Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My Research Plans Concerning the 1940 Census

The 1940 Census is due to be released on April 2nd, 2012.

Several other geneabloggers have been discussing their plans for research upon its release.  I suspect I will be waiting a couple months before I dive in.

1) I am getting married in April. I expect to be busy. (Yes, my fiancee and I are sharing the responsibilities. I'm not the type to relax on the sofa and let her do all the work.)
2) I would actually rather wait for the records to be indexed.  There are a handful of ancestors I should be able to find without too much difficulty by browsing the images, because I know where they should be living. I will need to wait for the rest.

I expect I won't be able to resist searching for my parents at some point in April, as a necessary distraction from the wedding plans.

105 Years Ago

Updated from a post back in 2007.

My maternal grandfather would have been 105 years old today. On February 28, 1907, my grandfather was born in a small town in Transylvania called Varalmas. (aka Almaşu Mare).  At the time the town was part of Hungary, but now it is part of Romania.

Latitude: 46.950
Longitude: 23.133

(These numbers are taken from the Global Gazetteer). For those who are numerologically inclined: Add the digits together, and you get 36. Admittedly, some take longitude to a few more decimal places. But as long as you take it to 6 (or a multiple of 6) more decimal places, the sum is still a multiple of 18)

I have many fond memories of my grandfather.
  • He taught me how to bowl. As some of you know, I don’t bowl extraordinarily well. That isn’t his fault. I recall him bowling over 200.
  • He was always interested in new technology. In 1982 he bought me, my siblings, and my parents our first computer. A Commodore 64. Ironically (oh, yes, I’m pretty sure this is ironic) I was very loyal to the Commodore, and I swore at that time I would never own an Apple.
  • He exercised by jogging around his basement, and always insisted on shoveling his own driveway during the winter — with a cast iron shovel. I have two ten-pound weights of his, which he used much more than I have.
  • I remember eating waffles for dinner at my grandparents’ house, and he was the one who cooked them. I loved the idea of waffles for dinner. (He also had a Presto Sandwich maker, which I thought was cool.)
  • As a young man in Chicago, at Fort Sheridan, he served in the ‘Cavalry‘ in its final days. He had a cavalry sword engraved with a Star of David. After WWII he retired from the Air Force at the rank of Lt. Col.

5 Years Ago

I began blogging about genealogy in 2007.  While I date my obsession with genealogy research to this April 17th, 2007 post, that's going to be a very busy week for me.  So I will observe this blog's 5th anniversary today.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Favorite Cemetery Photo

The Graveyard Rabbit has resurrected the Graveyard Rabbits Carnival.

I missed the call for submission of entries, but there were several participants.

While I am too late to participate, I'd like to provide some links to past entries that contain a few of my favorite photos.

1) Sam and Rose Newmark (a favorite because of the lesson it taught me.)
2) McGrigery Van Every (the way his tombstone has been preserved is fascinating)
3) Samuel Deutsch (for the information, and entertainment, it provided)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday Five

Five names from various census databases related to a particular theme

Allen Wrench - 1930 Census - Quitman, MS - Age 26
Allen Key - 1900 Census - Comanche, TX - Age 5
Jack Hammer - 1910 Census - Manhattan, NY - Age 11
Philip S. Driver - 1880 US Census - Sacramento, CA - Age 17
Brad Neil - 1920 Census - Duluth, St. Louis, MN - Age 26

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's Day

To A Lady
by Victor Hugo,
From Les Feuilles D'Automne

Child, were I king, I'd yield my royal rule,
     My chariot, sceptre, vassal-service due,
My crown, my porphyry-basined waters cool,
My fleets, whereto the sea is but a pool,
     For a glance from you!

Love, were I God, the earth and its heaving airs,
     Angels, the demons abject under me,
Vast chaos with its teeming womby lairs,
Time, space, all would I give--aye, upper spheres,
     For a kiss from thee!

translation by Thomas Hardy
photogravure by Goupil et Cie, from a drawing by Deveria, appears in a collection of Hugo's poetry published by Estes and Lauriat in the late 1800s.

Why is Valentine's Day on February 14th?

There is a theory that the only reason tomorrow is associated with Cupid is due to a poem Geoffrey Chaucer wrote.
In 1381, Chaucer was busy composing a poem in honor of the arranged marriage between England's Richard II and Anne of Bohemia. This was a very big deal indeed, and Chaucer was looking for just the right saint to honor on May 3, the day Richard II signed the papers of engagement to his Bohemia beauty.

His search ended, Kelly surmises, when Chaucer learned that a Saint Valentine of Genoa had an honorary feast day on May 3. Perfect! So he wrote the poem "The Parliament of Fowls" in the couple's honor.

"The Parliament of Fowls" literally means "the meeting of birds," says Kelly. "Chaucer dreamed up the idea that all birds chose their mates on May 3rd," he says.

After Chaucer's death in 1400, Valentine's Day celebrations got pushed back to February.
Why exactly is unclear, however, if you forgot, and someone is upset, perhaps you can use this information to give yourself a few extra months.

Amanuensis Monday: A Patent for Improvement to Hydrants - 1898

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.

I began this project three years ago, back on February 16, 2009, and this is my 157th transcription.  Since I began, many others have joined in on the meme. I am thrilled that this meme I started has inspired so many to transcribe their family history documents. Why do we transcribe? I provide my three reasons in the linked post. You may find others.

I am going to use this milestone to take a break from my weekly transcriptions.  It took awhile, but I am running out of things to transcribe and post.  (I have no shortage of things to transcribe, but many aren't appropriate to post for one reason or another.) I also want to set aside some extra time in the week for last minute details that are bound to arise for an upcoming spring wedding, and summer honeymoon.

I suspect I will come across documents that are appropriate for Amanuensis Monday, and when I do, I will post them, but it won't be every week.
This week I transcribe a patent filed by my second great grandfather, Selig Feinstein and his business partner, Max Wieslman in 1898.  I discovered this patent back in 2008, before I began this project.  The text is stored in the patent database, with only minor OCR mistakes, but it's good to have a copy for my own records, and some family members may have started reading my blog since 2008.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Weeks in Review

It's been a few weeks since I had a "Week in Review." Below are some highlights from news stories and blog posts I have read in the past few weeks that deal with my overlapping interests in Genealogy, History, Heritage, and Technology.

Petition to Save the SSDI

The Records Preservation and Access Committee (RPAC) has created a petition on Whitehouse.gov to protect the SSDI from elimination.  The SSDI is the Social Security Death Index, and is under attack from politicians who claim it is to blame for identity theft.  However, the Death Index was created to prevent identity theft.  If the Social Security numbers in the index are being used for fraudulent purposes, the fault isn't the index, but that the index isn't being used by the IRS and others to check.  Read the Press Release.  Several bloggers have written about this, including: Dear Myrtle, Genea-Musings, and Geneabloggers.

C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon at Stanczyk - Internet Muse asks the question: Is GEDCOM dead? (Warning: You may need a degree in computer science to completely understand the entry.) 

Diane Haddad at The Genealogy Insider discusses a project by several genealogy websites to compile a database of surname and given name variations.  The hope is that this will be a significant improvement over the current Soundex system developed over 90 years ago.

The Ancestry Insider discusses FamilySearch's new product, Family Tree. While the intent is similar to Ancestry.com's OneWorldTree, it appears to allow for people to make corrections, so there may be some promise.


Bill LeFurgy at The Signal asks, Email is Where Knowledge Goes to Die, or Is It?  An excerpt: "Email collections from famous people are arriving in libraries and archives.  The Salman Rushdie “papers” at Emory University include the author’s email, and the British Library acquired Wendy Cope’s email as part of the poet’s archive...We can chose for our email to live on rather than die through neglect, error or mindless deletion.  Given all the time and effort we put into our messaging, and the wealth of information it contains, it makes sense to think about what should be saved." 

Dick Eastman at Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter writes on An End of an Era: Kodak to Stop Making Cameras.


Judith Richards Shubert at Genealogy Traces has been posting some wonderful poems over the past few weeks.  For example, Hardscrabble Fields.

Other Weekly Link Lists

Monday, February 6, 2012

Amanuensis Monday: Letter from Myrtle Van Every - Feb 15, 1944

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.

I began this project back in February of 2009, and since then, many others have joined in on the meme.  Why do we transcribe? I provide my three reasons in the linked post. You may find others. If you participate, feel free to leave a link to your post in the comments.
This week I transcribe a letter my grandmother, Myrtle (Van Every) Deutsch wrote to her sister-in-law Jean (Deutsch) Kamerman on Feb 15, 1944.  (Dashes indicate names of living or possibly living people)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Friday "not so random" Five

It's been awhile since I had a "Friday Five" post.
I'm sure those of you who enjoy this game have hungered for a follow-up.

Names on a theme from various census databases

1. Catherine Everdeen - 1870 US Census - Downers Grove, DuPage, IL - born 1856
2. Constant Mellark - 1860 US Census - Burlington, Hartford, CT - born 1848
3. Gale Hawthorne - 1930 US Census - Lubbock, Lubbock, Texas - born 1908
4. Haymist Smith - 1920 US Census - Charleston Ward 7, Charleston, SC - born 1910
5. Preston Snow - 1870 US Census - Fancy Gap, Caroll, VA - born 1843

  • If I can trust the online media campaign, it's 49 days until the movie.  
  • I was given the trilogy to read about two weeks ago as a birthday present.  
  • I am on the third novel.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Let it Gleam, or Let it Glimmer... (repost)

This was first posted on Feb 2, 2010
One day, in the course of that winter, the sun had come out for a while in the afternoon, but it was the second of February, that ancient Candlmas-day whose treacherous sun, the precursor of six weeks of cold, inspired Matthew Laensberg with the two lines, which have deservedly become classic:

Let it gleam or let it glimmer 
The bear returns into his cave.
(Victor Hugo, Les Miserables, 1862, p. 730)
Bears and groundhogs are both hibernating animals.  I suspect it's a little safer to use groundhogs as official prognosticators.

The celebrated almanac of "Francis Moore, physician," to whose predictions thousands are accustomed to look with implicit confidence and veneration, is rivalled, on the continent, by the almanac of Liege, by "Matthew Laensberg," who there enjoys an equal degree of celebrity.

Whether the name of Laensberg is a real or an assumed nаme is a matter of great doubt...The earliest of these almanacs known to exist is of the year 1636. It bears the name of Matthew Lansbert, mathematician, and not Laensberg, as it is now written.

-- The Table Book, W. Tegg, 1827, p. 138

Some feel it is cruel, and potentially dangerous, to wake up groundhogs.
While waking groundhogs from their hibernation has become a major tradition on Feb. 2, such efforts can actually put the animals' lives at risk...If a groundhog is awakened from hibernation too early, it might not have the energy to find food and survive in cold winter temperatures.
The St. Louis Zoo doesn't participate, but it's not due to groundhog health issues.
"The fact that we're not having a Groundhog Day celebration is not really a stand we're taking so much as it is that we have a really cranky groundhog who doesn't like to be woken up," St. Louis Zoo public relations director Janet Powell told the Tribune. [same link as above]
 More on the Candlemas origins of the holiday.