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  • 14 Jun 2024 3:50 PM | Anonymous

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

    If you record your genealogy research efforts on paper, you might want to skip this article. However, if you use a computer program as an aid to your genealogy research, read on.

    Is the genealogy program you chose a database of results, or is it a tool to help your research while that research is still a work-in-progress? Perhaps a bigger question is, "Will my genealogy program help me evaluate evidence? Or is it simply a place to record the results after I have done all the research?"

    I suspect that many genealogists do not use their favorite genealogy programs to full potential. In fact, some genealogy programs make it difficult to accomplish what a computer does best: organize, filter, and retrieve information whenever it is needed. 

    Many genealogy programs appear to be nothing more than a place to record your research CONCLUSIONS. Keep that word in mind for a few minutes: "conclusions." I would suggest that your genealogy program should do much, much more. Sadly, most of today's genealogy programs do not.

    With many of today's genealogy programs, you must first look at all the available evidence, weigh the possibilities of inaccuracies, and then decide which facts you wish to believe. Only then, after you have done all the hard work, are you able to enter the information into many genealogy programs. However, that doesn't fulfill my needs, and I bet it does a poor job of meeting your needs as well. Sadly, many genealogists accept such limitations as normal and never stop to think about what their real needs are.

    What I need is a research TOOL. I need a database that helps DURING the process of gathering and evaluating genealogy information. During this process, I often don't yet know what is accurate versus what is not. In fact, if I find contradictory information, I need a user-friendly database to collect all the possibilities, help me compare and evaluate all that evidence, and thereby help me determine what is most likely to be the truth. Computers should be great at such tasks. Sadly, most of today's genealogy programs are lacking in such capabilities. That includes the online programs (The Next Generation of Genealogical Sitebuilding, MyHeritage, FamilySearch,, and others) as well as today’s Windows, Macintosh, Linux, iPad, and Android genealogy programs. 

    For example, I have a great-great-grandfather who remains a mystery to me. The problem is that I have found TOO MANY records of his birth date and birth place, and the various "facts" all contradict each other. Which one is correct?

    For instance, I have found two different dates of birth recorded for him and four different locations of birth in three different U.S. states. One book with no source citations claims he was born in Salisbury, Massachusetts, while my deceased aunt's handwritten notes claim he was born in Nashua, New Hampshire. The man's son applied for a marriage license in 1892 and reported his father's place of birth was Portland, Maine, while an unsourced entry in FamilySearch claims that he was born more than 100 miles further north in Corinth, Maine. 

    Great-great-granddad himself confused the records still further when he talked to census enumerators. The first year he appeared in the census records, he claimed he was born in New Hampshire. In later census records, he claimed to have been born in Maine.

    NOTE: Perhaps Great-great-granddad didn't talk with the enumerators himself; the enumerators may have talked with a neighbor or with family members instead. Perhaps the enumerator only talked with the bartender at the local tavern, a bartender who claimed he knew my great-great-grandfather well. Who knows? Such is the “fun” of census records.

    Which claim is correct? 

    In fact, I am not sure if any of them are correct; so, which one do I place in my genealogy database? Do I have to wait until I am able to determine which record is correct – if any – before I enter the information? If so, what good is that if I have to do all the evaluation first, working from memory or from hand-written notes? Shouldn't a computer program assist me in this evaluation process? Shouldn’t any good genealogy program help me keep ALL my notes and ALL my assessments as to possible accuracy? 

    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/13370434(A Plus Edition password is required to access that article.)

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  • 14 Jun 2024 8:21 AM | Anonymous

    Want to relocate? How about leave the rat race behind?

    A stunning Maine island with a population of just 90 is appealing to new residents to live there. Isle au Haut is encouraging people to settle permanently on the remote, 13 square mile island which is only accessible by boat.

    But for anyone looking to escape the rat race, the idyllic community could be the perfect spot. And with adorable clapboard homes offered at below market rates there are bargains to be snapped up.

    'Many people daydream about moving to a remote island village like ours: for those readers who can answer 'yes' to the above question, that daydream could very well become a reality,' the community states on its website.

    A stunning Maine island with a population of just 90 is appealing to new residents to come and live thereA stunning Maine island with a population of just 90 is appealing to new residents to come and live there

    'To sustain a vibrant year-round community, we readily welcome new year-round residents.'

    Families with children who could attend the local school, as well as commercial fishermen are particularly sought after. 'Though it's not everyone's cup of tea, it's ours. And who knows, it may very well be yours,' the Isle au Haut Community Development Corporation states.

    The median price for a typical home on Isle au Haut's most affordable street is around $300,000, according to Realtor. By comparison, an average home elsewhere in Maine sold for a median of $391,000 in April. However, island life is not without its challenges which include having to take a ferry to the nearest medical center or hardware store.

    While a US census put the population at 92 in 2020, locals say there are just between 30 to 40 full time residents. In the summer months this swells to 300 as tourists flock to take advantage of the rugged natural beauty and biking trails.

    Comment by Dick Eastman: This is more appealing to me than you know. I plan to move to Maine (or I should say “Move BACK to Maine as I was born and raised there” within a few weeks, although not to Isle au Haut.Still...

  • 14 Jun 2024 8:10 AM | Anonymous

    Perth, Ontario – Perth Museum is excited to announce the launch of its highly anticipated public portal, which provides a glimpse into to its collections database. This new initiative allows the public to explore some of the museum's most treasured historical artifacts from the comfort of their own home.

    The portal offers users the opportunity to delve into a rich array of artifact records, meticulously curated by the museum's dedicated team. The initial offerings include exhibition themes such as the Mammoth Cheese, the Last Fatal Duel of Upper Canada, the Henry K. Wampole collection, the Mathesons, and the history Matheson House itself.

    "We are thrilled to launch this public portal, a significant milestone in our department’s commitment to transparency and community engagement," said Kathryn Jamieson, Town of Perth’s Manager of Tourism and Culture. "By opening up our collections, we hope to spark a greater appreciation for the cultural heritage preserved within the walls of the Museum."

    The portal, accessible at, is designed to evolve and expand over time. Museum staff are committed to regularly updating the database with new additions, ensuring that users can continually discover and engage with fresh content.

    "We recognize the immense value of making our collections accessible to the public," Jamieson added. " We are dedicated to ongoing efforts to enhance and enrich the user experience, aiming to ensure that everyone can explore the museum’s holdings."

    As Museum Month concludes, the launch of the public portal marks a significant step forward for Perth Museum. The Museum continues to fulfill its mission to interpret and preserve inclusive and accessible stories through objects, photographs, and archival materials representing thousands of years of history in the Perth area from multiple viewpoints.

    Discover the rich history of Perth and experience the new public portal firsthand by visiting Explore, learn, and connect with the stories that shaped our community.

  • 14 Jun 2024 8:01 AM | Anonymous

    The following is an announcement written by MyHeritage:

    It’s been only three months since launch, and is already on its way to becoming the top website for historical newspapers from around the world. was warmly received by the genealogy community, and the feedback we’ve gotten has been wonderful. Several genealogists even shared the priceless discoveries they made using historical newspapers from We are deeply invested in adding a broad array of newspaper content from many countries, and are likewise committed to enhancing the user experience through new features and tools. Today, we are pleased to share two additions to the search capabilities on that will undoubtedly improve the way you find and explore historical newspapers. 

    Enhanced publication name filter

    You can read more at:
  • 14 Jun 2024 7:43 AM | Anonymous

    The following is a press release written by the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration:

    The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) seeks member nominations for the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Advisory Committee (Committee). The Committee serves as a deliberative body to study the FOIA landscape across the executive branch and advise the Archivist of the United States on potential improvements to FOIA administration.

    Nominations for Committee members must be received by 5 p.m. EDT on Monday, July 15, 2024. Email nominations to the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) at


    The National Archives established the FOIA Advisory Committee in accordance with the United States Second Open Government National Action Plan, released on December 5, 2013. The Committee operates under the directive in FOIA, 5 U.S.C. 552(h)(2)(C), that the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) within NARA “identify procedures and methods for improving compliance” with FOIA. The Committee is governed by the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended, 5 U.S.C. 10. 

    NARA initially chartered the Committee on May 20, 2014. Archivist of the United States Dr. Colleen Shogan renewed the Committee's charter for a sixth term on April 26, 2024. Member appointment terms run for two years, concurrent with the Committee charter.

    The 2024–2026 FOIA Advisory Committee will consist of no more than 20 individuals, including government and non-government representatives. Members are selected in accordance with the charter. Considerations when making appointments will include geographic diversity; diversity in company size or represented organization; and diversity in representations of business and industry, academic institutions, non-profit and non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders in accordance with the charter.

    Government members will include, at a minimum: 

    • three FOIA professionals from Cabinet-level Departments; 
    • three FOIA professionals from non-Cabinet agencies; 
    • the Director of the Department of Justice’s Office of Information Policy or their designee; and 
    • the Director of OGIS or their designee.

    Non-governmental members will include, at a minimum:

    • two individuals representing the interests of non-governmental organizations that advocate on FOIA matters; 
    • one individual representing the interests of FOIA requesters who qualify for the “all other” FOIA requester fee category; 
    • one individual representing the interests of requesters who qualify for the “news media” FOIA requester fee category; 
    • one individual representing the interests of requesters who qualify for the “commercial” FOIA requester fee category; 
    • one individual representing the interests of historians and history-related organizations; and
    • one individual representing the interests of academia.

    All Committee members are expected to attend a minimum of 11 public meetings during the two-year Committee term. Meetings will be held in-person or virtually. All Committee members are expected to volunteer for one or more working subcommittees that will meet at various times during the two-year term. 

    The first meeting of the 2024–2026 Committee term is scheduled for Monday, September 9, 2024, at 10 a.m. ET in the William G. McGowan Theater at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC. The second meeting, which will be virtual, is scheduled for Friday, September 13, 2024, also beginning at 10 a.m. ET. Meeting notices will be published in the Federal Register.

    Additional information on how to apply can be found at: 

  • 14 Jun 2024 7:39 AM | Anonymous

    The following is a press release written by the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration:

    Dr. Colleen Shogan, Archivist of the United States, approved 32 awards totaling $4,070,583 for historical records projects in 20 states. The National Archives grants program is carried out through the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). A complete list of new grants is available online. 

    The Archivist also approved two new funding opportunities designed to meet pressing fieldwide needs: Discovery and Access to Congressional Records Collections and Capacity Building for Historically Black Colleges and Universities Archives

    Grants went to 17 projects to publish the papers of key figures such as George Washington and Frederick Douglass. 

    Four projects will enhance public engagement with historical records:

    • Vanport Mosaic to use audio and video histories and other materials to create an augmented reality walking tour of the lost city of Vanport, Oregon, destroyed in a 1948 flood.
    • A partnership of the North Carolina American Indian Heritage Commission and the state archives to publish online at least 144 oral histories and train American Indian youth as oral historians.
    • Upstander Project, Inc., in Boston to expand access to historical records relating to Indigenous peoples from the 16th through the 19th centuries held at the American Antiquarian Society and to create new history curricula.
    • South Asian American Digital Archive for a nationwide participatory archiving initiative in which community members will collect, preserve, digitize, transcribe, and share 1,500 archival items online to shed light on the diverse experiences of South Asian Americans. 

    An additional 11 archival projects will enhance access to collections documenting Alabama’s coal and iron labor history, the records of Automobile Quarterly documenting classic American automobiles, aviation manufacturing records at the San Diego Air and Space Museum, reparative description of 80 collections related to enslavement in Georgia, the records of African American masons in Louisiana, the photography work of Emile Bocian who documented New York’s Chinatown in the 1970s and 1980s, records related to the landmark 1974 Bronson v. Cincinnati Board of Education desegregation case, New York City’s Commission on Human Rights (1945–76), employee records from the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Relief Department, the records (1870–2015) of the Great Plains Black History Museum, and over 1,200 whaling logbooks and journals (1669–1977) at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

    A first-time NHPRC award was given to Pennsylvania State University to support the Colored Conventions  project to collect, catalog, and transcribe scattered records collections of the 79 Colored Conventions held in the Civil War era, the nation's largest movement for Black civil rights during the 19th century.

  • 13 Jun 2024 2:18 PM | Anonymous is using artificial intelligence (AI) to help Black Americans in researching their family lineages. An updated database of searchable newspaper articles detailing American slaves' lives and descendants has been made public by the genealogy firm. Tens of thousands of newspaper records throughout the 1800s are part of the collection.

    Helping Black Americans discover their family histories is the goal of this free-access resource. The program uses artificial intelligence to go through newspaper archives in search of slave names. Approximately 38,000 newspaper articles spanning 1788–1867 make up the collection, which includes details about over 183,000 individuals who were formerly enslaved, such as their names, ages, physical characteristics, and whereabouts.

    "Where courthouse and community records have been lost or destroyed, many of these original newspaper articles fill gaps in historical records and contain never-before-seen information about enslaved individuals."

    The new landing page is "dedicated to enslavement records," so users can look for specific individuals by name or peruse the results by state that has the most records. AI will search the inaccessible newspaper archives for slave names, linking those identities to Ancestry's other probate document databases to fill in the gaps, according to Axios.

    As a professional genealogist and Ancestry Senior Story Producer, Nicka Sewell-Smith warned, "We're telling people upfront, listen, you might see some stuff, some terms, some things that are going to jolt you" due to the delicate nature of the information.

    The states of Virginia, Georgia, Mississippi, and Louisiana have the biggest records. Surprisingly, there are records that "show how Harriet Tubman helped some enslaved people escape north or offer clues that some may have tried to make a journey south to the Underground Railroad to Mexico."

    In addition to Ancestry's current database of "more than 18 million records...that document the lives of formerly enslaved or newly emancipated individuals," this new endeavor will bolster that database. Records from the Freedmen's Bureau and Freedman's Bank, as well as some records from the United States Federal Census, are part of this collection.

  • 12 Jun 2024 7:23 PM | Anonymous

    Life in the “good old days” wasn’t always so good. For instance, one has to wonder about dental care as practiced by our ancestors. Ready-made toothbrushes and toothpaste were not available until the mid-1800s. Prior to that, everyone had to make their own.

    Throughout the Middle Ages, most people simply rubbed salt on their teeth. Some people made up their own dentifrice and rubbed the resulting powder on their teeth with a small stick, called a "toothstick," with a rag over one end. This was the forerunner of the toothbrush.

    By the 1700s medical knowledge improved to the point that doctors began to understand the importance of proper dental care. Toothpaste, properly called dentifrice, was made at home. Here is one such recipe:

    ...burned hartshorn, powdered oyster shell and white tartar. Also a mouthwash of sal ammoniac and water. Another uses cream of tartar, gum myrrh and oil of cloves. And if all this good dental care fails, you may get a set of artificial ones made from the tusks of the hippopotamus, or sea horse, or from the teeth of some domestick [sic.] animals. Teeth made of ivory or bone soon become discoloured and begin to decay and render the breath offensive.

    The above recipe doesn't result in a paste similar to what we squeeze out of tubes today. It apparently creates a dry powder, which is then rubbed onto the rag on the end of a dental stick. Those whose teeth rotted in spite of this care might consider false teeth made from hippo or walrus (“sea horse”) tusks or the bone of some farm animal. This was the best option available to our ancestors – at least, those who had the access and money to obtain it. The reality is that very few could afford such "luxuries." Most of our ancestors simply had their decaying teeth pulled (which I am sure was unpleasant before the invention of novocain) and simply went without false teeth.

    I didn't know what hartshorn is, so I looked it up on the web. Several sites mention that it is ammonium bicarbonate or "bakers' ammonia." Before the invention of baking soda and baking powder, hartshorn was used as a leavening agent when making cookies or bread. However, it leaves behind a strong smell of ammonia.


    Here is another recipe for tooth powder, published in 1740:

    Use a good tooth powder once a week or once every two weeks for unclean teeth. But the mouth should be rinsed daily after eating with fresh water and scoured with the finger. The tooth powder should not be composed of all rough or all sharp things such as tobacco ashes, powdered coral, pumice stone or brick but should also contain smoothe things such as prepared oyster shell, chalk made from mussels, with a lot of seasoning and flavoring.

    Once a week or once every two weeks? Compare that to today's recommendation of brushing your teeth after every meal! And this was before the days of mouthwash, as well.

    The first toothbrush would not appear until the more solid toothpaste or tooth soap became available in the 1860s. By the 1880s many druggists were making their own toothpastes, packaged in small tin cans.

    In the Middle Ages, barbers pulled teeth as well as cutting hair. The red and white stripes of a barber pole symbolize the blood that normally was lost during tooth extraction by the barber. Those who claimed to be more skilled at dentistry than their competitors were called "barber- surgeons." These jacks-of-all-trades would not only extract teeth and perform minor surgery, but they also cut hair, applied leeches to let blood, and performed embalming.

    Dentists did not appear as a separate profession until after 1700. Pierre Fauchard was a French surgeon who became known as the Father of Scientific Dentistry. He wrote a book that was to become the standard reference: "Surgeon Dentist." He recognized the intimate relationship between oral conditions and general health.

    He advocated the use of lead to fill cavities. Apparently, he did not know about lead poisoning and we can only assume that he poisoned many of his patients. Fauchard died in 1768.

    Paul Revere, known for his "midnight ride" in 1775, was by trade a metalworker. While he is best known for creating bowls and other items of silver, he was well-known in Boston for constructing dentures from ivory and gold.

    George Washington had dentures made of metal and carved ivory or metal and carved cow teeth. Despite modern stories, George Washington never had any teeth made of wood.

    Until the mid-1800s, dentures continued to be individually constructed by skilled artisans. Gold, silver, and ivory were common components, causing them to be very expensive and available only to the very wealthy. The poor simply had their teeth extracted and then went without dentures. One can only imagine the difficulty they had with biting and eating once they became middle aged.

    Monsieur Geoffroy, president of the Royal Society of Medicine in Paris, wrote in the 1700s, "I declare the success (of my false teeth) is superior to my hopes, I further attest that the teeth of sea horse which I wore for only one year had so much disgusted me by the bad smell that they gave to my breath and the disagreeable smell they communicated to my food ... that I had taken them out to eat!"

    In 1844, Dr. Horace Wells, a Connecticut dentist, observed an exhibition of people reacting to inhalation of nitrous oxide (laughing gas). He was the first to use nitrous oxide inhalation during dental therapy and founded the concept of inhalation analgesia and anesthesia. The medical community later adopted inhalation anesthesia as a method of managing pain during surgery.

    In 1851 a process to harden the juices of certain tropical plants into vulcanized rubber was discovered. The ability to mold this new material against a model of the patient's mouth and attach artificial porcelain teeth allowed the manufacture of less expensive dentures. This improved technology for creating false teeth benefited millions who could now afford artificial teeth for the first time.

    Trying to imagine the lives of our ancestors is always difficult. Typically, we tend to romanticize their lives in a time when life was simpler and moved at a slower pace. Romantic or not, their lives probably were far more difficult than our own. The lack of understanding of simple sanitation rules and the inability to deal with medical issues made many lives uncomfortable, even painful. By the age of twenty, most people had rotten teeth with some teeth already extracted. By the age of fifty, many had lost most or even all of their teeth. One can only imagine how this affected their diets as they were unable to chew their food.

    Your ancestor who crossed the ocean, cleared the land for a new homestead, or perhaps fought in wars, may have done so while suffering from tooth pain that we can hardly imagine today.

    Perhaps the "good old days" were not as good as we sometimes imagine.

  • 12 Jun 2024 6:30 PM | Anonymous

    Fans of medieval manuscripts have even more to explore with new additions to e-codices, the Virtual Manuscript Library of Switzerland. The database has put online 48 manuscripts, 30 of which date between the 9th and 15th centuries.

    Since 2005 e-codices has been digitizing manuscripts found in Switzerland. Closing in on 3000 manuscripts from nearly a hundred institutions, it is one of the largest online collections of its kind.

    You can read many examples of the 30 medieval manuscripts in an article in the web site at:

  • 12 Jun 2024 9:01 AM | Anonymous

    Adults who were adopted in Quebec now have the right to obtain the names of their biological parents, regardless of whether the parents chose to keep their identities hidden or not.

    Lise Emond, the Montreal delegate for Mouvement Retrouvailles, asserts that this is a transformation that her organization has been diligently pursuing for a considerable period of time. "Throughout all these years, every piece of information was kept confidential," she clarified. "They would provide us with details such as your mother's age and the color of her eyes."

    In 2018, the mother was granted the authority to exercise a veto, expressing her desire to keep her name confidential. With the introduction of Bill 2, they are now disclosing the name.

    You can read more at:

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