Archive for ‘Data’

March 24, 2013

Gazetteers, Maps, and Genealogy — #Polish, #Genealogy, #Maps, #Gazetteer

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Block_Stanczyk, has been busy revisiting the Metryk (metrical, vital records) images from genealodzy.pl of the various parishes/synagogues [hereafter I just use 'parish' as shorthand for 'parish/synagogue']. As my blog, Waiting For Polish Archives 2.4 M Scans (March 18th, 2013), indicated, I have been exhausting the possibilities for Biechow & Zborowek parishes in the Buski (Busko-Zdroj) powiat. The images are clearer, so I am replacing my existing images with these much better images. In some cases, I have found that the images of the Polish paragraph format provide me with additional details over what may have been available via only a Latin Box format copy that I might have previously had. At the very least, I have corrected a few mistakes of translation due to unreadable portions from prior microfilm I have read from/taken pictures of. So I strongly encourage others to make this effort.

I have been using the Metryk database and looking at the images/scans. Sometimes you have to look at dozens of images because there is NO index. But most of the collection (post 1812) have indexes. If you see SKU (that means index/skorowidz of births/urodziny), likewise  for SKM (for marriage), and SKZ (for death) indexes. Sometimes indexes spread across multiple pages, so you may see SK1, SKa (names begining with the letter ‘A’) or SKU1, etc. SO use these indexes to look for your family names, then just load up the scan of the akt (record) number for your ancestor — no need to search  through a multitude of images.

I have also used Geneszukacz as another kind of index to search for family names. These indexes are nice because I can catch ancestors getting married (or dying or giving birth) in another parish that I might not have known to check. If this previously unknown parish is one that has scans, then I go directly to the year/event for that parish and go to the akt specified in Geneszukacz!

So that is all great and I exhort you to do this.

But these new, previously unknown parishes. Where are they? How far away from the ancestral village are they? That is when I need a gazetteer (check out Stanczyk’s Gazetter page) or a map. If you have not been to the Polish War Map Archive (Archiwum Map Wojskowego), then today’s blog is your reason to do so. I have a map on my wall of my ancestral villages. The map’s name is: STOPNICA_PAS47_SLUP32. In fact, I use their MAP INDEX, 1:100,000 scale map tiled in squares (http://igrek.amzp.pl/mapindex.php?cat=WIG100). Please NOTE these map images are from about 4MB to 7MB in size. Make sure you are at a Free WiFi cafe where you can use a high-speed and the large band-width for the map images you download.

When you see, PAS think ROW and when you see SLUP think COLUMN. This is a big Cartesian Grid (or computer types can think 2d-array). It turns out that STOPNICA_PAS47_SLUP32 has: Biechow, Pacanow, Ksiaznice, Zborowek, Swiniary, Szczucin, Beszowa, Olesnica, and STOPNICA. In fact, that one map has many more parishes than those that I enumerated. I have a small snippet of the Map Index below (you can click on the image and it will take you to the actual map index):

MapIndex_MapyWig

So I found an ELIJASZ ancestor in Koniemloty parish getting married, who was from PACANOW parish. Now from the Metryk web app, I knew Koniemloty was in STASZOW powiat. So I go to the Map Index and look at the grid near STOPNICA (P47_S32) and voila, STASZOW is the box due north of STOPNICA in PAS46_SLUP32. If you cannot locate you powiat that way, then you must drop back to MAPA.SZUKACZ.pl (an interactive map that I have raved about before) and look for KONIEMLOTY (do not need to use diacriticals) to get the relative feel that it is north or east (or north-east). So any way, STASZOW_PAS46_SLUP32 is the map for KONIEMLOTY parish. Notice PAS46 is one row less than PAS47 (of STOPNICA). PAS decreasing is going north, PAS increasing is going south. Going east from STASZOW, we see the SLUP increases to SLUP33  (SANDOMIERZ) or going west the SLUP decreases to SLUP31 (PINCZOW). So now you can now work  with the Map Index using the cardinal directions by adding/subtracting to/from the rows/columns.

P.S. Since this is the Passover (Pesach) / Easter (Wielkanoc) season, let me honor my wife (Tereza) by pointing out that her paternal grandfather, Benjamin Solomon, had as a birth village, Proskuriw (aka PŁOSKIRÓW, Хмельницький/Khmelnitski – now in Modern Ukraine). This village is shown in the lower right-hand corner of my map snippet (PAS51_SLUP44).

March 19, 2013

Polish State Archives – Numbers — #Genealogy, #Polish, #Archives

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Polish State Archives (Archiwum)

The Polish State Archives via the National Digital Archives (NAC) recently announced the plans to release 2.4 Million scans of metrical book records online. In order to use this database (http://www.szukajwarchiwach.pl/) you will need to know the Archive’s number of the Regional State Archive that you are interested in (i.e. the Archive that has the data/scans of your ancestral village).

Stanczyk could not locate such a list. So this jester created one. Knowing that the IZA had a drop down menu of Archives,  I went there. Sure enough it had the archives … and the archive’s number. But it was a drop down menu and I could not copy/paste from the drop down menu. How could I get the data?

I put on my propeller beanie and it occurred to me that the HTML of the web page would have that data for the menu. So I looked at the page source and voila. After some editing to remove HTML tags I built the required list for all of to use with the new 2.4 Million records in http://www.szukajwarchiwach.pl/.

The list is below. One note, I notice that the list is out of date in the sense that there are regional archives that no longer exist. For example, I know to my own pain, that the Kielce regional state archive (Kielce Panstowe) office (oddzial) in Pinczow  (#23 in the list) was closed and the records moved to Kielce (the main office, #21). So please take note of this, as I am sure it happened to other offices as well.

Here is the PDF of the listed parishes/synagogues being scanned (for March):

http://nac.gov.pl/files/D’ASC1_02_2013v.3.pdf

Archive Number List

1 Archiwum Glówne Akt Dawnych (1)
2 Archiwum Akt Nowych (2)
4 Archiwum Panstwowe w Bialymstoku (4)
5 Archiwum Panstwowe w Bialymstoku Oddzial w Lomzy (5)
6 Archiwum Panstwowe w Bydgoszczy (6)
8 Archiwum Panstwowe w Czestochowie (8)
9 Archiwum Panstwowe w Elblagu z siedziba w Malborku (9)
10 Archiwum Panstwowe w Gdansku (10)
11 Archiwum Panstwowe w Kaliszu (11)
12 Archiwum Panstwowe w Katowicach (12)
13 Archiwum Panstwowe w Katowicach Oddzial w Bielsku-Bialej (13)
14 Archiwum Panstwowe w Katowicach Oddzial w Cieszynie (14)
15 Archiwum Panstwowe w Katowicach Oddzial w Gliwicach (15)
16 Archiwum Panstwowe w Katowicach Oddzial w Oswiecimiu (16)
17 Archiwum Panstwowe w Katowicach Oddzial w Pszczynie (17)
18 Archiwum Panstwowe w Katowicach Oddzial w Raciborzu (18)
20 Archiwum Panstwowe w Katowicach Oddzial w Zywcu (20)
21 Archiwum Panstwowe w Kielcach (21)
22 AP w Kielcach Oddzial w Jedrzejowie – Oddzial zlikwidowany, akta przeniesione do AP K… (22)
23 AP w Kielcach Oddzial w Pinczowie – Oddzial zlikwidowany, akta przeniesione do AP Kie… (23)
24 Archiwum Panstwowe w Kielcach Oddzial w Sandomierzu (24)
25 AP w Kielcach Oddzial w Starachowicach – Oddzial zlikwidowany, akta przeniesione do A… (25)
26 Archiwum Panstwowe w Koszalinie (26)
27 Archiwum Panstwowe w Koszalinie Oddzial w Slupsku (27)
28 Archiwum Panstwowe w Koszalinie Oddzial w Szczecinku (28)
29 Archiwum Narodowe w Krakowie (29)
30 Archiwum Narodowe w Krakowie Oddzial w Bochni (30)
31 Archiwum Narodowe w Krakowie Oddzial w Nowym Saczu (31)
33 Archiwum Narodowe w Krakowie Oddzial w Tarnowie (33)
34 Archiwum Panstwowe w Lesznie (34)
39 Archiwum Panstwowe w Lodzi (39)
41 Archiwum Panstwowe w Lodzi Oddzial w Sieradzu (41)
42 Archiwum Panstwowe w Olsztynie (42)
45 Archiwum Panstwowe w Opolu (45)
48 Archiwum Panstwowe w Piotrkowie Trybunalskim (48)
49 Archiwum Panstwowe w Piotrkowie Trybunalskim Oddzial w Tomaszowie Mazowieckim (49)
50 Archiwum Panstwowe w Plocku (50)
51 Archiwum Panstwowe w Plocku Oddzial w Kutnie (51)
52 Archiwum Panstwowe w Plocku Oddzial w Leczycy (52)
56 Archiwum Panstwowe w Przemyslu (56)
58 Archiwum Panstwowe w Radomiu (58)
59 Archiwum Panstwowe w Rzeszowie (59)
60 Archiwum Panstwowe w Rzeszowie Oddzial w Sanoku (60)
61 AP w Rzeszowie Oddzial w Skolyszynie – Oddz. zlikwidowany, akta przeniesione do AP Rz… (61)
62 Archiwum Panstwowe w Siedlcach (62)
63 Archiwum Panstwowe w Suwalkach (63)
64 Archiwum Panstwowe w Suwalkach Oddzial w Elku (64)
65 Archiwum Panstwowe w Szczecinie (65)
66 Archiwum Panstwowe w Gorzowie Wielkopolskim (66)
67 Archiwum Panstwowe w Szczecinie Oddzial w Miedzyzdrojach (67)
68 Archiwum Panstwowe w Szczecinie Oddzial w Stargardzie Szczecinskim (68)
69 Archiwum Panstwowe w Toruniu (69)
71 Archiwum Panstwowe w Toruniu Oddzial we Wloclawku (71)
72 Archiwum Panstwowe m.st. Warszawy (72)
73 Archiwum Panstwowe m.st. Warszawy Oddzial w Grodzisku Mazowieckim (73)
75 Archiwum Panstwowe m.st. Warszawy Oddzial w Lowiczu (75)
76 Archiwum Panstwowe m.st. Warszawy Oddzial w Mlawie (76)
78 Archiwum Panstwowe m.st. Warszawy Oddzial w Otwocku (78)
79 Archiwum Panstwowe m.st. Warszawy Oddzial w Pultusku (79)
82 Archiwum Panstwowe we Wroclawiu (82)
83 Archiwum Panstwowe we Wroclawiu Oddzial w Jeleniej Górze (83)
84 Archiwum Panstwowe we Wroclawiu Oddzial w Kamiencu Zabkowickim (84)
85 Archiwum Panstwowe we Wroclawiu Oddzial w Legnicy (85)
86 Archiwum Panstwowe we Wroclawiu Oddzial w Lubaniu (86)
88 Archiwum Panstwowe w Zamosciu (88)
89 Archiwum Panstwowe w Zielonej Górze z siedziba w Starym Kisielinie (89)
90 Archiwum Panstwowe w Zielonej Górze Oddzial w Wilkowie (90)
91 Archiwum Panstwowe w Zielonej Górze Oddzial w Zarach (91)
93 Archiwum Panstwowe w Gdansku Oddzial w Gdyni (93)
307 Muzeum Pierwszych Piastów na Lednicy (307)
309 Archiwum Uniwersytetu Mikolaja Kopernika w Toruniu (309)
324 Stowarzyszenie Archiwum Solidarnosci (324)
325 Zarzad Oddzialu Zwiazku Sybiraków w Lodzi (325)
327 Glówna Biblioteka Lekarska im. Stanislawa Konopki (327)
701 Instytut Józefa Pilsudskiego w Ameryce (701)
702 Polski Instytut Naukowy w Nowym Jorku. Biblioteka i Archiwum im. A. Jurzykowskiego (702)

March 13, 2013

The Many [Mis]Spellings of Pacanow … — #Genealogy, #Slavic, #Pacanow

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

One of the difficulties of locating records or data on a Polish (or Czech, Russian, Lithuanian, Ukrainian, etc.) ancestor is the many ways a name can be spelled, misspelled, mistranscribed, indexed, etc. in a database. This is why you have to be creative when trying to locate your data.

Here is an example (from my paternal grandfather’s birthplace): Pacanow. That is the English rendering. In Poland it would be written as Pacanów. Now diacriticals aside, how many possible ways can I find Pacanow in Ellis Island (probably similarly for Ancestry.com as well)? OK, you asked …

Bacanow Pacanszka
Pacanam Pacanu
Pacanan Pacauow
Pacananska Pacona
Pacanaw Paconon
Pacanciv Paconow
Pacani Pacunow
Pacanica Paczanow
Pacanin Pacznow
Pacannon Paeanow
Pacanoer Paezanov
Pacanon Paezanov
Pacanoro Paezanow
Pacanoska Pasanov
Pacanou Pasanow
Pacanov Pasonaw
Pacanow Pazanoz
Pacanowa Pocanaer
Pacanowe Pocaniz
Pacanowic Pocanoa
Pacanowka Pocanor
Pacanowka Pocanow
Pacanowki Preanon
Pacanowo

Those are the ones I have found so far. That is 47 combinations! Now admittedly reading the handwriting from those ship manifests is difficult even when I am pretty sure what is being written;  So I can feel for the transcribers / indexers who harvest the data and do the data entry into some database.

Now, no searching by American Soundex,  Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex, or even Beider-Morse phonetic matching or even using wild-card searches, not even if you had regular-expression searches (like Oracle databases have) would I have found all of those. I do not know what to tell you to do. Be creative and persistent. Look at adjacent letters on a keyboard (for mis-typings) as data is entered. Look for letters that are swapped (i.e.  Eliasz vs. Elaisz) — mistyped or dyslexic. Just keep looking. I found ‘Bacanow’, because I said what might an handwritten letter ‘P’ look like to somebody? Of course, ‘R’ and ‘B’ suggested themselves to  my mind. No ‘Racanow’, but sure enough out popped a ‘Bacanow’. So you never know.

Now Stanczyk mentioned Pacanow, because I thought I was being slick and said, “What if I cannot think of all the ways a NAME can be misspelled?”. My answer was, “I know, I’ll just search on everybody coming over from the village of P-A-C-A-N-O-W.” Of course, as you might have guessed now I had a meta-problem because now I had to come up with all of the ways that Pacanow could appear. Well like the riddle, “How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie-Pop?”, I have an arbitrary answer … 47.

P.S.

I now have two spreadsheets. My first spreadsheet is my work-in-progress on the ZASUCHA of Niagara Falls SNA. The second spreadsheet I have is a rather large spreadsheet of all of the names from Pacanow (and truth be told Biechow, Piestrzec, Wojcza, …) and all of the surrounding villages that came through Ellis Island that I have found so far [plus a few mis-matches].

February 25, 2013

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

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

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

ANCESTRY_TreeSettings

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

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

<your-family-tree-name>.GED

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

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

ReadGedcom_ANCESTRY

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

_APID,  _FREL,  _MILT,  _MREL,  _ORIG

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

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

TIP

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

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

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

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

February 11, 2013

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

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do not forget about GENETEKA database in the meantime:

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

January 26, 2013

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

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

Files,   Views,   Lists,   Tools

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

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

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

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

iPad vs iPhone

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

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

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

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

October 1, 2012

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

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

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

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

Watch this space !

 

 

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

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 23, 2012

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

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Battle Hymn of the Republic, Julia Ward Howe 1861

August 15, 2012

Ayn Rand – A Genealogical Examination

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Background / Asides about 1950′s

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1976 Rand stops her writing for good.

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

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

Next … Ayn Rand vs Objectivism & The Critique

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

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

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

August 8, 2012

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

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

 

–Stanczyk

 

August 7, 2012

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

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

Prior To The Index

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

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

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

Where’s Aunt Alice?

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

The Missing

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

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

July 26, 2012

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

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Solutions

Ideally, we want the following features in a solution:

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 14, 2012

US Presidents in the US Census — #US, #Census, #Genealogy, #History

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

 This year the 1940 Census came out. By law the census is released after 72 years. So anyone you may want to find in the US Census must be at least 72 years old this year.

Do you have the urge to peer at the Presidents in the census? Well then you are in luck! The National Archives has developed a web page on the US Presidents recorded in the US Census. George Walker Bush (#43) has only just turned 66 this month so he is not there. President Bill Clinton will turn 66 next month, ergo he too has not yet appeared in the US Census. So President George H. W. Bush (#41) is the last President to appear in the census. Here is the 1930 Census (CT, Fairfield, Greenwich, ED: 1-134, SHT 4A) in which the president is five years old. Now that is Ancestry.com so you need a membership to view the image.

NARA – Presidents in the Census  (click on the link to go to their website)

I had fun looking at Thomas Jefferson. Many of the Presidents are recorded in more than one census. The links open to a page of census images and even a picture of the President. This might be a novel add-on for K-12 History Curriculum. Also a nice way to work the genealogy subject  into history (or vice-versa). All in all, this genealogical slant on history may spur new ideas for research.

My thanks to the NARA librarians/researchers who provided such a valuable resource!

I also want to thank @NYPLMilstein (twitter) who posted this tidbit on twitter.

July 12, 2012

Much More Ado About Mitt … Its All True — #Bain, #Romney, #Presidential, #Politics

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Today’s research is from SEC / EDGAR website …

Today a whole lot of comments about whether Mitt Romney was involved or not with Bain after February 1999 or not. I do not want to cover that ground but I recommend the following articles that cover the issues:

Boston Globe – “Mitt Romney stayed at Bain 3 years longer than he stated

Yahoo News – “Report: Romney at Bain Three Years Longer Than He Claimed

There were many other sources as well.

My motivation was the Romney campaign denying these reports and calling the President and his team misleading. This is another lie/inaccurate statement by the Romney Campaign team and Romney to deny the President and his campaign team and the Boston Globe report.

This jester went to the SEC website and looked at the EDGAR webpages listing the Bain SEC filings from 1999 through 2002. I have compiled a spreadsheet with links for any journalists or media types to follow or for you my blog followers/readers to follow.

The facts are as the Boston Globe and President Obama stated. The Bain companies’ SEC filings indicate that Mitt Romney had substantial involvement with Bain well beyond February 1999.

Romney had involvements with Bain as the various fillings state as:

  • Has Mitt Romney signature as a preparer/submitter of the filing
  • Title: CEO,   Principal Occupation: Managing Director Bain Capital Inc.
  • Share voting and dispositive powers
  • Mr W. Mitt Romney is the sole shareholder, sole director, Chief Executive Officer and President of Bain Capital and thus is the controlling person of Bain Capital.
The above are lines directly from copied from the SEC filing text (see spreadsheet below). In many of the filings Mitt Romney’s name was listed many times in many capacities. But clearly he was involved for longer than he has stated. Maybe as much as three years into 2002. Definitely, my spreadsheet showed some level of involvement through at least May of 2001. I could not find any involvement as of  February 8th, 2002 and going forward (as indicated by SEC filings).
My Methodlogy was to only look at Bain Capital, Brookside or BCIP filings, but there were many more where Bain was involved with other companies that I did not examine. There were a total of 131 filings and I only examined 20 filings and document sixteen filings below in the spreadsheet table.
Mr Romney you need to apologize to the President and indeed to all of America. You definitely had involvement as documented by the legal filings with the SEC. Beyond apologies, I think Mitt Romney owes all Americans complete transparency to get beyond this controversy. Mitt Romney I call on you to be open and transparent on this controversy and any SEC investigation. The first step is to release all TAX RETURNS from 1999 through 2008 inclusive. This covers the period of concern in the Boston Globe investigative article, which said you did not finalize your severance until 2002 and then made it a ten year severance pact, retroactively starting from February 1999. Hence we need 1999 through 2008 TAX YEARS to examine your involvement and to clear up whether these “mistatements” on your or your campaign’s part were meant to deceive MA voters and/or the USA voters in this Presidential campaign (as well as 2008′s campaign too).
Now before I stop writing and paste my research, let me state that I am still a registered Republican. I even sent money to Mitt Romney for his 2008 campaign and still receive his mailings up to the present.
But I vote for Democrats since TEA Party, Grover Norquist pledgers seems to be dedicated to ruining this country by doing NOTHING in DC and by sowing the seeds of anarchy with their ignorant, made up facts and puerile focus on women’s health rights, gay marriages, suppressing voter rights, etc.  These are not intellectual Republicans. They are not small government/low tax Republicans — because they work on limiting civil rights instead of lowering taxes and creating jobs and solving the economic woes of our nation. You cannot be a small government/low tax government if you keep trying to get the Federal government involved in social issues of every American. Real Republicans do not want to enforce social mores by Big Brother-Big Government, they are merely fiscal conservatives and prize securing the blessings of America by utilizing the military in only just ways and to ensure our defense and protection of our liberties from all enemies foreign and domestic.
Here is the spreadsheet data(evidence) that will stop the Republican/Romney lies … [If you do not believe me, then click on every link and look at each document as I did.]
Filing Date Link to SEC Filing ROMNEY Involved SEC File to Read NOTES
4/13/1999 www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1033683/0000950131-99-002266.txt Yes 0000950131-99-002266.txt has his signature
9/27/1999 www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/830134/0000927016-99-003307.txt Yes 0000927016-99-003307.txt
2/14/2000 www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1027584/0000950131-00-001153.txt Yes 0000950131-00-001153.txt has his signature
2/14/2000 www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1033683/0000950131-00-001151.txt Yes 0000950131-00-001151.txt
7/6/2000 www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1033683/000092701600002402/0000927016-00-002402.txt Yes 0000927016-00-002402.txt
7/14/2000 www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1065042/000092701600002483/0000927016-00-002483-index.htm Yes 0000927016-00-002483.txt
7/26/2000 www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/6885/000092701600002587/0000927016-00-002587.txt Yes 0000927016-00-002587.txt Mr W. Mitt Romney is the sole shareholder, sole director, Chief Executive Officer and President of Bain Capital and thus is the controlling person of Bain Capital.
11/6/2000 www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1033683/000092701600003722/0000927016-00-003722-index.htm Yes 0000927016-00-003722.txt share voting and dispositive power
2/13/2001 www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/874689/000092701601000754/0000927016-01-000754.txt Yes 0000927016-01-000754.txt has his signature
2/13/2001 www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1065042/000092701601000764/0000927016-01-000764.txt Yes 0000927016-01-000764.txt
2/14/2001 www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1065042/000089843001000644/0000898430-01-000644.txt Yes 0000898430-01-000644.txt has his signature
2/20/2001 www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1054290/000092701601001009/0000927016-01-001009.txt Yes 0000927016-01-001009.txt Title: CEO,   Principal Occupation: Managing Director Bain Capital Inc.
2/22/2001 www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1065042/000089843001000745/0000898430-01-000745.txt Yes 0000898430-01-000745.txt has his signature
5/14/2001 www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1033683/000092701601501004/0000927016-01-501004.txt Yes 0000927016-01-501004.txt share voting and dispositive power
5/14/2001 www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1033683/000092701601500679/0000927016-01-500679.txt Yes 0000927016-01-500679.txt share voting and dispositive power
2/8/2002 www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/874689/000104596902000154/0001045969-02-000154.txt No 0001045969-02-000154.txt After this no indication of Romney involvement in SEC filings
The above are for Bain Capital, BCIP, and Brookside. There were a total of 131 filings 1999-2002 that involved Bain entities. The remainder were listed under differing company names and were not examined

June 25, 2012

2012 – Year of the Census — #Genealogy, #Census, #State, #Territory

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

NY State Censuses: Colonial | State

2012 has certainly been a very good genealogical year for this jester. Recently, Ancestry.com completed the 1940 index for NY and I was thrilled to find my grand-uncle Frank Leszczynski ! Grand-Uncle Frank (aka Franciszek was 75 in 1940, and was the god-father at my aunt Catherine’s birth in 1914 and was from my great-grandfather Tomasz’s first wife, Julianna). He is a Naturalized citizen on/before 1940, after having filed in 1931 (Declaration of Intent). Why he is living with a family of Pawelczak as a lodger is a question. After all, he has two half-siblings living nearby, including my grand-uncle Michael whom he was living with when he filed the Declaration of Intent in 1931. So why live at 819 Oliver Street in North Tonawanda (Niagara County, NY) with the Pawelczaks — which he & the Pawelczaks did since 1935 according to the census data?

I still need to find Frank’s death certificate and death notice (if possible) and his Naturalization papers (Erie County or more likely Niagara County).

Ancestry on 5th-June-2012 also released indexes and images of the NY State Census for 1892, 1915, 1925 (previously they had done 1905, partially?).

NY Censuses & 1940 US Census both making my research in NY state a little more complete.

State Censuses

Family Tree Magazine had a nice “Cut & Save” chart on State Censuses (not the US Federal Census). Here is my Cut/Saved images of the States and their Colonial or Territorial or State Censuses that are available … somewhere.

Alabama .. Minnesota

Mississippi .. Wyoming

June 24, 2012

Big Data – Every Minute Of Every Day …

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

20120622-094344.jpg     Every minute of Every day,  you and I and the rest of the Internati produce data, big data in some kind of Internet colony. We email or blog or even a Facebook post or a 140 character tweet. Being genealogists we search databases and post trees with their connections and images like the 1940 US Census pages that hold our family members. And every day we post more data to the Internet. That is what the picture shows.

The pace of Big Data is increasing too.

Who backs up the Internet? Who archives the web? The “Wayback Machine” seems to record our civilization’s record so this work may last as long as Babylon’s cuneiform or Egypts hieroglyphs. Or will it? I know the Library of Congress is wrestling with Archival Issues of Digital works.

What is the disaster recovery plan of a sun spot interference or another magnetic burst? Books will survive and be immediately available but what about digital works? How do we backup all of this data exlposion?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 371 other followers

%d bloggers like this: