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  • 30 Apr 2021 3:25 PM | Anonymous

    The 41st Annual IAJGS (International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies) International Conference on Jewish Genealogy has now been changed to an All-Virtual Conference, as announced in this press release from the organizers:

    Based on the successful full virtual format last year, as well as uncertainty with Covid, we are again moving to an All-Virtual Conference with many exciting interactive components,” said Judi Missel, lead co-chair.

    The conference will feature live-stream presentations as well as more than 100 pre-recorded, on-demand video presentations, both available for 60 days after the conference ends. Sessions will cover virtually every aspect of Jewish genealogy.

    The special Conference tracks this year are: Early Jewish Settlers of the Americas, Innovative Methodology, Keepers of the Shoah Memory, Beginners Research, DNA Insights for Genealogy, and Heritage and Cultural Materials.

    Conference programs will range from those geared to first-timers through conference veterans. Zoom-type networking will be available through Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and Birds of a Feather (BOFs).

    Early Bird Registration is $250 until June 10. Registration and Conference program details will be posted on the conference website: . Ongoing information and questions will also be posted on the IAJGS Conference Discussion Facebook page at

    Keynote speaker will be Michael Hoberman, professor of American Literature at Fitchburg State University in Massachusetts and author of the books New Israel/New England: Jews and Puritans in Early America and A Hundred Acres of America: The Geography of Jewish American Literature.

    The IAJGS is an umbrella organization of more than 93 Jewish genealogical societies worldwide. It coordinates and organizes activities such as its annual International Conference on Jewish Genealogy and provides a unified voice as the spokesperson on behalf of its members.

    The IAJGS’s vision is of a worldwide network of Jewish genealogical research organizations and partners working together as one coherent, effective and respected community, enabling people to succeed in researching Jewish ancestry and heritage. Find the IAJGS at: and like us on Facebook at

  • 30 Apr 2021 11:07 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

    Grow your Findmypast family tree with thousands of new parish records

    What secrets are hidden in your wondrous Welsh heritage? Find out with this week's Findmypast Friday releases.

    Read on for all the details on what's new. Plus, don't miss your chance to explore all of Findmypast’s British census records for FREE.

    Monmouthshire Parish Records

    Privacy rules have allowed Findmypast to release another set of baptism, marriage and banns records from parishes across the Welsh county.

    The new arrivals include over 8,300 baptism records from 1921 and over 5,600 marriage and banns records from 1936. Check Findmypast’s handy Monmouthshire parish list to see which churches are covered.

    Glamorganshire Parish Records

    Like those for Monmouthshire, Findmypast have updated their Glamorganshire collection with baptisms from 1921 and marriages and banns from 1936. The parish list shows exactly what's new.

    Findmypast is home to the most comprehensive Welsh parish record collection online. Alongside Glamorganshire and Monmouthshire, you’ll find collections from every Welsh county. Visit their full list of records and type in a Welsh county to see what's available.


    Cambria Daily Leader and Cleave’s Weekly Police Gazette have joined Findmypast’s newspaper archives this week.

    Cleave’s Weekly Police Gazette covers 1835-1836 and features some striking early illustrations.

    Cleave's Weekly Police Gazette, 30 July 1836. View the full article.

    Cleave's Weekly Police Gazette, 30 July 1836. View the full article.

    While Swansea paper, Cambria Daily Leader currently has pages from 1861-1870, 1882-1895 and 1899-1905 online.

    Explore British census records for FREE this weekend

    Clear your diary this weekend because all of Findmypast’s British census records (1841-1911) are completely free to access from 10:00 (BST) on Friday 30 April until 10:00 (BST) on Monday 3 May.

    Amazing snapshots of the past, census records can help you trace your family tree, generation by generation.

  • 30 Apr 2021 11:00 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by TheGenealogist:

    TheGenealogist’s Index of Irish Wills 1484-1858 is an index to surviving records of Wills, Grants and Administrations, held by The National Archives of Ireland (NAI). Records include the original NAI reference, which can be used to order a copy of the existing document.

    This new release adds an easily searched and useful resource to the ever growing suite of records available to Diamond subscribers of TheGenealogist. The Index of Irish Wills 1484-1858 features:

      • More than 100,000 names

      • Easily Searchable by Name, County, Address and Keyword

      • Can provide dates, occupation, status and place of abode

      • Can provide reference and link to order the document from the National Archives of Ireland.

    World Famous Brewer, Arthur Guinness’ Will & Grant on TheGenealogist

    Prior to 1858, Irish wills were administered by the ecclesiastical courts of the Established church, (the Church of Ireland), a part of the Anglican communion. In 1857, however, the Church of Ireland lost its responsibility for Irish Wills when the Probate Act of that year transferred the supervision to the state.

    Read TheGenealogist’s article: Using Irish Wills to discover your ancestors

    About TheGenealogist

    TheGenealogist is an award-winning online family history website, who put a wealth of information at the fingertips of family historians. Their approach is to bring hard to use physical records to life online with easy to use interfaces such as their Tithe and newly released Lloyd George Domesday collections.

    TheGenealogist’s innovative SmartSearch technology links records together to help you find your ancestors more easily. TheGenealogist is one of the leading providers of online family history records. Along with the standard Birth, Marriage, Death and Census records, they also have significant collections of Parish and Nonconformist records, PCC Will Records, Irish Records, Military records, Occupations, Newspaper record collections amongst many others.

    TheGenealogist uses the latest technology to help you bring your family history to life. Use TheGenealogist to find your ancestors today!

  • 30 Apr 2021 10:46 AM | Anonymous

    The following is a continuation of yesterday’s list of books by Dr. David Dobson as reviewed by Bobbi King:

    Dr. Dobson continues to publish volumes of his lists of Scots and their activities throughout the world, categorized by regions. Each book has an introductory section (a condensed history lesson well worth reading all by itself), a list of references, and various maps and illustrations. Entries include a name, a piece of information (such as place of birth, occupation), and the source.

    Scottish Soldiers in Europe and America, 1600–1700

    David Dobson. Published by Genealogical Publishing Co. 2021. 210 pages.

    The introduction gives an interesting historical rundown of major wars fought by regiments of Scotsmen during the 1600s, commissioned into the military service of foreign governments, such as the Netherlands, Bohemia, France, British Isles, Ireland, and Bavaria. This book cites forty-six references for about 2200 entries of soldiers who served beyond the Scottish borders.

    Scots in Southern Europe, 1600–1900­­

    Spain, Portugal, Italy, Madeira, and the Islands of the Mediterranean and Atlantic.

    David Dobson. Second edition. Published by Genealogical Publishing Co. 2019. 173 pages.

    Scots were so numerous in Rome, Italy, in 1592, that a special church was built just for them. Many sons of Scottish Catholic families were sent to colleges in Spain, Italy, and France, or on the Grand Tour of Europe, so the significant presence of Scotsmen after the 1600s, in Europe, comes as no surprise. This book cites forty-five sources for describing about 1800 Scots found in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Madeira, Malta, the Balearic Islands, the Azores, and the Canary Islands.

    Scots in Poland, Russia, and the Baltic States, 1550–1850 [Part Three]

    David Dobson. Published by Genealogical Publishing Co. 2019. 99 pages.

    Scottish knights accompanied the Teutonic knights on their crusades along the Baltic regions during the late Medieval Period. Major Polish seaports supported trade with Scotland during the 1500s, and Scottish merchants, mariners, entrepreneurs, peddlers, and land owners, settling on lands rewarded for military service, followed. This is the third and last volume of this series, citing thirty-two references for about 900 names.

    Scots-Dutch Links in Europe ad America 1575–1825

    David Dobson. Published by Genealogical Publishing Co. 2020. 132 pages.

    Scots with links to the Low Countries (Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg; so called because of their elevations below sea level) included mariners, merchants, and planters in the Caribbean Dutch colonies. Dutch universities offered students a higher education in medicine and law, and the Covenanters fled religious persecution. The author cites forty-five sources for about 1200 names.

    As written before, Dr. Dobson’s contributions to Scottish research are certainly considerable in number, and of enduring benefit for genealogists tracing back their family links.

    The many books written by David Dobson may be purchased from the publisher, the Genealogical Publishing Company, at

  • 29 Apr 2021 10:34 AM | Anonymous

    The following book reviews were written by this newsletter’s book review editor, Bobbi King:

    Scottish Genealogy, The Basics and Beyond

    David Dobson. Published by the Genealogical Publishing Co. 2021. 157 pages.

    Dr. Dobson wrote this genealogy research guide sprung from his masterful grasp of Scottish source materials that he has explored, compiled, and documented over the course of his fifty years of looking into archives and libraries as he continues chronicling the Scottish Diaspora.

    The book includes illustrations, maps, an introduction, index, and surname index. Chapters describe research in major record sources (birth, marriage, death, divorce, and the Old Parish Records of the Church of Scotland); church and other religious records (Church of Scotland, Free Church of Scotland, Methodist Church, and more); secondary sources (Heritor’s Records, sasines and land registers, maritime records, and more); emigration (Netherlands, Germany, Asia, Africa, and more); and a list of family history societies with their addresses and urls.

    This guide sets the beginning researcher off on a very good start. But it also offers the advanced researcher some very sound advice for looking into the less commonly used resources and repositories. Overall, this should be a win-win for both sides of the research spectrum.

    Scottish Highlanders on the Eve of the Great Migration 1725­­–1775.

    This series of Dobson’s books identifies the Scottish Highlanders whose migrations to colonial America burgeoned in the early 1730s. The Highlanders clustered into communities along the coastal Georgia regions, and into the Mohawk Valley of New York, keeping alive their origin roots of cultural traditions for over one hundred years.

    Dr. Dobson continues to publish editions of his lists of emigrant Highlanders, categorized by regions. Each book has an introductory section, list of references consulted, and some maps and illustrations. Entries include a name, a piece of information (such as place of birth, occupation), and the source. Some of his recent additions to the Scottish Highlanders on the Eve of the Great Migration series are:

    The People of the Grampian Highlands Vol. II. 2019. 100 pages.

    The Grampian Highlands are an area stretching from the Braes of Angus northwest towards Strathspey but not including the coastal plain nor Strathmore. Many of its citizens were victims of the anti-Jacobite persecutions, transported in chains to America and the West Indies. There are approximately 1400 entries.

    The People of the Hebrides Vol. 2. 2019. 135 pages.

    The Hebrides are islands off the coast of the Western Highlands, forming parts of the counties of Ross and Cromarty, Inverness, and Argyll, containing thirty-six parishes. Parish registers, a mainstay for Scottish research, exist for only about a quarter of Hebridean parishes. This volume cites thirty alternate sources for approximately 1300 entries.

    The Northern Highlands Vol. 2. 2019. 120 pages.

    The Northern Highlands comprise the counties Caithness, Sutherland, and Ross and Cromarty (some of Ross and Cromarty county are islands of the Hebrides, which are included in the People of the Hebrides books). The parish registers for this region are lacking in number and content; the author cites twenty-seven alternate sources for approximately 1100 entries.

    Dr. Dobson’s contributions to Scottish research are certainly considerable in number, and of enduring benefit for genealogists tracing back their family links.

    The many books written by David Dobson may be purchased from the publisher, the Genealogical Publishing Company, at

  • 29 Apr 2021 10:20 AM | Anonymous

    If you want copies of a relative's U.S. military records, you may have to wait a while. The National Personnel Records Center has been closed and is only completing emergency requests because of the pandemic.

    Genealogists know the National Personnel Records Center as a source of records (despite a major fire some years ago) of the U.S. military records of ancestors and other relatives. However, the same center also supplies copies of records to living people and to the families of recently deceased veterans who are seeking reference information for pension applications, disability claims, medical benefits, burials, and much more.

    The number of requests for records is growing, creating a massive backlog at the National Personnel Records Center. "Nationally, to think there are some 500,000 and growing veterans that are waiting to and trying to get the documentation, it’s not ok," Missouri Congresswoman Ann Wagner said. "It’s not how we should be treating those who have sacrificed so much or our country."

    The hundreds of workers in charge of those files have been off the job for months. Now a letter by congress is pressing to change that.

    "What we have asked the archivist of the U.S and the Biden Administration is to come up with a plan so that they can open up safely," Wagner said. "That means increasing vaccines, working overtime. We have put money toward this."

    Wagner and 200 other members of Congress signed the letter that calls for the center to operate at maximum capacity. But according the NPRC website, as of now only 20% of its workforce is back on the job.

    The National Personnel Records Center web site at states:

    Phased Expansion of Onsite Workforce at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) is Underway

    Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NPRC has been closed and only completing emergency requests.  As of March 8, 2021, the NPRC entered into a phased expansion of our onsite workforce.  While we continue to increase our on-site staffing, we are still servicing requests associated with medical treatments, burials, and homeless veterans seeking admittance to a homeless shelter.  Please refrain from submitting non-emergency requests such as replacement medals, administrative corrections, or records research until we return to pre-COVID staffing levels.

  • 29 Apr 2021 9:46 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

      • All British census records from 1841 to 1911 free to access from April 30th to May 3rd
      • Includes free access to census hints on family trees and Findmypast’s new address search
      • Explore the lives of your ancestors, the history of your home or grow your family tree

    Leading family history website Findmypast have announced a weekend of free access to their collection of British census records.

    From 10 am(BST) on Friday April 30th to Monday May 3rd, all British censuses from 1841 to 1911 will be completely free to search and explore.

    Census records are the perfect way to tell the story of what your family looked like in times gone by. They not only reveal where your ancestors lived what they were doing, but can also provide valuable clues as to where they may be found in other family records.

    By offering free access to these essential resources, Findmypast is providing all visitors to the site with the opportunity to discover a whole host a valuable family details, jump back through the generations and grow their family tree.

    Those looking to explore the history of their home or local area can make use of Findmypast’s recently released address search feature. Unique to Findmypast, this new tool makes it easier to search for streets and locations across all UK censuses to trace the occupancy of a specific address, locate ancestors or discover their friends, relatives and neighbors.

    Any user who creates or uploads a family tree for free on Findmypast can also take full advantage of any tree hints generated by census records.

    All visitors are required to register an account before searching for free. Visit for more information.

  • 28 Apr 2021 6:11 PM | Anonymous

    One dark night, when people were in bed,
    Mrs. O' Leary lit a lantern in her shed,
    The cow kicked it over, winked its eye, and said,
    There'll be a hot time in the old town tonight.

    Exactly 150 years ago, a great fire roared through the city of Chicago. No one knows for sure whether a lantern-kicking cow of the O'Leary's was really responsible for starting the Great Chicago Fire on October 8, 1871. In fact, some believe the fire was started by a comet from outer space.

    Chicago in Flames by Currier and Ives, 1871

    The fire apparently started in the cow barn at the rear of the Patrick O'Leary cottage at 137 DeKoven Street on Chicago's West Side. The blaze began about 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 8, 1871. By midnight the fire had jumped the river's south branch, and by 1:30 a.m. the business district was in flames. Shortly thereafter the fire raced northward across the main river. With the limited firefighting equipment of 1871, the city's fire department was helpless as the flames jumped from building to building.

    Aftermath of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871

    The waterworks were evacuated although the tower was not badly damaged and still stands. During Monday the fire burned as far as Fullerton Avenue. Rainfall started about midnight and helped put out the last of the flames. Three hundred Chicagoans were dead, 90,000 people (about 20 percent of the city's residents) were homeless, and the property loss was $200 million. Four square miles of the city burned to the ground.

    Chicago quickly rebuilt, and by 1875, little evidence of the disaster remained. You can read more about this cataclysmic event on the Great Chicago Fire and the Web of Memory web site, sponsored by the Chicago Historical Society and Northwestern University. Look at

    Further details are available in the official inquiry and the exoneration of Mrs. O'Leary:

    While many of the neighboring residences (not to mention a third of the entire city of Chicago) went up in smoke, the home of the O'Learys escaped destruction. The infamous barn behind the house and most of the animals within it—a horse and the five cows that provided the milk that Catherine O’Leary sold locally—were not so fortunate (a calf was saved).

    Ironically, the Chicago Fire Academy now stands on the O'Leary property.

    Finally, did a comet cause the Great Chicago Fire of 1871? Don't laugh. It seems that other fires occurred on the same day in Wisconsin and Michigan, burning an area the size of Connecticut and killing more than 2,000 people. Many of the deceased included people who showed no signs of being burned, consistent with either the absence of oxygen or the presence of carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide above lethal levels, both conditions that could happen in a comet strike.

    You can read more about the comet theory at

  • 28 Apr 2021 10:15 AM | Anonymous

    The following is an extract from an article by Demetrius Haddock published in The Fayetteville Observer:

    The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture has collaborated with the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission and the State Library of North Carolina to offer a major opportunity to view history through a unique lens. By transcribing thousands of North Carolina records from the Federal Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands (nicknamed the Freedmen’s Bureau), participants will get an up-close look at events in the lives of local North Carolinians — to include many in Wilmington and Fayetteville during Reconstruction, the period immediately following the deadliest war in American history.

    Congress established the Bureau in 1865 to aid formerly enslaved African Americans in their transition to freedom and citizenship; to provide food, clothing and temporary shelter to the destitute among the formerly enslaved and white refugee populations; and to supervise/manage abandoned lands.

    The Freedmen’s Bureau Transcription Project (FBTP) is a call to the public to participate in making these records digitally available for all to see and use. Launched in August 2016, FBTP aims to transcribe a wealth of letters, labor contracts and other Bureau records. FBTP is the largest crowdsourced endeavor of this type ever sponsored by the Smithsonian, with over 160,000 records already transcribed.

    You can read the full article at:

  • 27 Apr 2021 10:47 AM | Anonymous

    I usually republish an article on the first day of every month: It is the First Day of the Month: Back Up Your Genealogy Files. A newsletter reader wrote and asked a simple question: "How do I make backups?"

    I answered the question in email but thought I would copy that reply into a new article here in the newsletter in case other readers have the same question.

    I cannot write a precise answer that will work for everyone as computer owners use a wide variety of the hardware and software. Also, each computer owner's needs may vary from what other people need. Do you need to back up EVERYTHING or only a few files that are important to you? Are you using Macintosh or Windows or Android or Chromebook or some other operating system?

    I decided to answer a few generic questions about how often to make backups, how many copies, and so forth. Then I will describe what I currently use. Admittedly, I constantly experiment with new things so what I am using today might not be what I will be using next month. Still, this article should give you some ideas about how you should constantly back up the important files that you do not wish to lose.

    First of all, I use a Macintosh as my primary computer.

    NOTE: I have several other computing devices, including Windows, Chromebook, Linux, and Android tablets, primarily so that I can experiment with different products and then write about them in my newsletter. I don't worry about backing up those other systems simply because there is never any information on any of them that I consider to be valuable if it should be lost. However, my primary computer (a Macintosh) always has everything that I wish to preserve.

    I make sure I always have CURRENT backups on my Macintosh systems (desktop and laptop) because those systems are full of information that is critical to me (newsletter subscriber lists, past articles from 25 years of these newsletters, my own genealogy information, income tax records that need to be preserved in case of IRS audits, and more.

    Also, I never, ever depend upon having only one backup. I insist on having a minimum of two current backups at all times, stored in two different places. Three or four copies, stored in three or four different places, would be still better. The reason for multiple backups and locations is simple: an in-home disaster (fire, flood, hurricane, etc.) could destroy BOTH the Macs and the hard drives at the same time. That is why I don't trust backups stored in my house.

    I use Time Machine, an excellent backup program that is included at no extra charge with all Macintosh systems. It stores its backups in an external USB hard drive (that did cost extra) and is plugged into the back of the Macintosh. There are a number of good backup products available for Windows systems as well.

    NOTE: Chromebooks theoretically never require backups as everything is automatically backed up to the cloud immediately in Chromebooks. I love the Chromebook but that is another story for another time.

    I have two Macintosh systems (desktop and laptop) so I have two external hard drives, one plugged into each computer. Time Machine and the hard drives automatically make backup copies of every new and every changed file within a few minutes after each file is created.

    Each Macintosh also runs ANOTHER backup program (I presently use pCloud but there are several other very good cloud-based backup services) that copies all new or newly-changed DATA files to an encrypted storage space in the cloud, specifically to servers that are many miles from my home. For still better security, some of the file storage space is outside of North America.

    It is possible that the company that runs the cloud storage space could go out of business unexpectedly or have other problems. In theory, I could lose the files that are stored in the cloud (although that has never happened before). I also could lose the files stored on the external hard drives connected to my Macintosh systems, due to a hard drive crash or a fire or other disaster at home. HOWEVER, I doubt if I would ever lose ALL the copies of my files simultaneously!

    In short, I always have at least THREE copies of everything: (1.) the originals stored in the Macintosh systems, (2.) the copies stored on the external hard drives that are plugged into the Macintosh systems, and (3) the backup copies that are stored in the cloud.  

    The file I seek or even all my files can be downloaded to my computer(s) or to any other computer in any location. (That's handy as I travel a lot when there is a pandemic raging throughout the world, and I might need a backup of some bit of information when I am in a hotel room in Bangkok again.) All I have to do is to log onto the cloud file storage system, enter my user name and password, and then all the files previously stored instantly become available to me. I can select one of them, several of them, or even all of them. Of course, if I select all of the files, the restore may require some time. That's especially true of many hotel Internet connections. However, restoring one file or a few files is usually a very quick operation. 

    If any one set of files gets destroyed, it would be a major inconvenience but not a disaster. I could simply restore whatever I need from the two remaining copies (one copy on the nearby external hard drive and also the backed up copy in the cloud).

    Is this a perfect backup philosophy? Probably not. But it does allow me to sleep at night.

    What are you using to frequently back up your files?

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

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