Unity Cemetery

This blog post is part of a series about my trip to Plymouth, NC for the 44th Annual McNair Family Reunion.


In my last post I wrote about visiting the home of my 3rd – great grand uncle Dred Wimberly. Well, I also wanted to stop at nearby Unity Cemetery since this is where Dred is buried.

entrance to Unity Cemetery

Unity was easy to find but my heart breaks at the condition of the cemetery. There are stones grown over, hidden by trees, cracked and broken, and even more disparaging states.  Unity Cemetery is the oldest black cemetery in Rocky Mount and definitely needs to be preserved.

a few stones in the cemetery

The only reason I know Dred is buried there is because of another genealogist who lives in the area. A few years back we’d correspondence about Dred and she was able to send pictures of his grave(waving thanks to Carole!) With my limited time, I couldn’t search for Dred’s marker as I’d ideally like, but I am eternally grateful for the pictures for he and his wife.

Dred Wimberly grave marker – photo by Stephen Hart

Grave marker for Ella Bertha Wimberly – photo by Stephen Hart

Also buried in the cemetery is one of the founders of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority – Anna Easter Brown. Anna moved to Rocky Mount in 1925 and was quite active in the community.  I wonder if she knew Dred?

It was so quiet in the cemetery; very peaceful. I only wish the conditions were better. But, I am glad for the chance to see it and family research wFor the family research I would like to follow-up and find out, with the help of local genealogists, exactly where he and others in his family are buried in the cemetery. 

My Great-Grandparents in the 1925 NY State Census

Oh how I love genealogy!

Tonight, while doing a little Twitter reading, I saw Thomas post that Ancestry has put the NY State Census indexes online for 1892, 1915, and 1925.

Excitedly, I quickly hopped over to the Ancestry site to search 1925 for I expected to be able to find my great-grandparents – Lewis & Lucinda (Lennon) Robinson.  Sure enough, after doing a few variations in their name spellings I found them.

The handwriting is not the easiest to read, but it’s good enough.  The family as they *should* have been enumerated are Lewis, his wife Lucinda, and their kids Ethel, John, James, Frank, George, Andrew, and Isaac.  New to me is the listing of Lewis’s brother William! William is also a Longshoreman. 

I’m not sure why Ethel has an “E” for middle initial for her middle name was May.  And, I’m not sure why John has Lewis instead of Robinson for last name?  My grandfather, Herman, is not yet born here – he came along in 1926.  :-)  I knew already that Lewis was a longshoreman so it’s interesting to see his brother was also.  

Additionally, before today, I had as Lewis’ parents, a William Robinson and wife Rebecca Toon based on his death certificate. I also found Lewis as a son to William & Rebecca in the 1900 census.  Lewis’s brother William is younger than he, so is not in the 1900 family group, but now I need to go look for William & Rebecca in 1910 to see if William Jr. is listed.  But, this 1925 census record having a William listed as a brother goes along with the family structure so far.  

How cool! Now I have a few other leads to explore. 

Image citation: Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1925 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012. Original data: State population census schedules, 1925. Albany, New York: New York State Archives. Election District 09, Assembly District 01, New York, New York, 1.

Additions to my Genealogy Collection

If I never felt like a genealogist, boy, I sure do now! It all started simply enough.  An email from my friend Kay Lynn, who volunteers with me in the NCGenWeb project:

…while cleaning out and going thru all my genealogy books I came upon a few Washington County cemeteries that were surveyed in 1936.. would you be interested in these? 

I maintain the Washington County, NCGenWeb page and I of course had to take her up on the offer! Then, as we exchanged emails, it turned out she had some other Washington County items as well.  Since Kay Lynn only lives about 20 minutes away from me, I decided to just go up and visit yesterday. 

And what a pleasant visit we had.  Her land has a few buildings on it, so she has a vehicle to get around. Here are Jihad and Kaleya with her “mule” as she calls it :-). 

Kay Lynn was cleaning out her research room of material that she doesn’t use often for the sites she maintains. It was my lucky day that she had things relevant for counties that I work on or contribute to for both NC and the  TNGenWeb Project. Thus, I came home with waaaaay more than I knew I was going to get! :-)

And, I had to clear out space on my bookshelves for it – see the one that’s just about empty 2nd from the right? This is to be their new home.

The collection of material includes:

  • Onslow County, North Carolina marriage records 1764-1867 by Frances T. Ingmire (1983)
  • Onslow County, North Carolina 1860 Census – compiled by Michael Whaley & Bob Jenkins in 1989
  • Onslow County, North Carolina Voter Registration Records: 1902, 1904, 1906, 1908 – by Delmas D. Haskett, Jo Ann Galloway & Helen Moore Sammons (1995)
  • Abstracts of Land Entries, Onslow County, NC 1778-1796 and Jones County, NC 1795-1797 – by Dr. A. B. Pruitt (1990)
  • Onslow County, North Carolina Cemetery Records – an 11 volume set compiled and indexed by Michael Whaley in 1996
  • Washington County Genealogical Society Newsletters & Quarterlies from their very first issue in March 1990 – November 1994 
  • Transcripts of Washington County North Carolina Marriages from “Index to  Marriages, Vol. 1″ 1851-1872 published in 1993
  • Washington County 1850 US Census
  • the above-stated 1936 Survey of a few Washington County cemeteries
  • “Family Findings” – monthly newsletter of the Mid-West TN Genealogical Society from their very first issue in April 1969-1992!
  • quarterly publication of the Middle TN Genealogical Society from 1988-1997
  • “Ansearchin” News – publication of the TN Genealogical Society, 1989-1991
  • 2 big binders of records from a funeral home in Lauderdale County, TN that cover 1923-1986 and 1989-1991

Of this list, some items are already available online, some are not.  Some have copyright, some do not.  Thus, the extent of what I can put online will vary for each of them. Some are very hard to come by – for example, the Washington County Genealogical Society doesn’t even have in their own library their issues going back to the beginning. And, they’ve given me permission to put old issues online already so you can guess what’s going to happen with these!

However, in each case, no matter what I can or cannot do with them online, there is a distinct benefit to actually owning a physical copy and I am quite delirious! Look at them in their new location.

What exactly am I going to do with all my new-found bounty?

  • figure out the best way to make sure researchers in the counties these are most relevant to know that I have them so I can offer lookups
  • get at least the indexes posted online when possible
  • in a few cases, the whole document can be put online so work on that
  • digitize it all (for my own personal use if it is still under copyright)
  • catalog it all – as well as the rest of my book (physical & electronic) collection 

Thank you so much Kay Lynn! You truly made me a very happy gal.  And, of course, I still left room for anything else you may wish to pass along as you finish your cleaning. :-)  What a great start to my Memorial Day Weekend this has been.  Today is going to be equally exciting.  I’ll post about that later so stay tuned….

Wearing my 1940 Census Ambassador Badge

I added a new icon to my sidebar this evening — the 1940 Census Ambassador Badge.  I joined last week as I am going to be contributing to the creation of the index.

So much has been made available online about the upcoming census that I will not rehash here.  In short, when the census images are released on April 2nd, there will not be an index.  The only way to find people will be to really have a good sense of where they were living.  An index would be far more useful so there is a multi-partner initiative that is encouraging us all to volunteer and help create the index.

More excitingly for me is that I created a group for the TNGenWeb Project so that we can work as individual indexers, but contribute “points” towards our group.  More information about that is on the TNGenWeb site, so if you would like to be on our team, just let me know. 

 

Microfilm Scanners at Tennessee State Library

I heart the Tennessee State Library & Archives :-)

This week they announced on their blog the new availability of two microfilm scanners attached to computers to allow for digital capture.  I was quite happy to hear the news because I have been wanting this for years now.   The Nashville Public Library has two stations that I use from time to time, but I go to TSLA more than NPL for genealogy research.  Besides, the TSLA has so many microfilm holdings just waiting to be explored and printouts cost .25cents/page.  I’ve tried to capture images using my digital camera and my wand scanner, but neither has given me the kind of results I ideally desired.

The systems in place are the ScanPro2000 machines.  They offer many features and the best way to get acquainted is to watch their YouTube video. Ultimately, you just need to know that this machine rocks! I kept telling the staff how pleased I was with it and how grateful I was to TSLA for having purchased them.

Here is my picture of the setup at TSLA

Microfilm scanning machine at the Tennessee State Library & Archives

In the few hours I used it, I captured around 250 digital images of old newspaper issues.  I was in heaven.

Since the installation is new, there are some features that are not enabled and I wonder if there are plans to?  For example, I noticed that this machine allows remote microfilm viewing.  With this feature, someone at TSLA could load microfilm and I could look at it and navigate it from home.  I would pass out if they implemented this  –give me access to a roll of microfilm that has a couple of hundred newspapers issues on it? Wow.  Maybe they will get to that?

Better yet – maybe the North Carolina State Library should get one, enable remote viewing, and then I could get to all those newspapers I’ve been longing to get my hands on!  Dick Eastman blogged about the machine last summer and by reading the comments I learned of several other libraries (including FHL in Salt Lake City) that have them, and even one that allows remote viewing overnight while their facility is closed.

I am still overjoyed.  Thank you so much TSLA.  You will definitely see me using these on a regular basis.

 

 

 

Facebook Comments

Can my friends help me out?? I have added a plugin that allows you to comment on my blog using the Facebook Comments API.

This is a short-term test and I may not keep it. But, the only way to get a feel for how it works is to have some test users.  Won’t you help?

Click on the “Comments” on the sidebar to the left to leave a comment.  (Ignore the fact that the whole comments section is flush left. I’ll figure that out later if I decide to keep it).

My Genea-Wish List

This week Randy’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun is one I could do quite easily without a second thought.  Here’s the task:

1)  Think of the genealogy related wishes you have – what education, database, or information would make your genealogy research dreams come true?  Be specific – as many wishes as you want to list!

2)  Tell us about some of your genea-wishes in your own blog post, in a comment to this blog post, or in a status or comment on Facebook.

I have one wish:

that every issue of every extant newspaper was fully name-indexed and searchable at the county level

See how easy that was? :-)

I hope genealogy database vendors are paying attention to this week’s topic – there are some excellent suggestions circulating the blogsphere!

 

My Foray into Geni.com

 

A week ago Friday night while participating in the GeneaBloggers Blog Talk Radio session I won a 3-month “Pro” subscription to Geni.com. I am quite excited!  When I read the description of the session and learned that Noah Tutak, CEO of the company, would be interviewed, I knew I needed to listen.  I have had a Geni.com account for a few years, but haven’t used it much.   I love the potential of the shared family tree building approach so knew I needed to revisit the site.  I strongly support collaborative/social genealogy efforts and feel Geni has great potential in this space.

After several days of really using the site, here’s my overall synopsis of what I like about Geni, what frustrates me, and how I think it compares to other platforms that also seek to promote online, collaborative, & social genealogy. I look forward to seeing how my impressions evolve as I use it further.

What I Like about Geni.com

  • collaborative family tree building – multiple people can easily work together on the same tree
  • easy to use interface — creating & editing profiles is easy with their point & click interface.  Unlike WeRelate and other person wiki-based projects, no knowledge of wikitext is needed. This reduces barriers to use.
  • Their goal of having one World Family Tree and trying to connect as many profiles together as possible. Quite laudable.  Unlike Ancestry Member Trees with their multiplicity,  redundancy can be minimized by merging profiles.
  • Built-in calendar – dates entered into the profiles are turned into notifications to family members of events like birthdays and anniversaries.  I’ve not seen this in other collaborative family tree programs.
  • Daily Digests - sent via email to summarize activity for the day.  a great way to stay informed on who’s doing what
  • Good Search Engine Optimization — results from Geni appear in search engines. I don’t believe this to be the case with Ancestry Member Trees?

What Frustrates Me

  • Editing Others’ Profiles – If I find a profile for which I can contribute information to, I have to request collaboration with the person who manages the tree before I can add to it.  This is seriously hampering my like for when I want to make a substantial contribution, I’d like the flexibility to do it right away.  I can add pieces to the profile, but not family members.  I would prefer an even more open model for collaboration where more edits could be made right away. This feature is a standard in wiki-based collaboration projects and I would like to see it adopted here.  I still haven’t heard back on both of the collaboration requests I made 7 days ago.  :-(
  • Relationship management — when adding a relationship, such as a marriage, to a person, the options on screen lead you through the process rather nicely. However, on the screen to manage a relationship you can only add one relationship and you’re not able to add more.  To add more, you have to go to another part of the profile.  My mother has been married three times — adding her relationships was cumbersome to say the least.
  • Counties not used in Place Names– at least not by default.  I would prefer not to have to enter county names  - especially if I’m entering a city.  That data element can be automatically defined. And some place names have zip codes in them that can’t be erased, while many don’t.  That’s odd.
  • Adding unconnected people — as is the case with Ancestry Member Trees, here you also can’t just add someone initially unless they are connected to an existing person on the tree.  If you don’t wish this to be the case, you have to add them, then remove the relationship.
  • Search Box – should have an option to search the entire site, or search just your tree.  Current set up has you enter a name, then the resulting screen lets you specify options to look at just your tree or the entire site.  Would like to see this moved to appear next to the search box itself in order to reduce a few clicks.  This is a common feature with site searches that use Google Search.
  • Path View – at the top of each profile in your tree is view that shows you how you’re related to the person you are looking at.  This is represented linearly, but there should be an option to view it hierarchically.  It can be hard to understand the steps up and down a tree unless you can represent hierarchy.  My genealogy program, TNG: the Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding, does this well.  The Geni team could consider an option to do something similar.
  • Descendancy view – does not include those not biologically related.  I understand the desire to keep it adhered to bloodlines, but it would be nice to have an option to include step-relationships in the Tree View; even if they were color-coded differently.

With a longer list of what frustrates me vs. what I like, you may get the impression i’m dissatisfied - but rest assured that is not the case! I like Geni more than the other wiki and wiki-type user tree sites I’ve come across for the following reasons.  I hope the Geni team considers these thoughts as they continue to make the site better.

How It Compares to other Social Genealogy Sites

  • WeRelate — with no WYSIWYG editor, I find WeRelate too cumbersome to enter data into — even though I am quite adept at HTML and Wiki Markup Language — it just is a time issue for me; it’s faster to do WYSIWYG rather than markup language.  Geni’s interface is point, click, enter – much easier to use.
  • AncestryMemberTrees — Ancestry has a huge user base and is highly visible.  The integration with records is undoubtedly an advantage.  The number of multiple records and how bad information gets rapidly duplicated is a limitation.  Geni is seeking to overcome this and for my purposes when I want to share information I like Geni’s approach better because I would only need to do it once — not to multiple people as is the case with Ancestry Member Trees.
  • WikiTrees – editing a profile you find is also not instantaneous – requests have to be made to the person who manages the profile. I also do not like the layout and structure of WikiTree pages and the ads are obtrusively placed  - often in the center of your screen.  Geni’s profiles are well-structured and ads are placed at the bottom of the page.
  • OneGreatFamily – primary goal is to create one large connected family tree.  I haven’t used this site in several years, but it is a complete subscription based service.  Nothing is visible without the subscription.  Geni.com and Ancestry use a fremimum model, where some information is available for free with additional content/features only available by subscription.  Freemium is better in my book.
  • MyHeritage – the site have a focus on sharing genealogy with those you select.  Thus, the openness of data is often restricted.  I’m not as likely to use this one  given its focus on restriction.

What do you think of Geni.com?

 

 

 

I Created an iPhone App!

I just can’t do anything with it.

Inspired by RootsTech I finally decided to further investigate something I’ve been curious about – how to go about creating apps for Android & iPhone.   I am so not a programmer/developer but I’ve heard of programs that allow non-developers to create apps and tried a few of them.   What type of app was I going for? An app to consolidate the feeds I have listed for the NCGenWeb Project on blogs/twitter/facebook accounts relative to North Carolina genealogy – the NCGenealogy 2.0 page.

Round 1:  Android App Inventor

As much as I love Android/Google, even their App Inventor program built for non-developers is not the easiest thing to get going with.   After spending an hour trying to get set-up, I still couldn’t use it – seems I am getting an error code for something going wrong with my computer.  I may try again later.

Round 2: iSites

After reviewing a list of potential sites for app development, I created an account with iSites.  For their most basic account they offer a 30 day free trial. I had to give my credit card info for the trial.  The process to create the app is done via a nice web interface and it was easy to add to it.  It turns out though that with the basic plan, only one RSS feed can be pulled into the app.  I’m aiming for multiple feeds.  Also, despite the site saying I could preview the Android version of the app, I could not figure it out. Also, iSites apps don’t work on the iPad and since I don’t have an iPhone, I couldn’t try it in real life.

Here are some screenshots of the app I made with iSites.  It shows only the feeds from the NCGenWeb Blog.

Front page of the NCGenWeb Blog feed

one blog entry from the NCGenWeb blog

ability to post to social network

Overall, I like this, but I really needed to be able to integrate multiple feeds and I was not willing to pay the $100 or so just for playing around.  I will be canceling my iSites trial tomorrow.

Round 3: appMakr

AppMakr looked promising b/c the market their app development as free.  This is good since many other companies charge anywhere from $100-$1000 and possibly monthly hosting fees.  Their website was also easy to use – they offered many more customization options than iSites.  Also, their app for the iOS operating system also works on iPads (just have to use the 2x magnification setting).

To my joy I could also integrate multiple RSS feeds! I could also create an app icon, a welcome splash screen, a custom header, and navigation icons across the bottom of the app.  I was impressed by all the options.  At the end of the app development process, AppMakr also rates the quality of your app and tells you how likely it is to be (or not to be) accepted by the Apple Store.  All this with no charges by AppMakr.  Here are screenshots from the app I created with them:

app icon

splash screen i created

feeds from county site category. i was able to create 5 different categories.

a specific blog post. notice the topic!

sharing options

I was very pleased with this and was now ready to figure out how to test it out.  Well, turns out the part that is not free in all this is the registration with Apple in order to develop apps; $99 fee.  This is not a requirement of AppMakr, but a requirement by Apple.  Again, I was not willing to pay this just to play around.  I did like the process though — and AppMakr provides some ability to test the app interactively online – you can do so at http://appma.kr/f6Plz0.

If I were developing an app for real, I would probably go with AppMakr.  Despite the fact that I can’t offer it for *real,* I am excited by the possibilities.  $100 and any organization/website/etc. could have an iOS app.  I do hope to further explore the Android development later on.  This is clearly a case where I could have benefited from a RootsTech class; perhaps Rob Fotheringham’s class on mobile development (TC 068)?

Any takers on creating apps like this??  As I worked through this example, a perfect example came to mind of an app I’d love to see — one for Geneabloggers.  Wouldn’t that be cool?