We are seeking to complete our collection of all known Elbing Prussia (Kreis Elbing Westpreussen) Address and Telephone Books. Please note we are only interested in obtaining copies of texts which were printed before 1945 prior to the ethnic cleansing and expulsion of the German population after the end of World War 2.
Once we have a completed collection, we will place copies of all of our texts in the public domain on a site other than ManyRoads for redundancy and preservation purposes. It is our hope to preserve this piece of Elbing history for genealogical and historical purposes. Rest assured a copy of these documents as well as other Kreis Elbing documents will remain on ManyRoads for as long as I am able to keep the site operational.
Everyone one needs a good home. Your family website is no exception.
There are lots of reasons to choose one method over another, we have settled on having a company ISP- Internet Service Provider) run our web-site operations (data center and network) for us.
We tried running our own server in our home for several years before arriving at this junction. What we learned is:
Internet bandwidth is an ever increasing problem as interest in a site improves. More people (visitors) need more bandwidth.
Your site needs to be backed up regularly and have its contents stored off-site (or somewhere really safe).
Uptime needs to be predictable. People get upset when your site is down for long periods. They want to visit when they want to visit.
Running a server 24 hours a day costs electricity. Our electric costs ran about $10 per month.
Given these factors we ultimately elected to have ManyRoads hosted on
Hostpapa is a good (but not perfect) choice for us for numerous reasons including their provision of:
Unlimited Disk Space
Unlimited Domain Names on one account
Personal Website Tools
30-day money-back guarantee
email accounts (smtp & pop service)
Whatever you choose, you need to find a safe home for your family genealogy materials, somplace secure, reliable, and offering good ethical values. Hostpapa works well for us and a $5.00 USD per month we find it to be a comfortable and affordable home.
If you were watching closely, you probably noticed a new logo at the bottom on the ManyRoads web pages.
Although the image links to the single most popular piece of open source software that I use on ManyRoads, there are numerous additional tools employed in the creation and management of our website and family history.
Included among these are the following:
WordPress (the software with which the ManyRoads website is constructed- A semantic personal publishing platform with a focus on aesthetics, web standards, and usability).
50+/- WordPress Plugins (add-ons, which I will discuss in separate posts later on…)
GRAMPS (Gramps is a free software project and community. We strive to produce a genealogy program that is both intuitive for hobbyists and feature-complete for professional genealogists. It is a community project, created, developed and governed by genealogists.)
The GIMP (GIMP is the GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed piece of software for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. It works on many operating systems, in many languages. )
Geany (Geany is a text editor using the GTK2 toolkit with basic features of an integrated development environment. It was developed to provide a small and fast IDE, which has only a few dependencies from other packages. It supports many filetypes and has some nice features.)
Ubuntu- Linux (An Open Source- Free- computer operating system based on the Debian GNU/Linux distribution and is distributed as free and open source software with additional proprietary software available.)
DJVU (DJVU is a digital document format with advanced compression technology and high performance value. DjVu allows for the distribution on the Internet and on DVD of very high resolution images of scanned documents, digital documents, and photographs.)
Obviously, I use software in addition to the aforementioned but these are among the tools most used in delivering, creating and maintaining the ManyRoads web presence.
Sometimes you just want a copy of a text. If that text is published using DJVU, here’s a fairly quick method for capturing and downloading a copy. By the way, this should work on all the ManyRoads DJVU files as well.
DJVU files can best and most predictably be downloaded from within the DJVU document itself. Unlikle PDF, DJVU publishers have the option of preserving and presenting their materials as many files not just a single large file (Bundled versus unbundled). As a result, what you are reading may simply be the initial link to a DJVU directory not a single bundled file.
To achieve your objective of copying a DJVU document, do the following:
All of us have DNA. Even if we do not know the names of our ancestors, we have DNA.
Our family has decided to gather and analyze its DNA materials (matrilineal and patrilineal lines) and see what these DNA lines have to say. We have elected to do this through the genographic project, a partnership between the University of Arizona Research Labs Family Tree DNA association, National Geographic Society and IBM rather than to switch to the program offered by Ancestry.com. Our reasoning is fairly simple; my father-in-law’s DNA is with NatGeo. Also, the Genographic program is older and more established; and, this seems like the lowest risk approach.
Family Tree DNA is the world leader in Genetic Genealogy. Since its inception in April of 2000, we have been constantly developing the science that enables genealogists around the world to advance their family’s research. Family Tree DNA works in association with a scientific advisory board and the University of Arizona Research Labs. The Arizona Research labs are led by Dr. Michael Hammer, one of the world’s leading authorities in the field of Genetics.[...]
Family Tree DNA provides the tests for this partnership between the National Geographic Society, IBM and the Waitt Family Foundation.
With a simple and painless cheek swab you can sample your own DNA and submit it to the lab. We run ONE test per participation kit. We will test either your mitochondrial DNA, which is passed down each generation from mother to child and reveals your direct maternal ancestry; or your Y chromosome (males only), which is passed down from father to son and reveals your direct paternal ancestry. You choose which test you would like administered.
What to Expect
Your results will reveal your deep ancestry along a single line of direct descent (paternal or maternal) and show the migration paths they followed thousands of years ago. Your results will also place you on a particular branch of the human family tree. Some anthropological stories are more detailed than others, depending upon the lineage you belong to. For example, if you are of African descent, your results will show the initial movements of your ancestors on the African continent, but will not reflect most of the migrations that have occurred within the past 10,000 years. Your individual results may confirm your expectations of what you believe your deep ancestry to be, or you may be surprised to learn a new story about your genetic background.
You will not receive a percentage breakdown of your genetic background by ethnicity, race, or geographic origin. Nor will you receive confirmation of an association with a particular tribe or ethnic group.
Furthermore, this is not a genealogy study. You will not learn about your great-grandparents or other recent relatives, and your DNA trail will not necessarily lead to your present-day location. Rather, your results will reveal the anthropological story of your direct maternal or paternal ancestors—where they lived and how they migrated around the world many thousands of years ago.
This post contains the content of the ManyRoads Newsletter:
Welcome to the first ManyRoads Newsletter!
First let me thank everyone for signing up to our little ‘news’ service. I promise not to over crowd your email with tons of messages. My intention is to write one or two of these per month. Each will attempt to provide a brief synopsis of the recent happenings at ManyRoads.
Since this is the first of these messages I would also encourage you to tell me what changes, additions, deletions, or modifications you might like to see in either the newsletter or on ManyRoads. Without your thoughts and input things tend to get a bit one-sided! Anyway, here’s the news…
This past week we celebrated my parents 60th wedding anniversary. Genealogy in the making! See the post at:
Do you use Zotero in doing your genealogy research work?
This is a question I have toyed around with for quite a while now. I don’t have a good answer for myself although the toolset seems well suited to gathering web-based information, collating, and processing it. It is also tightly coupled with the browser I use most frequently, Firefox. Still I have been unable to find and good roadmap on how to make this toolset work to my advantage. I am constantly in search of tools that link tightly with websites (i.e., Ancestry.com, etc.), online documents, image libraries, etc. Zotero claims to do all that and more. Sounds good to me, especially since it should also gather and log attribution, footnote, and bibliography data as well.
Rather than providing an answer to this query, I am in search of leads and comments. Does anyone out there have experience(s) they are willing to share? Any links on how-to use Zotero in the genealogy & family history realm?
Any pointers are most welcomed. Please use our contact page or comments below to share your insights.
Today I received a note from a very important genealogy friend. She asked me if I hadn’t perhaps confused two family members who had similar names thereby giving erroneous credit to the ‘wrong’ person rather than the ‘right’ one. A very important question.
It is absolutely essential to provide good and clear attribution to those from whom we source our data. It is important to be as correct as possible in any quotations, images, bibliographies and links. Accuracy requires proofing by your readership (proof-readers, if you are lucky enough to have them) and modification by the family genealogist to reflect appropriate corrections, etc.
It is also, unfortunately, impossible to be always accurate.
So what can be done, well there are a few options open to you:
Be receptive to corrections. Any person generous enough to report a potential problem needs to be treated with care. They are a very valuable resource.
Make it easy for people to get in touch with you. I can’t tell you how many sites I have found for which there are no contact links, email or otherwise. This certainly makes it hard to ask questions, get permission or provide corrections.
Protect but be generous with your information. Share as much as you can, all the while trying to find out who needs and/or wants your data. Knowing this may provide you with future sources of data as well as some new genealogy ‘friends’.
Remember, genealogy and family history is about gathering as much truth and factual data as you can. Acknowledging sources provides credibility and weight to your research not to mention ‘it being the right thing to do!’
What do you do when there are no names or dates to work with?
Well quite simply, there has to be something or else you are in deep trouble! Having said that there are many times when the names are and dates are unclear, indefinite or conflicting. I have found a few options that work with regularity, at least for me they do! In no particular sequence, they include:
Census records. Look to see if you can find a cluster of family members that resemble those you seek. In one of my best examples, I found a Peter & Julie Deyo family. I was seeking a Joseph and Julia Deo family, at the time. When I compared the family member names with two other Census records, one from 1851 in Canada and one from 1870 in the US there was an uncanny similarity. So I went with it! You can find this example hidden away on our Deyo Genealogy page.
Follow the kids. If you have some children from one generation but are missing a desired sibling, follow those children that you do have. Often I find that these relations lead me to the person I seek.
Read the documents! I can not tell you how many times I seem to be the first person to struggle my way through a source document. Source documents can provide a wealth of new insight and information. I have found countless new generations of the family simply by reading a birth or wedding record to find the parents name(s).
There are other tricks as well. As I further gather and formulate my thoughts, I’ll post them here.
Publishing genealogy information seems important to me. I suppose that ought to be obvious enough just by the size of ManyRoads. But why go to the trouble? What is the value?
I can only answer those questions from my perspective. Perhaps some of our readers might be willing to chime in via comments on this page. But for me the value lies in these areas (in no particular order):
Much of the information I have found was difficult to locate, I’d like others to find things more readily.
It seems every time I find information, a few years late it has vanished. Often the very sites where the original information was published have disappeared.
I believe that sharing information, photos, knowledge encourages other to do likewise, whether with me or others it matters not.
Our history is too important to lose and we need to facilitate its dispersal. Redundancy is a sure buffer against loss.
Selfishly, I want to have my family remembered. And, publishing family history is a reasonable way to encourage remembrance of both the people who and places that have slipped into history and the past.
Organizing related threads of information makes the individual components more meaningful. Context can be re-established; linkages become more obvious.
Meeting new found family members. I have met untold numbers of family members with whom I was previously unacquainted.
A sense of community, I have been amazed with the breadth and depth of community that exists among and between fellow genealogists.
Seeing the information ‘on paper‘ provides a unique perspective, as well as sense of belonging, that I find to be uniquely valuable.
The family history archive provides a unique memorial to our collective journey through life. It makes the family real, tangible and alive. It assuages loss and promotes healing and understanding.
We are those for whom we search. Without them, we would not be.
Ever have a person without a clear name or birth/ death dates?
I seem to regularly encounter family members for whom the names have become vague and the dates muddled. Because this situation is fairly common, there need to be simple methods for getting around these situations. I have found the following approaches to be useful.
Phonetics. Remember the days when teachers attempted to beat phonetics into your head; well, here’s a place they can become useful. However it is worth noting that the phonetics ‘of genealogy’ almost always involve two or more persons:
the person saying or giving a name -and-
the person(s) hearing the name spoken
This is an important detail because most frequently, in my experience, name problems arise out of language shifts ie., a French speaking family member moving into an English speaking region. to make this work you need to know what the name may have been spoken as (sounded like?); because once it was spoken it was probably written phonetically in the ‘new language’.
Although this is almost always problematic when people move from one linguistic group to another, it can still be problematic within a single group, although then only a single set of phonetic rules are applicable.
Naming patterns. It is important to note that historically different groups followed different naming conventions.
In Germany for example, during the late 1700 early 1800 most Latinate given names belonged to Catholics not Protestants for as an example: Wilhelmus Marcus Tell. If that person had been Lutheran (Evangelisch) their name would most likely have been simply Germanic Wilhelm Mark Tell. As for his name had he immigrated to the US, well, he probably would have received lots of help spelling it from many individuals… most of whom would have made a mess of it.
In Scandinavia, patronymics were the rule; although they did not exist in 100% of the situations.
In early Quebec, the Catholic Church followed a convention of using Saint names plus eldest child patterns.
All this is to say, there are clues to be had even when the names exist only in part. Do not believe for a moment that your surname or the surnames of your predecessors never, or rarely, changed. Changes may be frequent and significant. These may be so significant that you might find siblings of the same parents with differing surnames or married couples buried under the same headstone with different spellings of the same surname.
In subsequent posts, I plan to discuss other tricks, observations, etc.
Because of certain circumstances as well as the nature of our information, we have taken the drastic action of providing copy protection for all data and images on the WordPress side of ManyRoads.
Believe me, we do enjoy sharing our information, we truly do.
We just want to know where it goes and who is using it.
If you’d like any of our information, please use our contact form to request it. We are happy to be generous.
For those of you who use WordPress (and I recommend you do if you have need for a web-based version of your genealogy materials), I am using the Wp-PreventCopyBlogs WordPress Plugin to protect our materials. This plugin provides the following features:
Tracks the visitors who try to copy content (images & text).
Records the IP of the user who tries to copy information with a landing url of your site and referral url.
Displays a warning message regarding the site protection feature and tracking.
Disables the Right-click selection function of user browser(s).
I think that old quote pretty much sums up what happens when searching for the right genealogical toolset.
Too often, people believe that their hardware or operating platform defines their selection choices. In truth, it rarely does. Almost any tool can be run on any platform. Certainly a bit of technical prowess may be required in order to achieve interoperability but it is very doable.
No, the reasons for picking a genealogical toolset should be based on your genealogy management needs not operating or hardware systems. What follows, in no particular order, are most of the factors that I personally see as being important (and I used for my choice of GRAMPS):
ease with which a web display version can be created
the ability to share Events, Places, Media (in technical terms– genealogy objects)
robust database facilities (in other words it supports large databases)
adherence to GEDCOM standards
easy Export and Import facilities
excellent backup, archive and restore capabilities
open software architecture (does not rely on numerous proprietary packages, tools, software or databases)
effective and helpful documentation
an active online support/ user community
robust bug reporting system (so that problems may be communicated to the developers and addressed in future releases)
easy integration with my WordPress BLOG and themes
simple image and document library functions
To me, these factors are much more important in determining whether or not any software package is going to do the job you want. Do not confine yourself to the narrow realms of your operating system or hardware platform. Pick the tool you think best satisfies your actual needs and find out how to make it work on the hardware or OS you have.
Never one to leave well enough alone, here are a few additional excerpts of concepts and data I came across while thinking about our collective Royalty or inter-relatedness. Rather than attempting to re-write these ideas into my own words, I have included excerpts of the original posts with links to the entire reading(s).
Conservatively allowing for each generation to span 30 years (which is a little large), going back thirty generations takes us back to about 1100 CE where the population was only about 300 million, and forty generations takes us back to 800 CE where the population was less than 200 million. (If we take each generation as averaging 25 years, 30 generations takes us back to 1250 CE when the population was 350 million and in forty generations we reach 1000 CE where the population was 200 million.)
Having more ancestors that the total population leads to the clear conclusion (which is not that surprising once one thinks about it) that all our ancestors cannot have been distinct individuals but were shared. In other words, my great-great-great-grandfather on my father’s side had to be the same person as my great-great-grandfather on my mother’s side, or something like that.
In a similar but related vein, Richard Dawkins’ book The Ancestor’s Tale (2004) provides a rigorous argument (on page 39). He asserts that in the distant past, we all must have shared ancestors:
If we go sufficiently far back, everybody’s ancestors are shared. All your ancestors are mine, whoever you are, and all mine are yours. Not just approximately, but literally. This is one of those truths that turns out, on reflection, to need no new evidence. We prove it by pure reason, using the mathematician’s trick of reductio ad absurdum. Take our imaginary time machine absurdly far back, say 100 million years, to an age when our ancestors resembled shrews or possums. Somewhere in the world at that ancient date, at least one of my personal ancestors must have been living, or I wouldn’t be here. Let us call this particular little mammal Henry (it happens to be a family name). We seek to prove that if Henry is my ancestor he must be yours too. Imagine, for a moment, the contrary: I am descended from Henry and you are not. For this to be so, your lineage and mine would have to have marched, side by side yet never touching, through 100 million years of evolution to the present, never interbreeding yet ending up at the same evolutionary destination – so alike that your relatives are still capable of interbreeding with mine. This reductio is clearly absurd. If Henry is my ancestor, he must be yours too. If not mine, he cannot be yours.
Without specifying how ancient is ‘sufficiently’, we have just proved that a sufficiently ancient individual with any human descendants at all must be an ancestor of the entire human race. Long-distance ancestry, of a particular group of descendants such as the human species, is an all-or-nothing affair. Moreover, it is perfectly possible that Henry is my ancestor (and necessarily yours, given that you are human enough to be reading this book) while his brother Eric is the ancestor of, say, all the surviving aardvarks. Not only is it possible. It is a remarkable fact that there must be a moment in history when there were two animals in the same species, one of whom became the ancestor of all humans and no aardvarks, while the other became the ancestor of all aardvarks and no humans. They may well have met, and may even have been brothers. You can cross out aardvark and substitute any other modern species you like, and the statement must still be true. Think it through, and you will find that it follows from the fact that all species are cousins of one another. Bear in mind when you do so that the ‘ancestor of all aardvarks’ will also be the ancestor of lots of very different things beside aardvarks[.]
The Genealogy Phenomena of Pedigree Collapse
“Pedigree Collapse” is what trims the family tree, according to Alex Shoumatoff, author of a New Yorker article on the mathematics of family history, published more than 20 years ago.
Pedigree collapse occurs when cousins marry cousins, sometimes intentionally, but often unknowingly. “When cousins of any degree marry, their genealogical lines fold back on themselves,” he explains. Over the generations, this greatly reduces the number of ancestors, but only to an unmanageable few billion.
Over the past few days my email has been clogged with questions about whether or not anyone- everyone was related to royalty. Well being the geek that I am, I decided to a quick bit of research and here’s what I found out (these are excerpted for the articles noted at the end of this posting… feel free to read them in their entirety).
[A] mathematical study of genealogy indicates that everyone in the world is descended from Nefertiti and Confucius, and everyone of European ancestry is descended from Muhammad and Charlemagne.- Dick Eastman
…everyone of European descent has royal ancestry. – Steve Olsen
The mathematics of our ancestry is exceedingly complex, because the number of our ancestors increases exponentially, not linearly. These numbers are manageable in the first few generations—two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, sixteen great-great-grandparents—but they quickly spiral out of control. Go back forty generations, or about a thousand years, and each of us theoretically has more than a trillion direct ancestors—a figure that far exceeds the total number of human beings who have ever lived. – Steve Olsen
Finding a lost family connection can be daunting, exhilarating and exasperating. The human need for connection to family and community is strong. And, the desire to find lost family members can become nearly all consuming.
In order to succeed in this search, here are 5 pointers might be helpful (especially if you are new to genealogy).
Find as many family member names are you can, even those that are a vague part of your personal or family recollection are useful.
Identify places or place names. It is best if they are ‘close’ to accurate but even inaccurate places names can provide guidance and pointers.
Dates, creating a list of dates matched to places and names is best.
Scour the Internet for any/ all matches you can
Contact people that hit your key search criteria. If you read this site closely, you will note that I have been contacted numerous times.
Don’t give up. Just because someone does not have the information you seek do not be discouraged. Rack your brain for more information to help people help you. Re-contact people if your remember another clue or find a new one…
It is my experience that genealogists are generous people. They want to find their family and want you to know yours as well. Give them the information yu can no matter how tiny the tidbit(s). You will be surprised what information can be gleaned from right clue.