Sunday, 29 May 2011

Changing the Style of Blogger Static Pages

The Blogger static page feature is a useful way of displaying important information that never changes, or data that changes less frequently.  The problem with static pages is that they don't look like a web pages, they look just like the standard post pages.

Wouldn't it be great if you could use the full width of your Blogger template to display your family tree information in, well you can thanks to this tip from Greenlava at Blogger Sentral
Check out my AncestorTree Page from the horizontal menu bar to see this tip in action.

So here is what you need to do:-

First you need to paste the style code below into your static page html code.  

Go to Postings > Edit Pages and select the page you want to apply this to.  Switch to HTML mode; then insert this code above your static page content.

.blog-pager, .footer, .post-footer, .feed-links, .sidebar { display:none !important;}
.main-inner .columns {width: 100%;padding-left:0 !important;padding-right:0 !important;}

You will see that I have managed to get my family tree images to stretch the width of the blogger template.  This also takes a bit of tweaking.  

So next:- 

Import your image; then select the image, now change the size to Original Size and choose Left for the justification.  Now switch to HTML mode, and add width="100%" just before the end of the img code (see example below)

<a href="" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="" width="100%" /></a></div>

Gaining this extra space and making your page look more like a standard web page improves the look and gives added benefits.  To see the full tip with other applications go to this post at Blogger Sentral - Apply different layout/styling to static pages

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Williams Family 1907

I love Wordless Wednesday's as I get a chance to talk about a photograph!
This photograph was taken about 1907/8.  It shows my maternal grandmother Martha WILLIAMS (formerly BENYON) standing outside her house with her first five children.
Martha (age about 32) is holding Doris who was born in 1907, Doris looks to be about 6-9 months old so I suppose the photo could be 1908.  They are standing in the doorway of their house at 70 Westminster Road, Hoole, Chester.  The house is still there today, in those days it was a two up two down end of terrace house with an outside toilet at the bottom of the yard. The facilities would be very rudimentary with cold running water and a coal fire for heating the rooms and water, the lighting would most likely be by gas.

Also in this photograph are:
John (aka Jack) born 1898
Gertrude Mary (aka Gertie) born 1900
May Alexandra born 1901
Robert Henry (aka Harry) born 1904

It is amazing how such a small house could support so many people, and there were still another six children to come!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Another LostCousins Newsletter Just Out

I know I keep harping on about Peter Calvers LostCousins Newsletter's and how informative they are, but they just keep getting better.  Here is an overview of what's in his latest newsletter, with my comments underneath:
  • The most comprehensive death indexes
    • A reason why you should use the search all feature in the Findmypast death index's
  • Masterclass: Extending your tree beyond 1911
    • How to find the descendants of your ancestors in the 1911 census.  This is brilliant I shall be starting as soon as I have finished writing this post!
  • Researching children in family history
    • A short course at the SOG
  • Nick is the new president!
    • Nick Barratt, he original researcher in WDYTYA is the new president of the SOG.  I still prefer the old structure of the show with Nick explaining at the end how he did it.  Adrian Childs was also great at presenting the show.
  • How accurate was the 2011 Census?
    • I never realised that we were not asked for our birthplace in the recent census.
  • Canadian census disclosure option 
    • Perhaps we in the UK should have been given this option.  
    • I completed my census return on line and filled in the paper version (with additional info) which resides in my research papers.
  • The mystery of the missing will
    •  Don't take no for an answer!
  • Low key launch for new Irish site
    • Great news for all the genealogist with ancestors in Ireland
  • Tracing 'Ag Labs'
    • I have loads of these so will be listening to this podcast with interest.
  • Hearth Tax returns online
    • Free transcriptions for the London/Middlesex area
  • Posting family trees on the Internet
    • Ah! the old conundrum - do I or don't I publish my family tree online.  This is Peter's view on the subject.  
    • I publish mine in several forms and on different sites depending who I want to share with.  However if you don't publish how will your cousins ever find you?
  • The personal touch
    • Some interesting comments about the Ancestry site.  This explains why their search facility is so utterly inferior to that of Findmypast. 
  • Peter's Tips
    • A reason why to buy but not use Family Tree Maker!
    • A use for Marmite
    • The Nintendo 3DS Handheld Console
  • Have you tried
    • An unexpected record source
Read the newsletter to get some great information.  Even better why not join LostCousins and find someone who shares your ancestors.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Tuesday's Tip - Blogger Backup - A Belt and Bracers Approach

Following the problems with the Google Blogger service last week I started to think whether I could restore all my posts without too much effort.  The answer was a deafening NO!

Since starting my Blog in February I have posted 14 items to my home page plus I have 4 static pages.  Being new to blogging I have tried different ways of producing posts which has led to me using LiveWriter, Notepad, Word and Blogger itself.  Apart from Blogger the only thing these editors have in common is the fact that I saved the work and images to my Blogger folder on Dropbox.  This led me to the conclusion that it would have been damn difficult if not impossible to reconstruct my blog.

Weighing up all the options this is my take on protecting my work on Blogger.

First I set up a free account with Backupify  So what is Backupify?  The web site gives this description:
Backupify is the leading backup provider for cloud based data, offering an all-in-one archiving, search and restore service for the most popular online services including Google Apps, Facebook, Twitter and more.
This was a doddle to setup, within minutes I had Blogger, Facebook and Twitter all programmed to automatically backup.  Now lets assume Backupify had not done its job?

I have a free account with Evernote which I must admit that I have only dabbled with on a few occasions when I wanted to save some Ancestry web pages, so I tested it saving a blog post.  This was a success, so saved all my posts and static pages, it took about 10 minutes.

In addition to the web version of Evernote there is a desktop application which sychronises with the web version.  I now have the desktop version on both my laptop and desktop PC's, so all my posts are available wherever and whenever I want them.  I also put the working Evernote folder in Dropbox, thus giving a belt and bracers approach.

One thing I didn't realise was that Evernote desktop has a great little note application which is ideal for creating a blog post, it even allows you to insert tables!  So this is how I will be creating my posts in the future.

I think the Blogger failure last week has done me a favour.  I am now confident that I could restore my blog with not too much effort, also I have discovered Evernote.

Let me know how you are protecting your blog.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Entertaining the Ancestors

This is going to be a Wordless Monday (of sorts).  The post compliments a previous one - "When Father Papered the Parlour"May 9th is Mum's birthday, she would have been 93 today.  As I said in the other post Mum loved to sing and entertain, so I expect she is now somewhere "Entertaining the Ancestors".  These photo's are just a few of the ones I have of her entertaining.

Happy Birthday Mum.  Hilda TIMMINS (formerley WILLIAMS) 1918 - 2008.

3rd from right - Chester Guildhall Choir c1938



2nd from left front row - WI concert c1966

Preparing for the Upton Heath WI concert c1966

Right - We Three Kings, in church at Christmas. 
She attended Hamilton Street Methodist in Hoole, Chester.

Laughing - She was always smiling and laughing

Right - I remember sleeping in those bedsheets!

Left - With Flo her best mate and co-conspirator!


Front in white - Not bad for 83. Modelling with the Plas Newton WI.

This newspaper cutting is also one of many.  I must get them all copied before they age.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Motivation Monday - New Domain Name

After listening to a DearMyrtle Blog Tweaking Webinar a few weeks ago, it set me thinking about purchasing a domain name for my blogspot.

I was finally motivated to do it today after reading a post from the Blogger-Hat blog, with the simple title: 
So I am now the proud owner of the domain -, which was purchased via Google for the princely sum of $12 per year.

Following the notes I took at myrt's webinar plus the information from Blogger-Hat I was up and running in less than 30 minutes.  In addition my blogspot url also still works, so no one has an excuse for missing any posts!!

There are many other tips on custom domains at Blogger-Hat, these are definitely worth checking out as they answer other questions that may crop up during the setup.

The only hiccup I had was in "disabling sites" at my new domain in Google Apps.  You have to do this before you can link the blogspot url to the domain name.  This was soon solved though by going through the excellent help available for Google Sites.

On another completely different subject, have you ever wondered how to open a web link in a new window hence keeping your viewer connected to your page, as I have done here.  Check out Heather Kuhn Roelker Blog at Leaves for Trees to learn how.