Monday, October 16, 2006

GOOGLE documents and spreadsheets for genealogy blog writing

GOOGLE Docs & Spreadsheets -- why would you want to use GOOGLE's free online document and spreadsheet creation, editing, and document storage program to create a genealogy blog page when your blogging software already has a wysiwyg editor? well, here are a few reasons for that and for other things, too:

1. number one for me is that the interface is roomy, so i'm not constantly having to scroll up and down after adding forty lines of text.
i know that blog entries are supposedly supposed to be short, that readers purportedly don't like reading large chunks of text on a browser. however, researchers slogging their way through a blogging interface is already challenging enough. if we're looking for a new resource or a quick link or tutorial, that's one thing. if we're looking for an entire family, that's quite another.

i really appreciate the genealogy blog that gives me good, meaty-sized hunks of information in one entry; and so that's what i try to do. but that often means having to move up and down inside the textarea of the editor to double-check that i'm not repeating myself or to make sure i'm not leaving something important out. the typical blog interface is, as i've noted, forty lines long. then you've got to start scrolling to go back and check things. yech!

with GOOGLE documents and spreadsheets, i can have most of my entire screen in which to work. it's much like using a word processor. and, as in my blogging software interfaces, i can opt to edit my html when necessary and with ease. or not.
2. my number 2 is likely number 1 for other genealogists: GOOGLE lets you collaborate in creating the documents and/or spreadsheets online. last week, GOOGLE combined the well-respected WRITERLY, which it had purchased, to its already free online spreadsheet program. that gave users a tested interface and the ability to collaborate and share documents online with ease.

3. GOOGLE stores the documents you create free for you. if you want to "publish" to the web, GOOGLE lets you do that and stores the documents for you.
you can also simply store the documents you create online with compliments of GOOGLE. although there is a limit for uploading images to use in your documents, there is no set storage or transmission limit for the texts you create. you can view the terms of use for GOOGLE Docs & Spreadsheets | here |.
4. docments created with the online software may be saved and downloaded in many different, popular formats :
  • Microsoft Word
  • OpenOffice
  • .rtf
  • .pdf
  • HTML
  • zip
  • spreadsheets can also be saved and downloaded in a variety of formats:
  • Comma Separated Value (.csv)
  • HTML
  • .ods
  • .pdf
  • Microsoft Excel (.xls)

  • 5. you can import existing documents of 500 k or less from your hard drive in the same popular formats mentioned above. the following is information about size limits for documents, images, and spreadsheets from the help pages for the software:
    Each document can be up to 500K, plus up to 2MB per embedded image.

    Each spreadsheet can be up to 10,000 rows, or up to 256 columns, or up to 50,000 cells, or up to 20 sheets -- whichever limit is reached first.

    You can import file sizes up to approximately 1 Mb in .xls or .odf format
    6. you can upload and store images - free - to use inside your documents. (see item 5 above for some information and limits). note: i'm sure there must be some total limit (i.e. for all your images combined), as well, but if there is, i haven't found it yet.

    7. there is an export wizard for all popular blog interfaces. you can export to a sponsored blog (like this one at blogspot) or to your own blog on your own domain. if you are wanting to export to just one blog, you need only enter the export settings once. if you have multiple blogs, you'll have to change the wizard data for each blog each time.

    and - need i say it? you can just create any kind of genealogy document online, collaborate on it online, and then let each collaborator do whatever he or she pleases with it.

    you don't have to have to have a blog to find this service useful and easy. and, no, this is not a sponsored plug....

    1. well, i have created a document about my great-grandmother DICA ANN "DICY" (SMITH) GILES
    using google documents & spreadsheets and am storing it on google's servers. you can view it
    | here |

    2. i also exported it using the blog export function built into the google docs & spreadsheets interface, and so that same document can be viewed on my tn blog
    | here |.

    Sunday, October 15, 2006

    joel hembree and jane dale - roane county 1800 - fatal wedding feast

    A narrative about the tragic wedding day of Joel HEMBREE and Jane DALE of Roane County, Tennessee made the front page of The New York Times on 25 Nov 1880. The story was picked up for Edmond Burke's Annual Register in London and published the following year (see below). Although the Roane County in question is likely not Roane County, Tennessee, the HEMBREE surname is connected to many Roane County, Tennessee pioneers. I have been unable to trace either Joel HEMBREE or Jane DALE's ancestors to this point. I am hoping that by posting these name-laden articles that I'll be leaving a bread-crumb trail for someone....

    CINCINNATI, Nov. 24.—Further particulars are received here to-night of the terrible poisoning case in Tennessee. The marriage of Joel Hembree and Miss Jane Dale, of Roane County, drew together a large company of their friends and relatives, who belong to the prominent families in the vicinity. The wedding had long been talked of, and was the social event of the year. After ceremony the company was invited the hospitable board of Col. Dale, the bride and bridegroom in the meantime withdrawing. The table was bountifully supplied, and all ate heartily. The evening was spent in festivities. Another supper was served. After the meal, several guests began complaining of illness, but it was laughed off and the gayety continued. About 11 o’clock a sudden lethargy seemed to overtake the whole company and in a few minutes 27 were unconscious. The few who retained consciousness set themselves at work to resusciate their companions, but without avail. Twelve were removed to other houses in the neighborhood and as the news spread, the whole country around was aroused with excitement, as nearly every prominent family had members present at the fatal feast. Such medical aid as could be summoned could give little relief, and two days after the occurrence six of the wedding guests were dead. Robert Dale, the bride’s brother, died next day. Mike May. a relative of the groom, died in a few hours. Albert Gallagher and Miss Mattie Lovelace, well-known young people, died next day. Two young girls, Emma Peters and Kate Lowey, died within 24 hours. Col. Dale and his wife are very low, and their death is momentarily expected.The cause of the tragedy was the use of arsenic instead of salt in seasoning the chickens. Col. Dale purchased a quantity of arsenic a day or two before to kill crows, and carelessly left it in the kitchen. A blundering servant mistook it for salt, and hence the fatal results. Only those who partook of the chicken were poisoned.

    -- from The New York Times, 25 Nov 1880, page 1

    Monday, October 09, 2006

    free online source citation generator - citing sources easily

    those doing genealogy research quickly learn that our data is only as good as its source.  keeping track of ways to document all the different items we use as source materials, however, can be a pain - online GEDCOMS, courthouse records, cassette tapes, interviews, newsletters, etc.

    even the best genealogy software programs don't readily solve all our sourcing questions. the online citation generator at is a great adjunct to the sourcing wizards built into most contemporary genealogy programs.
    with its online generators, you can figure out how to style just about any source properly - or at least get  a good an idea of how to adapt one to use for that source that's got you stumped.

    the generator is actually a series of forms you select from based on what kind of source you have used - print or nonprint. the descriptors are good, and so a form is usually easy to pick. each of them allows you to input your various bits of publication data - eg. publication name, author, editor, compiler, publisher, date, page, book name, periodical name, and so forth; click a button; and voila - get all your bits stitched together, all translated into proper citation format which can then be cut and pasted into your software or into a word processor for further "fancifying."

    try it! it's free, free, free....

    Rockwood and the Roane Iron Company

    From tn type's online photo albums

    The Great South; A Record of Journeys in Louisiana, Texas, the Indian Territory, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland : Electronic Edition by Edward King and illustrated by James Wells Champney published in 1875 includes this drawing of Rockwood's Roane Iron Company and a little bit about the early iron industry in Roane County.

    The full text is available online | here |. The section on Roane County, Tennessee can easily be located in the document using control f with roane as the search term.

    Thursday, October 05, 2006

    grave registrations for civil war veterans - my submissions

    today i submitted information for james calvin "calvin" giles and for david washington montgomery to the following site:

    Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War: Grave Registration

    the submissions are pending review.,
    [update:the submissions were accepted & are now available to researchers.

    this is a great adjunct site for the national parks civil war soldiers and sailors system databases
    | here |.

    roane county's wheat community sacrifice

    The Wheat Community was the largest of the five local Tennessee communities (Wheat, Robertsville, Elza, Scarboro, and New Hope) displaced in 1942 and early 1943 to make way for the huge Oak Ridge Manhattan Project complex.

    the above information appears in a brief article about roane county, tennessee's sacrifice to the world war II oak ridge project was recently published in the
    oak ridger [online] | here |.

    Tuesday, October 03, 2006

    roane co tn genealogy research - don't miss the carnegie library in harriman

    if you are ever in roane county, tennessee doing genealogy research, i suggest that you stop in at harriman's public library. though its genealogy secetion is small, it's still a good place to look for local information and to see one of our nation's carnegie libraries in what must be very close to its original form. a few contemporary photographs and a brief history of harriman, tennessee's historic carnegie library are available online at the library's site.

    From Harriman, Roa...

    the building is located on walden street, separated from another of harriman's early important buildings - the american temperance building - only by harriman's busy firestation.