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    What’s New in July

    Lots of stuff happened in July. Well, I think it’s lots — you might not. 🙂

    The Morgan County MOGenWeb project now resides in three places, which is going to be confusing for the time being. The Rootsweb site is back up and while Rootsweb was down, most of the material was moved to the server. Once the material has been harvested from Rootsweb, and once I can get logged into, those will be deleted and redirected, so please update your bookmarks.

    I spent the better part of July, as with most of the past months, working on the St. Mary’s Cemetery in Hurlingen, Buchanan County, Missouri. I could probably work on this cemetery for another year and still not call it “finished.”

    Monica, as always, was busy indexing newspapers and we have these gems from her:

    Contributor Dawn submitted her photographs of the Mount Pleasant Cemetery in DeKalb County, Missouri in 2010, and at some point the links for those photos to the people were lost. So that’s been fixed. Dawn keeps all of her photos, so if you want a higher resolution image, just contact her via her Find A Grave profile.

    Please remember there should be NO living people referenced in the family tree. They aren’t just masked — they aren’t to be uploaded at all. So, if you find someone who shouldn’t be there, please let me know!

    Happy hunting! 🙂

    Morgan County MOGenWeb Project

    Work has begun on cleaning up the Morgan County MOGenWeb project pages and moving them from the MOGenWeb server. There is a lot of information there, so it will take awhile.

    Most of the email addresses on the Surnames list and the links to researchers’ pages are broken — some as a result of the Rootsweb problems, and also because they were abandoned long ago. There’s contact information on almost every page for County Coordinators who are no longer active.

    Unfortunately, there continues to be a problem accessing the old site on MOGenWeb to update those pages. Your patience is appreciated while that gets resolved.

    Are you doing research in Morgan County? Do you have a personal website that contains information about families or places there? We will be happy to link to your site, the only requirement being that your page must deal with the history or genealogy of Morgan County, Missouri.

    If you’d like to add your contact information, or update it, for the Surnames listing, just send an email to Kris.

    There doesn’t appear to be much in the way of cemetery information available on the old site for Morgan County. We’re going to be working to remedy that, but if you’ve already photographed or researched any cemeteries in Morgan County, please let us know.

    Finally, there appears to be a misconception, based on some of the emails I receive, that content on the USGenWeb sites in general is the result of one person’s efforts — i.e., the County Coordinator — to get “stuff” online. Nothing could be further from the truth. These sites rely on the genealogical community to submit content. And that’s you guys.

    I’ve received quite a few not-very-nice messages lately complaining that certain things aren’t available for free on the MOGenWeb sites I manage. These weren’t just “Do you have?” inquiries, but “You SHOULD have” statements. When these people were invited to contribute? Crickets.

    All County Coordinators are not only volunteers, but many of them (me included) spend their own money for hosting and other things related to maintaining the sites. So it can be discouraging to get chewed out! 🙂

    So, got stuff? We would love to have it! 🙂

    What’s New in June

    This month was spent almost exclusively researching the families buried in the Saint Mary’s Cemetery, Buchanan County. There’s a lot of merging going on as we find parents, children and siblings, the main goal being to establish the maiden names of the ladies who died before the death certificates were available.

    As always, there were plenty of updates to the Andrew County cemeteries because Monica stays on top of that! She also finished up her index for the 1913 Death Notices from the St. Joseph Gazette, St. Joseph News-Press, St. Joseph Observer and The Eye and has commenced work on 1914. Yay!

    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, 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 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?