Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: Mega-List of Paying Markets for Horror, Dark Fiction and Poetry

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: Mega-List of Paying Markets for Horror, Dark Fiction and Poetry:
Much like other genres of speculative fiction, horror enjoys a loyal, and possibly fixated, fan base. Horror isn't all blood and gore. The subgenres include everything from the mildly unsettling (like Twilight Zone), to splatterpunk (which is exactly what you think it is). Some of the genres accepted by horror magazines include: humorous horror, holiday horror, psychological horror, science fiction horror, slasher horror, supernatural horror, gothic horror, erotic horror, teen horror and, of course, anything with zombies, werewolves, vampires, or other malevolent creatures. Many of the magazines on this list also accept dark fiction, dark fantasy, and other genre crossovers that evoke a sinister mood. Read the submission guidelines, and make sure to follow them carefully before submitting.

Monday, December 02, 2019

The roots of Westville's historic tree | Highway Mail

The roots of Westville's historic tree | Highway Mail:
FROM the earliest years, the infant colony of Natal depended on transport for its development. One of the first, and most important route, was the road from Durban into the interior. Part of this old wagon route, known as the Old Main Road, still survives. The portion in Westville is today Jan Hofmeyr Road and that in Pinetown Josiah Gumede Road. Sections can also be found in the Upper Highway area as it wends its way towards Pietermaritzburg. Before the opening of the railway line to Pietermaritzburg in 1880 – it only reached the ‘Natal’ border in 1891 and goods were delivered by wagons drawn by oxen.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

The Most Common Last Name in Every Country - NetCredit

An interesting web site showing the most common surnames in every country in the world The Most Common Last Name in Every Country - NetCredit:
In Africa, most surnames are connected to geographic origin, occupation, lineage or personal characteristics. One surname-type unique to the continent is the praise-name, which expresses character traits or other admirable attributes.[6] Ilunga, for example, is of Bantu origin. It roughly translates to “a person who is ready to forgive any abuse for the first time, to tolerate it a second time, but never a third time.”[7] It is the most common surname in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Sunday, November 24, 2019


GEDCOM version 5.5.5 is the first new version of GEDCOM in twenty years. GEDCOM 5.5.1 was introduced on 2 October 1999. Today, exactly twenty years later, GEDCOM 5.5.5 is available from; the GEDCOM site is back.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Yahoo is shutting down its Groups website and deleting all content

I just saw this announcement today which, if true, will mean that hundreds, if not thousands of genealogy mailing lists will be cut off with very little notice. Yahoo is shutting down its Groups website and deleting all content:
Yahoo (owned by Engadget's parent company Verizon) is phasing out one its longest-standing features. The internet pioneer is closing the Yahoo Groups website in a two-phase process that will effectively see it disappear. You'll lose the ability to post new content on October 21st, and Yahoo will delete all "previously posted" material on December 14th. Users can still connect to their groups through email, but the site will effectively be vacant. All groups will be made private and require an administrator's approval. If you're at all interested in preserving your history on the site, you'll want to download your data either directly from posts or through Yahoo's Privacy Dashboard.
It should be borne in mind that Tahoo! got into the mailing list business when it took over something called E-Grous, which ran public mail servers. If they were concerned about their customers they would give them enough notice and time to possibly arrange for alternative mail servers. As Yahoo! took over E-groups, so other servers could possibly take over some of the lists hosted by Yahoo!. But if they close it down with such short notice I will certainly be removing my Yahoo! Id, and will have nothing more to do with any of their services in future.

Irish genealogy resources made available for free online

Irish genealogy resources made available for free online:
Irish birth and marriage certificates from as far back as 1864 are now available for free online, while death certificates between 1878 and 1968 are also accessible. A plethora of Irish genealogy records has been made available online thanks to a joint initiative from the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

Friday, October 04, 2019

You Need to Make a 'When I Die' File—Before It's Too Late | Time

We sometimes wish our ancestors had left more information for us, but how much are we leaving for our descendants? Here are some ideas for what to include in a "When I die" file. You Need to Make a 'When I Die' File—Before It's Too Late | Time:
What Molly and Ira found instead took them by surprise: Inside, their mother had carefully organized all of her papers, including the account numbers, pending transactions, and a bundle of other documents they’d need to settle her affairs and distribute her belongings. It was as though their mother had baked them one last batch of kugel from beyond and left it waiting there for them to arrive. “This was not a Buddhist master’s awareness of death,” Ira Byock says. “It was a Jewish mother’s love for her children.” What Ruth had compiled was what we call a “When I Die” file, and it may be the single most important thing you do before you depart. It may sound morbid, but creating a findable file, binder, cloud-based drive, or even shoebox where you store estate documents and meaningful personal effects will save your loved ones incalculable time, money, and suffering. Plus, there’s a lot of imagination you can bring to bear that will give your When I Die file a deeper purpose than a list of account numbers. One woman told us she wants to leave her eulogy for husband in the file, so she can pay homage to him even if she goes first.
And including a couple of printed family group sheets wouldn't go amiss either -- those dates and places needed for forms etc.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

The Most Dangerous Cities in the World -

The Most Dangerous Cities in the World -
Three cities in South Africa also make it to the list of the world's most dangerous cities: Cape Town (62.25), Durban (38.12), and Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth) (37.53). South Africa, which occupies the southernmost part of the massive African continent, has often garnered publicity for its high crime rates, including murder rates. Factors such as high unemployment rates and systemic racism have been blamed for the violent trends in South African cities.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Professional Historians, Personal Histories: A Roundtable on Objectivity, Subjectivity and Family History – Active History

Professional Historians, Personal Histories: A Roundtable on Objectivity, Subjectivity and Family History – Active History:
Any tension in professional historians pursuing research related to family arises from the longstanding expectation in the discipline that historians should be objective and distant from the subjects they study. This distance has often been described in temporal terms, with sideways glances if one proposes to undertake historical research deemed too recent. The craft of history thrives on distance, cherishing the decades and centuries between historian and subject. The idea is that distance enables scholars to better comprehend the historical record, the contingencies that led to particular events and phenomenon, and to assess their full implications. The celebration of distance means that there is considerable concern when historians propose to undertake more intimate research, research that is literally closer to home. As Benjamin Bryce acknowledges in his essay, “Our discipline clings to a belief in a certain degree of objectivity, and historians shy away from flagging our subjectivity more than other scholars.”

Friday, September 13, 2019

Methodology: Forms - Genealogy Wise

Methodology Part 2: Forms - Genealogy Wise:
There were two suggested forms that really jumped out to me. They are things that 1) I already do and 2) I think that serious researchers should really do too. Hopefully you will see why by the end of this post.

First is the Daily Journal. I can hear some of you making noises about that one already. Trust me, I am not a journal writer per se but keeping a research journal is very important. This is more a running list of things you do on a daily basis with your research. Who did you call? What did you search? What were you results? Did you get an email and what did it say? Those types of things. The one place that you can keep track of all the hills, plateaus, rivers, and cliffs while using your genealogy compass.

Second, is a Repository Chart of research centers and websites that you use. Having a handy computer file, or binder with this form on the outside and all the brochures on the inside, is a great item to have on your genealogy bookcase. You can see where you have been, get clues for places you need to search, have the information for those repositories at your fingertips, and will not need to worry about forgetting what you can find where or wasting time with fruitless searches.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Novel writing and genealogy | Notes from underground

Something I wrote in one of my other blogs. It's only indirectly connected with genealogy, but suggests using genealogy software to keep track of characters in a novel. Novel writing and genealogy | Notes from underground:
One could think of several links, but now I’m thinking of using genealogy software to keep track of the characters in the novel you are writing. For about 40 years now genealogists have been using computer software to keep track of their family history. Genealogy is quite a popular pastime, and computers are a good way of keeping track of your relatives, and there are lots of programs available for doing so.
I wonder how many people have done this.

Friday, August 09, 2019

How’s Find A Grave Encourages Bad Actors and Bad Data

A rather nasty article about Find-a-Grave, though some of its cautions do need to be taken seriously. How’s Find A Grave Encourages Bad Actors and Bad Data:
Find A Grave, as I would soon learn, is a website that documents the final resting place of millions of people all over the world. With 180 million entries, it is the largest gravesite collection on the internet. Owned by genealogy giant, Find A Grave differs in one major way from the company’s other sites: it seems to be composed entirely of user-generated material. Though the site has become a popular resource among genealogists and family historians, Ancestry claims no legal responsibility for the accuracy of Find A Grave’s information. Instead, much of the content creation and moderation work is left to a sprawling community of volunteers. It’s a Wikipedia of the dead, albeit with far fewer rules.
Find-a-Grave has been around for a long time. It originally seemed to be mainly for celeb graves until genealogists found out about it and started using it, so much so that took it over, and changed the user interface without improving it, and just making it more difficult to use.

It does need some caution. If there is a photo of a gravestone, then the inscription says what it says, which may or may not be accurate. There is additional information, not on the stone, added by other people, which tries to link people with those buried in nearby graves. This too may or may not be accurate. And the person who is commemorated on the stone may not have been buried there at all, but ibn another cemetery, another town, another continent.

In spite of some problems, however, Find-a-Grave remains useful to genealogists and performs a public service by preserving the memory of people who might otherwise have been forgotten.

But the writer of the article seems determined to make it somehow sound sinister, and so adds gratuitous comments like that of parents complaining about people taking photos of their daughter's gravestone in a way that implies that it is as bad to do that as it would have been to take porn pictures of her while she was still alive. Why erect a public tombstone in memory of someone if you don't want other people to see or remember it? That attitude is far, far weirder than the people who record cemetery inscriptions, which the author of the article is trying to portray as somehow strange and sinister.

Sunday, June 23, 2019


All over Africa and its Island countries in every port city there are populations of African-Creole people who are a multi-ethnic mix with the major part of their ancestral heritage and culture being African. But as a result of the slave trade and maritime traffic on the Atlantic and Indian Ocean coastlines they also have in their genealogical and genetic ancestral-cultural heritage a mix of African, Indian, Arab, Southeast Asian, and Chinese and European roots. Under British colonial administration from 1911 people with this ancestry who have over 150 tributaries to their ancestral heritage were forcibly assimilated into one ‘race-silo’ labelled COLOURED and de-Africanised by colonial decree.
It should be borne in mind, however, that while all people described in this article as "Camissa" were labelled "Coloured", not all people labelled "Coloured" fit the Camissa description of the article, and that could lead to some confusion.

Confusion is also caused by the use of terms like "the Coloured community", as if labelling automatically creates community. It is also important to be aware of the distinction between genetic and cultural heritage. For example, "Camissa" does not appear to include people like the descendants of John Dunn, who are of Anglo-Zulu heritage, and though classified as "Coloured" during the apartheid era, would have had a different cultural heritage from the Camissa of the Cape.

 Also, a child born in Johannesburg 2001 of a Nigerian father and a Ukrainian mother might be classified as "Coloured" even in the post-apartheid era, but could not be said to belong to a Coloured "community", either culturally or genetically, and from a genealogical point of view, searching for "Camissa" ancestry for such a person could quickly lead to a dead end.

One of my wife's ancestors was a slave known as Francina van de Kaap, so she would probably fit the  Camissa description, but we haven't a clue about Francina's ancestry. "Van de Kaap" just means that she was born there, but her ancestors could have come from almost anywhere. Perhaps DNA testing could give a clue, but that is very expensive. Francina has many descendants alive today, most of whom are classified as "white", and wouldn't think of themselves as Camissa.

So from a genealogical point of view the Camissa description is a two-edged sword; it could help to clarify some things, but could also lead to more confusion.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Pinterest for Authors: A Beginner's Guide | Jane Friedman

Pinterest for Authors: A Beginner's Guide | Jane Friedman:
Un-Social Network. Unlike other platforms that are all about connecting, Pinterest is not super social. This means you can be more businesslike about your time there. On Twitter or Facebook, if you aren’t engaging, you might turn people off. On Pinterest, no one cares if you comment or interact. It utilizes an algorithm like Facebook, so if you decide to pin twenty things in ten minutes, it won’t clutter up your followers’ home feed. You can get in, do some pinning, and get out. For those of us overwhelmed by conversations and connections, Pinterest is a refreshing platform. You can spend hours (or minutes) looking at pretty things and not have to talk to another human. It is an introvert’s dream: a social platform where you don’t have to be social to be successful. This also means that it’s really easy to get started with Pinterest as compared to other platforms. The downside: If you want to form collaborative relationships, this is not the best place to do it. Good thing we have 200 other platforms for that!

What does it mean to be genetically Jewish? | The Guardian

What does it mean to be genetically Jewish? | Life and style | The Guardian:
DNA tests have been used in Israel to verify a person’s Jewishness. This brings a bigger question: what does it mean to be genetically Jewish? And can you prove religious identity scientifically?