Rockdale County Genealogical Society Publication

                                               May, 2011


                                    Ken Thomas Getting Well

Ken Thomas is recovering from his recent accident in which his wrist
was broken. He was released from physical therapy. He has resumed
writing his columns. This marks the thirty-fourth year of writing
about genealogy. His columns can be accessed on-line at Here

                         Ken Thomas On Budget Cuts

Ken Thomas has provided a web link for Georgia history in his column
for April 24th. Go to Clickand search under
collections, then search under “U” for the University of Georgia Press
Georgia History Ebook Project.

Ken also sounded-off on the budget cuts which have forced the reduction
in staff and reduced the hours that the state archives is open to
only three days a week (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday). That letter
was written on March 16th. He sought efforts to button-hole legislative
people across the state with efforts to restore funds to support the
archives. The legislative session is now over. It is doubtful that
anything was effected to this end. The budget situation being what
it is, we can only hope for some sort of restoration in future years.
The archives ranks somewhat lower on the pecking order from state
departments which had their budgets slashed.

                        Civil War Information                 

Family Tree Magazine has issued a special Civil War issue commemorating
the 150th anniversary of the start of the war.

Georgia Civil war pension applications can be accessed at:

This gives online access to the Georgia Department of Archives and
history collection of microfilmed pension records of veterans and
widows. It is likely this is only an index.

A copy of this issue is available at the Nancy Guinn Library in the
Genealogy room.

                    Rockdale Population Figures for 1910

Population of Rockdale    1910         1900
Rockdale total                    8,916        7,515
Towns + Conyers                4,353        3,890
Conyers                              1,919        1,605
Honey Creek                      1,387        1,272
Lorraine                                720          763
Sheffield                             1,448        1,600
Milstead                             1,000        not separate

              Statewide Population for 1910

White Male Population for 1910 (Selected Counties)
Rockdale        1,300
Fulton          35,961
Chatham       11,011
Richmond       8,866
Bibb                8,204
Floyd              6,483
Carroll             5,584
Gwinnett          5,579
Henry               2,238
DeKalb            4,824
Walton             3,607
Newton            2,178
Ga. Total     353,852

Commentary On Genealogy Programs

YMMV, as they say.
It seems to me after all these years that computerized genealogy is
not a whole lot further forward than it was in 1990. The major differences
I see are the speed and the complexity.

Now, I like speed as much as anyone else, but there ARE situations
in which it is less than desirable: ever accidentally merge two people
who shouldn’t’ve been merged? Or, for a more timely example, ever
hit black ice while driving -- I’d sooner do that at 5 mph than at
35 or 50!

Complexity -- The search and sort subroutines in most programs can
give you some very interesting results, when used creatively, but
they also lead you into temptation. It’s always interesting to notice
that four siblings married spouses with the same last name (i.e.,
4 Smith sibs married 4 Joneses), but TEMPTATION! : discovering whether
the Joneses are related to one another can be highly time-consuming
and distracting. I find myself putting things and people into my e-base
that I wouldn’t have wasted a note on 30 years ago-- being able to
track these branches impels me TO track them and just having them
in the e-base complicates life in unforeseen ways. Many of my e-bases
look like I’m tracking the Family of Mankind, not my ancestors! [
Stipulating: yes, some people find tracking neighbors and associates
to be helpful. I never have had any luck with that... not-knowing
where 35 people came from isn’t much better than not-knowing where
1 man came from. ]

Back in the dark ages, we frequently put possibilities on our FGS
or pedigrees in pencil and proven certainties in ink. In libraries,
one copied down the biblio info onto a sheet of paper in one color
ink or pencil and then used that same color to make additions to the
copies of one’s charts.

It was quick and easy and obvious two days later what had come from
where... Then Xerox machines became common and we quickly discovered
that pencil and most ink Xeroxed as black. I was hoping the computer
programs would restore that ability ... I was also hoping that by
now the programs would allow us to enter a person with a non-lineal
relationship to another person (as in, the will calls him “my nephew
Bob Snizzlepoof” without saying who the sibling is) ... Hope springs

Then the presentations -- sure, any of my genie programs and any of
yours can print a nice wall-size chart. Some of ‘em make it easier
than others, some of them want plotters instead of printers, but all
of ‘em *do* it. In black ink. When we hand-wrote those charts, we
could code-code them -- all the women in pink, the men in blue; all
people born in NY in blue, all married in Ohio in red; all 1700s dates
in black, all 1800s in green, all 1900s in blue ... The year someone
managed to produce a multi-colored pedigree from PAF 2.x he was the
hit of the show-n-tell party.

Yes, I know that not many of us want to do any of that, but then again,
as I said 15 or more years ago, not many of us have audio recordings
of people who died before 1920 or photographs of people who died before
1820, but we all seem to have computer genealogy programs that allow
us to put in whatever we’ve got, so there are bound to be a couple
hundred people who’d like color-differentiated pedigree charts.
Meandering back past the turn-off to what might have been my point
... Genie programs each have their own drawback, which is never ever
publicized and which you discover after trial and error, often after
laying out enough money to buy groceries for a week. OBviously, one
can’t expect the vendor or the developer to brag on what his program
can’t do, so it falls to the users to comment on those omissions.
Then of course someone who doesn’t need to print whatever it is flies
to the defence of the program that won’t print whatever it was, usually
acting as if one were impugning his mamma’s honor. Developers generally
hmmm into their headsets and wonder if it can be done while vendors
point out the 67 things it _does_ print.
So long as computers can crash, they WILL crash
And Murphy is alive and well in the IT dept. so they will crash /just/
as you hit ENTER to start the backup...whether it’s the 2nd of the
twice-daily backups or the monthly backup, that’s when the thing will
snicker into its CPU and go walk-about.

The Cloud computer is just a different arrangement of computers --it
WILL crash eventually, raining the contents of 50,000 databases into
the arid sand of the Mojave/Gobi/Sahara and causing the sort of panic
we haven’t seen since Black Monday in 1929. This suggests to the prudent
that an in-house off-line genie program and data in it will always
be a good idea. There’s an old Pennsylvania Dutch saying: the
hurrieder I go the behinder I get. And, of course, from STAR TREK
: The Search for Spock, the more they improve things, the easier it
is to stop up the plumbing.

singhals <>

                  Permission Granted To Use wrote:

  Dear Cheryl, I loved your bit on gen programs
(12/29/10) on usenet. I must use it in my newsletter, “Genes& Jeans”.
I hope I have your permission. If not, please let me know. We won’t
be able to pay you anything. We only print 30 copies every quarter
and distribute them at our meetings of the Rockdale County Genealogical
Society of Conyers, Georgia. Thanks, Marion Farmer >

Hi, Marion!
Glad you liked it. Of course you may reprint it -- and thank you SO
MUCH for asking!

Ed:  If you thought this was a well written piece, send Cheryl a thank
you. Her email is at the bottom of the article above.

                    Some Memories to Share

We moved into our first home with running water in 1951. Up until
then, the ‘facilities’ consisted of an outdoor toilet. There was a
porcelain “thunder bucket” we could use at night or if it was storming.
Dad would dump it the next morning. Baths on Saturday night so we’d
be clean for church on Sunday. Dad would drag the bathtub in on the
back porch. Mom would heat water on the kitchen stove. They would
bathe us kids first, then Mom. Dad would bathe last because he was
the dirtiest. Working on the farm and only bathing one night/week
makes you wonder how they ever had us kids!! Couldn’t make phone calls,
except on the party line, after 10 P.M. The ‘central office’ closed
from 10 at night until 6 the next morning. If you did need to make
long distance calls, through the day, the cost was extremely high.
That’s why everyone wrote letters instead of calling.

Growing up, we had no video games... no television until I was a sophomore
in high school... no ipods... no cell phones... no computers... Shoot!
We thought the fax machine, with the heat transfer paper, was huge!
Today, it is even becoming difficult to find a fax machine.

Remember the old mimeograph machines? All our school papers or church
bulletins were duplicated on these messy machines. The advent of a
Xerox copy machine was an amazing invention, but ridiculously expensive.
Today, you can by a copier/fax/scanner for well under a hundred bucks.

We can talk about the amazing things we’ve seen, but the most amazing
is the medical advancements. I’ve had a knee totally replaced. My
daughter, still in her 30s, has had her entire colon removed and a
‘j-bag’ technology that has given her a new life. I have more friends
and acquaintances all the time who have beaten cancer. A few years
ago, the “C” word was a death warrant. A young man I have worked with
had open heart surgery in December. He’s 26 years old. 30 days later,
he had a full work release for construction work. Our children and
grandchildren will benefit greatly from the medical miracles that
have been made reality during our lifetime.

There are days I become agitated with the lack of morality, ethics,
etiquette, etc. we see in society. I do not dwell on those instances
for very long. There is way too much good in this world to allow the
bad to ruin it for us. We must keep diligent in our efforts to make
what we can better, but take time to enjoy and appreciate what we
have been blessed with.

Ed:   I have no idea who wrote this article.  It was part of a discussion
on a golf forum. It did make me stop and think.  No doubt all of us
have memories to share.  Since this newsletter is about genealogy,
what better way to preserve those memories than to publish them here
in the newsletter.  Go to your computers;  and, write what you remember
most about life with your parents or your grandparents or your favorite
uncle or aunt. Those memories should not be forgotten.    You will
be pleased with yourself to share those memories with us.  Email a
copy to your editor at:

JEANS & GENES is a publication of the Rockdale County Genealogical
% Nancy Guinn Library
864 Green St. SW
Conyers, Ga.  30012

President:  Chris Zawadski
V. President:  Gayle Vivian
Treasurer: Ellen Trainer
Secretary: Jane Conn
Program Co-Chairmen:  Dee Davis, John Brown
Membership Chairman:  Vacant
Membership Committee: Vacant
Trip Coordinator: Claudine  Jackson
Board Member:  Vacant
Newsletter: Marion T. Farmer
                   1500 A. Pine Log Rd NE
                   Conyers, GA. 30012