• Jul3

    A quick post for today – and not a directly genealogical one, but a very useful one in my opinion.

    Whether genealogy-related or not, I’m sure you all have had a time when you needed to move a whole bunch of files from one place to another. Or, perhaps you wanted to move some files at some regular interval?

    Did you want to only move these files if they were newer? Or perhaps put them in a folder automagically named to include the date or other information? Then I have the tool for you!

    I have used this nifty little Replicator utility from Karenware.com for many years now, and it is terrific.

    Of course, one could write a command line batch file to do some of the functionality of the tool, and then set up a Windows (or Mac) task to run at certain times. But, have you used Windows task scheduler? Harumph. I’ve had to completely delete functioning tasks and recreate them from scratch at odd times after a previously functioning task decided to stop working.

    Or one could even drag and drop files and folders by hand between two windows – but what happens when the copy or move fails for some reason? Was it because of disk space, or you hit escape or cancel by mistake? Who knows?

    Karenware ReplicatorReplicator makes it all much easier and includes a graceful exit for problems with logging that will give you a clue to what happened. And it is free. Click here to visit that site for more information and to download the tool.

    Note: For whatever reason, there is a slightly newer version 3.6.9 available over on Cnet, although I am not sure what changes were made from the 3.6.8 version on Karenware.com.

  • Jun25

    What do you do when your family history research has hit a brick wall and you’re out of ideas? How about filling in some historical background on the locations and times of your ancestors? One very good resource for those with New York City connections is Kings Views of New York City, 1903.

    It contains almost 100 pages of photos and when paired with The Google Maps Street View can make a fun way of touring Manhattan past and present.

    This particular book is both viewable, clippable, embeddable and possibly some other -ables Online, as well as downloadable (see! I knew there was another -able!) in PDF format for your Offline enjoyment.

    One nice example – a north-looking view up 5th Avenue at 44th Street from the time – a very different look now on Street View – although you can still *just* see the spire of the church several block north…

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    View Larger Map

  • Jun13

    A short Foto Friday post – Happy Father’s Day to all!

    My Dad is the fellow on the left below. He was stationed in Washington, DC at the end of WWII and later in the Machine Records Division out of 90 Church Street in Manhattan. (Right next to the World Trade Center site now.)


    Mike Tierney, Washington, DC, 1944

  • Jun12

    Busy, busy, busy lately, so here’s a lazy post on my part, because 23andme did all the work already… Interesting.

    So far my son has inherited my ability to wiggle his ears, although it took some practice and many hilarious facial expressions before he got it.)

    23andMe Genetics: Paternal Connections

    by 23andMe.
    Explore more visuals like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.
  • May20

    I have been going back over some of my research lines lately and working on a few dead ends to see if I could revive them. One of my mysterious ancestors is my 2nd great-grandmother Margaret Tierney, whom I first learned about when I found her living with my great-grandfather and family in Manhattan in the 1900 US census.

    It took a fair bunch of research and microfilm spinning to find her death certificate as filed a few years after the 1900 census, and since then I have been trying to find her crossing from Ireland to New York.

    The 1900 census info for my Tierneys is particularly wonky, so is not of great help in providing a date I trust for her emigration. So I have been casting a wide net, logging all of the even-marginally possible records, and hoping I can trim them down to find the most likely one for her.

    Margaret Tierney, Grass WidowFrom a few clues, I find it likely that Margaret arrived before Ellis Island was operating, so have been looking through Castle Garden records. During that process, I found an interesting Occupation listed for one Margaret Tierney: Grass Widow.

    Well, that was a new one to me, so I began digging a bit more.

    Over on The Google Books I found an 1873 book entitled Long Ago, A Journal of Popular Antiquities, (Edited By Alexander Andrews, Volume 1, Issue 1 – Volume 2, Issue 17) with a few references to the phrase.

    In fact, I find the book as a whole very interesting, as it contains queries by researchers that are answered by other fellows in subsequent volumes. Kind of like an early Twitter Lazy Tweet asking for help from the masses.

    Grass Widow Inquiry, Pages 120-121 Beginning on page 120 of the book there is a request to others for more information about it by a Mister J.L.C.

    As you can see, he found burial entries, such as “1615-6, March 15. Anne Houghton, an oulde grass widow

    Good old JLC notes that in America, it is a slang term for a “widow of light character”, which is a description I love.

    He also references a work (by John Taylor, whom I am unfamiliar with) implying that a grass widow might be a woman left by a husband because she is unable to have children.

    Grass Widow - Responses
    Happily, in the next volume (Page 150 in this same compilation), a few learned gentleman provide responses.

    I leave you with the full responses at right, including the idea that a grass widow is a wife temporarily parted from her husband, some saying for innocent reasons, others not so much.

    Also, another description of the meaning that might apply to my great-grandmother – she is here in Manhattan, but I do not know what has become of her husband John. Did he remain in Ireland? Is he alive? Is she “a widow, whose husband is abroad and said, but not certainly known to be dead?”

    Perhaps one day I will find out. For now, I’ll just put the phrase “grass widow” in my pocket.

    For extra credit, a pre-published, postscript:

    After I had finished writing most of this post, I happened upon a short entry in the Irish Genealogicial Society International blog that also mentions the phrase.