Sunday, February 11, 2018

Tracking Narcisse Riel through census records

My 3rd Great Grandfather.

Narcisse Riel, born March 14, 1835, died 1913.  Some researchers say he died in 1912, but no source info has been given.

1851 Canadian Census:
"Canada Census, 1851," database, FamilySearch ( : 3 August 2016), Narcesse Rielle, Sherrington, Huntingdon County, Canada East (Quebec), Canada; citing p. 63, line 7; Library and Archives Canada film number C_1121, Public Archives, Ontario.

1860 US Census:
"United States Census, 1860", database with images, FamilySearch ( : 14 December 2017), Narciss Ryell, 1860.

1870 US Census:
"United States Census, 1870," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 12 April 2016), Nelson Eryill, New York, United States; citing p. 38, family 280, NARA microfilm publication M593 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 552,418.

1880 US Census:
"United States Census, 1880," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 20 August 2017), Nelson Aryell, Mooers, Clinton, New York, United States; citing enumeration district ED 24, sheet 339D, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 0820; FHL microfilm 1,254,820.

1892 New York Census:
"New York State Census, 1892," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 6 November 2014), Nelson Reyell, 1892; citing Mooers, E.D. 01, county offices, New York; FHL microfilm 863,412.

1900 US Census:
"United States Census, 1900," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 12 February 2018), Nelson Aul, Mooer's Township Mooer's village, Clinton, New York, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 19, sheet 13B, family 259, NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1972.); FHL microfilm 1,241,018.

1905 New York Census:
New York State Census, 1905, database with images, FamilySearch ( : 20 December 2017), Nelson Reyell, Mooers, E.D. 01, Clinton, New York; citing p. 14, line 37, county offices, New York.; FHL microfilm 863,413.

1910 US Census:
"United States Census, 1910," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 12 February 2018), Nelson Argell, Mooers, Clinton, New York, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 20, sheet 7A, family 148, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 932; FHL microfilm 1,374,945.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Lifting Words

On Monday evening, July 18, Mrs. Melania Trump gave a speech at the Republican National Convention.  The next day there are stories on the wires that intimate that Mrs. Trump 'borrowed' passages from a speach that Mrs. Michelle Obama gave at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

Comparing the questionable sections, it looks to me like Mrs. Trump could very well be guilty of plagiarism.  Or her speechwriter could be.

New York Times - Melania Trump’s Speech Bears Striking Similarities to Michelle Obama’s in 2008

So where might Mrs. Obama (or her speech writers) have heard some of these phrases?  Surely they weren't all original.  Off to Google Books to find some examples, from titles on astrology, selling, leadership, and a riveting journal on "power haulage".

What Your Birthday Reveals About You (2005) by Phyllis Vega

Schools at Home and Abroad (1901) by Robert Edward Hughes

First 100 Days of Selling (2007) by Jim Ryerson

Dare to Lead: Leading with Respect, Sincerity, and Service (2004) by Thomas A. Lutz

The Motor Truck; the National Authority of Power Haulage, Volume 13 (1922)

These four examples were all written before Mrs. Obama gave that speech.  Clearly, she must have plagiarized. (Note to readers: I don't think that she did.)

Well, then maybe Mrs. Trump didn't plagiarize either.  (Note to readers: I think that she borrowed the phrases from Mrs. Obama's speech.)

It is called "using a template".  When it is time to polish our resume, we find the CV of someone that we admire and use the structure of the document as a good, solid starting point.  There are templates for just about anything out there.  Book reports, slide presentations for work, heck, even limericks.  But if the users are going to use any of the content, they should give credit to the originator. 

I'm guessing that there aren't that many templates that would be in the "I'm married to the 'fill in the blank' party's presumptive presidential nominee" category.  Let's see.... Eleanor Roosevelt, Pat Nixon, Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush, Tipper Gore, Elizabeth Dole, Laura Bush, Teresa Heinz Kerry, Cindy McCain, Michelle Obama, and Ann Romney. (info from

Friday, June 10, 2016

More family fun. Oh, Joy!

My folks are back visiting, which is a good thing. I spent some time with my mom looking at various photos of her family's headstones in West Virginia. I gave her a quick lesson on and  We found draft registration cards of her maternal grandfather, Floyd JOY, at  I present them below.

"United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 10 June 2016), West Virginia > Wirt County; A-Z > image 651 of 1486; citing NARA microfilm publication M1509 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

"United States World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 10 June 2016), 004135276 > image 2169 of 3213. Citing NARA microfilm publications M1936, M1937, M1939, M1951, M1962, M1964, M1986, M2090, and M2097 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
Note: I have edited the original image files, to straighten, remove extra space, and rotate the images.  The links in the captions will provide a true representation of the images.

Friday, October 09, 2015

Comfortably Numb

I checked my facebook feed this morning as I was walking to wake up my daughter.  A dear high school and college friend had posted that she was heartbroken over the tragic shooting at Northern Arizona University.  I looked at the news websites.  Overnight a student had shot four people, killing one, and then was taken into custody.

Sorrow filled my heart.  Anger filled my head.  My eyes welled up with tears.  A sickness churned in the pit of my stomach. 

It has been almost seven hours since I first heard of the shooting.  I'm still sorrowful.  The anger has subsided and my head is now filled with many thoughts.  My eyes are still moist.  My stomach has settled.

I write these thoughts, not to encourage debate over what to do and who is right.  I just figured that I should write them down as a release.  To help me try to make sense of what happened.

I can only speak for myself.  I think that I've become comfortably numb to the violence that is happening around me.  Last week, after the shooting in Oregon, I came up with a reason for that.  It has become commonplace.  Yes, the actual violence, but violence as entertainment. 

I enjoy watching television.  I take in a few police dramas and sitcoms each week.  The BlacklistBlindspotBlue BloodsThe MiddleModern FamilyLast Man Standing.  Not tons of TV.  Last night my wife and I watched The Blacklist and then caught up on Blindspot from earlier in the week.  I'm going from memory here.  In The Blacklist episode there were three serious beatings, a police car was shot up, and at least one shooting resulting in death.  In the Blindspot episode there was a fight, an killing from a rifle, a robbery where two people are shot (one later dies), a policeman is shot (presumed dead), and at least three of the "bad guys" die in a shootout.  I really lost count.  When I accept violence like that as entertainment it has to affect me.

So why was I more upset about the shooting in Flagstaff than I was about the shooting in Roseburg?  Because there's an emotional attachment for me.  I love northern Arizona.  I think that if I could have a summer home, it would be in the shadow of the San Francisco Peaks.  In my two years of college I learned so much.  I grew in head knowledge, but more importantly, in people knowledge.  Some of the deepest friendships I have were forged at NAU.

How could the shooter in Flagstaff desecrate my school?  How could he spill blood on its campus?  I don't know the reason why he pulled the trigger.  But he wasn't doing it to desecrate the school.  My guess is that there was some disagreement and he made a very poor choice.  A choice that has consequences, both for him and for his victims.

In this writing I'm staying away from quoting people, either talking heads or politicians.  Candidate X said this.  Commentator Y said that.  Sure.  Let them.  It sounds good at their political rally or on the evening news. 

There are no easy answers to explain what happened.  There are no easy solutions.  This type of violence will continue as long as people think of themselves first.  Perhaps if society was more concerned about our fellow man and asked themselves, "How will my actions today affect other people?" we might not be in the mess that we're in.

What if we thought about every action we took before taking them? 
Do I really need to cut in front of  that driver to get a parking spot five cars closer to the store?  Can I spare a dollar or two for those in need?  Can I offer to help someone that needs help?  Can I take a few minutes each day to pray for those who are troubled?  Can I smile more?
What would happen if we tried that for a while?

My heart still hurts for the families involved.  I can't imagine the discussions that are taking place on campus.  I can't comprehend what is going through the minds of the parents of each student at Flagstaff.  My thoughts and prayers go out to the whole NAU community.

Looking back at this blog post I rambled a bit, didn't answer my own questions, and raised others to think about later.  But I feel better for having written it.

Monday, October 05, 2015

How I Made a GIF

Last week I noticed that the Digital Public Library of America, along with several of their partners, are having a GIF It Up contest soon.  I wondered if I had the chops to enter.  One way to find out.  Make a GIF.

This would be the second one that I've tried to make.  The first was a quick hack

This was assembled two years ago and I don't remember any of the resources I used.

Basically, it is just a series of images, mushed together in a sequence, so that it appears to be a moving image.  Think of those 16mm movie projectors you'd use in high school.  Well, we used them.  I'm guessing that everything is digital today.

I needed an image to see if my proof of concept would work.

So, I had to find something to edit.  Something fairly simple, but fun.  It needed to be copyright free.  I found a photo from the New York Public Library.

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs:
Photography Collection, The New York Public Library.
"Charlie Bastian and Denny Lyons" New York Public Library Digital Collections.
Accessed October 5, 2015.

I envisioned the base runner sliding right by the bag.  I isolated the runner.

Since I'd be layering the runner back on to the picture, I had to fill in that blank space. Copy and paste some of the existing ground.

But that left the fielder with just one leg.  A bit of copy and paste from his other leg makes him look not so piratey.

Then just drop in the runner. Not knowing how much to move him, I selected .35 inches at a time. I created an individual image each time I moved him.

These are frames 1, 5 and 10, out of 25.  I then went to, uploaded my individual images, tweaked some dials and got my completed GIF.

I used paint dot net as my image editing software.  It was not my intention for this post to be a complete "how to" on image editing, just a simple overview of how I made my GIF.  The DPLA has some great resources on GIF making.

As I said, this was a proof of concept.  Could it work?  Could I do it?  What could or did I learn from this?

Yes, it can work.  Yes, I could do it.  I need to clean up the images.  I was concerned about pasting the ground into the hole left by the runner.  The patches aren't really discernible.  Your eye is drawn to the runner sliding across the frame.  I do need to clean up the runner.  You know, remove the glove from his knee.  I might also move him in smaller increments.  Maybe a quarter of an inch at a time.  It might lead to a smoother GIF.

So, back to editing, hopefully to make it better.