Thursday, July 30, 2009

Why do I make things so much harder than they need to be?

A friend is giving a "Meet the Author" talk about her book "The Oath and The Covenant" (based on the Scottish Covenanters). I'm working on a Powerpoint presentation for her to use in her talk. Sounds easy right? Well it should be, and it was until I wanted to insert a video clip.

The video clip played fine on my machine, but it wouldn't play on her laptop using Powerpoint Viewer. After to some tweaking and fiddling (which didn't work) I decided to do a Google search.

Possible solution #1: Try a different video format. I downloaded a video converter and tried another format. Well...that didn't solve the problem Back to Google...

Possible solution #2: Check for missing codec. Hey...that must be the problem. It requires MPEG1 which isn't on the lap top. I rush off to download the errant codec. I feel that relief that comes only at the end of what seems like hours of frustration. I play the Powerpoint...fully expecting it to work perfectly...uhhhh wrong! Okay...back to Google...

Possible solution #3: Download and install PFC Pro (that stands for Play For Certain). Okay...anything named "Play for Certain" must be my salvation. It installs as an add-on to Powerpoint. I'm using the 14-day fully functional trial version (the paid version is $129!). So now...I'm happy. Why shouldn't I be? I'm using "Play For Certain"...there's no doubt it will work. Arghhhhhh...wrong again...back to Google...

Possible solution #4: When using video in the video to the same place as the Powerpoint. it could be that simple! But I'm desperate...I'll try anything. Guess worked! How could that be? So I go back to my original presentation. The one I did before video conversion, before codec downloading, and before "Play For Certain." It played perfectly! It just needed the video saved in the same place.

If only that Google hit was number one in the search results list! Well that's my day - how's yours?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

They didn't make it easy...

If only our ancestors thought about "us" (their genealogy loving descendants) when they had children, named children, married etc. Some of their choices make our research more difficult and challenging.

Case in great great grandfather, James A. Blay. He was born 9 Jan 1858 (the son of Alexander Blay), lived in Jersey county, IL for a time and by 1889 had moved to CO. He died in 1929 in Denver, CO. He had three wives, one of which was named Emma.

Fairmount Cemetery, Denver county, CO

Then there is James A. Blay's uncle, James Blay who was born 3 Jan 1859 (his father was also named Alexander Blay). This James lived in Jersey county, IL and died there guessed it...1929. The name of his wife? Why Emma of course.

Oak Grove Cemetery, Jersey county, IL

Were they trying to drive us crazy? Personally, I think they are on the other side having a good laugh at our efforts to try to figure things out.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Quote of the day...

"I believe that history is capable of anything. There exists no folly that men have not tried out." by Carl Gustav Jung (Swiss psychiatrist, psychologist)
so true

Where do we belong???

Years ago my father inherited a trunk from his uncle, John Ivor Davies. Among the items in the trunk were two photo postcards - each depicting a young man in what appears to be WWI army uniforms. On the back of one photo (below) is handwritten: "F.H. Robbins Plainview N.Mex" and "In 134 Inf 34th Div."

On the back of the other (below) is handwritten: "J.B. McHugh Ravia Okla."

I would like to unite these soldiers with their descendants, but so far that is proving difficult. I searched the WWI Draft Registration Cards and found:

  • Finis H. Robbins who was born 12 Jul 1896, Hale Center, TX (single). He registered in Chavez county, NM (he was the only Robbins with the initials F.H. that was from NM)
  • Joseph Braker McHugh who was born 22 Nov 1894, Centers, Alabama (single). He registered in Johnston county, OK (he was the only McHugh with the initials J.B. that was from OK)
I can find Finis Robbins in the 1920 and 1930 censuses living in Prairieview, Lea county, NM (single in both). I found a public member tree on Ancestry that included Finis Robbins, but the submitter says he's a distant branch on the tree - so I guess he's not really interested. I haven't been able to find anything for 134th Inf 34th Div.

I can't find Joseph McHugh in the census records. There is an Ancestry World Tree for Joseph Braker McHugh who married Mattie Renfrow (indicating they were married in Ravia OK). A further search in the 1930 census found a Jay B. McHugh (born abt 1899) married to Mattie, but in the vetran column is "no."

John Ivor Davies (the owner of the trunk) served in WWI. Unfortunately, I don't know what division. I assume these young men were friends he met in the service.

Does anyone have any other ideas for tracing these photos?

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday

Cherokee Cemetery

Cherokee, Butte county, California

Friday, July 03, 2009

Another family story proves to be true...

On a visit to my husband's aunt (several years ago) we were shown the following picture and told that Ivan Luther Osborn (my husband's granduncle - pictured above with his wife, Ruth) was a cook on a movie set and died in an airplane crash in 1955. The photo is what was left of the airplane. We didn't know if the crash happened while working on the movie set, and we didn't know where the crash happened. Last week I decided to see if I could prove any of this story.

I checked Find-A-Grave and found Ivan's burial in Memory Gardens Cemetery, Imperial County, California. The death date matched what we were told by my husband's aunt. I checked historical newspapers on Ancestry, GenealogyBank and NewspaperArchive. Nothing. I next did a google search for databases of airplane crashes and found Plane Crash Richard Kebabjian has crash infomation going back to 1920. I checked 1955, but there wasn't a listing for Ivan's crash. I e-mailed Richard (the web site owner) and he was kind enough to e-mail the following newspaper article (from Nevada State Journal) to me. There are still many unanswered questions, but at least we know that the story of the airplane crash was true.

Dies In Crash

El Centro, Calif., April 5. (U.P.) - Ivan Osborne, 48, of Gordon Wells, was killed, and Bruce Bowler, also of Gordon Wells, was seriously injured today when their small plane crashed in the desert 35 miles east of here. Osborne was the pilot.