Before My Time is about the ancestry and extended family of my four grandparents: John Samuel Krentz (Indiana/North Dakota), Margreta Tjode Hedwig (Gertie) Buss (North Dakota), Rosmer Pettis Kerr (Pennsylvania/Michigan), and Evelyn Elvina Hauer (Michigan), and other topics in genealogy and family history.

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Sunday, October 31, 2010

October Ruminations

Is there anything as horrible as starting on a trip?
Once you're off, that's all right, but the last moments
are earthquake and convulsion, and the feeling
that you are a snail being pulled off your rock.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Somehow I managed to pull myself off my rock in early October and drove to St. Joseph, Michigan, where I spent three fabulous days with my genie cousin Cheryl, of Two Sides of the Ocean, and Creative Gene's Jasia. We three had a great time talking genealogy, dining out, shopping, and just visiting. I also got to meet Jasia's awesome husband, and was entertained by her dog Kai as well as Cheryl's dog Zoya. I'm happy to say also that Cheryl's mom is recovering nicely from her stroke and was in very good spirits. All told, my visit couldn't have been more fun! Thanks again, Cheryl and Jasia, for your hospitality and for making my trip a very special highlight of 2010!

Speaking of Creative Gene, this fall Jasia has all sorts of reasons to celebrate: last month, her 1,000th post; this month, the 5th anniversary of Creative Gene; and coming right up, the 100th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy. These are all remarkable events in the blogosphere. The COG gave rise to a great community of genealogy bloggers, resulting in new friendships, consumer clout in the genealogy industry, and inspired family history writing. Congratulations on your successes, Jasia, and thanks for the many ways in which you've enriched the blogosphere and those of us who have had the good fortune to find you there.

I haven't had much time this month for general internet surfing, but an article was brought to my attention by Denise (of Moultrie Creek Gazette) via the Genealogy Research Resources group at Diigo. Preserving Your Family History Records Digitally, by Gary T. Wright, is an excellent and very detailed how-to lesson in digital preservation, well worth reading for anyone who hopes to go that way. Having said that, however, I must admit I found myself laughing out loud at the possibility (and I use that term despite reality) that my descendants (or even I, for that matter) would remember to remake my preservation disks every few years, and would convert the files as formats become obsolete, and would archive not only the disks but also a spare device to read them when technology moves on to the next newer and better innovation. (Got 8-track player, anyone?)

Personally, I see digitized files as a great convenience:
  • I can take everything with me on a research trip when it's on my computer.
  • I can bring up a copy pretty quickly using tags.
  • If I have need of a paper copy, I can print one out quickly.
  • I can email whatever I have to cousins who'd like a copy.
  • I can upload a copy to my family history software.
  • I can crop or adapt a copy for use in my blog.
I'm sure I could add to this list, but I think my point is made. It's useful to have digital copies of documents. However, armed with the information and insights gained from reading Mr. Wright's article, I've decided to leave eternal digital preservation to the big players. For myself, I'm sticking with the time-tested technologies of hands, eyes, and paper. And if any of my digitized documents just happen to live on, so much the better.


October Accomplishments
  • Using Blurb, I've almost completed a 120-page book about my mom's childhood, up to and including her wedding. I'd say it practically wrote itself, but actually my mom wrote it. I merged her written stories with the many photos available, and I couldn't be more excited about the way it's turning out.
  • During my visit to St. Joseph, Cheryl shared many photos to be used in our Schulte book. I haven't even begun to sort through the scans yet, but among them are some very special ones which will add great interest to the book.
  • I read Legacy, the first book I've read by Danielle Steele. I did so because it has a genealogy theme, and because I only get two channels on my TV set, and because my brain turns to goo around 8 p.m., give or take an hour. Okay, 4 p.m., but sometimes I push on anyway. But... Legacy... only out of sheer inertia did I get past the first few chapters, and by that I mean the pull of gravity exerted by my couch was overwhelming but apparently did not extend all the way to my eyelids. I did learn why all the how to write fiction books say you should show, not tell. I was at least a quarter of the way through the book before the story began to catch my interest. I have to hand it to Ms. Steele though--she's found herself a sweet spot in a world where it's hard to make a living as a writer. Readers who enjoy her books will surely enjoy this one.
And in the other column . . .
  • Again this month, I have been all about Blurb books. Before My Time languishes!
  • I've revised the target date for completing the Schulte book, as some of Joseph Meyer Schulte's descendants are still under-represented in the materials and photos we've gathered. We need to make additional contact with other Schulte cousins and see what else we can find.
  • I've also revised the target date for my Kate Pettis Kerr book, for the same reason. I've learned that there are additional materials available which would greatly enhance the value of the book. However, I've been lax about making contact with the cousins who have those materials. 


Jasia said...

Oh, you're such a sweeetie TK!

I really enjoyed our time together too. Maybe we can do it again soon. I'd like that!

Good to hear that you are continuing your work on your books. After spending the better part of last week working on my photo book of St. Joe I can really appreciate your dedication. I found that I started out with lots of enthusiasm but about half way through it became just another project with a deadline. The last day I was working on it was agony. But I did get it done and hopefully when I get the printed copy in my hands I'll be glad I did it.

Cheryl said...

Yes, it was a great visit, TK, and I am so glad you were able to make it. It was good, too, that we did a variety of things which added to the fun. Now, just come on back again.
By the way, I hadn't heard about the article on preserving family history records digitally. I don't know if it was good or not that you posted that because now the Virgo in me is itching!! Yes, I am great at making lists but the follow through is another matter!

T.K. said...

Jasia, I'd like that too! More good times, I mean!

I know what you mean about running low on enthusiasm toward the end of a book project. Especially when the stuff that's left to do ends up being (1) the hard parts that you've put off in favor of doing the stuff that jumps together easily, and (2) the tiresome, laborious dirty work, i.e. proofreading. But yeah, when you get the hard copy in your hands, it's pretty satisfying!

T.K. said...

Cheryl, I should just move there and buy a condo between yours and Jasia's!

And hey, you just forget reading that article and go enter some data instead!

Blog Archive


Our Family in Books: A Bibliography

  • My Ancestors in Books (a library of resources and notes pertaining to Reverend Samuel Stone, Major General Robert Sedgwick, Elder John Crandall, and other early Americans in the forest where my family tree was grown)
  • The Zahnisers: A History of the Family in America by Kate M. Zahniser and Charles Reed Zahniser (Mercer, Pa. 1906)
  • History of St. James Lutheran Church [full title: A little of this and a little of that in the 141 year (1861-2002) History of St. James Lutheran Church, Reynolds Indiana] by Harold B. Dodge, published at Reynolds, Indiana, 2002; 170 pages.
  • Lisbon, North Dakota 1880-2005 Quasuicentennial, published at Lisbon, North Dakota in 2005; 391 pages.
  • The Paschen and Redd Families of Cass County, Indiana by Alfred Paschen, c. 2005 (Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD); 322 pages.
  • Sheldon Community History: Sheldon Centennial 1881-1981, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 1981; 376 pages.
  • Sheldon, North Dakota 1881-2006 - 125th Anniversary: The Queen of the Prairie, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 2006; 498 pages.
  • A Standard History of White County, Indiana, written under the supervision of W.H. Hamelle, c. 1915 (The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York).
  • The Roots of Coventry, Connecticut by Betty Brook Messier and Janet Sutherland Aronson, c. 1987 (Coventry 275th Anniversary Committee, Coventry, CT); 206 pages.
  • "Elder John Crandall of Rhode Island and His Descendants" by John Cortland Crandall; New Woodstock, New York, 1949; 797 pages.
  • "The Descendants of Robert Burdick of Rhode Island." Nellie (Willard) Johnson, Pd.B.: H & L Creations, LLC.

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