Pleased with myself!

About two days ago I set myself down at my OpenOffice word processor, gave myself a chapter to work on–and started writing. My book, that is. I’ve been planning all along to publish a preliminary book while my research is still in progress, but just couldn’t get started. This time, I decided it would just have to get done, even if I felt I’d rather surf the web. The exact opening of the book isn’t clear to me yet, so I started at around Chapter III, regarding Sarah McConnell, and the Marsh and Detweiler families.

Two days later, I am working on the third section now, since I am dividing the chapters into separate headings for different topics or events. Several pages written, and they are written very well too if I may say so. I am using a two-column format, since I consider this most professional-looking for history books. Hopefully, when ready for publishing I can just send a PDF file and the publishers will print from that. (I will probably be publishing with the News-Item, since they seem to be doing the publication of most history works lately, and they will likely be willing to publish this biography as well.)

So, although I still haven’t devised a perfect way to organize my digital images and docs (this is on my long to-do list), progress has been made in my research project. I just hope I can stick to this excellent pace! 🙂

Endnote woes, research & BFF

I spent last night and most of this morning working with the OpenOffice word processor, trying to achieve what I thought was kind of a simple task: Place endnotes at the end of a chapter, with a page break.

Source citation is going to be a key element of my book, as most historical works written around here at any time, recent and distant, have had little or no sourcing (highly annoying!), and I think it’s about time someone did it right. So, I will need frequent endnotes (I think they are easier to manage than footnotes, since they don’t get in the way of those readers who aren’t looking for sources, and they are compiled in easy-to-find groups).

Well, I first thought of having several separate documents, one for each chapter, so that when the endnotes were placed at the end of a document, it would actually be at the end of a chapter. Conveniently, endnotes were given an automatic page break this way.

Then I discovered the master document system. This way, I could link all of these separate documents to one, large master document. I figured that this would have the same result as unlinked documents, only it would be more convenient as I would be able to treat them as a single document. This meant that I could also add an automatic index for the entire document. Sounds perfect, right?

Now, for some reason, it turned out that endnotes in a master document were placed at the end of the master document–not at the end of the subdocument, i.e., chapter. So, even though the endnotes were added in the subdocument, they did not take effect within the subdocument, they just got added to the end of the entire thing, the exact thing I wanted to avoid which is why I started using the master document system.

This morning, I discovered that if you go to the Sections area under Format (which, in a master document, will list the subdocuments just like the Navigator does), you can tell it to gather the endnotes at the end of a section (subdocument). Now this seemed as if it would solve my problem, but it turned out that the endnotes were gathered directly under the text–no page break!

I’ve been sitting here for hours trying to figure out how to give it an automatic page break. You can do it manually by directing the amount of space between text and endnote (in inches, you can’t just tell it “start on new page”), but then this will have to be done separately for each chapter, and I figured if they’re going to give me this complicated system which is supposed to save me time by doing things automatically, there ought to be a way to do this very, very simple automatic process. No? Maybe I’m just picky, but the master document system seems to be messing up the very things it was designed for. It’s supposed to give you individual control over individual documents, but allow you to compile them and treat them as one. Right?

Well, anyway. This morning I also finally remembered to call the Trinity Episcopal Church. (I need a planner! I’m forgetting things already, two weeks in a row!) I asked if they had any old records, and they told me they’d need to talk to some other people about it, and perhaps I could meet them at the church in a couple of days. I said I could, and we arranged a date and time. So this week I am headed off on another research trip. I hope they have something there!

Also, many thanks to Ruth of Bluebonnet Country Genealogy for the BFF (Blogging Friends Forever) award! I am honored, and happy to hear you’ve enjoyed my blog as much as I’ve enjoyed reading yours!

Unfortunately, although I’d love to, I can’t really accept the award yet as the rules are you must pass it on to another blogger, and I’m afraid I don’t know of any other genealogy bloggers who are regular readers of this site, except for Ruth herself. So, I suppose I’ll have to hang onto the award for a while until a few more readers come along! But, thanks again, Ruth!

Halifax, Poughkeepsie, and Planning the Book

I searched the PA State Library’s online catalog again today, this time for Halifax. The search turned up a lot of miscellany including flood insurance studies and “assessment of agricultural nutrient point source discharges from tile drains, spring and overland runoff from two farms, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania.” There were church records, but they did not seem to include any Episcopalian records; however there was also a history book about the Halifax area bicentennial, 1794-1994. 128 pages, maps, photos–maybe just what I need. The subject location was listed as Halifax Township; looked this up on the internet and apparently the Halifax borough is part of a larger area known as Halifax Township. So, this book also covers the general area–i.e., like the Greater Shamokin Centennial.

However…it said the location of the book was the PHMC (Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission) Library, and it was non-circulating. In other words, no ILLs. But I went back to the PA State Library home page, and it said only genealogical books were non-circulating. Halifax Bicentennial was not listed as genealogy. Therefore, I decided to give it a try anyway (one of them had to be wrong), and I called the Shamokin library to request an ILL for the book. Librarian had to look up the ISBN, so I had to call back later and she said she found it, and it’s only in one library in the state. (!) However, they will send for it. Now, it just so happens today is Thursday, and all ILL requests go out on Thursday. But I guess today’s batch is already sent out, because this request won’t go out till next Thursday. Well, at least it’s getting done. If I can get a hold of this book, it could be an important find. Would mention things like cemetery names, church names, school names…maybe even specifics on the Marsh or McConnell family.

Now for the book. Once my research is complete, I am going to compile what I’ve learned into a detailed narrative of the history of the Kulp and McConnell families in Pennsylvania. However, I’ve recently decided to get started on the book much sooner than I’d originally planned. Later, I’ll be able to write a second, more complete book, as I expect to get into a substantial collection of information sometime within the year, which will add considerably to my store of data. Right now, though, things are still developing, and I think it would be a good idea for me to get the word out in this area before the major information comes in. After all, I’ve already gathered much more information than is generally known about these families, certainly enough to publish a book about. So, why not start now?

Last evening I started off with a chapter outline of how I think the book should go. This, of course, will likely change in the course of the writing, but, while going over it, it became clear to me that there’s one important time period which is especially vague to me. I know considerably little about Monroe H. Kulp’s early years in Shamokin–late 1870’s to late 1880’s. Of course, there are plenty of other time periods that need work, but I decided it was time for me to focus on this one. I narrowed the subject down to his college days, an area which I think has good research potential. In the late 1870’s, he enrolled at the State Normal School in Lebanon, Ohio, which was primarily a teacher’s college but presumably he attended one of their additional departments. Contrary to what the biographies say, the official name of the school was at that time the National Normal University, but I think it’s the same place as State Normal School. Some of their old records are now kept at Ohio’s Warren County Historical Society. In fact, I emailed them a while ago about this, but was given a hard time…tried to get them to explain exactly what type of records the collection included, i.e., what was the scope and content, but although two different people wrote back to me all they could say was to remind me that their fee was $10 an hour. (Which I knew.) Wrote again to repeat and clarify my question; did not receive an answer. I think I will have to call them.

MHK also graduated from the Eastman Business College at Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County, New York, in 1881. Some online searching led me to the New York State Library’s catalog, and they have a collection of records from the school, as well as some student photographs, but…they don’t do genealogical searches and the collections definitely don’t circulate. As for me going to Albany…well, you can figure it out. I went to the Albany County Rootsweb message board and asked, just in case, if someone can do a look-up or knows of a good low-fee professional genealogist, but this is a bit of a long shot.

I did find a few interior photos of various sections of the school, at Earlyofficemuseum.com. If you’re interested, follow this link, because you won’t catch me violating their copyright warning:

People who use material from this web site without giving proper credit are below green slime on the evolutionary scale.