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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. 20 – May 17, 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.


- Help Your Friends Receive This Newsletter
- NGS Conference in Sacramento This Week
- More Turmoil at NGS: Wendy Herr Responds
- OGS Conference in Toronto Next Week
- (+) The Myths Concerning Long-term Storage of DVD Data Disks
- (+) Converting PDF Files to Word Documents
-'s New OneWorldTree
- Commentary about's New OneWorldTree
- The Queen's Empire in 1899 on CD-ROM
- Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry: A Book Review
- Becoming an Accredited Genealogist: A Book Review
- My Roots for Pocket PC
- Ask-A-Genie
- Avotaynu Publishers Wins Award for Jewish Genealogy Publications
- Funding Request Met for Texas Libraries
- NEHGS Research Tour to Dublin
- Former Genealogy Talk Show Host Survives Heart Attack
- Colin Powell's Scottish Ancestry

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

Any family tree produces some lemons, some nuts and a few bad apples.

- Help Your Friends Receive This Newsletter

Anyone who sends a lot of newsletters by e-mail can tell you that doing so is becoming more and more difficult every week. Hundreds of my newsletters never reach their intended destinations because of overly aggressive spam filters. This isn't a problem for this newsletter alone. The Wall Street Journal, PC Magazine, the Disney Corporation, Ancestry Daily News, and many others are all reporting the same problem: an ever increasing number of e-mail newsletters sent by bulk mail never reach the addressees.

The primary culprit is spam filters. Almost every mail server in the universe now has some form of anti-spam filtering installed. Depending upon how these filters are adjusted, they may also delete all sorts of wanted bulk e-mail messages, such as e-newsletters.

To avoid all these problems with spam filters, I have now created a second method by which Plus Edition subscribers can read this newsletter every week. The Plus Edition is now available in a password-protected Web page at Plus Edition subscribers can open a Web browser and read the latest newsletter online at any time. They just need to send an email to, asking for access to the Plus Edition Web page and (please!) including the email address they subscribed with.

If any of your friends mention that they mysteriously are no longer receiving their Plus Edition newsletters, please ask them to send an e-mail to We will verify their subscription, then issue a user ID and password so that they may read the Plus Edition newsletter online, avoiding all problems with mail server filters.

Of course, the Standard Edition continues to be available where it has always been:

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- NGS Conference in Sacramento This Week

One of the largest genealogy conferences in the United States will be held this week. The U.S. National Genealogical Society's annual conference will be held at the Sacramento Convention Center in downtown Sacramento, California. The conference will be held Wednesday through Saturday, May 19 through 22. This year's event is co-hosted by the Genealogical & Historical Council of Sacramento Valley.

I am looking forward to attending this year's conference. If you have the time available and can be in Sacramento this week, I suggest that you stop in.

You can read more about this week's conference at

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- More Turmoil at NGS: Wendy Herr Responds

Last December, the Board of Directors of the U.S. National Genealogical Society abruptly accepted the resignations of the president, treasurer, and secretary. The society's executive director also was dismissed soon after. As a cost-saving measure, several employees received lay-off notices in the following weeks.

If you are unfamiliar with these events, you can read the Society's announcements as published in previous editions of this newsletter at,, and at

The recently dismissed Executive Director disagrees with some details of the previously-published statements issued by the National Genealogical Society's Board of Directors and has now issued a clarification of her own. The following announcement was written by Wendy W. Herr:

6 MAY 2004

In response to the continuing publication of the press release issued by the National Genealogical Society (NGS) Board of Directors on 12 January 2004, I would like to set the record straight. I am the former Executive Director of the National Genealogical Society. The NGS statement, which as of this date remains posted on the NGS website and is referenced by recent publications, contains several false and misleading statements. I have refrained from remarking on these statements until this time, primarily out of loyalty to the many, many NGS members that are being harmed by these disingenuous assertions and because of the sincere affection I have for the Society and its mission. In addition, I believe that, no matter what course the new leadership of the NGS Board sets for the Society, knowledge of the truth will serve to strengthen the organization.

The most important point is that all expenditures of funds were fully approved by the NGS Board of Directors at the 1 September 2004 meeting. Prior to the board meeting, the NGS Finance Committee had reviewed the budget, and changes were incorporated as a result of these meetings. The passage of the budget was done after extensive discussion, in a meeting that lasted several hours. Therefore, the statement in the NGS press release that expenditures were transacted without full board approval and knowledge is false.

The only NGS Board-restricted fund is the NGS Second Century Endowment Fund. At the end of the fiscal year before I started working for NGS, the amount of this fund was less than $2,000. At the time of the November 2003 NGS Board meeting, the net of the endowment fund was approaching $30,000. This was in the middle of an active fundraising campaign, which unfortunately was not reinforced as planned at the productive end-of-year income tax donation season. In other words, after the fundraising expenses that launched the campaign were paid, the Second Century Endowment Fund was showing impressive first campaign returns. Upon my recommendation to the Finance Committee, and approved by the NGS Board of Directors, these funds were held in an entirely separate bank from the regular operating funds. At no time during my tenure were the Second Century Funds used to pay for general operations, or as stated in the press release, "NGS reserves had been spent to compensate." This statement is false.

The NGS Board of Directors adopted a corporate strategic plan at the May 2003 meeting. This plan contained the strategies and direction that the full board approved. This plan was developed over many months and was the subject of several special meetings and sessions with the board. To state that I set the direction of the organization without board oversight and consent, as has recently been reported, is false.

The NGS press release stated that the Executive Director had been dismissed on a "without cause" basis as allowed by the employment agreement in place. What was not said in the press release is that the NGS Board refused to honor the contract and did not pay the severance in accordance with the integrity of the contract. Association executive professionals almost always have "without cause" clauses written into employment contracts, precisely because power shifts in governing boards that they work for do occur. The entire board approved these provisions in September 2002. What is misleading, however, is to imply in their press release that the NGS Board was acting in accordance with the contract provisions. They did not.

The official minutes of the NGS Board of Director meeting will support my statements. In addition, the IRS Form 990 will show that another controversial element discussed in the media, my salary, was set at $15,000 less than the previous Executive Director’s salary. Since this position was vacant for so long, the higher rate in place for the previous director was two years old. The IRS 990 is available to the public.

Wendy W. Herr

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- OGS Conference in Toronto Next Week

The Ontario Genealogical Society's three-day "Seminar 2004" will be held the week after next in Toronto. This year's event looks like it will be the leading Canadian conference of the year. The event will be held on May 28 through 30 and will be hosted by the Toronto Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society. The theme will be "The 3 R's of Family History: Resources, Research, Results."

"Seminar 2004" will feature the following different streams of interest: Methodology, Technology, Toronto, Ontario, and Canadian research, and a miscellaneous stream which could include topics such as Society Management, genetics/DNA, and others.

Three concurrent sessions (or "tracks") will be held all day Friday, increasing to five concurrent sessions on Saturday and Sunday. The presenters include: Kenneth G. Aitken, Ruth Burkholder, Dr. Penelope Christensen, Afua Cooper, Dick Eastman, Gail Ferguson, J. Brian Gilchrist, Ceil Jensen, Marjorie Kohli, Rob Leverty, Helen F.M. Leary, Jane E. MacNamara, Paul McGrath, Brenda Dougall Merriman, Sharon Murphy, Barbara Myrvold, Marie-Louise Perron, Marian Press, Geoffrey D. Rasmussen, Linda Reid, Louise St Denis, Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak, Ryan Taylor, James Thomson, and Patricia Moseley Van Skaik. Yes, my name is in that list, and I must say that I am honored to be featured in the midst of such an illustrious group.

Seminar 2004 is much more than just lectures, however. This year's event will feature one of the most ambitious OGS Research Rooms ever, which attendees can use for interactive research and hands-on learning opportunities. You can meet and consult representatives from the Archives of Ontario and the Toronto Public Library's research staff, as well as experts from the Société franco-ontarienne d'histoire et de généalogie. In addition, new this year will be the "Ask a Professional" event, sponsored by the Ontario Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists. Members of APG will be available for free 15-minute consultations. Bring your genealogical questions, and sign up early for an appointment.

The Saturday evening banquet will include a special visit from the colorful 1837 era journalist, William Lyon Mackenzie. This fiery reformer was influential in shaping the future direction of the government of Upper Canada. With the assistance of David Morris, Mackenzie will treat us to his views of the events and personalities of his time.

While the emphasis is on Ontario, a quick scan of the programs listed at will show that anyone researching genealogy in Canada can benefit from attending this major conference. Indeed, many of the presentations are non-geographic. For instance, there are sessions on "How to Create Your Own DVD and VCD Disks," "What does the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS) mean?", "Active versus Passive Use of the Internet for Genealogy," and "A Career in Genealogy: Can you earn a living doing this?" If you are planning your visit to this conference, be sure to scroll to the bottom of the program Web page for a list of the talks that is grouped by interest area and level.

I will be at this conference and am hoping to meet newsletter readers while I am there. If you have the time available and can be in Toronto, you might enjoy this three-day conference. You can find all the details at:

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- (+) The Myths Concerning Long-term Storage of DVD Data Disks

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

Numerous stories have been published in recent months, including one in this newsletter, that claim that DVD-ROM disks recorded at home do not have a very good life expectancy. These disks supposedly are not suitable for long-term data storage. However, a new study refutes these claims and states that DVD data should last for many years if a few simple precautions are followed.

The preceding is a "preview" of a Plus Edition article.

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- (+) Converting PDF Files to Word Documents

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

Adobe's popular PDF file format is often used in genealogy work. Many of the CD-ROM disks reviewed in this newsletter have been published in PDF format, as has some of the information found on Web sites. The Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) has become the de facto standard for electronic documentation distribution. Once a file is created in PDF format, anyone can read your document across a broad range of hardware and software, and it will look exactly as you intended — with layout, fonts, color, links, and images intact. In short, it will look like a document published with a desktop publishing program. It will look the same on any operating system, including Windows, Macintosh, Linux, UNIX, OS/2, and even handheld computers. Best of all, the required software to view your PDF document is completely free. As a result, everyone can read your document.

In theory, PDF files have been "secure." That is, nobody could ever take your PDF document, import it into a word processor, and then use your data. Here is an excerpt that shows the state of the PDF format two years ago, when I wrote the February 25, 2002, edition of this newsletter:

By setting security options in Acrobat, the author can give his or her PDF documents a certain level of copy protection. One of the options available within Adobe Acrobat program that creates PDF files will prevent users from copying text or images, effectively disabling the normal "copy-and-paste" functions. Other options prevent users from printing the document or changing the features that the author has set. You can even set a password to prevent viewing by would-be users who do not have the password. To be sure, anyone who can view a document can always re-type the information by hand. However, PDF files make it very difficult to electronically extract bits and pieces of information from within a document.

I should point out that this protection is not 100% guaranteed. In fact, sophisticated hackers have succeeded in "cracking" Adobe PDF files and extracting the original information. However, a lot of software skills are needed to "crack" a PDF file. Even owners of the Adobe software that creates PDF files cannot easily "crack" a PDF file created by someone else. Only a handful of people have ever managed to open a PDF file, and one of those even spent a few days in jail for his activity. (For further details about the jailed Russian computer hacker, look at:,1283,45298,00.html and While not 100% safe, you can assume that, if you select the proper options, there is about a 99.99999% chance that a PDF document you create will never be "cracked" by anyone else. Few people are willing to risk incarceration for extracting data from your genealogy PDF file!

My, how the world has changed in two short years! Today, there are a number of programs that will extract data from a PDF file. Adobe has since given up all ideas of protecting their file format. Nobody is in danger of being incarcerated in 2004 for "cracking" a PDF file.

To be sure, most of the programs used for extracting data from PDF are difficult to use. One has to be a techie in order to use most of them and must have a lot of knowledge of the underlying technology. Even then, the data extracted often loses its formatting or may look a bit "weird" after being extracted. With most of these programs, the user still needs to do a lot of "clean up" work.

A few months ago I wrote about one such program that I had used that could extract the words from a PDF file and convert it to text. Formatting and images were lost, but the basic text usually could be extracted.

This week I used a new program and found that the state of the art has improved greatly. The new program is so easy to use that anyone who can use a word processor can now extract a PDF file. There is no need for deep technical knowledge. You do not need Adobe Acrobat or Reader to use this new program. In addition, 99.9% of the text, formatting, and images are preserved. The new file created will look exactly like the PDF file, only you can then edit it and add to it as you wish. In short, using this program is almost as simple as falling off a log.

The preceding is a "preview" of a Plus Edition article.

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-'s New OneWorldTree recently announced a "preview" of a new service to be called OneWorldTree. This new service will search numerous genealogy databases containing records of millions of people. The search analyzes the birth, death, and marriage data and then displays the most probable matches for your ancestors.

Numerous other online database services offer database searches. What differentiates OneWorldTree is its method of linking family history records and then displaying only those records with a high probability of matching the information you already have.

For instance, there probably have been hundreds of men named John Greenlaw in the United States over the past 300 or more years. You could do a search of many databases and find entries for men of that name. With most online databases, you can also specify years and/or locations, thereby narrowing the search significantly. However,'s OneWorldTree carries this a step further by matching even more information, if available.

OneWorldTree uses a process called "stitching." In effect, OneWorldTree is now the largest family tree on the Internet. It has created one large database from family trees submitted by other genealogists, as well as original documents, such as census records. The computer software has compared birthdates and places, marriage dates and places, spouses' names, and more, using its results to automatically merge together those records with high probability of being the same person. Unlike other databases, when you go looking in OneWorldTree for John Greenlaw of Bangor, Maine, you will not see a dozen different records on your screen. Instead, you will see one record, including all available information about this man. Information may include dates and locations, spouse(s), children, parents, and more, if that data is available within the OneWorldTree database.

There is nothing "magic" about this new database. After all, you could gather the same information manually, should you wish to do so. The great thing about OneWorldTree is that it saves time. Its one master database has pooled several different resources from's Web site and has grouped the resultant information by person. These "Person Pages" will make it easier for you to find and verify information pertaining to your ancestors.

The pedigree view in OneWorldTree enables you to view relationships and original documents to verify facts and dates. (Comment: ALWAYS verify facts! Never accept anything you find online or in a book as the truth until you have verified it.) describes the "preview" this way:

The preview period, expected to last until June 21, 2004, is a one-time introductory period when customers can view the product. At the end of the preview period, the database will be updated with even more names and families. At that time, any changes that you make to the tree will be erased. We hope that you will use this time to familiarize yourself with the way that the product works, and to explore The Tree. Just keep in mind that any updates that you make will be erased at the end of the preview period.

OneWorldTree is currently being offered as a preview. During this period, you can obtain 14 months of access for the price of 12 months. The annual fee is $49.95. If you prefer, you can pay $7.95 a month, but read the fine print first: it says this is an "annual commitment;" that is, the monthly payments are installments that you must pay for a year.

For more information about's preview of OneWorldTree, go to

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- Commentary about's New OneWorldTree

The message boards have been thick with comments about's new OneWorldTree offering. The messages vary a bit, but seem to follow Chicken Little's theme of "the sky is falling."

The controversy stems from's inclusion of records from Family Trees submitted through Ancestry World Tree and RootsWeb World Connect. These online databases contain information submitted by private individuals over the years. and RootsWeb (once an independent organization that was later acquired by promised that the information submitted to these services would remain free and available to everyone at no charge. Now the new service offered by charges a fee to extract information from those databases and other databases, and then to add extra value by interpreting the data and displaying high-probability matches to the user. Those with a negative mindset have interpreted this as is now "selling" this data that they previously promised would be free.

Let's look at the facts:

  1. RootsWeb and promised that the Ancestry World Tree and Rootsweb World Connect would remain free and open to everyone. In fact, that remains 100% correct today and apparently will remain in place in the future. The information submitted to those databases is still free and is still open to everyone in their original form. Anyone, whether an subscriber or not, can still go to RootsWeb and search those databases in exactly the same manner as before and can do so at no charge. In other words, continues to live up to the original promises. has simply added a second method of analyzing that data, a method not covered in the original agreements simply because no one had yet invented this new analysis method at the time.

  2. has promised that future additions to the OneWorldTree service will include U.S. census records, birth records, and other sources of public domain data. These public domain records also will remain free and open to everyone in the traditional methods: anyone is free to go look at those records at no charge via other means. The fact that will include public domain data in a for-fee database search service does not alter the fact that the original data is still public domain and is still available elsewhere. Likewise, the fact that includes free data such as Ancestry World Tree and Rootsweb World Connect in a for-fee database search service does not alter the fact that the original data is still available to everyone free of charge.

  3.'s new OneWorldTree is a VALUE ADDED service (capitalization added for emphasis). You pay for the convenience and the analysis, not for the data.

I have occasionally criticized's business practices before, but this time I am in complete agreement. I would hope that and other commercial companies would continue to experiment with analyzing both free and restricted information in new ways that benefit all genealogists. It is clear that continues to live up to prior promises while simultaneously experimenting with new methods of adding value to the data they already have.

I believe that and other organizations have every right to ask for compensation for the thousands of dollars they have spent in additional software development costs and hardware expenses to bring new services online that provide potential benefit to genealogists.

If the company was not allowed to charge for new and innovative methods of analyzing existing sources of data, the "chilling effect" would discourage the development of new services. All genealogists would suffer as a result. continues to offer free access to the Ancestry World Tree and Rootsweb World Connect databases in exactly the same manner they always have.

I am sure that some people will disagree with me. All I ask is that you stop and think about this for a bit. Remember that the data is still available for free in the original format as promised. If you are still uncomfortable with the process, I would suggest that you remove your data from Ancestry World Tree and Rootsweb World Connect. You do have that control.

As for me, I choose to leave my data available online.

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- The Queen's Empire in 1899 on CD-ROM

In past newsletters I have written many reviews of old books that have been transferred to CD-ROM disks. Most of these contained hundreds of pages of text. It was a pleasant surprise when I discovered a somewhat different CD-ROM this week. The Queen's Empire – 1899 is a picture book. To be sure, it was published in 1899 and contains hundreds of pages. However, these are hundreds of pages of PHOTGRAPHS, along with descriptive text of each.

As the longest-reigning British monarch, Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897 was marked by many celebrations and special efforts. Commemorative coins were struck, festivals were held, books were written, and much more. One effort took two years to complete: photographers were dispatched throughout the British Empire to record the Queen's lands. They took pictures of cities, farms, harbors, mountains, prisons, factories, navies, and much more. The photographs were assembled into a huge book and published two years later, in 1899. This book has become a great resource for historians as it is a photographic record of the British Empire in 1899, one that shows the different social perspective of the age.

S&N Genealogy Supplies has digitized this book and made it available on CD-ROM disk. The black-and-white photographs are fascinating. (Color photography had not yet been invented.) I spent several hours "leafing" through the photographs on this disk.

Each picture is accompanied by a paragraph or so of explanation, usually written in the flowery language of the Victorian era. For instance, a picture showing perhaps 30 men dressed in suits and seated at benches with telegraph equipment in front of each is captioned:

This picture shows us the interior of the receiving and dispatching room of the submarine cables at the Central Telegraph Office. The central Telegraph Office is a department of the General Post Office, London, and from the room which is here represented there is direct communications with the shore ends of the great submarine cables which, starting from our coasts, connect our islands with the uttermost ends of the earth. Already the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean and the China Seas have been conquered by the ever-advancing wire. The broad, deep waters of the Pacific still remain impervious to the whisperings of the electric transmitter. The busy brains of enterprising men are, however, at work to "bring the Pacific into line," and ere many years are passed we shall see a direct British cable connecting the shores of Vancouver, in the Northern Hemisphere, with those of Australia and New Zealand far away beyond the Southern Cross.

Of course, these telegraph machines were state-of-the-art in 1899. Radio was still a curiosity confined only to laboratories. Marconi would not demonstrate trans-Atlantic wireless communications for another two years.

While this work probably does not have identifiable pictures of your ancestors, it will show the world in which they lived. In fact, there are many pictures of English cities as well as cities throughout Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and abroad. It is fascinating to note the lack of high rise buildings in London.

You may find pictures of the city in which your ancestors lived, showing it the way that they saw it. I also saw pictures taken inside a school in Cheltenham, and an outdoor Muslim school in Calcutta. Factories and trade are often shown, such as a view from inside the Guinness Brewery in Dublin.

I was fascinated by one 1899 photograph showing the harbor in Bombay, India. I stood almost in the photographer's footsteps just over a week ago and can tell you that a lot has changed in one hundred five years!

The Queen's Empire – 1899 sells for £19.95 (roughly $35.00 in U.S. funds) plus shipping. You can order it online from S&N Genealogy Supplies' safe and secure shopping cart system. For more information, look at:

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- Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry: A Book Review

Some years ago Kathleen Cory wrote an excellent guide to Scottish genealogy, entitled Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry. Although Mrs. Cory spent most of her childhood in India, she was educated at George Watson's Ladies' College in Edinburgh, Scotland. She became an expert in Scottish genealogy, and her book reflected her expertise: she wrote extensively about the holdings of the two principal Scottish record repositories, the General Register Office at New Register House and the Scottish Record Office, both in Edinburgh.

Sadly, Kathleen Cory passed away in 2002. Her work lives on, however, and has even been updated. Leslie Hodgson has assumed the maintenance of this excellent resource and has now released the Third Edition of Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry. I had a chance to read the book this week and can report that Hodgson's efforts continue in the same tradition of producing an excellent tutorial.

Leslie Hodgson describes records of births, marriages, and deaths before and after 1855 and census returns from 1841 to 1891 at the General Register Office, as well as wills, testaments, deeds, and church records at the Scottish Record Office. She provides chapters on other records and repositories, six useful appendices (including one that lists every parish in Scotland by district number, county and commissariat), and various maps.

New subjects covered in the third edition include the reorganization of local archives, the digitization and accessibility of old records, and the use of local history in genealogy. There are also chapters on family names, clans and tartans, heraldry, searching for present-day relations, and record repositories outside of Edinburgh. In addition, the six appendices cover such topics as Internet access to Scottish records, useful addresses, and lists of parishes, counties, and commissariats.

I found the book to be easy to read and informative. It is mostly text but does contain a few maps, forms, documents, and charts. Anyone researching Scottish ancestry will find this to be an excellent tutorial.

Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry is published in the United States by Genealogical Publishing Company. It sells for $21.95. You should be able to purchase it through any book store if you specify ISBN 0806317485. You can also order it on Genealogical Publishing Company’s safe and secure online order system at

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- Becoming an Accredited Genealogist: A Book Review

Here is a quote from a book that I read this week:

If you are planning to become a professional genealogist, credentials are important. The credentialing examinations not only help to maintain quality and public confidence in the field of genealogy, but also help gauge personal preparation and qualifications.

I found those words in Becoming an Accredited Genealogist by Karen Clifford. She has packed a wealth of information into its 230 pages. Published in 1998, this book contains information about the skills and procedures required to become a professional genealogist. It also should be required reading for the "serious amateur" who simply wants to make sure that they organize their information correctly.

The chapters in this book include:

  1. Why This Book Was Written
  2. Public Expectations of a Professional Genealogist
  3. The Accreditation Process
  4. Are You Ready to Apply for Accreditation?
  5. Report Writing
  6. Practical Exercises in Analysis
  7. Preparing Research Guides
  8. Further Educational Opportunities

In addition, there are four appendices:

  1. Certification
  2. Hiring a Professional Genealogist
  3. Research Time and Expenses Chart
  4. Checklist for Customer Report

The book is full of illustrations and charts used as examples of the information discussed in the text. It also has an extensive index.

You should be aware that there are two different certifying bodies for professional genealogists within the United States: the Board for Certification of Genealogists ( and the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists ( These are competitive organizations with somewhat different requirements. Becoming an Accredited Genealogist by Karen Clifford is devoted solely to passing the certification process for the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists. If you are seeking certification from the Board for Certification of Genealogists, you might want to find a different study guide.

Becoming an Accredited Genealogist retails for $19.95 (U.S. funds) although I noticed that publisher is selling it for $15.95. Any book store can obtain it for you if you specify ISBN 0-916489-81-7. You can also purchase it from's safe and secure online shopping cart system at

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- My Roots for Pocket PC

My Roots has always been a popular genealogy program for Palm handheld computers. Now Tapperware, the company that produces My Roots, has announced a new version for Pocket PC handhelds. Even better, readers of this newsletter can purchase the new program at a discount.

The following announcement is from Tapperware:

My Roots, the most powerful genealogy application for Palm OS handheld computers is now available for Pocket PCs. The new Pocket PC version from Tapperware provides many of the same features that have made My Roots so popular with Palm OS users, including:

My Roots is available now for only $19.95. It requires Pocket PC 2003, also known as Windows Mobile 2003, and will also run on devices which have been upgraded to Pocket PC 2003. Complete details, including sample screens, users manual, and a free downloadable trial version are available from the Tapperware website at:

Registered users of the Palm OS version who have switched to a Pocket PC device can purchase the new version at half price. For more information, please send an email to

To purchase My Roots for Pocket PC, please go to:

Readers of Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter can get 10% off the regular price by entering MR3PPCEOGN into the coupon field during checkout. This special offer expires on 5/24/04.

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- Ask-A-Genie

The following is an announcement from Strictly Rocky Mountain Online Magazine:

Strictly Rocky Mountain Online Magazine Introduces Ask-A-Genie

Strictly Rocky Mountain online magazine ( announces the introduction of the brand new "Ask-A-Genie" ( service for anyone interested in asking questions and getting answers about their genealogy and family history.

"Genealogy is often overwhelming. So, my group wanted to provide a service to help everyone find out something about their own genealogy", states Lee Everton, publisher of Strictly Rocky Mountain. "Ask-A-Genie gives us the opportunity to help a vast number of people."

Professional genealogists with expertise in German, Spanish, American, English, Canadian, Swedish and general research are ready to answer questions of visitors.

There are four things that make this service unique: One is that the questions and answers are archived as a valuable resource. Second, Ask-A-Genie is dynamic. The questions are updated instantly for the benefit of the Ask-A-Genie visitors. Third, the genealogists that are answering these questions have 20 to 45 years of experience helping people discover more of their genealogy. And fourth, answers are original to each question.

Ask-A-Genie is a free service of Strictly Rocky Mountain online magazine. Based in the heart of the Rockies and providing a well-rounded dose of history, travel, health, living, and lifestyle … this is your magazine of the Rocky Mountain lifestyle.

"Strictly Rocky Mountain" online magazine &
"Strictly Cache Valley" online newspaper

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- Avotaynu Publishers Wins Award for Jewish Genealogy Publications

The following is an announcement from the Association of Jewish Libraries:

The Research and Special Libraries Division (R&S) of the Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL) is pleased to announce the winners of its Judaica Bibliography and Reference Book Awards for 2003.

Winners of this year's awards are:

<some text deleted here>

3)One-time Body-of Work Award

Avotaynu Publishers, Inc. (Bergenfield, NJ), founded by Dr. Sallyann Amdur Sack and Mr. Gary Mokotoff, is the recipient of this one-time Body-of-Work Award. It is the single organization which has helped "to grow Jewish genealogy" by providing excellent reference tools for the increasing number of people interested in their Jewish roots. In the past twenty years, the R&S Division of AJL has given more Reference and Bibliography Book Awards to Avotaynu Publishers than to any other publisher.

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- Funding Request Met for Texas Libraries

The April 12, 2004, edition of this newsletter carried an article written by Mic Barnette, asking Texans to contact their local libraries. The goal was to raise the funds to keep Heritage Quest available to all in Texas libraries. The funding had been cut from the state legislature's budget, so the appeal was to raise the money elsewhere. You can read that article at

Apparently Mic's appeal worked. The goal was to raise $243,000. Pledges received after Mic Barnette's appeal totaled $262,690.

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- NEHGS Research Tour to Dublin

The New England Historic Genealogical Society (my employer) is sponsoring a genealogical tour of Ireland that should interest those of Irish heritage. Here is the announcement:

August 15-22, 2004

Research opportunities abound during this one-week research tour to Dublin! The tour features guided research at various repositories in central Dublin, including the National Library of Ireland, the National Archives of Ireland, the General Register Office, the Registry of Deeds, the Valuation Office, and more. In addition you will benefit from genealogical lectures and informal consultations throughout the week with NEHGS director of library services Marie E. Daly; Dublin-based independent researcher Eileen M. O'Duill, MA, CGRS, CGL; and Massachusetts State Archives reference librarian Janis P. Duffy. Special activities include a guided tour of the James Joyce exhibit at the National Library, a "behind the scenes" orientation to the National Archives, and a reception with the Lord Mayor of Dublin.

Lodging will be at Trinity College, in the heart of Dublin's cultural, retail, and entertainment center and within walking distance of many of the repositories and other institutions.

NEHGS member Sheila Byrnes participated in last year's tour to Dublin and took full advantage of all that it had to offer. She advises participants to learn as much as they can about their Irish ancestors before attempting to use Irish records, and offers the following tips and information:

Sheila was wise to do her homework before "crossing the pond" - and it paid off! She reports, "After our morning lectures, which included talks by Irish genealogists, we broke into small groups to visit local repositories. I had fantastic luck in finding information on my O'Connor/Connor family. At the Registry of Deeds I was able to trace land ownership back to 1709. I ordered copies of these deeds to be sent home for closer evaluation once I returned to the U.S. At the National Library I found indexes and abstracts of Prerogative Court wills and administrations prepared by Sir William Betham. Although all the original wills and administration bonds in the Public Record Office were destroyed by fire in 1922, the indexes survived. These records list name, address, and occupation of testator; names of beneficiaries, executors, and witnesses; the date the will was made; and the date of probate. I was able to find names of children, spouses, and maiden and married names of females."

After a week of research, Sheila rented a car and went off to West County Cork in search of her ancestors. Her adventures there will be featured in a future issue of New England Ancestors magazine.

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

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- Former Genealogy Talk Show Host Survives Heart Attack

Former KRLD radio talk show host Michael Matthews, 56, suffered but survived a major heart attack at his Possum Kingdom Lake residence 120 miles west of Dallas last week.

The originator of "The Family History Show," a Sunday evening niche program that commanded top ratings for nearly five years from Dec. 1994 to Sept. 1999 on some 25 Texas State Network stations, is now staff writer at the Lake Country Sun newspaper in Palo Pinto County near Mineral Wells. Matthews, who was also proprietor of Michael Matthews Commercial Photography in Dallas for more than 25 years and a former editor of Movement Magazine in Dallas (1972-1976), semi-retired to the popular PK Lake resort area three years ago.

On Tuesday morning, May 4, Matthews awoke in full acute myocardial infarction and was transported approximately 80 miles to Plaza Medical Center in Fort Worth via two ambulances and a Critical Air helicopter, a journey lasting approximately three hours. That afternoon, a surgeon performed angioplasty and implanted an arterial stent after discovering a 95 percent blockage in a major artery. Matthews was released less than 24 hours later.

The surgeon told Matthews his near killer heart attack was likely caused by a "family history" of high cholesterol.

"And I thought I knew my family history. This must have been from the more painful branch that I never researched," Matthews quipped.

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- Colin Powell's Scottish Ancestry

One of the most powerful politicians in the world, a former four-star general who led 28 nations in Operation Desert Storm in the first Gulf War, is now documenting his Scottish ancestry. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell has petitioned the Heraldry Society of Scotland for a coat of arms to mark his Scottish genealogy.

General Powell’s coat of arms contains symbols including the Azure, which shows "two swords in saltire, points downward, between four mullets Argent in a chief of the second a lion passant Gules". The coat of arms will also include the motto, "devoted to public service".

The swords are a reference to his military career, as are the stars. The lion is intended as an allusion to Scotland, and the eagle is also a reference to the badge of the 101st Airborne Division, which General Powell served and later commanded. In addition, the Powell coat of arms includes an insignia commemorating his appointment as honorary Knight Commander of the most Honourable Order of the Bath, an honor he and General Norman Schwarzkopf received from H.M. Queen Elizabeth II.

Some readers may wonder how Powell’s grant fits into the heraldry rules, which I have written about in past newsletters. I have often cautioned that, contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a family coat of arms. In fact, a coat of arms at any one time is the personal property of only one individual. Coats of arms cannot be granted directly to non-British subjects, so Colin Powell petitioned for a grant of the arms for his father, Luther Powell. Luther is a citizen of Jamaica and, therefore, of the Crown.

Peter Drummond Murray, editor of the Double Tressure, the annual journal of the Heraldry Society of Scotland, said that the Lord Lyon intends to present the arms in Washington, probably in September, but details have not been finalized.

Mr. Drummond Murray said, "The grant was originally made to his father several months ago, and so, of course, General Powell inherits it. The Register General of Jamaica was very happy about working on the ancestry of General Powell."

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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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