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Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

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

Vol. 9 No. 17 – April 26, 2004

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

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

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.


- Genealogy Scammer Pleads Guilty
- Comments about the Guilty Plea
- Comments about Genealogy Scams
- Family History Fair in London
- The Yanks Are Coming, The Yanks Are Coming
- UK Edition of The Master Genealogist
- The Master Genealogist v5.12.000
- Second Site Version 1.6
- Microsoft Notices GEDCOM!
- Isle of Canes by Elizabeth Shown Mills
- How to Do Everything with Your Genealogy by George Morgan
- New Post 1901 Canadian Census Petitions Available
- Electronic and Online Genealogical Resources Seminar in Boston
- VA Offers On-Line Nationwide Gravesite Locator
- Connection from Genealogy Today
- Roots & Branches Expands in Pennsylvania
- (+) Les Filles du Roi
- (+) Anglicized French Names
- (+) Bush and Kerry are Cousins

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

I trace my family history so I will know whom to blame.

- Genealogy Scammer Pleads Guilty

Elias Abodeely III pleaded guilty to first degree theft in court in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Friday, April 23. Abodeely admitted to stealing money from genealogists via a long string of Web sites that were long on promises but short on delivery.

Abodeely, age 23, was arrested on August 1, 2003, on suspicion of identity theft and three felony charges: first-degree theft, money laundering, and ongoing criminal conduct. Police investigators claim Abodeely masterminded a 3-year genealogy scam that netted at least $14,000 and between 220 and 260 victims -- a handful of them from overseas. While the police stated "at least $14,000," some have speculated that the true figure was many times that amount.

Using the name as well as many other Web site names, Abodeely would send out thousands of "spam mail" messages claiming to have access to millions of genealogy records. The ads promised a five-day, money-back guarantee. For about $60, the buyer was given access to a password-protected Web site that simply provided links pointing to free genealogy Web sites. and Abodeely's other Web sites had no genealogy records of their own. As troubling as this is, this part of the scam did not break any laws. However, the plot thickened. Even more upsetting, subscribers who sought cancellation refunds found that their e-mails bounced back as undeliverable. In short, there was no method of canceling and obtaining a refund.

The buyers who paid by credit card found that they could quickly obtain full refunds from PayPal and the credit card companies. Those companies then sought payment from Mr. Abodeely. However, Abodeely found an easier way to steal money: he blamed "difficulties" with PayPal and asked the buyers to pay by personal check instead of by credit card.

Abodeely electronically copied the checks he received time and again, with each new occurrence using a new (forged) check number. Unlike credit cards, personal checks are not insured against fraud. Abodeely was able to cash many forged checks over a period of months. In contrast to the credit card users, those who paid by personal checks lost their money.

In a rather cheeky move, while out on bail after his August 1 arrest, Elias Abodeely started a related business, selling CD-ROM disks that contained a tiny program of displayed menus pointing to free genealogy Web sites. The CD-ROM disks were nearly identical to his then-closed Web sites. Abodeely apparently closed the CD-ROM "business" the day after an article appeared in this newsletter describing the scam and naming him and a relative as the owners of the new business venture.

Last Friday, Elias Abodeely III pleaded guilty to one felony charge: first degree theft. The charges of money laundering and ongoing criminal conduct were dropped. The judge sentenced him to three years' probation. Assuming that young Mr. Abodeely has no further legal problems in the meantime, his criminal record will be wiped clean in three years.

You can read more about Elias Abodeely III and his various scams in the following past editions of this newsletter:

March 12, 2001:

July 16, 2001:

May 6, 2002:

Sept. 16, 2002:

March 10, 2003:

May 19, 2003:

July 7, 2003:

August 4, 2003:

Sept. 15, 2003:

Sept. 29, 2003:

January 5, 2004:

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

[Return to Table of Contents]

- Comments about the Guilty Plea

There are two pieces of disturbing news about last Friday's guilty plea:

  1. Elias Abodeely received three years' probation and no fines. While nobody expected him to serve jail time for a first offense, this writer believes that Abodeely should have been required to make restitution to the victims. As it is, the court allowed Abodeely to pocket the thousands of dollars that he admitted stealing from genealogists.

  2. Abodeely's criminal charges only focus on the manner in which he handled the payments. The police and the court did not address his deceptive descriptions of his Web sites' "services" or his fraudulent claims of money-back guarantees. Elias Abodeely is free to re-launch or some other Web site name, offering the same old claims of access to "millions of records" and again charging unwary genealogists exorbitant sums to access menus that point to free Web sites.

I can only speculate how a convicted felon would handle payments on such a Web site. However, keep in mind that Abodeely's record will be clear in three short years. The old adage, "let the buyer beware," comes to mind. I would further suggest that, when in doubt, buyers of any online services or products should at least minimize their risks by using credit cards instead of unprotected checks or debit cards.

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

[Return to Table of Contents]

- Comment about Genealogy Scams

The recent news about someone on the World Wide Web scamming genealogists certainly is not the first time that such things have happened. Many years ago a lady named Beatrice Bailey sold genealogy "books" that simply contained telephone listings of people with the same last name. Halberts of Bath, Ohio had a similar scam for many years. The only addition was their telephone directory listings, supplemented by some elementary "how to get started in genealogy" advice. Only two years ago, two would-be genealogy conference organizers canceled a first-ever genealogy conference only weeks before it was to be held and then refused to refund tens of thousands of dollars already paid for advance registrations.

Luckily, it is easy to protect yourself from fast-buck artists. The best advice hasn't changed in centuries: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Be suspicious.

Today's World Wide Web gives you more power than you ever had before. If a company's claims are questionable, do a search on the Web to see what the company's customers have said about it. If it is a genealogy-related product or service, go to this newsletter's Web site at and search past newsletters. You can quickly find any articles I have ever written about the company. Next, post a message on this newsletter's Discussion Board at the same Web site, asking others in our online community about the company. Chances are that someone knows about the company and will respond to your query.

Finally, pay only by credit card. Never purchase by check, money order, uninsured debit card, or cash. Ask anyone who sent a check to Elias Abodeely! Those people can tell you that they lost their money. Those who paid by credit card can obtain refunds if they contact the credit card issuer within a few weeks after being duped.

Credit cards are fully insured against fraud by the credit card companies themselves. If you are scammed, the credit card companies will issue a refund to you; then they will pursue the offending company for reimbursement. Sadly, payments by check, money order, debit card, or cash have no guarantees at all, as those who paid money to found out.

Two years ago, I wrote similar words about a genealogy conference in Dearborn, Michigan, which folded and disappeared just a few weeks before the scheduled start of the conference. The organizers simply took the money and closed their offices. Here again, those who had used credit cards to pre-register quickly received 100% refunds from VISA, MasterCard, and American Express. Those who paid by check, money order, or cash still have not received a dime.

Please note that debit cards are really electronic checks, even though they look like credit cards. Debit cards may or may not be insured by the issuing bank. If your bank does not specify your debit card as insured, using that card carries the same risks as writing a check. True credit cards from VISA, MasterCard and American Express are always insured.

In short, verify the company's products or services before you spend money. When you do decide to purchase, make sure that you use a payment method that has fraud guarantees: use a credit card – not a check, money order, debit card or cash.

This is a rule of thumb to follow in genealogy and everywhere else.

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

[Return to Table of Contents]

- Family History Fair in London

The largest genealogy event in England is the annual Family History Fair in London, sponsored by the Society of Genealogists. Held the first weekend in May, this extravaganza attracts thousands of genealogists from all over England, Wales, and Scotland. I have attended it twice and have met other attendees from Ireland, Canada, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. Last year's event even saw one attendee from Norway who flew to England for just one day, as well as one from the United States (me) who flew "across the pond" just for the weekend.

The 2004 edition of the Family History Fair will be held this weekend, May 1 and 2, at the Royal Horticultural Hall on Greycoat Street in Westminster. This year's event looks as if it is destined to repeat or exceed last year's success of about 4,000 attendees. In fact, an optional extra half day has been added on Friday afternoon. The new addition is called The Family History Show and is sponsored by The Friday afternoon events include lectures about the following topics:

Where do I begin?
Census Records
Births Marriages & Deaths
Newspapers & Directories
Church Registers
First World War Army Ancestors
The Celtic Fringe - Scottish Family History
The Celtic Fringe - Irish Family History
Ask the Family: Oral evidence - how to extract it?
Software Packages
10 Useful Websites

The exhibitors' hall will open at 10:00 AM on Saturday, marking the beginning of the main conference. In my two previous trips to this conference, I have been pleasantly surprised at the large number of attendees and the constant level of activity in the exhibitors' hall. The noise level peaks just after 10:00 AM and seems to remain at or close to that level until closing time (5:00 PM on Saturday, 4:00 PM on Sunday).

At any conference, the opportunity to learn is always important. This year's Family History Fair will feature presentations on the following topics:

Welcome to Family History
BMD (births, marriages and deaths) Online
History from Headstones
Where do I start? An introduction to the Family Record Centre
I'm Stuck
Parish Registers
LDS Resources Online
Beyond Google
Guild of One-Name Studies
The National Archives
Censuses on Computer
London Problems
The Society of Genealogists and its Library

The "Welcome to Family History" presentation is free of charge and is repeated several times throughout the two-day conference. The other presentations require payment of an additional £2.50 each. Several of the presentations are held on Saturday and then are repeated on Sunday.

The Royal Horticultural Society's New Hall and Conference Centre is an excellent venue for such an event. It is a large hall although the attendees seem to fill it every year. It is also easy to reach. The hall is within a ten-minute walk from Victoria Station, St. James Park, and Pimlico Station, all easily reached via the Underground. Several car parks are also nearby.

The conference center also features an excellent restaurant on the lower level. When I say "excellent," I am thinking of last year's menu. How many convention hall snack bars do you know that serve pheasant? Even better, it was served on real plates, accompanied by real silverware. None of that plastic stuff at this place!

The main hall is located on two levels and will be filled to overflowing with stalls sponsored by local societies and commercial exhibitors alike. The long list of exhibitors may be found at:

Admission to the Family History Fair in London costs £6 per day at the door (roughly $11.20 in U.S. funds).

For more information, look at:

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

[Return to Table of Contents]

- The Yanks Are Coming, The Yanks Are Coming

I will be at this year's Family History Fair in London once again. I will be wandering around, probably talking with exhibitors much of the time. You can expect a report in next week's newsletters on the products and services that I find.

I would love to meet newsletter readers at the Family History Fair. Look for a six-foot tall, sleepy-looking guy with an American accent. (I'll be sleepy because I will still be adjusting to time zone differences.)

Watch out, however, as I will not be the only one with an American accent at this year's event. I happen to know that quite a few Yanks will be in attendance. Several of my co-workers will be joining me at the Fair, and several other Americans I know will be showing up on Greycoat Street as well.

The Americans will not be numerous enough to "take over" this event, but there should be enough of us to be noticed. I think this speaks well of the attraction of the Society of Genealogists' annual Family History Fair.

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

[Return to Table of Contents]

- UK Edition of The Master Genealogist

Bob Velke, President of Wholly Genes Software, will be one of the Americans at the Society of Genealogists' Family History Fair in London, England, on May 1 and 2. Bob will use the occasion to introduce the UK Edition of The Master Genealogist (TMG).

This special update will include a variety of customizations that are designed for UK users (e.g., styles, tag types, source templates, etc.) and some new features, including a UK-style dropline chart. The update will be available as a free download for current TMG users.

If you are in London, May 1-2, please stop by stall #80 at the Royal Horticultural Society, New Hall and Conference Centre, and say "hello" to Bob.

There will be a TMG-UK Users Group meeting following a TMG presentation by Teresa Pask on Saturday afternoon. UK user Hugh Wilding is also exploring the possibility of an informal group dinner that evening. If you are interested in attending, please write to Hugh at

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

[Return to Table of Contents]

- The Master Genealogist v5.12.000

The following is an announcement from Wholly Genes Software:

The Master Genealogist v5.12.000 is now available. This free update includes a variety of fixes and exciting new features, including:

NOTE: A year is returned only in the case of exact, before, after, circa, and say dates. Between, either/or, from/to, and irregular dates return "an unknown year". The qualifier is NOT returned, and no preposition is added. .e.g., "[P] appeared in the census of [Y]...")

This free v5.12.000 update requires a previous installation of v5.11.000. (Users with a prior version must first apply the free update to v5.11.000). To download and apply the update, run TMG, access the Help menu, and choose "Check for an update." Alternatively, you can choose "Check for a Program Update" from the Windows Start menu > The Master Genealogist group. The update will be applied automatically. Upon restarting, the startup screen will reflect a version number of "v5.12.000."

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

[Return to Table of Contents]

- Second Site Version 1.6

Second Site is a popular add-on utility program that creates web pages from a database created by The Master Genealogist. It generates either narrative or grid style person pages, a master index, a surname index, and source pages. Best of all, the user doesn’t need to know anything about HTML programming and the creation of Web pages. Second Site takes care of all that for you.

You can read my review of Second Site in the September 9, 2002 edition of this newsletter at:

This week John Cardinal, author of Second Site, sent the following message:


I wanted to let you know that I just released an upgrade to Second Site. The new version is 1.6 Build 0. There are some significant changes since the last release, and even more since you reviewed Second Site back in September of 2002. Some highlights:

Supports 7 page formats, including the two original formats and 5 more available in the new release


Supports a new "Suppress Details for Living People," which is an alternative to the Exclude Living feature which was already available

Supports charts, both HTML charts generated by Second Site and VCF charts imported from TMG

More Chart Info (from February of 2003):

Supports international sites

Supports new themes

Supports icons to mark VIPs

Supports custom indexes to make lists of VIPs

Supports image maps for group photos stored as TMG exhibits

and many more

You can review the changes via the Change Log:

Since September of 2002 there have been 6 free upgrades. In fact, all the upgrades to Second Site have been free.


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

[Return to Table of Contents]

- Microsoft Notices GEDCOM!

The current May issue of Microsoft Developers' Network Magazine has an article on GEDCOM. Author Aaron Skonnard describes how to migrate data from GEDCOM 5.5 into the new GEDCOM XML format by using some code written in XML. The code he used can be downloaded directly from the same Microsoft site.

The article is available at:

My thanks to Pierre Cloutier for telling me about this article.

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

[Return to Table of Contents]

- Isle of Canes by Elizabeth Shown Mills

Elizabeth Shown Mills is one of the leading genealogists of our time. She is a prolific author and is well known for her definitive book, Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian, one of the best-selling references on genealogy research and publishing. Elizabeth also edited Professional Genealogy, a reference book for any genealogist who wants to "do it right." She recently retired as editor of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly and is a past president of the American Society of Genealogists. Now she has ventured into a new arena, releasing her first historical novel.

Isle of Canes is an account of a multiracial family in Louisiana. In four generations the family rose from slavery to rule an area known as the Isle of Canes, then lost it all in the Civil War and later years. The novel is a riveting tale of racial conflict and economic ruin in colonial and antebellum Louisiana.

Elizabeth Shown Mills reports that the historically accurate novel is based on her research of the families in the Isle of Canes area for thirty-five years. Genealogy research provided the foundation of her new work. Elizabeth writes:

Genealogy provided the bones, flesh, heart, mind, and soul for all the Islanders whose story it tells. Genealogy is history up close and personal. When we personalize history, we make it real. Studying the individual lives of people, as I've done with the Islanders for the past thirty-five years, gives us a much clearer window through which to see the world. It shows us, starkly, the human costs of decisions made by politicians and generals, and it leaves us with a much truer understanding of why our society is the way it is.

Isle of Canes chronicles four generations:

First Generation: François and Fanny, the African artisan and his princess, captured into slavery and transported to the wilds of Louisiana in 1735.

Second Generation: Coincoin, the woman who swore over her parents' dead bodies that one day the family would be free, rich and proud.

Third Generation: Augustin, half French and half African; he ruled over the Isle of Canes as patriarch of a colony of creoles de couleur with pillared mansions and 18,000 acres of land.

Fourth Generation: Perine, born to riches but ruined by the Civil War and the persecutions of the Reconstruction and the Jim Crow era.

In describing the book, Elizabeth refers to it as "faction," a blend of fact and fiction. In preparation for writing this novel, Elizabeth examined thousands of documents from Canada to Cuba to Mexico to France to Spain. She writes about a large family of more than one thousand members over a century and a half. In describing her "faction" work, Elizabeth writes:

Yet no amount of records could ever chronicle all the intimate details of an individual life, and a storyteller must color in the blanks left by the written record. Because I've spent thirty-five years studying not just the Islanders but all the families with whom they lived, loved, labored, and sometimes feuded, I am confident I have painted my backdrops and clothed my characters as faithfully as a storyteller possibly could.

Elizabeth Shown Mills has used her knowledge of Southern heritage and history to blend genealogy, traditional history, and the lives of people into a gripping novel. The press release for the book describes Isle of Canes as a cross between Gone with the Wind and Roots.

Isle of Canes is published by Ancestry press, a division of This 600-page hardcover book sells for $24.95 plus shipping and taxes. It is available from as well as from most bookstores. When ordering, you may want to specify ISBN 1-59331-175-3. The book will also be available for sale in a few weeks at the annual conference of the National Genealogical Society to be held in Sacramento, California.

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

[Return to Table of Contents]

- How to Do Everything with Your Genealogy by George Morgan

The following is an announcement from McGraw-Hill Education:

EMERYVILLE, Calif., April 20 -- Eager to uncover a long-kept family secret? Curious about your family name or a family artifact? Digging for clues to make that trip to your ancestral homeland truly special?

Whether searching for shocking stories or exploring beyond the names and dates in your family history, internationally recognized genealogist George G. Morgan can provide the answers. Morgan, who is currently the president of the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors (ISFHWE), does so in his new book How to Do Everything with Your Genealogy ($24.99; McGraw-Hill/Osborne). It's available in bookstores and online retailers.

"I've set out to provide a solid foundation for beginning and continuing a family history research," says Morgan, who also pens the award-winning weekly online column 'Along Those Lines' for "I'm covering major record types available in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, as well as research strategies for successfully locating and evaluating them."

The book is organized in a logical progression to help build and expand new genealogists' knowledge. They will learn the basic rules of genealogical evidence as well as successful research methods and strategies, including tips and techniques for effectively using the fastest-growing segment of genealogical research tools: the Internet.

"I believe that no other book on the market today combines such a full range of research guidance and data processing and storage topics from a genealogist's perspective," explains Morgan, a popular featured speaker at local, state, and national genealogical conferences, who was program chair for the 2003 Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference. "This really is a balanced 'how to do everything' book that genealogists have been waiting for."

With as many as 60 million Americans interested in pursuing their ancestry, genealogical research is estimated to be the second most popular hobby in the U.S. and one of the top three uses of the Internet around the world, according to the National Genealogical Society.

Because modern genealogists depend on computers and peripheral equipment for processing, storing, evaluating, and documenting their finding, Morgan provides guidance for assessing and selecting computer software and hardware. This includes how to choose the appropriate genealogical database program for individual needs, as well as available genealogical software for PDAs that allows users to take their entire database wherever they go.


McGraw-Hill/Osborne, a unit of McGraw-Hill Education, is a leading publisher of self-paced computer training materials, including user and reference guides, best-selling series on computer certification, titles on business & technology, and high-level but practical titles on networking, programming, and Web development tools. McGraw-Hill/Osborne is the official press of Oracle, Corel, and Intuit. McGraw-Hill/Osborne is focusing on consumer support, emerging technologies, and innovative applications for developing future computer books. For more information, visit

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

[Return to Table of Contents]

- New Post 1901 Canadian Census Petitions Available

The following was written by Gordon A. Watts of the Canada Census Campaign:

Greetings All.

For some time consideration has been given to having a NEW Petition for release of Historic Census records. Our previous petition was worded in general terms. It had an effect. It did not, however, achieve our ultimate goal -- that being the continued public access, without conditions or restriction, of ALL Historic Census records of Canada 92 years after collection, in accordance with provisions of the Access to Information and Privacy Acts and Regulations attached thereto.

Our NEW petitions are worded in very specific terms -- giving explicit direction regarding what we seek, and the reasons for our request. There are petitions available for the House of Commons and the Senate of Canada, as well as a petition of support for those living outside of Canada.

The NEW petitions in English are downloadable NOW from the Post 1901 Census Project website at the URL following my signature. French versions of the petitions will be available as soon as they can be translated by a member of the Canada Census Committee.

We ask that concerned individuals, Family History and Genealogical Societies, and Historians -- anyone wanting to regain public access to Canada's Historic Census records -- download and circulate these petitions. Attend the meetings of your local organizations to ensure that they are aware of the Census issue and the NEW petitions. Ask them to advise their membership through their newsletters. Ask them, if possible, to include copies of the petitions when mailing their newsletters to their membership.

The current thought is that signatures will be collected and held -- probably until after the upcoming expected federal election. This would likely mean that the first signatures would be presented to Parliament after the summer. This would give us several months to collect signatures.

There will be no deadline for collecting signatures on the NEW petitions. We will continue until we have achieved our goal. We would like to receive completed petitions as soon as they are available. Our original petitions sent more than 62,000 signatures to Ottawa. Let us make a concerted effort to beat that number with our NEW petitions.

When sending petitions to us, please include a note indicating where and by whom signatures were collected -- i.e. name of organization etc. With your help, we WILL regain the public access to Canada's Historic Census records that are currently being withheld from us!

Happy Hunting.

Gordon A. Watts
Co-Chair, Canada Census Committee
Port Coquitlam, BC
en français

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

[Return to Table of Contents]

- Electronic and Online Genealogical Resources Seminar in Boston

The following is an announcement from the New England Historic Genealogical Society:

Electronic and Online Genealogical Resources Seminar, June 26, 2004, at the Bill Bordy Auditorium at Emerson College

This special one-day seminar will acquaint you with technological tools that will greatly aid your genealogical research. It will be held at the Bill Bordy Auditorium at Emerson College, across the street from the Boston Common and the Cutler Majestic Theater at 216 Tremont Street in Boston. The event will start at 8:30 AM with registration and refreshments and conclude at 4 PM with a panel discussion featuring all participants.

NEHGS Assistant Executive Director for Technology Dick Eastman will discuss and demonstrate modern devices that will assist the genealogist in locating records, finding old (and even abandoned) cemeteries, plotting grave locations, locating ancestral homesteads, and more. NEHGS electronic resources, including new CD-ROMs and the website, will be surveyed in detail by Michael J. Leclerc, Director of Electronic Publications at NEHGS. Laura Prescott, NEHGS Membership Campaign Director will speak on researching your ancestors on the Internet. A talk on researching U.S. and Canadian military records online will be presented by David Lambert, NEHGS Microtext Supervisor.

For more information on this seminar or to download a registration form, please visit email, or phone toll-free 888-286-3447.

Comment: Please note that I am speaking at the seminar, so perhaps my words are a bit biased. However, I do think that this will be a great seminar. It is being held at a very nice facility that is easy to reach by automobile, subway, or train (with a short ride on the subway to follow). The Bill Bordy Auditorium is across the street from the Boston Common.

However, be aware that seating is limited, and these seminars usually sell out weeks before each event. We are expecting a "full house" at this one. If you would like to attend, I strongly suggest that you make reservations right now.

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

[Return to Table of Contents]

- VA Offers On-Line Nationwide Gravesite Locator

The following is an announcement from the U.S. Veterans Administration:

More than 3 million records showing where veterans have been buried in Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) national cemeteries are now available online. The innovation will make it easy for anyone with Internet access to search for the gravesite locations of deceased family members and friends.

The nationwide grave locator contains more than three million records of veterans and dependents buried in VA's 120 cemeteries since the Civil War. It also has records of some burials in state veterans' cemeteries and burials in Arlington National Cemetery from 1999 to the present.

"This advance in service culminates years of effort by VA's national cemetery staffs to put old paper records into this database," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony J. Principi. "Making burial locations more accessible may bring more visitors to the honored resting places that we consider national shrines and historical treasures."

The records date to the establishment of the first national cemeteries during the Civil War. The Web site -- at -- will be updated nightly with information on burials the previous day.

The site displays the same information that visitors to national cemeteries find on kiosks or in written ledgers to locate gravesites: name, dates of birth and death, period of military service, branch of service and rank if known, the cemetery's location and phone number, plus the grave's precise location in the cemetery.

The home page, "Burial and Memorial Benefits," allows the reader to select the Nationwide Gravesite Locator to begin a search.

State cemetery burial records are from those cemeteries that use VA's database to order government headstones and markers for veterans' graves. Since 1999, Arlington National Cemetery, operated by the Department of Army, has used that database.

The information in the database comes from records of interment, which before 1994 were paper records, kept at each cemetery. VA's interment records contain more information than what is shown on the Internet and cemetery kiosks.

Some information, such as identification of the next of kin, will not be shown to the public for privacy reasons. Immediate family members with a government identification card may request to see the full record of a burial when they visit a national cemetery.

You can access this resource at

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

[Return to Table of Contents]

- Connection from Genealogy Today

The following is an announcement written by Genealogy Today:

Genealogy Today ( Announced the Release of Family Tree Connection, a Subscription Service That Offers Researchers Access to Family History Information not Available Elsewhere

NEW PROVIDENCE, N.J., April 21 -- "There are many commercial services and even free sites that provide extensive databases of vital and public records," explained Illya D'Addezio, owner of Genealogy Today. "But, there are few resources that capture the nuances of day-to-day activities of our relatives. The vision of Family Tree Connection is to capture details about the lives of our ancestors -- from their early years in school, through college and then moments in their adult lives."

The Family Tree Connection is a growing collection of data indexed from a variety of secondary sources such as high school and college yearbooks, club and society member lists, insurance company policy listings, church records, passenger souvenir booklets and much, much more. All materials are compiled from hundreds of rare documents, pamphlets, and unique out-of-print books that contain genealogical tidbits about people from around the world.

"It's fascinating how much family history information is captured in the materials we discover," added Illya. "Surprisingly, even 100 years ago, clubs and organizations kept track of their members, even after he/she moved out of town or passed away. Schools closely recorded the progress of their alumni (including marriages)."

An annual subscription offers unlimited access to the Family Tree Connection database, along with discounts on purchases in The Marketplace at Genealogy Today and scanning services (of images in any of the FTC source documents). The introductory price for a one-year subscription is $29.95, and there are multi-year discounts of 20% to 30% for 24 and 36 month subscriptions.

The Family Tree Connection database resides at Genealogy Today and is accessible via search engines on both sites. The index to the database is freely searchable -- visitors can investigate and see if there are any possible matches before they subscribe. This service will help users uncover lost details that will enhance their family history projects.

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About Genealogy Today

Genealogy Today has been serving genealogy enthusiasts since 1999 by publishing original articles from experienced genealogists and writers, and a growing collection of search tools and databases. With more than 28,000 registered members, Genealogy Today helps connect researchers with common family lines through its free Team Roots program. Based in New Providence, NJ, it develops and markets online resources that help researchers track and organize their family history projects. The Genealogy Today web site also provides a marketplace of unique family tree products and gifts.

Year after year, Genealogy Today has received recognition for its efforts in helping genealogists. In 2003, Genealogy Today was selected Site of the Year by Genealogical Journeys In Time, having been previously highlighted as a Pick of the Month in 2002. Family Tree Magazine named Genealogy Today to its Hall of Fame in 2003, after being one of a few sites selected for its annual Best Web Site Picks four consecutive years.

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

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- Roots & Branches Expands in Pennsylvania

The following is an announcement from the Altoona Mirror, a newspaper in Pennsylvania:

ALTOONA, Pa. - "Roots & Branches," the only syndicated column on Pennsylvania genealogy, will begin a weekly run in the Life section of the Altoona Mirror on Sunday, May 2.

The Mirror's Sunday edition reaches about 100,000 readers in a wide swath of central Pennsylvania from Bedford (on the south) to Johnstown (west) to State College (north) to Huntingdon (east).

"Our readers have told us they enjoy genealogy, so 'Roots & Branches' is a natural fit for our Sunday hobbies page," Ray Eckenrode, Mirror managing editor, said.

Among its subscription options, the Mirror offers a Sunday-only mail edition for $14 a month. For further information, contact Mirror circulation at (800) 287-4480.

"Roots & Branches" began in The Patriot-News of Harrisburg in 1998 and has appeared weekly on Monday afternoons in the Lebanon Daily News since June 2003.

The version that appears in the Daily News also can be accessed on its Web site at the URL, (Click on "Columns").

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

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- (+) Les Filles du Roi

The following is preview of a Plus Edition-only article. It is copyright 2004 by Richard W. Eastman.

If you have French-Canadian ancestry, you probably have encountered the term "Filles du Roi" at some point in your genealogy research. This French term translates literally as "the daughters of the King." Between 700 and perhaps 1,000 young, single women traveled to Quebec City, Trois Rivières, and Montréal from 1663 to 1673 as a part of a program managed by the Jesuits and funded by King Louis XIV.

These hardy immigrant women married and raised families. In fact, many of them raised large families in the tradition of the day. Many of their sons and daughters went on to also have large families, and so on and so forth for generations. As a result, millions of today's Canadians and Americans can find one or more of the Filles du Roi in the family tree.

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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- (+) Anglicized French Names

The following is preview of a Plus Edition-only article. It is copyright 2004 by Richard W. Eastman.

Those of us with French-Canadian ancestry who now live in predominantly English-speaking areas know a lot about name changes. For instance, the name Hebert often became Abar or something similar. (The two words are pronounced the same even though English speakers might not know the French pronunciation of Hebert.) Leblanc often became White and Beaudoin may have been changed to Bodine. Such name changes can drive you crazy when researching old records!

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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- (+) Bush and Kerry are Cousins

The following is preview of a Plus Edition-only article. It is copyright 2004 by Richard W. Eastman.

The claim that George W. Bush and John Kerry are related is not exactly new. In fact, you can read an article about that in the February 23, 2004, edition of this newsletter at The operators of claim that both are related to Walt Disney, Clint Eastwood, Michael Douglas, Hugh Hefner, and many more celebrities.

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 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


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

You can also search past newsletters at:

If you would like to submit news, information or press releases for possible inclusion in future newsletters, send them to 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 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.

If you have questions or comments about the article in this newsletter, go to this newsletter's Discussion Board at Post your message there. You will receive then assistance from Dick Eastman or from a number of other people.


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