Oct 162011

From Jill Ball – Geniaus – and Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun we have this tonight…

The Ancestors’ Geneameme

The list should be annotated in the following manner:
Things you have already done or found: bold face type
Things you would like to do or find: italicize (colour optional)
Things you haven’t done or found and don’t care to: plain type
You are encouraged to add extra comments in brackets after each item.
Which of these apply to you?
    1.  Can name my 16 great-great-grandparents [Yes – see this 5 generation chart]
    2.  Can name over 50 direct ancestors [Yes – 261 – see this ahnentafel listing]
    3.  Have photographs or portraits of my 8 great-grandparents [Yes – see this 5 generation chart although I notice there I haven’t linked up a picture of Mum’s Mum yet]
    4.  Have an ancestor who was married more than three times [Not that I know of]
    5.  Have an ancestor who was a bigamist [Not that I know of]
    6.  Met all four of my grandparents [No – 3 of the 4 – my Mum’s Dad died when my Mum was 11 years old]
    7.  Met one or more of my great-grandparents [None]
    8.  Named a child after an ancestor [No Children]
    9.  Bear an ancestor’s given name/s [No – no ancestors that I know about called Roger]
    10.  Have an ancestor from Great Britain or Ireland [Yes – apart from parents and grandparents born in New Zealand, one great grandparent born in Australia, all the rest are from England and Scotland, and maybe Ireland]
    11.  Have an ancestor from Asia
    12.  Have an ancestor from Continental Europe
    13.  Have an ancestor from Africa
    14.  Have an ancestor who was an agricultural labourer [Yes – many of my ancestors were Agricultural Labourers]
    15.  Have an ancestor who had large land holdings [None that I know of]
    16.  Have an ancestor who was a holy man – minister, priest, rabbi [Almost – my father was a Lay Preacher who took services at distant churches from time to time.]
    17.  Have an ancestor who was a midwife [Not that I know of]
    18.  Have an ancestor who was an author [Not that I know of]
    19.  Have an ancestor with the surname Smith, Murphy or Jones [No – lucky me]
    20.  Have an ancestor with the surname Wong, Kim, Suzuki or Ng
    21.  Have an ancestor with a surname beginning with X
    22.  Have an ancestor with a forename beginnining with Z
    23.  Have an ancestor born on 25th December [Yes – Alexander Oliver and John Bourgoigne]
    24. Have an ancestor born on New Year’s Day
    25.  Have blue blood in your family lines [No – all red as far as I know…]
    26.  Have a parent who was born in a country different from my country of birth [No – both born in New Zealand]
    27.  Have a grandparent who was born in a country different from my country of birth [No – all 4 born in New Zealand]
    28.  Can trace a direct family line back to the eighteenth century
    29.  Can trace a direct family line back to the seventeenth century or earlier
    30.  Have seen copies of the signatures of some of my great-grandparents [No, but have copy of great great grandfather’s will – that’s better isn’t it?]
    31.  Have ancestors who signed their marriage certificate with an X
    32.  Have a grandparent or earlier ancestor who went to university [Not that I know of]
    33.  Have an ancestor who was convicted of a criminal offence [Not that I know of]
    34.  Have an ancestor who was a victim of crime [seems quite possible, but I don’t know about it]
    35.  Have shared an ancestor’s story online or in a magazine (Tell us where) [Some of these stories are my ancestors, others are about relatives.]
    36.  Have published a family history online or in print (Details please) [I think this website counts :-)]
    37.  Have visited an ancestor’s home from the 19th or earlier centuries [Yes – have been to several of the farms in Scotland where my ancestors worked as Labourers, and in a couple of cases seen what was likely the Bothee they lived in. Dovecot Hall was the last residence in Scotland of the Houliston family before the emigrated to New Zealand in 1860.]
    38.  Still have an ancestor’s home from the 19th or earlier centuries in the family
    39.  Have a  family bible from the 19th Century [Yes – have the bible of this couple]
    40.  Have a pre-19th century family bible
 Posted by at 1:04 am
Feb 022011

From 1-2 February 2011 we had quite a blizzard – not quite an outright record for snowfall – but the official recording at the Grand Rapids airport a few miles from us is 16 inches – second biggest snowfall in a 24 hour period. We did break the records for 1 and 2 February for most snow on each of those days. Some pictures around the front of our house are below.

Road conditions were terrible, and for the first time since at least Nov 1993 Lisa didn’t attempt to go to work even though we have a 4 wheel drive Jimmy. The County road crews got our road cleared by mid-morning.

 Posted by at 4:15 pm
Dec 232010

Sorry this is late this year – apathy seems to have won out over enthusiasm, but here we are…

In early April we had quite a hailstorm that dropped the biggest hailstones we’d ever seen – ” – nearly ¾” (2cm) across!!!! (although they were more M&M shaped than marble shaped). They sure made a noise hitting the house roof and bouncing on the front porch. Some are saved in a bag in the freezer. Luckily no real damage was done.

The Green Caterpillar/Worm

The Green Caterpillar/Worm

We had the usual run of “babies” around the place again this spring and summer, including the Wrens who built a nest and raised some young after feeding them on a whole lot of bright green worms. Apart from the usual range of birds nesting, there were a number of Monarch butterflies hatched, young deer, fish in the pond, quite a few frogs and toads in and around the fish ponds too.

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 7:02 am
Nov 162010

A bit over a month ago, Apple’s MobileMe users were sent this message

Letter From Apple

The letter from Apple that announced the "death" of our current .Mac HomePage pages

that said in effect “despite what we told you, and what you’re paying $99 a year for, we’re going to stop fully supporting your old .Mac HomePage web sites on 8 November” – in particular images, movies and files that were shared on the site would no longer be displayed.

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 11:03 am
Nov 082010

It’s been a while since I posted here – the last one was a series of images so that they could be seen by WoodTV 8 here in Grand Rapids to use as images on screen for a segment I was going to be part of to publicise the Western Michigan Genealogical Society’s Got Ancestors?! 2010 Are They Who You Think They Are? with Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak.

Don Bryant and I did get to appear on their show eightWest to talk about genealogy and our upcoming Seminar – see this post.

Since then it’s been quite a bit of work getting things ready for the Seminar – arrangements at the Prince Conference Center, arrangements with the speaker Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak, handling the registrations as they came in, make name tags, prepare syllabus for printing, organise some great door prizes, and other things I likely can’t remember.

We had a GREAT weekend, with the presentation of Michelle Obama’s Roots on Friday night, and then 4 GREAT sessions with Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak on Saturday.

Halloween has been and gone, so has our annual trip to “The Haunt” with Kyle and Zoe, and we got to finally meet young Derek Smith – son of Jeremy and Jennifer Smith. I’ll try to put some posts and photo galleries up of these events in the hopefully not too distant future.

 Posted by at 10:55 pm
Sep 272010

ArtPrize hit Grand Rapids last year (2009) as a new idea from Rick Devos. Artists were invited to display their artwork at various venues in downtown Grand Rapids. Some were indoors, hosted in various businesses and others were outdoors. It was a huge success, although Lisa and I didn’t quite realise what it was about until it was over and the winner had taken away their $250,000 prize, AND sold the winning piece to the Devos family.

This year we vowed to be more active and so we spent Saturday afternoon wandering around downtown Grand Rapids with thousands of other people taking in some of the exhibits.

A few of my favourite works are here, and then a more complete photo gallery is below.

Simply Salvage by Brent Ahmicasaube in collaboration with Tad Caswell

Simply Salvage by Brent Ahmicasaube in collaboration with Tad Caswell

Interactive Barcode Portraits by Scott Blake

Interactive Barcode Portraits by Scott Blake

Play Me I'm Yours - Street Pianos by Luke Jerram

Play Me I’m Yours – Street Pianos by Luke Jerram

Paper Migration by Richard Shipps

Paper Migration by Richard Shipps

Svelata Admirers

Svelata Admirers

Continue reading »

Sep 242010

A very intense storm went through West Michigan on Tuesday evening just after 9 PM, and knocked out power to tens of thousands of households across Michigan – 27,000 of them in Kent County alone, and about 140,000 across all of Michigan.

Thankfully we have a generator, so our power was back on in less than 30 minutes.

Generator in the Barn

The Generator sitting in the barn, plugged into a 50 AMP outlet to feed power back to the house

Power to our area was restored about 8 hours later, but for our neighbour he wasn’t so lucky. Half of a massive Willow tree in his yard broke, and landed on the power line to his house, breaking the wire, AND breaking the power pole that held the wire up.

Crews were on the job right away – by 0700 the next morning all of the underground cables along the road in front of our properties had been marked so that Consumers Energy could safely drill a hole for a new pole, but it took until late Thursday afternoon for “1 pole for 1 house” made it to the top of the priority list, and a crew arrived with a new pole and put it up and reconnected the wires, so the neighbour could stop using my generator and get back “on the grid”.

Below are a few photos taken on my “new” cell phone – a Nokia 2720 with a “whopping” 1.3 MP camera in it.

Sep 162010

There’s been some movement towards getting the Michigan State Budget sorted out – it must be completed by 1 October 2010 for the upcoming Fiscal Year.

Tuesday saw some “action” on reconciling differences between the Governor, the House and the Senate versions of the Department of Education budget, and it “seems” like there is agreement finally:

From the First Conference Report on Senate Bill 1154 (2010) the relevant sections are:

Sec. 801. In addition to the funds appropriated in part 1, the funds collected by the department for document reproduction and services; conferences, workshops, and training classes; and the use of specialized equipment, facilities, and software are appropriated for all expenses necessary to provide the required services. These funds are available for expenditure when they are received and may be carried forward into the next succeeding fiscal year.
Sec. 803. It is the intent of the legislature that the library of Michigan and the component programs currently within the library of Michigan shall be kept together in a state department.
Sec. 804. From the funds appropriated in part 1 and other funding available, the department and library of Michigan shall maintain custody of the non-Michigan genealogy and all Michigan specific collections. These collections shall continue to be made available to the public.

and from the Senate Fiscal Agency Bill Analysis of Senate Bill 1154 (Conference Report 1):

7. Library of Michigan. Conference agreed with the Revised Governor’s Recommendation which reduced GF funding by $1.1 million and eliminated the Federal Documents Collection, Regional Federal Depository program, interlibrary loan, and the Library’s participation in MelCat. Conference agreed to restore from the original cuts 2.0 FTEs and $165,200, and added another 1.0 FTE and $100,000 to maintain the non-Michigan genealogy collection and Michigan-specific collections.

and from the House Fiscal Agency Bill Analysis:

Sec. 803. Keep Library Functions Together – RETAINED
Provides intent that the Library of Michigan and its related programs be kept together in a state department.
Executive deletes. Senate and House maintain current law. Conference concurs with Senate and House.
Sec. 804. Keep Library Functions Together – NEW
Senate adds language that requires the department and Library of Michigan to maintain custody of all collections maintained, housed, owned, or otherwise kept by the Library in FY 2009-10 and prohibits the sale, lease or other disposal of those collections. Provides that the Library need not make the non-Michigan genealogy or federal documents collections available to the public.
House concurs with Senate. Conference modifies language stating the Library of Michigan shall maintain custody of non-Michigan genealogy and all Michigan-specific collections and they shall continue to make available to public.

So it seems like the House and Senate agree that:

  1. All of the genealogy – Michigan AND non-Michigan is to remain in the Library of Michigan – that means an end to the idea of moving some of it across to the other side of the White Pine to the Archives, where space would need to have been constructed to hold it.
  2. That it all continue to be made available to the public
  3. There is a small restoration of funding – ie the cuts aren’t quite as severe as initially thought so that the Library of Michigan will have 34 “Full Time Equated” staff

Now all we have to do is hope that Governor Granholm – who got us all into this mess by eliminating the Department of History Arts and Library to save a measly $2,000,000 – will sign what the lawmakers have finally all agreed on and not mess with it any more. Sadly, since some of the cuts were hers in the first place (identified above by Executive) she might still yet choose to keep these cuts and not follow the recommendations of the Conference reports.

And note that all of the above is about next year – 1 Oct 2010 to 30 Sep 2011. It says NOTHING about the year after that, which is expected to have another round of cuts, at least as severe as what we’ve seen so far!!

 Posted by at 9:03 am
Sep 142010

I read an article today “Monotype Imaging regears for a Web-font future” about the release of most of the Monotype Font Library for use on the Web.

Currently it’s free to sites with less than 25,000 hits per month, so I figured I’d “have a lash at it”. The result of changing just the h1 and h2 styles on this site to use Web Fonts can be seen above, and in the comparison image below here.

Web Fonts shown on left, original "boring" Neue Helvetica on right.

Web Fonts shown on left, original "boring" Neue Helvetica on right.

On the left the Web Fonts are in use. The h1 header at the top Roger’s Ramblings is Lisbon™ Bold Italic-W01.

The h2 header post title Water Garden in August is American Uncial™ Regular-W01

To get started, go to http://www.webfonts.fonts.com/