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Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter
A Weekly Summary of Events and Topics of Interest to Online Genealogists
Vol. 7 No. 39 – September 30, 2002
Please feel free to forward copies of this newsletter to other genealogists.
Copyright© 2002 by Richard W. Eastman. All rights reserved.
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New Message Board for Newsletter Readers
- Create Your Own Web Domain – Part II
- Legacy Adds Distance and Bearing Calculator
- RootsMate Becomes RootsMagic
- Mic Barnette’s Column Received Your Support
- Senate Bill Commemorates Family History Month
- California Bill SB1614 Signed
- New Book: Genealogy Via The Internet
- The Ultimate Calendar Web Page
- Make Telephone Calls over the Internet
- New Message Board for Newsletter Readers
I have created a new message board for the readers of this newsletter. It provides a place for you to post online messages relating to the articles published this newsletter plus whatever topics you wish to discuss. The new message board has four sections:
I may add new message sections in the future if usage warrants.
I would like to encourage all readers of this newsletter to join in the message board. If you have any questions or comments about the articles posted in this newsletter, I would suggest that you post them on this new message board. Yes, feel free to disagree with me if you so choose. It is an open message board; everyone is welcome. I will be answering many of the messages there, and I suspect that others will add their insights, too. The discussions should benefit everyone.
The message board is open to everyone. You may read all the messages without registering. However, to post replies or new messages you will need to complete a short sign-up form. You will be asked for your name and e-mail address. In order to protect your privacy, e-mail addresses are never displayed in the messages you write and are not visible to anyone else on the message board.
When posting messages on this board, you can specify to have copies of any possible replies sent to you in e-mail. That way you do not have to keep checking online for possible replies, just read your e-mail.
Warning: This is a brand-new message board, so there’s not much available yet. Keep checking back occasionally to see what’s new.
To read the messages on the new message board or to post new messages, go tohttp://www.RootsForum.com and click on "Message Board."
To discuss this story further on the message board for newsletter readers, go to:http://rootsforum.com/cgi-bin/ikonboard.cgi?s=c5f330231784a0aa7233eb04c54c8e25;act=ST;f=1;t=23;r=1;&#top
- Create Your Own Web Domain – Part II
Would your genealogy society or family society like to have its own Web site for 75 cents a month? That includes a unique domain name, such as www.TollerSociety.org (assuming it is for the Toller Family Society). Of course, this is not restricted to societies. For the same price, you could have your own personal Web page, again with your own domain name.
In last week’s newsletter, I described the process of obtaining your own domain name for yourself or for a genealogy society or family society. In that article, I assumed that you would have your Web pages hosted on a commercial service, the same as what most other people do. When using their own domain name, most people pay money to have their Web pages hosted on a commercial service. However, this week I will follow up with information on how to host those pages at no cost on RootsWeb, Geocities, Angelfire, or any of the other free Web page services, using your own domain name. Many people do not realize that you can do this and still maintain a unique domain name.
Some things are free, but you always have to pay for the domain registrar’s service. The cheapest registrar I know of isGoDaddy, which charges $8.95 a year for a "barebones" service. Prices from other registrar services vary quite a bit, up to $35.00 a year for some registrars.
Most registrars will only point to Web pages that are hosted as "top level pages" on a complete Web site; they normally will not point to free Web pages buried deep inside some other service, such as pages within RootsWeb, GeoCities, Tripod, Angelfire, or AOL personal home pages. When registering a new domain name with most registrars, you have to specify the exact IP address of your hosting company’s DNS servers, which consists of numbers such as 18.104.22.168. You cannot point to a logical name, such as http://www.geocities.com/dick_eastman. In turn, the hosting company’s DNS server has to point to the correct location of your pages as stored on their server. The free services do not point to their pages.
I am aware of at least two registrar companies that are exceptions, however. They are willing to point to the logical name of any Web page anyplace on the Internet, even to pages buried deep inside a free Web page service. These two services do not need cooperating DNS services at the hosting company, and you do not have to specify an IP address such as 22.214.171.124. You can use a logical address to point to your pages, such as a logical address ofhttp://www.geocities.com/dick_eastman instead.
By using one of these registrar services, you still have to pay money to register your own domain name, such as www.TollerSociety.org, but you can have your pages stored on a free service at no charge or on some other domain name that you already pay for. The result is dramatically lowered cost.
To illustrate how this works, this week I registered a new domain name: EastmanFamily.com. I paid a registrar for the name, but I did not pay any hosting service to set up pages for that domain name. Instead, all requests for that page are redirected to free pages athttp://www.geocities.com/dick_eastman, which I also set up earlier this week. You can look now at http://www.Eastmanfamily.com and the pages displayed in your browser will actually be retrieved from a subdirectory on GeoCities’ free Web pages server. (I just created that domain name earlier this week, so there’s not much information there yet.)
The two registrar services that I have used in the past for redirection services areGoDaddy and MyDomain.com. There may be others as well. They will point your top-level domain name (www.EastmanFamily.com) to any other Web pages you desire, even to pages hosted on RootsWeb or in AOL’s personal home pages.
Both GoDaddy and MyDomain.com will also forward e-mail. That is, any e-mail sent to the registered domain such as email@example.com can be automatically forwarded to me or to any other e-mail address I choose.
Another feature you will want to think about is "cloaking," or hiding your site’s real address. In normal operation, a person opens a Web browser and enters a Web address, such ashttp://www.EastmanFamily.com. The registrar’s service then points the user’s Web browser to the real location of the stored pages. In the simpler method without cloaking, the user’s Web browser will display the desired pages and will show the real URL in the address line, such as: http://hometown.aol.com/someuser/myhomepage/index.html. The user can easily see that he or she has been redirected and can see the actual location of the Web pages.
Things work differently when cloaking is turned on. The user enters a Web address, such ashttp://www.EastmanFamily.com and then gets directed to the location of the desired Web pages. The desired Web pages are displayed on the screen, but the user’s Web browser continues to display an address of http://www.EastmanFamily.com, not the longer, redirected address. The user is fooled and does not know that the pages displayed are actually hosted elsewhere on a free Web page service.
To see cloaking in action, take another look athttp://www.EastmanFamily.com. Your Web browser will not display the true destination address of http://www.rootsforum.com/EastmanFamily/index.html. All of this is done by a bit of behind the scenes trickery, and the person viewing the page is none the wiser. The sophisticated viewer who knows HTML programming can figure it out easily if he or she wants to check. However, I bet that 99% of the viewers will never guess that there is anything unusual going on.
Now click on the link that says "Message Board for Eastman Genealogy Researchers." While this links to a service on still another company’s Web server, you’ll notice the cloaking still shows the URL in the Web browser as being on EastmanFamily.com. The address never changes when going from page to page. The true addresses are "cloaked," or hidden.
You can override cloaking on a link-by-link basis if you want to have real locations displayed. You probably will want to override cloaking for any links that refer to external Web sites. For instance, go back tohttp://www.Eastmanfamily.com and click on "George J. Eastman's Excellent ‘Eastman Genealogy and History’." This time you will notice that the link I created overrides the cloaking, and the true address is displayed in the browser when you go to the referenced page. All of this is under the control of the person making the Web pages. (Use target="_parent" on the end of your links to override cloaking.)
MyDomain.com and GoDaddy both offer cloaking as an option although GoDaddy calls it "masking." Same thing.
MyDomain.com will register your domain for $14.95 a year (with a two-year minimum) and then point to any page(s) on the Internet, including free pages. There is no additional charge for cloaking. MyDomain also has a lot of other available free options. Details are available athttp://www.MyDomain.com.
GoDaddy.com at first appears to be cheaper at $8.95 a year for domain registration. However, GoDaddy charges extra for most of the things that MyDomain.com bundles in at no extra charge. For instance, GoDaddy.com charges an extra $5.95 a year for masking (cloaking) and still more money to forward e-mail. MyDomain.com does not charge extra for either of those features. Depending on which options you want, GoDaddy could be either the cheaper or the more expensive of the two. For more information, go to: http://www.GoDaddy.com.
For my EastmanFamily.com Web pages, I wanted cloaking as well as e-mail forwarding. For me, it was cheaper to go with MyDomain.com. I already had the information on a free Web pages service, so I was able to create http://www.EastmanFamily.com for a total cost of only $14.95 a year, which works out to about $1.25 a month. Had I used GoDaddy without cloaking or e-mail forwarding, the total would have been $9.95 a year, which works out to about 75 cents a month.
You can do the same: obtain a domain name for yourself or for your society. Use a registrar who will redirect to any Web pages. Place your pages on another Web site you have access to or on one of the free pages at RootsWeb, GeoCities, Tripod, Angelfire, etc.
Does your society already have pages hosted on RootsWeb or on another free service? If so, for 75 cents to $1.25 a month the society can obtain a unique domain name that points to the pages they already have. The unique domain name will be much easier to remember and to publicize than the longer URL already in use. (Of course, the longer URL will also continue to work.)
To discuss this story further on the message board for newsletter readers, go to: http://rootsforum.com/cgi-bin/ikonboard.cgi?s=c5f330231784a0aa7233eb04c54c8e25;act=ST;f=1;t=22;r=1;&#top
- Legacy Adds Distance and Bearing Calculator
One change in genealogy software in the past few years is the addition of database fields for longitude and latitude in all the better programs. You are no longer restricted to recording locations of ancestors’ homesteads by street address alone. After all, addresses do change over the years. The mailing address for the location of your great-grandfather’s farm probably changed as urban sprawl took over the area. It is best to record the longitude and latitude as these will not change with urbanization, addition of ZIP codes, or any other man-made events.
Legacy Deluxe version 4.0 has always had the capability to record latitude and longitude. Now a new update adds even more functionality: a Distance and Bearing Calculator. The new Calculator will tell you the distance in miles (or kilometers) between any two points on earth. It will also tell you which direction to travel. You can also convert decimal bearing values to degrees, minutes, and seconds. It even ties into the Master Location List, where you can select any two cities (with latitude and longitude values) and quickly figure out how far apart they are and in which direction. The calculator uses great circle spherical trigonometry to figure the shortest distance and direction between points.
The Distance and Bearing Calculator is reached by choosing Bearing and Distance Calculator from the Tools menu. It is also available by clicking the Calculator button on the Master Location List, Add/Edit Location screen, and Address screen.
The Distance and Bearing Calculator is found only in Legacy 4.0 Deluxe, not in the (free) Standard Edition. To learn more about Legacy 4.0 Deluxe Edition, go tohttp://www.legacyfamilytree.com
To discuss this story further on the message board for newsletter readers, go to:http://rootsforum.com/cgi-bin/ikonboard.cgi?s=c5f330231784a0aa7233eb04c54c8e25;act=ST;f=1;t=21;r=1;&#top
- RootsMate Becomes RootsMagic
The program hasn’t even been released yet and already it has a name change.
At the National Genealogical Society’s annual conference last May, software developer Bruce Buzbee, owner of FormalSoft, Inc., introduced a new genealogy program that was under development. The program was to be called RootsMate. He demonstrated the code that was in progress at that time. In August, Bruce appeared at the Federation of Genealogical Societies’ conference and demonstrated that the program that was closer to completion. You can read more about FormalSoft’s new genealogy program in the 23 May 2002 edition of this newsletter athttp://www.ancestry.com/library/view/columns/eastman/5784.asp.
This week Bruce Buzbee announced a name change for the program, based on suggestions from his beta testers. From now on, the program will be known as RootsMagic, a nicer-sounding name in the opinion of many.
The expected ship date of this new program has not changed. Look for it to become available before the end of this year. Details about RootsMagic will be forthcoming athttp://www.rootsmagic.com.
To discuss this story further on the message board for newsletter readers, go to:http://rootsforum.com/cgi-bin/ikonboard.cgi?s=c5f330231784a0aa7233eb04c54c8e25;act=ST;f=1;t=20;r=1;&#top
The following was written by Ann Turner, the GENEALOGY-DNA List Administrator. Ann kindly gave me permission to republish her words here.
Here is an abbreviated version of the press release that Ann mentioned:
The press release goes on at some length, giving a background of the company plus references to several articles mentioned in the press release. I’m abbreviating it for this newsletter. Anyone interested can read it in its entirety of the GENEALOGY-DNA mailing list.
I’d like to thank Ann Turner for sending the press release and for her excellent introductory comments. Ann is the administrator for the GENEALOGY-DNA mailing list, a great resource for people who would like to discuss DNA use within genealogy. You can subscribe to the free mailing list athttp://lists.rootsweb.com/index/other/Miscellaneous/GENEALOGY-DNA.html
To discuss this story further, I would suggest you post messages on the GENEALOGY-DNA mailing list.
- Mic Barnette’s Column Received Your Support
Congratulations! The readers of this newsletter helped save Mic Barnette’s weekly genealogy column.
Last week I wrote an article entitled "Mic Barnette’s Column Needs Your Support." I described how the publisher of this excellent genealogy column had planned a significant reduction in the publication schedule and potential audience. Last week the Houston Genealogical Forum placed a notice on their website athttp://www.hgftx.org/public/chronicle along with an online form to fill in, asking for the column to be preserved in its present format. Comments added to the form were automatically sent by e-mail to senior management at the Houston Chronicle.
Last week I wrote, "I would like to ask every reader of this newsletter to read that Web page. If you agree with the Houston Genealogical Forum’s proposal, please add your name, e-mail address, and comments to the form at the bottom of that Web page and then click on submit."
Apparently a lot of you did just that, and the results are now in. The Houston Genealogical Forum’s Web page now says:
It should hearten readers to see that their individual voices combine to make a difference.
To discuss this story further on the message board for newsletter readers, go to:http://rootsforum.com/cgi-bin/ikonboard.cgi?s=c5f330231784a0aa7233eb04c54c8e25;act=ST;f=1;t=18;r=1;&#top
- Senate Bill Commemorates Family History Month
For the second consecutive year, the Senate has approved legislation introduced by Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) to designate October 2002 as "Family History Month."
"Family history sites continue to be some of the most popular on the Internet," Hatch said. "More than 80 million Americans are actively searching for more information about their ancestors; next to gardening, it’s our nation’s second most popular hobby."
Hatch’s bill, S. Res. 330, commemorates October 2002 as Family History Month and encourages President Bush to issue a proclamation calling upon the people of the United States to observe the month of October with appropriate ceremonies and activities.
Details are available at:http://www.ancestry.com/library/view/news/articles/6402.asp?rc=locale%7E&us=0
To discuss this story further on the message board for newsletter readers, go to:http://rootsforum.com/cgi-bin/ikonboard.cgi?s=c5f330231784a0aa7233eb04c54c8e25;act=ST;f=1;t=17;r=1;&#top
- California Bill SB1614 Signed
Access to complete copies of California's birth and death record indices will be limited to prevent identity thieves from gaining private information under a bill signed last week by California Governor Gray Davis. The bill by Sen. Jackie Speier, D-Daly City, arose after the senator demonstrated in a Senate hearing last year how she could go to an online genealogy site and find her mother's maiden name. Because this is a common identifier at banks, obtaining a mother’s maiden name could lead to identity theft, Speier said.
The bill’s original wording would have had enormous impact to genealogists as well as to adoptees. It would have "locked up" virtually all information about California ancestry. Luckily, the final bill was changed; it mostly covers the penalties for people who use the information illegally. However, other language in the bill will still be an impediment to genealogists, such as the provision that mothers’ maiden names will be stripped from many records.
You can read more about this at the Mercury News Web site at:http://www.bayarea.com/mld/mercurynews/4150012.htm. The wording of the bill itself is available at the California Legislature’s Web site at: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/postquery?bill_number=sb_1614&sess=CUR&house=B&author=speier.
Comment: State Senator Jackie Speier and other legislators around the country really need to talk to computer security experts before writing ludicrous legislation. Any computer expert will tell you that banks and other institutions that use a mother’s maiden name as a security item have an incompetent security system. Maiden names are available in many places, not just in state records.
Any bank that has created a proper security system would never dream of using a mother’s maiden name as a "key." Computer security experts will always design better systems that do not rely on publicly-available information.
My bank does not rely on my mother’s maiden name for any purpose. I would not do business with a bank that did. Senator Speier and other legislators need to attack the real problem: incompetent bank security. Our institutions need to fix the real problem instead of "throwing the baby out with the bath water."
To discuss this story further on the message board for newsletter readers, go to: http://rootsforum.com/cgi-bin/ikonboard.cgi?s=c5f330231784a0aa7233eb04c54c8e25;act=ST;f=1;t=16;r=1;&#top
- New Book: Genealogy Via The Internet
In the September 5, 1998 edition of this newsletter, I wrote about a book entitled "Genealogy Via The Internet." I liked the book although I wrote that it was written for the person who had just purchased their first computer or was about to make such a purchase. I felt that newcomers would appreciate the information provided while experienced computer genealogists probably would find the book to be a bit too elementary.
Author Ralph Roberts has now updated the book extensively, and this week I had a chance to look at the Second Edition of "Genealogy Via The Internet." The book has changed a lot. It also is bigger; it now contains 288 pages versus the first edition’s 192 pages.
"Genealogy Via The Internet" is still obviously aimed at someone with a new computer or someone just learning about genealogy or both. Even with a title of "Genealogy Via The Internet," the author fills the first 80 pages with an introduction to genealogy with little mention of computers. I was pleased to note that Roberts devoted quite a bit of space to the topic of "Online Accuracy," warning readers that information found on the Web is often suspect.
The book continues with about twenty pages of "introduction to computers" which is followed by about 45 pages of more information about genealogy basics. With all the basics out of the way, the remaining two-thirds of the book cover the Internet, genealogy Web sites, and genealogy software. Roberts covers many topics although he obviously could not provide in-depth coverage of each topic in this 8 ½-inch by 5 ½-inch paperback of less than 300 pages. This book is sort of a "high-speed run" through the many topics. The newcomer will find more than enough information in this book to get off to a good start.
"Genealogy Via The Internet" gives a good overview of what is involved in getting started in genealogy in the computer age. Ralph Roberts condenses a lot of "how to" information in his latest edition.
If you are looking for an introductory book to give to someone who is not familiar with either computers or genealogy, this could be an excellent choice. "Genealogy Via The Internet" sells for $16.95 plus shipping. A hardbound edition is also available for $24.95. You can order directly from the author’s Web site at:http://abooks.com/genealogy.
To discuss this story further on the message board for newsletter readers, go to:http://rootsforum.com/cgi-bin/ikonboard.cgi?s=c5f330231784a0aa7233eb04c54c8e25;act=ST;f=1;t=15;r=1;&#top
Genealogists often encounter challenges when looking up the dates of events from many years ago. First of all, there’s Julian calendar versus Gregorian calendar. Did you know that many people "lost" 11 days in 1752? Next, those researching Scandinavia ancestry often find dates recorded as falling on certain Feast Days with no reference to which day of the month that was. Anyone researching Jewish ancestry soon encounters issues with the Hebrew Calendar. Those with French ancestry may encounter the French Revolutionary Calendar. And then there are Chinese (Lunar), Buddhist, Indian, Persian and even Aztec calendars. (Is anyone researching Aztec ancestry?)
The Ultimate Calendar Web Page can help you decipher dates. It can give you history about all of the above calendars and several more, including Baha’i and Moslem. It shows the phases of the moon and also provides a Gregorian to Julian date conversion utility. Heck, this site can even tell you what time it is.
The Ultimate Calendar Web Page is available at:http://www.ecben.net/calendar.shtml
To discuss this story further on the message board for newsletter readers, go to:http://rootsforum.com/cgi-bin/ikonboard.cgi?s=c5f330231784a0aa7233eb04c54c8e25;act=ST;f=1;t=14;r=1;&#top
One of the best-kept secrets in the high-tech world is the capability to make telephone calls over the Internet. I’ve been making phone calls over the Web for a while now and am delighted with the results.
Depending upon the level of service that you want, you can make phone calls on the Web at no charge or for prices that are a fraction of what your local telephone company charges. It is possible to place Internet telephone calls on a dial-up modem with some difficulties. However, the process really becomes simple when you use a DSL or cable modem broadband connection.
I no longer need to have a telephone line in my home. I get unlimited calls to any telephone in the U.S., including Alaska and Hawaii. Most international calls cost a bit of money but are always much, much cheaper than what my local telephone company charges. The sound quality is very good -- as good as a digital cell phone or better. I pay a reasonable monthly fixed fee.
This really has nothing to do with genealogy, so I will not describe it in this newsletter. However, I did write an article about my experiences. This article includes some advertising for the company whose service I am using. If you are interested in making low-cost phone calls over the Internet, you might like to read my article at:http://www.rootsforum.com/telephony/voip.htm
To discuss this story further on the message board for newsletter readers, go to:http://rootsforum.com/cgi-bin/ikonboard.cgi?s=c5f330231784a0aa7233eb04c54c8e25;act=ST;f=1;t=13;r=1;&#top
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 at:http://rootsforum.com/cgi-bin/ikonboard.cgi
If you would like to submit news, information or press releases for possible inclusion in future newsletters, send them firstname.lastname@example.org. 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:
You are hereby granted rights, unless otherwise specified, to re-distribute articles from this newsletter to other parties provided:
Also, please include the following statement with any articles you re-distribute:
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 of 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:email@example.com. Due to the volume of e-mail received, he is unable to answer every e-mail message received.
If you have questions or comments about the article in this newsletter, go tohttp://www.RootsForum.com and then click on "Message Board." Post your message there. You will receive then assistance from Dick Eastman or from a number of other people.
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