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EOGN

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

Standard Edition

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

Vol. 8 No. 37 – September 15, 2003

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

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


IN THIS ISSUE:

- Newsletter Price Increase and Added Feature
- (+) New Genealogy Scam or Old?
- (+) Update: Own a Piece of the Scottish Highlands?
- (+) Blogging for Genealogists
- This Newsletter Is Available as a Blog
- RootsWeb.com: the Video
- Godfrey Memorial Library Expands Online Resources
- State of Kentucky Adds Online Oral History Index
- Scotland Online Partners with the History Channel
- Howard University to Create African-American Gene Bank
- Genealogy Society to Sue Local Health District?
- NGS GENTECH Conference Electronic Newsletter
- National Institute on Genealogical Research
- Mailinator Offers Throw-Away E-Mail Addresses
- Skype

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


What did I do before I chased dead people?


- Newsletter Price Increase and Added Feature

Ten months ago, I launched the Plus Edition of this newsletter with great trepidation. It was a venture into unknown territory. The concept of a paid newsletter delivered on the Internet and in e-mail was unheard of in genealogy at that time and further, was quite rare anywhere online. I had no idea how many people would subscribe. I also had only a vague idea of the expenses and additional time involved. I consulted with readers, friends, and business acquaintances about pricing. I elected to launch the newsletter at a much lower price than that suggested by most of my advisors. In my mind, it was an "introductory price" until the viability of the business model could be proven.

The past ten months have provided a great learning experience for me. I have learned still more about genealogy, computers, business management, and accounting. I found that the business model of a subscription-based e-newsletter is viable. I also gained enough experience and financial information to now understand the business realities.

As I analyzed the subject, I realized that the Plus Edition newsletter is bigger and contains more articles than the typical newsletters written before last November's introduction. The newsletters prior to last year's announcement averaged 7,234 words in each edition. However, the six Plus Edition newsletters prior to this week's edition averaged 9,953 words each. That is a 37% increase in the amount of genealogy information available to Plus Edition subscribers each week. The Standard Edition has remained about the same size as last year's editions although it is much bigger than the newsletters of three or four years ago.

I don't have exact statistics for the various printed genealogy magazines. However, I am confident that none of them provide a half million words of genealogy information per year as the Plus Edition of this e-newsletter does. Yet the printed genealogy magazines typically have subscription prices of thirty dollars per year or more plus they also contain a lot of advertising. In addition, they are "dated." The long lead times of printed publications means that they never can contain the latest genealogy news in the manner of this electronic newsletter.

In recent weeks I have again consulted with subscribers, friends, and business acquaintances. I have asked their opinions of the value of the Plus Edition newsletter, now that they have had a chance to read it for ten months. The replies were unanimous: it is worth much more than the introductory price. Most suggested a price in the twenty to thirty dollar a year range. After ten months of observation, I agree with them.

Effective now, a twelve-month subscription to Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter costs $19.95 (U.S. funds), which is equivalent to 38 cents per issue. A three-month introductory subscription is available for $5.95, or 46 cents per issue. I do not think you will find this volume of current genealogy information, news, and product reviews anywhere else at those prices. The new prices are in effect today for new subscriptions and for renewals. Your present subscription is unaffected until renewal time; you will receive the full number of issues that you have already paid for at the old prices.

These new prices will also include two different delivery methods. The previous e-mail delivery to your in-box remains unchanged; each Plus Edition newsletter still will be sent via e-mail to each subscriber as soon as it becomes available. In addition, Plus Edition subscribers will soon be able to read the newsletter on the Web. The current Plus Edition will be available on a password-protected Web site. Each Plus Edition subscriber will receive a unique user ID and password. This new delivery method will circumvent the many problems with spam filters. If the newsletter cannot get past your Internet provider's spam filters, you will still be able to read it on the Web by using your own password. A few subscribers have been helping me "beta test" a Web-based delivery method in recent days, and I plan a formal announcement in a week or two. In short, you will be able to read each Plus Edition in two different places: on the Web and in e-mail.

I want to thank all Plus Edition subscribers for their support in the past ten months. It has been an exciting and very satisfying experience. I also want to thank those who have offered their insights in recent weeks. Your opinions have helped immensely. Future observations and suggestions are also appreciated.

Thank you.

What Do You Think? Comments and discussion are available on this newsletter's Discussion Board at: http://www.eogn.com/discussionboard

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- (+) New Genealogy Scam or Old?

The following is a "preview" of a Plus Edition-only article:

You cannot let a little thing like being arrested on three felony charges slow you down, can you? Even facing a theoretical maximum of forty-seven years in jail cannot be considered too seriously. When caught allegedly money laundering with funds derived from a genealogy Web site, you simply move to another state and start the same business all over again, right?

Elias Abodeely of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was arrested on August 1 for his "business activities" in conjunction with GenSeekers.com, GenealogyGiants.com, and a long string of other Web sites. You can read my earlier story about Abodeely's arrest at: http://www.eogn.com/archives/news0331.htm. Abodeely presently is awaiting a court appearance in Iowa on charges of money laundering and identity theft. If convicted, 24-year-old Elias Abodeely III could serve up to 47 years in prison for bilking genealogists.

In recent days, several newsletter readers forwarded their copies of a new wave of spam mail that is targeting genealogists with promises to deliver a "new, exciting CD-ROM." The thing that interested me is that the ads sound almost identical to spam mails sent earlier by Abodeely. These new ads promote a new Web site, GenealogyTechs.com, a name that is very similar to Abodeely's earlier GenealogyGiants.com. I got suspicious.

The preceding is a "preview" of a Plus Edition-only article. The full article is available only to Plus Edition subscribers. Click on Plus Edition for more information.

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- (+) Update: Own a Piece of the Scottish Highlands?

The following is a "preview" of a Plus Edition-only article:

This article is an update of one that first appeared in the November 18, 2002 issue of this newsletter.

Clett Island is located off the Isle of Skye, in the heart of the Scottish Highlands. The island has a long history, witnessing several of Scotland's historic events. Previous owners of the island include Olave the Black (a Norwegian warlord) in 1200 A.D., the MacDonald clan, their rivals the MacLeods, as well as popular 1960s folk singer Donovan. There is no source of fresh water on the island. There is no regularly-scheduled boat service, and the island does not have an airport. The island remains deserted today.

Richard Haigh, the present owner of the island, has decided to sell the uninhabited island. Claiming that he wishes to preserve the past, Haigh is selling small plots on Clett Island as "Heritage Land Plots." His advertising is mostly aimed at Americans and Canadians, apparently appealing to those of Scottish descent. However, the Scottish National Parliament (SNP) claims that the deeds issued are not worth the paper they are written on.

The preceding is a "preview" of a Plus Edition-only article. The full article is available only to Plus Edition subscribers. Click on Plus Edition for more information.

[Return to Table of Contents]


- (+) Blogging for Genealogists

The following is a "preview" of a Plus Edition-only article:

Did you ever wonder how those Web sites that carry news manage to post the latest stories so quickly? Have you ever thought that someday your favorite genealogy societies might use the same tools to provide current information? The latest innovation on the Web is coming of age, and its name is "blog."

To understand how blogs evolved, let’s take a step back in time. Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in a paper he wrote in 1989. He envisioned a free and open global hypertext project. This simple protocol was designed to allow people to work together by combining their knowledge in a web of hypertext documents. He wrote the first World Wide Web server, "httpd", and the first client, "WorldWideWeb" and released them in the summer of 1991. The rest, as they say, is history.

Berners-Lee's invention has fired the imagination of millions of people since 1991, and billions of dollars have been spent on World Wide Web hardware, software, and content. Unfortunately, complexity has also increased. Starting with the rather simple HTML version 1.0 protocol, we now have Java, Javascript, Flash, DHTML, XHTML, XML, CSS, SSL, and an alphabet soup of other acronyms and abbreviations, all used on the Web. The ability to create Web documents is slowly being taken away from non-geeks as the required technical knowledge is expanding rapidly.

The original http format used on the Web assumed "static content;" that is, information that did not change often. After all, when linking to another site, the person doing the linking would like some assurance that the information cited will be there for a long time. Of course, many programmers have since invented methods of changing data frequently, even every few minutes, as shown on CNN, eBay, weather.com, Travelocity, and thousands of other Web sites.

A new format has recently been developed that goes back to the "roots" of the Internet: it is easy to use. Documents created in this new format can be generated and placed on the Web with minimal technical knowledge. It is also cheap, even free in many cases. Others can find information in this new format quickly and easily; even when using a standard Web browser. The new format is great for sharing information among multiple Web sites. It also shines at publishing frequently-updated information. In fact, it was originally developed for major news sites, where information might be updated every minute. The developers of this new format vow to keep it simple.

The preceding is a "preview" of a Plus Edition-only article. The full article is available only to Plus Edition subscribers. Click on Plus Edition for more information.

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- This Newsletter Is Available as a Blog

If you have a blog reader, you might be interested to know that this newsletter is now available as an RSS-formatted XML file. Point your blog reader to http://www.eogn.com/blog/rss.xml.

This newsletter's blog is experimental and may change as I gather more experience with it. Your suggestions are appreciated.

What Do You Think? Comments and discussion are available on this newsletter's Discussion Board at: http://www.eogn.com/discussionboard

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- RootsWeb.com: the Video

This week I had an opportunity to watch a brand-new video: Using RootsWeb.com. The tape features Rhonda McClure, one of today’s leading computer genealogy experts. You can read Rhonda's complete bio at http://www.123genealogy.com/auth.php?phrase=Rhonda. RootsWeb.com has many, many features and I certainly am not familiar with all of them. I looked forward to watching Rhonda’s tutorials.

Rhonda starts the instruction by showing the main page at http://www.rootsweb.com and explaining the major categories of services as shown on the top menu of the RootsWeb.com home page. She next moves to the "Getting Started" section and describes the major sections to be found there. She walks through the process of reading all the "how to" guides written by experts and how to search the archives of RootsWeb.com newsletters. She then moves on to using RootsWeb.com’s internal search engine, the RootsWeb Surname List, the SearchThingy (yes, that’s what it is called), the Social Security Death Index, online Post-em Notes, the WorldConnect Project, Mailing Lists, and the threaded archives of the Mailing Lists.

Rhonda then moves to a section called Ancestry.com Tips and Techniques. (RootsWeb.com is a division of Ancestry.com/MyFamily.com.) In this final segment, Rhonda shows the use of the Ancestry World Tree (which actually is the same as the RootsWeb.com WorldConnect database), cemetery records, U.S. census records (including viewing original records on your computer’s screen), the basic and advanced viewers used by Ancestry.com, and more.

RootsWeb.com and Ancestry.com are two of the largest genealogy Web sites available today. This videotape can quickly get you up to speed on the operation of both. It covers RootsWeb.com in depth while giving a quicker view of Ancestry.com.

Using RootsWeb.com with Rhonda McClure is an introductory tutorial. If you are new to RootsWeb.com, you undoubtedly will find topics on this videotape that you did not know exist. Experienced RootsWeb.com users may or may not find new info but perhaps will appreciate the tutorial on how to use some of the features effectively. Long-time users of RootsWeb.com probably are already familiar with most of the topics covered on this video tutorial.

The topics were covered well, and it is always good to learn from an expert. Watching this video, it is obvious that Rhonda McClure knows her topic well. She also takes the time to show some functions in a keystroke-by-keystroke manner. The presentation is like the majority of tutorials: one person talking to a TV camera, supplemented by frequent shots of the video screen as Rhonda shows how to use the RootsWeb.com site. This video will not win any Hollywood awards for special effects, but the information contained is first class. I certainly can recommend this video to anyone who is new to RootsWeb.com or who wants to learn more.

Oh, yes, I did learn several new things from this video tutorial by Rhonda McClure.

Using RootsWeb.com by Rhonda McClure is an 88-minute video produced by 123Genealogy. The producer's Web site presently indicates that this video is "Now on Special" for a price of $15.95 (U.S. funds) plus shipping and taxes, if any. For more information, or to safely order Using RootsWeb.com through secure online shopping cart system, go to http://new.123genealogy.com/shopping/product_details.php?id=57.

What Do You Think? Comments and discussion are available on this newsletter's Discussion Board at: http://www.eogn.com/discussionboard

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- Godfrey Memorial Library Expands Online Resources

The Godfrey Memorial Library has long been a great resource for genealogists, especially those interested in New England ancestry. The library opened in 1951 and was named by A. Fremont Rider, founder of the library, in memory of Grace (Godfrey) Rider and her brother Brig. Gen. Stuart Chapin Godfrey. In the past 52 years, many have made the trip to Middletown, Connecticut, in order to use the excellent resources stored at the library. The book collection of about 16,000 volumes is divided into three main categories: family genealogy, local history, and biography.

The Godfrey Memorial Library is expanding and changing. The big news is the new online service. Underwritten by the Godfrey Scholars (the library's support group) the Library now is offering remote access to a growing number of genealogy sources. Best of all, these new resources are not limited to New England. They will appeal to anyone searching ancestry anywhere in the U.S. The key initial offering is ProQuest’s HeritageQuest Online and ProQuest’s Historical Newspapers: New York Times. Best of all, you no longer need to drive to Connecticut in order to access this information.

This week I sat in my home and accessed the Godfrey Memorial Library Web pages. I clicked on "Digital Book Collection" and then entered a GML barcode number, a form of User ID. A second or two later I was looking at ProQuest’s HeritageQuest Online. This excellent collection includes every page of nearly 8,000 family histories and more than 12,000 local histories, every word searchable. I searched on my own surname and found every single book on that name that I have ever heard of, plus more that were new to me. Every word on every page is indexed, making it a snap to find information about ancestors.

My first search was strictly on my own surname. The database returned a status page stating that there were 3,021 books or other documents with that name someplace within the pages. Obviously, searching three thousand books is much too difficult. I needed to narrow the search. For my second attempt, I again entered my own surname but also entered a place name of "Maine," the state of primary interest. This time the database found "only" 2,876 entries.

I backed up and used the same surname but this time specified a town of Corinth, Maine, a tiny place north of Bangor where my great-great-grandparents lived and died. This time the search produced 34 results, a much more manageable list. I was able to browse through each of these books, jumping from "hit" to "hit" with a simple click of the mouse. Each "hit" displayed an image of a page that contained the word(s) that I had searched for. Within a half hour I read more pages with occurrences of my family name in that small town than I could have found in a full day at a regular genealogy library. The capability of searching every single word on every single page greatly simplified my task.

The same online service also has the full U.S. census images available online for 1790, 1800, 1810, 1820, 1860, 1870, 1890, 1900, 1910 and 1920.

NOTE: The 1890 consists only of fragments and reconstructed documents since more than 99% of the original 1890 census records were destroyed in a 1921 fire. Only 6,160 names were able to be extracted from the remnants. However, those names are available online in this database.

Unlike many other online census databases, this one includes full images. You can see all the information as recorded in the enumerators' (census takers') handwriting. You can even print copies of the original census records on your own inkjet or laser printer.

The HeritageQuest Online database that is available through the Godfrey Memorial Library also includes several thousand books and magazines of historic and/or genealogical interest. The New York Times from 1851 to 1999, with every word searchable, is also available from your home by using the Godfrey Library's Web site. Another database of interest is the African American Biographical Database, from ProQuest and Chadwyck - Healey. This is a major resource for biographical information, including photographs and illustrations, for African Americans. From the famous to the everyday person, AABD includes profiles and full-text sketches providing both biographical detail and illuminating narratives chronicling the lives of Black Americans.

The Godfrey Memorial Library online catalog continues to grow and currently contains more than 10,000 items. The Library staff is also cataloging digital items as well as "analytics" for useful content that appears within books, annuals, and the like. Most of the analytics that they create are for biographical sketches and lengthy obituaries published in professional journals. The goal is to make it even easier for researchers to find this otherwise obscure information. The Library staff presently concentrates on titles not included in Ancestry, Heritage Quest, PERSI, and such. For over 50 years the library has published biographical index citations in the American Genealogical-Biographical Index, or AGBI. This is the equivalent of more than 200 printed volumes. The AGBI database contains millions of records of people whose names have appeared in printed genealogical records and family histories. The current run of AGBI will be completed in early 2004.

All in all, this is a first-class resource, available to you today in the comfort of your own home. Best of all, it is available for a modest fee of $35.00 (U.S.) per year. For me and for many others, that is cheaper than venturing out, paying for gas, parking fees, photocopy costs, and other miscellaneous expenses for a single trip to a genealogy library. With the Godfrey Memorial Library, you can make multiple "trips" at any time of the day or night, 365 days a year. Not bad for thirty-five bucks!

I have written before about HeritageQuest Online's databases. I have always commented that this service is not available to private individuals. Instead, you have to go to a subscribing library to use it or else sign up for remote access from a participating library. The Godfrey Memorial Library is one such participating library, and their membership fee is lower than most. For thirty-five dollars a year, you can sit at home and access HeritageQuest Online, the New York Times from 1851 to 1999, and some other databases unique to the Godfrey Memorial Library.

For more information about the Godfrey Memorial Library and its many online services, go to http://www.godfrey.org. A link on the same page leads you to an application form to become a Godfrey Scholar and then access the various online resources described above. You do have to apply by mail, not online. You can expect a delay of a few days until you receive your GML barcode number, which you will need to access the online databases.

What Do You Think? Comments and discussion are available on this newsletter's Discussion Board at: http://www.eogn.com/discussionboard

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- State of Kentucky Adds Online Oral History Index

The state of Kentucky and the Kentucky Historical Society have created a new online index of items in the state's Oral History collection. The Kentucky Oral History Commission, an agency of the state government, was created in 1976 to promote and assist in the development of oral history programs throughout Kentucky that document and preserve the twentieth-century history of the state. Interviews in the commission's collection are conducted by volunteer interviewers in county or community projects, through special commission-directed projects, or by commission grant recipients.

I tried the Web site and found it easy to use. You can search by names of the interviewees as well as by place names and other terms. For instance, a search of "railroad" found 36 entries in this index, all apparently related to railroads within Kentucky. Many of them point to recordings made while interviewing retired railroad employees.

This is an index, not a database of the original record. Each entry in this online index will tell you the repository of the item displayed, including phone number, number of interviews, hours of access, contact name, accessibility of materials, Web site, and e-mail address, if available. Beneath the repository information you'll see a list of available collections. Click on a collection name, and the information you get will include the number of audio interviews in the collection, a (thorough) description of the collection, both the interviewers and the interviewees, the time period covered by the interviews, the dates the interviews were actually taken, and the subjects that are covered by the interviews.

You can access the new Kentucky Oral History Collection index at: http://205.204.246.206/oh/browse.aspx

What Do You Think? Comments and discussion are available on this newsletter's Discussion Board at: http://www.eogn.com/discussionboard

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- Scotland Online Partners with the History Channel

Scotland Online is a tiny company that has landed a "big fish." It has signed a new strategic partnership with digital satellite and cable broadcaster the History Channel, which will help Scots worldwide researching their family background.

The History Channel’s new Family History Project is expected to further boost interest in genealogy. A Family History website will provide information on how to start research and begin building a family tree and offer links to key online genealogical sources and advice from leading experts in the field.

Users will be able to link directly to the Scotland’s People site, a partnership between Scotland Online and the General Register Office for Scotland. It provides Scottish historical and genealogical information, much of it previously unavailable on the Internet, and has already attracted huge interest worldwide since its launch last year, receiving more than 300 hits a day.

Fi Harris, marketing consultant for Scotland Online, said: "Interest in the whole area of genealogy has never been greater, and there is clearly perfect synergy between our own service and the History Channel’s new project."

She added: "As well as interest from home-based Scots, our service is also proving very popular with people in the rest of UK and abroad, and our link-up with such a popular broadcaster will clearly be of assistance in further spreading the word."

Scotland Online can be found at: http://www.scotlandonline.com/. The History Channel's Web site is available at: http://www.historychannel.com/.

What Do You Think? Comments and discussion are available on this newsletter's Discussion Board at: http://www.eogn.com/discussionboard

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- Howard University to Create African-American Gene Bank

Howard University Medical School in Washington has announced that it will begin building a first-of-its-kind gene bank. The University's initiative is unique in that it proposes to collect and store the DNA only of those who identify themselves as African American.

Over the next five years, the project will gather the genetic codes, along with personal and family health histories, of about 25,000 people. Once up and running, Howard's "biobank" could help solve the enduring medical mystery: why African Americans seem to fall ill with so many diseases — hypertension, heart disease, prostate and breast cancer, asthma, glaucoma and obesity — more frequently than do white Americans and most major ethnic groups in the United States.

Howard's biobank points toward a provocative conclusion: that some racial differences are encoded in the genes, and those differences can make people of one skin color inherently more or less susceptible to certain diseases than people whose complexion is different. In short, in matters of health, it seems that race does matter.

You can read a lot more about this new project at the LA Times online at: http://www.latimes.com/features/health/la-he-race8sep08,1,5324557.story?coll=la-headlines-health. Note that the site requires a subscription before you can read the articles. However, the subscription is free of charge.

My thanks to Jennifer Godwin for telling me about this interesting article.

What Do You Think? Comments and discussion are available on this newsletter's Discussion Board at: http://www.eogn.com/discussionboard

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- Genealogy Society to Sue Local Health District?

In a bizarre twist of logic, the Huron County (Ohio) General Health District has interpreted Ohio's new fee structure for ordering copies of birth and death certificates as meaning that those certificates should not be made available at all. Despite the new guideline specifically stating the fees for making such copies, the Huron County General Health District refuses to issue any certificates at all, at any price.

Tim Hollinger, a board member, refuses to issue copies of these public domain records, citing concerns that they could fall into the hands of ''terrorists, number one, or criminals." This is despite the fact that the laws clearly state that such information is public domain within the United States and cannot legally be withheld. In fact, the new Ohio law about fees clearly states under what conditions those records are to be released. Hollinger appears to be ignoring the law that he does not approve of.

OK, now here is where the story really gets bizarre: It seems that the Huron County Genealogical Society had a copy of those records on microfilm. The microfilm version was made some years ago by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In fact, microfilm copies of the records are available in many places. However, members of the county's General Health District ''stormed'' the local library and seized the Huron County Genealogical Society's copy of the microfilm. The Genealogical Society has asked for the return of the microfilm, but the General Health District has (so far) refused.

Local historian and genealogy society member Henry Timman appeared before the General Health District and stated, ''You're retaining our property without our consent. We'd like to have our records back, that's what we'd like." He also said that that ''Ohio law supercedes personal opinion'' and that the genealogy group will consider going to the police or court to get back the records.

Are all of us using the tools of "terrorists or criminals" in our genealogy research? Should this information be locked up? Should a new set of fees be used to justify illegal seizure of a non-profit society's property? Can public domain government data be withheld by local government officials?

You can read more about this strange misinterpretation of Ohio's new fee structure at: http://www.morningjournal.com/site/news.cfm?BRD=1699&dept_id=46371&newsid=10153455&PAG=461&rfi=9

What Do You Think? Comments and discussion are available on this newsletter's Discussion Board at: http://www.eogn.com/discussionboard

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- NGS GENTECH Conference Electronic Newsletter

The following is an announcement from the (U.S.) National Genealogical Society:

The National Genealogical Society's NGS GENTECH conference will be held in St. Louis, Missouri, on 22-24 January 2004. The Society announces the availability of a free electronic newsletter which will provide information about the conference, genealogical research facilities in St. Louis, and other fun things to see and do in the St. Louis area.

To subscribe, simply send an email message to NGS-GENTECH-Conference-L-request@rootsweb.com with the single word subscribe in the body of the message.

What Do You Think? Comments and discussion are available on this newsletter's Discussion Board at: http://www.eogn.com/discussionboard

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- National Institute on Genealogical Research

The following announcement is from the National Institute on Genealogical Research:

National Institute On Genealogical Research

11-17 July 2004 - Washington, D.C.

The National Institute on Genealogical Research (NIGR) in Washington, D.C. will be held at the newly renovated National Archives building in Washington D.C. and in College Park, Maryland. It offers on-site and in-depth examination of the common and less-known federal records found there. This intensive week-long study opportunity is for experienced genealogists and for archivists, historians and librarians interested in using federal records for genealogical research. It is not an introductory course in genealogy.

The 2004 program will feature sessions on the census and records for African American, military, land, Native American, legislative and cartographic research. Additional lectures on less-frequently-used sources along with popular sessions on naturalization, citizenship, and immigration documents will round out the program. Attendees will spend one day at Archives II in College Park, Maryland, for presentations on records at that facility and for an opportunity to conduct research there. Evening sessions at the Local History and Genealogy Room of the Library of Congress and the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution Library are optional.

To facilitate direct contact between the students and the lecturers and archivists, enrollment is limited. Brochures with an application form will be mailed in early 2004. The class fills very quickly. Tuition is $325 for applications postmarked on, or before, 15 May 2004, or $355 for applications postmarked after that date. For more information about the 2004 program, or to obtain an application brochure, see the Institute's Web site at http://www.rootsweb.com/~natgenin; or e-mail NatInsGen@juno.com; or write to NIGR, P.O. Box 724, Lanham, MD 20703-0724.

Two scholarships are available, each offering a $500 stipend to help defray expenses of attending the Institute. The NIGR Alumni Association offers the Richard S. Lackey Scholarship to "an experienced researcher in either a paid or volunteer position in the service of the genealogical community." For information, see the Institute's Web site where an online application form will be available after 1 October 2003; or write to: Lackey Scholarship, NIGRAA, P.O. Box 14274, Washington, D.C. 20044-4274. Applications must be received by 1 February 2004. Winners will be notified no later than 15 February 2004.

The American Society of Genealogists offers the ASG Scholar Award, based on a manuscript or published paper of at least 5,000 words. Application deadline is 1 January 2004. For details, see the Society's Web site at http://www.fasg.org; or write to: ASG Scholarship Committee, 2324 East Nottingham, Springfield, MO 65804-7821.

NIGR has been a leader in the field of genealogical education for more than fifty years. In 1989 the Institute was incorporated as an independent, non-profit corporation. Its Board of Trustees consists of representatives of the American Society of Genealogists, the Association of Professional Genealogists, the Board for Certification of Genealogists, the Federation of Genealogical Societies, the National Genealogical Society, and the Institute's Alumni Association. The National Archives, a non-voting member of the corporation, provides strong support. The Institute maintains a non-discriminatory policy toward enrollment. Applicants are accepted without regard to sex, race, creed, color, or national or ethnic origin.

What Do You Think? Comments and discussion are available on this newsletter's Discussion Board at: http://www.eogn.com/discussionboard

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- Mailinator Offers Throw-Away E-Mail Addresses

Have you ever needed an email address? NOW? Have you ever gone to a website that asks for your email address for no reason other than to sell it to the highest bidder so you get spammed forever?

A new service can be a big help for you. Mailinator features a no-signup, instant mail service. You can even give out your Mailinator e-mail address before you create an account.

Here is how it works: You are on the web ordering a book or at a party talking to your favorite insurance salesman. Wherever you are, someone (or some webpage) asks for your email address. You know if you give it, you'll be spammed. On the other hand, you do want to receive at least one email from that person. The answer is to give them a Mailinator address. You don't need to sign-up, you don't pay a fee, you don't make commitments. You just make up an e-mail address on the spot. Pick jonesy@mailinator.com or bipster@mailinator.com or pick anything else you want (up to 15 characters before the @ sign).

You can then go to http://www.mailinator.com at anytime within the next few hours to receive the message. It really is that easy. Mailinator accounts are created when mail arrives for them. There is no signup, no personal information, and when you're done, you can walk away. All mail is deleted from Mailinator's servers within a few hours after receipt.

I find this service is useful when ordering services or goods online. I am now using it when I order books at Amazon.com or at Barnes and Noble's Web site at bn.com. I also used it to obtain a free registration at the LA Times' Web site before writing the article about Howard University's African-American Gene Bank earlier in this newsletter. In each case, I wanted to receive the e-mail receipt that will be sent within minutes, but I did not wish to receive a flood of future mailings from the merchant. Mailinator nicely solves this problem. I get the one mailing that I want and then never get bothered again by their future solicitations.

Mailinator never collects any information about you. There is no sign-up and no collecting of your personal information. When you use the Mailinator service, the company does not know who you are. Mailinator has no means of collecting information about you.

Of course, there also is no security with Mailinator. You are never asked for a password. If you specify an e-mail address of john@mailiantor.com, anyone will be able to view that mail. However, for many short-term spam-only uses, the lack of security doesn't seem to be a problem. If you want to read the receipts for my book orders, you can do so if you know the e-mail address I used and if you get to Mailinator's server within a few hours after I placed the order. Of course, I can reduce the risk by using a cryptic e-mail address that only I can remember. For instance, I could embed my street address, my cat's name, my library card number, or anything else into the e-mail address. Messages sent to egsqxz43s@mailinator.com probably won't be read by anyone else. Just remember the word, "probably," and never use Mailinator for important emails with sensitive super-secret information in them.

Hey spammers: feel free to send your junk to eastman@mailinator.com!

What Do You Think? Comments and discussion are available on this newsletter's Discussion Board at: http://www.eogn.com/discussionboard

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- Skype

I have written before about using your computer to make telephone calls. In fact, I make most of my long-distance phone calls using an external box (not my PC) connected to the cable modem. The people I call never know that I am using the Internet instead of a normal phone line. The primary buzzword for digitized phone calls is VoIP, which stands for "Voice over Internet Protocol."

If you have an interest in this technology, you might want to know about a brand-new technology from Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom, the two people who founded the Kazaa file sharing system. Skype is the product name for a new peer-to-peer service for making voice calls over the Internet. Friis and Zennstrom claim that Skype has the best audio quality of any VoIP product on the market today. In fact, the audio quality of a typical Skype call is better than that of a standard telephone.

The new service does not yet call telephones; it is limited to calls from one PC to a second PC. Of course, those two PCs can be located thousands of miles apart, even on different continents. Friis and Zennstrom promise that they will add the ability to call regular telephones in the not-too-distant future. In the meantime, you are limited to calling others who have the Skype software installed and running in their Windows PC. No Macintosh or Linux versions are available.

Skype uses a PC's regular sound card; no specialized hardware is required. However, you probably will want to use a headset or handset in place of the normal speakers and microphone. I purchased several computer headsets some time ago, and the best-sounding one is also the cheapest. I paid $15 for it at a local department store. You can also purchase a headset or a handset for $12.95 at the Skype Store at http://www.skype.com/store.html.

Skype is an excellent method of talking to family and friends anywhere in the world. It works on dial-up connections as well as on broadband, both DSL and cable modems. The best part is its price: the Skype software is free, and the calls are free, assuming you already have an Internet account. The authors also claim that it has no advertising or spyware.

You can find more information and then even download the free software at: http://www.skype.com.

What Do You Think? Comments and discussion are available on this newsletter's Discussion Board at: http://www.eogn.com/discussionboard

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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.eogn.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 Board at http://www.eogn.com/discussionboard.

You can also search past newsletters at: http://www.eogn.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.eogn.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 this newsletter's Discussion Board at http://www.eogn.com/discussionboard. 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.eogn.com/plus.

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If you have any questions about your subscription, go  to http://www.eogn.com/plus/changes.

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