Retrospect Publishing - Pennsylvania Genealogy Books on CD-ROM 

The following article is from Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter and is copyright 2000 by Richard W. Eastman.
 It is re-published here with the permission of the author.


Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter
A Weekly Summary of Events and
Topics of Interest to Online Genealogists
Vol. 5 No. 30 - July 22, 2000

- Retrospect Publishing's Pennsylvania CD-ROM Disks

This week I had a chance to use one of the new CD-ROM disks for Windows produced by Retrospect Publishing of Alexandria, Virginia. This small company is producing CD-ROM disks containing electronic reprints of hard-to-find books, directories and other genealogy resources. The company produces a number of CD-ROM disks, one county per disk. The CD-ROM that I tried is called, "Butler County (Pennsylvania), the early 20th Century and Before." Quoting from the company's Web site:

The over 1200 bibliographic sketches in the 1909 County History provides a treasure-trove of family history that often goes back several generations. The wealth of information and names does not stop at the sketches; it only begins, for there are countless names included in the special interest chapters. These include the development and founding of boroughs and townships of Butler County along with chapters on the newspapers, lawyers, doctors, oil men and soldiers of the county. Whether you are searching for the names of Revolutionary War Soldiers who settled in Butler, or are trying to locate rural neighbors in the Agricultural Directory which includes over 1800 names and map locations of Butler County residents, you are bound to learn more about the people and places that comprised Butler County during this period.

The Butler County, Pennsylvania CD-ROM contains electronic images of the pages from three printed books: 

  • 20th Century History of Butler and Butler County, PA (Richmond Arnold Publishing Company; 1909) 

  • American Agriculturist Farm Directory and Reference Book for Butler County, PA (Orange Judd Company; 1916)  

  • 1900 Centennial Letter - To the Children of Butler County, PA (Simeon Nixon; 1900)

The CD-ROM contains the images of the original pages along with a proprietary Windows search engine developed by Retrospect Publishing. Installation was simple: double-click on SETUP.EXE and follow the instructions. The total installation time was less than one minute. The installed software is called "Retrospector" and works only with the Retrospect Publishing CD-ROM disks. It seems easy to use.

The left side of the screen displays three tabs: Contents, Search and Bookmarks. The Contents tab lists all the books on the CD-ROM, along with a list of the major sections or chapters of each book. You can jump directly to any section of any book by clicking on its name in the Contents tab. The Search tab allows you to search for individual words in the books. You may search for up to three words simultaneously.

The Bookmark tab allows you to save your place in a book so you can easily return to it later. It also provides a place for any notes you may want to make and will allow you to attach a label to a spot in a book or to a note.

The software combines the best of both worlds: actual images of the original books are displayed on the screen, and yet, unlike many other CD-ROM disks of scanned images, the user also can search on every word in the books. I quickly did a search for my own last name. The Retrospector software identified 11 "hits." I found that I could click on any of the "hits" and almost immediately view the appropriate page containing that name. While the word itself was not highlighted, a green bar in the margin did show the approximate location of the word that I had searched for. This green bar is very helpful for quickly finding the desired text.

I also found that adding my own notes to a page was easy. On any page, I could right-click and select Bookmark. I was then prompted for a label and for the text of the notes. After I entered the appropriate data, a yellow highlight appeared in the margin. Even better, the new Bookmark and labels are now shown in the list of bookmarks on the left side of the screen. It is easy to return time and again to bookmarked locations and text notes.

Printing a page is just as easy. Each page is documented as to its origin by additional text on the bottom of the page, such as, "Copyright 1999 Retrospect Publishing. All Rights Reserved. Pennsylvania Retrospective Series: Butler County - The Early 20th Century and Before; County History." If the page contains a bookmark, the label and text of that bookmark are also printed.

The Butler County, Pennsylvania CD-ROM will be of interest to anyone with roots in that county. Keep in mind that the data on this CD-ROM comes from history books, not from long lists of births, marriages and deaths. Many prominent citizens will be mentioned, along with some of the not-so-prominent. I especially found the history of the Civil War units from Butler County to be quite interesting as the information included complete lists of all the soldiers from Butler County.

All of Retrospect Publishing's Pennsylvania CD-ROM disks require an IBM PC or compatible with 486 or higher CPU, 16 megabytes of RAM memory, 4 megabytes of hard drive space, Windows 95 or 98, a CD-ROM drive and a VGA display capable of displaying at least 256 colors. I was disappointed to find that the software does not work on Windows NT or Windows 2000. [ Note:  The software is now compatible with Windows NT, 2000, ME, XP, Vista, and 7 ]

The Butler County, Pennsylvania CD-ROM sells for $39.95 plus tax and shipping. The same company also sells similar CD-ROM disks for Allegheny, Beaver, Fayette and Westmoreland counties.Still other counties will be covered in future releases.  [ Note: Berks, Chester, Crawford, Luzerne, Mercer and Washington Counties  as well as Monongahela Valley are now available]  For more information, look at: http://www.retrospectpublishing.com

If you want to see the current issue as well as back issues of the newsletter, look on the World Wide Web at: http://www.ancestry.com/library/view/news/articles/d_p_1_archive.asp


[ Clarifications added by Retrospect Publishing ]

See Other Reviews

When the additional replica watches uk duke and the minute duke replica watches uk to accommodated it, there is a activity of home, duke to hand, began as a family, additional duke replica rolex active away, like bouncing baby, it grew up, grew up in the way, and amore against or abroad from, but aswell with the ancestors replica breitling calm warm, there is a being abandoned replica rolex abandoned and brave. Later, with the additional growth, it is a added affecting apprehension about accord and love.