Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Content can be configuration

 TL;DR -- Another look at options, alternatives, and, perhaps, better ways to do things. 

---

Given that we are going into the winter months, with the added pressures of COVID19, we will have more time to spend working on issues, such as futures, technology, presence, and such. To get a good start, let's consider the 'content versus configuration' theme which has appeared from time to time. Why do we have these posts? For one thing, they do provide for a nice periodic look that is based upon a timeline that we control. These posts are in a 'content' order with a date to allow a notion of when the what was being discussed. 

  • thomasgardnersociety.org (15 Mar 2012) - Our first activity was to create a Thomas Gardner (Planter) page on WikiPedia in January of 2010. Later, after some research and editing, we started a website in April of 2010. This URL points to that site which was based Microsoft's OfficeLive (at the time, ASP world). Here is an old image of the first look (read about the conversion in 2012 here). This blog started on Blogger.com (bought by Google) and has been continuous since September of 2010. Our original (Welcome) post pointed to our site which, at the time, had a bio and the beginning of a list of the kids (2nd post) and their progeny that had been developed on WikiPedia (all edits can be traced). Microsoft decided to push Office 365 which is now their cloud offering for business. Lots of businesses had assumed that OfficeLive would be their and had integrated it into their processes. Needless to say, unexpected costs arose from this decision by Microsoft. Some of this, we paid attention to. Why was Microsoft picked? Well, one motivation was to get into the ASP world, again. It was fairly slick compared to the alternatives that we researched. Unfortunately, the attention was elsewhere so that the decisions at this point were considered mute issues. After all, it was merely an informational site.  
  • New era (15 Mar 2012) - After getting the notice, the thing to do was to look at alternatives. In the initial work in 2010, Microsoft's approach didn't have a peer. Mobility as we see now was just starting to come around. There had been a decade of progress mostly related to commercial exploitation of the internet which continues. The basics of Content Management Systems? Lots of questions and little answer. This post (another blog) discusses the research and decisions. After a little effort, the choice was to drop back to HTML (with images snapped of the buttons that were on the OfficeLive pages). Then, once information flowed, improvement work would become incremental. In terms of requirements, there was providing curated information. However, there was the larger picture which resulted in two discussion. On the content side, of course, the focus would be related to the purposes of the Thomas Gardner Society. On the other, things were changing. If one looks at the state of the art, one sees lots of categories of web capability being proposed with many different ways for handling these, with issues like technology being important.  
  • Web site - reconfigure (12 Jul 2014) -- That approached worked for a couple of years. While we went along, we still surveyed the status of web work so as to keep an alternative list up to date. Motivation for change came from Google who made the decision that all blogs had to consider mobile friendliness. Since we pointed to our site, we had to upgrade. This time, we paid more attention to the technical work by creating a blog with a technology focus (Friendly to the mobile crowd). We started this blog on the WordPress site and have started a move to our own server. Again, we looked at alternatives and decided to switch to a dynamic mode using HTML/CSS/JS. As for discussions about this, many are looking for minimal, curated sites. This will be looked at more fully later. Default modes, like FB, Instagram, Twitter, and the like? To be discussed. All along, we published Gardner's Beacon at the site. Our first issues was Vol I, No 1 (Spring of 2011). For a few issues, we collected material into an annals format. Too, with more experience under our research belt, we decided to write a correction to an article in the TEG which led to several articles being published. After 2010, digitization seemed to happen quicker. One finding was a record of a Thomas Gardner and a Margaret Friar being married in Sherborne, Dorset, UK in the right timeframe. That led to the TGS helping edit the Profiles for these two on WikiTree.  
  • Thomas Gardner (abt. 1592 - 1674) - Besides the marriage there are other records that are of use, such as baptism records for the first three boys, a baptism for Margaret, and records related to her parents. This is ongoing work. With research notes and articles, we configured an area for the Annals for which we are working on TGA Vol. V, No. 1. But, there are many decisions to make with respect to our infrastructure going forward. For one thing, we need various timelines (example from mapped to associated content. That content must be curated and managed over timed. Now, given social media, there are many options for controlling the message, albeit one needs to keep disparate modes in sync. Wouldn't want differences of opinion arising due to mismanaged posts across several sites. We summarized what we had, to then, in January of this year (2020). But, we also need to integrate in support business affairs, in the longer run, including access and membership. There are various cloud options; we have liked our server approach, so far. Earlier, we mentioned mobile devices of which there are many types. Technology seems to have settled somewhat in terms of services but, mostly, that is temporary. For instance, everywhere, people have modified their sites to be flexible. This works somewhat but can be quite frustrating as one changes modes. People don't want to see a smartphone interface while using a laptop connected to sophisticated computing systems, just like the mobile crowd did not like the scrunched down laptop presentation. UX (user orientation) has as many open issues as anyone. BTW, this is future oriented? Yes, think DARPA (U.S. DOD) which have realized, finally, that they need to lead the way toward thinking about 100-year systems. 
  • TGSoc (August of 2017) - After a little experience, we saw 'thomasgardnersociety.org' as too lengthy in the newer days of scaling down. When used in email, it was huge. So, on doing a survey, we decided that 'TGSoc.org' would be better. This was registered in 2017 and has been active since in terms of our portal (to truth). Or, one might use gateway. It's use will complement that of the main site which will be an information repository and server. Of course, there will be other components, through time. We have tried several packages and have some notes related to our analysis and decision. The fallback position is doing our own development as needed. Of late, Julia (a programming language) looks promising however there would be a tie into existing services. The architecture needs a little discussion. The image is an example of an icon related to information bits which are now mostly blog-based but will be of any appropriate media. 
TGSoc.org

We have an open list of tasks related to our infrastructure and process. Too, some things ought to be handled in an experimental mode given time and resources. So, there is no shortage of things to do. 

Remarks: Modified: 11/24/2020

11/24/2020 --

Friday, November 20, 2020

America's Lost Generation

The computer has brought forth lots and lots of stuff. Some might be good; a lot is not. However, research reports can be on the good side of things. And, in history/genealogy, the web (computer's gift) has brought lots to bear. For instance, this post from 2014 talks a little about research being done by NEHGS staff on their ancestors. The image on the left came from this post. It shows the arrival years. Notice the peak around 1635. And, the drop off at 1640 is obvious. The image on the right shows the spread of the 5th generation taken from the research of the GSMD (How many years are there in a generation?). This work was in 2018. Both of these came from the Vita Brevis blog that started in January 2014. 

    

Seeing these types of analysis got us to thinking about our own data and blogs. We started to look at generations, for instance, and will continue. But, for different groups of generations, we need to dig deeper. This is an example. We have seen 'lost' used several times in modern history usually in an economic sense. Japan experienced one of these, very recently. Some wondered about the 2008 downturn. Now, we will have unseen effects from the COVID19 situation. 

But, we are using it in the genealogy/history sense. The 5th generation bore the brunt of the Revolution. The 6th generation were those too young to participate. However, by 1800, they were adults. Ignoring the War of 1812 for this view, we can see that lots of that generation moved taking the 7th generation with them. Our focus is the western expansion where people from the northern and the southern New England met up in the west and intermingled.

By way of comparison, we also include the 4th generation who provided the leadership in the Revolution having been trained under the auspices of the King. That is, the story will pick up with the 5th but have material about the influence of the 4th. Below are some examples including some that are post-Revolution period across several families who were spread around. What we have noticed is that there were many families who moved once peace was settled, and Thomas Jefferson opened up the west. The experience of those families resulted in an informational gap that researchers will have to fill in. The issues get more difficult as the movement went further west. 

  • John Sayward (4th gen) - His parents were in Gloucester where he was born, but they had come down from Maine due to troubles up there.  John left the area but did not go far. He was in Ipswich and tracked down through a friend, John Leatherland, with whom he served in the French/Indian affair and whose sister, Elizabeth, he married. John Sayward also served in the Revolution. See TEG, Vol. 34:4 (TGA Vol I:2). 
  • John Graves (5th gen) - His parents went out in Ipswich Canada. What? Turns out that this is upper Worcester County. Indian problems sent the family back to Ipswich. See TEG, Vol. 34:2 (TGA, IV:1). This is an example of the early western movement. 
  • Early Ipswich family (5th gen) -- Went south to CT under the auspices of the church. Then, one side went west to NJ; the other returned to MA. 
  • Lyman Porter (7th gen) - His father was the 6th gen and went out west. Lyman married into a family that was out of both north and south New England. Lyman is buried in NE. His wife, Caroline, is buried in Los Angeles CA. See TGA Vol. III:1.      
  • Family out of NC (7th gen) - Post the revolution, the family went to TN (following Boone). There, they were involved in establishing a church that spread through TN, the surrounding area, and overseas. The next generation took the family (6th gen) to the western edge of MO in the 1820s which is quite early and where they continued the church work which included circuit riding to visit pioneering families (sometimes being away months at a time). Then, there elements of AR, OK, and early TX.  
  • Family out of MA (6th gen) - They moved west through NY, OH, and IN. The western trek through succeeding generations include IA, NE, SD, ND, and MT. 
  • Family out of MA (6th gen) - Stopped in NY. Then, a generation moved south and then west. However, the MA-NY movement has not been established in detail as of yet. The case, though, illustrates the issues.    
So, the 'lost' could apply to several generations, albeit we will look at the ones that had descendants coming toward this time. The pattern would be that the movement would lead the paper mill which does the churning in establishing being and identity. One question is how long was that lag before the bureaucracy caught up. Well, that depended upon the location. Too, in many cases, there was an early death. Like with Lyman's daughter and son-in-law, they had a child who was very young when she died and he not long after. But, he lived long enough for a step-mother to come into the picture. The probate records suggest the tale. 

We are taking this focus as we have seen these gaps enough to suggest an interesting pattern. Besides, it makes the drudge work of tracing people more fun; this can provide lots of potential stories to research and write. 

BTW, everyone say brick wall. We say, lots of those walls are not 'brick' at all (also, TGA, Vol IV:1) but are contrived by  mindsets. 

Remarks: Modified: 11/22/2020

11/20/2020 --

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

American tinkerer

Note: We started this post in an incremental fashion that was following up on a suggestion. For now, this is informational only and about a potential descendant of Thomas and Margaret. We had a similar incident with the 'Descendants of Samuel' page and left a note that points to a post about frontier issues. These are there for the middle ground (western expansion) folks and families. This particular one here deals with a family that came out west from upper New York. They had lived on the border of Massachusetts. On the MA side, we are talking Berkshire County, most likely. So, these two locales are close. More at the end of this post.  

---

There have been lots of these types of tinkerers over the past 400 years. Names stand out like Ben Franklin and Nath Bowditch. But, there are lots more. We have been going through the descendants of the children of Thomas and Margaret while covering the time from the beginning. Themes arose like generations where the 4th and the 5th bore the brunt of the Revolution. We picked the 5th since it matches up with the GSMD books. But, we can follow those generations forward and backward. 

So far, we know more off Thomas, George, and Richard. We know less about John, Sarah, Samuel, Miriam and Seeth. Despite Dr. Frank being a descendant of Samuel, we know less of his descendants than of the earlier boys. And, we are starting to fill in the gaps. This post is about a descendant of John. However, he also is a descendant of many families of Nantucket. 

Who is he? William Coffin Coleman was the founder of the Coleman Company. There is no American Boy Scout (probably male, too) that has not run across his lamp and other paraphernalia which is often associated with the outdoors, camping, fishing and such. This is a landlubber post; we will do more naval looks, too. 

William was born in New York, but his family moved to a southeastern country of KS. That area was oriented toward farming, but it was also how trains ran from points (ports) in TX to Kansas City and Saint Louis. As well, there were various types of mining (coal, chemicals) going on. His bio (Wikipedia) notes that he was in several places before he ended up in Wichita KS where the company was founded and existed for several years. 

We were looking at William with respect to John. See below.   

---

When we got to this point in the post, we went looking, again, and could not verify this line. Now, the last point of knowledge is the FindAGrave of William's parents. His father was Robert Russell Coleman; his mother was Julia Coffin. Robert and Julia were both born in New York. In the 1870 Census, they are in New York, still, and have his mother (Anna) with them. So, given the families, Coleman, Coffin, Russell and a couple of others, one thinks of Nantucket (then Gardner comes forward). However, there were Coffins in Essex Co, to boot. Both Robert and Julia are the 6th/7th generation. 

We have seen lots of frontier situations further west. This case is nice as it's like a lot of others seen and handled. Even in the east region (Essex Co), we have had to track people through different little locations. In the west, we had families out there early on. Ipswich (churches thereof) sponsored lots of pioneering efforts (need to get the old notes back up to fore - we're trying to curate through zillions of little data bits collected over a decade via the sea of the internet). Ann's greats were out west (upper New York) for a while and then back in Salem. One avenue would be to find a family where Robert fits. Reminds us of New Hampshire. In one instance, a kid was noted but said to have left the area. We wandered in the material westward and found that he put roots down elsewhere. Much like Lyman. Born in MA. Buried in a lonely area out west. We can track his steps in-between. He's fine. One daughter of his is ignored since she died young (being followed by a step-mother for her young daughter). No paper trail. Wait! We've been down that path. Our goal? Get these people, categorically, considered in a more proper light. For one, it's the American thing to do; too, it's the 'honor' part of that old adage that might have more basis than many allow.    

Remarks: Modified: 11/24/2020

11/24/2020 -- Referenced this in America's Lost Generation

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

All that Louisiana brought

TL;DR -- Jefferson bought land west of the Mississippi. It and its watersheds to the west were serious barriers to movement. Yet, people endure and overcame. This whole region is full of descendants of early New England folk. We study the families and situations in order to fill in history with a personal note. 

---

Incidentally, this continues a series related to western expansion. Efforts to move west started as soon as people were here, even before Winthrop. He arrived at Salem, didn't like it, went on to what is now Boston. This theme will be constant. Why? It honors all of those forgotten heroes (male and female) who got this country going, starting with the arrival of Thomas's crew at Cape Ann. History can look at the topmost issues; we will be looking at the nitty-gritty which is very much overlooked by many in this day of technology that entices yet offers no reality (yes, that is a focus, too, that we will touch upon). 

We have been trying to follow a few threads of families out of New England (upper right of the yellow region) to the south and to the west. As we do that, we have to consider the situational aspects with respect to culture, history and technology. The periods that we are looking at now run from the French Indian War through the Revolution and then through the War of 1812. That would be generations four, five and six. The location would be the east coast until after the Louisiana Purchase during the term of President Thomas Jefferson, the second President from the south. Before him had been President George Washington and President John Adams. 

So, we are not really paying attention to the larger picture as history has done a good job of that. We want to follow lots of families and consider the situations until, say, 1900. Or last post on this subject looked at Grizzly Adams who went from New England to California and back. Lots of people did this before Grizzly and continued to do so without cessation, even until now. One can cross the whole of the continent now within a matter of hours - without breaking laws such as speed. The record is under 28 hours. Imagine that if you were Daniel Boone who established one route. Naturally, he followed the Natives who had been here long before. We will look at that, too. 

So, this map shows what was obtained in the deal that Jefferson did. In our posts, we have touched upon this area quite a lot. Take Kansas. Col. Higginson went there before the Civil War to help the free staters. John Brown was a friend of his. Before that, Jedediah Strong Smith was killed in Kansas. Those folks were New Englanders. About the same time, an itinerant came out of the south and was in the same area: Joseph L. Walker (1798-1876) - see the post on Grizzly Adams. 

Louisiana Purchase 

For now, let's just consider another map which was in the post on Cumberland Pass

The top map shows the western extent of the Mississippi's watershed. The extraordinary thing is that this was French territory and that it had been visited early. We will step back and look at that in the near future. Right now, we are focusing on the time from the exploration of Lewis & Clark that started in 1804. One thing to note is St. Louis which is in an area first explored in the 1670s. That was the period in which Thomas died. The river provided the means for movement. One thing to look at is the exploration of the rivers that feed into the Mississippi. Lewis & Clark went up the Missouri. People arrived from the east via the Ohio River. It's amazing that the eastern reach of the Mississippi is in Pennsylvania.  

Also, all of those wanderers that we have looked at so far went through St. Louis on the way to and from the left coast. Tales from the interior tell us a lot. We want to identify families and their groupings. Fortunately, lots of descendants fill the area.   

Remarks: Modified: 11/10/2020

11/10/2020 --

Friday, November 6, 2020

Adams cousins

TL;DR -- After Lewis & Clark, lots of people went west. Some of these are New England folks of whom some are related to the Gardner families. Some came from the South. For all, we can compare the western experiences with those of people of the right coast. 

---

We have several posts about cousins, such as Two cousins. We also have been looking at generations where we note that the 4th and 5th bore the brunt of the revolution. Then, we had the later generations down to now. Also, we looked at the early travelers to the west

With the recent election, the population size of each state comes up since the number of electoral votes is proportion to the number of people. So, we have from the top, CA, TX, NY and FL. Where CA is almost twice the size of NY. And, discussions go around to CA's problems. Water is a huge one. 

Due to the pressures from one city (LA), CA started to drain the interior dry in the early 1900s. We can start by reading about the life of William Mulholland (1855-1935). But, before long, we see that we have not really covered the history, yet, especially as it pertains to New England's long reach. 

Stepping back a bit, not only did we look at the early arrivals by land, we looked at their influences across the middle of the country, say Lawrence KS, Gardner CO, etc. Along with Jedediah, there were several explorers, such as Joseph R Walker (1798-1876) who was with a party that described Owens Valley. This location is where Mulholland, later, went to get his water. Now, it's estimated that a 1/3 of LA's water comes from this location. Ought we talk about the fires? 

Well, not, as we are looking at  American generations, for one. Joseph was born in TN; his family moved to MO, early. We have that area as a common theme, say Daniel Boone. Later, it was a location where the North/South conflict played out in a western area. But, Joseph went even further west. As did many others, from the early trickle to a later flood. Let's look at one. 

Remember Grizzly Adams (1812-1860) and his bear, Ben, on a TV show? Turns out that he's of the 7th generation which had the experience of the Gold Rush (49ers), the Civil War and more. Grizzly has a long New England pedigree and is cousin of John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) who was of the 6th (both from Henry Adams and from John Alden). 

So, we have two John Adams. One dealt with the wild people of politics; the other dealt with the wild creatures of nature (some of whom were people). Closer to home, both are cousins; one of them has a Thomas Gardner connection (Roxbury). 

Remarks: Modified: 11/10/2020

11/06/2020 --

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

More than fiddling

TL;DR -- Counting follows from collecting. 

---

Just updated the posts counts which looks at each month and year, from the beginning. This is only one blog which deals with content of various natures. As the last post noted, we have several configuration concerns to handle. Actually, everyone does. 

Aside: Before the 'cloud' came about, companies had fairly specific configuration modes that needed attention. Some bought services, but any group with significant intellectual property took care of it. With the cloud? It's a new game with a lot of fiddling and fuddling. But, as with life, we should always be learning. Now, the TGS, Inc. content, at this time, is fairly particular and of a minor scope. That will change, hence our thinking of the issues now. Too, we can discuss issues generally without our feet being in the fire. Would not want that. 

There is a new line in this report (first mentioned for August) that shows the number of posts per year accumulative to the end of October. The 'blogger' (Google) sets the stage with this as we don't own the clock. Yes, one benefit of the cloud is to offload worrying about such issues. 

Aside: That users just blithely figure that all of this is handled by experts can be an issue, especially if you want your company to do well (unfortunately, the web was let loose in a wild west mode from which we have never recovered - something about 'genies out of the bottle' that we all seem to find generation by generation. So, this is not something to take lightly. 

In earlier posts, we mentioned the amount of work being done (say, Presence and such) which also includes research on a regular basis (technical examples: Technology and contentSpectral issuesTechie stuff, ...; New England gone south, ...). Mostly, this type of work results in things taken for granted until there's an issue. Even with decades of experience, we don't seem to foresee very well. Actually, switch the context to the financial realm to note what we're referring to (say, the U.S. Fed).  

Remarks: Modified: 11/03/2020

11/03/2020 --

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Content and configuration

TL;DR -- Continuing theme that might become more major than not.  

---

It has been encouraging of late to see several things happening, almost concurrently. Let us just list these with some comment. As a reminder, our portal (TGSoc.org) is where we support 'content' for things dealing with all aspects of the Thomas Gardner Society, Inc. as well as our interest in All Things Gardner. 

With this listing, we have to take little side trips (with curating being done a little later). There have been several studies being done that were disparate for the most part but had overlap, too. That, folks, is how life is. And? The computer has messed things up. Why? It'll provide a nice, beautiful numeric overlay that almost looks real. We can talk two senses, for now: where simulation reigns and appears as if to mimic nature (not, folks, as even with a tightly bound, smart sensor/reactor scheme, there is residue from the operational mathematics underlying the computational - basically, a rephrase of what the academics (CompSci) talk about, but not); or, in robotics, where we have seen the evolution come to machine learning, there is still that reliance upon the numeric/compute dynamic which looks very smart with its quick, huge abacus collective - marvelous -  which by no means approaches intuition of the talented human. 

Now, that's a mouthful, but it's offered liked Halloween candy, yet not. Our problem is how to bring more than hermeneutics into the technical experiences of now. And, we can learn from the past. Need to. The issue, though, is that the past five decades have us now in a bind of unknown proportions and types. This is not a political observation. No, of course, human affairs are complex. And, people have to make decisions. That's the point; offloading our responsibilities to a computer (with origins in Silly Valley or China or elsewhere) does not wisdom make (think Emerson, for one - yes, we have 400 years to look at in terms of the U.S. experience). 

Now, those two studies? One was look at John Gardner's relationship with Giles Corey. That covered a decade where the changes through that time were in parallel with those in the technology world. But, too, we were learning. What lesson cropped up? Curating. We need to start to spend time with that; however, it will be done in the context of content and configuration. Right now, we'll say this: one person's content is another's configuration. There are plenty of computer examples to use. Later. 

Now, the other deals with an adage and breaking it. Namely, we blokes here (norte of the americanas) ought to handle our own stuff. Let us tell you, the frontier experience of the U.S. is even worse than that of the Great Migration for various reasons. Yes. England had no parallel with this. You might see it elsewhere; however our experiences (US) after the Revolution can be a huge wealth of data. So, we look at our stuff here and let the Brits do their thing on their side. But, the focus on Margaret is forcing us to look at the Fryer/Friar family which is not here. The context: Editing Margaret's past. When one looks at Sherborne, there are many Gardner families (Dorset region). Friar seems to be lesser in size of the data set. So that is one motivator. 

However, we are using technology to do this, in a manner that was not available a decade ago. The first notion of this area, beyond reading John's comments (about his talks with his father), was in 2014. There has been some indexing of a slew of images. But, people have warned of these. A lot of the work might just be stepping through images (not unlike scrolling the pages on the micrograph device), except that it's easier. 

How might we say this? Looking at some of the frontier records this past summer was just that. It's astounding that we can do this work and be so blasé about what's under the covers. That is one of the reasons for this type of discussion. We need awareness that is attuned. 

It's funny. we see people realizing that html/css/js is sufficient for a whole lot of stuff. In fact, there are some additions that drive a whole lot of work. Myself, we've gotten to where Julia looks good. It's Python'ish but with extensions that do serious stuff (Lisp'ish). And, it handles the front and back ends. Given the above, of course, we want to discuss the middle out. So much more to look at. 

So, we'll be back to this theme on a regular basis. Curating? It applies to both content management and configuration control. Mind you, both of those have lots of other characterizations. The one truth? Roles are; the needed hat differs by role; balancing hats is what capable people do; the computer comes in and screws up the thinking with its 'magical' chimera'ish nature; many get hurt, led astray, even almost maimed, or driven into slavery (debt, for one); solutions will come from stepping back; we have lots of lessons pending that have been ignored, way too long; independent people will the the key to the future where one needs to know for oneself - 'trust but verify' is part of the solution; knowing how to do this with technology versus people are not the same skill set.  

Remarks: Modified: 11/03/2020

11/03/2020 -- Added image for our portal (https://TGSoc.org). Also, More than fiddling is more on the subject.