Saturday, November 17, 2007

New Poll Created!

I have just added a new poll. The question for this poll is, "Where in Eastern Europe Are Your Ancestors From?" The choices are:
  • Poland
  • Russia
  • Lithuania
  • Estonia
  • Latvia
  • Ukraine

You can choose more than one location in voting. The poll will be opened for eight days. Enjoy!

Poll Results

The poll is now closed and the results are in. The question for this poll was, "Where in Central Europe did your ancestors come from?" There were eight choices, and ten people voted. Here are the results:
  • Germany - 6 votes
  • Austria - 2 votes
  • Switzerland - 4 votes
  • Hungary - 1 vote
  • Czech Republic - 1 vote
  • Luxembourg - 2 votes
  • Slovakia - 0 votes
  • Liechtenstein - 0 votes

To those who voted, thank you for participating.

The 161 Meme

I'd like to say that I was tagged for this meme, even though I haven't been put on a list. I read Terry Thornton's blog earlier, and he tagged everyone who read his blog to do this meme. Therefore, I'm going to post for this meme.

For this meme, I am supposed to go to the 161st page in a book I am reading, and then post the sixth sentence of this book. I am always reading, and at the moment, I am reading several books. I won't list sentences from every book that I am reading because I am reading way too many at the moment. So, I'll just choose one book.

One of the books I am reading is Carol McD. Wallace's All Dressed in White: The Irresistible Rise of the American Wedding. Here is the sixth sentence:

"Sometimes a movie had a broader effect on fashion - Sabrina from 1954 popularized a shallow scooped neckline called the 'Sabrina neck' that was popular on wedding gowns throughout the mid-1950s."

Obviously, this sentence is part of a paragraph on how movies influenced the design of wedding dresses.

Now I have to tag five other people. So here are the five people that I am tagging:

So, now I encourage those I just tagged to do the same. Enjoy!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Thanksgiving Memories - Part One

In light of the fact that Thanksgiving is only about a week away, I've decided to write about some of my memories of Thanksgivings that my family have celebrated. So, what do I associate the most with Thanksgiving?

Well, besides being with family, the turkey dinner has always been prominent. I think almost every Thanksgiving dinner has included turkey, cranberries and stuffing. Most of the turkeys that my family had were baked for about four hours in an oven. (Well, at least it seemed to be about four hours.) So, when we had turkey, it would most likely be baked, that is, until a few years ago. A few years ago, my parents learned about frying turkeys and my dad decided to try cooking a turkey that way. He went out and bought a fryer and bought the oil needed to fry the turkey. So, now my family has a new tradition: frying the turkey. Why do we do that? Well, frying the turkey, depending upon the size, doesn't usually take more than two hours. So it is much quicker. (Of course, if I had to choose between a fried turkey and a baked one, I would rather have a baked one. That is not to say that fried turkeys don't taste good. I'm just old-fashioned.)

So, what memories do you have of Thanksgiving? Does your family have a turkey for dinner? If so, how does your family cook it?

Poll Results

The poll that I started yesterday has now closed. The question was: For the next few days, which holiday would you want to read about in articles? Five people voted, and the results are:
  • Thanksgiving -4 votes
  • Christmas - 1 vote

From this poll, it appears that most people want to read about Thanksgiving, so I'll write about Thanksgiving in articles in the days following up to Thanksgiving. Thank you to all of those who voted.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Genealogy and History Thoughts - Column Eight: Or Why I Prefer to Not Use Online Translators

I know there are genealogists that use online and computer translators to translate old documents, and my intention is not to attack those who use these translators. I realize that not everyone knows another language and that translators can be helpful in saving time. And money. My problem with online translators is that they translate terribly, and if a document is poorly translated, one can miss some important information. Also, not every word of a language is included in an online translator, especially if it is an old word. Or the actual meaning of the sentence can be skewered by an online translator, since that online translator probably does not take in context of the endings on nouns and adjectives or of the case. For example:
  • Latin - depending up the ending of the noun, one call tell the gender of that noun, if the noun is singular or plural, and what case that word is in. (When I speak of case, I mean such as: possession -in the case of Latin, called Genitive, indirect object - Accusative, direct object - dative, subject - nominative, and two more cases that I can't recall off the top of my head. It's been awhile since I've dealt with Latin.)

  • German - Again, it is the same with Latin, except German only has four cases: nominative, accusative, dative and genitive.

So, as you can see, if an online translator ignores the case of the noun, one could potentially miss some important information, especially if the information on a document (like a vital record) is in a sentence instead of a form. One could potentially miss out information such as how someone is related to someone else if the document mentions more than one person. So, the case of a noun is quite important when it comes to translating a document.

And then there is the issue of translating something in English into another language. Online translators could very easily use the wrong word in translating a sentence. If someone was trying to write a letter in another language for information, that person could easily use an online translator and get something back that might mean something else to a native speaker reading that letter. (Obviously, they would be able to tell right away that the letter was written by someone who isn't fluent in the language.) A human translator does a much better job than an online translator, but I realize that can cost quite a bit of money, unless you can find someone who is willing to do it for free. The other option is to try to learn that language, but then again that costs money and time.

Even though I am taking German language classes, I am not fluent in German yet. I still make quite a few mistakes, but unlike a computer, I can probably come up with a better translation (with a dictionary) than a computer's literal translation. I know that these online translators can be awful because I decided to test a couple for fun. (Yes, I wanted to see how bad they were.) I have a document in German and know roughly what the document says. I decided to try Microsoft Word 2003's translator (okay, this one isn't on the internet, but I think it falls into the computer category.), and well, it did a poor job. One of the reasons was that it restricted the number of words that could be added at a time. The problem is that sentences in historical documents can be quite long and the sentence meaning will be skewered if words are cut out. In German, there are times when the verb can be at the end of a sentence, and if one does not have that last verb, the sentence meaning will be wrongly translated (if it makes any sense at all). So, for me, the Microsoft translation was quite funny because of all of the mistakes it made. (Again, I did this just to make myself laugh.)

Here is an excerpt of my document in German:

"Worüber wir gegenwärtige Urkunde in Gegenwart der nachgenannten vier Zeugen: 1. Philipp Jantzer/Jentzer, Kaufmann, drei und dreißig Jahre alt wohnhaft in Waldfischbach;2. Ludwig Schäffer, Bäcker und Wirth, fünfzig Jahre alt, wohnhaft in Trippstadt;3. Johannes Drescher, Schullehrer, sechs und dreißig Jahre alt, wohnhaft in Trippstadt;4. Jakob Jung, Kaufmann, ein und dreißig Jahre alt, wohnhaft in Kaiserslautern,alle vier mit den Brautleuten nicht verwandt und nicht verschwägert,gefertigt und mit denselben und den kontrahirenden Theilen, benebst den anwesenden Eltern, nach geschehener Vorlesung unterzeichnet haben.So geschehen zu Trippstadt im Jahre und am Tage wie Eingangs erwähnt."

Here is Microsoft Word's translation:

" ... 1. Philipp Jantzer/Jentzer, Buyer, three and thirty years old resident … all four related to the bride people not and does not verschwägert manufactured and with the same and the contracting Theilen, benebst that present parents, after happened lecture signed. As happened at Trippstadt in the year and by day as entrance mentions."

(Note: I have elipses in this excerpt of the Microsoft translation because Microsoft's program restricts the number of words to about twenty-five and by the time I got to the end of the document, I was tired of having to continually copy and past.)

As you can see, Microsoft's translation of this excerpt is not very good. It left several words in German, and the sentance clearly does not make sense.

The other translator that I have tried is Babelfish. Babelfish did only a slightly better job. Here is Babelfish's translation:

"About what we present document in presence of the following four witnesses: 1. Philipp Jantzer/Jentzer, buyer, three and thirty years old resident in forest fish brook; 2. Ludwig Schaeffer, baker and Wirth, fifty years old, resident in Trippstadt; 3. Johannes Dre, school teachers, six and thirty years old, resident in Trippstadt; 4. Jakob young, buyer, and thirty years old, resident in Kaiserslautern, all four related not verschwaegert to the bride people and not, not manufactured and to the same and the kontrahirenden Theilen, benebst present parents, after happened lecture signed. As happened at Trippstadt in the year and by day as entrance mentions."

And here is my translation of the excerpt:

"We, four witnesses were present at the aforementioned deed:
1. Philip Jantzer/Jentzer,* merchant, 33 years old, resides in Waldfischbach; 2. Ludwig Schaeffer, Baker and innkeeper (or land lord), 50 years old, resides in Trippstadt; 3. John Drescher, school teacher, 36 years old, resides in Trippstadt; 4. Jacob Jung, merchant, 31 years old, resides in Kaiserslautern; neither of these four are related to the bridal couple, and they happened to be present in the signing of the contract, instead of the parents' presence. And so came to pass in Trippstadt in the year and day mentioned."

(*I had someone transcribe my document for me because at the time I could not make sense of the German hadwriting, and the transcriber wasn't sure if the letter was an a or an e.) If anyone can come up with a better translation, please feel free to correct me.

Of course, when it comes to only translating one or two words, these online translators can do a fairly good job, but I wouldn't use it for phrases or sentences. Also, I noticed that these dictionaries do not have archiac words in their databases. So, if you're looking for the translation of an old occupation, the chances are greater that you might not find it. I did do some browsing a few minutes ago, and I found a website that has translations for old German occupations. Here is the link: I can't vouch for its accuracy, but it appears as though it might be helpful when it comes to looking for older words.

Again, as I mentioned before, I am not attempting to attack those who use online translators. I just want to let others know that these online translators are not as accurate as they might appear. If anyone has a better translation of that excerpt, please feel free to leave a comment correcting me. So, what do you think? Feel free to leave me a comment.

Blog Changes

I have changed the blog again and this time, I have added a picture I took in one of the cemeteries where my ancestors are buried. Please let me know if the font color is unreadable. Enjoy!

Update, Nov. 15 - 10:55 P. M.: I have made the text more bold and changed the text color to orange. Please let me know if this is difficult to read, and I will make changes.

Silly Thanksgiving Quizes

I decided to take some silly Thanksgiving quizzes. Here are my results:

You Are Mashed Potatoes

Ordinary, comforting, and more than a little predictable
You're the glue that holds everyone together.

Your Pilgrim Name Is

Faith Standish

You Are 77% Thankful

You are a very thankful person - for both the big and little things in life.
Your optimism is powerful. Getting through hard times is fairly easy for you.

I realize that I did not post as many quizzes this time. There were very few quizzes for Thanksgiving. Anyhow, these are just silly quizzes.

New Poll Added!

I have just added a new poll to this blog. This poll will only last for the next 23 hours. The question is: For the Next Few Days, Which Holiday Would You Prefer Reading About? Your choices are:
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas

If you have a preference, please let me know. Thanks. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Silly Christmas Quizes

I decided to take a couple of Christmas personality quizzes since it is getting closer to December. (Of course, I can't wait for Thanksgiving. I'm looking forward to going home.) So here are some of the results of the quizzes I took:

You Are a Practical Gift Giver

Your gifts are useful, appropriate, and custom tailored to each person.
In your opinion, the best gifts are gifts that someone will actually use.
Your gifts may not be the most glamorous, but they are always appreciated.

You Are a Snowman

Friendly and fun, you enjoy bringing holiday cheer to everyone you know!

Your Christmas Song Is

It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It's the most wonderful time of the year
With the kids jingle-belling
And everyone telling you
Be of good cheer
It's the most wonderful time of the year

Hands down, Christmas is your favorite holiday ever
And you always enjoy every moment of it

You Are a Cranberry and Popcorn Strung Tree

Christmas is all about showcasing your creative talents.
From cookies to nicely wrapped presents, your unique creations impress everyone.

You Are a Gingerbread House

A little spicy and a little sweet, anyone would like to be lost in the woods with you.

You Are Prancer

You are the perfect reindeer, with perfect hooves and perfect flying form.

Why You're Naughty: Because you're Santa's pet, and you won't let anyone show you up.

Why You're Nice: You have the softest fur and the sweetest carrot breath.

I realize that this is a long post, but these are just only a few of the quizzes that that site has on Christmas. I only picked the ones that I liked. A few of the quizzes, though, I thought were not very appropriate, especially for children.

More Genealogy Blogs Added!

Today I have added several more genealogy blogs to this blog. The blogs added are:
  • Anthony Smith's Genealogy Possum Kingdom
  • Braswell Genealogy
  • Carol's Ruth Campbell Smith 1925-1927 Diaries
  • Genealogy Friends
  • Gordon Buck's Buck Family of Virginia
  • McMahon Family Research
  • MoSGA Messenger
  • Pam Anderson's Pieces of Wild Rose, WI Area and My Own
  • Terria Tucker Fleming's Tucker Family Genealogy
  • Westport (Massachusetts) History

You can find these and other blogs on the lower left side of the blog. Any suggestions for other genealogy and history blogs are welcome.

Monday, November 12, 2007

An Interesting Irish History Book

Although I don't know yet if I have Irish ancestors, I do know that very few stories were passed down into my family. In spite of a lack of family stories, I want to recommend a history book that I am reading. Thomas Cahill's How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe (New York: Nan A. Talese, 1995). (I realize that very few people would be able to trace their genealogy back this far but as a book on background history of Ireland, this book would be a good read.) As the title suggests, this book is on Ireland's history from the late Roman Empire to the Seventh Century. Ireland's Pre-Christian culture is explored as well as Ireland's culture after its conversion to Christianity. And the role that Ireland played in preserving civilization is discussed. So far, I have found this book to be very interesting, but I must add that this book is written for adults. There is some adult subject matter in the book, so I wouldn't recommend this book for children. Other than that, I believe this book makes an interesting read.

More Genealogy Blogs Added!

Today I have added a few more genealogy blogs to this blog. The blogs added are:
  • Frank's The Lucas Countyan
  • Bernard Doddema's DoddemaGen
  • Cat's Genealogy - Diggin up Dirt

You can find these and other genealogy blogs on the lower left side of this blog. Any suggestions for other genealogy or history blogs are welcome.

On a side note, this is my 15oth post. It is hard for me to believe that I have published that many posts.

An Interesting Tip ...

I happened to be looking at Ancestry's Weekly Journal Blog, and I noticed an interesting tip. This tip offered a link to a paper on New England grave stones. Here is the link to the tip:

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A New Carnival Has Been Created!

Lisa, of Small-leaved Shamrock blog, asked me to inform others about the new carnival that she has created. The new carnival is the Carnival of Irish Heritage and Culture, a carnival for Irish genealogy. Articles for the new carnival are due by November 19, and the first posting of the carnival will be posted on the 22nd. Thank you, Lisa, for letting me know about this carnival.

Honoring My Family's Veterans

Today is Veteran's Day and in honor of this day, I want to briefly mention the veteran's in my family. I have briefly mentioned before that I have an ancestor who served in the U. S. Civil War. I don't have a picture of him, although I wish I did. The pictures directly below are his grave and the grave of another Civil War veteran who I believe to be his younger brother.

Copyright 2004: Civil War graves of Adam and Benjamin Oswalt, Riverside Cemetery, Three Rivers, Michigan.

Both Adam and Benjamin survived the civil war. I did not just have an ancestor who served in the civil war; both of my grandfathers served during World War Two, and my great-grandfather served on the British side during World War One. I believe the picture below is of the regiment that my great-grandfather served in.

I do not know where or when this picture was taken, other than that it was during World War One. The photo was printed on a postcard. There was no handwritten note on the back of this card, but the printing on it was in French. The French suggests that the picture was probably taken in either France or Belgium. I don't have any information on what regiment he served in, but his marriage certificate who suggested that he served in France at some point.
Again, I cannot imagine what my veteran ancestors and other people's ancestors went through while they were serving. All I know is that they and those who are serving today deserve our respect and honor. So, I just want to say, "Thank you," to those who have served and our serving today. Thank you!
Update, November 11, 2007 - 11:30 p. m.: I forgot to mention that I posted a link to a news article on another one of my blogs.

Here's a Cute Quiz ...

I decided to take another personality quiz, and this time it is on handwriting. I definitely believe the subject is fitting for this blog. Here are my results:

What Your Handwriting Says About You

You are a fairly energetic person. You know how do pace yourself, and you deal well with stress.

You range from very outgoing to very shy. You are a shapeshifter who is very versatile. You adapt well, and you look at things from many angles.

You are balanced and grounded. You know how to get along well with others.

You need a bit of space in your life, but you're not a recluse. You expect people to give you a small amount of privacy, and you respect their privacy as well.

You are conservative, old fashioned, and a little stubborn. You are resistant to change.

You are a good communicator. You work hard to get your ideas across effectively.

I can't say that the quiz fits me exactly, but it is only for fun anyway.