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Friday, June 28, 2013

The 2 % Rant, NOT Feeling Special, And After All It Is ALL About ME!

Copyright 2013, CABS for Reflections From the Fence


As I drafted this long overly verbose (ya, I know, what is new, I am usually verbose, I know, SIGH) and ranting post I was pretty irritated.  And, it shows.  So, before I posted this and regretted it later I closed down the computer, and slept on it.  Of course, every time I woke during the night to care for the fur kids, my agitated mind went back to it.  I did NOT turn on the computer, I went back to bed.  Sometime in the middle of the night some clarity came (ya, I know, that is rare here too, SIGH, and you will note I only claim SOME clarity, SIGH).  I decided to give you just a glimpse of the back story so you can understand my furor (ya, it really was furor last night, SIGH).

See long, long ago (no, this is not a fairy tale) in a land of internet, researchers, bloggers, there was a post on another site that I felt was, well, rather degrading to many researchers.  I actually was rather appalled at the tone of the post.  And, yes, I did, I made a comment, in defense of the other side of the fence, where I happened to be sitting at the time.  And, yes, I was attacked in further comments by another reader/researcher.  My name was not mentioned, but, since I was pretty much the only one on that side of the fence up to that point in the discussion, I pretty much figured out who the attack was aimed at, Ya, me!  And, YA, I was wounded.  Deeply.  I realized how deeply I was hurt in the middle of the night last night, when I was replaying this post in my head. Was I wrong to be that deeply hurt, maybe, it was after all just someone's opinion.  But, emotions, are NEVER right or wrong, they just are what they are.  I have been very sensitive to those types of criticisms for most of my life, and even more so in my tottering age.  And, that my friends, is why if you choose to continue reading MY rant, you will read and I am sure you will feel my angst.

So, without further ado (I know, I hear ya saying, well, it IS about time Carol!) I am jumping into the current fray, and yes, I feel like this frog looks, CONCERNED! OK, scared.  Ya, I will probably regret this later, but, here goes:


Here is the focus of my rant, this was in my email on June 27th, and in the email of many of my researching friends too.  This is a direct quote of the entire email message.

"Ancestry.com is continuing our efforts to improve the search experience across Ancestry.com and will be making changes to our search functionality in the upcoming months. Some features will be added and some will be discontinued. As part of the 2% of our subscribers that use the old search function on the site, we know that you are passionate about the search experience on Ancestry.com and we are reaching out to you to get input on potential improvements. We hope you will take the opportunity to share your insights and feedback on our plans.

To identify which areas of the experience we should focus on this year, we have drawn on customer input, usage data, usage patterns and our old search function for inspiration. From all of that, we are looking at making your time on Ancestry.com more productive by improving these areas of the search experience in 2013:

More relevant search results with the best results at the top
Easier refining and control of your search results
Keeping a better history of the work you have done
Publishing more new content and more corrections to existing content
Performance improvements to return results faster

As we begin to make these improvements, we will no longer maintain two separate search systems for the site. Maintaining two systems limits the resources we can use to make improvements and increases the complexity of every improvement we try to make. Additionally, continuing to maintain the two systems limits our ability to direct more investment into other areas like adding more record collections and correcting existing collections.Based on that, as a part of the work this year we will be bringing together the two search experiences into a single search experience on Ancestry.com. We hope to bring forward the best features of both the old and new search systems into the consolidated experience to facilitate the transition for our users and to improve the overall search experience. We expect to discontinue the old search function as a separate experience within the next 6 months.As a user of the old search feature, we wanted to give you advance notice and let you influence the changes we are making in search. Please take this survey to share your feedback and ideas on key features to improve.

Best regards,
The Ancestry.com Product Team"


Now, before I progress with this rant of mine, here is the thing.

This IS my sand box.  This IS my rant.  These are my opinions, you do not have to agree, I figure you won't.  That is fine, I am not asking you to agree. I am saying tho, that you will NOT be allowed into my sandbox to call me names or degrade me.  Don't come in here and tell me to put on my big girl panties.  Don't come in here and tell me to get over it, buckle down, figure it out, or better yet, just get off the internet and off these web sites.  Don't tell me that if I do not like a search engine, because in my opinion it FAILS to perform, to get off the site and leave the site to you.  Don't tell me that I am sucking up band width.  I pay for my share of that band width at Ancestry and have for some time.

Don't be telling me to "give it a chance".  Do you really think I won't?  Like I am going to have a choice? Let's face it, Ancestry is committed to these changes and NOTHING I say is going to make them go back.  I will either try it, love it, hate it, or leave the playing field.

And, don't be telling me, or asking me, "Well, didn't you think this was coming?"  Well, yes, I did, and I have been dreading it for a very long time.

Here are my observations, and yes, you probably should call them my rants.  MY rants.  MY concerns.  MINE!  You have my permission to stop reading anytime!  LOL


Yep, Ancestry is changing the web site.  OK, it seems every web site I use is changing, Ancestry.com, FamilySearch, Facebook, Google +.  They all change lots of stuff in the matter of 12 months.  I cannot keep up, I am not alone in that, I hear lots of wails of woe and befuddlement, "I cannot keep up".

Do I like being called the 2 %, with the indication that I don't matter.  NOPE.  Don't like it, it stings.  Reduces me.  I like to think I am important in the world.  (OK, just kidding, on the important,  I realize I am not even capable of making a ripple over at Amcestry).  But, I don't believe that only 2 % of their subscribers use the Old search.  Not based on facts or anything scientific, just my gut, that, or I only have friends in that 2 %, cause the majority of my researching friends don't like the New search and so many of us still use the Old search.  But, that 2 % just stings something horrible.  Makes my blood boil.  Can I explain it?  Nope.  Bleeding here.

Does New search work?  Obviously, it does.  Have I spent enough time learning it, no way.  Here is the deal, I have a limited number of days left on this good earth.  I have to choose how I spend those days, those minutes.  Constant learning of new stuff on web sites sucks HOURS out of my days that are left.  I have tried the New search, it does NOT work for me.  I repeat, I have not spent a lot of time trying to figure it out, all the filters and stuff,  I don't want to spend that time.  My research results with the New search are worse than dismal.  They are a TOTAL FAIL.  Too many hits, confusing, obtuse.  This is MY experience, MY research, MY time, MY efforts and MY frustration.  Until now, I have just limped back to the Old search after I got the daylights beat out of my by the New Search, and spent my limited hours and energy researching, getting results, happy, but, concerned, knowing deep in my heart that Old search days were limited.

I know that a lot of other researchers love New Search. My observation, some of these that love it adapt easier, have more energy, have (presumably) MANY MANY more days on this side of the pearly gates than I do.  I hold them dear to my heart and harbor no ill feelings towards them.  Really, all I want for them (and, of course for ME) is that their research goes well and that they have good results with the search engines on the web sites they use.  All that counts is that you find your dude or dudette.

I also differ over many other researchers in the way I access the internet.  I am not going into a huge dissertation here, but, with the air card and our rolling home,  trying to sort through page after page after age of hits in the New search is HUGELY time consuming.  There have been times when I could play 3 hands of computer solitaire while waiting for a document image to load on Ancestry.  Really. Isn't that sad??  Yes, it is my life style and my choice to NOT live somewhere with rocket fast blazing, burning speeds.  It is my experience, and after all, as I have pointed out here a time or two, this IS all about ME and MY experience with the search engines at Ancestry.


So, what next?  I'll tell you what, no matter how much the 2 % do not like the New search, Ancestry WILL do away with the Old search.  Do not doubt it.  That leaves me two choices, as I see it. One, learn the New search (and hopefully Ancestry will improve it to the point that it will really be better.  I don't want to say they won't, but, I really have little faith.  Call me a doubting Carol.)  The second choice is to just not renew my subscription.  If I do not renew I will have to either find new places to do my research, and there are several that come to mind. OR, I will be forced to do INPUT, INPUT and more INPUT.  I actually have enough INPUT to do to keep me going for a couple of years.  Really!

Will I miss being a subscriber to Ancestry.  Yea, some.  Just SOME?? you ask.  Yes, SOME!  See, I got so aggravated with Ancestry a while back that I actually let my subscription expire, for well over a year.  I missed it, SOME.  I did not miss the aggravation.  Really.

So, the bottom line, I am not happy to have to learn to use what is in my opinion (the ONLY one that counts here at this moment) is a lame search engine.  My rant here is not going to make one iota of difference in Ancestry's business and search engine plan.  IF they actually do make it better, well, you will hear that from me too, credit where credit is earned.  IF they fail, and I cannot learn the new stuff easily, well, I bail.  I have LOTS of other stuff to do.

* THE DISCLAIMER:  I am currently a PAYING member of Ancestry.com. I have been for quite a few years, except for that time that I let my subscription lapse.  I do not accept kickbacks or gratuities from any commercial venture.  Read my disclaimer page.  Ancestry has not asked me to review their web site ON my blog.  They have asked me a number of times to fill out surveys, and I have, and I was blunt and if I did not like what they were asking about, I told them so, bluntly.

** Facebook, FamilySearch and Google + are free sites I also use, same disclaimer.

*** And, now, I publish this post and stand back from the flames.  I do moderate the comments on this blog and I appreciate all said comments.  I have even removed Captcha to make it easier for my readers to comment.  However, if you attack me personally, I can guarantee I will NOT publish your comments.  This IS after all MY sandbox and MY rant.  Defensive attitude and all.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

THE Trip, THE Encore' :: The 17 Mile Drive, Pebble Beach, California

Copyright 2013, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

WARNING, this post is HEAVY in graphics.

April 15, 2013

We were urged by many friends to hop down to the Monterey, Pebble Beach, Carmel by the Sea area.  "Don't miss", they kept telling us.  "You will be in photo heaven", they kept telling us.  They were correct, of course!  We drove via Sand City to Pebble Beach and the 17 Mile Drive.

Sand City, is, well, sandy!  There are signs on California Highway 1 that say, "Drifting Sand".  I don't have to drive it daily, nor clean up the highway after a particularly bad storm, so, I delight in the signs and the sand.

This first photo was actually taken on the way home this day.

The wind picks up the sand at the top of the dunes and blows it elsewhere, if you look carefully, you can see the sand in the wind.

17 Mile Drive at Pebble Beach offers something for all, houses, beach, ocean waves, ocean critters, places of interest for movie buffs, and of course, golf!!  Please note there is a fee to drive the 17 Mile Drive.  It is a private road.

For the most part many of the houses are behind gates and/or beautiful collections of flora.  Photos of houses are rather hard to snag, and I did not try too much after I realized just how difficult it would be.  They really frown on your stopping in the middle of the road, jumping out and taking photos.  LOL  So, here are a couple of lovely homes, the best two photos of houses of the day.

The following two photos were taken at a pull off they call, "The Restless Sea".  Restless due to the submerged rocks (many are granite) and terrain.

China Rock area.  Chinese fishermen built lean-to hones against the rocks in the late 1800s to early 1900's.

NO, I did not edit these photos for color.  In fact, the most I did was resize the photos for the blog, and on one or two photos I did a auto correct or a little balance of the brightness and contrast.  However, most of these photos are just as they came out of Sony Too.  Yes, that is a turquoise color in the water. And, yes, it changes to a darker blue.  The water color was gorgeous beyond words!

Bird Rock and Seal Rock Picnic Area.

Sony Too zooms on Seal Rock, many birds and what are those tan spots at the bottom left??

More Sony Too zoom, and yes, we have seals (now, there are at least 3 kinds of seals that frequent the California coast, and I do not know which these are).

Zoom on the top of the rock and there are more seals (that was some climb!).  The birds are either Brandt's Cormorant, which are 33 inches long and have a wingspan of 50 inches, or Pelagic Cormorant, which are 20 inches long and have a wingspan of 40 inches.

Every way you turn, the views are stunningly beautiful.

And, we have fencing, Ice plant, teal water, waves, sand, coastline, rocks, and total beauty!

The Lone Cypress, recognized as one of California's iconic and enduring landmarks, this cypress is reported to be more than 250 years old.  It is hard to see on this photo, but, they have it supported well by wires and such. If reports found on the internet are true, the tree has been held in place this way for at least 65 years.

Pescadero Point area, in panoramic!

Lucky artists that can paint here.

Peeble Beach Golf Links, plaque celebrating Bing!  THE original Bing!

And, there it is, the infamous, Pebble Beach Golf Course!  Man was thrilled to just be there.  We agreed that the fee of close to $450.00 for 18 holes was more than our budget could handle.  But he can say he was THERE!!

* Of course, I did some research on the Lone Cypress before publication of this post, cause, well, I found something that indicated the Pebble Beach Company has any image of the tree copyrighted.  Really, I don't need that kind of trouble.  I found oodles of other photos in a quick search.  I also found a bit of a controversy.  There are conflicting reports that this is the tree that is 250 years old. I figure I could spend about 100 hours researching this and still not know which story is correct.  It is a gorgeous tree and photo tho, isn't it?

**So, here is the disclaimer, I took these photos, I am not selling these photos, I put photos on my blogs for the enjoyment of friends and family.  Except for the photos of my family that appear here on Reflections, I can tell you that thousands and thousands of other people have taken similar photos of all the beauty across this nation similar to those I post.  Pebble Beach Company has not asked me to photograph the sights along the 17 Mile Drive, nor have they paid me anything to do so.  Please see my Disclaimer page here on Reflections.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

THE Trip, THE Encore' :: The Tech Museum of Innovation, San Jose Californa

Copyright 2013, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

April 13, 2013

A huge change from the ocean and Highway 1, today we will visit The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose with RVing friends HoboBob and Mina.

The museum has 3 levels of displays and learning opportunities.  You can read more about their Mission, Vision and Core Values here:  "Our mission is to inspire the innovator in everyone."

There are, of course, robots, blocks and spelling games.

How electric is this guy??  Well, his hair anyway.

And, this, is:   DNA!!  Or a representation of DNA.

See, DNA, made out of books:

Look at some of the titles, "California" "Heritage" (some of the title), More "Joys of Jello", "Cooking of Scandinavia".  Classic stuff, eh?  I adore the humorous approach to the titles chosen.

There were a number of displays set up to discuss and explore DNA.  Since I have not begun any DNA type of research for my family history I have very little understanding of DNA.  I still don't.  But, I was impressed!

The results of a thermal camera projecting to a wall.  I also took a selfie, it is here.  (A selfie = self portrait.)

There was a interesting display titled, "Explorer's Hands"  You could touch the hands that touched a discovery.  This for instance, is the hand of Jean-Luc Picard, Star Fleet Captain.  (from the signage)

"Jean-Luc Picard graduated from Star Fleet Academy at the top of his class. Later, as captain of the Federation's flagship, Enterprise, it was his continuing mission to "seek out new life and new civilizatoins and to boldly go where no one has gone before."

How cool is that??

Yea, it is the hand of actor Patrick Stewart, who played Jean-Luc Picard for 7 seasons.

Some of the other displays covered silicon valley, computers, health and  biotech, energy, space, earthquakes, and so much more.  Man and I could have spent days in this museum.  We felt like kids at a Children's Hands On Museum.  If you are in the area, it is surely worth a visit, or two, or three.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

THE Trip, THE Encore' :: What Man Does When The Trip is Stalled.

Copyright 2013, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

While we were waiting for the delivery of landing legs parts, we ran some errands, and Man did some minor repair/fix ups to Tana.  We had been looking for a hat peg or two for the many hats we both have. In a local grocery chain that is "new" to us we found several items to fulfill the "need" list.

First Man checked this overhead light and made sure the globe would not all off, it was very loose before he tweaked with a bit of plumbers tape.

We found a perfect spot for some unique hangers we found:

Bird silhouette hat hangers.

And, Man's new leather Stetson found a home as well:

Using every square inch and then some, living in a RV.  Hats and all.


Monday, June 24, 2013

THE Trip, THE Encore' :: What Carol Does When The Trip is Stalled.

Copyright 2013, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

OK, what do you think I do when THE Trip, THE Encore' is stalled??  Other than, go shopping, do laundry, clean Tana, rest, see the local sights and enjoy a few leisurely meals at local eateries?

I check my data base.  And, yes, I research!  One of Man's distant lines (through a twist or two) lived in Seaside, I actually remembered that.  They are also buried there, in the Evergreen Cemetery.  I have photos of most of the burials there from Find A Grave super duper volunteers, but, you know, there is nothing like visiting the graveside yourself.  You might see something that a volunteer would not be aware of. And, you have the opportunity to pay your respects.

We were stalled long enough that I was able to get into the city public library.  They have a very fancy digital scanner for microfilm.  It must not get used a lot.  It looked brand new.  Once we figured out how to turn it on and convinced the software to function, I was pulling films and finding obituaries.  I looked for 10 obituaries and walked away with 6.  Several of the deaths occurred in a nearby county, even though they are buried in the family plot.  Six is good!

This obituary provided much information that had been "hiding" from me, such as the maiden name of Ersel's wife.  I also found her obituary, which did not mention her maiden name but did give me some hints of places to research for her heritage.  I am not going to hold my breath on this maiden name tho, as preliminary online searches were not encouraging, I see a difficult research process coming to my lap top soon.

From this obituary I also discovered a sister, Josephine, whom I had been led to believe had died as an infant.  Oh, dear, here she is a married lady.  Research indicated!  And, is that married name correct in the obituary?  Another long research challenge!

Image of this obituary was shot with my iPad, emailed to myself, downloaded to the computer and tweaked a bit with my photo editing program.  I also printed out for 5 cents, 4 of the 6 obituaries, just cause.

His obituary appeared in the April 25, 1985 edition of the Seaside Signal, Seaside, Clatsop County, Oregon, Section 1, page 10:

"Ersel Edward Stuart
Ersel Edward Stuart died April 16, in Seaside.  Born July 26, 1900, in Oregon City to John W. Stuart and Mary Jane Hess, Mr. Stuart lived most of his life in Seaside.

He worked for various local logging companies and was a member of the Seaside Moose Lodge ad of the International Woodworkers of America.

He married Lillian Maltpress Oct. 11, 1930 in Kelso, Wash.  Mrs. Stuart died in 1973.

Survivors include a sister, Josephine Walker, Seaside; a brother, Cecil Stuart, Klamath Falls, a niece, Mary Jean Putnam, Klamath Falls, and a nephew, William Stuart, Brookings.

The Seaside Moose Lodge officiated at the services, April 18, at the Hughes-Ranson Motruary Chapel."

What I knew about Ersel before arriving in Seaside, Oregon:

I had a copy of his World War I Draft Registration.  I have not been able to find a World War II registration for Ersel.

Ersel is enumerated with his father and mother on the 1910 and 1920 census reports.

In 1930 Ersel is found in the Olney Precinct, Clatsop County, Oregon,  as follows:   Ersel Stuart, lodger, age 29, single, born Oregon, father born Iowa, mother born Oregon, logger in logging camp.

In 1940 we find Ersel as a married man, living in Seaside, Seaside Election Precinct 2, Clatsop, Oregon as follows:  Ershal Stuart, married aged 39,  finished 6 years of school, renting home for $15.00 a month, lived in same place in 1935, worked 40 hours the week of March 24 - 30, worked as steam engineer for logging, income in 1939, $1225.  His wife, Lillian Stuart, female, aged 49  (she is found on the next page of the census reports).  Birthplace was written as Washington, then crossed off and Texas was written.  Last year of school appears to be 7th.  I do not see where it is indicated which of them gave the information to the enumerator.

And, that is how you spend some time when THE Trip, THE Encore' is stalled.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

THE Trip, THE Encore' :: Ride to Half Moon Bay California

Copyright 2013, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

April 12, 2013,  RVing friends HoboBob and Mina volunteered to show us Half Moon Bay and the sights.  What a great way to spend the day, sightseeing and friends, we're IN!

Crops of all types are grown in the area (miles and miles and MILES of crops).  The following two photos show some crops, before and after the sun screens go up.

This area of coastline differs from the Morro Bay to Big Sur section.  Here the cliffs are a bit more moderate.  What was particularly interesting was that there were fields, crops and herds of cattle from the roadway to the water, most every other place we saw along the coast in California and Oregon there are parks, houses, businesses, pull offs and such, but, very few farmer fields and fields of cattle.

Beaches, waves, sea mist, sand, hills, the highway.  Delightful driving.  This is, by the way, Highway 1.

You can see that sometimes the roadway is very close to the edge of the water.

We stopped for lunch in Half Moon Bay at the Miramar Beach Restaurant.  There is a brand spanking new marker outside the restaurant, you must see, you should read, are you smiling yet??

Our view from our table was of Pillar Point Air Force Station.  We, sadly, did not have the time to drive over and investigate, our personal/travel bucket list grew.

On the way back to camp we stopped at the pulloffs, they are so much easier to access going south!  LOL

San Gregorio State Beach.  Seagulls to entertain, flowers, fence, waves, sand, and a kite.  Yep, works for me!

We  stopped at the charming town of Pescadero for coffee and a walk around.

Back on 1 heading south, I particularly liked how there were so many protrusions, peninsulas in this area.  Yes, more sea mist!

This is the Pigeon Point Lighthouse.

First photo taken on the drive north.

Next 2 photos, taken at the park.  It was windy, it was coolish, it was W*I*N*D*Y!!  I charged around, took some photos, and quickly retreated back to the truck.

We enjoyed our day trip with friends HoboBob and Mina.  They are terrific guides.  Thanks so much!