Archive for February, 2011

February 27, 2011

Y’all ready for this?

I know, I know, my titles have next to nothing to tell you about the subject of my blog. Furthermore, they are “lame sauce” attempts at humour. But really, really, this is big news for everyone and a major wooaa reaction when I found that the LDS Family History Center, aka the FHC, near me has a new toy tool. Y’all ready for this? It is a Microfilm / Microfiche reader scanner attached to a computer running Windows! Not only is it awesome, it lets you grab images for free to your own personal flash drive. Which means we can skip the scanning step needed to get paper copies into the computer.

Being a geek, using the equipment was fairly intuitive. I was able to save images on my flash drive without reading the instructions, which apparently were posted above the computer. Umm, can you say small, subtle print? When I arrived home, I was peeved to find that I couldn’t read my files. I tried every image viewing / manipulating software on my computer, trust me I have a lot. Neither Microsoft’s built in, admittedly 2 year old software, nor PhotoShop CS3, nor paint, nor AlternaTif, etc., etc., etc., could read the file. I just couldn’t figure out how each file could have multiple pages of information if it were truly a corrupted file. Photoshop gave me a clue, “unsupported compression method”.

Perhaps I should have read those directions.

At this point I had two options, assume the files were hopelessly corrupted, return to the Family History Center, read the directions, and create new files. A bit too much time, energy and humble pie involved there. Or I could use my googling skills to find out if these files were truly hopelessly corrupted or could they be read by something more sophisticated than what I had on my system. I really didn’t want to a) return to the FHC on the upcoming Saturday as the daughters were arriving from college for the weekend and there is never enough time to spend with them when they are in, b) take some time out from work to return to the FHC during the weekday, as they had no evening hours remaining for the week, or c) wait a week to return on Saturday to the FHC. In short, I wanted to see if I could solve this without returning to the Family History Center! Especially as I wanted to read my images right now!

The quest began to find the nature of the problem and, if it turned out that the files were not corrupted-beyond-repair, locate software which could read the files. The software needed to be affordable, available via download, intuitive to use and able to create pdf or jpeg files from tif. Being the uber-geek that I am, I googled the error message, “unsupported compression method”. The results told me that the problem was definitely with the software, no program I had could read the files. Googling “best tif viewer” found some candidates for download and trial.

The first program I tried was Brava. This installed easily and low and behold it read the files. Yay! It could create Adobe PDF’s from the images very easily. However, I haven’t been able to create jpegs from it. For the price, somewhere between ouch and boing, something else had to be found. Their pricing isn’t really geared to the true single seat user, more the single seat corporate user. It does have a nice side bar, accessed by clicking the arrow at the right side of the page, which displayed thumbnails of each page.

Now I needed to find out if there was software which was more affordable, ahem free, could create jpegs and pdfs and was, ahem free. Did I mention that I would like it to be free?

Next up, Irfanview. Overlooking the awkward pronunciation of the name, the software downloaded and installed easily. Creating JPEG’s was a breeze, PDF’s not so much. However, free and and jpeg creation cover most of my needs, so this is the most likely winner.

For grins, I decided to try Gimp, a gnu based software program with which I have manipulated images and created some beautiful effects. Gimp had a cow. The error message was more meaningful, though: “Depreciated and troublesome old-style JPEG compression mode, please convert to new-style JPEG compression and notify vendor of writing software” and this “wrong data type 4 for “JpegProc”; tag ignored”. Yeah, with the exception that it should read deprecated, not depreciated, that makes my unix geek heart sing! Okay, so it looks like I probably chose something wrong when I selected the compression. Again, the directions,… In fact, the little GNU Fox gave up and stuck out his tongue in desperation. If you aren’t a unix geek, then the talk of tarballs, and other fun arguments, on the Gimp Google group will make your head spin around. Just leave it alone, especially since Gimp doesn’t really “do” windows installers, exactly, though there is one on the site, which installs the version which gives me that unixy error message! Apparently, 2.7 stops complaining about it and opens the image. But the 2.7 version is source code only. I am not going to do a build, so-o-o not happening. Head exploding yet? I have a masters in it, computer science, that is, but I don’t really do it for fun, not since I stopped following edges a long, long time ago.

Why did I get this error? My theory is that there were multiple files in one tif, blowing the mind of the viewers.

Bottom line is this, even though most software had a problem with the files, I found software which could handle them. Now, I have my cool images, I have a fun new tool to use at the FHC and I am happy, happy!

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February 13, 2011

No, my first name ain’t Jonathan, it’s Joshua, Mr. Caise if you are hasty

Yes, the films arrived, yes one of them was of H-U-G-E value. Before I spill on the information in the film, let’s lay out the background information, in order to understand the significance of what was found.

In genealogy, there is something known as intergenerational proof. This is proof that a given person was the parent of another. It seems so obvious to us all now, I know who my mother and father are, and I can prove it with my birth certificate. But what if that record was destroyed or never existed in the first place? How would I prove that I was their daughter? Intergenerational proof can be easy to find, such as when a will names all the children; it is especially handy if the parent bequeaths to women who are already married and is specific, e.g., “I, Joseph Tallchief, give my best feather bed to my daughter Agatha Andreyovich Tallchief, now the wife of John Anderson”. Because that happens all the time! Yeah, dream on. It is rare when a will is found and it so specific that it names everyone in the decedent’s family and their relationship to the deceased!

Hence intergenerational proof is often built in pieces. Frequently records are found which strongly suggest, but never quite say things flat out. Enough of them can provide evidence that certain people had a relationship which strongly suggests that they were parent and child.
Sometimes, a genealogist is lucky enough to find a “record” of a fact which is very unofficial. For example, the intergenerational proof of Jane Mangum’s connection to John Mangum, the Patriot, was not found in a will, or any other “official” and “recorded” document but in a hand written statement by her nephew, wherein he says that his Aunt Jenny married George Crawford. No official document states this relationship. Itawamba County Marriage Book One has a listing for the marriage of a Jane Mangum to George Crawford in Itawamba county, Mississippi in 1841. The only Mangum family enumerated in the county in 1840 was that of John Mangum. This John Mangum was known to have a daughter named Jane, but somebody had named her as the wife of Jedediah Brown, which was in error. This error had to be toppled before Jane Mangum Crawford could be asserted as his daughter. It looked as though it wouldn’t happen until a hand written document of the family history written by Samuel Newton Adair was found. It states:

“I, Samuel Newton Adair, will write what I know about my mother’s folks. My grandfather’s name was John Mangum … Jeney Mangrum married George Crawford, Gemima Mangrum married Samuel Jefferson Adair, my father. Rebecca Mangrum married Joseph Adair, my father’s cousin.”

Obviously, this was not recorded anywhere and must not have been known to the author of “Jedediah Brown” information. Of course now it is known and all those Jedediah Brown proponents have to stop asserting that. They really do have to stop.

Now, are you ready for what was in the Probate file? Well, if you are ready and have not quit reading this altogether, here goes. Well almost, a little more background is needed.

Until the Probate record was examined, we had circumstantial evidence that a man enumerated as Jonathan Case in the Federal Census of 1830 in Randolph County, Illinois was the father of Charlotte Case, Olive Case, Independence Case and Jackson Case and the husband of Catharine (unknown maiden name) who subsequently married W. Callaway McGregor. As an aside, since we are a family of golfers, some of whom are PGA Golf Professionals, that name gives us a chuckle. What are the odds? Notice how I hedged on how he, Mr. Case, was enumerated? Technically, we only know that the name of the man on the census was written down as Jonathan or what appears to be Jonathan to most of us who have read it. On this same page the families nearby include John H. Crozier, in addition to the Shelton Evans family, the William Peach family and the William, Levi, Jr. and Levi, Sr. Simmons families. In this county and nearby St. Clair and Monroe counties there are other records. There is a marriage record for a Charlotte Case to Spencer Ellsworth, in St. Clair county, a marriage record for Independence Case to Beverly Lindsey, in Randolph County, a marriage record for Catharine Case to W. Callaway McGregor (fore!) in Monroe county. A Charlotte Elsworth married Allen Brown in Lee County, Iowa in 1844. A few years later, there is a census enumeration in District 19, Clark County, MO in 1850, for a Catherine McGregory [sic] born in Indiana. She is living with Charlott [sic] Brown, also born in Indiana, and Charlott’s presumed daughter, Catharine, born in Iowa in 1846. Jackson Case, born about 1830 in Illinois, is in the same household. A few pages over in the same census is a listing for Olive Evans, and family and Independence Lamare and family. There is a marriage record, 9 May 1851, for Olive Case to Washington Evans recorded in Clark County, Missouri. We have no death date for the “Jonathan”, of the 1830 census, and no intergenerational proof that this Jonathan was connected to the aforementioned Cases, no birth date for Jonathan. If he was married to Catherine, perhaps they divorced and he married someone else. There is another Case in St. Clair county, who had a brother named Jonathan, was it he who was enumerated rather than the father of Charlotte, Olive, Independence and Jackson? Can the Probate record help answer these questions?

For most non-genealogists, the record is pretty boring, on 16 October 1833, John H. Crozier (remember him from the census?) presents the will of Joshua Caise. The will was not entered into the record on the same page as this entry from 16 October 1833 and has not yet been located in the Probate Court proceedings.

One year later, on the 6th day of October 1834, John C. Crozier renders the account of Joshua Caise, and is ordered to pay the widows share of one third of the estate to Catherine Caise.

It is therefore ordered by the court that the said John C. Crozier pay out to Catherine Caise the sum of sixty-one dollars & sixty three cents this being the share and portion belonging to the said Catherine of the estate of her deceased husband being the one third part of the nett [sic] proceeds thereof.
It is also ordered that the said John C. Crozier pay over to Charlotte, Olive and Independence, children of the said Joshua Case deceased, or to their guardians, each, the sum of forty one dollars & eight cents, this being their share & proportion of the estate of their deceased father.

We are still missing a child, Jackson, who was about three years old when his father died. One month later, guardianship of the children is set, at least for most of the children.

Monday November 3, 1834 court met agreeable to adjournment
“On motion of Joseph H Orr it is ordered that the said Joseph be appointed guardian of Olive Casse, Independence Casse & Andrew Jackson Casse minors under the age of fourteen years on his entering into bond with good and sufficient security as the law directs.”

Two years later, as Charlotte is over fourteen, she may chose her guardian. In February of 1835, she did so.

“Charlotte Casse a minor over the age of fourteen year chooses John C. Crozier as her guardian, it is therefore ordered that the said John C. Crozier be appointed the guardian of the said Charlotte Casse on his entering into bond with good & sufficient security, as the law directs.”

Charlotte’s birth year was thought to have been 1823, if she was fourteen in 1835, her birth year was 1821 or earlier. Meaning that Catherine and Joshua were married by 1820 – 1821.

What about this excites a genealogist? The first examination of the Probate record confirms that Charlotte, Olive, Independence and Jackson, were siblings. It is official confirmation of Jackson’s first name as Andrew. It narrows the death date of Joshua significantly to sometime before 16 October 1833. Joshua was the first name of the father of Charlotte, Olive, Independence and Andrew Jackson Case, not Jonathan, although he may have been named Joshua Jonathan Case. Joshua Case was married to Catherine, who’s surname is not yet known. Charlotte was likely born in 1821, not 1823. The Independence Case who married Beverly Lindsey was the daughter of Joshua and Catharine. What else is interesting? John C. Crozier was enumerated on the same page as Jonathan Case in 1830, which, in addition to the matching family age pattern of Charlotte, Olive, Independence and Jackson, is more indication that this Jonathan is the same person as Joshua and may point to a closer relationship with John C. Crozier or his wife, Mary “Polly” Lindsay, than neighbor. There may exist a relationship to the Joseph H. Orr, which is deeper than some nice reputable guy who was appointed guardian of his children. Don’t confuse custody and care with guardianship, the latter indicated some money management aspect and may have been separate from custody. Lastly, the James Case living next door to Olive Case Evans and Independence Case Lindsey Lemarr in the 1850 Clark County, Missouri Census was not a previously undiscovered son of Joshua Case of Randolph County, Illinois. James Case’s age was 25 in 1850, which may have placed him in the under 5 category in the 1830 census, Jackson may have been not yet born, or as sometimes happened, an infant who was not enumerated.

Oh, and my apologies for ripping off a Janet Jackson song title.