Tuesday, May 4, 2010

New Theme: Murray Mania!

In the next few posts, I'll be sharing information, stories, and impressions of my great-grandfather Frank Murray and his ancestors and relations. I'll also be transcribing documents related to the Murrays and adding them to the "Transcriptions" section of the As Old As the Hills website. Mostly these will be biographical sketches that have appeared in local histories I've found on either the Internet Archive or Google Books.

Why did I decide to go to the bother of transcribing stuff that's already digitized and freely available online? Three reasons.
  1. The sketches are scattered all over the place, and I felt it would be useful to corral them together in one spot. 
  2. The Internet Archive could crash; Google could decide to scrap their massive digitizing project, start charging for it, or take some stuff down that's currently posted. What's available now might not be available forever, and for my own purposes at least, I'd like to record my findings.
  3. Computers stink at reading scanned documents. If you look at the raw, computer-recognized text of a Google book, you're going to find stupid errors, like "Vl/omen" instead of "Women." Google, though, is constantly working to correct its texts. The situation is much worse on the Internet Archive, where anyone can upload documents, but there's no quality control on the OCR jobs and no way for users to make corrections (short of uploading duplicate copies of the book). Some of the bio sketches I've transcribed, I've stumbled on by chance in digitized books whose OCR'd text was too garbled for the names to pop up in a search. By posting accurate transcriptions on my website, I hope to make the job of finding all these sketches easier!
Since the Murray branch of my family did not produce very many of the sort of wealthy and distinguished individuals that local histories love to praise, most of the bio sketches I've found are of more distant kinfolk--third great-uncles or second cousins twice removed. One exception to this rule, though, is my third great-grandfather George Kincaid, who owned an impressively large farm in Illinois. (If you're looking at the Great-grandparent Key in the sidebar, George Kincaid's eldest daughter, Lucy Kincaid, was Frank Murray's mother.) I'll be talking more about the Kincaids later, but check out George's bio sketch to see a picture of him!

I do also have some primary research I'll be sharing on the website--for example, I've begun digitizing the probate records of Maranda Corbin (Maranda's son Maxwell Gulliver Murray was Frank Murray's dad).

So stay tuned here, keep an eye on the website, and let Murray Mania begin!

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