Sunday, October 16, 2011

This is a test of my new iPad

I can't seem to upload an image from my iPad. Or, do anything with this "new interface" including swtching back to the old. Patience. I'll keep trying.
I can add more text but only if I use the HTML option. Oh boy, what a mess.

It's 0900 and time to hit the road again. Beautiful Fall weather- can't stay inside and worry about this stuff. Wish the "help" were written in English. What the heck does "send an MMS" mean? Just discovered SMS is acronym for "Short Message Service" which means that one uses an application that usually sends a few words over the Internet, such as Twtter- though I'm not a subscriber. Is SMS so difficult to write out? America, slow down and enjoy life.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

New Additions to my Pedigree

For a frame of reference, this was my pedigree BEFORE I spent a week collecting data at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Well, my time is up in Salt Lake City. Time to pack my computer, my notes, and my clothes into a suitcase and fly back to Charlotte, NC.

Before I left for SLC a week ago, I told my family and friends that if could not find even one more person to add to my pedigree, it would be OK- the trip would still be worth it. I just wanted to see this world famous collection of genealogical data at the Mormon's Family History Library; to see what the Library had to offer. I was very impressed and pleased, and moreover, I did climb up a few more branches on my family tree.

Also, I had the opportunity to see changes that are happening at the Library. For example, the Library catalogue is searched by going to FamilySearch(dot)org on the Internet. The "face" of that website is being changed, though I confess I still go back to the old face to perform my searches.

So, I found a lot of new information and pushed back one of my maternal ancestral lines about three generations. I say "about" because I have not had a chance to analyze the new data. I have been sitting in front of the microfilm readers from dawn until way past dusk and feeding nickles into the photocopy machine.

But briefly, follow the bottom line of my mother's branch in the pedigree above. Note that my great, great grandparents were Ludwig Gutgsell and Margarethe Kessler. I obtained their birth dates and places from the death entry of their daughter, Marie, nee. Gutgsell. Her death entry was recorded in the parish record of a catholic church in Burglen, Canton Thurgau, Switzerland, but that's another story. This week, I found the marriage entry (performed on 17 Nov 1847) of Marie's parents on a microfilm of the civil marriage registrations for the commune (village) of Kaysersburg, arrondisement (county) of Colmar, Department of Haut Rhin, in Alsace, which was in French territory at the time. The Germans occupied Alsace from about 1871, until the end of WW I, and then it was returned to France. So, Marie's parents were married by their French names: Louis and Marguerite. I just love the details of genealogical research.

The information didn't stop there, there were many genealogical details in the full-page, marriage entry in this civil record. More research in the microfilm section revealed the marriage entry for the parents of Louis Gutgsell. Louis' father, Andre Gutgsell married Madelaine Scherrer on 28 Jan 1824, in Kaysersburg. I also found some of Andre's siblings. THEN, I discovered that Andre's parents, Leo Gutgsell and Marie Ann Madar, were married in Kayserberg. Finally, the parents of Leo were Joseph Gutgsell and Elizabeth Wachen. If I recall correctly, Andre Gutgsell's marriage entry included the names of his parents and grandparents.

Incidentally, while perusing the microfilms of data from this region of Alsace, I noted another prominent surname, "G'sell". At first I thought it was an abbreviation for my ancestral surname, Gutgsell, but after looking at several family relationships in the records, I do not believe G'sell is equivalent to Gutgsell. Furthermore, Gutgsell seemed to be spelled variously as Guthgsell, Guttgsell, and GutheGsell. To further confound the issue, many times the names of individuals were not captalized.

So, how many generations did I uncover? I believe I am back to my 5X great grandparents on the Gutgsell line. Not a bad effort for a week's research at the largest depository of genealogical data in the world.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Miracle of the Sea Gulls, Salt Lake City

From Life's Journey II

Image: Click to enlarge. Note the sculptures of Sea Gulls on the roof of this trolley station in down town Salt Lake City, Utah, near Temple Square. One of the birds is silhouetted against the snow-capped mountain in the distance.

For those of you who are old enough, do you remember the TV series, "Death Valley Days" which appeared in the 1960s. The episode opened with a man standing up behind a desk and announcing, "Hello folks, this is the old Ranger". Then he proceeded to introduce the audience to a true tale of the old West. The setting of each story was somewhere near Death Valley on the border between California and Nevada. The show was sponsored by "Twenty- Mule Team Borax." a laundry detergent which was made from a mineral mined near Death Valley. The musical theme was the sound of bugles playing like they do when the cavalry is coming.

One episode really stuck in my mind and still does. It was the true story about an event that occurred during the first year that the Mormon pioneers settled in an area that would eventually become Salt Lake City. As it goes, the Mormons were getting ready to make their first crop harvest. Suddenly, thousands of crickets descended on the fields of ripened grain and proceeded to devour the only food that would be available to the pioneers. Certainly they would starve over the Winter. Then just as suddenly as the crickets appeared, thousands of Sea Gulls flew in and devoured the crickets, thus saving the harvest and the Mormon families.

In honor of the Sea Gulls and their miraculous appearance in the desert, these sculptures of the bird are attached to the roof of the tram station near Temple Square. A little more research about the story revealed the location of perhaps the first and maybe only monument dedicated to Birds in America. Come to think of it, I know of no such other. Incidentally, the California Gull is the State Bird of Utah.

The image below presents the Gull monument which has been placed in front of the Assembly Hall on the grounds of Temple Square. By the way, the Assembly Hall is a meeting place for community events. It was constructed from granite blocks left over after the building of the Mormon Temple.

From Life's Journey II

Friday, February 25, 2011

Trip to Genealogist's Mecca: Family History Library in Salt Lake City

Entrance to the Family History Library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS), Salt Lake City, Utah. Inscribed on the wall to the left of doorway, "Genealogical Society of Utah, established 1894. That is the year that the LDS began to collect genealogical records to help members of the church discover their own ancestors and family history. However, the library and all of it's records are open to the public, not just to members of the LDS. Beginning about 1938, the Church sent out hundreds of missionaries and camera crews to microfilm birth, baptismal, marriage, and death records contained in archives all over the world. To the right of the doorway, the corner stone is inscribed, "Erected 1983-1985".

Off the lobby, in a small theator, I watched a 10 minute orientation and introduction to the Library. The Library contains records on over three billion deceased individuals. It also has about two and a half million microfilms containing images of original, genealogical records. Copies of all microfilms are preserved in a vault which has been carved 600 feet into a granite mountain located about 25 miles southeast of the city. The vault has enough space to accomodate the equivalent of seven times the volume of the U.S. Library of Congress. In short, the library has lots of records which are safely preserved. A good place to reseach your family history.

My first effort inside the library on the main floor was to see if my brother-in-law's genealogical book on the McCutcheon family was on the shelf. Pleased to say that it was there, all one thousand pages of it. I did a quick survey to see if my branch of family surnames were represented: no Streich (Strike), Hohnke, Kramp, Gailliot, Austel, or Gutgsell. I guess the field is still wide open.

My next effort, over the succeeding week was to search the microfilms. In my own travels to collect data on my family's genealogy, I have found the results of the LDS microfilming project in many places overseas. For example, I traveled to County Durham, England, in 1996. There, in the Durham Record Office I discovered rolls of microfilm containing images of parish records and census enumerations. Usually in the first frame of the film, I read that the records were filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU). Again, at the Mitchell Library in Glasgow, Scotland, I consulted microfilms which were produced by the GSU. I was told that the Society was allowed to film the records and then returned copies to the archives. Even in Germany, at the archives in Bruhl, I found microfilms created by the Society. Fortunately, the Society microfilmed the parish records of St. Mariae Himmelfahrt Catholic Church in Wesel, Germany, because the church was totally destroyed by Allied bombs in the waning hours of WW II. However, a copy of the church records was preserved at the State Archives in Berlin, and apparently, that is where the Society filmed the parish records in 1942. As stated in the Notes for the film, "Mikrofilme aufgenommen von Manuscript in Berlin, 1942". Indeed, the 1862 baptism of my great grandfather, Heinrich Casper Gailliot, was recorded on one of the seven microfilms in this series. So, from an image of the original parish record, I transcribed the event into my personal genealogical records. If it weren't for these films, I would have little to show for my genealogy, particularly for the early generations.

I have one question about the catalogue of microfilms to which I can't seem to get an answer. Some of the microfilms of German archival records are not available to persons in Germany or can not be ordered from German Family History Centers of the LDS Church. For example, the Notes for a microfilm of the parish records of the Catholic Church of Grietherbusch, Germany (FHL No 907581), states "No circulation to family history centers in Europe". I have a German collaborator who lives in Achen who told me that she has to travel to the Netherlands in order to obtain certain microfilms, because they are not available in Germany. WHY?

Update: A staff member of the FHL told me that the microfilming crews must of course seek permission before filming records at a specific archive. Sometimes the crew is allowed to film the records but certain restrictions apply. As noted above, some films are not allowed to be circulated in the country where the records are originally kept.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Closer Look at Text and Photo books

In my last entry, I wrote about my plan in 2011 to create more booklets, emphasizing my family history and autobiography. Was it a new year's resolution? Perhaps. But no doubt, I want to preserve my family history that I've been collecting for the past 20 years and preferably preserve it in a book. Last year I started making small photo books of about 20 to 40 pages using some of the Internet photo album web sites. I presented a picture of several books that I created using the photo book feature of Snapfish(dot)com and Shutterfly(dot)com. I also created photo books with more extensive captions or even stories using the free-download application called BookSmart by Blurb(dot)com.

A reader of my blog, let me call him George, contacted me and asked me if "Blurb books" was fulfilling my need for publishing my family history. George also asked me if had thought of using the book feature at Ancestry(dot)com. And finally, he asked me if had any further thoughts or comments on Blurb books.

I have dabbled with the Ancestry book feature but have not followed through with a complete book. However, three start-up attempts sit in "MyCanvas Projects" at Ancestrydotcom waiting for me to return to work on them. So far, they look pretty good- just need another rainy day.

I have created two books with Blurb, and until today, they sat on the "bookshelf" at their website marked as "private"- for my eyes only or for those who I invite. But now, I changed the privacy setting to "public" so that George or anyone else can see one of my first books entitled, "What about Bob?" I stole the title from a movie which starred Bill Murry, and yes, my name is Bob. Furthermore, Blurb allows me the option of sharing the book via several different links (Facebook, Twitter, and so forth). I took the option of embedding the widget in this blog as shown below (click on the miniture, and then, "preview book"). You can see the use of both text and picture frames to create a book of this type. You can also buy the book, but it's not necessary. I could never be a salesman.

A Genealogy and Pic...
By Robert Charles Kramp

What do you think, George?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Genealogical Research and Writing Plan for 2011- Get the books out

As the year 2011 begins, I am focusing on what will be my genealogical research and and writing plans for the coming year. Of course, the research will continue- checking off my long list of "to do" items. Actually, my genealogical computer program, Ancestral Quest, can print out a report of these research items. First thing I must do is edit this report, deleting those projects that have already been accomplished.

But most of all, I want to get my genealogical data and family history published. I've already spent much time posting the results of my studies on the Internet such as a Public Family Tree (Kramp Family) at Ancestry(dot)com, at web sites for both the paternal and maternal branches of my Tree (scroll down right side panel), and on this blog. I've also posted images to several Internet photo albums and uploaded videos to Youtube(dot)com and Roxio PhotoShow. However, I'm experienced enough to know that much of this information on the Internet is always in jeopardy of being lost. Some of you may remember the shut down of Yahoo's photo album feature. Others may remember the merge of Geocities with Yahoo and then the total removal of all content from their web site. I had to rush to transfer my Mother's genealogical web site to another server.

I believe that the BOOK is still the best means of preserving and passing on one's family history and genealogy. It circumvents the necessity of modifying your data to keep up with newer technological advances in the computer age- the so-called "migration" of data. Just yesterday, I discovered that I couldn't open a document created in an old version of Microsoft Word with the newest version. I finally got around the problem, but I do not want to worry about these glitches. And hey, realize your valuable documents and data are in an electronic environment. Now I ask you, have you ever seen an electron or held it in your hand. No thank you, I would rather have a book in my hands.

In late Spring of 2010, I created my first hard copy photograph albums, called PhotoBooks, at Snapfish(dot)com. See image below. I made one for Mother's Day which included dozens of photos taken throughout her life. Original photos were scanned and uploaded to Snapfish. Then, while on-line, I used templates to arrange from one to eight digital images on a page. The PhotoBook was then mailed to me and another copy mailed to my mother. A few weeks later, I created a PhotoBook of images of my late father.

From Life's Journey II

The image above shows three books (top) created at Snapfish(dot)com; two books (on right) created at Shutterfly(dot)com, and two books (on left) created at Blurb(dot)com. If you enlarge the image, you can read the titles. I have started a series of books in which each book includes images of a chosen decade, for example, photographs taken between 1930 and 1940, between 1940 and 1950 and so on. The book entitled, 1915-1941 was a mistake. I meant 1915 to 1930. Can you imagine creating an incorrect title. Big boo boo. I can correct the mistake on future editions.

The books were easy to create once I took a few hours to practice. The creating process for Blurb books was much more flexible- I could place the image and caption frames where I wanted them on each page. Also, I performed a free download of their "Smart Book" application to my computer's hard drive so that I could create and edit a book OFF-line before making the final submission for printing.

I passed copies of these books to my married children and was surprised to hear that they loved them. They usually roll their eyes to the back of their heads when I start taking family history. Particularly, they enjoyed going through the book in just one sitting.

As seen in the image below, I also gave a copy of the 1930-1940 book to my mother for her 90th birthday last November. She spent her teen-aged years in this decade. She is standing far right in the cover photograph.

So, in 2011, I hope to continue to self-publish these booklets which contain many vintage as well as recent photographs (digital copies) pertaining to my family history.

This blog entry was posted for the 101st Carnival of Genealogy for Geneabloggers.


Blurb(dot)com allows me to publicize my book, "What About Bob", on their Internet bookshelf. It is half genealogy, half autobiography, and short. If you want to leaf through the book, go to my next entry and click on the gadget at the bottom of the page.

YouTube(dot)com videos of my genealogy in Part I (me thru grandparents) and Part II (beyond grandparents). Forgive me the inappropriate background music- I had to be aware of copyrights. I need to redo this whole project, but not in 2011.

My public slide shows at Roxio PhotoShow on the Internet.