The McCords

Mom’s grandmother’s maiden name was Velma McCord, who was born in Corinth in the northern part of Mississippi in 1881. Her father was Rufus Chapman McCord who was born near Moulton, in the northern part of Alabama. There were a bunch of McCords around Moulton, but they seem to have left, many moving to Corinth, but others going to Tennessee. I’m not sure what the draw to Corinth was, but there was another family of McCords there as well which may be unrelated or at best distantly related. Rufus’ father was William J. McCord who lived in Moulton for a while, but was born in Tennessee. He had a family bible, which like many family bibles, was used to write down important family information like births, marriages, and deaths.

William really took this seriously, or at least people in his family did. The text of what was written can be found on web pages here and here, part of a project by a McCord now living in Georgia to put all of the McCord bible information in one place. William McCord’s bible is a treasure trove of information. Some of this information is available through public records like the census, marriage licenses, death certificates, etc. as well as some gravestones that have been indexed, but this is a ton of information about the family all in one place and very complete. And it is pretty accurate as well, confirmed with some of that other information when it is available.
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Desktop Repair

My desktop computer, a very old Dell Dimension 4700, bought in April 2005, has started having problems lately. Last year I had installed a new hard drive and rebuilt the operating system, which worked great for a while, but sometimes lately it wouldn’t start at all. Instead, while booting, it would click off and an orange light on the front would start flashing. I looked around on the internet and the light seemed to usually indicate a bad power supply. But it was an intermittent problem, so I opened the computer and tried blowing out a lot of dust and cleaning dust out of the vents and fans. Then it would work, but I would still have problems sometimes. If it did start up, it would usually stay on just fine. I even unhooked one of the two optical drives and one of the two hard drives, thinking I needed to reduce the power consumption.

By Friday I couldn’t boot up at all. I would get the orange light pretty early in the process no matter how much I cleaned it. I had never replaced a power supply before, but Eric said he had done it and it was pretty easy. Plus they are almost all the same. He wound up taking the power supply out of his computer so I could test a known good power supply in my computer. It booted up just fine with Eric’s power supply on Saturday, so that was definitely the problem. I took my power supply apart and blew some more dust out of it and then tried again, just to be sure, and it still didn’t work. Eric said a new power supply should be about $20 and I could get one from NewEgg.com. I looked around and you can get a power supply for anywhere from $13 to $160. They typical price seems to be around $40-60. The original power supply was only 305 watts, so I didn’t need a high power model. I looked at New Egg, Amazon, Office Depot, and Frys online, and decided to go to Frys so I could get one and have it this weekend. They had one for $25 before a $9 rebate. I probably spent another $5 in gas going up to Frys, but it was worth it to get it right away. The new power supply is much lighter than the old one, but fit perfectly and the computer is running like a champ. Due to the configuration of the cables on the power supply I wasn’t able to hook up both DVD drives, but that’s okay. And the new one is much louder than the old one as well.

I am still thinking I would like a new computer, but I’m waiting for a good price on a notebook that has the new 4th generation Intel processor (Haswell). My thought is the notebook will replace the desktop and laptop, so I also want it to support two monitors. The power consumption of desktop computers made me think they are no longer necessary.

Genealogy Research

For some reason I got the genealogy bug and I have been doing a lot of research the last couple of weeks. I want to get as much done as I can and then stop. It’s like putting together a puzzle, but I don’t want to make a career out of this puzzle.

I’ve been able to come up with a few different resources that have turned out to be pretty helpful and just want to list those.

One great resource is ancestry.com. A lot of people do genealogy and share their family trees there, plus they also have a ton of resources that are easy to look up. If you know a person’s name and the county they lived in, you should be able to find stuff out about them, which is pretty amazing considering a lot of the records are around 100 years old. You have to pay a monthly fee to use the best features of ancestry.com (some of it is free), but you can get a two-week trial which I am making good use of. And lately I am finding that familysearch.org’s Search feature (as opposed to its Find feature which is used to find people) is good for getting some of the same records as Ancestry has.
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Alexander Grant, Sr.

This week I started doing some research on the internet on my ancestors. This started by finding out about Dr. Eugenio Sierra and then I started trying to connect the dots in between. While Sierra was from Spain, another branch of the family goes back to Scotland and the name Grant. I knew Grant was a Scottish name and that the Grants were a clan in Scotland. So this Scottish heritage goes back to the 1800’s when Alexander Grant comes to New Orleans from Scotland. He is my great great great grandfather. I’m thinking he had some money because he bought a couple of sugar plantations around New Orleans (in Plaquemines Parish, which is famous for being so devastated by Hurricane Katrina; hurricanes caused problems for Grant as well), ran stores in New Orleans, and owned a bunch of property there. He certainly had a house in New Orleans, though it isn’t there anymore. Here is a picture of the house, taken in the 1930’s:

granthouse
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Genealogy

This week Mom sent me an article she had seen in the Athens paper about ghost tours in southern cities. One of the cities was Pensacola, which is a very old city. Here is a quote from the article:

Roberts’ favorite stories include the story of Pensacola’s Dr. Eugenio Antonio Sierra, who was buried in St. Michael’s Cemetery in 1849 after he lived to 99. Dr. Sierra used a guillotine to perform amputations on patients in his home office.

Mom pointed out that Dr. Eugenio Sierra is my great great great great grandfather. He was born in Spain and settled in Pensacola when Florida was still a Spanish colony. For some reason that gave me the bug and I was off to the internet to do some research. I found a lot of Dr. Sierra’s descendents, but then got kind of stuck connecting them to me. Eventually I found all of that, got some help from Mom, and went to Family Search a genealogy website run by the Mormons. The Mormons are big promoters of genealogy and Family Search has information from tons of scanned historical records. Plus the internet in general is easy to search and find stuff out, including from a lot of genealogy websites. I will post more later, but I have been putting in records of my ancestors (not much of it was there already, though it isn’t always easy to match up with existing data). I still have nothing on Mamaw’s family yet.

You can do a family tree which always seem to take up way more room than they need to. And Family Search does that right with lots of pop-outs and collapsing information, plus the ability to pan around the tree. But Family Search has another graphical way of seeing all of this: the fan chart. The top part of the fan chart is your ancestors (they save a lot of space by doing away with all of the siblings). And the lower part can be your descendants, but since I don’t have any of those at the moment, I don’t have a lower section of the fan chart. One of the funny things is next to my name on the family tree is a blank spot that says “Add Wife” as if it were that easy. And even though it is Mormon, you can’t add more than one wife, but there are ways to deal with people who get remarried. I don’t think you can have same sex marriages yet though (I can’t add a husband).

So here’s my chart, which you have to click on to be able to read any of it:

familytree

New Counter and Sink

My kitchen has always needed some work. The green and white formica counters, the dripping faucet, the stained and cracked cast iron sink, the pink wallpaper, etc. I didn’t want to do a total renovation, but I figured I could update some parts. I went to Home Depot and talked to a kitchen designer and we charted out a makeover that would replace the counter, sink, faucet, flooring, and add a tile backsplash for about $2700. For the counter, the basic level is laminate or formica. Then there is a big jump in price to about 3 times that price where you can get granite, quartz, or Corian. I figured formica would be okay and less maintenance than granite. I picked out a Delta faucet that got good reviews and a thicker than average stainless steel sink from Kohler. One problem with the cast iron sink was that if I dropped a glass or dish in the sink, it was pretty much a gonner, but stainless is a little bouncier and hopefully will save some glassware. The same thinking was behind getting a vinyl floor instead of ceramic tile.

A few weeks ago, a guy came and measured for the counter and praised my choice of laminate over granite. He said the counter should be read “week after next” which would have been the week before last. The official estimate was 2-3 weeks. 3 weeks was last week. I was hoping they would install it on Columbus Day since I would be off anyway, but they sent me a notice saying it would be last Tuesday, the day after Columbus Day.

Old sink and counter
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Shopping for a Suit

Lately I have been wanting to get a new suit and a blue blazer. They were old anyway, but I got attacked by moths and a lot of my nice clothes got eaten up. I think I have gotten rid of the moths now (for the most part), but now I really need a suit and jacket. The last suit I got was when I first went to work 23 years ago and got a suit from Kuppenheimer, who were eventually bought out by Mens Wearhouse. Kuppenheimer sold pretty reasonably priced suits and that suit lasted a long time. It was a dark charcoal gray which is good for pretty much anything. It saw a lot of weddings and funerals.

So I’m looking around for someplace to get a suit and Joseph A Bank seems to fill a good niche. On the internet people say “JAB” sells cheap suits that are very blocky (closer fitting clothes seem to be in right now, blocky is probably never good). Internet guys think everyone should get MTM suits (made to measure) instead of OTR (off the rack). MTM isn’t 100% custom, but it is close. But they’re spending $1,000 on a suit and I want to spend about $300. So Brooks Brothers is out along with most tailors. Jeb said he was happy with a suit he got at JAB, though lately his experiences were not as good there. I also could try Macy’s who have suits and blazers by Ralph Lauren that seem like they might be a little less blocky than some of the JAB stuff.
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Shirts

At work I sometimes wear button down oxford cloth shirts. Usually white, but some light blue. I’ve found that LL Bean makes a great oxford shirt, 100% cotton with a nice substantial weight to it (I like the looks and the quality much better than Lands’ End, which I gave up on as they got worse and worse in an effort to keep the price at some point). They used to have regular and non-wrinkle, but now everything is non-wrinkle (or wrinkle resistant). I have the shirts done at a cleaner so I don’t have to iron them either way. I ironed my own shirts for maybe a year or two before giving up and paying the dollar or so per shirt to have someone else take care of them. Another really nice shirt from LL Bean is their pinpoint oxford shirt which has much finer threads that give the fabric a slight sheen, almost like silk. In white, it isn’t that noticeable, but it is really nice with light blue. But LL Bean now charges $50 for that shirt (looks like now they are charging $40 for the regular oxford; I think I last paid $34.50).

SAMSUNG CSC
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GoDaddy Gone!

I’ve had internet domains with GoDaddy for years now. They were cheap and they usually had pretty good discounts available for renewing so that I could keep a domain for a year for less than $10. But lately the discounts aren’t as good and I’ve never liked their marketing or web interface, so last year I transferred igirder.com to NameCheap, which I had used before their prices went up, but a transfer there was cheaper than GoDaddy’s renewal. I had flashlightwiki.com and flashlight-wiki.com (the old domain which forwards to the newer hyphenless domain) still at GoDaddy but about to expire. GoDaddy is infuriating because of the games with prices and then they try to upsell you with all kinds of things. I heard that NameSilo was cheap, didn’t play all of those games, and had a pretty clean control panel. So today I transferred the two flashlight domains to NameSilo. I’ll probably transfer igirder next. The only thing I didn’t realize was that I had renewed flashlightwiki for 2 years last time, so it didn’t actually expire until November 2014 instead of November of this year. But NameSilo said they would renew for 1 year past the current expiration date, so now flashlightwiki is good until November 2015.
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Backsplash Math

As part of my kitchen update I am getting rid of the old formica countertop and backsplash and replacing it with a new formica countertop. And tile seems like a good choice for the backsplash instead of matching formica. Tile looks good and is very durable. I also have a bunch of tile left over from when the bathrooms were done. I couldn’t believe how much tile was left over from that project, so I have been looking for a way to use it. It is just plain white tile, 4.25″ x 4.25″, but some of the tile has a matte finish for using in the floor of the shower while the rest is regular glossy. There are edge pieces too. Then there are tiles left from the main bathroom which look kind of like marble.
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