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
Topics of Interest to Online Genealogists
Vol. 3 No. 35 August 29, 1998
This newsletter is sponsored by Ancestry Publishing,
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Copyright (C) 1998 by Richard W. Eastman and Ancestry, Inc. All rights reserved.
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IN THIS ISSUE:
- Presidential Family Forest and Other Databases
- Presidential Family Forest and Other Databases
In last weeks newsletter I mentioned that a new free genealogy CD-ROM disk for Windows called the Presidential Family Forest is available. I like free. Free is a good thing. But the obvious question that follows is "How is the company going to make a profit?" In this case, the Presidential Family Forest is a "loss leader" that shows the sort of products available from Millisecond Publishing Company. In fact, this database about the U.S. Presidents is an excellent one, and Millisecond Publishing expects that many people who use the free database will be motivated to purchase one of the additional databases that Millisecond Publishing sells. But there is nothing "low-powered" about the Presidential Family Forest database; it is not stripped down or crippled in any way. In fact, I am amazed that the company gives away a database like this. This is high-quality information, complete with references to all the sources and with the relationships of thousands of people linked together. If you have, or think you might have, a U.S. President someplace in your extended family tree, you will appreciate the information here.
Millisecond Publishing describes the database this way:
I took this CD-ROM out for a "test drive" this week and must say that I enjoyed it. In the March 3, 1997 edition of this newsletter, I described the previous "Founders and Patriots" CD-ROM by Millisecond Publishing, which required Family Tree Maker to be installed first; that CD-ROMs data was in Family Tree Maker format. Millisecond Publishing has since switched to Progeny Softwares Family Explorer software, which is included on the CD-ROM disk. Again, there is no charge for the software. Family Explorer works on Windows 3.1 or later; no Macintosh version is available.
Installation of the needed software was simple, and I was running the program within a couple of minutes. The "search engine" software is copied to the PCs hard disk, but all the data remains on the CD-ROM disk itself. To start the program, you double-click on "Family Explorer" and then use this program to open the Presidential Family Forest database. A window prompts for the surname and (optional) first name of the person you seek.
As I always do, I entered my own surname into the program and found one occurrence: someone named Eyvind the Eastman (also known as Eyrind Eastman) who lived in the mid-800s. I suspect that this is not an ancestor of mine, especially as surnames had not yet been invented at that time.
I next decided to search for someone whose name was likely to be in the database: William Clinton. Within a few seconds I was looking at a family group sheet showing President Bill Clinton, Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton and their daughter Chelsea Victoria Clinton. Also shown on the same page was information about President Clintons parents, his date of birth, marriage and two "facts." I clicked on the SOURCES button that appeared to the right, and it displayed the source references for the fact. For instance, one fact reads, "Birth name was William Jefferson Blythe IV" and the accompanying source notes, "6th Edition, Facts About the Presidents, by Joseph N. Kane, page 293."
For anyone who has not heard about this fact, President Clinton was born a few weeks after his father was killed in an auto accident. His surname at birth was Blythe. His mother later was remarried to a man named Clinton, who adopted young Bill Blythe. The adoption included a legal name change to Clinton. So Bill Clinton does not have any known ancestors named Clinton.
While Bill and Hillary Clintons family group sheet was displayed on the screen, I clicked on "Ancestors" and a full six-generation pedigree chart appeared. I randomly clicked on the records of several ancestors and found that each one was listed with full references. For instance, great-great-grandfather William James Russell is shown as born in 1825, according to "American Presidential Families .............., by Hugh Brogan and Charles Mosley, page 756." All the sources that I saw were actually secondary sources, not primary sources referring to original records.
The number of generations available in a pedigree chart is user-selectable. With some of the Presidents there may be 40 or more generations documented, and certainly people will want to print some of this information. Of course, search engine supplier Progeny Software is well known for having some of the nicest-looking printouts available among genealogy programs. The printouts from the Presidential Family Forest use the same software. I printed out fan charts, pedigree charts and family group sheets. They all looked good; the fan chart especially is an eye-catcher. Not bad for a free CD-ROM disk! Next, I selected a "Kinship Report" and was soon looking at a printout listing 26 people and the relationship of each to President Clinton. The listing is in alphabetical order, showing the surname, first names, and relationship to Bill Clinton and their most-recent common ancestor.
The folks at Progeny Software told me that the Kinship report for George Bush lists more than 4,000 people. Not only are relationships shown, but source references as to where the information on each person was derived is also available. These source citations do not appear in the printed Kinship Report; to see the references, you have to move the mouse around on the screen and click on various icons.
Another printout Progenys Family Explorer can create is a Register-Format report of the descendants of any individual in the database. It also can create a report of ancestors in a similar format. These reports are generated as files which then can be read by Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, Windows Write, WordPad or AMI Pro. Here is an example showing three generations of Bill Clintons ancestors. Keep in mind that the original has formatting that may have been changed when converted to HTML code for use on this Web page:
4. William Jefferson3 Blythe II,, , born abt 1883; died 1935, son of 8. Henry Patton Foote Blythe and 9. Frances Ellen Hines . He married 5. Lou Birchie Ayers,, , born 1893; died 1946, daughter of 10. Simpson Green "Dick" Ayers and 11. Hattie Hayes .
Children of William Jefferson Blythe II and Lou Birchie Ayers were as follows:
2 Blythe III,,,,,, , born 1917; died bef 19 Aug 1946.
6. (James) Eldridge3 Cassidy,, , born 1898; died 1957, son of 12. James M. Cassidy and 13. Sarah Louisa Russell . He married 7. Edith Valeria Grisham,,, , born 1901; died 1968, daughter of 14. Lemma Newell Grisham and 15. Edna Earl Adams .
Children of (James) Eldridge Cassidy and Edith Valeria Grisham were as follows:
2 Cassidy,,,,,,, , born 1923 in Bodcaw, AR.
I have focused on Bill Clinton for the sake of convenience, but this CD-ROM contains similar information on all the U.S. Presidents. I generated a Register-format report for the ancestors of George Washington, which produced hundreds of pages documenting 69 generations of President Washingtons ancestors. The entire CD-ROM database contains about 27,000 records. Again, this is a free CD-ROM disk although you do have to pay about $7.00 for shipping to a U.S. address.
There are three other databases on the same CD-ROM disk. They are encrypted (locked) so that you cannot view the data when you receive the free CD-ROM disk. However, if you would like to unlock one or more of these databases, you call a telephone number and give the operator a credit card number. He or she bills your card and then gives you instructions over the phone on how to unlock the database(s) you have paid for. The other three databases are:
One interesting feature is that you preview each database before you unlock it. In this preview you can see the names along with the birth and death dates and places of each person in the database. What is missing in preview mode is the relationship links and the sources. These two critical items are visible only after the database is unlocked. The preview mode is good for first checking to see if a particular person is listed in the CD-ROM database before you pay for the unlock key.
I unlocked these three databases and used them for a bit. Unlocking the databases is simple; the first time you open the database you are prompted for a PIN number and Unlock Key. You enter the information given to you when you purchased the Unlock Keys. You only need to go through the unlock procedure once; after that, the database opens up without prompting you for any additional data.
The Founders and Patriots database first is based upon the published records of the Order of the Founders and Patriots of America, then it is supplemented by data obtained from many more books. Again, all the information is documented with sources that point mostly to secondary records. I found the immigrant ancestor of my surname and then printed a 35-page register-format report showing nine generations of some of his ancestors. My own branch wasnt listed, however. These records do not show all descendants, just those documented in the particular books that have been searched.
I also tried the smaller databases of Pittsburgh and Delaware records. These are not extracts from original vital records; the data is extracted from various books of published families. This would all be secondary sources. For instance, here is a partial list of the books searched to build the Delaware database:
The Pittsburgh records would be quite similar in nature.
In summary, I have to say that this is an excellent CD-ROM disk. The data is good, reference to secondary sources is included with every entry, the software is easy to use, and the printouts are excellent.
Again, the Presidential Family Forest CD-ROM is free except for a modest shipping charge of a few dollars. Even the telephone call is free. The extra-cost databases are also on the same CD-ROM disk although they are encrypted. They cost about $20.00 to $30.00 each, but you do not have to pay for them until you want to access them. To order your free Presidential Family Forest CD-ROM disk, call 1-800-565-0018.
- A Visit to Bath, Ohio
Have you ever received an advertisement from Halberts of 3687 Ira Road, Bath, Ohio? I suspect that you have, given the volume of advertisements this company sends out every year. These are bulk mailed to addresses in the United States and Canada. Halberts and their "partners" also send similar advertisements to thousands in England, Germany, Switzerland, Australia and maybe other countries, too. However, these ads normally carry a local return address within each country.
I have written several times before about Halberts and their competitors, including a full review of one of Halberts "books" in which I said:
A few months ago I received another ad from Halberts, much like the ones I had received in 1989. Again, it was signed by "Doris Eastman, i.a." and was from the 3687 Ira Road, Bath, Ohio 4410-9953. I purchased this years "book" as I wanted to see what had changed. To be blunt, I dont see much difference in the 1998 edition. It is the same old stuff. It still has extracts from old telephone directories. It still lists my uncle at his residence in Auburn, Maine despite the fact that he sold that house more than ten years ago and then died about seven years ago.
While planning my route to last weeks Federation of Genealogical Societies conference in Cincinnati, Ohio, I noticed that I would be driving within 5 miles of Bath, Ohio. So I said to myself, "Maybe Ill stop at Halberts and ask to see Doris Eastman, i.a.."
I found Bath easily. It is a rather picturesque little town that consists primarily of two streets: Ira Road runs east-west, and the North Cleveland Massillon Road runs north-south. The address of 3687 Ira Road is within a couple hundred feet of the intersection of these two roads. But there is no sign there for Halberts. In fact, I couldnt find any trace of them at all. The address of 3687 Ira Road should have been alongside Rurs-Puel Real Estate or Bech & Tabeling Architects. But there was no hint of Halberts there. This seems to confirm what I had been told earlier: the name and address shown in the Halberts ads is only a mail drop.
Halberts has been in court several times to answer charges lodged by the U.S. Postal Service. The court documents always list Halberts as a subsidiary of the Numa Corporation of Akron, Ohio. In fact, the Numa Corporation of 1566 Akron Peninsula Rd, Akron, OH 44313-5154 does have a telephone listing. That address is a few miles from Bath, Ohio, but it seemed rather pointless to check out Numas location. Besides, I doubt if I could find Doris Eastman, i.a., there, either.
I dont think there is anything illegal about using a mail drop, but I wonder why any company would do that. The next time you receive an ad from 3687 Ira Road, Bath, Ohio, you might ask yourself, "Why do they use this address? What are they trying to hide?"
- More on the GEDCOM (Future Direction) Document
In last weeks newsletter I wrote at length about GENTECHs new Genealogical Data Model Proposal, and I also mentioned the recent proposal from the Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I stated that the latter document could be downloaded from gedcom.org. That is correct, but several people wrote saying that they could not find the document on that site. It is available as an FTP download. You can obtain it by specifying the direct address of: ftp://gedcom.org/pub/genealogy/gedcom.
- Irish Surnames Index On The Web
The following is a press release from the Ulster Historical Foundation:
- New Meyers Directory Of Genealogical Societies
Mary Meyer was a professional genealogist, lecturer, teacher and author who passed away a few months ago. She was working on the twelfth edition of her popular Meyers Directory of Genealogical Societies In The U.S.A. and Canada at the time of her death. Some of her friends and relatives have now finished the directory and have sent it to the printers. If you would like to receive a copy of this reference, read the following announcement for details:
The directory costs $28.00 plus shipping. For more information, you can send e-mail to Sharon McNeeley at email@example.com.
- Broderbund Software Signs Deal With Excite
Broderbund Software, Inc. and Internet site Excite announced that they are joining forces to put genealogy resources at the fingertips of millions of people who visit Excite each month. The new Genealogy Section on the Lifestyle channel of Excite will include co-branded content created by Broderbund's developers for leading genealogy Web sites. The following are among the tools Excite users will have free access to:
"Excite is one of the most popular sites for people to start looking for information on the Web, and genealogy is one of the most popular online activities. This partnership will provide Excite's users with an easy way to search the Web for their family history, as well as valuable advice on how to do genealogy," said Eric Holstege, Vice President of Broderbund's Family Tree Maker Online Business Unit. "Broderbund will be able to reach new users who are just beginning to think about doing their genealogy online by gaining visibility with millions of Excite users."
- 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