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Month: June 2009

Useful Item #2 – Netbook

Useful Item #2 – Netbook

Laptops are portable, sort of. They are heavy, most weighing in about six pounds. They don’t go very long without power. And what do you do in a library when you have a laptop but need to go get another book?

Netbooks are small laptops, generally with 9-10″ screens. They weigh under three pounds. They aren’t new. Gateway made tiny laptops in the early 90s but they just didn’t sell. Others have made them since. After 17 years their time has finally come.

Mine fits in my purse. Ok, I tend to carry a large purse when I am traveling. The first day after I got mine I shoved it in my purse and carried it around all day, shopping, to lunch, to the library, to the grocery store, etc. It’s doable.

The battery keeps going and going and going. The reason is you close the lid and it hibernates. Some manufacturers claim the battery lasts nine hours. Mine does BUT I don’t use it steadily for those nine hours.

Two weeks later I went on a two week trip with the netbook as my only computer. Mine has a camera, wi-fi, bluetooth, a 160 GB hard drive and 2 MB of memory. I loaded up my programs, my work files, my pictures, my music [the sound isn’t bad] and my genealogy files.

With cloud computing through programs such as Gmail and Evernote, your data is available to you wherever you are. More and more storage is available that way. My netbook came with 10 GB cloud file storage. Windows Live provides free cloud file storage. Cloud computing is the future.

There is no CD drive. To add a program you need to download it, install it from an external CD drive, copy it to the netbook across your network or copy it to a flash drive and then use that as your installation disk.

Some come with wireless cards. In fact, you can get a pretty inexpensive netbook with a built in wireless card if you sign a two year wireless contract. For about $30 a month you can “tether” your netbook to your smartphone to connect — which sounds cumbersome to me. Or you can connect when you are at one of an ever growing number of places with free wi-fi access, places from city parks to fast food outlets. It’s a great excuse to go to Dairy Queen.

The screen IS small for reading long documents but that’s what scrolling is for. I wouldn’t want to do eight hours of work on it. That’s really the only downside. My biggest gripe is the inability to disable the built in touchpad to use a wireless mouse. There is a way to do it but it just doesn’t work. I finally cut a piece of lightweight cardboard and taped it over the touchpad. That effectively eliminated about 85% of the problem. If you use the touchpad you don’t have this problem.

I think a netbook is the perfect tool for research trips.

Useful Item #1 — Smartphone

Useful Item #1 — Smartphone

I recently got a couple new items that are quite useful. And they turn out to be useful for genealogy too. I finally gave in and replaced my antique with a new cell phone. I really don’t even like having a cell phone. That has changed, at least in part. I still refuse to have it permanently attached.

I bought a Blackberry Curve. That’s an older model with a keyboard made up of tiny but typeable keys and a 2 x 1.5″ screen, not large. It’s pink, dubbed Pinkberry, and in a neon pink case. It’s easy to see.

The first thing I learned, quite by accident, was you can take a picture with the cell phone and then you can email it to yourself or anyone else, even post it to various online sites, regardless of where you are. Even if you can’t figure out how to get it off the cell phone you have the picture. Later I learned that with the new phones you can easily get your pictures from the phone to the computer but I’ve gotten used to emailing them.

Soon I was taking pictures of everything. It’s so easy. Your cell phone is always handy, much handier [and lighter] than the camera I always carry in my purse, and always ready. No copy machine. No problem. Click. I wasn’t planning to stop at this cemetery and now look what I found! Click. You can even make a video if great aunt decides to spill the beans.

The smartphone holds more useful tools. Where exactly is that cemetery? Just look it up on the internet on your cell phone. You can even get GPS on the phone if you need such things. I looked up a cemetery layout on my web site when I couldn’t find a particular stone. Even in the middle of nowhere I could do it. If you think you’ll do a lot of looking up things online I suggest you look for a large screen phone but it is doable on the smaller screen.

Mine also has a calculator, note pad, voice recorder, maps, a calendar and Evernote, the program I cannot live without. The phone version, at least for my older version phone, is not that impressive but I can take notes and I can connect to the internet and use it there. For work we keep an assortment of information in Evernote too. Evernote is pretty critical to me and having it on the phone factored into the choice.

As far as I know there is no genealogy program for the Blackberry. If your smartphone uses Windows Mobile there is a genealogy program for it. I’m not hot to read my genealogy on that small screen so it wasn’t something I considered.

I’m sure there are many other things you can do with a smartphone. If you are in the market I suggest determining what is available, what you will actually use [as opposed to might when stranded on an island] and then narrowing down your choices. I did that, went home with the information and researched for another week, went back with a phone in mind. When I got to the store I had two more questions. The answers totally changed the phone I finally chose [and saved a chunk of money]. So ask a lot of questions.

I have not scratched the surface of the Blackberry’s talents and probably never will. For me it is a tool and not a toy. My life does not depend upon it. But it is useful and for the first time I’m happy to have a cell phone.

My package includes sending the pictures from phone to phone. That package also includes unlimited text messaging. I find myself using it more and more. I’d really rather get a text message than a phone call if it is just pass information. So much less intrusive. [HINT]

War of 1812 Veteran Grave Marked

War of 1812 Veteran Grave Marked

Darrell Eugene Payne, Gayle French Lessen, Thelma Gardner Eisberg, Mary Payne Barringer, Lindsay Erlenbush Maus, Pamela Erlenbush, Phillip Franks French, Brynne Barringer Monier. All are descendants of John Winans Clark whose stone [with wife Ann “Nancy”] is on the left. [Photo by Jane DeWitt]

On June 13, 2009, the Sangamon River Chapter of the United States Daughters of 1812 joined descendants of John Winans Clark and guests at Laenna Cemetery outside of Chestnut in Logan County for a Dedication Ceremony to mark the grave of Clark as a Veteran of the War of 1812.

John Winans Clark served in Captain Jeremiah Martin’s Co. in the Kentucky Mounted Volunteers during the Clark migration from New Jersey to Illinois.

Clark is one of at least 28 veterans of the War of 1812 buried in Logan County. He is thought to be the only one buried at Laenna.

Samuel Day and Family

Samuel Day and Family

Samuel Day was the son of Mary “Polly” Matthews and her husband Thomas Day. They were married May 5, 1821, in Ohio and he died in a flood four months later in August. Samuel was born March 6, 1822. Mary’s sister Margaret was married to Samuel Downing. They had six children before she died in 1836. Mary and Samuel wed 16 months later and had two children, William Nelson and John Clark. The whole group migrated to Logan County and settled along the south side of Salt Creek on the Chester/Mt. Pulaski Township border. Also in the group were various Matthews, sometimes spelled Mathews. Mary died in 1847 and was buried in Downing Cemetery.

In 1850 Samuel is living four farms from Samuel, his uncle and stepfather, with his wife Sarah. In 1855 he is living next to Samuel. There are eight in his household. In 1860 there is a Samuel Day living in Lincoln. In the 1862 Military Census he is in Madison Precinct. In 1870 this Samuel Day is living in Aetna Township with wife Sarah, sons Thomas, 19, and John, 13, and daughters Lydia, 5, and Axey, 1/2 year. Neither he nor Sarah are in the 1880 census in Logan County or anywhere else that I could find.

Thomas is the only child who could have been counted in 1855. That leaves a total of eight children unaccounted for. What happened to this family?

A Happy Group in Mt. Pulaski

A Happy Group in Mt. Pulaski

This group of people happily posing for the camera raises so many questions. The people I can identify, which is only a handful, are all residents of Mt. Pulaski, all related in the same line and all members of the Christian Church. Since there are so few that can be identified none of those connections is necessarily the correct one. Several items, including the ages of the known people, indicate the picture was taken about 1930.

A couple years two of those I can identify were still living. Although side by side [they were cousins] in this picture they didn’t have the same story about the picture.

If you see this picture and can identify any of the people please let me know.

Vanishing DAR Markers

Vanishing DAR Markers

Humphrey Scroggin was a veteran of the Revolutionary War. Note the DAR markers on his grave in Steenbergen Cemetery, Mt. Pulaski Township, Logan County, Illinois. He also has a flat military plaque. The stone was saved and repaired through the intervention of Dalen and the late Sandra Shellhammer, genealogists who oversaw the cemetery operations for years.

Literally just a few feet away is the stone for Revolutionary War veteran Abraham Lucas. The above picture was taken in 2001. Note the edge of the DAR marker. This Memorial Day that marker was no longer there. There is no military marker. You would not know Lucas was the forefather of many DAR members.

Blog Hits Pay Dirt

Blog Hits Pay Dirt

On February 1 I wrote about Berryman B. Wood, my great great grandfather. I have some pictures and a lot of questions.

As a result I have heard from several people. Two are relatives who have never lived in Logan County. The first is a granddaughter of his son, also Berryman B. Wood, who moved to Minnesota. When I was a child her twin aunts and their husbands [brothers] visited several times. Marlys resides in Minnesota. She has some great pictures.

Tessa wrote that she was related to a cousin. I hear that a lot and it invariably turns out to my relative’s husband. But Tessa said no, she is a 3 great granddaughter of Berryman and a great granddaughter of my great aunt Mary. Her family had been the subject of discussion just days before. As soon as we had the connection figured out I heard from her aunt who lives directly across the state from me.

Tessa, young as she is, has been researching for about 15 years. She had lots of information. She even has a possible death date for Berryman. And yes, she has pictures, lots of pictures. Her great grandmother and my grandmother were sisters. I am having a great time with the pictures.

We’ve been trading all the stories about family skeletons. The infamous ones were in the family only by marriage but we have some that are almost as good who are blood relatives.

Eventually we should be able to draw a much more complete picture of this family line.