Frequently Asked Questions

What was your motivation to do this?

I'm an active genealogy researcher.  I found a critical link to my family lines in the Hearne book about 10 years ago.  It was actually quite serendipitous, because there was no index in Hearne's book.   I found there was at least one other line where I also connect.  I immediately became very appreciative of Hearne's book, as I found these names in the counties I  was researching.

Later, my mother ran onto an original of Hearne's 1895 version of the book being sold on a discount rack at a research library.  She snapped it up.  Later still, she obtained a reprint of the 1907 version.  I sweet-talked her into letting me care for her copies of the book.

The book intrigued me.   I spent hours in it.  I could also see it's value because it was information collected in 1900, second hand from people with first-hand knowledge.  I decided I would do a little more connecting the dots in my lines.  But there was still no index.

I tried making an index of the names I'd seen, but it was a lot of work. I came upon the idea of using computers to scan the text so I could have a text copy that I could search using a computer.   I thought I would share it with others after it was complete, because I knew how hard it was to find anything in the book, and how hard it was to obtain a copy of the book.  After many pages, I decided it was going to take a long time. I decided to share the parts I'd completed.   I came upon the idea that others might actually help, if I could organize a little.  So, I decided to share what I had with others as I scanned and transcibed it,  and I asked for
volunteers.  Half a dozen people found the site and helped do the transcription.   I wrote special software to format the pages for the web.

So, I guess it has been a labor of love, both on my part and on the parts of the other volunteers.  We've had some really wonderful letters of thanks from people who have read about the book as a reference, but been unable to obtain the book or a copy of it.

What improvements are being made to the site?

Where can I get a copy of "Brief History and Genealogy of the Hearne Family"?

A reproduction of Hearne's book can be ordered from Higginson Books for about $95.  It is photoreproduced on acid-free paper with a Class A archival quality hardcover binding.

You can get an original antique first edition engraving of Bamborough Castle (shown on page 14)  from Horizon Books  for about US $20.  Go to their web page, and find "Bamborough".

You can order a Hearne Coat of Arms from Eddie Geoghegan's Coat of Arms page.

Are you going to publish a book or paper version of this site?

No plans.  Producing a book of 811 pages, even at 5 cents a page is $36,  plus $10 for a binding, plus $5 shipping.  Gets expensive quickly.

Can I get the information on CD?

You can, if you wish, get the entire content of the site on CD-ROM.  It includes all the text, images, notes, and GEDCOMs available on the site.  The information on the CD-ROM is the site content on the day I burn the CD -- there is no more or less information. 

Here is my contact address.  Write me if you have questions.

Who owns the copyright to Hearne's  book?

The copyright for "Brief History and Genealogy of the Hearne Family" has expired.   The copyright was granted in 1907.  Copyright extends 75 years for books published at that time.  When copyright expires, the book becomes "public domain", and anybody can reprint the material or store it in alternate formats.  Reprinters, such as Higginson Books , depend on this legality to do their business.

I do however copyright this site.  I can't copyright Hearne's original writing because it's in the public domain.  I can copyright the way I present the information on the web pages and all of the hyperlinks and new footnotes that are added.   This is not a money making thing for me, but I reserve the right to control that nobody else makes money from it.

Why are some photos nice and others ugly?

I have two copies of the book. I have an original of the 1895 version. The photos in here are rich, warm and clear. I have used these photos whenever they match the 1907 edition. Where I don't have originals to scan, I use my 1907 version, which is a photocopy reproduction. These pictures just don't look as good because of the reproduction process.

If you have any original photos which match, please contact me.

What OCR software and scanner settings did you use?

I used Xerox ScanSoft's TextBridge Pro 98. I used a Visioneer PaperPort 3100B scanner and scanner black and white at 300 dpi. This gave me about 60 errors per page. I created a special training file, and added almost every new word to a Hearne dictionary. This brought accuracy up to only 40 errors per page. Accuracy improved when I used advanced setting as set brightness to -45. This brought accuracy up to about 20 errors per page. (On some pages as few as 6 errors).

There are several things I would do to improve TextBridge Pro, but Cuniform and ProOCR 100 didn't even come close to the same accuracy.

You have all the images, why bother with transcription at all?

Images are nice because you see exactly what was in the original book. However, it was impossible to find anything in the orginal book. W.T.Hearne had no apparent order to the 753 pages. In order to find something, you need an index. An index can be created by hand, but in a big book like this with lots of names, that would be an even bigger task than transcription. Computerized indexing seems the best answer, but that takes a transcription.

Another advantage of text is the size of the file. Images are 40,000 bytes per page. Transcribed text is 3,000 bytes. Which would you rather wait for?

What is your connection to the Hearnes?

I am a descendant of Hearnes through Sarah (Sallie) Hearne and James Fleming Thompson, of Bland county, Virginia.  Both of them are descendants of Hearne.   More details are here.

Copyright (c) 1999-2003 Brian Cragun.