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Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

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

Vol. 8 No. 24 – June 16, 2003

This newsletter relies solely upon "word of mouse" advertising. If you enjoy reading these articles, please tell others to go to http://www.RootsForum.com.

Some of the articles in this Plus Edition newsletter are restricted to your personal use.

Search previous issues of Standard Edition newsletters at: http://www.RootsForum.com

Plus Edition subscribers may gain access to a reserved section of the Discussion Board. Details are available at http://www.rootsforum.com/plus/messageboard.htm.

Listen to Dick Eastman’s broadcast on FamilyHistoryRadio.com.

Copyright© 2003 by Richard W. Eastman. All rights reserved.


IN THIS ISSUE:

- PayPal Fired, Newsletter Subscription Simplified
- (+) Finding Cemeteries with a GPS Receiver – Part II
- GPS Technology Shrinks Rhode Island
- FGS Conference in Orlando
- MyFamily.com Converts to a Paid Site
- Family History CD
- GedStar-Plus version 5.1 for Palm OS
- Place Auditor
- Legacy Scribe
- Potential Expansion of State History Services in Maine
- New Jersey State Archives Online Catalog
- Handbook of Texas Online
- A Move for Better Copyright Laws
- More on Copyright Problems with Old Genealogy Books on CD-ROM
- Finding Terrorists with Soundex?
- Genealogy Hero

Items marked with a Plus Sign (+) appear only in the Plus Edition newsletter.


Every family tree has some sap in it.


- PayPal Fired, Newsletter Subscription Simplified

This week I fired PayPal. I have been using the company's service to handle payments for the Plus Edition of this newsletter and to maintain the mailing list of Plus Edition subscribers. PayPal did an excellent job of handling the payments in a safe and secure manner. I have no complaints with how that worked. However, their ongoing maintenance of the subscribers' database was abysmal.

I will skip the full story as it is long and probably boring. I'll summarize by saying that PayPal's idea of maintaining a subscribers' database is radically different from my needs. Some subscribers even received e-mails stating "You have successfully unsubscribed from Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter" when, in fact, they had not unsubscribed at all. The only thing that really happened is that their credit cards had expired in mid-subscription. The statement that "you have successfully unsubscribed" was blatantly false. When I asked PayPal customer service about this, they stated that the abrupt cancellation of the subscriptions was for my protection as the subscribers' credit cards had expired. PayPal Customer Service was adamant that the subscribers had to re-subscribe immediately with a new credit card, even though they had several months remaining on the existing, fully-paid subscriptions. Some protection! With "protection" like this, I could be out of business in a few months!

As a result, I have now dropped PayPal and moved this work "in house." The database of subscribers is now kept on a PC in my office, not at PayPal. I obtained a credit card merchant account of my own and can now directly handle credit card payments from this newsletter's Web site without any requirement to use PayPal. As a result, the subscription process has been simplified. You do not need to "join" PayPal or any other organization. All you do is enter your name, address, and credit card number on a secure Web page, the same process used on most other e-commerce sites. If you pay for a twelve-month subscription, you will receive twelve months' worth of issues. Nobody will cancel your subscription before the end of what you have paid for.

The new payment method is handled on a safe and secure e-commerce system. All personal information is encrypted in the subscriber's computer before it is sent across the Internet. This high-security method guarantees that your credit card number and other personal information cannot be "hacked" while being sent across the Internet.

Present Plus Edition subscribers will notice two things:

  1. You will soon receive an e-mail from PayPal stating that your subscription has been cancelled. That is true, but there is more to the story. Your subscription is being cancelled on PayPal and is being transferred to my own database. Your subscription will continue to the full term that you have paid for although PayPal will not know that. When you get the e-mail from PayPal, you can ignore it.
  2. There are no more automatic renewals. When it is time to renew your subscription (and I do hope that you will want to renew!), you will receive an e-mail from me with all the required information. If you want to renew, you will need to go to the Web address listed in that e-mail and subscribe again.

All of this has been an interesting learning experience for me. I am still a satisfied PayPal customer, and I will continue to use the company's services for my eBay purchases and for some other online purchases. I still like PayPal's business model for regular payments. My only complaint is with the PayPal subscription service.

To subscribe to the Plus Edition of this newsletter, go to: http://www.RootsForum.com/plus

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

[Return to Table of Contents]


- (+) Finding Cemeteries with a GPS Receiver – Part II

This is a "preview" from a Plus Edition-only article that is available only to subscribers to the Plus Edition of this newsletter. To learn how to subscribe to the Plus Edition, go to http://www.RootsForum.com/plus

In last week's Plus Edition newsletter, I described the method of finding cemetery locations via online databases. I also described my experiences using an inexpensive GPS (Global Positioning System) receiver to drive to cemeteries of interest. This week I will describe the hardware commonly used in GPS applications.

End of "preview."

To read the rest of this article, you must be a subscriber to the Plus Edition. If you subscribe today, you will receive this article. To learn how to subscribe to the Plus Edition, go to http://www.RootsForum.com/plus

[Return to Table of Contents]


- GPS Technology Shrinks Rhode Island

Rhode Island may be the smallest of the fifty United States, but it may become even a bit smaller. It seems that GPS technology is changing some century-old map lines, and local residents are up in arms about the changes.

For over 160 years, the neighboring towns of Hopkinton in Rhode Island, and North Stonington in Connecticut have lived quietly within the jagged state borders established in an 1840 survey. Now quaint little North Stonington is waging a revolution over parts of Rhode Island that residents say are rightfully theirs.

"It's that old Yankee stubbornness. When they put out those markers, they put them where they wanted to. And now we're looking back and saying no, that boundary simply isn't right according to the new GPS technology," Connecticut Rep. Diana Urban said.

According to a recent North Stonington survey, the borders ratified in 1840 have not been adhered to, and 22 acres formerly believed to be in Hopkinton, Rhode Island, are actually in Connecticut. "We already have the master list, and the tax bills will go out shortly," Stonington Selectman Nicolas Mullane said.

More land means more property taxes. A map drawn by the Hopkinton assessor shows the contested acreage, marked in red. The back porch of one house used to be in Connecticut. Now, according to North Stonington, the whole property is. The family who lives in the house sends their kids to Rhode Island schools. Now they're told they should be schooled in Connecticut. The tax bill has already arrived, even though a 1990 marker just across the street puts the home in Rhode Island.

"People who have grown up and lived here, find themselves in the stroke of a map, or new assessment challenged by a neighboring town, and that is very disruptive," Hopkinton Town Council spokesman Robert Corrigan said.

That's certainly how proud Rhode Islander Iva Crider feels, now that the Nutmeg State says she lives in Connecticut. "I mixed the cement to build this house," Crider said. She has lived in the house her husband built in 1954. They've raised chickens and kids there.

"I think it's a crock of bologna. I wish they would leave it alone. It's been that way for 160 years. So you are saying that for 160 years that human beings have been wrong? Just leave us alone," Crider said.

A joint legislative commission will decide where Rhode Island ends and Connecticut begins.

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

[Return to Table of Contents]


- FGS Conference in Orlando

There are several large genealogy conferences held in North America each year. One of the conferences on my "must attend" list is the event produced by the Federation of Genealogical Societies. They always put on a good show. The 2003 FGS conference will be co-hosted by the Florida State Genealogical Society and is being held in Orlando. Now you have still another reason to go to Orlando!

Here is an announcement from the Federation of Genealogical Societies and the Florida State Genealogical Society:

Countdown to Discovery - A World of Hidden Treasures

Have you ever been to a genealogy conference? No. Well now is the time. In the heart of Florida and close to Walt Disney World, genealogists from all over the country, Great Britain and Europe will be attending the Federation of Genealogical Society Conference, hosted by the Florida State Genealogical Society.

Why should you attend?

  1. Over 200 LECTURES and over 95 top-of-the line SPEAKERS. Track descriptions are as follows:

Charting a Course to the Old World (British Isles & Europe)
Exploration in the New World (United States & Canada)
Riches in the First Colony (Focus on Florida)
Diverse Voyagers (Ethnic & Religious Research)
Tools for Successful Navigation (Skills & Strategies)
A Wealth of Hidden Treasures (Records Research)
Just Over the Horizon (Technology & the Internet)!

For more detailed information about each lecture, visit http://www.fgs.org.

  1. A TREASURE HUNT is currently in progress. You can win grand prizes such as free conference registration, room nights at hotels in Salt Lake City, tuition at the Institute of Genealogy & Historical Research in Birmingham, Alabama, registration and boarding at a conference in England and so much more. Check the latest issue of the FGS FORUM for more details about the great Treasure Hunt or the above web site. You can also learn more about the conference and the treasure hunts if you subscribe to the E-zine.[To subscribe to the E-zine, send an email message (no text or subject is necessary) to fgs2003-announce-on@lists.csc.cc.il.us. You will receive a confirmation message to which you must reply within 24 hours.]

  2. Over 100 VENDORS or 150 booths will be in the exhibit hall. See a list of our current exhibitors at http://www.fgs.org/2003conf/conf-exhibitors.asp

  3. All under ONE ROOF. The complete conference and your hotel room are in one building. There is no need to walk outside in the heat or rain. All food functions and restaurants are also located in the same building. Hotel rooms are huge and you can register up to four people for one price.

  4. Fun for the FAMILY. SeaWorld is right across the street from the conference hotel. Visit Walt Disney World, which includes the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Animal Kingdom, and Disney-MGM Studios, as well as Universal Studios, Kennedy Space Center, and many, many other wonderful places!

  5. SOCIETIES CAN WIN $200 worth of genealogy books. If you advertise the conference in your newsletter, send us a copy and we will add it to the drawing to be held at the conference. We have made it very simple for you. Use the media kit at http://www.fgs.org/2003conf/conf-media.htm.

Hurry, the EARLY CONFERENCE registration deadline for the lower price is July 15th.

HOTEL registration deadline is August 4th. 1-800-327-6677; 407-351-5555

We would love to see you there!!

Jim and Pam Cooper
FGS/FSGS 2003 National Conference Co-Chairs
Countdown to Discovery - A World of Hidden Treasures
3-6 September 2003, Orlando, Florida
http://www.fgs.org or
http://www.rootsweb.com/~flsgs/
P. O. Box 7066, Vero Beach, FL 32961-7066

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

[Return to Table of Contents]


- MyFamily.com Converts to a Paid Site

There really is no such thing as a free lunch. For some years, the mantra of the Internet was, "Everything on the net is free." Unfortunately, that attitude ignores some basic business facts of life. This week, reality caught up with MyFamily.com. The popular Web site is now charging fees for the services it used to give away free.

The company sent a message to customers entitled, "Important Notice About Your MyFamily.com Website." It states that all free MyFamily.com websites must be upgraded to paid websites before June 23. The notice also says:

We've been proud to offer the leading family website service for nearly five years. The enthusiasm you and other customers have shown has been incredible. In order to continue providing this service, we have made the difficult decision to convert all MyFamily sites to paid sites.

This means that one [family] member of each MyFamily site will need to pay the annual fee in order for the site to remain active. When one member pays for the site, all other site members [of the same family] enjoy the same benefits for free.

The message then goes on at some length about the various options available. Information on MyFamily.com's Web site says that their services vary from $29.95 a year for basic service up to $109.95 for a "MyFamily.com Super Site." However, this week's e-mail states that those who upgrade now get the first year of service for $9.95.

Warning: the following paragraphs contain personal opinions.

It is always sad to see something that was free become a for-fee service. Indeed, this newsletter went through a similar process about seven months ago although I eventually decided to offer a two-tier service: one that is free and an enhanced offering for a modest subscription fee. Now MyFamily.com is changing to a fee-only service, and we continue to see other Web sites announce similar business plans.

I suspect we will see more of the present free genealogy-oriented sites convert to fee-based businesses. Someone has to pay for the servers, the routers, the high-speed leased lines, and the customer service department. The wild-eyed business plans of a few years ago were based upon the concept of giving everything away free and then paying the bills with advertising revenue. That was great for the customers but not so great for the accounting department. Thousands of Internet would-be entrepreneurs have since found that advertising revenue alone does not cover the expenses.

This week's announcement from MyFamily.com shouldn't surprise anyone. I am sure we will see similar announcements from other companies in the future. In short, the Web is maturing.

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

[Return to Table of Contents]


- Family History CD

This week I had a chance to use a brand-new software package made especially for distributing family histories. Family History CD is a Windows program from Jefferson Shupe that stores text, audio, graphics, and full-motion videos on a CD-ROM disk. It does so in an easy-to-use manner; it is a great program for the computer novice.

Installing Family History CD was a simple process, similar to that of most other Windows products. However, I did have to enter a very long license number in order to register the product and gain access to all features.

I must say that I am not a graphics or multi-media expert. I didn't know where to start on a project of this sort. Luckily, Family History CD includes a sample project that I used as a tutorial. "The Weston Family History" soon became as familiar as my own ancestry. Once I spent a couple of hours maneuvering around and modifying the sample project, I was ready to start off on my own with a new family project of my ancestry.

Starting at the main file organizing screen, I was able to add and delete pictures, documents of various sorts, and full-motion video with audio. The program organizes files into folders in a manner similar to Windows Explorer. Clicking on "ADD" creates a new folder. Files can be moved from one place to another using Windows' usual click-and-drag techniques. Folders can be moved around in the same manner. In short, if you know how to move files and folders in Windows Explorer, you already know how to use Family History CD.

I spent some time experimenting with the user interface. I was able to add pictures and other files that were already on my hard drive, again using the click-and-drag method. In only a few minutes, I added a lot of my own family members to the sample family database. The files included not only text and pictures, but also charts made in Excel and timelines produced from Progeny Software's GeneLines program. In short, if you have a graphic that can be stored in any common Windows format, you can add it to your family history.

Family History CD does not scan the pictures for you, nor does it convert old movies and videotapes into computer files. You need to convert your data to computer format by using other programs. Once stored as files on your hard drive, Family History CD will assemble those files into an album suitable for use on CD and then will even "burn" the CD-ROM disks for you.

I created a couple of text documents in Adobe Acrobat's PDF format, using the free OpenOffice.org software, then added them to the family album. The use of PDF files is an excellent method of adding text to a CD-ROM disk; your data is displayed and yet is difficult for others to modify and republish without your permission.

I had some fun creating a "front page;" a screen that appears when the output disk is first inserted into a PC. The front page can include all sorts of graphics along with buttons that link to the various topics that you created.

I also created a full-screen slide show consisting of many of the images in the family file. This would be an excellent disk to take to the next family reunion. The "Face Label" feature in Family History CD helps you easily identify people in pictures. Each person can have a label attached.

Finally, this product actually burns the CD-ROM disk for you. You do not need to purchase any other CD-burning software. The resultant disks are easy to use: simply insert the disk into any modern Windows PC, and the front page that you created automatically appears on the screen. Your relatives can simply point and click with the mouse to see the rest of your work.

Even computer novices will appreciate the ease of use of Family History CD. Non-techies can use this program to create a rather sophisticated family album. When I did have a question, the built-in Help system seemed to answer my questions. I would suggest, however, that anyone planning to use Family History CD first become familiar with all the different types of text, graphics, and video files commonly found in Windows. For instance, you will need to know the difference between a PDF file and a JPG file.

Disks created by Family History CD are designed for use on Windows 95 or later systems. The CD-ROM disks created by this program will not work on older Windows 3.1 systems, nor are they intended for use on Macintosh or Linux computers. No special software is required at the recipient's PC. Standard Windows alone will display most of the data although the recipient's PC may also need some commonly-available "player" programs. For instance, to display PDF files, the receiving PC must have Adobe's free Acrobat Reader software installed.

If you have a CD that was created with Family History CD, you can put it into your CD-ROM drive and copy the project to your hard disk. You can then use the program to add additional data onto someone else's project. It also is a great way to restore a backup; each data CD-ROM created by Family History CD effectively becomes a back-up copy!

Family History CD is billed as a family history product, but it has many other uses as well. I can see it being used for family histories, life histories, town histories, grammar school class projects, and much more. In fact, it doesn't need to be limited to histories even though that is the focus. This program will create multimedia disks for almost any purpose.

Family History CD sells for $49.95 (U.S. funds) plus taxes and shipping. Before buying, you can download a 15-day free trial that has full functionality except for the capability of burning CD-ROM disks. If you purchase the full product after the 15-day evaluation period, you will not lose any data. The data remains on your hard drive even after the 15-day trial period; registering the program later will enable you to use the previously-created data.

The 15-day demo is a huge download at nearly 39 megabytes. I'd suggest that you not try that on a dial-up modem. Of course, you can purchase the full product and have it mailed to you on CD-ROM. You might want to download the full user’s manual, a smaller file at "only" 5.2 megabytes, before spending your money for the program.

Family History CD is a great product. If you want to create family histories or other multi-media CD-ROM disks, I would suggest that you first look at this program's excellent Web site. The Web pages give a lot more information than what I was able to include here, as well as advice on how to interview relatives, how to convert text, pictures, and videos into computer files, and how to use the program. While there, you can download the demo version and the user’s manual. Finally, when you are ready to purchase the program, you can do so at the same Web site.

For more information about Family History CD or to order it online, go to: http://www.familyhistorycd.com

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

[Return to Table of Contents]


- GedStar-Plus version 5.1 for Palm OS

GedStar-Plus version 5.1 for the Palm operating system has been released. This genealogy software for handheld computers will operate on any Palm-compatible computer, including those made by Palm, Handspring, and Sony.

GedStar-Plus is a new version of the GedStar 5 package that imports data directly from a PC genealogy program's database, bypassing the GEDCOM export process. By not depending upon GEDCOM and its weaknesses, GedStar transfers your genealogy data to the handheld more completely and accurately. Direct import is available for importing data from Legacy Family Tree™ V4.0 and The Master Genealogist™ V4.0d and V5.0. Other products may be supported in the future as the technology becomes available.

GedStar-Plus can be downloaded from the producer’s Web site and then registered for $19.95. There is also an upgrade option costing $8.00 for current GedStar users who wish to use the new version.

You can find more information about GedStar-Plus at: http://www.ghcssoftware.com/gsplus.htm

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

[Return to Table of Contents]


- Place Auditor

The following is an announcement from Progeny Software:

Ensure Place Name Accuracy with Place Auditor™

Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada, June 11-Progeny Software has just launched a revolutionary new product to help you ensure place name accuracy in your genealogy research.

Place Auditor™ is a powerful, versatile new tool for place name analysis, data correction and exploration of genealogical databases.

"Think of Place Auditor as a spellchecker for place names," explains Pierre Cloutier, Co-founder of Progeny Software. "It will quickly check all your place names and redflag incorrect spellings or incomplete place names."

Complete well-formatted place names are critical when seeking records from court houses and censuses, or organizing research trips to unfamiliar locations. As well, accurate place names will greatly increase your chances of matching your genealogy records to other family history databases.

With Place Auditor you can:

    • quickly identify inaccuracies in your place name data
    • preview your family history from a geographical perspective to discover new leads based on kinship of location
    • eyeball a GEDCOM file for place name quality and relevance before import.

No changes will be made to your database; instead, Place Auditor will suggest corrections that you can copy and paste to your genealogy file. This assessment is presented by geographical area or by error type, and can be viewed onscreen or printed for later review. Place Auditor lets you customize the way you view this information so you can quickly zero in on what is most important to you, a feature especially important for larger databases.

Place Auditor is also a great new way to view your genealogy from a geographical perspective. You can easily see all the people in any given region at a level of detail you choose. (i.e. who lived in a particular town, county, state or country).

How does Place Auditor work?

Progeny Software has compiled a one-of-a-kind gazetteer or dictionary of over three-million geographical names from around the world along with their unique latitude and longitude. Using this gazetteer, Place Auditor will geo-code or pinpoint every location in your genealogy database and identify any place name inaccuracies and incomplete place names.

Just as a spellchecker program allows you to add new words to its database, Place Auditor will allow you to customize your gazetteer of place names. So you may easily add locations that no longer exist or more personalized descriptions such as Grandpa's Homestead.

"Progeny's Gazetteer currently contains contemporary place names from around the world plus US cemeteries," adds Cloutier. "Future updates will include historical place names as well."

This three-million place name gazetteer is also a powerful stand-alone-tool for you to see if a place name currently exists and identify its longitudinal and latitudinal reference points to find it on a map.

Place Auditor is compatible with the following genealogy file formats: Ancestry Family Tree, Ancestral Quest, Family Tree Maker, Heritage Family Tree Deluxe, Legacy Family Tree, Personal Ancestral File, and GEDCOM 5.5 files (including data with Western European diacritics). A Windows operating system (Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000 or XP) is required to run Place Auditor.

Priced at $34.95US, Place Auditor is available from Progeny Software on CD-ROM only.

Place Auditor complements Progeny Software's growing product line of quality genealogy software and research products. Progeny's products, which include Place Auditor, Genelines, Charting Companion, GEDmark and a variety of genealogy research databases and software tools, can be found at http://www.progenysoftware.com

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

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- Legacy Scribe

The following announcement is from Richard F. Robinson, CGRS, the owner-operator of Legacy Scribe(sm), LLC:

New company prepares histories of all kinds and business materials for professionals

Where can you go to have an expert research and prepare life stories of people, families, homes and businesses? Produce attractive brochures and business materials for professionals and organizations for an edge in the marketplace?

You can do that and more at a new, unique business called Legacy Scribe(sm), LLC, a one-stop place that produces almost "everything in writing" and graphics in the field of genealogy and history, according to its news release. Its Web site is www.legacyscribe.com.

The Florida-based company prepares all kinds of histories, articles, and professional materials for individuals, professionals, and organizations in the U.S., says owner-operator Richard F. Robinson, a Certified Genealogical Records Specialist (CGRS). A Pulitzer Prize nominee with 30 years of writing experience, he is one of the first CGRSs to also specialize in personal history as a member of the Association of Personal Historians.

"What makes us unusual is that we are one of the few companies qualified to research and write the personal history of a living individual, the history of his/her ancestors, and the family home," Robinson says. "We're also the pro's pro, serving leading professionals, and organizations who need writing, editing, and graphics expertise."

Legacy Scribe guarantees the quality of its work. Robinson says it can do this because of its extensive knowledge, a commitment to excellence and strict adherence to professional codes of ethics and conduct.

For more information about Legacy Scribe's services, look at: http://www.legacyscribe.com

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

[Return to Table of Contents]


- Potential Expansion of State History Services in Maine

We hear a lot of negative news these days about various state governments cutting back on programs that help genealogists and historians. It is refreshing to hear that one state is actually thinking of increasing services.

The following e-mail was written by Richard D'Abate and forwarded to me by Kathy Amoroso:

URGENT CALL TO ACTION!

RE: MAINE MEMORY NETWORK

Dear Friends

Right now in Augusta legislative leadership is working on a package of bonds that will go to the voters in November. One of the proposed components of that package is a $4 million provision for cultural improvements designed to build on the success of the New Century Community Program. It's called the New Century Community Bond and it's been put together by the Maine Cultural Affairs Council. (It was formerly included in LD 1591.)

We are urging you to call your legislators TODAY to solicit their support for the New Century Community Bond at the $4 million level. All the contact information you need can be found below. If you live out of Maine but have connections to anyone in the legislature, please contact them.

What does this mean for the Maine Memory Network?

If successful, this bond will provide Maine Historical Society with $500,000 to upgrade the technology of the Maine Memory Network and to add thousands more images from organizations in every part of Maine. The growth and long-term significance of the Maine Memory Network database depends on this funding.

The New Century Community Bond is geared toward creating economic growth and educational advancement through infrastructure improvements for libraries, museums, and historic structures in Maine. In addition to funding for the Maine Memory Network, it will include support for the following:

I. Capital Improvements Statewide:

Library Construction and Renovation
Historic Structures Preservation
ADA Compliance Construction for Cultural Facilities

II. Creation and Preservation of Permanent Cultural Resources

Historical and Museum Collections Preservation
Permanent Exhibits in Rural Cultural Institutions

III. Technological Improvements for Cultural and Educational Institutions

Library Information Technology and Digital Resources
Maine Memory Network
Technological Infrastructure for Educators and Literacy Providers

HERE'S HOW TO HELP US:

1. We ask that today you contact your local legislators (house and senate) as well as a member of leadership to URGE THEM TO SUPPORT FULL FUNDING FOR THE NEW CENTURY COMMUNITY BOND AT $4 MILLION.

2. Making calls:

To locate your Representative: http://janus.state.me.us/house/townlist.htm.

To locate your State Senator: http://www.state.me.us/legis/senate/senators/Directory/TownFrm.htm.

Call your own representatives and senators at home. If your own Senator or Representative is a member of leadership (listed below), call them at home, also. Otherwise, you can use the Senate hotline at 800-423-6900, or the House hotline at 800-423-2900.

3. Leaving a message: For direct conversations, use the talking points below. If you are leaving a message, you should state: your name, your affiliation, your address (if you are a constituent), and that you urge the member to support New Century Community Bond.

FACT: If a legislator gets as few as five calls on a particular issue, he or she will sit up and take notice of it.

4. Follow-up emails or letter: PLEASE TRY TO FOLLOW UP your call with an e-mail message or a written letter reiterating your points. To locate e-mail addresses for your legislators:

For the House: http://janus.state.me.us/house/e_mail.htm

For the Senate: http://www.state.me.us/legis/senate/senators/email/maillst.htm

WHAT SHOULD YOU SAY OR WRITE?

This is, of course, entirely up to you, although the main point is to make specific and clear reference to New Century Community Bond and the Maine Cultural Affairs Council. Here's what we suggest in three simple steps:

1. Politely ask the legislator to work to find funding for New Century Community Bond.

2. If you are not on an answering machine, consider telling a short anecdote about why the program is important to you and why you think it's important to Maine.

3. Perhaps reference to one of the program facts in the following Talking Points.

TALKING POINTS - REASONS TO SUPPORT THE NEW CENTURY COMMUNITY BOND

Educational Improvement:

These Funds will enhance educational opportunities for Maine people of all ages. New Century Community Development funds will strengthen community-based arts and cultural programs and facilities throughout the state. It will reach rural and urban Maine, and promote literacy and community education programs outside of K-12 and higher education.

Quality of Life:

Maine's communities depend on their arts and cultural institutions to ensure a rewarding quality of life, protect their priceless historical resources, and provide new educational opportunities for their residents. The New England Council, the nation's oldest business organization, has noted that arts and culture are essential in attracting new industry to a region.

Economic Impact:

Maine has more than 1000 museums, libraries, performing arts organizations and other cultural institutions. These businesses employ more than 6,000 people and have a total economic impact on the state conservatively calculated at $150M per year. And the New Century program itself represents an investment in Maine: Of the grants already awarded in the program, $2.3 million has leveraged nearly $10M in matching dollars.

Tourism:

Cultural Tourism is one of the fastest growing and most profitable sectors of the tourism industry. By helping to preserve critical historical resources and architecture, and by fostering development in Maine's cultural institutions, Maine will be better positioned to maintain and enlarge its tourism industry.

Government Efficiency

Finally, it might be worth noting that the New Century Community program has garnered national attention for its efficiency. 100 percent of the program's dollars are returned to Maine communities as grants or direct services. No new bureaucratic structures have or will be created as part of the program. Seven agencies are working together to meet a number of community needs.

PLEASE ACT QUICKLY! THANK YOU!

LIST OF LEADERSHIP AND APPROPRIATIONS CONTACTS

LEADERSHIP

Senate

Beverly Daggett, President of the Senate, (D-Kennebec Co.) (office) 287-1500 senatorbdaggett@aol.com

Sharon A. Treat, Majority Leader, (D-Kennebec Co.) (office) 287-1515 SenSharon.Treat@legislature.maine.gov

Kenneth T. Gagnon, Asst. Majority Leader, (D-Kennebec Co.) (office) 287-1515 SenKen.Gagnon@legislature.maine.gov

Paul T. Davis, Sr., Minority Leader, (R-Piscataquis Co) (office) 287-1505 sendavis@midmaine.com

Chandler E. Woodcock, Asst. Minority Leader, (R-Franklin Co.) (office) 287-1505 SenChandler.Woodcock@legislature.maine.gov

House

Patrick Colwell, Speaker of the House, (D-Gardiner) (office) 287-1300 RepPat.Colwell@legislature.maine.gov

John Richardson, Majority Leader, (D-Brunswick) (office) 287-1430

RepJohn.Richardson@legislature.maine.gov

Robert Duplessie, Asst. Majority Leader, (D-Westbrook) (office) 287-1430

RepRobert.Duplessie@legislature.maine.gov

Joseph Bruno, Republican Leader, (R-Raymond) (office) 287-1440

jbruno2@maine.rr.com

David E. Bowles, Asst. Republican Leader, (R-Sanford) (office) 287-1440

RepDavid.Bowles@legislature.maine.gov

APPROPRIATIONS AND FINANCIAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE

Senators

Mary R. Cathcart, Chair, (D-Penobscot), (H) 866-3054 maryorono@aol.com

Margaret Rotundo, (D-Androscoggin Co), (H) 784-3259 mrotundo@bates.edu

Karl W. Turner, (R-Cumberland Co.), (H) 829-9231 kwturner@yahoo.com

Representatives

Joseph C. Brannigan, Chair, (D-Portland), (H) 772-6047 joebrannigan@aol.com

Richard Mailhot, (D-Lewiston), (H) 783-0841 rilmail@exploremaine.com

Scott W. Cowger, (D-Hallowell), (H) 622-0655 RepScott.Cowger@legislature.maine.gov

Benjamin F. Dudley, (D-Portland), 774-3623 benfdudley@legislature.maine.gov

Sean F. Faircloth, (D-Bangor), (H) 941-8339

Hannah Pingree, (D-North Haven), (H) 867-2236 hannah@pingree.com

Richard W. Rosen, (R-Bucksport), (H) 469-3779 rrosen113@aol.com

S. Peter Mills, (R-Cornville), (H) 474-3821 pmills@mainelegal.net

H. Sawin Millett, Jr., (R-Waterford), (H) 583-4842 hsawinmillett@midmaine.net

Julie Ann O¹Brien, (R-Augusta), (H) 623-2930 mobrien41@aol.com

THANKS AGAIN FOR YOUR HELP -- AND PLEASE DON'T WAIT TO ACT!

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

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- New Jersey State Archives Online Catalog

The following announcement is from Joseph R. Klett, Chief of the New Jersey State Archives:

It is with great pleasure and no small amount of trepidation that I announce to you all the posting, earlier this morning, of the State Archives’ online browsable catalog! Yes, we have successfully created a monster… website that is. With over 200 brand new webpages, this expansion of the site represents a milestone in terms of public access to the 27,000 cubic feet and 25,000 reels of historical and genealogical treasure held by the Archives. It is a milestone, in fact, comparable to the major collection management efforts associated with the relocation of the State Archives to its new facility in 2000.

The browsable catalog is accessible from the State Archives’ main page at DARM’s site, www.njarchives.org. You can link directly to the catalog page at: http://www.njarchives.org/links/catalog.html.

From the catalog main page, select any number of pathways to find series-level listings relating to numerous topics, holdings for specific state agencies and counties, and so on. The listings also provide contact information and links for more recent records still held by the agency or by local government.

These 200+ pages provide the researching public with powerful new tools to enhance remote use of the State Archives collections and allow for considerable research planning in advance of a visit to Trenton. Moreover, the series-level catalog provides us with a framework onto which the Archives can, and will, soon link finding aids and guides, box- and reel-contents data, imaged collections, searchable databases (including key-word searching of the catalog), and so on.

Lastly, if you will indulge me, I would like to specially acknowledge a few State Archives, DARM and departmental staff whose support and contributions to developing the browsable catalog have been key in making this vision a reality…

First, thanks go to Archives Collection Manager Ellen Callahan, my partner in arrangement and description for many years up to and through the move of the Archives. Ellen’s dedication to making the Archives’ holdings as accessible to the public as possible has been vital to our progress, including the development of the catalog.

Next, thanks go to the Archives staff for the numerous ways they have helped to develop, review content, and contribute to design decisions relative to the new pages. Specifically, thank you to Veronica Meyer for making the catalog intro pages a reality, to Sean Curry and Beth Colosimo for reviewing content and resolving cataloging questions, and to Joanne Nestor for selection of images for the intro pages.

Finally, thanks go DARM webmaster Dan Noonan, departmental MIS Director Richard Allen, and DARM Director Karl Niederer. Dan’s and Rich’s technical and moral support are deeply appreciated by the Archives, as are Karl’s confidence in the Archives staff and the creative license given to us.

Enjoy and happy browsing... We look forward to your constructive criticism and any suggestions you might have for additional topics and pages.

Sincerely,

Joseph R. Klett
Chief of Archives

P.S. Please excuse cross-postings and feel free to forward to any relevant history, genealogy or archives listserves.

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

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- Handbook of Texas Online

Newsletter reader Bob Harris wrote this week:

Dick,

Enjoyed your article on the Texas State Historical Association. Your readers might like to know that the Handbook of Texas that was mentioned is available online at: http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/

Bob Harris

Thanks Bob! Now everyone knows.

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

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- A Move for Better Copyright Laws

Amateur and professional genealogists alike are concerned about copyright laws, as well they should be. Laws need to protect the authors. At the same time, they need to allow access to works that have no commercial value but may provide priceless information to genealogists and historians. Here is a chance for those who feel strongly about this issue to make their voices heard.

The following is an e-mail I received this week from Richard Yanco:

Dick,

I know you followed Eric Eldred's case trying to undo the 20 year extension of copyrights, which adversely affects those who want to put onto the web materials that are 80 years old (including genealogical materials). It's nearly impossible to find the heirs of the authors of books that old, particularly small press books, which means that a great deal of information that could make it onto the web isn't.

As you know, Eric (and the co-plaintiffs) lost, but now Eric, Larry Lessig, et al., have begun a petition to Congress to require copyright reregistration after 50 years -- so that the majority of materials, which have no commercial value after 50 years, will go into the public domain then.

http://eldred.cc/sign

I mention this because it seems that the number of signatures is directly related to the attention it may get, and you have the ability to get signatures. :)

Rick Yanco

Thanks for the information, Rick. The new proposal makes a lot of sense. It would let active copyright holders protect their intellectual works while allowing for republication of works that have no commercial value. In fact, it makes so much sense that I doubt if many politicians will understand it!

When I signed the petition, a counter on the Web site claimed that 12,257 people had signed before me. We need a few million signatures!

To everyone else: please feel free to pass this article on to anyone you think would be interested. And please sign the petition at http://eldred.cc/sign.

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

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- More on Copyright Problems with Old Genealogy Books on CD-ROM

Last week's newsletter had an article about publishing old and not-so-old genealogy books on CD-ROM. The discussion centered on copyrights. If you have an interest in the topic, you might be interested in the discussion that this article has generated. You can read the messages on this newsletter's Discussion Board. Go to http://www.RootsForum.com and click on "Discussion Board."

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- Finding Terrorists with Soundex?

Experienced genealogists are familiar with the Soundex Code. Soundex was "high tech" in 1918 when it was invented by Robert Russell. In a nutshell, the Soundex Code provides a means of identifying words – especially names -- by the way they sound. Soundex was used extensively by the WPA crews working in the 1930s to organize Federal Census data from 1880 to 1920. Soundex has also been used for many state and local census records and is very popular in genealogy software and databases.

Soundex is an imperfect method, at best. It does often match names that sound alike, but it doesn't work that way all the time. It also frequently groups together names that do not even come close to similar sounds. For more information about Soundex, see my "Soundex Explained" article in the July 15, 2002 edition of this newsletter at http://www.rootsforum.com/archives/news0228.htm

The U.S. government is now using Soundex in an attempt to identify potential hijackers before they board airliners. However, the process seems to have misfired. No terrorists have yet been identified, but many innocent travelers have been inconvenienced. No experienced genealogist would be surprised at this: we all know that Soundex doesn't work that well. A recent news article claims that the anti-terrorist software cannot distinguish between the last name of terrorist Osama bin Laden and punk rocker Johnny Rotten Lydon. So why is the government using Soundex to check airline passengers' names?

According to a recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle, the United States No-Fly List uses a Soundex algorithm to match names. Designed "to quickly summon passenger names or to catch deal-hunting passengers making duplicate bookings," the result has been a disaster. The system has only managed to rack up a slew of false-positives. The problem has become so bad that there is now a "Fly List" for chronically misidentified passengers."

You can read more about this in the San Francisco Chronicle article at: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2003/06/08/MN253740.DTL

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

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- Genealogy Hero

This week's nomination for the title of "Genealogy Hero" was written by Shirley Hodges:

Dr. Joseph Druse, the first state of Michigan genealogist, has been collecting lineage information on the governors and their spouses for over fifteen years. In the past five years a team of Mid-Michigan Genealogical Society members headed by Judy Pfaff have been entering these lineages into a program called FamilyTreeMaker. Within the data entry process, there have been many links made between families that have produced governors. Many of these families were of New England ancestry. These were the people that help found communities on the east coast and moved on to New York, Ohio and Michigan. There are currently over 9000 persons in the file and over 4000 marriages.

One family formed by Robert White and Bridget Allegar had six governors and eight spouses descending from their family. The information was collected from a number of sources such as county and family histories, census records and published lineages. It is rich with connections that show the ancestry of the leaders of our state.

The collection will be given to the Library of Michigan in October during family history month of 2003. The plans are not fully developed yet. However, it will be a database that genealogists can access and search. There will be a process to add information and make corrections. Future stages of the project may include educational programs to promote genealogical activities among Michigan youth.

Dr. Druse's strongest point is helping others individually with their genealogy. This doesn't show up like fancy publications or speaking engagements. He is just a great inspiration to people and shares his knowledge of genealogy so freely to everyone he encounters.

Dr. Joseph Druse certainly deserves the title of "Genealogy Hero."

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

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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, suggest they can read the Standard Edition or subscribe to the Plus Edition 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 "Discussion 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 does reserve the right to accept or reject any articles submitted.

COPYRIGHTS and Other Legal Things:

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).

This document is provided for informational purposes only. The information contained in this document represents the views of Richard W. Eastman with one exception: words written by other authors and republished herein are the views solely of those authors. All information provided in this document is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind, either express or implied. The reader assumes the entire risk as to the accuracy and the use of this document.

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. Articles marked with a Plus Sign (+) are not to be redistributed. Those articles are solely for the use of Plus Edition subscribers.
    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 2003 by Richard W. Eastman. It is re-published here with the permission of the author. Information about the newsletter is available at http://www.RootsForum.com.

Anyone complying with the above does not need to ask permission in advance.

Permission to use the words in this document for commercial purposes usually is granted. However, commercial use requires advance authorization.

Thank you for your cooperation.

ABOUT SPAM FILTERS:

Be aware that the biggest problem faced when sending e-mail newsletters is spam filters in e-mail servers. Although the problem plagues many, many newsletters and other types of perfectly legitimate email, this newsletter seems to be particularly susceptible. It is quite long, and contains numerous examples of the kinds of things that spam blacklists, in their infinite wisdom, have deemed to be "spam like." Therefore, numerous email servers will delete this newsletter under the assumption that it is spam.

If you all of a sudden stop receiving your copy of the newsletter (and this happens more than you might think), don't just assume I skipped an issue or there's something wrong with the newsletter's distribution. I rarely skip an issue without noting that in advance. If you stop receiving the newsletter, chances are that it's not a problem with your subscription; it's a problem with your mail server or your spam filter. That is the number one cause of newsletter subscription problems.

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 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 "Discussion Board." Post your message there. You will receive then assistance from Dick Eastman or from a number of other people.

SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION:

To obtain a subscription to Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter – Plus Edition, go to http://www.RootsForum.com/plus

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If you have any questions about your subscription, send a message to support@rootsforum.com.

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