Friday, April 25, 2008

Who Holds the Copyright ?

Before I can publish any of the letters that I copied at the Bentley Library I must first get written permission from both the library and the copyright owner. This is a standard requirement of the library and applies to all of their collections. Today I received permission from the library with the caveat that it is my responsibility "to determine what constitutes a fair and reasonable effort to abide by copyright law."

Since my grandmother was the donor of the collection her heirs would be the owners - or would they?

I've done some reading and I think the copyright was/is held by each individual author, rather than the recipient. Since I do not believe that any of the letters meet the legal definition of published, I believe that per this table all of the letters whose authors died prior to 1938 are safely in the public domain.

For any authors that died after 1937 I would have to track down their heirs and get written permission from each. In some cases this would be a huge task, in other cases it might be doable. If I can't obtain written permission I believe that I can still use small parts of letters as "fair use." For example I might use a sentence or two from a letter that gives the date and place of death of a family member.

For authors that are still living I would need their written permission. Even though I could probably use parts of these letters as fair use, I will ask permission first. If someone is still living and doesn't want me to use anything they have written I will not.

There are dozens of letters that I believe are now in the public domain and plan to begin with them.

If you have more knowledge of how copyright law would apply to these letters and/or the genealogy sheets and notes that make up the collection I would appreciate your input.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Home Again

Yesterday was an emotional day. I had a lovely visit with my aunt. My uncle had no idea who I was. The last time I visited, several years ago, he was such an active, vibrant man that it was hard to see him so weak. Even though he didn't know me he gave me one of his smiles that I remember so well.

After my visit I ran out to the old family homestead. The house has been gone for years now and the property deeded to someone else. Construction has just started on a new home and the old mighty oaks that lined the road look old and tired. I suspect that their days are numbered.

Some of the bulbs that my mother remembers seeing from her bedroom window were blooming still. I was tempted to bring a few home with me but there was no one around to ask permission of. I did take pictures and I will try to find some of the same varieties to plant here.

I decided not to travel home back through Ontario. Instead I headed onto I90 so I could make a quick stop at the cemetery in Bronson, MI. My map was almost right and I got perfect directions from a woman at a local store. I'd almost given up hope, but there in the last row and in excellent condition, I found the headstones of Michael and Sarah (Wisner) Camfield. Many of the letters I've been reading were written by Sarah and all are addressed Dear Children.

It was a bit longer coming home through Ohio but I'm glad I was able to stop as I'd never been to Bronson. I wish I'd had more time in Michigan but I can always go back. As much as I enjoyed my trip it is good to be home. I guess I missed spring while I was gone as we had a perfect summer day here today. John tells me that the last of the snow vacated the premises on Thursday.

At the library I had to sign a form agreeing not to publish any of the letters before I obtain written permission from both the copyright holder and the library. I've been working on that a bit today and will send an email to the library tomorrow. Hopefully I'll hear back quickly as I'm anxious to start sharing some of what I found.

Friday, April 18, 2008

A Bright Spot in a Frustrating Day

Several years ago I found the headstone of my 3rd greatgrandmother, Tamesin Hall Glover, in Gaines, NY. Sometime after her death her husband, David Glover, moved west to Michigan. My aunt and uncle have black and white a photo of his headstone in tall grass, taken from a distance. Recently I discovered which cemetery he is in so yesterday I headed out to find it and get a better picture.

Long story short, I got lost (several times) and when I did finally find the cemetery there were no headstones in the portion of the row where he and several other family members should have been. I did walk through the entire cemetery and I checked along the edges of the woods for stones that had been tossed aside. I was quite disappointed.

The day was saved for me by Juliane’s granddaughter. She had welcomed me to her home for a lovely lunch and wonderful conversation. She has an exciting trip of her own coming up! The time passed too quickly as we chatted about many different things. I also very much enjoyed meeting her mother. She has written a bit more about our discussion of computers and FTM.

Thanks to you both for a wonderful afternoon!

I spent the rest of the day making more wrong turns. I did find the graves of some cousins. I spent a very long time in another cemetery without any luck despite having a map of the plots.

This morning I’ll visit a bit with my aunt and uncle and then I’m heading home.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

It Just Gets Better

I was able to finish at the Bentley Library, at least for this trip. I was able to flip through Hannah Glover Carlisle's diaries from the 1890's but I would need another two full days to copy them so they will have to wait for a future trip. I filled my 4gig backup and had to delete some stuff that was one my other stick to make room for all of the images that I have.

Finding all of this should be enough for anyone but not me. As exciting as it was to finally see the letters I was just as excited that I was able to have dinner with Jasia. She drove out to Ann Arbor to save me extra travel. She picked a local pub which was just perfect and I never would have discovered it on my own. We knew each other well enough from our blogs to sit and talk like old friends. And talk we did! OK, to start I did most of the talking because I was so excited and it was nirvana to have a receptive audience. We did soon move onto other topics. I was startled to realize that three hours had flown by. Jasia is just as much fun as I expected her to be and I had a great time! Since I have to come back for the diaries sometime I hope that we can do it again.

Thanks Jasia!

After I finished at the library yesterday I drove across the state to Benton Harbor so I could attend the Berrien County Genealogical Society meeting. They were a very welcoming group. Juliane's granddaughter was speaking about blogging - how could I pass that up? It was nice to be able to meet but we didn't have time to talk so we will be meeting later today for lunch and I'm really looking forward to that!

There is no internet access at the hotel here (no hot water either!) so I'm at a charming little coffee shop, the Bear Naked Beanery, where they could not be nicer. It seems Michigan is full of nice people :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Happy Exhaustion

If anyone had told me that the library portion of my trip would be exhausting I would have laughed. I spent 7 hours yesterday standing, taking one photo after another. I used up 1/2 of my weeks allotment of ibuprofen as my back screamed for relief. And I don't think I stopped smiling all day! I didn't read as I worked but phases jumped off of the pages at me. fell of the bench and broken his arm .......there are no flowers here, please send seeds ........Grandfather is dead. Come when you can. ....the kids are all in school so it is quiet and I have a minute ......Joseph has a new job

There were many names that jumped out that I can't place off the top of my head and I can't wait to investigate. Birth, marriage and death announcements all sent by letter. One cousin sent a letter announcing his marriage and being the artist that he was, he sketched a picture of his new bride. Sadly she died a few years ago. How I would have loved to give her a copy of that letter! I will try and track down her daughter in NV to pass it on.

I filled my camera card twice. I haven't finished with Box #1 yet. The plan was to be on the road by now, on my way to Benton Harbor to look at various records and walk half a dozen cemeteries over the next two or three days. Instead I will be heading back to the library for the morning and hopefully finish this box. I will head out later today than planned and return to Ann Arbor on Friday to tackle Box #2. This is the last Saturday that they will be open for several months ;-) I don't know if I'll have internet access again before I get back here.

The best part of the day was a wonderful dinner out with another Geneablogger. But that will have to wait as I have to pack and get going this morning. If you are wondering who that might have been - she has a wonderful smile, which she got from her Dad :)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Treasure Chests

I'm finally in Ann Arbor and to say that I am overwhelmed by what I found today would be an understatement. I knew the Civil War Era letters would be there and I expected to find maybe 4 or 5 dozen other letters in Box #1.

THANK YOU! To all of you that suggested that I plan to photograph everything, thank you, thank you!

I only made it through about half of the first box today and I took over 650 photos of letters and other documents. When I realized that it was taking me an hour to look at each folder I stopped reading what was there and just skimmed the material a bit and photographed everything.

I've spent the last two hours reading and I've barely skimmed the surface. Brick walls are tumbling! I now have my great-grandfather's name and place of death. I never would have looked for him in Oklahoma. There are many names mentioned that I don't recognize. I wasn't expecting to find so much on my Camfield and Glover lines.

There are dozens of letters between my mother and grandmother. Mom often drew little diagrams to make a point. The finding aid mentions letters written by Mom as being in Box #2 so I was surprised to find these letters today.

I can't wait to see what I'll find tomorrow!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Let's Go for a Ride!

The 45 Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy, Cars as Stars!, has been posted by Jasia at Creative Gene.

There are lots of great articles and some new (to me) authors. Check them all out.

It's in the genes!

And now it's time for a Call for Submissions! The topic for the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is: What traits run in your family? Which of them did you inherit? Do you have your mother's blue eyes? Your grandfather's stubbornness? Your aunt's skill with knitting needles? Is there a talent for music in your family? Or do you come from a long line of teachers? Have you ever looked at an old photo and recognized your nose on another family member's face? Tell us all about your family traits and please submit your articles by the deadline, April 15th (no inheritance taxes will be assessed ;-) . Thanks to Lisa Alzo for the topic suggestion!

Submit your blog article to the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.