Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Little Info On Jump Drives

This is taken from Dick Eastman's EOGN today. Great info! Thanks again, Dick!


I have written a number of times about jump drives, also called thumb drives, USB drives, flash drives, memory sticks, and a number of other names. They are all about the same, regardless of name used. These devices are great for short-term backups and for transporting data from one computer to another. Want to copy data from your desktop to the laptop computer? Use a jump drive. Want to copy data from your cousin's genealogy database and take it home with you? Use a jump drive.

I suggest that every computer-owning genealogist should own at least one of these tiny devices.
See for some of my past articles about jump drives.

Almost everything in the computer world drops in price rapidly, but jump drive prices seem to drop even faster than other hardware. This week I purchased a 32-gigabyte jump drive at a local computer store for $59.95. That's the equivalent storage space of more than 22,000 floppy disks and also more capacity than 48 CD-ROM disks. One 32-gigabyte jump drive can even store six or seven full-length movies without compression, even more if you compress the files first. Not bad for a device that is smaller than a tube of lipstick!

I remember that one of my first thumb drives stored 32 megabytes (that's megabytes, not gigabytes), and I thought that the storage capacity was amazing. I forget the price but suspect it was in the $20 to $40 range. Now one-gigabyte thumb drives sell for five or six dollars, and prices go up as storage capacities increase.

My new 32-gigabyte thumb drive stores 1,000 times as much data as the first one I owned. I keep copies of my genealogy data, newsletter articles, several thousand photographs, checkbook information for the past year, all of the PowerPoint presentations I have made in the past six years, a word processor, an e-mail program, several computer games, and more on the jump drive. Even so, I have nearly 20 gigabytes of empty space still available. I do encrypt the more sensitive information in case I lose the jump drive and some stranger recovers it. However, most of the other data is a simple copy made from the various computers I use.

The $59.95 I paid for a 32-gigabyte drive is about the most cost-effective price today for a jump drive when calculated on a per gigabyte basis ($1.87 per gigabyte of storage). Low storage capacity jump drives sell for five dollars or less but typically do not approach the $1.87 per gigabyte price point. I have seen 64- and 128-gigabyte jump drives advertised but at rather high prices. The size of 32 gigabytes seems to be the most cost-effective. Of course, all that will probably change again within a few weeks as prices continue to plummet.

I love thumb drives for short-term storage – that is, storing data for a few weeks or months. However, the technology is so new that the manufacturers are not making any claims about how long the data will be preserved on a jump drive. I wouldn't trust one of these for long-term storage of a year or longer. I do think they are ideal for keeping a backup of your current data and then making new backups frequently. Almost all of today's Windows and Macintosh genealogy programs will back up data directly to a jump drive.

Have you backed up your genealogy data? If not, pick up a jump drive for five bucks or more at the local drug store, department store, or at any computer store.

Posted by Dick Eastman on November 28, 2008


I personally use a Jump Drive AND an external hard drive for backup! [I had one bad scare in 2007 with my genealogy! Don't ever want that again!]


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Lincoln's Bicentennial

From Dear Myrtle:

The National Archives Celebrates Lincoln's Bicentennial in January Special program and film mark 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birth Washington, D.C . . . .
The National Archives will celebrate the 200th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's birth in January 2009 with a special lecture and film. These events are free and open to the public and will be held in the William G. McGowan Theater of the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C., which is located on the National Mall at Constitution Ave. and 7th Street, N.W., and is fully accessible. Coming soon - The Emancipation Proclamation!
**February 12-16, 2009 - Featured Document Display: The Emancipation Proclamation** Thursday, February 12 through Monday, February 16, 2009 National Archives East Rotunda Gallery In celebration of Lincoln's birthday and the Presidents' Day holiday, the National Archives will display the original Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Lincoln. The special display of the Emancipation Proclamation is free and open to the public. Saturday, January 17, at noon Film: Abraham Lincoln Noon, William G. McGowan Theater Director D. W. Griffith presents a biography of Abraham Lincoln through vignettes about his life, including his birth, early jobs, courtship of Mary Todd, the Lincoln-Douglas debates, his Presidency, and the Civil War. Walter Huston stars as Lincoln. (96 minutes, 1930) Thursday, January 22, 2009, at noon Lecture: Giants: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln Noon, William G. McGowan Theater Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln are the two preeminent self-made men in American history. Lincoln was born poor, had less than one year of formal school, and became one of the nation's greatest Presidents. Douglass spent the first 20 years of his life as a slave, had no formal schooling, and became the most famous black man in the Western world and one of the nation's greatest writers. John Stauffer, author of Giants: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, discusses how Douglass and Lincoln reinvented themselves and transformed America. Related Exhibition Public Vaults permanent exhibition The Public Vaults exhibition of the National Archives Experience features a Lincoln telegram, an image of Lincoln and his general after Antietam, a facsimile of all five pages of the Emancipation Proclamation, a letter congratulating Lincoln on his re-election, and an interactive exhibit about the Lincoln assassination and the Booth conspiracy.
To verify the date and times of the programs, the public should call the Public Programs Line at: (202) 357-5000, or view the Calendar of Events on the web at:
To request an accommodation (e.g., sign language interpreter) for a public program please email or call 202-357-5000 two weeks prior to the event. To contact the National Archives, please call 1-866-272-6272 or 1-86-NARA-NARA (TDD) 301-837-0482.

Genealogy Software That Records Same-Sex Marriages?

Here's a dilemma that anyone doing professional genealogy can appreciate; also some of you who have some non-traditional family members, can appreciate this.


A newsletter reader sent a message this week asking a question that I could not answer. I thought I would pass this on to other readers in hopes that we can find an answer. Here is the original question:

Since we now have two states that permit same-sex couples to marry, and seven other states plus the District of Columbia with "domestic partnership" or "civil union" laws, and several foreign countries with similar laws, I've been looking for genealogical software that permits the entry of such relationships. The Master Genealogist claims to be a "Complete Faimly History" program, but does not seem to allow the entry of same-sex marriages. It does allow one to create a tag, such as partner, for such situations, but it does not export anything about that tag to a GEDCOM file. The situation becomes more challenging when there are adopted children in a same-sex relationship - again, the software doesn't seem to "recognize" these non-traditional families.

Do you know if any of the commercially available genealogy programs provide appropriate fields to permit entry of genealogical data for same-sex couples that WILL export to a GEDCOM file?

Posted by Dick Eastman - EOGN, 25 Nov 2008


Well, I'm happy to say that FTM does this quite nicely! The program is affordable, and does allow the same sex marriage to come through on the Gedcom. It even allows for parenting of natural, adopted and step-children.

While it will designate one person the "Husband" and one person the "Wife", it will allow for both parties to be of the same sex, although it will question if this is what you really want to do.

On the comment section of his blog, Dick had several answers, including Reunion 9; Legacy Family Tree 7; TMG; Family Tree Maker; Genbox; GeditCom; Most of the French Genealogy Programs; and one sour apple who stated the original question was an oxymoron.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Life Photo's Now Available Online!

Posted by Dick Eastman on EOGN:


110 Years of Life Magazine Photos Now Online

I love those glossy photographs that Life Magazine is famous for. Now the magazine has placed 10 million photographs on Google's servers. The photographs range from Margaret Bourke-White's harrowing depictions of the just-liberated concentration camps to Dorothea Lange's haunting photo of a migrant mother to pictures of men walking on the Moon.

One picture that I especially like is that of a parade on Pennsylvania Avenue in 1865.
On many of the photos, you need to click on the link labeled "View Full Size" in order to see the high resolution version.

You can start exploring here:

Another method is to search Google by and simply add "source:life" to any Google image search. That will limit the search to the LIFE photo archive. For example: genealogy source:life.
Even if you don't find exactly what your looking for there's lots of interesting pictures.
My thanks to Carla Bodette for letting me know about this valuable new resource.

Posted by Dick Eastman on November 21, 2008


Many thanks Dick for sharing this info!!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Jesus Joins The Family

This amazing old photo comes from "The Genealogue". I really thought you'd like to see this!


Don't you hate in when someone shows up uninvited in your family photos?
I got this photo from my grandma, and it must be from the early 1900s. Just take a look at it! There's a mum and a dad with their child on his knee. The child died shortly after the photo was taken. You can see a face in profile and an angel's face in the hair of Jesus. It's really a fantastic photo, isn't it?


Can you see the face of Jesus? The child is actually his face, and he's facing the Dad. The hair of Jesus is between the Dad and Mum. In Jesus' hair you can just make out the face of an angel!

This is especially haunting when you consider the sweet baby died shortly after the photograph was taken!

DNA Test Costs Reduced

From Diane Haddad at Genealogy Insider comes the following post:

The family networking and genealogy site MyHeritage and genetic genealogy company FamilyTreeDNA just announced a partnership that promises DNA testing discounts for you.The arrangement continues the trend of merging social networking, genealogy and DNA, on sites such as Genetree, and Familybuilder.The FamilyTreeDNA-MyHeritage offer includes these discounted DNA tests:

25-marker Y-DNA: $129 (FamilyTreeDNA doesn’t usually offer a 25-marker test, but its 12-marker test costs $149)

mtDNAPlus, which tests mitochondrial DNA and estimates Native American and African ancestry: $129 (this beats FamilyTreeDNA’s regular price of $189)

mtDNA and 25-marker Y-DNA: $219 (compare to the regular price of $229 for an mtDNA and 12-marker Y-DNA combo)The offer page says the specials are for MyHeritage users, though it doesn’t look like you're required to prove you’re a member of MyHeritage. You can read more about these and other genetic genealogy companies in previous Genealogy Insider blog posts. The DNA toolkit on offers advice on choosing the right test for your research questions.

Genealogy Industry Genetic Genealogy
11/20/2008 9:45:19 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Save This & Keep It Handy!

This is another post by Dick Eastman from earlier this week. You should probably save this information and keep it handy by your computer for future referencing!

Happy Trails!


Online Genealogy Dictionaries and Lists

I have been collecting URLs (Web addresses) of various online dictionaries and lists that are useful to genealogists. These are useful when trying to decode foreign or obsolete words often found in genealogy work. Here are a few of my favorites:

The Encyclopedia of Genealogy: (Disclaimer: This is a site that I created but the data has been created by many different people. In fact, you can also add data to the Encyclopedia of Genealogy.)

Abbreviations Found in Genealogy:
FamilySearch has an extensive list at
Other lists may be found at : and and and

A List of Occupations, many of which are archaic. You can discover what your ancestor really did at: (with emphasis on England and its 16th and 17th century colonies ) and and and and

“Cousinship” - What is a second cousin twice removed? This and other cousin relationships are explained at

Cyndi's List of Medical Terms:

Archaic Medical Terms, Diseases and Causes of Death: and and the MedTerms Dictionary with both modern and obsolete terminology at and and and and

Glossar: Die Familie: An annotated English-German glossary of terms frequently found in genealogy research:

Meanings and origins of first names - an etymology (the origin of words) and list of the most popular names:

Old handwriting in genealogy research (with images of handwriting samples):

Old Style Abbreviations - Proper Names (with images of handwriting samples):

Abbreviations on Gravestones:
Military Abbreviations Found on U.S. Grave Markers:
Cemetery Junction Directory - A directory of more than 20,000 cemeteries, arranged by state. Search by cemetery and family name. Links to obituaries and genealogical societies in the U.S, Australia, and Canada:

Where to Write for Vital Records - Addresses and guidelines for contacting each U.S. state or territory for vital records and documents:

There are many, many more such lists online. You should be able to find them with any search engine. However, the above is a list of the ones I keep handy.

Posted by Dick Eastman in EOGN Nov 17, 2008


The White House Moves Into The 21st Century!

Posted by Dick Eastman on his EOGN:

Obama May Be Unable To Use BlackBerry at The White House
Genealogists who use computers can appreciate the marriage of technology with paper-based records. Sometimes that is a rocky marriage: the two do not always work well together. Now President-Elect Barack Obama may have a quandary.
Obama has long used a Blackberry device for communications. Like millions of other Blackberry addicts, he depends on it to conduct day-to-day business in an efficient manner. During the campaign, he told associates to never send him paper memos or reports. Instead, he wanted all reports sent to his Blackberry device. One can assume that he would like to continue that practice as President.
The problem is the Presidential Records Act. That Act requires all official correspondence to be public domain. This means that the incumbent President has "to dispose of records that no longer have administrative, historical, informational, or evidentiary value, once he has obtained the views of the Archivist of the United States on the proposed disposal."
In other words, the President cannot delete anything from the Blackberry until the Archivist of the United States has approved the deletion.
On the bright side, President-Elect Obama has also stated that he will be the first president to keep a laptop on the desk in the Oval Office. He plans to take the same laptop with him when he travels.
Indeed, the White House is now moving into the twenty-first century.

Talking Turkey this Thanksgiving...

The following article was written by Diane Haddad and printed in the "Genealogy Insider" blog. I hope you will each take the time to look this over and talk about your family's health history at your next gathering!


Posted by Diane
For the past several years around this time, the Surgeon General has urged Americans to use holiday gatherings as an opportunity to talk about health history. It’s not to make you feel guilty about that extra piece of pecan pie. It’s because your ancestors’ medical conditions may have a genetic component. So maybe you can improve your health outlook by changing a few habits—or at least you’ll know what to watch out for.While Great-uncle Hector’s intestinal blockage might not be the best dinner-table conversation, we encourage you to gently ask about family members’ illnesses and causes of death when your family gets together. You can record what you learn using the Surgeon General’s My Family Health Portrait online tool, then print a chart to show your doctor. Other ways to gather famliy health history:
You may find clues about illnesses in journals and letters—health was a major topic of discussion for our ancestors.
Death certificates, funeral records, obituaries and coroners’ records (sometimes available in cases of unusual death) may offer a cause of death. Get tips for finding death records on the Now What? blog.
Though harder to find and access, ancestors' medical records also are helpful.If you find yourself wondering what a record means by “podagra,” consult the archaic disease dictionary at Antiquus Morbus (it’s a term for gout in the joints of the foot.)See for more resources on researching health history.


Blessings To All,

Thursday, November 13, 2008

from EOGN

More great news regarding Ancestry!

Ancestry Toolbar

The Generations Network has announced the availability of an Ancestry Toolbar. The Toolbar is a new feature that you can add to your Windows browser (Internet Explorer or Firefox) and use to save photos and stories you find on the Web to a person in your Ancestry Member Tree. With the toolbar, you can:

Attach photos and stories them to people in your family tree

Save links to web pages to people in your family tree

Access your Ancestry Quick Links

Quickly access your family tree(s)

Please note that it is for Windows only; there is no Generations Toolbar for Macintosh.

You can learn more about the Ancestry Toolbar at

Posted by Dick Eastman on November 12, 2008

Thursday, November 6, 2008

America The Beautiful

Okay, I don't usually share these kinds of things with the readers of this blog, but following this year's historic Presidential happenings, and the huge outpouring of our nation's citizens in becoming active in the election process, I can't help but feel such a pride in this Country!

This site will bring such a sense of pride when you watch it!

Simply put, it's My Beautiful America - All 50 States. Be sure to have your sound turned on, and watch the slide show!

Click here:

Historical Records Of 600,000 Canadian WWI Heroes Now Online

Another great article by Dick Eastman in his EOGN online! Thanks Dick!


The following announcement was written by The Generations Network, the parent company of

600,000 records of our World War One heroes, including famous Canadians - John McCrae, Tommy Douglas and Frederick Banting

(Toronto, ON – November 5, 2008) Between 1914-1918, more than 600,000 Canadian men, most untrained civilians, braved foreign soil to join the Allied Forces in an effort to restore peace and freedom to the world, with more than 60,000 making the ultimate sacrifice., Canada’s leading online family history website, honours those men with the Soldiers of the First World War, 1914 - 1918, which contains the original records, fully searchable, of more than 598,000 Attestation Papers of enlisted soldiers.

An Attestation Paper was the first document a soldier signed before entering the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF). In many cases, these may be the only surviving record of the enlistment of many Canadian soldiers who fought in World War One.

Attestation Papers provide a range of details about the enlistee including place of birth, age, physical description and next of kin. Some also include valuable information about their lives before the war, such as their occupation, marital status and residence.

Karen Peterson, Marketing Director,, comments: “Military records are invaluable to any family history enthusiast wishing to trace the military career of their ancestors and what makes this collection particularly significant is its sheer size, and also the rich personal details to be found in individual records.

“With Remembrance Day approaching, this collection reminds us of the sacrifices and incredible hardships all Canadians endured during The Great War.”

The struggle of World War One involved virtually the whole country and made enormous demands on the Canadian people, whether they were involved in the actual fighting or remained on the home front to work in industry or farming to support the war effort.

Posted by Dick Eastman on November 05, 2008