Note: The information in this archived copy was accurate on the date of publication. Since then, Web sites have appeared and disappeared, companies have been merged and many other facts have changed. You may find references in this archived copy that are no loner accurate.
Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter
A Weekly Summary of Events and
Vol. 3 No. 6 February 7, 1998
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Copyright (C) 1998 by Richard W. Eastman and Ancestry, Inc. All rights reserved.
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IN THIS ISSUE:
- Hello From London
- Hello From London
This weeks newsletter has been written in two different countries plus part of it was written aboard Virgin Atlantic Airlines while over the North Atlantic. Im sending it from a 1.8-pound Toshiba Libretto palmtop computer in a hotel room near Greenwich, England. Im always fascinated by the fact that todays world is so small. Wherever I travel, I can connect a tiny computer to the telephone, dial a local number and be communicating with people within minutes. Most of the other people do not know where I am located unless I tell them.
The trip to England is a combined tourist and genealogy visit. I will be at a Society of Genealogists meeting this Sunday and will probably write about the meeting in next weeks newsletter.
- PAF Pal
The first of the new add-on utilities for Personal Ancestral File version 3.0 for MS-DOS have started appearing. This week I had a chance to use PAF Pal, one of the new programs. Personal Ancestral File is a rather simple, but popular, MS-DOS genealogy program. The producers of the program have always encouraged third-party developers to create utility programs that add extra functionality not in the original program. As a result, many such programs have appeared.
Starting with version 3.0 of Personal Ancestral File for MS-DOS, the internal structure of the database has changed significantly. All of the utilities written for earlier versions of PAF will not work with the new version 3.0. As a result, the programmers need to re-write their existing software or else create brand new programs.
Steve Cannon is one such programmer who has created nice utilities in the past for use with Personal Ancestral File. Steves earlier program, Family Records Utilities, is one of the more popular add-on programs for PAF version 2.31 and earlier. Now Steve has released a brand-new program called PAF Pal for Personal Ancestral File 3.0. Like PAF itself, PAF Pal is an MS-DOS program. It adds various extensions including:
PAF Pal ships on one diskette and installation is simple. While it is an MS-DOS program, a Windows installation routine is included along with a separate MS-DOS installation program. If installed under Windows, PAF Pal will automatically set up an icon in the PAF program group. Once installed, the menus and the "look and feel" of PAF Pal is very similar to PAF itself. A small 13-page users guide is included but probably isnt needed.
I ran through the various reports, and they all seem to function as described earlier. I particularly liked the Individual Statistics screen.
All in all, PAF Pal is a useful add-on utility for anyone using Personal Ancestral File Version 3.0 for MS-DOS. The program is available directly from author Steve Cannon for $18.00 U.S. funds. (Utah residents add 6.35% sales tax; anyone outside the U.S. needs to add $2.00 for shipping.) Send them to:
- webGED: Progenitor 2.0
Tom Giammo has released version 2.0 of his program "webGED: Progenitor." This a program that reads a standard GEDCOM genealogy file created by any modern genealogy program as input and then produces a complete set of files for a self-contained World Wide Web site. The user can then upload these files to a personal home page, making his or her genealogy database available on the Internet.
I wrote about version 1.0 of webGED: Progenitor just about a year ago; in the February 10, 1997 edition of this newsletter. I was impressed with the program at that time and am still impressed today. A major change in version 2.0 is webGED's "client-side" search technology that is built into the Web page. The new Progenitor 2.0 program creates a set of proprietary Java applets. These Java applets allow a person on the World Wide Web to search for individuals included in the user's genealogy tree by full name, by surname or by Soundex code. Once found, that persons complete ancestor and descendant charts may be viewed on screen or printed on a local printer.
webGED: Progenitor 2.0 includes the following features:
Full use of the search/display features of a World Wide Web site generated by webGED: Progenitor requires the viewer to have a browser that supports Java. At this time only Netscape Navigator version 3 or above or Microsoft Internet Explorer version 3 or above will work. However, anyone using an earlier browser will see an alternate entry page consisting of a surname list generated by Progenitor.
webGED: Progenitor 2.0 is available now. To create files with webGED: Progenitor 2.0 you must use Windows 95 or Windows NT. The shareware program will create functional Web pages although some of the optional features will not work until after the $20.00 (U.S. funds) shareware fee is paid.
For more information about webGED: Progenitor 2.0, or to look at a typical Web site created with the program, or to download the program, look at: http://www.access.digex.net/~giammot/webged/index.html
- Mary Meyer, R.I.P.
I am saddened to report that Mary Keyser Meyer passed away at 4:10 PM on January 29, 1998. Mary was a well-known genealogist, lecturer, teacher and author. She wrote several genealogy books although she is probably best remembered for "Meyer's Directory of Genealogical Societies in the USA and Canada." She also wrote "Genealogical Research in Maryland: A Guide" and she collaborated with P. William Filby on "Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries" published in 1981. Mary also was a co-founder of the Anne Arundel Genealogical Society.
Mary always had a smile and a sharp sense of humor. The last time I talked with her was at a genealogy convention in Rochester, New York, about a year and a half ago. A number of convention attendees were eating lunch in a local establishment, and Mary kept us all entertained with stories of her genealogy misadventures and some of the characters she had met over the years.
Mary actually had been involved with the predecessors to computers years ago. The first edition of "Meyer's Directory of Genealogical Societies" had all the data entered on a keypunch machine around 1974. Mary is the only person I know who had her own keypunch machine in her home!
It seems fitting that Marys last minutes were spent in pursuit of genealogy; she was on her way to the Anne Arundel Historical Society in Glen Burnie, Maryland, when she fell unconscious. She was rushed to a hospital and underwent an emergency operation. However, it was too late to repair an aneurysm in an artery leading to her heart. I would hope that all of us would pass away while doing something we loved, as Mary did.
All of Marys friends will miss this lovely woman.
- Saratoga Battlefield Data Online
Heritage Hunters, a society "dedicated to the study and preservation of genealogical and historical materials in and around Saratoga County, New York", is in the process of creating online databases on the World Wide Web. While several databases are under construction, one of the more popular ones is the Saratoga Battlefield database of combat participants.
The database records are derived from copies of pension applications of soldiers who fought at the Battle of Saratoga. This data is supplemented with other information gained from lists of some of the known American leaders of the campaign, a casualty list compiled by Saratoga National Historical Park personnel, a register of officers and a book on the organization of Gates' army.
The big effort at this time is in the pension applications. Volunteers have been reading each and every pension application of the Revolutionary War and extracting information from any applications from veterans who claimed they were at Saratoga.
The database is far from complete, but it is available now at: http://www.rootsweb.com/~nysarato
If you have ancestors in the area, you also might want to visit the same site to look at some of the other partially-completed databases available:
- I Got A Letter From Halberts!
I have written about Halberts and their so-called "books" several times in the past. I was a bit surprised this week when I opened my mail and found an interesting piece of junk mail. Big bold letters on the outside of the envelope proclaimed, "A remarkable new book is about to be published and you, Richard Eastman, are in it." Right below that was the signature of "Doris C. Eastman." The return address was "Doris C. Eastman, c/o 3687 Ira Road, Bath, Ohio 44210." I recognized the address as the mail drop used by Halberts, a division of Numa Corporation in Akron, Ohio.
I want to see what is new in the "1998 edition," if anything, so I immediately sent for the book. Stay tuned, Ill write about their latest version as soon as I receive it. (The ad says that the order may take 6 weeks or so.)
- Pied Piper of Hamelin
Remember this tale? Dancing and prancing in the winding streets of Hamelin, scores of children followed the seductive music of the Pied Piper and were swallowed up by a mountain, never to be seen again. Now a researcher at Gottingen University in Germany has done a computer name search on the known events and believes he has proof that the story is factual.
Linguistics professor Jurgen Udolph says that 130 children did vanish on a June day in the year 1284 from the German village of Hamelin (spelled Hameln in German). Professor Udolph entered all the known family names in the village at that time and then started searching for matches elsewhere. He found that the same surnames occur with amazing frequency in Priegnitz and Uckermark, both to the north of Berlin. He also found the same surnames in the former Pommeranian region, which is now a part of Poland.
Professor Udolph surmises that the children were actually unemployed youths who had been sucked into the German drive to colonize its new settlements in Eastern Europe. The Pied Piper may never have existed as such, but, says the professor, "There were characters known as Lokator who roamed northern Germany trying to recruit settlers for the East." Some of them were brightly dressed, and all were silver-tongued.
Professor Udolph can show that the Hamelin exodus should be linked with the Battle of Bornhoeved in 1227 which broke the Danish hold on Eastern Europe. That opened the way for German colonization, and by the latter part of the thirteenth century there were systematic attempts to bring able-bodied youths to Brandenburg and Pommerania. The settlement, according to the professors name search, ended up near Starogard in what is now northwestern Poland. A village near Hamelin, for example, is called Beverungen and has an almost exact counterpart called Beveringen, near Pritzwalk, north of Berlin and another called Beweringen, near Starogard.
Local Polish telephone books list names that are not the typical Slavic names one would expect in that region. Instead, many of the names seem to be derived from German names that were common in the village of Hamelin in the thirteenth century. In fact, the names in todays Polish telephone directories include Hamel, Hamler and Hamelnikow, all apparently derived from the name of the original village.
To read the original poem written by Robert Browning, look at: http://www.crocker.com/~slinberg/poems/browning/piedpiper.html
My thanks to Jim Mann Taylor in the U.K. for the information about this story.
- Online Translation Service
AltaVista has a new service on the World Wide Web: automatic translation of documents from one language to another. The new service will automatically translate English documents into French, German, Italian, Portuguese or Spanish. In addition, it will translate documents in any of these five languages into English. This can be useful if you have a document or an extract from a book written in a language that you do not read. It also can be used to write letters to a vital records office in a foreign land.
The new AltaVista translation service will automatically translate a Web page in one of the foreign languages supported. It then displays the Web page in English. But even better, you can "cut and paste" a small amount of text directly into the translation service, and it will display the translated version. You can then "cut and paste" the output into any other document you choose, such as your word processor or your genealogy program. The "cut and paste" method seems to work well for a few paragraphs but would not handle longer texts. Of course, if your input is too long, you can always do multiple "cut and pastes."
To be sure, machine-generated translations have been around for some time. The results obtained from them have varied widely; some of the output I have seen in the past has been humorous. I experimented with AltaVistas new service and found it to be better than some of the earlier translation software I have used. Not great, but passable.
I have been using AltaVistas translation service this week to exchange messages with a member of CompuServes genealogy forums who lives in France. I can read his messages after AltaVista translates them to English. I then write my replies in English and use AltaVista to translate the messages into French. He probably is laughing at the grammatical errors in my machine-translated messages, but he seems to fully understand what I write. Not bad considering that I cannot read or write French myself!
I did a search of French Web pages and found "F R A N C Ê T R E S - Généalogie en France" at: http://www.world-address.com/francetres/gefrboho.htm. Quoting from that page:
AltaVista translated that page into the following:
Not bad for a computer-generated translation! And it is free, to boot. If you would like to experiment with this new translation service, set your Web browser to: http://altavista.digital.com/ and click on "Translations".
- Upcoming Events
The Upcoming Events section of the newsletter is published once per month. Each event will be listed very briefly: title, date(s), location, and sponsoring organization, all followed by either an e-mail address or a Web page that you can use to find more information. Since detailed information is available via e-mail or the Web, I will not list the details in this newsletter.
If you do contact any of these organizations, please tell them where you heard about the event. Here are the listings, arranged by date:
Genealogical Computing Association of Pennsylvania (GenCAP) Quarterly Meeting: Saturday, 9 May 1998 in Philadelphia: http://www.libertynet.org/~gencap
Coffey Cousins Convention - May 28-30, 1998 in Eugene, Oregon. Look at: http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Plains/6233/coffeycousins.html
American Historical Society of Germans From Russia 1998 Convention, June 17 - 21, 1998: Wichita, Kansas. Details are available at: http://www.teleport.com/nonprofit/ahsgr/1998conv.html
Gowen Research Foundation 1998 Research Conference & Family Reunion, June 21-22-23 in Salt Lake City: http://www.llano.net/gowen
The fourth annual Genealogical Institute of Mid-America will be held in Springfield, Illinois 13-16 July 1998. This is a four-day series of classes. Information may be found at: http://www.misslink.net/neill/gima.html or http://www.tbox.com/isgs/INSTITUT.HTM
The 42nd Annual Meeting of the Livesay Historical Society will be held in Fort Wayne, Indiana from July 24th through the 26th, 1998. Details are available at: http://members.aol.com/lhsociety/livesay.html
The 1998 Germans From Russia Heritage Society (GRHS) Convention will be held August 13-16, 1998 in Bismarck, North Dakota. For additional information, visit the GRHS site at: http://www.teleport.com/community/nonprofit/grhs/
The BOLLES Family Association, desendants of Joseph Bolles of Wells, Maine (1640) and his allied lines, will be hosting it's 21st Annual Reunion/Meeting August 14,15 and16, 1998 in Parsippany, New Jersey. For details, contact Bob Bolles ( Bob251@aol.com or Randell Bolles email@example.com
Annual Conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies, August 19 through 22, 1998, Cincinnati, Ohio, details not yet available.
September 19 & 20, 1998: Computers in Genealogy Conference, Cyncoed College, University of Wales, Cardiff, Wales, organized by the Society of Genealogists in conjunction with the Glamorgan Family History Society. For information, send an e-mail to Eric Probert at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fifth New England Regional Genealogical Conference, October 1988 in Portland, Maine: http://users.rootsweb.com/~maplymou/conf/confmain.htm
Nims Family Association-Descendants of Godfrey Nims (1650-1704) of Deerfield, MA will meet Saturday, October 3, 1998 in Deerfield, MA. For further information contact: John Schultz at email@example.com
Whitworth Family Association Conference will be held 7 to 11 October 1998 in St Louis, Mo. Send e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The 4th Annual Kemp Family Association Reunion and Business Meeting will be held in Dallas, Texas October 23rd-25th 1998. Details can be found at: http://www.geocities.com/TheTropics/1926/kfaharvy.html
If you would like to see your event listed, send an e-mail to: email@example.com. You must include either a Web page that gives details or an e-mail address for the organization or for someone within the organization who is willing to supply the meeting details upon request. Please limit your listings to events where you expect 100 or more people to attend.
- Home Pages Highlighted
The following is a list of some of the genealogy-related World Wide Web home pages that have been listed recently on http://www.rootscomputing.com. Some of these sites may charge a fee for their services:
To submit your home page to this newsletter, enter the necessary information at: http://www.rootscomputing.com/register.htm. Due to the volume of new Web pages submitted, I am not able to list all of them in the newsletter.
If you would like to submit news, information or press releases for possible inclusion in future newsletters, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. The author does reserve the right to accept or reject any articles submitted.
DISCLAIMER: This newsletter is being written and sent via e-mail at no charge. I expect to write one new issue on a more or less weekly basis. However, life sometimes interferes, and the need to earn a living may create an occasional delay.
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About the author: Dick Eastman is the forum manager of the four Genealogy Forums on CompuServe and is editor of Genealogical Computing magazine. He also is the author of "YOUR ROOTS: Total Genealogy Planning On Your Computer" published by Ziff-Davis Press.