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  • 20 May 2022 2:34 PM | Anonymous

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

    CD-ROM disks, along with their higher-capacity cousins DVD and Blu-ray disks, are fragile methods of storing information. In short, these plastic disks are not suitable for long-term storage. Many corporations and non-profits are racing to get their data off the discs as quickly and safely as possible and into a more reliable digital storage environment. If you have genealogy information or any other information stored on these disks, you need to do the same.

    For many years, the thought amongst genealogists has been to print the information on paper for long-term preservation. Yet, many of us have handled old pieces of paper that are decaying, crumbling, or fading to the point that the information is not readable. In fact, most paper manufactured in the past 75+ years contains acids that will hasten the deterioration of the information you wish to preserve. Add in the many problems of paper destruction caused by mold, mildew, moisture, insect damage, floods, fires, burst water pipes, and other factors, and you soon come to the realization that storage on paper is as risky as storing on optical media or even more so.

    In some circles, the solution is to “digitize data so as to preserve it.” However, even digitizing requires some serious precautions and planning. Today’s common choice for long-term digital data storage is CD-ROM or DVD disks. However, that technology has only appeared in the past three decades; so, we do not yet know if these devices will store data for a century or more. Some studies indicate that the information may not last that long. In fact, there is proof that many CD-ROM disks may not even last a decade!

    For instance, New York Public Radio is now transferring the contents of their archive of over 30,000 CD-ROM disks. NYPR Archives Manager John Passmore said that some of the older discs exhibit “end-of-life symptoms,” which creates an urgency at NYPR to move the content off the CDs and into the organization’s asset management system. Passmore gave a presentation at the Library of Congress' Digital Preservation 2014 Meeting about the issues and the solutions being used at New York Public Radio. You can read an interview of John Passmore made earlier in the year on the subject in the Library of Congress’ website at

    The main advantage of digital data is that there is no signal degradation in the output. In a digital environment, data is stored in "bits," often referred to as "ones and zeroes." Each bit either is there or it isn't. In contrast, data stored on analog media such as a magnetic tape of audio or video, is stored in an infinite number of signal strengths. This variable quality is the problem; the result of copying it, playing it, or even just storing it is degraded audio or images. In short, analog data will degrade over time; digital data will not.

    The degradation of analog information is obvious when using a photocopier. Information or images printed on paper are analog. If a photocopy of the original document is made, the new copy is not as crisp and clear as the original. In short, the image is degraded a bit. If a photocopy is made of the photocopy, the image is degraded a bit more. If a photocopy is made of the photocopy of the photocopy... Well, you probably have seen the results when someone hands you a document that has been photocopied many times, such as "office jokes" posted on bulletin boards in many offices, jokes that seem to never die.

    In contrast, digital copies are perfect reproductions of the originals.

    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/12788102

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

  • 20 May 2022 1:27 PM | Anonymous

    Did you ever find a record of someone's cause of death and then asked, "What the heck is that?"

    You can find the definitions of Atheroma, Barrel Fever, Cynanche Trachealis, Jail Fever, and lots of other disgusting things in the Bakers' World web site at:

  • 20 May 2022 10:02 AM | Anonymous

    NOTE: This article is off-topic. That is, it does not concern anything to do with genealogy, DNA, or related topics normally found in this newsletter. However, I have written several times about the wisdom of using VPNs to preserve your privacy from hackers, invasive corporate advertising, and from governments spying on their citizens.

    VPNs as a scapegoat whilst removing freedom of choice.

    From an article by Sebastian Schaub published in the TechRadar web site at

    People who subscribe to VPN services will generally be driven by two main factors - privacy and security. Clearly, such users value their privacy for many different reasons, choosing to remain private whilst going about their online business. Any move to restrict or even remove privacy effectively seeks to undermine those who provide VPN services. So it is worrying to see news developing in India where new directions published by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology seek the power to be able to identify VPN users - goodbye privacy. This can only be viewed as another overly restrictive law that essentially compromises the privacy and security of almost all VPN users. 

    Despite the public backlash, India is pressing ahead with its new cybersecurity rules that will require cloud service providers and VPN operators to maintain names of their customers and their IP addresses. For services that won’t comply? India has informed them they will need to cease operations in the country, according to The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team.

    India had already threatened to do something similar last year whereby a parliamentary committee wanted the Indian government to ban VPNs altogether on the basis that the criminal fraternity were using VPN encryption to commit crime. India wouldn’t be the first country to try and curtail VPN services using similar excuses. Russia blocked access to VPN service providers that included the likes of NordVPN and Express VPN with very vague references to extremism, narcotics and child pornography. China controls most parts of the internet available to citizens and therefore sees the use of any VPN service as an obstacle to achieving absolute cyber sovereignty within its borders.

    And this is what any interference by governments on VPN services boils down to. It is a reflection of their desire to control the internet and block access to what they consider prohibited information and resources. However, any technology can be misused but the overwhelming majority of VPN usage is for legal and legitimate purposes. All around the world, many millions of consumers and businesses rely on VPNs for essential online protection. Our own data has illustrated this in the past. During social unrest in Indonesia last year, the government imposed blocks on WhatsApp and Instagram - we saw our traffic increase by a massive 300%, a clear reflection of the will of the Indonesian people wanting to control their freedom and expression of speech.

    Any curbs on VPN usage, especially where you set out to restrict or remove privacy, is an attack on internet freedom in general.

    The full article is much longer. You can read the entire thing at:

    Comments from Dick Eastman:

    The latest move by the Indian government should be a warning to all internet users: Big Brother is watching you.

    The Indian government is rather unique in that the government announces such things publicly. Most other governments already use similar methods but rarely make public announcements about them. If you value your online privacy (and you should!), it is time to hide your online activities.

    You might claim, "But I don't do anything illegal." To which I would respond, "Why do you have a door on the toilet or curtains in your house? Just because you're not doing anything illegal doesn't mean that you have to share everything you do with strangers."

    I wonder if the next statement from the Indian government will state that all private letters sent through the postal service must be written on post cards, not sealed in envelopes. That would greatly simplify government snooping.

    (OK, so written private letters are rare nowadays, being replaced by e-mail. But I will suggest the above paragraph raises a bigger question: What is the purpose of government? To spy on its citizens or to protect the privacy rights of those citizens?)

    Luckily, there are several easy methods to obfuscate your online communications so that even government spies and others cannot read your online activities:

    1. Sign up for a VPN service based in a country that is far more liberal about protecting your privacy and where spying on citizens is illegal. Those countries include: Switzerland, Germany, the Scandinavian countries, and Iceland. There are probably others also, but those are the ones I can think of right now. You want to avoid VPN services based in Russia, China, the Arab countries, the United Kingdom, Canada, or the USA or in any other country with a repressive government. Repressive governments probably do the same thing as India except they don't publicize such things.

    2. Build your own VPN where you and your correspondents are the only ones who have the capability to read your communications. I wrote about one such solution in an earlier article: (+) Hands-On with My New DPN (available only to Plus Edition subscribers but still available to them at:*)-Plus-Edition-News-Articles/12759512). You can also find many online articles about creating your own personal VPN by starting at

    3. Skip VPNs completely and switch to the FREE Tor Browser. This is explained at: but it only protects you on the World Wide Web, not in email, file transfers, most online chat protocols, and other online activities. Tor also slows down your web activities significantly.

    My personal belief: I believe EVERY online user has a right to privacy. I further believe every bit of communications online should be fully encrypted in such a manner that can only be decrypted by the originator and the addressee(s) of those communications. I believe this even though I don't (knowingly) do anything illegal. I lead a rather open life. However, I simply don't like anyone snooping around in my activities.

    What do you think? Does a hacker, criminal, online site (like Facebook), a government (including all FUTURE ADMINISTRATIONS) have a legal right to monitor everything you write or say?

    If governments do have that right, welcome to 1984!

  • 20 May 2022 8:37 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

    Wiltshire takes pride of place this Findmypast Friday  

    Findmypast add thousands of exclusive Wiltshire records from three new collections, in partnership with Wiltshire Family History Society 

    Wiltshire Baptisms 

    Covering nine parishes across Wiltshire and over 300 years, nearly 70,000 transcripts have been added into this existing collection. In addition to names, birth years and baptism years, it’s also possible to uncover parents’ names. 

    Wiltshire Asylum Registers, 1789-1921 

    This brand-new collection of nearly 28,000 transcripts covers eight institutions across the county. Details vary, but it might be possible to discover admission dates and notes on discharge. Earlier records in this collection are from private asylums.  

    Wiltshire WW1 Hospital Records 

    The next new collection includes just over 6,000 records for over three Wiltshire hospitals. Clues such as an ancestor’s rank, service number and details of injury could be found within these records. They also cover some regiments for outside of the UK. 

    Wiltshire Tithe Award Register 1813-1882 

    Over 250,000 records make up this new collection, which include details of taxes paid by residents to their local church. It’s a great resource to uncover Wiltshire land and property owners.  


    One new title and 12 updated titles round up this week’s releases, including the politically independent Woodford Times. 

    New titles: 

    ·         Woodford Times, 1869 

    Updated titles: 

    ·         Bebington News, 1989-1990, 1992 

    ·         Clarion, 1916-1927 

    ·         East Kilbride News, 1991 

    ·         Glasgow Chronicle, 1849 

    ·         Harlow Star, 1988, 1990 

    ·         Herne Bay Press, 1883-1897, 1899-1912, 1919-1975 

    ·         Nantwich Chronicle, 1995 

    ·         Nottingham Evening Post, 1995 

    ·         Oldham Advertiser, 1990, 1993 

    ·         Ormskirk Advertiser, 1990 

    ·         Peterborough Herald & Post, 1989 

    ·         Pontypridd Observer, 1962 

  • 20 May 2022 8:29 AM | Anonymous

    To U.S. residents: were you counted in the 2020 Census?

    According to an article written by Hansi Lo Wang and published in the NPR web site:

    For the 2020 census, all states were not counted equally well for population numbers used to allocate political representation and federal funding over the next decade, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report released Thursday.

    A follow-up survey the bureau conducted to measure the national tally's accuracy found significant net undercount rates in six states: Arkansas (5.04%), Florida (3.48%), Illinois (1.97%), Mississippi (4.11%), Tennessee (4.78%) and Texas (1.92%).

    It also uncovered significant net overcount rates in eight states — Delaware (5.45%), Hawaii (6.79%), Massachusetts (2.24%), Minnesota (3.84%), New York (3.44%), Ohio (1.49%), Rhode Island (5.05%) and Utah (2.59%).

    For the other 36 states, as well as Washington, D.C., the bureau did not find statistically significant net over- or undercount rates.

    These revelations come after the population totals from a census beset by the coronavirus pandemic and years of interference from former President Donald Trump's administration have already been used to divvy up seats in the House of Representatives, as well as votes in the Electoral College, for the next decade.

    "No census is perfect," Census Bureau Director Robert Santos warned during a public webinar about the latest results from Post-Enumeration Survey. "And the PES allows us to become more informed about the 2020 census by estimating what portion of the population was correctly counted, where we missed people and where some people were counted that shouldn't have been."

    You can read the entire article at:

  • 19 May 2022 11:01 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by the British Association for Local History (BALH):

    The British Association for Local History’s annual flagship event will this year be headlined by Dr Janina Ramirez talking about her upcoming book Femina: A New History of the Middle Ages, Through the Women Written Out of It. This ground-breaking reappraisal of medieval history reveals why women were struck from our historical narrative, restoring them to their rightful positions as the power-players who shaped the world we live in today. Dr Janina Ramirez is an Oxford lecturer, BBC broadcaster, researcher and author. She has presented and written over 30 hours of BBC history documentaries and series on TV and radio and written five books for children and adults.

    Paul Dryburgh, BALH Acting Chair, said, “During lockdown people across the country have engaged in new ways with their local communities and their history. Join us as we celebrate the vibrancy of local history in Britain today. We look forward to welcoming two fantastic speakers and learning a great deal about often neglected voices and records. It will be a privilege to meet our award winners who truly represent the commitment of local historians and the full range of approaches in local history today.”

    The event will also feature a talk by Dr Mark Forrest on his recently published BALH handbook to post-medieval manorial documents. Formerly archivist at Dorset History Centre, an expert on taxation and the author of several local history handbooks, Mark will discuss how to navigate records of rural and urban land and property holding, and the relationship between communities and their landscape, over the last 500 years. The results and winners of the inaugural BALH Local History Photographer of the Year and the BALH Awards for Local Historians will be announced.

    Local History Day is at Conway Hall, London, on Saturday 11 June 2022. Tickets (£5-£10) are available for in-person and online from the British Association for Local History’s website here:

    About the British Association for Local History

    The British Association for Local History is the national charity for local history and serves local historians across the country. It publishes a regular magazine and journal as well as books and pamphlets on local history. It also organises a number of events and activities throughout the year, in-person and online.

  • 19 May 2022 9:06 AM | Anonymous

    NOTE: This article is off-topic. That is, it does not concern anything to do with genealogy, DNA, or related topics normally found in this newsletter. However, I enjoy saving money and am quick to publish articles telling others how to save money or to use a high-tech device that I enjoy, regardless of the topic.

    Looking for a new tablet computing device? Well, you can purchase an Apple iPad for $329 (US dollars) and up, depending upon options included. Or you can purchase an Amazon Fire 7 for $59.99. Your choice.

    I own the previous version of the Amazon Fire 7 (not the newly-announced version) and must say that I am quite satisfied with it. I use it daily. To be sure, it is not "just as good as an iPad." When compared to an iPad, several items are missing or have lower capabilities with the Amazon Fire 7. Even so, it meets my needs perfectly and does everything that I want to do with a tablet. The fact that it is about one-fifth the price of an iPad was my deciding factor.

    The downsides of the Amazon Fire 7 (as I see them) include:

    1. It has a 7-inch screen. That is small, not much bigger than a cell phone. Actually, I consider the small size to be an advantage, not a disadvantage. But many other people will probably have the opposite opinion.
    2. The price of $59.99 is for the unit with 16 gigabytes of internal storage memory. I always seem to fill up almost any device I purchase so I usually buy the more expensive unit with more storage space. In the case of the Amazon Fire 7, that has a $20 higher price of $79.99. HOWEVER, unlike an iPad, the Amazon Fire 7 accepts microSD memory cards and an extra 16 gigabyte memory card is available (also from Amazon and elsewhere) for $4.99. Even higher capacity microSD cards are available at higher prices. Purchase the cheaper Amazon Fire 7 and also a microSD card. plug it in and you will instantly have 32 gigabytes (or even more if you purchase a larger storage microSD card). That strikes me as a more cost-effective option.
    3. All Amazon tablets use the Amazon Play Store, not the normal Google Play Store that most Android devices use to install more applications. The Amazon Play Store unfortunately has far fewer available apps available than does the Google Play Store. However, there are dozens of online articles telling how to use the larger Google Play Store on Amazon devices. I converted my (older) Amazon Fire by following the instructions at and it worked perfectly. My device now obtains new apps from the much larger Google Play Store.

    The new Fire 7 is available for preorder starting now and will begin shipping June 29.

    NOTE: I am not compensated in any way for publishing this article. The folks at Amazon don't even know that I am writing it. Whether or not you purchase an Amazon Fire 7 because of this article makes no difference to me: my financial impact will remain at zero. I simply enjoy the unit I have and want share the news with readers of this newsletter.

    You can find the Amazon Fire 7 at It is the company's newest device and is being promoted all over the web site. You won't have any problem finding it.

  • 18 May 2022 9:28 PM | Anonymous

    Jay Mack Holbrook, 85, of Provo, passed away peacefully on May 17, 2022 of causes related to dementia. He was born on January 12, 1937 in Chesterfield, Caribou, Idaho to Lawrence E Holbrook and Mary Marjorie Boyatt. He was the oldest of eight children.

    Jay Mack's interests were many and diverse: debate, theater, music, dance, poetry, gardening, languages, travel, and public speaking.

    He was the founder of Holbrook Research Institute a.k.a. Archive Publishing, which collected, preserved, and published New England town records. He published some 300 titles, with his better-known works including "Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850; Connecticut Colonists; Vermont's First Settlers 1749-1803"; and "New Hampshire Residents 1633-1699". He sold his business to in 2011 and now his work is available online and benefits genealogists and historians worldwide.

    His obituary (which details many more accomplishments of his life beyond genealogy) may be found at:

  • 18 May 2022 6:34 PM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by the American Society of Genealogists (ASG):

    A $2500 grant has been awarded to William E. Cole of Gold River, California, toward three projects: preparation of a compiled genealogy of The Wife of John Cole of Weedon Bec, Northamptonshire: Frances ____, her siblings and parents; a compiled genealogy expanding on “The English Origins of Job, John, Daniel and Ruth Cole,” as published in Mayflower Descendant, vol. 69 (Winter 2021); and a narrative history of the trials and tribulations faced by nine Puritans for their non-conformist beliefs in the early 1590s within the Church of England and in England’s highest courts.” Mr. Cole is an in-demand genealogy presenter who will be speaking at the National Genealogical Society Family History Conference, The American Mosaic, in Sacramento, May 24-28, 2022.

    A $2500 grant has been awarded to Al Sharp of Kittitas, Washington, to continue his “Henrico Project” of content notes from the Henrico County, Virginia, court records, of which fourteen volumes have been published. This grant will be applied towards the completion of “Court Minute Book 1752-55,” and “1755-1762.” Mr. Sharp has worked with the editors of the Papers of George Washington and James Madison at the University of Virginia in an Early American Studies seminar critiquing draft theses of graduate students. He was also instrumental in obtaining changes in the Virginia laws to allow digital access to Virginia court records.

    For more information about the Grant Program e-mail or write to

    Alicia Crane Williams, FASG, Chair
    ASG Grant Committee
    4 White Trellis
    Plymouth MA 02360

  • 18 May 2022 9:37 AM | Anonymous

    Zack Daily-Anderson was conceived using a sperm donor. He later discovered 237 half brothers and sisters, all linked to the same man who donated his sperm.

    When Cindy Daily and her partner decided to have a baby in the early 2000s, they knew it wouldn't be an easy path. After using a sperm donor and going through several rounds of IVF, their baby boy Zack Daily-Anderson was finally born.

    Daily bought donor sperm from the Fairfax Cryobank in Virginia, one of the largest sperm banks in the country.

    The popularity of DNA sites like and 23andMe causing their donor group number to skyrocket. Today, at 18-years old, Daily-Anderson has 237 half brothers and sisters that he knows of. Some live near him in Virginia, but others are spread out across the United States and the world. According to the family, all the siblings are linked to the same man who donated his sperm over many years.

    During an interview, Daily said her family doesn't want to sensationalize their story, but wants to see some regulations in the industry that allowed their family to form. "You have a government that regulates us to death, but this is a loophole that they’ve never investigated," she said.

    You can read more in an article written by Marcella Robertson and published in the WUSA9 web site at:

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