Posts tagged ‘Genealogy’

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.

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.

September 6, 2012

Fras | Frass | Frasowa | Frasskosz — #Genealogy, #Cousin, #NewLineOfResearch

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

A week or two ago, Stanczyk got a bolt out of the blue. It was another genealogist; She was inquiring after my Leszczynski lineage — specifically Agnieszka Leszczynski.

Well a long time ago I got used to the fact that there were so MANY Leszczynskich out there that the possibility that any were directly related was infinitesimally small. Now to be sure a few second cousins have re-connected and it was good to get updates on the American branches. But in my 17 years as a genealogist — I had not received an inquiry on the line of Leszczynskich from my great-grandfather, Tomasz Leszczynski’s first wife or their children.

Old Tomasz lived a long time … to be 104 years of age from about 1835 to 1939 (give or take). He had two wives and bless his heart he had 14 children by them. From his first wife, he started to have children in 1860. Agnieszka (or Agnes as the inquiry was for) was born 9th December 1866. I had her birth record from the church in that lovely Latin Box format and I had deciphered all that was written. But I had no idea if Agnes made it to adulthood or married or even when she died.

Well this genealogist said her-great-grandfather had a mother named Agnes Leszczynski (from his death certificate). Yes, I said, but there are so many Leszczynski families, where was your great-grandfather from. She had a vague idea of the area and the names seemed to be close to a village that I had ancestors from but it was horribly misspelled if it was from that area at all. I was still skeptical, but she sent me an Ellis Island ship manifest (actually a tiny bit of transcription from one). So I thought I would go take a look and see if I could decipher where her ancestor was from — it would be an RAOGK. I was going to help her out.

Well imagine my surprise! Her great-grandfather was from an ancestral village of mine, coming from his father Wladyslaw Fras in Piesciec [sic  -> Piestrzec, today; Piersiec back then, although I had seen it spelled Piersciec many times too]. Now I had never seen any Fras before in those villages, maybe some Franc (Frąc) which was close. But then I went to page two of the ship manifest and he was going to Depew, NY to his uncle, Teofil Lezczynski!!! That was my grand-uncle. OK, I was now getting interested in Jozef Fras.

Now, I had to do some research, but I found him with his family in Toledo, Ohio. Well I had some family from Toledo. In fact, my grandmother’s sister Antonina Leszczynska Sobieszczanski lived there. Well this jester had a few St Anthony, baptismal register images that I could peruse. Now I was even more amazed. Jozef Fras’ wife, BENIGNA (not a common name) was the god-mother of one of Antonina’s sons. Benigina Fras was god-mother to Matthew Sobieszczanski. Those percentages kept going up. I said, perhaps the Fras had children baptised in St Anthony too. I examined their birth years and looked in the register images and there was their first child Helen Fras whose god-mother was my Antonina Sobieszczanski (to Jozef and Benigna’s daughter). Ok, in my head, we are now at 99+% related.

1 Wladyslaw FRAS d: 11 Feb 1919
  + Agnieszka LESZCZYNSKI b: 12/9/1866
    2 Josef Edward FRAS b: 16 Mar 1893 d: 08 Aug 1935
      + Benigna PALICKI FRASS b: abt 1897
        3 Helen FRASS b: 25 October 1917 d: 23 May 1982
        3 Joseph Radislaus FRASS b: 25 March 1922 d: 14 March 1934
        3 Eleanor FRASS b: 15 Jan 1926 d: 25 Oct 1988
        3 Melvin R FRASS b: 15 Jun 1930 d: 10 Dec 2006

So now my next goal is to find the church marriage record of Wladyslaw Fras and Agnieszka Leszczynski (probably in Biechow parish), since Jozef Fras’ ship manifest said he was born in Piestrzec. This would give me the certain Genealogical Standard of Proof — but I have already added the above to my tree.

Thanks second cousin, twice removed, Mindy! By the way, this line of reasoning I am leaning on is again the Social Network Analysis (what Thomas MacEntee calls cluster genealogy).

Don’t you wish you could search Ellis Island by whom people were going to or coming from? Better database search capabilites are needed and the GEDCOM standard needs to be enhanced to handle these social network/cluster analyses

September 2, 2012

Genealogy Volunteerism – FamilySearch Indexing — #Genealogy, #Volunteerism, #RAOGK

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Yesterday’s blog, I mentioned briefly one project that I was a volunteer for at the PGSA. Today, Stanczyk wanted to mention that genealogical volunteerism can be a Random Act Of Genealogical Kindness (RAOGK).

Of course, I know that the original RAOGK web site is currently offline (due to the unfortunate demise of the founder). Well there are many ways to be RAOGK genealogist. You can volunteer for a local genealogical society. You can help by answering an email or a questions in a forum or a Yahoo Group or a Tweet from Twitter or a question on a Facebook Group. But, did you know that Family Search has a volunteer umbrella organization for all kinds of Genealogy Indexing projects? Well, they do. They have a computer app, FamilySeaching Indexing or a smartphone app (iPhone & Android) and they have many projects spanning all sorts of locales that may be of interest to you or your family.

My picture below is my modest contribution, across a number of projects so far in 2012. Why not give it a try yourself?

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 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

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.

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?

May 23, 2012

Almost Wordless Wednesday — #Polish, #Genealogy, 1880 Baptismal Certificate

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

1880 Krzeszow/Tarnow Birth Extract (Latin/Galicia)

This baptismal certificate was extracted and delivered to a parish in Russian-Poland some time after May 1880. No doubt so Jan Vitus Martino[w] could marry some woman in her parish. It was the oddity of finding such a document amongst the church records written in Cyrillic/Russian for a Russian-Poland partition that I was shocked at the unexpected find.

I also used to collect European postage stamps (mostly Poland, Hungary and the Germanic states) of this era so to see the stamps used as a kind of fee/tax always interests me.

48 kr (kroner?) Austro-Hungarian Empire stamps

Jan Vitus  son of Adalbert Martino[w] son of Mikolaj & Agata Malek  and Victoria daughter of  Michael Michalek & Anna Siwiec born 15th June 1856. Godparents Michael Ligus & Maryanna widow of  Gaspar Flasinicki.

May 12, 2012

Jason Sudeikis / Who Do You Think You Are? (#WDYTYA, @LisaKudrow) #Genealogy

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Last night’s Who Do You Think Are? show was another interesting episode. Stanczyk got an idea whilst watching the show. Why not, play along on Ancestry.com?

Now this occurred to me because I am helping friends who are Lithuanian and I noticed that tie-in right away. But what really made it personal and very interesting for me was to find Jason’s 2nd great-grandfather, Joseph had immigrated/worked in Mahanoy City, PA (a mining community). As it turns out, this is a big Polish/Lithuanian/Italian community due to the miner immigrants around the beginning of the twentytieth century. It is also a city where the Eliasz-Solomon family has roots.

So I wanted to right away get on Ancestry.com and see if there were any Sudeikis ties (or near ties) to our roots. I really enjoyed the mining research — that is an area of research I was considering since one ancestor died much too young. I too was thinking a mining accident my explain the death.

Of course, after seeing Jason’s search for the ship manifest I had other questions too. I think the season needs to add a final show after a summer re-run season where genealogists can write in and ask questions. Like last night I saw a fellow tweeter was wondering about the CT Sudeikis family whether they had been contacted as part of the research. Me,  I was wondering two things about the ship manifest:

  1. Why was Mary sent back to get Stanley (since Mary was only 14, not the 16 as shown on the ship manifest; Compare 1900 Census with ship manifest.). I felt the young age of the girl getting her even younger brother, who now had even younger siblings in Pennsylvania would have been an interesting topic for Jason to react to.
  2. Also, why was poor Stanley Sr. the last Sudeikis left over in Lithuania? Notice that his older (non-American born siblings) all came over in 1898 leaving only Stanley to come over  two years later. Again, this would have been a dramatic point to explore with Jason. Perhaps that abandonment in Lithuania was why Stanley Sr. felt he could so easily abandon Jason’s family in Chicago for the CT family.

Also I have a question for the show and Lisa Kudrow. Did your researchers learn where in  Lithuania, Jason’s ancestors came from? I think the ship manifest (yes I am obsessed with the ship manifest) had a misspelled ancestral village. My guess would be Wizajny — which is actually in modern Poland very near the Lithuanian border in what would have been the Suwalki wojewodztwo (and afterwards the Russian Empire’s Suwalki gubernia). I have done research in that area before that is why my mind immediately went to that village when I saw the village of the ship manifest.

I think the show could exploit Lisa and/or the on-air genealogists and possibly the stars in responding to the questions. Is there a place for fans to write-in their suggestions? Why not a year-end show at the end of summer/beginning of fall to let people get their questions answered and perhaps do some “behind the scenes” info or show clips that were cut due to time constraints. Make this show be a full hour (instead of 30 minutes). Come on Genealogy Buffs — write @LisaKudrow and make the request!

P.S.

Let me take this opportunity to wish my beloved wife, Tereza, the mother of my only children, a very Happy Mother’s Day 2012 ! Tereza, thank you for creating our little dynasty by having my twin sons !!!

We love you Tereza!

xoxoxo

May 4, 2012

BIG Genealogy — #Genealogy, #FamilyTree, #GEDCOM

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

When Stanczyk, wrote the title, he was not referring to Ancestry.com or any other endeavor by genealogical companies from the western USA. No, Stanczyk is fascinated with numbers .. of people.

Yesterday, this jester wrote about the Confuscius Family Tree. It is commonly accepted to be the largest genealogy (family tree). But I had to wonder … Why?

It is an old genealogy, dating back to Confucius’ birth in 551 BCE. It is now 2012, so we have a genealogy that is 2,563 years old. My much beloved wife/kids are Jewish. In the Hebrew calendar we are presently in the year 5772. Despite my having been to a Jewish Genealogical Conference and meeting a man who told me his genealogy went back to King David. [This jester resisted the rude/snarky comment that if he researched using both Old & New Testaments he could push his research back to Adam.]

I also did not ask him to show me his documentation, but assuming he could, his genealogy would have been another 500 years earlier (~ 1050BCE) and therefore this tree mathematically speaking (assuming there are other Judeo-Christian couplings before I & my wife) his tree had the potential if you could/would follow all/many branches and not just the direct lineal trunk you have a tree with approximately 100 generations (adding another 17 generations to the 83 for Confucius). This assumes a generation is 30 years. Now if we look at Confucius and see 2560 years = 83 generations, we see an average of 30.84 years per generation — so 30 years per generation is not a bad estimate.

What genealogy could be older still? Well according to the Bible we record the Jewish peoples in Babylonia. So perhaps we can extend King David and/or one of his citizens back to King Hammurabi of Babylonia — that would yield another 650 years (~1700BCE) or about another 22 generations. Let me see if Confucius’ family tree is about 2 Million for 83 generations we get about 24,096 people per generation. So by adding 39 more generations then Hammurabi’s Family Tree should contain approximately another 940,000 people. So come on Iraq produce your family tree of nearly 3 Million people!

What genealogy could be older than that? There is a quote that goes something like, “History knows no time when the Egyptians were not highly developed both physically and intellectually.” True enough, recorded history does go back furthest in the Pharaohnic dynasties. That takes genealogy back to the first dynasty King (Pharoah) Menes, who sure enough had a son who wrote about Astronomy [source: Timechart History Of The World, ISBN 0-7607-6534-0 ]. That takes us to approximately, 3,000 BCE, another 1300 years/44 generations/1.06Million people! Ok, since there is no recorded history earlier than that, we will not have a properly sourced genealogy older than this. So people who are Elizabeth Shown Mills devotees turn your heads away …

What genealogy could possibly be older than that? I read that the indigenous peoples of Australia have an oral history of 48,000 generations! The aboriginal people of Australia date back to about 50,000 BCE, which would be 52,000 years ago/1734 generations/41.8Million people in their family tree. That’s not 48,000 generations, but that is more than twice as much as genealogy researchers test using their FAN24.ged file which has 24 completely full generations with 16.8Million pseudo people.

Now that is what I call BIG Genealogy. But where is that family tree (not FAN24.ged)? Why has no genealogy older than Confucius’ genealogy been found and carried forward to the present day? Is it possible that such a family tree exists?

–Email me!

Related Blog Articles …

Random Musings” (10-March-2010, see musing #2)

May 3, 2012

Greenland, China – Where Are You? — #Genealogy, #Blog, #Map

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

The map you see is this blog’s reach since some time in February.

My hope with this blog is to reach Greenland and China (中国).

My blog is connected to Greenland in this one way…

My first cousin Stephen E. Eliasz (whom we always called “Butchy”) was stationed in Greenland. I remember my father’s comments about the pictures of his from Greenland — which from my dad’s comments I pictured as icy. True, enough the Thule Air Base is the US base closest to the North Pole. I hope there is another Polish genealogist in Greenland who searches/finds this blog. I am trying to fill in the above map with as many genealogists from all over the globe.

My only connection to China – who are avid genealogists is my fascination with GEDCOM and family trees. I used to think that if you were related to Genghis Khan (born circa 1162) then you would have the largest family tree, because he had a vast empire and many wives. However, time works its wonder in many ways. The people with the largest family trees are those related to Confucius (551-479 BC, the religous/philosopher founder).

The Confucius Genealogy, originally recorded by hand, was first printed in 1080 AD [80+ years before Genghis Khan's birth]. Now the latest compilation of which there is a Confucius Genealogy Compilation Committee that is responsible for collecting, collating and publishing the 2,500 years worth of genealogical data. According to a web post by Tamura Jones (2/17/2008),

Confucius family tree, last updated in 1930. Back then, the tree already had 560,000 members Today, it has more than 2 million. The longest lines in the tree span 83 generations.

Tamura’s article was written just before the last time the Confucius Genealogy published in September 24, 2009  (as a pre-announcement). That 2009 publishing was the first time, the Confucius Genealogy included female descendants. So I guess the extra 1,700 years of Confucius ( 孔子) trumps the extra wives that Genghis Khan had. That is my only connection to Chinese Genealogy (家谱).

Does anyone have more than 83 generations (with citations documenting your lineage)?

May 3, 2012

Genealogy Indexer – Logan Kleinwak — #Genealogy, #Historical, #Directories, #Military, #Yizkor

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

     Stanczyk’s prior article on Genealogy Indexer – the Logan Kleinwaks’ website that indexes historical city directories or other historical lists (i.e. Yizkor Books, Military Muster Lists, etc.) covered this amazing genealogical resource who deserves a much higher rating than #116 on the current Top 125 Genealogical Websites.

Since my first blog article about GenealogyIndexer.orgLogan Kleinwaks has added virtual keyboard (a software icon) for generating diacritical letters (think ogroneks and umlauts) as well as non Latin characters (think Hebrew or Cyrillic) to make searching easier. This jester even uses that excellent piece of coding to generate the text for articles or data entry into genealogy software. You may remember, I wrote about that in “Dying for Diacriticals” or any of the other dozen articles (some of which cover GenealogyIndexer).

Well in the last month Logan has really outdone himself in adding material to the website! I give up trying to keep up with the huge amounts of data he is publishing. You really need to follow Logan on twitter (@gindexer). Thank You Logan for your amazing efforts.

April 30, 2012

Genealogy Top 125 Websites (2012 2nd Qtr) Released ! — #Genealogy, #Website, #Rankings, #Metrics

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

The Latest Top 125 GENEALOGY Websites are out !

Not surprisingly, all things Ancestry.com or owned by them are in the top 20.

The 1940 US Census that came out on April 2nd, had a profound impact on the rankings. Obviously any web site related to the 1940 US Census had a boost in their ranking (except Ancestry which was already number 1). Here are the Top 125 Genealogy Websites (or click the image) !

SteveMorse.org

SteveMorse.org, the One-Step Website that is a king of Swiss knife of genealogy actually dropped about 100K in the ranking and rising nine places on the list to become the 19th highest rated website ! This impressive improvement is related to the 1940 US Census, even though this is not one of the four websites with actual census pages.

Dr. Morse’s http://www.stevemorse.org/census/unified web page which helps you find the best Enumeration District (ED) to browse (until indexes are created) by utilizing an address or the 1930 ED to point you at the valid 1940 ED(s) that you should begin your search with.

Mocavo.com

Mocavo is the new genealogy search engine. You can think of this as a Google for genealogy web pages and databases. This is a fairly new launched service and was a big splash at this year’s RootsTech (2012). Mocavo too, was up nine places on the list and is now the 17th highest rated website.

Looking 4 Kin

This relatively unknown website jumped an astounding 38 spots (now #47) on the top 125 and this jester thought that kind of improvement had to be mentioned.

New Additions

Louis Kessler‘s two websites: BeholdGenealogy.com (#87) and GenealogySoftReviews.com (#74) were new additions. I also added Archives.com to the list because it was one of the four websites hosting the 1940 US Census images. So Archives.com cracked the list at #6. Well done! You may also recognize this website as the newest acquisition by Ancestry.com.

Stanczyk has had to give his own website a honorary spot, as my blog has dropped out of the top 125??? I am bit surprised, as last year when my popularity increased 4-fold I gained 5M in the ranking and had a nice #120 spot. In 2012, thanks to you my faithful readers, my popularity increased between 2.5-3-fold again. Surprisingly, I dropped 5M in my rankings and I had to remove my website from the top 125. Alexa.com are you sure?

This jester is sorely puzzled as my website stats are off the charts this year and I have already matched last year’s unique reader count and it is only the end of April! Another indicator that my readership is up 3-fold. However, I yield to the methodology and look forward to making the list next quarter.

April 28, 2012

Slavic Roots Seminar — #Polish, #Genealogy, #PA, #PGSCTNE

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk, had a good day today. On a lark, I went down to see, with a new friend (Bob S.), the Slavic Roots Seminar at Nazareth Academy in Philadelphia, PA.

I thoroughly enjoyed the short one-day seminar put on by Lisa Alzo (The Accidental Genealogist),  Matthew Bielawa (HalGal.com),  and Jonathan Shea (this jester owns no less than four of his books — from which I learned to read Polish/Russian from his two volume series In Their Words: A Genealogist’s Translation Guide).

I know both Matthew and Jonathan are PGSCT&NE members (as is this jester) and I thought the comfort level/comraderie between the three of these presenters meant that Lisa too was also a member/officer of PGSCT&NE.

This free seminar was extremely well attended (dozens of people). When you reach that level of critical mass you can find another genealogist who researches in an area near to your own family. Sure enough, someone near Bob & I was speaking about their Lithuanian heritage (Bob’s family line).

The three presenters were very knowledgeable and also very personable — often the audience were amused at one of the presenter’s jests.

This jester was also happy to finally hook up with Donna Pointkouski, the very talented blogger, of  the rather literate genealogy blog, “What’s Past is Prologue“. While she was not a presenter today (pity), she too was a part of the seminar set-up / organization.

My thanks to all four of these expert genealogists, writers, and presenters — you made today a better day !

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