Category Archives: Musings

GL’s Musings

Return of Random Genealogy?

First off, an explanation.

At the time I stopped updating RandomGenealogy.com, a job opportunity had come up that I couldn’t pass up and it required my immediate attention, along with a couple of major events back-to-back. I typed up a nice post saying that I needed to take a break and this is what I would be doing in the meantime and would somebody else want the site. To make a long story short, I thought the story was published, but it in fact did not publish, and because I had to turn my attention away from a lot of my hobbies and recreational activities, I didn’t check it. End result: It looks like I dropped off the face of the earth.
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Apple’s MacBook

Yesterday saw the release of Apple’s MacBook. I have one in my hands (and am in fact typing this from it). I got one of the last half dozen in the store, I believe.

This is sort of a review. I know, you are thinking what does this have to do with genealogy, but this is going to be my genealogy platform of choice for the next few (hopfeully several) years, and I’ll explain why in a moment (if you are interested in Macs, but have some Windows-only applications, read on, you’re in luck).

First, to get the technical stuff out of the way. It’s one of the cheapest (if not cheapest) Intel Core Duo notebooks with a 13.3-inch widescreen that you can find – starts at around $1099. I’m talking Dell, HP, Lenovo, Toshiba, etc. Having an Intel Core Duo is basically the equivalent of having two processors/CPUs in the machine. The screen is wonderful – I’ve always liked widescreen displays because I tend to have a lot of stuff open at the same time, or what I’m doing would benefit from a widescreen in some manner, and on a laptop, having a widescreen is a spacesaver – it’s a little wider than a normal 12-inch display, but it’s not quite as deep. For my eyes, the 13.3 is about as small as I want to go for the time being.

Now then, if you are like me and are holding onto a few Windows applications – especially those related to genealogy – those of you who have been reading RandomGenealogy for a while know I’m cranky when it comes to genealogy applications – namely that I can’t do without applications like GenSmarts and Clooz, then you are in luck.

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Take What You Came With

Jason Probst has an article in The Hutchinson News (Kansas) that could serve as a friendly reminder to always check the items you haul around with you to a library, or in this case, courthouse. It’s an article about the lost and found at the Reno County Courthouse, including some genealogy documents.

Quote:

One time, a woman left a packet of genealogy information on the courthouse’s fourth floor. McKee dug through the file, found a phone number to call and told the woman she held the woman’s family history in her hands.

The woman didn’t even realize she lost the packet of documents.

A lot of us haul a lot of materials around – it’s easy to see that we might leave something behind and not realize it for weeks or months.

Experts to Offer Free Appraisals of Attic Treasures (Pittsburgh)

Bethany Hoffstetter has an article, Experts to offer free appraisals of attic ‘treasures’, in the Pittsburg Tribune-Review, about the Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center hosting an interesting event, “Fling or Keep? What to Do with Your Attic Treasures”, this weekened (saturday to be precise). Hopefully it won’t cause people to go out and sell family heirlooms.

With the rising popularity of appraisal shows and interest in genealogy, collecting and researching family history has become the new craze. The history center hopes to provide Pittsburghers with the resources to discover more about the treasures around their homes.

Some of these shows drive me nuts as you’ll see conversations likes this:

Person: “Well my great-great-grandmother bought this when she was 15 – she saved up for six months, and it’s been in the family every since”
Host: “You’ll be glad to know, that this is actually over two hundred years old, and worth $5,000!”
Person: “Where can I sell it?”

For more information: Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center

My First Impressions of Texas Ranch House 1867 (PBS)

My first impressions of PBS’s Texas Ranch House 1867 are not the best – it seemed like about half the volunteers put themselves in the right mindset. To give you a quick back-story – PBS and the BBC have put together a series of shows where they take volunteers and put them in a historical setting. It might be 1940 London, or the American West of the 1870s. This one is set on a small West Texas ranch.

This time around they cast more people who would be more comfortable with the environment, but at the same time some of the people didn’t have the sense of urgency or duty that the environment should have encouraged. They had certain conditions that needed to be met (rounding up so many cattle, etc.), and the ranch owner seemed more concerned with doing chores for his wife than going out with the cowboys to round up cattle, and this after they are already down a man, as well as having a few days of downtime due to illness among several of them.

Maybe it’ll get better (if you missed the first two hours last night, it’ll be repeated in the upcoming weeks). It runs several more nights this week.