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  • 18 May 2022 7:56 AM | Anonymous

    A Facebook post has claimed that the investment management firm BlackRock owns 75% of the genealogy company Ancestry. This spawned other claims that BlackRock now owns the DNA database and lots of other personal information of its customers.

    Like many other claims posted to Facebook (now called, there is but one problem with the claim: it isn’t true.

    Ancestry is actually owned by another investment management firm called Blackstone.

    Ancestry was acquired back in 2020

    We can see where the confusion might come from, but Ancestry was actually bought by a different, though similarly titled investment management firm, called Blackstone, back in 2020.

    The deal saw Blackstone acquire the family history website and DNA testing service for around $4.7 billion, representing around a 75% stake in the company, according to multiple reports at the time.

    Despite the similarity between their names, Blackstone and BlackRock are two separate asset management companies.

    You can read more about this fairy tale in an article written by Hannah Smith and published in the Full Fact web site (which specializes in disproving false rumors) at

  • 17 May 2022 2:50 PM | Anonymous

    Laird Charles Towle passed away peacefully at home on April 20, 2022. In 1962 he completed his formal education with a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Virginia. He worked in that field for twenty years, principally at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C.

    In 1968 he became seriously interested in genealogical research, later in genealogical book publishing. Laird and his wife, Marlene, founded Heritage Books, Inc. in 1977. Laird soon become well-known throughout the genealogy community.

    Twenty-five years later, he sold the business to Craig Scott and settled into retirement; spending his time on his hobbies: genealogy, gardening, traveling, reading, boating, archeology and an appreciation of the arts.

    I well remember a conversation I had with Laird many years ago in which he taught me about one of his professional interests: the viscosity of various lubricants in the -400 degree temperatures found in outer space. That was something he had worked on for the space program.

    I knew absolutely nothing about that topic at the beginning of the conversation but Laird explained everything in such an interesting manner that I felt I was an expert after listening him talk for about a half hour. I will always remember him for his widespread knowledge and his manner of explaining the driest of topics in an interesting manner.

    You can read Laird Towle's obituary at, although that will not mention the viscosity of lubricants in extreme cold conditions.

  • 17 May 2022 2:46 PM | Anonymous

    Hundreds (perhaps thousands) of people knew Russ Worthington. He perhaps was better known as Cousin Russ.

    I was amongst the many who knew and admired Cousin Russ. He seemed to be at all the genealogy conferences, helping others in the Family Tree Maker booth. When he wasn't in the booth, he was usually someplace else helping someone with a question they had.

    I spent the last hour trying to write my thoughts about Cousin Russ. I failed. Then I found a eulogy written by Geoff Rasmussenin the Legacy Genealogy News web site that said everything I could not think of. I suggest you read Geoff's article at:

  • 17 May 2022 2:09 PM | Anonymous

    Depending on who you ask, it stands for “Rich Site Summary,” “Really Simple Syndication,” or “RDF Site Summary.” Regardless of the acronym, it’s actually a very straightforward technology: whenever a website publishes new content, that content can automatically be put into an RSS feed.

    Best of all, you can use an RSS newsreader (a bit of software) to quickly and easily check your favorite web sites to see what is new. "Your favorite web sites" might include news sites, the latest stock market prices, weather forecasts, just severe weather updates, your genealogy society's web site, a list of upcoming satellite launches, updates on airline flight prices, some job-search websites, a certain genealogy newsletter (ahem!), Hollywood gossip sites, or if you’re especially interested in one particular topic you can easily and quickly see what is new on that site. The sky is the limit.

    HINT: The RSS newsfeed for Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter is:

    You don't use a normal web browser to read RSS news feeds. Instead, you use what is known as an RSS newsreader. That might be software that you install in your computer or you can use an RSS newsreader that is in the cloud (which means you don't have to install anything).

    You can get web-based, desktop, mobile, and even browser add-on RSS newsreader versions, most of which let you subscribe to up to 100 sites before asking you to pay to upgrade your membership to access more features. There are dozens out there, but the following are a great place to start.

    Feedly (my favorite web-based RSS newsreader (no software installation required!) plus Android and iOS versions are available) at

    InoReader (Web-based plus Android, iOS, and Windows Phone versions at

    NewsFlow (for Windows only) at

    RSSOwl (Completely free for Windows, macOS, and Linux) at

    NetNewsWire (completely free for Macintosh or iOS only) at

    Awasu An advanced RSS newsreader but for Windows only) at

    Feeder (an add-on for the Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge web bowsers plus free-standing apps are available for iOS) at

    There are dozens more RSS newsreaders available but the above list is some of the more popular ones. I'd suggest you start with one of the above. It is possible that you will want to switch later to something else once you gain experience with the advantages of RSS,

    RSS remains one of the best ways to make sure you see everything your favorite sites publish. It also allows you to check dozens of web sites much more quickly and easily than visiting each web site one at a time with a web bowser.

  • 16 May 2022 2:49 PM | Anonymous

    Dr. Don Cline was a fertility doctor who used his own sperm to inseminate patients without their consent, according to the Netflix documentary, “Our Father.” Jacoba Ballard began unraveling the truth of her ancestry and her siblings with a DNA test.

    Cline fathered at least 94 biological children, according to the documentary, but the exact number of children conceived is impossible to know. Ballard took a 23andMe test in 2014, and learned she had seven half-siblings. She contacted the siblings to learn about their mysterious familial connection, and realized each of the mothers had seen the same fertility doctor.

    As many more siblings began taking DNA tests, their information was added to the database and the number of siblings in the count grew. Each time a new connection was added to the database, Ballard prepared to break the news, she said on the documentary.

    If you have a Netflix account, you can view the documentary at

  • 16 May 2022 9:15 AM | Anonymous

    In a collaborative effort, Hunter Library at Western Carolina University has established an extensive, digital collection that will provide improved access to regionally focused materials of Southern Appalachia.

    The Southern Appalachian Digital Collections was created with the University of North Carolina at Asheville through a Library Science and Technology Act grant. The partnership began in 2019 to specifically take advantage of combined efforts, such as sharing purchasing power for licensing a content management system and increased staff expertise.

    “We are hoping to expand the collection with additional member institutions that reside within Southern Appalachia – Western North Carolina, north Georgia, eastern Tennessee, upstate South Carolina, southwest Virginia – that have a mission to support and preserve the literature, culture, music and historical heritage of the region, and contribute collections to digitize and/or accession into the shared content management system,” said Beth Thompson, assistant professor and head of  Content Organization and Management at Hunter Library.

    You can read more at:

  • 16 May 2022 9:03 AM | Anonymous

    One of the most dramatic differences between the traditional, analogue world of creation, and the modern, digital one, is the democratization that has taken place in this sphere. Until recently, writers, musicians, artists and filmmakers collectively formed a relatively select group that was hard to enter as a professional. Today, anyone with an Internet connection can spread the word about their work and make money from it. In effect, everyone who is online, to a greater or lesser degree, is a digital creator – even with the most ephemeral of posts on social media. The result is that genealogists, societies, bloggers, and many others now can find audiences for their messages. Although it is clear the creative field has been opened up enormously, details are hard to come by. That makes a new “Creator Report” from Linktree particularly useful. Linktree describes itself as:

    a tool for connecting followers to your entire online world – not just one feed.

    A Linktree not only points followers in the direction of your choosing – to your other social profiles, eCommerce store, or content you want to share – but it helps hold followers within your online ecosystem for longer. It allows users to share more, sell more, curate more and grow more.

    Linktree claims to have over 23 million users worldwide, which means that it should be in a good position to observe how the new world of digital creation works.

    You can read more at:

  • 16 May 2022 8:57 AM | Anonymous

    The updated website provides a searchable database of the official Irish-language versions of approximately 100,000 places throughout the country. The new Placenames Database of Ireland site features interactive maps, aerial photography and better ease of navigation for those looking to find out the origins of place names from Arklow to Zion Road.

    It is developed by the Gaois research group in Fiontar & Scoil na Gaeilge in Dublin City University in collaboration with the Placenames Branch of the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.

    The website was launched by Jack Chambers T.D., Minister of State for the Gaeltacht and Sport on Dublin City University’s All Hallows campus.

    Details may be found at

  • 13 May 2022 2:51 PM | Anonymous

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

    In recent comments to ebook articles in this newsletter, several people have commented, "If I have enjoyed a book, I get pleasure in passing it to a friend to read. I can't do that digitally without paying again." Actually, with Kindle and Nook ebook readers, that is incorrect. Kindle owners can legally easily lend books at no charge. In fact, the process is quite simple.


    Kindle books can be loaned to another reader for a period of 14 days. The borrower does not even need to own a Kindle! Kindle books can be read on a second Kindle or on a Windows PC, Macintosh, iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, and Android device by using Amazon's FREE Kindle software.

    Not all books purchased on the Kindle are available to be loaned out. The book's publisher has the option of prohibiting lending of an ebook. However, most Kindle ebooks may be lent. Those that are lendable can be shared with friends for up to 14 days at a time for no charge. Books are automatically returned after that period, so you don't have to chase your friend down to get your favorite novel back.

    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/12779528.

    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

  • 13 May 2022 2:22 PM | Anonymous

    Over the past several centuries, there have always been places that couples could, for various reasons, run away to and get married.

    In more recent times, it was because perhaps no blood test was required, or no waiting period, no age limit, or parental consent. These runaway spots are often referred to as Gretna Greens, so called because of the famous place on the Scottish border where English couples eloped after the English Clandestine Marriage Act was passed in the 18th century.

    If you are looking for a record of your ancestors’ marriage, and can’t find it in the home county, you might think a bit broader, depending on where they lived. There are many cases of people marrying in unexpected places. One couple from North Carolina slipped into Clayton in North Georgia’s Rabun County to wed. A Tennessee couple married in Rossville, Georgia, in Walker County, adjacent to Catoosa County, so a researcher would need to check both courthouses for the actual record.

    There's more in an article by Kenneth H. Thomas Jr. and published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution at

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

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