Posts tagged ‘Ancestry.com’

June 28, 2014

RootsWeb Is Alive!

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Rootsweb is completely back online. You can now login to your accounts again and update your online family trees. It had gone down 16-JUNE-2014 along with Ancestry.com and its many other offerings (due to a DDoS attack). While Ancestry.com was back quickly, other Offerings like Rootsweb, Genealogy.com, and MyCanvas remained down.

Stanczyk is happy to report Rootsweb, Genealogy.com, and MyCanvas are back online.

The cloud is still down for Mundia.com as of this article’s publishing.

June 28, 2014

Ancestry and ProQuest Announce Expanded Distribution — #Genealogy, #Library, #Research

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

27-JUNE-2014 — Ancestry.com & ProQuest   announced an expanded agreement to deliver  broader array of premier genealogy resources to libraries worldwide. This announcement’s offerings expands the 10 year relationship between the two companies.

This should be good news for libraries around the world.

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/2021584#ixzz35v8w1eRR

 

June 21, 2014

Is RootsWeb Dead? — #Genealogy, #Cloud

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

MyCloudStanczyk is wondering … “Is Rootsweb dead”? Please give me date and place of death if that is the case. Earlier in the week Ancestry.com had a multi-day outage due to a DDoS.  That is  a distributed denial of service, whereby a ‘botnet  make an overwhelming number of requests from a website until it crashes or ceases to be able to respond to requests.

So since Ancestry, hosts Rootsweb, I was thinking perhaps that DDoS took out Rootsweb too. I tweeted  @Ancestry and asked if anyone was working on Rootsweb being down and did not receive any response — so I am blogging in hopes that Ancestry.com will respond. Now I know parts of Ancestry came back a little at a time. Searching, then trees, the blog, finally message boards (connected to Rootsweb n’est c’est pas?). How many days now has Rootsweb been down and when will Ancestry get around to fixing the problem. Mundia is also down and perhaps Ancestry will never bring Mundia back, since they had already announced  (June 12th, 2014) that it  was going away. Likewise for MyCanvas and also Genealogy.com are dead too and they were scheduled for termination too.

This is a Cloud problem. When you live upon someone else’s cloud and it crashes you are down too and you do not come back until their cloud is reconstituted. I guess in this case maybe longer. Maybe you remember the news when in 2012 Amazon’s cloud crashed and that cloud crash took out Netflix, Instagram, Pinterest, and even GitHub (a nod to my Developers guild) or the when Amazon’s  cloud crashed in 2011 taking out FourSquare and Reddit.

My advice is from the Rolling Stones in 1965:  http://youtu.be/pq3YdpB6N9M [enjoy]. Mick Jagger was way ahead of his time.

 

 

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 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.

August 2, 2012

President Obama’s Ancestor Was 1st African Enslaved For Life — #Genealogy, #History, #Presidents

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

For Stanczyk, Ancestry.com keeps getting better and better. Ancestry discovered that President Obama is related to John Punch. John Punch was one of President Obama’s 11th great-grandfathers.

According to the Ancestry press release, this discovery happened as Ancestry researched his maternal lineage. As you may recall, President Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, is Caucasian (i.e. white) with a lineage that was recently traced back through Ireland (by Megan Smolenyak).

Lesser known is the President’s German 6th great-grandfather, Johann Conrad Wolflin (aka Wolfley) who immigrated to Pennsylvania. This research was also done by Ancestry.com.

Now this John Punch is a topic I’d like to see done on Dr. Henry Louis Gates‘ PBS show!

 

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

May 14, 2012

WDYTYA is canceled by NBC for its 4th season !!! #Genealogy, #Ancestry, #NBC

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk is sad that WDYTYA (“Who Do You Think You Are?“) has been canceled by NBC — There will NOT be a 4th season.

This was reported by Investors Business Daily at 9:00am today by Patrick Seitz (why do this when I am en route to an archive?). The impact upon Ancestry.com  was immediate. Today its stock (ACOM) is down 13.15%  at the time of this article.

From a business standpoint, I think this is an over reaction. First off this, is a year of the 1940 census and that has been as HUGE up to all census related sites (see this jester’s Genealogy Website Rankings page). Also Ancestry has launched its DNA initiative (AncestryDNA). Now this has the costs baked in already and whatever revenue stream this produces will accrue to the bottom line. Stanczyk has already fielded questions about this product, so there does exist some buzz for the product and it was announced/promoted at this year’s RootsTech Conference. Add in the PBS’s own series “Finding Your Roots” and there does seem to be an “rising tide lifts all boats” effect in progress.

So I have to ask, “Is NBC short sighted in this action or at least are they acting out of synch with other media/events that are happening?”.

I think NBC should move it to Saturday night. So we could have a Saturday / Sunday bonanza between NBC and PBS. Both series could do a “push-pull” to lift each other. If NBC is firm then, perhaps a Cable network will pick up this series??? Please!  Here is what I think might be good fits:

Bravo – Who doesn’t like The Actor Studio? Similar  audience since the celebrity genealogy is a kind of deep dive into a celeb’s background.

OWN – Oprah seems like the kind of family oriented billionaire who has the wherewithal, clout, and morals to keep this content going  … strong.

A&E TV – This network has Bio and History channels. There must be a slot available there

BYU TV – This would be my last choice given its limited availability. But BYU and LDS audience would be interested in this PROVO, UT send-up and the rest of us could follow along.

As this season draws to a close, I wanted to say, “Thanks” to WDYTYA and Finding Your Roots for an excellent season.

 

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on this matter.  Email me!

 

April 2, 2012

Ancestry.com – 1940 US Census is Awesome … except can we have all 50 states, PLEASE?

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk,

 

     LOVES Ancestry.com version of the 1940 Census. The Image Viewer is fast, sleek, easy to use — aahh flawless.

My only request is to please get all 50 states ASAP!  I do not have any ancestors in:

DE, RI, NV, IN (or Panama Canal, American Samoa or Virgin Islands).

Oh, and please call  http://1940census.archives.gov and tell them how deploy Scalable, Well Architected, Web Apps, please.

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 12, 2012

Ancestry.com Fixed My GEDCOM Export !!!

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk is happy once again !

The folks at Ancestry.com fixed my GEDCOM Export. It was about 10-14 days, but at least the job got done and my ability to export my research is back to normal.

The timing of the infinitely spinning icon could not have been worse. I had just imported a great deal of photos and I continued to do so even with the export problem. But all is well that ends well. So I did one more export (and it worked) to get myself to a valid checkpoint of my work.

Whew! What a relief. I did not want to have to once again re-enter my multimedia. Nor was I previously aware that I would also have lost my valued contributors too. Who knows if their emails have changed since I invited them???

At any rate, thank you Ancestry.com for fixing my GEDCOM Export!

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 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 ???).
January 7, 2012

OH – Cleveland/Cuyahoga County Eliasz/Elijasz #Polish, #Genealogy

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Yesterday in the blog, Stanczyk emailed in an Ancestry database of note. They had an index of Marriages from Cuyahoga County, OH (the Cleveland area) 1810-1973. Most of these are marriage returns from the officiant and list little more than the bride, groom and marriage date and the officiant. Some do in fact list ages of the bridal party or their residences and even two of mine had the parent names.

Now this plays into an earlier blog article of mine about the Cleveland Eliasz/Elijasz, asking for any ancestors to write this jester and discuss family trees. [None so far.]

I was hoping for and found the marriage record of Stanislas Hajek and Agnes Eliasz ! Of all the Cleveland Eliasz/Elijasz this marriage was most convincing to me that they are relatives,as both Stanislas and Agnes (Agnieszka) were from Pacanow, which is my grandfather’s birth village. From a Polish Genealogical Society website (genealodzy.pl) email I received from a Baran, whose grandmother was an Eliasz, and from Ship Manifests, I was able to place this Agnes Eliasz in my family tree as a daughter of Jozef Eliasz & Theresa Siwiec (whose direct line ancestor a while ago sent me my grandparent’s marriages records – civil and church).

Truly the Internet makes this world a smaller place. So today, I am transcribing the married couples from the Cuyahoga County, OH marriages returns of 1913 on the same page with Stanislas Hajek & Agnes Eliasz (from page 193):

Michael Blatnik & Mary Hocevar August 25th, 1913 [#21537]
John Spisak & Veronika Busoge August 25th, 1913 [#21538]
Joseph Wisniewski & Frances Kotecka August 25th, 1913 [# 21539]

Stanislas Hajek & Agnes Eliasz August 25th, 1913 [# 21540]

George Csepey & Helen Weiszer August 26th, 1913 [# 21541]

Boleslas Zaremba & Alexandra Alicka August 26th, 1913 [# 21542]

Louis Rutkowski & Anna Solecka August 26th, 1913 [# 21543]

Aloys Salak & Anna Pisek August 26th, 1913 [# 21544]

Almost all of them look Slavic and most of those names are Polish. Cleveland, a large GreatLakeCity, an American enclave of Poliana in the early 20th century.

Related Ancestry DBs:
US, Ohio, Cuyahoga County, Jewish Marriage Record Extracts, 1837-1934
Ohio Marriage Index, 1970, 1972-2007
Ohio Marriages, 1803-1900
Ohio Divorce Index, 1962-1963, 1967-1971, 1973-2007

Enjoy!

December 18, 2011

Polish Resources – Cobbled from Ancestry.com/PGSA.org and Family Search – #Polish, #Genealogy

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk, put together a couple of pieces to make a NEW and useful Polish Genealogy database. First off, my email box had a weekly email from Ancestry.com.  This week’s Weekly Discovery is a boon for Polish Genealogists …

U.S. and Poland, Catholic Parish Marriage Index, Polish Genealogical Society of America,
1767–1931

Ok, the above link takes you to Ancestry’s newest database index (http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=70048&enc=1) .  Which as the Link Name suggests is a Polish Catholic Parish Marriage Index. I was excited until I discovered that it was really just a re-issue of the PGSA.org ‘s  database: http://www.pgsa.org/CzuchMarAll.php . So if you are not a subscriber to Ancestry, you could just go to PGSA and use their database and get the same results. The PGSA even gives an LDS Microfilm #. So Stanczyk took note of an Anna Eliasz marrying Leon Zielinski in 1910 and the LDS MF#: 1578072 . I made a vow to look that record up in the LDS microfilm. So I was in the LDS Library Catalog verifying the microfilm # was correct and LO and BEHOLD (why is it always LO and BEHOLD — and not just BEHOLD), the Library Catalog says the images are online!!! They even provided a link:

https://www.familysearch.org/search/image/index#uri=https%3A//api.familysearch.org/records/collection/1452409/waypoints

Now thankfully the database did specify 1910 and that the church was St. Stanislaus Kostka and even the Page# 204 was helpful. I used those pieces of info and the Family Search link to go to their web page:

  • Illinois, Chicago, Catholic Church Records, 1833-1925

I selected the St. Stanislaus Kostka (Chicago) to go to the web page:

From there,  I picked Marriages, 1910-1915 (you need a free login to use their databases) and browsed the images until I got to page# 204 (which was actually image # 109 of 897) and on the left hand page was Leon Zielinski & at the bottom Anna Eliasz marriage record from the church. I got the actual date and parent names (including mother’s maiden name). See below …

I am not certain that Anna Eliasz is a relative or not because it did not provide the parish where Anna was born (and I seriously doubt Anna was born in Chicago in 1882). Her mother’s maiden gives me hope as that name does appear in my ancestral villages, so now I will have to find an Anna Eliasz birth record (or not) in Biechow/Pacanow parishes with parents Jan Eliasz & Mary Jurek.

 

The point of today’s article is that by joining the index in PGSA.org (or Ancestry.com) and using the index data with the browseable images from FamilySearch.org I was able to pull a new Church Parish record quite easily without leaving my house. It is the combination of the two resources from two separate websites that make a new and very useful tool. What do you think?

 

If you have Chicago ancestors (and in particular Polish ones) then you have an early Christmas or Chanukah Present. Drop me a comment of thanks, will ya?

Merry Christmas & Happy Chanukah and just in case,  Happy Holidays to the rest of my readers.

 

November 8, 2011

Fold3 – Genealogy for Profit Website & Ancestry.com SUBSCRPTIONS

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

OP-ED PIECE

This is Stanczyk’s first opinion piece. I hope it inspires comments and opinions in you my fine Internet Technorati. It would be nice if FOLD3 or ANCESTRY reads this article and comments/responds. If you do not want to read opinion then you are done for the day, loyal reader.

Fold3 used to be Footnote.com.  Stanczyk had used Footnote while it was Footnote. We appreciated the Historical documents and especially liked:

  • Naturalizations
  • City Directories
  • Newspapers

These were valuable resources on top of all the historical/genealogical material they had accumulated from the National Archives (NARA). I liked how they integrated users and their material and how users could ‘Annotate’ Historical documents and link them to their own documents which could be uploaded to Footnote. This was helpful for Genealogy and for History too.

So when Ancestry.com bought Footnote, we had a cautious optimism and hope that this research material would be folded into Ancestry.com’s own valuable databases.

Here’s what happened …

Ancestry.com renamed Footnote.com to Fold3. Ok that was lame and really not useful for newbies. What is Fold3? It lacks broad meaning and is a poor branding.

They decided to focus on the military research material??? OK most of the NARA databases were military in nature (Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Civil War, etc.). Perhaps this heroic focus would be a good thing. But what about the other things?

Ancestry.com then proceeded to announce that they jettison City Directories and Historical Newspapers. Ok but that was a MAJOR reason to pay for Footnote/Fold3.

You now have to look under ‘Other‘ when browsing their collections. There you will still find Naturalizations and Passport Applications. Are these remaining … permanently? What else will be lost?

Ancestry.com now is a front-end search engine for some of Fold3’s databases. I do not like this. You pay for Ancestry. You buy their ‘DELUXE’ package to get access to everything and here are data that you cannot access without paying for??? Ancestry we already paid for EVERYTHING. Either give us access to the Fold3 (you own it) data in your search engines or remove this data!

Stanczyk used to index for Ancestry.com, but not any more. Ancestry has muddied the waters about what is Ancestry and what is included in DELUXE. It used to be everything. Now there seems to be a new class of data that is NOT a part of EVERYTHING. Why buy Footnote and NOT include it in Ancestry? Is it to “milk” two subscriptions from your customers? OK, then keep them separate: two companies, two websites and two well defined subscriptions with well defined databases.

I do not like this ‘hybrid” where EVERYTHING is NOT EVERYTHING. I do not like the shell game of what data is where and the implicit attempt to shuffle data and force customers to have two paid subscriptions this does NOT pass the smell test. OPTIMISM is now gone and replaced with DISTRUST for Ancestry.com. Ancestry.com needs to restore that DELUXE means EVERYTHING. If that means removing FOLD3 data, then remove FOLD3 data and do not mingle the two enterprises. This is causing ill will and losing Goodwill for Ancestry.com.

Buy FOOTNOTE if you must. Rename Footnote to FOLD3 if you must. Keep them as two subscription companies separate and distinct if you must. But this disintegration of FOLD3 (nee FOOTNOTE) and the subsequent pollution of Ancestry.com with this bait-and-switch mingling of Ancestry with Fold3 leaves your CUSTOMERS with a bad taste in their mouths. You have made GENEALOGY and HISTORY worse by buying FOOTNOTE, not better. The TOTAL VALUE is now less for FOLD3 than it was for FOOTNOTE and even ANCESTRY is diminished by these decisions.

Ancestry, what were you thinking?

August 30, 2011

#Genealogy – Ancestry.com Has Free Access Week (until 9/5) for Immigration Records

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk just wanted to let his readers know they have this Labor Day Week/Weekend to search Ancestry.com for free in at least their Immigration records!

I took advantage of this to do some new searches related to the Social Network Analysis (SNA) I did a while back. I also remembered my Haller’s Army article too and so I decided to search for one of my returning Haller’s Army vets (actually his brother Leon). Boleslaw returned in 1920 on Princess Matoika and I got to thinking, I know his brother Leon fought in World War I (in the US Army — not Haller’s Army); Perhaps I can find US Troops returning from World War I too.

Well all of a sudden I found Leon Wlecial on his INITIAL arrival in America in 1913. Too bad it was only the Hamburg Ship Manifest which has such little detail. But then my forensic mind kicked in. If he came to US via Hamburg there had to be a NYC or Philadelphia arrival record for him. I tried variations on the name to no avail to find the matching ship manifest in NYC/Philadlephia. I finally decided to look at all arrivals on 12/20/1913 on SS Pretoria. I searched for all “Leons” assuming they butchered the last name on indexing. No Leon Wlecial in the Leons??? I then did a search on all “Lean”s and lo and behold there was my Leon hiding amongst the Leans with his last name also butchered coming form his wife (??? — never knew he was married) and going to his brother Boleslaw whom I knew well and had a lot of documentation on. So indeed this was my Leon Wlecial (as if there could be another Leon Wlecial with a brother Boleslaw Wlecial in Detroit, MI).

Now the Wlecial/Wlecialowski name is very rare indeed so I did not need much convincing but this info was too good. I now knew Leon had been married in Poland to a woman named “Maten” (??) from whom he was arriving from. I also knew he was living in “Baczanow” (a corruption of Pacanow, often written Paczanow in Ship Manifests) and that he was born in Rusek. Rusek, really ???   Well that might explain why I found his two siblings birth records in Pacanow, but not his. Note to self – FIND R-U-S-E-K (if it exists) in a Gazetteer. I also now had a new residence for his brother Boleslaw Wlecial who was living at 449 Grady Ave, Detroit, MI on 12/20/1913 apparently if you can believe the stuff written on Ship Manifests.

The moral of this story was … Do NOT stop at just the Hamburg Ship Manifest. It means there is a matching Ship Manifest in Ellis Island or for Philadelphia port. Use the date and ship name if the name does not pop up in NYC/Philadelphia searches. You can always go page by page on the Ship Manifest, but often some shrewd guessing can help you divine how the name was mangled by an indexer misreading the Ship Manifest.

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