• Apr15

    NY Times Article, The Census Taker
    While looking for articles on census enumeration in the 1890 time frame, I found what I thought might be an interesting article on the social aspect of answering enumeration questions.

    However, I quickly realized that it degenerated into a long, verbose advertisement for the health benefits of drinking Duffy’s Pure Malt Whiskey.

    Sláinte!

    Works Cited
    “THE CENSUS TAKER.” New York Times (1857-1922): 3. Jun 02 1890. ProQuest. Web. 15 Apr. 2014 .

  • Feb14

    I was playing around with massaging my 23andme me DNA match data at lunch, and always find it interesting how far flung we all end up. I have 1,053 matches in 23andme’s “Countries of Ancestry” tool (previously aka Ancestry Finder), which is populated with answers your DNA matches provided on the location their grandparents came from

    Of the possible 4,212 grandparents, 1,508 locations were “Not Provided”, and 891 were listed as “United States.” The cousins range from 3rd to Distant.

    My maternal grandparents both came from small towns near to each other in Czechoslovakia, my paternal grandmother came from County Offaly in Ireland, and my paternal great-grandparents also came over from Ireland. All ended up in New York City.

    I can take the paper trail back to the early 1800s on most of my ancestral lines, so it is interesting to see various hotspots in some countries. Obviously, people travel, so my having one match with 4 grandparents from Iran, for example, doesn’t mean I have Iranian ancestry – someone in my line (or a descendant) could have traveled in that direction in the distant past.

    But, I am left wondering with so many Russian, Ukranian, and Scandinavian grandparents listed – did someone head down to the Czech Republic from there, or the other way around. Vikings? (One can hope.) Hopefully one day I’ll find out!

    In any case, the real reason for my post – below is a fun way to view these matches using Batchgeo mapping. I created a spreadsheet that counted up all the grandparent countries, then pasted the data into their page. After a few tweaks of the advanced settings – Voila! A map of the locations using color to indicate the grandparent counts by country.

    View Ancestry Finder Grandparent Country Matches in a full screen map

    Interestingly, when I mapped my wife’s matches in this way, I noticed that she has more matches with grandparents from Poland and Russia than she does the United States! Considering she has no known Polish ancestors at this point, and all of her emigrant ancestors are at great-grandparents and several beyond that, that is kind of interesting. (As I mentioned, I have 3 emigrant grandparents, and 2 emigrant great-grandparents, yet I have more US grandparents in my matches by far. ) Are her Ashkenazi matches from her Russian great-grandfather’s inherited DNA skewing the results?

    I also am wondering if 23andme has published just how many people have been tested with listed ancestry from each country when looking at their entire database. If, say, many more people have been tested in Russia than in Croatia, is that large number of Russian grandparents in my matches’ results showing up because of the larger testing pool in that location, or via a true ancestral connection in my DNA? Hmm. To be continued, I suspect.

    Finally, one thing I noticed with the BatchGeo mapping tool – the grouping of results by color is kind of skewed, and there is no way I see to change it. For example, the lowest color coded grouping is “1-3″ and my highest is “124-891″ – I would like to even out those groupings to make it more honest to the eye.

    My wife’s map, below:

    View Map of 23andme Match Grandparent Countries – LT in a full screen map

  • Feb13

    After many years in technology, I am probably what could be termed a “power user” in most facets of computing.
    Except Flappy Bird. Never played it, and now I never shall. :(

    Twitter Search Filters in Action But, if you fellow tweeters are anything like me, you may not be searching The Twitter for best effect. Did you know there are advanced filters available to search for things like images, news, videos, or sandwiches? (Well, maybe not the last one, but then I shouldn’t finish blog posts at lunch time.)

    As you can see in the image above, the format is not too difficult to grasp – and even works when searching from tweeter clients, such as Hootsuite.

    Twitter Filter MenuIf you aren’t keen on massaging search strings via keyboard, you can always search directly on the Twitter.com site proper. Once you search for a word, you should see clickable menus on the left hand side of the search results.

    The top menu filters by media content types, the next one to filter by “All people” or “People you follow”, and the last to filter by location using “Everywhere” or “Near you”.

    If that’s still not enough for you, then you must really, really like The Twitter. Click on Advanced Search on the first menu to find a form where you can get even more granular in your search efforts by limiting to phrases, particular accounts, or by emotion (using common emoticons.)

    Back to keyboard filtering, for those of the old school mindset: If you’d like a handy dandy set of search examples, see the table below.

    Twitter Search Filter Table
    Table Source
     

  • Jan31

    It is probably not news to genealogy folks who research that, as the New York State Archives site says, “Several New York repositories have formed a partnership with Ancestry.com to digitize family history records and make them available on line for free.”

    For several months I have accessed those records on Ancestry, probably most often the 1915 and 1925 NY State censuses. The only trick was that these records are officially free to New York State residents, and once logged into Ancestry, I would visit the URL http://www.ancestry.com/newyork, enter my NY zip code, and thus would get in.

    However, this weekend I found that no longer worked – it is still a search page titled “New York State Records”, but the zip code submission field is gone. If you use that search form, it returns results from the Archives partnership – but if you try to view the images it brings you to the ubiquitous “Choose a membership to get started” sign up page.

    Annoyed by that, a little follow up googling brought me to the NYSED.gov Archives page outlining the partnership. Thankfully, on this page the zip code form field exists. Using it brings you to Ancestry’s “New York: Where History Goes on Record” page, where you can again search the records and click through the results to view the images. (You are still required to have at a free Ancestry login to view images.)

    Again, here is the URL for the NYS Archives site:
    http://www.archives.nysed.gov/a/research/res_ancestry.shtml

    I think it is disappointing that this change occurred, since it makes original NY State landing page more of a funnel to the subscription page, and while there are “free for all” collections listed in the “New Collections” section at the bottom of the page, it does not mention anywhere that many of the collections are free to NY residents!

    More than a bit confusing.

  • Jan16

    We have this photo in our family albums, and my mother believes it is some sort of town gathering in her mother’s home of Předmíř in the Czech Republic.

    One copy seems to date it around 1912 – I really like the image, but wish I knew more about it.

    Předmíř Town Gathering