Saturday, August 19, 2017

On the towns of Krūvandai and Čekiškė, as well as the Lithuanian Language

It is almost a certainty that the surnames Cruvant/Kruvant/Kruvand/Kruvant come from the Lithuanian town of Krūvandai. We have traced ancestors back to the nearby (5.5 km) town of Čekiškė. One cousin told me that his family lore said the Lithuanian town got its name from the family. Regardless of whether the chicken or egg came first, there is still the unanswered question: What does it mean?

I decided to ask on a Lithuanian Genealogy Facebook group.

I've learned Krūvandai was founded in the 1600s, and named after a particularly bloody battle in the Polish-Swedish wars (1600-1629). 'Kraujas' means 'blood.' 'Kruvinas' means 'bloody.' This information pretty much sets to rest any question of which came first. Jewish family surnames were uncommon in 17th century Eastern Europe. They weren't required by law until the late 18th, early 19th century, depending upon the area.

My query on FB did result in an enthusiastic contact fluent in both Lithuanian and English, with current relatives in Krūvandai. In addition to providing me with the information above, he translated from a recent book a chapter on the history of the Jewish community in Čekiškė. A handful of 20th-century cousins of mine were named in the chapter. Sept 4, 1941 marked the violent end of the Jewish community.

I also learned that in the Lithuanian language, surnames are gendered. That is, a male cousin might be referred to in documents with the surname 'Kruvandas,' a female cousin either as 'Kruvandaite' or 'Kruvandiene' depending on whether unmarried or married, respectively.

The images are of a synagogue in Čekiškė that still stands. An older synagogue was destroyed in an 1887 fire, and rebuilt. My second great grandfather and his family left in approximately 1886-1887. While they would never have seen the current synagogue, the cousins who remained would have worshipped there for fifty years.

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.