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. 29 July 18, 1998
This newsletter is sponsored by Ancestry Publishing,
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Copyright © 1998 by Richard W. Eastman and Ancestry, Inc. All rights reserved.
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IN THIS ISSUE:
- NGS Quarterly On CD-ROM
- NGS Quarterly On CD-ROM
The mailman delivered a great package a couple of days ago: the "National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Volumes 1 through 85, 1600s to 1900s." The NGS Quarterly is one of the leading scholarly genealogy publications. It is sent to all NGS members, plus you can find it in any genealogy library of any significance. Over the past 85 years this quarterly has published thousands of compiled genealogies, essays, book reviews and previously unpublished source materials from public and private archives. These materials have included long lists of family Bible entries, tombstone inscriptions, land records, church records and all sorts of other transcribed copies of original records. If you are not familiar with the NGS Quarterly, all I can say is, "You should be."
"Wait a minute," you say, "not everyone has U.S. ancestors." And you are right. (Several thousand copies of this newsletter get e-mailed to addresses outside the U.S. plus others who may be first-generation Americans.) But even so, the NGS Quarterly can still be a valuable resource. It contains many "how to" articles such as how to do source citations and how to search records, and it has a wealth of other articles for beginners and experts alike.
I know that, when my copy of the latest NGS Quarterly arrives in the mail, I go over it from cover to cover. I joined the NGS in the early 1980s and have been reading and saving every NGS Quarterly since then. These back issues fill a lot of space on my bookshelf.
I have never been able to afford to go back and purchase old Quarterlies. I am not sure how many feet of shelving is required to hold all 85 years of the Quarterly, but I would guess 40 feet or so. And they would weigh a lot, too. The bookcase to hold all those printed Quarterlies would probably cost a few hundred dollars. Now you see why I am quite excited by the half-ounce plastic disk I received in the mail. Not only does it have all 85 years of the NGS Quarterlies and fit in a tiny space; but it also is a heck of a lot easier to search than the paper editions.
The "National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Volumes 1 through 85, 1600s to 1900s" is produced by Broderbund as part of their Family Archives series. Like the other disks in that series, this one requires either Family Tree Maker software or the free Family Archive Viewer software. While Family Archive Viewer is free, it is not included with the CD-ROM disk. If you do not have Family Tree Maker, you need to obtain it or the free Family Archive Viewer from Broderbund or one of their dealers.
I opened the package and found that the 85 years of publications require two CD-ROM disks. You always start with Disk #1 as it contains the index. A tiny 23-page users manual slips inside the CD-ROM jewel case as well. The package says that NGS Quarterly CD-ROM disk can be used on Windows or on a Macintosh, something the Mac owners will cheer about. The requirements are version 3.02 or higher of Family Tree Maker for either Windows or Macintosh, or else version 4.01 or higher of Family Archive Viewer for Windows. I tested the NGS Quarterly CD-ROM on Windows NT 4.0 with Family Tree Maker version 4.40.
Installation was non-existent. If you already have Family Tree Maker or Family Archive Viewer installed, you simply insert CD-ROM disk #1, fire up Family Tree Maker or Family Archive Viewer, select VIEW from the pull-down menus, and then select FAMILYFINDER. Voila! You are using the CD-ROM data. No installation is required. If you dont have one of those Broderbund products already installed on your hard drive, then obviously you will have to go through an installation process with one of those programs.
This Family Archive contains scanned images of each page of volumes 1 through 85 of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly. These images are faithful reproductions of the original volumes, complete with a few dog-eared pages, a couple of tears, and numerous pencil marks. Besides the 85 volumes of the Quarterly, the CD-ROM disk also contains four supplements and four other pamphlets. While the disk contains scanned images of original pages, a separate every-name index is included. You can specify a search for a name, and you will quickly find the page(s) where that name is contained. You do not get a pointer to the exact location of that name on the page; you only know that the name is contained someplace on that page. This method of pointing to scanned images of pages is very common in genealogy CD-ROM disks.
I started searching the CD-ROM and found it very easy to use. If you have ever used any other Broderbund Family Archive CD-ROM disks, you will find that this one works just about the same as the others. As I usually do, I started looking for references to my own surname and found that there were a bunch of them. I started with the single reference to Roger Eastman, the progenitor of the name in North America. A couple of seconds later I was looking at page 110 of Volume 43 of the Quarterly. The image looked clear. However, if there was a difficult to read section, I could zoom in or out to display more of less of the page on my screen.
Printing the page was rather simple, and it looked good on my laser printer. In fact, it looked much better than the photocopies of paper NGS Quarterlies I have made in the past. In addition, each page is automatically documented as to source. On the bottom of the first page I printed, the following words appear: "Printed from Family Tree Maker, CD210 NGS Quarterly, Volumes 1-85, Disk 1, Current Information For Genealogists, [copyright] Broderbund Software, Inc., Banner Blue Division, July 17, 1998." Note the date shown will be whatever date the print-out is made, not the original date the printed page was made.
Obviously this CD-ROM is full of high-quality genealogy information gleaned from many original records. Searching by name greatly simplifies the process. However, the NGS Quarterly on both paper and CD-ROM also has many "how to" articles that are not indexed. You can receive quite an education just by poking around on these disks for a few hours.
One of the nicest stories was described by Broderbund Public Relations Manager Claire LaBeaux:
All in all, I like these CD-ROM disks. They contain the highest-quality genealogy data from one of the best sources in the U.S. The software is easy to use, and the searches work quickly and accurately. Windows users and Macintosh users both can use these disks. The "National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Volumes 1 through 85, 1600s to 1900s" retails for $49.99 (U.S. funds) plus shipping and handling. You can order it directly from Broderbund at 1-800-474-8696 or online from http://www.familytreemaker.com or from any Broderbund dealer. You might note that dealers often offer discounts from the list prices.
For more information, look at: http://www.familytreemaker.com/210facd.html
- Gormley To Write Book For Broderbund
I was reading press releases and business news this week when a familiar name caught my eye. Myra Vanderpool Gormley is a highly-respected Certified Genealogist. She will be writing a new book for Broderbund, producers of Family Tree Maker. Here is an extract from the press release:
The same press release also gave a brief description of Myras credentials:
I enjoy Myras work and appreciate that she is a strong proponent of doing genealogy research properly. Having her work included within the Broderbund product should give Broderbund customers a strong foundation in genealogy basics.
- GENTECH Report
The following article was written by "guest newsletter columnist" Beau Sharbrough, President of GENTECH:
Next month [August 1998] will be a watershed month for GENTECH, Inc. Our areas of primary effort, Lexicon and our Annual Conference, will both see special progress. Anyone interested in genealogy and technology will want to watch both events closely.
Before expanding on those plans, please let me make sure that we're all talking about the same thing. GENTECH, Inc. has a bit of an image problem. People wonder if we're Genentech, which is a fine recombinant DNA company. They wonder if we're GenServe. Or some people have even formed a mental association between GENTECH, Inc and GEDCOM, the data communications specification. Here is the GENTECH Mission Statement:
GENTECH is a non-profit, all-volunteer corporation, which facilitates communication among persons interested in genealogy and technology. Through presenting national conferences, sponsoring programs with other societies, and publishing white papers based on analyses of problems of common interest to genealogists and technologists, we seek to maximize the movement of knowledge among the members of our constituencies.
At present, membership in GENTECH is sweat equity: voluntary participation in committees. We have conference committees and technology committees. There is always more work to go around than people to do it, and we're always happy to have the cooperation and fellowship of other family historians in our activities.
The Lexicon Working Group began at FGS Seattle in 1995. The group has spent the past two years developing a data model. That model will be published on our website and discussed at the FGS Conference in Cincinnati. Specific events related to this project, as listed in the FGS conference brochure, are:
As one might imagine, we are very excited about the potential for good that can come out of this effort. In addition, there are already follow-on projects designed to build on this initiative, which will be combing the conference, and I suppose the digital world as well, for volunteers. Two basic areas of interest are 1) defining attributes of Domain-Type Entities, and 2) a broad study of the relevance to genealogy of the component-object model and markup languages. The first is not an extremely technical pursuit - an example might be a committee dealing with attributes of group names, such as "wedding party," "military unit," and "jury." The second is highly technical. The GENTECH Director for Development, Robert Charles Anderson, is the best person to contact about these activities. He'll be swamped meeting the conference deadlines, but should be quite accessible the third week of August.
Speaking of conference deadlines, the FGS Cincinnati conference is when and where we'll begin circulating registration forms for GENTECH99. Our seventh national technology conference will be held in Salt Lake City on January 22-23, 1999. We are expecting our best conference ever. The Conference Chair is David Rencher. I'm sure that David's committee would love to have each of you volunteer to help with some aspect of the conference, and to have you register and attend. Seriously, if you've never been to a GENTECH conference, you might not know that we consider it to be the most technically advanced discussions of family history tools that take place here on earth. If you aren't a rocket scientist, don't be discouraged. This technical bent isn't very useful if they can't make it accessible for the rest of us, and there are numerous lectures, demonstrations, and exhibits aimed at beginners and novices.
If you want to know more about the history of the Lexicon Project, the previous conferences, or to volunteer for a committee, all that and more information can be found at the GENTECH booth at FGS, or at the GENTECH website, http://www.gentech.org. I'll see you there!
- Proposed Budget Cuts For The Austin History Center
Kinga Perzynska, the Archivist at the Catholic Archives of Texas in Austin, passed along some disturbing news about another Texas resource center:
You can contact Kinga Perzynska directly at: email@example.com
- Attention: Jewish Genealogists
The President of the Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies has made an appeal to Jewish genealogists around the world. This appeal constitutes a huge volunteer effort by amateur Jewish genealogists tracking their own ancestors who can now help an international investigation to re-establish ownership of lost and looted assets taken from Holocaust victims and survivors before and after World War II.
Last Monday, Sallyann Sack, president of the Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies, joined with Washington State Insurance Commissioner Deborah Senn in making the appeal. Senn chaired the initial investigation into lost Holocaust insurance benefits last year. The announcement was made Monday at the annual international convention of Jewish genealogists, who are meeting in Los Angeles this week.
Dr. Sack stressed the importance of giving the so-called "heirless" victims of the Holocaust back their full identities. "This is an opportunity for anybody, worldwide, to participate in an effort that will help identify claimants to these lost assets," Dr. Sack said.
"We can never undo the worst mass murder in history," Commissioner Senn said. "But we do have a chance to restore justice to some of the victims of the worst robbery in history."
Commissioner Senn said there are three rough categories of claims so far: first, survivors who have claims; secondly, assets that have been verified but without strong links to a survivor or victim; thirdly, the "heirless" claims in which the assumption has been that they died without heirs.
Dr. Sack said genealogists will have to prepare their family tree research in predetermined software formats so that it can be added to The Family Tree of the Jewish People, a computer database being prepared now by the AJGS, the Museum of the Diaspora in Tel Aviv, and JewishGen, the Internet resource developed by Jewish genealogists.
"Information from individual family trees will be added to the database, which then can link those families with others," Dr. Sack said. "This is information that is valuable in and of itself, but it will take on an additional dimension when we match it against the lists of unclaimed Swiss bank accounts and Holocaust-era insurance policyholder lists."
Commissioner Senn is currently a member of a U.S. task force seeking full disclosure of those names, along with other insurance carrier books and records. The nine-state task force, appointed by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, has already met with some European insurance regulators to start work on forming an international commission to settle the Holocaust insurance claims.
"The U.S. insurance commissioners are united in their determination to bring about this commission and achieve justice for survivors and victims' heirs," Commissioner Senn said.
"The current efforts of the task force and other international interest in these stolen assets, as well as the advanced age of many Holocaust survivors, underscore the importance of European carriers opening their books and records and releasing lists of policyholders," Commissioner Senn said. "The Swiss banks have begun to release this information, and if the banks can do it, then the insurance carriers can, too."
Although the Swiss banks have released several lists of bank-account owners dating back through the Holocaust, the U.S. insurance commissioners are currently working toward the release of that information by the carriers.
- Palladium and Lineages To Sponsor JewishGen Effort
In a related story, Palladium is helping finance the storage of data collected by Jewish genealogists. JewishGen, the Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (AJGS) and Beth Hatefutsoth, an online museum for Jewish people, will work to gather Jewish family histories from researchers around the world via the Internet. Palladium, publisher of the Ultimate Family Tree line of genealogy software, and Lineages, Inc., a genealogical research company, are providing the technology and computing resources that enable the submission, indexing and searching of this data online.
The announcement from Palladium says that "the resulting database is accessible only to those who have previously registered surnames and towns they are searching in the JewishGen Family Finder -- a password protected program. This is to ensure that only persons interested in researching their Jewish ancestry have access to this new database known as the Family Tree of the Jewish People, FTJP."
"We're delighted to have the opportunity to sponsor what is truly a monumental event for the genealogy community and Jewish people everywhere," said Ed Bernstein, President and Chief Executive Officer of Palladium Interactive.
"Through its Ultimate Family Tree products, and programs such as FTJP, Palladium is continuing a proud eighteen-year tradition of supporting the genealogy community with sponsorships, resources and software. We see this effort as another way Palladium can give something back to dedicated genealogists around the world."
"Palladium's sponsorship represents a tremendous leap towards providing a mechanism geared toward providing Jewish people everywhere with a mechanism to link families that were separated during the Holocaust," said Susan King, president of JewishGen. "Ed Bernstein and his team have demonstrated an unparalleled commitment to helping JewishGen fulfill their mission to preserve Jewish family histories for future generations."
This technology will simplify submissions of family tree data by designating JewishGen as the single source of distribution while still allowing each submitter to identify which of the three participating organizations is to receive the information.
For more information, look at http://www.jewishgen.org
In last weeks newsletter I wrote about "DAYS", a calendar program written by Otto C. L. Thygesen of Denmark. This week Otto sent an e-mail saying, "I do have one small correction, though. The program is a 16-bit program that will run under Win 3.1 and Win 95. It probably also will run under Win 98 since this should be downward compatible. I have been informed that the program also runs under NT."
I also wrote about next months Federation of Genealogy Societies conference in Cincinnati. Madilyn Coen Crane, Office Manager of the Federation, points out that the actual official conference hotel has a name similar to the one I mentioned but is, in fact, a different hotel. Madilyn wrote: "The host hotel for the conference is the Regal Cincinnati Hotel located at 141 West Sixth Street and the phone is 513-352-2110. The room block for the conference was sold out about a month ago. The hotel recently expanded the room block, so those who want to stay at the host hotel should be able to obtain reservations at the special conference rate of $99 per night for 1-4 people per room. No conference activities have been scheduled to take place at the Cincinnatian, nor are there special room rates available at this hotel for conference."
On a different matter, Madilyn Coen Crane wrote, "As long as I am providing you with information please let your readers know that the FGS Business Office has moved from Richardson, Texas to Austin, Texas. The new address for the office is: Federation of Genealogical Societies, P.O. Box 200940, Austin, Texas 78720-0940. The office phone is 512-336-2731 and fax is 512-336-2732 and the toll free numbers are the same: 1-888-FGS-1500 for the office and the fax is: 1-888-380-0500."
In my article about the new Vice President of Palladium, I said, "Palladium acquired CommSoft last year." That was a slip; I knew better. Brian Mavrogeorge of Palladium was quick to point out that error: "Howard Nurse will be very surprised to learn Palladium acquired CommSoft. Need a fact checker Dick. <grin>. Palladium acquired the ROOTS software. Nothing more."
My thanks to the people who supplied the corrected information.
- Salt Lake City Is Top Computer Town
Fact #1: A high percentage of genealogists use computers.
Fact #2: There are a lot of genealogists in Salt Lake City.
Therefore, I was not surprised to learn this week that Salt Lake City ranks first in the U.S. in percentage of households that own personal computers. The data came from Scarborough Research of New York.
The study found that the cities with the highest penetration of home PCs are:
The lowest-ranked cities among the top 60 markets that were surveyed were:
Overall, the survey also found that an average of 49.4% of American households in the 60 top markets surveyed by Scarborough have a PC in the home.
The data was gathered from more than 163,000 interviews with adults in 60 of the country's largest markets. To view the entire list of 60 markets, visit the KCSA Worldwide News Bureau at http://www.kcsa.com and click on "Scarborough Research" Highest Percentage of Household PCs.
- 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. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org