Saturday, April 18, 2015

When I Was Young, Part 2



Alona Tester of LoneTester HQ geneablog has a geneameme up.  It looked interesting, so I’m going to play along.

“Like it or not, life today is a whole lot different from when we grew up. And as genealogists and family historians, we are mindful of recording our own history, yet so often it doesn’t happen, and sits in the “I must do that” list.

So this “When I Was Young” geneameme has been created to allow you to record at least some of your childhood memories. This series of 25 questions will take you back to your childhood as it asks questions about the games you played, what school was like, what heirlooms you have from your childhood, what books or stories you remember from back then … and a whole heap more.
So if you’d like to record a little of your own childhood history, feel free to take part in my “When I Was Young” geneameme.”

Since the list is 25 questions long, I decided to split my response into parts.  In this second part, I’ll do the second eight questions.

  1. What games did playtime involve?
Many of the usual kids’ games.  Kickball, cops & robbers, etc.  I used to play outside a lot as a kid, which would probably amaze people who know me now.  We used to ride our bikes all over the place.  This was before the era of the 24-hour news cycle that got parents in a panic about letting their kids out of their sight for more than half a minute.  The sad part of this is that even though I would let my kids go out and do stuff, they don’t leave the yard much.  I think they’ve absorbed through cultural channels that it’s no longer okay to go off and have adventures without parents around.  And I think that’s a sad thing.
  1. Did you have a cubby house?
If you mean a fort or playhouse, no.  We didn’t have suitable trees, nor really any other workable places to build such. 
  1. What was something you remember from an early family holiday?
My parents took us to Mt. Rushmore when I was about 12 years old.  I still remember the campground we stayed at on a hill overlooking Rapid City, SD.  I took my kids on that same trip when they were in that age range.  The campground is still there, though we stayed at another place.
  1. What is a memory from one of your childhood birthdays or Christmas?
Birthdays weren’t super memorable for me, nor are they a big deal now.  I know I had a few birthday parties when I was younger, but I really don’t remember them much.  I had one cake with little plastic space ships and other toys on it once.  I have a summer birthday, so I never got to have a birthday party in school the way some kids did.  I usually brought cupcakes or something on one day anyway, just to celebrate.
Christmas was always fun for getting new toys for presents.  I remember one year my brother and I inadvertently found some of the Christmas presents early, and we got found out, so we didn’t think we would get the presents because Mom was angry.  We did get them anyway, one item was an air hockey setup. Most years we got to open one thing on Christmas Eve night to keep us from bugging Mom about opening the rest until Christmas morning.
  1. What childhood injuries do you remember?
I didn’t get many.  One I do recall was from when I was quite young.  I was being given a ride on the back of a bike from a girl (memory now fails if she was a relative or a family friend’s daughter) and somehow my right foot got caught in the rear wheel spokes.  Crashed us both to the ground.  They ended up taking me to the doctor, and put a cast on it for a couple of weeks because they weren’t sure if it was broken or not.  Turns out it wasn’t.
  1. What was your first pet?
First I remember was a cat named Cigar.  I remember almost nothing about her, as she died when I was just turning six in 1972.  After that, we got a dog, a Pekingese-Terrier mix named Angel.  She was with us for many years.  I don’t generally go for small lapdog types, but she was a sweetheart.
  1. Did your grandparents, or older relatives tell you stories of “when I was young ..?”
I don’t recall this being a facet of my youth.  In fact, we lived far away from any relatives, so we only got to see them once or twice a year, and then the grownups spent their time talking together, not really with the kids much.  Only later, when doing genealogy questions, did I get older generations to open up about their youth.
  1. What was entertainment when you were young?
Saturday morning cartoons.  Going to the movies was a special treat.  We mostly made our own entertainment as kids, playing in the neighborhood.  I did like to read a lot.

I'll post the next set of questions and answers in a future entry.

 
A special thanks goes to Randy Seaver of Geneamusings blog for running this geneameme in his Saturday Night Genealogy Fun series, where I saw it and decided to play along.



This and all other articles on this blog are © copyright 2015 by Daniel G. Dillman

Sunday, April 12, 2015

When I Was Young, Part 1



Alona Tester of LoneTester HQ geneablog has a geneameme up.  It looked interesting, so I’m going to play along.

“Like it or not, life today is a whole lot different from when we grew up. And as genealogists and family historians, we are mindful of recording our own history, yet so often it doesn’t happen, and sits in the “I must do that” list.


So this “When I Was Young” geneameme has been created to allow you to record at least some of your childhood memories. This series of 25 questions will take you back to your childhood as it asks questions about the games you played, what school was like, what heirlooms you have from your childhood, what books or stories you remember from back then … and a whole heap more.

So if you’d like to record a little of your own childhood history, feel free to take part in my “When I Was Young” geneameme.”

Since the list is 25 questions long, I decided to split my response into parts.  In this first part, I’ll do the first eight questions.

  1. Do you (or your parents) have any memorabilia from when you were a baby? (i.e. baby book, lock of hair, first shoes etc.)
I doubt they still have much more than photographs.  I’m pretty sure, because they moved out of their house into an apartment a bit over a year ago, and downsized a lot during the move.  I know Mom used to have a picture frame assembly of an upright 8x10 frame (which contained my 1 year picture if I remember correctly) on a horizontal shelf.  The shelf itself held my bronzed baby shoes. I don’t know what happened to that, but I remember it clearly.  Mom also had a baby book with lots of scrapbookish things.  Being first child, my life got documented.  Later kids never get as much of that sort of documentation done.
  1. Do you know if you were named after anyone?
Sort of, yes.  My father is Dana Eugene Dillman.  My name Daniel was taken from Dan, which was shortened from Dana.  My middle name is Gene, short for Eugene.  I have never liked my middle name.  Mom mentioned once that she had another middle name in mind, and told me what it was, and I remember preferring it to Gene, but I have since forgotten what it was.
  1. And do you know of any other names your parents might have named you?
Aside from that potential other middle name, no.
  1. What is your earliest memory?
I remember climbing onto the wing of a small airplane to get in.  Mom took me for a ride in a small plane in Sioux Falls, SD when I was two and a half years old.  It’s possible this is a false memory, but all of the other planes I remember from childhood were Cessnas with upper wings, not something you would climb on to get in the plane, so I am personally convinced this memory is real.
  1. Did your parent/s (or older siblings) read, sing or tell stories to you? Do you remember any of these?
I know Mom read a whole bunch of Dr. Suess and Berenstain Bears and such books to me when I was little.  I had no older siblings.  I still love those books, and bought a large number of them for my kids when the time came.  I still have a bunch of them in a box for when grandkids start arriving.
  1. When you were young, do you remember what it was that you wanted to grow up to be?
Here’s an easy one.  From very early, say 1st grade or so, I wanted to be an Astronaut.  In fact, I was very outspoken about it.  All of my friends and teachers knew about it, such that when one teacher announced a free showing of a movie to be held one weekend, and said the film was The Reluctant Astronaut (a Don Knotts picture), every head in the class turned to look at me.  That whole thing fell through when it became clear that NASA wasn’t going to be putting a lot of men in space at the end of the Apollo Program.  

During high school, I got interested in photography, and aimed for that.  In fact, I went pretty far, as I enlisted in the Navy as a Photographer’s Mate.  I spent almost six years doing photography and photofinishing.  However, doing photography the Navy way is a great way to burn out the creativity of a photographer, and I ended my enlistment and virtually did not pick up a camera for almost a decade afterward.  I had to have my arm twisted to take pictures of my kids when they were young.

Lately, I have renewed my interest in photography, shooting mostly animals, landscapes and concerts.
  1. Did you have a favorite teacher at school?
For elementary school, I would have to say it’s a close race between Ms. Dooher in 3rd grade and Mrs. Knettel in 4th grade.  Mrs. Knettel would probably edge out for the win.  She cared enough about the geeky science kid to go out of her way to find extra-curricular learning tools for me.
In high school, Leroy Pauley was hands down my favorite.  He was the German teacher.  I took three years of German from him, largely because he made his classes fun and interesting.
  1. How did you get to school?
In elementary school, I took the school bus.  It usually picked us up at stops a block or three away, depending on which year and so forth.
Starting in 7th grade, I walked or rode my bike to school.  It was a mile or less to both Jr. and Sr. high.  Just had to be careful crossing the highway.
 
I'll post the next set of questions and answers in a future entry.



A special thanks goes to Randy Seaver of Geneamusings blog for running this geneameme in his Saturday Night Genealogy Fun series, where I saw it and decided to play along.


This and all other articles on this blog are © copyright 2015 by Daniel G. Dillman

Friday, February 6, 2015

He was born in the United States WHEN?!



I’ve recently been doing a bit of research on my early American ancestors, immigrants who arrived in various New England locations in the 1620’s-1700’s.  This is a time when North America was just being opened up for settlement along the east coast.  Life was hard, people died young.  Often, people would marry two and three times as spouses died off, and families tended to be large, often with many infant deaths. 

Some early settlements, like Hartford, Connecticut and Springfield, Massachusetts, left us a decent amount of records of when people were born married and died.  These records are available on Ancestry.com and other places online.  But here we come into a problem, one that has been causing me some irritation.  When importing many of these records to my ancestors, I keep running into location fields populated with a location, followed by “United States”.  This is obviously incorrect data, as prior to 4 July 1776, there was no United States of America!  How am I supposed to trust records that include such blatantly incorrect data?

It’s 2015.  We’re living in a time when computers are everywhere, and systems are being built with a lot of built in intelligence.  Why, then, have services like Ancestry.com implemented some of that intelligence in fighting this sort of database corruption?  For it is corruption to include demonstrably false data in a database.  Why have they not implemented controls that examine records being entered for such anachronisms as chronologically non-existent countries?  What’s more, we know when most counties in various states were created, as well, and we could also screen for that!  Not only would this screen for bad data, it could then flag the user about the problem, so that they could do further research to get the correct data, instead of relying on erroneous entries that have been passed about for decades.

As an IT person, I have a little experience with programming, and I know this problem is not trivial, but it is also not insurmountable.  Data could be examined, modified to repair blatantly incorrect entries, or perhaps even remove the incorrect portions.  This would not fix existing databases of users of those services, but it would keep new users from filling their databases with bad data!  Perhaps Ancestry or MyHeritage could even offer database cleaning service, to examine users’ data and suggest items to be cleaned.  After all, most major genealogy software now offers some error checking capability; this could be implemented for users who are just using the websites as well.  Heck, it could even be set up as an in-app purchase to help cover the costs of implementing it!

We’re using all of our computing power to collect and store reams of data.  Isn’t it time we used some of that power to make sure the data’s correct?
 


This and all other articles on this blog are © copyright 2015 by Daniel G. Dillman