Archive for ‘Data’

April 2, 2012

1940 Census Preparations – Pays 1st Dividend

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk,

Found his grand-uncle Michael Leszczynski (deputy sheriff) at 5071 Broadyway, Depew, Erie County, NY in the 1940 US Census. He was in ED 15-37, on SHT 6-A (line 4 was Michael and his wife Felicia was on line 5). Click on the link if you have access to Ancestry.com.

Kudos to Ancestry.com for getting their 1940 US Census working in short order. Their Image Viewer is excellent, very fast.

April 1, 2012

1940 US Census – Here’s What Enumeration Districts I’m Researching

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

2nd-April-2012 (72 years are up)

Here is Stanczyk’s initial research list before there are complete indexes.

Enumeration Districts (EDs)

By State/County:

MI-Wayne-Detroit84-590,  84-710,   84-583,  84-584,  84-586,  84-1246,  84-1471

MI-Macomb — 50-70A

MI-St Clair — 74-14

NY-Erie-Depew — 15-37

OH-Lucas-Toledo — 95-217,  95-221

PA-Philadelphia — 51-22

Families

MI — Eliasz, Epperly, Gawlik/Gawlikowski, Gronek, Kedzierski, Vespek, Wlecial/Wlecialowski

NY — Leszczynski (Frank, Michael, Teofil)

OH — Eliasz, Mylek, Sobieszczanski

PA — Solomon

Related Spreadsheet

http://mikeeliasz.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/1940-us-census-9-days-away-genealogy-preparation/

Related 1940 Census Info (EDs, etc)

http://www.archives.gov/research/census/1940/finding-aids.html#maps

March 30, 2012

Ancestry Adds 1940 US Census ED Maps — #Genealogy, #1940, #Census

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk, saw that Ancestry.com released/updated the 1940 US Census, Enumeration District Maps. It actually says ‘and Descriptions’ in its database title, but for the life of me I did not see any textual descriptions nor any images of words other than Legends and stray comments on hospitals, asylums, nunneries, etc (which were interleaved in the whitespace of the maps).

I queried on the ED I got from Steve Morse’s One-Step website (unified census page) that let me convert 1930 EDs into 1940 EDs. I used ED 84-590 (where I expect to find my grandmother and her children — including my father).

I did an exact search on 84-590 and Ancestry showed me an option for either the city map or the county map. While the county map was interesting, the city map of Detroit was what I was after. I clicked on the link to view the city map for ED 84-590, but what I got was page 1 of 46 pages (not the page where 84-590 was). Well I “gutted it out” and browsed sequentially through all of the pages searches from one corner to the opposing corner reading each and every ED until I found ED 84-590 on page number 40.

That kind of brute force search was not a total waste. I did confirm 84-590 was correct ED that I should search on Monday when they release the 1940 US Census. I was also able to confirm my Vespeks ED as either  84-1246 or less likely (since it is for the prior address) 84-1252. Perhaps my dedicated readers will note that this is the one ED (it gave 84-1244 or 84-1245 — which were close) that was wrong in Steve Morse’s webpage lookup. The fault as I said before was not Steve Morse, but the US government providing inaccurate mapping of the 1930 ED to the 1940 ED, but the description of the EDs on Steve Morse’s lookup image did give me a look at the other descriptions nearby and I was able to divine that 84-1246 should be the one I search. Well this also points out the value of Ancestry’s new database. I was able to look at ED Map and confirm that 84-1246 was correct ED and that 84-1244/1245 EDs were near misses to the known address I had.

I was also able to verify that ED 84-583/584 would probably contain my Galiwks and Wlecials [assuming they are in enumerated in Detroit and not at the Macomb county farm address]. I could see how close they were to  St. Adalbertus church and the the last known addresses I had and how they were all closely clustered in the same area (not obvious from the addresses).

My only complain is that Ancestry should take you to the correct page for your ED and not force you to do a brute force, page-by-page search. Detroit was a LARGE city in 1940 — imagine NYC, LA, Chicago or Philadelphia where were (and still are) larger than Detroit; Those would be awful searches.  For my friends that have Polish family in Hamtramck, not to fear, there are only four pages to comb through. For the few people that I have emailed through the last few months about CHENE St project, just go to image/page 40 of Detroit (or click on the link) you are near my grandmother’s ED.

Archives.gov says you have 2 days and about 16 hours (and counting) to ready yourself for the 1940 US Census. Good Luck!

March 24, 2012

1940 US Census – 9 Days Away — #Genealogy, #Preparation

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk has finished his preparations for the 1940 US Census (sans index). After the index is finally transcribed, I will query widely for years. But for 2012, I needed to be able to search via the Enumeration District.

As I said before, I made extensive use of Drs:  Steve Morse & Joel Weintraub 1940 Census Tool .

I created a spreadsheet. I listed the most important people I wanted to find in 1940. I used the 1930 US Census and recorded their Enumerated District (ED). This is a necessary precursor to looking up the ED’s for 1940. The only other way is to start from a street address. Now use the link to the 1940 Census Tool [see above] to convert your 1930 EDs to 1940 EDs (or your last known address to 1940 EDs). I made sure that when I got a long list of possible 1940 EDs that I used their ED descriptions and the Google Map to highlight the most likely ED (or EDs) to start with.

I also used the Ancestry.com City Directories (Beta) to finalize my analysis. While doing that I got the idea to pose and hopefully to answer with the 1940 Census some questions. I noticed in a 1941 City Directory that one of my Gawlik/Gawlikowski families started using, Gawlick . In fact due to emails with another genealogist I was prepared to accept Gawlick for this family already.

Well there they were using Gawlick for their family name. There was also another detail in the city directory. It showed that Kath (the wife) was a widow (of Anthony) in 1941. OK, so now I had a boundary for the last possible year for Anthony Gawlick (aka Gawlik) as 1941. I tried to use Ancestry.com’s older city directories and I noticed that they were sparse (not all years) and also when they had a year, it was not always a complete scan of that city directory so my use of Historical City directories was hit or miss for some families and/or streets. But none the less, I was able to find Anthony alive in the 1939 city directory! Ok So now I had a short range: alive in 1939 … to dead in 1941. So maybe the 1940 will tell me is,  “Anthony alive or dead in 1940″? I added that question to my list of questions.

Questions

Will I find Rose Wlecial Gawlik’s brothers living with her? Why have I had such a hard time locating her borthers (Boleslaw & Leon) in city directories? Is Anthony Gawlick alive or dead? Is my grandmother’s older half-brother Frank Leszczynski still alive in 1940 (he declared his intent to be a US Citizen in 1931)? He’d be about 75 years old in 1940. I wonder what age he use (70 or 75) since I have multiple birth years for him? Also, I learned in my preparations that he used a younger half-brother’s address in 1931. So I wonder is Frank Leszczynski living with Michael Leszczynski in Buffalo/Depew at 257 Broadway in the 1940 Census? Until I had access to historical city directories, I had never realized that Michael and Frank had both lived at the same address — nobody ever mentioned that in any interview or email.

So beyond the facts that the US Census will provide about who is where and how old they are and whether they are US citizens or not, I am hoping to see what the older men were veterans of which US conflicts. The questions related to the Great Depression will also be interesting for all and will certainly be relevant to the political discourse of today — particularly as we march onward to the November elections.

Most of my immigrant Eliasz (aka Elijasz) forebears are deceased before 1940. My grandfather (Joseph) died in 1930 and my grand-uncle (John) died in 1936. So only Mary Eliasz Gronek can be found. Will I get any clues about Detroit Stanley Elyasz (a 1st cousin of my grandfather) and how about Buffalo Stanley Eliasz (is he a cousin or a sibling of my grandfather)?

The suspense and the anticipation is growing. Good thing we had WDYTYA last night and tomorrow night we will get the first episode of Henry Louis Gate’s genealogy show on PBS. Those can help ease the suspense for now until a week from Monday.

How are you preparing? Are you done yet? Are you doing something similar to what I am doing? This is what I am using (email me please) …

March 18, 2012

Dziennik Polski Detroit Newspaper Database App Search Page

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk,

was finally able to use his training from Steve Morse’s presentation at RootsTech 2012 to create a One-Step Search App for the Dziennik Polski Detroit Newspaper Database.

To search on 30,920 Polish Vital Record Events, just go to the new Dziennik Polski Detroit Newspaper Database App Search page (on the right, under PAGES,  for future reference).

FAQ

For more background on the Dziennik Polski Detroit Newspaper click on the link.

You can search on the following fields:

Last Name – exact means the full last name exactly as you typed it. You can also select the ‘starts with’ radio button and just provide the first few starting characters. Do not use any wild card characters!

First Name – exact means the full first name exactly as you typed it. You can also select the ‘starts with’ radio button and just provide the first few starting characters. Do not use any wild card characters!

Newspaper Date – exact means that you need to enter the full date. Dates are of the format:

06/01/1924 (for June 1st, 1924). Format is MM/DD/YYYY. Leading zeros are required for a match.

You can use ‘contains’ radio button to enter a partial date. The most useful partial is just to provide the Year (YYYY). Do not use any wild card characters!

Event Type – exact means the full event type. This is not recommended. You SHOULD select the ‘starts with’ radio button and just provide the first few starting characters. Do not use any wild card characters! Uppercase is not required.

Valid Events Types: BIRTH,  CONSULAR,  DEATH,  or MARRIAGE

Indexer – exact means the full indexer exactly as you typed it. You can also select the ‘starts with’ radio button and just provide the first few starting characters. Do not use any wild card characters!

The Indexer is meant to be informational only, but you could conceivably want to search on this field too, so it is provided.

March 17, 2012

1940 US Census – 16 Days Away — #Genealogy

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk apologizes for being away for a few days. I have spent some of that time preparing for the 1940 US Census (sans index).

So I made extensive use of Drs:  Steve Morse & Joel Weintraub 1940 Census Tool .

I created a spreadsheet. I listed the most important people I wanted to find in 1940. I used the 1930 US Census and recorded their Enumerated District (ED). This is a necessary precursor to looking up the ED’s for 1940. The only other way is to start from a street address. Now use the link to the 1940 Census Tool [see above] to convert your 1930 EDs to 1940 EDs (or your last known address to 1940 EDs).

How are you preparing? This is what I used …

March 11, 2012

Ellis Island For Sale !!! … back in 1958 — #Genealogy, #History, #EllisIsland

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk, was not aware that the US Government once contemplated the sale of Ells Island.

Slav Invasion ???

The 9 Feb 1958 article (from Daytona Beach Morning Journal — in Google’s Newspaper Archives) spoke about the condition of Ellis island and some of the cost drivers. Then the author diverges a bit into opinion and claims Ellis Island was a “scandal ridden bedlam”  and that between 1900-1914 was the great “Slav Invasion apparently from Southern Europe and the Balkans  — whew, for a minute there I thought they were talking about Czechs, Poles, and Russians.

Still this besmirching of the Southern Slavs in 1958 seems to be similar to today’s brand of xenophobia and is even filled with speculation   “How many persons turned away were lunatics?”. No, who-what-when-where-and-why in that journalism.

     Dick Eastman‘s Online Newsletter also had a blog on Ellis Island recently (3/9/2012) … The 9 March 2012 MailOnline (UK periodical) had a article on Ellis Island with some eerie photos of before the island was made into a National Park. Please do go take a look at the pictures.

These two articles provide quite a context for Ellis Island after it was retired and before it was to become a National Park.

March 10, 2012

Ancestry.com Broken ? Is Your GEDCOM Export OK? — #Genealogy, #Technology

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk, wants to know if anyone else is having problems Exporting their GEDCOM from Ancestry.com?


 This is what I see when I try to export my gedcom from the tree settings screen. It never gets past 0% complete.

I have tried to submit a Help Ticket for technical support and so far I have not received any response. What gives Ancestry?

I can still work on my tree and updates appear to be saved. I can synch to the Ancestry App (on the iPhone) and the changes are there too. 

March 9, 2012

WordPress Blogs Now Have Stats By Country!

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

WordPress - Views By Country

Most Recent Flag Counter

   Stanczyk, for a long time has been using Flag Counter to get some idea of the access my blog has to the Old World.

The image to the far left is WordPress and is just for today (so far). The image to the near left is a cumulative count by country of Flag Counter for the last year. So I am thankful to WordPress for providing this analytic for my blog. It was always my hope to reach Poland and the other Central European nations where potential family tree members still reside. When I look at the analytics for the last year from WordPress, it seems people from about 60-70% of world’s landmass visit this blog! Come on China, you can bring that percentage up.

Thanks WordPress!

– Stańczyk kocha Polskę!

March 6, 2012

Archiwum Diecezjalne w Kielcach – Pomoc — #Polish, #Genealogy

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk,

Recently, I asked for help (pomoc) from a genealogy society in Poland (PTG). I asked if anyone in their society (via their forum) could tell me what holdings the, Archiwum Diecezjalne w Kielcach (The Diocessan Archive in Kielce) has for the village of Pacanów.

This is the village of my grandfather, Jozef Elijasz and his parents Jozef Elijasz/Marianna Paluch, and Jozef’s parents: Marcin Elijasz/Anna Zasucha.

I am hoping to visit the Church Archive or to have a Polish genealogist visit the Church Archive in Kielce for me to do some research.

I’ll let my readers know what happens!

March 3, 2012

Library of Congress – Chronicling America — #Genealogy, #Newspapers

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk is a Library of Congress (LOC) researcher. Mostly, I have done my research in the Madison building where they keep the Newspapers / Periodicals.

Today they (LOC) sent me an email announcing another 100+ newspapers digitized with another 550,000+ new digitzed pages available via their Chronicling America – Historical Newspaper program. I have written about this worthy program before. Whether you research history or genealogy, these newspapers can be of help and providing evidence or even just adding a context to your ancestors.

Did you know that the LOC has over 220 Polish language newspapers on microfilm (and/or digitized)? To help out the Polish Genealogists, I have  compiled and published a list of the LOC’s Polish Language Newspapers:  here .

Make newspapers a part of your research to fill the gaps or to provide context!

–Stanczyk

March 3, 2012

Google’s Chrome Browser For Genealogy — #Genealogy, #Technology

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

     Stanczyk was a big Mozilla/Firefox browser user. On Mac or Windows it did not matter. So it was a shock that I switched to Chrome (Google’s browser).

I did so mostly on Google’s promise that “microdata” would be another widget that would greatly enhance the search experience for genealogy data. I waiting on that feature — still am waiting.

On Tuesday I mentioned Virtual Keyboard 1.45, for entering your diacriticals through your browser into say Ancestry.com. Today, I was reading Kathy Judge Nemaric’s blog – “Dead Reckoning” [nice name for a genealogy blog] and she mentioned an extension to the Chrome Browser. It is called Ancestry Family Search Extension 2.4 .

     Open up a new Tab (Ctrl-T works) and click on Chrome Web Store. In the “Search Store” field, type in “Ancestry Family Search” and press the Enter key to bring up the extension (see on the left).

Click on the Add to Chrome button and then click on the Install button in the dialog box that pops up to confirm your wish. Once you have installed the extensions into your Chrome browser, it will show like the following screen:

Now you are ready to reap the rewards of that hard work. Go to Ancestry.com and perhaps open up your family tree on an individual you are working on. Now your browser’s address bar has a new  “widget”. Next to the STAR widget you have been using to Bookmark pages is a new widget shaped like a TREE.

See the red circle (and arrow)? Just click on that and it will bring up a new window on top the current TAB in your browser with (in my case) Tomasz Leszczynski result set from the Family Search databases. If you click on one result, then a new TAB will open to the exact record in Family Search.

This is a very nice synergy between the two websites. So I am thinking, that if Google produces their microdata widget, that 2012 will be the year of the widget in Genealogy and perhaps the year of the CHROME browser too.

There is one microdata Schema Explorer browser extension already in the Chrome Web Store. But you will want to wait for Google’s which will use the website: http://historical-data.org/ . I am guessing Google will use this website to develop schemas to guide its browser.

2012 is shaping up to be a very good year for genealogy and to switch to CHROME!

March 2, 2012

Diacritical Redux – Ancestry GEDCOM — #Genealogy, #Technology

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

As Stanczyk, was writing about the GEDCOM standard since #RootsTech 2012, I began to pick apart my own GEDCOM file (*.ged). I did this as I was engaged with Tamura Jones (a favorite foil to debate Genealog Technology with). During our tête-á-tête, I noticed that my GEDCOM lacked diacriticals???

What happened? At first I thought it was the software that Tamura had recommended I use, but it was not the problem of that software (PAF). So I looked at the gedcom file that I had imported and the diacriticals were missing from there meaning, my export software was the culprit.

I looked at the GEDCOM’s  HEAD tag and the CHAR sub-tag, and it said “ANSI” [no quotes] was the value. That is not even a valid possible value! According to the GEDCOM 5.5.1 standard [on page 44 of the FamilySearch PDF document]:

CHARACTER_SET:= {Size=1:8}
[ ANSEL |UTF-8 | UNICODE | ASCII ]

Who is this dastardly purveyor of substandard GEDCOM that strips out your diacriticals (that I assumed you have been working so hard to add since my aritcle on Tuesday,  “Dying For Diacriticals“)? I’ll give you a HINT, it is the #1 Genealogy Website  — Yes,  it is ANCESTRY.COM !

Now what makes this error even more dastardly is that the website shows you the diacriticals in the User Interface (UI), but when you go to export/download the diacriticals are not there in the gedcom and unless you study things closely, you may be oblivious (as Stanczyk was for a long time) that these errors have crept into your research. I also found a spurious NOTE that I cannot find anywhere on anyone in my tree — which gets attributed to my home person (uh, me). This is very alarming to me too !!!

Tim Sullivan (CEO of Ancestry.com), I expected better of you and your website. I entrusted my family tree to you and that is what you did with my gedcom? Now I did some more investigating and I found that Ancestry does not strip ALL diacriticals. My gedcom had diacriticals in the PLAC tags and in NOTE tags. But NOT (I repeat NOT) in the NAME tags.

So Tim [pretend there is a shaky leaf here] , if you or a reputation defender or some other minion skims the Internet (for your name) here is what  I hope You/Ancestry.com will do:

  1. Do NOT strip diacriticals from the NAME tag !!!
  2.  Fix the Export GEDCOM to create a gedcom file with diacriticals in NAME tags
  3. Fix the Export GEDCOM to create a valid CHAR tag value: UNICODE, UTF-8, ASCII, ANSEL. I put them in my prioritized/preferred order [from left-to-right]. I hope you will not use ASCII or ANSEL.
  4. Run a GEDCOM validator against the gedcom file your Export GEDCOM software creates to download and fix the other “little things” too  (Mystery NOTEs ???).
February 28, 2012

Dying For Diacriticals … Beyond ASCII — #HowTo, #Genealogy, #Polish

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk mused recently upon a few of the NAMEs in my genealogy:

Bębel, Elijasz, Guła, Leszczyński, Kędzierski, Wątroba, Wleciał, Biechów, Pacanów, Żabiec

If you want to write Elijasz (or any of its variants) you are golden. But each of the other names require a diacritic (aka diacritical mark). Early on, I had to drop the diacritics, because I did not have computer software to generate these characters (aka glyphs). So my genealogy research and my family tree were recorded in ASCII characters. For the most part that is not a concern unless you are like John Rys and trying to find all of the possibly ways your Slavic name can be spelled/misspelled/transliterated and eventually recorded in some document and/or database that you will need to search for. Then the import becomes very clear. Also letters with an accent character (aka diacritic) sort differently than  letters without the diacritic mark. For years, I thought Żabiec was not in a particular Gazetteer I use, until I realized there was a dot above the Z and the dotted-Z named villages came after all of the plain Z (no dot) villages and there was Żabiec many pages later! The dot was not recorded in the Ship Manifest, nor in a Declaration of Intent document. So I might not have found the parish so easily that Żabiec belongs to. I hope you are beginning to see the import of recording diacritics in your family tree.

How?

The rest of my article today teaches you how to do this. Mostly we are in a browser, surfing the ‘net, in all its www glory. After my “liberal indoctrination” (aka #RootsTech 2012), I have switched browsers to Google’s Chrome (from Mozilla Firefox) browser. Now I did this to await the promised “microdata” technology that will improve my genealogical search experience.  I am still waiting,  Mr Google !!!   But while I am waiting, I did find a new browser extension that I am rather fond of that solves my diacritical problem: Virtual Keyboard Interface 1.45. I just double-click in a text field and a keyboard pops-up:

Just double-click on a text field, say at Ancestry.com . Notice the virtual keyboard has a drop down (see “Polski“), so I could have picked Русский (for Russian) if I was entering Cyrillic characters into my family tree.

But I want to keep using my browser …            OK!  Now I used to prepare an MS Word document or maybe a Wordpad document with just the diacriticals I need (say Polish, Russian, and Hebrew) then I can cut & paste them from that editor into my browser or computer application as needed — a bit tedious and how did I create those diacritical characters anyway?

I use  Character Map in Windows and Character Palette -or- Keyboard Viewer  on the MAC:

Now if I use one of these Apps, then I can forgo the Wordpad document  ( of special chars. ) altogether and just copy / paste from these to generate my diacritical characters.

What I would like to see from web 2.0 pages and websites is what Logan Kleinwaks did on his WONDERFUL GenealogyIndexer.org website. Give us a keyboard widget like Logan’s, please ! What does a near perfect solution look like …

Logan has thoughtfully provided ENglish, HEbrew, POlish, HUngarian, ROmanian, DEutsche (German),  Slavic, and RUssian characters. Why is it only nearly perfect? Logan, may I please have a SHIFT (CAPITAL) key on the BKSP / ENTER line for uppercase characters? That’s it [I know it is probably a tedious bit of work to this].

Beyond ASCII ?

The title said  beyond Ascii. So is everything we have spoken about. Ascii is a standard that is essentially a typewriter keyboard,  plus the extra keys (ex. Backspace, Enter, Ctrl-F, etc.) that do special things on a computer. So what is beyond Ascii? Hebrew characters (), Chinese/Japanese  glyphs (串), Cyrillic (Я), Polish slashed-L (Ł), or Dingbats (❦ – Floral Heart). You can now enter of these beyond ascii characters (UNICODE)  in any program with the above suggestions.

Programmer Jargon – others  proceed with caution …

The above are all UNICODE character sets.  UTF-8 can encode all of the UNICODE characters (1.1 Million so far) in nice and easy 8bit bytes (called octets — this is why UTF-8 is not concerned with big/little endianess). In fact, UTF-8‘s first 128 characters is an exact 1:1 mapping of ASCII making ascii a valid UNICODE characters set. In fact, more than half of all web pages out on the WWW (‘Net) are encoded with UTF-8. Makes sense that our gedcom files are too! In fact UTF-8 can have that byte-order-mark (BOM) at the front of our gedcom or not and it is still UTF-8. In fact the UTF-8 standard prefers there be no byte order mark [see Chapter 2 of UNICODE] at the beginning of a file. So please FamilySearch remove the BOM from the GEDCOM standard.

If FamilySearch properly defines the newline character in the gedcom grammar [see Chapter 5, specifically 5.8 of UNICODE] then there is nothing in the HEAD tag that would be unreadable to a program written in say Java (which is UTF-16 capable to represent any character U+0000 to U+FFFF) unless there is an invalid character which then makes the gedcom invalid. Every character in the HEAD tag is actually defined within 8bit ascii which can be read by UTF-8 and since UTF-8 can read all UNICODE encodings you could use any computer language that is at least UTF-8  compliant to read/parse the HEAD tag (which has the CHAR tag and its value that defines the character set). Everything in the HEAD tag, with the exception of the BOM is within the 8bit  ascii character set. Using UTF-8 as a default encoding to read the HEAD will work even if there is a BOM.

February 27, 2012

#PA #Genealogy – Access To Vital Statistics — Public Access, Privacy Law, PA Act 110, SB 361

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

PA Act 110 – Public Records (formerly known as Senate Bill 361)

This bill amends the Act of June 29, 1953 (P.L. 304, No. 66), known as the Vital Statistics Law of 1953, to provide for public access to certain birth and death certificates after a fixed amount of time has passed. This legislation provides that such documents become public records 105 years after the date of birth or 50 years after the date of death.

This is a mixed bag, but at least its consistent. I wish it was 72 years  (like the census) instead of 105. Also the 50 years after death is way too long. Dead is dead. Maybe you could make a case for 5-10 years. By doing greater than 30-35 years you are forcing genealogy research to skip generations since the current generation would die before gaining access. Genealogists will have to will research plans to children in PA.

The indexes (I hate the word indices) are here: Birth Index (1906 — so far that’s it) | Death Index (1906-1961).   By the way, you will need the American Soundex of the last name as this is how the records are sorted:  American Soundex of Surname, followed by alphabetical on FirstName. Use Steve Morse’s Soundex One-Step page.

February 19, 2012

Meme: #RootsTech — #Genealogy, #Technology

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

A while ago, Stanczyk bemoaned iOS5. Therefore, I owe it an update …

  • Portable Genealogy is sound – Ancestry App better than ever
  • The Camera App in iOS5 does have a zoom. In fact if you use the familiar “pinch-gesture” you can zoom in/out and the old zoom slider appears too. Also you can use the Volume Up button (on the side of the phone to take a picture — helpful when the camera is rotated.
  • Just having the iPhone was very useful during the #RootsTech conference as my note taking device. Until iPad2(3) arrived(s) and it has both WiFi/G3 (LTE) I would have been without blogging capabilities in the Salt Palace convention center when its WiFi would go down. I utilized the #RootsTech App (for iPhone & there was one for Android too).
  • In the library it was my digital  camera.
  • In fact the ImageToText App came in handy to OCR an image of text for me
  • I used the Ancestry App to enter the transcribed text from the microfilm images right into the evidence (note area) of the app of an indivividual and attached the iPhone picture too.
  • In one case, I was able to get an immediate shaky leaf as a result of my data entry — much to my disbelief (and it was correct). So I could do an immediate on-site analysis and do further microfilm searching as a result.
  • I used the Bump App to swap contact info with one genealogist. I cannot wait until all genealogists become mobile-enabled and lose my business cards altogether. Hint to RootsTech Vendors you should use Bumps too to collect user info. Why do I have to drop a business card into a fishbowl??? Do a BUMP,  get a chotsky (swag). Leave the fishbowl for  the Luddites.
  • Are you a Slavic (Czech, Pole, Russian, etc.) genealogist? Then you must be dying for diacriticals. You could add an international keyboard. But why? In iOS5, just press and hold down the ‘ l ‘ key and up will come a list including the slashed-l. Just slide your finger over onto the slashed-l to enter that. Likewise, for entering ‘S, E, A, Z, C, N, etc.’ too — works upper/lower case. Of course if you have German ancestors, you can get your umlauts too in the same fashion. That trick is a Latin Alphabet data entry trick (sorry Cyrillic or Hebrew readers — try the International Keyboard trick).
February 16, 2012

1940 US Census – Blank Forms — #Genealogy, #US, #Census

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Legacy Family Tree has release blank US Census Forms (page1 | page2) for the 1940 US Census. April 2nd is coming, are you prepared? Is Ancestry.com prepared?

At #RootsTech 2012, the 3rd keynote was an Ancestry talking-head panel. They joked about whether the website could withstand the crush on April 2nd. Let’s see how this experiment goes.

This is the first US Census to be released in an all digital format.

 

February 16, 2012

GEDCOM “RailRoad Tracks” (aka Graphic Syntax Diagram) – #Genealogy, #Technology

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

The above diagram is what Stanczyk had been jabbering about since the #RootsTech conference. Isn’t that much easier on the eyes and the grey matter than a complex UML diagram? Who even knows what a UML diagram is or if it is correct or not?

What does it say is in a GEDCOM file (ex.  Eliasz.ged)?

A HEAD tag  optionally followed by a SUBmissioN Record followed by 1 or more GEDCOM lines followed by a TRLR tag.

ex. gedcom lines  that can be “traced” along the railroad tracks at the top.

 0 HEAD
 1 SOUR Stanczyk_Software
 1 SUBM @1@
 1 GEDC
 2 VERS   5.5.1
 2 FORM  LINEAGE-LINKED
 1 CHAR  UNICODE
 0 @1@ SUBM
 ...
 0 TRLR

OK Stanczyk_Software does not exist, but was made up as a fictitious valid SOURce System Identifier name. The GEDCOM file (*.ged) is a text file and you can view/edit the file with any text editor (vi | NotePad | WordPad | etc.). I do not recommend editing your gedcom outside of your family tree software, but there is certainly nothing stopping you from doing that ( DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME). If you knew gedcom, you could correct those erroneous/buggy gedcom statements that are generated by so many programs — that cause poor Dallan Quass to ONLY acheive 94% compatibility with his GEDCOM parser.

Have you ever downloaded your gedcom from ANCESTRY and then uploaded it to RootsWeb? Then you might see all those crazy _APID  tags.   It is a custom tag (since it begins with an underscore  — GEDCOM rules dear boy/girl).   It really messed up my RootsWeb pages with gobbledygook. I finally decided to edit one gedcom and remove all of the _APID tags before I uploaded the file to RootsWeb. Aaah that is SO much better on the eyes. Oh I probably do not want to re-upload the edited gedcom into ANCESTRY, but at least my RootsWeb pages are so much better!   The _APID is just a custom tag for ANCESTRY (who knows what they do with it) so to appeal to my sense of aesthetics, I just removed them — no impact on the RootsWeb pages, other than improved readability. [If you try this, make a backup copy of the gedcom and edit the backup copy!]

Now obviously the above graphic syntax diagram is not complete. It needs to be resolved to a very low level of detail such that all valid GEDCOM lines can be traced. It also requires me/you to add in some definitional things (like exactly what is a level# — you know those numbers at the beginning of each line).

I have a somewhat mid-level  graphic syntax diagram that I generated using an Open Source (i.e. free) graphic syntax diagrammer, as I said in one my comments, I will send it to whoever asks (already sent it to Ryan Heaton & Tamura Jones). You can get a copy of Ryan Heaton’s presentation from RootsTech 2012 and compare it to his UML diagram (an object model). I think you will quickly realize that you cannot see how GEDCOM relates to the UML diagram — therefore it is difficult to ask questions or make suggestions. A skilled data architect/data modeler or a high-level object-oriented programmer could make the comparison and intuit what FamilySearch is proposing, but a genealogist without those technical skills could NOT.

I am truly asking the question, “Can a genealogist without a computer science degree or job read the above diagram?” and trace with his finger a valid path of correct GEDCOM syntax [ assuming a whole set of diagrams were published]. The idea is to see how the GEDCOM LINES (in v5.5.1 parlance FAMILY_RECORD, INDIVIDUAL_RECORD, SOURCE_RECORD, etc.) are defined and whether or not what FamilySearch is proposing something complete/usable and that advances the capabilities of the current generation of software without causing incompatibilities (ruining poor Dallan Quass’s 94% achievement). Will it finally allow us to move the images/audio/video multimedia types along with the textual portion of our family trees and keep those digital  objects connected to the correct people when moving between software programs?

 

GEDCOM files are like pictures of our beloved ancestors. They live on many years beyond those that created them. Let’s not lose any of them OK?

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