Vol. 11 No. 3, July 1, 2006

compiled by Luther Olson 

A Summary of Events and

Topics of Interest to Online Genealogists


NorthEast Ohio Computer-Aided Genealogy [NEOCAG] serves

Eastern Cuyahoga, Lake, Geauga, Ashtabula, Portage &

Summit Counties.


Regular meetings 2nd Saturday of each month

St. Bartholomew Episcopal Church

435 S.O.M. Road, Mayfield Village, OH.


Jerry Kliot--President


Marcy Milota--Editor



> News And Views - A New Era

> Is Your Genealogy Database Insane?

> Reinstall XP Without Losing Any Software Or Settings

> New Progeny Genealogy Web Site

> Recording relationships that are uncertain

> Records of Patriotic Heroes And Their Family History Records

> Civil War Records Online

> National Archives to Preserve Valuable Digital Data Collections

> News And Views--A New Era

With this writing I know my term of office is nearly expired.  Much has been accomplished in our 10 years as an organization.  During this past term I have been blessed to work with a wonderful Council, and a large organization of very helpful people.  Without everyone’s contributions there is no way I could have handled this giant operation with so much being offered so often to so many.  To try to name everyone who has been instrumental in making this group work will undoubtedly leave people off, as I know there are things being done for us of which I am barely aware.  So, to everyone, thank you!!!

We have had some interesting programs with a good variety, ably arranged by the committee lead by Sharon Morgan.  Many good presentations have been given by our willing and able members.  We had a great anniversary party arranged under the leadership of Luther Olson.  We have gone, and plan to go again, to the Captains baseball game with tailgate party, again arranged by Luther.  Our publications have imparted a variety of computer and genealogy information to us all, thanks to Russ Cooper and Luther Olson. 

During this term we have repaired a projector, bought a new projector, gone wireless, and provided equipment support for each group for each meeting, thanks to Bill Haagen, Norm Henke, and their committees and Jerry Kliot.   Our web site has grown and blossomed thanks to Jerry.  Our list, also hosted by Jerry, has served as a voice for members with questions or problems and for those who share helpful hints and sales to us all.  Our logo has been updated thanks to Jan Shergalis and several others.  Refreshments have been available with sincere thanks to all who have baked and bought goodies, all under the able leadership of Marilyn and Sheldon Baskin. Donations continue to equal our expenses, for which we are all grateful.  Greeting of visitors and new members has been very important and will expand, with thanks to all who help with this.  Advertising has been done with the help of many, under the leadership of Judy Rocker. 

We have participated in the leadership of the Tri-C-GO workshop and Cleveland District Round Table each year.  We have provided a computer and set-up expertise to Morley Library.  We have provided special novice one-on one assistance, thanks to Paul Studly.  We thank all the officers and Council attendees who so ably supported our mission, even while I was absent.

So, as we say goodby to our cofounder, Russ Cooper who has migrated to New York, we thank our other cofounder, Don Karr for making a beautiful gavel to pass on to the new president and his slate of officers.  We look forward to the next two years under the leadership of Jerry Kliot. Vice President Marilyn Williams, Secretary Chuck Green, and new Treasurer, Don Sheppard will support Jerry and you in providing all that NEOCAG has become.

As anyone can see, so much is happening all the time, I could not keep up with it.  A huge thank you to those who help, those who present, those who attend, and those who support from afar.

As I become more active with the Red Cross I may be less available (as already experienced), but I will be there as your Past President when I can, joining you in supporting our new officers.


Cynthia Turk--Immediate past President-elect



We now have a new page in our NorthEast Ohio Computer Aided Genealogy (NEOCAG) Society’s web site at <> that contains a list of links for NE Ohio Genealogy research.  The contents are especially good for Cuyahoga County, but there are also many things for Ashtabula, Summit, Medina, Geauga, Lake, Lorain and Trumbull Counties.  Check it out.

        For those who are doing Canadian research, the 1851 census images are now available on their National Archives site at < e.html>. It is not yet indexed but hopefully will be soon.  Remember how quickly Ancestry picked up on the 1911 and got it indexed? 

        SiteFinder Online is a newly free online version of GoldBug’s SiteFinder.  It will locate schools, churches, cemeteries, etc. and then allow them to be plotted onto Google maps.

        Several states are in the process of posting vital record data and images to the internet.  Examples are:

West Virginia births, marriages and deaths 1792 1955

        Arizona deaths 1878 1855

        Missouri deaths 1910 1955 plus some pre 1910

        All three are works in progress and do not completely cover these dates yet.  Watch for others in the future. 

        Two nice offerings come from Gary Silverstein.  The first is Microsoft’s Windows Live Local at <>. This site is still in a beta test version.  It is an answer to Google Earth mapping that seems to have promise.  It is reported that the maps are clearer, better resolution and closer views.  It is currently not as easy to use the locators, but perhaps it will improve.  Cutting edge news!

        The second item is a replacement for <> which is “off the air.”  Http:// gives full birth dates, city and zip code for over a million individuals in the USA.  Information is from public records, generally includes people of driving age, and is not always accurate, but quite close.  This was a blessing and is much faster than the old AnyBirthday.  Cynthia

Cynthia's articles above again demonstrate her vast knowledge of genealogy information, and remind us of the excellent job she has done as president during the past term. Her efforts, determination, and intellect have been appreciated by all, especially when one considers she has spent much of the past year from Texas to New England to the west side of Cuyahoga County in her capacity as a Red Cross volunteer who has been in the middle of our recent natural disasters. And she is still fully involved, most recently with our local floods just last week. To say we will miss her leadership (and her infectious sense of humor) goes without saying. LO



The following article was sent from our new president, Jerry Kliot. It is one of four from Dick Eastman's now daily newsletter, and is especially pleasing because I have felt that in recent months, (since he has gone commercial), his daily articles have lacked interest and relevance. You may have noticed that recent issues of this newsletter have included few of his contributions compared to years past. Jerry is correct in suggesting this article since we have said little since our inception about accurate information in our databases. Perhaps this might be a topic for one of our future sessions. LO

> Is Your Genealogy Database Insane?

I get to see a lot of genealogy databases and a lot of online genealogy information. Almost all of the data I see has errors. Luckily, many of these errors are easy to find with just a bit of electronic assistance from your computer.

I am not talking about subtle errors that require extensive genealogy research to resolve. Instead, I am referring to obvious errors. They can be called "crazy errors:" claims of mothers giving birth at the age of three, men fathering children at the age of 85, children being born before their parents, and other such "facts" that defy logic.

Not all of these errors are caused by sloppy genealogy research. They can be simple typo errors. For instance, I suffer from a disease that I call "dyslexia of the keyboard." While I know how to spell most English words and almost always know the correct dates when I am entering data into my favorite genealogy program, what appears on my computer screen often has two or more keystrokes reversed! The most used key on my keyboard is BACKSPACE! Yes, I have created silly errors in my genealogy database in times past, and I am a bit embarrassed at how long it took me to discover and correct those errors. Looking at other genealogy databases, it looks like I have plenty of company!

Most of these errors can be identified within a very few minutes. The only complexity involved in checking your data is the number of facts involved. If you have 1,000 people in your database, then you probably have at least 10,000 facts. Today I will tell you how to quickly identify the more flagrant errors.

You do not need to manually look through your database of 10,000 or more facts in search of each and every error. Most of today's genealogy programs will do that for you. Most programs have a "sanity check" or some similarly-named "search for obvious errors" function that will find the more flagrant problems in your data. In a quick perusal of several of today's leading genealogy programs, I found the following:

Ancestral Quest

This program has a "Possible Problems" report that allows you to discover certain data problems, such as a death date prior to a birth date, or a birth date after parents were too old or had died. An options screen is available to select a sort order of RIN or Alpha, a range of records to print, and parameters to define ranges for specific problems. Ancestral Quest's Possible Problems options are somewhat more limited than other programs, however.

Family Tree Maker

Family Tree Maker contains a "Data Errors" report that is somewhat similar to the other programs listed here. It will scan the database looking for birth dates when the mother was under 13 years of age, when a child's birth date is after a parent's death date, when death is at age 120 or older, and similar errors. However, Family Tree Maker's report is a bit simplistic. Unlike most other programs, Family Tree Maker does not allow the user to adjust the parameters. Instead, the user is forced to accept the numbers as determined by the programmers. I was unable to lower the date of death to 100 years as I like to do on the various sanity reports in other programs.

To produce the "Data Errors" report in Family Tree Maker, click on "View," click on "Reports," and then click on "Data Errors."


While I do not think of GenSmarts as a "normal" genealogy program, it does have an excellent "jury" algorithm to estimate any missing birth, marriage, or death events in your genealogy database. GenSmarts is a program that specializes in logical data, offering advice of "where to look next." In effect, GenSmarts estimates all dates and then compares the dates reported within a database against those estimates. It looks for such items as a mother between the ages of 15 and 60 at birth of child, a father between the ages of 15 and 70 at birth of child, a spouse no more than 60 years of age different from their spouse, and similar situations. It reports any data outside of the estimates.

For more information about GenSmarts, a "different" genealogy program, read my earlier review at Also note the comments of several GenSmarts users at the end of that article.

Gramps (for Linux)

Gramps contains a "Verify the Database" report that will search for non-logical "facts." It will search for listings of mothers giving birth at the age of three, men fathering children at the age of 85, children being born before their parents, and other misinformation. To run the Verify the Database report, select "Tools," then select "Utilities" and then select "Verify the Database."


Legacy from Millennia Corporation contains a Potential Problems report. Its defaults are to search for all entries in a Legacy database where either parent was 13 years old or younger at the birth of a child, where the age of the mother at a birth was 50 years of age or older, where the age at death was 120 years or older, and other such questionable facts. Legacy allows the user to change those parameters. For instance, in French-Canadian genealogy it is not rare to have 13-year-old mothers. Anyone with French-Canadian ancestry might want to decrease the age a bit in Legacy's Potential Problems report. Likewise, I would be tempted to reduce the age at death to 100 years as very few of my own ancestors lived anywhere near that age. Once a reported problem has been researched and found valid, the record can be marked in Legacy so that it is excluded from future reports. This can be a big help where you have very young brides in the family tree.

If you use Legacy, load your database in the normal manner, click on "Reports," click on "All Reports," and then click on "Potential Problems." Adjust the age parameters as desired and then run the report. I would suggest clicking on "Preview" in order to first read the report on-screen before wasting a lot of paper.


RootsMagic contains a Problem List that is similar to the ones supplied by other programs. It can also look for such information as the date of a child's birth reported as after the mother's date of death and other non-logical dates. Again, almost all dates can be adjusted as desired.

If you use RootsMagic, load your database in the normal manner, click on "Reports," click on "Lists," then click on "Problem List." Adjust the age parameters as desired and then run the report. I would suggest selecting the report to be sent to "screen/printer" in order to first read the report on-screen before wasting a lot of paper.

The Master Genealogist

The Master Genealogist (TMG) has by far the most complete, and also the most complex, of any of the sanity checker reports available today. TMG's Audit Report can scan all or part of a database, looking for user-selectable conditions. The total items that can be searched fill eight tabs in the "Reports Option" screen. For assistance in running this extensive report, click on TMG's "Help" and then search for information on "Audit Report."

In short, the program you use today may already have the tools required to identify probable typo errors and even many research errors. If your present program does not have such a tool, or if its problem detection capabilities are a bit underpowered, remember that you can download the free version of Legacy Family Tree from You can export your database from your present program in a GEDCOM file, then import that file into Legacy. Once that is done, you can run Legacy's Potential Problems report to identify the possibly inaccurate data. Once completed, you can use your normal genealogy program to correct the errors. You only need to use Legacy for a few minutes.

Before you embarrass yourself by publishing erroneous data or by sharing it with others, I would strongly suggest that you run a "sanity check" on your database. You will be glad that you did.

This article is from Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter and is copyright 2006 by Richard W. Eastman. It is re-published here with the permission of the author. Information about the newsletter is available at

I can vouch for the value of the information in the following article from a recent Langa newsletter. A few months ago Margaret insisted that I get a laptop for use at our gen. meetings so I wouldn't have to carry my very heavy desktop computer. While I loved my new machine, it was frustrating because I could not get the wireless internet connection to work. Jerry spent a whole evening working on it, Russ spent most of an afternoon, and I had worked for hours on the phone with the company troubleshooters - all to no avail.

As a last resort, I decided to get out the repair CD that came with the computer. I had no data to lose, and little software installed, so I didn't have worry about backups. I clicked on "repair" and in a few moments had a major learning experience. The CD was still in the middle of the repair process when the wireless connection came on by itself and began downloading my home screen. When the repair was complete the computer was working perfectly, and I was astonished to know that the Windows installation at the factory can be bad. Read on, dear friends. LO

> Reinstall XP Without Losing Any Software Or Settings

This technique lets you completely and nondestructively rebuild, repair or refresh an existing XP installation while leaving already-installed software alone (no re-installation needed!). It leaves user accounts, names, and passwords untouched; and also takes only a fraction of the time a full, from-scratch reinstall does. And unlike a traditional full reinstall, this option doesn't leave you with two copies of XP on your hard drive; or delete an exiting copy. Instead, you end up with just your

original installation, but repaired, refreshed, and ready to go.

It's XP's most powerful rebuild/repair option; and yet Microsoft chose to hide it behind seeming dead ends, red herrings, and a recycled interface that makes it hard to find and (at first) somewhat confusing to use. Go figure.

We've saved this technique for last in our discussion of the various XP repair/rebuild options because the fixes we've previously discussed are like first aid--- the things you try first. For instance, see this discussion on removing limitations on XP's Recovery Console <>, turning it into a more complete repair tool; or this discussion on the Recovery Console's little known boot data "Rebuild" command

<> that can cure many boot-related problems. (There's also lots more on the Recovery Console here: )

But when the Recovery Console techniques don't work and you're facing the prospect of a total reformat/reinstall, STOP! Try this no-reformat reinstall technique, and you just may get your XP setup running in a fraction of the time and with a fraction of the hassle of a grand mal wipe-and-restore.

You'll find complete, step-by-step instructions with abundant screen shots waiting for you here:


With this information, you should almost never have to face a dreaded start-over, from-scratch reformat/reinstall of XP!

With permission from: The LangaList SPECIAL EXPANDED ISSUE

Standard Edition 2006-06-22

> New Progeny Genealogy Web Site

We've launched a new website for our genealogy products and to celebrate, we're offering some great deals! Please bookmark our new site <> and buy Genelines, Charting Companion, World Place Advisor, World Place Finder or GEDmark on sale! Download versions are $5.00 off and we're offering free shipping on any CD-ROM version of these products.

Meanwhile our former site,, will be redesigned as our corporate website to introduce visitors to all areas of Progeny Software's business. In addition to offering quality genealogy software and research tools, Progeny Software also produces products for visual analysis and presentations. Our newest product announced is Timeline Maker Professional.

Visit our new Progeny Genealogy site, <>, and choose from any of these products below to receive $5.00 off downloads or get free shipping on CD-ROM versions. This offer expires June 30, 2006 so order your genealogy products today!

** Genelines **

Genelines is one of the most powerful research and storytelling tools available to anyone researching their family tree. Genelines features a suite of seven different timeline chart formats, consisting of two BIOGRAPHICAL and five RELATIONSHIP charts. Each of these seven charts can be customized according to: timeline, historical events, personal or family events, colors and fonts.

 - Genelines 2.0 Universal Edition


 - Genelines 2.0 for Legacy

 - Genelines 2.0 for Ancestral Quest

** Charting Companion **

Whether your database contains a handful of people or thousands of ancestors and descendants, Charting Companion gives you the tools to quickly find individuals, view their family information, navigate through their tree and print great looking color charts.

With 12 different charts and reports to choose from, you can create a variety of traditional genealogy charts and reports, such as the Ancestor and Descendant chart and the Fan and Hourglass chart. Or you can create newer style charts such as the Bow Tie Chart and see your family in a whole new way!

 - Legacy Charting Companion

 - Ancestral Quest Charting Companion

We also have produced versions for Family Tree Maker and Personal Ancestral File - visit to see how you can order these versions.

** World Place Advisor **

World Place Advisor has a gazetteer, or database, of OVER 3.3 Million place names from around the WORLD, plus US churches and cemeteries. The program uses this database to automatically check your genealogy files for place name typos, missing counties and other inaccuracies.

Latitude and longitude reference points are offered for each place name in the gazetteer. Use these latitude and longitude points to manually find its location on a map or use the built in link to and find its location instantly!

Due to the very large gazetteer contained in the program, World Place Advisor is available on CD-ROM only.


** World Place Finder **

With World Place Finder you will be able to look-up towns and cities, counties, countries and even US Cemeteries and Churches. It will give you the correct spelling of the place you are looking for as well as the correct format for research presentation.

Not only that, World Place Finder will also give you the exact latitude and longitude of the place you are looking for so you can easily find it on a map! You could use your own map to see where your ancestors lived, or you can use the handy built-in link to

Too large to download from the Internet, this gazetteer is available only on CD-ROM.


** GEDmark **

Just as a trademark secures ownership of a product, GEDmark places the author's stamp of ownership on every individual in a genealogy file. This means that even when data is incorporated into other family files or online databases, the author information goes with it.

By running your GEDCOM file through GEDmark, you are able to place author information on each individual in that file. This insures that no matter how many times your GEDCOM file is split, imported, exported or submitted, your authorship of the research is protected.

From Progeny Genealogy at new site: <>

June 14, 2006

Though this article was written with Legacy in mind, the principle applies at all software and is an important concept for us to keep in mind. A word of warning, if you are interested in the topic, you must carefully read every line. Skip a few lines and you will miss his line of thought. It's too bad more software companies don't publish topics like this. LO

> Recording relationships that are uncertain

Most of us run into the situation where we locate a person who we think might be related to the family, but we're not certain.

For example, Asa and Elizabeth (Reynolds) BROWN had at least four children:

__________ BROWN, born abt 1815

Nathan R. BROWN, born abt 1817 in Pennsylvania

__________ BROWN, born abt 1819

Lorenzo D. BROWN, born 9 Jul 1822 in Tionesta, Venango County, Pennsylvania

The identities of children 1 and 3 are still not proven, but I think child 3 might be:

Griffin BROWN, born 13 Apr 1818 in Pennsylvania. He lived in Venango and Warren Counties.

Add these unknown relationships to Legacy

Even though I haven't proved whether Griffin BROWN is Asa's child, I still need to document and analyze Griffin's immediate and extended families, his neighbors, and associates. All of his family's information can be added to the same Legacy family file, but unlinked from the "known" family.

Whenever you run into this situation, add the person as a new, unlinked individual by following these steps:

  • Click on the Add menu.
  • Click on New Unlinked Individual (or press Ctrl+N)
  • Add his information and Save.

The new person is now "alone" or "unlinked" in your family file. He is not linked to the main family. He is in a separate tree. Once he has been entered, you can add his wife, children, and any other known relationships. The more you research his family, the more information you have to be able to determine if he fits into the "known" family.

If the time comes that you prove that he does belong to the family, simply link him. For example, if I learned that Griffin BROWN is Asa's 3rd child, I would:

(If "__________ BROWN was already in the database as child #3):

Merge "__________ BROWN" with Griffin BROWN by clicking on the Merge icon, and selecting Manual Merge.

Select the two individuals, and merge them together.

(If "__________ BROWN was not already in the database as child #3):

Link Griffin BROWN to his parents (Asa and Elizabeth) by first navigating to Griffin BROWN in the Family View.

With Griffin highlighted, right-click in the empty parents area, and click Link to Parents. Because Asa and Elizabeth are already in the family file, now just select Asa in the list, and now Griffin appears as Asa's 3rd child.

Before I linked Griffin BROWN to his parents, he was "floating" in the family file. In other words, he was unlinked from the main tree. In fact, in my personal family file, I have 33 separate, unlinked trees. Each tree is a person or a group of related persons that I have not yet linked to my main tree. As research progresses, I can either link these trees to my main tree, or I might find that they don't belong.

To view a listing of the separate trees in your family file, follow these steps:

Click on the View menu.

Click on Tree Finder.

This is a list of the current trees in my family file. Sometimes the tree finder might help you find persons that you thought were actually linked to your main tree, but somehow became unlinked.

Legacy News June 29, 2006

> Records of Patriotic Heroes And Their Family History Records

In recognition of the battles fought for freedom and independence, Progeny Software has collaborated with the Sons of the American Revolution to bring you 2 CDs packed with records of Patriotic Heroes and their family history records. The SAR Patriot Index, Edition III, and the SAR Revolutionary War Graves, Millennium Edition CD-ROMs are packed with early American

history and the genealogies of patriotic ancestors. Together there are 872,000 family history records of Patriots and many of their descendants. Also included are burial locations of soldiers, sailors, and civilian Patriots of the Revolutionary War as well as many of their spouses.

Until July 31, 2006, we will pay the shipping and handling when you purchase either the SAR Patriot Index or the SAR Revolutionary War Graves! For more information on the SAR CDs click on the following link or copy and paste the url into your browser window:

SAR Patriot Index, Edition III

With the SAR Patriot Index, Edition III CD, you can search a database of 732,000 family history records of Patriots who served in the American Revolution and many of their descendants. In addition, volunteers from across the country have submitted PHOTOS

of tombstones for OVER 800 people!As well, additional comments from the original SAR application may also be included in the 'Notes' section.

Find the information you want easily:

  • Information is presented in standard genealogical format, as a lineage-linked database, making it easier for descendants to

be tracked back to their patriot ancestors

  • Print various genealogy charts and reports and extract GEDCOM files of lineages
  • Focus your search down to just one particular state and name
  • Search and navigate through records easily with Progeny's built in Family Explorer technology

Only $39.95US, the SAR Patriot Index, Edition III is available at:

Revolutionary War Graves Register, Millennium Edition

The SAR Revolutionary War Graves Register, Millennium Edition CD contains over 140,000 names and burial locations of soldiers, sailors, and civilian Patriots of the Revolutionary War, as well as many of their spouses. Search this CD and find valuable information such as:

  • Burial data including the county and state of burial or death
  • Cemetery name and town/township
  • Birth and death dates
  • Name(s) of spouse may be shown
  • Patriot’s Rank or Service and the State from which he or she served

Find the principle source, or the submitter, for a particular Patriot in the 'Bibliography' section of the CD by using the source code. A great way to broaden your search!

Only $29.95US, the SAR Revolutionary War Graves Register is available at:

Until July 31, 2006, we will pay the shipping and handling on the purchase of either the SAR Patriot Index or the SAR Revolutionary War Graves Register, or both! Order online by clicking on the following link:


(if clicking on the above link does not work, copy and paste the url into your browser window)

Or if you prefer, call toll free 1-800-565-0018 or If you are an existing licensed user of an older version of SAR Patriot Index, you can upgrade to the new Edition III version for HALF PRICE here:

Get your SAR CDs today and imagine the feeling of pride from finding an ancestor who participated in the struggle that helped create the freedoms enjoyed today. We Pay The Shipping & Handling on any SAR CD

Stephanie Preston


< Civil War Records Online

The Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System (CWSS) is a computerized database created by the U.S. National Park Service. The database contains very basic facts about Union and Confederate servicemen from all 44 states and territories of that time.

The first phase of the CWSS contains names and other basic information from 6.3 million soldier records in the National Archives. This phase of the project is complete and is available now. Note that these are strictly soldier's records; the database does not yet include information about sailors.

The information in this online database was manually transcribed from the General Index Cards in the Compiled Military Service Records at the National Archives. These records include 235,000 names of African American Union soldiers.

During the American Civil War, every two weeks on average, usually at the company level, soldiers' names were recorded on muster rolls. Beginning in the 1880s General Ainsworth's staff in the Department of the Army originally indexed these records to determine who was eligible for a pension. His staff wrote a card for every time a soldier's name appeared on a muster roll. When Ainsworth's staff finished the Compiled Military Service records, each soldier's file usually had many cards representing each time the soldier's name appeared on a muster roll.

One type of card, the General Index Card, listed the soldier's name, the soldier's rank at the time of enlistment from the first card, and the date the soldier left the service with the soldier's final rank from the last card. These General Index cards were used to create the online Civil War Soldiers System.

When General Ainsworth's staff completed the project, there were 6.3 million General Index Cards for the soldiers - both Union and Confederate - who had served during the American Civil War. Historians have determined that approximately 3.5 million soldiers actually fought in the War. A soldier serving in more than one regiment, serving under two names, or giving spelling variations resulted in the fact that there are 6.3 million General Index Cards for 3.5 million soldiers.

The records were edited for accuracy and consistency by the Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU) and the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS). After editing was complete, National Park Service staff converted the final edited version into an Oracle database for access by the CWSS on the Internet.

I found the online database to be easy to use although not so good for wide-ranging searches. You must enter the last name, first name, side, and state for each soldier that you seek. You cannot search for all records of a surname by leaving the first name blank. Instead, you must already know the soldier's first and last name, as well as his state of origin and whether he fought for the Union or the Confederacy. Keep in mind that spelling variations are common. For instance, a soldier with the last name of Burrell may be listed as Burwell or Burell. In that case, you must search three times: once for each spelling variation.

The information returned is minimal. For instance, here are the results of a search for John Eastman, a Union soldier from Maine:

Eastman, John

Union 1st Regiment, Maine Cavalry

Clicking on "1st Regiment, Maine Cavalry" leads to a long and detailed history of that regiment. The only personnel listed in that history, however, were commanders.

Keep in mind that the online information is minimal; it is strictly an index. Finding a soldier's name in this database indicates that there is more information available on microfilm or on paper.

The original service records of Union and Confederate Civil War Soldiers and the pension records of Union veterans are maintained at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, where they are available for research to anyone. You can request copies of those records by ordering online or by using the NATF forms 85 and 86.

The military service records and pension files are separate series of records and must be requested separately. For example, if you need both the service record and the pension file for one particular veteran who fought for the Union, you need to submit two separate orders.

Complete ordering information is available on the web site.

You can access the online database of the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System (CWSS) at no charge at

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) does not have custody of Confederate soldier pension files. After all, Confederate soldiers and sailors were not eligible for pensions from the government that they had fought against. For additional information regarding Confederate pension files, you will need to contact the State Archives for the state where the veteran lived at the time he would have been eligible for a pension.

This article is from Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter and is copyright 2005 by Richard W. Eastman. It is re-published here with the permission of the author. Information about the newsletter is available at  June 29, 2006

> National Archives to Preserve Valuable Digital Data Collections

The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) signed an agreement earlier today to create methodologies for "collaboration, innovation, demonstration, and preservation of some of the nation's most valuable digital research collections." The impact of this project could be huge for genealogists, historians and many others.

Here is the formal announcement:

WASHINGTON, June 28 -- The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), with concurrence from the National Science Foundation (NSF), today signed a landmark Memorandum of Understanding that provides an avenue for preserving valuable digital data collections. This collaboration marks the first time NARA has established an affiliated relationship for preserving digital data with an academic institution. Some of the digital data under SDSC's technical stewardship was produced by or for agencies of the Executive Branch of the Federal Government. The Memorandum of Understanding provides for governance of Federal electronic records and other Federal informational materials within the collections under applicable Federal laws, regulations and authorities.

The agreement provides a formal framework for collaboration, innovation, demonstration, and preservation of some of the nation's most valuable digital research collections. SDSC, an organized research unit of UC-San Diego, is a leader in cyberinfrastructure and is a national data repository featuring unique large-scale data storage, preservation, management, and analysis facilities. This Memorandum of Understanding establishes an unprecedented affiliation that allows SDSC and NARA to build on past research. It manifests our shared vision of the future of preserving and providing sustained access to the scientific data collections at SDSC.

"SDSC has been one of our partners since 1998, and this relationship is evidence of our shared commitment of ensuring that our children's great grandchildren have access to the records of our time. Our collaborations have affirmed this shared commitment to NARA's mission," said the Archivist of the United States, Allen Weinstein.

"The signing of this memorandum of understanding establishes an unprecedented affiliation that allows SDSC and NARA to build on past research and make evident our shared future of preserving and sustaining access to the scientific data collections at SDSC."

"Advancement and discovery in the 21st century is driven by data," said SDSC Director Fran Berman. "Preserving our most valuable digital assets is critical for leadership and competitiveness in research and education. This unprecedented MOU will lay the groundwork for SDSC to expand and formalize its role as a national data repository, and provide a venue for the preservation of valued digital collections from federally sponsored research."

"NARA and SDSC, along with NSF, have a 10-year history of furthering archival storage and data retrieval research. This MOU is a milestone that recognizes those years of collaboration and the benefits from this important effort," said Dan Atkins, Director of the Office of Cyberinfrastructure, National Science Foundation.

The partnering of NARA, SDSC, and NSF is timely as our nation's scientists and engineers seek to increase U.S. competitiveness and leadership. In response to the deluge of data faced by researchers, educators, and practitioners, new and innovative strategies to achieve digital preservation are increasingly important.

The digital preservation challenge is further accelerated by the increasing investment by NSF, the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy and other Federal agencies in critical research which relies on experimental observations, computational analysis, sensors, scientific instruments, and other sources of massive amounts of digital data.

The parties believe that this agreement will enable research and education, support national security and emergency preparedness and catalyze continuing technology research and innovation.

The official ceremony took place at the National Archives Building at College Park, MD. with the Archivist of the United States, Allen Weinstein, Director of the San Diego Supercomputer Center, Francine Berman, and the Director of the NSF Office of Cyberinfrastructure, Daniel E. Atkins signing the Memorandum of Understanding. The Chancellor of the University of California, San Diego, Marye Anne Fox was unable to attend the ceremony, but signed the document prior to the ceremony.

About NARA

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) ensures, for the citizen, the President, the Congress, and the Courts, access to records that document the rights of citizens, the actions of Federal officials, and the national experience. NARA plays a key role in fostering effective and responsible government through management of the records in all three branches of the Federal Government and through sustained access to historically valuable records in the National Archives and the Presidential Libraries. For More information, please visit the National Archives and Records Administration website at

About SDSC

For more than two decades, the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) has enabled breakthrough data-driven and computational science and engineering discoveries through the innovation and provision of information infrastructure, technologies and interdisciplinary expertise. A key resource to academia and industry, SDSC is an international leader in Data Cyberinfrastructure and computational science, and serves as a national data repository to nearly 100 public and private data collections. SDSC is an Organized Research Unit and integral part of the University of California, San Diego and one of the founding sites of NSF's TeraGrid. For more information, see

About NSF

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering, with an annual budget of $5.58 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 1,700 universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 40,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes nearly 10,000 new funding awards. The NSF also awards over $400 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

For additional information, please call ERA Communications Officer Rita Cacas at 301-837-1564.

This article is from Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter and is copyright 2005 by Richard W. Eastman. It is re-published here with the permission of the author. Information about the newsletter is available at  June 29, 2006


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