This is a weblog about genealogy in and about the State of Ohio. It will feature news and views (mostly mine) about developments of interest to genealogists doing research in Ohio, no matter where they reside.--Wally Huskonen

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Tony Burroughs to Present African American Research Seminar at Sandusky Library

On February 9, genealogists in northern Ohio doing African American research will have an opportunity to learn from Tony Burroughs, author, teacher, and genealogist, who says researching your family tree can lead to amazing finds -- the secret to success is asking many questions. He is the author of Black Roots: A Beginner's Guide to Tracing The African American Family Tree

Burroughs will present a daylong workshop on methods and resources for African-American genealogy research on Saturday, February 9, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Sandusky Library Program Room, Terrace Level. A book signing will be held after the workshop.

Burroughs has appeared as an expert in the PBS series "Ancestors" and "African American Lives with Henry Louis Gates" and in the Discovery Channel documentary "The Real Family of Jesus." In addition to his writing, appearances, and service in genealogical organizations, Burroughs teaches genealogy at Chicago State University.

There will be a one-hour lunch break, with lunch on your own. Registration is required. To register, call 419-625-3834 and press 0 to speak with a switchboard operator (9-5, Monday-Friday) or press Option 6 to leave a message.

The library is at 114 West Adams Street.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I Spring for In-Car GPS Unit

Four short years ago, my wife purchased a Garmin hand-held GPS unit for me for my birthday.

I immediately learned how to use it in hand-held mode and in my mini-van mounted on the dashboard. It me helped find destinations and I was able to use it in genealogy, too.

One genealogy application involved finding my three-great grandfather’s homestead and farm site in Montgomery County, New York. Finding the farm site is a problem because the property was absorbed into the Charleston State Forest. All buildings and other evidence of the farm were removed many years ago.

Using a historic map and the legal description from the deed, I was able to locate the location on a DeLorme New York State Atlas with longitude and latitude grid lines. By plotting the location on this map, I was able to estimate the longitude and latitude, enter those into the Garmin unit, and navigate to the site during a summer genealogy trip to Montgomery County the summer before last.

I also have been able to “mark” the longitude and latitude of several family gravesites and enter the data into my family database on The Master Genealogist.

Just yesterday, I took delivery of a Navigon 2100 navigation system. In a few hours of use last night, I learned some of the advantages of the more modern technology available in 2008. The Navigon presents its maps on a brightly lit color display, which is visible both in daylight and at night. This alone represents a substantial improvement over the Garmin unit which only has a black and white display that isn't readily visible at night, at least with AA battery power (I never did spring for the power cord offered for use in a car, even though this would enable using the Garmin’s back-light feature with the display.).

One of the reasons I purchased the Navigon 2100 was price: it was on sale at CompUSA for $140, and that included a life-time subscription to a real-time traffic advisory service, a $99 add-on.

I used this service on a commute into downtown Cleveland this morning and it really works. It warned me of a serious traffic tieup on I-77 and calculated an alternate route.

This unit is easy to use for directions to destinations that can be entered with an address, including a street number. I haven’t explored the ability to enter destinations with longitude and latitude.

The Navigon does have the ability to mark a location by longitude and latitude, but I haven’t yet explored this feature—much less compared it with the same capability on the Garmin.

Navigon is a newcomer in the automotive GPS market in North America, having entered the market only in late 2007 from a position of leadership in Europe. On its website, http://www.navigon.com/, the company claims to be one of the world's leading providers of navigation products and software solutions. NAVIGON makes its own navigation brand consumer products and creates software solutions for OEM customers operating in personal navigation, wireless, and automotive sectors. Founded in 1991, NAVIGON employs more than 400 people in Europe, North America, and Asia. At the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, company officials announced that it had achieved the No. 5 ranking in automotive aftermarket GPS sales in the U.S. in the short time since entering the domestic market.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Special Offer from Genealogy Bank

Here's another resource you may wish to evaluate at a low cost.

It's GenealogyBank.com which was introduced last year by a premier information company, NewsBank inc. For over 60 years NewsBank's information products have been familiar to researchers in public libraries, colleges and universities, schools, and military and government libraries. Now, the company offers a collection of genealogical materials and makes them available to researchers at home through GenealogyBank.

Using GenealogyBank you can search for obituaries and more, such as ancestors' military records, newspaper mentions, and social security records. Over 214 million family history records in all 50 states are available for searching. The company claims to have added over 42 million family history records in 2007 and promises to bring millions of new records online in 2008.

You can enter ancestral names to check what might be available to you for free. Go to http://www.genealogybank.com/gbnk/keyword.html and check it out.

To gain access to all the records you might find, use the Genealogy Bank introductory offer to new subscribers of 30 days full access for only $9.95. If after 30 days you wish to continue your membership, do nothing and your credit card will be billed for the membership package that you choose: $19.95 per month or $69.95 for an annual membership. If you wish to end your membership, simply cancel online or call 800-243-7694 before your trial ends and you still only pay $9.95.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

New Blogs for NEOhio and NWOhio

We recently learned of another blogger offering information about genealogical research in Ohio. The blogger is Derek S. Davey, and he is based in Toledo. He produces blogs for Northeast Ohio and Northwest Ohio.

Apparently he has a strong interest in genealogical research in Northeast Ohio, as he is providing his insight into using several repositories in the area. On Friday, 4 Jan 2008, he provided an overview of the Ashtabula County Library. He followed that up with an overview of the Geauga County Library in Chardon, Ohio. While he gives contact details for the Geauga Library (http://www.geauga.lib.oh.us/ The library is located at Anderson Allyn Room For Genealogical Research, Chardon Library, 110 E. Park St., Chardon, OH, 44024, Tel: (440) 285-7601, Fax: (440) 285-3803), he fails to do so also for the Ashtabula County District Library.

Since I have used the latter library on several occasions (I grew up in Ashtabula County), I am providing that information here: http://www.acdl.info/ The Ashtabula County District Library Genealogy and Local History Department is located in the Geneva Public Library, 860 Sherman Street, Geneva, Ohio 44041, Tel: (440) 466-4521, Fax: (440) 466-0162.

I haven't checked out blog for Northwest Ohio, but in looking at the one for Northeast Ohio, I see that Derek has been providing ideas for research strategies.

Check out his blogs at

Ohio Publisher Offers Free Issue of Family Tree Magazine

We recently received the following email announcement:

"Whether you're a seasoned genealogist or a novice, you'll find your FREE issue of Family Tree Magazine jam-packed with helpful hints for tracing your ancestors locally and globally. You'll discover:

  • Reliable Web Resources — the sites to click and the ones to skip
  • Timesaving Tricks to get facts fast from online and paper archives
  • Inspiring Ideas for organizing and protecting your keepsakes
  • Software Secrets
  • The latest gadget reviews
  • And many more

"Family Tree Magazine is your best bet for breaking through brick walls! Plus, discover hot spots for family history vacations, information on upcoming history and heritage events, answers to your most-asked research questions, and much more! Click here to try Family Tree Magazine today with No Risk and No Obligation."

I have subscribed to this magazine for several years and find it to be informative, interesting, and inspiring.

It is published in Cincinnati by F & W Publications Inc.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter is 12 Years Old

Dick Eastman wrote in his latest newsletter, Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter, distributed yesterday, "Boy, the time does fly! Twelve years has slipped by in almost the blink of an eye. It seems like only yesterday that I sent the first e-mail newsletter to about 100 people, mostly members of CompuServe's Genealogy Forums. None of them knew in advance that the newsletter would arrive; I simply mailed it to people who I thought might be interested. In 1996 nobody objected to receiving unsolicited bulk mail; the phrase "spam mail" had not yet been invented. I shudder to think if I did the same thing in today's Internet environment."

Congratulations, Dick!

To receive a free e-mail notification whenever a new Standard Edition of the newsletter becomes available, go to http://www.eogn.com/

Dick Eastman also publishes a Plus Edition with Additional Content that does not appear in the Standard Edition. Price is $5.95 for 3 months or $19.95 for 12 months. Go to http://www.eogn.com/plus/

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

FamilyLink.com New Name for World Vital Records

PROVO, UT, January 14, 2008 – A new year brings a new name to the world's fastest growing genealogical and family history corporation, World Vital Records, Inc. World Vital Records, Inc. has changed its name to FamilyLink.com, Inc., a name which better reflects the company's mission of connecting families to one another through innovative online tools.
"We marvel at the opportunity that the Internet provides to build web sites and social networking applications that can literally reach millions of users. FamilyLink.com will be our umbrella brand for a whole portfolio of web sites, widgets, and applications that all help families get connected to each other and to the past," said Paul Allen, CEO, FamilyLink.com.
FamilyLink.com will continue to operate the WorldVitalRecords.com web site, with its 5,000 databases, nearly 1 billion records, and nearly 24,000 paying subscribers.
"We will continue to add new US and international records to the site every business day," said Allen. "Our strong emphasis on aggregating vital records and other family history materials from around the world will continue, as will our use of the World Vital Records brand on our genealogical products. However, the company's official name will now be FamilyLink.com, Inc."
The company said it will also continue to grow its FamilyLink.com social network that has attracted more than 47,000 customers and has doubled its site traffic already this year. It will also continue to operate the We're Related Facebook application, the #1 social application for families out of nearly 14,000 Facebook.com applications. We're Related has more than 2 million users and is growing at a rate of 6,000 users a day. More Facebook applications are in the works.
"The FamilyLink.com name is more reflective of the broad mission of our company, which is to provide innovative tools to help families connect," said David Lifferth, President, FamilyLink.com. "WorldVitalRecords.com will continue to provide hundreds of millions of vital records that family historians love, but as a company we are also creating tools and content for family members of all ages and interests."
"Our enthusiastic team of genealogists and IT professionals is excited to keep up the tradition we have had of delivering extremely high quality resources and tools to our users at a very low cost," said Lifferth.