Friends of the Bullitt County History Museum
September 31, 2011 (Volume 7, Number 10)
>>Important Schedule Announcement this Month on Gen Meeting: For October only, our regular meeting date and location has changed. Our Bullitt County Genealogical Society normally meets on the third Saturday of the month, but we change that in October, so everyone can attend the Louisville Genealogical Society Book Fair and seminars.
So, the Bullitt County Genealogical Society meeting will be held on Saturday October 29, at 10:00 a.m. The meeting place is also changed. That will be at the Old Harbor Apartments meeting room in Shepherdsville. This is the same location we have used in the past for our Christmas Social. Contact President Daniel Buxton for details at firstname.lastname@example.org.
>>Lou. Gen. Society Book Fair.
The Louisville Genealogical Society will host its annual book fair and seminar on October 15 at Beargrass Christian Church. Call 502-422-0150 for details.
>>A Photo of our Great Museum Volunteers. We recently made an opportunity to gather all our museum Volunteers together for a first-time group photo (shown on our web site). We're normally so spread out over days and projects that I think many of the folks were surprised that there were so many of us!
Some of us staff the museum itself, making sure someone is always on hand to help in the research room. Others do field research for us; transcribe old documents; edit and produce our quarterly newsletter; operate our web site; create and restore displays; and so very much more.
The photo shows twenty of us, including three that could not make the shoot (It IS impossible to get all of us together at one time!). There are easily several more that could rightly be in this picture as well. Quite a group, and I am personally very proud of the work that these good people do.
>>Fantastic News!! Repair Work Started on The Old Stone Jail!
Check our e-newsletters for the past several years, and you will see evidence that we have been trying for a very long time to get the Old Stone Jail repaired. That historic landmark, literally four feet from the county courthouse, has been deteriorating badly over those years because of a leaky roof and winter freezing water from those leaks causing increasingly devastating damage to the mortar and stone.
Well, I am very happy to tell you that our county magistrates took on the challenge and repairs have started. Local stone mason James Beams and his father, Tom, and crew removed a half truckload of bad mortar last weekend and will be continuing work over the next couple weekends. Then the roof will be repaired after that.
And just in time! First frost is predicted for next week.
Thanks everyone for talking to people and making this happen. I'll report more when the project is complete.
>>More Fantastic News: Thanks Geek Squad and Zappos! Computer System Installed at no Cost to Museum.
It's been a two-year project, starting with a $3,000 technology grant from Zappos.com. Then, over the past year, our friends at Best Buy and Geek Squad City have been working to provide and install a vastly improved computer system for our museum research room.
(photo: Dave Strange presenting a thank you collection to some of the "Geeks".)
And now we have it! Five desktop computers with 22" screens; a Laptop computer; some $7,000 worth of new Microsoft Win7 software, including the complete Microsoft Office Pro suite. A total of roughly $10,000 in computers and software. All networked with each other and with our two printers.
At ZERO cost to our museum! Can you believe it?! In fact, thanks to the Zappos grant, we will be adding even more technology in the near future (possibly an additional laptop computer for field work and a large-screen interactive information TV in one of the display rooms)
Many, many thanks to the folks at Geek Squad City (The Best Buy electronics stores' national repair center, located right here in Bullitt County) : Brian Williams, Craig Allen, Rhonda Smith, Justin Hickey, Matt Schlicht, Chris Miller, Matt Gotth-Olsen, Shayne Pry, Eric Reitz, and especially Catherine "Katie" Hall and her Wolfpack group of volunteers for making this all happen.
The Volunteers of the Museum recently had a thank you recognition ceremony and press conference announcing the gift. We were on TV and hope to be in the Pioneer News newspaper any day. I know it's been a sometimes frustratingly-long project for everyone, but we're there now!
And we're in a much better position to preserve (and share) our history.
>>1960 Death Certificates on Microfilm at Museum.
As you might know, our Museum invested years ago in a full collection of all Kentucky death certificates on microfilm and we have that available to all. Those records start in 1911 (when Kentucky started keeping death records) and ends, now, in 1960.
Therein lies a story. Kentucky has a fifty-year privacy rule on death certificates that restricts the years that we are allowed to have. So, the most recent year allowed is 1960, which we recently purchased as soon as it was available.
This is a rather unique service for a museum our size.
>>Web Site design Change (It's widening!).
Our Web Master, Charles Hartley, is working to modernize our web site design to take better advantage of the new wide-screen computer monitors that most people have nowadays. That takes quite a bit of effort and time, since we have hundreds of pages of information, so he is phasing it in. You might be noticing those format changes already.
>>Web Site Additions...
Additions to our web site have grown since last time. To see what is new, visit our Latest Additions page.
For Your Information...
>>Kentucky Museum & Heritage Alliance.
Our museum has been a member of this great museum organization since it was formed (and since WE were formed). Good and helpful organization. Check out http://www.kymuseums.org/ .
>>Conficker Worm Warning.
I was listening to the "Fresh Air" radio show on NPR the other day, and they were warning about a nasty computer worm that infests millions of computers worldwide. To safely see if your computer is infected, go to the National Public Radio web site and look for the September 27 story "The Worm That Could Bring Down the Internet". In that article is a link to check you computer. Go to http://www.npr.org/programs/fresh-air/ .
>>Windows7 Visibility Trick.
With our new MSWindows7 computer system, we have much to learn. In response to a visitor visibility need, Volunteer Brenda Rittman recently discovered that Win7 allows you to enlarge the text on a computer screen. Having difficulty with text too small for you on a computer site? Press the "Ctrl" key and "+". The screen text enlarges. Press "Ctrl" and "-" and the screen reduces. Cool! Thanks Brenda. By the way, I just now tried it on my home computer Vista system, and it works on that too.
In this segment of the newsletter, I usually wax philosophical and nostalgic as I come to the end of writing. Allow me this time to use a segment from something I have been writing about my family history:
"An Old, Cold Potato".
My father grew up in poverty during the Great Depression. One of his early childhood memories was watching the family’s last farm cow being taken away as the family farm was being sold off. Like so many others of that time, his experiences in the Depression shaped much of what he would become as an adult.
The Great Depression broke many people; caused some to enter a destructive life of crime. Others became deeply determined to work doubly-hard to create an honest and respectable living that would not let such poverty ever touch their family again.
Dad was, is, such a man.
Things were very tough when Dad was a boy. He remembers the old house being in such bad shape that he could see through the cracks of the floor to the ground below. This was before electricity had gotten to their part of the country. In the winter, he remembers the house being so cold that when he would wake up in the mornings, the pitcher and bowl of water in his room would be frozen.
Though there were many good people around, there were also some very bad. Dad remembers at one time the preacher at his tiny little country Baptist church actually kept a revolver on the pulpit while he preached, lest ruffians would come in and cause trouble.
Even the church boys couldn’t resist some mischief. Sometimes, especially in warm weather, people would hang around outside during the service, listening (or not) through the open windows. Once, while the pastor was preaching, one of the boys picked up a walnut from the ground. Yielding to a boyhood temptation, the boy walked up to the open church door, and gave the walnut a sling, hitting the pastor right on the forehead like David of old! I imagine that brought the service, and the boy’s day, to an abrupt conclusion.
Even though they were poor (nearly everyone was poor in that community in those terrible days), Dad’s parents would still take their occasional turn having people over for Sunday dinner after church. Dad remembers one of those Sundays, a couple of years before they had lost the farm, when everyone at Sunday service came over to the house. His mother was busy cooking up what little they had. There wasn’t much, and Ma was probably doing the best she could to make it last. Dad, a small boy at the time, was excited about the grand affair, smelling the wonderful foods that the family so rarely was able to enjoy.
He could hardly wait to eat.
Though he and the other young kids probably did not realize it, Ma was having trouble. No matter how she stretched it, there was not going to be enough food to go around. All the kids knew was there was going to be some unusually good food that day.
Then something happened that became one of those life events that matters the rest of your life. Ma called the seven young kids to the kitchen. She gave them each what Dad recalls as “an old cold potato”, and told them to go outside in the woods and lay low until the festivities were done. No doubt, Dad’s parents were doing the best they could in a bad situation, but what Dad remembers is that old, cold potato, compared to the wonderful smells coming from the house. I think that event, more than most anything else in his life, made him the determined man he became.
And so, some time later, things got even harder, and the family lost their farm for $400. On Easter Sunday, April 5, 1942 (Dad remembers the exact date) Dad’s parents packed up their seven children, and what little they owned, onto a cattle truck that they hired to take them to Louisville, and sought work in the city, like many thousands of others.
My eternal thanks to my Dad for making a life for his family far better than what he had endured.
And thank you for being a Friend of the Bullitt County History Museum.
Bullitt County History Museum
Museum Phone: 502-921-0161
E-Mail address: David.Strange@BullittCountyHistory.org