Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Fun with OCR–Trove Tuesday

Hatch, match and dispatch

Time for a little light entertainment - Correction time! The Trove digitised newspaper zone provides wonderful detail about past lives and times for family historians. It also provides plenty of entertainment through the OCR (optical character recognition) rendition of those pages. The image above is the best one I’ve come across this week, no comments about the substitute of bums for births! It has now been corrected to Births.

Common OCR renditions for son of that I have seen include: sod of, sob of, eon of, soil of – all of which could be applicable at some stage of life no doubt.
Then there was the son-in-law listed as the scam-in-law.

Weddings too provide fertile ground for much mirth.
  • wedding breakfast and deception
  • the bride's trowelling dress
  • the bridegroom's bother
  • wedding hell
Death and In Memoriam notices
the borrowing widow for sorrowing widow
the sodden death in this case not referring to an intoxicated person
Miscellaneous mischievousness
on arrival at Sort Adelaide – well I guess they did get ‘sorted’ before leaving the Port.
Where else could you find advertisements for Rustless Corsets?
What have you seen while searching Trove to cause a smile?

Serious stuff – Some search hints

Funeral notices – There are times when names are not indexed from Funeral notices. This may be for several reasons but I have often found the Funeral Notices buried within an Advertisements page. Sometimes there may be no separate heading and they do not appear in the Family Notices section of some newspapers.

It is often possible to find a funeral notice by scanning the rest of the pages in the paper where the death notice was located. If the death notice was published several days or a week after the death it is worth looking for the funeral notices in the papers just a day or two after the death.

Wages – this one came from a tweet this week by David Coombe

I wondered what a "thorough servant" could be.
Here's one definition found in The cottagers of Glenburnie: a tale for the farmer's ingle-nook By Elizabeth Hamilton, chapter entitled  Receipt for making a thorough servant. Thoughts on Methodism
 "to do everything in its proper time; to keep everything to its proper use; and to put everything in its proper place"
I think my family history endeavours could benefit from the application of those principles.

Thanks to the visionaries at the NLA who developed and continue to enhance Trove. OCR is amazing technology but all users can help improve Trove. Search on, text correct and many will benefit.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

How to insert symbols and fractions in blog posts

When writing family history stories one may need to use a fraction of a year for expressing a person's age or if transcribing from a document one may find a person's height or weight expressed with fractions. A knowledge of keyboard shortcuts helps, and the oft forgotten ALT key with a number pad provides the solution.

For those accustomed to using word processing programs the Insert symbol or Insert special characters gave access to fractions and a variety of other useful symbols. Maths teachers have long used insert equation in MS Word to produce those endless worksheets and exams.

Many of us just need the simple one quarter, one half and three quarters.
1. Access the list of codes from Useful Shortcuts or from Keynote support.
2. Save for ready reference in Evernote or Google Drive, tag as codes, symbols, fractions.
3. Ready to insert? Switch on NUM LOCK, hold down the ALT key and type the code you need.
If your keyboard does not have a numeric keypad you can still access the numbers by finding the FN key with NUM Lock in the same colour on your keyboard. Remember to turn if off after you have used the code you want.

So for ¼ I have NUM LOCK turned on, held down the ALT key and typed 0188, ½ is 0189 and ¾ is 0190. Fractions may be highlighted as with any other text to alter size or bold.

This works in both Blogger and Wordpress blogs. I find this a much easier method to insert fractions rather than having to use HTML coding. If you are typing your blog post on an iPad the easiest way to get fractions is to add them as text short cuts. Tony Mortlock has a post Fractions on the iPad with instructions on how to add them as shortcuts. Do you have another simple method of adding fractions to your blog posts?

This post first appeared on http://librarycurrants.blogspot.com/2016/05/how-to-insert-symbols-and-fractions-in.html

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Hippo sized hints


Hazel hones our histories.
Hazel’s hints help.

What works as a title? I settled on Hippo Sized Hints for this post.
I’m practising what I’ve learnt today. Three word titles  - preferably with some contrast or a conflict of ideas. This was just one example of the hints and tips received by an enthusiastic audience at Cooroy Library this afternoon.

Hazel Edwards, an Australian author of over 200 books presented an entertaining and informative session on Writing a Non Boring Family HistoryAnecdotes, book promotion, writing hints and techniques were interspersed with practical exercises each limited to 2-3 minutes. These were designed to ensure that family historians should concentrate on avoiding “chronological boredom.”

In small groups of three we took the role of an ancestor and were interviewed by the others to relate that ancestor’s story in the first person. This provided an excellent focus for revealing gaps in known information. Other exercises had us concentrate on including all five senses in describing a place or room of significance.

Whilst I will probably never aspire to actually publish a family history, I came away with some excellent ideas for improving my blog posts. By the way, I can’t ever imagine a hippo providing me with hints but the hippo is a very famous character in “There’s a hippopotamus on our roof eating cake
Writing a Non Boring Family History is available as an ebook from Hazel’s online store.