Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter - Plus Edition


This is a "snapshot" that contains all the Plus Edition articles published in the past Monday through Sunday. Newer articles, if any, may be found at any time at http://www.eogn.com/wp/.

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Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter - Plus Edition



Plus Edition
ISSN: 1544-4090
©1996-2017
by Richard W. Eastman

Vol. 22 No. 13 - March 27, 2017


Table of Contents:

(+) Understanding Optical Character Recognition

Recording the Locations of Your Family Photographs


MyHeritage Genealogy and DNA Results Described on Fox News


Search Historical Newspaper Archives with Elephind.com


Family History Hosting Announces Free Software Offer


Software MacKiev introduces FamilySync™ for Family Tree Maker Software


New Historic Records On FamilySearch: Week of March 20, 2017


British Newspaper Archive Announces Major New Milestone


Forces War Records – 5 FREE Military Genealogy Tutorials are now Online and Available to Download


Honorary Research Fellow Appointed at the University of Strathclyde


Actor Noah Wyle to be Guest on U.S. Version of Who Do You Think You Are? on Sunday


Dropbox vs. Google Drive vs. OneDrive: Which Cloud Storage Is Best for You?


How Your Ancestors’ Environment Determines the Shape of Your Nose


Update: Is the Smartphone Becoming the PC Replacement?


Recent Updates to the Calendar of Genealogy Events


Thought for the Day

"There is no such thing as the foreseeable future." - Historian David McCullough



(+) Understanding Optical Character Recognition

The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman. Please do not forward this article to others without the author’s permission.

Do you have a document or even a full-length book that you would like to enter into a computer's database or word processor? You could re-type the entire thing. If your typing ability is as bad as mine, that will be a very lengthy task. Of course, you could hire a professional typist to do the same, but that is also expensive.

We all have computers, so why not use a high-quality scanner? You will also need optical character recognition (OCR) technology.

OCR is the technology long used by libraries and government agencies to make lengthy documents available electronically. As OCR technology has improved, it has been adopted by commercial firms, including Archive CD Books USA, Ancestry.com, ProQuest, and other genealogy-related companies.

For many purposes, OCR is the most cost-effective and speedy method available. OCR is much better and cheaper than hiring an army of clerk typists.

OCR is actually the second step in the conversion process. The first step is to scan the document or book in question, much the same as you would scan a photograph. The scanner converts each printed page to a bitmap file, a pattern of dots that actually comprise an electronic image of the page. Software that comes with the scanner stores the file on the computer's hard drive in TIFF, JPG, or some other image format.

Next, specialized optical character recognition (OCR) software is used to scan the image and convert it to text. Older OCR software would compare the individual letters in a stored image against stored bitmaps of specific fonts. These pattern-recognition systems worked well with high-quality scanned images of text that used exactly the same fonts as those expected by the software. In other words, it rarely worked very well. It was rare that the scanned images exactly matched the stored bitmap images of individual characters. Only a few years ago, OCR had a reputation for inaccuracy.

Today's OCR programs have added multiple algorithms of neural network technology to analyze the stroke edge, the line of discontinuity between the text characters, and the background. Allowing for irregularities of printed ink on paper, each algorithm averages the light and dark along the side of a stroke, matches it to known characters, and makes a best guess as to which character it is. The OCR software then averages or polls the results from all the algorithms to obtain a single reading.

Finally, the derived words and sentences are sent through spell checkers and syntax analyzers, which try to find any remaining characters that were decoded improperly. These analyzers check the context of the words in each sentence. The software uses its stored knowledge of parts of speech and grammar to recognize individual characters.

The results can be great for scanned English sentences. However, rows of numbers, such as stock market reports, generally do not fare well in the scanning and OCR decoding process. Neither do lists of names, such as found in telephone books or old genealogy books.

Today, OCR software can recognize a wide variety of fonts, but handwriting and script fonts that mimic handwriting are still problematic.

Technology advances have made OCR more reliable although still not perfect. Even with the best software available today, you can expect a minimum of 90% accuracy for average-quality documents. Despite vendor claims of one-button scanning, achieving 99% or greater accuracy takes clean copy and practice setting scanner parameters.

Another cause of OCR inaccuracy is scanner quality. Using a $50 scanner will always result in more errors than using a high quality scanner, regardless of the OCR software used. The quality of the scanner's charge-coupled device light arrays (the part of the scanner that detects light and dark areas of the scanned page) will affect OCR results. The more tightly packed these arrays, the finer the image and the more distinct colors the scanner can detect. Such technology costs money. Cheaper scanners have less densely packed charge-coupled device light arrays, resulting in lower-quality scans.

Smudges or background color also can fool the recognition software. Scanning a photocopy or a reprint of an old book also will create many additional errors. The human eye may think that each character is sharp and distinct, but the minute "fuzziness" of each character in a photo-reproduced page will impede the scanner's microscopic "eyes." One important outcome is that scanning an original book will always result in better OCR accuracy than scanning a reprint of the same book.

Adjusting the scan's resolution can help refine the image and improve the recognition rate, but there are trade-offs. For example, in an image scanned at 24-bit color with 1,200 dots per inch (dpi), each of the 1,200 pixels has 24 bits' worth of color information. This scan will take longer than a lower-resolution scan and produce a larger file, but OCR accuracy will be higher.

A scan at 72 dpi will be faster and produce a smaller file — good for posting an image of the text to the Web — but the lower resolution will likely degrade OCR accuracy.

Most scanners are optimized for 300 dpi, but scanning at a higher number of dots per inch will increase accuracy for 6-point fonts or smaller.

Text documents are normally scanned as bilevel (black and white only) images. Bilevel scans are faster and produce smaller files because, unlike 24-bit color scans, they require only one bit per pixel. Some scanners can also let you determine how subtle to make the color differentiation.

Which method will be more effective depends on the image being scanned. A bilevel scan of a shopworn page may yield more legible text. But if the pages to be scanned have turned to a sepia color, or if the text of an old document has faded, the OCR software will struggle to identify each letter correctly.

OCR scanning is a great convenience and will obviously reduce your need to re-type documents. However, the technology is still not perfect. Even with a high-quality scanner and today's best software, you can expect the scanning of old books to produce numerous errors. Significant manual "clean-up" will be needed.

The better-known hobbyist-grade OCR software includes (in alphabetical order):

Abby FineReader Express: $79.99, Abby FineReader 14: $199.99 for the Standard Edition, $399.99 for the Corporate Edition, $599.99 for the Enterprise Edition (the higher-priced versions do produce more accurate results) at: http://www.abbyy.com

ABBYY FineReader Express Edition for Macintosh: $79.99 and $119.99 for the Pro version at: https://www.abbyy.com/en-us/finereader/pro-for-mac/

OmniPage Standard Edition for $149.99, OmniPage Ultimate for $499.99 and OmniPage Server for $2,000 and up: http://www.nuance.com/for-individuals/by-product/omnipage/index.htm

Prizmo (for Macintosh for $49.99 and $74.99 for the Pro Pack, , iPhone, and iPad for $9.99) . However, do not expect this low-cost product to match the more expensive products in OCR accuracy. http://www.creaceed.com/prizmo

The above are list prices. You may find the same products sold at discount if you shop around.

One warning: you often get what you pay for. While these products do vary somewhat, the cheaper products usually produce many more errors than do the higher-priced OCR products. It may be false economy to purchase a cheaper OCR product if you have to spend many hours "touching up" the errors. Spending a few dollars more at the beginning generally results in higher accuracy and significantly less "clean up" labor.

Do you have comments, questions, or corrections to this article? If so, please post your words at the end of this article in the Plus Edition newsletter’s web site where everyone can benefit from your words. You might also want to read comments posted by others there.



Recording the Locations of Your Family Photographs

When going through a box of old photographs or viewing the latest digital pictures on your computer, did you ever ask, “I wonder where this photograph was taken?” Now a free software tool can record the exact location of every digital picture in your collection. This includes old family photographs that you have scanned as well as new pictures that you or someone else takes with a digital camera.

This product will not do the detective work for you. You must still find where the picture was taken in the traditional manner. For instance, "Here is Aunt Millie and Uncle Fred at Niagara Falls" or something similar. You then scan the photograph, saving it as a JPEG image. Once the photograph is on your hard drive, you use this small Windows program to embed the longitude and latitude information into the photograph in a hidden area of the image. Once the information is recorded, you and future viewers of the image will wonder no more. Even better, with the appropriate software, you can just click on an icon to display a map that shows the exact location.

Panorado Flyer adds the latitude and longitude to any JPEG image, available to any EXIF (geographic-aware) program for future use. This is possible because Panorado Flyer takes advantage of the fact that JPEG image files can contain supplementary information (so-called Metadata).

The added information is not visible when looking at the image but can be read by any software that looks for EXIF information. EXIF programs used to be rare but have become more and more popular in recent years. The best-known one probably is Google Earth, a free online service.

Technical metadata as described by the EXIF standard can include fields for GPS data, such as geographical latitude/longitude, altitude, and track. The Panorado Flyer tool enables you to get the coordinates of the place where the picture was shot and insert them into these hidden fields within the photograph.

You can add the information manually, using a dialog window. Or, if you have installed the Google Earth client (which can be downloaded for free), you can search for the location there, drag it to the center of the map window, then change to Panorado flyer, grab the coordinates, and insert them into the selected image, all without typing any numbers. Later on, you could be displaying the photograph to family members on your computer. With a few mouseclicks on the photo, you can make Google Earth "fly" you to the location where the picture was taken.

Most cell phone cameras and a few SLR digital cameras also will automatically attach EXIF information to all newly-created photographs. The cameras actually have a built-in GPS (Global Positioning System) device that always knows the exact latitude and longitude. If your cell phone or camera is able to save the location along with the image, fine! However, Panorado Flyer is handy when scanning old family photographs or any other photo not taken with a cell phone camera.

In effect, geo-coding has become the standard method for recording "where this photograph was taken." Panorado Flyer will record the geo-coding information for any JPEG image.

How much does Panorado Flyer cost? Nothing – it's free! Panorado Flyer for Windows is available at: https://panorado.com/en/PanoradoFlyer.php.

Do you have comments, questions, or corrections to this article? If so, please post your words at the end of this article in the Standard Edition newsletter’s web site where everyone can benefit from your words. You might also want to read comments posted by others there.



MyHeritage Genealogy and DNA Results Described on Fox News

Genealogy and especially using DNA in genealogy research received a lot of positive publicity on American television yesterday morning. The 3 hosts of the popular morning show, Fox & Friends, were presented with their DNA ethnicity results supplied by MyHeritage, augmented by genealogy research also performed by the company.

The three hosts' experiences also may be seen in online videos that you can watch now:

Steve Doocy - http://video.foxnews.com/v/5368132260001/?#sp=show-clips

Brian Kilmeade - http://video.foxnews.com/v/5368199698001/?#sp=show-clips

Ainsley Earhardt - http://video.foxnews.com/v/5368253182001/?#sp=show-clips

NOTE: MyHeritage also is the sponsor of this newsletter.

Do you have comments, questions, or corrections to this article? If so, please post your words at the end of this article in the Standard Edition newsletter’s web site where everyone can benefit from your words. You might also want to read comments posted by others there.



Search Historical Newspaper Archives with Elephind.com

Elephind can be a great FREE resource for anyone who wishes to search old newspapers. The purpose of elephind.com is to make it possible to search all of the world's digital newspapers from one place and at one time. Elephind.com allows you to simultaneously search across thousands of articles using key words and phrases.

Elephind presently contains 174,143,178 items from 3,306 newspaper titles. You can find a list of libraries that have contribute their archives on the site by clicking on "List of Titles." It is a very long list! Clicking on any library's name displays the newspapers in that collection.

Elephind.com is much like Google, Bing, or other search engines but focused only on historical, digitized newspapers. By clicking on the Elephind.com search result that interests you, you'll go directly to the newspaper collection which hosts that story.

Of course, newspapers can be a great resource of genealogy information. Birth announcements, marriage announcements, court news, and more can be searched within seconds. If your ancestor was a merchant, you probably can also find his or her advertisements placed in the newspaper.

As I often did, I performed my first search on elephind.com looking for one of my ancestors. I simply entered his name, Washington Eastman, and was rewarded thousands of "hits" containing one or the other of those two words. Some of them were about photography and others were about Washington, D.C., or Washington State. I didn't read every article found by that simplistic search but the few I looked at did not have contain anything about the man I was seeking.

I will say however, one article on the list from the San Francisco Call of 6 September 1891 caught my eye:

Darling Eastman, the long-sought-for Vermont moonshiner, is under arrest in this city. Eastman's capture and escape at Corinth, Vt., last April, was the most sensational that has occurred in the State for twenty years. Orange County has been notorious for its stills. The most daring and successful operator in that section was J. Warren Eastman, who lived in an isolated quarter of Corinth. In April last a large posse of officers made a descent on the Eastman homestead. In an old blacksmith shop they discovered a still of the largest and most approved pattern in full operation. The father, Warren Eastman, his son Darling and his son-in-law were captured in their beds and heavily manacled.

Yes, that sounds like one of my relatives! Admittedly, I have never found this family in my family tree before but they certainly sound like they might belong.

I then backed up and clicked on ADVANCED SEARCH. I got far better results by using that. Advanced Search allows the user to specify any combination of the following:

  • Contributing library
  • Years of publication to be searched
  • Search of all text or limited to searches only of titles
  • Number of results to be displayed per page

Elephind does not search all the newspapers ever published in the U.S. No online newspaper offers anywhere near that amount of information. However, it does contain 3,306 different newspapers in its database, including newspapers from the United States, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore.

All the text on Elephind was created by OCR (Optical Character Recognition) and therefore has numerous errors whenever it encountered fuzzy text, page wrinkles, and similar problems. All OCR-created newspaper sites suffer from the same problem, although some sites seem to have worse results than do others.

The oldest newspaper in the online collection is from 29 September 1787 while the newest is from 21 November 2016.

Elephind is not perfect but it can help a lot if your ancestor is listed in one of the newspapers in the Elephind database. Best of all is the price: FREE. There is an optional FREE registration which adds the use advanced features, including Elephind bookmarks and comments. If you do register, occasionally (less than 6 times per year) you will receive notifications or newsletters via email with information about changes and additions to Elephind.com.

You can try Elephind at http://www.elephind.com. Make sure you read the “Search Tips” at http://www.elephind.com/?a=p&p=help&e=-------en-10--1--txt-txINtxCO----------. Yes, that is a strange-looking URL but it really is a link to the “Search Tips.”

Do you have comments, questions, or corrections to this article? If so, please post your words at the end of this article in the Standard Edition newsletter’s web site where everyone can benefit from your words. You might also want to read comments posted by others there.



Family History Hosting Announces Free Software Offer

I always like FREE offers but this one is especially attractive. Family History Hosting's CEO, John Cardinal, is offering a free license for either of the company's two major products: GedSite or Second Site. The offer can be used when you purchase a any hosting plan from Family History Hosting between now and March 31, 2017. This is an excellent way of placing your genealogy (or your family surname society's genealogy) on the World Wide Web. Note that this is a limited time offer, as described in this announcement from Family History Hosting:

Limited-time offer: Free web site creation software with purchase of any FHH hosting plan

North Andover, MA - March 21, 2017 - Family History Hosting, LLC  [at] http://www.familyhistoryhosting.com/ is pleased to announce a free software offer: purchase any hosting plan from Family History Hosting between now and March 31, 2017, and receive a free license for either GedSite or Second Site!

"Family History Hosting is a great choice for genealogists who want to publish on the web," said John Cardinal, CEO and Founder of Family History Hosting. "We provide comprehensive support to eliminate any technical barriers, and combined with GedSite or Second Site, publishing a genealogy project online has never been easier."

Most web hosting services require customers to manage the process of publishing on the web without assistance. They provide a user name and password, and everything else is left to the customer. Not so with Family History Hosting. We provide a detailed explanation of the process, create a custom plan for each customer that includes step-by-step instructions, and we will provide a remote-control technical support session if necessary.

Other services sell web hosting. We sell getting you online!

GedSite creates web sites from GEDCOM data, while Second Site creates sites from projects managed in The Master Genealogist (TMG). Both support a high-performance publishing feature that uses custom software on the Family History Hosting servers. The one-step publish features make it easy to update your site, so easy that customers love it and update their sites more frequently than users on other hosting services. Sites with frequent updates get more attention from interested visitors and from search engines.

For more information about Family History Hosting and for more details on this offer, please visit http://www.FamilyHistoryHosting.com.

About Family History Hosting, LLC

Family History Hosting LLC [at] http://www.familyhistoryhosting.com/index.htm was founded in 2007 to provide first-class web hosting services for genealogists and family historians, and to publish genealogy software focused on web site creation.

Do you have comments, questions, or corrections to this article? If so, please post your words at the end of this article in the Standard Edition newsletter’s web site where everyone can benefit from your words. You might also want to read comments posted by others there.



Software MacKiev introduces FamilySync™ for Family Tree Maker Software

If you use Family Tree Maker software, you need to be aware of the following announcement written by Ancestry.com and Software MacKiev:

Last year, we announced the purchase of Family Tree Maker desktop software by Software MacKiev and because we wanted to make the transition to a new owner as smooth as possible, we committed at least a year of customer and product support. The goal has always been to maintain the capability to share your family tree data between files on your computer with your personal Ancestry online trees. We’ve been hard at work co-developing a new Ancestry gateway with Software MacKiev to use in their Family Tree Maker 2017, which will be available soon. We believe Software MacKiev continues to deliver the best value to users of Family Tree Maker with their focus and expertise in software solutions.

What you should know:

  • TreeSync will be replaced by Software MacKiev’s FamilySync™. In the new FamilySync, Ancestry’s search, merge, and Ancestry hints will all work as they do now for users who sync with their Ancestry trees and you can also look forward to more exciting new improvements.
  • FamilySync will be available only in Software MacKiev’s Family Tree Maker 2017 edition, which will be released on March 31, 2017.

The upgrade is free for all users who purchased a copy of a MacKiev Family Tree Maker edition since March 1, 2016. Those with previous Ancestry editions, or who got a free copy of Family Tree Maker 2014.1 or Mac 3.1, are eligible for discounted upgrades. The pre-order upgrade is $29.95 for those who sign up for Software MacKiev’s mailing list before March 29 and the upgrade will continue to be a discounted price ($39.95) for a limited time after March 29.

  • Between Wednesday, March 29 and Friday, March 31, there will be a short period where syncing functionality may be interrupted as Software MacKiev rolls out their new syncing technology.
  • As of March 29, 2017, Ancestry will no longer be supporting TreeSync, given the introduction of Software MacKiev’s FamilySync™. Software MacKiev will continue to handle all related customer questions for Family Tree Maker. Visit Software MacKiev’s Family Tree Maker Support Center at support.familytreemaker.com if you have questions.

For additional information, news and discounted upgrade offers for Family Tree Maker, visit www.familytreemaker.com.

Do you have comments, questions, or corrections to this article? If so, please post your words at the end of this article in the Standard Edition newsletter’s web site where everyone can benefit from your words. You might also want to read comments posted by others there.



New Historic Records On FamilySearch: Week of March 20, 2017

The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

Summary

Hundreds of thousands of indexed records from all over Italy are featured in these newly published collections. Additionally, find newly searchable records from Canada, Ecuador, Germany, The Netherlands, Peru, Sweden and the United States. Search these new free records and more at FamilySearch by clicking on the links in the interactive table below.

Collection

Indexed Records

Digital Images

Comments

Ontario, County Marriage Registers, 1858-1869

42,862

0

Added indexed records to an existing collection

Ecuador, Catholic Church Records, 1565-2011

73,853

0

Added indexed records to an existing collection

Germany, Baden, Church Book Duplicates, 1800-1870

39,041

0

Added indexed records to an existing collection

Italy, Prato, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1866-1923

15,463

0

Added indexed records to an existing collection

Italy, Rieti, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1840-1945

1,525

0

Added indexed records to an existing collection

Italy, Enna, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1866-1944

108,603

0

Added indexed records to an existing collection

Italy, Grosseto, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1851-1907

155

0

Added indexed records to an existing collection

Italy, Viterbo, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1870-1943

168

0

Added indexed records to an existing collection

Italy, Mantova, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1496-1906

111,726

0

Added indexed records to an existing collection

Netherlands, Archival Indexes, Miscellaneous Records

2,532,170

0

Added indexed records to an existing collection

Find A Grave Index

3,390,197

0

Added indexed records to an existing collection

Peru, La Libertad, Civil Registration, 1903-1998

28,563

0

Added indexed records to an existing collection

Peru, Amazonas, Civil Registration, 1939-1998

2,668

0

Added indexed records to an existing collection

Sweden, Norrbotten Church Records, 1612-1923; index 1658-1860

6,531

0

Added indexed records to an existing collection

Sweden, Kopparberg Church Records, 1604-1900; index 1628-1860

7,194

0

Added indexed records to an existing collection

New Hampshire, Civil War Service and Pension Records, 1861-1866

72,842

0

Added indexed records to an existing collection

Alaska, Vital Records, 1816-1959

18,844

0

Added indexed records to an existing collection

Pennsylvania, Eastern District Petitions for Naturalization, 1795-1931

61,584

0

Added indexed records to an existing collection

New York State Census, 1865

18,804

0

Added indexed records to an existing collection

Searchable historic records are made available on FamilySearch.org through the help of thousands of volunteers from around the world. These volunteers transcribe (index) information from digital copies of handwritten records to make them easily searchable online. More volunteers are needed (particularly those who can read foreign languages) to keep pace with the large number of digital images being published online at FamilySearch.org. Learn more about volunteering to help provide free access to the world's historic genealogical records online at FamilySearch.org/indexing.
About FamilySearch.org

FamilySearch is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources for free at FamilySearch.org or through more than 4,921 family history centers in 129 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Do you have comments, questions, or corrections to this article? If so, please post your words at the end of this article in the Standard Edition newsletter’s web site where everyone can benefit from your words. You might also want to read comments posted by others there.



British Newspaper Archive Announces Major New Milestone

The following announcement was written by the British Newspaper Archive, a partnership between the British Library and Findmypast:

World’s largest online collection of historic British newspapers now covers every single county in England

March 21th 20017

The British Newspaper Archive, has today announced a major new milestone in their project to digitise up to 40 million newspaper pages from the British Library's vast collection of historic British & Irish newspapers. Following the addition of a newspaper for the country’s smallest county, Rutland, the Archive now covers every corner of England as, for the first time, at least one title from each of the country’s 48 counties is now available to search and explore.

The British Newspaper Archive now contains over 18.7 million pages from 747 titles from England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland and spans nearly 300 (1709-2003) years local, national and world history.

This exciting development marks the latest step in the BNA’s drive to enhance the experience of researchers using the service. 2017 has seen a dramatic increase in the rate of digitisation with over 100,000 pages now being added on a weekly basis.

A variety of historically rich specialty publications have also been added since January, including a selection of significant sporting, police and military titles. A number of illustrated magazines containing full colour images have also been made available this year, including the Bystander, Tatler, Britannia and Eve, The Stage, and the world's first illustrated weekly news magazine, the Illustrated London News.

We are delighted to be working with the British Library on this project within what has been such a fantastic partnership since 2010. We are also expanding our scope and working with publishing firms across the UK and Ireland to bring even more newspaper content to The British Newspaper Archive – invaluable for those researching their family history; favourite sport; hobby or their hometown. The BNA truly is the, ‘archive of everything’ in terms of the UK and Ireland’s social history. We’re excited and looking forward to work with the British Library and publishers on this vast project! – Amy Gregor, Global Newspaper Licensing and Development Manager

As part of this push to improve the British Newspaper Archive experience, a new “In Pictures” feature has also been added. This new image search was launched back in January and is the first of a number of new features users can expect to see added to the site throughout 2017.

Do you have comments, questions, or corrections to this article? If so, please post your words at the end of this article in the Standard Edition newsletter’s web site where everyone can benefit from your words. You might also want to read comments posted by others there.



Forces War Records – 5 FREE Military Genealogy Tutorials are now Online and Available to Download

The following announcement was written by Forces War Records in the UK:

With 10 million records covering over 300 years of conflict, and thousands of new records being added daily, there’s always something new to find on the site. But there’s so much more to gain from a visit to Forces War Records. The military and genealogy specialists have a wealth of knowledge and information to help anyone researching their family tree, or with those with military queries.

These 5 free guides have been put together in-house and are free to all, perfect for complete beginners to advanced researchers:

1: Understanding your ancestor's record All the details of your ancestor's record made easy

2: Breaking down brick walls Renowned historian Simon Fowler gives his top 10 tips to get your family tree started

3: Trench Traumas & Medical Miracles If your ancestor was wounded in WW1, this is what his medical journey would have been like

4: How to trace your POW ancestor Want to know if your ancestor was taken a prisoner and what would have happened to him?

5: Quick guide to requesting WW2 records Struggling to find your WW2 ancestor's record? Here's to get hold of them.

They can be downloaded here: https://www.forces-war-records.co.uk/free-tutorials.

Do you have comments, questions, or corrections to this article? If so, please post your words at the end of this article in the Standard Edition newsletter’s web site where everyone can benefit from your words. You might also want to read comments posted by others there.



Honorary Research Fellow Appointed at the University of Strathclyde

The University of Strathclyde is well-known for having a Genealogical Studies programme offering a range of courses from beginner level up to a Masters degree. Now the University has announced a major addition to the staff:

Dr Iain McDonald has been appointed as Honorary Research Fellow in the Genealogical Studies Department, University of Strathclyde.

Iain comes originally from an Aberdonian family, and began his interest in genealogy 15 years ago, whilst trying to identify any family connection to the Lords of the Isles. Unfortunately, there was no connection, but the process led to an avid interest in Scottish genealogy, and the early history and movement of the Scottish people.

By day, Iain is an astrophysicist, working at the University of Manchester. By night, he has been using physical, statistical and mathematical techniques to develop tools, for both conventional and genetic genealogy.

His speciality is in estimating the dates of male-line (surname) relationships from commercial genetic tests, and using these to construct models of population movements between mainland Europe and the British Isles over the last 5000 years.

Tahitia McCabe, Course leader said: “we are delighted to have Iain on board and look forward to utilising his expertise and knowledge of the technical aspects of DNA testing as applied in genetic genealogy”.

For further information on the study pathways, including an online 8-week Introduction to Genetic Genealogy course, please contact the University of Strathclyde at scosh@strath.ac.uk.

Do you have comments, questions, or corrections to this article? If so, please post your words at the end of this article in the Standard Edition newsletter’s web site where everyone can benefit from your words. You might also want to read comments posted by others there.



Actor Noah Wyle to be Guest on U.S. Version of Who Do You Think You Are? on Sunday

NOTE: This article was published online on March 23, prior to the broadcast of Noah Wyle's episode:

On this Sunday’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? at 10/9c on TLC, actor Noah Wyle unravels the mystery of his mother's family line, searching for answers to a lifelong question about his family’s participation in the Civil War. He discovers an ancestor who was catapulted into one of the bloodiest battles of the time, and whose life spiraled out of control from remarkable success to a shocking and tragic end.

You can catch a sneak peek of the episode at: http://bit.ly/2nbYjAE.

Do you have comments, questions, or corrections to this article? If so, please post your words at the end of this article in the Standard Edition newsletter’s web site where everyone can benefit from your words. You might also want to read comments posted by others there.



Dropbox vs. Google Drive vs. OneDrive: Which Cloud Storage Is Best for You?

I have written several times about the wisdom of keeping backup copies of your more valuable files. You can keep local copies or off-site copies but the important thing is to always have copies available someplace. One popular option is to keep copies in "the cloud," using one of the file storage services, such as Dropbox or Google Drive or OneDrive.

Actually, there are dozens of available cloud-based file storage servies to choose from but Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive seem to be the three most popular, if not necessarily the best. Joel Lee has published a side-by-side comparison of the "big three," pointing out the strengths and weaknesses of each. If you are thinking of using a file storage service, you might want to read the article on the Make Use Of web site at: http://bit.ly/2mRQmyW.

Do you have comments, questions, or corrections to this article? If so, please post your words at the end of this article in the Standard Edition newsletter’s web site where everyone can benefit from your words. You might also want to read comments posted by others there.



How Your Ancestors’ Environment Determines the Shape of Your Nose

It may seem strange, but a recently-published study in the PLOS Genetics journal claims that whether your nose is long and narrow or short and wide, you may have your ancestors’ climate to thank.

Researchers from Ireland, Belgium and the U.S. used 3D facial imaging to collect nose measurements on nearly 500 participants of South Asian, East Asian, West African and Northern European descent. The researchers analyzed specific measures including nose height, nostril width, distance between nostrils, protrusion and total surface area of the nose and nostrils. Then, they compared these measurements with local temperatures and humidity in various geographical regions. The findings revealed that nostril width was strongly linked with climate. Wider nostrils were found in more hot and humid areas, and narrower noses were more common in cold and dry areas.

You can read more in the PLOS Genetics journal at http://bit.ly/2mNF2os as well as in dozens of media sites by starting at http://bit.ly/2mO6tOX.

Personally, I'm blaming my nose on Uncle Albert. I seem to have inherited his nose.

Do you have comments, questions, or corrections to this article? If so, please post your words at the end of this article in the Standard Edition newsletter’s web site where everyone can benefit from your words. You might also want to read comments posted by others there.



Update: Is the Smartphone Becoming the PC Replacement?

Last December, I wrote the following in this newsletter at http://bit.ly/2nNh4gC:

"Today, the smartphone can become a person’s only computer, used alone when away from home or the office, then used with a “docking station” when at home or at the office. Of course, most smartphones already have internal cameras, even webcams. With a docking station to accommodate a keyboard, a larger screen, stereo speakers, printers, scanners, and more, today’s home computer may soon become a thing of the past."

I also wrote:

"Will your next PC be a smartphone? Do you really need a desktop computer for checking email, surfing the web, or doing genealogy research? The smartphones of today will do most everything your present desktop computer can do."

It looks like some people agree with me. One company with plans for converting a smartphone into a desktop or laptop computer is a rather well-known producer of personal computers and of smartphones: Apple.

A new patent application from Apple shows the company is toying with the idea of a laptop powered by an iPhone that's docked face up where the touchpad is normally positioned.

Apple calls the laptop an "accessory device." That is, the computer with memory, storage space, and wireless networking is in the smartphone while the "accessory device" adds a bigger display, a full sized screen, and a real keyboard.

In the drawing above, you can see the smartphone (which we can assume is an iPhone) simply drops into a cavity in the "laptop" and supplies all the computing power, local storage, and networking. The "shell" that looks like a "shell" performs like a laptop and supplies everything else.

The user can carry the smartphone easily in a pocket or purse and have all the basic functionality of a computer with him or her at all times. Obviously, that combination will be hampered by the small screen and limited keyboard. However, the same user also could pull out the laptop "shell," drop the smartphone into a cavity in the shell, and use it in the same manner as a laptop.

Optionally, the same user could take it home and connect a 30-inch screen or larger, a larger keyboard, and whatever peripherals he or she wishes. He or she obviously would not be limited by today’s smartphone technology.

Why purchase a smartphone AND a laptop AND a desktop computer? One device could perform all three functions, provided it had the proper accessories. I suspect the total price would be significantly cheaper than purchasing all three separate items.

As I wrote in December,

"Yes, I believe that a smartphone will become a desktop replacement within a very few years. In fact, it has become my primary computer today.

"Oh, yeah: you can also use a smartphone to make phone calls."

Do you have comments, questions, or corrections to this article? If so, please post your words at the end of this article in the Standard Edition newsletter’s web site where everyone can benefit from your words. You might also want to read comments posted by others there.



Recent Updates to the Calendar of Genealogy Events

The following pages have recently been updated in the Calendar of Genealogy Events:

Online Webinars, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Utah

Colorado, Connecticut, Missouri, and Ohio
Some of the above changes may have been deletions of past events.

All information in the Calendar of Events is contributed by YOU and by other genealogists. You can directly add information to the Calendar about your local genealogy event.

Want to add a new event listing? Go to http://calendar.eogn.com and click on the link to your state, province, or country. You will also see links for genealogy cruises and for online webinars. Once the appropriate page is displayed, click on the tab near the top labeled edit this page.

Want to learn more about how to add or edit pages in the Calendar of Events? Read the instructions at http://www.wikidot.com/doc-wiki-syntax:start.



Thanks for reading,
Dick Eastman

The Fine Print
If you would like to submit news, information or press releases for possible inclusion in future newsletters, send them to Richard@eastman.net. The author does reserve the right to accept or reject any articles submitted.

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This document is provided for informational purposes only. The information contained in this document represents the views of Richard W. Eastman with one exception: words written by other authors and republished herein are the views solely of those authors. All information provided in this document is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind, either express or implied. The reader assumes the entire risk as to the accuracy and the use of this document.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Dick Eastman 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 adviser to PBS' Ancestry series and appeared as a guest in one of the episodes. He is a past Assistant Executive Director for Technology at the New England Historic Genealogical Society, past Director of GENTECH and past Director 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: richard@eastman.net. Due to the volume of e-mail received, he is unable to answer every e-mail message received.


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