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GenealogyClassBlog » Dick Eastman

Training Film for 1940 Enumerators

November 7th, 2011 Posted in On the Internet | Comments Off
Click here to go to the National Archives census training video on YouTube.

Click here to go to the National Archives census training video on YouTube.

I have my calendar marked for April 2, 2012. Do you?

I plan to be ready by that day to search the 1940 census online for free at the National Archives website, Since the U.S. Federal Census cannot be seen by the public until it is released 72 years after the 1940 enumeration date, no one will be able to begin indexing the entries until April 2, 2012. Visit the 1940 Census Records page of the National Archives site for ideas about how to do some sleuthing in advance to narrow down a search to only the pages covering your ancestor’s (or your) neighborhood. While there, you will also find just about everything you ever wanted to know and everything you will ever need to know about the 1940 census.

Constance Potter, of the National Archives gave a detailed introduction to the 1940 census at the Federation of Genealogical Societies National Conference in September 2011, and it was very interesting to hear the about what questions were asked back in 1940. Kathy Huber, the Tulsa City-County Library’s genealogy librarian introduced it last July in Tulsa as well (download her handout from the TCCL Genealogy website).

While in each of the censuses 1880-1930, the census taker asked for not only the place of birth of each person on the census, he (or she) also asked for the place of birth of the parents. That information won’t appear on the 1940 census except for one person out of every 20. The U. S. Census Bureau was more interested in 1940 to study the workforce, so the census taker asked questions about what kind of work, how many weeks unemployed, etc. One question that intrigues me is where each person was living on 1 April 1935. The answer could be “Same House,” “Same Place” (if the same town but a different house), or the town, county, and state or country where the person lived.

To get an idea of the nature of the instructions to the enumerators, or just to get a glimpse back to 72 years ago, watch the training film now on YouTube or at the National Archives website. The mock interview of a housewife by a census taker will help to put the census taker’s job perspective, and you can hear about some of the more tricky census questions in anticipation of your look at the census when it is released.

Thanks to Dick Eastman for blogging about this today.

FGS Conference in Springfield This September

February 3rd, 2011 Posted in Events, Organizations | Comments Off
FGS Pathways to the Heartland

FGS Pathways to the Heartland

Registration is now open for the Federation of Genealogical Societies Annual Conference, to be held September 7th through 10th in Springfield, Illinois, the former home and resting place of President Abraham Lincoln. I have been looking forward to this national conference since they announced the location a few years ago. The location is not too far of a drive from Tulsa and many of my ancestors lived in Illinois, in Kane, DeKalb, La Salle, Kendall, Union, Ogle, Mercer, Jo Daviess, Rock Island, or Cook Counties. Some of my clients had ancestors in still more Illinois counties. So, not only am I attracted by a national genealogical conference, but local research opportunities are enticing to me as well.

Dick Eastman writes about details of the announcement in his blog post of today. The conference page on the society’s website provides, among other things, links to the conference program (click Conference Activities), online registration, and the conference blog. I just subscribed today to receive emails of the blog posts from the Blog page (down on the navigation bar to the right). The emails I will get will enable me to learn more about things to do in Springfield, conference events, and other insider information.

I am familiar with several of the speakers including Thomas Jones, Pamela Boyer Sayre and J. Mark Lowe – three that we have had in Tulsa to speak and I know to always have professional and informative lectures and lecture materials. And I see the names of many speakers that are not so familiar to me. But, from attending FGS or NGS (National Genealogical Society) conferences in the past, I know that I have been very pleased to attend lectures presented by Paul Milner, Craig Scott, Ann Carter Fleming, Loretto Szucs, Curt Witcher, David Rencher, Rhonda R. McClure, James L. Hansen, Tony Burroughs, and Marie Varrelman Melchiori, and I look forward to hearing any of them again. Typically, the program committee will encourage proposals from speakers who have expertise in the geographic area where the conference is held, so I spotted lectures on Iowa and Missouri in my first quick glance. Again, I have ancestors and clients’ ancestors who lived in both of these states. And there are lectures whose topics are independent of geographic location, offering lessons in techniques and methodology, like the lecture I presented at the 2009 FGS Conference in Little Rock – “How to Be a Power Hitter.”

Programming on Wednesday of the conference will be focused on genealogical society management. Librarians have separate Wednesday programming as well. I would recommend the luncheons, even though they are expensive, not only because of the opportunity you will have to meet other genealogists who sit at your table and because it can be less stressful than trying to find a place to eat, but because the luncheons include a program. They are also often gatherings of the members of an organization, like the New England Historic and Genealogical Society. I noticed that three of the luncheon speakers are Pay Richley (aka Dear MYRTLE), Craig R. Scott (military records guru), and J. Mark Lowe (who has been to several workshops in Tulsa sponsored by the Tulsa Library Trust and is always enjoyable). The conference banquet speaker will be Harold Holzer, noted Lincoln scholar and author, speaking on “The Lincoln Family Album.”

I spotted both a Swedish Genealogy Workshop and a German Genealogy Workshop — both of which interest me, since I have German ancestry (a little over 1/4, with Becker, Ebner, Mayer and Trefflich) and my husband has Swedish ancestry (3/8 – Anderson, Anderson, and Berg). These have an additional fee, too, and take the place of three other lectures, so the cost is not insigificant. Still, I will consider attending one or both of these four-hour workshops offered on Friday.

Sometimes the lecture topic attracts me, and sometimes it is the speaker. With several lectures offered during each time slot, I always have difficulty choosing which to attend and which to miss. Sometimes I attend some and purchase the audio recordings of others. In order to register, you do not need to commit to which lectures you will attend, but the committee asks that you select which you will probably attend so that they can determine room assignments. However, they do want you to commit to the luncheons, workshops and the banquet when you register. In case space is limited, you should register as soon as you are sure that you will attend and reserve your space for the events.

National conferences are a wonderful and fun way to advance your understanding of genealogy. You have an opportunity to see books and other products you might like to purchase, to visit with representatives of societies you might like to join, and to watch demonstrations of genealogy software or have your software questions answered. You can also meet other genealogists who share your interest or who know of a contact or resource that will help you in your search. And, of course, you can attend lectures given from some of the best speakers on genealogical or historical topics that you will find anywhere.

I hope you will consider attending this conference, or the NGS Conference in May in Charleston, South Carolina (see information here), and let me know if you think you will go or if you have any questions.

Genealogy Software for Macintosh

July 10th, 2010 Posted in Genealogy Software, On the Internet | Comments Off

Dick Eastman has come through for those of us with Macs. See his June 21 listing of thirteen genealogy software programs for Macintosh, as well as comments from his readers.

Each of the listings include a brief description, the producer, distinctive features or attributes, the selling price, and the link to the producer’s website, just as he did in his June 17 listing of twelve genealogy software programs for Windows (see my earlier post).

The list of Macintosh programs includes:

  • Family Tree Maker Mac 2010
  • GenealogyPro
  • GenScribe
  • Heredis
  • iFamily for Leopard
  • MacFamilyTree
  • MyBlood
  • ohmiGene
  • Osk
  • Personal Ancestry Writer II
  • Reunion

Dick also describes how Macintosh owners can install Windows onto their Macs, using Parallels Desktop, VMware Fusion, or VirtualBox, and run Windows genealogy software programs on Macs, too.

As in his June 17 blog post, each of the listings includes a brief description, the producer, distinctive features or attributes, the selling price, and the link to the producer’s website. Prices range from free to $90, but the price for the not-yet-released Family Tree Maker for Mac is not yet known.

Genealogy Software for Windows

June 19th, 2010 Posted in Genealogy Software, On the Internet | Comments Off

Most of my students know that I don’t use Windows at home. Mine is primarily a Macintosh household. To keep track of various genealogy research, from personal to client work, I use Reunion, which is only available for the Macintosh. I do have a dream to be able to spend hours trying out various genealogy software packages so that I can answer questions and possibly make recommendations about particular genealogy software packages. But, the amount of time spent on each different software program would be considerable and I just do not have that kind of time.

There aren’t too many people that would have that opportunity, or who would bother to take the time, but Richard Eastman does. He keeps his eye out for new developments and reviews new products and upgraded versions in his online newsletter. In his June 17 Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter, he provided a list of twelve genealogy software programs for Windows. Each of the listings includes a brief description, the producer, distinctive features or attributes, the selling price, and the link to the producer’s website. To introduce the list, Dick says,

“The following is a list of all the more popular genealogy programs that I know of that are actively being marketed for Windows users in North Americas. In fact, more than one hundred genealogy programs have been offered to Windows users over the years and a handful of them are still available for purchase today. However, not all of them are being actively developed and supported. For this list, I will focus only on the products that are current and still have developers writing updates, bug fixes, and new releases.”

The list includes, in alphabetical order:

    Ancestral Quest
    Brothers Keeper
    Family Historian
    Family Tree Builder
    Family Tree Maker
    Legacy Family Tree
    The Master Genealogist
    My Blood
    Roots Magic and Roots Magic Essentials

Dick also writes,

“The above is NOT a complete list of all Windows genealogy programs. A complete list would fill perhaps 30 or 40 pages! Instead, the above is a list of the more popular Windows genealogy programs sold in North America. Several of them are produced in other countries, however.”

In a few cases, Dick has provided links to interviews with the developers of the programs. A few of the above programs are also available for Macintosh and/or Linux.

Dick is a great source of this kind of information, because he actually buys and tests out genealogy programs on his PCs and on his Macs. Visit, or better yet subscribe to to receive a daily email newsletter. Read what Dick has to say about genealogy software, websites, events, television shows, or about related equipment (from cameras to the iPad). To find earlier articles, use the search box on his site (search for the word, “Macintosh,” for example), or click one of the category links in the list on the right-hand side of any of his web pages.

Entire U.S. Census to Go Online at

October 30th, 2009 Posted in On the Internet | Comments Off's Interactive Census Project Page's Interactive Census Project Page

I was excited today to see this post by Dick Eastman. has just announced their plans to provide access to the entire U.S. Federal Census with the help of the National Archives. Dick’s blog post includes a long statement from about the unique capibilities that users will have of interacting with the census images. In class Tuesday we discussed tagging the images so that they are more searchable. That is only a small example of what you could do as a member of

I currently have a subscription to, which has a reasonable price for what they offer. We’ll visit some more during next week’s class.

For more information, you should follow