and Settlement of the Old Northwest Territory"; Shirley Hodges: "Ethnic Migration to Michigan" and "Little Known Facts About the Census", and Brenda Moore: "French-Canadian Research." Additional information about the seminar is available on the GTAGS website at:

The Genealogical Council of Oregon's Seminar "Find it in the Past, Record it for the Future" will be held in Salem, Oregon. On October 4-6, 2002. Lectures will be by nationally known speakers including keynote speaker: Cyndi Howells. For information, contact:

*The annual Family History Fair will be held on Sunday, October 6, 2002, in Manhattan, New York City This annual event is sponsored by the Archivists' Round Table of Metropolitan New York. The Family History Fair is free and open to the public with many seminars held throughout the day. Many genealogical and historical societies as well as archives, vendors and other groups of interest to genealogists are there to meet and talk to the public. For more information, look at:

"Ask the Experts: Chicago Resources" will be held on Thursday, October 10, at 6 p.m. at the Newberry Library in Chicago. Panelists will include speakers from the Circuit Court Archives, the Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD), the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), and the Newberry Library. For more information, call (312) 255-3510.

The Tefft Family Association (descendents of John Tefft [Tift] of Rhode Island and his brother William Teffe of Boston) will hold its 4th reunion and annual meeting at South Kingstown, Rhode Island, October 12-14, 2002. For further information, contact:

*The Regional In-depth Genealogical Studies Alliance workshop being held in cooperation with the National Archives and Records Administration's Southeast Region in Atlanta, Georgia, from October 13-18, 2002, has extended its early registration deadline. This hands-on workshop features a full week of learning how to access and interpret original records available at the National Archives regional facilities. For more details or to download a registration form, see the RIGS Alliance Web site at

*The Family History Month Genealogy Fair will be held Saturday, 19 October 2002 in Elkhorn Wisconsin. Presented by the Walworth County Genealogical Society, this event allows you to browse at your leisure and view what is available to help you in researching your family history. Members of various genealogical societies from Wisconsin and Illinois, Walworth County Historical Society & other historical societies, Family History Centers, Vesterheim Library, Max Kade Institute, Daughters of the American Revolution, Area Research Centers, Origins Genealogical Book Store, Memories From the Heart Scrapbooking Store, Sawdust 'N Stitches Quilt Shop and others will be available. For further information, contact: or

*The Oxfordshire Family History Societyís Open Day 2002 will take place on Saturday 19 October 2002 at Exeter Hall, Oxford Road, Kidlington, Oxford. The Open Day will feature Audrey Collins giving presentations on topics of interest to family historians, a demonstration and workshop on the scanning of old photographs, an assortment of visiting societies, dealers in second hand books and postcards, sales of microfiche readers and the like, the society's library and search services, a beginners' helpdesk, as well as computing demonstrations giving advice on such things as which genealogical software package to choose and the use of the Internet in family history. Information may be found at:

*(update) The Alberta Family Histories Society is pleased to present FamilyRoots 2002, a family history seminar on October 25 and 26, 2002 in Calgary, Alberta. This yearís theme is "Digging Deeper With Old and New Tools." Thirty sessions will be held on Saturday. It will be preceded on Friday evening October 25th with a presentation by Brigham Young University representatives involved with their widely-acclaimed Molecular Genealogy Project. Blood samples will be taken from consenting donors who will also provide their pedigree chart. For complete details on FamilyRoots 2002, visit the website:

*The Florida State Genealogical Society will host its twenty-sixth annual conference in St. Petersburg, Florida, on November 15 & 16, 2002. The featured speaker, Linda Woodward Geiger, CGRS, CGL, will present four very exciting lectures. In addition, over fifteen lectures will be given in seven tracks. The tracks are: Beginning Genealogy, Intermediate Genealogy, Computer Technology, Ethnic Research, Florida Research, All Levels Research, and Society Helps. For additional information, visit the FSGS Website at:

*The GENTECH2003 conference will be held in sunny Phoenix, Arizona on January 17-18, 2003. The theme will be "Digital Technology - The Ancestral Frontier." This conference always features outstanding speakers in a variety of fields relating to the union of genealogy and modern technology. In the exhibit hall, dozens of companies and organizations from the genealogical community will present their best and latest wares. Following in the tradition of the last several GENTECH conferences, there will also be a special Library Day on Thursday, January 16, the day before the conference proper. (Primarily -- but not exclusively -- for professional librarians, Library Day focuses on issues of providing meaningful and relevant genealogical services at libraries of all sorts.) The local host for the conference is the Arizona Genealogical Computer Interest Group (AGCIG). For details on the conference, visit

*(update) Sharon DeBartolo Carmack will be all-day speaker for the Sonoma County Genealogical Society on 22 March 2003, at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park. Please note that this is a change from the usual facilities. Details can be found at:

The 10th Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry is being held in Melbourne from the 23rd - 27th April 2003. The congress will be accompanied by an extensive trade exhibition, local and international speakers, an extensive social program, and so much more. For further details, please contact:

If you would like to see your event listed in future newsletters, send an e-mail to: You must include either a Web page that gives details or an e-mail address for the organization or for someone within the organization who is willing to supply the meeting details upon request. Please limit your listings to events where you expect 100 or more people to attend.

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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 newsletterís online discussion group on CompuServeís Genealogy Techniques Forum. The CompuServe forums are free and are available to anyone using Netscape, Internet Explorer or CompuServeís own software Go to:

If you would like to submit news, information or press releases for possible inclusion in future newsletters, send them to 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 userís 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 Eastmanís Online Genealogy Newsletter and is copyright 2002 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: Due to the volume of e-mail received, he is unable to answer every e-mail message received.

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