Monday, May 27, 2013

Tika & Cloud Sharing (from D. Joshua Taylor)

We were on our way to take an evening walk when I snapped this pix. As we walked, I was explaining to Tika and Handy Man what I'd learned from Josh Taylor about Sharing Genealogy in the 21st Century. I attended his presentation at NERGC (New England Regional Genealogical Conference).

"Sharing in this digital age is really collaborating," Josh said as an opening remark. "Sharing, or collaborating, is really the trend nowadays, like it or not." He then went on to give some reasons why it's a good thing to store your data in a cloud server:

  • Having a central storage system is a good thing.
  • Having universal access to this storage system is a good thing.
  • Having a place to post "tons" (his word) of digital images is a good thing.
  • Having a cost effective storage system is a good thing (over a home hard drive or box of flashes).
  • Having a reliable constant backup and customer support is a good thing.
  • Having mobile access to your data is a good thing.
  • Having a system that avoids syncing problems is a good thing.
  • Having a low cost system is a good thing. 
"When using a cloud server for wikis, blogs, twitters and more," Josh continued," it's good to consider some best practices:"
  • Keep up-to-date on your cloud-computing or data provider for any actions needful on your part such as upgrades, authorizations, etc. 
  • Try it first; try multiple solutions to ensure that you select a long-term solution for your genealogical data that meets your needs. 
  • Ask questions; ask the company where the data is stored, how its backed up, etc.
  • Have your own security standards:  Have your own list of key requirements necessary to you.
  • Protect yourself and others; change passwords and other login information on a regular basis and create unique passwords for accounts.
Tika was ready for home, her dinner and my chair by this time, so I'll continue the lesson with the next post. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Tika & Webinars

Tika needs some energy in her life! And sometimes we need some energy in our genealogy life. The answer is webinars. A webinar is a web-based seminar, or an online conference...... or an online meeting.

Another way to describe a webinar is to think of it as an online educational presentation which participating viewers can not only watch and listen but submit questions and comments.

"Why bother with web-what-evers?" yawned Tika. So I patiently explained: It's a way to learn more on a topic; it's much easier to attend than going somewhere; it's much cheaper to attend than going somewhere; and it's more comfortable........... you can even watch webinars upside-down. Bottom line, it's a way to learn more about something you've wanted to know more about.

Who sponsors webinars? Genealogical websites (Ancestry, Fold3, etc);  genealogy software companies (Legacy, RootsMagic); genealogical societies and professional groups (ISGS, APG); and individual professionals (Thomas MacEntee, dearMyrtle, etc.).

How to find a webinar on a topic of your choice? Ask Google........ or click to GeneaWebinars: 

"Well, I guess I'll watch one with you...... but there better be animals to bark at," said Tika and that ended the discussion.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Tika & Researching

Sitting on our deck in the sunshine, it's easy to share a lesson on researching with Tika. She's a captive audience.

Following up on researching my ancestor, Stephen Hopkins, a Mayflower passenger, I had made a note to access TAG (The American Genealogist), Volume 73, pages 161-171. Okay, me thinks, we have those books in our EWGS collection so I'll put that on my Library To-Do list.

Then I had an "AHA" moment:  use the Internet! I used Google to quickly find the website for The American Genealogist and found out I could order that 1998 back issue for $10. Okay cool.

Or I could order copies of those pages from the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center for 20cents a page plus $7.50 ordering fee.

Or I could click to the New England Historic Genealogical Society website,, and access that article there......... IF I was a member (which luckily I am). So I clicked to back issues, to issue 73, and viola! There it was.

The point of this post is yes, I could have put accessing this article on my Library To-Do list (and only paid 10cents a page) but I wanted it now. And I saw it as a use-modern-technology-to-solve-the-problem learning experience.

Did you know that Stephen Hopkins was in Jamestown, Virginia, about 1610? Some ten years before he sailed on the Mayflower. He was aboard the Sea Venture in 1609 when a hurricane wrecked the ship on what is now know as Bermuda. After about six months, Stephen Hopkins began to challenge the authority of the governor and went so far as to organize a mutiny for which he was sentenced to death. He pleaded his case "full of sorrow and tears" and eventually they pardoned him. The fifty castaways survived for ten months and eventually managed to work together to complete construction of two ships which they used to sail to Jamestown. What a story; what a guy.

Tika said she'd rather I'd have done downtown to get the article for she loves riding in the car.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Tika & Funny or Odd Names

Tika and I have been working on a humungous Phillips Project. We're entering into a Google Drive spreadsheet all the data I've collected on Phillips families living in the VA-NC-TN-GA area in the 1740-1840 time period. That's humungous. But so far I've not broken the Phillips brick wall  so with Tika at my feet we're trying a new tactic.

BUT in the doing of this I've come across some really unusual (or downright funny) names:

Alley Phillips, 1808 in VA, s/o Jehu Phillips'
Blagburn and Wearnon Phillips (brothers), early 1850s in TN, sons of Johnathin Phillips

Ugenious A. Hansard m. Drucilla Phillips abt 1870 in Forsythe Co, Alabama..... OR:
Sarilla Haseltine m. A. Lugenious....... it was listed both ways.

Areminty Cobb mar. 1845 in Franklin Co, TN, to Jesse Phillips
Hicksey Bass mar. ca. 1850 in Wilson Co, TN, to Bethel Phillips

Algernal Bryan mar. ca. 1850 in Wilson Co, TN, to Elizabeth Phillips
Daltoes Phillips, b. ca. 1780 in VA, son of Tobias 

Martha Ann BOOZ 1825 in TN to George Whitfield Dale.

Today on the morning news they were giving the five most common baby names for 2012 and believe you me these names were not on that list!! Were these family names? Bible names (doubt)? Spoken-misspelled names? 

The thing I've learned from entering over 1000 names into this database is that our ancestors surely did have interesting names, both first and last names. Just like the above football players (thanks Google images). 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Tika & Tombstones

Is it a good idea or not-so-good idea to craft your own tombstone? Think it depends on how long you want that memorial to last. This marker is for Calvin Chester Potter, 1909-1968, who rests in the Ocean View Cemetery on the west side of Port Angeles, Washington. I spotted this flat marker when walking in this beautiful ocean-side cemetery while visiting family.

The cemetery custodian explained to me that in the 50s to 70s it was common for folks to choose to make their own cement marker and stamps were used to indent the letters. This gravesite is obviously visited by family for somebody painted the letters with blue paint. Otherwise the words would have been pretty much unreadable.

My opinion: I think it's comforting and economical to make your own (or a loved one's) tombstone. But I also think they rarely last as long as commercial ones. This opinion is re-enforced by walking cemeteries and looking at the ones which have weathered unreadable. I recognize that some knowingly chose this option. But I fear that for too many it just happens. 

My point is this: Decide how long you want the marker to be readable and choose accordingly. 

Tika knows that she will rest in the pet resting place on our own property marked with a large black basalt rock. Tiz fitting for her.