Friday, March 30, 2012

1940 Census

I'm not excited about the 1940 Census. I know. I know. It's heresy to say that with all the hype that is going on. But it's true. I know where all my ancestors and most other family members were in 1940 - same place they were in 1930 - and 1920. For the most part, same place they had been for the last 100 years. The only difference is in 1940 they will all be in one township instead of two or, if we go back far enough, three. So I just can't get excited about it.

And frankly, be honest, how many of you don't know where your parents or grandparents were in 1940? You might be excited to see the information in writing - maybe you are in the 1940 census - but are you really expecting a big surprise?

I am excited about transcribing the 1940 Census. I think the method in place for doing this, enlisting the help of local genealogical societies to transcribe local counties, will provide future researchers with a much more accurate transcription than we have ever had. We know the local names. That means our grandchildren will not have to be creative in searching for names. Now that's something to be excited about.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


How many generations in your direct female line do you know? This question is for females. The way records were kept men can generally go further back with data on male lines than females with their female lines. Mitochondrial DNA is inherited solely from the mother and thus enables the trace of your maternal line back in time. Unfortunately it can't put a name to the members of the line.

Obviously you are #1 and your mother is #2. My maternal grandmother #3 was Leona Ethel Ryan Downing who was born in 1892 and died in 1975. Her mother was Lillie Margaret Wood Ryan #4. Lillie was born in 1871 and died in 1956. I knew all of these people. Lillie's mother, #5, was Sarah Katherine Lucas Wood. Sarah was born in 1835 and died in 1896. Sarah's mother was Mary Turner Lucas #6. She was born in 1813 and died in 1855. Lillie, Sarah and Mary are buried in the same area of Lake Bank Cemetery, Lake Fork Township, Logan County, Illinois.

Mary's mother was Margaret Low Turner. Margaret #7 was born in Maryland around 1793, had 13 children and died, presumably, in DeWitt County, Illinois, after 1870. Her husband Allen had died in DeWitt in April 1846. Margaret's mother was Mary Low, maiden name unknown. We know her name was Mary from land records in Ohio. Mary #8 was born about 1771 in Maryland, married Nathan Low and died after 1827, presumably in Madison now Clark County, Ohio, where her husband died a few years later.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


I recently heard a lecture on The Cloud. The Cloud is our future. The Cloud will store everything. You won't have to worry about backups. The Cloud will work across platforms. The Cloud will keep files compatible with current versions of software. You can collaborate in The Cloud. The Cloud is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

The Cloud may be our future whether we like it or not and you can collaborate in The Cloud but I have some  issues with the rest.

Do you trust all your data to the cloud? Really? What happens when it rains? Seriously, what good is all your data in the cloud when you don't have wi-fi or your ISP is down or your cell provider throttles you back to a snail's pace? My favorite program, Evernote, runs and syncs in The Cloud. If the internet is down I can still use it because there is a local copy but that is not true of many of the apps on my iPad. They depend on The Cloud. No wi-fi, no work. I don't have wi-fi or ISP 24/7 and I am sure I am not the only person who doesn't. Do you really want to be totally dependent on your ISP or cell provider for access to your data? And if you were what would that cost?

What does work across platforms mean? A Word file in The Cloud magically becomes a Pages file for Mac users? If only. I suspect he meant you can use The Cloud from your iPad, your Android tablet, your PC or Mac, your smartphone, etc. But if you put a Pages file up in, say, Dropbox, your collaborator isn't going to be able to read it if they have Word.

You won't have to worry about versions of software in The Cloud. Hmmm. Does The Cloud magically convert those Windows 98 files I can't read now to Windows 7?  Next year will it convert everything to Windows 8?

Let's pretend The Cloud has all those magic properties. What does something like that cost? He tossed out figures. Basically it depends on which one of The Clouds you choose. What? There is more than one Cloud? So if put all your data on Cloud A can your potential collaborators on Cloud D see it? Will we need multiple Clouds?

I welcome The Cloud. But let's eliminate the thunderstorms, tornadoes and hurricanes first.