Sunday, April 25, 2004

Dismuke's Virtual Talking Machine

The following article is from Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter and is copyright 2004 by Richard W. Eastman. It is re-published here with the permission of the author. Information about the newsletter is available at

With the unusual name of a "Virtual Talking Machine," one Web site seeks to preserve early phonograph recordings: those made between the years of 1900 and 1939.

Many of the recordings from the early days are "acoustical recordings," made before the invention of electronic microphones in 1925. Musicians would sing into a tube or box that was directly (mechanically) connected to the wax cylinder that later created the records. No electronic components were used in the production of acoustical recordings; they were made in essentially the same method that Thomas Edison used in 1877.

Using RealPlayer, Dismuke offers digitized music recordings that you can play on your computer's sound card. Many of the songs can be downloaded and stored on your hard drive. The site features classics by Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, "Fats" Waller, Ella Fitzgerald performing with Benny Goodman's band, Bessie Smith, Enrico Caruso, Paul Whiteman, the Original Dixieland "Jass" Band, and more.

The site also features an online radio feature that operates 24 hours a day, as well as a message board.

Dismuke's Virtual Taking Machine is a great way to find old music or to introduce your elders to the world of online. You can find it at:

What Do You Think? Comments and discussion are available on this newsletter's Discussion Board at:

When traveling, check out , to read regular pop or IMAP email on the web -- FREE.

Friday, April 23, 2004

Lookups and Help Sites

First and Foremost - Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness:
   No lookups of living people, or from copyrighted materials. US & Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Botswana, Brazil, British Isles, Canada China, Chile, Denmark, England, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, Scotland, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, Wales, Yugoslavia

USGenWeb Project (each county has lookups available):

Obituary Lookup Volunteers:

ILGenWeb Project CD Lookups:

Census-Lookup Mailing List Project:

The entire 1880 US Census is online, along with the 1881 Canadian and English Census; do your own lookup!: 1871 Ontario, Canada:

Books We Own:

Genealogy Helplist:
   Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Zimbabwe, Miscellaneous

Genie Angels: (US only)

CyndisList - Lookups & Free Searches by Volunteers:

DAR Patriot Index Lookups:,

The best place to ask for advice or a lookup -- a genealogy list or message board.
Genealogy Resources on the Internet - Mailing Lists:
Rootweb Message Boards:

Also, Google for 'free genealogy lookups' and you'll have more matches than you can handle.

Until you've lost your reputation, you never realize what a burden it was. - Margaret Mitchell

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Deciphering Older Writing

Up-to-date version of this post maintained here:

Older English and Latin handwriting
Tutorial about Paleography:

English Documents in Latin:

BEGINNERS' LATIN Introduction to the problems you may find with Latin vocabulary and grammar in British documents from 1086-1733:

Deciphering Old Handwriting in Genealogy:

How to Read 18th Century British-American Writing:

Martha Ballard's Diary Online:
   Story of a midwife's life and career; examples of handwriting

Book Palaeography for Family and Local Historians by Hilary Marshall, pub.: Phillimore & Co., Ltd., 2004, Chichester, West Sussex England.

Book Latin for Local and Family Historians: A Beginner's Guide Denis Stuart, pub.: Phillimore & Co., Ltd., 1995, reprinted 2000.
Old German Script
Sample letters:

Old German handwritten scripts:

Samples of Old Script Alphabets:

Free! Handwriting Guide: German Gothic Resource Guide:
(or go to, click the 'View maps, forms, guides, and other research helps' link, and then 'G', and scroll down to Germany)

German 'Transcribe Group':


Professional translators:

Cyndislist - Handwriting & Script:

Book - If I Can You Can Decipher Germanic Records:

Book - Deciphering Gothic Records:

Links - Help with Old Handwriting:

It is almost impossible systematically to constitute a natural moral law. Nature has no principles. She furnishes us with no reason to believe that human life is to be respected. Nature, in her indifference, makes no distinction between good and evil. - Anatole France

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

US Military Records

The up-to-date version of this post will be maintained at:

Faces of the Fallen - collection of information about each US service member who died in Iraq:

National Cemeteries Gravesite Locator: The VA has put a Nationwide Gravesite Locator online, with all the burials in all National Cemeteries nationwide, with the exception of four cemeteries that have not completed their records: Long Island; Los Angeles; Ft. Rosecrans; and the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. has Los Angeles National Cemetery online (85,825 records):

Fort Rosecrans (71,608 records):

National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (35,224 records):

The website says: "Arlington National Cemetery records are also available for interments that occurred after 1999. As more records are added to the database, more burial information will become available. Some state veterans cemeteries can also be searched."

Nationwide Gravesite Locator:

There are many vets who are NOT buried in the National Cemetery system. But once the final records are in place, this will cover all those who are. Keep in mind that many of those buried in the VA cemeteries are not vets, but family members. My father is a veteran of the Second World War, and so my mother was eligible to be buried in the Tahoma National Cemetery. When my father dies, his ashes will be with hers, under one shared stone.

Many soldiers who died during the war are buried overseas. My husband's uncle Frank was one such -- we found his grave by searching the American Battle Monuments Commission site:

Here is his listing:

Whether your vet is gone, or still with you, you can honor him or her at the WWII Registry: It isn't much, but it's something.

Find your WWII vet's WWII Enlistment File:

The search on the WWII Registry page supposedly searches the ABMC database, but the listing that comes up for John F. Zimmerman is minimal compared to the beautiful page that comes up by directly querying the ABMC site. So it's worth searching both sites, if you don't know where your vet is buried. And of course and Find A Grave: are both worth a look, too.

Obtaining military records of U.S. veterans from the National Archives:
20th-Century Veterans' Service Records Safe, Secure -- and Available, By Norman Eisenberg:

POW Network Japan:
$$$ Ancestry has a database of 143,374 records of WWII POWs, compiled by the Red Cross

Another great WWII site: Indiana Soldiers & Sailors:
   Photographs of the Manila American Cemetery in the Philippines

WWII Kansas Veterans Index:

Online Military Indexes & Records - A Genealogy Guide:

WWI Draft Records:

Missouri World War I Military Service Cards Database:
Other Missouri military records, not online:

Pennsylvania Archives:
   PA National Guard Veteran's Card File, 1867-1921; Civil War Veterans' Card File; Revolutionary War Military Abstract Card File; World War I Service Medal Application Cards; Spanish American War Veterans' Card File of United States Volunteers; Mexican Border Campaign Veterans' Card File; Militia Officers Index Cards, 1775-1800. About 1,500,000 records - more to come.

Another useful link - USIGS Military Links Collection:

State-level Lists of Casualties from the Korean Conflict (1951-1957) and the Vietnam Conflict (1956-):

Also, for Vietnam: is a site attempting to return dog tags found in Vietnam to the families:

Civil War / War Between the States:

War of 1812:

The Mexican War:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission (UK, AUS, NZ):

$$$ UK War Dead from the Boer War to the Korean Conflict:

Canadian Military Records and Service Files:

French War Dead:

Volksbund - German War Graves:
   Click "Gräbersuche" to search the names of German war dead. Nachname=surname; Vorname=first name; supplying a date of birth or death is optional. Click on "Suche beginnen" to start, then register your name and address. Required: Vorname (first name), Nachname (last name), Straße / Nr. (Street & Number), Land/Plz/Ort (Country/Postal or Zip Code/City). Then click on "Zur Ergebniseite" to continue. On the next screen click "Suchanfrage ausführen." Thank you Casi!

Finding German Military records:

You can only protect your liberties in this world by protecting the other man's freedom. - Clarence Darrow

Monday, April 05, 2004

Northeast Document Conservation Center

From Eastman's Genealogy Newsletter:
The following article is from Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter and is copyright 2004 by Richard W. Eastman. It is re-published here with the permission of the author. Information about the newsletter is available at

Northeast Document Conservation Center

Do you have an old family Bible or some other paper documents that need to be preserved? The Northeast Document Conservation Center is a non-profit organization that does such work. They also are well known for their disaster assistance. I haven't used their services, but I do know that, after a flood damaged numerous old books a few years ago, the Northeast Document
Conservation Center was able to help quickly to reduce the damage.

The Center also has a number of small publications available free of charge about Drying Wet Books and Records, Emergency Salvage of Photographs, Protecting Books and Paper Against Mold, and other related topics. Several of these documents are available online. For more information, look on the Web at:

Saturday, April 03, 2004

King County Snapshots - King County, Washington USA

King County Snapshots presents King County, Washington, through 12,000 historical images carefully chosen from twelve organizations' collections. These cataloged 19th and 20th century images portray people, places, and events in the county's urban, suburban, and rural communities.

* You can search across all twelve collections for a keyword.
* You can search within one specific collection by visiting the participant's page and using the keyword box on that page;
* You can browse specific collections from the link provided on each participant's page; or
* You can select advanced search to set your own search parameters.

Search tips are provided.

Words - so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.
- Nathaniel Hawthorne