• Technology
  • Mar18


    Last summer in my blog post Then and Now: Simanek Family Home I described a nice find when I looked up my grandmother’s home in the Czech Republic using Google Street View and then found a matching photo in our family albums.

    Aaand, we’re back in The Republic again!

    First, thanks to a distant cousin, Pavel Vanac who sends me all sorts of links and information on our shared Vanac lines. He has been looking for all the Vanacs and descendants and is hoping to have a reunion one day in Prague and I really hope I can attend.

    For this year he has scaled back the idea to an online reunion – which may be difficult since I have only a tiny bit of the Czech language in my brain. (We normally communicate using Google Translate between us – which has sparked some fun confusion on both sides.) But I am still looking forward to that!

    Back to the story here – Pavel sent me a small photo over the weekend with the message: Read More | Comments

  • Mar8

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    At lunch today I spent some time getting research resources ready for a reading binge if time presents itself over the weekend. (One can hope.) Here’s a couple of really quick tips in case you have been in the same boat as me:

    Tip1: I have found several ebooks on Project Gutenberg and The Google Books that I wanted to add to my library for later perusing.

    Oddly, some books on Google cannot be added to your online library – some are only downloadable as an eBook. Between those books and ones from Gutenberg, I thought it would be nice to add them to the Kindle app on my iPad. Read More | Comments

  • Jul5

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    1886 Marriage Record Detail: Joseph Vanac and Antonie Straka, Zamlyni, Czech RepublicI have begun to keep track of my Czech family homes listed in records I find on Actapublica. Here are the first – 4 of which found in a 1886 single marriage record for my great-grandparents Vaclav Vanac and Antonia Straka.

    Each location still has the original home in place – although the Zamlyni home has been added onto or had portions replaced. (See my previous post Then and Now: Simanek Family Home for a family photo matched to the Predmir home.)

    I am hoping that as I find more records on Actapublica, mapping them will give me a better picture of the local emigrations that occurred, as well as provide a nice tool to show to the rest of the family.

    Also, using the rich text functionality of Google Maps markers I can include links directly to the original records right on the map. This one marriage record, for example, has 3 different family homes listed in it: the Vanac family in Luckovice #34, the Brousilova family in Pisek #6, the Straka family in Zamlyni #3 and the Komanova family in Dobsic #8.

    (Pisek #6 has three potential results and needs further research – all have been added to the map for now.)

    Finally, Czech folk: Please excuse my not using the diacritics for these location name in this post.

    View Czech Family Locations in a larger map

  • Jun25


    While going through some of the Czech family records I found on Actapublica.eu today, I headed over to the Google Maps to look up a town name I hadn’t heard of before. I might be late for this party, but I found that they had added street view images for the Czech Republic!

    My grandfather Josef Vanac’s family lived in House #3 in the town of Zámlyní, and my grandmother Marie Simanek’s family lived in House #6 just down the road in the town of Předmíř. So armed with a fistful of family photos I started “walking” through the towns to see if I could find some of the locations.

    View Larger Map

    Even though I know the house number in Zámlyní and found the house easily, it looks like much of the home has been rebuilt. (A cousin told me last year that three was still a Vanac relative there until several years ago.)

    Simanek Family Home Photo, Predmir, Czech RepublicThe group of family photos I think are from Zámlyní just didn’t make an obvious match at first glance, although you can see a similar building style to most structures in the town. I’ll have to take another crack at it that town later.

    But, once I moved over to Předmíř with the photo at right, House #6 jumped right out!

    See the street view below for the location today…

    View Larger Map

    (Note: I tried to set up the current day street view above to the exact angle as the old photo, but you might notice that the view resets to a spot right in front of the house. You can drag the view and move it back to right for a better comparison.)

  • May10

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    UPDATE (09 NOV 2015): 23andme is retiring Countries of Ancestry (the tool formerly known as Ancestry Finder) as of November 11, 2015. I’m leaving this blog post out here for posterity, mainly due to vanity and the amount of time I put into creating my Excel sheet. 😉

    Update: I have made some changes to the Import tool – you can download the latest version at the original link listed below. See more info at the bottom of the post.

    After creating and writing up my last post on the process to automate the download of 23andme Ancestry Finder data files for your matches, I could not resist working on a way to combine all of those data files into one.

    I figured Microsoft Excel was the best common denominator to use for this process – there are any number of tools I could use to combine the files and work with them at the command line, but that would limit the number of people who could use it.

    So, here’s the quick scoop: My Excel spreadsheet is designed for use with the .CSV data files you have already downloaded from 23andme’s Ancestry Finder. (Again, see my Ancestry Finder Download Tool post for more info on that process.)

    • It will import ALL .CSV data files in a selected folder
    • It will add a column with the name of the 23andme user the data file came from. (It uses the data file name for that, so don’t rename them after you download them!)

    Then it will make you a sandwich. A nice juicy data sandwich.

    Each data row will have the source person AND matching person’s name in it – otherwise you would have a list of a few hundred thousand matches without knowing whom they belonged to!

    Read More | Comments