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Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

Standard Edition

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

Vol. 9 No. 2 – January 12, 2004

This newsletter relies solely upon "word of mouse" advertising. If you enjoy reading these articles, please tell others to go to

Search previous issues of Standard Edition newsletters at:

Plus Edition subscribers may gain access to a reserved section of the Discussion Board. Details are available at

All opinions expressed in this document are those of Dick Eastman and his alone, unless otherwise attributed. None of his statements are to be interpreted as endorsements by his employer, by the other authors or by advertisers.

Copyright© 2004 by Richard W. Eastman. All rights reserved.


- Turmoil at NGS: The Full Report
- Comments about the Turmoil at NGS
- (+) A See-Through Vertical Scanner: The HP 4670
- (+) Free Anti-Virus Program for Windows
- (+) Where to Stay and Eat in Salt Lake City
- The Scottish Association of Family History Societies Members Handbook 2003
- Surprises in the Family Tree
- Ysearch Public Database Allows Y-DNA Marker Comparisons
- Exceeds 1.5 Million Paid Subscriptions
- The Great Molasses Disaster of January 15, 1919
- The Correct King of England?

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

If you don't know where you come from, how will you know where you are going?

- Turmoil at NGS: The Full Report

In recent weeks I have briefly mentioned the recent difficulties at the U.S. National Genealogical Society (NGS). See my articles at and at In short, the NGS Board of Directors fired the Executive Director. The president, treasurer, and secretary of the society then resigned. Several employees were also terminated.

I did not write more as the story has been unfolding bit by bit. I did not know all the details and, indeed, even the Board of Directors was still making new discoveries during the past weeks. The Board was not prepared to make a public announcement until all the facts were in and carefully reviewed. I received a briefing from several Board members this weekend and was asked to publish the announcement when it became available. That announcement was released just a few hours ago.

The following was written by the NGS Board of Directors:

For immediate release
12 January 2004

By now you may have heard that in December 2003 the current Board of Directors of the National Genealogical Society released a statement announcing changes in the board. After accepting the resignations of the president, treasurer, and secretary, the remaining board members elected new officers and formed new committees.

It is important that everyone know that these actions were not taken lightly. Despite the board's initial confidence in a new management structure, a majority of the board came to be concerned about its effects on our organization. At the mid-November board meeting, financial statements were not shared with the whole board. Then during the last week of November, 2003, the board discovered for the first time that, over a period of less than four months, NGS's investments had been depleted from nearly $500,000 to approximately $50,000.

Immediate and far reaching action was necessary. A new Special Audit Committee was charged with investigating the circumstances under which the NGS finances had been so quickly exhausted without the knowledge of the whole board. To supplement the yearly audit already underway, a forensic auditor was retained by NGS legal counsel to analyze the financial statements for October and November 2003. The board felt it was extremely important to gather facts and understand the findings before making this official statement.

Once the board confirmed that expenditures were much greater than revenues and the NGS reserves had been spent to compensate, we had no choice. On December 16, 2003, we dismissed the Executive Director on a "without cause" basis as NGS is permitted to do under the employment agreement in place.

What we have found confirms that there was excessive spending well beyond what had been revealed to the board; but as yet there is no evidence of fraudulent activity by any party. Remaining board members have promptly begun the process of correcting our financial situation. With prudent action, since November we have cut expenditures almost in half, including the elimination of staff positions. The measures we have taken so far have already improved our financial outlook, although we still have a long way to go.

The board looks forward to continuing and expanding the valuable role of NGS. The NGS GENTECH 2004 conference is but two weeks away, and plans are continuing for an exciting conference in Sacramento in May. Of necessity, much of our focus will be on reestablishing our financial health. At the same time, we plan to sustain our valued programs, begin new initiatives, and move forward.

The NGS board of directors is committed to leading this organization in the most responsible and professional manner into its second century of service to the genealogical community. For one hundred years, NGS has been a leading national organization for individuals who care about genealogy. We intend to keep it that way, working with you to move forward. It must be a joint effort. We want and need your involvement more than ever!

We will keep you informed.

Sandra M. Hewlett
for the
Board of Directors
National Genealogical Society
4527 17th Street North
Arlington, VA 22202

Address questions to
Ann Carter Fleming, President

What Do You Think? Comments and discussion are available on this newsletter's Discussion Board at:

[Return to Table of Contents]

- Comments about the Turmoil at NGS

I am following the above article with a quick report of my meeting this past weekend with several members of the Board of Directors of the National Genealogical Society. While the session was "off the record," it is obvious that this determined group plans to repair the damage, stabilize the society, and go forward to ensure that the National Genealogical Society survives as a valuable contributor to the genealogical community.

The immediate tasks are the GENTECH2004 conference next week in St. Louis and the annual NGS conference to be held this May in Sacramento, California. The NGS Board is determined that both events will be held as planned with no cutbacks in the planned agendas.

WARNING: The following contains my personal opinion:

If ever there was a time that the NGS needed your support, the time is now. I am planning to renew my membership, and I would suggest that you do likewise. We all will benefit if a strong national organization is in place and operating properly. As you might imagine from the NGS announcement, membership dues are more critical now than ever. Your dues can help preserve this valuable voice within the genealogy community.

Now is the time to support the U.S. National Genealogical Society with your membership dollars.

What Do You Think? Comments and discussion are available on this newsletter's Discussion Board at:

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- (+) A See-Through Vertical Scanner: The HP 4670

by Betty Clay

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

Today, I purchased a new scanner. It isn't that I really needed a new scanner - I just wanted this one. My old one, from Cannon, takes its power from my computer, weighs less than three pounds, and does a good job; but it's a conventional lift- the- lid- and- turn- the- copy- upside -down- on- the- glass scanner, just like all the others. This one looks like a sheet of glass in a metal frame, and it is stored on a stand that looks just like the scanner itself.

The preceding is a "preview" of a Plus Edition-only article. The full article is available only to Plus Edition subscribers. If you subscribe now, you will receive a copy of this article. Click on Plus Edition for more information.

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- (+) Free Anti-Virus Program for Windows

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

Every computer should be running an anti-virus program. If you have already suffered with a computer virus, you understand the need. If you have not yet suffered a virus, you should realize that you will get one eventually. In fact, your computer may have one or more viruses right now. Many people do not know that their computers are virus-infected until files start disappearing or programs stop working, By the time you find out about the virus infestation, you may have already lost hard work and valuable files.

I own several computers and keep each one up to date with a well-known anti-virus program. I also make sure that it has the latest anti-virus "definitions" at all times. I pay money for these programs as an annual subscription. Recently, one of the subscriptions came up for renewal, and I started thinking about how much money I was paying to keep all my computers virus-free. I have been paying for subscriptions for each PC that I own, as required by the software licenses. I decided to find a cheaper solution.

There are a number of free anti-virus programs available. The reputation of most of them is that they work well but typically are not as convenient to use as their commercial competitors produced by Norton, McAfee, and others. The commercial products usually update themselves in unattended operation and perform other services automatically. The free anti-virus programs typically require more interaction by the user. Still, the price of "free" is tempting.

The preceding is a "preview" of a Plus Edition-only article. The full article is available only to Plus Edition subscribers. If you subscribe now, you will receive a copy of this article. Click on Plus Edition for more information.

[Return to Table of Contents]

- (+) Where to Stay and Eat in Salt Lake City

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

I spent a few days in Salt Lake City this week, researching updates to this article, which has appeared in this newsletter before. Well, it wasn't all work. I did spend a few hours in Family History Library and visited several genealogy-related companies in the area. In my "spare time" I made some new updates and corrections to this article. Now I would like to present the January, 2004, edition of Where to Stay and Eat in Salt Lake City:

I prefer to travel at minimum expenses whenever possible. On my most recent trip and on numerous previous trips, I have searched for lower-cost accommodations and restaurants. I thought I would share some of my findings with Plus Edition subscribers. I hope this will help you save some money on your next visit to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

The preceding is a "preview" of a Plus Edition-only article. The full article is available only to Plus Edition subscribers. If you subscribe now, you will receive a copy of this article. Click on Plus Edition for more information.

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- The Scottish Association of Family History Societies Members Handbook 2003

The following CD-ROM review was written by and is copyright by Paul Gaskell. It is published here with permission of the author:

The publishers of this booklet are the umbrella organisation for Scottish family history societies. The twenty-seven full members of the association mainly comprise family history societies based in Scotland, whilst the seventeen associate members are family history societies from throughout the world with Scottish connections or interests.

In an A5 softback format and comprising some ninety-one pages, this booklet devotes three pages to the publishing organisation, as well as a further page detailing its publications for sale. The remainder of the booklet describes the member societies, with a couple of pages devoted to each. Typically, a brief history of the society is given, along with contact and website details, as well as information about meetings, publications, projects, and membership.

Whilst this is a useful handbook, its profile seems to be very poor. As it did not come with details of the price charged for it, I visited the website of the publishing organisation, but discovered that their "Publications List" webpage was unavailable and noted as being "under revision". The booklet did not seem to be mentioned elsewhere on the site. Hence, I visited the websites of two of the member societies. On the first of these, I could not find any mention of this booklet, whilst the website of the Aberdeen & North-East Scotland FHS was still selling the 1998 edition of the booklet at £3.00.

The major drawback with a booklet of this nature is that it will quickly become obsolete. As society officers change, the cost of membership is increased, meeting venues are moved, and research centres alter their opening hours, the content will become more and more unreliable. Every single society detailed in the text is shown as having its own website, which will presumably contain more detailed and up-to-date information. Having been published in April 2003, this booklet comprises data which was collected from the member societies probably around a year ago, and hence might well already be unreliable at the time of my writing this review.

Whilst this booklet does present information about the association's member societies in a neat and accessible format, it probably contains little if any data that is not freely available on the internet and easily located using a search engine or a portal such as "Cyndi's List". As a result, I feel unable to recommend its purchase to those researchers who are "online". Those family historians who do not have easy access to the internet will find it a convenient source of information, but will often need to contact the member society involved by post or telephone to check that things have not changed since its publication.

Available from the Hon Secretary, Family History Research Centre, 9 Glasgow Street, Dumfries, DG2 9AF, Scotland



ISBN: 1-874722-18-8

Paul Gaskell has been actively researching his family history for the last nine years. Although a Lancastrian by birth, he lives and works in Oxford. He is Minutes Secretary and Publicity Officer of the Oxfordshire Family History Society.

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- Surprises in the Family Tree

Most free African-American and biracial families resulted not from a master and his slave, like Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, but from a white woman and an African man: slave, freed slave or indentured servant. At least, that's the conclusion of Paul Heinegg in his newly-published "Free African Americans of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia" and "Free African Americans of Maryland and Delaware."

In describing Heinegg's book, Dr. Ira B. Berlin, a professor of American history at the University of Maryland and the founding director of the Freedmen and Southern Society Project there, stated, "If any branch of your family has been in America since the 17th or 18th centuries, it's highly likely you will find an African and an American Indian."

You can read more about this fascinating story in the New York Times at In addition, you can read about Paul Heinegg's books at That site includes a lot of information about free Africans in the United States as well as many pictures.

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- Ysearch Public Database Allows Y-DNA Marker Comparisons

The following is an announcement from Family Tree DNA:

Family Tree DNA, the world leader in genetic genealogy, has launched Ysearch -- a public service located at, which allows for Y-DNA results from different labs to be compared, thereby broadening the possibilities for matches between participants to be discovered.

Until now, the main sources for people to find family were through researching surnames in phone books and Internet lists. Most of the time it would be almost impossible to verify whether individuals with the same surname were related. Y-DNA matches, however, can offer definitive evidence of relationship, and facilitates this undertaking.

Since Family Tree DNA offered its first DNA test for genealogical purposes in early 2000, the growing trend among genealogy enthusiasts is to use DNA testing as a component of their research. Family Tree DNA, a Texas-based company, maintains the largest database of DNA surname projects available today, but as more companies offer such testing, the need for a uniform resource for genealogists to compare results becomes apparent.

Ysearch allows the genealogist to input their Y-DNA test results, regardless of which company or laboratory generated them, and compare them with others that have been entered in the database. Ysearch offers comparisons for up to 43 markers used by commercial testing companies and scientific laboratories, creating an enormous opportunity for relevant genetic matches to be uncovered.

Ysearch is available free of charge to genealogists to locate others who have utilized Y-DNA testing while researching their family history. Unique features of Ysearch include Genetic Distance(TM) Reports and YsearchCompare, tools that allow side-by-side comparisons of different test results.

Family Tree DNA has been providing genealogy enthusiasts with a new way to break through conventional barriers in charting family histories since its launch in the spring of 2000 by offering a series of genetic tests to be used to determine heredity. The results from these tests are entered into Family Tree DNA's Surnames Database, as well as its databases of Recent Ethnic Origins (REO), spanning 116 countries, and its Haplogroup database which allows genealogists to trace their deepest ancestry.

To learn more about Ysearch and Family Tree DNA, please visit and For additional information or answers to specific questions, contact or call 713-828-1438

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- Exceeds 1.5 Million Paid Subscriptions

The following is an announcement from

PROVO, Utah, Jan. 12 --, Inc., a leading online subscription business and the leading network for connecting families, announced today that its fee-based services have surpassed the 1.5 million subscription mark, representing a 50 percent year-over-year increase in paid subscriptions count. MyFamily was one of the first companies to offer paid content on the Internet. The Company continues to demonstrate that a profitable, growing company can be built through the production and distribution of content consumers value.

Catering to one of the most popular uses of the Web,'s network of Web sites, which includes,,, and, serves the large and rapidly growing family history market. More than 15 million Americans go online each month to search for information on their roots. By providing customers access to the largest collection of family history records online, more than 3 billion names and growing daily, is leading this booming market.

"Discovering your roots is appealing to almost everyone," said Tom Stockham, president and CEO of, Inc. "It's like a treasure hunt, and each bit of information you uncover gets you closer to discovering yourself."

The MyFamily network enables users to search billions of family history records that reveal information about grandparents and great-grandparents from the convenience of a home computer. Records such as census, pedigree, birth, marriage, death, military, immigration, and even historical newspapers are available online and are fully searchable using names or keywords. These records represent important life events and reveal the personal stories of individuals that together make up one's life history.

"When you find records about your ancestors, you find more than just old pieces of paper with names and dates," said Stockham. "You find the joy of a wedding day, the hardships of an ocean voyage, the loss of loved ones, and a sense of your ancestor's place in history. In short, you find the hopes and dreams of those whose lives had everything to do with who you are, how you look, where you live, and what you value most."

While many of the records are available at no fee, other records are available only through subscription. Subscription prices range from as little as $7.95 per month to $239 annually. Some of the unique records that are accessible through subscription include:

U.S. Records -- Search every U.S. Federal Census from 1790 - 1930, including over 450 million names. Find family facts like age, residence, occupation and more. Other unique records available include: veteran records from the Revolutionary, Civil and World War I, more than 70 million names from the Social Security Death Index, historical journals, family and local histories, pedigree charts, slave narratives, and birth, marriage and death records.

U.S. Immigration Records -- Discover information about an ancestor's first steps on the land of their hopes and dreams by exploring ship passenger lists and naturalization records from across the United States. Pinpoint an ancestor's homeland and learn more about their journey to America. Learn the name of their hometown, the ship they traveled on, whom they traveled with, and when they arrived in the United States.

Historical Newspapers -- With more than 5 million pages, this collection is now the largest historical newspaper database on the Internet. The collection contains completely searchable images of U.S., Canada and U.K. newspapers from 1786 through the late 1900s.

United Kingdom and Ireland Records -- Explore a broad expanse of history while searching through civil and ecclesiastical records from England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Fully searchable family history records spanning the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries include: parish and probate records, birth, marriage, and death records, Irish immigrant records and England and Wales Census records.

In addition to the online subscription services, MyFamily also offers databases on CD-ROM, message boards, books, magazines, and Family Tree Maker(R) software, the #1 selling family tree software, which makes it easy to build your family tree and share your discoveries with others.

About, Inc., Inc. is among the largest online subscription businesses, with over 1.5 million paid subscriptions and more than 10 million people using its Web resources every month. An interactive media company, connects families with their histories and one another. The company enriches the lives of its customers by providing the tools, content and community that empower them to find the people most important to them and share their unique family stories. The MyFamily network of Internet properties includes,,, and The company also publishes Family Tree Maker(R), the #1 selling family tree software, Ancestry Magazine, Genealogical Computing Magazine, over 50 book titles, and numerous databases on CD-ROM.

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- The Great Molasses Disaster of January 15, 1919

This week is the anniversary of one of the biggest twentieth-century disasters in the city of Boston. Genealogists normally like to study the current events of the times in which our ancestors lived. Wars are easy to study as they are well documented in history books. Yet other calamities of bygone times are often not so well known and documented.

One great disaster in the early twentieth century was the great Molasses Flood of January 15, 1919, in Boston, Massachusetts. This sounds humorous until one reads that 21 people died when an eight-foot high wall of molasses rolled down Commercial Street at a rather high speed. Two million gallons of crude molasses can move quickly when warmed by the sun. The result was an explosion heard many miles away. Half-inch steel plates of the huge molasses tank were torn apart. The plates were propelled in all directions, hard enough to cut the girders of the elevated railway.

You could say that these unfortunate people were molassessed to death. That is not exactly how I wish to go.

You can read an account of this bizarre accident at:

What Do You Think? Comments and discussion are available on this newsletter's Discussion Board at:

[Return to Table of Contents]

- The Correct King of England?

In the September 16, 2002, edition of this newsletter, I wrote about a recently released book that questioned the ancestry of Queen Victoria. Biographer A.N. Wilson alleges that Victoria's mother, Princess Victoire of Leiningen, had a lengthy affair with her Irish-born secretary, Sir John Conroy, and that he, rather than Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent, was Victoria's real father. Wilson bases his allegation upon some rather convincing medical information. You can read the earlier article at:

If true, this would indicate that Queen Victoria was not the legitimate heir to the crown, nor were any of the kings and queens of England since then. In this case, the rightful claimants to the British throne would be the descendants of Edward's brother, George Duke of Clarence.

In short, the present Queen Elizabeth is not the rightful queen, according to A.N. Wilson.

Now a British film company has located a man whom some historians believe is the rightful heir to the king of England. Tracing the descendants of George Duke of Clarence, the film company located this British man, who has lived in Australia for 38 years.

Michael Hastings, a forklift driver living in a country town in New South Wales, is the direct descendant of that Duke. Hastings has always known that he is the 14th Scottish Earl of Loudoun. He grew up in Scotland with that title. After falling in love with a local girl years ago, Hastings opted to lose the pomp and pageantry in favor of the quiet life of a forklift driver in Jerilderie, Australia. While he still has the title Earl of Loudoun, he simply ignores the fact.

Hastings says he's not interested in serving as the King of England. He told reporters, "I'm not going to write a letter to the Queen and say 'You've got three weeks to get out and you owe me 500 years' rent'."

My thanks to Anne Lehmkuhl for telling me about this interesting story.

What Do You Think? Comments and discussion are available on this newsletter's Discussion Board at:

[Return to Table of Contents]

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


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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
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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 2004 by Richard W. Eastman. It is re-published here with the permission of the author. Information about the newsletter is available at

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.


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.


Dick Eastman is employed by the New England Historic Genealogical Society, serving as Assistant Executive Director for Technology. He 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 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: Due to the volume of e-mail received, he is unable to answer every e-mail message received.

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