Rockdale County Genealogical Society Publication

                                November, 2003

                           Anniversary Meeting Scheduled

The tenth anniversary meeting of the Rockdale County Genealogical
Society will be held on Sunday, November 9, 2003, in the meeting room
of the Nancy Guinn Memorial Library at 3:00 p.m. Refreshments will
be served. The public is invited to attend.

A new slate of officers will be presented and installed. The nominating
commettee has presented the following members for consideration. Bill
Freese for President, Judy Bond or Gayle Vivian for V. President,
Jackie Smith for Treasurer, Bertha Little for Secretary. A program
committee will be appointed and presented at the meeting. This will
be a departure from previous years when one person served as program

We hope that you will plan to attend.

                                 A  Decade Has Passed

The Rockdale County Genealogical Society is ten years old this month.
It has been an eventfull decade of progress and growth. Our membership
has grown significantly. We have accomplished much. Primarily, we
have involved many new people in the pursuit of the knowledge about
their ancestors and the kind of lives that they lived. We have added
significantly to the genealogical holdings in the Nancy Guinn Memorial
Library. This has been mainly through the efforts of the Heritage
Book Committee which was comprised mostly of members of the Rockdale
Genealogical Society. The funds from the sale of the Heritage Book
were used to purchase new books for the library. We can look at the
full shelves with pride. Visitors to Nancy Guinn are surprised at
the extent of the holdings.

We can look at the family file folders and see how they have grown
over the ten years. It is gratifying to see how many researchers are
taking advantage of the library’s materials to build their family

We continue to hold meetings on the second Sunday of each month. We
attempt to provide a pleasant and stimulating program which will add
to the members’ knowledge about genealogical research. While this
is an ambitious undertaking, we have found that, unfortunately, the
supply of available speakers has not increased with our need. It has
become more difficult to find qualified speakers to fit the need.
Our thinking is that perhaps we will need to develop more home-grown
programs in the future. We have approached this problem by starting
a program committee which will be staffed by members who will, hopefully,
plan and execute some of our programs in the coming months. We feel
that it is important to maintain the level of programs at the meetings
in order to keep the members interested in research.

Over the past decade our members have visited many libraries across
the state of Georgia and to other nearby states doing individual research.
Most of these visits have been impromptu trips which were organized
weeks or in some instances days before undertaking them. Usually these
trips were done on Saturday with the members meeting early and driving
to the city where the research was to be done. This works good with
a small close-knit group; however, our membership has grown to the
point where it requires more organization and planning. Members need
time to decide what research needs to be done in a particular city.
Trips need to be planned well in advance so that the trip can be made
known to the membership. Who knows; a trip to Salt Lake City might
be something that we could do. After all, it is the Mecca of genealogical

It has been a great ten years. We have only begun. Let us look to
the future. There seems to be nothing but a great future for genealogical
research. The Rockdale County Genealogical Society will be here doing
its part to provide a springboard for new researchers as well as the
old experienced hands. Let us close out the decade with a rousing
“good show; good show” for all who were part of it.

                Linda Ethridge, First President, Has Died

Mrs. Linda Ethridge, first president of the Rockdale County Genealogical
Society, has died. Her funeral was held in the chapel of Harry White
Funeral Home on Oct. 21, 2003. Her death came almost ten years from
the inception of the club and her term as president.

After her tenure as president, she continued to be active in all aspects
of the club. She served several terms on the Board of Directors and
was instrumental in leading the club on research trips to various
libraries across the state and to libraries in nearby states. She
was also a member of the Heritage Book Committee and worked deligently
to make the book a reality. When the book was completed, she organized
a breakfast to reward and acknowledge the work of the members of the
committee. She took part in each of the anniversary meetings which
the club held.

We will miss her leadership qualities. She would want us to continue
to push forward to promote genealogical research and to encourage
the sharing of data and methods of research. A book will be placed
in the special collections room in her memory by the club.

                Charles Read, Treasurer, Has Died

Mr. Charles Read, our long-time treasurer, has died. The club was
saddened to learn that he had passed away suddenly.

Mr. Read had served as our treasurer for the ten years of the existence
of the Rockdale County Genealogical Society. He had also served the
Church of the Latter Day Saints in their family history center. He
was always faithfully at the meetings and working to promote genealogical

The club will honor his memory with a book to be placed in the special
collections room. He will certainly be missed.

          Library Visitors Share Research Information

Carissa Lucas, 1072 Bryant St., Conyers, Ga. 30012. No names given.

John Bozeman, 1226 Lambeth Way, Conyers, Ga. 30i013. No names given.

R. G. Mitchell, Conyers, Ga. 30094. Researching Mitchell of Georgia
and Alabama.

Sandra Neves, 380 Goldfinch Cir., Monticello, Ga. 31064. Comment:
Just great stuff.

Gary Sexton, 2261 Briarwood Cir., Conyers, Ga. 30094. No names given.

John T. Cornwell, California. Researching Harper and Cornwell.

Virginia Cornwell Fletcher, Columbus, Ga. Researching Harper and Cornwell.

Lynda Post Holland, 310 Calhoun St., Reynolds, Ga. 31076. Researching
Harper and Cornwell.

Devon Graham, Conyers, Ga. No names given.

Tricia Autry, Somerville, TX. Researching Moss, Farmer, Christian,
Treadwell, Sockwell.

Lamar Chandler, Covington, Ga. 30014. Researching James Chandler and
G. W. Chandler.

Randy Rogers, P. O. Box 12086, Jackson, MS. Researching Almand, Gregory,
Guinn and Rogers.

Kevin Rowe, Murfreesboro, TN. No names given.

Amy Stancil, Covington, Ga. 30016. Researching Stancil

Charles Slater, 2503 Ridge Oak Dr., Bonita Springs, Fl. 34134. Researching
family of Joel Samuel Johnson and his wife, Mary Belle Roberts.

             Sidney Lanier, Poet, Musician, Genealogist

Sidney Lanier was very much interested in the study of his genealogy.
It says so in the first chapter of “Sidney Lanier”, a biography by
Edwin Mims, which was published in 1905. He was better known as a
poet and musician.

Due to the nomadic nature of the family, he was not able to construct
a complete family history. His father was Robert Sampson Lanier. The
father met his wife-to-be while at college in Virginia. She was Mary
Jane Anderson, the daughter of Hezekiah Anderson. Hezekiah was a successful
planter and politician of Virginia. Sidney was the couple’s first-born.

Robert Sampson Lanier, the father, was a lawyer in Macon where Sidney
grew up along the banks of the Ocmulgee River where the stately oaks
stretched for miles in every direction. His wife’s brother, Judge
Clifford Anderson, became a law partner and later Attorney-General
of Georgia.

Sterling Lanier, the poet’s grandfather, was part of the family branch
which moved from Virginia into Rockingham County, N. C. Sampson Lanier
was the patrioch of the family. He was a well-to-do farmer. His son,
Sterling, became a hotel keeper in Macon and Montgomery. The family
was well off and enjoyed the better things including the best available
education. It is little wonder that Sidney was exposed to the finer

Thomas Lanier, along with a large number of other Huguenots, settled
in Virginia in the early years of the eighteenth century at Manakin-town,
some twenty miles from Richmond. From this beginning the family branched
off into several sections to disperse to various parts of the country.
Prominent among these was J. F. D. Lanier, who was a railroad developer
and banker of New York City. He was later a help to Sidney during
critical times in Sidney’s life.

The book is on the shelves among the uncirculated reserved works in
the special collections room. The reference number is GA R 811.4,
Lanier Mim.

        Data Storage:  New Technology Can Be Tricky

Storage on a hard drive is very risky--regardless of the operating
system used in the computer--because hard drives almost always will
fail if allowed to operate for a long enough time. If we are talking
about true archival storage (i.e. a time frame of over 5 years) then
the only practical method for home users is to store them on CD or

The advantage is that the storage medium has no moving parts
and, if stored under proper conditions, can be expected to outlast
any hard drive or zip disk. There is no doubt that CD archival storage
is not an optimal solution, because CD-Rs were not originally designed
for that purpose. Choice of CD brand makes a big difference--Kodak
and Verbatim are generally regarded highly.

The National Archives has been conducting experiments with special CR-Rs that are coated
with a glass layer, to protect the surfaces for long-term purposes.
Aside from the issue of media failure, the archivist must deal with
the eventual need to migrate the files to whatever new storage medium
replaces CD. Just like 78 RPM records, one day consumers will have
a difficult time finding equipment that will decode CDs. It may take
50 years, but it WILL become a reality. The other concern is file
format obsolescence. TIF is now on its 6th incarnation, and version
7 is in the works. PNG never really took off as a widely-used format.
Kodak PCD format remains a proprietary format that is becoming less
common, as people burn their own CDs, and use TIF, PNG or JPG. So,
move the calendar ahead 50 years: what will they be using then? It
would be irresponsible to presume that the formats that are common
today will remain in use.

The biggest risk of all is that it may not
be possible to convert today’s image formats perfectly to new formats.
This risk is especially great when a file is converted several times
over a period of decades, from the original format to another format,
to another format, to another format, etc. Each generation of migration
introduces more possibilities that some of the information may not
carry over into the new format. I have heard that it is virtually
impossible for current Lotus 1-2-3 users to open theoriginal DOS Lotus
1-2-3 files, because the application has been “improved” so many times
since it originally appeared that the current version can’t read the
old format. Lotus was sold to IBM subsequent to the original DOS version,
and IBM did not make backward compatibility a priority.

These things happen in the computer industry--and we need to be aware
of the long term risk of digital storage.

It is likely that future generations may just discard all those “old,
obsolete disks” that were stored in attics, because it is just too
much trouble for them to take them somewhere that can decode them!
Add to that the fact that people move more often, rather than remain in the same home for decades,  and the risk of the disks being discarded increases. Every time a
family moves, they will make another decision on whether or not to
hang on to the old stuff. And, because they can’t see the contents
of the disk (unlike being able to peruse the contents of a photograph
album) it will become increasingly likely that they’ll just throw
the old stuff out!

Libraries are having to learn to deal with this, too. They are different
from home users, in that they have the personnel and the funding to
keep moving the digitized files to new formats, as they become available.
We, on the other hand, run the risk that, despite our having taken
pains to create and store our digital files properly, some ignorant
descendent of ours will ignore our work, or refuse to migrate it to
new formats, or will just chuck it all into the trash one day.

My solution is to store my work in a hybrid format. I certainly keep
digital files, and I do my work on Legacy. But I also keep my handwritten
notes, along with my handwritten Family Group Sheets and other genealogy
forms, safely stored. I also periodically print out the complete contents
of my Legacy data in book form. Finally I store all original photos
under optimum storage conditions.

In other words, I keep two versions of my work--a computer digitized
version and an old fashioned paper-based version. Frankly, it is a
pain in the butt to do it that way, but I believe that my paper-based
material will outlast my digitized version.

I have come to the conclusion that digitized images and computerized
databases are ideal for short-term use (i.e., under 5 years). They
certainly make it easy to manipulate data, distribute images to numerous
recipients, and to make additions or corrections without having to
re-do an entire book. But there is no doubt that this stuff will one
day be difficult, if not impossible, to work with.

I view the process much the same way that I view a computerized word
processor. It is a great tool with which to create documents. It beats
writing them out longhand, it produces a neater end product, it makes
it easy to correct or amend paragraphs when appropriate. But, in the
end, the document is PRINTED, and that is the final result for which
the word processor was utilized.

With regard to Adobe PDF files, there are so many millions of them
in existence, and the Government and the Courts use them so extensively,
that they just may survive for long-term use. They are also able to
be read on numerous computer platforms, and I presume that the format
will continue to be supported, if only to ensure that all those Court
documents can be read well into the future.

Microfilm als has a storage life of over 500 years, but that is not
the most practical solution for home users.

The BEST long-term solution is to print out your work on archival,
acid-free paper, kept in archival sheet protectors, stored in archival
binders or file folders or boxes, and to store it un appropriate heat
and humidity conditions. Also, offer a copy to your local public library
and/or your county genealogy society. Print extra copies for family
members, especially if they live in different geographic areas.

And come to terms with the fact that, despite how meticulously we
store our work, nothing lasts forever. It is, unfortunately, not just
a simple process of “putting it on CD . . . ”
“Jeremy” <>

There’s little to disagree upon in the previous postings to this thread;
however I would add that there is another factor in the successful
survival of records and that is in their distribution, the wider the
better. Family relations, not just children and grand-children, but
also the more distant ones should have copies of your research to
maximise the factor of survival. It’s all very well having acid-free
archival paper in protective wallets but fire, theft & floods can
easily destroy a life’s labour which no insurance premium can protect.
The motto should be ‘Vary the medium & distribute wide’. Future generations
will applaud your wisdom. Our Victorian forefathers of the 19th century
set many examples. ‘Catalogue of British Family Histories’ edited
by T.R. Thompson, Society of Genealogists, 3rd Edition, London 1953
record many deposits of pedigrees & family histories with the society.
Mike. Choice of brand apparently makes a HUGE
difference: “The Dutch PC-Active magazine has done an extensive CD-R
quality test. For the test the magazine has taken a look at the readability
of discs, thirty different CD-R brands, that were recorded twenty
months ago. The results were quite shocking as a lot of the discs
simply couldn’t be read anymore.”
Terry Brown <>

          There will be no meeting in December

        Due to the Holiday Season


Contributions to this newsletter are appreciated.  Send submissions
via email to the editor in text mode.  The next issue will be February,
2003.  The deadline for submissions will be Jan. 15, 2003.


From: Andy Hall [] Sent: Thursday, September
25, 2003 9:41 AM To: Subject: Picture of Ruel Barnett
& Dinky Railroad I recently found this picture of Ruel Barnett and
the Dinky and thought that you might be interested. Ruel was a personal
friend of my Grandfather, Emory Hall of Milstead. Ruel took me for
a ride once on the Dinky when I was about 6 years old. This picture
is autographed “To - Andy From - Ruel” and captioned “Engineer R.
O. Barnett oiling around Milstead Railroad Engine 104 at Conyers,
October 12, 1956” “W. F. Beckum, JR. Thomson, Ga” I would be pleased
to share the original if you are interested. Andy Hall

Jeans & Genes is a publication of the Rockdale County Genealogical

President: Judy Bond
Vice President: Rev. Carl  Smith
Secretary: Beverley Beale
Treasurer: Charles Read
Program Chairman:  Office vacant

Editor:  MarionT. Farmer   770-483-7180
  1500 A. Pine Log Rd. NE
        Conyers, GA  30012