On planes I often spend time reading ebooks. Generally they are of the less current, more esoteric variety.
Recently I read Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse; the story describes the spiritual journey of a boy from the Indian subcontinent during the time of the Buddha. As I read the tale, I noticed I was not only reading about the journey of Siddhartha but also a story that related to my genealogy efforts.
What follows are quotes from Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha relating to what I have seen and learned while searching for my family…
I’m telling you what I’ve found. Knowledge can be conveyed, but not wisdom. It can be found, it can be lived, it is possible to be carried by it, miracles can be performed with it, but it cannot be expressed in words and taught.
Oh yes, he too is called upon, he too is of the eternal life. But do we, you and me, know what he is called upon to do, what path to take, what actions to perform, what pain to endure? Not a small one, his pain will be; after all, his heart is proud and hard, people like this have to suffer a lot, err a lot, do much injustice, burden themselves with much sin.
Let the things be illusions or not, after all I would then also be an illusion, and thus they are always like me. This is what makes them so dear and worthy of veneration for me: they are like me. Therefore, I can love them.
To thoroughly understand the world, to explain it, to despise it, may be the thing great thinkers do. But I’m only interested in being able to love the world, not to despise it, not to hate it and me, to be able to look upon it and me and all beings with love and admiration and great respect.
He no longer saw the face of his friend Siddhartha, instead he saw other faces, many, a long sequence, a flowing river of faces, of hundreds, of thousands, which all came and disappeared, and yet all seemed to be there simultaneously, which all constantly changed and renewed themselves, and which were still all Siddhartha.
Wibiya provides a web toolbar that enables blogs and websites to integrate the most exciting services and web applications into their blog or website. Our platform is a one-stop shop for fully customizable, easily manageable third part web applications that can also be tracked for statistics.
The bar may be minimized by clicking on the down arrow at the bottom right. That way if you are like me and use a netbook heavily, the screen real estate can be freed up for content viewing.
Finally, you will note that the toolbar offers several functions which are already on ManyRoads. So, there is really nothing new there. However if the toolbar works well, we will be able to further cleanup and consolidate these social networking functions into a new and more flexible format.
Should genealogy rely on GPS data? When I recently heard the query, it gave me pause especially since people seemed pretty agitated over the point. I have to admit, it does seem that the value of GPS data is a point worth pondering, at least for a little while.
It is probably worth noting that commercial GPS is really only about 10 years old and is primarily a US national system for establishing global location. To quote the ever popular Wikipedia:
GPS is owned and operated by the U.S. Government as a national resource.
Also, there are at least two competing and one non-competing GPS system online or soon to be online:
competing systems will be from the Chinese (Compass) and Europe Galileo (Europe);
the non-competing system is a Russian military system.
As competing & complimentary global positioning systems reconcile and move towards international standards and as new systems evolve, there are likely to be changes in nomenclature and other characteristics. At least that is how everything else seems to work in the technology realm.
Let me conclude with a random thought in this space. If we are looking for an old grave… how does GPS deal with continental drift? Since GPS finds/ identifies a location on the planet presumably this means that in 500 years different things will occupy the old location…. in other words, grampa is on the move ;^) Seriously though at the rate of 1.5 -10 cm movement per year, this could create a grave situation in just a few years (sorry I could not avoid the pun).
To me, the biggest benefit of the current US GPS is that it makes Google Earth and the like usable in genealogy software packages. But to my mind, maps continue to be a more stable and reliable long-term form of locational documentation for genealogical purposes.
Phase one of the ManyRoads transfer to Hostgator.com is now complete. At least, it looks good from my end.
We have moved a lot of files (about 60,000 of the little and huge buggers); not much of this transition has been easy. My daughter and son-in-law have proven immensely helpful in the transition; and my wife has been extremely patient with me throughout the 40+ hour transfer and rebuild process.
By way of a synopsis, here’s what we have accomplished:
All ManyRoads files and software have been moved from Hostpapa to Hostgator.com. If you notice any problems, please let me know via the contact page.
We have optimize the performance of ManyRoads by tweaking the way Apache (our server software) handles requests. We now compress our site content before sending it to your browser. This should lower your bandwidth usage and speed the loading of larger images and files.
We have installed and are using CloudFlare which is a system that acts as a proxy between ManyRoads visitors and our server. By acting as a proxy, CloudFlare caches static content thus lowering the number of requests to our servers.
We have cleaned and optimized the ManyRoads MySQL database; it was quite bloated.
The next phase of our transition will involve yet another move. We plan to move our static content files (libraries,maps, etc.) on to a secondary server in order to better distribute our computing load and also provide redundancy.
Hopefully the worst of our moving is now over. Please let us know how things are working. We especially appreciate your contact should you discover something that slipped through the cracks. Something most likely has….
It saddens me greatly to say that ManyRoads has been down for nearly 20 hours.
As I noted in an earlier message, my previous Internet Service Provider was unable to provide me with informative error messages. As a result, I was unable to tune the ManyRoads site to address its performance difficulties. We simply were consuming too many CPU cycles for a shared server.
Because of our difficulties, I have been forced to change host providers. We are now running on Hostgator. I have also implemented Cloudflare:
CloudFlare protects and accelerates any website online. Once your website is a part of the CloudFlare community, its web traffic is routed through our intelligent global network. We automatically optimize the delivery of your web pages so your visitors get the fastest page load times and best performance. We also block threats and limit abusive bots and crawlers from wasting your bandwidth and server resources. The result: CloudFlare-powered websites see a significant improvement in performance and a decrease in spam and other attacks.
It is my hope that this combination of changes, along with a distribution of our documentation load onto separate host, will lessen our cpu footprint and improve our overall performance.
If you are inclined to help us fund the technology necessary to support ManyRoads we welcome your active participation. Hopefully, the worst is past. If you notice problems please use our contact page to let us know.
We are changing ManyRoads hosting from hostpapa.com to hostgator.com. We have encountered numerous performance issues which seem unresolvable on hostpapa. Hopefully, we will see an improvement on our new web locale.
We hope that downtime is minimal but apologize in advance for any service interruptions.
Over the next month or two, we intend to re-architect ManyRoads in order to both improve response and performance. Again we hope to accomplish this with a minimum of downtime.
If you have specific questions or concerns, please use our contact page to get in touch with us.
What is a traditional genealogical source? To me that seemed to be a good question. So naturally, I Googled the term ‘Traditional genealogical source’ to see what I would find.
The first item I came up with was the topic of a January/February 2003 issue of Ancestry Magazine by Mark Howells:
Tombstone inscriptions have been a source of genealogical information for centuries.
I could see tombstone inscriptions as being considered normal and traditional. Although with the way my brain works, I could also see that tombstones might rapidly be coming passe. As the article itself describes, today’s headstones are nothing like those of yesteryear.
Strangely, to me anyway, the next item I uncovered in Google was the ever popular “Ancestral Tablet”. Now I have a done a bunch of genealogical investigation and yet somehow I had never stumbled upon one of these. According to the article I uncovered:
These tablets were traditionally kept on household altars and in clan temples.
As we say in French “Quelle surprise!” Household altars? Clan temples? Neither household altars nor clan temples were familiar or traditional to me given my forebears and my background. Because of my surprise, I examined the page more closely only to discover the document’s title: Ethnic genealogy: a research guide By Jessie Carney Smith.
Then it occurred to me that traditional was not traditional unless and until you understood and were familiar with the cultural context within which you were conducting your genealogical research. This ‘truism’ applied equally to both examples I found through the courtesy of Google. Although the first finding seemed natural and traditional to me; the second, well, was out of my ‘traditional’ frame of reference. But it certainly was not out of the frame of reference for folks with a traditional Chinese background and familiarity with traditional Chinese cultural norms.
So what is the take away from all of this rambling?
In a global sense, there are very few things that are truly traditional.
Each traditional source is traditional within a particular context: cultural, historical, regional, religious, etc.
You really need to understand where you are seeking and what you might find ‘traditionally’. Just as happened to me, your normal cultural and personal filters could blind you to artifacts that ‘traditionally’ exist for those you seek.
I will explore other traditional sources in subsequent articles. Just in case…
Which Operating system is best? Mac, Linux, Windows?
Well aside from the inaccuracy of the phraseology in the above query, this is a question I often see discussed, debated, and fought with religious fervor. Truth of the matter is quite simple. Use the operating system you like best- for me that means Ubuntu Linux. For you, well, you get to to pick.
However, when making the choice of one operating system over another, people seem to believe they are forced to leave everything about their previous (or simply another) operating system behind. In the genealogy space that often means, a move to Mac or Linx from Windows confounds people as to how to get a good Windows genealogy program functioning on their new found PC home. When these moves occur I hear questions like:
What is the best genealogy software for Mac? I really liked RootsMagic but it doesn’t run on my Mac.
Well the answer is really direct, and only requires a modicum of adventurousness. The simple answer is to set up and run a Virtual Machine on your new PC. Sounds complicated, I know; but, it really is not. In the virtual machine space you have numerous options however, I will focus on my favorite- VirtualBox. To quote their website:
VirtualBox is a powerful x86 and AMD64/Intel64 virtualization product for enterprise as well as home use. Not only is VirtualBox an extremely feature rich, high performance product for enterprise customers, it is also the only professional solution that is freely available as Open Source Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL). See “About VirtualBox” for an introduction.
Presently, VirtualBox runs on Windows, Linux, Macintosh and OpenSolaris hosts and supports a large number of guest operating systems including but not limited to Windows (NT 4.0, 2000, XP, Server 2003, Vista, Windows 7), DOS/Windows 3.x, Linux (2.4 and 2.6), Solaris and OpenSolaris, and OpenBSD.
What all this means, is you can install a package like VirtualBox on your PC and then install any number of other Operating Systems there as well. The Guest operating systems operate in windows within your main PC environment. There is no need to reboot as you move between environments once ‘all are operational. And for those who do not want to leave an old favorite software application behind, you don’t have to because it will run in the appropriate Virtual machine and it will run in its native mode. Voila! Problem solved.
It is worth sharing an additional data point. In my experience, the pool of essential non-native operating system applications you will need seems to diminish over time. As you adjust to your new environs, you inevitably find new improved ways of doing things. Soon enough your Virtual machine needs shrink to the barest of essentials.
Sometimes we all need help. Everyone falls into that boat at one time or another. As the old Barbara Streisand song says:
“People who need people are the luckiest people in the world…”
(I hope I have that quoted correctly.)
Over the past few months, numerous folks have requested and provided help here on ManyRoads. In order to be responsive, I have organized and published ways in which I am able to help; and sadly, I have also had to state ways in which I am unable to accommodate or have had to limit requested assistance.
Here are some of the approaches and offers I have officially made. Most of these ‘standard’ approaches have grown out of informal arrangements I have been fortunate to establish with generous people discovered through the ManyRoads site and my related genealogical endeavors.
Pay It Forward – for some reason this most obvious of arrangements has taken me the longest to articulate.
Limited free consulting – similar to the Quid pro quo, but limited in time and established without any requirement for formally arranged reciprocation.
Informal – this arrangement does not really fit into any definable category but rather is something that evolves through longer term interpersonal communications. I have numerous relationships that fit into this category; and, they are simply friendships. Some are with new found relatives, some with new found friends. To me, these are extremely joyful arrangements.
So why the discourse, then? Well, I think it is essential that people who meet others doing genealogy on the web via social media, etc. recognize and acknowledge that all involved parties are people with needs, constraints and limitations. Each party whether engaging through a formal or informal arrangement has the duty to express their wishes, aspirations and ‘needs’. Sometimes these associations and relationships work out and become long term; sometimes not. No matter the result, I think there are some ‘common’ courtesies (?) worthy of mention:
Prompt acknowledgement of any communication. Let the other person know what you are thinking. Talk personally, privately and promptly.
Publicly or privately recognize any effort taken in your behalf. A simple thank, you will often suffice.
Be aware no matter how small the effort, it is being made on your behalf. The effort is a gift and deserves to be appropriately acknowledged.
Well it’s about time for the ManyRoads Monthly Update-Newsletter. The past month has been quite eventful.
Among the most interesting events to occur during the past month is that our visitor numbers have grown moved from around 130 per day to nearly 200 per day. I understand that for large sites, we are still pikers. However in the genealogical world, according to Genealogy.org, we are in the top 35 of the sites tracked by them.
As our readership continues growing, we are also being allowed to discuss our genealogy interests in other venues. In terms of Guest Blogging, I am no longer just a guest Blogger on http://geneabloggers.com but have also been invited to write for http://obituarieshelp.org.
Before I open this month’s laundry list of happenings, I want to request any/all of you who have genealogical websites consider reciprocal linking with ManyRoads. There is no cost and both your site and ManyRoads will benefit from the links. Simply place a link to http://many-roads.com on your site; send me an email letting me know you have made the link; and, I’ll place a link to your site.
Finally the list! Here are other ManyRoads items of note from the past month:
We have gone public and become official with our Pay it forward arrangements. Please contact us if you have information to share. To the extent possible, we make everything we receive free to our readership. The only impediment we have experienced thus far that precludes providing free access is copyright.
Thursday the 7 October 2010 was one of those spectacular days for a family genealogist!
I went to the Parker Family History Center to do research in the Ladekopp/ Pietzkendorf Evangelische Kirche records. I had no idea what, if anything I might find. What I found was both amazing and joyful. I found my grandmother’s baptismal record (birth record):
Frieda Auguste Recht
I also found the records for two of her siblings, Ella and Ernst.
Ella Selma Recht
Ernst Hermann Ferdinand Recht
Based on the information I uncovered here is what I believe to be the situation.
The Hermann Recht- Auguste Kunz family moved to Pietzkendorf, near Ladekopp, after the birth of their eldest daughter Erna in November of 1892 but before the birth of their son Ernst in December of 1893. I also discovered that a Ferdinand Kunz of Neuteicherwaelde was in attendance at the baptism of Ella Recht in December of 1896. My thoughts are that this might be either the father or brother of Auguste Kunz. The search continues!
By the end of WW2, the destruction of Germany was nearly total. Almost every city had been leveled; the remnants of families were scattered all over Germany, Europe, North and South America. Everyone had lost family members or friends. According to Wikipedia losses in the Third Reich were:
A Heimatsortskartei was set up in post WW2 Germany for the purpose of identifying and locating people in the catastrophic aftermath and destruction of WW2. Finding loved ones and discovering their fate was essential.
The Heimatortskartei provided hope and was the resource. Although these files may not be readily accessible in Germany because of the infamous Datenschutz -data protection laws; they are available through the LDS Church Archives.
And now a personal history of the Heimatortskartei use…
Date: 1998/05/30 20:16:45
From: W. Fred Rump [email address removed]
Many months ago I promised Wolfgang N[...] a report on what is to be found in these films [Heimatortskartei]. Below is a sample of the contents of the film available at the LDS for two particular houses in Elbing, West Prussia as of January 1945.
The following residents were found in a film obtained from the FHC in Salt Lake City entitled: Heimatsortskartei Danzig-Westpreussen. It particularly references certain streets in Elbing, Westpreussen among which is the one I was born on, namely Tannenberger Allee. Some background and recollections are included in this report which I just wrote while traveling across the US.
In my visit to Elbing in 1995 I found #97 still standing and in need of some maintenance like most other houses in the area. The old red brick which I still remember was now gone and again, like most other houses, was now stuccoed which patchy gray cement. I don’t have too many memories of my childhood or Elbing. This is rather strange to me since I lived there from my birth in December 1937 until our sudden exit in January 1945. By then I was eight years old and should really have very vivid recollections of earlier times. What exists is not fluid but rather come in bits and pieces mostly of times when I got into some kind of trouble. Other memories are confused as to whether they are from stories told by my mother, other relatives or from pictures I’ve seen. It bothers me greatly that I don’t have better recollections of my pre-1945 childhood. Time seems to have started with our flight from the Russians and everything before that is very blurred and fragmented. I suppose what I know is a mixture of things. I will never know what is real from my experiences and what came to me from other sources later in life. In any case, my youth and size influence the pictures I have formed at the time. Things simply used to be much bigger and more impressive from what I saw in 1995.
I remember the front steps. I sat on them quite often and the individual steps were much higher. I had to climb up three individual steps to get into the house. Today these same steps went down. They were also very normal in size. The street had been raised as the rubble of the destruction of the city was simply used to elevate many streets of the city and then resurfaced by the new occupants of the city after the war. The big chestnut trees were also gone and smaller trees now stood in different locations. Those chestnuts provided much fun as my sister and I created little figures out of them by joining various sizes with little sticks and carving eyes into them.
The other major change to my view of the street was the missing house next door (#95) where my Aunt and Uncle, Erna and Fritz Gro[ss] lived among other residents. Their children, Waltraut (Traute)+ and Erwin, today live in Eschweiler near Aachen. I suppose that house was bombed or burned and never restored. We lived right across from a railroad freight yard and I expect that quite a bit of fighting was going on there along with bombing of the railroad. There used to be a path, the width of a small driveway, which permitted access to the rear of both properties. It was in back of #95 where our huge garden was located. How small it had gotten.
The garden is where the Stachelbeeren (gooseberries) grew. There were fruit trees back there and many delicious items could be retrieved in the summertime. I had always dreamed of this vast garden of my childhood and here in 1995 it was but a small patch of nothingness. It is possible that a couple trees still standing dated to pre-1945 but they looked nothing like the large trees of delicious magic which I thought had stood there. The garden was a big, big disappointment to me. What did they do to my garden?
Turning to the rear of #97 there was another set of steps there. This time they still went up just as I remember them. My grandfather’s work shed was still there too but it used to be so neat and always seemed to be freshly painted. There was no evidence of any paint ever having touched it left. Back to the front of the house I look up to what used to reach to the sky. Three stories of windows had shrunk to just a normal house. An old lady with one gold tooth looks out the bottom floor window and smiles. What a view!
It is difficult talking to her but I suppose she knew why we were there. Most people know that the Germans who come to visit used to call this home. The current residents are almost embarrassed at the set of circumstances but are friendly and open to the situation. We get a drift of complaints from our one- tooth lady. Nothing is ever fixed in the house. It belongs to the city now. We try to get away from her as communications is not going well. I walk down the front steps into what is the Treppengang (stair entrance to the various apartments).The tiled floor is still the same. That seems odd to me. I rush up the steps just to see if the door to our place is where I thought it was. It’s still the same. I try to take a picture but the camera does not want to flash in the dark and I’m too nervous to fix the problem. I have to leave and go away.
I shoot some outside pictures and promise myself to reconnoiter the railroad on the other side. That’s where the near empty drum of tar used to be were I just had to climb in to see what was there. One of those eventful happenings a boy tends to never forget. Of course there are many other recollections mostly of the ‘getting into trouble’ kind but these will be written up in a section of my growing up.
My mother inherited both properties from her father upon his death. My parents paid the other children their appropriate shares as my grandfather had wanted. My parents were deeply hurt when after the war some of my mom’s sisters had casually forgotten these payoffs and now claimed equal shares of the little money my parents received from the German government under the term: Lastenausgleich. The idea was to provide a small amount to start anew and also to relinquish what was now in Polish hands. Luckily the legal papers were found and the entire matter was cleared up but the hurt remained. I had often wondered as to who all the people were who lived in our houses. My parents often spoke of such and such and I never paid too much attention then.
From a friend I met on the internet (Wolfgang N[...]) I found out that the LDS has films of the Heimatortskartei which were collected by the various refugee groups in order to find lost relatives. I ordered these films back in November of 1997 and did not get to see them until May of 1998. I do not know if the list includes everyone or is just a listing of those who had an inquiry posted about someone.
In any case, for the sake of history here are the listed residents of #95 and #97 Tannenberger Allee. We start with what was found in house number sequence for #95:
Ausgestellt (submitted) 3.4.53, (by) Erna Gross, nee Robiller; born 4.3.04 in Elbing, nach (went to) Finow/Mark (Brandenburg), Kastanienallee 23; dann (then) Emden, Auricher Strasse 23, dann Eschweiler/Kr Aachen, Kreichsburg 16. Sucht (is looking for) Gross, Fritz, 24.3.05, Elbing, Maschinenschlosser bei Schichau. +31.12.45 ?
Ausgestellt 1.6.56, Erwin Gross, 9.11.31 Elbing, dann Ludwigshafen-Friedenheim, Hindenburg Str 2, Suchdienst fuer Fritz Gross am 19.3.45 von Polen verschleppt.
I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to our readership. During the month of Septemeber, we experienced our largest readership ever, nearly 6500 of you stopped by for a bit. More precisely, 6497 of you visited. Never before had we crested 5000 vistors in one month, let alone 6000.
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