Sunday, January 31, 2010

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy: WorldCat

Week 5: Play with WorldCat is a massive network of library content that the public can search for free (user name and password not required). Not every library is a part of WorldCat, but the vast size of the network makes it an important genealogy tool. If you are looking for a specific book or publication, enter the identifying information into the WorldCat search box and see which libraries hold the item. You may even find that you can get the item through your library’s inter-library loan program. Don’t forget to search for some of your more unusual surnames and see what comes up. The goal is to play with WorldCat and examine its possibilities for your own research. If you’re already familiar with WorldCat, play with it again. The network and collection grow and change constantly. If you have a genealogy blog, write about your experiences with searching WorldCat for this exercise.

I talked a little about WorldCat in last week's post, and, being a university librarian, I'm already very familiar with it. OCLC, the provider of WorldCat, even has a website on WorldCat for genealogy, with tutorials on using both the free online version and the subscription version accessed via FirstSearch, which is the interface I usually use.

However, for this exercise, I decided to use the free WorldCat. I thought I would see if I could find anything about the De Haven family in Pennsylvania, just in case I decide to pursue DAR membership through my Wolfe and De Haven ancestors.

I've learned enough about searching that I knew I couldn't just enter "De Haven" in the search box as that would pick up things BY De Havens as well as ABOUT them. Even doing an advanced search on subject: De Haven brought up 210 results. A lot of these have nothing to do with the De Haven family, but by clicking on one that did, I saw that I should limit the subject to De Haven family. That reduced it to 33 results, still too many for me to start with.

So I repeated an advanced search on subject: De Haven family and keyword: Pennsylvania. That brought up the following items:

History of the De Haven family by Howard De Haven Ross;

The de Haven family (alias im den Hoffe or ten Haúven) of early Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania : through Anne (DeHaven) Wright by Helen Martha Wright (two versions of this); and

De Haven pioneers, 1680-1983 by Elton L Davis; Carolyn Spicer Carney.

For the first item, WorldCat actually produced better results than FirstSearch. Initially the latter only showed the title being available at one library, but that was because the initial results only showed one edition/format--it's actually available in 13. WorldCat showed the title available at 44 libraries in 11 editions or formats. One of those includes microform at a public library about 30 miles, so I could easily travel there if they do not loan it out on interlibrary loan.

However - even better - this book is available online through Heritage Quest Online. In Texas, many libraries have access to this subscription database through the TexShare program. Because the database will mark "hits" in the book of your search terms, I was able to quickly scan though it. There was some information about my De Haven ancestor, but most of it was about his brother.

The second item is available in print at the New York Public Library, but must be used in library. It's also available in microform from the State Library of Pennsylvania and (according to FirstSearch) the New Jersey State Library.

The third item is only available in WorldCat at the Iron Range Research Center, part of the Minnesota Discovery Center. After some digging, I found that this book is part of their non-circulating collection. The best I could probably hope for with these last two titles is a loan with in-library use.

[52 Weeks to Better Genealogy was developed by my friend Amy of We Tree and is hosted by] © Amanda Pape - 2010

Sunday, January 24, 2010

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy: Interlibrary Loan

Week 4: Learn about your local public library’s inter-library loan (ILL) policy. Pick a genealogy-related book that you want to read that is not in your library’s collection. Ask the librarian how to request the book from another library. Find the different library systems from which you can request books through your own library, as this can dramatically increase the number of genealogy books to which you have access. If you have a genealogy blog, write about your experience with requesting items through your library’s ILL service.

Let me start by saying I LOVE ILL. I use it all the time. While my local public library offers interlibrary loan service, I usually use the university library where I work, for convenience. I've requested - and received - numerous items of all types since I started working there 3.5 years ago.

However, I did not have very good luck requesting a genealogy-related book, and here, in a nutshell, is why: Many genealogy books are in non-circulating collections, often due to their rarity. That means that if the item must be used on-site by the library's local patrons, they're not very likely to send it out on an interlibrary loan.

Case in point: Back in mid-October, I requested The descendants of John Moore of Somerset County, Maryland through interlibrary loan. Libraries use WorldCat (a more sophisticated subscription version of the public site) to find what other libraries have requested items. As you can see when you click the book's link, at least 17 libraries record holdings of this title. (Actually, at least 22 libraries have the book according to the subscription WorldCat). And of course, there may be many other small libaries out there that aren't members of OCLC and won't show up in WorldCat.

Checking the first three libraries in the WorldCat record (also the closest to my home), one can see that the book is listed as "no checkout," "non-circulating," and "LIB[rary] USE ONLY." This was apparently the case with all the libraries contacted by our interlibrary loan department. After numerous inquiries to the other libraries over a month and a half, they told me they would not be able to fill my request. Fortunately, I did not need this book that badly - my cross-country sister-in-law has a copy and I can borrow hers.

So, I wanted to caution readers that while ILL is a wonderful service, it doesn't always mean you will be able to use those rare sources you want to use at your own home. Sometimes a library will lend out its materials, but only for use within the borrowing library.

If you know pretty specifically what information you want from the book and can specify page numbers or chapters, most libraries are happy to photocopy and snail-mail or scan the relevant pages and e-mail a PDF of them to you, either via an ILL request or by contacting the libraries that hold the item directly.

If you don't know just what you need out of the book, or need a lot of material, it might be best to contact a library that holds the item directly, and speak to the librarian. The more information you can give the librarian about your needs, the more likely it is that we can find what you need. As an example, I manage the special collections (including genealogy and local history) at my university library. If you need an obituary from the microfilm of the local newspaper, I can get it for you, as long as you can specify at least the month and year of death.

[52 Weeks to Better Genealogy was developed by my friend Amy of We Tree and is hosted by] © Amanda Pape - 2010

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Surname Saturday: PAPE

To the left is a coat of arms for my Pape family given to me by my third cousin Ulrike when I visited her and her family in 1982 in Buren, Westphalia, Germany. It's a copy by her brother Wolfgang of "an ancient painting by H. Pape, Hamburg, 1898 in Stuttgart."

My cousin translated the caption (which I also have in the original German) as follows:
This family has existed 4 centuries in Holland, Saxony, Rheinland, and Westphalia. It originally goes back to West-Friesland and was traced to Ameland at the beginning of the 15th century. The family branches spread also to Hamburg, Gotttingen and Schwerin after 1550. Coat of arms bearers were Peter Pape, 1580, businessman of Gottingen, and Willem Pape, 1612, copper engraver of Hamburg.
There are a lot of Papes here in Texas, especially in the central part of the state where many German immigrants settled, but I don't believe I am related to any of them. Apparently it's a fairly common name, or else many of the Papes actually had a longer surname in the old country that was shortened to this. Most of the ones I've met pronounce the name like "poppy," while we pronounce the name like "paper" without the R sound at the end (i.e Pape rhymes with tape, gape, ape, cape, nape).

My great-grandfather, John Pape, came to the United States in 1880, and settled in Evanston, Illinois (although his descendants are now all over the country). Ulrike is supposedly the great-granddaughter of one of his brothers, who stayed in the Buren area. A family business, the Gebr. Pape Druckerei (Pape Brothers Printing), is still there, run by Ulrike's youngest brother Eberhard. I'd like to learn more about the family roots in Germany.

© Amanda Pape - 2010

Friday, January 22, 2010

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy: Accessing Myself

Week 3: Assess yourself! You’re great at researching everyone else’s history, but how much of your own have you recorded? Do an assessment of your personal records and timeline events to ensure your own life is as well-documented as that of your ancestors. If you have a genealogy blog, write about the status of your own research and steps you may take to fill gaps and document your own life.

When my friend Amy of the We Tree blog created the 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy challenges, she says, "I originally wrote this one so people wouldn't forget their own lives and accomplishments because they were so busy documenting the history of others."

Well, I think I've done a pretty good job documenting my life over the years. I first got a camera when I was 9 years old, and started creating photo albums at the same time. I still have them all. I also acquired a lot of photographs from the first nine years of my life from my mother, and created an album of those as well. The photos for the first 29 years of my life (up to the point where my son was born) even have captions! Notations on photos since then are spotty - some written on the backs of the photos with a Stabilo pencil; others written on sticky notes in the albums. At least all of the photos are in chronological order in photo-safe albums!

There isn't as much as I would like from 1982 though 1997, because my first husband wanted us to use slide film instead of prints; and he kept most of the slides when we divorced. On the other hand, when I married my current husband (the love of my life!), I went through boxes and boxes of his photos and pulled out ones of him and his family and created four albums documenting his life before I came back into it. Naturally, in the last four years that we have been together again, there are a number of photos and other momentoes, but they are in chronological order in a box waiting for me to put them into an album. I need to do that soon.

I also need to go back and write notes on the backs of ALL my photos in Stabilo pencil, noting who is in the photo and when and where it was taken. It's so frustrating to come across an old family photo and have no idea who is in it. I don't want my descendants to experience that.

I also have various scrapbooks and files with things like all my report cards in them. There's a folder in my files called "Important Papers" including certified copies of our birth certificates (among other items), but there are some key documents I need to get. I think this blog will be a step in the right direction; a place to record memories and stories from my life as well as those of my ancestors.

[52 Weeks to Better Genealogy was developed by my friend Amy of We Tree and is hosted by]

© Amanda Pape - 2010

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Charles and Elizabeth Guokas

These are my great-grandparents, my mother's paternal grandparents. They are buried in Holy Cross Cemetery in Houston, Texas, next to my maternal grandfather, Charles Guokas Jr.

Charles Peter Guokas Sr. was born February 27, 1863, in Lithuania. He arrived in the United States in either 1880 or 1890, and was naturalized in 1910. His first wife was Stephanie Jasielewiewicz, and they married January 10, 1892, at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Bremond, Texas. They had two daughters, Mary "Mamie" (born around 1895) and Annie (born around 1898). I am guessing that Stephanie died soon after that, for on January 21, 1900, Charles married Elizabeth Banavich, also at St. Mary's

Elizabeth Banavich was born December 12, 1875, also in Lithuania, and arrived in the United States in 1900. She and Charles had six children, Elizabeth "Lizzie" (born 1901), Justice (born and died 1902), my grandfather Charles Jr. (born 1903), Agnes "Aggie" (born 1906), Eva (born 1907), and Roy Lee (born 1917). They were living in Houston at least by the time of Justice's birth/death (based on his obituary in the Houston Chronicle), and lived there the rest of their lives.

Charles Sr. was a fireman for the Southern Pacific Railroad lines for 48 years, from 1886 to 1933. He died on April 8, 1939. According to the 1910 census, Elizabeth Banavich Guokas was still speaking primarily Russian then, and could not read or write (at least not in English). By the 1920 census, she could speak English. She died November 6, 1929.

© Amanda Pape - 2010

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sentimental Sunday: My Connection with a Governor (part 1)

This past Tuesday I wrote a little about my maternal grandfather, Charles Guokas Jr. As the article on the left from the June 15, 1933, Dallas Morning News notes, he was appointed secretary to Texas Governor Miriam A. "Ma" Ferguson about that time, serving until the end of her term in January 1935. Below is a picture of the Governor and her staff taken sometime in that time frame. This is a scanned and cropped image of my mother's copy of the picture, which is also part of the Ferguson Collection at the Bell County Museum in Belton, Texas.

The picture also appears on page 192 of Miriam: The Southern Belle Who Became the First Woman Governor of Texas, by May Nelson Paulissen and Carl McQueary. The same page quotes a January 15, 1933, Dallas Morning News article that states that "J. H. Davis, Jr., a banker of Temple...has been appointed secretary to Mrs. Ferguson. Assistant secretaries are John Wood of Shelby County; Mrs. Gladys Little of Bosque County and Miss Kathleen Trigg of Temple. Miss Cora Langston of Milam County was appointed stenographer..."

Governor Ferguson is seated at the desk, with her husband Jim "Pa" Ferguson, governor 1915-1917, seated next to her. I'm assuming the ladies mentioned above are those standing in the photograph, and the tall gentleman with glasses is probably Mr. Davis. My grandfather, who replaced John Wood in June 1933, is standing at the right. According to family stories, he was her appointments secretary - you could not see the Governor without seeing him first.

More later on my other connections to Ma Ferguson.

© Amanda Pape - 2010

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Charles Peter Guokas Jr., 1903-1967

Charles Peter "Charlie" Guokas Jr. is my maternal grandfather. He was born September 23, 1903, in Houston, Texas, the son of Lithuanian immigrants Charles Peter Sr. and Elizabeth Bonavich Guokas, who are buried next to him in Holy Cross Cemetery in Houston, Texas.

He married my maternal grandmother, Sara Melzina Wolfe, on July 20, 1926, but they were divorced before 1945. They had three children, two of which are still living.

Charles Guokas Jr. was appointed secretary to Governor Miriam Amanda Ferguson of Texas in June, 1933, serving until the end of her term of office in January, 1935 (more about this later). Other than this time in Austin, he was a resident of Houston, Texas, where he operated many parking lots downtown. He was active in the Democratic party and worked on John F. Kennedy's campaign in Texas. My mother has a sketch done of him that we found crumpled up in the trunk of his car after his death. It's a picture of him seated in a chair, in profile, and the caption says "Charlie Guokas - Democrat." My mother had it framed and it hangs on a wall in my parents' home.

I remember Grandpa coming to our house and giving me and my siblings all the change in his pockets - which was often quite a lot. He too contributed to my college fund which enabled me to pay my own way through school. Grandpa died of arteriosclerosis on May 18, 1967, when I was ten years old.

© Amanda Pape - 2010

Sunday, January 10, 2010

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy: Hood County Library

I wasn't able to get to the local public library until yesterday, after Challenge #1 had ended, so I was glad to see Challenge #2 involved the same location.

Challenge #1: Go to your local public library branch. Make a note of the genealogy books in the collection that may help you gain research knowledge. Don’t forget to check the shelves in both the non-fiction section and the reference section. If you do not already have a library card, take the time to get one. If you have a genealogy blog, write about what you find in your library’s genealogy collection.

Challenge #2: Go to your local public library branch again. Examine the local history, archives and/or special collections section. Ask a librarian if you don’t know if your library has special collections or where they are located. Be sure to check the reference section, too, as many of the newer and more valuable books are held in that area. If you have a genealogy blog, write about what you find in your library’s local history and special collections.

The genealogy, local history, and special collections are together in the Hood County Library, located just northwest of the historic courthouse square in Granbury, Texas. Items in this area of the library (the northeast corner of the building) must be used in-house. One bank of shelves has a number of books, the next bank has various genealogy periodicals and other items, such as binders with the records of the local Opera Guild and the local Habitat for Humanity group.

There is a computer dedicated to genealogy research, as well as a microfilm reader. The Hood County News going back to September 3, 1891 is available on microfilm (for the most part), as well as microfilm of other early newspapers, some county records, and even various census records.

There are also four four-drawer vertical file cabinets, with files on a variety of subjects. For example, there is a file for each cemetery in the county, with a listing of burials from the most recent survey, as well as newspaper clippings and other information.

Probably the most interesting things in these drawers are part of the Judge Henry Davis Records Collection. While serving as county judge in the 1950s, Davis began making notes from county records about local families. After his death in 1976, his sister donated his papers to the Library. Local genealogists sorted them by surname and created family file folders. Since then, others have added other data such as family group sheets, pedigrees, and newspaper clippings.

A catalog search of the word "genealogy" turns up 348 items in the genealogy section (approximately 204 of these were donated by individuals and the Hood County Genealogical Society), and 34 in the nonfiction section (which can be checked out and taken outside the library). There are local history books which can be borrowed as well - I checked out one with the library card I've had since moving to Granbury nearly four years ago. Unfortunately, many non-book materials are not cataloged, nor could I find any indexes or listings.

[This post meets Challenges #1 and #2 in 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy hosted by]
© Amanda Pape - 2010

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Sara Melzina Wolfe Guokas Archibald, 1907-1997, and Wallace Archibald, 1896-1970

This is the grave marker for my maternal grandmother and step-grandfather, "Nani" and "Po-po". They are buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Houston, Texas, which is near the intersection of Interstate 10 West and Loop 610 in Houston, not far from the neighborhood where my family lived from 1959 into 1964.

Sara Melzina Wolfe is the daughter of Louis Henry Wolfe and Addilee Shelton Wolfe Harris. There is some confusion as to whether or not my grandmother was born in 1907 or 1908. I believe my grandmother thought it was 1907 (she had that part of her gravestone pre-engraved), but apparently some documents indicate it was 1908. Her first name came from her maternal grandmother, Sarah Ann Spikes Shelton, and her middle name came from her paternal grandmother, Margaret Melzina "Maggie" Carroll Wolfe.

Nani worked for the US Postal Service (then called the Post Office) for many years. She arranged for my class to have a field trip at the downtown Houston post office when I was in elementary school. After retiring, she was very active in NARFE, the National Association of Retired Federal Employees. She lived in Houston from at least 1920 until her death. I remember spending many nights at hers and Po-po's house on Bay Oaks, and later at the houses she shared with her sister, my great aunt Edith Elizabeth Wolfe Smith Murff Brown Gould Knox, and finally her condo just a couple miles from our house in Sharpstown.

Nani had a hard childhood and raised her family during the Depression, so she was very frugal. However, she was very generous with her five grandchildren, and I was able to pay my own way through college with the help of the many contributions she made to my college fund. She also contributed to my son's college fund, and helped me financially and emotionally through my difficult divorce from my son's father.

There is more about her life, but I'll save that for future posts. I will have to write more about my step-grandfather in the future too, because I don't know that much about his family. He took numerous home movies when my siblings and I were children. They've all been transferred to videotape (and need to be moved to a digital format), and I still have all of his 16mm rolls of movie film.

© Amanda Pape - 2010

Monday, January 4, 2010

Family photos from Christmas 2009

Left: Day after Xmas 2009, Austin, Texas. Standing: Fred Pape, Mary Pape, Amanda Pape and her sweetie Mark, Mark Pape, Debbie Reynolds Pape. Sitting: Sister Jean Marie Guokas, Johan Pape, Gerrie Guokas Pape.

Right:=> My niece and nephews Mady, Nick, and Noah Pape, from the 2010 calendar they gave me.

Left: Eric Bolme, Brian Pape, and Paige Frederick Pape on Christmas Day 2009 in Austin, Texas.

The only family member missing from these pictures who was there (most of the time) is my sister Karen Pape - who hates for me to take her picture!

In other family news, Mark's nephew Evan Crane married Melissa Dipinto on Christmas Eve in New York City.

© Amanda Pape - 2010

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Don't it always seem to go...

...that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone? (from Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell, with kudos to Amy Coffin's We Tree blog for the idea.)

OK, this post is about backing up your data, as an entry into the Geneabloggers Data Backup Weekend Contest. Like Amy, I've suffered some major computer meltdowns - three in fact since 2004 (and for some odd reason, they all seem to happen in the Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday season - why IS that?).

Currently I'm using our spare computer (a Dell whose innards were almost completely replaced after its 2004 meltdown - either the power supply or the graphics card was at fault - or both - I can't remember). That's because our main computer started acting up at the end of November. It had the Google redirect problem, so I started copying all my data files to thumb drives before it failed. Now it will boot but then the monitor goes black and Windows XP won't start. Not sure if it's a virus or malware, or if it was because of a Microsoft update to Windows or Internet Explorer. The friend I want to look at it isn't available, so in the meantime we pulled my Dell out of its box and set it back up.

The computer failure that really hurt, though, was the one that happened in December 2007. Our main computer was repaired by someone local who did a lot of things to it without checking with us first. It needed a new motherboard, but he also took out a particular 2D graphics card (one of the best to use with photographic work) in the process. He also apparently reformatted the hard drive and decided to install things like Open Office (I own and prefer Microsoft Office Professional). Some of our data files were still there, but many were not. To this day I'm still not 100% sure about what was lost.

My Personal Ancestral File (PAF) software and my two PAF data files were gone. I was able to download the software and reinstall it easily. Lucky for me, PAF asks you periodically if you want to backup your data, and I had, onto a thumb drive. Just not very recently. So, I lost some of my genealogy data, but luckily not all of it.

I'm trying to be better about backing up. I think I get sloppy about it because I have a network drive at work where I save nearly all of my work-related data (mostly so I can access it from any one of the three computers I will use within a single day at work). The network drive is backed up automatically so I don't think about data backup in most of my waking hours. I'm trying to make it a point to copy anything I enter into my family trees into PAF and vice-versa, and then backup the PAF file when exiting that program. I try to save images and data files on both the hard drive and a thumb drive after creating them. I'll often e-mail myself a copy too. If we end up choosing not to repair the main computer, I will at least pull the hard drive and turn it into an external drive that I can plug in via a USB port and use for backups (both data and software).

Still, I know I can do better. I'll be reading the posts of everyone else entering the data backup contest to see if I can get some other ideas.

© Amanda Pape - 2010