Monday, August 7, 2017

Amanuensis Monday: Robbie Cruvant - age 6 - on the cover of Sports Illustrated - 1957

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

One can't always predict where a photograph of a relative will appear.

The newspaper clipping below comes from, The Times, Shreveport, Louisiana, May 21, 1957. I found it at Newspapers.com, and then found the cover in the Sports Illustrated Vault. Robbie Cruvant, a second cousin once removed, died in a car accident in 1967.



Magazine Cover Shows Local Boy

The photo of a Shreveport boy, Robbie Cruvant, 6, appears on the cover of the current issue of a national magazine, Sports Illustrated.

Robbie, the son of Mr. and Mrs. M. Leslie Cruvant, 6227 Gilbert Dr., is seated on a four-in-hand coach witnessing the Bridal and Spur Horse Show in St. Louis Mo., in the photograph. The horse show is featured in the magazine.

The picturesque four-horse coach is owned by Robbie's grandfather, Robert Baskowitz, of St. Louis. Among others seated on the coach is August A Busch, Jr., president of Anheuser-Busch, Inc., the makers of Budweiser beer.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

MyHeritage and Legacy Family Tree

Last week I mentioned that I had switched genealogy database software to MyHeritage's FamilyTreeBuilder. Thursday, MyHeritage announced, they had acquired Legacy Family Tree.

There has been a lot of discussion about the acquisition on genealogy blogs in the past few days. As is the case with all mergers and acquisitions that impact the things we care about, there are those with fearful pessimism, and those with hopeful optimism.

I've been surprised by those who have implied MyHeritage didn't already have a software program of its own. Or have implied their software program was entirely online. My FamilyTreeBuilder database is on my computer, and isn't synched with any MyHeritage account. (I have a free account, but my database isn't online.)

Legacy Family Tree doesn't have a Mac version of their software, so I can only base any opinion on the tutorial and help screens on their website, but at first glance, I am confident MyHeritage will not simply develop a Mac version of Legacy Family Tree, as it is lacking in adaptability to MyHeritage's international consumer-base. Whereas I was surprised to see MyHeritage only accommodated the Gregorian, Hebrew, and French Revolutionary calendars, and not Julian, I saw no references to date conversion at all in Legacy's help pages. (Possibly I missed it.) No references to multiple language interfaces, either. Hopefully the software team will combine the best features of both programs and create something both sets of users will see as an improvement.

Both Legacy Family Tree and MyHeritage use the Freemium marketing technique where they offer free basic services, and offer additional benefits for paid users. So that's unlikely to change. (I've seen some bloggers imply Legacy Family Tree didn't, but they do have a free standard version of their software. I just can't download it to test it since I don't have a PC.)

I'll admit in my first interaction with MyHeritage a decade ago, I didn't consider them a very serious website. It appeared they were focused primarily on games, such as their Face Recognition Software. I had fun with that software, but the company has grown tremendously since then. They are still growing, and I am in the set of people with hopeful optimism.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

How to Pronounce the "G"

There is a huge debate over how to pronounce the letter “G” in the acronym "GIF." GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format, and is the filetype for many images on your computer. (Other common image filetypes are JPEG - Joint Photographic Experts Group, and TIFF - Tagged Image File Format.)

Since GIF is an acronym for Graphics Interchange Format, #TeamGiff argues the “G” should be hard like the “G” in "Graphics."

Members of #TeamJiff follow the advice of Steve Wilhite, the engineering Lead of the team that developed the format. He says it is supposed to be pronounced with a soft "G" – to mirror the peanut butter brand, "Jif." (“Choosy developers choose GIF.”)

#TeamGiff responds that once a word or acronym enters the language, the inventor has no say in the matter. And a hard "G" makes more sense linguistically.

I say, computer images aren't only used by speakers of English. In Spanish, when the letter "G" is followed by an "I," it is pronounced with the hard “Ch” sound, as in the German composer's name, "Bach." This is also the case for the Spanish, "J."

1) I am a big supporter of this phoneme in whatever language it appears in.
2) Furthermore, since in Spanish "Gif" and "Jif" would be pronounced identically, this should satisfy the peanut butter fans in #TeamJiff, as well as the linguistic purists in #TeamGiff. So I am in #TeamKhiff

***

In the Genealogy world, I have heard there is some discussion on how to pronounce GEDCOM. GEDCOM is an acronym for Genealogical Data Communication and is used for the file format for genealogy databases.

#TeamJedcom argues that the "G" is for "Genealogical," so should be a soft "J."

#TeamGedcom prefers a hard "G" for some reason. [Members of #TeamGedcom are welcome to leave their explanation in the comments.]

I do not know how the developers of the GEDCOM pronounce it. This may be a closely held secret of the LDS church.

As you might have guessed, once again I fall back upon Spanish pronunciation, because, why not? In Spanish, when the letter "G" is followed by an "e" it is also pronounced with the hard “Ch” sound. I am in #TeamKhedcom

***

Hopefully, this post has been helpful. It's time for me to find a tall glass of iced chai.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Changing Genealogy Software

Back in 2007 I downloaded a trial version of iFamily genealogy software, and fell in love with it. Despite some deficiencies in reports and charts, the Graphical User Interface (GUI) was much superior in my view to anything else I experimented with. Also, instead of being the product of a company, it was the product of an individual, who responded quickly with new updates fixing bugs, and adding features. The developer, Keith Wilson, passed way in December of 2008. His son took over, but maintaining his father's program wasn't his full-time job, and updates became less frequent.

I still haven't found a competitor with a GUI that I like as much. But I have found a competitor with a GUI I can accept, and with additional features that make it very attractive. (Including its price - Free.) FamilyTreeBuilder from MyHeritage. It is true that they want you to sync your tree with a premium MyHeritage account. But it isn't required for most of the offline features to be fully functional.

I could continue to update in iFamily, and whenever I wanted to create a report/chart export a GED and open it with FamilyTreeBuilder. But that becomes a hassle, and I rather like how FamilyTreeBuilder handles Hebrew-Gregorian date conversion and a handful of other features.

I noticed when I transferred the data, for individuals with both natural and step parents, both sets of parents got labeled as natural. I've had to manually fix a few entries. However, I also like that two sets of parents can be set as 'natural.' It allows an easy way for children to be included in reports that they wouldn't be if they were recorded as 'step-children.' And with a growing number of parental options in today's society, how an individual might define 'natural' may vary depending on the situation.

I will miss the iFamily GUI. But after almost 10 years it is time for me to change software programs.

Amanuensis Monday: Melvin Vanevery and the El Paso Cotton Growers - 1919

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

Below is a newspaper article mentioning my maternal great-grandfather, Melvin Van Every.

El Paso Herald – Nov 28, 1919, page 7.
Cotton Growers Purchase Seed in Pecos Valley
El Paso County Farmers Will Not Plant Seed Grown Here.

Farmers of El Paso County, who, according to reports from over the district and from implement men, are going to grow 10,000 acres of cotton next year, will not plant local seed. Instead, the 10,000 bushels of seed needed will be brought from the Pecos valley. The purchase will be financed by the State National bank, C.N. Bassett said Friday.

Local cotton seed will not be used, at the request of officials of the federal horticulture board. This request arises from the fact that the federal horticulture agents were unable to scout the field properly for pink boll worm. No evidence of pink boll worm has been found here, the agents say, but because of the proximity to the border, a source of infection, the farmers of the valley have agreed with the federal agents that no chances should be taken.

This year about 1500 acres of cotton were grown in the valley. About 1,500,000 pounds of seed was produced. This will be crushed by a local refinery. The farmers, in order to get the seed for the 8500 acres more which will be planted next year than this, will put up a guarantee of $1 or $1.50 a bushel an acre for what they will need. The committee will then buy the seed where it can, and sell it to the farmers at cost, making delivery within a few weeks. The probable cost of the seed will be $2 or more a bushel. The Lone Star variety will be bought.

L.J. Ivy and M.E. Van Every, of Tornillo, have been named on the committee of five to supervise the purchase and distribution of cotton seed. Roland Harwell, county farm agent, said Friday. A meeting will be held at Clint to discuss further plans for getting the seed. Three other members of the committee will be named within a few days.

The committee will leave next week to hunt the seed.

Notes

1) Melvin and his family had moved to the El Paso area from San Marcos in 1917. It's nice to see references to the multiple businesses he had a hand in. Apparently, in addition to beekeeping, and a cheese creamery, my great grandfather grew cotton. (I'm sure he had other crops as well.)

2) More on the Pink Bollworm, and the damage to Texas crops.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Amanuensis Monday: Melvin L Newmark - President of Washington University Alumni Federation - 1963

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

Below is a newspaper article on, and photograph of, my paternal grandfather, Melvin Newmark.

St. Louis Jewish Light – July 19 1963, p. 8.

Melvin L Newmark (above) St. Louis attorney, has been elected president of the Washington University Alumni Federation for 1963-1964. The Alumni Federation consists of presidents and past presidents of the alumni associations of individual schools at the University. Newmark, who resides at 701 Payson, Dr., Olivette, earned his LLB degree from Washington U. in 1936. He is a past president of the Alumni Association of Washington U., past president of the Missouri Lodge No. 22, B’nai B’rith, and has served in many community service positions. Presently he is a judge on the Municipal Bench of Olivette, a member of the board of the St. Louis Jewish Light, and is active in many other organizations. Mr. and Mrs. Newmark are the parents of three children.


Notes:

1. My grandfather was a municipal court judge from 1962-1967. He was quoted several years later on why he resigned from the position.

2. While I am not short of photographs of my grandfather, I enjoy seeing what he looked like before my recollections.

Amanuensis Monday: Melvin L Newmark - President of United Hebrew Congregation 1971

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

Below is a newspaper article on, and photograph of, my paternal grandfather, Melvin Newmark.

St. Louis Jewish Light, Dec 1, 1971, p. 26.

Melvin Newmark Elected United Hebrew President

Melvin L. Newmark, an attorney, has been re-elected for a second term as President of United Hebrew Congregation.

Newmark is President of the St. Louis Jewish Light Board of Trustees, a member of the Jewish Federation Board of Directors, and a former president of the Missouri-Illinois Regional Anti-Defamation League Board.

He was re-elected at the recent annual meeting of the congregation, which was addressed by Dr. Louis Schwartzman, Executive Director of the Central Agency for Jewish Education, who discussed, “What We Hope to Achieve for Reform Jewish Education in St. Louis.”

Also elected to office at the same meeting were: Echeal Feinstein, Barnett Goodman and Peter Lurie, vice presidents; George Nemon, secretary, and Joseph Goldstein, treasurer.

Elected to the Board of Directors were: Dan Bogard, Lee Demba, Morris Feldman, Earl Fishgall, Grank Friedman, Joseph C. Friedman, Ralph Friedman, Herman Friedman, Allen Furfine, Elmer Gidlow, Edward Golde, Emil Green, Harold Greenberg, Dr. Milton Jasper, Stanley Laiderman, Sidney Librach, Sam Michelson, I.E. Millstone, Max Orenstein, Morris Rosenthal, Harry T. Schukar, Dr. Irwin Schultz, Dr. Nathan Simon and Eugene Wolff.

Notes:

1. I believe the photograph that accompanied the article is slightly older than the article. Here is a photo from four months earlier, in which his trademark mustache is much more defined. (The wig he is wearing here, is not in the August 1971 photo, though I've seen it in photographs both earlier and later. It is possible he wore it less frequently in the summer.)


Monday, July 17, 2017

Amanuensis Monday: Newton Fulkerson and Jerry Usrey - January 1933

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

Several articles from Sikeston, Missouri area newspapers tell the story of two deaths in a family a few days apart.

Sikeston Standard Oct 21, 1932, p. 5

Oscar Blackman, who has been visiting with his sister, Mrs. Newt Fulkerson for the past month, accompanied them to his home in Carrier Mills, Ill. We are glad to report that Mr. Fulkerson's conditions is somewhat improved. He has been suffering for some time with heart trouble.

Benton Scott County Democrat, January 19, 1933, p. 1

NEWT FULKERSON DEAD AT McMULLIN

Newt Fulkerson, aged and respected citizen of McMullin, died at his home there Sunday and burial was made at Blodgett Monday. He was sick three or four weeks and was about 80 years of age. Several children survive, among whom are Mrs. Robert Gober of Vanduser and Will Fulkerson of near Sikeston.

The Sikeston Standard, Jan 24, 1933, p. 1

RITES FOR VANDUSER CHILDS HELD SATURDAY

Funeral services were conducted Saturday afternoon from the residence of Mrs. Robert Gober of Vanduser, for her 4-year-old son, Jerry Wayne Usrey, who died Friday of a throat infection. Rev. D. M. Margraves officiated.

The child was buried beside the grave of his grandfather, Newton Fulkerson, who died January 15. Besides his mother and step-father, Robert Gober, he is survived by the following half-sisters and brothers: James W. Usrey, Mrs. Jean Berry and Miss Anna Lee Gober of Vanduser, Raymond Usrey of Cape Girardeau, and Harold and Miss Melba Usrey of Morehouse.

The Sikeston Standard – Jan 24, 1933 p.4
CARD OF THANKS

We wish to thank our many friends for their great kindness during the illness and death of our loved one, Newton Fulkerson. We especially desire to express appreciation to Rev. Margraves and the singers, also the undertaker, Geo. Dempster, and all those who sent floral offering. May God bless each and every one.

Mrs. Newton Fulkerson and Children
The Grandchildren

The Sikeston Standard – Jan 24, 1933 p.8.

Those from Illinois who attended the funeral of Newton Fulkerson were R.S. Hart, Mr. and Mrs. Hosie Blackman, Mrs. Pear King, Mrs. Ella Spears, Mrs. Veda Fulkerson, Lem Fulkerson and daughter, and Oscar Blackman.

Notes:

1) My wife's grandmother, Anna Lee Gober, is mentioned as Jerry Usrey's half-sister.
2) The Sikeston Standard was published twice a week. I checked the January 17th and January 20th issues, but there was no obituary. My general search for "Fulkerson" in January 1933 papers turned up the Benton obituary using the nickname, 'Newt.' I hadn't seen that nickname before; another search retrieved the October article indicating that he had been suffering heart troubles.
3) I didn't make any changes to spelling and grammar. I believe there are a couple misspelled given names in the last article.

Amanuensis Monday: James Herman Fulkerson - Tuberculosis - Age 36 - 1931

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

A couple articles concerning the death of James Herman Fulkerson, brother of my wife's great- grandmother, Mabel Fulkerson Gober.

Sikeston Standard, March 31, 1931, page 1.

FARMER NEAR MOREHOUSE SUCCUMBS TO TUBERCULOSIS

James Herman Fulkerson, 36 years old, died Sunday evening about 5:00 o’clock, following an illness with tuberculosis. Mr. Fulkerson has been bedfast for about five weeks gradually becoming weaker. He leaves his wife and seven children, all of the home place, to mourn his death.

Funeral services will be conducted Tuesday morning at 10’oclock at the family residence near Morehouse, with Rev. A.C. Rudloff of the First Baptist Church of Sikeston officiating. Interment will be in the Dexter Cemetery with Dempster in charge.

In addition to his wife and children, Mr. Fulkerson is survived by his brother, Willie, of near McMullin, and five sisters, Mrs. Virgil Williams and Mrs. John Healey of Sikeston, Mrs. Ellis Alcorn and Mrs. Sam Usrey of McMullin and Mrs. E.P. Huey of Mountain Grove.

Sikeston Standard, April 4, 1944, page 6

IN MEMORIAM

Gone but not forgotten, though it’s thirteen years, dear brother Jim, since you left us waiting here. We miss your sweet smiles more each day. The voice we loved so well we can hear no more. God knew you were one of the best, so he called you home to rest. God bless you, Brother, in your home above are the prayers from those you loved. Until some fair sweet morn when our hands shall join.

Sadly missed by a sister,
Mrs. Robert Gober.

Notes:

1) In 1931, Mabel was a widow, as her husband Samuel Usrey had died in 1929. She would marry Robert Gober shortly thereafter, as their daughter Anna was born in June of 1932.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Seeking Advice on Searching Newspaper Archives When The Hits Are Numerous

So a local weekly newspaper has recently uploaded 55 years of newspapers to Newspapers.com.
That's 2860 issues.

Simple surname searches on just ancestral surnames (not including various and sundry branches) yield over 3000 hits. An average of at least one relative per issue. I wouldn't be surprised if I started searching on those branches I could get the average up to 2.

Of course, for most of these hits, I don't need to download the article. For classified ads, I might download one occurrence. I don't need to download box scores from high school baseball games. But I still need to go through the results. Keep track of my searches. And do it in such a way that I don't repeat the work.

Any suggestions on process?

***

After some thought, I have come to the realization that when every issue might have an article of interest, search functions are no longer a time-saver. Especially when I am looking for multiple surnames, some of them less unique than others. I have been slowly going through microfilm at the library for a similar local paper, and I will have to treat this one similarly. It will be quicker, since I am not limited to library hours, and reading the online images are easier on the eyes than the microfilm.