Recent Comments

    Copyright and Fair Use

    Monica and I have this discussion occasionally, especially pertaining to obituaries. Can we re-publish them on the web? If they are from before 1923, no. Just recently I told her, “Since everyone else is doing it, I’m tempted to just wait for ‘them’ to catch me.” But that’s not really The Right Thing To Do, so I’ve settled on excerpts with links for items that I don’t have permission to copy outright. Some newspapers have given express permission to do so, The Current Local and the Idaho Statesman, for instance.

    Copyright law is a bear to understand. The University of Texas Libraries has a section that might help — the Copyright Crash Course. In a nutshell, “Fair Use” is NOT “re-publish the whole thing.”

    What’s New in May

    We finished transferring what we could find for the Carter County MOGenWeb project, formerly hosted at Rootsweb, from the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. A lot of the MOGenWeb county sites are down and/or lost because of loss of their Rootsweb hosting, and a significant percentage of them need County Coordinators. Larry Flesher, the Missouri State Coordinator, would love to hear from you if you can help!

    We heard from Justin Watkins this month and he submitted some additions/corrections for the DeJarnette Family Cemetery in Pettis County. In the good news/bad news department, he also asked, “What happened to the pictures?” This is how I found out that some database changes back in August 2016 broke many of the Pettis County cemeteries, and probably other counties as well. I really don’t know, at this point, how extensive the damage is or how long it will take to repair it, but I will once again ask please, if you find problems like this, let me know!

    Find A Grave member Andrea has been photographing the cemeteries in the area for quite some time and submitted her photos for Pleasant Hill Cemetery, Pettis County.

    These cemeteries also had updates:

    How to Use Monica’s Death Notice Indexes

    Monica Schirmer Eshelman spends most of her day indexing St. Joseph, Missouri, newspapers using the free Google News Archive. As she completes each year, she sends them to me, I turn them into PDFs, and they’re uploaded to the Northwest Missouri Genealogical Society website and the Cousin Collector Media Library. She’s also started maintaining the Great and Powerful Index Index of all surnames in her yearly indexes, the latest being for the years 1845-1912. She’s working on 1913 now.

    As with most things, what’s clear to some is not so clear to others, and that seems to be the case with these indexes. Monica gets a lot of email from lost souls. 😀

    The death notices themselves are freely available from the Google News Archive. At the top of each index page is a list of the newspapers that were available for that year, and the naming conventions used for each newspaper. If you look at the index for 1912, for example, the title for the “St. Joseph Gazette” is plain, while the title for the “St. Joseph News-Press” is in italics.

    Armed with that information, you know you can find the notices for Gregor Achs in the Gazette on 7 July 1912 and in the News-Press on 8 July 1912; the notices for John Wilson Adams in the 16 July 1912 Gazette and the 15 July 1912 News-Press. Probably. 🙂

    When the Google Minions were scanning the newspapers, they did a pretty good job of categorizing them, but not always. Sometimes, there are two editions under one date, 12 July and 13 July together, for instance. Some of them aren’t under the correct newspaper name at all. And you can’t go by the page numbers that Google has assigned to each page, as those tend to have errors as well. So you still have to be creative to find some of these.

    Finally, while Google does provide a search capability, a la Newspapers.com, don’t bother with it. It’s horrible. So how does Monica find these? She reads each page of each newspaper. Yes — each newspaper, page by page.

    Hopefully, this little tidbit will not only help you make better use of Monica’s indexes, it will also give you an idea of what goes into creating each one — a LOT of work! Enjoy! 🙂

    Kathryn Allison Rails Main

    Mary Frances Rails Sturgeon (1947-2015)

    Mary Frances Rails Sturgeon (1947-2015)

    Mary Francis Rails Sturgeon [photo from obituary], buried in Savannah Cemetery, was born in St. Joseph, Buchanan County, Missouri on March 6, 1947 and died in Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri on November 29, 2015. Her obituary states only that she was raised by her maternal grandmother, Elsie Allison, but does not name her parents.

    A bit of digging and piecing indicates her parents were Louis Keith Rails and Kathryn Allison, daughter of Benjamin Richard Allison (1886-1962) and Elsie Ethel Waggoner (1891-1985). Benjamin and Elsie had at least six children and we’ve been able to trace all of them — except, of course, Kathryn.

    Kathryn is mentioned in all of her family members’ obituaries we’ve been able to find as “Kathryn Main,” living in Kansas City. Unfortunately, other than this, we’ve not been able to find out what happened to her, based on available online sources.

    An obituary on tributes.com for “Kathryn B. Main” states only: “Kathryn was born on January 2, 1929 and passed away on Wednesday, February 20, 2013. Kathryn was a resident of Kansas City, Missouri.”

    Do you know what happened to Kathryn?

    Behaving Badly

    All of my efforts to date to get a handle on the bots and site scrapers can only be classified as an epic fail. They are determined and they are legion and they are automated. And they consume alarming amounts of bandwidth.

    In the past, I tried requiring user registration for the TNG section of this site, but that wasn’t working. If registration was open, I was deluged by spammers. If registration required administrative approval, it never failed people wanted “in” while I was sleeping. Or working. I do sleep and work. 🙂

    So, in a bit of a comprise, I’ve settled on requiring a login BUT it’s sweet and simple. You don’t need to register! Just follow the instructions on the login page and you’re in in the time it takes to type ten characters. Let’s you in and hopefully keeps them out.

    Since I implemented this process, it seems to be working nicely. Plenty of “real people” are getting in, but NO bad guys. Yay! 🙂

    Rootsweb Mailing Lists

    While Rootsweb itself has been down more than it’s been up for a couple of years, the mailing lists have been a mess for a lot longer than that. They’re active again, it appears, but in what way, shape or form remains to be seen.

    The mirrored emails from the message boards in the past have been stripped to the point of being illegible. Whether or not they will even be mirrored anymore I haven’t been able to tell. Have you?

    Google News Archive

    Monica let me know today that she gets inquiries from people who want copies of the articles listed in her death notices indexes. Good news! The newspapers from which these indexes are created are available free online at the Google News Archive! Didn’t know about that? With this new resource and the 1967 Missouri death certificates online, your weekends are booked for months to come. 🙂

    Carter County MOGenWeb

    Most of Rootsweb is still down and the Carter County MOGenWeb project was one of the casualties. The content has been resurrected via ample use of the The Great and Powerful Wayback Machine and is now available once again.

    It’s quite a relief that it was possible to recover all that data. Julie Huggins and her mother, Daisy Samples Andersen, did a TON of work on the cemeteries, and those records are priceless!

    1845-1911 Surname Index for Death Notices in St. Joseph MO Newspapers

    Monica’s latest project has been to index the surnames from her death notices in St. Joseph, Missouri, newspapers indexes, The Index Index! The 1845-1911 Surname Index for Death Notices in St. Joseph MO Newspapers is now online. I don’t know where she finds the time!