Archive for ‘Data’

March 2, 2012

Diacritical Redux – Ancestry GEDCOM — #Genealogy, #Technology

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

How?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beyond ASCII ?

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

Programmer Jargon – others  proceed with caution …

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

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

February 27, 2012

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

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

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

February 19, 2012

Meme: #RootsTech — #Genealogy, #Technology

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

 

February 16, 2012

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

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

February 13, 2012

Blog Bigos …

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk added a new Page (Tech Diary) to record my technology doings.

While doing that and reading from my blogroll (and emails), I discovered some history about the “defacto standard GEDCOM” (wiki: GEDCOM ). Now I strongly recommend you start from “defacto” link rather than the wikipedia link.

  • RootsTech 2012 – had two GEDCOM presentations by Ryan Heaton (FamilySearch, GEDCOMX project).
  • RootsTech 2012 – had one open source GEDCOM parser presentation by Dallan Quass. Dallan was quite remarkable in his efforts to achieve a 94% commonality amongst 7,000 different GEDCOM files. Dallan Quass has a GitHub project for his Open Source GEDCOM parser.
  • Modern Software Experience (Tamura Jones) had a couple articles that caused me to write this article. His most recent GEDCOM article that caught my eye was:  BetterGEDCOM (2/2/2012). I also noticed he had a GEDCOMX article from 12/12/2011. These two articles provide a good discussion. I also noticed that the BetterGEDCOM project had their own project blog. [also see his Gentle Introduction to GEDCOM  article].

I believe those provide the most recent current thoughts on GEDCOM (that I have not penned).

  • I have been studying GEDCOM v5.5 (the last GEDCOM standard).
  • I produced a partial Graphic Syntax Diagram of GEDCOM v5.5 [what I had been calling “Railroad Tracks”] just to demonstrate how I thought this diagram was a better vehicle to communicate the standard [than say UML object models].
  • I could not resist making slight tweaks to GEDCOM v5.5 even in my preliminary studies. Mostly so we could discuss GEDCOM in a readable fashion (i.e. whitespace for formatting, and comment lines ) or because the language cries out for consistency (i.e. requiring the HEAD tag to be a zero level, just like the TRLR tag).

My  Graphic Syntax Diagram of GEDCOM v5.5 was produced using an open source tool. It is partial and still high level. I did put in a construct so that you can clearly see all 128 standard tags. The Graphic Syntax Diagrammer is an excellent tool. I will have to offer the author a suggestion for the PNG images that it outputs. I need to take my diagram and manually edit it to make the drawing a better fit for 8.5″ x 11.0″ (aka A1) paper. I need to graphically wrap the railroad tracks and to add page breaks so that the image is itself usable for viewing/discussions. I will offer this sample drawing to any interested parties — including emailing the edited product to Ryan Heaton and Dallan Quass [who since they did not request it — can feel free to ignore it].

My goal is to make minor tweaks to  GEDCOM v5.5 via this diagram [not programming] and try and get DallanQ to produce a one-off parser for it (call it, say GEDCOM 5.5.999) and hope that my tweaks will not lower Dallan’s hard work of achieving 94% compatibility. If it turns out to have virtually no effect on Dallan’s 94% compatibility in his Open Source parser, then I can think about  getting some software vendors to utilize the enhancements (via end user requests), since they are trivial, just to move the standard forward and to open an interest in the vendors to looking at how we create a new Open Standard for GEDCOM.

P.S.

Thanks to Tamura Jones, I now know I need to update my diagram to GEDCOM v5.5.1 first

February 7, 2012

1876 Marriage of Walenty Paluch to Magdalena Major – #Polish, #Genealogy

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Genealogical Finds @RootsTech 2012

LDS Microfilm # 1192352 – Pacanów 1876-1877

Stanczyk’s, first find (after some time) was the 1876 Marriage of Walenty Paluch to Magdalena Major. I research mostly: Eliasz, Leszczynski, Solomon, and Wolf (my grandparent’s lines & my wife’s grandparents lines). Of a necessity, I record affiliated families and siblings in order to break through the brick walls, but mostly I trace direct lineage, with additions for lineages of 2nd/3rd cousins’ lines who are genealogists (since we work collaboratively and I wish to record these genealogists in the tree and preserve the connection to me). Also since my Social Network Analysis experiment proved out,  in my mind,  I keep an eye out for the affiliated families now.

Well when I saw a marriage record (Akt Małżeństwa/Брак запись) index in 1876 Pacanów parish (parafia) that names: Paluch & Major — I was very interested to see  who might be involved.

Record (in Russian/Cyrillic)

#15 – Paluch Walenty

Major Maryanna

Pacanów

The names are written in reverse order (fairly common in this parish, but not quite universally done).

On 15 March 1876 (Gregorian date, 2nd date of the double dates) there was a marriage between Walenty Paluch age 20 (born about 1856), born in Beszówa and the son of Jan & Agnieszka Paluch — wait a minute Jan & Agnieszka are my great-grandmother Maryanna Paluch Elijasz ‘s parents, therefore Walenty Paluch is my great-grandmother’s brother.

Ok so now this affiliated family name is of interest to me! Who is Walenty Paluch  marrying ?

Magdalena Major, age 18 (born about 1858), born in Dobrowodzie, but living in Pacanów parish, who is the daughter of Martin & Katarzyna Major — wait a minute these are my great-grandmother Aniela Major Leszczyński  ‘s parents. That means that Magdalena Major is my great-grandmother Aniela’s sister!  Wow this is amazing that two of my great-grandparent’s siblings are marrying each other!

OK so this is a marriage between an Elijasz great-grandfather’s affiliated  relative (brother-in-law) and a Leszczyński  great-grandfather’s affiliated relative (sister-in-law). I guess that Social Network Analysis pays another dividend to my research.

So how cool is that? If I had ignored Paluch and/or Major as not in my direct lineage, I would not have found this record and found two previously unknown siblings to my great-grandmothers. I also see that I need to research Beszówa parish for Paluch family data and that Dobrowodz village (I do not know this village or if it is a parish) is a place to go search for Major family data.

— RootsTech 2012 Treasure

February 5, 2012

Google Me Some Shiny New Genealogical Data

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Google was at RootsTech 2012. Google was a Keynoter, Google was a Vendor and Google was a presenter. Google was in the house. The tech gear had some Android devices in the audience too.

Only Apple had more technology there. Unfortunately, it was among the users, developers, and presenters. Tim Cook bring Apple to RootsTech 2013!!! Your customers deserve Apple to give the same presence as Google. As I said in my last article, iPads, iPhones, MacBooks (mostly Pro, but some Air) — the attendees were so tech laden you would have thought Ubiquitous Computing had arrived. Isn’t there a recession? Where did all these tech warriors come from? These were users a bit more than developers. Bloggers were numerous, most wore Mardi Gras beaded necklaces so they were recogizable. Then you had secret bloggers such as Stanczyk. Everyone was a genealogist. Users encouraged Vendors/Developers with praise and requests for more/better technology. Oh and make the tech transparent.

But this is about Google. Before the conference I had written the Google tech off as too low brow to bother with. Then Jay Verkler showed up — who is apparently the Steve Jobs of genealogy. He was the Keynoter on day one. Stanczyk is a genealogist and I have been to genealogy conferences before. These are usually staid affairs. Genealogists are … how should I put it … umm, old. It is not unusual to see octogenarians and nonogenarians (90’s). But the energy in the auditorium of 4,200 conference attendees was electric. These were not stodgy, Luddites. Notebooks and pens were almost nonexistent!! People were excited and very much anticipating — what, I do not think we had a clue, but expectations were off the charts.

Jay did not disappoint. He was personable and masterful in his presentation skills. Mr Verkler is a Visionary like Steve Jobs and the audience knew it and responded. It was Jay who weaved the vision which everyone now wants ASAP. He brought up Google and my eyes were prepared to glaze over. I did not even record the Google execs’ names [shame on me]. They were good! They had prepared for RootsTech and they showed brand new tech and also Microcode. I do not have words to express what I saw, but everyone in the audience wanted it.

Google showed Microcode which would be a Google Chrome plug-in and appear as a widget/icon in the address bar that can do amazing search/exchange tricks in a Web 2.0+ way. It would utilize Historical-Data.org in some unspecified way to do this genealogy magic. It was beyond amazing. Google created a genealogy plug-in!! Google is apparently also coordinating in an API-like way to transfer these search result magics into other websites like FamilySearch, Ancestry, etc. that put this magic into the beyond amazing realm.

Firefox and Safari take note if you do not want to see a massive shift to Chrome. I am pretty sure all genealogists will use Chrome when Microcode widget arrives.

February 5, 2012

Is GEDCOM Dead? Date/Place of Death, Please?

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

The RootsTech Conference is living up to its name. Everywhere there was a sea of: iPhones/Androids, iPads (in huge numbers), and laptops. Even the very elderly were geared up. Google, Dell, and Microsoft were at RootsTech. — why not Apple, especially since their customers were present in LARGE numbers??? [note to Tim Cook have Apple sponsor and show up as a vendor.]

According to Ryan Heaton (FamilySearch), “GEDCOM is stale.” He went on to speak about GEDCOMX as the next standard as if GEDCOM were old and/or dead. They were not even going to make GEDCOMX backwards compatible! In a future session I had with Heaton I asked the Million dollar question, “How do I get my GEDCOM into GEDCOMX”? After a moments pause he said they’d write some sort of tool to import or convert the existing GEDCOM files. Well that was reassuring??? So they want GEDCOMX to be a standard but FamilySearch are the only ones working on it and they have not had the ability to reach out to the software vendors yet (I know I asked).

My suggestion was to publish the language (like HTML, SQL, or GEDCOM). I asked for “railroad tracks“, what we used to call finite state automata, and what Oracle uses to demonstrate SQL syntax, statements that are valid with options denoted and even APIs for embedding SQL into other programming languages. Easy to write a parser or something akin to a validator (like W3C has for HTML).

Dallan Quass  took a better tack on GEDCOM. His approach was more evolutionary, rather than revolutionary. He collected some 7,000+ gedcoms

GEDCOM Tags

and wrote an open source parser for the current GEDCOM standard (v5.5). He analyzed the flaws in the current standard and saw unused tags, tags like ALIA
that were always used wrong, custom tags and errors in applying the standard. He also pointed out that the concept of a NAME is not fully defined in the standard and so is left to developers (i.e. vendors) to implement as they want. These were the issues making gedcoms incompatible between vendors. He said his open source parser could achieve 94% round trip from one vendor to another vendor.

Now that made the GEDCOMX guys take notice — here was their possible import/conversion tool.

The users just want true portability of their own gedcoms and the ability to not have to re-enter pics, audio, movies over and over again. RootsTech’s vision of APIs that would allow the use of “authorities” to conform names, places, and sources would also help move genealogy to the utopian future Jay Verkler spoke of at the keynote. APIs would also provide bridges into the GEDCOM for chart/output tools, utilities(merge trees), Web 2.0 sharing across websites / search engines / databases (more utopian vision).

GEDCOM is the obvious path forward. Why not improve what is mostly working and focus on the end users and their needs?

FamilySearch get vendors involved and for God’s sake get Dallan Quass involved. Publish a new GEDCOM spec with RailRoad tracks (aka Graphic Syntax Diagrams) and then educate vendors and Users on the new gedcom/gedcomx.    Create a new gedcom validator and let users run their current gedcoms against it to produce new gedcoms (which should be backward compatible with old gedcom to get at least 94% compliance that Quass can already do)!

Ask users for new “segments” in the railroad tracks to get new features that real users and possibly vendors want in future gedcoms. Let there be an annual RootsTech keynote where all attendees can vote via the RootsTech app on the proposed new gedcom enhancements.

How about that FamilySearch? Is that doable? What do you my readers think? Email me (or comment below).


P.S.
       Do Not use UML models to communicate the standard. It is simply not accessible to genealogists. Trust me I am a Data Architect.

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January 30, 2012

Genealogy This Week … #Genealogy, #Technology, #Polish, #GroundHog

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

To Stanczyk, it appears that 2012 has gotten off to a sluggish start (genealogically speaking). How about for you genealogists (email or comment)? Well that is all about to change !   Lisa Kudrow‘s Who Do You Think You Are?, returns this Friday with Martin Sheen as the subject.

RootsTech 2012 kicks off this week too. Did you notice, they have an app (its free) for that? Even better they will STREAM some of the conference for the benefit of all genealogists !   Kudos to Roots Tech — All Conferences (genealogical or not should do these two things: app and stream conference proceedings). This should definitely jump start genealogy.

Read these blogs. Yes, I am telling you its ok to read other blogs than this one. These people are “official Roots Tech bloggers”.

I discovered that I missed one of my holiday blogs (in my backlog) about the happy married couples in Pacanów parish from 1881. So I will post the names of 40 Happy couples and what record # (Akt #) they are in the Pacanów parish church book.  This is two years after my great-grandparents got married, but there is still a Jozef & Mary who are getting married (Jozef Elijasz). I once had to sort out the two Jozef Elijasz from 1879 and the one from 1881 who all married women named Mary in the village of Pacanów! Genealogy is hard.

Oh and Punxsutawney Phil will make an appearance this week and offer his weather prognostication skills (I really think his predecessor Pete was much better and more alliterative too). I am pretty sure Phil & Pete are German, so you will need a German genealogy site for their lineage. Quaint tradition (Pennsylvania), dragging a Ground Hog from its home to ask him about weather. I think Bill Murray’s movie captured it well. So be careful what you do this week, or you may be repeating it a few times.

January 27, 2012

Pathways & Passages – Journal of PGSCT&NE — #Polish, #Genealogy, #Society

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk, thinks he just got the new issue of Pathways & Passages. I’m not certain because it says 2011 on the cover and in the page footers. But of course, who doesn’t have a hard time writing the new year on their checks.

That aside, their column, “Online Resources” was particularly good this issue (whichever it was, Summer 2011 -or- Summer 2012).

For the PA Polonia …

They had two online resources. For Schuykill County, PA (moje zona has family from that county — in fact I stumbled upon this site a few years ago). So I can state it is a very good from my own experience.

They did mention Lackawanna County, PA (but did not give the URL — so off to Google for you). There are marriages: 1885-1995 and an index to wills.

The Next Online Resources …

Passaic County, NJ – Naturalizations.  This turned out to be an EXCELLENT find! I found a Jozef Zwolski  whose ship manifest I had found before. Now Jozef was a brother of Roman Zwolski and both of these men are sons Jan Zwolski & Petronella Elijasz ! They happen to be from both Biechow & Pacanow parishes. Joseph’s Declaration of Intent was listed and you could view the image (and download a PDF of the document)! So I now have a birthday for Joseph and it matches up well to his ship manifest and his residences in Russian-Poland match up well too — so I am pretty convinced I have my ancestor.

Joseph apparently served in WWI and is taking advantage of privileges as a citizen soldier to become an American.

Antwerp Police Immigration Index. This last resource given, I would not have thought to look into (not having any Belgians in my direct lineage). But apparently, if you stayed longer than normal before your passage to American (from Antwerp port), you had to register with Antwerp Police. A good many Polish must have fell into that category. I did not find any of mine, but did find some whose last names match those in my family tree. If you do find your ancestor — you have a name and a village to ascertain that you have the correct person. But you will gain a birthday. This is another nice database from  FamilySearch.org.

I am glad I belong to some of the various Polish Genealogical Societies — these little resources sometimes pay big dividends.

January 24, 2012

Genealogy 2012 – State of the Union

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

If you follow Stanczyk‘s posts, then you know the first 2012 Genealogical Website Ratings were published yesterday. I wanted to follow-up on that article’s meme with yet a further muse.

The ratings show that there was quite a bit of a shuffling around. Overall though, genealogy websites are nascent. That is my meme for today:  The State of Genealogy is Very Good and Is Improving. In a little over a week, RootsTech 2012 conference will happen. The convention shows many of the top web sites are attending: Ancestry.com, Fold3.com, FamilySearch.org, Mocavo.com, LegacyFamilyTree, MyHeritage, RootsMagic, Geni.com, AgesOnline, etc. In the middle of this conference, the “Who Do You Think You Are“, show will debut (3-Feb-2012). Late March brings us PBS’s “FINDING YOUR ROOTS…” So the first quarter looks promising. Do you doubt this jester?

Perhaps the Baron’s Online article, ” ‘Tis the Season For Ancestry.com” will convince you. Bob O’Brien (the author) analyzes  the stock performance of Ancestry in light this convergence. He does not reference RootsTech nor PBS — but this jester does. Also adding to the synergy for 2012 Genealogy is the release of the 1940 US Census on April 2. So 2012 has all the makings for genealogy’s best year ever. Baron’s does mention the 1940 Census too.

Now a successful business climate for genealogy – software, hardware, and services can only mean many good things will be coming for us genealogists. Let me urge you to greater heights in your research by lending your efforts in your research and also in collaborating on the Internet. We can all push our own research (and of course those distantly related to us) forward and ride the rising tides of the 2012 Genealogy Surge.

For good measure the biennial United Polish Genealogical Societies Conference in late April is also happening this year. So Polish Genealogy should be able to ride the tide of popularity too.

RootsTech looks like it will have its emphasis on the Internet with its evolving collaborative tools (social networks, HTML5, new databases, blogs, developer tools/frameworks/standards to enhance the collaborative/connection making nature of genealogy and provide richer search/match tools/techniques, etc.). Catch this break-out year!

That’s the Meme – The State of Genealogy in 2012 is very promising.

January 23, 2012

2012 1st Quarter – Genealogy Website Rankings — #Genealogy, #Rankings, #Website

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Welcome to Stanczyk’s  2012 First Quarter Genealogy Website Rankings. I know I am a week early — c’est la vie! Since my last rankings an array of rank postings [uh, pun partly intended] have appeared. Stanczyk has also received exactly one request for inclusion in his rankings, from .. Tamura Jones about his website: www.tamurajones.net [#58 on the new Rankings]. He also has a worthy Twitter page too. Keep sending in recommendations — I will keep thinking about them or including them if they are worthy. I liked Tamura’s stuff so MUCH, that I added his genealogy page to my blogroll [Modern Software Experience at the right].

I really liked the survey from the Canadian website: Genealogy In Time. I added their magazine/website (#13)  as well to my rankings.  I found them because they produced an excellent Genealogy Website Ranking (mid January 2012), that included a very thorough discussion of their methodology. They neglected a few Polish Websites that SHOULD have made their list. Also they list Ancestry.com in all of its many global incarnations and this eats up an unnecessary number of the top 125 poll slots.   But aside from those minor criticisms, their rankings is very GLOBAL and very good. Who knew there was a Chinese (make sense, considering their billion plus citizens and their excellent genealogical records) genealogy website or a Finnish website too in the top 125???

OK, Stanczyk will keep his Rankings  list, because of the emphasis on Polish / Slavic genealogical websites. Stanczyk also has many in the range 100-125 that are very useful though not popular enough to be the Genealogy in Time Rankings. However, the Genealogy-In-Time-Poll, makes a very useful tool in another way. They have graciously included the website links (URLs) of each site, making it rather easy to build a genealogical Favorites/Bookmarks list that is broadly useful. Stanczyk admits to his list being somewhat selective in the lower 1/3 in order to be more valuable to Polish Researchers (in particular to English speaking, though not exclusively so). On a personal note, this blog you are reading is in the top 5.8Million (of all websites world-wide) and is #120 on my Website rankings — come on readers give me a boost, please!

Needless to say, all website rankings I read, agree on the top 20-40 websites (putting aside the multiple listing of Ancestry.com).

Here is a snippet of the Rankings and the rest are on the Rankings Page:

January 13, 2012

Pacanow Marriage Statistics 1878-1884 – #Polish, #Genealogy

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk is obsessed with learning and understanding his ancestral villages. To that end, I spent the latter part of December analyzing the marriage records of Pacanów parish. As regular readers may know, Pacanów was in the Russian-Poland partition in the old gubernia (wojewodztwo/woj.) of Kielce which is north-east of today’s Krakow, Poland.  Pacanów  is now in the woj. of Swieto Krzyskie.

Today I have a graphic of a spreadsheet of the data I collected. Besides providing some demographics by the villages that made up the parish of Pacanów, it also gives you an inkling of the villages that comprise the parish [it may not be an exhaustive list]. You should also be aware that Catholic parish boundaries changed over time, just as they do today. So parish and dioceses may be different from earlier periods and also from those of the present time.

This was also an excellent exercise in practicing reading, transliterating, and translating Russian/Cyrillic to the Latin-based Polish alphabet. As always, the handwriting of the priest , the quality of the paper/book/ink  and even the original scanning of the church records affects your paleographic efforts. So scanning church records for a limited set of proper nouns can improve your paleographic/translating skills. After all, I know the noun has to be a village on the map (some map from that time period) so even difficult paleographic challenges can usually be resolved.

Results of Marriage Statistics

1878-1884 Pacanow Parish Marriage Stats By Village

For indexing/scanning purposes the villages are:

Karsy Duzy, Karsy Maly, Kepa Lubawska, Komorow, Kwasow, Niegoslawcie, Pacanow, Rataje, Slupia, Sroczkow, Szczeglin, Zabiec

I did not include Folwark Dolne as that is a manor house/ estate, (more so than an actual village).

January 7, 2012

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

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

December 18, 2011

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

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

December 17, 2011

A Little Bit of Blog Bigos … #Genealogy, #Website #Rankings, #SSDI

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk has a lot of catch-up to do. I blame it on the season and the Blood Red Lunar Eclipse — certainly that must be cause of the madness this December.

SSDI

So many blogs have written about the Social Security Death Master File and the many related issues. First millions of records were dropped by the SSA. Next the SSA, and this has probably been going on for months, started redacting the names of the parents on the SS5 Applications, thus eliminating the usefulness of that research tool. Now Congress has bullied the paid genealogy databases (and even Rootsweb) to drop the SS# from their databases on deaths in the last ten years. Rootsweb just dropped their Social Security Database altogether!

Now let me remind the lame (not lame duck) Congress that the Social Security Death Master File is used to inform banks/financials/loan companies/credit card companies etc. that these SS#’s are of the DECEASED and that they should not grant any NEW credit applications with the Social Security Numbers in the Social Security Death Master File! Ergo, having the SS# of a dead person should not avail any criminal and should in fact result in their arrest for fraud, as the afore mentioned companies are supposed to check the Social Security Death Master File against credit apps. Therefore, there is really is no need to  eliminate the SS#’s from Ancestry.com or any other database. By eliminating these numbers you cannot order the SS5 Applications — which is just as well since the SSA has made them much less useful. The result is: genealogists have less data available and the US Government has less MONEY($) available since the genealogists now have two reasons not to order the SS5 Applications any longer. The result is the US Government will now lose another source of income??? Boy, is this CONGRESS the biggest bunch of idiots or what?

Eastmans / Website Rankings

Dick Eastman’s Online Newsletter recently wrote about new website rankings and gave the URL/Link to a Anglo/Celtic website. Needless to say this is the website that caused this jester to produce a BETTER set of website rankings (please see my page above or at Genealogy Website Rankings). I ask you to please utilize my Genealogy Rankings as they are based upon resources in more common use in the USA (and Canada), such as SteveMorse.org or EllisIsland.org or CastleGarden.org or any Polish-related website or blog. So I am compelled — not because I am as popular as EOGN.com (#12),  vs Stanczyk (#120). But clearly leaving off the Steve Morse, or Ellis Island or the US NARA or Fold3 is not accurate in the USA and certainly NOT in the GLOBAL Genealogy market as a whole. Now this is foremost a blog about Slavic Genealogy (Russian-Poland overtly emphasized) and so I have made an effort to seek out and reflect Polish websites of Polish Genealogy websites/blogs (when their popularity reflects the need). I have intentionally not included GENPOL.com because its Global Ranking is too low. It is a very well known website to Polish Genealogists and I am sure in Poland itself it would be in the top 125 (just not Globally). So while this blog has a certain voice, my website rankings deserve as much attention as those that Dick Eastman writes about. Perhaps one day EOGN.com will notice this blog and its Genealogy Website Rankings List — you my faithful readers can help me by emailing Dick Eastman and informing him about my set of Genealogy Website Rankings which is very thorough and includes the Top 125 Genealogy Websites — including Polish & American & Jewish (re NonAnglo-Celtic) websites too. EOGN should not be allowed to perpetuate its blind-spot to other genealogies. Now let me hasten to add the other Rankings does in fact mostly agree with my own Rankings on the top 10 or 20 Genealogy Websites — his Rankings lack Polish/American/Jewish sites and my own Rankings miss a few Anglo websites and all of Ancestry.com’s other country sites (UK, CA, DE, AU, etc.) — which should probably be aggregated into Ancestry.com but due to their many domains their totals are segregated by Alexa (ratings agency) and this jester chose not to include so many Ancestry.com properties in the Rankings (which would exclude so many other worthy websites).

As before, let me remind new genealogists that this Genealogy Website Ranking could be utilized to create or augment your genealogy Bookmarks/Favorites. Obviously, they are valuable since a LOT of genealogists visit them.

MOCAVO

I forgot to mention about Mocavo.com (I put it into the newest Genealogy Website Rankings). I have briefly mentioned Mocavo.com before (when I found them in my blog analytics). They are a new search engine, akin to Google. However, they are a Genealogy Search Engine and as such is enhanced to understand GEDCOM, genealogy, dates, places, etc. and their search results are more intensely accurate then say what you would get from Google. They also have the ability search databases and include those in results, as well as GEDCOMs. You have the ability to submit your family tree (GEDCOM) to Mocavo and they can provide you with notices of potential new matches — much like Ancestry.com does for their subscribers. So instead of Googling you Family Tree, try MOCAVOing your Family Tree.

December 6, 2011

An Open Letter to: Jim Delany (Big 10), John D. Swofford (ACC), Larry Scott (PAC 12)

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

To: Jim Delany (Big 10) John D. Swofford (ACC) Larry Scott (PAC 12)

An Open Letter to: Jim Delany (Big 10), John D. Swofford (ACC), Larry Scott (PAC 12)

12/6/2011

Re: BCS Poll

You should immediately quit the BCS. It is rigged against you and your three conferences. If you read my letter then you should see from my analysis, that the “computer polls” are inherently biased (and perhaps worse than the two human polls that make up the other 2/3 of the BCS rankings).

First off, I used the Human Polls (Harris Poll & USA Today/ESPN) as the normative index. If you say this ok then you can accept my analysis. If you reject it, then you should be pitting LSU against Oklahoma State in the BCS Championship Bowl Game, because that is what the Computer Polls would have made the result if there were no human polls as a part of the BCS Index.

My analysis clearly shows that the computer polls OVERWHELMINGLY favor the BIG12 and have a strong bias in favor of the SEC too. At the same time it is OVERWHELMINGLY rigged against the BIG 10 and strongly biased against the ACC and the PAC 12 conferences.

The analysis shows that the Big 10, ACC and the PAC 12 would have to overcome a huge bias by the computer polls via the Human Polls to have any chance to reach the BCS Championship Game. You should realize that by selecting the SEC every year to play in the BCS Championship Game, you keep the bias in the computer polls and it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy each and every year. That means the BIG Money will continue to flow unchecked into the SEC (and also to lesser degree to the BIG 12) as it is a “virtuous cycle” upwards for these two conferences who get the best recruits and booster money because they are ALWAYS in the BCS Championship Game.

Now that you have given in to the precedent of two teams from the same conference in the BCS Championship Game (should be a rule against this) you will see a heavy bias to that year after year, since that is all new recruits will see and the “virtuous cycle” will persist. Also, did you realize that the computer and the human polls will emphasize the next year’s polls based upon the previous year, via the pre-season polls?

The root cause you will see is that two computer polls in particular: Kenneth Massey & Jeff Sagarin strongly overemphasize Big 12 teams and SEC teams also have a strong positive bias, while at the same time, these two same computer polls also demonstrate an under-emphasis of the Big 10 and a strong negative bias against the ACC and PAC 12. The effect is what we have seen for the last few years and culminating in this years SEC-only Championship.

If you want to keep the BCS Polls, then you will need to do five things to improve them and their perception as fair:

  1. Make a rule that the BCS Championship can NEVER have two teams from the same conference. This should be self evident.
  2. Make the remaining computer polls submit their algorithms to an audit before the season starts and a week before/after the final BCS rankings \to ensure that these computer algorithms are “bias free” from human intervention and that the same results are achieved in the before/after of the final rankings (i.e no tampering and results are reproducible i.e. no randomness).
  3. You must get rid of one or both of Kenneth Massey of Jeff Sagarin computer polls. The dual combination skews the biases in favor of BIG12/SEC and against the BIG10/ACC/PAC12. If you only get rid of one, then the initial removal should be Jeff Sagarin. The two computer polls show the same bias and are merely echoes of each other thus giving them an undue advantage over the other four computer polls. The Jeff Sagarin poll is merely MORE pronounced (in its biases) than the Kenneth Massey poll.
  4. No 4 loss or 5 loss TEAM can ever be eligible for a BCS Bowl Game. You need this rule to prevent obvious bias from contaminating the system.
  5. No 2 loss TEAM can play in the BCS Championship Bowl Game (substitute the next highest ranked team that does not violate rules 1 & 5).

Mind you the Anderson & Hester computer poll exhibits some bias too, but it at least it is not in COMPLETE lock step with the Kenneth Massey or Jeff Sagarin polls. Otherwise, please dismantle the BCS system and just have 4 super football conferences and take the conference champion from each and have these four teams play a semi-final and a final game to determine the national champion fairly. See the attached spreadsheet data, cut/pasted into the next page and do you your own analysis to validate my findings and see if you reach the same conclusion. Please pay special attention to TEXAS in the final rankings if you wish to be totally disgusted by the computer polls – there is no mathematics that can justify that conclusion by computers, unless there is a BIG12 bias. The computer polls would have made TEXAS, a 7-5 team, the 19th ranked team overall in the whole country and the two offending computer polls would have made TEXAS 13th in the country and eligible for a BCS at Large Bowl Game. Can you imagine? Only TEXAS and AUBURN (BIG12 & SEC) have 5 losses in the BCS Top 25. In fact there are no other 5 loss or any 4 loss teams!

Someone should commend the Richard Billingsley, Colley Matrix and Peter Wolfe computer polls for their ability to keep bias from skewing their rankings.

Anderson & Hester can and should do better in their computer algorithm.

2011 FINAL BCS POLL
Human Polls A/H RB CM KM JS PW

Comp   Polls

Comp     Diff Diff Summ
LSU SEC 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
BAMA SEC 2 -1 -1 -1 -1 0 0 3 -1 -4
OKLA St B12 3 1 1 1 1 0 0 2 1 4
Stanford P12 4 0 0 -1 -4 -6 -3 5 -1 -14
Oregon P12 5 -7 0 -3 -5 -4 -1 8 -3 -20
Arkansas SEC 6 -1 -2 -6 1 2 2 5 1 -4
Boise St MWC 7 -2 1 0 -6 -6 -1 9 -2 -14
Kans. St B12 8 3 1 4 4 3 3 4 4 18
SCaro SEC 9 -1 1 -2 0 1 0 10 -1 -1
Wisc B10 10 -5 0 -5 -6 -9 -2 14 4 -27
VaTech ACC 11 -2 0 -2 -3 -10 -6 13 2 -23
Baylor B12 12 1 2 -5 2 6 5 11 -1 11
UMich B10 13 2 -3 4 -6 -9 -5 15 2 -17
OKLA B12 14 8 5 8 7 8 4 7 -7 40
Clemson ACC 15 -4 0 -3 -5 -2 2 16 1 -12
Georgia SEC 16 2 -4 0 5 5 2 12 -4 10
Mich St. B10 17 -3 4 -4 -7 -7 -5 21 4 -22
TCU MWC 18 -4 4 -1 -5 0 3 17 -1 -3
Houston CUSA 19 3 0 5 -2 -6 0 18 -1 0
Nebraska B10 20 3 2 3 -5 -3 0 19 -1 0
So. Miss CUSA 21 25 -1 -1 25 25 5 24 3 78
Penn St. B10 22 1 1 2 25 25 -1 23 1 53
West VA Beast 23 25 25 -1 25 25 25 25 2 124
Texas B12 24 7 25 2 11 11 0 19 -5 56
Auburn SEC 25 0 1 25 8 11 4 21 -4 49
-7 11 -8 -35 -37 -2 -17 -78
 Skew By  Conference
ACC -6 0 -5 -8 -12 -4 -35
B10 -2 4 0 -24 -28 -13 -63
B12 20 7 10 25 28 12 102
Beast na na -1 na na na -1
CUSA 3 -1 4 -2 -6 5 3
MWC -6 5 -1 -11 -6 2 -17
PAC12 -7 0 -4 -9 -10 -4 -34
SEC -1 -5 -9 13 19 8 25

Source: 12/5/2011 Philadelphia Inquirer Final BCS Standings

The bottom five teams were unranked in one or more computer polls making their data unfit for some of the analyses – these were not used in the bottom analysis of Skew By Conference.

December 3, 2011

Parish Church Books (Registers) in Poland .. An Update

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk has previous written in one of his memes (“Use Polish Websites” #5) about the website called Parish Church Books  (http://www.ksiegi-parafialne.pl/).

Well on the Facebook page for the Polish Genealogical Society (in Poland) [written in Polish] was a mention of an update of the Parish Church Books website. It appears that our Polish breathren were very industrious in November and there were a great many updates.

For Example

on 28th-November-2011:

woj. świętokrzyskie
 Działoszyce chrzty, małżeństwa, zgony Geneteka
 Gierczyce chrzty Geneteka
 Jędrzejów małżeństwa Geneteka

on 23rd-November-2011:

woj. świętokrzyskie
 Bogoria chrzty Geneteka
 Jedrzejów małżeństwa Geneteka

on 14th-November-2011:

woj. świętokrzyskie
 Bogoria chrzty, małżeństwa, zgony Geneteka
 Grzymałków chrzty, małżeństwa, zgony Geneteka
 Koprzywnica chrzty Geneteka
 Obiechów chrzty, małżeństwa Geneteka
 Pińczów małżeństwa Geneteka
 Tumlin chrzty, małżeństwa, zgony Geneteka

And those were just the last half of November and just for the Wojewodztwo (woj.) Świętokrzyskie (formed from the old former woj. Kieleckie) where Stanczyk’s ancestors were from. Just about all woj. are represented as having changes, so it is worth a look no matter which partition(Russian, Austrian, Prussian) of occupied Poland you have ancestors in.

Please see the bottom of Stanczyk’s former article for a listing of what each database abbreviation means and where it is found.

 

P.S.

Happy Birthday today for  Joseph Conrad (aka Korzeniowski   h. Nałęcz) the great author!

December 2, 2011

Family Search Website – Free Central / Eastern European Records – #Genealogy, #Slavic

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk was checking out the family search  European Holdings for Slavic record counts / images to see what progress was made up through 2011.

It is good if your heritage includes the Germanic peoples or locales which were previously under their dominion. Do not get me wrong. I am thrilled that there  now over a million Polish records/images online or indexed at FamilySearch.org.

Country
Records Percentage
Austria 196,940 0.37
Czech Republic 85,469 0.16
Germany 50,998,675 96.98
Hungary Browsable Images Only 0.00
Poland 1,002,155 1.91
Russia 303,146 0.58
Slovakia Browsable Images Only 0.00
Ukraine 14,143 0.03
TOTALS: 
52,586,385

We have the ability to better. Please consider volunteering as an indexer. You can start and stop and start again, your  volunteering at any time. Find out more at indexing.familysearch.org. Every little bit helps. Stanczyk managed to do over 150 records this year. Genealogy is collaborative. Helping each other, we also help ourselves. Please pitch in — make this part of your Random Act of Genealogical Kindness efforts.

November 25, 2011

Books, eBooks, and More Books – Bibliophiles/Bibliophages Beware !!! #Books

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk is very old … My portrait by Jan Matejko dates back to 1862 alone. So perhaps you can forgive me if I blog about an antiquarian notion today … BOOKS. First off, I hope everyone had a Blessed and Family/Food Filled Thanksgiving Holiday (4th Thursday in November in the USA).

As I was saying I want to write about books today. I provided a handy photo for the reference of my younger readers who may need a refresher on the concept. Before you run off … Here’s my list:

No Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble today, although they are worthy purveyors — nor will I speak of Antiquarian Books, though I reserve that topic for another day.

Google Books (books.google.com/books) – I adore to find public domain books or snippets of books under copyright that I can search and perhaps get at least a snippet view of my search topic. Google now lets you keep the public domain books on their “Cloud” (no space on your hard disk). At present, my Google eBooks include:

Historya Polska w Ameryce by Wacław Kruszka. So you can find resources that are valuable to your genealogical or history research. Although you cannot download them to your iPhone, it is still portable since it is in the “Cloud” (enough with that Internet meme). So as long you can surf the web with your iPhone (or other smartphone) your genealogical resources are portable.
Google Books will also help you locate the book in a local library (or the closest library) or help you locate it via their cadre of booksellers in case you still need that tactile sense of holding a book or where an eBook is not an option.
They also have magazines too! Feel free to browse (get some good Sumatra coffee ready).
 
The Internet Archive (http://www.archive.org/details/texts) is more than just books. It also about the Web, Moving Images, Texts (books), and Audio. All intriguing in their own right. In fact, the Web portion has the infamous Wayback Machine for viewing websites as they used to be. As I read somewhere this month, the average website changes about every 28 days. Obviously, blogs skew that average. So in a sense, the Wayback Machine backs up the Internet or should I say the “Cloud”. Oops, I did promise to stop dropping that meme today. But books are what we are about today. Obviously, they get their books from Libraries and also Project Gutenberg. Also it should be obvious that these are public domain books. They store each book in a variety of formats (HTML, PDF, and various ebook formats). So you can download a book to your laptop and import that into your iBooks App (or whatever smartphone App you use) for true portability. Classics .. check, Genealogy/History .. check, Children’s Books .. double check, and Foreign Language Books too. What eBooks are on your smartphone? Perhaps we should ask that question to the famous (instead of what music is on your iPhone). Don’t be embarrassed .. go to the Internet Archive or the Next Topic (Project Gutenberg).
 
Project Gutenberg – has been around a long time. But it has taken eBook formats, eBook readers and smartphones to bring this valuable resource to major relevance. I daresay that most smartphone Apps that have free books, probably use this website. Project Gutenberg has 36,000 books to download. Skip those Apps, use the free iBooks App that came with your iPhone, Project Gutenberg to locate the books YOU care about, download the eBook format (epub or pdf work), import the book into iTunes, find some book cover art, and synch the whole package to your iPhone/iPad for true portability and reading on the beach or in that research archive or at the museum or that archaeology dig you have been promising yourself.
 
LibraryThing (www.librarything.com) –  You must be a bibliophile or bibliophage or why else are you reading this post. Well here is a website that is a bit different. LibraryThing will allow you to upload your library (200 books for free). Now you are not uploading books, but the data about the books or possibly its cover. You can enter the data or specify the ISBN and allow the website to locate the metadata that describes the book in your collection. If that is all it did, it would be mostly useful to libraries and librarians — which it is useful for and they provide a way to bulk load their entire catalogs. But it is a kind of social-network for bibliophiles or for authors trying to sell books to readers of their genre. I like the Zeitgeist feature for understanding what is out there. I also like to compare my books to others and wonder about what others users whose books overlap with my book collection are like and what that says about me. There are also book groups and local ties to bookstores, libraries, museums and other book events. There are so many ways to use this website collaboratively.  Take a peak.
 
Enjoy the books and the other book readers too!
November 23, 2011

Genealogy Journals / Magazines – AVOTAYNU — #Polish, #Jewish, #Genealogy

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk is always seeking out high quality resources that provide context for understanding and/or to provide ideas for new avenues of research. One of the great resources since about 1985, has been Avotaynu. Besides their journal of the same name which is the largest circulation magazine of Jewish Genealogy, they also publish many reference books for Eastern Europe that are of aid Jewish and Non-Jewish researchers alike.

They maintain an index of their published issues (1985-2008) here (http://www.avotaynu.com/indexsum.htm). It is broken down by various countries. This material can also be found in back issues, libraries, and they offer a CD covering the entire 24 year span. This jester sat down to produce a Polish Index for Polish Genealogists of all stripes (Enjoy!):

# Title / Description ISSUE YEAR
1 Jewish records at the Genealogical Society of Utah II/1/03 1986
2 Index to Polish-Jewish records at Genealogical Society of Utah II/1/05 1986
3 Book review: The Jews in Poland and Russia–Biographical Essay III/1/38 1987
4 Origin of Russian-Jewish surnames III/2/03 1987
5 Breakthrough in access to Polish-Jewish records IV/1/10 1988
6 Book review: Jews of Posen in 1834 and 1835 IV/2/26 1988
7 Update on project to microfilm Jewish records in Poland IV/3/12 1988
8 Doing research in the Polish State Archives IV/3/21 1988
9 Jewish Historical Institute in Poland V/2/07 1989
10 Jewish genealogical research in Poland V/2/08 1989
11 Trip to Poznan: The Poland that was not V/3/16 1989
12 Professional genealogists in Poland V/4/04 1989
13 List of former Jewish residents of Lodz V/4/15 1989
14 Caricatures in Polish vital statistic records VI/1/16 1993
15 Polish trip for Jewish genealogists planned VI/1/41 1993
16 Using Prussian gazetteers to locate Jewish religious and civil records in Poznan VI/2/12 1993
17 Sephardic migrations into Poland VI/2/14 1993
18 A genealogical tour through Poland VI/3/16 1993
19 Program Judaica to document Jewish history VI/3/19 1993
20 Jewish researcher in Poland VI/3/39 1993
21 Jews in Poland today VI/4/63 1993
22 Polish maps available in the U.S. VIII/1/58 1993
23 Weiner discusses developments in Poland and Ukraine VIII/3/64 1993
24 A 1992 research trip to Poland VIII/4/12 1993
25 Survey of Jewish cemeteries yields results VIII/4/17 1993
26 Cites Polish “rip off” IX/1/65 1988
27 Asks why survey of Polish cemeteries does not include all regions IX/1/67 1988
28 Polish-Jewish genealogical research–A primer IX/2/04 1988
29 More on the survey of Polish cemeteries IX/2/13 1988
30 Book review: Korzenie Polskie: Polish Roots IX/2/61 1988
31 Polish-Jewish heritage seminar planned for July in Krakow IX/2/65 1988
32 Asks for clarification (of Polish-Jewish records) IX/3/66 1988
33 Stettin emigration lists found IX/3/67 1988
34 Head of the Polish State Archives clarifies policies IX/4/04 1988
35 Book review: Jews in Poland: A Documentary History IX/4/69 1988
36 More on Polish-Jewish Genealogical Research X/1/12 1994
37 Directory of Polish State Archives X/1/14 1994
38 Archives of the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw X/1/41 1994
39 Jewish genealogical research in Polish archives X/2/05 1994
40 Jewish surnames in the Kingdom of Poland X/2/15 1994
41 Polish sources at the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People X/2/21 1994
42 Success in dealing with Polish archives X/2/48 1994
43 Gleanings from a symposium on bibliographies of Polish Judaica X/4/56 1994
44 Polish name lists sought XI/1/67 1995
45 Nineteenth-Century Congress Documents and the Jews of Congress Poland XI/3/24 1995
46 Polish Vital Records for the Very Beginner: The Polish Language Challenged XI/4/29 1995
47 Alternate surnames in Russian Poland XII/2/15 1996
48 Census records and city directories in the Krakow Archives XII/2/27 1996
49 Book review: The Jews in Poland and Russia: Bibliographical Essays XII/2/63 1996
50 Alternative research sources in Poland XII/2/65 1996
51 Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw XII/3/51 1996
52 Director General of the Polish State Archives dies XII/3/55 1996
53 An interview with the new Polish State Archivist XII/4/03 1996
54 On-site Jewish genealogical research in Poland: an overview XII/4/04 1996
55 The Jewish cemetery in Warsaw XII/4/56 1996
56 Book review: Polish Countrysides: Photographs and Narrative XII/4/81 1996
57 German and Polish Place Names XIV/2/33 1998
58 List of More than 300,000 Polish Holocaust Survivors Received by USHMM In Wash. DC 19th- and 20th-Century Polish Directories as Resources for Genealogical Information XIII/1/25 1997
59 Hamburg Passengers from the Kingdom of Poland and the Russian Empire XIII/2/63 1997
60 Lw¢w Ghetto Records Being Indexed XIII/3/66 1997
61 Cites Location of Polish Directories XIII/4/98 1997
62 Jewish Roots in Poland: Pages from the Past and Archival Inventories; And I Still See Their Faces: Images of Polish Jews; Guide to the YIVO Archives; Luboml: Memorial Book of a Vanished Shtetl XIV/1/63 1998
63 Comments on Jewish Roots in Poland XIV/2/65 1998
64 Report on Jewish Communities in Poland Today XIV/2/65 1998
65 How I Found a New Ancestor in Krak¢w, Poland XIV/4/65 1998
66 18th-Century Polish Jewry: Demographic and Genealogical Problems XV/4/9 1999
67 Tips on Translating Entries from Slownik Geograficzny XVI/3/49 2000
68 The Polish Concept of Permanent Place of Residence XVI/3/12 2000
69 More About Polish Books of Residents’ Registration XVI/3/14 2000
70 Can Jewish Genealogists Successfully Research 18th-Century Poland? XVI/3/16 2000
71 History Book Illuminates Jewish Life in Poland XVI/3/40 2000
72 Book Review: History of the Jews in Poland and Russia XVI/3/65 2000
73 Book Review: In Their Words: A Genealogist’s Translation Guide to Polish, German, Latin and Russia Documents. Volume 1: Polish XVI/4/87 2000
74 Breaking New Ground: The Story of Jewish Records Indexing-Poland Project XVII/1/7 2001
75 Documenting the Fate of the Jews of Ostrow Mazowiecka XVII/3/19 2001
76 German and Polish Archival Holdings in Moscow XVII/4/11 2001
77 Internet Site Names Polish Towns XVII/4/79 2001
78 Researching Pre-1826 Vital Records in Congress Poland XVIII/2/19 2003
79 Book Review: Jewish Officers in the Polish Armed Forces, 1939-1945 XVIII/3/62 2003
80 Ashes and Flowers: A Family Trek to Jewish Poland and Romania XVIII/4/11 2003
81 Two Polish Directories Online XVIII/4/91 2003
82 Polish Passport Policy 1830-1930: Permits, Restrictions and Archival Sources XIX/1/21 1998
83 Book Reviews: Zród a archiwalne do dziejów Żydów w Polsce XIX/3/65 1998
84 Jewish Surnames in Russia, Poland, Galicia and Prussia XIX/3/28 1998
85 Using Polish Magnate Records for Posen XIX/3/25 1998
86 Avotaynu Online Database Lists Nobility Archives XIX/4/21 1998
87 Hidden Jews of Warsaw XX/1/47 2004
88 Polish archives in Bialystok, Knyszin and Lomza XX/2/50 2004
89 Polychromatic Tombstones in Polish-Jewish Cemeteries XX/2/39 2004
90 Tracing Family Roots Using JRI-Poland to Read Between the Lines XX/2/15 2004
91 Biographical lexicon of Polish rabbis and admorim XX/3/47 2004
92 Flatow Jewish Cemetery Tombstones Discovered XX/4/79 2004
93 Polish City Directories Now Online XXI/3/67 2005
94 Morgenthau Mission to Poland to Investigate the 1919 Pogroms: A Genealogical Resource XXII/2/14 2006
95 What Can We Learn from Slownik Geograficzny? XXII/2/31 2006
96 Spiritual Genealogy: A Look at Polish Notary Documentation XXII/2/38 2006
97 Notes Polish Book and Magnate Records  XXII/3/63 2006
98 Exhibit of the Jews of Poznán, 1793–1939 XXIII/1/71 2007
99 Strategies for Assigning Surnames to Early JRI-Poland Records XXIII/2/22 2007
100 Book Review: Posen Place Name Indexes XXIV/1/51 2008
November 18, 2011

Mt Olivet Detroit, MI Cemetery – #Polish, #Genealogy

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Earlier in the week I had dropped a quick spreadsheet of some people in my family (or for whom I had performed a RAOGK). It also was accompanied by a map of the Mt Olivet Cemetery (shown to the left).

Mt Olivet is part of the Mt Elliott Cemetery Association which is made up of the following cemeteries:

Mt Elliott,  Mt Olivet Resurrection All Saints Guardian Angel  and The Preserve cemeteries. They also have an online database that you can search for your ancestor here: http://mtelliott.com/genealogy .

The map seems to indicate that there are about 75-85 sections to the cemetery (Most are numbered, but the annex sections have Letters). I have section maps for Sections: 15, 24, 52 and L. These section maps have family names (probably of the original deed-holder family)  written in the boxes.

I would like to collect the entire set of section map pictures. So my plea to you, my readers is do you have a scanned map of any of the sections of Mt Olivet (Detroit) cemetery?

If you have any or all of these Section Maps, then can you email these images (preferably in JPG/JPEG), but I will take any format you have. The image needs to be clear enough to read the names in the boxes. Let me show you an example (a portion) of what I am looking for:

Ok readability is highly variable. Obviously they can write smaller than can be read. But what I am trying to do is read…

“Pitlock”, Plot 1223,  “Chojnaski”, Plot 1222, etc.

These are sometimes called Plot Maps. The one here is a snippet from Section 15.

The three most desired Section Maps are: Section 54 (where my father’s infant brother, Henry is buried) & Section 57 (where my grandfather Joseph is buried) and Section G where my aunt Sally and her son/my cousin Stephen is buried .

Thanks Internet!

November 15, 2011

Just Another Mt Olivet Monday

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

A bit late …

Mt Olivet Monday (Detroit, MI)

Here is a list of family buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery on Vandyke Rd, in Detroit, MI.

The last two rows are a bit of RAOGK that I did for Maureen Mroczek (whereby I sent her pictures) of her ancestors headstones.

Here is a map of Mt Olivet Cemetery:

Death Date Last Name First Name Section Lot# / Tier# Grave
8/3/1967 Eliasz (Prusinski) Sabina F. G 1344
1/19/1963 Eliasz Stephen E Jr G 1355
1/29/1923 Eliasz Henry 54 16 346
1/6/1930 Eliasz Joseph 57 2 114
8/6/1981 Gawlikowski
(Wlecial)
Rose 15  1255
7/18/1943 Gawlikowski Adam 15  1255
5/15/1967 Wlecial Leon 15  1255
3/8/1961 Wlecialowski Boleslaw 15  1255
Mroczek Kazimier 51 41 945
Mroczek Mary Kozlowska 55 12 215
November 14, 2011

Fold3 – World War II Materials Free – 11/11/11 – 11/20/11

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk keeps forgetting to mention that FOLD3.com has some free databases through this Sunday coming up. Apparently, some of you already know the website appears to be busy.

Nice gesture for Veterans Day!

November 13, 2011

1940 US Census Website – #Genealogy, #1940

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk noticed that genealogist,  Ceil Wendt Jensen has been letting all genealogists know about a new website to help with the 1940 US Census (which arrives in April 2012). Here is the website: http://www.1940census.net/ .

Have you prepared for the 1940 Census yet? If not, my prior article or Ceil’s link ,which has many resources, is a whole website that can help you prepare. Also, do not forget the Steve Morse.org website.

Tags: ,
November 12, 2011

2011 Year End Genealogy Website Rankings – Top 125 Websites Globally – #Global, #Genealogy, #Rankings

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Two months ago Stanczyk produced an analysis of Genealogical Website rankings after reading the Eastmans Online Genealogy Network blog about one from Canada??.  Since that time, I have been monitoring my own blog’s rankings every month to see how I have been progressing and I am very thankful for you, my good readers. But before we close out the 2011 year, I wanted to have a final Global Top 125 Genealogy Websites ranking. The current global rankings include a link to the prior ranking, so you can compare for yourself.

First off, let me say how I produced the survey. It is not like Family Tree Magazine’s Top 100 Genealogy Websites which “selects” their favorite 125 websites, by grabbing some from a variety of categories (African-American Genealogy, Jewish Genealogy, Big Genealogy Websites, etc.). Their breadth of “selections” is impressive and they range into reference websites too. Still every one of their selected websites is a valuable resource and the whole list could be used to form your own Genealogy Favorites (Bookmarks).

To arrive at my surveys, last survey and this current survey, I used Alexa.com as my source for rankings. I gathered websites from all over the world and I used the GLOBAL RANKING. This is why we, in the USA may have some disagreements, as Alexa.com also keeps a ranking within the local country. The American rankings for the USA websites tend to be much higher than the foreign regions for us. Likewise, in Canada or the UK, their local genealogy websites tend to rank higher than USA websites because they tend to use their local resources. But in the USA everyone is from somewhere else, so we use USA websites and genealogy websites from around the entire Globe to do our research. Finally, since I use Alexa.com for the rankings, I have to accept that they may not have considered a website that might actually be about genealogy as being about something else, because  the website did not specify or because they described their website as something else. Also Alexa.com does a very poor job of ranking websites outside the USA/Canada/UK unless they write in English. To compensate (modestly), I did add in two Polish genealogical websites and included their global rankings in the survey. After all, this is a blog about Polish Genealogy and other musings. I also added in a few odds & ends, such the the US National Archives (even though not all of the site is not genealogically related  — Alexa does not allow for me to select a sub-site within Archive.gov).

Findings

The new websites, seem to be the ones I added. Some of the older websites no longer had data, so we see some with a ranking of: 99,999,999. This is not an accurate ranking but it must be well beyond 30Million and may now be in the 100Million range and as such, Alexa.com now ignores it or at least does not keep its data.

Many of the top 50 Genealogy websites moved up and moved upwards a good bit. A very few of the Top 50 moved down slightly. So overall, it seems that Genealogy is becoming more popular (than all other websites in general). To give you some feel, this blog that you are reading right now, moved upwards some 6Million places. However, it only moved up four places on the Global Top 125 Genealogy Websites ranking.

In the Top 10, there was very little movement. Most notable, was Fold3.com (formerly Footnote.com), the recent Ancestry.com acquisition moved to number 9 (up from #10) and Eastmans Online Genealogy Network moved up to #10 (from 17). The Top 10 also has one of the new websites (NARA) and MyHeritage.com (#2  — one of those websites that Alexa.com had not counted as a genealogy website, but which we included this time).

Next Year

I will begin dropping website that are ranked at or above 20Million  to allow room for some new websites and to keep the list to 125. Please send me an email about any website that I should investigate for inclusion.

I will publish the future Rankings on or about the 1st of: March, June, September, and December going forward.

Thanks!

 

November 3, 2011

Social Security Administration (SSA) changed the Death Master File (SSDI); #Genealogy, #Sources

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

In a nice piece of Genealogical Journalism, Steve Danko (eminent Polish genealogist — see my blogroll on the right), posted about the Social Security Administration (SSA) changing its Death Master File (DMF), aka the Social Security Database or SSDI,  that we use as a major source of genealogical data. Their change, which you can read about in Steve’s blog, took place on November 1st (two days ago) without much fanfare or any fore knowledge. Now as an IT Expert for the last quarter century, I understand the SSA’s rationale — it is a data privacy / legal issue. Its impact is immediate. 4.2 Million records have been deleted from the former 89 Million records (approximately 4.72%) and have vanished because it was “Sourced” from various US States (and not updated from those States’ records). This article is not about discussing the whys and what-nots of the SSA’s decision. This post is about the ramifications of that decision for genealogy.

Two impacts are explicit. 4.2 Million source records disappeared. Going forward, 1 Million records per year will not be loaded (or is it more proper to say, will be in suspense until a source comes forward for that death). Let’s talk about the 4.2 Million records that disappeared 1-November-2011. Some percentage of those records were used in some genealogist’s family research and are documented therein. However, the source is now gone?? If you were diligent and documented the SSA’s DMF (aka SSDI) in your research and that record disappeared, then future researchers will be left wondering what happened. Is this researcher accurate? So,  I propose that everyone use their favorite DMF/SSDI and verify their source is still there (or that it is gone). Furthermore, if it is gone, then I propose a note be entered in your source documentation of this “Event” that happened 11/01/2011 and that a reference back to the state where the death took place (and/or county) be mentioned as the place to get extant documentation and that the previous source documentation was removed by the US Government pursuant to this “Event”.

Apparently, you will need to verify your DMF/SSDI source for ALL deaths from 2002 through to 11/01/2011. Before that , there are no changes that need to be verified. Use your family tree software, pull a report of deaths from 2002-2011 inclusive and work your way through the list.

I think it is still a FACT. The death is still a FACT; but the evidence to support the FACT is now missing unless you have a death certificate or other source for the death date / place. That is why I propose a note be placed into your documentation of your sources. What you know, has NOT changed. How you know of the death has effectively been changed (rug pulled out from underneath you).

There is so much more that could be discussed on this topic.  But this much is my topic and the subject of this post. Good Luck and get started.

–Stanczyk

P.S.

I guess to the litany of investigatory questions, we will now see/hear: …

“What did you know? When did you know it? Do you still know it?

November 2, 2011

Dziennik Polski, Detroit, MI – Index, Summary Update #HistoricalNewspaper

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Well Stanczyk have been busy for a few days, trying to update the Rootsweb page dedicated to the Dziennik Polski, Detroit, MI Polish Language Ethnic Newspaper.

The Index page with the names has been updated with nearly 7,000 new names / dates from 1936.  The Summary of all Dziennik Polski transcriptions now totals 48,217 of which 26,745 of those names are indexed and the summary page is here.

The Index page is alphabetical by Last Name, First Name, Date of Newspaper (when the name appeared).  Use your browser’s FIND capability (Ctrl-F in Windows, Cmd-F in Mac) to search for a name or just scroll the page.

 

October 27, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – Useful Websites … #7 Prussian Army’s Personnel Losses in World War I

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk was reading  his emails, when he noticed Ceil Wendt-Jensen  has published a useful website on the various Polish / Michigan genealogy mailing lists.

As the Article title suggests this is another database of military personnel from World War I. This one is unlike the ones you’d find at genealodzy.pl . It is however, similar to these databases and even links to the same Fallen in World War I website. But as I said this website/database is different from those.

The aim of the Prussian Army project (link: http://www.genoroots.com/eng/databases.php) is to provide an easy way of searching through the Deutsche Verlustlisten. This is the Prussian Army’s Personnel Losses during World War I .

The authors of the project: Aleksandra Kacprzak  and  Mariusz Zebrowski. They are still updating so check back from time to time. If you click on the “Prussian Army project” link above it will take you to its databases page. There  under the ‘Prussian  Army’ Heading you will see a link ‘Search’. Click on ‘search’ link. You should see the following search form:

Fill in a name and click on the ‘Search’ button. That is it. Should you find an ancestor, you can email them for more info. There is a very modest charge for this follow-on service (the search is free, the detailed info is where the cost is). So if you find someone, then …

e-mail: prusy22@wp.pl. When asking for further information, you must provide the ordinal number (‘L.P.’), the first and last name and the rank of the person in question. The additional information costs 2 Euro per name (=$2.82 as of 10/27/2011), payable via PayPal (to prusy22@wp.pl ). Stanczyk is not affiliated and has no conflict of interest in these entrepreneurial Poles. I did not find any of my ancestors, so I cannot tell you what details you may find. My ancestors were from the Russian-Poland partition (and hence would have been in the Russian army) — keep in mind this Prussian army (not Russian, not Austrian).

Good Luck! Please send me an email with a sample detail if you send for it. Thanks!

September 27, 2011

Family Search Indexing Tool – #Genealogy – #Polish Radom 1866

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk wanted to take a moment to say, “Thanks”. You may recall I did my due diligence on the Genealogy Website Rankings. I added my own blog website for reference. At the time of the survey I was a little over 12.8 Million-th most popular website on the Internet. Out of the billions of pages, I thought that was a great start.

For kicks, I went to Alexa.com and inquired if my ranking had changed. I was pleasantly surprised to see that I was now the 10.3 Million-th most popular website. That is an improvement of 2.5 Million in about one month !   So I just wanted to say thanks. I am hoping to eventually crack the top 1 Milliion (with perhaps a dream of being in the top 100,000 some day). I asked for your support and I can definitely see that I received it. Thank You very much for lending me your eyes.

I am also looking for people to help me in my volunteer efforts. If you can read Polish (or even Russian, I saw two projects for Ukraine-Kiev church records), then you can join with me on one of two projects: Lublin and/or Radom. I chose Radom as it was close to my grandparent’s ancestral villages (Biechow/Pacanow).

Most projects are for English language records. Of those, many are in the USA, so you could pick your local area and get a local genealogy society or historical society to pitch in. It will provide more data for all of us to research. If you want to thank me, but only read English then perhaps you can pick from a project for: Philadelphia, Buffalo, Toledo, Detroit (or Michigan in general). This is another way you can lend me your eyes and feel good about doing some volunteer work (Random Act of Genealogical Kindness, anyone?).

Two Polish projects open at present.

As I said, I chipped in some effort to read one batch (of 12 birth church records). The records I was given in my first batch were from 1866 in the Radom diocese. This data (index and images) will be free to search from their website: FamilySearch.org (Europe Record Groups) .

Good Luck & Thanks again!

— Stanczyk

September 25, 2011

#Genealogy #Polish – Searching ELA database, State Archives (Poland)

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk was visiting the State Archives in Poland website and he explained about the four databases:

  • PRADZIAD – For vital records, both civil and religious. Birth,  Marriage, Death and Alegata records.
  • SEZAM – A database containing  detailed descriptions of archival holdings preserved by the State Archives and a few related repositories. Some entries are rather lengthy.
  • IZA – A catalog of all (really slightly more than a quarter of all) fonds, by archive that holds them and indexed by Key Words. It includes the Archive’s contact info (for each fond). I hope they get around to indexing the other 3/4 of fonds.
  • ELA – A database of all population registers (Censuses, Lists, Indexes, etc.) in Poland’s State Archives.

When I wrote about ELA, I said it was not very useful. But I  wanted to correct my errant statement (due to my own misconception about what data they had available). By the descriptions, you can see that PRADZIAD is the most important to a genealogist, but that the ELA database with its population lists can provide additional opportunities to find an ancestor and in some context (a list of soldiers, those being deported, a census, eligible voters list, etc.) for some timeframe. Now let me hasten to add that in the Russian Partition of Poland you are not going to find much in the way of censuses — it seems you can find Russian Empire censuses in all Russian Gubernias, but the ten gubernias in the Polish Kingdom (of the Russian Empire, aka Congress Poland).

Using ELA

This is the English language version of the ELA database (click on link to go to ELA) search form.

You can leave “Town” empty and just search on the “Register’s title” field. Here are some possible search strings (enter Polish words):

  1. Listy osób
  2. Listy osób uprawnionych do głosowania w guberni kieleckiej
  3. listy osób deportowanych z Cesarstwa Rosyjskiego

The first is just the generic, “Lists of People”. All strings must be in Polish (get your Google Translator out). The diacriticals (accents) are not required. The second is the list of eligible voters (in Kielce Gubernia).  The third one is a list of people deported from the Russian Empire.

Leave town blank if you want to search all towns. Fill in town or gmina or powiat (if these are also town names) if you want to limit yourself to an area where you know your ancestors were from. You can also use “Register’s title” if you want to search a whole wojewodztwo (gubernia) and not just the town Kielce.

I have family from the Kielce Gubernia, so I clicked on “more” to find out what FOND and Archive has this data of interest to me (#2 of the list above).

So I should use the contact info to go to the Kielce State Archive and ask for FOND # 59 to see the list of eligible voters in Kielce Gubernia in 1906.

Perhaps I’ll find Elijasz, Leszczynski, Wlecial, and Kedzierski families listed among the eligible voters. From that era, my paternal grandparents are still there  and I expect  that I’d find my great-grandparents too. Now I do not know that I will find more than their names. But perhaps, I’ll get ages and addresses too. Who knows what else (military service, occupation, date of prior elections or number of elections voted — who knows).

There is no actual data or images online. It just a big library catalog file of what you can expect to find, if you visit or hire a genealogist to visit the State Archives.

September 23, 2011

An Analysis of Biechow LDS Microfilm By Film/Year/Event

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Its a rainy day today and Stanczyk threw himself at the unfinished Survey Spreadsheet of his grandmother’s ancestral village: Biechow (old woj./gubernia Kielce). So I made a pot of coffee and I started at the highest level.

My spreadsheet is for each of the years, 1792-1860 inclusive. So there is each year going down the leftside. I have each the three events: Birth, Marriage, Death (Urodzen, Malzenstwo, Zgonow) in separate columns. Please note in some years there are marriage banns (zapowiedz), so you may need to divide by three to get an idea of the actual number of marriages (round up to the next integer). The counts provided are the actual record counts in the church registers. For Biechow, I used LDS microfilm: 936660 .. 936664 inclusive (five film). Finally, I added a column of derived data, “Growth Rate”. This column is simply the number of births minus the number of deaths. Most years there is an increase. However, there are some negatives that show a population decrease. In one year (1831), I know for certainty, that there was a cholera epidemic. Hence a steep decrease in population in 1831. In other years, it may be pestilence/disease or it may be war or something else, but I have no info to explain the negative growth.

[click on read more to see spreadsheet data]  

read more »

September 22, 2011

#Genealogy #News – MyHeritage.com Acquires BackupMyTree

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

MyHeritage.com who would be the 2nd most popular genealogy website on our survey [see chart below]:

# Website Ranking
1 Ancestry.com 1,073
2 myHeritage.com 3,360
3 FindAGrave.com 7,294
4    Familysearch.org 8,331
5 Genealogy.com 11,875
6 GeneaNet 13,684
7 The British Monarchy 53,320
8 Family Tree DNA 57,911
9 RootsWeb  62,662
10   Footnote.org (now fold3) 76,309

is buying BackupMyTree a private genealogy software company from St Louis, MO (at least its server) in the US. For more info on the company, here is an analysis.

September 20, 2011

#Genealogy #Polish – Notes & Notices; Searching IZA

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk was visiting the State Archives in Poland and he saw the news…

The State Archive in Wroclaw is celebrating the 200th anniversary of its opening. They published a monograph, “The State Archive in Wrocław 1811-2011. Past and Present “, The main celebration  will take place on 28th of September. If the Archive is 200 years old, then I wonder how old its oldest documents are? Please note if you click on the Union Jack flag (for English) you will miss this announcement which only listed on the Polish language version of the page.

Shoemaker’s Guild

I wanted to search their IZA database to do a “Key Word” search across all State Archive Offices on the topic of Guilds, in particular Shoemaker’s Guild (cechu szewskiego). I have previously written about these guilds before in this blog. I used the ‘cechu’ AND ‘szewc’ as my keywords and I got back seven results:

I circled the Catalog Number (sygnatura) which is a link that can be clicked. When you click on it, you are taken to the specific page for the archive that has the material you need.

The first part of the four parts indicates the archive office (see drop down below). The second is “series”, the third is “sub-series” and the fourth part is file number. Now the material retrieved from the IZA database is in Polish, so if you are not fluent in Polish, you will need your Google Translate webpage.

So when you click on the Catalog number the top of the page should look like …

The address and phone number at the top left. Further down the page it describes the archival file(s) from your search — in Polish!

The initial database search screen also has a drop-down field that maps the State Archive Offices to the number (the first part of the Catalog Number). You may want to limit results to a specific office if you are only searching in a specific archive office when you visit Poland.

So you see at the bottom of my drop down that 32 = Krakow State Archive in the Nowy Targ office. The 32 was the first part of my catalog number: 32/1/0/64 .

You can click these images at the left to see a large size image that will be easier to read.

In terms of vocabulary, the series + the sub-series (parts 2 & 3) are the FOND. The fourth part, the file number, is also called ‘OPIS‘.

You will see these words used with the other databases, in particular, the PRADZIAD database that has the vital records (church registers -or- civil office records).

It is this jester’s hope that this info can help you navigate the State Archives of Poland’s three databases (also a fourth database, ELA which is not very useful):

  • PRADZIAD
  • SEZAM
  • IZA
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