Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Thriller Thursday - Wisconsin Death Trip: Theresa Kommer Schmidt Kneisel

Theresa Kommer has an extraordinary story. She was born 24 June, 1827, according to her gravemarker; in 1858, she and her husband Anton Joseph Schmidt and their first four children emigrated to Wisconsin from Bohemia, according to a passenger list for the Adler that I located on Ancestry.

Anton Joseph Schmidt and wife Theresa came to America from Bohemia aboard the Adler in 1858. They left via the port of Bremen; sadly, the Bremen records were destroyed.

Upon arriving in Wisconsin, the family settled in on a farm in Greenville and had two more children, the youngest of whom, Frank, was my great-grandfather. The new life they came for, however, didn't last long. On January 2, 1863, less than five years after their arrival, Anton Joseph Schmidt was shot and killed by a drunk Stockbridge Indian, Joshua Wilson. The murder caused quite a bit of excitement in the town; the events were all preserved for posterity in highly emotive Victorian prose in the local newspapers.

 From the Appleton Post-Crescent, 1863. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tech Tuesday - Transcript Transcribing Software

One of my least favorite tasks in my genealogy is transcribing old handwritten documents. To begin with, there are the difficulties reading the old quill-written longhand, understanding much of the language (chains and rods, anyone?), and then doing battle with the often poor quality of the scans we must work from. But then you must either:

  1. load the scanned image on your computer in an image-viewing program, and toggle back and forth between windows - read and interpret in one window, toggle to word processing program and type, and back again.
  2. print out the scanned old document and prop it up next to your monitor while you type. Usually this is accompanied by a problem, for example, the hard to read text shrinks down to fit the size of paper you are printing on, which is much smaller than the original book.

What you really want is to have a split screen, so that you have both the image and the word processing right there on the monitor screen together. I guess you could open two windows at the same time (one for word processing and one for image viewing) and re-size them on your monitor, but even that doesn't quite work right.

Anyway, you don't have to, and the best part is, it won't cost you.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Wisconsin Death Trip: Gladys Wright, 1907-1923


The death of a child is wrenching, even nearly a hundred years later, and even to those who never knew the children or their parents. There is a always special kind of heartbreak that goes along with a young life lost. Although the obituary of Gladys Wright, age 16, tells a sad story, there is only a hint - easily missed - of the whole story: "She is survived by her parents and one brother." 
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