Saturday, February 26, 2011

Moving Pictures

My great grandmother's family (Perryman) can sometimes be a frustrating line to research. My brother did the initial research a decade ago documenting my grandmother's stories of her parents and siblings. From there it becomes a tangled web with many lines going back at least three generations in Shelby county so it has become my goal to document all lines so it be a bit easier to figure out who belongs to who in the many lines. Nearly all of the Shelby county Perrymans come from Jacob Perryman and his wife Nancy Gates. In one line, Jacob's great granddaughter, Julie A Perryman, married Victor Duhem in 1876 in Colorado where Julie's family had moved. After finding a marriage record I looked the family up in 1880 census. I love checking to see what the occupation is of the people I find. Typically it is a farmer but sometimes it is different. In Victor's case it was indeed fascinating. He was listed as a photographer. I love photography and considering at the time that this family lived photography was the new fangled technology of the day. How cool is that? In the 1880 census records I found the family living in San Fransisco. As I found more census records it appeared that photography was the family business with all four of his sons also listed as photography as their occupation. In the 1910 census Victor's occupation is listed fotographer and in the description it lists "moving pictures". Again considering the time this census was recorded this another new fangled technology that Victor as involved with. Even though this is not a direct line for me, I love all the little facts I find like this one. With my curiosity engaged in high gear, I start checking Wikipedia for photography timeline facts on the photography and "moving pictures" and then I check out Dead Fred because surely there are some photographs that Victor or his sons have taken and the Photographer mark could be on the photos. I found one that is possibly one of Victor's photos. Unfortunately the family in the photo is unidentified. So on to Google Books to see if there is any information about this family. There I find a short essay in a book called "Original thoughts, essays and stanzas written by the pupils of the San Francisco public schools" published by Hare, L.R., & Co., Firm, Publishers, San Francisco, 1894. Judging by the date, I determined this was written by Victor's son Victor L Duhem. It is a wonderful poem and great find and this why I love genealogy!


Photography has become a sport as well as a trade, and I find pleasure in it as well as work. A good photograph or view is admired by every one. If the materials used are not the best, the finest results will not be obtained.

To make a fine picture the place should be as clean as possible, and where no dust can gather. The dust is the cause of spots in the negative. Some people think that these spots are in the plates, but from observation I find it different. A nice clean gallery where dust does not constantly fly, you will find the negative perfectly free from those spots.

Retouching is the art of making some shadows plainer and making the hard lines in the face soft, and to take out freckles and wrinkles. A very quick plate is always best, as it does not give the subject time to move, and makes a finer print. A good lens is the principal thing to have; one that will bring the subject down well and sharp, and a box that does not leak light.

The principal plates are the Seed and Cramer. There are several others, but not so extensively used. The quickest plate is the Libby dry plate, which gives a sharper print than any other. It is the nearest to the wet process.

The paper has a great deal to do in making good pictures. There are several kinds of ready-made paper, the American Aristo, the Aristotype, the Solieo and others. The albumen paper was used by every photographer before this readymade paper was put on the market. The toneing is about the same, but the albumen required more work to silver, and to make the silver bath. It will not keep so long.

To mount the picture properly is an important fact. The paste is made of corn starch, fresh every day to be sure you have good paste. If cards too thin are used they will warp as the picture dries, so a good stiff card is the best. The burnishing is to give a nice glossy finish and to give the card a graceful appearance.


114 Mason Street.

1.database, Ancestry ( : accessed 22 January 2011), Victor Duhem; submission 1880 U.S. Federal Census.
2.database, Ancestry ( : accessed 22 January 2011), Victor Duhen; submission 1900 U.S. Federal Census.
3.database, Ancestry ( : accessed 22 January 2011), Victor M Dechene; submission 1910 U.S. Federal Census.
4.database, Ancestry ( : accessed 22 January 2011), Victor M Duhein; submission 1920 U.S. Federal Census.
5.database, Ancestry ( : accessed 22 January 2011), Victor M Duhem; submission 1930 U.S. Federal Census.
6.Jim Tipton, Creator, "Find A Grave," online, ( : accessed 22 January 2011), Victor Duhem.
7.database, Ancestry ( : accessed 22 January 2011), Victor Duhem; submission U.S. Veterans Gravesites, ca.1775-2006.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

How I use RootsMagic

A response to a post from Clue Wagon about genealogy software. She asked the question of how you use the software. I work with software everyday and I have had to use some really bad software so I tend to be a bit opinionated in this area. With the genealogy software, I had tried several of the free options with limited success of documenting my process. I found limitations that frustrated me. I played around with the free version of RootsMagic for awhile and decided I liked it enough to purchase a license. I also purchased Family Tree Maker and while it has a beautiful interface it seem lacking in the area that has become most important to me, citations. This is what I like best about RootsMagic. The problem with most software is they try to do everything for everyone who uses the software. You just can't please everyone and if you have software that has everything including the kitchen sink it tends to buggy hence frustrating. This leads me to how I use the software. I don't use the search feature that is built into the software. I don't like that web pages are framed within the software. In my mind this breaks the web as it was intended to be used and seems clunky within the software. I am a multi-tasker with my RootsMagic open and several browser tabs opened with some of my favorite databases cross checking information about the person I am researching. My number one problem is that I started with one database and it now also contains all of the family lines I am researching. In some ways this is good because I don't have to skip around to different databases but it also is overwhelming in terms of organizing who belongs to each line. For this I make use of the color-coding feature in RootsMagic. I have tried to separate the lines but find myself always coming back to the main database. The problem I keep running into is there is a set of people (namely the people closest in relationship to me) in my database who should be in each of the separate databases. I really don't want to maintain separate information on these people because they are the people in the database that will change the most often as time goes on. I did create a separate database for for my Grandfather DeKay's family. His family had been heavily researched by other members of this family and my grandmother had the book "The DeKay Family in America". I was having a difficult time understanding the lineage from the book so I created a database based on that book so I could understand how everyone fit into the family. Now only did that help me in my research but found this most helpful when searching for a person in this database and the search results displayed several George DeKays for example. I could determine which George DeKay belong to the census record by ruling out all the other Georges in the database. With all my other lines it isn't that easy. Unfortunately when I first started getting serious about researching I tended to be name collector and now I am all about citing all my sources so I can better determine the relationships of the people in my database. I probably still have some bad information in my database but I am slowing making sure everyone in the database is documented. Recently I started a tree on Ancestry but I grew frustrated with the process. It is great when searching as the people in the tree pop-up so I don't have to retype their info but I also now understand better why there is so many junk trees out there! While Ancestry is trying to be helpful, it is too easy to link wrong information or accept incorrect information that Ancestry suggests. Sometimes easy isn't the best. I think the biggest problem with genealogy software is how to display information and this tends to be a tough problem to solve. I could go on and on but that is my process for now. I sure it will change over time and has the software improves.