Mocavo’s New Yearbook Collection Not All Really Theirs?

Yesterday, Mocavo.com released a new collection of yearbooks.  I was so ecstatic to see this!  

 I enjoy looking through old yearbooks.  A couple of years ago I created a yearbook index for the NCGenWeb Project.  To date, I’ve indexed more than 30,000 names from close to 500 yearbooks.  And where did those yearbooks come from that I’ve indexed? Mostly, yearbooks digitized by the NC Digital Heritage Center (NCDHC).  The group has been very active in the past couple of years digitizing yearbooks from across the state.  The digitized yearbooks are hosted on the Internet Archive, and then also viewable on the DigitalNC website.  The 500 I’ve indexed are only a part of what they’ve done –  so, I am quite familiar with their collection.   

Thus, naturally, as I started to explore Mocavo’s yearbook collection, I began by looking to see what they had available from North Carolina (well, yesterday you could filter by state — that feature is interestingly enough missing today).

 

But then, my “inner librarian” started to get suspicious.

 

I quickly realized that many of the titles I was seeing were the same ones put on the Internet Archive by the NCDHC.  I also searched yearbooks from other states that I have listed on my Genealogy Digital Bookshelf website, and see the same – -many on that list (which are all from the Internet Archive) were also in Mocavo’s database. 

Here are the problems…

  • You wouldn’t know that the Internet Archive is the source of these yearbooks.  Mocavo’s statement on the front page of the collection is that they  (as in Mocavo) “put” the yearbooks online. There is no mention that the IA is the source for the material.
  • Each yearbook has a watermark imprint in the bottom left corner that reads “Hosted by Mocavo.”  Does this mean that Mocavo took the file and placed it on their servers? They may not have the right to do that.
  • Some of the yearbooks are still under copyright.  Their placement in the Internet Archive does not necessarily bypass that – the 1953 yearbook of Wake Forest University is just one such example.  The 1936 Kent State yearbook is another. Their copyright statements state that images and texts cannot be used without permission and/or proper citation and acknowledgement is requested.  Did Mocavo seek permission from all copyright holders before putting yearbook digital files on the Mocavo servers? 
I do not doubt that Mocavo has added their own original  yearbooks to this collection.  And, their solicitation for people to send in their yearbooks is great. However, to claim that they put all of these online, when they did not, and w/o any attribution to the Internet Archive or to the organizations/libraries that digitized the yearbooks, is something that needs to be corrected.  At the minimum, I would encourage the company to be more transparent as to the sources of the yearbooks from the Internet Archive.  Especially given the very recent post on copyright infringement on the Mocavo blog. 
I have tried to get in touch with a Mocavo reprsentative, but my contact request, email, and twitter messages have not been answered as of yet. 
I would love to hear from someone at the company about this.  I am hopeful someone can clear this up.  Perhaps they do have an agreement of sorts? I would love to know!  If not, then I hope they make some adjustments. 
Oh, and please bring back the ability to filter by state and city.  Location is paramount for genealogical research! 
Update 11/10/12 — I finally had the opportunity to exchange some emails with Mocavo about their collection.  They informed me that the yearbooks were purchased from a 3rd-party who has license agreements to provide the images.  I hope that this third party does indeed.  However,  I do still feel that the partnership with this company could have been made more transparent.  

Photos of my Grandfather!

I am completely ecstatic tonight! Over the weekend, my father visited his stepmother (whom he had not seen in over 20 years) and got some pictures of his father!  My grandfather, William Koonce Sr.,  passed away in 1976 when I was six months old, so I never knew him.  And, until tonight, I’d only seen about 3-4 pictures of him. So, I was so happy to see this pictures tonight!!!  This has absolutely made my week. 

Granddaddy & M

Granddaddy & M.

Lossie Attended Winston-Salem State University

While indexing some old issues of Winston-Salem State University’s yearbooks tonight for the NCGenWeb Yearbook Index, I found another relative!

Lossie’s 1946 graduation photo

This time, I found Lossie Viola McNair (1923-2008).  Lossie is a member of the 1946 graduating class and the yearbook shows that her nickname was “Mae.”    Later on in the yearbook, in the “Who’s Who” section, it’s noted that she aids a Kindergarten classroom.  And, as it turns out, she did indeed become a teacher.  :-)  

How is Lossie related to me? She is the half-sister of my 2nd-great grandfather, Abraham McNair.   She was the daughter of Andrew D.  McNair & Bennie Slade.   Bennie was Andrew’s 2nd wife; I’m descended from Andrew and his first wife, Gracy Bullock. 

I love finding these little nuggets of info! 

Technology Tuesday: Awesome New Tab Page

Last week, in the Facebook group Technology for Genealogy, Thomas MacEntee shared a link to a MakeUseOf.com article about the Chrome extension, Awesome New Tab page. Since iGoogle is going away, this could be a possible replacement. 

I’ve never really been a user of iGoogle – though, I did have a page configured. I never really cared all that much for the look and feel of it. However, I did like it for accessing my Google Bookmarks (which I am in the process of switching to Chrome Bookmarks).  I tended to mostly  just use the apps view of Chrome as my default homepage. But, I decided to give Awesome New Tab a twirl and I’m so glad I did!

click to enlarge

This is my current new tab configuration. I have easy access to my favorite websites & Chrome Web apps, all creating a colorful display.  As the MakeUseOf article states, it is “..no longer just icons.” 

I have set it so upon Chrome launch, this comes up + a page for my gmail – this is a timesaver for me.  The images you see can either be from the Web Store, added yourself, or even use a screenshot. 

I love the access to many Google services all from the green box near the top left corner.  That box is bordered by several small icons for Google services – including Reader, News, Drive, Play, Picasa, YouTube, Google Image Search, Google News, and so many more!

I’ve not configured all the spaces (the black spaces) and that gives me room to grow. Additionally, I can drag the page to the right if I want more space. There is an icon already marked for the Chrome Web Store to get more to add and I’m going to enjoy myself the next few weeks getting everything finalized. 

With this very Windows 8 look, Awesome New Tab page is quickly becoming my new best friend. :-)

 

Coordinating a 1940 Census Indexing Group

When the 1940 US Community Census Project was announced, I wondered if I’d even take the time to participate.  However, I quickly realized this would be a great opportunity to become more familiar with the FamilySearch Indexing software and give back at the same time.  Soon after signing up, I decided to go ahead and coordinate an indexing group on behalf of the TNGenWeb

I wondered if people would sign up, and sure enough they did! While I would have been happy with just a handful, we had more than 50 people sign up to index and arbitrate for the TNGenWeb. Wow. 

I’ve blogged about our group’s efforts on the TNGenWeb blog and am hopeful we can keep the volunteers engaged as we move on to additional indexing projects, both with FamilySearch and internal to the TNGenWeb. I am so happy to have been part of this effort :-). 

WordPress for Your Genealogy Site

Wow! What a great couple of months it has been! I’ve recently completed my 4-part webinar series with DearMyrtle on using WordPress for your genealogy website and have been ever so pleased with the outcome.  Myrt is a wonderful hostess and everyone’s questions throughout the series really helped shape the content.  Thanks to everyone!

I have created a page on my blog in order to help capture some of my work with WordPress, so check it out if interested! I’m not sure how often I’ll post about WordPress in the future, but hopefully this won’t be the last you see of me and this wonderful publishing platform.

…and I want you to heart it too! :-)

My State Library & Archives Going Even More Digital


Don’t you just love it when you visit a library and they are on the ball when it comes to using technology?  I visited the Tennessee State Library & Archives yesterday and was happy to learn that they now have a digital book scanner.  Scanning book pages to USB is a dream come true – ooh yeah!

Of course I had to write about it! Check out my post on the TNGenWeb blog for more details.  

Follow-Up: WordPress Webinar Part 3: Features, Features & More Features

Thanks again to all that turned out for last night’s webinar with DearMyrtle on using WordPress for your genealogy site.  In this part of the series, we focused on using the self-hosted version of WordPress.  From installing it on your server , going through the initial setup checklist, to choosing from all the plugins, it was another detail-rich session. 

I unfortunately did not have time to cover some of my recommendations for finding themes, so would like to point out that with WordPress you can use themes from the theme directory that are FREE or you can purchase Premium Themes from online theme vendors and marketplaces.  Typically, premium themes comes with increased ability to let you change theme options without having to mess with the CSS style sheet. See the slides for a few additional thoughts. Whatever you do, be cautious in using themes on your site that you find in random Google searches – themes can contain code that  does your site harm. 

Below are the slides from the session – enjoy!

Additional Resources:

A Tale of 3 Brothers

With the 1940 census index just weeks away from potentially being finished, I am finally taking some time to explore more individuals in my tree.  Last night, I did some searching on Kalonji’s side of the family and found a bit of an intrigue.  Naturally, it kept me up way past my bedtime!  :-D

I was searching for the siblings of Kalonji’s great-grandfather, Morris Wisdom.  To date, this is what I know of Morris’ family: He had two brothers, Nick & Turner.  The three of them were born around the 1890s in/around Montgomery County, TN.  Morris’ father is named Dick Wisdom and his mom is Margaret Meriweather/Meriwether.  I had no additional information about Dick & Margaret, but I may have a new connection now

In the 1940 census, I found Morris right where I expected (living with wife Zebedee and kids) and Turner is married to a woman named Ruby. Nick, however, is living in the household of Sandy Meriweather and family, and is listed as his uncle. Hmm..

Since Nick is listed as “uncle,” this would imply Nick had a sibling whose last name is Meriweather.  I wasn’t sure about that, but I kept it in mind. Who knows? Maybe Margaret gave her kids different last names?  I then began to search for more information about Sandy Meriwether.  

To do that, I turned to Ancestry Member Trees – this is an absolute fundamental part of my research kit. The trees aren’t perfect, but they can yield clues.  In doing so, I found a couple of people who had Sandy in their tree and it seems his father was a James Meriwether, born about 1887 in Montgomery County, TN.  And… James’ mother is named Margaret Meriwether – same as Nick’s! If Nick and James are siblings, that would indeed make Nick Sandy’s uncle. 

In looking at the records attached for Margaret Meriwether, I found a link to her in the 1900 census where she and her family are only enumerated by first initial.  She is 31 years old with 5 children – their initials are M., J., N., M. & T. All are under the surname Meriwether. Well now – -N.M.&T could be Nick, Morris & Turner! That is their birth order too.  This could explain why I never found the three brothers any earlier than the 1910 census – their last names in 1900 are not “Wisdom” but “Meriwether.”  The “J” in this record is born in August 1887 – same as Sandy’s father. 

And, Margaret is living two doors away from a 54 year-old widow, R. Wisdom and his kids.  R could be “Richard” which is what “Dick” is short for.  

I now want to know if “R” is indeed “Dick,” so back to the 1880 census I go. Sure enough, I find him and he is indeed enumerated as Dick. I  think I have found Nick, Morris & Turner’s parents!   Of course, I will need to research further and look for primary sources, but this is a great start. If this turns out to be true, then I’ve got a whole new branch of Kalonji’s family to research.  In fact, Dick’s death certificate gives HIS parents as Mr. Palm and Edith Wisdom, so that’s a whole new generation!  

The research is on! I’ve got so much to look for! Just a few include:

I am pleased to have had the 1940 census available to jump start the research on this branch.