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  • 7 Oct 2021 2:56 PM | Anonymous

    How does it feel to be a second-class Internet citizen? If you are in the U.S., that's what you are.

    A survey conducted earlier this year by the Pew Research Center found that 7% of Americans lack access to reliable broadband. One reason for this may be how expensive internet access is in the U.S.

    “People in the U.S. pay more for slower internet than people abroad,” Open Technology Institute policy analyst Claire Park said. “For many consumers, the cost of getting online right now is simply too high and also too complicated.”

    The Open Technology Institute has been studying the price and speed of internet services advertised within the United States as well as abroad. Its 2020 Cost of Connectivity Report found that the average advertised monthly cost of internet in the U.S. is $68.38, which is higher than the average price of internet access for all of North America, Europe and Asia.

    You can read more in an article by Charlotte Morabito published in the CNBC web site at

  • 6 Oct 2021 8:32 PM | Anonymous

    A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is the easiest way to obtain a fast, private, and SECURE Internet connection.

    Do you work online from coffee shops or hotels? Do you travel and take a laptop, tablet or smartphone with you to use online? Do you perhaps travel internationally? I often travel internationally, and I always use a VPN when traveling, whether I am in the U.S. or overseas.

    Actually, using a VPN while at home is also a good idea. After all, do you know if one of your neighbors is possibly monitoring all the data you send and receive? Then again, we all know that the NSA is monitoring everything we send and receive online.

    Unless you are using a VPN (virtual private network), nothing you do online is private. A VPN encrypts and protects everything you do online, and can be downloaded as an app on your phone or computer.

    Protect yourself from people stealing your credit card info, your Gmail login credentials, or (worst of all) getting blocked from watching the latest episode of Game of Thrones.

    You need to be using a VPN if you:

    • Connect to unsecured Wi-Fi networks (such as from airports, hotel rooms, or coffee shops)
    • Visit sites you'd rather keep private
    • Make online purchases (don't get your debit card hacked)
    • Watch Netflix movies or "Who Do You Think You Are?" UK edition or other video services while visiting countries that are normally blocked from those sites
    • Legally use bit torrent and want to keep your downloads private
    • Or travel to places with internet censorship

    Don't let your web browser's incognito mode fool you. Incognito mode is a good thing, but it only offers partial security. You NEED to be using a VPN.

    A VPN provides a secure connection between your computer and the VPN servers. All communications between your computer and the VPN are encrypted and sent through a secure tunnel over the Internet, preventing outsiders from spying on your web activity. You can securely connect to a VPN service and surf the web from the VPN service’s servers, using their IP addresses.

    There are lots of reasons to use a VPN service, such as establishing a secure connection over an insecure network, accessing censored or region specific web content, or protecting your bank account information or credit card numbers when using them online.

    NOTE: The monitoring by the USA government’s National Security Agency (NSA) may or may not be blocked by using a VPN. The NSA doesn’t describe its capabilities, so we don’t know exactly what the NSA can or cannot monitor. However, using a VPN can reduce the likelihood of government monitoring.

    The use of a VPN to block NSA monitoring is a long and complicated subject with many unknowns. I will ignore NSA monitoring for the remainder of this article. If you would like to learn more about NSA’s spying, I suggest you start at have used a number of VPNs over the years and can tell you there are a number of good ones available.

    NOTE: Stay away from the so-called free VPNs, however. They usually fill your computer with unwanted advertising and may even spy on you. A few of the shadiest free VPNs, such as Obrona and Hola, can actually make your computer less secure than it was before installing the free so-called VPN. See and and for details.

    My current favorite VPN is called Private Internet Access (often called PIA.) However, there are several other very good VPN products available these days. You might check the reviews at,, and at

    VPN services work by creating encrypted “tunnels” to VPN servers, often called “exit nodes,” in distant locations, often to VPN servers in other countries.

    Many of the VPN services I have used in the past (or tried to use but was unsuccessful) have very tricky set-up procedures. They seem to assume that everyone is a network engineer. Heck, I WAS a network engineer for several years, and I still had difficulties configuring some of those VPN products! In contrast, PIA is simple to install and configure. Download the software, install it, and answer a few simple questions during set-up. That's it! You can be up and running securely within a minute or two.

    Using PIA is simple. You first connect to the Internet in the normal manner you have always used. Once connected, you launch PIA. When the PIA screen appears, click once and your connection becomes encrypted and secure within 3 or 4 seconds.

    PIA (Private Internet Access) is available for Windows, Macintosh, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and all Android smartphones and tablets.

    Unlike some other VPN services, you can use PIA on up to ten devices simultaneously. That's more than many of its competitors. For instance, you can use PIA on your laptop computer and on your tablet computer at the same time.

    PIA is rather expensive if you pay for it monthly: $9.99 per month. However, paying for 36 months at once (which is what I did) drops that cost to $2.19 a month, a charge that I consider to be very reasonable. There is no free version or "free trial version." However, HMA does offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. In my mind, that is almost as good as a free trial: you can try it for up to 30 days and then still get your money back if you find it doesn't work for you. See for all the pricing details.

    All in all, I am happy with PIA’s VPN service and plan to continue using it for a long time. I use it every time I use my laptop computer online, whether I am traveling or not. I also have it installed in my cell phone and in my desktop computer and will then use it occasionally for online access to services that I wish to keep secure, such as online shopping or accessing my bank account.

    I am not compensated in any way for writing this article. I am simply a satisfied PIA user, and I am using it at this moment to post this article to the newsletter.

    For other suggestions for protecting yourself online, check out the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Surveillance Self-Defense Guide to defending yourself and your friends from surveillance by using secure technology and developing careful practices at

  • 6 Oct 2021 1:34 PM | Anonymous

    The following was written by FamilySearch:

    FamilySearch ​​​​​​added 2M new, free records to its US collections for West Virginia County Marriages 1776–1971 and Massachusetts Boston Tax Records 1822–1918 and nearly one million new records respectively to the New Zealand Electoral Rolls 1865–1957 and Venezuela Catholic Church Records, 1577-1995. More added for the Caribbean Islands.

    Other country collections expanded included England Middlesex Parish Registers 1539–1988, more Catholic Church records for Chile 1710-1928, and Peru 1603–1992; and civil registrations for Barbados 1900–1931, Belize 1881–1951, Grenada 1866-1940, Saint Kitts and Nevis 1859–1932, and Sierra Leone 1802–2016.

    Search these new records and images by clicking on the collection links below, or go to FamilySearch

     to search over 8 billion free names and record images.

    The list is very log, too long to post here. You can find the full list by clicking here

    About FamilySearch

    FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at or through over 5,000 family history centers in 129 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

  • 5 Oct 2021 2:16 PM | Anonymous

    The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

    The Chester Creek Murders

    By Nathan Dylan Goodwin. 2021. 267 pages.

    Our favorite genealogical crime-thriller author is writing a new series of books that he calls the Venator Cold Cases. The Chester Creek Murders is Venator Cold Case #1.

    This latest story introduces Madison Scott-Barnhart, founder and proprietor of Venator, a DNA genetic genealogy investigative company. Her offices are in Salt Lake City, where her associates have already solved several difficult cold cases and achieved a measure of national acclaim. But there’s an undercurrent of personal pain and brooding when Madison remembers Michael, her absent husband, whose disappearance remains a sad thread in her and her daughters’ lives.

    Detective Clayton Tyler is searching for answers for three Chester Creek murders, cruel crimes against three young women whose bodies were found at Chester Creek in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Their perpetrators remain at large some thirty years later.

    Detective Tyler and Madison Barnhart team up to solve the Chester Creek crimes.

    The story jumps around a lot, from years ago to present time, and to and fro among the lives of the three victims, Madison and her Venator investigators, and Tyler. But different scenarios are set in their own chapters, so the overall story line is easy enough to follow.

    The reader will recognize the research techniques and records being searched, and that’s what makes Goodwin’s books so interesting: he weaves a story of fiction and mystery inside a world we’re familiar with, but we’re not having to do any of the work. We just relax and read about someone else’s dilemmas in trying to solve the puzzles.

    The mystery crime story genre is a popular reading category. Genealogy is a popular pursuit.

    Goodwin unites the two, and we’re always ready to enjoy his books.

    The Chester Creek Murders is available in paperback, Kindle, Kobo, Apple Books, and as an audio book from the author at

  • 5 Oct 2021 2:09 PM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by the National Genealogical Society:

    FALLS CHURCH, VA, 5 OCTOBER 2021—Starting 5 October 2021, individuals who are planning to attend the National Genealogical Society (NGS) 2022 Family History Conference, Our American Mosaic, may reserve hotel accommodations. The conference will be held 24‒28 May 2022, at the SAFE Credit Union Convention Center, 1400 J Street, Sacramento, California.
    The conference will feature more than 150 genealogy lectures on a wide variety of topics. Lectures will focus on African American research; Asian and Pacific Islander research; BCG Skillbuilding; DNA; European and Middle Eastern research; Hispanic and Latin American ancestry; immigration and migration; methodology; Native American research; New England research; non-traditional families; records and repositories; reference services; society management; technology; the 1950s; western states; and writing. NGS will also welcome special guest speakers.
    NGS offers attendees a choice of two hotels with discounted rates. The official conference hotels, the Hyatt Regency Sacramento and the Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel, are in walking distance to the convention center. Both hotels offer complimentary Wi-Fi. Several parking garages with affordable parking are located in close proximity to the Safe Credit Union Convention Center.
    As a rule, conference hotels tend to fill quickly. To ensure room availability, early reservations are recommended. Hotel reservations close 25 April 2022.
    The hotels are offering the NGS rate three days before and three days after the conference, based on availability, so participants can do research or go sightseeing in the area. Check the hotels’ websites for COVID-19 regulations, cancellation policies, and amenities. Full details and links for NGS discounted, online reservations can be found on the NGS conference website. Attendees must request the NGS Family History Conference rate if making phone reservations.
    Sacramento is home to several research facilities such as the California State Archives, California State Library, and several genealogical organizations. It also has twenty-eight museums including the Crocker Art Museum, California State Indian Museum, the Sacramento History Museum, the California State Railroad Museum, and the Sojourner Truth African Heritage Museum. The city features art galleries, breweries, coffee bars, fine restaurants, and an historic landmark district, the Old Sacramento Waterfront. To learn about research facilities in the area, refer to the conference’s Announcement Brochure on the NGS conference website.
    The NGS 2022 Family History Conference will run five days. It promises to offer many opportunities for family historians to advance their research, hone their skills, and network with fellow genealogists. Be sure to reserve your hotel accommodations as soon as possible.
    COVID-19 Regulations
    We fervently hope that the COVID-19 pandemic will have subsided by May 2022. Nevertheless, please be advised that NGS will adhere to regulations issued by the California Department of Public Health and Sacramento County Order of the Health Officer.
    The SAFE Credit Union Convention Center has GBAC Star Facility Certification, which means it meets “the most stringent protocols for cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention.” The Convention Center also abides by state and county protocols.
    All conference participants—including sponsors, guest speakers, lecturers, exhibitors, and conference attendees—will be required to comply with the laws, rules, regulations, orders, and ordinances required at the time of the conference to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. NGS will apprise all participants of the required protocols and procedures in advance of the conference.

  • 5 Oct 2021 2:03 PM | Anonymous

    When you add people to your family tree, their relationships to you are calculated automatically. That relationship is then shown anywhere on the MyHeritage site where the names of your site members and people in your tree appear. In the past, you would see the relationship listed for that individual written out — such as a third cousin once removed, or a second cousin’s husband — but it was often difficult to visualize more complex relationships when you aren’t very familiar with all the people connecting you to this relative. 

    With the recent release of the improved family tree on MyHeritage, we introduced a new relationship diagram that enables you to visualize your relationship to other people in the family tree and easily understand how you are related. The relationship diagram is accessible from the left-hand details panel in the family tree. 

    The newly updated family tree, and in particular the new relationship diagram, have received high praise from our users since their release. 

    You can read more at:


  • 4 Oct 2021 8:35 AM | Anonymous

    I found this to be an interesting story and decided to share it. Here is a notice I received from MyHeritage:

    "Not long ago, our Research team encountered an extraordinary story from Karolina Jurzyk, a user who grew up in Poland. Karolina’s grandfather had told her that her great-grandfather rescued a pair of sisters from the Nazis, and risked his life to hide them in his home for 2 years. The sisters later wrote letters of thanks to Karolina’s great-grandfather, which he saved. After her grandfather showed her the letters, Karolina decided to find out what became of the two sisters. Using MyHeritage, she was able to locate and connect with their descendants. Following its original publication on CNN, the story captured international attention, and we could not be more grateful and proud to have been part of it.""

    Read the full story of this remarkable discovery on the MyHeritage Blog at

  • 4 Oct 2021 8:06 AM | Anonymous
    The following announcement was written by the 

    Family History Federation:

    The Family History Federation is very pleased to announce the launch of its brand-new podcast series. The Really Useful Podcast

    , hosted by Joe Saunders, brings together speakers from across the family history world including professional researchers, enthusiasts, authors, lecturers and people involved with family history societies. These conversations between old friends and new acquaintances have our guests sharing their thoughts on a wide range of topics relating to family history. Once they got talking, it was difficult to stop them! The Federation is now sharing their mixture of tips and conversation with everyone, free of charge.

    The podcasts are accessible at:

    The episodes are being released at the end of each month, beginning with September's which has recently been launched.

    The full schedule of episodes is:

    Occupations – September [available now]

    Identity – October Young People ¬– November
    Online Events – December Social Media – January
    One-Place Studies – February Newspapers – March

    The Federation very much hopes you enjoy the series. Special thanks are extended to guests for being a part of this and sharing their thoughts and stories. If you enjoy listening along at home, please share them with your genealogist friends and let us know what you think on Facebook and

  • 1 Oct 2021 5:20 PM | Anonymous

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

    Digital cameras are perhaps the most universal technology of today. Hundreds of millions of people around the globe own and use digital cameras – not bad for a technology that barely existed 25 years ago. In fact, you do not need to be an electrical or optics engineer to produce good pictures from a digital camera. You don’t even need to own a computer, although a computer will allow you to accomplish a lot more than what you can do with just the camera alone.

    Most people use digital cameras like the old box cameras: point and click. Very few people spend the time to learn how to obtain the best pictures possible. Indeed, “point and click” works well; but, there is so much more that one can do.

    The same is true for another similar technology: desktop scanners. Most people install the software that came with the scanner, insert a piece of paper or a standard photograph to be scanned, click the mouse, and then wait a few seconds for the results. Whatever appears on their screen is simply saved and never touched again or improved in any way. Most people are satisfied with the default operation. Again, these people miss out on the highest quality images possible.

    Scanners and digital cameras use very similar technologies. One solution can work on both. With a slight change in your scanning and photography habits, plus a bit of software, you can greatly improve the quality of your scanning and photography.

    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/11134032.

    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

  • 1 Oct 2021 5:05 PM | Anonymous

    FamilySearch expanded its free online archives in September of 2021 with over 26 million new indexed family history records from all over the world. New historical records were added from Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Denmark, El Salvador, England, Finland, France, French Polynesia, Germany, Guadelope, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Jamaica, Kiribati, Liberia, Mexico, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Samoa, Sierra Leone, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tuvalu, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and the United States, which includes Alaska, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, South Carolina, and Washington. Records from the United States Bureau of Land Management and Find A Grave were included as well.

    Find your ancestors using these free archives online, including birth, marriage, death, and church records. Millions of new genealogy records are added each month to make your search easier.

    Don’t see what you’re looking for? Check back next month and, in the meantime, search existing records on FamilySearch. And if you want more exciting genealogy content, peruse over 1,000 free, on-demand sessions from RootsTech Connect 2021.

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

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