The NorthEast Ohio Computer-Aided Genealogy Society

A Summary of Events and Topics of Interest to Online Genealogists

Vol. 14 No 2--April 1, 2009
compiled by Luther Olson

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


> Conficker Virus Begins To Attack PCs

> Genealogy On Social Networks: Do You Twitter? Facebook? Geni? Etc. 

> Google To Pay $125 Million In Online Books Settlement

> Libraries Skeptical Of Google Books Settlement

> Are We Losing Our Memory? Or The Museum Of Obsolete Technology

> Top Immigration and Naturalization Databases for Researching Your Ancestors

> New NGS Website Easier Than Ever to Use


> Conficker virus begins to attack PCs
By Jim Finkle - Fri Apr 24, 2009

BOSTON (Reuters) - A malicious software program known as Conficker that many feared would wreak havoc on April 1 is slowly being activated, weeks after being dismissed as a false alarm, security experts said. Conficker, also known as Downadup or Kido, is quietly turning an unknown number of personal computers into servers of e-mail spam, they added.

The worm started spreading late last year, infecting millions of computers and turning them into "slaves" that respond to commands sent from a remote server that effectively controls an army of computers known as a botnet. Its unidentified creators started using those machines for criminal purposes in recent weeks by loading more malicious software onto a small percentage of computers under their control, said Vincent Weafer, a vice president with Symantec Security Response, the research arm of the world's largest security software maker, Symantec Corp.

Conficker installs a second virus, known as Waledac, that sends out e-mail spam without knowledge of the PC's owner, along with a fake anti-spyware program, Weafer said. The Waledac virus recruits the PCs into a second botnet that has existed for several years and specializes in distributing e-mail spam. Conficker also carries a third virus that warns users their PCs are infected and offers them a fake anti-virus program, Spyware Protect 2009 for $49.95, according to Russian-based security researcher Kaspersky Lab. If they buy it, their credit card information is stolen and the virus downloads even more malicious software.

Weafer said that while he believes the number of infected machines that have become active is relatively small, he expects a consistent stream of attacks to follow, with other types of malware distributed by Conficker's authors. "Expect this to be long-term, slowly changing," he said of the worm. "It's not going to be fast, aggressive."

Researchers feared the network controlled by the Conficker worm might be deployed on April 1 for the first time since the worm surfaced last year because it was programed to increase communication attempts from that date. The security industry formed a task force to fight the worm, bringing widespread attention that experts said probably scared off the criminals who command the slave computers. That task force thwarted the worm partially by using the Internet's traffic control system to block access to servers that control the slave computers.

Viruses that turn PCs into slaves exploit weaknesses in Microsoft's Windows operating system. The Conficker worm is especially tricky because it can evade corporate firewalls by passing from an infected machine onto a USB memory stick, then onto another PC. The Conficker botnet is one of many such networks controlled by syndicates that authorities believe are based in eastern Europe, southeast Asia, China and Latin America.

(Editing by Jason Szep, Yahoo Tech)

> Genealogy On Social Networks: Do you Twitter? Facebook? Geni? Etc.
Family Tree Community--Diane Haddad  2009-04-08

Hi, all,

We've been Facebooking and Twittering a bit lately, and observed a sizeable and dedicated genealogy community on both networks. I was wondering whether/how you all use social networking for genealogy: 

-Why do or don't you use social networks?  

-Which networks do you use? (ex: Twitter, Facebook, Geni, FamilyLink, We're Related, etc.)  

-How do you use them? (to get tips, learn new resources, look for relatives, etc.) 

-Have you ever made a genealogy breakthrough as a result of being on a social network? How? 

Thanks! If you're wondering, we're at on Twitter and on Facebook.


 COMMENT : I am SO not into all that stuff. Never got into the Myspace craze, or the facebook, or blogs,and now the 'cool' thing to do is 'twitter'. I'm too private of a person to do that stuff and post my thoughts and feelings, or moods. I've never really heard of using it for genealogy though.

COMMENT : I mainly use Facebook but use We're Related as well. I like Facebook because I've been able to connect with at least 12 cousins, albeit 2nd cousins but they are still cousins. I also found out another cousin has a family Bible that I didn't know about and I'm hoping she'll be able to copy the 'family tree' pages for me if there are any.

I have made some breakthroughs and although I am kind of a private person, I've found more than cousins on the site, I've also found several grammar school classmates and I've been posting pictures from when we were in school and for the most part they've enjoyed seeing what they looked like in 1st grade or even kindergarden. Facebook is a great way to keep in touch, its also a way you can extend your family tree forward. I was really surprised to find so many cousins but glad I took the chance and put a surname in the Friend Finder box.

COMMENT : I use twitter and find it to be a very good resource for genealogy. I can follow comments posted by sites like footnote, ancestry, etc, as well as other researchers. I've posted a comment about newspaper before and received a response from them via twitter almost instantly. I also keep a search open for #genealogy while at my computer. You can see what other genealogists are doing / searching for. I've found some very helpful links and research tips that other researchers have posted.

One researcher posted a link for, a site that I hadn't seen before. From that I was able to find an article that I'd been looking for about a tornado that my paternal grandparents were caught in and that destroyed their home.

COMMENT : A great, and timely topic! Because I'm new to both Facebook and Twitter, I can't add much; however, I will say this topic is of great interest. I love the idea of using these networking tools for genealogy, and am grateful for any and all how-to's that users add here.

> Google To Pay $125 Million In Online Books Settlement
ZDNet, Posted on Tue Oct 28, 2008

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Google Inc has reached a legal settlement with authors and major publishers that paves the way for readers to search through millions of copyrighted books online, browse passages and purchase copies. Under Tuesday's settlement, Google will pay $125 million to create a Book Rights Registry, where authors and publishers can register works and receive compensation from institutional subscriptions or book sales.

The settlement with the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers draws to a close a three-year legal challenge of Google's plan to make many of the world's great books searchable online. The lawsuit filed by publishers McGraw-Hill Cos Inc, Pearson Plc's Pearson Education and Penguin Group (USA) units, CBS Corp's Simon & Schuster and John Wiley & Sons Inc charged that Google's attempts to scan works without permission infringed on copyright protections.

 At issue were rights of copyright holders versus the public's "fair use" interest in being free to use limited portions of books for commentary or review, for what resembles a kind of full-text, searchable card catalog. The settlement is subject to federal court approval.

"It's been a long and arduous negotiation," said Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild, calling the settlement "the biggest book deal in U.S. publishing history." Aiken said the settlement will mean a "vast repository of books -- millions upon millions of out-of-print books and many in-print books -- will find a new home and new readers online."

 Initially, Google's Print Library Project called for searches to bring up three- or four-line snippets from books, but plans now call for as much as a full page to appear in response to queries. In addition, libraries across the country will be offered an online portal, allowing their patrons to print pages for a fee. Institutional subscriptions will also be available to college students and faculty.

 (Reporting by Paul Thomasch, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)

 > Libraries Skeptical Of Google Books Settlement
(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing Bernard Orr--Yahoo! Tech News)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Skeptical library groups asked on Monday for "rigorous oversight" of Google's agreement with authors and publishers that would allow it to put millions of books online. The American Library Association and Association of Research Libraries said they were concerned that Google would not safeguard readers' privacy and that it would be the only digital source for many books and major academic journals.

Other groups have complained to the U.S. Justice Department about antitrust elements of the deal, and the department has made inquiries about it. "This court can address the library associations' concerns through rigorous oversight of the implementation of the settlement," the groups said in their brief to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Google, which is seeking to create a digital library, reached an agreement last year with the Authors Guild and Association of American Publishers to pursue the project. It is awaiting a judge's approval. "Major commercial publishers have been content with strategies that maximize profits by selling subscriptions to few customers at high cost. Typically, these customers are academic and research libraries," the libraries said in their comments on the settlement.

The library groups are concerned that a subscription to Google books may become indispensable to universities and that subscription rates could skyrocket, said Prue Adler of the ARL, citing the journal Brain Research, which costs $23,000 a year.

The settlement is unusual is that it essentially structures the digitized book search market while that market is in its infancy, said Bert Foer, president of the American Antitrust Institute. "On the whole what they're trying to do is remarkably creative," he said. "But that doesn't mean that the process should avoid the type of public input that would be there in other circumstances."

Libraries expressed concern that the settlement does not spell out what Google would do with information about users. This, they said, was in "stark contrast" with steps spelled out in the settlement to secure the digitized books against unauthorized access. "Evidently, in the settlement negotiations the class representatives insisted on these measures to protect the security of digital copies of their books; but no one demanded protection of user privacy," the filing said. Adler said she would push Google to adopt stringent privacy policies.

Google said in a statement that it was "proud to partner with dozens of libraries around the world as part of our book search efforts." "We have consistently maintained that, if approved by the court, our settlement agreement stands to unlock access to millions of books for users in the US," according to an emailed statement.

Philip Zane of the law firm Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz said the Justice Department could also decide that Google's offer to put Google books on one terminal per library -- no matter how large -- was inadequate. "There may be other things that don't pass a reasonableness test," he said. "It would be an enormous concentration of power in one place, and it could really squeeze the libraries. ... I think it's going to be an extended investigation."

Attempts to reach the Association of American Publishers for comment were not immediately successful. The Authors Guild had no comment  The case is The Authors Guild, Inc, Association of American Publishers v. Google. Case No. 05 CV 8136-JES

> Are We Losing Our Memory? or The Museum of Obsolete Technology

Posted by Dick Eastman on March 21, 2009 |  

Writing in LOST Magazine, Alexander Stille says that we are running out of time at the National Archives. Information stored in mechanical and electronic format is in danger of being lost forever.  The National Archives' Department of Special Media Preservation is a kind of museum of obsolete technology where Archives technicians try to tease information out of modern media that have long vanished from circulation. But the laboratory is more than a curious rag-and-bone shop of technologies past; in many ways, it offers a cautionary vision of the future.

The problem of technological obsolescence — of fading words and images locked in odd-looking, out-of-date gizmos — is an even bigger problem for the computer age than for the new media produced in the first half of the 20th century. On the other hand, paper and ink has lasted for hundreds, perhaps even thousands of years

One of the great ironies of the information age is that, while the late twentieth century will undoubtedly have recorded more data than any other period in history, it will also almost certainly have lost more information than any previous era. A study done in 1996 by the Archives concluded that, at current levels, it would take approximately 120 years to transfer the backlog of non-textual material (photographs, videos, film, audiotapes, and microfilm) to a more stable format. "And in quite a few cases, we're talking about media that are expected to last about 20 years," said Charles Mayn, the head of the laboratory. Decisions about what to keep and what to discard will be made by default, as large portions will simply deteriorate beyond the point of viability.

You can read the entire article at:

COMMENT: Our fancy genealogy software is getting so sophisticated that we can now do most anything, including inserting sound, photos, videos from Youtube, etc. There have been two incidents recently, however, which have caused me to reconsider once again the benefits of all this “progress.” A few months ago we were informed of the professor from one of the large California Universities who was doing research on the early space program and needed the digital records of the first manned moon landing.

NASA was more than willing to turn over all the digital records, when they made a startling discovery. You guessed it—the hardware that was able to read all those records no longer existed—anyplace in the whole world! In a way, if one considers all the development that has taken place in the last few decades, both hardware and software, it really isn't that much of a surprise. (I would guess that none of you could read the first database for the earliest version of your genealogy program with the one you presently use.

Fortunately, the professor had a number of doctoral students who were able go over those early digital records, digit by digit, and convert them into a modern language that our new computers could decipher. Don't think this couldn't happen to our precious genealogy databases. It was just a few years ago that many of us locally and throughout the world found that the newest versions of our favorite software could not convert our sources to enter accurately. I heard and read a number of comments from long time genealogy buffs who decided that “they were not going to spend the rest of their lives converting this information into a form that could be handled in the new version database.” (this problem was at least partially caused by converting to the new GEDCOM 5.5).....LO

COMMENT: About fifteen years ago I was taking a doctoral seminar at Kent State on early folk music and other art forms in the black population of the early south. In my research I came across a reference to some actual tapes of music and stories that were filed in a private area in the Cleveland Public Library. I planned to spend much of a day in searching for anything of interest, but expected that by now those old tapes couldn't be played on any of our modern sophisticated tape recorders. This research had been done by a sociologist from Western Reserve University with the last name of Puckett. For those of you who have been around awhile, he was the father of our Bob Puckett.

Bob later related to me that when his father passed away, he found a lot of research material that his father had gathered during his long professional tenure. So much that Bob decided to offer it to the Cleveland Public Library, where they now had good storage areas after the recent renovation.

Now the good part—when the librarian finished carrying out the boxes of books and recordings, he made one more trip and came back carrying an old tape recorder. It was one of the very early models that some of you would still recognize, and I feel certain the tapes were recorded on that very machine. Thank goodness Bob had presence of mind enough to realize years before that tape recorders were constantly being updated, and that without a machine that would play all those tapes, they would be worthless. His thoughtfulness made to possible for me to find lots of wonderful, interesting material that could easily have permanently disappeared by now, and we wouldn't even be aware of our loss.....LO

> Top Immigration and Naturalization Databases for Researching Your Ancestors

By Kimberly Powell,, Feb 10, 2009

Locate your immigrant ancestors in this collection of immigration databases, passenger lists, naturalization records, and other online immigration and naturalization resources.

1. Immigration & Emigration Records

This site is not free, but it has the largest collection of passenger lists, naturalization records, and other databases for researching your immigrant ancestors on the Web. Includes the majority of all incoming ship passenger lists for the United States for the years 1820-1957, as well as Canadian Passenger Lists 1865-1935 and Border Crossings 1895-1956, and UK Incoming Passenger Lists 1878-1960. Most of these collections include digital images of the actual records. Subscription

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2. Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild

Volunteers have generously transcribed more than 9,000 passenger manifests, many from early periods of immigration and/or smaller ports. Search the entire site by surname, captain's name, port of arrival or departure, and ship name, or browse by location. Free

3. Ellis Island Records

Search by ship or passenger name to find any of the more than 22 million immigrants who arrived through the Port of New York at Ellis Island port in New York between 1892 and 1924. Free

4. Olive Tree Genealogy

This huge site run by Lorine McGinnis Schulze has been on the Web since 1996 and includes over 2,300 free Ships Passenger Lists to the USA, Canada and South Africa. There are plenty of links to subscription-based Web sites interspersed throughout the site, so take time to carefully explore the site (check out the "5-Step Search" tips on the main page). The free records are marked with a little olive tree. Free resources are clearly marked as such

5. Ancestors on Board

Explore more than 24 million records of immigrants and tourists leaving England for destinations including Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States between 1890 and 1960. This subscription based site offers free search, but access to transcriptions and digitized images of the actual records are only available on a pay per view basis. Subscription or pay-per-view

6. National Archives of Canada Immigration Records Collection

Search online in this free index of Canadian immigration records 1925-1935. The National Archives also offers a searchable index of Immigrants to Canada from the British Isles Before 1865 and Immigrants who Stayed at the Grosse-Ile Quarantine Station 1832-1937. Free

7. Immigration to Victoria

The Public Record Office of Victoria, Australia, offers free online searching of several passenger list databases, including Index to Assisted British Immigration 1839-1871; Index to Outward Passengers to Interstate, UK, NZ and Foreign Ports 1852-1896; and Index to Unassisted Inward Passenger Lists to Victoria 1852-1923. Free

8. The Ships List

Several thousand free pages of content related to immigrants is the highlight of this site, online since 1999. The primary focus is transcribed ships' passenger lists from English speaking countries around the world, but you'll also find immigration reports, newspaper accounts, shipwreck information, ship photos, even diaries and journals. Free

9. Norwegian Emigration Records

The Digitalarkivet at the University of Bergen in Norway provides free online access to Norwegian emigration records, as well as census and other records useful for researching ancestors from Norway. Free

10. Bremen Passenger Lists 1920-1939

The majority of the outbound passenger lists from the major German port of Bremen were either destroyed due to lack of archival space, or lost during WWII. Thankfully, 2851 passenger lists for the years 1920 - 1939 were discovered to still exist (600,000+ passengers), and are transcribed here thanks to a partnership between the Bremen Society for Genealogical Investigation (Die Maus) and the Bremen Chamber of Commerce. Free

11. One Step Search by Steve Morse

Passenger lists can often be among the most frustrating online databases to search for a variety of reasons: names are quite often misspelled, not all information is usually included in the index, and you generally can't search for family groups. Here is where Steve Morse comes to the rescue, with special advanced search forms for many popular immigration databases.

12. U.S. Passenger List Annotations

13. Passenger Lists 101

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> New NGS Website Easier Than Ever to Use

by Pamela K. Sayre, CG, CGL, NGS Education & Publications Director

UpFront with NGS--The Online Newsletter of the National Genealogical Society
Volume 9, Number 9-3 March 2009

The National Genealogical Society is pleased to announce its new website at The professionally designed site restructures available information for members and the general public, making it faster and easier to find what you're looking for.

The site is designed for ease of use. At the top right corner of each screen, just under the banner, you'll find Text Size (+ and -) buttons to enlarge or reduce the size of text on the website to suit your personal needs. Click the easy-to-navigate tabs across the top of each page to go to the section of interest: References for Researching, Educational Courses, Publications, Conferences & Events, Awards & Competitions, About NGS, Become a Member, or the Members Only section of the site. Additional sub-menu items below the tabs easily transport users to frequently used services such as the NGS online store, the member log-in area, or a press room for the latest press releases.

The new site features a login box at the top right side of each page so you can log in to the members-only area, check your login status, and access your account information from any screen.

Logging in the First Time

All NGS members who log in to the new website will use new usernames and passwords. The username is the e-mail address currently on file with NGS. The password is your NGS member number, which can be found on the mailing label of your NGS Quarterly or NGS Magazine. If you cannot locate this number, e-mail or call (800) 473-0060 toll-free or (703) 525-0050 in Virginia.

The User Login area at the top right corner of each page includes a box with the word Username in it. Click inside that box and type the e-mail address you provided to NGS. To the right of the Username box is the Password field (a rectangle filled with dots). Click inside that box and type your NGS member number. Then click the Login button.

Once you've logged in, you'll see the member discount prices when you shop in the NGS online store or register for conferences, online courses, and other events. You'll also be able to access the Members Only area where members can use an index to past issues of the NGS Quarterly and browse, print, or download past issues of the NGS Quarterly, and query special online databases such as Member Ancestor Charts.

If you have trouble logging in, please clear the cookies on your web browser, close all browser windows, and try logging in again. If this does not solve the problem, e-mail the NGS Information Technology department at

Using Your NGS Account
In conjunction with the new website, NGS has transitioned to a new membership database that offers more flexibility for members. Once you've logged in, click the My Account button in the login area of any screen and check out your NGS membership profile.
My Account-My Information

Change Your Personal Information
When you access your account after logging in, your personal information displays by default. To change your name, address, phone number(s), or e-mail, click the Edit Information link in your profile. The new member database even allows separate addresses for home, work, billing, and other, but only one of them at a time can be chosen as the primary address. If you spend half a year in the warmer climates and then go north for the summer, enter both your addresses in the member database. Then, just remember to access your account and check the box beside the correct address when you change locations. NGS publications and communications will follow you wherever you go.

Keep track of your membership by accessing your account information to see the date you joined NGS, when your membership expires, and the type of membership you hold.

Opt Out of Print Notices & Publications

Want to go green by receiving only e-mail renewal reminders or receiving an electronic copy of the NGS Quarterly rather than the paper copy? Access your member account, click Edit Information¸ then click Edit Demographics. In the small box that pops up, click to check "E-mail only renewal notices" and/or "NGSQ online only."

Change Your Password

Also in your account profile, click Change Password to accomplish that task quickly and securely. After you log in the first time, it's a good idea to change your password from your member number to something known only to you.

My Account-My Transactions

Click the link for My Transactions to see a list of purchases you've made in the NGS Online Store within the past sixty days. If you've purchased a PDF publication or an online course from the American Genealogy Special Topics series, download it from this area by clicking the appropriate link.

My Account-Upcoming Events
Click the Upcoming Events link on the left side of the account screen to see and register for conference events and research trips.

My Account-Online Store
Click the link for Online Store to access the NGS store where you can purchase publications and register for conferences, research trips, and educational courses.

My Account-Logout
Click the Logout link at the left side of your account screen to exit the NGS member database and return to the new NGS website. It may be necessary to log out from the website, too. Be sure to always log out of your account, the NGS store, and the NGS website completely when you are using a computer in a public location.

Highlight on the NGS Website

The References for Researching section contains new free tutorials, including one for beginners at and one on becoming a professional genealogist at In addition, anyone can find and borrow a genealogy or history book of interest from the NGS Book Loan Collection held by St. Louis County Library. See the simplified directions under the References for Researching section by clicking the NGS Book Loan Collection link, or go directly to

Stay tuned for more "tours" in next month's UpFront. We'll continue to highlight some of the new features on the website. Meanwhile, visit and take it out for a spin yourself.



When you come across something you think would be of interest to others who are involved in genealogy, whether it be about genealogy, software, or hardware, please send it to our editor, Luther Olson:  <>.

Please include your name and all credits of author and publication.  Information from online genealogy newsletters can be used with these credits.


The following article is from Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter and is copyright 2007 by Richard W. Eastman. It is re-published here with the permission of the author. Information about the newsletter is available at


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