Monday, July 22, 2019

Julia (Ward) Howe

TL;DR -- We saw mention of the song in an article and went to look as the names were familiar. How did the person relate? Our focus is onioned with Cape Ann at the core and the U. S. further out with the world as the final layer. 400 years covers a lot of territory (space and time). Since we were looking at WikiTree, we tried some of their analysis-and-graph techniques. 


This post continues the theme of preparations for the next issue of The Gardner Annals (Vol. V, No. 1). Last post, we were looking at Dr. Frank and Henry VIII in terms of connections along the line of the Kevin Bacon deal (ALGS is about 3 degrees from Kevin). Those types of connections are open as they include common types of relationships.

We're looking at relationships in terms of nature and nurture. In the former, there would be some DNA linkage such as being descendant from or having a common ancestor. Then, we have the slew of cultural relations. In the above, we saw that Dr. Frank links with Henry VIII through his sister and three of his wives. The graph is on WikiTree and was easily attainable since they compute these for featured Profiles with Henry VIII being the current focus. To isolate some of the other connections, we went and used Dr. Frank's great-grandparents.

This analysis is supposed to work with any two Profiles, however several failed since they had a restriction on 10 links (takes lot of computer time and memory). Today, we were reading an old review in the WSJ about 'Songs of America.' One in particular is the Battle Hymn of the Republic, with lyrics by Julia (Ward) Howe (Wikipediaher genealogy). Julia's husband (Samuel Gridley Howe) was one of the secret supporters (they went underground as the Feds came north, following rumors) of John Brown (she used the tune of John Brown's body), as was Col. Thomas W. Higginson about whom we wrote three years ago. The Colonel worked with Dr. Frank and his sister on The Massachusetts Magazine. So, there is a relationship right there.


Aside: Both Julia and her husband are cousins. The below looks at her husband, with the intent to match up a family somewhere in the past. But, the focus was technical, not genealogical. As with any work, we can note that WikiTree researchers can do things right. The Magna Carta project is an example where they are proving one thread (path) from a gateway focus back to a Surety or other person there. So, trust but verify? We have not done the second part yet. Actually, we can point out some missteps that occurred in the analysis that we overcame manually. 

Given that we wanted to test WikiTree, we used another Profile (that of ALGS' 1st-great). An earlier model had showed her connected to Henry VIII through his sister. That particular link came in via the Howe family. So, we tried to show the relationship twixt the grandmother of ALGS and the husband of Julia. It went through 66K profiles to form this graph.

#7 is Rev. John Wise (Thomas Gardner of Roxbury), the inspiration for the Declaration of Independence according to Calvin Coolidge. Here is another view.

This is interesting as just two generations removed from Abigail is the Howe connection (see below). This type of analysis is not as easy as it looks. Many times, as in the case of Henry VIII, many links are computed and stored. The query is merely looking for a match within a few generations. WikiTree has been doing this analysis for awhile. It'll be worth while to see how many of those have been stored so that we can retrieve the information.

As well, this is a connection search which has fewer constraints than would the relationship one have. Now, to do a manual search, we can get both profiles (Samuel Howe and Abigail Swazey) and do an ancestor graph. Then, we can match up nodes that will show the common ancestor.

So, starting with these two, we go back four generations.

Since Samuel is younger than Abigail, we see that in three more generations for him, there is the same ancestor as two more generations for Abigail. So, Samuel's 5th ggp is the same as Abigail's 4th ggp.

Samuel's and Julia's time was the U.S. Civil War. Abigail was the War of 1812 while her father was the Revolutionary War and the French-Indian War.

BTW, the great-uncle of Abigail's husband, and his wife, were the couple who were featured in McCullough's look at the Revolutionary War. McCullough used the The Letters of Joseph Hodgkins and Sarah Perkins – Historic Ipswich to build a story.

Aside: technology of the compute ilk will be a thorn in our sides forever. Something like the genie being let out of the bottle. So? What to do? Learn to be wise and not be led by the wizards and others who would wish such roles for themselves. 


One motivation for this [type of] analysis will be to write stories related to the extended family of Thomas and Margaret (Fryer) Gardner.

Aside: D.A.R. has been working for 100 years to have their database allow matchings to ease the work of applying. Great effort. S.A.R. is now following along. Good decision, fellas. Oh, databases were not there 100 years ago? Tsk. Ever heard of content versus configuration? We'll touch on that more. 

Remarks: Modified: 10/10/2022

08/02/2019 -- Looked briefly at Ezra Pound's link to Thomas and HVIII.

10/10/2022 -- Added the TL;DR. Too, looked at the Secret Six, again. ... Added the "Asides" to note the digression with intent which is how we build [on] our knowledge. 

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Dr. Frank and Henry VIII

The order of the names is intentional which we'll get into, eventually. Right now, let's look at a matter that deals with technology. We have touched a little on DNA studies and will have more. Again, it'll be from looking at the underlying frameworks. There are all sorts of genealogy examples related to computing. WikiTree is an example and used here.

The other day, I saw a question on Quora about Edward III. It was from someone who has a large English heritage. It asked: what was the chance of being related to Ed III? Well, I have thought that we need to get people to think of 'related to' and 'descended from' in the various contexts being brought up by technology. The 'related to' is even thought of technically with respect to Kevin Bacon. 'descended from' is biological, however that is becoming more of a mess. With what ramifications is unknown now. Be aware, though.

There are other 'related to' types. One might be in-laws in a huge family (it takes a village sense). Mentioning Kevin showed another.  But, there are many more. Say, the 'step' relationship is commonly found. But, there are so many others which can be itemized, at some point. Right now, we will start by following one line using Dr. Frank that goes through his paternal grandfather.

As well as discussing biological versus not, I thought that I would see how WikiTree's little model worked. There are other sites that offer kin analysis (FamousKin is one), but I wanted to use one that was trustworthy (my judgment after use) to some extent. With the usual caveat, the below analysis will be looked at further.

This shows that Dr. Frank has a series of links that go back to Henry VIII on WikiTree.  The close relationship is with one of HVIII's wives. However, within this graph are several others. My article is going to step through all of these. We can do this time and again.

Actually, this work is the fleshing of history that we really need to do to get a better understanding. The abstract'd view of History leaves much to be desired. Ever wonder about the appeal of the work of McCullough?

So, in this case, we will start with looking at Thomas Cranmer whose brother, Edmund, is an ancestor.

After looking at that one line, we can look for other examples, both from the trees of the other seven grandfathers and the grandmothers tree. So far, we have relationships via Catherine Howard, Mary Tudor, Jane Seymour, and Catherine Parr. I will be looking for some others via later generations.

Remarks: Modified: 07/22/2019

07/22/2019 -- We continue the theme by looking at connections on this side of the pond, motivated by reading about Julia (Ward) Howe (see connections of ALGS and JWH).

Research, TGA, Vol. V, No. 1

We're getting the next issue of TGA ready. The next post (Dr. Frank and Henry VIII) looks at one area of research that will be more common, in the future. We will continue to use Dr. Frank as the focus, due to his hard work and to the fact of being 1st cousin on the Gardner side. As well, we will feature Sidney Perley LLD who was a friend of the family.

Then, we are going to discuss research with respect to what we have done and our intent for future research. We would like to hear of other ideas, as well as see submissions of articles or of evidence resulting from research.

In short, we are always researching and blogging as we go along. After all, that was one purpose for the web (starting with HTTP allowing WWW). From time to time, we want to keep our records up to date. And, web-based information is great, but persistence requires converting to paper with articles (of all sorts) allowing proper formatting for future reference. Our work now will support future research just as we relied on Dr. Frank and Sidney and as they referred back to Felt and others. That's the way it goes.

We are using WikiTree for certain aspects of presentation, but the door is open. Technology? I'm a technologist and want to get at the guts of matters. Many older experts note that things are a mess. They are, really, folks. Thomas Gardner Society, Inc. intends to discuss this matter and demonstrate alternative methods.

When we get TGA_V_1 out, the plan is to get this volume together with the other four. We'll print and bind them with all nine volumes of Gardner's Beacon. That will give us one publication covering the research over the past ten years. It will be suitable for libraries.

Want to weigh in? The opportunity has always been there.

Remarks: Modified: 07/22/2019

07/22/2019 -- We look at a connection to Julia (Ward) Howe from the Gardner family.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Top Ten Things

Somewhat following a TV show of long running (what was the host's name?), an author wrote a real nice piece for the ACM Communications. For those who might not be familiar with the Association for Computing Machinery, they have been around since day one of computing. The Turing Award is their's as are other activities, such as the International Joint Conference on AI.

So, the piece was this: Tom's Top Ten Things Executives Should Know About Software. This points to the Queue article, but it's the same. The Communications was a couple of month's later. Now, let me just list the items.
  1. Software is not magic
  2. Software is never 'done'
  3. Software is a team effort; nobody can do it all
  4. Design isn't how something looks; it is how it works
  5. Security is everyone's responsibility
  6. Feature size doesn't predict developer time
  7. Greatness comes from thousands of small improvements
  8. Technical debt is bad but unavoidable
  9. Software doesn't run itself
  10. Complex systems need DevOps to run well
Everyone ought to read this little article and discuss it with friends. The ACM has allowed public access. And, the target audience are managers who may or may not know details of technology. But, this is a common set of concerns for anyone who might be touched by modern computing. 

I had the fortune to work for a company that was highly technical and was allowed to follow the technical track. The idea was to match up all levels with people with corresponding experience. This allowed some technical minds to get similar attention as a VP, for example. 

And, computing is full of problems now and will be more so going into the future. Hence, this focus with regard to the computing exposure of the Society. In particular, we are using (see part of the discussion and devlog) as a platform for demonstrating issues as well as presenting information. Technology just keeps rolling along; we can tame what we have access to. 

In particular, lots of the approaches web handling have created even more of a mess. But, what is the average Joe to do? One wants a presence, yet all sorts of responsibilities, and potential downfalls, accrue. There is a lot to discuss, hence there will be these posts. Most of the technical aspects will be handled via our technology blog. This started at wordpress[.]com and has been moved to our own server. However, there have been posts in several of the blogs that I'm doing. At some point, I'll do a recap. 

The main emphasis is that every bit of added capability clouds the water. Some feel that web design is not real programming. But, I differ. Bad decisions can have wide impact (think of older people losing money due to not understanding the risks of using some of the modern tools - and I am not only just talking malfeasance - those who think that they grasp all of this need to rethink - hence, we'll continue to have this type of focus). 

I just received a 'cold call' note from a developer. Of course, I looked at the company. Too, I stopped to see what might be a good response. First, this image is from the note (I have redacted any particulars until I discuss issues with the party). It shows some of the capability that is offered. 

Our original effort was using OfficeLive of MS (supposedly to enjoy the asp environment). That went away and forced a look at the industry which was a great opportunity. So, I looked at Drupal, Joomla, and others. I even did a quick demo. Since I was doing a lot of research and writing, I couldn't spend a lot of time playing with the stuff and took a minimal approach, almost by default, which worked. Since I could, essentially. That went well for awhile, but, per expectation, new features came to be required. Each time, I took a minimal approach. 

You see, about that time, I saw several groups with stature going the same route. For one thing, the mobile devices caused several modes to be altered. Then, as that work was done, keeping a proper balance between devices (platforms) helped hone proper common views. Besides, technology crept forward which encouraged more demands for features. 

There is a huge change coming that makes experts cringe for all of the problems associated with it. But, let's save that for another day. 

I just talked to a 'cloud' advocate. Of course, there are plenty good reasons for doing things. Look around. The options seem to be never ending. And, languages and approaches are popping up all over the place. Where is the generality being studied? We need to look at possible ramifications, too, as we think of longevity. I am trying a 'cloud' experiment now and will report at some point. In the meantime, the thrust is to use our own server for TGS. For one thing, it demonstrates a 'local' mode that needs to be considered. Also, we'll try to use 'open' capability when we can. 

Quite frankly, all of this could be resolved easily with a few weeks of work. I  am looking for volunteers who either want to help or want an opportunity to learn a thing or two. Practice beats class work, anytime. We'll provide the necessary sandbox.  

Remarks: Modified: 07/18/2019

07/17/2019 -- This Manifesto comes out of concern for the future and is very much apropos to the theme of this post. Business is run by process; process will be largely influenced by computing. If business wants to cover its basis, then merely relying on the 'cloud' is other than smart. That is, 'infrastructure' has many connotations that are not being considered in current modes.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Massachusetts 400

Earlier, we mentioned Plymouth and Gloucester in reference to the upcoming 400th anniversaries. Today, Salem sponsored a meeting at the Hawthorne Hotel that included representatives from some of the earlier towns: Plymouth (1620), Provincetown (1620), Weymouth (1622), and Quincy (1625).

Not that we forgot the overarching view: Massachusetts 400. This seed for this was set by Executive Order No. 502, in 2008.

Using the list provided by the Massachusetts Bay Colony page on Wikipedia that shows the "Time of Settlement" in the area, one would expect commemorations for a few decades.

Early on, we are talking about the area around the three 'red' dots (Plymouth, Salem, Boston) which spreads out over time.

Remarks: Modified: 07/17/2019

07/17/2019 -- Changed to using commemoration.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Techie stuff

It's time to look at techie stuff, again. At our portal to truth, we have a page that summarizes our experiences since 2010 with an associated blog. Basically, we stepped from Microsoft (asp) to Linux while trying to maintain our research focus (2012 timeframe, 2013 update). This was the motivation behind our technology blog. From that early time to now, we have, mostly, rolled our own simple approach while surveying the industry.

And, do things ever change. This note is a stop and relook affair. We recently started to look more closely at for several purposes. It has interesting features and a few wonderful applications done by clever folk.

So, for now, a list of comparison of applications of this type.
That's quite a bunch and only touches upon a small percentage of the class. And, in considering the other types of applications that can be used by a small business, we're talking a veritable jungle. Except, Trello is extensible through providing an API so one can still 'roll their own' which is not undesirable.

One option is to go with a more cohesive package as was being looked at earlier (Joomla, et al). Or, there is Wordpress which is the basis for our technology blog. It allows one to plug-in from many directions and build a huge package.

The quandary remains? What to do? No complaint. This is fun, as we can still keep working within our little domain covering 400 years of history while we tangle with a mere 15 years of computing.

Note: There will be a post in each of the blogs (TGS and technical) and entries at our site (What's new, technology and practice) that will pull this work together so that we can move ahead yet look at the pros and cons of choices being made.

Guess what? No regrets of the decisions taken so far.

Note: Choice of Trello, as a possible means, comes from talking to a grand-nephew (Steven Huggard - Full-stack developer) about modern methods and software. On looking at it further, the company is out of New South Wales. So, what's not to like? List of products from Atlassian. ... However, Atlassian picked up Trello (a whiteboard) from Glitch (formerly Fog Creek). And, Glitch has it own set of products, such as Stack Overflow.

Note: We would move the technical team from FB to a real project-oriented approach. Other suggestions would be okay. Email me at

Remarks: Modified: 11/03/2020

08/09/2019 -- Started a project on GitHub which will lead toward coordinating several projects. See our PortalToTruth.

11/03/2020 -- We are about ready to commence work on further improvements that carry a message regarding the tradeoffs that we ought to face but mostly ignore. Some see fiddling as a right. Fine. But, there is always more work to be done than bodies (minds) to do it. Per usual, we'll be blogging on things encountered, especially issues. In regard to the content of this post, we find GitHub to be remarkably well suited as is evidenced by its popularity. On software, we have seen plenty great use of, and supporting arguments for, html/css/js. But, Julia has come along. Saw an application in Physics that tipped the balance a little in its favor. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Gardner's Beacon, Vol IX, No 2

This issue of Gardner's Beacon continues our review which is leading to renovations to our processes and to our sites and looks to the future. As well, we will be looking closely at the work of Dr. Frank and Frances Rose-Troup with regard to the two Thomas Gardners who came to Cape Ann and their relationship. The older one was the brother-in-law of Rev. John White the Dorchester Company founder. The latter is the husband of Margaret and father of the American line of Salem Gardners.

In looking at the commemorations of the past, we see that the first of the U.S. (50 years) coincided with 200th of Salem. Also, we know that there are still things left over from the 300th. For instance, we think that Thomas needs a monument what with 400 years elapsing since his entry into the New World at Cape Ann. Too, what of the other families that were at Cape Ann? These will be researched, too. Some families were known 100 years ago when the Pageant of Salem was performed in 1913.

This  year, we will publish Volume V of The Gardner Annals. That would be a good time to print and bind all five of the volumes with all of Gardner's Beacon issues in a format suitable for contributions to libraries. We still have print copies of the first four volumes.


See Vol. IX, No. 2 of Gardner's Beacon for a review of research to date and more. Sources.

Remarks: Modified: 07/17/2019

07/17/2019 -- Changed to using commemoration.