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Billion Graves

Billion Graves

Billion Graves is a relatively new web site which attempts to photograph tombstones and locate them on a cemetery map using GPS codes. This is a great idea. They also plan to transcribe the stones, either by the photographer transcribing or by a volunteer coming along later and transcribing stones from photos online.


Billion Graves support told me the GPS is so “other people can know the distance they are from the cemetery.” I tend to think it is more useful to locate the stone once you find the cemetery except in the case of a stone photographed in a hidden cemetery. What are the chances of that happening often?


To submit a photo you download an app to your iPhone or to your Android, snap the photo and upload it. It’s that simple. You could do a whole cemetery in an afternoon in many cases. The app is $1.99 and, obviously, uses your device’s camera. You can set it upload after each snap or later. You can chose to save the picture after upload or delete it. Why would would you delete it?


Don’t have an iPhone or Android? You will not be snapping pictures. End of story. But you can still transcribe those others have snapped and not transcribed. Note that according to the software, an iPad or a new generation iPod will not work because only an iPhone has GPS accurate enough for this program. Thus only a select group may participate. 


You can use an iPad connected to the internet to tell you of cemeteries nearby where you are at this moment. And maybe that is what they are getting at in paragraph two above. “It sure is a nice day here in this county we are driving through. Let’s see if there are any cemeteries nearby to photograph.” I’m guessing that feature won’t get a lot of use. 


It totally eliminates all stone photos taken before the program. This eliminates the ability of certain folks to collect photos from various places and post them as their own. But it also eliminates a lot of available photos. And it eliminates the photos I and others took years ago of stones which may no longer be readable or which may now be broken, seriously damaged or gone.


I think this is a good idea but it is not ready for prime time.

No Slave to Citation

No Slave to Citation

You must read this blog including all the comments. That’s the blog in the link, not this one.


Citations are the bane of the average person’s genealogy research – needlessly.  You can’t skip citations but you don’t have to be a slave to them. Elizabeth S. Mills told me years ago the deal is [my paraphrasing] you need to include enough information in your cite so someone can find it in the future. Simple as that. [Ok, maybe not but close.] Despite her fearsome reputation she is not the evil monster of citations, worrying about every comma.


Kerry Scott is so right on, saying what many have said privately for years but didn’t dare to say in public out of fear of the cult.


Really, you must read THE BLOG and the comments. If the links don’t work here it is again:
http://www.cluewagon.com/2011/02/source-citations-in-genealogy-church-or-cult/#comments

13

13

Samuel Downing, my ggg grandfather, was second of 16 children. His immediate younger brother Thomas followed him to Illinois and purchased neighboring land.

Thomas had three wives. He apparently had a thing for the number 13 too. [Remember that.] He married Elizabeth Kellison in Pike County, OH, on May 13, 1819. They had five daughters before she died. He married Rebecca Huff in Pike County, OH, on September 13, 1832. They had three children, a daughter and two sons, before she died. He married Loretta Sherman, who was 17 years younger, on October 13, 1842, in Ohio. They had four children, three daughters and a son. Add it up. Thomas had 12 children, nine daughters and three sons.

On June 11, 1865, Thomas Downing died in Logan County, Illinois. The original probate documents leave a blank for his widow, list five daughters [Margaret, Nancy, Susan, Mary and Rebecca] and three sons [George, William, Thomas]. Three daughters [Caroline, Elizabeth and Sarah] had died young or at least without heir. The child of the deceased daughter Hannah Downing French is listed. 12 children, all accounted for. Thomas had no will and probate took some time.

There apparently was a dispute which resulted in a suit to partition and to assign specific land to Loretta as her dower. It was filed September 23, 1867, more than two years after Thomas’ death. This suit lists the heirs of Thomas as Loretta, the five daughters, the child of Hannah and his FOUR sons George, William T., Thomas and Samuel W.

Samuel W.??? Where did he come from?

Samuel W. duly got his share of the estate, specific parcels of land which can be found on 1873 plat maps. Since he was not a minor we can assume he was a child of one of the first two marriages. He is not mentioned in any other documents before or after but he is a very real presence in the probate documents.

Samuel, brother of Thomas, died 14 months after Thomas. His son Samuel Wesley inherited a share and controlled more of that estate as guardian for various other heirs.

Did the courts get confused when the names were the same and the lands were all in the same area? Are land records wrong?

Or is the mysterious Samuel W. the 13th child of Thomas? [cue ‘Twilight Zone’ theme]

Scanning Update

Scanning Update

This morning I was up early but not to shop. Before 9 a.m. I scanned another 487 photos. I have learned to scan all mindlessly. I can decide what to keep, whether it is a duplicate, etc., later. My ScanSnap saves both sides so if there is something on the back to help me identify the photo later that is saved. Step two of this process will be naming the photos.

While scanning the photos I have found those I had no idea I had and plenty that I can’t identify as well as innumerable pictures of that little girl everyone apparently loved to photograph. What is really bad is today I found a picture from 1957 where I could only identify one person [my oldest brother] and possibly another [neighbor]. My sister, who was not born in 1957 as I am sure she wishes me to point out, used her later time memory to suggest a logical possibility for two of the people. The other two remain a total mystery. As shown before here, sometimes an outside person can shed light on a picture. Never hesitate to ask anyone you can.

I am now down to one file drawer, about half full of documents not related to genealogy, and one box of photos. Unfortunately it is a large box and probably contains 12-1500 photos. The good news is half of them are travel, scenery, etc., which may not survive the pruning. Prior to digital we took some bad pictures and were stuck with them.

I’m not giving up my beautiful remaining bookcase even when it is empty but I do have three shelves of books relating to the later 15th Century in England I’m ready to donate. No genealogy unless you a Plantagenet.

America’s Top Ten Genealogical Repositories | FamilySearch.org

America’s Top Ten Genealogical Repositories | FamilySearch.org

America’s Top Ten Genealogical Repositories | FamilySearch.org

This blog post lists the top ten best archives and libraries for genealogy. If your library participates in Interlibrary Loan it’s worth checking World Cat to see if they have your book. They assuredly do not loan every book but your librarian can determine if they will loan the one you want.