Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

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  • 1 Oct 2020 4:00 AM | Anonymous

    It is the first day of the month. It's time to back up your genealogy files. Then test your backups!

    Actually, you can make backups at any time. However, it is easier and safer if you have a specific schedule. The first day of the month is easy to remember, so I would suggest you back up your genealogy files at least on the first day of every month, if not more often. (My computers automatically make off-site backups of all new files every few minutes.)

    Given the events of the past few months with genealogy websites laying off employees and cutting back on services, you now need backup copies of everything more than ever. What happens if the company that holds your online data either goes off line or simply deletes the service where your data is held? If you have copies of everything stored either in your own computer or stored in a different company's online service, such a loss would be inconvenient but not a disaster.

    Of course, you might want to back up more than your genealogy files. Family photographs, your checkbook register, all sorts of word processing documents, email messages, and much more need to be backed up regularly. Why not do that on the first day of each month?

  • 29 Sep 2020 11:39 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by Family History Hosting:

    Narragansett, Rhode Island, September 29, 2020 - Family History Hosting is pleased to announce the release of ORA version 1.10. ORA is the "Online Repository Assistant", a web browser extension combined with a Windows program to help you extract data from the web pages of your favorite online repositories and capture the information in your preferred genealogy program. ORA has several features that will save time, reduce errors, and increase the consistency of your data entry.

    Originally released in June with support for four popular repositories, ORA now supports twelve repositories:

    • Ancestry
    • Fold3
    • Australian Cemeteries Index
    • FreeReg
    • BillionGraves
    • General Register Office, UK
    • FamilySearch
    • Newspapers.com
    • Find a Grave
    • Nova Scotia Genealogy
    • Findmypast
    • Trove

    ORA users depend on it to save them time and effort:

    * "After weeks of using ORA to create source definitions for newspaper clippings and obituaries on Newspapers.com, I came across an obit I wanted [to cite] in the student newspaper of a college, found on the college's digital repository. ORA doesn't work there! What, write an obit source definition manually?? Can I remember how? It made me really appreciate how much work ORA has eliminated." - Terry

    * "I have made more progress in my research in the past two months that I've used ORA than in the two years prior." - Saul

    For more information about ORA, see its Introduction slideshow. The Introduction includes several videos that show ORA in action.

    ORA is sold as a subscription service, $24 USD per year. ORA is not affiliated with any of the repositories it supports. ORA does not do any searching for you; it evaluates pages you visit during your normal use of a repository and makes it faster and easier to extract the information you find. For Ancestry, Findmypast, and other fee-based repositories, you must have an account with that repository.

  • 29 Sep 2020 11:29 AM | Anonymous

    More ancestor discoveries will be populating family trees worldwide with FamilySearch's major new historical records additions this week—4M new records from Australia, Victoria Coastal Passenger Lists 1852–1924 and over 3M Boston Massachusetts Tax Records 1822–1918 and New York Land Records 1630–1975. Also from the United States, the Indiana Marriages 1811–2007 collection had 100k additions plus more records for CA, HI, IN, KS, MS, MN, MS, TX, NY, VA, and WA. International, over 600k Bolivia Catholic Church Records 1566-1996, were added, and more for BrazilCanadaCosta RicaEcuadorEnglandMexicoPeru, and S. Africa.   Search these new records and images by clicking on the collection links below, or go to FamilySearch to search over 8 billion free names and record images.  

    Country Collection Indexed Records Digital Images Comments
    Argentina Argentina, Salta, Civil Registration, 1880-2000 1,230 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    Australia Australia, Victoria Coastal Passenger Lists, 1852-1924 3,244,620 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    Bolivia Bolivia Catholic Church Records, 1566-1996 630,782 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    Brazil Brazil, Bahia, Civil Registration, 1877-1976 277 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    Brazil Brazil, Civil Registration, 1860-2006 7,069 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    Brazil Brazil, Minas Gerais, Civil Registration, 1879-1949 9,107 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    Brazil Brazil, Pernambuco, Civil Registration, 1804-2016 12 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    Brazil Brazil, Santa Catarina, Civil Registration, 1850-1999 14,082 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    Canada Canada, New Brunswick, County Register of Births, 1801-1920 17,505 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    Canada Canada, Prairie Provinces Census, 1926 3,966 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    Canada Nova Scotia Church Records, 1720-2001 11,544 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    Costa Rica Costa Rica, Civil Registration, 1823-1975 42,776 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    Croatia Croatia, Delnice Deanery Catholic Church Books, 1571-1926 4,638 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    Ecuador Ecuador, Cemetery Records, 1862-2019 70,431 0 New indexed records collection
    England England, Essex Non-Conformist Church Records, 1613-1971 3,578 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    England England, Herefordshire Bishop's Transcripts, 1583-1898 3,378 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    England England, Middlesex Parish Registers, 1539-1988 93,477 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    Fiji Fiji, Indian Death Records, 1899-1922 69 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    Kiribati Kiribati, Vital Records, 1890-1991 74 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    Mexico Mexico, Sinaloa, Civil Registration, 1861-1929 44,237 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    Micronesia Micronesia, Civil Registration, 1883-1983 2,005 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    Papua New Guinea Papua New Guinea, Birth Records, 1888-2004 2,316 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    Papua New Guinea Papua New Guinea, Vital Records, 1867-2000 5,905 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    Peru Peru, Huánuco, Civil Registration, 1888-1998 2,066 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    Peru Peru, Junín, Civil Registration, 1881-2005 67,249 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    Peru Peru, Pasco, Civil Registration, 1931-1996 5,772 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    Peru Peru, Piura, Civil Registration, 1874-1996 53,480 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    Peru Peru, Prelature of Yauyos-Cañete-Huarochirí, Catholic Church Records, 1665-2018 7,748 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    Poland Poland, Lublin Roman Catholic Church Books, 1784-1964 3,810 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    Puerto Rico Puerto Rico, Civil Registration, 1805-2001 5,851 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    Samoa Samoa, Vital Records, 1846-1996 428 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    South Africa South Africa, Church of the Province of South Africa, Parish Registers, 1801-2004 307 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    South Africa South Africa, Civil Death Registration, 1955-1966 21,492 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    South Africa South Africa, Civil Marriage Records, 1840-1973 19,354 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    South Africa South Africa, KwaZulu Natal, Vital Records, 1868-1976 3,524 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    South Africa South Africa, Orange Free State, Civil Death Registration, 1902-1954 13,369 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    United States California, County Birth and Death Records, 1800-1994 45,861 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    United States California, Los Angeles, Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery/Crematory Records, 1884-2002 3,090 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    United States Hawaii, Collector of Customs, Ships' Passenger Manifests, 1843-1900 39,080 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    United States Hawaii, Hawaiian Islands Newspaper Obituaries, 1900-ca.2010 28,093 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    United States Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007 113,674 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    United States Kansas, Riley County, Sunset Cemetery, Burial Index Cards, 1856-1998 10,841 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    United States Massachusetts, Boston Tax Records, 1822-1918 486,857 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    United States Minnesota, Stevens County Genealogical Society Records, 1876-2006 32,052 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    United States Mississippi, County Marriages, 1858-1979 45,841 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    United States New Jersey, Death Index, 1901-1903; 1916-1929 157 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    United States New Jersey, Newark, Mount Olivet Cemetery Records, 1871-1984 3,823 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    United States Oklahoma, Noble County, Parker Funeral Home, Funeral Records, 1908-1982 1,656 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    United States Pennsylvania Cemetery Records, ca. 1700-ca. 1950 1,141 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    United States Texas, Eagle Pass Arrival Manifests and Indexes, 1905-1954 85,307 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    United States Texas, Hardin County Clerk, Death Records, 1908-1948 519 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    United States Texas, Hardin County, Registers of Births, 1882-1939 147 0 New indexed records collection
    United States United States, New York Land Records, 1630-1975 2,819,557 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    United States Virginia, Bureau of Vital Statistics, County Marriage Registers, 1853-1935 11,445 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    United States Virginia, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Death Records, 1853-1912 21,795 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    United States Washington, County Birth Registers, 1873-1965 12,869 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    Zambia Zambia, Archdiocese of Lusaka, Church Records, 1950-2015 4,629 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection
    About FamilySearch
    FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at FamilySearch.org or through over 5,000 family history centers in 129 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.
  • 28 Sep 2020 10:30 PM | Anonymous
    The following is a message posted to the IAJGS (International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies) Public Records Access Alert mailing list:

    The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has been sued over its recent permanent regulations on application fees, which raises application fees for many essential immigration benefits by 30 to 200 percent, and eliminates most fee waivers for qualifying low income immigrants.

    The regulation covers more than the genealogy records, as it also increased the fees for immigration services. On August 20, 2020,  The American Immigration Lawyers Association and eight other organizations filed the law suit to block the regulation due to the exceeding large increase in filing fees across the board. To read the law suit filing see:   https://www.aila.org/infonet/aila-partners-sue-uscis-fee-rule

    The focus of the litigation is that fees for low income applicants making it very difficult for them to apply for naturalization. It also challenges the rule issued under an acting Secretary of Homeland Security and there states the persons, Chad Wolf and Kevin McAleenan do not have constitutional or statutory authority to issue the regulations. The litigation also challenges the abandonment of the practice of “ability to pay” model and adoption of “beneficiary pays” model. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court of Northern district of California- San Francisco as that is where Immigrant Legal Resource Center’s principal place of business is in San Francisco, California, and East Bay Sanctuary Covenant’s principal place of business is in Berkeley, California. Other plaintiff’s are also located in California.

    The suit does not address the genealogy fees, rather its focus is on the immigrant application fees. Depending on the courts determine this case the genealogy fees may be changed from what goes into effect this October 2.

    If you are planning to order any records from USCIS at the current $65.00 rate for the index search and another $65.00 for the copy make certain your request is postmarked before October 2. The forms may be found at: https://www.uscis.gov/genealogy

    To see previous postings about the USCIS and the fee increases,  go to the archives of the IAJGS Records Access Alert at:  http://lists.iajgs.org/mailman/private/records-access-alerts/. You must be registered to access the archives.  To register go to: http://lists.iajgs.org/mailman/listinfo/records-access-alerts  and follow the instructions to enter your email address, full name and which genealogical  organization with whom you are affiliated   You will receive an email response that you have to reply to or the subscription will not be finalized.

    Jan Meisels Allen Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

  • 28 Sep 2020 6:30 PM | Anonymous

    Elephind is a great service that searches online digital newspaper collections. Best of all, it is available free of charge.


    Elephind.com is a search engine that operates much like Google, Bing, and other search engines. The one thing that is different with Elephind is that it searches only historical, digitized newspapers. It enables you to search for free across many newspaper sites simultaneously rather than having to visit each collection's web site separately.

    At this time Elephind has indexed 199,820,058 items from 4,267 newspaper titles. These include such well known sites as Chronicling America (the U.S.'s Library of Congress) and Trove (National Library of Australia), as well as smaller collections like Door County Library in Wisconsin. Many of the smaller newspaper sites are not well known and may be difficult to find with the usual search engines, but they are searchable from Elephind.com. A list of available newspaper collections that have been indexed so far is available at https://bit.ly/2EECuqG.

    Additional newspaper collections are added to Elephind's indexes frequently.

    I found that Elephind operates in much the same manner as many other search engines. If you already know how to search for things in Google, DuckDuckGo, Bing, Yahoo, or elsewhere, you already know how to use Elephind. In fact, there are two search methods available on Elephind:

    1. When you first visit the site at http://www.elephind.com, you are greeted with a very simple search screen containing one data entry box. You can search for words or phases in much the same way as you do on Google although not all of Google's sophisticated Boolean search terms are available on Elephind. You can find tips for using the search box at https://bit.ly/2S5mCk7.
    2. When visiting this same site at http://www.elephind.com, you will also see a highlighted link for "Advanced Search." When you click on that, a more sophisticated search form appears, allowing you to narrow the search to any combination of specific newspaper titles, country, or a range of dates.

    I did a search for my own last name between the years 1811 and 1890 in the United States. It returned far too many "hits" for me to search through; so, I started narrowing the search by specifying first names and cities or towns of interest. I was soon looking at information of interest.

    I was impressed with the clarity of the newspaper pages I was able to view; but, of course, that is under the control of the individual newspaper collection. Elephind does not host the images on its own web site. Instead, it merely links to newspapers found on a wide variety of servers in a number of different countries from around the world.

    Elephind.com is a great tool for family historians, genealogists, and researchers to search historic, digitized newspaper archives from around the globe. Will Elephind locate newspaper articles about your ancestors? There is no way to tell in advance. You need to try it for a while to see. It is a free resource, so why not try it to see for yourself?

    Elephind may be found at http://www.elephind.com.

    Elephind is continuing to add more newspapers, so if at first you can't find what you're looking for, check back later. You also might want to add your name to the Elephind mailing list at http://eepurl.com/ndGhb to receive an email message whenever a new collection is added.

  • 28 Sep 2020 2:27 PM | Anonymous

    The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.

    WARNING: This article contains personal opinions.

    One thing that constantly puzzles me is why do genealogists keep re-inventing the same wheels? In fact, we have the tools today to reduce this duplication of effort immediately and perhaps to even drive it to zero within a few years. If we do that, the result will be peer-reviewed, high-quality genealogy information available to everyone.

    For decades, the standard method of genealogy research has been to look at original records as well as compiled genealogies, looking for information about each ancestor, one fact at a time. In modern times, we typically have used IMAGES of the original records published on microfilm and, more recently, images that appear on our computer screens. We then supplement these original records with compiled genealogies from many sources, including printed books, online web sites, and even GEDCOM files online or on CD-ROM disks. Experienced genealogists also understand the importance of VERIFYING each piece of information, regardless of where it was obtained. Yes, even original hand-written records made at the time of an event may contain errors.

    Compiling a genealogy typically requires hundreds of hours of work, sometimes thousands of hours, sometimes great expenditures of money, and, when original records have not been easily available locally, we often spend significant amounts of money on travel.

    To be kind, I will simply say that the results have been variable. Some skilled and careful researchers have produced accurate and carefully documented genealogies. Other genealogists, typically those with less-than-perfect research skills or motivation, have produced compiled genealogies containing errors. A few have produced genealogies that I can only describe as “fairy tales.”

    The guidelines that we have all learned for years state that experienced genealogists must educate the newcomers in the proper methods of creating accurate and meaningful genealogies. We must teach every newcomer how to “do it the right way.” My opinion is that this hasn’t worked very well. I see as many errors being cranked out today as I saw years ago. In fact, due to the efficiencies of computers today, we can crank out more errors in a shorter period of time than ever before. I don’t think the percentage of errors has changed much over the years, but the VOLUME of genealogies certainly has increased!

    Today, we produce more garbage than ever before. I will suggest our efforts of “educating the masses” in proper research techniques have been a failure. Yet, I believe there is a better way.

    The remainder of this article is only available to Plus Edition subscribers or to anyone who wishes to pay for this one article.

    1. If you have a Plus Edition user ID and password, you can read the article by clicking on the link in the email message sent to all Plus Edition subscribers this week. Look in your email in-box. This article will remain online for several weeks.

    2. Want to become a Plus Edition subscriber? Go to https://blog.eogn.com/subscribe-to-the-plus-edition/.

    3. Non-subscribers may purchase this one article, without subscribing, for $2.00 US. You may purchase the article by clicking herePayment can be made with VISA, MasterCard, American Express, Discover Card, or with PayPal’s safe and secure payment system.  You can then either read the article on-screen or else download it to your computer and save it.

  • 28 Sep 2020 7:30 AM | Anonymous

    The following is a message posted to the IAJGS (International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies) Public Records Access Alert mailing list:

    The New York City Department of Records and Information Services (DORIS) (this includes the Municipal Archives) has proposed new rules with an increase in fees for records, photographs, videos, and access requirements –some of which are detrimental to genealogists-such as not being able to share any of the information with anyone.  The notice of the proposed rule and hearing may be found at: https://rules.cityofnewyork.us/content/amendment-rules-relating-municipal-archives-and-municipal-reference-library. You may download the pdf of the proposed rule from this site and it is attached to this announcement for you convenience.

    When reading the proposed rule please not that information in brackets [ ] is deleted and that which is newly proposed is underlined _____.

    A public hearing is scheduled for Friday October 23, 2020 at 11:00AM Eastern Time.  Deadline for submitting comments is also October 23, 2020—see below on how to submit your statement. Information on how to participate by video conference or telephone is:

    Internet Video and Audio. To participate in the public hearing, enter the

    Webex URL:

    https://nycdoris.webex.com/nycdoris/j.php?MTID=mefc0048fb1822df1ceebde18
    81eb07be

    (copy and paste if it does not click)

    If prompted to provide a password or number, please enter the following:

    Meeting Number: 173 225 7395. Password: kjEZGpCu746

    Telephone. To access the hearing by telephone, dial +1-646-992-2010 United States Toll (New York City) or 1-408-418-9388 United States Toll.  Access code: 173 225 7395

    You can submit comments several ways:

    Website. You can submit comments to the Department of Records & Information Services through the NYC rules website at: http://rules.cityofnewyork.us.

    Email. You can email comments to DORISrules@records.nyc.gov

    Mail. You can mail comments to:

    Assistant Commissioner Kenneth R. Cobb,

    Department of Records & Information Services,

    31 Chambers Street, Suite 305,

    New York, N.Y. 10007.

    Fax. You can fax comments to Department of Records & Information Services, 212 788-8625.

    By speaking at the hearing. Anyone who wants to comment on the proposed rule at the public hearing may speak for up to three minutes. Please access the public hearing by Internet Video and Audio or by Telephone using the instructions above. It is recommended, but not required, that anyone who wants to comment sign up prior to the hearing by emailing Gerald Rosero at: grosero@records.nyc.gov

    Some of the increased fees include:

      • raising the charge from $15.00 to $18.00 for a certified copy of a vital record of a birth, death or marriage record when a certificate number is provided, for one year/ one borough/one name and for issuance of a certificate say the record is “not found”.  Additional handling charges will apply for services requested via epayments.
      • Charging $2.00 for each additional year to be searched in one city/borough for the same name
      • Charging $2.00 for each additional city/borough for the same name
      • Publication or license fee for use of a reproduction of a still photograph, image or document or other archival item.  Educational, scholarly or non-profit products or media starts at $15.00 and increase for commercial products or media.
      • $40 charge for commercial use of moving images per second.
      • $10 charge for commercial use of moving images, per second.
      • $50 per hour charge for conducting original research for patrons not including copies.
      • $125 per hour charge for conservation services and exhibition load preparation requested by institutions, per hour, not including materials.
      • Increase from $15.00 to $18.00 for paper or digital  property card pertaining to one block and lot.
      • Certification of property cards relating to one block or lot.
      • Still images for personal use only, $45.00 for high resolution non-watermarked digital copy of any two-dimensional item with size restrictions; $65.00 for larger size copies; $40.00 per additional 100 pages or documents ordered at the same time.
      • Hard copy prints: $40- 8’x10”; $60 -11’x14”; $120.00 16”x20” plus extra charges for shipping and handling
      • $100.00 high-resolution non-watermarked digital copy of moving image tape or film per title.
      • Charges for photocopying services vary from $0.25 per page to $0.50 per page.  No charge for use of personal camera.

    The proposed rules also state:

    Section 3-01 Municipal Archives and Library Regulations Governing Use of Archives and Library Materials:

    Section A: Access to Materials

    All researchers must complete a registration form with name, contact information, affiliation if any, and specifying research subject and purpose and provide acceptable identification upon request.  Physical condition of any item may prohibit public access. Certain records may be subject to redaction and other restrictive access related to personal privacy, health information and minors. The special restrictions also apply to District Attorney case files, Board of Education “anti-Communist” case files, World Trade Center materials and Police Department surveillance records and photographs.  Other restrictions are listed in the proposed rule.

    Section B:

    Reproductions are provided for the researcher’s personal use only. Reproductions may not be reduplicated, published, or transferred to another individual or institution.

    Permission to publish, reprint, broadcast, reduplicate or make other use of Archives or Library materials are subject to the conditions in a Publish./Use form and observance of the US Copyright Code. Violation of any of the rules may be cause for future access to the Municipal Library and Archives.There are other restrictions delineated in the proposed rules which I encourage you to read.

    Thank you to Chuck Weinstein, JGS Long Island, for sharing the proposed rule with us.

    It was in 2018 that the NYC Municipal Archives changed the access as to whom may obtain records and the embargo dates. A VERY strong genealogical community fought back. While they went ahead with the embargo period, we were successful in getting additional family members to be included in those who could get immediate access. The genealogical community needs to again work cooperatively to get many of the above proposed rules amended before they are adopted.

    To access the previous  postings on the IAJGS Records Access Alert about the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene  go to the archives of the IAJGS Records Access Alert at:  http://lists.iajgs.org/mailman/private/records-access-alerts/.

    You must be registered to access the archives.  To register go to: http://lists.iajgs.org/mailman/listinfo/records-access-alerts  and follow the instructions to enter your email address, full name and which genealogical  organization with whom you are affiliated   You will receive an email response that you have to reply to or the subscription will not be finalized.

    Jan Meisels Allen
    Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

  • 25 Sep 2020 7:28 PM | Anonymous

    Mount Auburn Cemetery was the first garden cemetery in the United States, located on the city line between Cambridge and Watertown in Massachusetts, 4 miles west of Boston. The cemetery is credited as the beginning of the American public parks and gardens movement.

    Prior to the establishment of Mount Auburn Cemetery, the early American cemeteries were established as places under churches for burial of deceased church members. As the available space under a church was filled, cemeteries often were built on available land in front of, beside, or in back of the church. These graveyards sometimes created serious health problems as graves were not always dug 6 feet deep. As a result, diseases often were spread amongst a population that had little or no knowledge of germs or the causes of the spread of diseases.

    As these spaces became filled with bodies and as the population became more aware of health issues, “burying grounds” were established in most any space that was suitable for the purpose. As early as 1711, the architect Sir Christopher Wren advocated for the creation of burial grounds on the outskirts of town, “inclosed with a strong Brick Wall, and having a walk round, and two cross walks, decently planted with Yew-trees”.

    In fact, the word “cemetery” was not common in Colonial days. The term “cemetery,” derived from the Greek for “a sleeping place,” became popular in the 1800s as a replacement for “graveyard.” Many were placed in rural areas, some distance from human habitation.

    Mount Auburn Cemetery was one of the first to be planned as a pleasant place to visit with gardens, waterfalls, and even walkways that were pleasing to the eye. Quoting Wikipedia:

    “The first rural cemetery in the United States was Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts, founded by Dr. Jacob Bigelow and Henry Dearborn of The Massachusetts Horticultural Society in 1831. The City of Boston became concerned about the health hazards caused by decomposing corpses in cemeteries in the middle of the city. A citizens’ group led by Bigelow pulled together residents to discuss the design and location of a cemetery outside city limits. The search for a site took six years and land was eventually purchased on a farm known as Sweet Auburn along the Charles River about four miles from Boston.

    (NOTE by Dick Eastman: This selected location was open farm land in 1831 but the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts expanded greatly over the years. Now Mount Auburn Cemetery is a pleasant public garden or even a city park totally surrounded by the city.)

    “Coinciding with the growing popularity of horticulture and the Romantic aesthetic taste for pastoral beauty, Mount Auburn was developed as a “domesticated landscape” popularized by 19th century English landscape design. Its plan included retention of natural features like ponds and mature forests with added roads and paths that followed the natural contours of the land, as well as the planting of hundreds of native and exotic trees and plants. United States Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story delivered the dedication address on September 24, 1831.

    “Mount Auburn also began the practice of allowing the purchase of family plots large enough to allow the burial of several generations of a single family.”

    The cemetery soon became a tourist attraction, attracting locals as well as tourists from across the country and Europe. Mount Auburn Cemetery also became the location of many of Boston’s leading citizens, including ministers, politicians, army generals, Civil War heroes, authors, industrial leaders, and many more.

    A few years ago, I became one of those tourists and spent most of a day in the Mount Auburn Cemetery. I had planned to go for only an hour or two early in the morning. The place was so interesting, however, that I remained there most of the day.

    A short time later I moved into a home in the Boston suburbs, only a few miles from the Mount Auburn Cemetery. I returned to the cemetery and took a video camera with me. I took many videos of the tombstones, the gardens, the scenic ponds, and the winding roads and pathways. I have since selected the better videos and combined them into a “digital tour” of the garden cemetery. You can watch the video on YouTube at https://youtu.be/Zs63WUAyA5M or in the video player below:

    There are thousands of tombstones and memorials in the cemetery. A video of all of them would be several hours long! Instead, I am only showing a small sample of them.

    This 8-minute video is a sampling of two things: (1.) the beauty and artistry of the Mount Auburn Cemetery and (2.) a number of hints about taking pictures or videos of tombstones.

    Statues and memorials often include depictions of angels and cherubs as well as botanical motifs such as ivy representing memory, oak leaves for immortality, poppies for sleep, willow trees for sorrow and grieving of the families in mourning, and acorns for life.

    You can learn more about the Mount Auburn Cemetery in Wikipedia at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Auburn_Cemetery and in the cemetery’s own web site at: https://mountauburn.org.

  • 25 Sep 2020 4:16 PM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by Findmypast:


    Discover emigrant ancestors and much more this Findmypast Friday.

    Swiss Emigrants to the American Colonies, 1734-1744

    With newly-created indexes for easy searching, this publication records the details of over 3,000 Swiss immigrants to the New World. Translated and transcribed from an original manuscript held in the State Archive of Zurich, the records can reveal your Swiss ancestors' names and ages, where they came from, settled and more.

    The collection contains large numbers of emigrants who intended to travel to Carolina, as it was the most heavily advertised colony in Switzerland. In many cases, the circumstances around their departure is indicated. Most of these events and pieces of information were submitted by local priests.

    Emigrant Ministers To The Americas

    Spanning 1690-1811, this collection can be searched by name, year, destination and keywords to discover Church of England clergy working in the American colonies. Many Church of England ministers were given a bounty by the King of England to go and practice their faith in overseas colonies.

    This list was compiled largely from records known as Money Books, King’s Warrant Books, Treasury Papers, and Exchequer of Receipt Papers, documenting the funds spent to send missionaries to the New World. However, most of the entries also include where the individual was intending to travel to, specific roles, such as clerk or lawyer, and frequently, additional genealogical information.

    Winthrop Fleet Passenger List, 1630

    A decade after the Mayflower, the Winthrop Fleet took hundreds more English settlers to America. Search this collection to discover the passengers and their amazing stories. The voyage saw 11 vessels, led by John Winthrop, and between 700 and 1,000 English settlers arrive in the New World.

    The fleet included a large group of Puritan families, with a variety of skills, skilled labour, and family groups, to ensure a healthy and robust colony. The fleet itself was funded by the Massachusetts Bay Colony. These records, originally published in 1930, describe the background, the experience and the motivation for the fleet, as well as listing many of the participants by name with genealogical details. 

    Newspapers

    Runcorn Weekly News (covering 1913-1933 and 1936-1970) and Clare Freeman and Ennis Gazette (covering 1855-1884) are brand new to the site this week. 

    Plus, more pages have been added to Evening Mail (from 1869-1872, 1874-1885 and 1892-1922) and Cork Daily Herald (from 1897-1899).

  • 25 Sep 2020 3:56 PM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by the (U.S.) National Genealogical Society: 


    FALLS CHURCH, va, 25 SEPTEMBER 2020—The National Genealogical Society (NGS) announced the results of its 2020 Board of Directors election at its annual meeting on 1 September 2020. The incoming slate includes three new positions to reflect the upcoming merger of NGS and the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) on 1 October 2020. These new board positions are Vice President for Society & Organization Management and two directors at large drawn from FGS ranks. 

    Outgoing President Benjamin B. Spratling, JD, of Birmingham, Alabama, announced the results of the election and the incoming board members who will be seated on 1 October. 

    NGS Officers (1 October 2020 – 30 September 2022)

    • President: Kathryn M. Doyle, California
    • Vice President: Ellen Pinckney Balthazar, Texas
    • Vice President of Society & Organization Management: Cheri Hudson Passey, South Carolina
    • Secretary: Ed Donakey, Utah
    • Treasurer: Deborah Lebo Hoskins, Pennsylvania 

    NGS Directors serve four-year terms that are staggered so that the entire slate does not turn over in one election cycle.

    NGS Regional Directors

    • Director of Region 2: Faye Stallings, Texas
    • Director of Region 3: Janet L. Bailey, Virginia
    • Director of Region 4: Bernice Alexander Bennett, Maryland

    Directors at Large

    • Janet A. Alpert, South Carolina
    • Colleen Robledo Greene, California
    • Marlis Humphrey, Florida
    • Andre Kearns, Washington, DC
    • David Rencher, Utah

    Continuing their terms on the Board of Directors are Angie Bush, MS, Director of Region 1, and Ronald V. Hodges, PhD, Director at Large.

    “I congratulate the incoming Board members,” Spratling said, “And I extend my sincere gratitude for their commitment and service to the National Genealogical Society. I also thank the Nominating Committee, including Jordan Jones, chair; Deborah A. Abbott, PhD; B. Darrell Jackson, PhD, CG; Darcie Hind Posz; CG, and D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS, for their excellent work.”

    The entire 2020 NGS Annual Meeting can be viewed on YouTube. It includes a short video about the upcoming merger of NGS and FGS, which will be finalized on 1 October 2020, and features outgoing President Benjamin B, Spratling, FGS President Faye Stallings who has been newly elected to NGS Board, incoming President Kathryn M. Doyle, and Executive Director Matt Menashes.

    Founded in 1903, the National Genealogical Society is dedicated to genealogical education, exemplary standards of research, and the preservation of genealogical records. The Falls Church, Virginia, based nonprofit is the premier national society for everyone, from the beginner to the most advanced family historian, seeking excellence in publications, educational offerings, and guidance in research. It also offers many opportunities to interact with other genealogists.

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