In going through family heirlooms, great and small, we came across a small trophy in the form of a cup.
“O. F. D. / Cribbage Trophy / Won By / Hill & Hallen”
I am not sure who the winners are, or what the year was, but my mother told me, years ago, that this was won by her father, Ernie Hill, and his buddy Hallen. My guess is that “O. F. D.” is the Ord Fire Department in my mother’s home town of Ord, Nebraska.
The only way to find out more about this is to search the Ord Quiz, and possibly other local papers working backwards from Ernie Hill’s death in 1933. I know he didn’t win it after 1933, as dead men don’t win cribbage tournaments.
Will I find out much? Possibly not. Will I find out anything? Probably so.
It is all part of the “reasonably exhaustive search.” When one finds a clue, one must follow it where it leads.
ArkivDigital, the premier independent subscription-based genealogical research website in Sweden, will be free this weekend in celebration of Sweden’s “Genealogy Research Day” (March 19th).
The site boasts 26 million records online in color. I have written about the site previously (“Review: Genline vs. Arkiv Digital”). The site is continuing to improve, and there is a beta version of a new English ArkivDigital application. (The Java-based application runs on your desktop and helps you find and navigate through images on ArchivDigital’s website.)
While most of the documents in the Swedish church records that make up the bulk of the ArkivDigital collection are not as colorful as the example above, I was surprised at how much easier it is to read handwritten images in color than it is in black and white. It probably has to do with the paper in grayscale not providing the same contrast to the lettering as one sees in the the sepia-toned color images on ArkivDigital.
I highly recommend the site, and since you can use it free this weekend, you can determine if it’s something you want to subscribe to or not.
To the left is a picture of my great grandmother, Alice Margaret Gregg (b. 29 Apr 1870, Nodaway, Adams, Iowa; d. 29 Mar 1919, Ord, Valley, Nebraska). She married the farmer Nels Johnson on 26 Sep 1888 at her father’s farm near Alliance, Box Butte, Nebraska). They had three children.
She died just one month shy of her 50th birthday, a victim of the worldwide flu pandemic. Her daughter, Bethene Blanche Johnson (1892−1919), succumbed three days later.
The site offers a very intuitive interface, with a simple, and large, search bar, which tells you to “Enter names, places, years, etc. Full names best in quotes.”
The search results, which exclude content from non-genealogical sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, and focus on free sites geared toward genealogy (Rootsweb, USGenWeb, Find-a-Grave, and on and on), are generally relevant for genealogists.
I searched for
“Swan Johnson” Nance
(Nance being the county Swan ended up in after emigrating from Sweden and migrating through Illinois and Iowa). I received relevant results, many of which I had written, but I noted that the results on Rootsweb were there, but none from this blog, though those entries are months old. My supposition then, is that Mocavo is searching a specific subset of genealogical sites — ones where the total name count is already in the billions.
Nevertheless, this seems to be an incredibly powerful search tool. It will not replace Google for genealogical data, but it will be a site many of us commonly use, particularly when our searches turn on a majority of social media pages, instead of genealogical gold.
Jay Verkler — CEO of FamilySearch International — Opening Keynote “Warm-Down” Address (34:18)
Barry Ewell — “Digitally Preserving Your Family Heritage.” This one seems a little over-the-top, and not really focused. Mr. Ewell knows a lot about digital preservation, but after pointing out that all of his slides and thoughts on the topic could not fit into a one-hour talk, proceeds to lose his focus. However, the ability to pause and take notes makes this better on video. (58:00)
Curt B. Witcher - Historical Genealogy Department Manager, Allen County Public Library. A talk on the changing times in genealogy, with an introduction by Tim Sullivan, CEO of Ancestry.com (1:09:33)
Brian Pugh — “Cloud Computing: What it is and how we used it to build familysearch.org” (1:03:00)
Thomas MacEntee — “Virtual Presentation Round Table” Featuring Lisa Louise Cooke, Marian Pierre-Louis, Geoff Rasmussen, Pat Richley-Erickson, Allison Stacey, and Maureen Taylor. A well-balanced, well-moderated discussion of how presenters can give virtual presentations, and how genealogical societies can facilitate this service. (1:03:57)
Brewster Kahle - Founder of the Internet Archive — This is a powerful speech, and was one of the highlights of the conference for me. (51:17)
This is a fair representation of the conference. It was what we call in high-tech “drinking from the fire hose.” At approximately 5 1/2 hours, this will either take a good chunk of your day.
I don’t know about you, but I am drowning in e-mail.
Most of my non-day job e-mail goes into a couple of Google G-mail accounts. This is mainly because G-mail has so many features to help me sort, find, and respond to e-mail.
First off, I get almost zero spam, because Google’s spam filters use the power of the userbase of G-mail to identify spam. If tens of thousands of people flag something as spam or phishing, it probably is, so G-mail whisks it away from your in box.
Next, G-mail lets you create any number of filters for incoming messages. You can have messages that you want to store (receipts, say), but do not want in your inbox moved into a Receipts folder and removed from the inbox. Automatically. Every time.
Searching in G-mail is just as intuitive, quick and powerful as searching the web. (And, if you are in G-mail and want to search the web, there’s a button to quickly get search results from the web instead of from your e-mail.)
But Google is going further than any other e-mail product with G-mail. They are helping you automatically sort your mail without you having to set up filters. Last year, Google released something called Priority Inbox, which does a fairly serviceable job of predicting what might be of more importance to you, based on what you read and reply to. Over the last couple of days, Google has released a new feature for G-mail into Google Labs. It’s called “Smart Labels.” As e-mail comes in, Google looks to see if it is a Notification (something sent directly to you, but not from someone you have ever replied to, or perhaps with a no-reply setting in the header), Bulk Mail (an e-mail mass mailing list), or Forums (from a group mailing list). If so, it tags your e-mail with one of these labels, and, if you tell it so by simply clicking a checkbox, it can remove that e-mail from your inbox.
To set this up, log into G-mail, go to Settings and then Labs, and scroll down until you see Smart Labels and mark that Enabled. For more information, see Google’s G-mail blog entry on this feature.
This looks powerful to me, and already has given me a smaller inbox where I will have most of my tasks and must-respond items.
In case you are wondering, “How does this relate to genealogy?” the answer is that time spent wrestling with your e-mail inbox is time not spent on your research. Google continues to help streamline the way e-mail works so we can get back to something we would rather be doing.
I working to declutter my home and put valuable and rare genealogical documents in order. In this process, I have been going through some, until now, neglected documents that were passed down to me, and finding some surprises.
I had been thinking about seeing what I could do about getting my grandmother Helen Harris’s divorce papers from the Wyoming State Archives. Divorce records are available 50 years after the date of the event, if you can provide enough detail to locate the records. Of course, I would have the names of both the parties (F. Ralph Harris and Helen Hill Harris), though I would not have known who the plaintiff was and who the defendant was. I did know the rough timeframe (some time between 1941 and 1947).
However, I know all of this information now, as I may have more documentation on the divorce than the state of Wyoming does. I certainly have different documentation: In addition to the signed divorce petition and decree, and the property settlement and child custody agreement, I have the letters sent to my grandmother from her attorney.
Here is a transcription of the decree of divorce.
The above entitled matter coming on regularly to he heard upon the Petition of F. Ralph Harris, the Plaintiff above named, to which an Answer has been filed by Helen Hill Harris, the Defendant above named, and the said F. Ralph Harris being present in Court in person and by his attorney and said Helen Hill Harris, the Defendant above named, being represented by R. G. Diefenderfer, Esq., her attorney, and said Plaintiff having been put to strict proof the Court finds that each and every allegation in Plaintiff’s petition contained is true and that the prayer thereof should be allowed.
The Court further finds that on or about the 17th day of June, 1943, the parties hereto entered into a Property Settlement and Child Custody Agreement and that said Property Settlement and Child Custody Agreement should be made part of this Decree.
ITIS, THEREFORE, HEREBYORDERED, ADJUDGEDANDDECREED that F. Ralph Harris, the Plaintiff above named, be and his is hereby granted an absolute decree of divorce from Helen Hill Harris, the Defendant above named.
ITISFURTHERHEREBYORDERED, ADJUDGEDANDDECREED that that certain Property Settlement and Child Custody Agreement made and entered into upon the 17th day of June, 1943, a copy thereof being attached to Plaintiff’s Petition, be and the same is hereby made a part of this Decree.
DONEINOPENCOURT on this the 11th day of February, 1946.
James H. Burgess DISTRICTJUDGE
Approved as to form R. G. DIEFENDERFER
As I said, there is also the correspondence between R. G. Diefenderfer and my grandmother, or at least his side of it. Additionally, the documents include a dual notarized copy of the Property Settlement and Child Custody Agreement.
The letters from the attorney to my grandmother contain some notable moments. They begin on August 9, 1945, with:
Dear Mrs. Harris:
Your letter of August 7th was at hand this morning and I note that you will not accede to your husband’s desire that your ring be returned to him. I will govern myself accordingly.
Later in the letter we see references to the attorney having seen Mrs. Harris “when I last talked with you at your apartment.” She was claiming payment was due per the agreed settlement. He noted that the due date was the 10th, and advised her thus: “you must keep your husband advised of your address and if you have not already done so, please inform him thereof at once.” She was now living at 312 7th Avenue, Spencer Park, Hastings, Nebraska, and the attorney and her husband remained in Sheridan, Wyoming.
On September 25, 1945, there is this:
Dear Mrs. Harris:
Your recent letters have remained unanswered because I have been extremely busy in the trial of cases. However, I contacted Mr. Garbutt yesterday morning and he will hand to me a copy of your husband’s Petition and of the Summons.
What I do not have in F. Ralph Harris’s petition for divorce. This may or may not be with the divorce papers, but now that I have the exact date of the divorce, and know who the plaintiff and defendant are, getting these documents should be simple.
Harper’s Magazine has been publishing monthly issues since July 1850. Current suscribers to the magazine have access to all of the content of the magazine from its initial run until the current month.
If you are lucky, you will find an article, as I have done, which talks about an event your ancestor was involved in.
The article, “A Stage Ride to Colorado” by Theodore R. Davis covers the stage coach route through Kansas to Denver, which was guarded by the 1stUS Volunteers. My 3rd great grandfather, Thomas David Via, was a teamster in the 1stUS Volunteers. This group of soldiers, the first “Galvanized Yankees,” joined the Federal army from Point Lookout Prison Camp for Confederates in order to avoid what was a probable death in the prison. Because they had been Confederates, they ended up getting sent out to the West to fight the wars against the Indians, who had been in rebellion because the Federal troops were preoccupied with combatting the Confederates.
But, even if your family and its experiences are not covered by Harper’s Magazine, it remains an important chronicle of American life and culture. Genealogists would be served well by reading contemporaneous journalism to understand the times, if not the life, of the subjects of their research.
You might also consider looking at the archives of the New York Times. The Times posts every article published since 1851. (There is a small fee for downloading the content.)
Tomorrow, I will write about what I found at the Times about an ancestral cold case from 1854.
Friday night, NBC aired the fifth episode of the second season of Who Do You Think You Are?, its flagship genealogy reality TV show.
The show is more compelling, with a quicker progression of facts and discoveries, and a focus on the emotional and very human reaction the celebrities experience as they discover, or are presented with genealogical facts. Lionel Richey is presented with a reality about his great grandfather, John Louis Brown. Brown appeared both to have abandoned his family and been sued for divorce by his wife. In addition to being apparently about 35 years the senior of his wife, he was also a man who was born a slave, educated and freed, and who was the leader of a national black fraternal organization, the Knights of Wise Men.
It’s quite an interesting and powerful show. Richey is confronted with the legacy of slavery, but also with incredible strength of purpose to raise former slaves to equality of station. He may also have discovered an ancestral connection with a white slaveholding family.
Professional genealogists will continue to quibble about the way documents are handled (usually without gloves, and with much more contact than is warranted), as well as how, every time we turn around a researcher says, “I have another document.” However, realistically, none of these documents is being seriously damaged, and as for the suddeness of the discoveries, this is television. In order to keep audiences interested, there must be quick results. There are fewer than 45 minutes available to complete the show. But I still think that a simple title card at the end could give a sense of the amount of research required to produce the show.
I was glad to see J. Mark Lowe featured as one of the researchers. He is a well-known professional genealogist and lecturer, who lives in what we call “Western North Carolina,” but which a lot of other folks now call Tennessee.… He’s a friend of mine, a top-notch researcher, and an amazing raconteur. Hopefully, Mr. Richey got some time to chat with Mark with the cameras and time pressure off.
This is about 9 months since the first iPad was released. The device has sold 15 million units. According to some analysts, this makes it the fastest selling consumer technology product ever.
I have to admit that I did not think the iPad would catch on. It seemed a little heavy in the hand, and was rumored to run hot. I figured that this product was over priced, at $499 for an 8GB WiFi model and $829 for a 64GB WiFi / 3G model. While the usability features, such as “instant on,” would make it easy to use it was really just, as one commentator said, “An iPhone for Hagar the Horrible.” It seems a device for content consumption, not content creation. I’m also simply a contrarian, and never bothered to get an iPhone. I have an Android, and prior to that had smartphones from Palm and Handspring since, oh, about 2001.…
In the last nine months, tens of thousands of apps were delivered. $2 billion dollars has been paid out to the software developers of those apps. While many of the apps are content creation apps, most are content consumption apps. But of course, we do an awful lot of that on the web anyway.
The new iPad sports both front– and rear-facing cameras, with the rear camera capturing 720p video. It’s 1/3 lighter, 2x as fast, and with 9x the video processing power. I look at those specs, and, seeing a lighter unit, with this many apps, and this kind of performance, and I myself am tempted. Not only could this be a lightweight way to travel, it looks like a lot of fun, and the apps keep coming.…
The iPad 2 is officially available next Friday, 11 March 2011, at Apple Stores and on the web at Apple.com. The new iPad supports Verizon as well as AT&T 3G networks.
Here’s a comparison of the specs, with specs that are either iPad 1 specific or iPad 1-only (as found on the Wayback Machine) with iPad 2 specs highlighted.
9.56 inches (242.8 mm) 9.50 inches (241.2 mm)
7.47 inches (189.7 mm) 7.31 inches (185.7 mm)
0.5 inch (13.4 mm) 0.34 inch (8.8 mm)
1.5 pounds (0.68 kg) Wi-Fi model 1.33 pounds (601 g)
1.6 pounds (0.73 kg) Wi-Fi + 3G model 1.35 pounds (607 g)
9.7-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit glossy widescreen Multi-Touch display with IPS technology
1024-by-768-pixel resolution at 132 pixels per inch (ppi)
Fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating
Support for display of multiple languages and characters simultaneously
16GB, 32GB, or 64GB flash drive
1GHz Apple A4 custom-designed, high-performance, low-power system-on-a-chip 1GHz dual-core Apple A5 custom-designed, high-performance, low-power system-on-a-chip
Ambient light sensor
Frequency response: 20Hz to 20,000Hz
Audio formats supported: HE-AAC (V1), AAC (16 [iPad 2: 8] to 320 Kbps), Protected AAC (from iTunes Store), MP3 (16 to 320 Kbps), MP3VBR, Audible (formats 2, 3, and 4, [iPad 2: Audible Enhanced Audio, AAX, and AAX+] Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV
User-configurable maximum volume limit
Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound pass-through with Apple Digital AV Adapter (sold separately)
Cameras, Photos, and Video Recording
Back camera: Video recording, HD (720p) up to 30 frames per second with audio; still camera with 5x digital zoom
Front camera: Video recording, VGA up to 30 frames per second with audio; VGA-quality still camera
Tap to control exposure for video or stills
Photo and video geotagging over Wi-Fi
TV and video
Support for 1024 by 768 pixels with Dock Connector to VGA Adapter; 576p and 480p with Apple Component AV Cable; 576i and 480i with Apple Composite AV Cable
H.264 video up to 720p, 30 frames per second, Main Profile level 3.1 with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; MPEG-4 video, up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; Motion JPEG (M-JPEG) up to 35 Mbps, 1280 by 720 pixels, 30 frames per second, audio in ulaw, PCM stereo audio in .avi file format
Video mirroring and video out support: Up to 1080p with Apple Digital AV Adapter or Apple VGA Adapter (cables sold separately) Video out support at 576p and 480p with Apple Component AV Cable; 576i and 480i with Apple Composite AV Cable Video formats supported: H.264 video up to 720p, 30 frames per second, Main Profile level 3.1 with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; MPEG-4 video, up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps per channel, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; Motion JPEG (M-JPEG) up to 35 Mbps, 1280 by 720 pixels, 30 frames per second, audio in ulaw, PCM stereo audio in .avi file format