Archive for ‘Technology’

April 5, 2013

AP Kielce, An Inventory of the National Archive in Kielce, Poland — #Genealogy, #Polish, #Archive

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

APKielce

From a forum at genealodzy.pl  Stanczyk saw a PDF document mentioned. When I looked at it, I saw it was an inventory (in progress) of the holdings of  the National Archive in Kielce (AP w Kielcach). So I have produced a condensed version of their work-in-progress. Yes, most of these are related to Stanczyk’s family tree. For their complete inventory list (which was 424 items), see the link (URL) at the bottom of this table.

Now I mention this particular AP (National Archive) because it is the archive that covers the Russian-Poland partition that my ancestors were from. There may be other inventories for other archives.

AP KIELCE

 # Nr zespołu – # Rec. Group Stan na dzień (as of) 2013-02-01 Nazwa daty skrajne – date range księgi – books metry ilość sfotografowanych ksiąg – number of books photographed ilość zrobionych zdjęć – number of photos taken Braki – deficiencies
1 388 Beszowa 1875-1911 54 71 58 3770 oddział Sandomierz
2 341 Biechów 1875-1908 55 0.83 55 2 538
3 146 Kazimierza Wielka 112 1.03
4 353 Oleśnica 1875-1911 61 0.97 69 3 506
5 812 Opatów 1825,1890-1906 14 0.39 11 2369 oddział Sandomierz
6 152 Opatów 120 1.31
7 658 Opatów-gr 1834-1836 4 0.04 4 36 oddział Sandomierz
8 44 Opatów-moj 1831-1910 46 0.95 47 6860 oddział Sandomierz
9 814 Opatów-pr 1896-1915 19 0.23 20 573 oddział Sandomierz
10 871 Ożarów 1890-1910 3 0.06 4 445 oddział Sandomierz
11 45 Ożarów-moj 1826-1909 43 0.61 43 3419 oddział Sandomierz
12 355 Pacanów 1875-1908 62 0.91 64 3 703
13 373 Pacanów moj 51 0.76
14 245 Połaniec 1810-1910 106 2.05 106 12507 oddział Sandomierz
15 252 Połaniec-moj 1826-1910 88 0.99 92 3425 oddział Sandomierz
16 246 Staszów 1810-1910 103 1.65 103 10146 oddział Sandomierz
17 253 Staszów-moj 1826-1910 84 1.33 86 6236 oddział Sandomierz
18 362 Stopnica 48 0.88
19 374 Stopnica moj 46 1.29
20 582 Stopnica pr 3 0.02
21 97 Tumlin 189 1.67
22 370 Zborówek 1875-1908 58 0.66 65 2 295

Source: http://s6.genealodzy.pl/pliki/asc/apkielce.pdf

I tried to provide a reasonable translation (using Google Translator with some hand-tweaks) of the Polish Column Headings in English.

LEGEND (3rd Column):

A suffix of moj or -moj indicates Jewish records.

pr – Orthodox Catholic

ew – Evangelical

gr – Greek Orthodox

The rest (or any with  rk) would indicate Roman Catholic.

I believe the Column Heading METRY indicates the actual shelf space of storage this record group physically occupies. I believe the units would be in Meters (m). Remember Europe uses ‘,’ where America uses a decimal point. Some appear to be missing the decimal point. In most cases, it appears that Excel has translated the comma to decimal point, but if you look at the source document, you should be aware of this cultural difference.

April 4, 2013

Archiwum Państwowe w Suwałkach in Szukajwarchiwach.PL — #Genealogy, #Polish

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Over the last few weeks we have been discussing about Szukajwarchiwach.pl, the Polish website for “searching in archives” of the 2.4 Million Archive Images of historical vital records. So today we will look at the Suwalki Archive (Archive #63,  http://www.szukajwarchiwach.pl/63#tabZasoby), in particular the WIZAJNY parish in which this jester has previously plumbed (for NARKIEWICZ / SZCZESNY).

WizajnySuwalki

First off, please take note of the two red circles in the image. The first red circle around the drop down menu is set to ’15′ by default. I usually choose the drop down value ’100′. This drop down menu controls how many ‘Units’ are displayed on each page.  So in order to minimize the number of pages and to maximize the number of items on each page, I routinely pick the ’100′ from the drop down on each page.

Second, I was searching for WIZAJNY parish, But what I got/found was WIZAJNACH. You need to learn to recognize the root of the proper names/nouns in Polish. Fred Hoffman/Jonathan Shea call this applying the “chopping block” to get to the root of a word. So in the second red circle we find Wizajnach. That is the unit we wish to search.

Now notice the last column shows ’5124′ (on 3 April 2013). This number is the number of “sheets” that have been scanned. So you should think images. The concept to take away is that if you see a ZERO, then there is nothing scanned; Try again later.  But in our case we should expect 5,124 images were scanned across the year range:  1808-1905.

If you want to follow along, I picked the year 1822 which 86 scanned images and selected ’100′ scanned images from the drop down which effectively shows all 86 scans one page. These 86 images are actually “thumbnail” images that you click on to see …

Wizany1822Births

At the bottom of the image are two circles/icons. The ‘Z’ circle gives you a kind of magnifying glass for seeing a small part of the image, zoomed-in.

It is the other icon that we wish to click on (the square with the arrows at each corner, left of the ‘Z’). This icon left of the ‘Z’ pops up a window of the image more full sized. This full-sized image can be interacted with, zooming or panning or dragging the image around the viewing window. Please, note that at the bottom of this pop-up viewer window is a link you can click on to ‘Download‘ the scanned image to your hard-drive. So when you find your ancestor, you can download his/her scanned vital record.

Before I bring this post to a close. I wanted to point out how you can find the indexes (usually after the last record). This era of the 1820′s, the indexes are usually alphabetical with one letter per index page. So these kind of indexes look as shown below. You need to find the ‘Akt #’ in the index and then go to the scan that has the image of this Akt. The Akt #’s are on the outside of each image. They are on the left for the left-hand page and on the right for the right-hand page in the image scans.

IndexPages

As I mentioned in a prior blog article, the Wizajny parish is amazingly complete. It was also interesting because its records switch over in mid-year 1868. So you can see the records in Polish in early 1868, then in Russian starting in mid 1868. There are no Wizajny or even Suwalki records in genealodzy.pl (Metryk or Geneszukach) databases.

JEWISH GENEALOGISTS

Zydow

Please note that in the Napoleonic era (about 1807-1829), the Catholic parishes in Poland  were required to record the vital records for all faiths. So you will find Jewish birth / marriage / death records in the Catholic parishes books, if there were Jewish families in that area. For example, Akt #39 appears to be a Jewish birth record. Usually that is indicated in the text, but I did not see in Akt #39, BUT … if you look to the right of the record at the image on the left  (you will see a ‘Zydow’ column with a ’1′ in it) …

Prior Related Stanczyk Articles …

A Guide for Using Szukajwarchiwach.PL Poradnik

Polish State Archives – Numbers

Russian Poland 1867-1875

April 1, 2013

World Backup Day

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

1 April 2013 – Dateline Philadelphia

Yes, this jester knows its April Fool’s day; But who better than a jester to speak truth to the people (uh … genealogists, librarians, archivists, & researchers) on this day? The first of April has become the impetus for backup and preservation.

20130401-051142.jpg

You need only look at today’s world of crazy dictators or Mali terrorists to see that cultural/historical artifacts can disappear in an instant. Cyberwarfare can claim your harddisk. The cloud could crash or hurricane Sandy can happen (please donate to Ellis island Foundation to help in that restoration effort). Libraries and Archives need to safeguard your artifacts too! Are you motivated yet? Good!

There are backup solutions, including some free options to the “cloud”. Apple even provides a free 5GB iCloud. So save your GEDCOM file. If you still have free space then backup pictures or scans that are CRITICAL. You can save/backup to media: CDs, USB thumb drives, etc. But be aware that backup to electronic media needs to be refreshed yearly to avoid stranding your backups on outmoded technology (i.e. 8Track tapes or even floppy disks).

Be careful out there and have a Happy April Fool’s Day!

March 28, 2013

Mailbag … A New Missive — #Genealogy Email

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

From the Post Office Department

From the Post Office Department

I was going though the mailbag and I received the following missive:

therealbetty commented on A Guide for Using Szukajwarchiwach.PL Poradnik — #Polish, #Archive, #Guide, #Poradnik

Thanks for all your work on this! I tried to check your list of towns and I would like records from the Przeciszow and Oswiecim area in Malopolskie. Am I out of luck this time around as I could not find them? I am assuming that area is in the Krakow archives.

Well therealbetty, thanks for writing again! That is a very good question. I went back and looked at the NAC’s PDF document that listed Archives/Parishes being put online:

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

I did not see Oswiecim (aka Auschwitz) listed. To be sure it was a parish, I looked it up in a Gazetteer [Słownik Geograficzny Królestwa Polskiego i Innych Krajów Słowiańskich (The Geographical Dictionary of the Kingdom of Poland & Other Slavic Countries)  -- see my Gazetteer page]:

OswiecimParish

It says the Roman Catholic (r) is in Oswiecim (i.e. “loco”), the Greek Catholic/Orthodox is in Krakow and the Evangelical parish is in Biala. This is the Oswiecim you mentioned as you can see it is in Wojewodztwo (old woj.) Krakow, Powiat Biala, Gmina Oswiecim. (2nd-4th columns).

So, unfortunately, the short answer to your question is, “No, Oswiecim and Przeciszow are not in this release of online records.”

Przeciszow was in Wojewodztwo (old woj.) Krakow, Powiat Wadowice, Gmina Przeciszow and it is a parish too, as you probably knew.

–Stanczyk

March 27, 2013

A Guide for Using Szukajwarchiwach.PL Poradnik — #Polish, #Archive, #Guide, #Poradnik

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk has been writing for a while about Polish National Archives announcing via their National Digital Archive (NAC) that Poland would be putting 2.4 Million digital images of church / synagogue metric images from their regional archives online. So today’s blog post is a guide (poradnik) about how to use szukajwarchiwach.pl to view these images.

It is easiest if you know the regional archive you are interested in, but you do not need to know it really. I will demonstrate with the RZESZOW regional archive. This archive was in Austrian-Poland partition, so its records should be for those locales to Rzeszow. Recall from my post, Polish State Archives – Numbers (13 March 2013) where I listed the archive numbers, that Rzeszow = 59.

Œ Œ

Step By Step


Step_1Step One

            Go to the archive of interest - http://www.szukajwarchiwach.pl/59#tabInformacje

You should see the web site with the information for the Rzeszow regional Archive.

Rzeszow_Step_01_02

Notice the two links: Poprzednie archiwum  and Następne archiwum . With these two links you go through the list of regional archives. The list of archives only includes those archives for which they are presently loading images. If you hover over my two links above you will see ‘Previous Archive’ and ‘Next Archive’.

Step_2

Step Two

            Click on ‘Resource’ [see 2 in red circle] –  which brings you to the list of collections at Rzeszow. http://www.szukajwarchiwach.pl/59#tabZasoby

You should see …

Rzeszow_Step_02

Step_3

Step Three

 Click on Collection Number ‘59/20/0‘ for the civil records from the Roman Catholic parish of Błażowej - http://www.szukajwarchiwach.pl/59/20/0#tabZespol

You should see …

Rzeszow_Step_03

Step_4

Step Four

Click on ‘Units 20/20‘ in red circle - http://www.szukajwarchiwach.pl/59/20/0#tabJednostki

You should see …

Rzeszow_Step_04

Step_5

Step Five

Click on ‘Reference Code 59/20/0/-/1‘ in red circle - http://www.szukajwarchiwach.pl/59/20/0/-/1#tabJednostka

You should see …

Rzeszow_Step_05

Step_6

Step Six

Click on ‘Digital Copies 107‘ to see a table of 107 scanned images - http://www.szukajwarchiwach.pl/59/20/0/-/1#tabSkany

You should now see the scanned images …

Rzeszow_Step_06

There are 107 images [currently] and the data looks like it is in the Latin Box format. Since there is no index, you will have visit each image in turn and look at each row of boxes to see if that birth/baptism is for one of your ancestors.

So that is a visual guide for how you navigate the  szukajwarchiwach.pl website to get to the scanned images. Obviously, you will need to focus on the villages/parishes for your ancestor. That may be another Archive (besides Rzeszow) or if it is in the Rzeszow archive then you need to pay closer attention to the parishes in the Rzeszow collections and finally, you will need to select Birth/Marriage/Death (Urodziny/Małżeństwo/Zgony) for the year of interest to you.

You will still need to be able to deal with Latin or Polish or Russian or German language in the records to understand what you see in the scanned images. You will also need to be able to read the handwriting. But you can do this!

Good Luck!

March 24, 2013

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

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

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

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

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

MapIndex_MapyWig

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

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

March 21, 2013

RootsTech 2013 … — #Genealogy, #RootsTech, #Technology

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

iGoogle

iGoogle as customized for Stanczyk

Today is the start of RootsTech 2013. So in honor of the conference I will blog today about  Genealogy, and Technology.

Last year Google announced it was getting rid of iGoogle and now this week it said it was getting rid of its RSS Reader (hence probably why they announced iGoogle was going away). So I have decided how I will replace these two tools in my portable genealogy toolbox. My Solution … the FlipBoard app.

FlipBoard

FlipboardThe screenshot above (at the top) shows a portion of my iGoogle (still available until July). As you can surmise, I used it as a newspaper dashboard for keeping me abreast of the genealogy news in my focus areas. You may have noticed it is quite TEXTUAL. As such, it lacks appeal and ease of scanability. This is where Flipboard app comes in.  Now Stanczyk was not using Google’s Reader … that is directly. I think iGoogle probably was a tool that used its own Reader (RSS feeds). It gave me the ability to have a genealogy dashboard (or portal as we used to say). Flipboard will however import your Google Reader. There are other alternatives like Pulse or even WordPress that can import your RSS subscriptions for you. But this jester likes FlipBoard.

As you see, Flipboard is visually appealing and easily, quickly scanable. What you may not realize that these Flipboard “blocks” are the same feeds I had in the iGoogle tool. However, now my Eastman Online Genealogy and my GenealogyBlog are visual. Notice I was able to also get my Ancestry Member Connect Activity feed too! So I have everything I had before in a kind of retro “Life Magazine” visually appealing way  updated for the Internet age ! I actually think of Flipboard as my Internet Magazine that is finely attuned to MY interests. But as you see, you can use it as your genealogy dashboard of what is going on currently in genealogy (or any topic you are interested in).

You may not have noticed in the Flipboard image, I have my own blog in the lower left corner. When you click on that “block” it takes to my “section”. Where my own blog posts are very attractively displayed in the Flipboard magazine style. Very nice!

FlipBoardStanczykBlog

Flipboard runs on your smartphone or your tablet. I really like how it looks on the tablet (iPad in my case). Seeing my blog in Flipboard changed my style of writing a blog. I wanted my blog posts to look good and be visually appealing in Flipboard. So now I take some extra measures to make sure it will  look good, but I have to admit that Flipboard does most of the work and it does make your blog look good.

Flipboard can take your Twitter feed, or Facebook or Blog or even a custom RSS Feed like my Ancestry Member Connect Activity. It even takes Flickr or LinkedIn or just about anything you may use in your social networking / media creation world.

So I am no longer sad that iGoogle or the underlying Google Reader are going away. I have evolved and I am using Flipboard and I am much happier. I can keep tabs and I can keep informed and I am frequently entertained too. What a great app!

Hey add “Stanczyk Internet Muse” to your Flipboard. Enjoy RootsTech 2013 too!

March 13, 2013

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

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

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

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

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

P.S.

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

March 1, 2013

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

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

Quick Facts —

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

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

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

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

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

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

Digging Deeper

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

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

February 27, 2013

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

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

RootsTech2013

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

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

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

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

February 25, 2013

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

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

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

ANCESTRY_TreeSettings

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

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

<your-family-tree-name>.GED

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

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

ReadGedcom_ANCESTRY

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

_APID,  _FREL,  _MILT,  _MREL,  _ORIG

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

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

TIP

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

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

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

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

February 11, 2013

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

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do not forget about GENETEKA database in the meantime:

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

January 26, 2013

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

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

Files,   Views,   Lists,   Tools

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

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

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

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

iPad vs iPhone

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

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

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

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

October 1, 2012

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

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

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

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

Watch this space !

 

 

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

August 23, 2012

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

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Battle Hymn of the Republic, Julia Ward Howe 1861

August 18, 2012

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

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk sees the newest Ancestry.app is out.

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

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

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

August 15, 2012

Ayn Rand – A Genealogical Examination

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Background / Asides about 1950′s

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1976 Rand stops her writing for good.

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

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

Next … Ayn Rand vs Objectivism & The Critique

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

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

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

August 14, 2012

Ayn Rand – A Producer’s Intellectual Criticism of Objectivism — #Meme

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

  The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand

–Paul Ryan @ 2005 “Atlas Society “

Perhaps last weekend you heard that Paul Ryan was named the presumptive GOP Vice-Presidential candidate? But do you know that his espoused reason for being in politics is because he read, one of Ayn Rand’s fictional novels, Atlas Shrugged (a dystopian sci-fi novel)? It kind of makes you sad, that Paul Ryan’s parents did not have more books, because if they had, then perhaps Ryan would have read, Asimov (also Russian born) or Bradbury or Clarke (collectively, the ABC’s of science fiction) and been moved by one of them instead. Perhaps if Ryan had read one those talented writers, he might be in favor (or not) of robots, free speech or intellectual property or renewable resources or evolution (think 2001 Space Odyssey). If only he had read Asimov’s Foundation trilogy, perhaps Ryan would have become a Paul Krugman. Krugman cited Asimov’s series for his inspiration at becoming an economist.

Instead, Ryan thinks the top 1% should isolate itself from the other 99% (who are not “productive”/”creative”) and his budget seems to favor that 1% greatly. That is what Atlas Shrugged is about. The “creative” separate themselves and the non-creative types should just die-off. If you read Atlas Shrugged you will see parallels to today. It is the Tea Party creating chaos to “minimize the federal government until they can strangle it.” Go Google “Strangle the government”, this is not my phraseology , but the mantra of Paul Ryan and the Tea Party thugs. So what we have here is a lower-brow variant of L. Ron Hubbard (another sci-fi writer, whose followers started a “philosophical” organization) devotees.

Ryan upon being named as Mitt Romney’s running mate said, “I’d like to thank nature … (slight pause) and God …”. This is a rather odd statement to be uttered by a person professing belief in Objectivism and also Catholicism. You see my dear readers, the phrase “I’d like to thank nature” is the pointed code-phrase of atheists (not that there is anything wrong with being an atheist). They say their coded phrase meant either to cue their listeners into the fact that they are an atheist or for the more militant atheist to mock people of religious faith who say (and have said for thousands of years), “Thank God for …”. It is a parallel construct to the religious thanks and the atheist version is of a very recent invention (i.e. less than a decade, I have found no reference to the phrase on the Internet to before 2008). It probbaly dates from the arise of the New Atheists (Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, and Daniel Dennett) in 2007.

Now as I have said being an atheist is not necessarily a bad thing. What made Ryan’s quote bad / hypocritical / unethical is that he said “nature and  God”. If you were a devout Catholic (other Christain denominations too, but Ryan espouses to be a Catholic) you would only thank God. You would not thank nature which is just a part of God’s creation. Likewise, if you were an atheist or an Objectivist you would absolutely NOT thank God. So, where does that leave the American voter? What are we to believe? The only logical / reasoned conclusion is that Ryan does NOT believe in any of: Atheism, Objectivism, or Catholicism.

So I call on all Atheists, Objectivists and Catholics to repudiate Ryan for his deceptive practice and of trying to portray himself as any/all of those ‘isms’. Now I know  that you are thinking this is the first time that Atheists, Objectivists, and Catholics can all agree on something — so lets agree Ryan is deceitful and vote for the other political ticket. If you are Pro-Deceit than the Romney-Ryan ticket would seem to be what you have been waiting for.

Because this Presidential election cycle seems to be about Ryan/Tea Party and their espousal of Objectivism, then let’s examine Ayn Rand’s life and see what it says about this absurdist sci-fi drama being foisted upon us by Mitt Romney. This is a blog with an oft genealogy theme, so let’s apply genealogy to Ayn Rand. We will use a timeline and add in  seminal documents and 1st-hand accounts of witnesses to examine her life and her followers’ lives (aka the Collective) for context and we finish with a reasoned critique of Objectivism.

The Ryan Budget is the greatest political fraud. That is how Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman’s reasoned analysis of Ryan’s proposed raising taxes on the middle class to lower taxes on the upper class without any deficit reduction for at least 20 years sees the Ryan Budget ??? So we the Asimov motivation in opposition to the Rand motivation — you be the judge on the basis of which is your favorite author/producer. But this jester’s premise is that the author Ayn Rand may influence how the USA is governed and you should be conversant on what the two parties are proposing before November.

I hope you are ruled by reason and will read these articles on Rand, Objectivism and Election 2012.

Lets start with some definitional ground work …

Ayn Rand Objectivist Concepts

  • Man as Heroic
  • Reason, only absolute reason
  • The Productive and The Creative in relation to others
  • Motivation for Man is the pursuit of his own happiness (no altruism)
  • Witch Doctor vs Attila vs Producer
  • Espoused – Atheism, Non-Violence/No-Force, Disgusted By Homosexuality (but favored protecting their rights), Anti Collective Efforts of any kind (Individualism)

Some of this sounds good and some sounds odd and all points need some explaining and a bit of context, so lets delve into these concepts in the next few articles.

Next … A Genealogical View of Ayn Rand

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