Fast & reliable dial-up Internet access!

Do not reply to this message. To unsubscribe, send an email to: newsletter-unsubscribe-##L=##H@eastman.biglist.com or go to: http://www.RootsForum.com/newsletter.

This message was sent to: ##L@##H.


Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

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

Vol. 7 No. 37 – September 16, 2002

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

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


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

This newsletter is available in both HTML and ASCII text versions. Most subscribes prefer the HTML version. You can switch to the other format at: http://www.RootsForum.com/newsletter.

Do you want to change your address? Are you receiving duplicate issues or in the wrong format? Do you have another problem with the newsletter? Answers are available at: http://www.rootsforum.com/newsletter/faq.htm


IN THIS ISSUE:

- GedHTree
- Genealogy.com Adds Online U.S. Census Collection
- Vital Records of Springfield, Mass. on CD-ROM
- U.S. Passenger Lists: A CD-ROM Tutorial
- Genealogy Scams Online
- Virginia Ghosts
- Queen Victoria’s Ancestry Questioned
- Early Genealogy Programs
- New Books


- GedHTree

You can find a number of products that will read a GEDCOM file created by your favorite genealogy program and then convert that data into Web pages, printed reports or CD-ROM disks. I have written about a number of such programs in past editions of this newsletter. This week I had a chance to try such a program that is brand-new and I was impressed with it.

GedHTree is a program for Windows 95 / 98 / ME / XP / NT4.0 / 2000 users. The program processes GEDCOM files to generate output pages in HTML format. These HTML files can be uploaded to a personal Web site to share your family genealogy with others on the Web. The same files can be copied onto CD-ROM disks to share data that way as well.

Rather than trying to describe the appearance of the generated Web pages, I will refer you to online examples. To see what this program could do with your data, first take a look at http://www.gedhtree.com/welkmayn/ghtindex.htm. Pay special attentions to the maps on that site. Next, look at Dick Cleaveland’s site at http://mywebpages.comcast.net/cleave5/ghtindex.htm. You can also go to http://www.gedhtree.com/gedhtree.htm#overview and click on each of the chart icons shown there.

You will notice that GedHTree will generate several different views of pedigree charts as well as descendant charts. It will also generate a surname index. You can use any background image that you wish. The program includes 28 such images, but you can also add your own. GedHTree will also generate either text or graphic index page banners. In addition, the program will create optional photo links to online images of family members. I was especially impressed with the program’s mapping capabilities, such as those shown at http://www.gedhtree.com/welkmayn/statsmap.htm and at http://www.gedhtree.com/welkmayn/euromap.htm. When you look at those maps, click on the colored icons to view the details. Best of all, GedHTree has a proper privacy option for suppressing information on living individuals.

GedHTree is available in two versions: one that is free and another that requires registration and payment. The unregistered version is fully functional and generates all index, group, note, source and photo pages. The number of generations displayed in the direct ancestor pedigree tree pages for unregistered users is limited to 4 generations. The registered version displays up to four separate direct ancestor pedigree trees covering all generations, or all-inclusive family group ancestor trees which include all individuals in the GEDCOM file. Additional features available for registered users are options for family groups in descendant tree format, GEDCOM distribution maps of USA and Europe showing time/density for GEDCOM individuals, name/age statistics, thumbnails of photos on group pages, compact tree and all-inclusive tree pages, and history timelines at the top of each compact or all-inclusive tree.

Most people will want to first download the unregistered version and use that for a while. If they like the program and want to expand its capabilities, the registration fee is $20.00 (U.S. funds). You then receive a registration code by e-mail. Once you enter your registration code, all of GedHTree's enhanced features will immediately be enabled.

For more information about GedHTree or to download the program, go to http://www.gedhtree.com.

My thanks to Dick Cleaveland for telling me about GedHTree.

[Return to Table of Contents]


- Genealogy.com Adds Online U.S. Census Collection

Genealogy.com recently launched their online U.S. Census Collection. This collection currently includes 6 of the 15 Censuses: 1790, 1800, 1810, 1840, 1870, & 1900. The 1900 census is indexed by Head of Household. The company plans to release more census records each month.

The Genealogy.com U.S. Census Collection is a product of the company’s partnership with HeritageQuest, a division of ProQuest. Actually, I don’t think that partnership has been announced yet. However, five weeks ago I wrote in this newsletter about the Federation of Genealogical Societies’ conference in Ontario, California. In that article I stated, "Genealogy.com has entered into partnership with ProQuest to offer online access to thousands of compiled ‘Family and Local Histories.’" The new online census collection appears to be a part of that agreement with the HeritageQuest division of ProQuest.

I wrote about HeritageQuest Online’s census records and 16,000 family history books in the July 29, 2002 edition of this newsletter. In that article I described how much I liked the online product. However, I also wrote, "I should point out that HeritageQuest Online is a service being marketed to libraries, not to individuals. In fact, the ProQuest and UMI names are already well known to most librarians since the companies have been supplying reference materials to libraries for years. The new HeritageQuest Online service is rather expensive, and I doubt if many private individuals will purchase direct access to this online resource."

The new agreement with Genealogy.com appears to solve the expense problem. Private individuals can purchase online access from Genealogy.com for a few dollars per month rather than paying thousands of dollars for a direct subscription from HeritageQuest Online/ProQuest.

This week I had an opportunity to use Genealogy.com’s new online census records. The collection provides images of the original census records written in the enumerators’ handwriting. The images are excellent; I had no problems reading them on my computer’s screen or reading the copies that I printed on an inkjet printer. The quality of the handwriting obviously varied, however. Most of the records I looked at were quite legible, but there will always be a few examples of poor handwriting.

The navigation menus were also clear and easy to understand. Navigating to the desired census collection and then electronically "thumbing" through the pages seemed very intuitive.

I noted that the only index available at this time is for the 1900 census. All the other online census records (1790, 1800, 1810, 1840 and 1870) can only be searched manually, one page at a time.

All in all, the Genealogy.com U.S. Census Collection is an excellent source of genealogy data. This primary source contains images of original records that are valuable to most American genealogists.

A subscription to the Genealogy.com U.S. Census Collection costs $19.99 a month, less than the cost of a single trip to my nearest library that has these same records available on microfilm. For that amount of money, I can return to the online library again and again for 30 days. An annual subscription of $99.99 will be more cost-effective for those who plan to use this online resource over an extended period of time. The annual subscription is the equivalent of $8.33 a month.

For more information about Genealogy.com’s U.S. Census Collection or to subscribe online, go to: http://www.Genealogy.com/ifa.

[Return to Table of Contents]


- Vital Records of Springfield, Mass. on CD-ROM

The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS, or simply "HisGen") continues to turn out many new CD-ROM disks of high-quality genealogy data. Michael Leclerc, the society’s Director of Electronic Publications, must be very busy these days! This week I had a chance to use one of the society’s new releases: Vital Records of Springfield, Massachusetts to 1850, compiled by Clifford L. Stott, AG, CG, FASG.

This CD, like many other recently released CD-ROM disks from NEHGS, is a second form of publication for a new book to be published by the society. In this case, the Vital Records of Springfield, Massachusetts to 1850 is being released both as a CD-ROM and as a 4-volume hardcover book set. Apparently production times are shorter for CD-ROM disks than for printed books: the CD-ROM is available now, but the printed books will not be available until sometime this winter.

The installation and operation of this CD-ROM is very similar to other recent products from the New England Historic Genealogical Society that I have reviewed in recent months. Macintosh users will be pleased to know that this disk works on both Macintosh and Windows systems. During installation you are presented with a choice to install all the data to your hard drive or to use the data on the CD-ROM disk. Installing everything to the hard drive speeds up all the data searches but has the disadvantage of consuming a lot of disk space. Those without a lot of available space will probably elect to search the CD-ROM for data, even though that method is significantly slower.

The Vital Records of Springfield, Massachusetts to 1850 CD-ROM uses Folio Views software as its database "engine," a good choice in my opinion. I was able to easily navigate around this disk without referring to the built-in Help files. There is no printed manual and none is needed. I was able to do both simple and complex Boolean searches and to print pages as I wished. I was especially pleased to see that the normal "copy and paste" functions operated properly on this CD-ROM. Many of the CDs produced by other companies and societies that I have used in the past have the "copy-and-paste" function disabled. That makes it very difficult to copy data from the CD-ROM to a genealogy program or to a word processor.

As an example of "copy and paste," I copied the following words from the CD-ROM to the Windows Clipboard and then pasted the words directly into the word processor I use to write this newsletter, all without re-typing:

On 1 January 1846, Springfield town clerk Joseph Ingraham inserted the following declaration on a page of marriage intentions in Book One of Springfield town vital records:

Preserve this book. It will be a curiosity to the Generations that must follow us.

Indeed, Mr. Ingraham’s prediction made 156 years ago certainly was accurate; it is a curiosity to many with ancestors from western Massachusetts. I suspect that a computer and a CD-ROM disk would have been equally curious to him.

Springfield was founded in 1641 and was the first settlement in western Massachusetts. The following words by Clifford L. Stott describe the data contained within the new books and CD-ROM disk: "The present work contains not only the town vital records but also vital information from twenty-one cemeteries, ten churches, eleven newspapers, the Massachusetts State vital records, the records of Judge John Pynchon, and the private records of Springfield resident John S. Edwards. While the town vital records provide the greatest number of vital entries, they are far from the final word on the families of Springfield. Thousands of entries in these supplementary sources contain information not available in the town records. This is especially true of the early nineteenth century, when the town vital records were kept rather sporadically. Because of size and time constraints, the scope of the project was limited to vital events occurring before 1 January 1850."

The history, importance, location, custody, condition, and significant features of the various documents and cemeteries are also discussed. These records have not been published previously as one collection. As a result, this is probably the most important reference now available for Springfield records.

As with most collections of vital records, there is no fixed format. Those who recorded the information many years ago had no concept of database fields or fixed formats. They wrote whatever seemed appropriate at the time. For example, here are a few examples of records about people with the same surname as my own:

  • Mrs. Sarah Eastman died November 8th 1828. aged 45 Years.
  • Mr Samuel Eastman of Hardwick enters his Intention of Marriage with Miss Sarah Pynchon of Springfield November 25th 1809. Notification posted next day
  • Married – At Cabotville, on the 12th of March, by the Rev. Mr. Warren, Mr. Charles B. Eastman, to Miss Catharine Hanscom, both of Cabotville.
  • [Died] At Cabotville, Oct. 10, Mrs. Abigail Eastman, aged 55, relict of Mr. Samuel Eastman of Hadley.

Anyone with ancestors in or around Springfield will be very interested in this new set of books, either the CD-ROM version or the printed version. So will historians studying the area. There are lots of "gems" of information on this new disk. These books and/or the CD also belong in the reference section of every library that has a collection of books dealing with New England ancestry or history.

It is interesting to note the price difference between the CD-ROM version and the printed version of this new release. The CD-ROM sells for $39.95 while the same data published in four hardbound volumes will cost $150.00 when it becomes available.

To safely order the Vital Records of Springfield, Massachusetts to 1850, compiled by Clifford L. Stott, on NEHGS’s secure Web server, go to: http://www.newenglandancestors.org/store/browse/product.asp?sku=114672338

[Return to Table of Contents]


- U.S. Passenger Lists: A CD-ROM Tutorial

Many genealogists attend conferences where expert speakers make presentations on a variety of topics. Attending a conference is a great educational opportunity; you can learn how to do a better job of researching information, how to use computers or how to publish your information in a format that will be useful to future genealogists. However, not everyone can attend distant genealogy conferences that feature their favorite topics. The conferences within your area may not have speakers on topics you are interested in.

This week I had a chance to use a brand-new genealogy tutorial called U.S. Passenger Lists, produced by the Heritage Learning Library of Salt Lake City. In effect, this tutorial is a one-hour presentation that is similar to what you would experience in-person at genealogy conferences. E. Wade Hone, an author and frequent lecturer on the topic of passenger lists, delivers the one-hour presentation on CD-ROM. It is presented in a format that is very similar to attending a presentation at a genealogy conference, listening to the speaker and viewing the accompanying PowerPoint slides. You hear the presenter’s voice in your computer’s speakers, and you watch the accompanying slide show on the screen.

This CD turned out to be one of the easiest to use that I have ever reviewed. Insert the CD-ROM disk into your computer, then sit back and watch and listen. The tutorial autostarts immediately, as soon as you insert the disk; you don’t even need to click anything with your mouse. Once launched, however, the user can use the mouse to jump to specific sections of the presentation. This makes it easy to return to parts of the presentation a second or third time to revisit specific points.

Mr. Hone’s introduction describes the earliest passenger lists, and he explains why they were created. Perhaps even more importantly, he also tells why there was little need for passenger lists in the earliest days of Colonial America, and why thousands of immigrants arrived before 1820 without being listed on any passenger list. He then launches into an in-depth description of how to examine passenger lists in a manner that maximizes productivity. He also gives specific tutorials on the port arrival records of Boston, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. He describes the use of Soundex and concludes with an extensive list of printed and online resources for future efforts.

The format of this presentation is simple but effective. The CD-ROM contains a speech delivered by Mr. Hone, along with an accompanying slide show. The information presented is an excellent introduction to the topic. Anyone with limited experience in passenger lists would be an obvious potential customer for this product. Genealogy societies would also be likely to purchase it, as would local Family History Centers or any other library that holds passenger list information. Library employees would love to have a patron watch this CD-ROM instead of trying to coach the patron personally.

The U.S. Passenger Lists tutorial on CD-ROM requires Windows 95 or later plus a minimum of 60 megabytes of RAM memory. Almost all Windows computers purchased these days have that amount of memory or more, but owners of older systems might want to verify the amount of installed RAM memory before purchasing this product.

The U.S. Passenger Lists tutorial on CD-ROM sells for $19.95 plus shipping. It is a brand-new product; I couldn’t find it listed yet on the Heritage Learning Library’s web site at http://www.heritageconsulting.com. However, I suspect it will appear there soon. In the meantime, I bet you could obtain ordering information by sending an e-mail to lindan@heritageconsulting.com or by calling 801-596-1028 between the hours of 10:00 am and 9:00 pm (MST) Monday through Friday.

[Return to Table of Contents]


- Genealogy Scams Online

The following is an extract from an e-mail that I received recently:

I received the below e-mail, and several other subsequent ones from the outfit indicated. I mailed them a check in the amount of $49.99 per their request and have not heard a word from them since despite several attempts on my part to get in touch with them. E-mail to them bounces as fast as I can send it. I wonder if you would be interested in warning others who might be tempted to join this online library of genealogical information?

The message that was attached is a typical "spam mail" that glowingly describes a Web site. It says, in part:

We need to announce this is the final offer we have available to receive the extended referral offer to you for a Free 5 Day Trial to our online genealogy research library located at: http://www.genseekers.com. We also have an extra 25% off for genealogists joining through Mail Order or Online Check located at: http://www.genseekers.com/specialoffer.htm

Sadly, I receive many such messages about so-called genealogy "services" that take your money and then either disappear or else seem to deliver goods that are much less than the mental image painted by the advertisements.

What these ads don’t tell you is that the "online research library" being offered is, in fact, the World Wide Web! Each such "service" provides a simple gateway that leads you to publicly available Web pages, the same Web pages that you can read right now for free. You pay $30 or $50 or more to access a set of menus that, in turn, point you to free Web pages. You can obtain the same information from most any free search engine or from Cyndi’s List, also free of charge.

GenSeekers is but one of a number of similar Web sites that have appeared recently. I don’t know if all these Web sites are owned by the same person or not, but they all share the same modus operandi. They send tens of thousands of e-mail messages to genealogists, claiming to offer access to an "online research library [that] can save you time and money by featuring a simple point and click interface allowing you to easily find the genealogical data you are looking for in seconds."

GenSeekers.com is the latest name used. In times past, I have written about other similar Web sites, including FamilyDiscovery.com, Genealogy-Developments.com, GenLocator.com and Genealogy-Express.com. I am sure there are others, and I’m also sure we will see even more such sites in the future.

I am no lawyer, but I suspect that charging money for a site that gives pointers to free sites is completely legal. Those with more legal training than I have are welcome to discuss the finer points of law, however. I suspect this "service" is no different from paying for a book or magazine that contains lists of Web pages. While the "service" may be legal, I will let you decide if such a list is worth $30.00 or more.

Many of the sites mentioned have disappeared after the word got out. Complaints often get fed to the companies that host the Web pages. A hosting service typically will shut down the Web pages after receiving numerous complaints; however, within a few days, a new "business" with a slightly different name appears at a new address, hosted by a different Web hosting service. The "services" provided by the new Web site are always similar to those of the now-defunct Web site.

Luckily, it is easy to find the Web sites with poor reputations. If you receive a suspicious-sounding offer, my first suggestion is to go to the home page for these newsletters on Ancestry.com at http://www.ancestry.com/library/view/columns/eastman/eastman.asp. Enter the word "scam" (without the quote marks) into the box labeled "Search The Library." This will find all the articles that I have written that contain this word, along with more articles by other authors.

Next, go to any of the better search engines and search for the name of the company or Web site in question. You will find many references to that company and usually can find comments about good and bad experiences alike. Bad experiences are usually prominent in the search engine listings. For instance, here are some Google links that search for information about some of the companies already mentioned:

GenSeekers.com: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=GenSeekers

FamilyDiscovery.com: http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=FamilyDiscovery.com&btnG=Google+Search

Genealogy-Developments.com: http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=Genealogy-Developments.com&btnG=Google+Search

GenLocator.com: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=GenLocator

Also look at the "Genealogy Hall of Shame" at http://blacksheep.rootsweb.com/shame/genlocator.htm. Finally, you might check Cyndi Howell’s list of Myths, Hoaxes & Scams at: http://www.cyndislist.com/myths.htm

Caveat emptor! (Let the buyer beware!)

[Return to Table of Contents]


- Virginia Ghosts

This week I had a chance to read a book that is a bit different from what I normally write about in this newsletter. Virginia Ghosts is exactly what its title infers: it is a collection of ghost stories about famous places in Virginia -- a real bedtime reading thriller.

Virginia Ghosts by Marguerite du Pont Lee is a collection of more than 100 ghost stories that have entertained lovers of Virginia genealogy, history, and folklore for generations. It was originally published in the 1930s as two books. This year Clearfield Company, Inc. has republished the two volumes as one new book.

What is so interesting about these stories is that many of them concern early Virginians who appear on the family trees of Virginia researchers. Most of the tales deal with ghosts sited at the homesteads that proliferate in Virginia. The homesteads mentioned include the Anchorage and Gunston Hall in the Alexandria area, Federal Hill and Traveller's Rest near Fredericksburg, Mount Airy and Woodlawn in the Tidewater, Edgewood and Westover near Richmond, Ash Lawn and Fairfield within the Piedmont, Carter Hall and Elmwood in the Shenandoah Valley, Ivanhoe and Ellerslie in Southside.

Virginia Ghosts will be an "interesting read" for anyone who can trace ancestry back to the Virginia homesteads listed as well as for any fans of ghost stories.

Virginia Ghosts can be ordered from any bookstore if you specify ISBN 0806350954. It is also available directly from the Genealogical Publishing Company and Clearfield Company Web site for $24.95 plus shipping. For more information, or to order the book from the publisher’s safe and secure online ordering system, look at: http://www.genealogical.com/item_detail.cfm?ID=9210

[Return to Table of Contents]


- Queen Victoria’s Ancestry Questioned

A recently-published book from Random House says that Britain's Queen Victoria may have been illegitimate, possibly undermining the whole Royal Family's legitimacy. If true, hundreds of genealogy books, royal lineages, and various Web sites would need to be re-written.

In his book "The Victorians," biographer A.N. Wilson alleges that Victoria's mother, Princess Victoire of Leiningen, had a lengthy affair with her Irish-born secretary, Sir John Conroy, and that he, rather than Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent, was Victoria's real father.

Wilson based his argument partly on medical data. Records show that the illness porphyria -- a hereditary disorder of body metabolism -- once ran in the Royal Family, but there is no evidence that Victoria carried it or passed it to her descendants. Wilson also writes that Victoria was a carrier for the disease hemophilia, although medical records tracing her mother's ancestors for 17 generations show no evidence of the disease, suggesting Victoria inherited it from Conroy.

It is an interesting speculation, but please remember that it is just that: only speculation. Buckingham Palace said it would not comment on the allegation. To my knowledge, no DNA testing is under consideration in this matter; the ramifications might be more than the biographer had in mind.

You can learn more about "The Victorians" at the Random House Web site: http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/search/display/index.pperl/0-09-179421-8.html

[Return to Table of Contents]


- Early Genealogy Programs

Who wrote the first genealogy program for home computers and made it available to others? Do you know the answer?

For this question, let’s not consider specialized mainframe programs written by corporations or other organizations for their internal operations, such as those used internally by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Also, let’s not consider programs written by someone for their own personal use and never released to the general public. For this discussion, we should only consider released programs that were used by many people and were well known at the time.

Actually, I wrote a crude genealogy program in COBOL in 1975 that ran on my employer’s Honeywell 2070 mainframe computer, a computer that filled a large room and cost more than a million dollars. I ran the program during off hours, when my employer’s business workload was low. The "database" was stored on 80-column punch cards. When I say it was "crude," I am probably guilty of understatement. This program of less than 100 lines of code had perhaps 1% of the capability of today’s genealogy programs. All it did was print formatted reports on the system’s printer. The reports were in all capital letters as that mainframe’s $30,000 line printer was not capable of printing lower case. While I wrote that little program in 1975, I suspect that I wasn’t the first to write such a utility. I bet there were other folks quietly writing similar programs for personal use even in the late 1960s.

The first well-known released and supported genealogy program for microcomputers probably was "Genealogy: Compiling Roots and Branches," or GCRAB, written by John J. Armstrong. It was featured on the cover of the September 1979 issue of Personal Computing Magazine. An accompanying article inside the magazine described the operation of this new software, which was written in Microsoft BASIC for the TRS-80 computer manufactured by Radio Shack. The source code was printed in the magazine, and you typed the code into your computer. In those early days there was no standardized method of shipping software on floppy disks. In fact, floppy disk drives were an expensive option on the TRS-80, and many people never purchased them! "Genealogy: Compiling Roots and Branches" sold for $250.

In early 1980, CommSoft was founded as a small company that produced software for ham radio operators. In April 1981, CommSoft’s owner, Howard Nurse, and programmer Herb Drake released their first genealogy product: ROOTS89 for the Heathkit H-89 computers. In later years, the company released newer versions, including ROOTS/M for CP/M computers and then ROOTS 2 through ROOTS 5 for the IBM-compatible PCs. Prices varied a bit, depending upon the options selected, but the program typically had a base price of $250. If you ordered ROOTS -3 plus all the optional software modules, the total price was over $400! Palladium purchased the ROOTS product line in May 1997 and chose the name Ultimate Family Tree for the product. Broderbund, in turn, later purchased Palladium. Broderbund stopped developing the program, however, and it was eventually dropped from their catalog. By the way, CommSoft is still in business and is still creating ham radio software. Take a look at: http://www.commcat.com/

In 1982, Steve Vorenberg, president of Quinsept Software of Lexington, Massachusetts, released Family Roots. Before long, he produced versions for almost every computer then on the market, including Apple II, Commodore 64, Commodore 128, IBM PCs, and Macintosh. It sold for $225. Family Roots enjoyed a healthy market share for some time, but sales eventually declined as newer and stronger programs became available. Quinsept folded in August 1997.

"Genealogy On Display" by Melvin O. Duke appeared around 1982 as a shareware program written in BASIC. "Family Ties" for CP/M computers by Neil Wagstaff also was released about the same time. Both later became available for the new IBM Personal Computers.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints first introduced Personal Ancestral File (PAF) in 1983. The program had a previously unheard-of low price of only $35.00.

In the mid to late 1980s, the list of available genealogy programs mushroomed. Two things fascinate me: the exponential growth in capabilities of genealogy software and the accompanying drop in prices. In 1984, the typical genealogy program sold for more than $200 and had limited reporting capability when compared to today’s software. Most genealogy programs of that era had no provision for recording source citations and also could not record conflicting data. Each "fact" was treated as if it was the only fact ever found. If two different places or dates of birth were found, the user of the program had to decide which was accurate and then entered only that one "fact." There was no place within the program to explain why that one fact was chosen, nor to tell where the information was obtained. Many of the programs of the early 1980s could not even store text notes.

None of the programs of the early 1980s could exchange data with any other genealogy program of that time; GEDCOM had not yet been invented. If a user wanted to upgrade to a more powerful program, he or she had to manually re-enter all the data!

Contrast all that with today’s scene. At least two good genealogy programs are available free of charge: Legacy Standard Edition and Personal Ancestral File. The more powerful genealogy programs of today sell for $20.00 to $99.00. All of today’s programs record text notes as well as source citations. All of them generate a wide variety of printed reports. Many can also create World Wide Web reports or even data for inclusion on a CD-ROM disk. All of today’s programs can exchange data with other genealogy programs via GEDCOM files.

Genealogy software has come a long ways in twenty years. Looking back on the primitive programs that began the digital revolution of genealogy, I really do not miss "the good old days."

[Return to Table of Contents]


- New Books

I expect to announce new books every few weeks as announcements are received. Each book mentioned in this new section will be one that is newly published or perhaps is a significant new update of a book published some years ago. This listing is for books published on paper, not on CD-ROM or online.

"The Art of Family: Genealogical Artifacts in New England." edited by D. Brenton Simons and Peter Benes has been published by the New England Historic Genealogical Society in conjunction with Northeastern University Press. A unique and unprecedented publication, "The Art of Family" is illustrated with more than 200 black and white illustrations and sixteen color plates, and features many rare or never-before-published images from the collections of the American Antiquarian Society, the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, the Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife, the New England Historic Genealogical Society, and museums and private collections throughout the United States. It is an essential source for genealogists, historians, collectors, curators, and general readers. $75 plus $4 shipping and handling (book rate) or $6.50 (UPS). http://www.NewEnglandAncestors.org

"A Full House: Growing Up Italian" by Rita Conti Harrison has been published by Peter E. Randall Publisher. This is a fascinating memoir of an Italian American woman growing up in a large family during the Great Depression. Travel back to the early 1900s when Harrison’s mother, father, aunts and cousins arrived from Italy to carve out a new life in a small mill town in Massachusetts. Harrison and her siblings learn of their parents’ native land, through the cooking and sharing of delicious Italian food and their mother’s singing of her native songs while doing laundry. Their "papa" was a patriarch with a strong work ethic and a green thumb; much of what the family ate was grown in his backyard garden. $15.00. https://www33.hway.net/perpub/per48.html

"Oh for Dixie! The Civil War Record and Diary of Capt. William V. Davis, 30th Mississippi Infantry, C.S.A." by Joe and LaVon Ashley. The authors have compiled a chronological account of Davis' Confederate service from March 1862 to May 1865 and annotated the diary entries he recorded from July 1864 to May 1865. Oh for Dixie! is a biography of Attala County, Mississippi, resident William Van Davis (1828-1884) and a brief regimental history of the 30th Mississippi Infantry. Also included in the book are maps of Davis' journey, a biographical list of 250 people (150 Mississippi soldiers), a regimental muster roll, and an index. 296 pages; $19.95 plus $4.00 S & H. Details available from joeashley@adelphia.net

"Bussey Funeral Home Records 1895 – 1910" from St. Petersburg, Florida, is a new 92-page book published by the Pinellas Genealogy Society. This journal, covering May 22, 1895, through February 23, 1910, includes both extracted (alphabetized) data as well as copies of the original journal pages. $10 plus shipping and taxes from: tolaite@tampabay.rr.com

The "Ransom Family Of America" was originally written by Wyllys C. Ransom. This new edition contains all the original pages plus an update written by Wm. F. and Norma Heatley. This 471-page hard bound book with extra blank pages for a descendant's beginning of following their own genealogical path is available from bino2731@aol.com

"Calais, Maine, Families: They Came and They Went" by Thelma Eye Brooks - The 346 families represented in this book are the families who had children’s births registered in the Calais City Hall’s earliest known (when this project began) book of vital records. The goal of this project was to find three generations of each family – one back from the head of the family and his wife, and the children and their spouses. Arranged alphabetically, this work includes an index of "buried" names to help the researcher find allied names. 211 pages. $32.50 http://www.heritagebooks.com/miva/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=HBI&Product_Code=B2135

"School Board Minutes, Enumerations Lists and Account Records, Barbour County, West Virginia: Philippi Independent District, July 1870-December 1899 Philippi District, September 1871–November 1899" by Sharon Wilmoth Harsh. The minutes are a valuable source of information on the formation of the local education system during those rebuilding years and contain the names of many of the local citizens and families who lived in the Philippi area during those historic times. 415 pages, $34.00. http://www.heritagebooks.com/miva/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=HBI&Product_Code=H2136

"Our Maryland Heritage: Book 36, Ray Families" by William N. Hurley, Jr. covers the descendants of Joseph Ray who was born about 1755; William Ray, who died about 1737; and miscellaneous Ray families. 150 pages with index. $18.00 http://www.heritagebooks.com/miva/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=HBI&Product_Code=H2137

"How Firm A Foundation: William Bradford and Plymouth" by John M. Pafford. The book opens with the birth of William Bradford in Yorkshire, England, in 1590, follows him to the New World in 1620, and concludes in 1691 when Plymouth became part of the Massachusetts Bay colony. Topics include: British colonization, religion, government, education, the economy, Indians, the Pequot War, the New England Confederation, and much more. 127 pages, bibliography and index. $17.00. http://www.heritagebooks.com/miva/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=HBI&Product_Code=P2140

"Mexican-American Genealogical Research: Following the Paper Trail to Mexico" by John Schmal and Donna Morales. The authors have collaborated in the presentation of this resource guide, which illustrates many documents from the family of Ms. Morales, both in Mexico and the United States. The utilization of information from birth and death certificates, newspaper obituaries, naturalization records, alien registration forms, and funeral records are discussed. All of these have the potential of helping the reader to determine the place of origin of his or her Mexican ancestor. The authors also illustrate church and civil records from Mexico and show the reader the amazing amount of detail that the researcher will find in such records. 175 pages with index. $21.00. http://www.heritagebooks.com/miva/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=HBI&Product_Code=S2139

"Of Them That Left A Name Behind: A History of the Starnes Family" by H. Gerald Starnes and Herman Starnes. This volume traces the family immigration route from Alzey (a small village in Germany), to Holland, to London, to New York; from upstate NY to VA, then to NC, SC, KY, TN and LA. It encompasses their participation in the making of American Frontier history on several fronts: early wilderness settlement; Indian fighting; and militia service in the French & Indian, Revolutionary, and 1812 wars. 785 pages, illustrated, maps, appendix, bibliography and index. $65.00. http://www.heritagebooks.com/miva/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=HBI&Product_Code=S2141

"Two Flags in the Wilderness" by Greg Yocherer is a historical novel that begins in 1731. Jean Baptiste Joubert, a cadet in the colonial marines, is assigned to a convoy sent from Fort Michilimackinac to reestablish trade with the Sioux, trade which had been disrupted by war with the Fox. The action moves from the Illinois Country to New Orleans, and from there to Montreal and Albany. Finally, the scene shifts back to the Great Lakes region for a final confrontation between French allied forces and the Fox. 389 pages with maps. $21.95. http://www.heritagebooks.com/miva/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=HBI&Product_Code=Y2143

"Tennessee Records: Tombstone Inscriptions and Manuscripts" – Compiled by Jeanette Tillotson Acklen, et al. The data contained herein has been drawn from family Bibles, tombstones, from diaries, from letters and other manuscripts, county records, and from various other sources. In addition to an exhaustive listing of tombstone inscriptions, one will find some interesting historical and biographical sketches within these pages. The mortuary inscriptions, in most cases, provide the name of the deceased and dates of birth and death. (1933) reprint, 517 pages, illustrated, index. $39.50 http://www.heritagebooks.com/miva/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=HBI&Product_Code=A2144

"A Genealogical History of Robert Adams of Newbury, Mass. and his Descendants, 1635-1900" – Compiled and edited by Andrew N. Adams. Born in England in 1602, Robert Adams traveled to Ipswich, MA in 1635 with his wife and 2 children. He is thought to be originally from Devonshire, and to be the son of Robert and Elizabeth Sharlon or Sharland. This would make him a cousin of Henry Adams of Braintree (later Quincy, MA), the ancestor of the presidents, John and John Quincy Adams. (1900) reprint, 564pages, illustrated, indices. $44.50. http://www.heritagebooks.com/miva/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=HBI&Product_Code=A2145

"Records of Officers and Men of New Jersey in Wars 1791-1815" by the Adjutant General of New Jersey. This work provides records for six different military campaigns: the Expedition against the Indians (1791); the Pennsylvania Insurrection (1794); the Naval War with France (1798-1801); the Naval War with Tripoli, Africa (1801-1805); the War with Great Britain (1812-1815); and the Naval War with Algiers, Africa (1815). The entries covering Army and militia information are usually grouped by company and include name, rank, dates of service, and additional information when available. Naval and Marine forces are usually arranged alphabetically by name and include rank, company, place of enlistment, dates of service, description of end of service, and other available information. (1909) reprint, 409 pages, original fullname indices. $32.00 http://www.heritagebooks.com/miva/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=HBI&Product_Code=A2134

"A History of Natick [MA], from its First Settlement in 1651 to the Present Time; With Notices of the First White Families, and also an Account of the Centennial Celebration, Oct. 16, 1851, Rev. Mr. Hunt’s Address at the Consecration of Dell Park Cemetery, &c., &c., &c." by Oliver N. Bacon. Natick [MA] is located in the eastern part of Massachusetts in Middlesex County, approximately 16 miles from Boston and 24 miles from Worcester. (1856) reprint, 263pages, illustrated, appendix, new index. $25.00. http://www.heritagebooks.com/miva/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=HBI&Product_Code=B2146

"Colonial Families of the United States Descended from the Immigrants: Bell, Beal, Bale, Beale, Beall Family" by Lieut. Col. Fielder M. M. Beall. This work covers the descendants of Colonel Ninian Beall (1625-1717), Alexander Beall (1649-1744), James Beall, Sr. (1652-1725), Robert Beall (1670-1748), John Beall, Major Thomas Beale (1645-1713), Thomas Bale (1640-1707), Col. Thomas Beale (1619-1688), William Bell (1685-1757) and a few others. (1929) reprint, 296 pages, index. $25.50. http://www.heritagebooks.com/miva/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=HBI&Product_Code=B2147

"Colonial Times on Buzzard’s Bay" by William Root Bliss. Buzzard’s Bay is located in the Southeastern section of Massachusetts, and consists of more than 280 miles of coastline. Beginning with the first settlers on the shores of Buzzard’s Bay, the author describes the interesting nature of these hard working, fair-minded and frugal people. He follows their history up until the coming of a railroad into the region. (1889) reprint, 246pages, illustrated, map, new index. $24.00. http://www.heritagebooks.com/miva/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=HBI&Product_Code=B2148

"Early Marriage Records of the Mills Family in the United States: Official and Authoritative Records of Mills Marriages in the Original States and Colonies from 1628-1865," edited by William Montgomery Clemens. This slender volume is filled with material that was gleaned from state, county, city, town and church records. All spellings, such as Mills, Milles, Mill, etc., are included. This volume was originally the sixth volume in the Clemens American Marriage Records series. Individual entries include the full names of bride and groom, and the date, city and state of their marriage. (1916) reprint, 55 pages, index. $12.00. http://www.heritagebooks.com/miva/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=HBI&Product_Code=C2149

"Pioneer Scrap-Book of Wood County, Ohio, and the Maumee Valley" by Charles W. Evers. This is a fascinating collection of historical writings that conjure up images of log cabins, stockaded forts, French explorers and fur traders, Simon Kenton, the famous war chief Tecumseh, frontier battles, the War of 1812, and famous military leaders such as Gen. "Mad" Anthony Wayne, the hero of the battle of Fallen Timbers. (1910) reprint, 274 page, illustrated, new index, paper, $24.50. http://www.heritagebooks.com/miva/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=HBI&Product_Code=E2151

"The Chattanooga Campaign, with especial reference to Wisconsin’s participation therein" by Michael Hendrick Fitch, Lieutenant-Colonel of the Twenty-First Wisconsin Infantry, Brevet Colonel of Volunteers. Topics include: the preliminary campaign and its organization, the organization of the Confederate Army, the advance of the Union Army, the Chickamauga Campaign and battle, the Confederate line on Sept. 20, the Confederate attack upon the Union right, Wisconsin troops at Chickamauga, the occupation and battles at Chattanooga, the Battle of Lookout Mountain, and Wisconsin troops in the Battle of Missionary Ridge. (1911) reprint, 255 pages, maps, index. $25.00. http://www.heritagebooks.com/miva/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=HBI&Product_Code=F2152

"A List of Emigrant Ministers to America 1690–1811" by Gerald Fothergill. This work represents a list of approximately 1,200 prelates and teachers on whose behalf a warrant was issued between the years of 1690-1811. Of these alphabetically arranged entries, the number of ministers far outnumbers the schoolmasters. Each entry consists of the colony of destination, date of emigration, and the source. Additional information is provided, if known, and includes: date of birth, name of parents, date of death, and school presided over. It is interesting to note that quite a few of the qualifying ministers were actually born in the colonies. (1904) reprint, 65 pages. $17.00. http://www.heritagebooks.com/miva/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=HBI&Product_Code=F2153

"Trustees Records of the Town of Southampton, N. Y., (Part Two), 1741-1826" by Harry D. Sleight. These transcripts paint a vivid portrait of life in this area during this era, providing a clear idea of the priorities and significant issues of the town and its inhabitants. Names, dates, and places can be found in abundance within the transcriptions of land sales, grants of funds and land, payment for goods and services, municipal ordinances and the penalties for transgressions, boundary and fencing issues, restrictions on the harvesting of seaweed and oysters, decisions regarding land usage, civil and business disputes, Common Land and Highway concerns, and much more. (1931) reprint, 468 pages with index. $37.50. http://www.heritagebooks.com/miva/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=HBI&Product_Code=S2156

"Landmark History of New York" by Albert Ulmann. A charming guidebook which takes the reader on a journey through New York City’s past by visiting its most historic sites in chronological order. These sites were marked with inscribed tablets that appear as facsimiles throughout this book. Profusely illustrated with photos, ancient maps, drawings and old prints, and even includes a few poems. Beginning in "the old Dutch town" with tablet number one, which marks the site of the first habitations of white men on the island of Manhattan in 1613, and ending with the first excavation for the underground railway, this century-old tour is sure to delight anyone interested in The Big Apple. 1901, (reprint), 289 pages, illustrated, new index. $25.50. http://www.heritagebooks.com/miva/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=HBI&Product_Code=U2157

"Fowlerville Goes To War 1861-1865" by Richard G. Hutchins, MSG USAR, retired, is a book about 520 Civil War veterans who lived in Fowlerville, Livingston Co., Michigan. before and/or after the Civil War. It follows them from their enlistment to their grave and includes their military records, letters, 116 photos, GAR post histories, grave registration and some obituaries. $60.00 plus $3.60 MI sales tax. Information is available from http://www.usol.com/~mahutchins/FowlervilleCWBook.htm

"A Steele Family History: Planters of Old England, New England, and the American West," by Edward E. Steele is a new 600-page hardbound history of the Steele family in England (ancestors of John and George Steele of colonial Hartford, Connecticut) and one line of descent in America. It presents 15 generations of the Steele family from the 1400s to the present with over 100 illustrations, maps, and photographs. "A Steele Family History" was named the "Best Family History of 2002" in the Connecticut Society of Genealogists' Literary Awards Contest. http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~steeles/SFH.html

"This Gunner at His Piece - College Point, New York & The Civil War With Biographies of Those Who Served" is a new book by Jim Haas. College Point is a very small village in Queens, adjacent to Flushing, in New York City. 226 men connected to College Point who took part in the U.S. Civil War. The majority claimed Germany as their country of birth, and 24 died in the service of their adopted homeland. The bulk of the 304 pages is comprised of the soldiers' biographical sketches that include census and service data coupled with information gleaned from military and pension files and other sources. "This Gunner at His Piece", will cost $19.95 when published by Gateway Press in mid-October. Complete details are available at http://www.jimhaasbooks.com

"North Country Settlers: Malone in the 19th Century" by Edgar W. (Ted) Mills was prepared for the bicentennial of the settlement of Malone, New York, "North Country Settlers" is both a reader and a sourcebook in the 19th century social history of northern New York. Part 1 includes eleven chapters with themes in Malone's first hundred years, within the larger context of regional, national and Quebec history. Part 2 offers fourteen locally written and out-of-print source papers written between 1885 and 1950. Paperback: $19.95, hardcover: $29.95. For further information, contact staff@malonenychamber.com

"Galveston Deaths, Obituaries And Tombstones Of Confederates Buried In Broadway Cemeteries" compiled by Bertha Ellen Beall, Norma Dunten and Joyce Newman has just been published by the Fort Virginia Point Chapter 2539, United Daughters Of The Confederacy. The 220 page book includes obituaries photocopied from old newspapers and photographs of tombstones. Details are available from joycen@wt.net

"Richardson and Allied Lines of the Southeast (Incl. Powell, McRae, Garriss, Johnson, Cook, Sheppard, Gatch, Waller & Lightsey)" by Anne Richardson Davis is a 328-page softcover book now available for $35.00 from Sea Griffin Publishing at; http://www.gabooks.com/

"Bryan County Georgia Cemeteries," by Charles H. Davis is a 480-page softcover book that includes a record of all marked graves in the county and a full index. $37.00 from Sea Griffin Publishing at; http://www.gabooks.com/

A note to authors and publishers: If you would like to have your new book(s) listed in future newsletters, send a brief descriptive note to newbooks@rootsforum.com. You do not need to send a copy of your book; an announcement will suffice. Please make sure that you include a Web address or an e-mail address where potential buyers can obtain more information.

[Return to Table of Contents]


Are you interested in the articles in this newsletter? Would you like to learn more or ask questions or make comments about these articles? Join this newsletter’s online discussion group on CompuServe’s Genealogy Techniques Forum. The CompuServe forums are free and are available to anyone using Netscape, Internet Explorer or CompuServe’s own software Go to: http://www.rootsforum.com.


If you would like to submit news, information or press releases for possible inclusion in future newsletters, send them to richard@eastman.net. The author does reserve the right to accept or reject any articles submitted.


DISCLAIMER: This newsletter is being written and sent via e-mail at no charge. I expect to write one new issue on a more or less weekly basis. However, life sometimes interferes, and the need to earn a living may create an occasional delay.


COPYRIGHTS: The contents of this newsletter are copyright by Richard W. Eastman with the following exception:

Many of the articles published in these newsletters contain quotes or references from others, especially from other Web sites, software user’s manuals, press releases and other public announcements. Any words in this newsletter attributed to another person or organization remain the copyrighted materials of the original author(s).

You are hereby granted rights, unless otherwise specified, to re-distribute articles from this newsletter to other parties provided:

  1. You do so strictly for non-commercial purposes
  2. Your re-distribution is limited to one or two articles per newsletter; do not re-distribute the newsletter in its entirety
  3. You may not republish any articles containing words attributed to another person or organization until you obtain permission from that person or organization. While you do have permission to republish words written by Richard W. Eastman, you do not have automatic authority to republish words written by others, even if their words appear in this newsletter.

Also, please include the following statement with any articles you re-distribute:

The following article is from Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter and is copyright 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 a frequent presenter at major genealogy conferences. He has published articles in Genealogical Computing and Family Chronicle magazines and for a number of Web sites. He was an advisor to PBS' Ancestry series and appeared as a guest in one of the episodes. He serves on the Advisory Board of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and is a past Director of GENTECH and the New England Computer Genealogists. Dick is the author of YOUR ROOTS: Total Genealogy Planning On Your Computer published by Ziff-Davis Press. He also manages three Genealogy Forums on CompuServe. 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.


Subscription information: This newsletter is sent to you free of charge. Please feel free to copy this subscription information and pass it on to anyone else who you think might be interested in obtaining a free subscription.

To subscribe or unsubscribe, go to: http://www.rootsforum.com/newsletter

s in Genealogical Computing and Family Chronicle magazines and for a number of Web sites. He was an advisor to PBS' Ancestry series and appeared as a guest in one of the episodes. He serves on the Advisory Board of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and is a past Director of GENTECH and the New England Computer Genealogists. Dick is the author of YOUR ROOTS: Total Genealogy Planning On Your Computer published by Ziff-Davis Press. He also manages three Genealogy Forums on CompuServe. 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.

Subscription information: This newsletter is sent to you free of charge. Please feel free to copy this subscription information and pass it on to anyone else who you think might be interested in obtaining a free subscription.

To subscribe or unsubscribe, go to: http://www.rootsforum.com/newsletter

[Return to Table of Contents]