Archive for ‘Internet’

March 18, 2013

Waiting For Polish Archives 2.4 M Scans …

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

PTG_Metryk_SwietoKrzyskie - genealodzy.pl

Stanczyk reported on 11 February 2013 , that the Polish Archives would be posting 2.4 Million scans of church/synagogue metric books on the Internet. The first phase which is due to be complete in March (this month) does not include any scans from Kielce Archive, which means that there will not be metric book scans of my ancestors in the first phase (Let’s be hopeful for something in June).

Well what can you do if your ancestors are from SwietoKrzyskie (the area from the old wojewodztwo Kielce)?

The website genealodzy.pl (polish website – some English user interface available) has a project called the Metryk project. Their Genealogical Society’s members are scanning metryk records from churches/synagogues. Once the scans are in place, they then index the image into their Geneszukacz databases that are searchable by Name, Event Type (B/M/D), Place. So you have two options Search Geneszukacz by index or scan the available images in Metryk (images are of Latin, Polish, or Russian language church records).

So what is available for SwietoKrzyskie? That information is shown in the above image. For this jester, I go to Buski (aka Busko-Zdroj).  There are, as of March 18th, 2013 a total of five parishes that have some scanned records (metryk / aktow).

PTG_Metryk_SK_Buski

You can see the five parishes in the image are:

Biechow,  Busko-Zdroj,  Dobrowoda, Gnojno,  Zborowek.

The right most column gives the years for which there are scanned records. For my research, Biechow and Zborowek were the most helpful. What I noticed was the Biechow images were much better than the images that the LDS had microfilmed. See my inventory of Biechow  records blog article (19 July 2011).

In fact, I was able to read some records better than previously and correct some of my translations. By the way, if you are researching the same area as Stanczyk, then just click on the Powiat buski image and it will take you to the genealody.pl website for that Buski powiat. So whether you have seen these images before or not, I would encourage you to look again at these quality images in the Metryk Project.

Hey PTG, can you guys PLEASE scan and index: Pacanow,  Swiniary,  Szczucin, and Stopnica parishes too?

I hope the Polish National Archives will be scanning records in the Kielce Archive for June proszę (please)?

March 1, 2013

Thinking About @Ancestrydotcom ‘s GEDCOM — #Genealogy, #GEDCOM

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

GorillaFamilyTreeAncestry.com (Twitter: @Ancestrydotcom ) is the proverbial 800 lb (362.87 kg) gorilla in the genealogical archive. You cannot miss him — mostly he’s lovable. So today after you read this blog post, Stanczyk wants you to tweet at him (see Twitter link above). I am hoping the big ape will make some improvements to their software. Hint .. Hint !

A couple of days ago (25-Feb-2013), I ran my PERL program against the GEDCOM file I exported from my family tree on Ancestry.com ‘s  website. That tree, the RootsWeb tree, and this blog are Stanczyk’s main tools for collaboration with near and distant cousin-genealogists (2nd cousins, 3rd, 4th, 5th cousins — all are welcome).

Quick Facts —

  1. No invalid tags  - Good
  2. Five custom tags – Also Good
  3. CHAR tag misused – ANSI [not good]
  4. My Ancestry Family Tree uses diacriticals: ą ć ę ł ń ó ś ź ż   in proper nouns [not good]
  5. Phantom Notes ??? [really not good]

So, Mr. Ancestry (sir) can you please fix #’s 3, 4, and 5, please?

CHAR -  I think Ancestry should use what is in the standards: ANSEL | UTF-8 | UNICODE | ASCII . I think this is easily do-able (even if all you do is just substitute ASCII).

This is not a picayune, nit-picky, persnickety, or snarky complaint. In fact, it leads right into the next problem (#4 above). Not only does Ancestry export the GEDCOM file as “ANSI”, it strips out my diacriticals too (as a result?). So now I have potentially lost valuable information from my research. For Slavic researchers, these diacriticals can be vital to finding an ancestor as they guide how original name was pronounced and how it might have been misspelled or mistranscribed in the many databases. Without the diacriticals that vital link is lost.

The last criticism is an insidious problem. Every time I exported the GEDCOM, I would get a note on one person in the tree. I would carefully craft the note on Ancestry, but what I received in the GEDCOM file downloaded would be different ???

I reported the problem to no avail and no response. This is not very good for an 800 lb gorilla.

Digging Deeper

I have since gone on to do some experiments and the results may astound you (or not). I copied the NOTE I was getting in my GEDCOM and saved it off to a text file, perplexed as to where it came from, since it was not the NOTE I was editing on Ancestry??? Now I did something bold. I deleted the note from that person on Ancestry and then downloaded the GEDCOM file again. Do you what I got? Wrong! I did not get my carefully crafted NOTE, I got yet another NOTE. I copied that note’s text and repeated my process of deleting the note and downloading the GEDCOM file a 3rd time. This time when I edited my GEDCOM file, I found MY note!!! But where/how did the other two notes come about? Why were there three notes? Why could I see and edit the 3rd note, but only get the first note when I downloaded the GEDCOM file? How did notes 2 & 3 get there? Why did I not get all three notes when I downloaded the GEDCOM? All good questions that I have no answer to. My suspicion is that Ancestry should not allow more than one EDITOR on a tree, other contributors should only be allowed to comment or maybe provide an ability to leave sticky-notes on a person [that does not go into a GEDCOM file]. I do not think the notes were created by their mobile app since I always saw my NOTE (and not the other two notes). I am chalking this up to an Ancestry.com bug and urging others who see strange things in their notes to take deliberate steps to unravel their notes. I hope Ancestry will fix this and let people know. I hope they fix all of items #’s: 3, 4, and 5.

So, my dear readers, I am asking you to tweet to Ancestry (as I will too) and  ask them for bug fixes. Perhaps if enough people tweet at @Ancestrydotcom, they will respond and not give us the cold  gorilla shoulder.

February 27, 2013

RootsTech 2013 — #Genealogy, #Conference, #Technology, #Apps

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

RootsTech.org is a genealogy conference that combines two of my passions: Genealogy (Roots) and Technology (Tech). Stanczyk went to last year’s conference and was impressed!

It is a Family Search International conference and is based in Salt Lake City at the Salt Palace Convention Center, not far from the Family History Library. It is a 3-day conference with a wide variety of topics covered. The dates for 2013 are: 21-March-2013  -  23-March-2013 (THU, FRI, SAT).

RootsTech2013

This jester thinks that last year was a better year, judging by the sessions that are planned for 2013 as compared to what sessions were done in 2012. However, the 2013 exhibitors seems to shaping up to be much better (they say 40% more).

The smartphone Apps were released:  25-Feb-2013.  So for those mobile genealogists, gear up by clicking on the following links:

Its a universal app (meaning it works on both iPhone and iPad).

The conference hall is wonderful and the people putting on the conference have conferences down pat. The logistics of this genealogy conference are well thought out.

February 25, 2013

Thinking About Gedcom — #Meme, #Genealogy, #RootsTech

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk has been thinking about GEDCOM a lot these days. As you may know, GEDCOM is the de facto standard format for a genealogical family tree file, in order for it to be shared amongst the many genealogical software programs / websites / apps. Most genealogy programs still use their own proprietary format for storing data but will import / export the data in the GEDCOM standard for you to exchange data with another program or genealogist.

Did you catch the phrase ‘de facto standard’ ? OK it is NOT an open standard maintained by ISO or ANSI standards organizations. But it is widely supported and in fact you should NOT buy or use software that does not support the export and import of GEDCOM files!

Well we are coming up on RootsTech 2013 and my mind is turning back to the technical part of genealogy again!

Today’s blog is about the GEDCOM used by Ancestry.com. Were you aware that you can export your family tree from Ancestry.com? You can by selecting/clicking on ‘Tree Settings‘ under the ‘Tree pages‘ drop down menu (Tree Settings will be the second from the bottom in the menu list). If you click on ‘Tree Settings’ you will see a screen similar to:

ANCESTRY_TreeSettings

Notice that after you click on the ‘Export tree‘ button, that you get a new button named, ‘Download your GEDCOM file‘  in that same place.

In all likelihood if you click on the  ‘Download your GEDCOM file‘ button you will get a file in your Downloads directory on your local hard drive. It will have a name of:

<your-family-tree-name>.GED

Now the phrase ‘<your-family-tree-name>’  will actually be something like ‘Eliasz Family Tree.GED’ . So your Downloads directory will have a similar named file (complete with blanks in the file name). The size of the file will be dependent on how many individuals, families, sources, etc. that you have recorded in your family tree. Figure on a file size of 2MB for about 1,100 people.

Now this file you just downloaded from Ancestry.com is really just a plain text file with a set of standardized ‘tags’ defined by the GEDCOM standard. Software vendors are free to define their own custom tags too. Although CUSTOM tags must begin with an underscore (‘_’). I was curious as to how well Ancestry.com implements/adheres to the GEDCOM standard, so I wrote a little program (in PERL for you programmer types) to analyze my GEDCOM file that I just downloaded.

ReadGedcom_ANCESTRY

My program, read_gedcom.pl, spits out a slew stats about the GEDCOM including the tags used. As you may be able to see from the screenshot, there sorted at the end were 5 custom tags:

_APID,  _FREL,  _MILT,  _MREL,  _ORIG

These names do not have any meaning except to Ancestry.com and their website’s program(s). What you also see are that in 48,538 lines (in the GEDCOM file downloaded), that 5,158 lines have one of these five custom tags. Normally, I will just ignore these tags and import the GEDCOM file into my laptop’s genealogy software (REUNION, RootsMagic, PAF, etc.) and let that software ignore these non-understandable tags and within seconds I have my Ancestry.com family tree imported in to my computer’s genealogy software. That is fine  – no problems.

But what do you think happens you if turn right around and upload that GEDCOM file into your RootsWeb family tree? If you use RootsWeb, then you know you get a LOT of _APID notes across all of your ancestors and sometimes, if you have many facts/citations for any ancestor, then the RootsWeb page for him/her will be horribly marred by all of these _APID tags!

TIP

Remember I said the GEDCOM file is a TEXT file. As such it can be edited by whatever your favorite text editor that you use. If your editor does global search/replace, then you can easily remove these CUSTOM tags (_APID, etc.). That will make your RootsWeb family tree individual pages look MUCH better.

Now I know what you are thinking. Do NOT go editing your GEDCOM file!  I agree.  Make a copy of your GEDCOM file and edit the copy of the downloaded GEDCOM file to remove the lines with ‘_APID’ on them. You can remove all custom tags, but I just bother with the _APID which are so irksome. If your editor can remove the lines with ‘_APID’ then that is what you should do. But if all your editor can do is replace the lines that have _APID on them with a blank line then that is OK too. Make those edits and save the edited (copy) file.  The blank lines seem to be ignored by RootsWeb – thank goodness.

Now you can upload the edited file, with the _APID custom tags removed to RootsWeb and your family tree will again look the way it used to before,  without these irksome custom tags.

Next time I will tell you what I found when I looked closely at what ANCESTRY.com was putting into the downloaded GEDCOM file.

February 11, 2013

Polish National Archives to post 2.4 Million Historic Church Records — #Genealogy

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk ‘s position has been overrun! I was trying to write a blog, but the course of events has been running at EXTREME Internet speed so much of this blog post may be “old news” to you — but in case its not, this is very exciting news!

NAC Scanning 2.4 Million RecordsAccording to a Polish website (The National Digital Library of Poland) …

URL: http://nac.gov.pl/node/682

  • By mid-year (2013), they plan to digitize 2.3 Million  historical  (>100 years old) vital records.
  • This will happen in two phases: March,  June
  • This PDF file (see link) lists 40 pages vital records from MANY parishes (a few synagogues too):
  • It appears the plan is to digitize about 1.37 Million records by March and the remainder (another 1 Milliion) by the end of June.

These are actual church record images! I hope they plan on digitizing records from the Kielce Archive (please do PACANOW, BIECHOW, SWINIARY, BESZOWA, ZBOROWEK, KSIAZNICE and STOPNICA parishes).

Can anyone detail the plans for JUNE yet? Unfortunately, the 1.37 Million records in March are NOT from the KIELCE archive or any parish where Stanczyk’s ancestors resided?

Do not forget about GENETEKA database in the meantime:

Thanks in advance for any answers from our genealogists resident in Poland!

January 26, 2013

RootsMagic iPhone/iPad App — #Genealogy #Software #Review, #RootsTech

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

RootsMagicAppThis jester has been a big proponent of Ubiquitous Genealogy – i.e. genealogy is portable and everywhere. I have used the Ancestry App for a long while and am well satisfied. They use a concept of synching the App with  your tree and their website. Now that the kinks are worked out, I am well satisfied. There are also MyHeritage and Heredis  Apps too. These do not synch over the “air”. You need to use your iTunes application on your desktop/laptop to move files into the App’s “sandbox” via synching your iPhone/iPad with the laptop/desktop over the iPhone/iPad cable. Tethered synching is ok but a hindrance.

Ok so the new App on the block is an offering called RootsMagic.   Stanczyk likes the Roots Magic laptop application as a full blown offering for working on your genealogy and documenting the tree and finding data on the Internet and keeping track of to-do lists, publishing your tree on CD/Web and all sorts of work that you do when your research spans years (or decades) – does anyone ever finish their genealogy? Its modern and uses Universal Character sets (so us Slavic Researchers can use our slashed Ł’s  or Cyrillic  Я’s) and other features that the Internet Genealogists have grown up with.  So I was hopeful when I received an email from Roots Magic touting their iOS offerings – Its free!

The App starts with the familiar Roots Magic splash screen that you may have grown accustomed to from the laptop application. You are then presented with a list of files from their sandbox (ugh, tethered synching). Once you select a file to work with, your family tree is presented in a Pedigree form (with three generations visible on iPhone/ four generations on iPad). At the top left is a green/white button with three lines (see image)  that will allow you to pick a particular person with whom you wish to work upon. At the bottom of the screen are four buttons:

Files,   Views,   Lists,   Tools

Files – Lets you select the family tree file you want to on from your Device or from DropBox (a cloud-based file storage service). It also has HELP (files??) which tell you how to use your Device or DropBox to get a file loaded into the App. Sadly,  the RootsMagic app does not read standard gedcom (ged)  files. It only reads files with rmgc extension (i.e. created by Roots Magic laptop application). However, it does load their database extremely fast from those rmgc files.

Views – Lets you choose to view the data in a PEDIGREE tree  or a FAMILY tree or in a DESCENDENTS outline  or in the detailed FACTS (events), NOTE, direct family members of the current INDIVIDUAL. I prefer working in FAMILY (as seen in image) view mode, then switching to INDIVIDUAL view mode for any details on that person. Clicking on NOTE really gives you access to NOTE(S), SOURCE(S), and MEDIA for that individual (and a BACK button at the top to return to INDIVIDUAL view mode).

Lists – This just gives a list of your: Sources, To-Dos, Research, Media, Addresses, Repositories, Correspondences, and PLACES. I liked places (which showed that this jester really needs to make his Places (Locations) conform to some kind of standard).

Tools – Date Calculator, Relationship Calculator, Soundex Calculator, and Calendar. Unimpressive to say the least. Lest you get your hope up, the Calendar tool only displays the Calendar for a Month/Year of your choice [I did not verify the Julian/Gregorian boundary to see if it calculates a proper month calendar for dates before 1582]. It was not worth the effort as I did not see why I would want to see what day  June 3rd, 1700 would fall on (Thursday) if you are eyes are young or your glasses are a good prescription to read the day name. Otherwise, you not notice the day names on an iPhone  [perhaps a black font, instead of gray, would give better contrast]. The Soundex is only American Soundex – why not Daitsch-Mokotoff or Bieder-Morse codes too? Really, we Slavic researchers get short shrift in the software world.  Never fear, just create a desktop icon of Steve Morse’s Soundex page to see all three Soundex/Pattern Matching methods for your family names.

iPad vs iPhone

For some reason the iPad interface treats the buttons (Files, Views, Lists, Tools) differently on the iPad. That was a bit confusing until I got used to the difference. Rotating the iPad to landscape, also brings the Surnames/Search view along side whatever view you are in. The Calendar is a bit easier to see on the iPad, but I’d still like to see the day name text in black (or at least a MUCH darker gray).

UbiquitousGenealogyThe app is strictly for viewing your family tree (et. al.). There are no tools for modifying the tree for re-import into the desktop application. Shortcomings aside, it is still a very good first effort by Roots Magic. If you have the Roots Magic laptop application, then download the free app for your smartphone or tablet and go Ubiquitous. If you do not have the Roots Magic laptop application and do not have a way to get your ged converted to Roots Magic format (rmgc) then do NOT bother to download the app – you will not be able to use it.

P.S.  Do you spell  “DESCENDENT”  – as  D-E-S-C-E-N-D-E-N-T   or    D-E-S-C-E-N-D-A-N-T ?  Both spellings are correct, but I guess I use “DESCENDANT” all of the time and so the Roots Magic use startled me.

I also would love to see the REUNION app (the Mac Software vendor) make their iOS App free or low-cost – then I’d review it here too. I am a BIG Apple eco-system fan and as such have used REUNION Mac software for a very LONG time. I would be remiss not to mention that REUNION App does exist, but its cost is a bit steep relative to the other iPhone genealogy APPs in this article.

October 2, 2012

Social Network Analysis – A Genealogical Tool — #Genealogy, #RootsTech

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Social Network Analysis has worked again!

This is a broad, umbrella-like, semantically overloaded term. In fact, this term is even known by aliases. GeneaBlogger, Thomas MacEntee, calls it “Cluster Genealogy“. Stanczyk calls it by a more modern term that immediately identifies and places this tool in a perfect context — Social Network Analysis (SNA for short). Both terms are defined by wikipedia pages — follow both links and decide for yourself what to call it, but whatever you call it, start using it in your genealogical research now!

Stanczyk has successfully used this technique three times now.

  • Used to determine siblings for my great-grandfather Jozef Elijasz of Pacanow
  • Inadvertent use in locating another line from  great-grandfather Tomasz Leszczynski
  • Whimsical Use on an Affiliated Family Name that exploded in multiple dimensions

This article and the next article where I elaborate the steps for the last one in the list is my third success.

The first two list items are from two earlier blog posts:

  1. Jozef Elijasz - Inferring unknown siblings from known siblings. A series of 3 articles.
  2. Jozef Fras – Son of Agnes Leszczynski. Proving this Leszczynski family was mine.

Happenstance Scenario

The third research opportunity was a happenstance fluke. To test my connection to Ancestry, I did an Immigration search on ‘ZWOLSKI’. This is one of the affiliated names from Poland for our Elijasz family branch. I also knew that some Zwolski came to America and were related to my great-grandfather’s sister, Pelagia. So I did an Immigration search and clicked on the Passenger List Ship Manifest for Jan Zwolski. A mere random selection of Zwolskich. He arrived in 1910 on the Lapland. Jan was not from Pacanow or as far as I could tell any nearby village of my ancestors. Finally, he was going to Jamaica, NY, also not a locale known for members of my family tree. So I figured that my Ancestry was working since I could see the ship manifest, but this random person was not a candidate  for entry into the family tree.

Now the real genealogy began. I looked down the ship manifest to see if anyone else with Jan was from a nearby ancestral village. Looking down the page I found plenty, so I decided to focus on those affiliated family names that I had researched before in my Pacanow Social Network Analysis (#1 on the list). I started with the first Pacanow resident, Francisek [sic] Luszcz. He was going to  a Teofil Zasucha at 1319 Falls street in Niagara Falls, NY. Now I got interested Zasucha is a big SNA family name and it is the maiden name of my 2nd great-grandmother, Anna Zasucha Elijasz. The location also tugged at a memory from my research. I had a great-aunt (Mary Elijasz) who arrived in the USA in 1910 to her brother Jan Elijasz from a brother-in-law, named Jan Leszczynski in Zborowek and she went to her brother who lived in Niagara Falls. Looking further down the page, I even found a Jan Eliasz from Zborowek (not my great-uncle, but surely deserves a place somewhere in my tree, though his branch is yet missing) and Jan was going to Syracuse (where some distant Elijasz resided and also another Elijasz affiliated family, the Kedzierski, one of whom did marry my great-uncle Jan Elijasz). Alas this Jan came from a wife Maryanna, not a Pelagia.

So I thought to check Ancestry’s City Directories for Teofil Zasucha in Niagara Falls and up popped a 1915 address. Teofil was now at 163 13th street in Niagara Falls (as are all addresses today). I thought to look-up my great aunt’s address from her ship manifest, she was going to her brother at 235  11th street. No match … except the city directory showed two other Zasucha living at 235  11th street in 1915. OK, I was now officially beginning a new SNA and recording my data (a necessary step in SNA).

One final note, further down the page in the city directory of ‘Z’ names was an Albert Zdziebko. Now Zdziebko are quite rare, but they too are from the Pacanow area (and they are related to the great genealogist, Ceil Wendt-Jensen, the current PARI director). So this was becoming a full fledged SNA project. My Pacanow SNA project had just moved across the Atlantic to  Niagara Falls, NY.

Summary

This article and the next one on SNA are about my third use of SNA in my genealogical research. SNA (or Cluster Genealogy) are techniques described in Wikipedia pages (see links above) or another article in my Post Scriptum below. The first two projects were wildly successful with limited data. I had other follow-on successes as a result because I had done those two SNA studies — for example at RootsTech 2012, I found an 1876 marriage record of  Walenty Paluch to Magdalena Major. Neither of these two people were in my family tree when I read their record in Russian (so you know I was committing time/effort on a whim). The Paluch and Major were affiliated names from my 1st SNA project so I decided on that basis alone to read the 1876 marriage record. What did I find? I found that the two people getting married were each a sibling of  two of my paternal great-grandparents in my tree! So I added this married couple to my family tree. SNA is a technique to increase your confidence level in your research to take a guess/hunch/assumption from that level of statistical probability (which is what 10-25% ??) to a level well above 50% maybe as high as 99%. While this may or may not pass muster for a Genealogical proof,  it is actually good enough for civil court (where you just have to prove just 51%, not the 100% required in criminal court). It may open up new lines of research you were unaware of,  that come back to help with your existing “brick-walls”.

Next

The next article will be the details of my SNA research and the results.

P.S. – Another post scriptum. Though I prefer the term Social Network Analysis, thus demonstrating my computer education/bias — I found a very early reference to the term Cluster Genealogy from March 1st, 1994 by a CG, named Connie Lenzen who published this article in National Geological Society Quarterly. Her goal was to develop a higher level of confidence in proving a female ancestor’s lineage when there is no certain paper trail to follow, but only indirect leads. You may want to read her article too. SNA has wide applicability in uncertain circumstances.

October 1, 2012

Ancestry App – New Release — #Genealogy, #RootsTech, #Mobile

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Ancestry has a version of their app out that supports the new iOS6/iPhone product release. Stanczyk, uses iOS6, so I took the plunge and upgraded.

The changes are really subtle. I am not certain whether I have seen them or not. The tree displays fast and it appears animated. Other displays changed subtly not much here, but all good. UPGRADE (click on image).

The image by the way lists the new features for version 4.0.2 (as well as previous release 4.0). Image as text.

Notice the snazzy new iTunes/App Store interface (a part of iOS6).

Stanczyk has been busy writing a new two-article blog post on my third success with the Social Network Analysis (aka Cluster Genealogy) technique. I hope to complete that soon. As it so often happens, an initial foray kept expanding as a result of the connections.

Watch this space !

 

 

P.S. October is Polish American Heritage Month.  Here is what the Polish American Center (Philadelphia) is doing … Don’t forget on Columbus Day to celebrate our native son . The book came out in Polish in May 2012 and has now  been translated into English — They are looking for a book publisher !!!

August 23, 2012

Rapes of Wrath – Tea Party War On Science — #Opinion, #Politics, #Science

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk is a STEM worker. What is STEM? STEM = Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (S.T.E.M.). OK, STEM is an acronym for an area of focus in business and also in education. We need STEM to have a viable growing economy that produces jobs again.

Do not misunderstand me, we also need business people (especially entrepreneurial types), writers of all stripes, lawyers, teachers, etc. The USA (and indeed every country in the world) is not a country of PRODUCERS and NON-PRODUCERS! It is not. We need every worker and we need everyone to be a specialist in something and to do that something to the best of his/her ability because we are all interconnected. A rising tide, raises all boats, not just the yachts. STEM will raise the tide.

So why do Congressmen like Todd Akin ["Legitimate Rape" and "Forcible Rape" dude] (and PAUL RYAN ["Forcible Rape" co-sponsor dude], Steve King (Iowa) ["No Rape If I Didn't See  It Happen and I have NEVER seen Rape By Incest or Statutory Rape" dude] try to redefine rape? Does anyone not understand the definition of rape? This is NOT an English class exercise — we do not need to rewrite English or Law. They also pretend that Doctors [presumably the medical kind] say there is a “magical” hormone that shuts down rape pregnancy — ignoring 10,000 years of history [Young Earth time frame -- or a few million year history for STEM workers].

Now these same kind of People deny the following science:  Biology (“Legitimate Rape”/”Forcible Rape” and magic hormones), Evolution, Climate Change/Global Warming, Economics [defying paying US Bills by a steadfast refusal to raise the debt ceiling which was routine until 2011 Tea Party Caucus], Environmental Science, Geology (except that related to Oil/Gas drilling),   Cutting NASA, Cutting NIH/CDC, etc.

It does NOT stop at STEM subjects. The Tea Party kooks try to rewrite history (“The founders were against slavery” ??? or the Barton faux-history book that said,  “Thomas Jefferson freed his slaves” — this is egregious to Polish Americans as well as African Americans, because it diminishes Taduesz Kosciuszko’s historical will where he left money to buy the freedom of Jefferson’s slaves — something that Jefferson did NOT honor. They have tried to rewrite Christian Holy Tradition by saying that Jesus was a Capitalist (an Ayn Rand Selfish Capitalist at that) and that he did not try to help the poor [ignoring the overturning of temple tables story, sermon on the mount, or camel/eye of the needle parable, prodigal son, etc.]. Most religious people would be deeply offended by them rewriting the Bible and calling it “The Conservative Bible”. [did they not finish the Bible? Read the last chapter of the last book, Revelations for why this is sacrilegious]  This intense rewriting of facts from science, to history, to religion is now flowing into US law, as they try to write laws based upon these “faulty/fake notions”.

There are other consequences too. Did you see BP Oil try to discredit scientists about the rate of oil flow from the blown up Gulf well? This is a consequence of the “anti science” attitude in congress. Blame the worker, the STEM worker, not the corporation-who-is-a-person-and-yet not-an-ethical-person-or-who-cannot-be-imprisoned-person. Science jobs, outside of government or academia are scarce.

If we do not create STEM jobs the economy will continue to falter. Worse yet, if we do not have science researchers/workers then the next pandemic will have far more than economic consequences — real lives will be lost. We are overdue on a pandemic (nearing 100 years since the last pandemic) and we are ensconced in a Great Recession. Perhaps we need more Paul Krugman (New Keynesian) economists or we need to start actually listening to them and creating laws to create jobs, not new definitions of Rape! Isn’t that what the present Congress was elected to do? Then why did they spend time on 40 Rape bills or how many Voter-Id bills the last two years? Wake up America and throw out the Tea Party Caucus who just want to make up their own set of facts nonsense rather than to actually work using REAL knowledge to solve REAL problems.

STEM workers are you listening (or reading) — I am calling you out? This November VOTE and fire Tea Party caucus people. They are easy to find:

  1. They are REDEFINING RAPE
  2. They are PLEDGED to an unelected NH man (Grover Norquist)
  3. They are pushing to EXCLUDE REGISTERED VOTERS — an American Right (not a privilege)

Anyone who made the pledge to NH  or sponsored laws for “Forcible Rape” or passed laws in 2/3 of the US States to exclude REGISTERED voters need to be voted out. Just Fire Them — Mitt Enjoys Firing People, maybe you should turn the tables on Mitt and Paul Ryan and Todd Akin and Steve King and just fire them.

P.S. My apologies for the temperament of my title’s literary allusion to John Steinbeck’s great novel, The Grapes of Wrath. His title came from the song/lyrics …

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the Grapes of
Wrath are stored;

Battle Hymn of the Republic, Julia Ward Howe 1861

August 18, 2012

Ancestry App 4.0 Released! #Genealogy, #RootsTech, #iPhone

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk sees the newest Ancestry.app is out.

Mostly I like it. The user interface is a radical departure, but mostly I like it. Your family trees will be updated and that takes some time. So I am guessing how the data is stored on their Servers changed too.

The tree view now allows for more ancestors to be viewed and you can switch back/ forth between only direct lineage ancestors and seeing siblings/cousins. It felt speedier too.

OK , I am still engaged. Keep the updates coming.

August 15, 2012

Ayn Rand – A Genealogical Examination

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

05 Feb 1905 Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum born (St. Petersburg, Russian Empire). She was the eldest of the three daughters of Zinovy Zakharovich Rosenbaum and Anna Borisovna (nee Kaplan) Rosenbaum. Zinov’yevna = daughter of Zinovy. This is a Jewish Patronymic form. While she was born into Czarist Russian Empire and by this time Jews were forced to have permanent last names (i.e. Rosenbaum), you can still see Jewish patronymic tradition evidenced in her name. Likewise her father Zinovy has for a middle name a Patronymic indicating his father was probably named: Zakhar (the ‘ovich’ indicating son of) and her mother’s father would have been named Boris. So the names illustrate the Jewish patrilineal culture.

1921-1925 (or possibly even into January of 1926). Alisa Rosenbaum (aka Ayn Rand) was in an affair with a Jewish man upon whom she cheats on, by having an affair with a Communist soldier/bureaucrat. The belligerence and angry behavior in ending the affair with the Communist by Alisa endangers her and her family’s lives. This era is the topic of her first book published in America, We The Living (published 1936). Ayn Rand is herself was quoted saying …

We the Living is as near to an autobiography as I will ever write.–Ayn Rand

27 Jan 1926 Alisa Rosenbaum is in Riga getting her Russian passport for travel to US. She departs Leningrad (aka St Petersburg / Petrograd) on that date going to Le Havre, France (onto USA).

19-Feb-1926 Alice Rosenbaum  arrives in New York City, NY on board the SS De Grasse her Atlantic passage was in a Cabin (not Steerage or 3rd class). The ship manifest says she arrives from her father Sinovy Rosenbaum [who lived at Dmitrowski 16, apt 5 in Leningrad] with $50 in cash and later on she said to have had a beat-up typewriter with her on the trip. Upon arriving, she goes to her uncle Harry Portnoy in Chicago, IL.

She lives with her aunt/uncle in Chicago from February through August and arrives in Hollywood, CA on September 3rd 1926.

1927 Alice meets Frank O’Connor a budding actor on Cecil B deMille set of King of Kings (both were   extras). Alice tripped Frank on the set to get him to notice her. In June, de Mille hires Rand as a junior screen writer.

15 Apr 1929  Los Angeles California. Charles Francis O’Connor marries Alice Rosenbaum. Rand is working in wardrobe at RKO.

1 Apr 1930 Alice O’Connor (wife of Charles F. O’Connor) was married in 1929. According to the 1930 US Census, she is an actor in motion pictures. Alice (aka Ayn) lives at 823 North Gower Ave, Los Angeles, CA.

13 Mar 1931 Alice O’Connor is granted US Citizenship. She had applied for citizenship on 1st-Dec-1930. She had used the Cable Act (1922) to avoid filing a Declaration of Intent. Marriage date is confirmed and a specific location is given.

1932 Rand’s Red Pawn is sold to Universal Pictures.

1934 Her first play (Woman on Trial) opens in Hollywood in October. In November, the O’Connors move back to New York City.

16 Sep 1935 Night of January 16th (formerly, Woman on Trial) opens on Broadway. Frank O’Connor (her actor/artist husband) plays a part in the play. The play was considered a success.

18 Apr 1936 We The Living is published. See quote above for how this book is autobiographical of her life under Communist Russia. The book was a bust.  The publisher destroyed the plates for a reprint — so even after Ayn Rand becomes a popular author this work could not be reproduced. It was  Ayn Rand’s first novel. Like most first novels, it was rejected by a slew of publishers. Macmillan Company did pick it up and publish the work. They only printed  3,000 copies. When reviews were bad  and sales were weak, Macmillan destroyed the type. After Rand achieved success as an author with her later novels, a revised edition of We the Living  was republished.

Early 1939 Rand receives her last communication from her family in Communist Russia.

April 1940 The O’Connors are recorded in the US Census living at 95 East 89th Street. Frank is an actor and Ayn is a writer (novelist & playwright). Ayn works on Wendell Willkie Presidential campaign.

8 May 1943 Ayn gets Fountainhead published. This fictional work is a success. Architects like her for her fictional depiction as a kind of idealized male who was an architect. In November, the O’Connors move back to California so that Ayn can work on the Fountainhead screenplay. This is their second California era.

1944-1957 Ayn Rand works on writing her magnum opus Atlas Shrugged. Atlas Shrugged is an 1168 page dystopian sci-fi drama that takes her Objectivist kernel from Fountainhead and explores it full force Atlas Shrugged including a 60 page speech by John Galt.

Alan Greenspan, who is a part of the “Collective” consults with Rand on the economics concepts in Atlas Shrugged.

1945  Frank Lloyd Wrights hosts Ayn at his Taliesin East studio (WI) as Fountainhead hits #6 on NYT Bestseller List.

1948 Nathaniel Blumenthal (later Branden) meets Barbara Weidman who are Fountainhead fans. They would later marry. Barbara introduces Nathaniel to her ex-boyfriend Wilford Schwartz and her cousin Leonard Peikoff. Later these become a part of the Collective.

Spring/Summer 1950 Blumenthal/Weidman visit Rand and O’Connor after numerous letter by Blumenthal to Rand and an exchange of phone numbers. The two couples become close friends.

Summer 1951 Blumenthal/Weidman move to New York City to finish their studies at New York University. By October, the O’Connors move back to New York City ending their second era in California. The Collective (an ironic name) of Rand followers formed at this time. These along with Alan Greenspan (future Fed Chairman) form the “Collective”. Frank O’Connor plays host to these young intellectuals who are led by his wife Ayn.

January 1953 Blumenthal/Weidman get married and Rand/O’Connor are the matron of honor and best man at the wedding. They are now the BRANDENS.

By January 1955 Nathaniel Branden and Ayn Rand (the original cougar who is 25 years older than Branden) begin a sexual relationship on top of their friendship and intellectual pursuits.

10 October 1957 After 14 years of writing, Atlas Shrugged is published and the dedication reads, “To Frank O’Connor and Nathaniel Branden”. At first Atlas Shurgged is panned by critics. On October 13th the NYT review is published. Alan Greenspan critiques the reviewer  in the November 3rd NYT letters page.

Background / Asides about 1950′s

An enthralling piece by Bill Bradford on Alan Greenspan and Ayn Rand with insights on the Collective is found here:

http://www.adabyron.net/taemag_com_greenspan.htm

The material supplied by the Brandens with an excellent timeline whose essential points were echoed above by Bradford (who interviewed the Collective over many hours). This whole Passion Drama with who is sleeping with whom and betraying whom is a big mess requiring a scorecard, that can be found here:

http://www.noblesoul.com/orc/bio/brandens.html

A FAQ on Ayn Rand thoughts on the many topics make the many tales above appear in context and are found at the Objectivist Reference Center here:

http://www.noblesoul.com/orc/bio/biofaq.html

A stunning Mike Wallace interview from 1959 is on the Internet in a few places (in two parts). His interview can be found here:

http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2012/04/mike-wallace-interviews-ayn-rand-1959/

In the above interview, she predicts the US will fall and become a dictatorship. Thankfully, 53 years later this bleak prophecy has never come true.

1st Jan 1961 There is also a 30+ minute interview at the University of Michigan, with James McConnell where she lays outs her philosophy. It is a focal point for many of the critical points I make and can be  found here:

http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/Ay

After the 1950′s end Rand is partners with the Collective including the Brandens; They publish the Objectivist newsletter and NBI Lectures on audio tapes. Ironically,  in the midst of these sordid affairs detailed at the many links above, Rand’s essay collection The Virtue of Selfishness is published. It includes articles written by Nathaniel Branden.  But the complexities of these liaisons soon begin to unravel. The unraveling continues throughout the 1960′s until November of 1970 when Ayn Rand republishes The Virtue of Selfishness  with her repudiation of the Brandens, but leaving in Nathaniel Branden’s essays. She yells at Nathaniel Branden, slaps him multiple times in one meeting, curses him with impotency , makes allegations of financial impropriety, finally closing NBI and firing the Brandens . She continues just publishing the newsletter by herself with other junior members.

1970′s Throughout the 1970′s Rand’s writings and her involvement in Objectivism decline.

1974 At the age of 69, after years of heavy smoking Ayn Rand requires surgery for lung cancer. She had started her Social Security benefits and Medicare insurance to cover her real costs of her smoking.

1976 Rand stops her writing for good.

9 Nov 1979 Frank O’Connor (you remember Ayn Rand’s husband) dies. He is buried in Kensico cemetery, Vahalla NY. Frank’s marriage to Ayn Rand had amazenly lasted 50 years amidst all the turmoil. Frank is listed in Social Security Death Database — which just to make plain to non-genealogists means he collected Social Security checks too.

6 Mar 1982 Ayn Rand dies and is buried with her husband Frank O’Connor in Kensico cemetery. You can view their tombstone at Find-A-Gravehttp://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=35266557 .

Next … Ayn Rand vs Objectivism & The Critique

P.S. I have the following genealogical documents that I found in the course of my research:

  1. Alice Rosenbaum (aka Ayn Rand, Alice O’Connor, Ayn Rand O’Connor) 1926 Ship Manifest also see above.
  2. 1930 US Census (Los Angeles, CA @ 823 North Gower Street (matches 1930 US Census, confirms marriage date)
  3. 13 March 1931 Petition For Naturalization & Certificate of Arrival.  The Certificate of Arrival is interesting as it does NOT reference the Ship Manifest and the Petition says the 1922 Cable Act eliminated her requirement for filing a Declaration of Intent. It includes her signature as Alice O’Connor.
  4. 1940 US Census
  5. Ancestry.com SSN Death Master details for Ayn Rand’s social security.

If anyone wants one of these I can email the image or the URL.

August 8, 2012

Family Search Indexing New Project Ohio Naturalizations — #Genealogy, #Ohio, #Naturalization

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

I am a frequent genealogy volunteer. Today, on Twitter, Family Search Indexing (@FamilySearchInd) announced a new project for Ohio Naturalizations. Since this jester has family from Cleveland (Elijasz and affiliated families i.e. Hajek) and also from Toledo (Eliasz, Sobieszczanski/Sobb, Mylek, etc.) I thought I’d pitch in some in hopes that I or some other volunteer would help by indexing my ancestor’s data.

The images for this collection are very helpful for index cards. They have a lot of info (more than we indexers are allowed to collect by the application). So look for this collection to be posted in the near future. I seemed to have had a batch of 20 mostly Italian-Americans (one German, one Brit). All last names began with ‘Pic*’. So if you have Italian ancestors from Cleveland, Cuyahoga, OH who were naturalized there and their names start with PIC, then you are about to be very happy.

 

–Stanczyk

 

August 7, 2012

1940 US Census Indexing Is Complete — #Genealogy, #Census, #1940

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

OK, Ancestry.com completed their indexing of the 1940 US Census and fast on their heels, FamilySearch.org also completed theirs — Stanczyk is not aware of the status of other 1940 Census providers’ status.

Prior To The Index

Prior to the indexes, I used Dr Stephen Morse’s One-Step website to figure out which Enumerated District (ED) I need to search sequentially, image-by-image. With most ED’s being between 35-50 images, this was not overly taxing and it yielded excellent results — after a week I had most of the people I most wanted to find.

State indexes rolled out, a few at a time. I found other high value targets in my index searches. Now that indexing is complete, I had thought to find the last few stragglers. I found some indexes as their was supposed to be in places that I had not suspected and hence the ED search did not yield them to me. A few had names that were slightly off in their transcription but none-the-less were easily findable. Some I had to get creative on imaging misspelling or mis-transcribing and I found a handful more.

I hope others did as I did in blazing my trail. When I found a badly indexed name, I used Ancestry.com’s View/Add Alternative Info. So when I finally found my Aunt Kitty (Catherine Eliasz, now married and a Perinoff), who was born as Casimiera Elijasz, but always used Catherine Eliasz in my lifetime. I entered the mis-transcribed name correctly so that other genealogists after me would be able to find my aunt Kitty more easily (and as a bonus they would also find me too).

Where’s Aunt Alice?

So, where is my Aunt Alice? I had correctly anticipated that both my aunt Alice (the eldest) and Catherine (2nd eldest) would be married and I knew the husband’s name. As you see I found my aunt Kitty. But my best efforts at locating my Aunt Alice have failed. I tried using only her first name or only the last name. I tried by other data points I knew (Detroit, MI, USA — I kept broadening the search, even though I “knew” she was in Detroit). I tried locating a woman living in Detroit born in 1910 +/- 1 year (then 2 and 5 years) who was born in Poland (and Russia, just in case they still referenced Russian-Poland partition in that way). No luck !!! I tried searching for her fist husband — not found either ??  So I tried locating her second husband — no luck, he was still single living at home with his parents. No Alice and no first husband — could they have been missed?

The Missing

So here is my list of most sought after ancestors: Aunt Alice (nee Eliasz), could be listed as some corrupted version of EPPERLY (although I tried a combination of this I could think of). My mother’s sister Helen McLean. My dad’s cousins: Emil Leszczynski, Stephen/Matthew/Stanley Sobieszczanski. I thought I would find Emil. I was prepared to find him living away at college (law school) — no luck. As for the Sobieszczanski boys I was surprised, that outside of their brother Henry, I could find none. Perhaps the three are in the US military — after all I had another uncle that served in the US Navy 1935-1938.

How about you? Do you have any AWOL ancestors from the 1940 Census too? Drop me a line (comment or email).

July 28, 2012

What Is Your Social IQ ?

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Blogger
Facebook
Flickr
Flipboard
FourSquare
Google+
iReddit
Klout
LinkedIn
Meetup
Pinterest
Skype
Stumble Upon
Tumblr
Twitter
Wordpress

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Match the App icon (on the left) to the App Name on  right.
  2. Which 3 Apps are for writing blogs (micro-blogging does not count)?
  3. How many Apps from the list have you ever used?

Answers:

1. 1 pt for each correct Apps matched with its name (answer page 7/28/2012)

2. Blogger, Tumblr, and WordPress [2 pts for each one you got]

3.  1-4  = 1 pt;   5-8 = 2 pts;    9-12 = 3 pts;   12+ = 4 pts

Perfect Score: 26:  You must be a social genius

17-25:  Highly Evolved

10-16: Socially Adept

5-9: Need to do some Googling

1-4: Internet Marooned

0: Luddite

July 27, 2012

Genealogy and Social Media — #Genealogy, #Facebook

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

There are 901 Million active Facebook users as of March 2012, according to HowManyAreThere.org  (http://www.howmanyarethere.org/how-many-facebook-users-are-there-2012/). Facebook is estimated to break one Billion users before 2012 ends (Mashable source:  http://mashable.com/2012/01/12/facebook-1-billion-users/). According to Gregory Lyons, a senior analyst at iCrossing, Facebook will reach the milestone in August [2012].

Do I have your attention genealogists? One seventh of the world’s population is on Facebook – perhaps your 2nd and 3rd cousins are there waiting for you to engage them in some family history. Skype has nearly 107 Million “Real Users” and recently hit 41.5 Million concurrent users !

So being social can help you reach more people who may have a piece to your family history. I have searched Facebook with modest success for the ‘ELIASZ’ or ‘ELIJASZ’ family name. Not everyone will friend you anymore.  I have had success in SKYPE finding an ‘ELIJASZ’ family member in my grandfather’s ancestral village of Pacanow in Poland. I once had a very lucky success with a social network in Poland, named nasza-klasa.pl (now more easily found at http://nk.pl/ ). Now this jester is minimally conversant in Polish and my “cousin” in Poland was zero conversant in English. But, I was able to use Google’s Translator (English to Polish and vice versa) with success although it did generate some laughter at times. The final result was a letter from Poland with a copy of my grandparents’ marriage record from the actual church book in Biechow, Poland! Nasza-Klasa also yielded two 2nd cousins who were born in Poland (one since moved to the US) and we keep in touch via Facebook.

How else can you use social media to aid your genealogy? Write a genealogy blog (like this blog for example). I went to a recent Polish/Slavic genealogy seminar this year and spoke to a fellow blogger, Donna Pointkouski, who writes the genealogy blog, “What’s Past Is Prologue”. Donna called genealogy blogs, “2nd Cousin Bait” . She said by writing about your genealogy searches, successes and family members, your blog can lure these more distant family tree members to you. It works because search engines like Google or Bing find your blog posts and index key words (tags/categories) and proper nouns in their databases and out they pop when 2nd/3rd cousins are trying to Google their family trees. Stanczyk has personally located two 2nd cousins and one 3rd cousin via the blog. One 2nd cousin even gave me a picture of a previously unknown grand-aunt from before 1910  — jackpot! I was then able to locate that grand-aunt in microfilm from the LDS Family History Library for her children’s birth records in Poland.

A couple more blog tips –  Sprinkle your blog posts with the lingua franca of your ethnic lineage to lure readers from your ancestral home. Finally on your blog software (WordPress,  Blogger,  Tumblr, etc.) – get the widget(s) to share your blog posts on your other social media accounts: Facebook,  Twitter,  LinkedIn,  Google+, etc.  Make sure you get the widest exposure possible to lure your family from all over. Ask family and friends to add your blog/tweets to their Flipboard and possibly ‘star’ the better posts for you to up your Klout.

Lastly, you may want to put your family tree online. Some of my greatest finds have come from collaborating with other genealogists on Ancestry.com. It is the largest collection of genealogists and paid genealogy subscribers — serious genealogists. These people found me and my family who as it turned out were a part of their family tree too. I cannot count the number of family members I have met from Ancestry.com. Let me tell you that my greatest finds were from a woman whose family I and my father thought were only friends from the “old country” whose families renewed their friendship here in the US. From this woman (Kim), who I helped out by reading her grandparents’ marriage record from a Polish church in Detroit. What do the two of us discover, but her great-grandmother was an ELIJASZ from Pacanow. As it turned out, her great-grandmother was my great-grandfather’s sister and that the two of us shared a great-great-grandfather — we were 3rd cousins! So we were blood relatives not just family friends as our parents had thought. I found out my father was her father’s best man — neither of us knew that beforehand. Her grandmother (Rose Wlecialowski) was a best friend of my grandmother. I thought I had never met this third cousin … wrong!  She had photos of me in her family pictures. We were so young neither had memories of the other. She had pictures of me as a 3 year old child that I did not have, with my young father on her grandmother’s farm. She had a picture of my young grandmother from the 1930′s with her grandmother!  This was a B-O-N-A-N-Z-A!

I found her great-grandparents’ marriage record from Pacanow and had it copied from the church book. I translated it from Russian for her (and for my records too). It confirmed that we were indeed 3rd cousins and shared great-great-grandparents (Martin Elijasz & Anna Zasucha). I also eventually found the birth record from the first child that my paternal grandparents had together over in Poland and little Wladyslaw Jozef Elijasz had Rose Wlecialowski for his god-mother. Her grandmother was a god-mother to one of my “uncles”. Poor little Wladyslaw died in infancy and never made the trip to America with my grandparents and my aunt Alice. My father and the rest of my aunts and uncles were born here in the US.

So you see, your family is out there. You just don’t know it yet. Use the social networks, USA and overseas versions. Write a blog to lure your cousins. By all means join Ancestry.com too and upload your family tree to Ancestry.com. These will grow your family tree more completely than you could if you eschewed not to use the Internet. Make your family tree mobile — load it to your iPhone and start collaborating in the Cloud. You will thank me later!

–Stanczyk

July 26, 2012

BigData means Backup … Security … Disaster Recovery … #RootsTech, #Backup

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

OK you have a laptop and / or a smartphone and / or a tablet and you also have data, perhaps a LOT of data. It creeps up on this hoarding of data / space. You need to be proactive to keep from losing your data. Primarily we speak of genealogy (or family / history) research and of course family photos and scans of documents, but perhaps you are a knowledge worker and use your computer equipment to produce works in your professional career too. I’ll speak of genealogical research / data and you can extend it to any other valuable data / files you may have.

Today’s blog came about from a cousin (alright second cousin, once removed), Robin. She was frustrated by losing files. So her family and friends had a nice debate over what she needs to do. Of course it is a very complex issue and needs to be customized to each person.

Let me state that designing a backup strategy that is free or low cost is almost impossible — unless you only have a small number of files (# and/or sizes) and can get by with the free: DropBox, GoogleDrive, Apple iCloud, etc.

You could conceivably cobble together a solution with enough “Cloud Services” and one account each for Robin and her husband on each service in order to build up a free usable amount of storage for backup on the Internet. OK, lets say that gets you “enough” space to do your backups. First off, you better hope the number/size of files do NOT increase — but industry studies says otherwise, that data more than doubles each and every year. You will therefore run out of “free” space. Also, you will now have to invent a bookkeeping system to keep track of which files are backed up on which service in which account. Is it getting complicated yet?

How much data do you have to backup? This is the first question you need to answer. If you have an Internet service that limits data transfers or subjects you to overcharge fees then you really need to think about using the cloud. Keep in mind that you need to backup and at some point  to recover a lost file(s) — now that recovery will double those overage fees. Most people can quickly generate 30-60GB of “data” from their music, videos, books, apps, and their pictures and when you throw in their work products (which actually are the smallest part of the critical space) 30-6oGB goes quickly. My wife’s tablet is almost full and we do not use much music or video.

How do you lose files? Inadvertent deletes/drops? Hardware failures? Accidental overwrites with something else? How about malware/viruses etc. ? All of the above probably. Then you need a backup solution to cover all of those eventualities. How about if you live in Florida (Hurricanes), New Orleans (Hurricanes/Floods), Oklahoma/Nebraska/Kansas (Twisters), California (Earthquakes/Mudslides), etc. or in an area where terrorism can cause catastrophic failures (NYC, DC, Seattle’s Space Needle)?

But Stanczyk, what about my sensitive or private data (financials, non-disclosure documents, personal identity, etc.)? Where do you back that up to? Is the cloud safe? Do they lose data in the cloud? Can the cloud data be stolen/hacked? What happens when the cloud crashes and is unavailable? More worries.

By now I hope you get an idea that backup is:

  1. Complex
  2. Involves Some Costs
  3. Requires Planning
  4. Custom to Each Individual / Company
  5. Recovery Needs to be Accounted for
  6. You Need Access to Backups
  7. Disaster Recovery (offsite)
  8. Need Security

You could be tempted to just rationalize that December 2012 is coming up and either the Mayan Calendar and /or the World will end and why tax your brain to do backups anyway.

Solutions

Ideally, we want the following features in a solution:

  1. 3 or 4 copies (counting the original copy)
  2. 1 remote copy for disaster recovery (fire, hurricane, flood, theft/loss etc.)
  3. Easy / Fast  recovery from the first backup (ergo 1st backup copy must be local)
  4. Backups allow you to recover from accidental delete (assuming delete happens after the first backup)
  5. If we backup data with privacy concerns then we WILL use encrypt / decrypt software before or as we make a copy
  6. The Cloud can be used as the remote copy

Complexity. Just keep it simple, remember the acronym  KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). Trying to do backups without spending money will add complexity. So complexity / time / money are your trade-offs. In my career, we used to say, “Good | Fast | Cheap;  Pick 2″. If you want a fast and cheap backup solution it will not be any good. If you want good and fast then it will not be cheap.

Lets say you have as your work product, family trees (gedcoms), scans of documents / pictures and notes / timelines (spreadsheets) / plans – lists. This is over and above your Apps, Pics, Music, Video, etc. How much space do these files all add up to? Is it 7ooMB, 1,400MB, 2,100MB then you can probably get away with burning CDs (or DVDs). CDs hold about 702MB. Make two (or better yet three copies). You need at least three copies (original plus 2 more).

Put one CD in your bank safety deposit box (if it fits). Send a second CD to one of your family members (preferably another genealogist who lives at least 90 miles away from you). The remote CDs provide for a disaster recovery in case of something catastrophic happens at your residence. You can always retrieve the CD from the bank or your family member who may be outside the area affected by the disaster. Obviously, the further away your other copies are, the longer it will be before you can gain access to them to begin recovery — but the securer the disaster copy will be. This is fairly cheap. The flaw is … you keep getting more data / files or the files keep growing. Your family tree changes repeatedly (additions and subtractions). Sometimes you can rewrite the CD (if there is still space) and sometimes you cannot rewrite because the CD does not allow for rewriting or the space is insufficient to handle the larger file. Also if you have 30 GB that needs to be backed up or more then CDs are not viable because you need too many CDs. It is also hard to keep track of multiple versions in case you need to recover from a version that is not the last backup version. I do not recommend CDs but it is fairly simple and fairly cheap.

You can also  substitute DVDs, USB drives (also called thumb drives) for CDs which provide greater space.

Monday - Backing-Up via backup software, external drives, and the Internet/Cloud.

July 17, 2012

iGoogle is Going Bye-Bye — #RootsTech

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk is sad. Google is planning on phasing out a service that allows millions of people to personalize its home page with applications such as weather updates and stock quotes. The customization service, known as iGoogle, will be turned off in November 2013. So we have about 16 months to find a similar replacement for these capabilities …

Unless you mainly use iGoogle-mobile which will be retired sooner. The mobile version will be retired at the end of this month, on July 31, 2012. More details/suggestions are here on Google’s site.

If you have been on your iGoogle page you should have seen the following on your page:

Now the reason this jester is sad is that I used this web tool as a search engine and a kind of genealogy aggregator of news/announcements from sources that are very helpful to my personal research or to keeping me informed in general on genealogical matters. It also was a landing page (portal)  for some web widgets that performed useful tricks (date calculators, language translation, etc.).

Long time readers will recall that I recommended they use this tool. So if you use iGoogle let me know. Also please let me know what you intend to do for a work-around. Google won’t you please reconsider keeping the iGoogle tool and if you need a few ideas for making it a hit web app — email me. I have a few ideas.

Stanczyk

June 30, 2012

RootsTech – Saturday/Sunday Software – #Genealogy, #Meme

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk has been noticing some new software lately. This week Google had their Google I/O Conference and they released some new software there of note. For those with Apple’s iOS devices, we finally have the Google Chrome browser available to use on our iPhone/iPad. This jester quick downloaded the app as I had been waiting for it.

At RootsTech 2012, Google announced that they were going to create a microcode widget (still not here yet). But about that time, I noticed they had a new widget (see yellow highlight at the left) next to their Bookmark-This-Page star widget  in the Chrome browser, when you go to the Ancestry.com and visit your family tree. This widget was/is not available in Apple’s Safari browser. This little widget will do a look-up at FamilySearch.org on the person in your tree you are presently at. Sometimes I use this to see if there is any new database available that has something on my ancestor.

Sadly, the Chrome browser app on iPhone did not have the widget. The browser did work fast. Depending on how your brain works, you may prefer Chrome over Safari (or vice-versa). I found both functionally about the same. Here are Chrome and Safari  side-by-side (iPhone screen shots) …

 

Also new on the iOS device scene is a new app, named Heredis. It is an attractive app, but I was not willing to hand enter all my family tree again (and I have been mocked that my 1070+ person tree is SMALL). I could not find a way to import my GEDCOM from any device. I tried hooking the iPhone up to a laptop and I also tried having them on the same WiFi network — no luck. The HELP functionality was absolutely no help. My recommendation is you do not bother unless you are just starting out and do not mind entering your data by hand on your iOS device.

Heredis (in red circle)

As you can see from the screen shot I am trying to go mobile with my genealogy. There is MyHeritage, Ancestry, Mocavo, Indexing, and Heredis. There is also a RootsTech app — which EVERY technical conference should embrace for their attendees.

The Indexing App is so that you too can pitch in and help FamilySearch.org index images so we all get more databases to browse/search online.

How many do you use?

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