31 January 2011

Genealogy Organization–January Photo Challenge–Desktop

Just jumped two feet first into getting my genealogical stuff more organized in 2011 with a wee bit of help from DearMYRTLE’s 2011 January Organization Checklist, a generous monthly offering at her blog. A big task on her valuable checklist this month is: Clear off the computer desk and make piles for everything. Well, that’s silly, I already have plenty of piles:

Don’t you? And you don’t have to say it, what a mess! That’s why I came up with this photo challenge to myself and whoever else would like to participate. Nothing like a little public pressure to up the motivation, but it worked:

The big changes:
1. Made room on shelves for genealogy books by removing my old Bobbsey Twin collection.
2. Provided space for organized paper piles by adding three plastic shelves.
3. Organized cds, office supplies and magazine clippings in a three drawer unit.
3. Corralled flash drives, label-er tape and other small items in two desktop drawer units.
4. Filed all of the loose papers into my surname labeled quick files. 
5. Removed everything that did not belong. 

It is such a relief to sit here typing without all of those piles yelling at me. This is where I am sitting: 

I will post a bit later today about how I followed along with the rest of the checklist. Right now it is time to drive the kids around. Hope you will feel brave and join me in this challenge. Just post your link in the comments below. 

Scrappy Gen
Let's Remember!

29 January 2011

Bubba's Slides - Part 1 - Elephant in My Closet

That's right, there is an elephant in my closet. I keep pushing him back in and he keeps bulging back out.

Two weekends ago, I spent the long weekend viewing and sorting Bubba's slides with my sister. I had long anticipated this event  because I love old pictures, the possibility of finding a treasure and time spent with Mary. Plus, she had whetted my appetite for this task even further by sending a selection of 250 slides to be digitized in December as I mentioned here

Here's the thing, I should have listened to my little sister. She said we couldn't go through all of them in one weekend, and she was right. Even for two photo junkies, like us, trying to go through almost 10,000 slides in one weekend was too big of an undertaking. Believe it or not, we did almost finish, but we ended the weekend with frayed nerves, started off the next week exhausted, burnt out and not wanting to EVER look at another slide again. I went back to New Hampshire with my tail between my legs and a big lesson learned.

We have roughly 10 carousels of 160 slides each left to view. This is an amount doable in a weekend. I have some advice from this experience to share with you over the next week, plus an exciting offer to share from FotoBridge, the company that my sister used. Stay tuned. 

Happy Saturday!

Scrappy Gen

27 January 2011

Judisches Museum - Frankfurt am Main

Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, "an annual day of commemoration to honor the victims of the Nazi era", according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website. This morning, the museum tweeted "How will you honor the victims?". I have been holding on to this blog post since December, but today seems like a good day to send it out. While M.J. doesn't have any relatives ,who lived in Frankfurt, Germany, he did have many relatives, who were victims of the Nazis. This is what prompted my visit to the Judisches Museum in Frankfurt am Main and this blog post is dedicated to the many Frankfurt Jewish men, women and children who were killed during the Holocaust.

Judisches Museum - Frankfurt am Main, Germany

During our trip to Germany in November,  we stumbled upon the Judisches Museum in Frankfurt while walking back along the Main River to our hotel from Old Frankfurt. The museum is housed in the original Rothschild Palace, a large impressive, all white structure.

First, it should be noted that the Judisches Museum is one of a pair of museums, which includes the Judengasse Museum, also in Frankfurt. Because of our limited time, we only visited the first, but the second is on the site of the Jewish Ghetto (Judengasse means Jewish Lane) and includes an excavation of part of the area. The Judsiches Museum fulfills it's overall statement of purpose, which is to portray the history of the Jewish people in Frankfurt form the 12th to the 20th centuries. The exhibit I found most compelling was the walk through wooden model of the Judengasse.

If you have Jewish ancestors or relatives from Frankfurt, you may find helpful information at one of two museums. The Judisches Museum has an on-site research library. The Judengasse Museum has data with details about the people who lived on the Judengasse as well as names and biographies of Frankfurt Jews, who were deported and murdered. There is a database online at Infobank Judengasse Frankfurt am Main.

There are a few things you should know before you visit. If you wear reading glasses, don't forget them! Translations are provided in written format for all of the displays, many of which are text heavy, but the lighting in the museum is very dim. It is not a museum for children, unless your children like to read. All of the displays require a lot of reading. We did not rent the english audio as we did not have enough time to get the most benefit from it, but I assume that would have been helpful. An hour was not nearly enough time to fully appreciate all that the museum had to offer. On the way out I bought a wonderful English guidebook that I wish I had had while going through the museum. You may want to pick one up at the desk where you purchase tickets. Unfortunately, I do not remember if they had other language versions. If you get hungry or thirsty, there is a good quality coffee shop on site. 

Finally, there are always temporary exhibits at the museum. This was available at an additional cost, which was minimal on top of the $7.00 euros we paid to enter. There is a schedule of events available on the website.
It is good to know that there are museums like this in Frankfurt, so that future generations can learn about the history of antisemitism and how it progressed to the point where the Holocaust became possible. As a genealogist, I strive to remember and help others remember their family history. Thank you to the Judisches Museum for helping others to remember. 

Scrappy Gen

26 January 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Zayde Shoer - What a handsome guy!

This gentleman may not have been as pretty as his future bride, Sarah, but he certainly was handsome. 

Possibly I am biased. This is a picture of M.J. at about the same age:

Do you see the resemblance?

Just remembered this is supposed to be a wordless post. Oops! Please forgive me. I'll be quiet now.


25 January 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History - Week 4 - Home - Brewster Avenue

Brewster Avenue, Braintree, Massachusetts

There is a special home I would like to share with you for this week's challenge from Amy Coffin at the We Tree Genealogy blog. The goal is to talk about the home in which you spent your childhood, but when you are attached to the military, you live in an awful lot of homes. One year for school, I gathered the names of all of the places my father had lived while he was growing up. Because his father was a career army officer, he lived in twenty-five homes before he was sixteen. (Oh, how I wish I had saved that school report!) 

We were a military family for only part of my growing years and so lived in far fewer than twenty-five homes, but there were still quite a few. My very first home in Butzbach, Germany, is described in a post here. When we arrived back in the United States in January of 1968, we lived temporarily with my father's parents on Brewster Avenue in Braintree, Massachusetts. Brewster Avenue was my father's last childhood home and the place where he attended high school and made some life long friendships. It is also the last home that my grandparents shared as my grandfather, Stanley, passed away just a year after we lived with them. We were very lucky to have that time with him. Yes, this is an important home to share. 

Barbara & Stanley on the steps of 132 Brewster Avenue
We lived in Braintree for only a couple of months, while my parents looked for a place to live in Springfield, Massachusetts. The house was small, but elegant; each room carefully decorated with pretty vignettes.

My favorite room was the cozy den in the back of the house next to the flagstone patio area. One of these years I am going to build a patio like it in our backyard. The den was filled with all of my favorite things; books, pictures, papers and antiques. Often while visiting my grandmother when I was a teenager, we would take our dinner on t.v. trays in this room and watch Mary Tyler Moore on the small black and white television. 

cozy den is the room to the left
Back when we lived in Braintree though, things were much more formal than t.v. trays. My kids probably don't even know from t.v. trays. They seem to think any flat surface in the house is a dinner table. Why would they even need a t.v. tray? I am sure you can sense the sarcasm. Anyway, according to my mother, each evening while living in Braintree, we were expected to dress for dinner, which was not a casual affair. I can just imagine my kids' faces if I asked them to go upstairs and change before dinner.

Mary, Grandma and Me

Even though we don't dress for dinner today at our house, there are little vignettes, as well as books, pictures, papers and antiques in almost every room. Many of the treasures from Brewster Ave have found new places here, as well as with my sister and with my parents, little reminders of a home we loved.

Thank you for reading!

Scrappy Gen

22 January 2011

Real Life and Happy Saturday

Hello and Happy Saturday! 

I have missed blogging over the last week, but real life got in the way; two snow days, a sprained wrist and a funeral. Almost sounds like the title of a movie. Wonder if Julia Roberts is available?

Now they are predicting another huge snowstorm here in New Hampshire on Tuesday and Wednesday. I love a warm cozy jammie day as much as anyone, but we have already had three snow days and our summer fun days are dwindling away. Plus, selfishly, it is much easier to work on genealogically related items when the kids are not home.

That's all for now. Just wanted to say hi and let you know that I am still here and haven't dropped out of the geneablogging world. 

Hope you are having a good Saturday!

Scrappy Gen

14 January 2011

Follow Friday - Ancestor Approved Award

Two new geneablogging buddies recently sent me the Ancestor Approved Award begun by Leslie Ann at Ancestors Live Here
The first award was sent by Liz of My Tapley Tree...and its Branches and the second by ScrappinAnnof Ann's Scraps of Time. Thank you both for thinking of The Scrappy Genealogist. My blog is a labor of love and obsession, two words that probably shouldn't go together, but I think the combination works for genealogy. 

The award asks the recipient to list ten things learned about one's ancestors that have surprised humbled or enlightened me. It also asks the recipient to pass the award along to ten other deserving genealogy bloggers. Without further waste of words, here they are:

10 Surprising, Humbling or Enlightening Facts about Scrappy Gen's Ancestors

1. My great grandmother Ginter was not an only child, she had two siblings. 
2. My great grandmother Burrell was not born in England, but in Sommerville, Massachusetts.
3. My great great grandfather Hill was not born in England, but in Northern Ireland.
4. My direct from Ireland Grace ancestors took a two generation pit stop in Quebec. 
5. My great grandfather Smith was divorced before he met my great grandmother Catherine
6. Bubba saw action in the Phillipines.
7. MJ's Bubbie's family were not all killed in the Holocaust (although the majority were). 
8. MJ has unknown cousins from both sides of his family all over the United States. It's a wonder he didn't marry one!
9. I have unknown cousins from both sides of my family all over the United States. It's a wonder I didn't marry one!
10. As my son frequently reminds me, Mom, we're ALL related you know. 

10 Blogs for Follow Friday and the Ancestor Approved Award 
I have tried to choose blogs that have not yet received this award.
  1. GenealogyNEXT, The intersection of technology & genealogy: Joseph has a great sense of humor and shares interesting and useful technology information. I particularly liked 'Move it or Lose it'.
  2. Irish Genealogy News: This blog is connected to the Irish Genealogy Toolkit website, which contains a plethora of useful information and links. If you are looking for current updates on Irish research, this is a good blog to read. 
  3. An English Jewish Family's Quest for Their Roots: It may not be widely known unless you have found your own ancestors in England, but many Jewish emigrants from the Pale of Settlement arrived in England and stayed there. Several of  MJ's great grandmother Pauline's sisters did just that. This is a blog that will be interesting to follow. 
  4. Tracing the Tribe:The Jewish Genealogy Blog: Scholarly, informative, timely - all describe this must read blog for Jewish genealogy.
  5. JewishGen Blog: I seem to have a Jewish theme going, so I must include this important blog. If you want up to the minute news on what's newly available for Jewish research online, this is another must read. 
  6. Cemetery Scribes Blog: I'm just running with the theme now. Ran across this today. The Cemetery Scribes website has a database of cemetery inscriptions in the United Kingdom. The blog offers news about the website and other genealogical items of interest related to the UK.
  7. Synagogue Scribes Blog: This is a sister site to Cemetery Scribes. The blog provides information related to the main website, which offers a database of London Ashkenazi Synagogue records.  
  8. Oh Spusch!: Off theme now, but I just love the title of this blog and the fact that two sisters are coordinating their efforts to present their family history. They have created a visually pleasing blog and and interesting look at their family. 
  9. Adventures in Genealogy Education: Angela McGhie, the writer of Adventures, works tirelessly to promote education among both professional and novice, experienced and inexperienced genealogists. Her blog will point you to excellent educational opportunities including the ProGen Study Groups, which she began and of which she is the administrator. 
  10. Have You Seen My Roots?: Another blog the title of which I love! Cheryl Cayemberg has a good mix of personal family history and tips and tricks. In particular I enjoyed her report about the iGoogle home page.
I hope you will visit these worthy blogs (if you haven't already), do a little perusing and follow them if you find something of value for your genealogical research. 

Thanks for reading and hope you have a wonderful weekend! Happy Friday!

Scrappy Gen

13 January 2011

Photo Clues for Genealogical Success - Mendel Shoer and Sarah Brisk Family Photo Circa 1915

The descendants of Bubbie Sarah and Zayde Mendel have turned out to be my most prolific readers, in addition to all of my wonderful new geneablogging buddies. Yesterday's post of the beautiful image of Bubbie Sarah brought a record number of visitors to my blog. To thank you for visiting, here is another picture that probably not all of you have seen.

Who: Standing on the left is Zayde and on the right, still as beautiful as ever, is Bubbie. Seated are Mendel's parents, Pauline and Jacob. Pauline is holding baby William. The eldest child standing is Leo. The young man behind them is Mendel's brother, known as Eli or Leo. He is holding Irving.

When: The photo was most likely taken sometime in the Spring or Summer of 1915. William, the youngest boy in the picture, was born in June of 1914. He looks to be assisted by his Grandmother Pauline in the sitting position, but he is wearing shoes, which would peg him as a walker. The next sibling arrived in 1916 and Bubbie doesn't appear obviously pregnant yet. 

Where: Leo, Irving and William were all born in Michigan as were the next four to follow them. Leo or Eli arrived in Michigan sometime after 1912 and, according to his World War I draft record, was still living there as a single man in 1917. Zayde's parents arrived in America in 1913 and headed to Michigan.The copy that I have does not indicate a location or a photographer, but the evidence suggests that this photo was taken in Michigan. 

Clues to Ponder: Here is a close up of the locket Bubbie is wearing:

and here is a close up of the locket her mother is wearing in this photo

What do you think? Do you think her mother gave Bubbie the locket before she left for America?

Scrappy Gen

12 January 2011

11 January 2011

Military Monday - WWII Military Personnel Records

Speedy turn around! My mother signed and mailed the next of kin signature verification form on Thanksgiving weekend. Last week she received a thick brown mailing envelope, containing Bubba's World War II service records, from the National Personnel Records Center. That's less than two months start to finish. 

We used the online ordering system eVetRecs through the National Archives website, which has changed somewhat. The first thing I notice is that on the main page for Military Service Records, it states "Most veterans and their next-of-kin can obtain free copies of their DD Form 214 (Report of Separation) and other military and medical records several ways". When we placed the request we did not remember seeing anything about potential charges, so my parents were surprised to receive in late December a bill for a fee of $60 in order to receive the records. The letter did not indicate the reason for the fee. If you know in which cases a fee is assessed, please comment. Thankfully this was for my parents. If I were doing this for a client, I would like to be able to better advise them about cost in advance. 

It seems that many more people might soon be interested in ordering World War II service records. Dick Eastman posted here about the formation of the Society of Sons & Daughters of World War II Veterans Hereditary Society by the Admiral Nimitz Foundation. The foundation is very broad in its membership options, offering lineal (direct descent), collateral (any other relationship including marriage) and memorial (includes friendship) memberships. Proof of service is required in the society application.


Next on the list is ordering my paternal grandfather's records and asking my parents if they would like to join the society. In the meantime, there are lots of goodies in Bubba's records to share.

Thanks for reading. 

Scrappy Gen

Tech Tuesday - Scanning Slides

"Eat That Frog" says Brian Tracy. "Get a grip and just do it" says Elyse Doerflinger here. I have finally done it; I have eaten the frog, I have gotten a grip and I have taught myself how to scan slides with my trusty old Espon 4490 scanner.  Just don't ask me how long I have owned this technology. I have always loved it, but now I love it even more!
This picture was developed in slide format in October 1967: 

Here are the settings I used to scan it today:

Settings in Epson Scan 
Professional Mode:
Document Type: Film 
Film Type: Positive
Image Type: 24-bit color 
Scanning Quality: Best 
Resolution: 800 dpi 
Document Size: This is the actual size of the slide. 
Target Size: 11x17 is the closest dimension to that of the slide and is also the largest size I would most likely print it. 
Unsharp Mask: Level: Medium

Then I rescanned it with Digital Ice checked off at the bottom and it removed most of the markings on the film. 

Here I must make a confession. It is 2:31 in the afternoon. Time elapsed since I scanned this image is about four hours. Except for a quick grocery trip (when I got really frustrated) and lunch, I have been trying to figure out how in the world to get this image to upload to Blogger. 
Problem #1: The image was huge - 342 MB!

Problem#2: No matter how small I made the image, Blogger kept rejecting it. 

Solution (after much angst and pulling of hair): Opened the image in Photoshop Elements 8 and chose Image, Resize Image. See settings below:

Now I am headed back to the drawing board. Although I love the quality of my scanned image, it is far bigger than necessary and the process has slowed my computer down to a snail’s pace. With some more tweaking of settings I should be able to find the magic formula for creating a good printable image that won’t create a humungous file. Humungous my computer does NOT like!

Let me know if you have any formula suggestions.

Happy Scanning!

Scrappy Gen
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