Wednesday, October 31, 2012

"HMS" Bounty Victim was a Fletcher Christian Descendant

HMS Bounty crew member Claudene Christian Photo: Alamy/@ClaudeneC

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

I am sure you have read about the loss of tall ship "HMS" Bounty in the super storm Sandy. The ship was a replica of the famous HMS Bounty seized by Fletcher Christian and other mutineers in 1789. One crew member of the modern replica, Claudene Christian, has died and the ship's captain is missing. In an ironic twist, Claudene Christian was the great-great-great-great-great-granddaughter of Fletcher Christian, the instigator of the original mutiny.

Claudene Christian was a graduate of University of Southern California, as well as a former Miss Teen Alaska. She also was the creator of “Cheerleader Dolls.” (See for more information. You can read about Claudene Christian and even watch a video of her at that web site.)

An almost exact replica of the original, the "HMS" Bounty was built for the 1962 filming of the Hollywood Classic “Mutiny on the Bounty”, starring Marlon Brando, but also featured the helm used in the 1935 movie starring Clark Gable. In recent years, the Bounty made cameo appearances in a score of movies from “Treasure Island” and Spongebob Squarepants to “Pirates of the Caribbean – Dead Man’s Chest.”

You can read more about this tragic story at

My thanks to newsletter reader Peter McCracken, publisher of, for telling me the sad news.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Centennial Farms

Does your family have a farm that has been in the family for 100 years? To qualify as a centennial farm, an agricultural property must have been owned by a straight or collateral line of descendants of the original owner for at least 100 years. To learn more about the centennial farm program, who qualifies, and how your family can register a centennial farm, read the current article on the Genealogy and Family History blog,

Cursive, foiled again

Imagine sometime in the future generations of future adults who cannot read or write in cursive. Hard to believe huh. Future genealogists who will not be able to read old records they need to conduct their genealogy research!

Gene Weingarten addresses the question in an article in the Washington Post Magazine click here Thanks to Dick Eastman and his EOGN newsletter for the heads up on this article.

High-Tech Tomb Hunter Finds Unmarked Graves for a Living

By Marty Graham, Wired Magazine

Elizabeth Agin’s professional popularity is simple and deep: The Tennessee-based cemetery science investigator knows where the bodies are buried -- and she can find out where there are more.

In the past five years Agin, 31, has identified hundreds of unmarked graves, using a combination of ground-penetrating radar (GPR), GPS, geospatial software and a sharp eye. She's one of a handful of specialists hired chiefly by cemeteries and construction survey teams -- people who need to move bodies, count them or identify them and the extra space around them.

It's an obscure science, and one that's generating renewed interest as a new search for remains of people murdered by the notorious Manson family unfolds at two California ranches. Agin says that some of the techniques she uses could help searchers, who are relying on cadaver-sniffing dogs, soil samples and ground-penetrating radar to try to identify grave sites.

You can read the complete story by clicking here.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Cemetery photos: permission required?

Can you legally photograph cemetery tombstones without getting permission first? It is a subject I have never thought about, but The Legal Genealogist, Judy G. Russell has.

She is highly qualified to write about legal issues that affect genealogists, as Judy is both a law professor at a major university and a Certified Genealogist (CG).
You can read about Judy's thoughts on this subject on her blog - The Legal Genealogist by clicking here.

Thursday, October 25, 2012 to be sold to Permira Funds for $1.6 billion

By Tom Murphy, The Associated Press

Genealogy website has agreed to be acquired by a group led by European private-equity firm Permira Funds in a cash deal valued at about $1.6 billion.

The offered price of $32 per share is a nearly 10 percent premium over Friday's closing price of $29.18.'s shares jumped 8 percent, or $2.33, to $31.51 in Nasdaq trading Monday.
The company operates a website for researching family history and has more than 2 million paying subscribers. It says more than 10 billion records have been added to its site over the past 15 years. The company develops and acquires systems that digitize handwritten historical documents, and it works with government archives, historical societies and religious institutions around the world.

Earlier this year, created a nationwide name index from the 1940 U.S. Census after the National Archives posted it online. The index makes it easier for researchers to look up digital images of the actual census forms on's website because they don't need a subject's exact address.

Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Youssef Squali called "the world's largest online resource for family history" in a recent note.

Ancestry's services were used on the NBC show "Who Do You Think You Are?" which tracked celebrities as they researched their family history. also was a sponsor of the show, and its shares took a hit in May, when NBC said it would not renew for a fourth season.

But Squali said the show will likely be revived on a cable network.