Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sharing some of my Memories

In response to Randy Seaver’s Blog “” Saturday Night Genealogy Fun (15 Feb 2014), he asked six questions about our own life story. So here are my answers…

a)     What was your first illness as a child? I remember having chicken pox at about age 4. I know I hadn’t started school and I believe my older sister who was in Kindergarten brought home the lovely germ. She missed school one week and then the following week, myself, one sister and one brother had the pox together. I remember playing with my older brother and it was actually fun having him home for the week. My brother is five years older and this was a great bonding time for us.

b)  What was the first funeral you attended?
I remember attending my paternal grandfather’s funeral. Again, I was about four or five years old. I remember I had to good, because my Dad was so sad. This is the only memory I have of my grandfather. I remember sitting at the funeral and seeing the casket in front of me, but I don’t remember anything else.

c)  What was your favorite book as a child?
This will sound bad, but I don’t remember reading as a small child. I also know I was a poor reader until 6th grade and a friend, who had teachers as parents, introduced me to the Nancy Drew Mystery Series. I started reading those books and it would take me 3 plus weeks to read the first books. By the time I got to the end of the series, I could read a book in 3 hours. This friend opened the world to me and this is when I started to read more. I don’t think I would have turned to genealogy if I haven’t become a better reader. I am so blessed to have children who also love to read.

d)  What was your favorite class in elementary school?
It would have to be 5th grade. I remember being the poorest at Math. In 3rd grade, my older brother would do my homework because he loved to show off how easy it was for him to do. I remember speeding through 4th grade math but by the time I was in 5th grade, I tested poor and was in a special group in the worst Math class. I didn’t know my times table. However, by the end of the year, I was in the highest Math class and I was in the special group for the best students in Math. I was lucky that the school decided to try something new that year and pull all the students and arrange us by our skills. I have excellent Math skills now.

e)  What was your favorite toy as a child?
I had a Baby Tender Love that I adored. I named her Marie after my middle name. The next year I received a Talking Baby Tender Love and I named her Brenda after my niece that was born that year. I saved those dolls for when I had children of my own. I gave them to my oldest daughter who proceeded to write all over my precious little babies. I was crushed. She pretty much destroyed my dolls and I end up having to throw them away.

f)  Did you learn how to swim, and where did you learn? In fourth grade, the YMCA offered a free week of swimming lessons. I learned the basics but when they wanted us to jump off the high dive, I did go back for the last day of lessons. My mother was a good swimmer and then when we went camping, she taught me how to float and how to swim better.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

To PDF or JPG?

Yesterday I spent the afternoon finally attacking one of the many photo albums my sister lent to me that she received from our Aunt Mary.

I decided to chose the album that consisted of Marriage Invitations. It wasn't until I was almost to the end of the album that I wondered if I should have scanned these items as JPG instead of PDF's? I like JPG's because you can get a preview in the directory, plus when you are using Windows Photo Viewer, one can easily scroll through all the images.

I wish I had questioned myself about which format I should use before I started the projected and the reason it was a PDF, was because I scanned some documents for my Genealogical Society that I was going to share via email.

I decided to do a little research on the subject and the consensuses seems to be consider saving master copies of photos as TIFFs and use JPG copies to share and for everyday viewing. PDF format is good choice for documents. So the big question is, are the Marriage Invitations considered documents? My first answer is yes, but I wonder about putting these documents into my genealogy software program.

This leads me to my second research experiment and I quickly opened my genealogy program to see if I could attach a PDF to a person. It was successful and I even saw a thumbnail of my document.

What I have decided is that in the future I need to save each item as a TIFF, then re-save it as a jpg and finally if the image is a document, newspaper article or invitation; I will save it as a PDF.  I think this will give me flexibility with my scans. I will need to stick a Post-it-Note about scanning in TIFF, JPG and PDF format to help me remember the next time. Plus, if I find time, I might revisit the photo album I did yesterday and rescan those items as TIFF and JPG.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

American Foursquare

A style popular ca. 1900-1920 by mail-order catalogs such as Sears and Roebuck and speculative builders that were part of a larger movement toward simplified rectilinear domestic architecture. Distinguished primarily by its box-like massing and broad proportions, and often devoid of overt stylistic references, the prototypical Foursquare is two stories in height, with a hipped roof, widely overhanging eaves, central dormers and a one-story porch spanning the front facade. Several features alleviate the stark massing and straight lines of the Foursquare: the low pitch and overhanging eaves of the hipped roof, echoed in the dormer and porch roofs, minimize some of the structure’s sheer bulk, and the front porch, an essential component of the Foursquare plan, is often supported by Tuscan columns and features a filled-in or balustrade railing. The simple exterior is reflected in the straightforward interior plan of the Foursquare, which typically features four large rooms on each floor and a corner reception hall and stairway that is reflected in the asymmetrical placement of the front door. Relatively simple and inexpensive to build, the Foursquare provided spacious “modern” homes to Americans for the first several decades for the twentieth century.

The City of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin is rife with examples of the American Foursquare. Numbering over 450 examples in the city, they are colloquially referred to as the “Fond du Lac Square.” They are located throughout the city and include single examples to clusters, while exterior sheathing ranges from brick to stucco to wooden shingle and clapboard.

I was lucky enough to purchase such a home back in 2012. When we purchased the home, we were told it was built ca. 1908. I did check out the town plat map and discovered that a smaller home was on my lot prior to 1908. My husband and I are slowly working on getting this home back to the original beauty. I fell in love with all the natural woodwork on the first floor. The house was four bedrooms and a prior homeowner combined the two smaller front bedrooms into one large master bedroom. The upstairs hall built-in has been modified and I have seen pictures of other homes on what it should look like and I hope to bring new life to the built-in. The two smaller bedroom floors, dining room and kitchen all have original hardwood floors showing. The Master bedroom floor had different wood where the wall was removed and the main floor entrance hall wall was also removed and thus new carpet was laid to cover the imperfections. The exterior was repainted, the front porch steps and railing repaired plus a new hanging outdoor light was added. This is my second home that I stay at during the summer to work on family research. In this home, I feel closer to all the relatives that I am researching. The simple house reminds me of the simpler lifestyles that many of our ancestors lived. Of course simpler doesn't mean easier, because I have air conditioning, indoor plumbing, electricity and all the modern electric conveniences that go with electricity. However, sitting on the front porch at night, watching the neighborhood kids playing, just makes me smile!