Monday, March 7, 2016

"What Do You Do With A Shoebox Full Of Letters?"

If we're lucky, we all have them: a box or folder of old letters. Musty, fragile, irreplaceable, old letters. And we wonder: whatever do we DO with them...... to share them? To preserve them?

Author Bill Leslie in his article of this same name (YourGenealogy Today Magazine, Jan-Feb 2016) offers some advice:

Never separate the envelopes, nor the stamps, from the letter....and all the clues that those things can furnish.

Study the letters in chronological order; see migration patterns.

Pay attention to the stationery; monogrammed? notebook? back of something else? 

What instrument was used to write the letter?

But what to DO with these old letters?

Pull key moments from them and include them on a family calendar. 

Consider copying a verse or prayer from them into your Christmas letter.

Quote sentences from them to explain photographs.

Author Bill Leslie ends his article with this:  "Above all, and always, make copies, and share!"

I enjoyed this article, and it gave me new insights, because I'd always thought in terms of preservation when it came to thinking about old letters. Bill Leslie's down to earth advice is a totally different tack but most welcome to me!   

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Our Ancestors As Ghosts?

This book was a great read. The author writes about her Staab family who emigrated from Germany straight to New Mexico. In the course of telling the story, she says this....... and it piqued my interest big time. I wonder? Do you? 

“Ghosts?  Imagine a “timeslip” in which the present grazes against 

the past. Imagine two clothes lines in a row…. Most of the time the 

sheets hang down and are still, but maybe there’s a metaphorical 

breeze, a brushing between the sheets…. When the sheets touch 

people who don’t live in the same era see each other as 

ghosts….strangers in period dress. You peer briefly into their life 

and they peer into yours.”

Friday, February 12, 2016

Tika & New Microsoft Adventure

This is a most intriguing announcement from Microsoft in our paper today, 12 February 2016..... but Tika says "I know who I am; just give me the cookie!"

"Microsoft introduced a new app on Thursday that anyone with a dog should play with because it’s a lot of fun.

It’s called Fetch!, and it’s available for iPhones and on the web. It uses artificial intelligence techniques to classify images of real-world dogs into breeds. On the web, users can upload a photo of a dog, or you can take a picture of your pet using your phone’s camera.

If you upload a picture of, say, a Rhodesian Ridgeback, Microsoft should be able to confirm the dog’s breed.

It’s the latest in a line of fun, silly apps released by Microsoft Garage, an “outlet for experimental projects” that are designed to show off creative and unexpected ways to apply Microsoft’s expertise in artificial intelligence. In the past year, Microsoft has released apps that detect and measures mustaches in photos or guesses your age, for example.

Like Microsoft’s other AI apps, Fetch! should become more accurate as users upload more photos and data. More technical information is available here.

Fetch! is already fairly accurate. Here it identified the breed of a dog belonging to one of BI’s reporters."

Wouldn’t it be fun to upload a photo of the dog in an ancestral photo to see what kind of dog they had? Probably a “Heinz 57” more often than not, but I think I’ll try this out!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Is Family History THIS Complicated?

Yes, Tika has been away from the computer for awhile but winter is waning and she is back and eager to share genealogical things and stuff with everybody.

Spokane didn't get blizzards like on the East Coast but we had our share. Hopefully all that moisture will lessen the forest fire danger this summer. 

Now to the "teaching" part................