Have you been looking for a way to share your genealogy efforts with family and friends? If so the latest tool set on GenerousGenealogists might be what you need.
Recently GenerousGenealogists announced that Family Echo became part of their family of no-cost genealogy support offerings. Based in Tel Aviv, Family Echo is an open source, web based Family Tree tool set.
If you have been looking for a zero cost, secure option for sharing your Family Tree with family members and friends, over the Internet, this tool set may be exactly what you are seeking.
Be advised that you will be required to create and register an account on Family Echo, in order to used use the tool suite. Instructions, guidance and associated support are available directly through the Family Echo tool itself.
The folks at GenerousGenealogists have recently made available a new and unique Genealogy question and answer site. In many ways the site functions like YahooAnswers. The notable difference is that this Q&A site is geared towards genealogy only.
The new GenerousGenealogists Q&A site is not oriented towards finding lost relatives, or solving brickwalls; they do that in their Brickwall Forums. This new function, site, is set up as a self-help area for the development of genealogy skills and knowledge. In keeping with their philosophy of equipping genealogy buffs with the tools and knowledge needed for success, this fits perfectly.
Thus far the user traffic is very light. Hopefully though that will change as word of the site’s existence spreads. If you get an opportunity stop by and ask a question or two. See what happens. Better yet, stop by and become an active contributor.
As is often the case, I sign-up for more than my family thinks is good for me. This time I agreed to reconstruct a new and hopefully improved version of what used to be Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness (RAOGK). The renewed incarnation of RAOGK is named: GenerousGenealogists. Our activities, site, and purpose are largely modeled after that of the original RAOGK group which was founded and managed between 1999 and 2011 by Bridgett and Dale Schneider. Although I have to admit, I took license and expanded things ‘a bit’. If you were familiar with the old site, all I can say is that the new one looks a lot different.
As a service, we represent a group volunteers who agree to provide free genealogy research and assistance, as an act of kindness, to “those in need.” As you might expect, when the old RAOGK site went down its database went with it; so we are looking for new volunteers. And oddly enough, GenerousGenealogists is looking for Team Members as well! It is our hope that GenerousGenealogists outlives its founders, creators, maintainers, and carries on the tradition of generosity and giving that was begun in 1999 by the original Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness website.
GenerousGenealogists volunteers agree to donate their time for free; recipients of our assistance agree to pay/ reimburse our volunteers for any/all expenses incurred in the fulfillment of “their” requests. The assistance, research and networking we provide is made available freely and without respect or intent of financial gain. All any of our volunteers will ever request of you is expense reimbursement and a “Thank You”.
As many of you may have already guessed, our families and ancestries are crowded with Mennonite and Amish peoples- Anabaptists. For years, we knew of the Rich (Henss Family Branch) connections to the Swiss- Elsass/Alsace, Montbeliard/ Bern communities. More recently, we have come to understand quite a bit of the Senger (Rabideau Family Branch) connections to the West Prussian / East Prussian Mennonite communities.
Because of the smallish nature of these original communities, we (Becky, my wife, and I) have elected to purchase DNA tests from 23andMe and submit our DNA test results for inclusion in the Mennonite DNA Project. This past weekend our 23andme DNA test kits arrived! Now all we have to do is study hard and take our tests. ;^) Which actually means, we have to ‘spit in a tube’. It is our hope that we will both contribute useful research data as well as benefit from the new information we obtain regarding our heritages & lineages.
As our adventure progresses, I will post more information regarding our DNA ‘project’. But for now, if you, like we, are genetically linked to any of the Anabaptist, Mennonite, Amish communities, please consider participating and adding your ‘voice’ (read, DNA) to this worthwhile research project.
Who knows what kind of insights and discoveries might arise from our collective efforts!
As you may have noticed, a “goodly portion” (to quote my father-in-law) portion of both sides of the Henss & Rabideau families have roots in Amish/ Mennonite/ Anabaptist traditions. Out of curiosity, actually out of a desire to find church building photos, I did a little web research on our families’ past church homes. As you might have guessed, nothing identifiable remains of our Prussian/ Poland Mennonite congregations, the Second World War took care of that. However, I have stumbled across a number of our families’ Alsatian congregations on the Internet.
It is wonderful to see that many of our predecessors’ beliefs and traditions live on and that our family’s work is continued by those who remained in the home country (Heimatland/ Patrie). The links below provide information to those Mennonite congregations today:
If any of our readers have information or photos regarding the history for any of these faith communities, we would greatly appreciate hearing from you. Please use our Contact us page, we’d love to share information.
One of the great challenges in researching areas like the former German Eastern Provinces
is that they are all gone- governments, people, Churches, libraries, Universities, and yes, in many cases, houses and villages as well. In an effort to help me, and perhaps others, identify place names, I am creating this document with its eclectic cross reference materials.
Hopefully these documents, websites, etc. will prove useful to those of us who have difficulty in finding ‘our family’s’ former German places and locations.
Former Prussian Places & Locations
(Westpreußen u. mehr/ West Prussia & more)
This page contains information regarding source materials I am using from across the Internet to conduct Henss/ Rich family research. These links and pages will change ‘automagically’, over time, as I add, change, and delete materials in Mendeley.
If you wish, you may also join the group and contribute to the research library.
For those interested in following my Anabaptist information gathering process/ results, I will publish my Mennonite Mendeley related folder contents on this page. Because of the rather extensive listings, over time I will create numerous sub-pages that will be accessible from here. These links and pages will change ‘automagically’, over time, as I add, change, and delete materials in Mendeley.
If you wish, you may also join the group and contribute to the research library.
Based on email traffic I have seen lately, it seems to me that all too many people think they are doomed to failure with their German genealogical research simply because they are unfamiliar with the German language (dialects) or unaware of German speaking peoples’ histories. Knowing something about German and “the history of German speaking people” can certainly be very useful in conducting research. But in all honesty, there are simply not that many folks out there, no matter their daily language skills or history knowledge, who are familiar with everything about ‘old Germany’. The Germans, like most European ethnic groups, have a long and complex history, one which is well matched to their handwriting, alphabet, short hand, and past-dated terminology.
Truth be told, almost everyone, at one time or another, needs help. It makes little difference whether they need help deciphering old documents, be they German, French, English, Latin or in figuring out what documentation might be available for genealogical and historical research. As my Oma (grandmother) used to tell me, “Deutsche Sprache, schwere Sprache” (The German language is a difficult language.) And so it is. Germany’s history is long, varied and complicated as well, encompassing many turns and nuances. There is simply a lot to learn.
As with many knowledge challenges, there are quite a few excellent tools available on the Internet, these days, to aid in solving language and other knowledge deficiencies or difficulties. When you are in need of help with your German research, I highly recommend the following documents and sites. Whether you are a expert or novice, remember almost everyone needs help at one time or another.
Obviously, there are many more content expertise providers. If you use other tools, sites, or help that are “freely” available to those of us poor folk, please let me know and I’ll augment this document with your pointers.
I think that in the past almost all of my postings on Ancestry member hints have been negative. Well in the interest of fairness and sharing, I think this posting is perhaps a bit past due. I have to admit that as with most observations, there are many perspectives possible. So here is a personal tidbit offering a counter-point to my earlier Ancestry Member Tree Hint observations.
Like most genealogists, I make mistakes. I think it is safe to say that my mistakes are almost always simple accidents. At least, I can not think of a single situation where I have made an error on purpose. I don’t like admitting that I make errors but in all honesty, I do. Maybe others are more highly thorough and skilled than I and have a differing view. However, I digress.
Back to my story… today I found myself looking at my Senger family tree; and as you may already know almost none of my Senger data has been sourced from Ancestry (almost all of it has been obtained by my reading of West Prussian church records and my maintaining a photographic log of findings). I do, however, keep an FTM version of my family archive on Ancestry both on the chance that I might get a Historical Record clue as well as for redundancy and backup purposes. Although in all honesty, I never seriously thought I might actually find someone else in the Ancestry universe rummaging for information on my family members who lived in what was once West Prussia.
Well, I was wrong. I not only found one person, but, I found two. The second person was researching the Baarenhof Evangelische (Lutheran) Kirche (Church) and had found a second Anna Ziemen. Yes, it turns out there were two Anna Ziemen’s alive and attending the Baarenhof ev. Kirche in the late 1700s. Who’d a thunk! Not only were there two Anna Ziemens, but I had mistakenly used the data from the second Anna Ziemen for my Anna Ziemen (wrong husband, wrong death date). Oops!
Needless to say I have removed my error from my files. And, tomorrow, I intend to plow through the church records once again, page by page. This time I hope to find the correct version of my Anna Ziemen’s death record. Whether I do or not is, as yet, undetermined. But what I know for certain is, if I had not received this Ancestry Hint from another member’s tree, it might have been years before I ever stumbled on my mistake.
I guess it pays to read those hints. They can be helpful. But tread carefully and analyze thoroughly!
Perhaps, it was Friday or maybe the day before… Becky (my wife) and I were discussing why I do genealogy work. More precisely, the question we were discussing focused on what advantages or benefits I (the genealogy fanatic) actually attain from my endeavors. Because, wealth most certainly was not among them.
But in all seriousness, this posting is really nothing more than a catalog of my thoughts on this question/ topic. It is simply a topic I thought our readership might find interesting. And, I thought it might be worthwhile for me to archive my ponderings here, as well.
Perhaps my reasons might provide others with some food for thought; or heaven forbid, these thoughts might even provide a bit of fodder for an argument or discussion. Having set the stage, here goes my initial list:
I guess the primary benefit I derive from my genealogy work is the opportunity for self examination, introspection. In the time I spend doing this work, (endless hours, Becky might say) I have an opportunity to analyze how I feel about my life, my family, and my hopes for both. I have time to focus and contemplate on what was, and what might be. Obviously, I don’t get any of the answers in “the what might be” category. But, I do see or think of patterns that I never thought of before I did this type of work…
Secondarily, genealogy affords me both the circumstance and time to examine my feelings about and towards others. I especially value my opportunity to examine the breadth and diversity of the human experience and existence, especially as it has involved and consumed my family over time. I enjoy examining the culture, history, and mores of those times and places I never knew, nor ever experienced.
Thirdly, genealogy allows me to speculate upon the hows and whys around life’s twists and turns. How did we get to be in those circumstances? Why did things turn out that way? I am not certain that I ever arrive at an answer, but I enjoy the process of examination.
I relish the opportunity to discuss and rationalize the options, dilemmas, problems and joys faced by my predecessors. I find their situation, when combined with the historical situations of their home place, adds depth and meaning to my view of history’s progress. This research also helps me examine the complexity of the options they faced as individuals, societies, and families. Interestingly, this thought process also helps me appreciate the levels and depths of their sacrifices and choices, even when I personally might have an intellectual disagreement with what they did or chose…
Ah yes and then, there are the joys of mystery and discovery, followed closely by their child, investigation. I continually marvel at what information and insight there is to be found. Not to mention my joy and amazement at the vast number of options available to assist in genealogical and historical research. As a perennial data gatherer, there is a lot to be found and a dizzying array of tools being created daily, it seems, to support this discovery.
Yes, for me the discoveries can be amazing and the joy exhilarating.
Oh and did I mention, you also might find pieces and parts of your family and it history???
Over the past few weeks, I have been mulling over the significance of history, war, and the ravages of time. Quite the happy thoughts I know.
I suppose this stream of consciousness was initiated by my review of some photos from my mother’s family church in Zeyer, Westpreussen, in what is today Poland. Then today an Internet friend sent an article from today’s Elblag, Poland (what used to be Elbing, West Prussia, Germany) regarding their German past.
Here are the photos and articles that prompt my thoughts.
The first set are recent photos of the Zeyer Evangelische Kirche- Zeyer Lutheran Church. I guess more precisely these are photos of what is left of the church and graveyard where more than 200 years of my forebears were baptized, married and buried. I have included a photo of what the Church, built and established in 1774, looked like in the early 1900s for comparison purposes. There are also photos of the 2010 re-consecration of the ‘old’ graveyard; along with the placement of a ‘new’ memorial stone.
These next links will take you to some images and postings on German graves recently unearthed in Elblag/Elbing.
All of this brought to my mind the importance of understanding. Understanding history, perspective, motivation and the passage of time. Each of these factors have a significant impact on who we are, who we were, and how we perceive our surroundings. Nothing is static. Societal artifices and institutions which seem permanent are not; they are transient. Place, home, family, and even our burial are dynamic and evolving.
I guess the bottom line is we never really are; but rather, we are always becoming. As living sentient beings we can chose what, we can even chose who, we allow ourselves to become. And I suppose, we are best when we remember that life is a journey from our collective past into our shared future.
After about 2 weeks of work, I have found what seems to be a solution. Yay! Perhaps that means I am tenacious… I rather prefer to think I am not stubborn, but maybe I am that, too!?? Nevertheless, here is what I have come up with for a solution to build a clean, safe, pristine environment within which FTM2012 ‘seems‘ to be able to run, with greatly reduced breakage and much improved stability.
This solution may not necessarily be well suited for the feint of heart, but it is worth consideration given the frustration involved in having non-functional software, which you want to work.
First and foremost, I created a single function Windows 7 Virtual PC running in isolation on a guest host (see Wikipedia for more information on this); my guest host happens to be a Debian Linux PC running Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) 201204. You could do this just as easily on a Windows or Apple Machine. My FTM-exclusive Virtual PC is run within an Open Source Oracle application called VirtualBox. It is essential to note that this creates an isolated Virtual PC, not a PC application emulator environment (like WINE or CrossOver). All applications within the Virtual PC are run in native mode, not in emulation or compatibility or simulation modes. (For more you can read what VirtualBox offers on the topic.)
To begin with, I decided I needed to create and then backup a complete, clean, fresh install of Win7Pro (running as a Virtual Machine under Linux). My Windows 7 Pro Virtual Machine environment included the following:
1.768 MB of RAM (memory)
64MB of Video RAM
20 GB of dynamically expandable Disk space
Once I built my Virtual PC, with Win7Pro, I performed a full Windows set of updates; this took 4+ hours. It should be noted:
I only allowed for Win7Pro default security settings.
No third party firewalls, anti-virus or the like were used or set; none were required because the entire environment was run within the control and protection of my Linux host. I also wanted to avoid these as they often will conflict with unstable applications like FTM2012.
After the OS was built and current, I created/ built an initial install of FTM 2012 (no FTM updates were allowed, yet.)
As the FTM install began, FTM requested/ required the installation of Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0. This set of installs also turned out to be a leisurely event; taking several hours to accomplish.
After my basic FTM install completed, I performed three rounds of updates, getting all the “necessary” MS .NET environment updates.
It is worth noting that after the initial .NET install, FTM2012 died while attempting to connect to the FTM site for its own updates, but, that happened only after I had completed all the Microsoft required .NET updates. In the end, FTM made its way to its home base for the update package(s); and those updates were completed, as well.
Once FTM was installed and current, I rebooted my FTM2012 Win7Pro Virtual PC… and “surprise!” on exiting the Win7Pro system wanted to install 13 critical updates, mostly involved with .NET. This process added 1.25 hours to my journey (according to a Microsoft download message). This was not a quick reboot!
Much to my chagrin, the first set of Microsoft Win 7 updates was followed by yet another huge update set, mostly involving .NET. In total there were nearly 2 hours of .NET security updates. I rebooted the Win7Pro PC after each major update set.
Because I run Win7Pro in a Virtual Machine as a guest Operating System – I was able to back up my “newly created, updated and as yet unused” Windows environment after each major update. I think this is much better then relying on a simple Microsoft Restore point, however, these backups ate a lot of disk space at about 11GB per Virtual Machine Backup…
Once I had my environment built and up-to-date, I opened a ‘live’ session of FTM2012.
I ran a restore from a recent backup of my previous FTM2012 data (media included).
The entire ‘restored’ database was about 3GB in size.
Following the successful creation of a clean ‘new’ database in my Win7Pro Guest PC, I linked my database to Ancestry.com.
The initial phase of the update was fairly fast, under 10 minutes.
The media upload to Ancestry.com was slow, although much faster than in my previous environment. Sadly in the middle of my large media synch, Ancestry.com logged me out. I restarted the synch after logging into Ancestry.com once again, and things ran cleanly.
I ran this environment for two days without difficulty.
In the end I decided to rebuild the whole thing yet once again, this time using a copy of Windows 7 Home Edition (rather than WIn7Pro). I followed the same process and thus far have received the same positive results.
My conclusion is that FTM 2012 is generally not well tested. There appear to be some serious conflicts with either applications or dlls that are neither identified nor reported to mere mortals like me, the FTM 2012 customer/ user. Running FTM 2012 in its own isolated PC environment seems to avoid most of the more serious ‘unidentified and unacknowledged’ conflicts and allows for more successful use of the application at little financial cost; but at considerable time expense, in terms of setup (this took a long time to figure out and build). In the end, I am almost comfortable in recommending this approach, if you encounter problems resembling those I reported earlier and have read about elsewhere… but, your mileage may vary.
There are no guarantees, warranties expressed or implied…
Well it has been a bit more than a month, now. I am still using Family Tree Maker 2012; but I must admit that a LOT of the luster and shine has worn off. My initial enthusiasm and excitement has been significantly enhanced with personal experience and tribulations.
As you may or may not know, in my day job I am a engineering process improvement consultant. And, my greatest area of involvement, dare I say strength, is software engineering, design and implementation. Simply stated, I worry about making it possible for engineering endeavors to be implemented successfully, reliably and predictably.
Enough for the advert (you may read more on another site of mine if you like)– now back to Family Tree Maker 2012.
Sadly I must report to you that the 2012 version of FTM software is astonishingly buggy and unstable. The most bizarre encounter I have experienced thus far involves a required upgrade patch, one without any identifier, that causes the software to become totally non-functional even “invisible”. No error messages, no warnings. The patched version of FTM2012 simply ceases to function without leaving a trace; the desktop icons are there, you simply click and nothing. If this were open source software, a solution would be discoverable; but sadly such is not the case with FTM. I have scoured ancestry.com and the web only to find that others have experienced similar joys and similar success to mine in finding answers. In other words, there’s a lot of web ranting about FTM 2012 to be found but not much else.
In an effort to stabilize my environment, I have installed and patched FTM on a standalone Windows XP PC. I also have built installations in Windows 7 and Windows XP on Virtual PCs running under Linux in Oracle VirtualBox and the problem is always the same. All I ever get is a disappearing release of FTM. Although happily, I have figured out some interesting and fast ways to build Windows Virtual PCs on my Linux hosts. The only viable solution I have discovered with FTM, however, is to ignore the FTM 2012 required patch. Now every time I run FTM 2012 I watch the dire warnings as I select the unacceptable options, by FTM’s report, all of this in an effort to keep FTM moderately functional.
So if you are considering buying FTM 2012 consider my small tale of woe. If it were not for the ancestry.com media synch functionality, I would have placed FTM 2012 along with my $40 in the dust bin of failed software a few weeks ago. But for now I’ll run it minus its critical and required updates, in hopes that the folks behind the development of this software stumble upon a workable and stable solution.
On the other hand, maybe Ancestry.com will release its database API (Application Programming Interface) and allow other software groups an opportunity to provide a reliable solution… I can hope.
Update #1: 15 May 2012
Well I added 2 GB more memory to my Win7 install to see if FTM2012 (after the ‘patch’) might simply be hung up due to lack of memory. I guess it still might need more memory; but with 3GB of memory, the situation remains the same. FTM (updated) continues to hang and freeze without any notification as to why or what is wrong. Oh well…
Update #2: 15 May 2012
I tried upgrading to a more “robust” version of Win7, Win7 Pro. Aside from using up 5 additional hours for upgrade and testing, nothing changed. FTM2012 still hangs up without any report or notice after I run their ‘required’ update. I know several folks say that the software works for them; well, I certainly wish I were in the ‘working’ group and not in my special user category.
Like many of you, I rely heavily on Ancestry.com to provide me access to genealogical source materials. The difficulty I have had with these materials over the years is in simultaneously getting source media objects/images onto my desktop and linked to a viable copy of a family tree. Well, it looks like Family Tree Maker 2012 (FTM 2012) finally has solved that problem for me.
Given that most of the ManyRoads readership are Windows users, the following section may have only limited value to you. However if you are a Linux or Mac user or if you are contemplating transitioning operating systems environments (or mixing them), I think you might find my journey of value.
I think most of you know, by now, that I am primarily a Linux user. Currently my business and personal PCs are running Ubuntu variants for our general computing and technical development needs, most generally Xubuntu 12.04. As a rule, I do not buy Windows software. My typical experience has been that I can easily find Open Source software with the same or better functionality than that available on either Windows or Apple at a much lower cost (read, Free). However, when I read that FTM 2012 was able to synch with Ancestry.com and synch across my PC and tablet platforms; well, I just had to give FTM a try.
My initial attempt at installation involved using Wine (Windows Emulator Environment). To quote the folks at Wine:
Wine lets you run Windows software on other operating systems. With Wine, you can install and run these applications just like you would in Windows.
Wine is still under active development. Not every program works yet, however there are already several million people using Wine to run their software.
Sadly, FTM 2012 failed to run for me after installation under Wine. Because I had yet another installation option available to me, I did not bother to figure out why Wine did not work (sorry).
My next attempt involved installing FTM 2012 on my Windows XP Virtual machine running under Xubuntu (My virtual WinXP PC is installed in an environment using Oracle Virtualbox OSE.). For those who are unfamilar with VirtualBox, here’s what they say about themselves:
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) version 2.
Now back to my tale, this second installation went very well. Although I did decide to make a few modifications to my WinXP Virtual environment for a better operating experience as well as an improved look & feel, specifically:
I modified my standard WinXP desktop settings to use Clear Type (prettier fonts)
I upped my Virtual PC memory from 256 to 768 MB, to speed things up because FTM seems a tad memory heavy to me (in terms of ‘apparent’ response time)
I added additional disk space to allow for smoother operation (another little improvement to response time was noted)
Because one of the major reasons I spent money on FTM was the synch between my Desktop and Ancestry… I began with a link to my Ancestry account. Here are my basic, ‘initial’ observations:
FTM 2012 synchs quite well with pre-existing Ancestry data. Not fast but thoroughly!
Media does indeed download! Yay!
Finally, to my joy and surprise, I have an easy method to correct errors on my Ancestry Trees.
Other nice features/ options I have noticed thus far include:
You can exclude Ancestry family Trees from automatic searches (the little leaf thingees)! Those error-prone, inaccurate Family Trees can now be easily ignored. As they say in Germany: Gott sei dank! (Praise to God!)
FTM allows “enhance record images” to be downloaded from Ancestry.com; so much better to see them with…
It is easy to define a specific location for your FTM files, data, images, etc.; this allows me to place everything in a shared Linux/Windows file area.
In the main, this seems to have been money well spent! As I learn more about FTM 2012, I will post noteworthy items on ManyRoads.
For years I have had the need to share information, applications, and desktops across the miles. Just recently, I stumbled across two viable, and affordable solutions that should work for people like me who are:
poor (and prefer to stick with Open Source – Free- software),
multiplatform (Win, Mac, Linux) users and who also…
desire a better “hands on approach” to sharing information and coaching folks on system’s usage across the miles.
The applications I have found to be most workable for me are:
Google Chrome Remote Desktop Beta
Google Chrome Remote Desktop Beta
Briefly, Chrome Remote Desktop offers the following functions, including:
OS independence (it runs on Win, Mac, Linux)
Internet browser dependant (it requires Chrome on Win,Linux, Mac; Chromium on Linux also works)
A 2 user Desktop Sharing limitation
No obvious license restrictions or encumbrances
The Requirement of having a gmail account to install and access the application (no charges incurred or required)
An apparent arbitrary 15 minute time-out restriction.
Application accessible through the Chrome/Chromium Applications screen
“While most competitors offer different packages for spontaneous support,
remote maintenance, presentation, online training, team collaboration and
VPN (and also charge for them), TeamViewer combines all of these modules
in a single, extremely affordable application.”
“TeamViewer is a very secure solution for remote maintenance. Your connec-
tions utilize completely secured data channels featuring 1024-bit RSA key
exchange and 256-bit AES session encoding.”
After a couple of trial uses, here are my general observations and opinions (assuming anyone cares).
Generally I prefer Teamviewer 7 both for its browser independence and link security management. Heaven knows my top-secret online meetings require 1024 RSA key exchanges and 256-bit AES (encryption).
On the other hand given that Teamviewer7 is restricted to personal or non-commercial use, I also plan to continue to use Google Remote Desktop Share for those short duration 1 on 1 commercial desktop sharing sessions.
Who knows, someday there might be a single solution for me…. the impoverished genealogist, geek user. But for today, two solutions are better than none!
Over the past few weeks, I have received numerous requests for guidance on how to use Tanguay’s texts for genealogy research (and where to get them). I have to admit that it does seem a bit odd to me that these genealogy texts are not well understood. But after having received the requests, I did some searching on the web only to note that there are no real guides readily available for novices, so here’s my feeble attempt at creating one.
By way of a bit of background, the texts discussed here are called: Dictionnaire généalogique des Familles Canadiennes depuis la fondation de la colonie jusqu’à nos jours (Genealogical Dictionary of Canadian Families from the Founding of the Colony to Our Time). This body of genealogical work is generally recognized as the seminal work for all French-Canadian genealogy. It is “printed” in seven (7) volumes. This huge and historically significant textual documentation is most amazingly the work of but one single person, Father (Abbé/ Abbott) Cyprien Tanguay. To quote Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online:
To compile this genealogy of Canadian families Tanguay systematically examined the parish records of the country, indeed, of the whole of French-speaking North America, copying entries of baptisms, marriages, and burials. During his lengthy journeys through continental Europe he was able to examine in detail the holdings of strategic archives, such as the Dépôt des Archives de la Marine in Paris and collections in Belgium, Prussia and other German states, and Italy.
To begin with, every user of Tanguay’s texts needs to be clear on what these documents are and what they are not…
In the Public Domain and have been since 1952. As such, free electronic versions of the Tanguay texts are available on-line. The best version is currently resident in BANQ (Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec- National Library and Archives of Quebec). These are now Freely downloadable in pdf form. (Note: ManyRoads will be replacing our downloads with those from BANQ)
Volume 1 covers families 1608 to 1700. This includes all family surnames.
Volumes 2 to 7 cover families until ‘about’ 1765 although a very few lines reach as far as 1880.
Volume 2 covers family surnames Abel à Chapuy
Volume 3 covers family surnames Charbonneau à Eziéro
Volume 4 covers family surnames Fabas à Jinines
Volume 5 covers family surnames Joachim à Mercier
Volume 6 covers family surnames Mercin à Robidoux (and yes, that is my family surname…)
Volume 7 covers family surnames Robillard à Ziseuse
The original set of texts are released under ISBN 0-88545-009-4 (Ed. Elysee)
The texts are not:
Perfect; there are errors in the texts. Most seem to me to involve missing information rather than mis-information. And yes, there are texts providing corrections to Tanguay’s work. The errata text I am most familiar with was written by Joseph-Arthur Leboeuf; Complement a Tanguay (A compliment to Tanguay) a volume of 600 pages - which reports the errors and omissions of Tanguay.
When using Tanguay’s texts it is important to note that every entry includes: date and place of wedding of the married pair/couple, the husband and his father (located in the right hand margin), the wife and her father, and finally their children (note the children’s names are in italics.)
Events included in the records most frequently are baptisms (b), marriages (m) and burials (s).
Gleanings from the Registers (1 vol, 300 pages) – “À travers les registres” by Cyprien Tanguay, is a work of about 300 pages which contains hundreds of facts that are historically related to ancestors. This information was collected by Tanguay at the time of records perusal for the seven original volumes. (Available Free here.)
Directory of Canadian Clergy (1 vol, 600 pages) – “Répertoire général du clergé Canadien” by Tanguay. This work of Tanguay enumerates Roman Catholic clergy members from the beginning of New France to to 1880. This book gives historical and genealogical information of all clerical individuals and parishes where they worked. (Available Free here.)
As I mentioned in an earlier post, recently I came across a VERY promising research tool to assist in gathering, sorting, and sharing research source materials. That tool is called Mendeley . It enhances, compliments, and can even replace tools like Zotero. It, also, links interactively with desktop word processing tools like LibreOffice/OpenOffice and perhaps even M$Office (although I don’t own a copy of that to test). Mendeley, also, allows me to share its content across multiple platforms including my Linux Laptops, my iPad and, according to the provider, Mac and Windows. Finally, the tool itself tracks, inventories and gathers information from within Firefox and similar web browsers or directly from my Desktop, if I happen to have my information there.
Oh, and before I forget… did I mention the tool allows for socializing selected information and publications (individually or through Groups of Common Interest). Oh yes, and basic Mendeley usage is Free.
Three quick additional items:
If you are performing genealogy research and want to join in sharing resources and source materials with me, please join Mendeley and my “Mennonite Genealogy Researchers” Group (Note: this group requires a Mendeley Account to View).
If you are interested in following some of my exploits in using the Mendeley Toolsuite you can my publicly available ‘research’ (meaning you don’t need to use Mendeley to see these HERE).
I have begun to rely on this tool for all my Prussian Mennonite research and find it very useful and easy to use. I plan on continuing to expand my use of Mendeley into the future. This tool is now ‘officially’ a standard part of my genealogy research tool-kit.
As many of you may know, my Recht family line (Hermann Recht’s family) has strong roots within what was once the Mennonite Community resident near the former Elbing and Marienburg, Westpreussen. As I conduct my Prussian Mennonite family genealogical research, this page will evolve and develop into something a bit more robust.
I am using Mendeley to gather and manage my research findings and source materials (I am also using the tool in an effort to evaluate its effectiveness for genealogy work.) If I end up writing something profound, perhaps Mendeley will also manage my writings. In any event for those interested in viewing and accessing most of my source materials, access to them will be provided here.
As a genealogist that conducts much of his research on the web, good data and image gathering tools are extremely helpful. As a person who relies heavily on the PC as a genealogical repository and information processor, tools that help me sort and process the information I gather are highly valued (prized). In all fairness, I also ought to restate that I rarely (VERY rarely) work with any software outside of the OpenSource (or Free) realm unless I have a hugely compelling reason to do so.
I must, additionally, admit that I am very new to many (read almost all) of these tools. It is also worth knowing that several of these tools are brand new to the world (or perhaps even a little bit newer than new). Nonetheless, I thought archiving and sharing these pointers might be useful. It is my hope that you, too, might be willing to share additional information or insights you might have regarding these or other, even better tools. With mutual sharing, we will all learn and benefit.
Having said all that, here are the innovative tools which most recently appeared on my radar screen.
I have recently come into contact with a family member who luckily has a long and detailed memory of the times and travails of my “German” family in and after WW2. Because of the information from that source plus the information I have gathered from my immediate family over the years, I am attempting to use this tool to understand and write the overall story/ flow of events of that place and time. Obviously Storybook is intended for novels but then family histories are stories, too; they just are not fiction. To quote the Storybook site:
Storybook is a free Open Source novel-writing software for creative writers, novelists and authors which will help you to keep an overview of multiple plot-lines while writing books, novels or other written works.
This tool (and others like it) are useful when you want to write and be uninterrupted on your PC. Hard to believe but electronic interruptions can and are a major distraction. Sometimes you just want to write…
As their site states: FocusWriter is a simple, distraction-free writing environment. It utilizes a hide-away interface that you access by moving your mouse to the edges of the screen, allowing the program to have a familiar look and feel to it while still getting out of the way so that you can immerse yourself in your work. It’s available for Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X, and has been translated into many different languages.
As I mentioned at the outset, I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on any of these tools or their competing products. After all as the Beatles once said, sometimes:
Assuming you write materials and you’d like to get protection and/or keep some credit for your work, here are a few thoughts.
(Note: do not confuse this Blog posting with any manner of legal advice.)
Firstly, you ought to decide if you really want your materials to be shared and/or protected. No matter what you do, remember that anything placed on the web is subject to being copied and reused. Having said that, protection and ‘legal’ sharing of your materials really need not be an all or nothing proposition. You can, if you are so inclined, offer your writings or other creative content to the world with varying degrees of freedom and/or protection. But before you decide, you might want to read a bit from Wikipedia on these two topics: ( btw. the headers will link you to the complete postings)
Copyright may apply to a wide range of creative, intellectual, or artistic forms, or “works”. Specifics vary by jurisdiction, but these can include poems, theses, plays, other literary works, movies, dances, musical compositions, audio recordings, paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs, software, radio and television broadcasts, and industrial designs. Graphic designs and industrial designs may have separate or overlapping laws applied to them in some jurisdictions.
Copyright does not cover ideas and information themselves, only the form or manner in which they are expressed.
Copyleft type licenses are a novel use of existing copyright law to ensure a work remains freely available. The GNU General Public License, originally written by Richard Stallman, was the first copyleft license to see extensive use, and continues to dominate the licensing of copylefted software. Creative Commons, a non-profit organization founded by Lawrence Lessig, provides a similar license called ShareAlike.
When I choose license protection for my work (like this site), my personal favorites have always been those quasi-open licenses offered by the folks at Creative Commons. As their site states:
With a Creative Commons license, you keep your copyright but allow people to copy and distribute your work provided they give you credit — and only on the conditions you specify here. For those new to Creative Commons licensing, we’ve prepared a list of things to think about. If you want to offer your work with no conditions attached, or you want to mark a work that is already free of known copyright restrictions and in the public domain, choose one of our public domain tools.
If you want to use one of their licenses, you can get simple, easy to use help selecting the ‘right license’ for your needs directly on their site.
Once you choose the license-style you want, you do need to be serious about its use. Simply placing a little label on a page may not be formal or serious enough. Although sometimes the sign is enough to scare interlopers away. Consult with an attorney if you want the real scoop… I do not provide legal advice and even if I did I doubt you would want it. However, this I can tell you from my experience. You will benefit greatly from third-party proof that the material you want protected and have created was ‘in fact’ built by you. I know of a couple of good and helpful services/ sites providing services in this realm, by that I mean I have used them:
In keeping with my map theme, I have provided links and pointers to what I consider 4 of the Internet’s best sites for genealogically useful maps covering the regions of pre-WW2 Poland (Polska) and the former German Eastern Provinces (mainly, Ost und West Preussen, Silesian, Pommern). When used in combination with current map tools such as Google Maps, you should meet with fairly high success in finding old place locations, names, etc. At least, I have had that good fortune.
The most comprehensive database of its kind in the world. It contains 90820 locations with over 38.691 name changes once, and 5,500 twice and more. All locations are EAST of the Oder and Neisse rivers and are based on the borders of the eastern provinces in Spring 1918. Included in this database are the following provinces: Eastprussia, including Memel, Westprussia, Brandenburg, Posen, Pomerania, and Silesia.
The Atlas des Deutschen Reichs shows the division of the Empire into the nine main maps and two smaller maps of the original atlas. This atlas is a digitized version of an item in the collections of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries.
Author: Ravenstein, Ludwig.
Title: Atlas des Deutschen Reichs / bearb. von Ludwig Ravenstein.
Summary: Zehn Blätter im Massstab 1:850,000, mit vollständigem Register aller auf der Karte enthaltenen Namen, nebst drei statistischen Karten der Bevölkerungsdichtigkeit, Konfessionen und Gewerbthätigkeit in Deutschland, und 16 Produktionskärtchen über Bodenkultur, Tierzucht, Nutzpflanzen und nutzbare Mineralien; mit ausführlichen statistischen Übersichtstabellen.
Zadaniem internetowego Archiwum Map Zachodniej Polski jest bezpłatne, szerokie udostępnianie wysokiej jakości kopii map archiwalnych. Szczególne miejsce zajmuje wśród nich niemiecka mapa topograficzna w skali 1:25000, cechująca się wysoką szczegółowością i dokładnością.
There are many websites on the Internet with scanned old topo maps, but resources related to Poland are limited. Polish Military Geographical Institute (1919-1939) developed and printed topographic maps which, in the 1930s were rated among the best in the world. Nowadays these maps are a fountain of information about pre-WW2 Poland and, at the same time, can be still used in the field to locate villages which have long disappeared from the ground and can not be found on modern maps. For these reasons we believe these maps should be made widely accessible and what better way than through the Internet? Although a daunting task we are positive we will manage to collect and present scanned images of all WIG maps and other geographic materials the Institute published.
It probably bears mention that my grandmother- Frieda Senger- was a woman of many verses. So given that my most recent visits with my mother have involved hearing a particular verse frequently; I thought I’d preserve it for posterity, especially since it is a verse I never heard while growing up. It’s a lively little item…
Hinaus in die Ferne
Mit Butterbrot und Speck.
Das mag ich ja so gerne,
Das nimmt mir keiner weg.
Und wer das tut,
Dem hau’ ich auf die Nase,
Dem hau’ ich auf die Schnut’,
Daß es [ihm] blut’.
It turns out to be a music composition with lyrics and so it has an associated tune (a rather lively early 1800′s tune). The verse & music was written by Albert Methfessel, 1813 (he lived between the years 1786-1869.) Here is the tune for Hinaus in die Ferne. A rough translation of the the verse into English follows:
Heading out for a journey
With buttered bread and bacon.
I like that so much,
None can take those from me.
And if someone tries,
I’ll smack them on the nose,
I’ll smack them on the snout,
Until they bleed.
I find it a curious set of lyrics. So, I looked it up and actually found numerous additional verses and versions. The composition is called the Turnermarsch (Turner March). The original score along with the most common variations may be found on the web: here it is. It seems that the work was created in reaction to Napoleon’s occupation of German lands. A fairly robust little history (in German) may be found on Wikipedia.de.
Ah, just another happy time… and another happy song!
In keeping with the theme of my previous posting, here are some additional pointers to genealogy software and software reviews. Be aware that none of the listings are complete, nor do they over-lap to any significant amount. Each list is “somewhat” to “a lot” unique.
Additionally you should note, not all the listings or reviews have been “conducted” or “written up” by software professionals or genealogists. Many are simply a compendium of personal opinions or available happenstance; but that does not mean they are not helpful or informative. In total the articles should paint a reasonably complete portrait of options and considerations.
The bottom line is, if you are in search of new, improved genealogy software or options, these links/ articles may help you in your search:
As most of our readers know, I belong to numerous on-line forums and discussion threads. Lately there have been numerous requests for assistance in the selection of Genealogy software. Hopefully this post will provide some help in that vein while making the responses obtained via email from the discussion forums both more meaningful and valuable.
The first thing to be aware of when you ask for help in picking software is that you will get your respondents biases along with their recommendations, even if they don’t mean to provide you their biases. Software after all is a reflection of both its users and authors. To help you sort through that challenge, you ought to think carefully about:
what you have,
what you need,
what you want,
what would be nice to have and also about
what inconveniences you are willing to put up with…
To start, you need to think about the all functions you have currently, and those that you want to preserve going forward. Once you know those, you need to be very clear about what you hope to accomplish with the new tools you desire to evaluate/ purchase. Here are some items worth thinking about although I’d be remiss were I not to point out that this is neither a complete nor prioritized list (oh, and it reflects my biases).
Do you prefer a single user PC-based solution? If you do, then you need to consider the operating system you prefer to use (For example, I am a Linux user with little interest in either Windows or Apple OSes.)
The major Operating system options are:
Blended OS environment (which OSes do you want…)
Do you want your genealogy information/ data published or shared on the Web? If so,
Do you want everything hosted and managed on-line exclusively? (e.g. Ancestry.com)
Do you want your genealogy information to be self-hosted? (e.g. TNG)
Or do you prefer a blended site providing a subset of data from a PC application and reformatted for web based sharing? (e.g. ManyRoads)
Are there special functions you want to retain from your current or earlier systems, like your data? If so, then you need to consider how you will transfer the data from your old environment to the new one. Here are some other items you might consider:
Do you have printers, scanners, multimedia devices, etc. that you want to use in the new environment? If so, you ought to test them out.
Do you want to run your new system alongside some other system (maybe even your old one)? If so, you need a plan to make sure that happens successfully.
Are you certain your old system can output data in a format that the new one can read/ understand? You should test that out or you’ll risk a serious failure.
How much money are you willing or wanting to spend on the new system? Here are some items that can impact your costs:
Does the new software system run on your existing computing platform?
Do you need to buy a new computer to make the software run?
Do you need training to get the new system operational?
Do you have a family geek to help you with your technical problems or will you need to pay someone for the help?
How much does the software cost? (Remember Open Source software is free… e.g. GRAMPS)
Does the software provider provide support? What does the support cost?
If you answer the above to your satisfaction, then you need to consider human factors… and don’t trust strangers to interpret ill-defined requests correctly for you. Questions like:
Is it easy to use?
Is it fast?
How stable is the system?
Does the software require a lot of technical know-how?
Responses to questions like these most certainly involve personal opinions and biases. One person’s “technical” is another’s “light-touch” user. “Complex” for one is “essential” or “robust” for others. You need to use and experience software in order to get a decent answer that fits your true needs and concerns. Asking is a start but it is just that, a start…
We all have languages we do not understand or read. Some of us struggle along in our native tongue only; others have a small or large suite of languages with which they are able to work. In the end though, we all hit a language wall and need to rely on tools other than our personal skills.
And… that’s where the challenge begins.
Today, I was translating a small German paragraph for use here on ManyRoads. So for grins and laziness reasons, I thought I’d attempt to use Google Translate to help speed up my effort. Boy was I surprised! Let me explain what happened.
The paragraph I wanted to translate involves a particularly new, and what will be hugely difficult, branch of my mother’s family- the Szczepanskis. For the record, I had obtained this, for me significant, paragraph from the Sczepanski Family Archives (in Germany). Here’s what the “German” paragraph reads:
Vorbemerkungen: 1. Mennonitenfamilie. Nach der mündlichen Familienüberlieferung war der Stammvater ein katholischer Knecht namens Szczepanski (Szepansky), der bei einem mennonitischen Bauern von der Mennonitengemeinde Plauschwarren, Kreis Gumbinnen (Ostpreußen, auch “Preußisch-Litauen” genannt) arbeitete. Dieser Knecht ließ sich mennonitisch taufen und heiratete eine Mennonitin. Als später einige Familien aus der Mennonitengemeinde Plauschwarren ins Weichseldelta nach Polen übersiedelten, schloß Szepansky sich ihnen an und kam etwa 1730 nach Thiensdorf im Kreis Marienburg, wo er einen Bauernhof erwarb. Thiensdorf im späteren Westpreußen gehörte zur Mennonitengemeinde Markushof, Kreis Marienburg.
So with that text in hand, off I marched to Google Translate. I entered my text into the handy translate box and Voila! Here’s what I was given:
Preliminary remarks: 1 Mennonite family. After the oral family tradition, was the progenitor of a Catholic servant named Szczepanski (Szepansky), the (called East Prussia, also called “Prussian Lithuania”) at a Mennonite farmer from the Mennonite community chat Warren, district Gumbinnen worked. This servant was baptized and married a Mennonite Mennonite. Later, when some families from the Mennonite community in the Vistula Delta chat Warren moved to Poland, joined Szepansky on them, and came about after 1730 Thien village in the district of Marienburg, where he purchased a farm. Thien village in West Prussia, later belonged to the Mennonite community Markushof, Kreis of Marienburg.
Unimpressed with that translation (and honestly quite curious), I next went to Babelfish. In someways Babelfish is better, but in truth it is just as funny and inaccurate. Anyway here are the Babelfish results:
Prefaces: 1. Mennonitenfamilie. After the verbal family excessive quantity the master father was a catholic farmhand named Szczepanski (Szepansky), which worked at a mennonitischen farmer of the Mennonitengemeinde Plauschwarren, circle Gumbinnen (East Prussia, also “Prussian Lithuania” mentioned). This farmhand let itself baptize mennonitisch and married a Mennonitin. When some families from the Mennonitengemeinde Plauschwarren in the Weichseldelta to Poland moved later, Szepansky attached them and came themselves about 1730 to Thiensdorf in the circle Marienburg, where he acquired a farm. Thiensdorf in later west Prussia belonged to the Mennonitengemeinde Markushof, circle Marienburg.
Please understand, I do not think my German is perfect and certainly there are readers out there who can and should correct my translation. But here’s more what I think the paragraph is trying to tell us.
Introduction: First Mennonite Family.
Family oral history maintains that the family’s progenitor was a Catholic servant by the name of Szczepanski (Szepanky) who worked for a Mennonite farmer in the Mennonite community of Plauschwarren in Gumbinnen County (East Prussia, also known as Prussian-Lithuania). This servant was baptized into the Mennonite Church and married a Mennonite woman. Later when some of the Plauschwarren families emigrated to the Vistula delta region in Poland, Szczepanski joined them, arriving in Thiensdorf, Marienburg County about 1730. Once there, he acquired a farm. Thiensdorf later became part of the Marcushof Mennonite community in Marienburg County, West Prussia.
Now understand I am not picking on Google Translate or Babelfish, at all. But, these tools are a long way from perfection. In many ways, these tools actually seem a bit closer to comedic perfection rather than translational perfection. Certainly though they are good enough to give you the gist of a foreign document, especially when more than one automated translation tool is employed.
So by all means use the tools… but just don’t expect that complex translations or terms will be very precise, or accurate the first time.
Searching for missing or lost family members from the former German Eastern Provinces can be quite a challenge. As you may already know, following the WW2 defeat of Germany by the allies, almost all ethnic Germans were ‘cleansed’ from their former homes in East/ West Prussia, Pomerania, Silesia, etc. (as well as much of Eastern Europe). In both the Expulsion process and the bombardments that preceded the Expulsions much was destroyed. Churches, City and Governmental records, family bibles, photographs, keepsakes, books, notes, were almost all gone.
[SinglePic not found]In the case of my opa (grandfather), he was able to salvage the bottom half of a coffee can worth of keepsakes and treasures. Not much I know. He made it the west with his life, but no birth certificates, no death certificates, no family bibles, and only two photographs…
Given that my family’s situation was not exceptional, how does one begin a genealogical search in an area where there are few graves or burial records, very few family members (if any), no continuous civil structures, and what was there has been replaced by the needs of new, and often non-indigenous, people and countries? Truth be told, it is not easy. I guess I would have to say it is pretty much analogous to a Kiowa or Comanche family looking for information about their great grandparents in Colorado (where I live).
My point is this…
It is absolutely essential to remember that any search succeeds when and where there is reliable information. But if the information and sources are destroyed or severely dislocated from their ‘logical’ places, where do you go?
Here are a few points we need to remember, as we begin a search:
There are still people alive who can provide remembrances of that time and place. Now, they may not always provide the most accurate memories but their memories can provide decent investigative threads to follow.
Not everything was destroyed. Many church records were filmed by the German government in the 1940s and a lot of that material has found its way into the LDS archives. It is not always easy to read; but it can be a watershed!
Photographs do exist and they often show up in the strangest of locations, like eBay or grandpa’s dresser drawer. I can’t tell you how many clues I have found by staring at a picture, or by reading the margins or back of a photo.
Old letters that were sent to relatives who lived far away from the destruction do exist; and, these contain return addresses (potentially telling us the names of the towns where our families lived).
Oral family history (even given its inaccuracies) can inform us about our past. But remember to attempt to match the stories within the context of actual history for verification purposes- by that I mean to say, truth test.
Don’t just look for your direct family, search more broadly than your paternal or maternal lines. Look for cousins, uncles, spread your net wide.
When you find a record, read as many words as you can. Don’t limit yourself to the highlights. I found my 2G-Grandparents family by reading the names of the attendees to my great aunt’s baptism.
Think out of the box.
In the areas I research like West Prussia, I find that knowledge of the family’s religious past is most helpful. More Church records exist than anything else. Friends tell me that the same is true across much of Eastern Europe. Look in the academic texts of your family’s faith, be they Mennonites, Jews, Lutherans (Evangelisch), Catholics or something else. You might be surprised with what you find.
Also, be aware that the current custodians of those former German lands are doing exceptional work in archiving and preserving the records that remain. For example, dlibra (a Poznan University effort in Poland) is gathering, scanning, indexing information that survived the conflagration and they are busy making it freely available on-line. Also, the church records that managed to survive continue being filmed and made available through numerous sources, most notably the LDS Church (FamilySearch).
Be encouraged! There is hope that you will be able to find a useful trail. It may not be easy, it may not be quick. But, if you do not gather your clues while you can, the trail may go cold.
Presenting readable, genealogical information, data, and stories is a complex challenge. It seems to me that people’s lives ought to be expressed as more than family trees, dates, and lineages. I have been struggling with this problem for quite a while. Perhaps you have as well.
Over the years, I have noticed a few ‘special’ difficulties in making this type of information, useful, accessible, easy to find not to mention human. The major problem areas, for me, have centered around the following:
genealogical data & stories can run deep & wide (they may, and often do, involve a lot of data from many locations, sources, and media)
genealogical data/ information itself evolves and changes. It changes often (even more than often for those of us who make lots of mistakes or find new things frequently); AND! the changes are irregular or unpredictable.
my personal belief is that genealogy information is best when it is humanized with stories, histories, oral traditions (now written down), images, maps, etc.
Given these challenges and the fact that I use a website environment, one built using WordPress plus GRAMPS; I thought I’d attempt a melding of several techniques and technologies in order to make a more user friendly presentation format for my genealogy information. Three example pages, of my latest ‘integration’ efforts, may be viewed at:
am I succeeding, am I heading in the right direction???
does this presentation style (format) seem generally helpful, useful, easy to use?
I would greatly appreciate your input. If you are willing to share your thoughts with me, you may either use our Contact page or Comment below to voice them.
If there is demand for pointers on how this was all built, I am happy to provide that in another posting or set of postings, for now suffice it to say I have done some minor tweaks with WordPress and GRAMPS to build the example pages above; oh, these pages will largely maintain themselves automagically.
For those wishing to gain access to photographic images of the actual Heimatortskartei from the towns, cities & villages which were near what used to be Danzig in West Prussia, they are available on FamilySearch. (LINK to Danziger Gebiet (Area ) Westpreussen (West Prussia) Heimatortskartei).[SinglePic not found]
[SinglePic not found]These represent images of a civil register (handwritten and printed works) of refugees from the former province of Danzig-Westpreußen, Germany, now Gdańsk and Bydgoszcz provinces in Poland. For those of us whose families were expelled from their homes by the allies after World War 2, this represents a set of documentation that could contain the handwriting of ‘our’ family members, from that place and time.
Ich finde es kaum zu glauben das so etwas auf dem Internet ‘liegt’. (I find it hard to believe that something like this is available on the Internet.)
Some of you may be aware that my ‘day’ job involves benchmarking organizations against various process and business improvement models (see: PEP) . If you are reading this note on ManyRoads, you most certainly are aware that I have a passion for genealogy (as my daughter might say: “No Duh.”).
What I am curious about is… do you feel, like I do, that the genealogy industry (e.g., Ancestry.com, familysearch.org, etc.) would benefit from having more reliable, accurate, and predictable data management practices? If this thought piques your interest, please read on.
Data Management Maturity Model
The Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute (SEI) and the Enterprise Data Management Council (EDM Council) have formed a strategic partnership to create a new Data Management Maturity (DMM) Model for the information technology and financial industries. The new model will define the components of data management at the specific business-process level so that organizations can assess themselves against documented best practices and upgrade their management of essential data resources.
The overall goal of this new collaboration is to help the information technology and financial industries become more proficient in their management of critical data and to provide a consistent and comparable benchmark for regulatory authorities in their efforts to control operational risk. The DMM will be constructed based on the foundational process areas found in Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) developed by SEI and funded by the Department of Defense and in the CERT Resiliency Management Model (RMM) developed in collaboration with the Financial Services Technology Consortium. It will result in a framework and accompanying assessment methodology for evaluating the efficiency of data management practices, measuring the maturity of operational integration, and establishing standard best practices that can be adopted by information organizations worldwide.
The goal of managing data as a corporate asset where precision, consistency, comparability and standardized meaning are assured is just now emerging as a business priority among organizations. And while the objectives of data management are conceptually understood, the practice of data management is difficult to implement because of the difficulties in unraveling and reconnecting systems, processes and operational environments that are required to gain control over data as it proliferates throughout large organizations.
At the core of the challenge is the lack of practical expertise and fact that there is no proven operational route map to guide organizations in their goal of enterprise-wide data management. The Data Management Maturity Model objective has been crafted in conjunction with information technology and financial industries practitioners to help respond to the twin forces of need and complexity that characterize the data management challenge. The objective of the DMM is to help organizations turn the ‘art and practice’ into the ‘science and discipline’ of data management.
Any thoughts, comments, questions you might have are most welcome. As this effort gets underway, what would you like to see brought to bear in this realm? If you have ideas, concerns, or would like to participate in any way, please either leave a comment here or contact me directly from our Contact page.
In the end, we will all benefit from improving the reliability of our information sources, databases, and systems.
Mocavo is embarking on a new extension of their already exceedingly useful services; one where they conduct automated research and linking between family trees.
According to them, once you upload your GEDCOM File(s) you will begin to taking part in the future of genealogy research. Mocavo plans to send out fully-automated search results to your email and will make new connections for your tree(s) from all over the web! Each uploaded Family Tree will be rolled in to the Mocavo search index to help the genealogy world discover each other and uncover some of the vast array of data/ information available. All you need to do to take advantage of this is to sign up (Free) and upload your Gedcom file(s). From that point forward everything is going to be ‘automagic’.
I have uploaded a particularly challenging tree of mine. We’ll see when the data begins to start rolling in. When it does, I’ll report what I uncover/discover here on ManyRoads.
While doing some research for an email response, I came across a body of work related to Die Vertreibung (The Expulsion). These papers are presented on the website of Dr. Stefan Wolff.
Stefan Wolff is Professor of International Security at the University of Birmingham, England, UK. A political scientist by background, he specialises in the management of contemporary international security challenges, especially in the prevention, management and settlement of ethnic conflicts and in post-conflict stabilisation and state-building in deeply divided and war-torn societies.
Stefan Wolff, “Stefan Wolff,” political research, academic, Stefan Wolff, n.d., http://www.stefanwolff.com/.
Ethnic Germans in Poland and the Czech Republic: A Comparative Evaluation
Co-authored with Karl Cordell and subsequently published in Nationalities Papers (vol. 33, no. 2, 2005), this paper seeks to analyze the nature of the German minorities in the Czech Republic and Poland. In order to achieve this goal, the relationship between Czechoslovakia/ the Czech Republic and Poland with the Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Federal Republic of Germany/FRG) forms an essential intellectual backdrop to our main theme, while reference to the Deutsche Demokratische Republik (German Democratic Republic/GDR) will be made only as and where appropriate. Although we do consider wartime German occupation policy in both Poland and the Czech lands and the consequent expulsion of ethnic Germans from Poland and Czechoslovakia, due to limitations of space, these themes, which have been exhaustively dealt with elsewhere, do not form part of our main focus of study.
Eventually to be published in Divided Nations and European Integration (ed. by Tristan Mabry, John McGarry, and Brendan O’Leary, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010), this paper considers the various causes, consequences, and responses to the ‘German question’. Demographically and geographically complex, the dynamics of the divided German nation are now apparent in the context of European integration.
Ethnic Germans in Poland and the Czech Republic: A Comparative Evaluation
Co-authored with Karl Cordell and subsequently published in Nationalities Papers (vol. 33, no. 2, 2005), this paper seeks to analyze the nature of the German minorities in the Czech Republic and Poland. In order to achieve this goal, the relationship between Czechoslovakia/ the Czech Republic and Poland with the Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Federal Republic of Germany/FRG) forms an essential intellectual backdrop to our main theme, while reference to the Deutsche Demokratische Republik (German Democratic Republic/GDR) will be made only as and where appropriate. Although we do consider wartime German occupation policy in both Poland and the Czech lands and the consequent expulsion of ethnic Germans from Poland and Czechoslovakia, due to limitations of space, these themes, which have been exhaustively dealt with elsewhere, do not form part of our main focus of study.
A Foreign Policy Analysis of the “German Question”: Ostpolitik Revisited
Co-authored with Karl Cordell and subsequntly published in Foreign Policy Analysis (vol. 3, no. 3, 2007), this paper takes a constructivist approach to foreign policy analysis. Using German policy vis-à-vis Poland and Czechoslovakia/the Czech Republic as an example, we examine Ostpolitik since the 1960s as a case of a norm-driven foreign policy. We argue that the content of Ostpolitik, including changes over time, can be explained by reference to a prevailing norm consensus in Germany about the country’s foreign policy towards Central and Eastern Europe, which began to develop in the 1960s.
This week I used the new FamilySearch.org microfilm (microfiche) ordering system for the first time. As you might expect, like any new service there are a few wrinkles but overall the new system is simply a magnificent advancement. Here’s what I learned with my orders.
If you did not already know, recently FamilySearch.org placed a new online ordering mechanism on their site. According to their site this offering is being rolled out across the world and is currently available in my area (Colorado). Click this link to read the complete announcement.
As most of you know, I do a lot of Prussian research (which means I order quite a few German tapes). What you may not know is that German copyright law is different from that in the US; and as a result, certain tapes are restricted from areas and durations within varying geographies (I will not attempt to explain the details of this set of regulations.) The net result is that I was not able to easily gain access to all the tapes I needed and should have been able to order easily. Certain of the tapes I attempted to order had some form of odd blocking mechanism in place based upon inaccurate criteria. That was the bad news, here is the good news:
Undaunted by the system (software) denial, I contacted the FamilySearch telephone help desk. I spoke with Sister Jones (not her real name). She patiently listened to my song of woe and contacted the appropriate Archive support help desk. Since the queue was over 10 minutes long, she asked if it was okay to have the Archive/ systems support folks contact me directly, later. I agreed and she gave me my ‘ticket’ number and assured me I’d hear back shortly.
I did! Within less than 2 hours, I received an email from Elder Bob Snow (not his real name) requesting that I provide some additional information on my account (like my local Family History Center-FHC) and he said once I did that, he’d give me special release on the tapes I wanted.
I completed the tasks, and sure enough I received another email from Elder Bob Snow stating that my account was now granted specific access to the desired tapes. I could immediately order the tapes I needed, the earlier blocks were removed, an apology was provided as was assurance that they (their software folks) were aware of this problem and this problem was in the queue to be fixed.
Other facts I have learned in this process include:
Charges for microfilm loans have been lowered from what they were in the manual system. (Hooray!)
Duration of short term microfilm loans is now at 90 days (an extension from the previous system) and the rates have remained constant.
All in all, this new ordering process is a huge leap forward in accessibility and customer service. Good job FamilySearch! If you are in a served area and would like to test this new service out, or if you are simply curious about what’s coming to your area, here’s the link.
If you, like me, research and search for family through the area of West Prussia (Westpreussen)- East Prussia (Ostpreussen) and Pomerania (Pommern), these sites will be of interest. I have also listed all these sites on the links page of ManyRoads. (Please Note! the links to external webpages are in the headers themselves and they appear before the individual site descriptions, when one exists.)
If you are looking to find information on missing relatives from the Second World War, these sites are most helpful:
The German Red Cross Tracing Service has always been on the side of those in need and by taking this attitude truly is acting in accordance with the supreme principle guiding the German Red Cross: devotion to humanity.
Inspired by this central idea the German Red Cross Tracing Service has been going to great lengths for a period of time longer than 65 years to throw light on the fate of persons missing as a result of World War II.
In den nahezu lückenlosen Unterlagen des Kirchlichen Suchdienstes sind heute über 20 Millionen Personen nach den früheren Wohnsitzen in den Vertreibungsgebieten im Zeitraum 1939 bis 1945 (Stichtag 01.09.1939) namentlich erfasst. Davon haben die meisten ihre Heimat durch Flucht, Vertreibung, Umsiedlung und Aussiedlung verloren.
To gather additional information about the areas of several former German Eastern Areas, these sites are quite useful:
Danzig, eine der ältesten Handels- und Industriestädte an der Ostsee, liegt fünf Kilometer oberhalb der Weichselmündung in der Danziger Bucht. Das Weichseldelta mit der Danziger Region war im Laufe der Jahrhunderte bis in die Gegenwart Schauplatz wechselvoller geschichtlicher Ereignisse. Die Bedeutung Danzigs entwickelte sich aus der geschützten Handelslage als Flussmündungshafen mit einem sich bis zu den Karpaten erstreckenden Hinterland.
“Es gibt dreierlei Menschen: gute, schlechte und Albinger” – wenn Sie mehr über die Stadt Elbing und ihre Menschen (eben die “Albinger”) erfahren möchten, sind Sie auf meiner Elbing-Seite herzlich willkommen!
Die Pommersche Landsmannschaft will den Zusammenhalt aller Pommern, ihrer Vereinigungen und Einrichtungen wahren und fördern und vertritt die Rechte aller aus ihrer pommerschen Heimat vertriebenen, geflüchteten oder ausgesiedelten Deutschen und deren Nachkommen.
Keeping notes, reminders and tasks synchronized as I move from place to place has been a real dilemma for me. Not surprisingly, I really need a place to take notes, add reminders when I am browsing the web or reading my email. I also need these notes, reminders, todos to be available wherever I am and on whichever PC I use. Recently, I found what seems to me to be a good solution. Perfect no, good, yes! This solution involves the use of several free, open source tools:
ThunderBird (email system of choice)
FireFox (internet browser of choice)
ReminderFox (todo list and reminder system)
and one file synchronization (Cloud) toolset:
The environment I am synchronizing across includes:
Multiple PCs (all my laptops, I have a few)
one Netbook (an eeePC)
one iPad (which does not play into this, see my side comment below)
my email system
my internet browser(s)
If you are not able or willing to use ThunderBird and FireFox you should stop reading here… If you don’t have them but are willing to try them, please continue reading:
If you haven’t already done this, you will need to install and setup ThunderBird, FireFox and ReminderFox. So far as I know these will all run on Mac OS X, Linux, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 64-bit, Windows 7, Windows Vista 64-bit. (Note: There is no cost for the ThunderBird, FireFox or ReminderFox software.)
Next, create a ReminderFox directory in DropBox. If you don’t have a DropBox account already, go to to DropBox to learn how to get & install one. Setup DropBox first! (A 2GB account is Free. You may use another Cloud file server provider if you choose. I like DropBox for this sort of thing because it is very fast and easy.). Remember the name of the DropBox Directory you created! (If you use something else the same caution applies.)
Go to either your Thunderbird or FireFox account (this location will vary based upon your operating system, for help in finding this information out follow these links: FireFox user profiles — ThunderBird user profiles.). Next, copy the file contained in either your Thunderbird or FireFox ReminderFox Directory into your newly created ReminderFox DropBox directory. The file you want is called: reminderfox.ics. You do not need or want to copy two files; just one!
Start (Invoke) ThunderBird and FireFox (singly or together).
Go to either Thunderbird or FireFox
Look on the bottom right for the ReminderFox pink ribbon (Note: You will need to do these same steps in both FireFox and ThunderBird.)
Click on the ReminderFox ribbon
Select Options on the bottom right side of the ReminderFox window.
Select the File tab.
De-select the Use Default Option. (click on the Green Check/Tick mark)
Click on the File icon to the far right on that same line. This will allow you to browse to your ReminderFox DropBox location. Do that and select the DropBox reminderfox.ics file.
Add a Test Task/Todo or Reminder to ReminderFox… just to see that things work. Make sure you add something identifiable to both the FireFox and Thunderbird platforms for identification purposes later.
Make certain you complete the preceeding 7 steps (2 through 8) for both FireFox and ThunderBird.
Once steps 1-7 are completed for both FireFox and Thunderbird, Open ReminderFox in each. You should see your test items from both tools in each window. In other words they will be identical for both ThunderBird and FireFox.
If you want to share these data across systems, simply perform the identical steps on your other machines. All of your similarly configured environments will now synchronize with each other, independent of location, platform type, or operating system– so long as you are able to run ReminderFox on each and access your DropBox account.
And there you have it… notes and todos across the universe! Oh, except not all of the apple corner.
iPad Comment: It is worth noting that because of Apple’s restrictions on various standards and tools FireFox is not available nor allowed to be available on iPads/iPods. There are some ics readers but ics readers do not provide bi-directional interaction with tools like ReminderFox. So… as I noted in one of my earlier posts, I use my iPad as an Internet consumption device only. Maybe someday… now back to the topic.
ReinderFox Developer Comment: It is possible to synch with Google Calendar, but it is a ’1-way’ synch. That is, you will be able to pull in reminders from your google calendar, but ReminderFox cannot ‘push’ reminders back to your google calendar. [...] We have wanted full-featured support for Google Calendar for a while now, and we are currently working on it. Stay patiently tuned! [Feb 2011]
I will be presenting a tutorial on conducting Quebec- Francophone Genealogy Research, September 10, 2011 at the:
Parker Colorado Genealogical Society
Stroh Ranch Fire Station
19310 Stroh Ranch Road
10 September 2011
Business Meeting: 1:30pm – 2pm
Speaker: 2pm – 3:30pm
I have created the following materials for use in the session for both:
advance preparation (awareness) –as well as–
for the session itself.
The materials will form the basis of our discussion and an advanced reading will ensure that we can have a more in-depth set of discussions and mentoring activities. I know that it is unusual to assign homework for a session but hopefully folks will find a small amount of advance reading makes the session more productive.
Canada has some of the world’s best documented family history information. This is especially true for Roman Catholic French Canadians. They were wonderful record keepers and the materials have been excellently preserved.
Over the years I have had the great good fortune of finding a number of small publishers/ booksellers who have, in their own ways, been most helpful. I hope you find some of these links and pointers useful in your New York and Quebec research.
Quintin Publications- Quintin Publications provides a wide array of professional genealogical research texts and document collections. Most of their texts focus on French Canada although they also publish materials from the British Isles and North America.
Clyde M. Rabideau – Heartnut Publishing- Clyde has been researching and writing books on the Robidous for many years and have tracked most of the descendants of Andre Robidou who came to Quebec in the mid 1600s. He also has published several books on the vital statistics for the 3 upstate New York counties of Clinton, Franklin and Essex.
American-French Genealogical Society- A genealogical & historical organization for French-Canadian research. They provide numerous self-published documents in addition to their association membership activities.
FrancoGene- In addition to numerous CDs and texts they claim to be the gateway to Franco-American and French-Canadian Genealogy on the Internet
Finding “French Canadian” North American ‘relatives’ can be quite a challenge. My searches most often lead me to southernmost Quebec (Bas Canada, near La Prairie and Lacolle areas) as well as to Northern New York (specifically Clinton County, NY). It seems that is the general area where most of my French-speaking forebears lived (from 1780- 1925); on occasion they manage to spill into the Quebec or Montreal areas, but that is almost always in the years before 1780. As you might know, the area I search is rather small geographically, as well as from a population perspective. But my observation has been, even though folks did not move around very much, they hid very well.
Over the years, I have learned a few hard fought lessons in doing my Francophone Quebec/ New York genealogy. I hope my series of tips & pointers will save some of you a few steps and maybe even some time in your searches.
Tricks? I use to uncover my French Canadian family data includes…
I almost always start by performing a quick search for folks using Ancestry.com records, especially the Drouin records. You will need Ancestry’s mega world license in order to make this function work well for you. Remember Canada is not part of the US and Ancestry licenses the use of these records with great pride and price. They are included in the WORLD license!
If you are unable to afford the International license fees for Ancestry (and many people are not predisposed to that exorbitant license fee), then the next best thing is FamilySearch.org. FamilySearch has almost all of the Drouin records indexed and, on top of that, they are very easy to read (page by page). Just remember you will want to have a reliable and super fast Internet connection for this ‘reading effort’. Otherwise, the reading will be pure torture, because of its slowness. You will find the FamilySearch Drouin records information filed under: Quebec, Catholic Parish Registers, 1621-1900 Obviously, as the title implies, this information has a rather strict time frame limit constraint associated with it. For more detailed searching and reading the following documents plus numerous additional tomes are now online…
“For best results”I recommend always performing steps 1 & 2.
As with any genealogy search, I also rely on Mocavo.com queries. I love to see what others may have found, about those people I search. You never know where good information will appear.
NosOrigines is one of the best online databases for French Canada. The data is almost always accurate and it is closely monitored for quality and accuracy, unlike the junk you find promoted on OneWorld or other Ancestry or FamilySearch supported family trees (all of which are extremely unreliable, in my experience…).
Research Rootsweb looking for clues & hints. I have found some very useful information on family members and their already published trees there! I generally find this to be the second most helpful source of family members right after NosOrigines.
For older materials there are two essential sources of data one is:
Cyprien Tanguay’s Dictionnaire Genealogique des Familles Canadiennes which may be found in two locations:
Once you find useful Census reports. I recommend you take the time to read every page of the relevant Census document – even when they are dozens of pages long. I do this in both US and Canada Census documents in hopes of finding clues beyond those available for my original searched ‘person’. I have had great success using this method to identify/ validate other related families, friends, and family stories.
I recommend you conduct extensive research on siblings to find clues about parents. This is also a useful method for finding name variations, relatives, etc.
Much like with any Census data I find, when I find a grave I searched every online cemetery record in the surrounding area in hopes of finding additional information about family or family members and relationships.
When I find a useful Church record, if I have access to the entire church record, I scan the document for additional siblings, events, etc. If I have ordered and received the Church microfilm for my use in the local LDS Family History Center, I place any productive Church film on permanent hold. I like to keep my folks nearby for when I get another bright search idea.
When I’m on the hunt, I use as many spellings of surnames and given names as I can invent to conduct queries.. never say never! Not only will you discover that Census takers took liberties with names; parish priests, newspapers, gravestone makers, etc. did as well. Additionally, I have noted that there are regional preferences in terms of name use in documents. For example, NY Catholic Church records seem to prefer Latinate variants where Canadian’s seem to stick with native French, but often use short hand.
In both data discovery and refinement phases of your search, I recommend searching/posting messages to seek or share information. The Message Boards I most often use are on Ancestry.com and Genealogy.com.
When looking for burial information on this side of the border (US side), I make extensive use of the Northern New York Tombstone Project. I have found quite a treasure trove of useful information in their online database.
If you have additional ideas you would like me to share, please send them along and I’ll update this page. In another post I will be adding information regarding “where to find” and “how to get” non-online source materials.
This history will become the basis for my September 2011 tutorial at the Parker Genealogical Society. (Another example French Canada search for Francois Lafaye & Marguerite Foret/Forest is also underway at ManyRoads and may be used during the tutorial.)
Hyperlinks on this page will most often open source documents.
Comments, suggestions & questions are most welcomed.
For those of you who follow ManyRoads, you will recall that I have been looking for years for my great-grandmother’s family (Exina Menard- Deyo). I am sharing my work and data as it evolves (I hope much like a tutorial or case study.) for three reasons:
to help me keep things in one place (a running log?)
share the process of research with anyone interested in seeing my work as it stumbles, jerks and ultimately unfolds
to use in my September tutorial
Be aware, this page is being actively worked and its content will change!
This material grew in large part from a forum posting originally created by Bev Farrington (thank you Bev for the leads!). So far as I can tell, based upon Bev’s, as well as my own, research, our Alexandre Menard is NOT related to another Alexis Menard from Clinton County NY- he was the son of Francois Menard & Madeleine Matte.
Now on to what I believe we can say about Exina Deyo’s parents, Alexis/Alexandre Menard/Minar/Miner (also known as: Alexis Menard dit Bellerose) and Louise/Marie-Louise/LaLouisa Pageau/Pajeau/Painchaud/Page/Pigeon/Payette/Pajo/Pacheau.
In the 1851 Canadian Census, Alexis shows up as living with his parents (Alexis Menard- a farmer & Margueritte Barriere- housewife) as well as with his siblings (Pierre, Edouard, Abram- all three sons were classed as Laborers). Most peculiarly, the Alexis Menard family is listed on the exact same page of the 1851 Canada Census as the family of Joseph & Julie Dion/ Deyo/Deo (this is the family into which Exina later marries- George/ Georges Deo/ Deyo!).
Then if that weren’t odd enough, a very generous Menard Family Member (Jackie Menard Hillier) sent me additional information on Alexis; and there he was married to Aurelie Dion (10 Feb 1852). Be aware, this is the very same Dion family into which my g-grandmother Exina marries again (to a nephew of Aurelie) much later in time. To add further confusion to the mix, I have no children for this marriage, nor do I find a death for Aurelie (yet). My assumption, based upon the data I have, is that Aurelie and Alexis had no children. And, Aurelie disappears after this marriage; it is likely she dies.
Further research (perhaps I should say, fortuitous searching)also has lead me to the discovery of a Michel Page family in Huntingdon County Quebec. Is this the family of Louise Page? It looks like it might be. Certainly the name and location is correct. But most certainly we need more information.
Alexis’ & Louise’s marriage is likely to have taken place between 1852-1855 before 1856 (the assumed birth date of Marie-Louise Menard for whom I have yet to find a birth document) but after 1852, the marriage of Alexis to Aurelie this is based upon the fact that in 1851 Alexis was living with his parents in St. Bernard Lacolle, Quebec, Canada; and, the couple’s first known child was born in 1856. I expect that the actual marriage year is closest to 1855 (or 1856 minus 9 months).
Of an expected 13 children, we have, thus far, identified:
The family has not been found in 1860 US Census which leads me to believe they may have resided in Canada during the time that enumeration was taken (the Census year of 1860) and perhaps for the duration of the US Civil War- the years 1861- 1865.
One fact supporting this contention is that in 1865, the year Aurelie was born in LaColle Canada, the family was noted as being members of the LaColle parish in Quebec. Additionally, I have found a record for one “Alex Manor of Mooers, NY” who was a private in the 118th Regiment, New York Infantry Company I (Adirondack Regiment) of the Union Armies during the years of 1862-1865. (For a timeline of the 118th access this link). Circumstantial evidence appears to point to this as our Alex Menard although thus far it is impossible to prove this ‘absolutely’. Interestingly, the 118th and Alex Manor were present at the cesation of hostilities following their participation in the Battle of Appomattox.
During the 1861 Canada Census, the family of Alexis Menard and Louise Pageau is living in Lacolle next to Alexis parents. Based upon this data, they appear, as of 1861 ‘not yet’ to have emigrated to the United States. This conflicts with the assumed residences listed in Bev’s original posting on the family. Birth records of the family’s pre- 1861 children will provide a more accurate indication of their home location during the first years of their marriage. Until I find something different, I will continue with my assumed chronology, above, using the mix of Census data and birth records I have at this time.
By the time of the 1870 US Census, we find the Alex MAINOR family living in Ellenburgh Center (Clinton County) NY. This would seem to indicate that they emigrated to the US sometime during the years between 1861 and 1869. In 1870 the family members include:
Alex, 42, Canada
Mary, 31, NY
Louisa, 14, NY
Alexander, 13, NY
Aurilla, 5, Canada
Jeremiah, 2, NY
Adelia, 2/12, NY
With the 1880 US Census, the “renamed” MINERs are located in Clinton (Clinton County) NY. By this time the family has grown to include:
Louisa PAGE / Wife of / Alex MINER, / Died Aug. 21, 1883. / AE. 45 Yrs. /
May her soul rest in peace Amen /
She was mother of 13 children /
Francis / Their Son died / Sept. 1880. / Age 22. Mos. /
I have read every page of the Church and Census records for the following Towns and years:
St. Bernard Parish in Lacolle, Quebec, Canada- 1854,1855,1856,1857 (on Ancestry.com)
St. Valentin Parish in Lacolle, Quebec, Canada- 1855-1867, 1847-1855, 1839-1847 volumes (for years 1852-1859 and 1839 on FamilySearch.org; 1856, 1839 (on Ancestry.com)
St. Constant 1852-1855 on FamilySearch.org
St. Bernard 1852-1855 on FamilySearch.org
Lapraire 1852-1855 also 1835-1841 on FamilySearch.org
Napierville 1852-1855 also 1835-1841 on FamilySearch.org
St Jean Chrysostome 1852-1855 also 1835-1841 on FamilySearch.org
St. Mathieu 1852-1855 also 1835-1841 on FamilySearch.org
St. Marc sur Richelieu 1852-1855 also 1835-1841 on FamilySearch.org
St. Antoine sur Richelieu 1852-1855 also 1835-1841 on FamilySearch.org
St. Philomena Parish in Churubusco, NY, USA- 1873-1915 (LDS Family History Center)
St. Joseph du Corbeau in Coopersville, NY, USA- 1855, 1856 (on Ancestry.com)
I have read the following Canada Census documents:
Huntingdon County, Quebec, 1861, 1851 (all)
I continue to seek additional clues for Alexis Menard dit Bellerose’s and Louise Pageau’s life, marriage, children, events and photos(?). Is there anyone out there who might have additional clues or pointers? If so, please contact me directly.
With the advent of Google+ there has been a lot of discussion in the genealogy world about the value of email, facebook, social media, etc. I have heard everything from, kids don’t read email, to email is obsolete. I am not certain we need to take such absolutist or critical views.
Call me old, call me stodgy, call me a Luddite. All may be true but, I think all these claims, assertions, and tales of woe are an over reaction. As my father-in-law always told me, there’s a place for everything and everything has its place. Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and IM, as much as they are popular, will not and can not replace verbal communication, written communication, paper-based communication, video communication, or video media. They ‘merely’ augment it. To succeed, every potential communication venue must find a niche and application that they uniquely address and one where other forms of communication are not as successful. Yes, they may take some “market share” away from pre-existing communication vehicles but more often than not they do not fully replace them. Let me provide a few examples..
IM (Instant Messaging) or Twitter is instant, rarely contemplative and rarely full articulate IMHO. AKAIK it is best used as a one on one, asynchronous, informal communication medium, mostly for personal purposes and ‘fun’. As a professional, deliberate, documentary communication form it fails.
Facebook is largely similar to IM/ Twitter with the exception that it adds all manner of value in terms of photos, multi-person asynchronous communications, information tracking and linkages… But again, it is not great for professional, deliberate, or documentary communications.
Webcams have not replaced telephones nor has IM replaced the plain old phone. But these technologies have certainly changed the application and use of telephones.
To reflect a bit, I can remember in days gone by when “Office Systems” like MSOffice/ LibreOffice/ OpenOffice and their kind were thought to be candidates to replace all Back Office paperwork. Twenty+ years later that still has not happened. Certainly today’s Offices are different from yesterdays; certainly, Office Tools are popular; but, we still have paper and hardcopy in our businesses.
I have put this little reminder checklist together to help me and others quickly examine our obvious options when we either are stuck or just getting started.
This list is hardly exhaustive and if you try everything here without success you should not feel like you have to throw your hands up in despair, there are still many avenues to examine. Hopefully though, using these tools will prove useful and productive and fun.
Have you checked?
For basic name searches try these out. Not all of these tools are genealogy focused but they are all quite robust and helpful.
Although many of these site pages offer English translations, I find the translated documents to be only marginally easier to use than the Polish original pages (and my Polish is limited to the ever present and marginally accurate Google Translate). Nonetheless, these archives look to be a very positive resource and representative of a very hopeful trend!
Should you know of other online Polish Archives you believe we should share, please let me know and I will review and add them to our list for all to use.
dlibra in Poznan is in the process of electronically disseminating German Casualty lists from WW1. As of this writing, the library has published dozens of documents from the years of 1914, 1915 and 1918. You may find the complete lists (as they are updated) on the Wielkopolska Biblioteka Cyfrowa site.
Note: These lists are neither digitally indexed nor searchable. In order to find those you seek, you will need to read the lists ‘manually’.
For those of you who are interested in the tips etc. I have been writing, I have begun the process of both adding new materials and sorting my lists of articles into more useful (I hope) groupings. You can see everything as it evolves here or you may directly access my newly sorted areas from the lists below:
This small post is largely borrowed from Southern Oregon University. Hopefully the pointers and links are useful reminders of where and how to search the web for information. I know that at my age, I need all the help remembering things that I can get! So here’s the list…
Randy Majors has created a genealogy Google query tool that seems quite helpful. His search tool attempts to optimize Google searches. You may test it directly below. If you prefer to use Randy Major’s site directly, please use this link!
So you search for images as well, you say. I know I do. I find the search for images to be something of an obsession for me. I especially value those photos I am able to find that are of the German Expulsion or the area around Elbing in the former West Prussia, where my mother grew up.
In keeping with my earlier article on Google Search Tips, I thought folks might appreciate some hints on Google search tricks for images. So here are a few.
Firstly, it is important to note that the syntax for image searches is really not very different from the syntax for any other type of search. What follows is a rather complex search string for an image of “Preussen” or (Prussia in German).
preussen site:commons.wikimedia.org “in the public domain” “jpg – Wikimedia” OR “jpeg – Wikimedia” OR “png – Wikimedia” (You might want to try this out on Google.)
Other options and syntax that we could have added to our search string include:
searches for image filetypes e.g.; elbing filetype:png or jpeg|jpg|gif|…
searches for images of a desired size we could add &imgsz=small or to get a different size use any of the following terms instead of small – medium|large|xlarge|xxlarge|huge
if we only wanted a sketch or human image we could have added to our search string &imgtype=face|lineart (where face would yield a person and lineart a sketch/ drawing)
and should we have been concerned about the copyright we could have added &as_rights=cc_publicdomain other options available include cc_attribute|cc_noncommercial|cc_nonderived (where cc is a creative commons license)
As you might imagine the variations are essentially limitless. Hopefully you will try a few of these variations and see how the searches result in different images. The bottom line is that this should help you see fewer but more valuable images. Good hunting!
It is hard enough finding genealogy information and losing it has always seemed like a bad idea to me. I am writing this post today in hopes of helping you save your genealogy data… and just perhaps, just perhaps, you will take advantage of this risk-free, cost-free suggestion and back things up before you lose them! (Did you notice the shameless, shy-less, cheap plug in that paragraph?)
About two months ago, I wrote a posting entitled Whoa, Backup! In that posting, I discussed backups in a general or generic sense- I attempted to provide some insight into the benefits and wisdom, etc. of backups. So I won’t repeat that material, you may follow this link to read what was said then: Whoa, Backup!
This update posting will hopefully give, those of you who decide to follow my recommendations, a bunch of free online storage. How much will depend on your specific situation but it could be as much as 100GB. Wuala is an online backup service by LaCie. Their desktop app works on Windows, Mac, and Linux (I’m running it on Ubuntu Linux).
You should note that your encrypted (encoded) data is distributed across numerous servers around the world. To quote the Wuala site:
Wuala protects your privacy.
All files are directly encrypted on your desktop. Your password never leaves your computer. Not even we as the provider can access your files or your password.
Wuala provides bank-level security.
Wuala employs proven encryption technology (AES, RSA and SHA) to secure your data.
Wuala stores your files in multiple places.
To keep your data safe, your files are stored redundantly in many different locations. Our servers are based in Switzerland, Germany and France.
Wuala is based on unique technology.
Our technology has been developed and researched at the ETH Zurich, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.
Your password and security keys are stored locally on your computer only, not even the folks at Wuala have access to them. I am personally very satisfied with Wuala’s security measures, but perhaps others are not. You may read more on Wuala here.
(Please let me know if any of the codes fail so I may remove them. Also please let me know if you find any new ones and I’ll place them here.)
Also, you can get up to another 3GB of free storage by referring 12 friends (you will receive 250MB per referral). If you total all that up, you have a potential of 19GB of free and secure (my opinion) backup space.
Beyond that, you can elect to trade your on-line hard drive space to the Wuala cloud (I do not do that because of my slow DSL connection.). Whatever amount you trade you will receive an equivalent amount in on-line storage (up to 100GB). This calculation, however, is based on your computer’s on-line time. So it is unlikely that you will get all of that space but rather a lesser percentage. Ultimately, if you use all the above codes, and trade your ‘on-line space’ you have the possibility of achieving 119GB backup space for free.
Sassy Jane Genealogy: was nice enough a few months ago to give ManyRoads the Ancestor Approved Award. Sassy, I apologize for my delay in responding to the honor you offered ManyRoads. The honor is truly much appreciated and by now hopefully even a bit more deserved.
The Ancestor Approved Award, for those who may not be aware, was created in March 2010 by Leslie Ann Ballou of “Ancestors Live Here” to appreciate and enjoy geneablogs that are “full of tips and tricks as well as funny and heartwarming stories….”
Recipients provide a list ten things which surprised, humbled, or enlightened them about their ancestors and ten blogs to pass the award on to.
My “list” is pretty simple and has been published for quite a while, actually it is embodied in the set of posts that started ManyRoads called The Story (click this link to read the articles). Abnormal person that I am, I guess that means my list of 10 is actually 7 Blog postings. I sure hope the postings don’t disqualify me now…
Anyway so as to not dally further, my nominees for the Ancestor Approved award are: