Mr. Eastman provides a one-line bio for himself on his website that reads: Dick Eastman kept his first genealogy database on 80-column punch cards.
As short as that statement is, it really sums up the way Dick’s passion for technology and genealogy has helped to shape modern technology’s role in genealogy.
By the early 1970’s, Dick was already using a mainframe computer to enter his family data on punch cards. He built his first home computer in 1980.
In the mid-1980s, Dick actually went knocking on the door of a rising online star called CompuServe to propose a genealogy forum: a move by which he built a community of family historians over the next 14 years. In late 1995, before most people had heard of the World Wide Web, Dick had a conversation with Pam Cerutti and expressed an interest in creating a weekly newsletter that he could e-mail to genealogists all over the world. Pam replied, “You’ll need an editor.” Dick agreed, and Pam instantly became that Editor.
On January 15, 1996, the two launched Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter as an e-mail publication and announced it to 100 surprised friends and acquaintances. The present newsletter is read by more than 60,000 genealogists all over the world.
Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter is available in both a Standard and Plus Edition and you can subscribe to either at http://blog.eogn.com/. Subscribe now and keep an eye out for Dick’s thoughts about Accessible Archives in an upcoming issue of the newsletter.
Follow Dick on Twitter at @dickeastman or on Facebook, or Google+.