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Note: The information in this archived copy was accurate on the date of publication. Since then, Web sites have appeared and disappeared, companies have been merged and many other facts have changed. You may find references in this archived copy that are no loner accurate.

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

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

Vol. 4 No. 47 – Nov. 20, 1999

This newsletter is sponsored by Ancestry Publishing,
a leader in providing print and electronic
research information to genealogists.

To learn about Ancestry's
state-of-the-art online genealogy databases
and other fine products,
visit the Ancestry HomeTown at:
http://www.ancestry.com

Past issues of this Newsletter
are available at:
http://www.ancestry.com/columns/eastman/index.htm


Copyright 1999 by Richard W. Eastman. All rights reserved.

If you do contact any of the companies or societies mentioned in this newsletter, please tell them that you read about their services in this newsletter.


IN THIS ISSUE:

- LDS FamilySearch.org To Add 240 Million New Names
- Virginia Grants Online Database
- Acadian-Cajun Family Trees
- Heritage Quest Adds 1820 and 1830 U.S. Census CD-ROM Disks
- More on Latitudes and Longitudes
- AuctionFerret
- Ancestry.com, Inc. Changes Corporate Name to MyFamily.com, Inc.
- RootsWeb WorldConnect Project Launched
- Genealogy.com Awards 10 Scholarships to Budding Genealogists
- Paper Roots
- A Few Days Left: Best Genealogy Site on the Web
- 1918 Flu Victims Hold Clues to Fight Virus
- Man Finds Mother After 55 Years
- From the Mailbox
- The Key To Staying Young: Simple Tastes
- Home Pages Highlighted


- LDS FamilySearch.org To Add 240 Million New Names

There hasn’t been any official announcement, but two Salt Lake City newspapers report that the Mormon’s popular online Web site will add a lot more records to their online database on Monday. The addition of 240 million new names will mean that a total of 640 million records will now be available at http://www.familysearch.org.

In addition, FamilySearch plans early next year to index the new Pedigree Resource File (PRF), a database of family history records being uploaded to the site by users. Only the index is expected to be online. The files containing PRF data will be available on a set of CD-ROM disks. The PRF, already listing more than 5 million names, is projected to grow at the rate of 1.2 million names per month.

Full details are available at: http://www.sltrib.com/1999/nov/11161999/utah/47672.htm and at http://www.desnews.com/cgi-bin/libstory_reg?dn99&9911150026


- Virginia Grants Online Database

Steve Knoblock has obviously been toiling on a labor of love. He has created an online database listing land grant records as originally abstracted in Northern Neck Grant Books. The database is available free of charge on the Web.

The original hand-written Northern Neck Grant Books fill 37 volumes. These records were abstracted some years ago and published by the Fairfax County government in a single volume called "Beginning at a white Oak. Patents and Northern Neck Grants of Fairfax County, Virginia." The book is now out of print, and there are no plans to republish it. Steve Knoblock has been manually entering each abstract into a spreadsheet on his computer; the index fields from this spreadsheet are now available on Steve’s Web site. The database is searchable by name, surname, grant date, grant book and issuer.

I decided to try this for myself. I first searched for my own surname but didn’t find any listings. I guess the family never made it to that part of Virginia. I then tried some more common surnames and found lots of results. Here is one such listing:

Clark, Richard, . 94 11 Sep 1779 I:366, {Proprietary}

With this information I can look at the original grant books, either in person or on a rented microfilm copy. I should be able to quickly find the full record as recorded by the clerks in 1779. The data usually found in the books would include the name, surname, tract size, date of grant, grant book, grant issuer and the surveyor's description.

The home site for the search is at: http://whiteoak.home.att.net/index.html. Grant Books and the search are available at: http://whiteoak.home.att.net/landgrant/nn_grant_books.html while direct access to the database is at: http://www.city-gallery.com/whiteoak/landgrant.cgi


- Acadian-Cajun Family Trees

Progeny Software of Wolfville, Nova Scotia has released a new Windows CD-ROM disk: "Acadian-Cajun Family Trees." I had a chance to use the disk this week and really enjoyed it. You see, I have quite a bit of Acadian ancestry, and I found lots of ancestors on this one. The data looks good, and the user interface is nice as well.

"Acadian-Cajun Family Trees" is not a simple collection of old records copied onto CD-ROM. Instead, it is a true lineage-linked database. The database is searchable, with almost each person listed linked to a spouse as well as to children and (usually) to parents. Software included on the CD-ROM allows the user to generate printed ancestor, descendant and fan style charts, just like previous Progeny software versions. A new feature in this release is the capability to also generate a GEDCOM file from the data on the CD-ROM. You can create a GEDCOM file of the data you see on screen and then later import the GEDCOM file into any modern genealogy program. This feature can save a lot of keystrokes. You do not need to obtain any additional software in order to use this CD-ROM disk; all software is included for operation on a Windows 95, Windows 98 or Windows NT system.

The "Acadian-Cajun Family Trees" CD-ROM disk contains over 600,000 lineage-linked, family history records of Acadian descendants. Yvon Cyr collected these records at his popular Web site, http://www.Acadian.org. Many people contributed their GEDCOM files of Acadian ancestors from Acadia and from Louisiana. Yvon Cyr then combined them into one huge database. Cyr’s database became the foundation for Progeny Software’s "Acadian-Cajun Family Trees" CD-ROM. The CD-ROM contains the names of all the contributors.

This CD-ROM is believed to be the largest database of Acadian genealogy anywhere in electronic form. Like any other collection of GEDCOM files, you must treat the information as POSSIBILITES, not as proven fact. Many people contributed the information. Some of these people are genealogy experts while others are probably beginners. You can expect some variations in data accuracy. It isn’t practical for Yvon Cyr or for anyone else to go through and verify each and every one of the 600,000+ records contained on this disk. The information is presented "as is" and the user must validate each record presented through independent means. Nonetheless, this is a valuable resource for anyone with Acadian ancestry.

Installation of the software was simple: insert the CD-ROM disk, double-click on SETUP.EXE and then follow the on-screen instructions. A minute or so later the software was installed. While the software installs to your hard disk, the data remains on the CD-ROM disk.

Many genealogy CD-ROM disks these days do not have user’s manuals. I was pleasantly surprised to find a small, 16-page user’s manual inside the "Acadian-Cajun Family Trees" jewel case. This manual describes the disk’s contents, tells how to install the software, and even gives information on how to contact the disk’s compiler, Yvon Cyr.

I decided to pick one of my Acadian ancestors at random: Germain Theriault, born in Acadia in 1647. I entered his name into the search program. To my surprise, the software found 25 records for men of that name! Some of these records may be duplicates, but it does point out the French families’ tendency to use names over and over throughout several generations. I had to click on each record in order to view the details. Luckily, this didn’t require much effort. I quickly found the man I was looking for. Not only was his information shown, but the names of his parents and his wife and his children were also shown. To view the details of any of them, all I had to do was double-click on their names. At any time I was able to print family data on paper and also export it as a GEDCOM file.

The GEDCOM file output is an excellent feature. You can easily find a family or multiple connected families and then export them in GEDCOM format. Then you can import this GEDCOM file into your favorite genealogy program. You do not have to re-type all the information.

I will remind you to never import GEDCOM files into your primary database. Instead, create a new, empty database and import the GEDCOM file into that. Spend some time and effort validating the information shown in this second database. Once you are satisfied with data accuracy, you can always import the data into your primary database later. That should be true of any modern genealogy program.

All in all, I’d rate the "Acadian-Cajun Family Trees" CD-ROM disk as excellent. I’d say this even if it didn’t list about a hundred of my ancestors! While all the data needs to be verified, this CD-ROM is a "must have" for anyone researching Acadian ancestry. I know it has earned a permanent place on my bookshelf. I plan to spend a lot of time with it in the next few weeks.

One unique item is the connection of Progeny Software with Acadian ancestry. The company is located in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, in the heart of the territory formerly known as Acadia. In fact, company headquarters is about three miles from the point of the Expulsion.

The "Acadian-Cajun Family Trees" CD-ROM sells for $39.95 U.S. funds. Please add an extra $5.00 for shipping to U.S. addresses. The company maintains offices in both Canada and the United States, which simplifies shipping arrangements. Further information is available at: http://www.progenysoftware.com/Acadian_Cajun.html


- Heritage Quest Adds 1820 and 1830 U.S. Census CD-ROM Disks

Heritage Quest has been producing their "Digital Microfilm" CD-ROM disks for some months. These are actual images of original, handwritten census records that are scanned and placed on CD-ROM disks. You can read my review of the earlier CD-ROM disks in the May 11, 1999 edition of this newsletter at http://www.ancestry.com/columns/eastman/eastmay11-99.htm

This week Heritage Quest announced the latest additions: the 1820 and 1830 U.S. Census records are now available. These join the previously-available CD-ROM disks covering census years 1790, 1800, 1810, 1870 and 1900. The company says that more than 153 million Americans are now documented in more than 4,000 Family Quest Archives Digital Microfilm CDs. The massive U.S. Census Digitization Project has scanned over 2.9 million pages of the census to date.

Each CD-ROM disk costs $19.95. Shipping is free to U.S. addresses. Members of Heritage Quest’s Research Club get a $5.00 discount on each Census CD-ROM disk. Full details are available at: http://www.heritagequest.com/genealogy/CD-ROM/


- More on Latitudes and Longitudes

In the June 22, 1999 edition of this newsletter, available at: http://www.ancestry.com/columns/eastman/eastjune22-99.htm, I wrote about the desirability of recording longitudes and latitudes in every genealogy reference, along with traditional street addresses. In that article I described several methods of finding the geographic coordinates in the United States, including the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS), developed by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN). This online database contains information about almost 2 million physical and cultural geographic features in the United States. The Federally recognized name of each feature described in the database is identified and backed by references to each feature's state, county, latitude and longitude.

I also described the use of an inexpensive handheld GPS satellite navigation receiver to measure the latitude and longitude of any place that you might visit in person. This week, however, I read about a lower-cost method to locate any place in the U.S., whether or not you visit in person and whether or not it is listed in the government’s database. I say it is "cheaper" because all it requires is a computer and Internet access. I assume that all readers of this newsletter have already made that investment. If not, your local library probably offers free Web access.

Writing in this month’s QST Magazine, a publication for ham radio operators, Richard F. Gillette described the use of online street maps to determine longitudes and latitudes. To be sure, there are quite a few free street map Web sites available nowadays. However, MapsOnUS.com seems to be the only one with easy display of geographic coordinates.

When you go to the MapsOnUS Web site, the first screen you see asks for your User ID and password. However, look to the left a bit and click on the MAPS icon in the section called "Guest Users Start Here;" you don’t need to register to find latitudes and longitudes. Next you will be prompted for a street address, city, state and ZIP. If you do not have all that information, simply enter whatever you do have. Just the name of a city and state will start off with a map drawn on the center of that city. You can then pan in any direction to find specific locations within that city.

I entered my own street address, and a few seconds later I was looking at a map of my neighborhood. Next I zoomed in and out and panned until I could locate my house. Then I zoomed in again and again until I was looking at the exact location. Finally, I placed the mouse on the location in question, clicked once and the screen repainted. At the bottom of the screen I saw numbers. While not labeled, these are the latitude and longitude of the exact location that I had just clicked on. The negative number indicates degrees West; the positive number indicates the degrees North. What can be simpler?

For some people, the decimal number is sufficient. Others will prefer to read in the normal degrees, minutes and seconds method. The decimal portion can be converted to minutes by multiplying by 60. Likewise, the decimal minutes can be converted to seconds by again multiplying by 60. For instance, -88.115564 42.23384 indicates 88.115564 degrees West, 42.23384 degrees North. Starting with the longitude, multiply the decimal only by 60 (0.115564 X 60 = 6.9338 minutes). The result is 88 degrees 6.9338 minutes. Multiplying the decimal part of the minutes by 60 (0.9338 X 60 = 56.0304 seconds) results in a longitude of 88 6' 56" West. The same exercise can be done on the latitude.

As I wrote in the June 22, 1999 edition of this newsletter:

…I wrote about the latest version of The Master Genealogist. In that article I wrote, "One feature in its location database that I am beginning to appreciate is the provision for longitude and latitude. I am now recording the longitude and latitude of land that my ancestors owned as well as the locations of tombstones. Where possible, I even record the geographic coordinates of events such as birth, marriage and death. I hope this will allow future researchers and interested relatives to find these locations a lot more easily than I did. "

The MapsOnUS Web site is available at: http://MapsOnUS.com


- AuctionFerret

I used to look for genealogy materials for sale on eBay, the big online auction service. Some months ago I found a couple of old books about my family listed for sale on eBay, books that I had wanted for years. The prices weren’t cheap, but I gladly snatched them up. eBay can be a very useful service for genealogists. There are other online auction sites too, and it is a good idea to check them as well.

Six months ago it was easy to do this; go to eBay and spend 1 or 2 minutes looking at all the genealogy books, CD-ROM disks and other such materials listed. However, eBay and all the other auction sites have become very popular in recent months. This week I went to eBay and did a search on the word "genealogy." That search returned 1,068 items! Searching through them one by one can take a long time. Likewise, instead of the 3 or 4 other auction sites previously available, now there are a dozen or more. I simply don’t have the time to search them all.

Ferret Software recently released a software tool that allows fast searches of all the auction sites: AuctionFerret. I downloaded it this week and instantly fell in love with it. I can now search all the auction sites in a few minutes instead of hours.

With AuctionFerret, I can enter search criteria and choose to locate auctions containing all keywords, any keyword, the exact phrase, or a Boolean expression. I can check off individual sites or query up to 12 different auction sites. The system scans and lists any matches in a window. I found that I could click on any item in the list, and my browser then retrieved the details page for that auction from the host site. Other features include proxy settings, filters, a maximum number of results per search, and a very good help file.

AuctionFerret searches the following auction sites:

  • AltaVista

  • Amazon

  • Auctions.com

  • Bidz

  • EBay

  • Excite

  • Lycos

  • Microsoft Network

  • Tripod

  • Xoom

  • Yahoo

  • ZDNet

I did a search for anything with the word "genealogy" in the listing; the program took about two minutes to find more than 1,200 such listings. I then narrowed the search, trying to find references to materials about my surname; I entered "genealogy and Eastman." The search was shorter, about a minute or so. AuctionFerret did find a half dozen listings that had both the word "genealogy" and the word "Eastman" in them. Unfortunately, they were all references to software or CD-ROM disks previously reviewed in this newsletter! In the descriptions of each of these items the seller had written "reviewed in Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter" or something similar. Oh well, it proves that AuctionFerret is working properly.

Of course, you are not limited to surnames. You can also search by "genealogy and Virginia" or "Hispanic genealogy" or whatever else you want. Obviously you are not limited to genealogy searches either, you can search for Pokemon cards or automobiles or whatever else you want. Heck, AuctionFerret even found a bright blue 1/18th scale model of a Mazda Miata MX-5 sports car, the same color as my full-sized Miata. You can bet I entered a bid on that one!

The best part of AuctionFerret is its price: free. Ad banners display while searching support the program. A Pro version without ad banners will be released in January. However, I think the free version looks just fine.

For more information, or to download AuctionFerret, go to: http://www.ferretsoft.com


- Ancestry.com, Inc. Changes Corporate Name to MyFamily.com, Inc.

It’s not often that I read about genealogy in the New York Times. Much less, I don’t think I have ever seen a full-page ad for genealogy products in that newspaper. This week I saw both. On page C5 of last Wednesday’s New York Times, a full-page ad asked the question, "Looking for a company with a solid customer base?" The ad thensuggested, "How about anyone who was ever born."

The advertisement went on to announce a new name change and corporate focus for the company formally known as Ancestry.com, Inc.. The ad obviously is aimed at corporations looking for advertising space on popular Web sites. The ad also proclaimed, "We’re growing fast."

As part of the announcement, the company is changing its name to MyFamily.com, Inc.. The company will still operate its three major Web sites: MyFamily.com, Ancestry.com, and FamilyHistory.com.

Later in the day, the company issued a press release that said (in part):

Ancestry.com, Inc., the premier online resource for connecting and strengthening families, today announced that the company's name has changed to MyFamily.com, Inc. The name change comes at a time of tremendous growth for the company and more accurately articulates the company's strategy to create the largest and most active online community in the world for families. "

". . . MyFamily.com(SM), the leading provider of free, private Web sites for families, will become the master brand for the company. . . ."

". . . said Curt Allen, CEO of MyFamily.com, Inc. 'The broader corporate name of MyFamily.com, Inc. more effectively unifies these services under one master brand, and communicates our vision . . .'"

". . . Recently, MyFamily.com announced the addition of the MyFamily Gift Center, a premier online gift giving resource, which simplifies the family gift-giving process by offering private wish lists among family members and providing personalized gift-giving recommendations. . . ."


- RootsWeb WorldConnect Project Launched

RootsWeb issued the following press release this week:

RootsWeb.com, http://www.rootsweb.com, the Internet's oldest and largest genealogy site, today launched a new Genealogical Data Communication (GEDCOM) hosting program entitled the RootsWeb WorldConnect Project http://worldconnect.genealogy.rootsweb.com.

"In the 4 weeks of its beta test period, users have uploaded more than 5.5 million names to the RootsWeb WorldConnect Project," stated Dr. Brian Leverich, Founder and Chairman of the Board, RootsWeb.com, Inc.

GEDCOM is a standard file format developed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and enables the exchange of information among genealogy software programs. RootsWeb's WorldConnect Project allows individuals, in a very simple, user-friendly way, to upload, revise, delete and download GEDCOMs on RootsWeb.

The RootsWeb WorldConnect Project is hailed as the most user friendly and unrestricted of its kind on the Web. Unlike with other Web sites, RootsWeb users have complete control over their GEDCOMs and can change or remove them at any time. RootsWeb will never burn a user's GEDCOM onto a CD-ROM or charge others to access it.

RootsWeb's software is the newest, most comprehensive and advanced available on the Web. Key features allow users to:

  • Upload a GEDCOM file generated by ANY of the major software applications WITHOUT first having to convert the file to HTML;
  • Revise or delete GEDCOMs as well as change the display or download options at any time;
  • Link the GEDCOM to a home page;
  • Screen or remove information about living individuals from the GEDCOM;
  • Attach Post-Em notes both from the GEDCOM originator and from other RootsWeb users to the record of a particular individual, similar to the Post-Em Notes in Rootsweb's Social Security Death Index;
  • Link a GEDCOM to other GEDCOMs using Post-Ems;
  • Download subsets (portions) of the original GEDCOM, starting with a specific person and choosing either ancestors or descendants; and
  • Display GEDCOMs in the most highly flexible ways available on the Web.

A user need not have a Web site or even Internet access to post a GEDCOM. RootsWeb will accept GEDCOMs on floppy disks or ZIP drive disks. Users having trouble uploading a GEDCOM for any reason should send it on a floppy disk or ZIP disk to: RootsWeb WorldConnect Project, 1001 Tower Way, Suite #120, Bakersfield, CA 93309. RootsWeb will upload the GEDCOM and send notification by e-mail of such user's account name and password. RootsWeb's default display choice is to remove the names of everyone in a user's GEDCOM who was born within the past 100 years. Thereafter, the user can change the viewing options at any time by going to http://worldconnect.genealogy.rootsweb.com. Users should remember to enclose an e-mail address with the disk containing the GEDCOM or RootsWeb will have no way to notify them regarding their account name and password. Please also note that RootsWeb will destroy the disks it receives after uploading the GEDCOMs they contain.

"Our GEDCOM program has been months in the making and was developed by some of the most talented programmers in the business," said Dr. Leverich. "The display capabilities set a new standard. This new feature reinforces RootsWeb's leadership position in the rapidly expanding online genealogical community which we helped to create and continue to define."

"RootsWeb prides itself on being the consumer's friend. You will never see it taking the hard work of RootsWeb users and burning that information into a CD-ROM or charging others to access," said Dr. Leverich. "In addition, users have FULL control of their GEDCOMs and can change or remove them at any time."


- Genealogy.com Awards 10 Scholarships to Budding Genealogists

The following is an announcement from Genealogy.com, LLC:

Genealogy.com, LLC, formerly the Broderbund genealogy unit of Mattel Interactive, today awarded more than $5000 in scholarships to 10 individuals who are pursuing formal genealogy education, or who are in the process of becoming Accredited Genealogists or Certified Genealogists.

"Millions of people are now tracing their roots, and many of them will need guidance and assistance from professional researchers," said Rob Armstrong, Chief Executive Officer of Genealogy.com. "We've been awarding scholarships to deserving individuals for several years in order to help the genealogy community develop additional qualified professional researchers to meet the growing demand."

Applicants were required to submit proof of their application to the Board for Certification of Genealogists or the Accreditation Program of the Family History Department, or to show proof of enrollment in genealogy-related courses. All qualified applications were put into a pool, and the winners were randomly selected. Genealogy.com congratulates the following scholarship winners:

Jeanne Bloom -- Chicago, IL

Susan Decker -- Lexington, NE

Carol Ekdahl -- Salt Lake City, UT

Judy Jones -- Sandy, UT

Echo King -- Provo, UT

Pamela Lilly -- Weirton, WV

Sue Melvin -- Westminster, CO

Jason Peterson -- Northridge, CA

Kathryn Pope -- Provo, UT

June Vaughan -- Humble, TX

"I want to preserve our country's history because each individual's personal history makes up the history of this wonderful nation," said Pamela Lilly, a scholarship recipient, who will use her scholarship toward becoming a Certified American Lineage Specialist.

Over the past several years, in addition to its development of award-winning genealogy Web sites and products, Genealogy.com has demonstrated its commitment to the overall pursuit of genealogy through its support of multiple efforts within the genealogy community. In addition to scholarships, it has also given financial support to many national genealogy societies as well as several smaller, local organizations to further efforts in their own communities.


- Paper Roots

Another weekly genealogy newsletter appeared for the first time this week.

Hobson Woodward is producing a one-page publication called "Paper Roots, A Weekly Round-Up of Genealogy in the News." Although the name says "Paper Roots" it is indeed available in digital form on the Web. Hobson described his newsletter:

Each item is an entertaining look at a mainstream news story with a genealogical twist. The features are brief, but I hope fun and thought-provoking… I write Paper Roots as a hobby and as a way to publicize my professional genealogy research business (the only advertising of any kind I include is a three-line note about my business at the end of each issue). I collect no information on subscribers except e-mail addresses. I delete "unsubscribers" immediately upon request. I also keep my mailing list strictly confidential and send nothing to subscribers but the newsletter.

I read this week’s edition and found that it is a collection of quite different items. For instance, this edition says that "Detroit Pistons center Bison Dele told associates he will retire from the NBA and forfeit an annual salary of $5.67 million. Dele changed his name from Brian Williams prior to last season after researching his family history."

Since newsletter author Hobson and I both live fairly close to Boston, I was amused by another reference: "Chicago Tribune writer Phil Rogers, noting that the Boston Red Sox have not won a World Series since 1918, explained a ruckus by fans during a championship game this way: These people have 81 years of frustration dripping off their family trees."

"Paper Roots: A Weekly Round-Up of Genealogy in the News" by Hobson Woodward is available by e-mail. To subscribe to Paper Roots, send an email with the words "add to list" in the subject and text fields to ehwoodward@mediaone.net.

A Web site giving further details can be found at: can be seen http://people.ne.mediaone.net/ehwoodward/paperroots.html


- A Few Days Left: Best Genealogy Site on the Web

Last week I announced the third annual contest for the title of "Best Genealogy Site on the Web." I’m glad to report that the e-mail votes are coming in fast and furious. The number of votes received so far seems higher than last year at this time.

The polls will close on November 25, so I urge you to cast your vote now. In case you forgot about it, here’s a copy of the article published last week:

Who has the best genealogy-related World Wide Web site? Do you have an opinion? If so, you can make your opinion heard in the third annual "Best Genealogy Site On The World Wide Web" award.

You have the opportunity to honor a genealogy Web site with a "Readers’ Choice Award" to be issued by this newsletter. The readers of this newsletter will pick the site to be named "Best Genealogy Site on the World Wide Web." This will be the third year that the readers of this newsletter have conferred such an award. I won’t mention who won the award previously, as I don’t want to influence this year’s nominations. However, if you really want to know, you can read previous contest results in the past issues of this newsletter. They are stored on Ancestry.com’s Web site.

What guidelines are used to define the "best genealogy site on the World Wide Web?" That is strictly up to you. You can nominate a site because it is interesting or because it has nice graphics or because it has excellent maps or because it is full of valuable genealogy reference materials. I would suggest that you should nominate a site because it is the one genealogy Web site that you go back and visit, time and time again. However, even that guideline is optional. The choice is yours to make. When you cast your vote, you might write a couple of sentences about why you think this site is best, although that description is not absolutely required.

I have set up an "electronic voting machine" that you can use to cast a vote for this "best of the Web" award. You can vote at any time from now until midnight Eastern U.S. time on November 25, 1999. The voting machine will then tabulate the results. I will announce the winner in the November 27 newsletter. The winning World Wide Web site will then be allowed to mention the award on their Web site. That Web site also will be entitled to all the fame and notoriety that is included with this Online Genealogy Newsletter’s Readers’ Choice Award. Enough said!

To cast your vote, you must follow these instructions EXACTLY. A computer is tabulating the results, not a human being. Computers are not very good at interpreting what you meant to say; you have to be precise when talking to a computer. You must enter your vote in exactly the proper format.

To cast a vote for "Best Genealogy Site on the World Wide Web," send an email to:

bestsite@rootscomputing.com

The subject of the message must contain the full Web site address and nothing else. The message subject (some e-mail programs will say "Message Title" instead of "subject") MUST start with:

http://

For instance, any of the following would be proper message subjects:

http://www.ancestry.com

http://www.rootscomputing.com

http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/roots/

http://www.acs.ucalgary.ca/~dsucha/schuetz.html

http://ynot.netgrp.net/~tursky/

Please list the exact address in the message subject, but do not add any other words. Do not say, "My vote is..." or anything like that in the subject; simply list the actual URL beginning with the letters "http://". None of the following three examples will work. None of them begin with "http://" and therefore the computer program that tabulates the vote will ignore them:

www.xyz.com

My vote is for www.xyz.com

My favorite Web site is xyz.com

If you do not send your vote to the right e-mail address, or if you do not use the proper message subject, your e-mail will disappear into the Internet dark hole and will not be counted. If you do send it properly, you will receive a reply acknowledging the receipt of your nomination.

You do have the option of writing descriptive text in the body of the e-mail. The automatic vote tally software will ignore the body text. However, once the votes are tallied, a human will read all the messages that nominated the winning site and will look for any comments about that site. Some of those comments may be published in the November 27 newsletter. By writing text in the message body, you are giving permission to reprint your comments in this newsletter. If you do not want your words or name published, please do not write anything in the message body.

Only one vote per person is allowed. All votes must be received on or before November 25, 1999.

Any Web site that tries to "stack the deck" by creating a method to have Web visitors automatically send e-mails will be disqualified. However, Web sites are encouraged to place a link to this newsletter article as published on Ancestry.com or to copy this article in its entirety onto their own Web site. The Web site may suggest that their users read this article and then cast a vote. However, if the Web site’s software creates the message for the user, or if the Web site pre-loads a URL into the message subject of the vote, that site will be disqualified.

In case of disputes, I reserve the right to make final judgment on the authenticity of any votes.

Again, do not send your vote to my e-mail address or to the address that sends this newsletter. You must send your vote to:

bestsite@rootscomputing.com

The message subject line must start with:

http://

OK, which site is "the best genealogy site on the Web?"


- 1918 Flu Victims Hold Clues to Fight Virus

This may seem macabre, but it will save lives: Tissue samples taken from the frozen corpses of victims of the 1918 Spanish flu outbreak that killed up to 40 million people may give scientists ammunition to help avert another worldwide epidemic. Virologists at an international conference said Tuesday that influenza RNA from the frozen samples would allow them to decipher the genetic code of the deadly virus that caused this century's worst pandemic.

Spanish flu, coming at the end of World War One, killed more people than had died in the fighting, and researchers say it is just a matter of time before another catastrophic outbreak strikes Tissue samples taken from the brain, kidney, lungs and spleen of six young coal miners, whose bodies were found in the Arctic permafrost on Norway's Spitzbergen island about 800 miles from the North Pole, showed the virus had spread throughout their bodies.

Comparisons with lung tissue preserved from an American flu victim and a woman buried in Alaskan permafrost also indicated that the virus was related but had evolved differently in the United States and in Europe.


- Man Finds Mother After 55 Years

Are you having difficulty finding information about your ancestors? Think about the search that Michael Brandstetter has just completed. Michael lives in Austria. He became separated from his mother 55 years ago during World War Two. He started looking for her two years ago. "I had not counted on finding her alive," Michael told Reuters.

As a young prisoner of war in 1942, Brandstetter's mother was transported from Ukraine to Austria, where she was forced to work as a laborer in a Lower Austrian inn. Brandstetter, 56, was split from his mother and younger sister when still a toddler. "I was taken to hospital suffering from scarlet fever and diphtheria...and they then told her I was dead," he said. His mother returned to Ukraine in 1945, while a local family adopted young Brandstetter.

Fifty-three years later, Brandstetter contacted many agencies in his search for his long-lost parent. The Austrian Red Cross tracing service found his mother as well as his sister in a Ukrainian village last year. Last Wednesday Brandstetter was reunited with his sister and their 82-year-old mother in Lower Austria. The family will spend the next two weeks together before mother and sister return to Ukraine.


- From the Mailbox

In the November 6, 1999 edition of this newsletter, I wrote that several readers had reported success in the fight against "spam mail" by using a free service called Spam Cop. This was done via a Web site at http://www.spamcop.com. Unfortunately, this week the SpamCop Web site disappeared. Several readers reported that attempts to go to that site resulted in error messages of "Unable to locate the server: www.spamcop.com."


- The Key To Staying Young: Simple Tastes

The key to staying young is all in the mind and simple tastes, according to Ireland's oldest citizen. "I feel just the same as I did when I was 20," said Bridget Dirrane from Galway in west Ireland, just after her 105th birthday on Sunday. "Natural, simple foods, lots of greens, fish fresh from the sea and lots of plain water are the secret," she said of her longevity.

Born on the windswept Aran Islands of Ireland's west coast in 1894, Dirrane has witnessed some of the key events in Ireland's history -- and America's. She was in her 20s when she mixed with leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising revolt against British rule that later led to the country's partition, and was jailed during the War of Independence.

After emigrating to the United States in 1927, she later canvassed for former president John F. Kennedy's presidential campaign. She returned to Ireland in 1966.


- Home Pages Highlighted

The following is a list of some of the genealogy-related World Wide Web home pages that have been listed recently on http://www.rootscomputing.com:

El Web Del Solar De Tejada Y Valdeoseras,La Familia Saez,Saenz,Sainz Y Variantes Descendientes Del Solar De Tejada Y Valdeosera: http://www.riojainternet.com/solardetejada/index.html http://genforum.genealogy.com/saez/messages/13.html

Long Island Genealogy, including a major surname exchange: http://longislandgenealogy.com

Prevost-Provost Genealogy, the result of twelve years of research of marriage records pertaining to these two families. The information consists of the descendants of the nine Prevost and Provost ancestors who came to Canada in the 17th and 18th Centuries. Some information is also provided for the European ancestors who immigrated to America: http://www3.sympatico.ca/cprovost

1883 Pensioners Online with 250+links to Pensioners on the Roll: http://www.homestead.com/aahala

Dominy & Related Surnames: http://www.dominy.com/genealogy

A Web site that lets genealogists list their interests each municipality (today and earlier from ca 1800-1999) in NORWAY. This site also has a contact forum for the benefit of all interested in the same area. The site is in Norwegian: http://www.nettside.com/slektsforskerbasen.htm

World wide one name study on Minney: http://freespace.virgin.net/b.minney/index.htm

The family name Clarke and all related surnames: http://www.dhc.net/~design/gedcom/clarke.htm

Obit Lookups - A list of volunteers all over the world who are willing to search for old obituaries in newspapers that they have access to. We are in need of volunteers also: http://members.aol.com/sjhcamp/index.html

Kelly Kanadian Kin - Kelly/Kelley surname in early Canada; and their researchers: http://www.cyberbeach.net/~mkelly/

To submit your home page to this newsletter, enter the necessary information at: http://www.rootscomputing.com/register.htm. Due to the volume of new Web pages submitted, I am not able to list all of them in the newsletter.


Are you interested in the articles in this newsletter? Would you like to learn more or ask questions or make comments about these articles? Join this newsletter’s online discussion group on CompuServe’s Genealogy Techniques Forum. CompuServe members using Netscape, Internet Explorer or CompuServe 2000 can go to http://go.compuserve.com/GenealogyForum. If you are using Classic CompuServe, you can GO ROOTS.


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.


DISCLAIMER: This newsletter is being written and sent via e-mail at no charge. I expect to write one new issue on a more or less weekly basis. However, life sometimes interferes, and the need to earn a living may create an occasional delay.


COPYRIGHTS: The contents of this newsletter are copyright by Richard W. Eastman. You are hereby granted rights, unless otherwise specified, to re-distribute articles from this newsletter to other parties provided you do so strictly for non-commercial purposes. Please limit your re-distribution to one or two articles per newsletter; do not re-distribute the newsletter in its entirety. Also, please include the following words with any articles you re-distribute:

The following article is from Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter and is copyright 1999 by Richard W. Eastman. It is re-published here with the permission of the author.

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About the author: Dick Eastman is the forum manager of the four Genealogy Forums on CompuServe. He also 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