Commentary on the Bohemian National Cemetery Website

As noted in prior posts on this site, I have a love of Bohemian National Cemetery. Why? No idea. I came to this city seven months ago and although I have the inclinations towards cemeteries as any other genealogist in the idea that they’re  stone tablets of information. This cemetery and the Eastland Disaster hold something for me that does not make sense in a traditional academic setting. It pulls on me and I want to know why.

The only time that I was able to drive there, I looked at the entrance way and noticed a stone tree trunk  within the roundabout. Across the street on Pulaski is another cemetery, St. Luke’s. I saw it when I exited the cemetery after only having three minutes to examine it on my first trip. My Flickr post gave that information already.

In examining the website this time around, I noticed the site is a little dated in appearance. That said, I am sure that its maintenance comes from volunteers who are doing their best. For cemeteries, although the land is paid for, it is unlikely that anything else happens to them other than upkeep on a few holidays. Memorial Day was not originally the first day of beaches and BBQs. It was meant for cleaning up cemeteries and giving homage to the dead. Hence, MEMORIAL. Also, Veteran’s Day is of similar nature. Most of the national holidays for America deal with dead people. It’s just how things go. Whether they are religiously-inclined or not, the commercialization of any holiday came after and because of the wish for people to celebrate or mourn in kind. Strong, visceral emotions accompany such things.

The site is adequate for a small cemetery but seems a little in need of help for anyone who wants to do research who is not living in Illinois. My initial searches on this site brought me to the friends page, to the Eastland Disaster Society page, and I even checked the Family History Library Catalog to make sure that there was something there for the group. There was something in the catalog, but on the site it appeared that there is only extracted information. The society may only have a portion whereas there is more outside of the society, maybe. I have not yet made adequate contect with the society in order to be able to speak appropriately on the subject concerning what they do over there. I want to know more, rather desperately.

Concerning the site, I’m not asking for Flash and Java or for Photoshop, cursable bane that is in my life at the present. I want information about who is in the cemetery to try to learn why this place pulls at me as if I was the object of the Puppet Warp tool in Photoshop. Following notice of the site, I also saw Friends of the Cemetery and proceeded to find out more about the present efforts at restoring the dome and keeping it all together. I have Slovak ancestry, but this appears to be a Czech place from when the Cezh Republic and Slovakia were merged. The ethnicities of Chicago teem and roil with undercurrents of homelands not more than two generations away for some, while four or further for others. What New York used to be, a seething mass of the masses, is now the convoluted twisting of enterprise dependent upon who was there last and who survived the churn.

I want and need this site to improve and I am willing to help do it. Whether it is a partitioned search engine of people’s names or simply a list that is easily searchable in a CTRL+F format, the information is as important as the place. The site gives very basic information found easily in on any telephone directory site. The Flickr images need to combine into a quickly and easily-searchable map crossed with the photos and the information that works with these people. Sounds like an independent research project to me. Takers? I need funding as does the rest of the world to make this happen. Funding, and better knowledge of how to program for designers. SOS.

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Mockup of Genealogical Repository GIS App Using Photoshop

Note: All ideas on this page (with the exception of the pictures and references to other software: Padmapper and WikiMapia) are subject to intellectual copyright protections

Assignment for this week is to make a mash-up picture of some sort that works with what we’re learning in class. My Photoshop skills need improvement as it’s been nearly a decade or longer since I last used the software even part-time. That said, it’s time to play. I would love to create something that would help in visually conceptualizing how I want the App to work. To make a prototype of sorts that aids in the structural building blocks later.

Basic details of multiple plans fusing together:

Ethnographic Layer Potential

Layer One (meaning individual layers in the app, not necessarily on Photoshop) and pictorially represented: crisscrossing of the ethnographic layers, possibly in a form akin to the crime detector on Padmapper:

padmapper crime rate view

Padmapper crime rate view, with mass transit overlay of Chicago, no addresses highlighted

I would prefer a view that was more cross-hatched, especially since ethnic groups are not the same as crime rates. Unfortunate thought process for comparative analysis, honestly. But the basic modeling for choosing whatever cross-section is still part of the idea. No idea if I could do this in Photoshop, but I think that I will work on some other layers there.

Naming Scenarios

I think of this application as WikiMap, but that is so generic a name that it needs help. And, it’s also close to WikiMapia which is already being used elsewhere for similar although not the same purposes.

GIS v. GPS?: Crab Cakes Fishing with Chicken Legs

As I search for a name, I also search for elements in the functional processes. The whole application (thus far) is a compendium of different open source formats munching together to make for a new, dynamic medium. Adding the GIS coding (is that inherent in GPS? I have no idea and need to learn.)

The idea is making a crab cake, so to speak. The initial data, censuses and other government documents already encoded and threaded for massive number crunching quality time is the zooplankton that feed off the plant matter (data made from 1850 and onward marching). 

Next, the different web programs that mesh them together is akin to a crab, eating the mussels or chicken legs (yes, crabs eat chicken legs) in the path, scurrying along under the auspices of life expectancy built upon previous good harvests. Finally, I am a fisher woman. I harvest crabs and clean them for my purposes. The cleaned crabs go to users who further mix them with their resources (say, documents and genealogical databases, for example) and then the final product is

Maryland Style Crab cake from Dining Out Chicago

Maryland Style Crab cake

Maryland-style crab cakes. Enough breading, egg, etc. just to barely keep the lump and claw meat together. The stuff that creates legends in the seafood world. I’m not looking for legendary status. I like to know how to fish and to see what other nice little morsels come up for me, too.

Using Padmapper as an example again, this time of how the Wikimap (current name) functions with using random addresses upon the present map, the idea would be a cross between Google Map’s inherent ability to find just about anywhere, and show it live-time with where the cemeteries, libraries, and other needed vital repositories are, akin to the options available for mapping on Padmapper.

Padmapper Example with Various Random Addresses Shown

Padmapper Example with Various Random Addresses Shown in Place of Genealogically Relevant Repositories, Cemeteries, etc.

The final touch, albeit in the future is adding the ability to add the GPS mechanism to the application. It would have the option of being turned on or off. That way, if a person is in any given town, they may instantly see all of the repositories and how far away they are from their present location. If not this tool on the walking or driving or mass-transit routing paths, then simply plugging in the address and performing the same operation is an incredibly useful application.

The final thing to show or prove is how this would work or what I envision it looking like. This does not do it justice whatsoever. I cannot get Photoshop to do the kinds of effects that I need it to do, but this is a beginning.

Ethno-cultural overlay in artistic expression a la Photoshop and Padmapper

Ethno-cultural overlay in artistic expression a la Photoshop and Padmapper

Best efforts from the drawing board of the GenealogyDr.

Note: All ideas on this page (with the exception of the pictures and explicit references to other software Padmapper and WikiMapia) are subject to intellectual copyright protections as published on 23 Feb 2012, and prior during December 2011 to the future.