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Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

Standard Edition

A Weekly Summary of Events and Topics of Interest to Online Genealogists

Vol. 8 No. 31 – August 4, 2003

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Some of the articles in this Plus Edition newsletter are restricted to your personal use.

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Copyright© 2003 by Richard W. Eastman. All rights reserved.


- Genealogy Scam Operator Arrested!
- Comment About Genealogy Scams
- (+) How To Easily Block All Junk Mail
- Heredis for Macintosh
- Pocket Genealogist 2.50 Released
- Ancestry Family Tree Adds GenBridge
- GenSmarts
- Leo G. Cyr, R.I.P.
- New LDS Church/ Partnership
- Online New England Heritage at Ray's Place
- Canadian Genealogy Centre Web Site Hosts New Partner's Database
- 1851 Census for Dumfriesshire, Kirkcudbrightshire, and Wigtownshire
- Nuremberg Records Going Online
- Court Again Pulls the Plug on BLM's Computers
- CookBook Maker 2000
- 1.1 Release Candidate
- Unearthing a Gravestone in the Garden
- Unmasking the Elephant Man
- The Antique Ghost Show
- Upcoming Events

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

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

- Genealogy Scam Operator Arrested!

Life just got more interesting for genealogy scam operator Elias Abodeely. Four weeks ago I wrote a lengthy article about the scam best known as and identified the owner as Elias Abodeely of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. You can read that article at This week the Cedar Rapids police department arrested Abodeely and charged him with a variety of crimes, including three felonies. If convicted, Elias Abodeely could serve up to 47 years in prison for bilking genealogists.

Using the name as well as number of other Web site names, Abodeely would send out thousands of "spam mail" messages claiming to have access to millions of genealogy records. The hapless victim would pay about $60 for this "service" and then be given access to a password-protected Web site that simply listed links pointing to free genealogy Web sites. and its other Web sites had no records of their own. Even more upsetting, subscribers who tried to cancel and receive a refund found that their e-mails bounced back as undeliverable.

According to police reports, Elias Abodeely II, age 22, of 340 Owen St. NW, Cedar Rapids, was arrested on August 1 on suspicion of identity theft and three felonies: first-degree theft, money laundering, and ongoing criminal conduct. Police investigators claim Abodeely masterminded a 3-year genealogy scam that netted at least $14,000 and between 220 and 260 victims -- a handful of them from overseas. The total could be higher, but investigators haven't added up everything yet, according to Cedar Rapids Police Investigator Greg Koenighain. Abodeely was booked and released from the Linn County Jail.

Abodeely's operation originally collected money via a PayPal account, but PayPal soon shut him out after they received complaints. Abodeely then used a variety of other methods of collecting payments by credit cards. When the credit card companies shut him down, Abodeely switched to payment by electronic checks. That worked well for the young swindler, as checks do not enjoy the same protection as credit cards. Victims who paid by credit card could obtain refunds from the credit card companies, if they asked. However, those who paid by check had no recourse.

Abodeely and associates then reportedly conducted other crimes. The same electronic checks were cashed time and again, with each new occurrence using a new check number. The identity theft charge stems from an accusation that Abodeely stole four women's Social Security numbers and then used the numbers to establish new merchant accounts to process credit card payments.

Elias Abodeely has been involved in other online scams, not involving genealogy. He has promoted "get rich quick" business opportunities promoting porno sites. Click here to see examples.

At least one of Abodeely's Web sites -- -- is still operating as these words are written, but officials expect to shut it down soon.

In addition, the investigation is not yet complete. This week's arrest and arraignment was by the local police department. The federal government also has an interest in this case for possible income tax evasion, violation of interstate commerce laws and more. Mr. Abodeely's legal problems are only beginning. In addition, two of his accomplices are also facing possible arrest, according to Investigator Koenighain.

You can read a bit more about this story at KWWL Television's news site at as well as at the Des Moines Register's news site at: The Cedar Rapids Gazette has a longer story written by Public Safety Reporter Christoph Trappe. However, you have to purchase a subscription before you can read that article at:

What Do You Think? Comments and discussion are available on this newsletter's Discussion Boards.

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- Comment about Genealogy Scams

For reasons that are not clear to me, genealogy seems to attract more than its fair share of fast buck artists. The article about GenSeekers is probably the most flagrant example I have heard of, complete with identity theft and money laundering. However, we all have seen plenty of other charlatans who peddle goods and services of questionable value. The late and unlamented Halberts of Bath, Ohio, quickly pops to mind. They folded up a few years ago, hounded by court actions and competition from the Internet. However, Halberts' imitators are still in business in Colorado, Ontario, and elsewhere. In many shopping malls you can also find pushcart "businesses" claiming to sell "authentic" family coats of arms and other such schlock on paper, t-shirts, coffee cups and key chains. Most of their materials are bogus, not worth the paper (or key chain) that they are printed on.

Then there is the Internet. Did you ever stop to think that there are similarities between the World Wide Web and the Wild, Wild West? Not only do the two phrases sound a lot alike, but they both are also full of fake medicine men, snake oil salesmen, and other fast-buck characters of disrepute. Simply look at the spam mail that you receive, claiming to sell "medical cures and solutions" to make various parts of your body bigger or smaller or to make you wealthy by using your computer to make money while you sleep. Their ads seem to have been written by ex-carnival barkers. I have a mental image of these people selling their products from the back end of a horse-drawn wagon.

How do you protect yourself from these scam artists? The best advice hasn't changed in centuries: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Be suspicious.

Luckily, today's World Wide Web gives you more power than you ever had before. If a company's claims are questionable, do a search on the Web to see what the company's customers have said about it. If it is a genealogy-related product or service, go to this newsletter's Web site at and search past newsletters. You can quickly find any articles I have ever written about the company. Next, post a message on the newsletter's Discussion Board at the same Web site and ask about the company there. Chances are that someone knows about the company and will respond to your query.

Finally, pay only by credit card. Never purchase by check, money order, or cash. Credit cards are fully insured against fraud by the credit card companies themselves. If you are scammed, the credit card companies will issue a refund to you; then they will pursue the offending company for reimbursement. Sadly, payments by check, money order, or cash have no guarantees at all, as those who paid money to found out.

Last year at this time, I wrote similar words about a genealogy conference in Dearborn, Michigan, that folded and disappeared just a few weeks before the scheduled start of the conference. The organizers simply took the money and closed their offices. Here again, those who had used credit cards to pre-register quickly received 100% refunds from VISA, MasterCard, and American Express. Those who paid by check, money order, or cash still have not received a dime.

In short, verify the company's products or services before you spend money. When you do decide to purchase, make sure that you use a payment method that has fraud guarantees: use a credit card – not a check, money order, or cash. This is a rule of thumb to follow in genealogy and everywhere else that I can think of.

What Do You Think? Comments and discussion are available on this newsletter's Discussion Boards.

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- (+) How To Easily Block All Junk Mail

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

Last Tuesday I made a change in my e-mail program. Since then, I have not received a single piece of unwanted junk mail. In my case, that is significant: I was receiving several hundred junk mail messages per day prior to Tuesday. Yes, that is several HUNDRED per day. My e-mail address is plastered all over the Web, so I received a lot of junk mail! However, since I signed up for a new spam blocking service, I have not received one piece of unwanted mail. Every single one of those junk messages has been blocked.

I have used other methods in the past for blocking junk (or "spam") mail, but the results have varied. Sometimes spam got through. Even worse, occasionally some wanted e-mail messages got deleted. I hate it when newsletter subscribers send an e-mail to me and their message gets deleted by some anti-spam filter before I see it! Unfortunately, that could happen with my previous anti-spam mail program. Deleting wanted messages is referred to as "false positives." Most junk mail filters do have "false positives" problems. Many of them also delete electronic newsletters, such as this one, and other bulk mail that is of value.

The new method I am using avoids those problems. It has blocked 100% of the spam mails (so far) and apparently has not blocked a single legitimate e-mail from any individual who wishes to send me a message. I am also receiving all the electronic newsletters and mailing lists that I subscribe to. You can do the same.

The preceding is a "preview" of a Plus Edition-only article. The full article is available only to Plus Edition subscribers. Click on Plus Edition for more information.

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- Heredis for Macintosh

A beta version of the English edition of Heredis for Mac OS X will be complete in August. The developer will be seeking beta testers of the genealogy software in the near future. Those interested are asked to contact the company at

You can see the Heredis Web site (in French) at

What Do You Think? Comments and discussion are available on this newsletter's Discussion Boards.

[Return to Table of Contents]

- Pocket Genealogist 2.50 Released

I have written several times about the Pocket Genealogist. It is a great genealogy program for PocketPC handheld computers. I use it a lot in my iPAQ handheld. The Pocket Genealogist is the most powerful genealogy program I have found for handhelds. Now Northern Hills Software has announced a new update with a major addition: the Data Entry version of Pocket Genealogist is now available.

There are many new features in the 2.50 release, including the following:

  1. Data entry (Advanced)
  2. Direct import of The Master Genealogist databases using GenBridge™ by Wholly Genes Software. (Advanced) This includes roles and research log.
  3. Faster Synchronization
  4. All new interface on the device
  5. Support for To Do lists (if the desktop genealogy program supports To Do's)
  6. Better and more flexible GEDCOM imports.
  7. Better support for LDS Ordinances.
  8. Support for "Multi-linked" events (witnessed events)

Of course, the new program can import data from any modern genealogy program by use of GEDCOM files. However, those who use Legacy Family Tree databases or The Master Genealogist will find that data is imported directly using GenBridge™ technology instead of the older and more error-prone GEDCOM method.

Version 2.50 is a free upgrade to current users. If you wish to upgrade from "Basic" to "Advanced" to take advantage of the new features, you can do so for $15. See the Pocket Genealogist Web site for details.

Author Kevin Phillips reports that two additional features are being created now and will be available in a future release:

  1. Support for direct synchronization back into Legacy Family Tree databases.
  2. A comprehensive user's guide.

Those who purchase version 2.50 now will receive those two additional features at no charge once they become available.

You can find more information and even download the Pocket Genealogist at:

What Do You Think? Comments and discussion are available on this newsletter's Discussion Boards.

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- Ancestry Family Tree Adds GenBridge

Ancestry Family Tree is one of the least-known genealogy programs available for Windows. I am surprised at how few people know about the program. After all, the producing company,, has the most powerful publicity department in genealogy. Apparently, they have decided to not heavily promote the product. That seems curious since they are still spending money to update the program. One recent addition is the capability to import data with GenBridge, the high-accuracy import that can be used in place of GEDCOM.

Ancestry Family Tree is a free and easy-to-use genealogy program for Windows, similar to may other genealogy programs available today. It can store your data and generate numerous reports. The one thing that differentiates Ancestry Family Tree from its competitors is its close integration with's online databases, called Ancestry World Tree. Ancestry Family Tree allows the user to quickly find ancestors automatically as individuals are entered (or downloaded) into the family tree software. Online Ancestry World Tree files are also automatically searched and, once located and verified, entire branches of your family tree can be automatically imported into your tree. (Always make sure you verify any data you import from any source.)

The recent addition of GenBridge technology greatly improves the import of files from Family Tree Maker, The Master Genealogist, and other software packages. For more information about the free Ancestry Family Tree program for Windows, look at: You can also read my earlier review of the program at You can also read an article that I wrote some time ago about GenBridge at:

What Do You Think? Comments and discussion are available on this newsletter's Discussion Boards.

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- GenSmarts

The following is an announcement from Underwood Innovations, LLC:

Long Grove, IL - A new type of genealogy software, which uses artificial intelligence to make research suggestions, has debuted. GenSmarts works alongside existing genealogy software to explain the specific records that should be researched and why.

Genealogy, with tens of millions of enthusiasts in the U.S. alone, is already one of the largest and fastest growing hobbies. This growth has been fueled by the continued expansion of Internet based research sites. Aaron Underwood, President of Underwood Innovations, LLC, and creator of GenSmarts, sees room for improvement. "It's time we started making our PC's do more of our research for us, rather than simply being organizers and browsers of information," says Underwood.

One of the downsides of using the Internet for research is the lack of human interaction. Underwood states, "Most of us started Genealogy as a hobby by walking around lost in the family history section of a library, until we were rescued by a librarian. And usually, that's where we got our first lesson or two on how to research our families. GenSmarts attempts to fill some of this gap by looking at your data, telling you where to look and why, just like that friendly librarian."

Though targeted for sale to individual researchers, Underwood plans to make the product available to your local public library. "We are just finishing the definition of our research center program, and that will allow us to make free copies available for use at any library or historical society that wants them. It should be a great help for the genealogical staffs of those facilities, who often are simply volunteers with little or no budget." comments Underwood.

Is GenSmarts more useful for beginners than experienced researchers? Not according to users. As hobbyists advance, thousands of people are added to their ancestry. It gets to the point where the research becomes almost impossible to manage without the use of a computer. "The bigger your file, the more you need GenSmarts," comments one of the products initial users. GenSmarts features include tools for managing the hundreds of research opportunities identified.

The initial launch of the tool is targeted at U.S. ancestry, although an upgrade, which adds England and Canada, is expected soon. GenSmarts runs on Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000, and XP, and on machines with at least 32MB of memory and a processor of at least 150MHz. More information and a free trial version is available at the product website,

Underwood Innovations, LLC is a small, privately held company in Long Grove, Illinois. It is a design center and development lab for creating innovative software with broad appeal.

For information: or Phone: 847 910-3761

What Do You Think? Comments and discussion are available on this newsletter's Discussion Boards.

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- Leo G. Cyr, R.I.P.

French-Canadian genealogists lost an expert and prolific author this week. I have a copy of Leo G. Cyr's book, Madawaskan Heritage, on my bookshelf and have referred to it often. Sadly, Mr. Cyr passed away last Sunday at the age of 94. He had suffered from Alzheimer's Disease in his later years.

What Do You Think? Comments and discussion are available on this newsletter's Discussion Boards.

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- New LDS Church/ Partnership

The following is an announcement from the Public Affairs office of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons):

Popular Genealogy Web Sites Join Forces to Make Family History Research Easier

1880 U.S. Census Index Allows Users to View Images of the Original Census Documents

SALT LAKE CITY — For the first time, the fully searchable 1880 U.S. Census index is now linked with digital images of the original census documents. An agreement between, Inc., the largest collection of genealogical records online, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which through FamilySearch™ manages the largest repository of genealogical records from around the world, allows researchers to more easily search for their ancestors who were living in the United States in 1880. The 1880 U.S. Census index and images can be accessed at both and

By simply entering an ancestor's name, users can quickly search the 50,475,366 inhabitants of the 38 states and eight territories of the United States, as they existed in 1880. The names of those individuals listed on the population schedules at the time are now linked to the actual online images of the 1880 U.S. Census. The value of viewing the original image is that it will provide additional information on individuals and their households in June 1880.

Prior to the merger of these two technologies, users could search the online census index at, or they could browse the digital images available at "Integrating the online index with the actual images online allows users to search the census and go right to an image of the original source online for viewing or printing," said Glade I. Nelson, director of the Church's Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

"Bringing these resources together greatly enhances the user experience by making locating ancestors and the detailed information about those individuals more easily accessible — at the touch of a button," said André Brummer, senior vice-president of products for "The 1880 U.S. Census has a far-reaching impact on family history research in the U.S., because it opens access to a highly significant source of information for all families in all parts of the U.S. in 1880. Because the 1890 census was destroyed by fire, there is no other federal source like this for 20 years. It makes the 1880 U.S. Census of tremendous value."

Benefits of This Agreement for Genealogical Researchers

    • The digital images of the original census documents are available at and can now also be accessed from

    • Patrons of The Church's Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, and any of its 4000-plus family history centers worldwide can view the images at no charge.

    • Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who sign on or register as members through can also view the images at no charge. Other users through can have access to the images for 30 days for a fee of $9.95.

The integration of the automated census index with the actual images online is the first step in ongoing discussions between and FamilySearch. The two entities are currently reviewing other possible mutual projects.

About, Inc., Inc. is among the largest online subscription businesses, with over one million paid subscriptions and more than 10 million people using its Web resources every month. An interactive media company, connects families with their histories and one another. The company enriches the lives of its customers by providing the tools, content and community that empower them to find the people most important to them and share their unique family stories. The MyFamily network of Internet properties includes,,, and The company also publishes Family Tree Maker, the #1 selling family tree software, Ancestry magazine, Genealogical Computing magazine, over 50 book titles, and numerous databases on CD-ROM.

About FamilySearch

FamilySearch, which is managed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is a nonprofit, international organization committed to producing high-quality products for the family historian that simplify the process of identifying ancestors and linking them to families. It maintains the world's largest repository of genealogical resources, with vital records from over 110 countries, territories, and possessions, and one of the top Internet sites ( To promote local family history research, FamilySearch maintains the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and over 4000 branches of the library (family history centers) in more than 70 countries.

What Do You Think? Comments and discussion are available on this newsletter's Discussion Boards.

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- Online New England Heritage at Ray's Place

Ray Brown has a great online resource for those researching New England ancestry. He says that he has more than 100 megabytes of online data. I didn't check all the records, but after looking at all the offerings on the site, I believe him!

Here is a much abbreviated list of what can be found at Ray's Place:

History Articles:

    • Convention Troops in Connecticut
    • Early Milford, from Connecticut Magazine
    • Bristol First Connecticut Town to Provide Free Public Library
    • Military Service in Early Harwinton, CT
    • New England History Links
    • Pre-Revolution Episcopal Church Bristol CT
    • Constitutional History Of Connecticut
    • A Letter From A Repentant Royalist
    • Slavery in Connecticut
    • A Revolutionary Thanksgiving
    • The Tories of Connecticut

    • Connecticut Town Histories
    • Massachusetts Town Histories


    • Rev. Thomas Hooker
    • Oliver Wilcott Sr. (CT)
    • George Lyman (CT)
    • Walter Palmer of Stonington, CT
    • William Chesebrough, Stonington, CT
    • Israel Putnam
    • Biographic Sketches of Truro, MA (13 Bio's)

Governors of Connecticut Bio's

    • Charles Bartlett Andrews
    • Roger Sherman Baldwin
    • William Buckingham
    • Margan Gardner Bulkeley
    • James Edward Englash
    • Roger Griswold
    • Richard Dudley Hubbard
    • Samuel Huntington
    • Charles Hobby Pond
    • Thomas Hart Seymour
    • John Treadwell
    • Roger Wollcott

Cemetery listings for many cemeteries in Connecticut and a few in Massachusetts

Some census records for Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut

Descendant charts for several prominent families

There is much more available on the site, but the above should give you an idea of what you can find there. All information is available free of charge. The site is supported by advertising. To view the results of Ray Brown's hard work, look at:

What Do You Think? Comments and discussion are available on this newsletter's Discussion Boards.

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- Canadian Genealogy Centre Web Site Hosts New Partner's Database

The following is an announcement from Library and Archives Canada:

The Canadian Genealogy Centre, the Jewish Genealogical Society of Montreal, and the Jewish Genealogical Society of Ottawa announce the release of a new database on the Canadian Genealogy Centre Web site. Of interest to a wide number of Canadians, this database contains the names of thousands of immigrants to Canada who became naturalized in the early 20th century.

This new genealogical resource was created by the Jewish Genealogical Societies of Ottawa and of Montreal. A partnership concluded with the Canadian Genealogy Centre allows the Societies to give the widest possible access to this resource through the Centre's Web site. This kind of partnership is an example of how the Canadian Genealogy Centre is working in cooperation with genealogical and other societies to develop new content online.

Lists of immigrants who became Canadian citizens and received Canadian naturalization certificates between the years 1915 to 1951 were published in two, until now, rarely-used sources for genealogy research: the Secretary of State sessional papers and the Canada Gazette. The database contains the first phase of the project and presents the lists of immigrants from 1915 to 1932. The new database will be a treasure-trove for those doing family research because it is one of the few Canadian genealogical resources specifically designed to benefit researchers with roots outside the Commonwealth, for example, from the countries of Eastern Europe.

"Without the help of its many partners, the Library and Archives Canada would not be able to provide all the programs it offers to the public today," said Ian Wilson, National Archivist.

The Canadian Genealogy Centre Web site, providing access to genealogical resources in Canada or of interest to those with roots in Canada, is made possible in part by the Canadian Culture Online Program of the Department of Canadian Heritage. Launched in March 2003, the Web site is already receiving more than 750,000 hits a month. It was recently named one of 101 best family history Web sites by Family Tree Magazine due to its appeal to a wide audience, ease of use, available resources and clear design.

To view the Canadian Naturalization database, visit the Canadian Genealogy Centre Web site at:

What Do You Think? Comments and discussion are available on this newsletter's Discussion Boards.

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- 1851 Census for Dumfriesshire, Kirkcudbrightshire and Wigtownshire

Charles Dobie sent an e-mail message this week that I would like to share:


I was sent the link to a wonderful site by a Scottish researcher. The 1851 Census for all the parishes of Dumfriesshire, Kirkcudbrightshire and Wigtownshire is almost complete, and freely searchable on several fields -- surname, first name, address, occupation, among others.

For the first time I've made headway in sorting out my hundreds of Dobie relatives, as each record gives the exact relationship of each person to the head of household.

For example, a typical record shows:

Name: DOBIE, Robert
Address: Queensberry Street(821):
Parish: Dumfries
Relationship: head of household
Marital Status: widower
Age: 41
Born: born Tinwald Dms
Household No: 4/86

You can then do a search for everyone in household 4/86 in Dumfries parish and find Robert living with his three young daughters. It's wonderful.

Oh yes, the link to the site is:


Charles Dobie

Charles, thanks for letting all of us know about this new resource.

What Do You Think? Comments and discussion are available on this newsletter's Discussion Boards.

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- Nuremberg Records Going Online

Harvard Law School is planning to put more than a million documents from the Nuremberg trials on the Internet, allowing ready access to records of hearings into the war crimes of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich. More than 6,700 pages of material from one of the trials, which involved 23 defendants accused of doing harmful or fatal medical experiments on humans, already have been posted.

The documents relate to the 13 trials of accused World War II German war criminals in Nuremberg, Germany. The trials opened in late 1945 and continued until 1949.

You can see the information that is online now at:

My thanks to Maureen Mann for telling me about this new resource.

What Do You Think? Comments and discussion are available on this newsletter's Discussion Boards.

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- Court Again Pulls the Plug on BLM's Computers

About a year and a half ago I wrote an article in this newsletter with the title, "Bureau of Land Management Computers Knocked Offline By Judge." In that article I described orders issued by U.S. District Judge Royce to Secretary of Interior Gale Norton. Judge Royce ordered Secretary Norton to "immediately" disconnect from the Internet every single computer, server, and system that has access to individual Indian trust data. The following day, many of the government’s Web servers, including several containing genealogically valuable information, were disconnected from the Internet. You can read the article I wrote at: Three months later, the genealogy records were again made available online. See

Apparently little has changed since 2001. In a new Memorandum Opinion and Preliminary Injunction issued this week by Judge Royce C. Lamberth of the U.S. District Court for Washington, D.C., the court stepped in again to pull the plug on the Bureau of Land Management's systems. According to the former CIO of the Bureau of Indian Affairs: "For all practical purposes, we have no security, we have no infrastructure... . Our entire network has no firewalls on it. I don't like running a network that can be breached by a high school kid."

Details may be found in the court's document at and in a recent issue of Government Computer News at

What Do You Think? Comments and discussion are available on this newsletter's Discussion Boards.

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- CookBook Maker 2000

At the 2003 National Genealogical Society Conference held in Pittsburgh, one product on display caught my eye: CookBook Maker 2000 by Virgin Lake Software. I normally would not pay much attention to a cookbook program except that the examples on display at the conference had a very strong family heritage link. I obtained a copy of the program and now have used it for a bit.

Cookbook Maker 2000 is a cookbook-publishing house with an easy-to-follow template for typing in recipes. Recipes may be organized into as many as 25 categories. The program provides space for information about the recipe source or other notes of interest. It is these spaces for information and notes that differentiates the program from many of its competitors.

The examples on display at the NGS conference included information about the person who bright the recipe into the family, often going back three, four, or more generations. The facts were accompanied by stories about when the particular dish was served to the family, such as a special Christmas dish or a course served as part of religious feasts.

In short, CookBook Maker 2000 allows you to create a family heritage cookbook, containing generations-old recipes. You can store family stories alongside the recipe in order to "bring that person to life" for later generations. To see a brief example, go to and scroll to the bottom of the page.

I could envision this same product being used by a family society, a historical society, or a local church group. The printed output from the program is quite attractive; these can easily be printed and bound into books for sale.

Installation of the program was simple: use Windows' normal "Add or Remove Programs" function, and follow the on-screen prompts. Installation from CD required less than a minute.

The VLS CookBook Maker 2000 organizes your favorite recipes into twenty-five categories, from Appetizers to Vegetables. You can modify your recipes as often as you need, and then reprint them by category or by single recipe. The VLS CookBook Maker 2000 prints your recipes, ready to bind for your own use, for gifts to your family and friends, or to be duplicated for a fund raiser or a church or community cookbook.

A complete user’s guide is available at

This is a nice program. It is simple to use but gets the job done. In fact, it is a good cookbook program, even if you do not use it for family heritage!

CookBook Master 2000 requires Microsoft Windows® 95, 98, ME, 2000, or XP.

Virgin Lakes Software's CookBook Maker 2000 sells for $34.95, including shipping. For more information, or to safely order the program online, go to

What Do You Think? Comments and discussion are available on this newsletter's Discussion Boards.

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- 1.1 Release Candidate

I have written before about, a free office suite of programs that has most of the capabilities of Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.). In fact, I wrote an article about a new beta version in the May 26, 2003 edition. That beta version is now "gold." That is, the release candidate is now available. This is expected to be the final release. contains an excellent word processor, spreadsheet program, and presentation program (akin to PowerPoint), as well as a very good graphics drawing program that will produce everything from simple diagrams to dynamic 3D illustrations and special effects. is available for Windows, Solaris, and Linux operating systems. A Macintosh OS X version is in final beta. Of course, the best part is its price: is free. Not bad for an office suite that has 95% of the capabilities of Microsoft's $500+ Office XP Professional.

You can read my past articles about at: and Another review of is available at:,3959,5398,00.asp.

I am using more and more these days. It seems to have a cleaner design than Microsoft Word, the word processor I have used for almost a decade. Also,'s spellchecker, thesaurus, and hyphenator all seem to work better than Word's equivalents. I also find that creates better HTML files than those created by the latest version of Word. Opening a Word-created HTML document in a Web browser often results in "funny looking" documents. By contrast, creates documents that look like proper Web pages. Not bad for a free program!

Version 1.1 adds the following:

  • The ability to create PDF files (the same format as those created by Adobe Acrobat). This means that you can use this free program to create PDF files instead of paying $200+ for Acrobat. (Microsoft Word does not have this capability.)
  • Support for mailing a document as PDF
  • Support for exporting as a flat XML file
  • Support for Macromedia Flash (SWF) export
  • Support for mobile device formats like AportisDoc (Palm), Pocket Word, and Pocket Excel for PocketPC
  • Support for vertical writing within text documents, text frames, and graphic objects
  • Support for vertical writing in spreadsheet cells (the direction is individually selectable)
  • Support for using either Arabic or Hindi numerals
  • Enhanced footnote support
  • Macro Recorder
  • … and a lot more

The ability to create Adobe Acrobat PDF files should make this program appeal to a lot of people. PDF files are becoming very popular for distributing genealogy and other forms of information. You can create your documents in almost any modern genealogy program, then use the free program to convert the documents to PDF format.

Perhaps it is appropriate to list the features that does not have when comparing it to Microsoft's equivalent. To be sure, there are a few, but I find them to be features that I don't use. Here are a few:

Microsoft Word's Word Art can create fancy text, such as 3D letters and text that displays at an angle to the page, even text in an arc. Much of the same functionality exists in's graphics program; it can create many of the same effects, which can be imported into the word processor. However, Microsoft did the better job of integrating graphics into the word processor.

Creating subdocuments doesn't work as well in as in Word. (Subdocuments might be used when writing a book: one master document could be the "shell" for the entire book, and then separate subdocuments could be used for each chapter of the book.) does handle subdocuments, but style changes made to the master templates do not propagate to the subdocuments as easily as in Word.

Importing documents from Microsoft Office occasionally results in some minor formatting problems. For instance, the formatting from a table of contents in a Microsoft Word document will look a bit strange when imported into However, I found it easy to reformat or else use to create a new Table of Contents with its own formatting.

All in all, I am pleased with and am now using the latest version a lot even though I purchased the latest version of Microsoft Office some time ago. You can download the free software at Be warned that this is a whopping 60-megabyte file; users of dial-up connections may want to purchase CD-ROM disks or else use a download manager that can resume file transfers after possible aborts or time-outs.

If you prefer to purchase a CD-ROM version, you can buy them from a number of places, including from my Web pages at My price for the CD-ROM disk is $5.00, and that includes shipment to anyplace in the U.S. Version 1.1 for Windows requires:

  • Microsoft Windows 98, NT, ME, 2000 or XP (2000 or ME required for Asian/CJK versions)
  • 64 megabytes of RAM minimum or more
  • 250 megabytes of available hard disk space
  • 800-by-600 pixels of video resolution with 256 colors or more

These requirements are a bit less than the latest version of Microsoft Office. In fact, will perform faster than Microsoft Office on older PCs. I find that takes longer to load than Microsoft Word. Once loaded, however, it runs faster.

Nice program. Nice price tag: free.

What Do You Think? Comments and discussion are available on this newsletter's Discussion Boards.

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- Unearthing a Gravestone in the Garden

What started out as an ordinary gardening project for Barbara Kouneski on her Parkton property ended with an extraordinary discovery. The small stone she decided to dig up to use as a border for her flower garden kept getting bigger and bigger as she cleared away dirt surrounding it. It had three straight sides and one arched rim and was perfectly flat and smooth.

When she finally uncovered the "small" stone, it measured almost 3 feet tall and 18 inches wide. As she flipped the heavy stone over, she saw why it was so smooth, so creamy white. She had unearthed a gravestone for a baby who died in 1868.

Was the child actually buried in Barbara's garden? Barbara then decided to find out more about the baby and the family. Click here to read this interesting story.

What Do You Think? Comments and discussion are available on this newsletter's Discussion Boards.

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- Unmasking the Elephant Man

Joseph Merrick was known as the Elephant Man, a circus freak with bulbous growths that afflicted his body and face. Now, more than a century after his death, a New Zealand television production has revealed what may have been the real features behind the disfiguration.

Analysts brought together by the NHNZ (formerly Natural History NZ) documentary team included genealogists and DNA experts. Together, they found and studied descendants of his mother. This was the first time that such a study was made. They were able to determine how Merrick may have looked if he had not been ill.

You can see an artist's drawing of the handsome young man that Merrick could have been at,2106,2589463a11,00.html

What Do You Think? Comments and discussion are available on this newsletter's Discussion Boards.

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- The Antique Ghost Show

Do you want to know more than just the financial worth of antiques? A new Canadian television show claims to give you the whole scoop behind the artifacts.

Derek Acorah, one of England's most accomplished psychics, and a crew of experts in art, genealogy, and history, are featured on The Antique Ghost every Sunday at 8 PM Eastern Time on Bravo!, a Canadian channel. Derek claims to have the power to visualize an item's history by tapping into the strong emotional vibrations locked within. He gives readings for the objects. After the spiritual intermediary returns with his report from beyond, a crack group of heirloom authorities, genealogists, and historians hits the trail to verify his findings while turning up new and intriguing details about the item and the people who once possessed it.

Skeptical? So am I. However, it might be interesting to watch on Sunday evenings.

What Do You Think? Comments and discussion are available on this newsletter's Discussion Boards.

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- Upcoming Events

The Upcoming Events section of this newsletter is published once per month, usually in the first newsletter of each month. Each event will be listed very briefly: date(s), location and brief details, 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.

If you would like to see your event listed in future newsletters, send an e-mail to: 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.

Here are the listings, arranged by date. An asterisk indicates a new listing that has been added since the last time this list was published:

Aug. 8-9 - Guilford County, NC - Clapp & Related Families' Annual Research Weekend. Welcome All! Events include Box Dinner, Genealogy Exchange, tours of the restored home of Daniel P. and Cledora Clapp Foust, tours of Clapp’s Mill, Alamance Battleground, Pyles Defeat, and Lindley Mill tours and more.

Aug. 8-9 - Carleton Place, Ontario: The 26th annual Gathering of the Dobie Clan of North America. A business meeting and genealogy forum will be held on Friday. The outdoor program, consisting of games and competitions, etc. will be held on Saturday. More information is available from

Aug. 8-10 - South Tipperary, Ireland: Fennessy Family History Meeting 2003. Details may be found at:

* Aug. 9 - Indiana Historical Society Lecture - Where's the Fire? Using Fire Insurance Maps in Family History Research. Fire insurance maps were originally produced for the insurance underwriting industry, providing detailed information about a city or town's individual buildings. These maps remain a valuable resource for family history research. This program, given by map specialist Leigh Darbee, will include an overview history of fire insurance maps; a survey of how they are used today; a description of how they can be used specifically for family history research; detailed information about how to use and interpret them; and information on how to get access to them, including via online resources. To register, call 317/232-1882.

Aug. 15-17 – Lockport, NY: The Wertman Family Association Reunion is for descendants of George Philip Wertman who settled in 1749 in Lynn Township, present-day Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. A number of members of this family moved to the "great north woods or what is today called the Rapids, Lockport, New York. There will be a family researcher's meeting and a family outing. For information, contact:

Aug. 16 – Victoria, British Columbia: The Norman Morison Sesquicentennial (150th) Anniversary. The Hudson’s Bay Co. ship, ‘Norman Morison’s’ last trip to Victoria arrived in 1853. A celebration is planned for descendants of passengers on any of the 3 trips of the ‘Norman Morison.’

Aug. 16 – New Zealand, Salt Lake City, London and Edinburgh: The "Hooked on Genealogy Tours" has been taking annual tours to Salt Lake City and the UK since 1992. This year's tour leaves Auckland, New Zealand on Sat 16 August flying to LA and thence to Salt Lake City, then London and Edinburgh.

* Aug. 16-17 - Bolivar, OH: Some of the most famous and infamous names of the American colonial frontier will assemble at Fort Laurens State Memorial, located in Bolivar, Ohio. Family descendants of Daniel Boone, Simon Kenton, Simon Girty, Lewis Wetzel, William Crawford, Alexander McKee, and representatives of the Delaware and the Piqua Sept of Shawnee Indian nations will converge at the site of the only American Revolutionary War fort built in what is now the State of Ohio. For the first time in over 225 years, the family descendants of these great tribes and frontiersmen are returning to the site of Fort Laurens to share history, retell tall tales of great feats and adventure, and keep alive the history and memory of America's Revolutionary years.

*Aug. 23 – Grass Valley, CA: The Nevada County Genealogical Society's 11th Seminar, "Digging For Your Roots," features 24 presentations. Details may be found at:

Aug. 29-31 - Colchester, Essex, U.K.: A Family History Conference - "A Little of What You Fancy" will be held by the Essex Society for Family History and the Federation of Family History Societies.

Aug. 30 - Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland: The Fife Family History Fair with a theme of "Back to the Future" will feature a day packed with lectures, workshops, exhibition and stalls.

Sept. 2-6 – Orlando, FL: FGS/FSGS 2003 Conference "Countdown to Discovery: A World of Hidden Treasurers" will be hosted by the Florida State Genealogical Society. This conference will offer over 200 outstanding presentations and an exhibit area (150 booths) for browsing and shopping. For details and registration form, visit the FGS web site at http://www.fgs.htm

Sept. 18-21 - Williamsburg, VA: The Nicolas Martiau Descendant Association (NMDA) will assemble for the 4th Martiau Tribute weekend. Nicolas Martiau (1591-1657), "Father of Yorktown," was a Captain of Militia, Yorke Shire Justice, Burgess, Military Engineer and Planter. He is the earliest Colonial Ancestor of George Washington and Thomas Nelson. The present Queen of England and Robert E. Lee are also descendants.

*Sept. 20 – Baltimore, MD: More than 50 free classes in family history research will be offered at a workshop at the Baltimore Maryland Stake Family History Center. Topics for beginners and experienced researchers will include computer research; U.S., Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Washington D.C. research; and foreign research.

Sept. 25-27 – Buffalo, NY: A two-day Conference for New York Researchers: Find Your Family in New York will be presented jointly by The New York Genealogical & Biographical Society and the Western New York Genealogical Society. This conference will concentrate on the complexities of researching in New York State and on those unique factors which influenced its settlement. Full information, including online registration, is available at:

Sept. 26-28 – Ottawa, Ontario: The British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa announces its Ninth Annual Conference. This year's theme, "The Basics, and Beyond", features twenty-one presentations in three concurrent streams. Fawn Stratford-Devai, noted author and lecturer on Ontario genealogical and historical topics, will present several lectures focusing on immigrant records. Chad Gaffield, Professor of History, University of Ottawa, will give the annual Don Whiteside Memorial Lecture on "Who are we? The Changing Questions of Identity in Canadian Census Enumerations". For full information, visit

Sept. 27 - Naperville, IL: The Fox Valley Genealogical Society's Annual Conference will feature James W. and Paula Stuart Warren.

Sept. 27 - San Mateo, CA: The San Mateo County Genealogical Society is sponsoring a Workshop for Writers and Would Be Writers, led by Steven Friedman, author and teacher.

Oct. 1-11 - Boston to Quebec; Join the California Genealogical Society for a spectacular New England/Canada Fall Foliage cruise with great genealogical lectures presented by George F. Sanborn Jr. FASG FSAC and David Allen Lambert. The 10-day cruise sails round trip from Boston and will make stops in Maine, Nova Scotia, Quebec and New Brunswick.

*(updated) Oct. 3-5 - Rosemont, IL: The Polish Genealogical Society of America (PGSA) will celebrate its 25th Anniversary at the society's Annual Conference: "Where Do We Go From Here?" This conference will cover 17 topics. Among the speakers will be Washington-based John Philip Colletta, one of America¹s most popular genealogists/lecturers and author of "They Came in Ships: A Guide to Finding Your Immigrant Ancestor¹s Arrival Record" and other books; Ceil Jensen, an educator/ pioneer in integrating technology into the classroom; William F. (Fred) Hoffman, linguist, editor and author of several books; Brian J. Lenius, author and publisher of The "Genealogical Gazetteer of Galicia" and co-founder of the East European Genealogical Society; Stephen Barthel, staff member for the past 20 years of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City; and Iwona Dakiniewicz, from Lodz, Poland the PGSA's correspondent in Poland.

Oct. 4 - Oxford, England: Oxfordshire Family History Society Open Day 2003 will include a demonstration and workshop on the scanning of old photographs, an assortment of visiting societies, dealers in second hand books and postcards, sales of microfiche readers and the like, a beginners' helpdesk, computing demonstrations giving advice on such things as which genealogical software package to choose, and the use of the internet in family history.

*Oct. 11 - Mesa, AZ: The Sun Country TMG (The Master Genealogist) Users Group will sponsor a day's workshop to study use of The Master Genealogist software program. Guest speaker will be Bob Velke, President and CEO of Wholly Genes, Inc., developer and distributor of the program. For reservations, send check payable to Sun Country TMG Users' Group c/o Linda Lambert, 20915 West Dale Lane, Wittmann, AZ 85361.

*Oct. 11, Pekin, Illinois: The Tazewell County Genealogical & Historical Society announces "Harvest Time for Genealogists" - This all-day conference will feature Sandra Hargreaves Luebking, a nationally recognized author, lecturer, and instructor. More information can be obtained at

Oct. 12 – New York City: The annual Family History Fair will be sponsored by the Archivists Round Table. Admission is free. Details are available at:

Oct. 17-18 - Little Rock, AR: The Arkansas Genealogical Society Fall Seminar will feature guest speaker Cyndi Howells. For more information see:

Oct. 17-19 - Foster City, CA: The San Francisco Bay Region of the California State Genealogical Alliance will host a "California Conference." The main conference will be held on Saturday with tracks in California records, record preservation and research methodology. On Friday and Sunday there will be guided field trips and indoor workshops on photo preservation, cemetery research (includes and afternoon field trip), organizing a research project and hands on preservation techniques. NARA will be opened on Sunday for Conference attendees.

Oct. 18 - Worthing, W. Sussex U.K.: The "Computers in Family History Conference" will be sponsored by the Sussex Family History Group and Society of Genealogists (SoG).

Oct. 18 - Surrey, British Columbia: The 7th Annual Free Tri Stake Family History Seminar will present 38 different classes in all areas of research, such as Nonconformist Records for English Family History, Your Ancestors and the Poor Law,, PAF - Illustrating Family History, PAF - Sources and Notes, Right Forest/Wrong Tree, Peccadillos of Patronymics to mention a few. For more information, contact

Oct. 18 – Stockton, CA: The Stockton California Family History Center announces a Family History Faire. This is a FREE to the public show. Get help on starting your family history. Stop and visit our many information booths. See Grandma's Attic, computer related genealogy, journals, newspapers, old pictures, poetry, quilts, scrapbooking, software, spinning, and tatting. Listen to ancestral stories. Explore the royal genealogies database. Bring the whole family for the fun. For more information, contact:

Oct. 25 - Abbotsford, British Columbia: Join the Abbotsford Genealogical Society for ROOTS AROUND THE WORLD 2003 Family History Seminar. This biennial event offers twenty lectures, five bonus demonstrations, and market place. Lecture topics include: Canadian Railway Research, Records in the Province of Quebec, The British Way of Death, Chinese-Canadian Genealogical Resources, Australian, German, and Dutch Research, Photo Restoration and Archive Essentials.

Oct. 25 - Alamance County, NC: Murray & Related Families' Annual Research Saturday. Welcome All! This is for the descendants of James Murray, born Sept. 8th, 1803, died Sept. 24th, 1873, in the 71st year of his age:

*Oct. 25 - Herndon, VA: The Virginia Genealogical Society, partnering with the Fairfax Genealogical Society will hold its Fall Conference. The Conference theme, "Virginia's Friends and Neighbors," will feature lectures on 12 research topics, including ones on Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, and the National Capitol area. For full details, contact

Nov. 1 - Jacksonville, FL: The Southern Genealogist's Exchange Society will hold a genealogy workshop with two speakers. Linda Ellwood will lead a workshop on researching in Florida 1763 - 1821, with emphases on East Florida Papers, Florida Archives, Florida Land Office. Linda Rosenblatt will conduct a workshop on military research on the southeast coast, and will include a Civil War portrayal of the widow Ann Dugger.

Nov. 1 - San Mateo, CA: The San Mateo County Genealogical Society will hold their Fall Seminar. Hank Jones, author of "Psychic Roots", "More Psychic Roots" and five books on early Palatine emigrants to the United States will be the speaker. Attendance is limited, so please register now. Information is available at

Nov. 6-9 - North Falmouth, Cape Cod, MA: 7th New England Regional Genealogical Conference. The theme is "New England: America's Melting Pot." Speakers include: Sharon DeBartolo Carmack, John Philip Colletta, Maureen A. Taylor, Dick Eastman, and Pamela Clark Cerutti.

22-24 Jan, 2004 - St. Louis, MO: NGS GENTECH, a conference for genealogists using technology. This is a major, national event. Further information on the conference can be found at:

Jan. 24, 2004 - Largo, FL – The Pinellas Genealogy Society Annual Seminar will feature special speaker John Colletta. Dr. Colletta's topic will be "Passenger Arrival Records, Beginning and Advanced" and "Assembling a Quality Family History".

April 24, 2004 - Rohnert Park, CA: Elzabeth Shown Mills will hold all-day seminar in Sonoma County, California, sponsored by the Sonoma County Genealogical Society. Details are available at:

May 27-30, 2004 – Toronto, Ontario: The Toronto Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society will host the Society's annual seminar with a theme of "The 3 R's of Family History: Resources, Research, Results." The seminar will feature different streams of interest: Methodology, Technology, Toronto, Ontario, and Canadian research, and a miscellaneous stream which could include topics related to such things as Society Management, genetics/DNA, and others.

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The PR Budget for this newsletter is $0.00. I rely upon "word of mouse" advertising in which you recommend this newsletter to your friends. This newsletter is a private project of mine, and I have a zero budget for a publicity campaign to get more readers.

In each issue, I try to offer you useful, interesting and sometimes amusing information to help you with your genealogy efforts. Can you take a minute to help me out in return? If you think this newsletter is a worthwhile read, please tell your friends. Better yet, suggest they can read the Standard Edition or subscribe to the Plus Edition at


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COPYRIGHTS and Other Legal Things:

The contents of this newsletter are copyright by Richard W. Eastman with the following exception:

Many of the articles published in these newsletters contain quotes or references from others, especially from other Web sites, software user’s manuals, press releases and other public announcements. Any words in this newsletter attributed to another person or organization remain the copyrighted materials of the original author(s).

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.

You are hereby granted rights, unless otherwise specified, to re-distribute articles from this newsletter to other parties provided:

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Also, please include the following statement with any articles you re-distribute:

The following article is from Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter and is copyright 2003 by Richard W. Eastman. It is re-published here with the permission of the author. Information about the newsletter is available at

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If you all of a sudden stop receiving your copy of the newsletter (and this happens more than you might think), don't just assume I skipped an issue or there's something wrong with the newsletter's distribution. I rarely skip an issue without noting that in advance. If you stop receiving the newsletter, chances are that it's not a problem with your subscription; it's a problem with your mail server or your spam filter. That is the number one cause of newsletter subscription problems.


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 advisor to PBS' Ancestry series and appeared as a guest in one of the episodes. He serves on the Advisory Board of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and is a past Director of GENTECH and of the New England Computer Genealogists. Dick is the author of YOUR ROOTS: Total Genealogy Planning On Your Computer published by Ziff-Davis Press. He can be reached at: Due to the volume of e-mail received, he is unable to answer every e-mail message received.

If you have questions or comments about the article in this newsletter, go to and then click on "Discussion Board." Post your message there. You will receive then assistance from Dick Eastman or from a number of other people.


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