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  • 19 Jan 2021 10:09 AM | Anonymous
    The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

    RootsTech Connect 2021—the world’s largest event celebrating family—announces a diverse group of keynote speakers, who hail from England, India, and Uruguay. Speakers include Erick Avari, an award-winning performer in music, opera, theater, and film; Uruguayan former professional footballer Diego Lugano; and a top BBC serial drama actress who first came to prominence as a teenager, Sunetra Sarker.

    RootsTech Connect, to be held on 25–27 February 2021, is a free online conference to discover, share, and celebrate family and heritage connections.

    Sunetra Sarker, RootsTech 2021 KeynoteDiego Lugano RootsTech 2021 KeynoteErick Avari RootsTech 2021 Keynote

    Erick Avari, born in Darjeeling, West Bengal, India, is an Indian American television, film, and theater actor, writer, director and producer. He has performed in grand opera, on and off Broadway, in regional theaters, and in Hollywood blockbuster films, hit TV series, and award-winning independent films such as The Chosen. He is best known for his roles in Stargate, Independence Day, The Mummy, Daredevil, Planet of the Apes, and Mr. Deeds. Avari has been a trailblazer for a generation of South Asian actors in Hollywood. As part of his fight against stereotypical casting, he has convincingly played more than two dozen ethnicities.

    Diego Lugano is a Uruguayan former professional footballer (soccer player) for many clubs in South America and Europe. He played in 95 matches as a member of the Uruguayan soccer team from 2003 to –2014. In 2010 and 2014, he captained the Uruguayan squad in the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup. His career began at the Club Nacional de Fútbol of Canelones in 1999. During his career, he played for Plaza Colonia, Fenerbahçe S.K., Paris Saint Germain, Málaga, West Bromwich Albion, BK Häcken, Cerro Porteño of Paraguay, and São Paulo. He has supported many causes defending the rights of children. He is now the superintendent of Institutional Relations of São Paulo FC.

    Sunetra Sarker is an award-winning actress born in Liverpool, England, to Hindu parents. Her first acting success came at age 15, when she was cast as Nisha Batra on the Channel 4 serial drama Brookside. Her career took off, and during the next three decades she acted in an array of television series, earning awards for her performances, including an award for Best TV character at the Asian Media Awards. During her career, she made time for school, graduating in IT and French from Brunel University. She is a member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), an independent charity to support, develop, and promote excellence in film, games, and television and creative talent in the United Kingdom and internationally.

    Learn more and register for RootsTech Connect 2021 for free at

    RootsTech, hosted by FamilySearch, is a global conference celebrating families across generations, where people of all ages are inspired to discover and share their memories and connections. This annual event has become the largest of its kind in the world, attracting tens of thousands of participants worldwide.

  • 18 Jan 2021 5:59 PM | Anonymous

    Today, Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham announced his retirement in a message to the Bureau staff and expressed his heartfelt appreciation for their extraordinary accomplishments, especially those related to the successful 2020 Census. The Director also posted a blog which further responds to recent published comments and media reports regarding census data:

    To the Outstanding Women and Men of the U.S. Census Bureau:

    A little over two years ago, I took an oath to serve you as the 25th Director of the U.S. Census Bureau. At that time, we knew we had great challenges ahead of us, especially in conducting the most complex, technologically advanced decennial census ever.

    None of us could anticipate that as we fully launched the 2020 Census, a global health crisis would upend a schedule and plans which had been carefully constructed over a decade. Nor would we anticipate the impact this crisis would have on our numerous vital household surveys and economic products which guide decisions across the public, private, and not-for-profit sector.

    Many institutions demurred in the face of this pandemic, and it is easy to understand why. But you did not. You met this challenge head on and overcame it. You adapted operations to carry out the mission while following public health and safety protocols. You made great sacrifices to continue our work as you and your loved ones experienced the pandemic. You were resilient and persevered.

    You adapted to serve your Country in new and innovative ways. While other organizations scaled back, you added relevant and timely new products to the Census portfolio. The world has never needed complete and accurate data more than it does now. As we pull together to beat this terrible virus and rebuild our communities, your work shines a light on the path forward.

    For decades to come, scholars will study your work, not only to review and use the data you produced, but to answer the question of how the Census Bureau defied the odds to accomplish its mission.

    I know, from firsthand experience, our successes are the result of your creativity, tenacity, passion, and commitment.

    I have been a career civil servant stretching over several decades, serving all administrations since the mid-1980s. I have had the distinct honor of directing three statistical agencies. I retired from Federal service nearly five years ago but returned because I felt a calling to serve once more. Effective January 20, 2021, I will be retiring from my position as director of the U.S. Census Bureau. I have a smile on my face and gratitude in my heart for all you have done for our Nation.

    With deepest admiration, respect, and appreciation,


  • 18 Jan 2021 11:30 AM | Anonymous

    To all subscribers:

    Here is a list of all of this week's articles, all of them available at

    (+) Why We All Need to Ignore Our Old Ideas about Filing Systems

    This Newsletter is 25 Years Old!

    Sleuth Along Interstate Highways for Your Ancestors

    Book Review: Roots for Kids

    Some of Today's Flash Drives That Have More Storage Than That of Your Desktop Computer: 2 Terabytes is Shutting Down Health DNA Testing Just Over a Year After Launch

    104-year-old Film of the Red Baron (Baron Von Richthofen) is Available Online

    A New Fad Sweeps the Country in 1870s

    WikiTree Challenge Features AJ Jacobs, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Other Genealogy Stars

    New Free Historical Records on FamilySearch: Week of 11 January 2021

    Brand New Irish Family Records Now Online on Findmypast

    Lizzie Borden House, Site of 1892 Ax Murders, Is for Sale

    Wrap-up: The Unsettling Truth About the ‘Mostly Harmless’ Hiker

    The article with a plus sign (+) in the title is only visible to Plus Edition subscribers.

  • 18 Jan 2021 10:32 AM | Anonymous

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

    Note: This article contains personal opinions.

    I am fortunate that I get to travel a lot and I talk with genealogists most everywhere I go. One question I am often asked is, “How should I organize my genealogy notes in the computer?" My usual answer is: “Who cares?”

    Of course, many of the genealogists who asked the question look shocked when I give that reply. Yes, I am serious. I find that many genealogists do not understand the power and ease of use available in modern computerized filing systems. This article is an attempt to clear some of the mysteries.

    Most of us are old enough that we were trained to organize paper files in folders and filing cabinet drawers in some hierarchical manner. For filing papers about people, we were taught to perhaps file first by surname, and then by first and middle names. For locations, we were taught to file first by country, then by state or province, then perhaps by county, then by city or town, and lastly perhaps by street address. And so on and so on. Those systems have always worked well with paper-based files and many of us tend to use the same thought process when creating computer files. However, hierarchical filing methods often are not the best method possible with today's technology. For instance, if you have a filing cabinet for genealogy materials and you file a note about a particular person under the surname of "Axelrod," where do you file information about the family's homestead in Nebraska in such a manner as you can find it again when searching for all your Nebraska ancestors? How about finding ladies in your family tree with a maiden name of "Axelrod" who then married men with other surnames? Do you file these records under the maiden name or married name? Or both? (Yes, some people create duplicate files.)

    The remainder of this article is reserved for Plus Edition subscribers only. If you have a Plus Edition subscription, you may read the full article at:*)-Plus-Edition-News-Articles/9872831.

    If you are not yet a Plus Edition subscriber, you can learn more about such subscriptions and even upgrade to a Plus Edition subscription at

  • 15 Jan 2021 9:41 AM | Anonymous

    Wow! A quarter-century has passed! Where did the time go?

    It seems like only yesterday that I decided to start writing a genealogy newsletter for a few of my friends and acquaintances. Well, it wasn’t yesterday… it was exactly 25 years ago today!

    I never believed that I would ever write a Silver Anniversary edition, but you are reading that unexpected article right now.

    After some discussion for several weeks, on January 15, 1996, I sent the first copy of Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter to about 100 people. That's exactly 25 years ago today. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that 25 years would be so interesting, so much fun, and so rewarding.

    This event happened after lots of discussion, planning, and support from Pam, the lady who immediately became the editor of this newsletter. Fortunately, she has stayed with me for 25 years and is still offering advice and encouragement.

    In addition to Pam’s magnificent editing efforts, I was also fortunate when Bobbi King joined the newsletter staff almost 8 years ago. Bobbi writes most of the book reviews published in the newsletter and she, too, has contributed much to the success of this publication.

    Twenty-five years has slipped by in almost the blink of an eye. It seems like only yesterday that I sent the first e-mail newsletter to about 100 people, mostly members of CompuServe’s Genealogy Forums. (Do you remember CompuServe?) The last time I looked, this newsletter now has tens of thousands of readers tuning in every day! If you would have told me that 25 years ago, I would have never believed you.

    This little newsletter started as a way for me to help friends to learn about new developments in genealogy, to learn about conferences and seminars, and to learn about new technologies that were useful to genealogists. I especially focused on what was then the newly-invented thing called the World Wide Web. In 1996 many people had never heard of the World Wide Web, and most people didn’t understand it.

    None of the first recipients knew in advance that the newsletter would arrive; I simply e-mailed it to people who I thought might be interested. In 1996 nobody objected to receiving unsolicited bulk mail; the phrase “spam mail” had not yet been invented. I shudder to think if I did the same thing in today’s internet environment.

    The word “blog” also had not yet been invented in 1996, so I simply called it an “electronic newsletter.” Some things never change; I still refer to it as an “electronic newsletter” although obviously it is a blog.

    Here is a quote from that first newsletter published on January 15, 1996:

    “Well, it’s started. This newsletter is something that I have been considering for a long time, but I finally decided to “take the plunge.” I’ve subscribed to several other electronic newsletters for some time now and have found them to be valuable. On many occasions I have said to myself, “Someone ought to do a weekly newsletter for genealogy news.” One day the light bulb went on, and I decided that perhaps I was that someone.

    “I hope to collect various bits of information that cross my desk and appear on my screen every week. Some of these items may be considered ‘news items’ concerning events and happenings of interest to computer-owning genealogists. Some other items will be mini press releases about new genealogy software or other products and services that have just become available. I may write a few articles about things that are not genealogy-related but still seem to be of interest to me and probably to the readers. This may include articles about online systems, operating systems or other things that affect many of us.

    “You will also find editorials and my personal opinions weaving in and out of this newsletter. Hopefully I will be able to clearly identify the information that is a personal opinion.

    “The expected audience of this newsletter includes anyone in the genealogy business, any genealogy society officers and anyone with an interest in applying computers to help in the research of one’s ancestors

    “I chose to distribute in electronic format for two reasons: (1.) it’s easy, and (2.) it’s cheap. In years past I have been an editor of other newsletters that were printed on paper and mailed in the normal manner. The ‘overhead’ associated with that effort was excessive; I spent more time dealing with printers, maintaining addresses of subscribers, handling finances, stuffing envelopes and running to the post office than I did in the actual writing. Today’s technology allows for a much faster distribution, and it is done at almost no expense to either the producer or the subscribers. I want to spend my time writing, not running a ‘newsletter business.’

    “Since the expected readers all own computers and almost all of them use modems regularly, electronic distribution seems to be the most cost-effective route to use. It also is much lower cost than any other distribution mechanism that I know of.”

    The original plan has been followed rather closely in the 25 years since I wrote those words. The newsletter still consists of “events and happenings of interest to computer-owning genealogists,” “mini press releases about new genealogy software or other products and services,” and “a few articles about things that are not genealogy-related but still seem to be of interest to me.” I have also frequently featured “editorials and my personal opinions.”

    One thing that has changed is that the newsletter was converted from a weekly publication to a daily effort about 19 years ago. I now send both daily and weekly summations of all the articles by e-mail.

    I am delighted with the change to a daily format. There is a lot more flexibility when publishing daily and, of course, I can get the news out faster.

    Another thing that has changed is the delivery method. In 1996, this newsletter was delivered to readers only by email. The reason was simple: most computer owners in those days didn’t use the World Wide Web. In fact, most of them didn’t even know what the World Wide Web was.

    Tim Berners-Lee proposed a new service of hypertext inter-connected pages on different computers in 1991, when Web servers were unknown. By January 1993 there were fifty Web servers across the world. A web browser was available at that time, but only for the NeXT operating system. Web browsers for Windows and Macintosh systems were not available until June 1993, 5 months AFTER I published the first newsletter. Even then, the World Wide Web did not become popular with the general public until the dot-com boom of 1999 to 2001.

    Prior to the dot-com boom of 1999 to 2001, email was the best method of sending information to others.

    One feature that I like about the current daily web-based publication is that each article has an attached discussion board where readers can offer comments, corrections, and supplemental information. The result is a much more interactive newsletter that benefits from readers’ expertise. The newsletter originally was a one-way publication: I pushed the data out. Today’s version is a two-way publication with immediate feedback from readers.

    The 2021 newsletter does differ from one statement I wrote 25 years ago: “Today’s technology allows for a much faster distribution, and it is done at almost no expense to either the producer or the subscribers.” If I were to re-write that sentence today, I wouldn’t use the phrase, “at almost no expense.” I would write, “…at lower expense than publishing on paper.”

    Since I wrote the original words 25 years ago, I have received an education in the financial implications of sending bulk e-mails and maintaining web sites, complete with controls of who can access which documents. I now know that it costs thousands of dollars a year to send thousands of e-mail messages every week. There are technical problems as well. Someday I may write an article about “how to get your account canceled when you repeatedly crash your Internet Service Provider’s mail server.”

    The truth is I did crash mail servers a number of times in the early days of this newsletter. And, yes, I got my account canceled one day by an irate internet service provider. I was abruptly left with no e-mail service at all. The internet service provider discovered that their mail server crashed every week when I e-mailed this newsletter, so they canceled my account with no warning. I now use a (paid) professional bulk email service to send those messages. I also hope that internet service provider has since improved the company’s email server(s)!

    I also have encountered significant expenses for hardware, software, web hosting, bulk mailing services, and office expenses. Then there are the travel expenses to attend many genealogy conferences and other meetings. Admittedly, there have been almost no travel expenses this past year, the year of the pandemic. Like most of the world and the genealogy community, I have stayed at home since March but have attended many virtual (on-line) meetings and conferences.

    In order to carry on the effort without breaking the piggy bank, I split this newsletter into two versions: a free Standard Edition and a for-pay Plus Edition. At least the newsletter now pays for itself, including paying for a professional grade bulk email service.

    I was amused a couple of years ago when someone sent a message to me that started with the words, “I hope someone on your staff will forward this message to you.” After 25 years, my staff remains almost the same as when I started: myself plus one very talented lady who edits this newsletter every week. I do the up-front work; she then converts my written words into real English. She also functions as a business adviser, confidante, and good friend. She has done this for nearly every newsletter since the very first edition.

    Pam has edited this newsletter since the very first edition. She has done that despite the travel schedules of both of us; sometimes we both have been in hotel rooms but in different countries.

    As a computer professional, Pam’s travel schedule used to be at least as hectic as mine although she travels less these days. She and I have passed the proposed newsletter articles back and forth by e-mail time and again.

    Thanks, Pam. I couldn’t do it without you.

    In the third issue of this newsletter, I answered questions that a number of people had asked. I wrote:

    “I hope to issue this [newsletter] every week. … I reserve the right to change my mind at any time without notice. Also, the first three issues have all been much longer than I originally envisioned. I expect that the average size of the newsletter within a few weeks will be about one half what the first three issues have been. Do not be surprised when you see it shrink in size.”

    Well, I was wrong. The first three issues averaged about 19,000 bytes of text. The newsletter never did shrink. Instead, the average size of the newsletters continued to grow. The weekly e-mail Plus Edition newsletters of the past few years have averaged more than 500,000 bytes each, more than twenty-five times the average size of the first three issues. In fact, each weekly newsletter today is bigger than the first ten weekly issues combined!

    So much for my prognostication!

    In fact, you receive more genealogy-related articles in this newsletter than in any printed magazine. Subscriptions for the Plus Edition of this newsletter also remain less expensive than subscriptions to any of the leading printed genealogy magazines.

    In 25 years I have missed only twelve weekly editions for vacations, genealogy cruises, broken arms, hospital stays, one airplane accident (yes, I was the pilot), and family emergencies.

    I broke both arms one day by slipping on an icy walkway and still missed only one newsletter as a result! I found typing on a keyboard to be difficult with two arms in casts. The following week I wrote an article about speech input devices as I dictated that week’s newsletter into a microphone connected to my PC.

    Several months later, I suffered bruises and wrenched my neck severely when I had an engine failure in my tiny, single-seat, open cockpit airplane. The plane and I landed in a treetop and then fell to the ground about eighty feet below, bouncing off tree limbs as the wreckage of airplane and pilot fell to the ground together. I landed upside down with the wreckage of the airplane on top of me. Remember… this was an open-cockpit aircraft. Yet I missed only one issue as a result of that mishap even though the following issue was written while wearing a neck brace and swallowing pain pills that made me higher than that airplane ever flew.

    Seven years ago, an emergency appendectomy caused me to miss one weekly mailing of the newsletter. I have rarely taken time off for vacations.

    Over the years I hopefully have become more cautious: I stopped flying tiny airplanes, and I now spend my winters in Florida in order to avoid the ice. I also have published more than 55,000 newsletter articles. Someday I really do have to learn how to touch type.

    Because of this newsletter, in the past 25 years I have traveled all over the U.S. as well as to Singapore, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Israel, and Ireland, and have made multiple trips each to Canada, England, Scotland, Mexico, China, and to several Caribbean islands.

    Because of this newsletter, I have met many enthusiastic genealogists. Because of this newsletter, I have had the opportunity to use great software, to view many excellent web sites, and to use lots of new gadgets. Because of this newsletter, I have discovered a number of ancestors. I am indeed fortunate and have truly been blessed.

    I’ve always tried to make this newsletter REAL and from the heart. I don’t pull any punches. I write about whatever is on my mind. And if that offends some people, then so be it. I don’t expect everyone to agree with all of my opinions. There is plenty of room in this world for disagreements and differing viewpoints amongst friends. There are too many watered-down, politically correct newsletters and blogs out there already. I plan to continue to write whatever is on my mind. If you disagree with me, please feel free to say so.

    To each person reading today’s edition, I want to say one thing: From the bottom of my heart, thank you for tuning in each day and reading what I have to say.

    Also, one other sentence I wrote 25 years ago still stands: suggestions about this newsletter are always welcome.

  • 15 Jan 2021 9:33 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

    Discover your ancestors' final resting places with this week's latest Findmypast Friday records.

    Ireland, Londonderry (Derry) City Cemetery Burials 1853-1961

    Explore over 70,000 Londonderry (Derry) burial transcripts to discover the details of those laid to rest in City Cemetery. Each record reveals combination of the deceased’s date of death, date of burial, grave location, age, address, place of birth and parents’ names.

    Opened in 1853, Derry City Cemetery (colloquially known as the City Cemetery) was the main burial place for locals of both denominations in the local area until the mid-20th Century. It’s the final resting place of over 70,000 people, with details of all classes and includes those who fought in notable conflicts such as World War One and World War Two.

    Writer of All Things Bright and Beautiful, Cecil Frances Alexander is among those buried in Londonderry (Derry) City Cemetery.

    Cecil Frances Alexander

    Alexander’s record includes her birthplace, residence and parents’ names.

    Ireland, Dublin City Cemetery Burials 1805-2006

    This new collection spans 200 years of burials and covers the following Dublin cemeteries;

    • St John The Baptist, Castle Avenue, Clontarf, Dublin
    • Drimnagh (Bluebell), Old Naas Road, Dublin
    • St Canice’s, Finglas, Dublin

    Along with key names and dates, these transcripts of original burial registers include addresses, occupations and marital statuses.

    Dorset Burials

    Over 29,000 new burial records from three parishes have been added to the collection – perfect for exploring the Dorset branches of your family tree.

    These latest additions cover the parishes of;

    • Melcombe Regis, 1570-1933
    • Weymouth, 1885-2001
    • Wyke Regis, 1887-1992

    Check the parish list for full details on what's included in Findmypast’s wider Dorset parish collection.


    This latest update sees three new titles and updates to 16 others made available to search on Findmypast. Hot off the press this week are:

    While additional pages and years have been added to;

    • Indian Statesman from 1872-1873
    • Witness (Edinburgh) from 1857
    • Newry Telegraph from 1872-1881
    • Bangalore Spectator from 1886, 1888, 1891-1892 and 1894
    • Chelsea News and General Advertiser from 1973
    • Herald of Wales from 1887-1889
    • Voice of India from 1886, 1888 and 1910
    • Lancaster Standard and County Advertiser from 1900 and 1903
    • Nairnshire Telegraph and General Advertiser for the Northern Counties from 1902, 1917, 1928, 1930 and 1935
    • Indian Daily News from 1900-1901 and 1903-1906
    • Madras Weekly Mail from 1877-1881, 1883-1884, 1886-1887, 1889-1890, 1893, 1896-1897, 1899-1900 and 1907
    • North Wales Weekly News from 1889-1895, 1899-1901, 1903-1905, 1912-1922, 1924-1927, 1941-1942, 1953 and 1955
    • Liverpool Daily Post from 1901
    • American Register from 1884-1886, 1889, 1894, 1896, 1900, 1903, 1908 and 1912
    • Nantwich Chronicle from 1975
    • Marylebone Mercury from 1979


  • 15 Jan 2021 9:15 AM | Anonymous LLC is ending its 15-month effort to sell customers genetic insights into their health.

    Best known for its products that allow customers to explore their family trees, the company launched AncestryHealth in October 2019 in a long-expected bid to compete with several other companies that sell tests that can, for example, show a person’s risk of developing certain genetic diseases.

    On Thursday, Ancestry said it would discontinue AncestryHealth to focus on its family-tree business, a move that will lead to 77 job losses.

    NOTE: This announcement from Ancestry only describes the closing of the company's AncestryHealth service. There is no change at this time to the company's traditional DNA services to help customers identify their ethnic and geographical origins nor any change in helping individuals find distant and sometimes not-so-distant relatives.

    You can read more in an article by Kristen V Brown published in the Bloomberg web site at:

  • 14 Jan 2021 9:05 PM | Anonymous

    The thought of your ancestors of 100 or 200 years ago traveling along a modern-day interstate highway may seem amusing as interstate highways didn’t exist until the 1950s. Yet, it is quite possible that your ancestors traveled along the same routes as today’s interstates, plus or minus a very few miles.

    Westward migration in the United States usually took place in the path of least resistance: on riverboats where practical or on pathways along rivers when boat travel was not available. In cases where there was no river to follow, overland travel generally went along the path of least resistance, too: through valleys, through mountain passes, and perhaps straight across the flatlands and prairies.

    When studying migration patterns throughout history in the United States, we can see hundreds of examples. In New England, the first inland areas to be settled were along the Merrimack River, the Connecticut River, the Penobscot River, and the others.

    When researching the origins of those who settled the mountainous areas of northern Vermont and New Hampshire, we find that most of them were from Connecticut and western Massachusetts. They traveled up the Connecticut River, not overland across the north-south mountain ranges that receding glaciers carved many thousands of years earlier. Today, Interstate 91 follows roughly the same route.

    In Massachusetts, the east-west migration generally followed the valleys through the central part of the state, often following the Boston Post Road (present-day U.S. Route 20). That path is more or less parallel to the present-day Massachusetts Turnpike, or Interstate 90.

    As we travel down the eastern seaboard, the migration pattern was repeated: the Hudson River, the Susquehanna River, the Potomac River, the Savannah River, and many others became “highways” of travel for our ancestors. As we move further west, we find the “super highways” of years past: the Mississippi River, the Ohio, and the Missouri.

    Of course, rivers didn’t always exist in convenient places. Many times the early settlers blazed overland routes through valleys where travel would be easier for wagons drawn by horses or oxen. Two major examples would the Cumberland Gap in Tennessee and the Wilderness Road in Virginia. These routes did follow rivers, where possible, but they also went overland through valleys, following paths that could be used by horses and oxen pulling wagons. Of course, there were dozens of other highways.

    If you follow the migration paths of your ancestors prior to 1850, you will see that they usually traveled along the same routes as did earlier travelers, routes that allowed for easier transport. These routes were generally on rivers, beside rivers, or through valleys.

    For a few years in the first half of the 19th century, canals looked like they would become the primary method of transportation. Indeed, that did happen in a few areas, such as the Erie Canal. The traffic on the canals moved at two or three miles an hour as the barges and boats were typically powered by work animals that walked along adjacent footpaths. However, canals were doomed almost from the start as a new, mechanized beast soon appeared that could move more goods, move them faster, and do so at less construction expense.

    By the mid 19th century, railroads started appearing in significant numbers. Railroad locomotives could perform the work of many horses or oxen, and the travel experience for passengers in railroad cars was much better than riding on a buckboard or a Conestoga wagon. These “iron horses” were very powerful but had one major shortcoming: they weren’t very good at climbing hills.

    The railroads were always built along the flattest land possible, often on or beside the routes that had already been established for overland travel. The railroads thrived best along riverbanks, which rarely had hills, or through valleys, including the Cumberland Gap and the Wilderness Road. More than a few railroads were built on the footpaths beside canals, replacing the “beasts of burdens” that had powered the canal boats of the previous generation. Of course, these new-fangled railroads transported immigrants, freight, and livestock alike.

    Let’s fast forward another century. In the 1950s, the federal government began its interstate highways project. The primary justification was to build a transportation system the Defense Department could use to move convoys in time of war. However, commercial and personal uses soon eclipsed defense purposes. Today we all travel along interstate highways without regard to the travel hardships of our ancestors.

    The interstate highways often follow the same paths as the earlier railroads and the still earlier ox-carts and covered wagons. While modern construction techniques have allowed a few exceptions, such as building highways in the mountains, the majority of today’s interstate highways are built along traditional trade routes and migration paths. In other words, today’s highways often follow rivers, old canals, and deep valleys.

    Are you mystified as to the origins of some family in your family tree? You know where they lived on a certain date but wonder where they came from? Get out a modern-day highway map, and find the town where those ancestors lived. Next, see where the major highways of that town go. Chances are that your ancestors traveled along one of those routes. They almost never traveled over a mountain range or through a swampy area.

    There’s a good chance that your ancestors followed the same approximate route as today’s super highways. Start by looking at the records of the state “up the highway” from their hometown. Sleuthing along today’s interstates may actually pay off.

  • 14 Jan 2021 8:55 PM | Anonymous

    The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

    Roots for Kids
    A Genealogy Guide for Young People

    By Susan Provost Beller. Published by Genealogical Publishing Co. 2020. 104 pages.

    This could be a useful guide and topic for stay-at-home teachers/parents who may have exhausted the list of topics to keep the kids engaged in these at-home learning days.

    Ms. Beller has updated this third edition of her books. It contains brief, but plentiful descriptions and examples of records to be found, worksheets, drawings apropos to family research (I especially like the drawing of a triumphant young genealogist discovering his family tombstone), and offerings of ideas in the logical progression of starting to look for sources at home to eventually traveling abroad to visit a home village.

    The first few chapters explain how genealogy is like a jigsaw puzzle with pieces around the home and family that give no clue to the big picture until a person starts to connect the pieces together. The family chapters offer ideas for recording family stories and reading old documents, then gathering the information together and discovering how all the parts fit together.

    Following chapters explain the kinds of records found locally, such as vital records, wills, and court records, manuscripts, and newspapers. “Finding Local Records on the Internet” might be especially attractive for digital-savvy kids.

    State and national records are the next topics covered, including a section on finding such records on the internet. Moving on, the following chapters cover “Research Around the World on Your Computer.” Winding up, the final chapter features the author’s description of her own trip to her ancestral Ireland, introducing the idea that maybe the reader too, can someday visit a place of mystery and family.

    Ms. Beller includes a chapter explaining the need for critical evaluation of the sources, always a good topic for consideration.

    This could be a guidebook for beginner adult researchers as well as for kids. The ideas and research steps could invite a family adventure staying within the pandemic guidelines: an outdoor trip to a cemetery, reading newspaper articles online, or viewing the census records online, many available for free.

    This could be the beginning of whole new aspects of history and family.

    Roots for Kids is available from the publisher, Genealogical Publishing Co., at as well as from Amazon.

  • 13 Jan 2021 7:45 PM | Anonymous

    Talk about an old film! It’s from 1917, and it’s an up-close and personal look at the most legendary combat pilot who ever lived, the infamous Red Baron, Manfred von Richthofen. It shows the Baron preparing for a mission, as well as film of him putting on a flying suit prior to a flight in cold weather. (It is always cold at higher altitudes.) If you look closely you will also see a brief glimpse of Hermann Goering.

    The Baron was shot down on 21 April 1918 by Roy Brown of the Royal Navy Air Services, long before it was called the R.A.F.

    You can view the film on YouTube at

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