Elaine in Kautz
Our People from Kautz CD - Development
27 May 2006

Kautz Genealogy on CDROM

Elaine Frank Davison (1929-2001) - Original Kautz Village Coordinator. Elaine devoted decades of hard but rewarding research and work to unravel the genealogical secrets of the Volga Germans from Kautz (Werchinka), Russia and related colonies. She began by asking questions of her mother and father. Her uncles, Johann David Frank, the family historian and author of the original Kautz map, and William Frank "Uncle Bill", were both born in Kautz, and gave Elaine detailed information regarding the lives, surroundings, and customs of that village. Many other individuals from the Pacific Northwest, Montana, Colorado, and the Dakotas (among many other locations throughout the world) were happy to donate information to the cause, not just once, but many times as new knowledge was known.

Her house was filled with her work on Kautz genealogy:

Photocopied Montana church records for Laurel, Billings, and Worden
Photocopied Walla Walla, Washington church records
Records of telephone calls from relatives
Collected Obituaries, Obituaries, and more Obituaries

I transcribed handwritten Laurel and Billings church records to a database for her. This enabled her to massage the information in order to develop the family group charts she later documented. She and I initially used Family Roots software for the first several years. Then we both moved to IBM PC-based computing and began using Personal Ancestral File from the LDS church. Expanding on her knowledge, she began creating and publishing volumes of Unsere Leute von Kautz starting in May, 1979. This effort continued for the rest of her life, resulting in ten volumes and information for making more.

In the beginning this was hard work. Photographs were Xeroxed. Text was typically typewritten on a typewriter for the indices and stories. Family group charts were either filled out by hand or typewritten, then Xeroxed. To make each volume, all the master pages had to be assembled, photocopied front and back, punched, and bound…a very tedious, time-consuming, and costly process. She sold the set of volumes, I believe, for well over $200.00. Many volumes were sold individually. Hopefully they were in stock and already assembled when a request came in.

Since her passing, I have taken all the master pages of Unsere Leute von Kautz and scanned them using an inexpensive scanner attached to my PC. Once scanned, I could then take the various 'pictures' of pages of information (stories, family group charts, pictures, etc.), save them as files and process each page separately. The scanned pictures of text were run through a computer program called ScanSoft OmniPage Pro version 11.0 which converted the words in the picture to text (via OCR - Optical Character Reader technology), readable by text programs, including Microsoft Word®. OmniPage Pro scans the picture and tries to convert to text as best it can. If it has a problem reading a word or letter in a word, the program will display the difficult portion for you to see and allow you to type the corrected letter or word yourself. Once scanned electronically and a text file created, the original 'picture' file of the text could be deleted from the computer, saving a lot of space on the hard drive.

To categorize the scans, I made a folder on my PC called Kautz Genealogy and created subfolders for each Unsere Leute von Kautz volume, as follows:

C:\Hard Drive

Kautz Genealogy (Folder)
Miscellaneous Files (Pictures, HTML, Buttons, etc.)
Volume 1 (Folder)
HTML for Volume 1

V1p01 Text File
V1p01 Update Page (text)
V1p01 JPG File (picture or chart)
V1p01 Word Document
V1p01 PDF File (reflecting the text or JPG)

V1p02 Text File
V1p02 Update Page
V1p02 JPG File
V1p02 Word Document

V1p47 Text File
V1p47 Update Page
V1p47 JPG File
V1p47 Word Document
Volume 2 (Folder and Files)
Volume 3.1 (Folder and Files)
Volume 3.2 (Folder and Files)
Volume 3.3 (Folder and Files)
Volume 4 (Folder and Files)
Volume 5 (Folder and Files)
Volume 6 (Folder and Files)
Volume 7 (Folder and Files)
Volume 8 (Folder and Files)

The miscellaneous information in the root directory (C:\Kautz Genealogy) includes:

Pictures of the Alphabet, letter by letter, in a Special Font
Page Heading Images
Common Pictures
German Script Handwriting Samples of Names and Letters
The Main Kautz CD Homepage and Subsidiary Pages

All of the handwritten charts and pictures pages are stored as .jpg files. JPG file types typically are more compressed than other picture types on the computer so the files don't take up so much room on the hard drive or Compact Disk.

I wrote the foundation of the Kautz CD using HTML, the 'language' of the Internet. HTML (used to create this CD) is nothing more than special characters wrapped around the text of how you would like your web page to look. Typically they are identified by < xx >, where xx is the HTML code to perform a specific function, like perform a line break, skip to a new paragraph, insert a picture, change color of the text, branch to another page… You can put text on the screen, link to other web pages with the touch of a mouse, and open files with a few HTML parameters which are used OVER and OVER. HTML is somewhat forgiving. It will do exactly what you tell it to do. If you make an HTML mistake, that code will be bypassed. The beauty of HTML is that it provides a point-and-click mechanism to allow you to access your information easily. It also doesn't need to be on the Internet…you can create and test your webpage on your CD first, or leave it there when you are done. To access it, call up your browser and open the HTML file of your main webpage. It's that simple. Bookmark your main webpage for easy access to your information in the future.

For the Kautz CD, find the file START.HTM. Once you've opened that main Kautz CD webpage, add it to your favorites list in Internet Explorer for easy retrieval. You may also wish to create a shortcut for that file on your desktop, or to your Windows START list. The screen will display a picture of Elaine at one of the mounds of Kautz which used to be a dwelling. Click on one of the Volume cover pages and you will be redirected to that volume.

Once in a particular volume, you need only click on the text of a page to get a picture of it in Adobe's PDF format which allows the page to be formatted to fit your particular screen. The PDF 'printer' which I used sometimes makes the page a little light and/or blurry. To get around this, I also gave the capability to view the page by clicking on the page number which brings the page up in its native format, either a Word file, a text document, or a picture file. This copy should be easier to read but may not fully fit on your screen without scrolling left or right. Both PDF and native formats should print with no problems on your printer.

If you click on a red star (no relationship to Russia) next to a page, you will be directed to a text file of updates for that page which I determined from cross-checking Elaine's master pages, her substantial 'red marks' in her master volumes (new information from telephone calls and correspondence), and the Kautz database itself. It was a monumental effort to reconcile this information. I did not manually write these changes to individual master sheets because I knew these would be going away once the CD was in production. Besides, additional handwriting on the masters would, in many cases, have muddied the information on the pages and would have not been accessible by the Search Engine.

When you return to the main menu, you find that below the line of 10 charts, there are additional categories of information from which to choose:

1. A link to the Kautz homepage on the Internet
2. An introduction to the CD
3. Master table of contents of all volumes, sorted by name
4. Master name index of all names and page numbers used in the volumes
5. An extract of the Kautz database, showing name, ID number, birth/death year and spouse/father)
6. An index of genealogical charts from Dr. Pleve
7. A reference about the first families to Kautz
8. A small reference to Catherine the Great who made immigration possible
9. Windows GREP - a powerful search engine to search the CD
10. A means to download the free Acrobat Reader to view the pages.
11. Terms, Conditions, and Disclaimers...Technical Mumbo-Jumbo…

The Kautz CD can be run from your CD reader. However, for better performance you may wish to copy the folder 'Kautz Genealogy' from the CD to your hard drive. To do so, simply drag the folder 'Kautz Genealogy' from your CD icon to your 'C' or 'D' drive, typically the one which has the most available free space. Transfering this CD will consume approximately 535MB+ of space on your hard drive. The search engine, GREP, will work better when all the information is on your hard drive.

I will create a master template for creating your own genealogy CD. You will be able to use it as an outline to begin making your own village CD's. The type of information you would need to supply would be files containing the pictures, the text documents you would use, the special files (maybe voice or music files).

You may also reference my site at: http://www.vpcug.net/webcreate.htm to learn about the features of HTML. If you print the web page at this site, then from Internet Explorer do a VIEW then SOURCE, you can print the HTML commands which produced the page. Put both sets of pages next to each other and you will be able to see what commands did what. You can also compare the actual screen of http://www.vpcug.net/webcreate.htm to the source which created it. This would be very handy to learn the basics of HTML quickly and easily.

For those of you needing a small boost to get started creating your own CD, I will be more than happy to assist you in getting your project off the ground. Best of all, the price of consultation is reasonable…it's free. Let me know what you would like to do for your family or village and I'll provide a bit of technical expertise. If you would to carry on the conversation, please visit me at the Kautz table at the convention.

The tools I used in the creation of the CD are as follows:

1. An inexpensive color scanner. Mine is a Memorex 6142u and I got it on sale for about $70. Scanner prices vary widely. An expensive one is not necessary.
2. Paintshop Pro 7+ - A great piece of software which will allow you to scan documents and pictures and edit them afterwards. Useful for creating 'buttons' located on the Kautz CD from which you can click to navigate to different pages. This software can be found for about $99.00 at: http://www.jasc.com/products/paintshoppro/, sometimes much cheaper on E-bay.
3. OmniPage Pro 11.0+ - This powerful program allows you to take text on paper and convert it to electronic text, Word, or other files. Online you can find it at: http://www.its.ipfw.edu/faqs/cdpstu/OmniPP.html for about $149.95, in the stores for about the same amount, or much cheaper via E-bay (in the $40-60 range). It's not perfect, but it sure beats typing everything by hand.
4. Textpad 3.2.5 (or greater) - A nice text-formatting program with good search/replace capabilities. I used this text program to develop the Kautz CD web pages. This is shareware (try it before you buy it. It can be found at: http://www.textpad.com/order/index.html for $27.00.
5. GREP - A search engine for your CD. This shareware program is great for finding words or fragments of words in your documents. It is available online directly from the author at: https://secure.reg.net/product.asp?ID=951 for about $30.00. A copy is included on the Kautz CD for your evaluation. If you continue to use this product, I would recommend you register it with the author.
6. RecordNow Max - I used this product from Veritas to create the Kautz CD from my hard drive. It works great and also provides the capability for you to backup your other critical files onto a CD. It can be found in stores or online at: http://www.stompinc.com/recordnowmax/index.phtml?stp $39.00
7. PDF995 - This little program creates a 'printer' on your PC. Instead of printing on paper on a printer, it prints to a PDF file on a drive of your choice. PDF files are read by Acrobat Reader and are useful because the pictures normally format to the size of the users' screens. There are a lot of different screens and display resolutions in the world today. The program can be found at http://www.pdf995.com/ and is available for $9.95 or $19.95 for a suite of three of their products. Evaluation versions are available.

For those wishing a Kautz CD, the price is $39.95, plus $1.30 shipping/handling. I can be reached by e-mail or phone. A Kautz CD of individual ULvK volumes, without additional features, will be available for $10.00 per volume plus shipping. Pleve Charts for 19 Kautz surnames are available for $25.00 each.

If you have any information or wish more information on any of the families in any of these volumes, please write:

D. Michael Frank
2201 N.E. 156th Avenue
Vancouver, Washington 98684
Telephone: 360/256-5496
or email me at: d m 4 8 @ c o m c a s t . n e t.

All Rights Reserved - May, 2006