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Wise Owl


transAs a reward (but you might not think so!) for solving our simple little puzzle here are a couple of articles Glyn wrote for a small Family History magazine called The Welsh Connection and a software review which appeared in the April 1999 issue of "Family Tree" magazine.

                  Things are Seldom What They Seem................ 
                                     By GLYN HALE

It was in the very first issue of The Welsh Connection back in August 1996
that Clarice Brown used the above familiar quote in her article on MI's. 
Although I had heard it on an almost daily basis for a period of three years
when I was connected with the D'Oyle Carte Opera Company I had never really
given it much thought. 

Until recently, that is.

I'd been trying to establish the connection between two branches of what I 
suspected was the same family. You know how it goes - if I could find the will of 
someone in family 'A' that mentioned someone in family 'B' as a relation the problem
would be solved.
And then, bingo, there it was. A will in which Ann mentions that her cousin John 
lives at a certain farm. And I knew for certain that this John belonged to the 
other branch of the family.

I would have shouted 'house' had I been certain that I would not have been 
summarily dismissed from the Record Office. So I confined myself to a closer 
examination of the will.

And then my elation quickly turned to suspicion. 'Cousin' John? But that just 
couldn't be right. If Ann and John were really cousins then their parents must be
brothers or sisters......... But I knew that they weren't, and suddenly all of my
careful research had been undone and I was faced were yet more and more hours of
painstaking work trying to establish the truth.

W.S.Gilbert to the rescue!

Hadn't he said 'Things are seldom what they seem...........?'

I vaguely remembered an article I had once read about relationships being very 
loosely described at various times and so I decided to do a little delving into
the subject. I was inthe right place, the Record Office, where there were plenty
of books on all aspects of family and local history.

Of couse I soon discovered what many of you already know, but which was new to me
at the time.

COUSIN         A term formerly loosely used, and often meaning a nephew or niece.

NEPHEW         Until the end of the seventeenth century a grandson, descendant or 

NIECE          This word meant a descendant, either male or female, but was 
               occasionally used to mean any younger relative.

BROTHER        A term often used to mean a brother-in-law. (Similarly Sister)

FATHER-IN-LAW  Often used to mean what is now called a step-father, i.e a 
               mother's second husband. The same also applies to Mother-in-Law. 
               But a Father-in-Law is often referred to as 'Father'.

(All definitions from Terrick Fitzhugh's wonderful "Dictionary of Genealogy")

So it seems that in days of yore your relationship with any other member of the 
family was almost anything that you wanted it to be. But for amateur genealogists 
like us it can be very misleading to say the least. Armed with my new knowledge I 
went on to discover that Ann and John were actually second cousins and that their
families were well and truly linked.

I wonder what Gilbert meant by "and all of his sisters and his cousins 
and his aunts....."?

                 "Things are seldom what they seem......  "(2)

                                By Glyn Hale

Most of us start off  on our hobby of genealogy because we want to find out
something we don't already know. Did grandfather really fight in the Boer War,
was Aunt Mabel married at the age of sixteen,  and what was the incident  that
led cousin George to flee to the colonies in unseemly haste, leaving his wife 
and eight children behind ? 

We may never find the answers to those particular questions but, if we're lucky,
somewhere along the way we'll pick up some fascinating pieces of information
which add to our store of general knowledge.
As a regular member of a pub quiz team I like to think that my general knowledge
is no worse than most people's and better than some. (Although I'm sure our team 
captain would dispute that !)

But the humbling thing about family history research is the gradual realisation
that we know so very little about anything at all. Take the English language for 
Most of us have spoken it from a very early age, even if our first language is
something else like Welsh. Although we may not be expected to know the meanings
of words which have become fairly obsolete like Mynge ( intermingled and 
unenclosed land) or Lanspesado (a corporal in the militia) we are on pretty safe
ground with words like bargain, cadet, cheat and shack aren't we ? But things are
seldom what they seem.........................

To our forefathers a bargain wasn't something to dash off to the sales for. It 
meantany sort of contract not necessarily a cheap one. While a cadet had nothing 
to do with the army, it was merely a  member of a subsidiary branch of the family.
How about a cheat ; not a very nice person to know is he? Except that to our 
ancestorscheat was poor quality bread . 

Perhaps that's the origin of the modern word - people who were given second grade
bread when they had paid for first grade were being cheated.  (OK - so I do know 
that the modern usage really comes from the word Escheat which meant the 
reversion of property to the feudal lord where there was no legal heir, people 
often being  escheated out of their land, but that's fairly boring and I think my
version is better.)  
As for shack it wasn't a small wooden hut but the right to graze cattle on the 
common land of a manor after the crops had been cut.
Still feeling confident that you know the meanings of all the words you come 
across  in old documents? As Gilbert said,  - things are seldom what they 
seem ............

Try buttery. Obviously the room on the farm where butter was made. Wrong, it was
beer not butter. And as for cornet, it was neither something you played or ate 
ice cream out of, but a cavalry officer  equal in rank to an ensign in the 
Perhaps you've come across someone who was an entertainer and are thinking of 
contacting Equity for information on minstrels and jongleurs. You'd be wasting 
your time - to entertain meant to employ.

It's also not safe to assume that your family was rich 
because they owned a certain acreage of land as an acre of land could be any size
at all and there was often two or three different sizes of acre in the same part 
of the country.

Of course a badger is one of those very shy, striped, burrowing creatures who 
usually come out at night, isn't it?  Or perhaps it means to pester or harass 
someone ?
Neither, I'm afraid; a badger was originally a licensed beggar in Tudor times and 
later came to mean a pedlar or dealer. [A Badge-Man in the early 1700's was a 
poor  man in receipt of parish relief who was allowed to beg at certain times so
long as he wore a badge bearing the letter 'P'.]

It's all a bit of a mystery to me, - but that's another word which I'll have to
leave until next time.

                    FAMILY TREE Version 2.25  for the ATARI

                            Reviewed by Glyn Hale
   "Atari, that's a games machine isn't it?" is the usual response 
 when I tell people that I keep all my family history records on my
 ever ageing Atari computer.  And whilst it is certainly true that the
 Atari Corporation first came to prominence with their arcade machines
 in the 70s they also produced user friendly and
 versatile home computers which people are still
 using today, even though the company itself has stopped production.
   As a result of it's built in Midi port it quickly became, and remains,
 a firm favourite with musicians and is still to be found sitting
 alongside the mixing desk in recording studios. With it's
 graphic interface it was a precursor of "Windows" at a time when most
 PC users were still struggling with the complexities of DOS.
   But what of family historians?   How well have they been catered for in
 the Atari market place?
   FAMILY TREE is a user friendly genealogy program which was written by
 Ian and Mark Baker for their own family history and which uses the Atari's
 graphics environment to the full. 
                            System requirements
                            and installation
   Unbelievably in these days of massive memory requirements and Gbytes
 of hard disk storage, Family Tree can be run on a one Mbyte machine
 with only a floppy disk drive, although a hard disk is preferable.
 Installation is very simple, since as the program can be run using floppy
 disks only, it can be loaded directly from the supplied disk. Most users,
 however, will want to install it on to their hard disk, which is also simple.
  Using the Atari's 'drag and drop'
 folder  - it can be called anything you like - and copy the files
 GEN.PRG and resource files in to it.  As the Atari uses 'drag and drop'
 feature , just create a folder and copy the files GEN.PRG and resource files
 into it.
   On line help is provided via a third party desk accessory, ST-GUIDE.ACC. and 
 there is also a very comprehensive manual supplied as a text file.
                                Data entry
   When the program starts you are presented with an alert box, or menu,
 from which you can start a new tree or load an existing one.  Clicking
 on NEW TREE will present you with the Atari file selector which has
 been initialised with the name 'Treedata',  A further click on OK will
 create a folder where your data files will be stored.  You can have a
 different file name for each folder. As is usual on the Atari most of the
 programs' functions are accessed via drop down menus using the mouse and no
 typing is required other than when entering information.
 The menus are File, Edit, Display, Custom, Print, Preferences and Help,
 and these then present you with options to perform operations like cut and
 paste or to open other windows.
   Initial information is entered by clicking on New Person in the Display
 menu and you are then presented with a window containing the form depicted
 in Figure 1  Here you can enter names, place of birth, dates of birth, baptism,
 death and occupation.  There are also fields which show parents, children,
 siblings and marriage details but these are automatically filled in by the
 program and are for display purposes only. When entering a new person into 
 the tree there is an additional button labelled Next.  Clicking on this will
 store the data and clear the Person Entry form ready for the another person.
   Names and places of birth can contain any characters you can type but
 dates have to be in the correct format.  If you know the year but not
 the month or day the program will still be able to sort people by date
 of birth. If you are not sure of the year you can use  'circa' which
 can be extremely useful.
   Marriages are used to cover any form of relationship which might produce 
 children.  The authors say that the concept of legitimacy has no place in their 
 program but there is space for 20 spouses! The marriage form
 allows space for ten children although when this is full you can scroll
 down the list and enter up to forty children of a marriage in all. (The
 authors say they will allow for more if asked !)
   Adding new children to a family is, again,  a simple process.  Clicking
 on one of the empty spaces in the Marriage form will bring up the
 Person Selector form. If the father's family name has already been
 entered into the database the Person Selector will already list this
 on the assumption that the child will be named after it's father, and
 the rest of the family are automatically listed there too.  When
 subsequently viewing the child's  Person form you find that the program
 has automatically entered parents and siblings correctly and you can
 then enter further details.
   It is not possible to delete a marriage without first removing all of
 the children of that marriage, a tedious process I must admit .
   Flags, useful for selection, can be set to store information on, say,
 direct relations there are eight definable fields.  Editing is 
 straightforward and it is easy to move around from one record to another 
 with just a click of the mouse.
   From the Set Preferences menu you can do automatic backups at timed
 intervals and  also customise the way many of  the functions of the
 program work. 
   Currently, Family Tree will import and export in GEDCOM format all data,
 except the custom designed flags , and I have never encountered any major
 problems moving information between Family Tree and programs written for
 other operating systems such as Windows and Macintosh.
                              Tree Displays

 Ascestors and descendents can be displayed and printed as  charts with
 each successive generation indented. However, it is the marvellous
 'Custom trees' that makes this a 'must have' program, but this function
 is only available with the GDOS or SpeedoGDOS graphics handling utility
   To start a custom tree you select NEW from the Custom menu and the
 Person Selector opens to allow you to choose the first person in your
 Custom tree. The program then opens a full screen window with that
 person's name in a dashed line box at the top left hand corner.
   If their parents are included in the database there will be a small 
 box drawn at the centre of the top of the box ans similarly, boxes appear
 for children and spouses. Clicking on any of these boxes will add their names,
 neatly entered relative to the original person.  As you can then position
 them on the page, compiling drop line charts with this program even easier
 than drawing by hand with much better printed results. 
 The tree of Figure 2 demonstrates the facility of using any mixture of fonts
 to produce trees which rank amongst the best computer generated ones I've seen.

   It is perhaps the way that the display of trees is handled that, in my 
 opinion, makes Family Tree more than a match for other program available
 at present. 

   Oh, and I've left the best bit until last. This program is in the Public
 Domain and is available on two floppy discs (AP351 and AP 352) for only
 £ 3.75 from FaST Club, PO Box 101, Nottingham NG2 7NN (tel:0115-945-5250,
 fax: 0115-914-0545 and e-mail: stclub@cix.co.uk).
Person screen

Figure 1: Person Entry screen


Figure 2: Example of a tree

About the author: Glyn Hale is a Music Technology Consultant The design, all articles, presentation of information and layout of this site are Copyright © Glyn Hale 1999

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