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Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

Standard Edition

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

Vol. 7 No. 45 – November 11, 2002

Search previous issues of this newsletter at: http://www.RootsForum.com

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

Please invite non-subscribers to read the free Standard Edition of the newsletter, available at http://www.RootsForum.com.


IN THIS ISSUE:

- Family Tree Legends
- Copernic Agent - Multi-engine Search Tool
- Guest Authors
- All Your Genealogy Data Can Fit in a Handheld Computer (+)
- Oxfordshire and North Berkshire CD-ROM Disks
- Searchable Cemeteries in St. Louis
- Griffith's Valuation of Ireland to be Available on Origins.net
- P. William Filby, R.I.P.
- Titanic Infant Identified
- New Message Board Section for Plus Edition Subscribers
- Safety of Online Credit Card Transactions
- Check Your Links (+)
- Get Your Implantable Chip Now!
- Home Pages Highlighted

Items listed above with a plus sign (+) appear only in the Plus Edition of Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter.


- Family Tree Legends

A new Windows genealogy program was announced in the August 26, 2002 edition of this newsletter (available at http://www.rootsforum.com/archives/news0234.htm). At that time, the program was nearing its release date. Family Tree Legends then became available on October 16, 2002. I had a chance to use the new program this week and would like to describe its operation.

Family Tree Legends is a very impressive new release. It is super easy to use and has quite a few features not seen in previous genealogy programs. The program also uses current software technologies. Best of all, it sells for a modest price. Interested? Read on… .

25-year-old Cliff Shaw (currently of GenCircles, formerly of GenForum) and 38-year-old Chris Shearer Cooper (previously of JavaGED) have collaborated to create a sophisticated and powerful system that is aimed at experts and newcomers alike. I talked with Cliff Shaw this week, and he described how the two developers first surveyed the current marketplace to evaluate the weaknesses of current products.

Cliff and Chris felt that the charts available in today’s more popular genealogy programs are much less than what they could be. They also felt that the user interfaces of today’s programs vary widely: the ones that are easier to use don’t have much power "under the hood" and are not suitable for serious genealogists. At the same time, some of today’s more powerful programs are very intimidating to inexperienced genealogists. He also pointed out that most of today’s genealogy programs have evolved from older programs using the same underlying technology they had 5 or 10 years ago. Most of today’s programs are actually old programs that have had a long series of minor annual updates.

Chris and Cliff also heard many, many stories of data corruption. Many people have lost data because of hardware problems, software problems, or the occasional human error. Whatever the cause, thousands of people can describe how they lost many, many hours of data entry work. Chris and Cliff also looked at the method of matching data in today’s online systems and decided that the matching techniques were rather elementary.

The two software developers knew they could do a better job of creating a modern genealogy program. They saw a need for a brand-new program that is based upon today’s technologies. They decided to create a genealogy program as powerful as today’s best powerhouses. They also wanted the same program to be aimed at the beginner, a program that doesn’t overpower the newcomer. They talked about doing online backups of users’ databases. They also wanted to find online data to match that of the data within a user’s database, finding even more ancestors than what the researcher already knew. Cliff and Chris decided to create a Windows software application that is closely integrated with the power and resources of the Internet. They set to work, and a bit more than a year later, Family Tree Legends was born. The program is available today from their company, Pearl Street Software.

Family Tree Legends can be downloaded online or ordered via traditional mail. I downloaded it this week. The 10-megabyte file size was not a problem for my cable modem broadband connection, but those using dial-up modems might prefer to order the program on CD-ROM. Installation was as easy as any other Windows program I have used.

Upon launching the program, I found one of the nicest user interfaces I have seen in a genealogy program. The screens are uncluttered, and yet everything that I wanted to use was there. I won’t try to describe the screens as you can see screenshots yourself at http://www.familytreelegends.com/products/tour/main/1. You will notice that the icons are large and easy on the eyes. The icons down the right side of the screen are the most-frequently-used functions for data entry. You can record all the normal genealogy data, such as name and dates and places of birth, marriage, and death. In addition, the program encourages the user to enter many other facts and yet never forces the user through an unwanted process. Optional data includes:

  • physical description of the individual
  • medical information
  • essentially unlimited note space for biographical information and other items you may wish to record
  • source citations to books, videos, Web sites, and other repositories where information was found
  • mailing address, telephone, e-mail address, and Web site URL for living individuals
  • nicknames, aliases, and married names

Family Tree Legends produces attractive on-screen ancestor charts (see http://www.familytreelegends.com/products/tour/main/2) and descendant charts. It also produces an "hourglass chart" that shows the ancestors as well as the descendants of any one individual. A wider repertoire of printed reports is available, including timelines, family group sheets, lists of birthdays, lists of repositories, and more. These reports may be customized in many different ways, see http://www.familytreelegends.com/products/tour/charts/1 for a partial list of selections. Examples of the final printouts are available at http://www.familytreelegends.com/products/tour/charts/2 and at http://www.familytreelegends.com/products/tour/reports/1.

A multimedia scrapbook is also available. Family Tree Legends can store pictures, full motion video, and sound files. The program will also create a slide show that should be useful at family reunions and elsewhere.

The user interface is nice and is what will interest most people. However, as a "techie," I am more interested in what goes on behind the scenes. This is where Family Tree Legends gets really interesting.

All users of genealogy software need to make frequent backups. Family Tree Legends takes this a step further: it creates automatic online backups. OK, this is not the first genealogy program to do that, but this one does it in a different manner than I have seen elsewhere.

Other programs frequently have some sort of built-in backup capabilities. Many of them have a default of writing each new backup on top of a previous backup. In effect, each new backup replaces the previous backup. These programs may have options to handle backups in a different manner, but we all know that most people use the defaults.

Unfortunately, real-world experience shows that many people suffer data loss or corruption and don’t realize it until the have used the program several more times, often after making several new backups. Corrupted data is often backed up, replacing good data backups. What is needed is a method of restoring back to a particular point in time, not just to the latest backup. Next, backing up to another file within the same computer has major weaknesses: if the entire computer malfunctions, is destroyed or is stolen, the backup is missing as well. Backups always need to be stored in a different computer and preferably in a different location. Further, having automatic backups solves the problems of a user who forgets to make backups or is unaware of their importance.

Cliff and Chris created a transactional file system of their own design. Their software optionally writes a backup file, record-by-record, to their company’s Web server. If the user is connected to the Internet while doing data entry, new records typically are written to the Web server within two minutes of being created. The user does not need to wait until the end of the session to make a backup copy. In fact, he or she does not need to even remember to do backups; the records are automatically copied as a background process while the program is in use. There is no need to do a GEDCOM export or a separate backup at the end of the session. The minute-by-minute backups of this transactional file system ensure that a scrambled database can be restored to its condition of just a few minutes before the crash, even if the crash occurred in the middle of a multi-hour session of recording new data.

If the computer is not connected to the Internet during data entry, the new records are written to a disk file and can then be transferred to the servers during a future online session. Keep in mind that all of this is optional; the user may elect to not make online backups at all. If so, no data is ever transferred to any Web site without the user specifically telling the program to do so. Data access is always under the control of the user.

Family Tree Legends uses state-of-the-art encryption technology to keep all data private. All data is encrypted with a 128-bit encryption key before being sent across the Internet. This is the same technology that is used in online credit card transactions to ensure that no one else can see your personal data.

At this point, Pearl Street Software has the user’s data on their servers; so, other features are easily implemented on the server with no effort by the user or additional software installed on the PC. Data transferred to Pearl Street Software’s servers may be displayed as Web pages, if desired. In other words, you can publish your data on the Web automatically. You don’t even need to upload a separate copy since the data was already transferred during that data entry process. Pearl Street Software’s can use your backup data to create Web pages for you. Here again, the publishing of data on the Web is optional. The user can specify to never publish the data Should he or she decide to publish. the user also can specify several different levels of privatization: show data about living individuals or not, show names but not places or dates, etc.

Another feature of Family Tree Legends is WebFacts – data pieces that can be searched online. For instance, if you find a new record that specifies a town that you have never heard of, you can right-click on the town’s name, and a pop-up menu will appear. This menu allows the user to search for information on the Web about that place. The information obtained typically includes the geographical coordination, elevation, aerial photos, road maps, and more. It will also find surrounding locations, such as courthouses in adjacent towns or counties. It will even find cemeteries or other locations if you specify them correctly. The cemetery searches presently are very dependent upon exact spelling. A near-future addition to Family Tree Legends will add a layer of intelligence to refine cemetery searches online.

The best part of family Tree Legends, however, may be its SmartMatching technology. This software seems to do a better job of finding people online than most other online databases. It really shines when searching for common surnames. Other online databases search for names, and most of them will also try to identify the years. However, it is common to search online for John Smith in Arkansas in 1840 and then find men of the same name 40 or 50 years later in Oregon, Alaska, or Massachusetts. Sure, they might be the same person, but how do you pick out the right one from the hundreds of records displayed on the screen?

SmartMatching does not display hundreds of hits for one person. Instead, it shows one occurrence of the name and then has links to sources of the information. These links are sorted in a manner defined by supporting evidence in other records. The software in Pearl Street Software’s servers "votes" on matching records. First, it finds matching bits of information in other records. It may find a name and birth date in your database and then look for matching records. Some of those records may have the same name and birth date as well as a death date that you do not know. It is assumed that these new records match. Then these newly-found records are compared against the entire database. Now, perhaps a person with the same name and the same death date is found in still more records that also show the names of parents. Again, this data is a match even though it contains still more data not found in your database. This is a form of intelligent linking. The search algorithms also handle conflicting data by two methods: (1.) by voting to see if there are additional records that corroborate the data, and (2.) by showing both to the user for his or her decision.

I used SmartMatching this week to look for online records for about 3,000 people in my genealogy database. When I clicked on an icon, Family Tree Legends automatically sent my data to the Web server and then advised me to check back in a few hours. When I did so, I found that the software had returned several hundred matches. In many cases, the newly-delivered information included data about parents, spouses, and siblings. I scanned through the list and could not find one single entry that was NOT an ancestor of mine! In my case, it was 100% accurate. Every single person listed is, indeed, an ancestor of mine. I have never seen that degree of accuracy on any other online data matching service. Each listing gave details and, in some cases, might have contained new information that I did not have previously. Cliff Shaw assures me that this is a typical experience. He says he has seen a handful of mismatches, but they are rare. I have never seen any other online name-matching database with this degree of accuracy.

Under the user’s control, new data may be automatically imported into the Family Tree Legends database. In the case of conflicting data, the user may choose to ignore the new data, replace the old data with the new data, or else add the new data as a secondary record that is subservient to the older data. That last option is a good method of recording "possibilities" that need further investigation.

I have described the major features of Family Tree Legends. However, it has even more capabilities, such as multiple calendars (Gregorian, Julian, Jewish, etc.), GEDCOM import and export, and more. You can see a long list of the features available at http://www.familytreelegends.com/products. This Web page has links to many screen shots so that you can see the program in operation.

Family Tree Legends version 1.0 still has room for improvements. For instance, I noticed that its list of printed reports includes all the standard reports found in all programs but few of the "extras." For instance, it does not have printed Register Reports or "dropline reports" (showing the relationship between two individuals). I am not surprised at this; version 1.0 of any genealogy program typically does not include these reports. Most programs have added them in later releases. Cliff Shaw assured me that these items and much more are already on the drawing boards and will be implemented in future releases. Cliff and Chris plan to issue minor "incremental releases" every week or two, and each new release may be easily downloaded online.

This new program requires Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 98 SE, Windows ME, Windows 2000, or Windows XP operating system. It also requires a 166 MHz or faster processor, 10 megabytes of disk space and 32 megabytes of RAM memory. In short, it will run on most Windows computers built in the past five years. Internet access is needed only for the optional backup and Web publishing features.

Family Tree Legends has a list price of $49.95 (U.S. funds). However, Pearl Street Software currently is selling it at an introductory price of $39.95. You can safely order it online via Pearl Street Software’s secure online order system. You can also order it via mail, using a credit card, check, or money order.

For more information about Family Tree Legends or to safely order it online, go to: http://www.familytreelegends.com

To discuss this story further, please visit the newsletter message board at http://www.RootsForum.com and click on "Message Board."

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- Copernic Agent - Multi-engine Search Tool

The following was written by guest author Dave Birley

When you read the articles here in the newsletter, in particular about the new technology that might be of interest to genealogists, how often do you follow the links and try the products? Do you remember to tell the folks that you get the products from where you heard about them? It is important.

It seems like a long time ago since I first read here about a search engine called Copernic, but I liked the concept – a search engine that combines the power of multiple search engines freely available on the Internet, and performs simultaneous searches, organizing the results for you. I tried the product out, and found that, although I didn’t use it much for genealogy, I used it for all my Internet searches.

Well, the best just got better. Copernic didn’t just put out a product and then fade quietly into the background. This company, which has been visible on the Internet since 1997 from its base in Quebec, Canada, is a true innovator. An early press release said this:

Copernic is a highly sophisticated search engine, giving websurfers simultaneous access to ten search engines, including Alta Vista, Yahoo, ExCite, HotBot, Infoseek, Lycos, Magellan, WebCrawler, UseNet and Deja.com. Copernic gathers information quickly and efficiently, compiling results according to relevance as it automatically eliminates duplications. Copernic for Internet Explorer 4.0 differs from the standard version in that it functions only with Microsoft’s new browser.

The significant part of that announcement is the reference to integration with Microsoft’s "new" browser, Internet Explorer 4.0. Back then the company called themselves Agents Technologies, but very quickly, as Copernic became their flagship product, they changed their name to match the product.

It underwent significant development over the next three years, and with the release of Copernic 2000 they added the Plus and Pro versions, as well as versions in a multitude of languages. One thing did not change, however: the basic version remained free to anyone who wanted to use it. That’s not "free for thirty days" as many products often are, that’s "free for as long as you want to use it". The Plus and Pro versions have additional features, and come with a price tag, and, quite candidly are worth what they cost, but "free" is a price everyone can afford.

One factor that makes this company important is that they are in a constant search for ways to improve their products as the technology of the Internet expands. In October, 2002, they announced the release of their newest version, called Copernic Agent. Here is a portion of their press release:

"Copernic Agent is a completely integrated, one stop solution: analysis, filtering, grouping, task automation, sharing, summarization, tracking, etc. The numerous functions incorporated in Copernic Agent originate from the will of the company to create a search solution that would go beyond simple Web search engines and be flexible enough to allow users to personalize their search experience even further," stated Sébastien Boulanger, Copernic Agent Product Manager.

Copernic Agent Personal and Copernic Agent Professional offer access to more than 1000 specialized search sources, allowing users to better target their queries and obtain results that are markedly precise and up-to-date. With their more advanced functions, they are the intelligence gathering tools of choice for demanding users who recognize the strategic importance of powerful search management solutions.

It is now possible to select from a wider group of categories when running a search. The core selection includes the following:

Business and Economy
Computers and Internet
Encyclopedia and Reference
Government and Law
News
Shopping
The Web

That last category means "everything", but the way this works is that you may select a sub category and restrict the search to only sites that fit that type. For example, under Shopping, I selected Buy Software as the category, and then initiated a search in "genealogy". This produced the expected references to such programs as Family Tree Maker™ and The Master Genealogist™. It also brought links to Genealogy Online For Dummies©, and something I had never heard of before: Genealogy Supply Kit, Patriot Edition. The one-line explanation of this last item read, "Discover the heroism of your ancestors and enrich your family tree with detailed information of Revolutionary War soldiers." A click on the link took me directly to the website where I might purchase this item.

Using a broader search of "The Web", I can take advantage of the unusual spelling of my surname (there are less than 100 families in North America that share the spelling, and 60% of them are related to me) and offer "Birley" for a search. Among the 32 results that it returned was one to a new website by Sue Birley, whose husband Rod is a very competitive hot rod racer in England. Through her website I was able to contact her and obtain additional information to bring my records up to date. I was also gratified to note that my own website, www.birley.org managed to make it up very close to the top with a 94% probability factor of it being something that would interest me.

The form of the search is sophisticated, too. In the examples I have given so far, I have used a single word. I then decided that, if I get to return to England, it might be fun to stay in a hotel with my family name. Using an earlier version of Copernic, I had searched for "Birley hotel" and selected the option for "All Words". I just ran it again in Copernic Agent, and received 42 hits. The one I found before, the Birley Arms, located near Kirkham in Lancashire, was nicely located third from the top. By the way, we stayed there for six days this past February, and it is a delightful inn.

Next I took the search up one more notch and tried researching something rather obscure. For some time I have been trying to solve the mystery of why my mother’s ancestral line appeared in the 1861 edition of Burke’s Landed Gentry and had disappeared from there by the 1871 edition. I know they were listed in 1861 under "Lloyd of Plymog, Gwerclas, and Bashall Hall", so I tried putting that full expression in, setting the search specification to "Exact Phrase". I wasn’t surprised when it returned no results.

Then I modified the search and tried "Lloyd of Gwerclas". This time I got 4 hits, but unfortunately they were all on my own website. Not what I was after. One more try, "Lloyd of Plymog", and Bingo! I found four hits, including a reference to Richard Hughes Lloyd of Plymog, an individual I knew to be a direct ancestor of my mother’s. So, in summary: the power of Copernic is in its ability to use multiple search engines simultaneously to locate items of varying complexity. It then organizes the results into levels of likelihood that the item is of interest to you. A brief line or two of text from the website and a link make your final selection simple.

The product line consists of Copernic Basic, which is fairly limited in scope but still completely free. The Personal Edition is considerably more powerful, and after using the Basic edition for a while you will quite likely feel it is well worth it to upgrade. The price of US $29.95 is clearly in line with comparable utilities. The Professional version is a powerhouse of capabilities that may well go beyond the average user’s needs, although in the corporate environment it brings the versatility that businesses require. It is offered at US $59.95 at present, an introductory special price that is $20 off the regular price.

All versions are downloadable, so if you decide to buy the Personal or the Professional version, you don’t have to wait for delivery. Get the information direct from them at www.copernic.com/desktop

About the author: Dave Birley has been a frequent contributor to various publications, particularly related to genealogy and technology, for a number of years. Note his remark at the beginning about telling suppliers about where you heard about a product. That makes the suppliers happy, and, in turn, often makes them so happy that they contribute to supporting the newsletter.

To discuss this story further, please visit the newsletter message board at http://www.RootsForum.com and click on "Message Board."

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- Guest Authors

Would you like to be a published author? You could be a guest author in this newsletter.

I am formalizing a reader participation element to this newsletter. In the past, you have seen occasional articles here written by guest authors, usually someone with specific expertise. Feedback received has always been positive, and now I would like to expand the idea. For the first time, I am soliciting articles.

To be considered for publication in this newsletter, all articles must be genealogy-related in some manner. The articles also should be related to the use of technology for genealogy research (such as Dave Birley’s article in this newsletter on how to use a non-genealogy program to help find online genealogy information) or about current events. I would love to see articles about DNA, computer software or hardware, Web sites, new CD-ROM disks, book reviews of technology-related subjects, and more. You might also want to sound off on what annoys you about computers, computer companies, their software, or their Web sites. Or you can share your favorite tips and discoveries.

I would prefer authors who are not employees of the company or affiliated with the organization that produces the product or service that is being described.

I cannot offer compensation just yet although that may change in the future. At this time, you will receive the prestige, honor, notoriety, and brickbats of having been published online in this publication.

I would suggest that most articles should be between 300 and 1,000 words. That may sound like a lot, but it isn't once you get going. You probably should contact me in advance before writing the article although that is not a strict requirement. I just hate to see you write something when someone else is simultaneously writing about the same topic. I can serve as a clearinghouse of "who is writing about what."

I reserve the right to edit or amend articles. There’s nothing unusual with that; all writers get edited regardless of how good they are. Heck, I also get my articles changed by Pam, the editor of this newsletter, even though my name is in the newsletter’s title!

I would prefer a Word document attached to an email as I can then revise the document and send it back to you, and you can easily see what changes are made. I use Word’s "Track Changes" feature. However, I can also handle ASCII text and RTF files, if necessary. Please include your name and location (city/town and country). I will publish your name with the article. Your e-mail address and street address can be published or not, at your option.

If you are interested in becoming a published author, please contact me at richard@eastman.net

To discuss this story further, please visit the newsletter message board at http://www.RootsForum.com and click on "Message Board."

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- All Your Genealogy Data Can Fit in a Handheld Computer (+)

This article is a Plus Edition-only article. It is copyright 2002 by Richard W. Eastman and is restricted to viewing solely by subscribers to the Plus Edition of this newsletter. Details about the Plus Edition are available at: http://www.RootsForum.com/plus

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- Oxfordshire and North Berkshire CD-ROM Disks

The following is an announcement from the Oxfordshire Family History Society:

Oxfordshire FHS Joins The CD Revolution

For over ten years, the Oxfordshire FHS has published a wide range of parish register transcripts and monumental inscriptions, and census indexes and transcriptions, on microfiche. However, by popular demand, the society is now making such data available on CD in the popular Adobe Acrobat format. The use of Acrobat means that this data can be accessed by PC and Mac users alike.

The 1861, 1871 and 1891 censuses of Oxfordshire and North Berkshire have been fully indexed by members of this society. These continue to be available on microfiche, but are now also on sale on CD. Furthermore, an increasing number of our parish register transcripts are now available on CD, including those for the Oxford City and Wallingford areas. Further area collections will follow on CD in the near future.

Another interesting gem now on CD is Volumes 1 to 11 of the "Oxfordshire Family Historian". This is the society's journal, which has been published three times per year since the society's formation in 1976. This CD includes over sixty editions of the journal published over a twenty-one year period, and includes many quality articles written by its first editor, Jeremy Gibson of "Gibson Guides" fame. This is a real treasure trove of data for those with Oxfordshire research interests.

For further details of the society's CD publications and how to order them, please see: http://www.ofhs.org.uk/CDsales.html. Any queries about these CDs can be forwarded by e-mail to

Paul Gaskell
Publicity Officer and Minutes Secretary
Oxfordshire Family History Society
E-mail :
publicity@ofhs.org.uk
Website : http://www.ofhs.org.uk

To discuss this story further, please visit the newsletter message board at http://www.RootsForum.com and click on "Message Board."

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- Searchable Cemeteries in St. Louis

The Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Missouri now have an online, searchable database containing the names of the people buried there, along with a bit of other information. The cemeteries in the database include:

Resurrection
Sts. Peter & Paul
Mt. Olive
Calvary
Sacred heart
St. Charles Borromeo
St. Peter
St. Ferdinand
St. Monica
Our Lady
Holy Cross
St. Vincent
Ste. Philippine
St. Mary
Ascension

Here is a typical entry that illustrates the information available:

Interment: 461702
Cemetery: CALVARY
First Name: HERBERT A
Last Name: EASTMAN
Gender: M
Burial Date: Oct 20 1995
Age: 44
Cem: 04
Sec: 012
Row:
Lot: 2062

Searches may be conducted by name, (exact spelling or Soundex), approximate age, burial year, gender, or any combination of those fields. The site also includes pictures of each cemetery’s major features as well as a history of each cemetery.

Great stuff! It is nice to see such information online and available to all. To search the St. Louis Catholic cemetery database, go to: http://stlcathcem.com/default.aspx

My thanks to John McGing for telling me about this resource.

To discuss this story further, please visit the newsletter message board at http://www.RootsForum.com and click on "Message Board."

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- Griffith's Valuation of Ireland to be Available on Origins.net

The following is an announcement from Origins.net and Eneclann Ltd.:

Origins.net (http://www.origins.net) and Eneclann Ltd (http://www.eneclann.ie/), in association with the National Library of Ireland, is to make the complete Griffith’s Valuation of Ireland available on the world-wide web. This monumental 19th century work is a primary source of information for family history researchers, and is used as an invaluable substitute for the Irish censuses, which were destroyed when the Public Record Office was burned down in 1922.

The new web service, to be launched early next year, will be the definitive resource for Griffith’s Valuation. All available copies of the Valuation – which was published in several versions at different times between 1847 and 1864 – will be indexed and digital images of the source publications made available on the web site. The selection of the original documents has been made with the assistance of George Handran, a world expert on Griffith’s work.

 

About Griffith’s Valuation

Between 1847 and 1864 the Valuation Office, under the direction of Richard Griffith, carried out the first systematic valuation of property holdings in Ireland. It contained information concerning over one million people, from the smallest farmer to the largest landlord.

Because most of the census records for the nineteenth century were destroyed in 1922, when the Public Records Office was burned down, the Griffith Valuation represents the most comprehensive survey of households available for the period. For this reason, it is a principal tool of genealogists and local historians.

Unlike previous attempts to index or publish Griffith’s Valuation, this will be the first time the entire survey has been published since it was originally issued in the 19th century. This edition will contain all the revisions and amended versions that were published over the 17 years it took to complete the valuation. No library in any country in the world, including Ireland, has a full set of the Griffith Valuation. So for the first time, users of the new web edition can be sure that they have all the source material at hand in one place. They will be able to search a complete database of personal and place names, and then access scanned images of the original published pages.

 

About the National Library of Ireland

The National Library of Ireland has just celebrated the 125th anniversary of its foundation. As the library of record for Ireland, the National Library aims to collect, preserve and make accessible materials on or relating to Ireland, whether published in Ireland or abroad, and a supporting reference collection. The Library's current collection of some six million items constitutes probably the most outstanding collection of Irish documentary material in the world, an invaluable representation of Irish history and heritage.

The National Library has long been one of the key centres for family history research in Ireland. The Library's Genealogy Service - an expert service staffed by a panel of professional genealogists, together with experienced Library staff – is designed with the specific needs of family history researchers in mind.

Among the key sources consulted by genealogists in the Library are microfilms of Catholic parish registers, trade and social directories, newspapers, and rentals and other records of the former landed estates. These records, and many other sources used for family history research, will continue to be freely available to personal callers to the Library and, in many instances, use of these records will be greatly facilitated by free on-site access to the new Griffith’s index.

To discuss this story further, please visit the newsletter message board at http://www.RootsForum.com and click on "Message Board."

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- P. William Filby, R.I.P.

One of the greats of our time passed away this week. P. William Filby died in Savage, Maryland on 2 November 2002. Filby was a prolific author. He wrote many books, including: American and British Genealogy and Heraldry: A Selected List of Books, A Bibliography of American County Histories, Bibliography of Passenger and Immigration Lists, Philadelphia Naturalization Records, 1789-1880, and more. In addition, he edited still other books, including: Germans to America (66 volumes), Italians Coming to America: Lists of Passengers Arriving at U.S. Ports (seven volumes), Directory of American Libraries with Genealogy or Local History Collections and Who's Who in Genealogy (with Mary Meyer). A number of Filby’s books were later released on CD-ROM.

Percy William Filby was born in Cambridge, England in 1911. He was a rare book librarian at the Cambridge University Library and then Director of the Cambridge University Science Library. During World War II he was a cryptographer at Bletchley, where ULTRA was broken, and following his marriage to Vera Ruth Weakliem, he came to America in 1957.

He was librarian and assistant director of the Peabody Library, Baltimore, which possessed a rich genealogical collection, especially British material. He moved to the Maryland Historical Society in 1966 as its librarian and became director in l972. There he found an interest in emigration, and following his retirement in 1978, he was engaged by Gale Research, Detroit, to head the genealogy section.

Filby was a popular speaker throughout the U.S. who also wrote many genealogical articles. He was a Fellow of the National Genealogical Society, Society of Genealogists (London) and Utah Genealogical Association. In 1998, Scholarly Resources of Wilmington, Delaware, bestowed its first annual award of $1,000 and named it the Filby Prize, to be conferred on a genealogical librarian. In 2000 the American Society of Genealogists conferred its Certificate of Appreciation on Mr. Filby for his genealogical publications.

In 1990, he and his wife, Vera Ruth Filby, made a donation to endow a rare book room at the Music Library of the Peabody Conservatory.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Filby is survived by his daughters, Ann Chesworth and Jane Johnson; sons Roderick and Guy Filby; four grandchildren; and one great grandchild.

To discuss this story further, please visit the newsletter message board at http://www.RootsForum.com and click on "Message Board."

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- Titanic Infant Identified

Using the latest DNA technology, the body of an infant found floating near the scene of the Titanic disaster in 1912 has now been identified.

The crew of the Canadian recovery ship Mackay-Bennett found the body of the young, fair-haired boy a few days after the steamer sank, with the loss of 1,517 lives. But there was no identification, and the crewmen decided to take the body to Halifax and pay for a proper funeral, burying the little coffin at the top of a hill in Fairview Lawn Cemetery, along with 120 other Titanic victims. The headstone reads, "Unknown Child," and over the years it has attracted the attention of cemetery visitors.

Now experts have determined it was the body of Eino Viljami Panula, who was thirteen months old when the Titanic sank on April 15, 1912. He was one of five brothers from Finland who died in the disaster, along with their mother.

You can read the details of this story on CNN’s Web site at: http://www.cnn.com/2002/TECH/science/11/07/titanic.child.reut/index.html

To discuss this story further, please visit the newsletter message board at http://www.RootsForum.com and click on "Message Board."

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- New Message Board Section for Plus Edition Subscribers

The past seven days have been a whirlwind for me. Since announcing a two-tiered newsletter, the response has been gratifying. I am delighted with the number of people who feel this newsletter is worth the price I am asking. The free version will be subsidized by paid advertising, and the response from advertisers also was overwhelming. In fact, at this moment I am not accepting any more advertising and won’t until some time next year. All ad space until then has been sold!

As always, I am inviting your comments, corrections, and queries about articles in the newsletter to be posted to a message board available at RootsForum.com. The articles from the free edition of the newsletter will be posted in the same place they always have. In addition, I have created a new section for articles that are published only in the Plus Edition. I invite Plus Edition subscribers to join in there.

The new Plus Edition Subscribers’ section is closed to the general public. Access will only be granted to those who subscribe to the Plus Edition. To gain access, you must first register as a user on the message board. You can do that yourself without any intervention from me or anyone else. Once you have created a User ID and password, send me a message asking for access to the Plus Edition Subscribers’ section. You may send that to me in e-mail or as a private message on the message board. I will verify that you are a Plus Edition subscriber and then will give you access to the new section.

Again, you must create a user ID and password for yourself first. I cannot grant access to "guest users."

To discuss this story further, please visit the newsletter message board at http://www.RootsForum.com and click on "Message Board."

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- Safety of Online Credit Card Transactions

This article is not about a genealogy-related topic. Yet the information presented here directly affects many of the companies, products, and services mentioned in this newsletter as well as the many readers who use those goods.

Last week I announced the new Plus Edition of the newsletter and told how to subscribe online by using a credit card. In the following days, I received about a dozen e-mails from people questioning the use of credit cards on the Web. The words varied, but the underlying theme was, "I am afraid to use a credit card on the Web." I must admit that I was surprised; I thought that phobia died years ago. Perhaps a better understanding of how online ordering works will help dispel the needless fears that apparently still deprive some people of this great convenience.

According to Forrester Research, consumers will spend more than $76.3 billion in 2002 in purchases made on the Web. Seventy-six billion dollars! That’s a lot of money, and probably 99% of it is spent via credit cards on the Web. Even with $76 billion in online credit card usage per year, I bet you do not personally know anyone who was "ripped off" for using a credit card on the Web. The reason is simple: credit card fraud on the Web is extremely rare, much less common than credit card fraud elsewhere.

I might also mention my qualifications for writing about this topic. Two years ago I was the Principal Technical Support Engineer for a dot-com company that provided online credit card processing for Web merchants. Our customers included more than two thousand dot-com e-commerce sites, including several companies that are household names. When you ordered something from our customer’s Web site and paid by credit card, you were actually sending the information to my employer’s servers. You probably never knew that, however. We handled all the "back end" credit card processing. I really loved that job and was disappointed when my employer filed for bankruptcy and closed their doors as one more dot-com company bit the dust.

During my two plus years there, I watched as my employer’s servers processed millions of online credit card transactions. My department got involved whenever there were problems. We were the ones who dealt with technical problems, as well as with stolen credit cards and attempted fraud. Of the hundreds of attempted fraud cases that my department handled, we never found one where the would-be thief retrieved card numbers from a Web transaction. In all the attempted fraud cases where we were able to identify the source of the problem, the credit card numbers had been obtained from telephone orders or from face-to-face credit card transactions in restaurants, gas stations, beauty parlors, stores, and other retail establishments. In fact, I learned that it is very easy to steal credit card numbers, even if you don’t know how to use a computer. Most thieves prefer the easier, non-computer methods.

Many of us know people who have had theft of card numbers in face-to-face transactions. If you know me, then you know one of those people: years ago I had my credit card numbers stolen twice although both occurrences happened long before the invention of the World Wide Web. Luckily, the credit card companies covered the losses completely; I never lost a dime.

When you personally hand your card to a waiter or retail clerk and he or she takes it out of your sight, your information is easily "ripped off." Someone outside of your view can easily copy the numbers or swipe the card twice in a credit card machine. Telephone orders are just as risky; the person working in the call center on the receiving end may not be totally honest. Do you really want to give your credit card numbers to a stranger on the other end of the phone? He or she may be writing the numbers onto a piece of paper for later use.

The security specialists who work for credit card companies report that almost all credit card fraud occurs in face-to-face transactions in restaurants, gas stations, and retail stores. Inserting your card directly into a credit card machine and then retrieving it yourself is much safer. One example is the automated gas pumps that are so common these days. The reason that automated pumps are so popular among gas station owners is that the pumps significantly reduce credit card theft by their employees. Unlike the old pumps, gas station employees today never see the credit card or the numbers on the card.

Most people also do not realize that their credit card transactions in stores, restaurants, and gas stations are also transacted via online networks. The larger corporations usually have their own dedicated networks for credit card transactions. However, many smaller stores, restaurants, and gas stations use dial-up connections to agents over the same Internet that you and I are using. Their credit card swipe devices make encrypted connections across the Internet to servers at the clearinghouses. They send your personal data across the Internet, using encryption technology that scrambles the data so that no human can decipher it. This encryption technology is similar to that used in your Web browser. Very likely, your credit card information has already been sent across the Internet many times – safely – even if you have never made an online purchase.

Like the dial-up connections the vendors use, Web browsers have the same capability to send and receive sensitive financial and personal information in an encrypted form that is essentially impossible to intercept. Whether an online purchase is made using Internet Explorer, Netscape, AOL, or some other browser, only the merchant or their agent will ever have access to the information. No one else can decode your credit card numbers.

The buzzword for all this is "Secure Sockets." I’ll skip over the technical details but will point out that your credit card information is encrypted right at your PC, before it ever reaches the Internet. When Secure Socket connections are used, your data is never transmitted "in the clear." The encryption techniques employed are extremely robust and secure. These encryption methods can only be broken by the use of multi-million dollar mainframes. Even with expensive hardware, decoding one credit card transaction might require several months. Most thieves can find easier ways to steal money.

Compare that to orders placed by telephone or by FAX. These orders are not encrypted at all! Anyone can tap in. Did you recently call in a telephone order while using a cell phone or a cordless phone in your home? Many people can listen in on those conversations by using an inexpensive police scanner. Stealing a credit card number is child’s play when calls are placed by telephone.

Once your credit card information is received at the online merchant’s server, it normally remains within a secured database in the order processing system. That database may even be the same one that the merchant uses for telephone orders and mail orders. Theoretically, credit card information could be stolen after it arrives at a merchant’s central computer system, but this is a human risk that can happen on both Web orders and non-Web orders alike. Using the Web does not increase or decrease the odds of human theft. You encounter the same risk when you give your credit card number in person, over the phone, by letter, or by FAX.

The high-security encryption techniques used for online purchases is in stark contrast to using your credit card at dozens of local shops, restaurants, and gas stations. When your credit card is used to make a paper imprint, your credit card number is in the hands of people whom you don’t know, and it may wind up on slips of paper in dumpsters accessible to all sorts of people. One phrase I learned is "Dumpster Diving:" the act of going through dumpsters behind stores or restaurants looking for credit card receipts. Such activities are very common among credit card thieves.

Online credit card transactions via Secure Socket connections are much safer than handing your card to a clerk in a store or restaurant. A largely uninformed media has given in to hearsay, rumor, and urban legend rather than taking the time to investigate the facts. These rumors circulate without regard for truth.

If you are still uneasy, you should also remember that there are limits on your exposure in all credit card thefts. In the United States, federal laws mandate that you can be charged a maximum of $50.00 for all the purchases made with your stolen credit card. However, American Express and many issuers of VISA and MasterCard reduce this liability to zero. A person using one of these "insured cards" still may suffer some inconvenience when the card is ripped off, but at least it won’t cost any money. If you have several credit cards in your wallet, check to see which ones offer theft protection. Then use those cards all the time, both online and offline.

To illustrate the safety of credit cards, I’ll remind you that a few months ago I reported on a slightly different issue. A company advertised a national genealogical conference, took in thousands of dollars in prepaid reservations, then canceled the conference and refused to refund any money. Those who paid by credit card and reported the problem to the banks that issued the cards received refunds from those issuing banks. In effect, the card-issuing banks insured the purchase. Those who paid by cash, check, or money order received nothing. Credit cards really are safer than cash, checks, money orders, or debit cards, both online and off, especially when non-delivery of goods and services are involved.

In the past ten years, I have probably charged more than $40,000 in Web purchases, all of it done by credit cards. A lot of that was for airline tickets as I used to travel a lot for a former employer. I was reimbursed by submitting an expense account.

In addition, I purchase many items on eBay and always pay via credit card through PayPal. I also purchase most of my computer software and hardware online. I pay for the newsletter bulk mailing service that sends this newsletter by e-mail by using a credit card online. I also pay for the RootsForum.com Web site by using a credit card and PayPal. Most of my Christmas presents, birthday presents, and a lot of other things are purchased online, all paid by credit card. I even pay my bills online. In fact, I avoid shopping malls as much as possible. I find it easier and safer to shop online.

I have never had a problem with an online credit card transaction, nor do I know anyone else who ever had any problems with fraud by using credit cards on the Web. Even among the two thousand customers of my former employer, not one of them ever identified the Web as the source of a stolen credit card number.

In short, your credit card is less exposed to fraud when used on the Web than it is when used in person at restaurants, gas stations, and at retail stores. Think about it.

To discuss this story further, please visit the newsletter message board at http://www.RootsForum.com and click on "Message Board."

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- Check Your Links (+)

This article is a Plus Edition-only article. It is copyright 2002 by Richard W. Eastman and is restricted to viewing solely by subscribers to the Plus Edition of this newsletter. Details about the Plus Edition are available at: http://www.RootsForum.com/plus

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- Get Your Implantable Chip Now!

Privacy advocates will be distressed to learn that the maker of an implantable human ID chip is now selling the device. This isn’t a "Star Wars" future product; VeriChip is available today. Using a special scanner, medical personnel, police officers, security personnel, and others can quickly identify the person with the implanted chip. Information available will include whatever the chip wearer wants to make available to the authorities.

Applied Digital Solutions has launched a national campaign to promote the device, offering $50 discounts to the first 100,000 people who register to get embedded with the microchip. As the company says in its advertising, "Get Chipped." The new chip is the size of a grain of rice and costs $200. Those implanted must also pay for the doctor's injection fee and a monthly $10 database maintenance charge.

The VeriChip emits a 125-kilohertz radio frequency signal that transmits its unique ID number to a scanner. The number is then used to access a computer database containing the client's file. Customers fill out a form detailing the information they want linked to their chip when they undergo the procedure.

Applied Digital Solutions is marketing the device for a variety of security applications, including:

  • Controlling access to physical structures, such as government or private sector offices or nuclear power plants. Instead of swiping a smart card, employees could swipe the arm containing the chip.
  • Reducing financial fraud. In this scenario, people could use their chip to withdraw money from ATMs; their accounts could not be accessed unless they were physically present.
  • Decreasing identity theft. For instance, those implanted could use the chip as a password to access computers at home and at the office.

Applied Digital Solutions reportedly has received hundreds of inquiries from people interested in being implanted. Product details are available at: http://www.adsx.com/prodservpart/verichip.html

I’m not sure if I would want one of these chips implanted in my body. It smacks of "Big Brother." However, I sure wish that a certain few ancestors were tracked this easily!

To discuss this story further, please visit the newsletter message board at http://www.RootsForum.com and click on "Message Board."

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- Home Pages Highlighted

The "Home Pages Highlighted" section consists of new genealogy-related home pages that you, the readers of this newsletter, nominate for publication in this newsletter. While anyone may nominate any genealogy-related home page, the process seems to work best when the webmaster for a home page nominates his or her own work. You are invited to enter your nomination online at http://www.rootsforum.com.

The following is a list of some of the genealogy-related World Wide Web home pages that have recently been listed by newsletter readers at http://www.rootsforum.com:

Uridge, Euridge One-Name Study, including any similar sounding variants. Queries are welcome on family history, although the genealogy is UK based, members are world-wide. http://www.uridge.org

William Peakman left from Plymouth, Eng. aboard the Pestonjee Bomanjee, bound for Van Dieman's Land as 1 of fifty troops who guarded the prisoners on this vessel. This is the story of the legacy he left in New Zealand: http://www.geocities.com/lpeakman/index.html

Gemmell/Gemmill (Ayrshire & Ontario); Walker (Isle of Wight); Ball (Wales and USA); Wright (Wales); Fox (Middlesex); Hill (Devon); Potter (Devon); Munns (Middlesex and Isle of Wight); Rawley (Ontario); Brown (Quebec and Ontario); Staley (NY and Ontario). http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~gemmell/index.htm

Irish and Irish-American genealogy, research, books and classes: http://www.irishgenealogy.com

Dudley Family - One of the largest single surname sites on the web. If you are a DUDLEY, or have a DUDLEY on your tree, this is the place to find more: http://www.dudleygenealogy.com

To submit your genealogy page to this newsletter, enter the necessary information at: http://www.rootsforum.com. Due to the volume of new Web pages submitted, I am not able to list all of them in the newsletter.

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The PR Budget for this newsletter is $0.00. I rely upon "word of mouse" advertising in which you recommend this newsletter to your friends. This newsletter is a private project of mine, and I have a zero budget for a publicity campaign to get more readers.

In each issue, I try to offer you useful, interesting and sometimes amusing information to help you with your genealogy efforts. Can you take a minute to help me out in return? If you think this newsletter is a worthwhile read, please tell your friends. Better yet, forward a copy of the newsletter to them by e-mail and then suggest they get their own subscription at http://www.RootsForum.com.

Thanks.


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. Go to http://www.RootsForum.com and click on "Message Board."

You can also search past newsletters at the same address: http://www.RootsForum.com

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

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. 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 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: richard@eastman.net. 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 to http://www.RootsForum.com and then click on "Message Board." Post your message there. You will then receive assistance from Dick Eastman or from a number of other people.

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