Notes from the past…


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The 4th Tennessee Mounted Infantry Regiment, U.S.A. and the Internet

My second great-grandfather Isaac Turner is my only ancestor (so far) to have fought on the Union side during the Civil War. My family is filled with Southerners, so it came as quite a shock when I found his index card in Ancestry’s Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 a couple of years ago.

I eventually got his entire pension file from NARA and it told quite a story, not so much about Isaac and his military career, but about his family and the hardships they endured after his death.

But this was his pension file, not his active military file. I have yet to find that file, as it is not available at Ancestry, Footnote or FamilySearch Record Search. But I think it will appear in the not-too-distant future.

Why do I think it will soon be available? Because early this morning I found several original (compilation 1890) documents concerning Company E of the 4th Tennessee Mounted Infantry Regiment, Isaac’s old unit, at the Internet Archive’s Allan County Public Library collection!

I had previously set up an RSS feed for this site, and this is the title that appeared yesterday and that I found when I got home from work at 2AM:

Compiled records showing service of military units in volunteer Union organizations [microform] (Volume Reel 0190 – Compiled records showing service of military units in volunteer Union organizations – TENNESSEE Fourth Infantry, Fourth Mounted Infantry, Fifth Infantry, Fifth Mounted Infantry, Sixth Infantry, Sixth Mounted Infantry, Seventh Infantry, Seventh Mounted Infantry, Eighth Infantry, Eighth Mounted Infantry, Tenth Infantry Co. A, East Tennessee National Guard Capt. Beaty’s Independent Scouts (Mounted) TEXAS First Cavalry Second Cavalry Second Cavalry (1 Year, 1865) Gen. Hamilton’s Body Guard, Cavalry Vidal’s Co., Independent Co., Partizan Rangers, Cavalry)

Wait a minute! Did I just see Tennessee Fourth Mounted Infantry???

I did!

And this is one of the images that I found when I clicked on the title:

compiledrecordss0190unit_0149

This file has over 1300 pages. There is a search box but it really doesn’t work too well. So I’ll have to browse each page to find any actual mention of Isaac, although I think this file only deals with the individual military units, not the individual soldiers. My initial find of 6 pages shows places and dates of service for the 4th Tennessee Mounted Infantry Regiment. What a wonderful find!

For the past couple of weeks, this RSS feed has been showing various 1850 Federal Census state files. I haven’t been too excited about this data, since it’s already available at Ancestry ($$$) and FamilySearch Record Search (free). But Civil War documents that I haven’t seen anywhere else… now that is exciting!

In fact, I just checked the feed again this morning (sleep, what is sleep?) and now it is showing Index to War of 1812 Pension Application files!

Pardon me, I’m drooling again… :)

(By the way, to set up an RSS feed for the ACPL Collection at the Internet Archive, go to this page and click on the RSS icon that’s just a little way down the page. DO IT NOW!)


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Thomas and the Meme

Thomas MacEntee of Geneabloggers has come up with another great idea!

bob The What I Do meme:

you basically list what you use in terms of technology to either run your genealogy business or pursue your family history as a hobby.

What fun! I use all sorts of wonderful gidgets and gadgets that I am very happy to share with everyone!

These are the categories:

* Hardware: Dell 1011 Netbook. Yes folks, the only computer that I use is my little baby Dell Mini 10. I use it daily in my genealogical research and for the rest of my life’s activities, too. It is big and strong enough to do anything that I want, including manipulating and storing images and enjoying my iTunes library. It is small and lightweight enough to fit in my purse or backpack and go with me where ever I go. I absolutely love it! Windows XP, 160 GB hard drive, the processor is pretty fast, too… the only drawback is that it has no disc drive, but I have discovered that just about any program that I want can be downloaded from the Internet or loaded on a USB drive (from my granddaughter’s Toshiba laptop), then transferred to my Mini.

* External storage: several USB drives for temporary storage and transporting, and a Western Digital 250GB external drive for the important stuff. I have all of my genealogical records, all of my personal stuff, plus ALL of my digital photos on the WD drive and still have tons of room left!

* Online storage: My website. I have a hosted site with unlimited bandwidth and storage for $8.95/month.

* Backup: again the WD drive, my website and I also have a RootsWeb site where I keep my most current .ged. Also Backupify and a WordPress plugin, WordPress Database Backup. You just can’t be too careful!

* Firewall: Windows firewall that comes with XP.

* Virus protection: Panda Cloud (free). I originally wanted to try it because everything resides online (the ”cloud”) and doesn’t take up hard drive space on my Mini. I have used it for almost a year with absolutely no problems.

* Spyware: Don’t really use a specific program. Between the XP firewall, Panda and Glary Utilities, my baby stays pretty neat and clean!

* File cleaner: Glary Utilities.

* Printer: HP 1315 all-in-one. I’ve used it for several years, it’s just like the Energizer Bunny.

* Phone: Blackberry 8900 Curve. Just got it about a month ago, still trying to figure out how to work it… :)

* Email: Gmail, what else!

* Mobile media: the Blackberry, I also have a iPod Touch 32 GB, works as another backup for my genealogical data

* Music player: iPod Touch

* Car audio: The radio that came with my Honda 2005 Civic, works just fine for me… :)

* eBook Reader: don’t really use one, read a lot of pdf stuff.

* Browser: Firefox, of course!

* Blog: WordPress.org (self-hosted) LUUUVVVV IT!

* RSS: FeedBurner, Google Reader

* FTP: Filezilla, very simple to use

* Text editor: plain ole’ Notepad, or OpenOffice for heavier stuff

* Graphics: Paint Shop Pro 7, Anniversary Edition. Older than dirt and I wouldn’t use anything else!

* Screen capture: the little button at the top of my keyboard that says Prnt Scrn…

* Social media: Facebook, but I don’t spend much time there (not since I broke free of FarmVille!). A little Twitter.

* Social bookmarking: Diigo

* Social profile: nothing

* URL shortener: don’t really use one

* Office suite: OpenOffice, the best!

* Calendar: Google Calendar

* Accounting: I use Buddi for my checkbook and to keep up with my bills. Simple, free.

* PDF generator: I use PDF XChange Viewer to read pdf’s. Very handy because it will export a pdf file as a jpg, so I can upload all of my GenealogyBank newspaper clippings as jpg’s to my website and also to my RootsMagic program. Seems most genealogy programs can’t handle pdf files.

* Genealogy database: RootsMagic 4. Over the years, I have tried just about every genealogy database program and RootsMagic is hands-down my favorite

* Genealogy tools: PixelRuler (great for reading census pages or other original docs), Transcript (transcribing docs), Windows Live Writer (the most wonderful program for writing blog posts offline, then uploading to the live blog, especially good at handling images), ToDoList (need I say more… a little fancier that what RootsMagic produces)

* Other tech stuff: My webhosting company is wonderful! Very, very pleased with these folks. I rarely-to-never have problems, but when I do, these guys almost immediately respond to my hysterical pleas and walk me through whatever crisis that I’m currently having! They set up WordPress for me using their Easy Mode. Works great, no problems. Then about a month ago, I decided to try my hand at setting up a graphics program (Gallery2) for my tons of genea-images and a wiki for my research notes (MediaWiki) through my webhost using their Advanced Mode (more themes & plugins than with the Easy Mode and installation and maintenance is a tiny bit more involved”). I didn’t know if I could do it, cuz I’m not terribly techie, but even the Advanced Mode was pretty straight-forward and really rather simple to complete, Again, I thank my webhost for that!

Also my little pink Sony Cybershot DSC-W220.

By the way, almost all of the software listed above is open-source (free!). I have found over years of trial and error that open-source software is very reliable and practically never contains garbage (spyare and bloatware). It is usually backed up by massive online documentation and an active and involved user community.

P. S. The best and safest place to find software online is cnet.com. Very reputable. The first (and usually the only) place I go to when I need something!

P. P. S. I recently found an excellent (and free, of course!) ebook that explains, in simple terms, the main points of creating and maintaining your own website. Plain English, folks! Wonderful! Seriously, this is a really great reference. Check it out.