Cemetery Visualization Test #2

I’ve been playing around with NodeXL and trying to see what would work the best. (See here for test #1)

So this time I thought I would try to show the relationships between the people buried in two cemeteries, Shaffer and Zerkle, in Mad River township, Champaign county, OH. If that worked, I could continue to add cemeteries until I had the whole township’s relationships plotted. I started with the Shaffer cemetery database I created.

Four issues occurred:
1) I first realized that in order to relate this to the much larger project (that being a cemetery database and website that I am currently formulating and just have ideas about so can’t share much yet), I needed to use the information (names and relationships) solely from Findagrave.com and not any of the other resources I had used to compile my list. It had to be the crowd-sourced information.  So that is what I used.
(2) I realized I could not be true to the actual name as it is spelled on each headstone, otherwise the information wouldn’t graph properly. So I had to standardize a little. (For example, Abraham Zerkel is spelled that way on his headstone, but his wife Margaret’s stone says she is wife of Abraham Zirkle. If I showed their relationship that way, the program would think I had two different Abrahams.) I also had to change some surname spellings due to duplicates. Jacob, Jonathan, and Michael all had same surname spellings for multiple different people. I did the best I could but I had to make sure the relationships graphed properly.
(3) I saved it as a TIFF file and used Paint to add the legend and a title. I learned that you cannot upload a TIFF file to WordPress. Frustrating! I had to convert it to JPEG so I didn’t have to re-do the legend that I made.
(4) And lastly, as you can see I only graphed the Shaffer cemetery. Why? Because if I did more than one, you’d never be able to read it. You can barely read this graph as it is! NodeXL is kind of frustrating in that I can’t share this on the web so that it is interactive. I had to save it as a Tiff file and post it here. Looking at it in NodeXL itself I can click on each node and it will highlight the relationship line so that you can see just everyone that person is related to. But even that on the tiny laptop screen was hard to see, so I know I need to make some small tweaks to this but I can barely see it. I already noticed that at first I had some duplicated names and I couldn’t figure out why (George Stange Jr was there twice – why? because in one field I’d put in George Stange Jr. and the other was George Stange Jr — details!!!)
Shaffer Cemetery NodeXL

So although I am scrapping this idea, I did learn a couple of things that are relevant to my genealogy research, though perhaps not this project.

On to test number three…which I hope is the last! Please comment if you have any suggestions or anything you’d like to add.

This entry was posted on Saturday, March 29th, 2014 at 4:53 pm and is filed under Public History. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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