Friday, June 22, 2012

Wichita State University Donor Biographies

Wichita State University has released an online collection of "the stories of the donors and namesakes of endowed scholarships, fellowships and other funds at Wichita State."  This is a collection of brief biographies for over 1,000 people who have been important to WSU, or who thought WSU was important.  Most bios include a paragraph about the person and a paragraph about the intent of the scholarship.  You can browse the alphabetical list at the Spirit of the Gift page.  The pages also look like they will be google-able.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Those Darn Digital Records!

Marian Pierre-Louis has been posting on the complexity of digital records this week, and today's post is about how the variety of indexes, records and actual images can make things tricky for a researcher.  I started to add an "Amen, sister!" comment regarding an example I encountered last week, but decided it was too long for a comment...

I was updating my tree entry for Enoch Langel with a photo of his cemetery marker, which shows he died in 1894.  Just for grins, I checked the historical records they're suggesting for Enoch, and found a whole list of city directory listings for Enoch and his wife Esther, all of which dated after 1900.  Curious, I clicked through to one of the records...and it clearly said there was an entry for Enoch, with spouse Esther, in the 1940 directory for Lancaster, Ohio.  What gives!  Did I match the wrong cemetery marker with this Enoch?

Nope.  If you click on through to the actual digital image, you see that the directory listing is for "Langel Esther E (wid Enoch)"

So...Marian's point stands true -- you must click through to the original record, even for something as simple as a city directory.  It's good that indexes Enoch's name, since it gives some help in deciding if the Esther Langel is the one you're looking for...but the index, and the fuller indexing record, are incomplete.

Makes you wonder what's hiding behind all those indexes for which we don't yet have digital originals, doesn't it!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Flip-Pal Correction

Last Friday, I posted about my experience with the Flip-Pal scanner.  Diana, from Flip-Pal, commented with a correction -- the screen keeps a count of pictures left to take, so alert users can tell when the card is almost full.

Obviously, I'm not an alert user.  Those tiny numbers on the screen are pretty subtle (and invisible if you've taken the lid off and turned the scanner over).  I need the screen to turn red and flash.  Or maybe a foghorn.  No, that would get me kicked out of libraries.  Perhaps they could add a more eye-catching warning in a future release.

And I will put a note in my case reminding myself to watch the counter.

Thanks, Diana.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Old Basil Cemetery, Baltimore, Ohio

Old Basil Cemetery is located on Market street in  Baltimore, Fairfield County, Ohio.

Why, you may ask, is it old?  Well, there's a new Basil cemetery too (I think it's official name may be Memorial).

Why, you ask next, is it called Basil when it's clearly in Baltimore?  I was told that Basil and Baltimore were separate towns that grew into each other.  When they decided to merge, after playing a bit with names like Basilmore, the merged town took the name Baltimore.

If you are quite finished...

This is a lovely little old cemetery.  It's very easy to find, but hard to park -- I didn't find any on-street parking, and the only driveway technically belongs to a mechanic's business tucked away behind the cemetery, but no one seemed to mind when I parked beside one of their buildings.

I do wish Fairfield county genealogists would get as organized about on-site directories as those in the Nebraska counties I visited last year; I got spoiled!  Fortunately, it's not that big and I did have a list of people to look for from my visit to to the genealogy society.

I found lots of Langels and related folks, mostly from the line of Daniel and Susannah Langel.  You can see my finds here.  Find A Grave appears to have good coverage -- see their page here.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Me and My (Flip) Pal

I jumped on the bandwagon and bought a Flip-Pal scanner before leaving on my research trip.  I used it several times, with mixed results.  My thoughts:

  • It weighs practically nothing and was totally easy to throw in my research kit.
  • It was great for the obituary cards at the Licking County Genealogy Society, which are 4x6.  Everyone in the room was impressed.
  • It was not great for deed books at the courthouse.  Each page was taking 6 or 8 scans, which was just too long.  The digital camera was much better.
  • It attracts a lot of attention!  Be prepared to give a couple of demos and have people watch you work.
  • It eats batteries like candy.  Fortunately, it lets you know when the batteries are dying and they are easy to change.  Definitely get a recharging set.
  • It also eats up your digital storage card.  Unfortunately, it does NOT let you know when it's full (or at least, not in a way that I noticed while I was at the library).  It will keep scanning, but not saving anything.  I lost about an hour's worth of work. You'll have to pay attention to this on your own, and get used to transferring files every night to clear up space for the next day.
  • Like most scanners, it works best on flat things.  Scanning books works, but occasionally I ran into places where the frame of the scanner butted up against the binding of the book or photo album and I  couldn't quite get the whole page.   
  • Almost all of my scans require editing, mostly to crop away the table top or extra album page, since the scans are all the same size, regardless of what you are scanning.  Easy to do, but plan for it if you're in a hurry.
I mentioned the Flip-Pal at a sewing retreat and learned that they are being marketed to machine embroiderers as well.  My friends were a bit peeved when they learned that I paid about half what the local sewing machine store is selling them for -- but now they know where to go for a better price!