Tuesday, March 24, 2009

My 2nd great grandparents Martha Melinda Sperry Snow and her husband Gilbert Snow-1890

Martha and Gilbert's children, Celia, Edna, and William Snow. Edna Irene Snow (middle) is my great grandmother. Edna wrote daily diaries from 1902 until just before her death in 1959. We are working on a project to transcribe her diaries.


  1. How do you plan to transcribe them? My cousins and I have been working on a similar project with my own great-grandmother's diaries, and have had some modest success. We're still working getting the results printed and bound, though.

  2. Hi Ben,

    Beginning with Edna's first diary dated 1902 I typed the date as a heading and then typed her entry (words) in paragraph form. I continued on through December 31. Then proceeded through the next year's diary. It is a slow process, just one entry, one day, one month, one year at a time.

    So far, I've typed Edna's diaries from 1902 through 1911, but had to stop work two years ago when we bought our 1893 victorian farmhouse. When I retire Dec 31 2010 I will continue transcribing her diaries.

    My cousin received a grant for his genealogy book on the Snow family, and he invited me to co-author his second book to include great grandma Edna Snow's diaries and photographs of her during her lifetime.

    Watch for the next photo I post . . he is Sylvester Snow--born in 1791, my great great great grandfather, (Edna's paternal grandfather). He looks like someone out of a Charles Dicken's novel.

  3. Wow -- that's quite an accomplishment. Ten diaries is a lot, especially all by yourself.

    If you're at all interested in our efforts, we have three diaries online on some custom software I wrote. My cousin Linda has been transcribing them, and I've been following behind her adding indexes and annotations. So far we have two and a half of the three transcribed, but only one and a half edited.

    I'm astonished that your cousin was able to get a grant for a book of family history -- I've never heard of such things! Do you anticipate putting all ten of the transcribed diaries in the second volume?

  4. Ben, I really like the software you created to transcribe diary pages and digital images. Really Neat! Are you selling this software? If so, I'd sure like to use it.

    By the way, I stand corrected. After reading your comment I went looking for correspondence from my cousin James but didn't find what I was looking for. Nearly all my genealogy research notes and correspondence is still packed away in boxes during our whole house restoration. So, I looked it up on the internet and saw the word is "award" rather than grant. However, I was thinking in James letter to me he received money for the award, and he was encouraging me to investigate Illinois (where my great grandmother Edna lived) to see if they had similar Book Awards.

    You can google Ohio Genealogy Snow Book, and read it for yourself. I edited out the other six people who received awards, but here is what it said:

    Ohio Genealogical Society 2005 Book Award Winners

    18 April 2005

    Mansfield, Ohio--The Ohio Genealogical Society presented its annual book awards for 2004 at its annual luncheon on April 16 during its 2005 Conference in Akron, Ohio. The awards are presented each year to authors and publishers who create books of interest to genealogists and family historians. Seven books were honored at the 2005 conference.

    James Snow Jr. won the William H. & Benjamin Harrison Award for best Ohio-related family history. He wrote and published the Snow Family History and Genealogy -- 1500-2002 and Beyond.

  5. By the way Ben, there are a total of 58 diaries. 10 done, and 48 years to go.

    So please, yes, tell me more about your software.

  6. Wow -- belated congratulations to your cousin! That's a pretty neat thing, and makes me wonder if I should join the Virginia genealogical society.

    Regarding the software, I'm planning to eventually release it under some sort of free license for anyone with their own server to run. However, I'd also like to host other people's transcription projects for a fee, to cover some of my own hosting costs and because not everyone with a transcription project wants to maintain their own servers.

    Regardless, I'm very interested in more people using the software and providing feedback. Send me email at and I'll set you up with a demo account so that you can explore the transcription and editing process.

  7. Oh, and I'm impressed that you have the courage to tackle fifty eight diaries! That's really daunting.

  8. Hi Ben,

    Yes, I'd like to try the software account.

    The bathroom sconces I bought at Menard's. Thank you for your kind words.

    We will have to hurry to finish the bathroom upstairs--because the only bath in the house is downstairs and it still looks bad with the plaster falling off the walls. I don't know who the lucky one will be, sitting on the potty or taking a shower when the hunks of plaster come down. I hope it isn't me!