Family History Project


It was at a Gliedt family reunion in Monett, Missouri in 1991 that I first met Donna Budzier. Donna is a distant cousin of mine who had undertaken the task of writing a remarkably complete history of the Gliedt family. The final product is a loosely bound book (8.5 inches by 11 inches) of almost 600 pages. At the family reunion Donna was displaying a remarkable collection of photographs. I expressed the interest in helping to preserve these - digitally naturally. We talked a little about what this meant and parted company.

Two years later, Donna's book was published. I can't even guess how many thousands of hours she must have put into this project. In 1995 I finally acquired enough hardware to think more seriously about my proposal to digitize the photographs. At the time I was thinking of creating a CDROM (of only a few copies) as a means to preserve the data. Then every decade or so, I'd need to convert the data to a recent technology - at least that was the plan.

The result of this effort is The Glied(t)s 1723-1993 and Poeppelmeiers 1804-1993, by Donna Budzier.

Family Names

The story of the Gliedt family is tightly intertwined with others. Donna titled her work The Glied(t)s 1723-1993 and Poeppelmeiers 1804-1993 because of this. But there are many other families deeply involved with the Gliedts. The index to the original work counts something like 500 family names. But a few names were very signficant, especially in the early decades. Obviously this book only documents those portions of the Gliedt family tree, but these families come to mind:

  • Poeppelmeiers, Poeppelmeyers
  • Borchers
  • Bormann
  • Doennig
  • Greife
  • Kaiser
  • Miesner
  • Radke
  • Schuermann

Privacy Issues

This is a living history. While some of this story goes back to the early 1700s, much of it is about people living today. I don't think it is my place to publish information on the Web about people who are alive today -- without their consent. Given the thousands of people this involves, I obviously am not going to get their permission to do this.

So what I have done is to make a much smaller portion of the data available to all. If you are interested in seeing the entire project, please contact me. Even before the project was converted for the Web, a number of people expressed concerns about their privacy and so we will honor that concern. Anyone whose name appears in the book may have access to the work in its entirety.

Viewing the Document

Despite all the information I had, not everything in the book appears in this digital form. There are numerous copies of maps or old German documents which are very difficult to read on paper and digitizing these would not improve anything. On the other hand, the pictures in the book are of very poor quality, where the digital images are much superior.

The quality of the images varies widely. In some cases the originals were simply out of focus or were poorly composed (lots of people lost the top of their heads) In some cases the originals had been written on, were torn or damaged in some other way. I've tried to digitally enhance some of these. The identification of the people in the pictures undoubtedly contains errors - errors because Donna was told incorrectly, because she introduced her own errors, and because I introduced my own. Dealing with thousands of names will do that to you.

This is the public version of The Glied(t)s 1723-1993 and Poeppelmeiers 1804-1993, by Donna Budzier.

The Technology - Summary

This project turned out to be quite a learning experience. Some of the work was done on Windows/95. All of the programming work was done on Linux. Here's a summary of the technology that went into this project:

  • Image scanner - I have a "no-name" scanner by ReliSys. The pictures are all scanned at 300dpi. Most pictures were 3 inches by 5 inches. I scanned four pictures at a time.
  • Rather than crop and save each image individually, I used the pbmplus utilties to automatically split the jpeg images into four smaller images.
  • I explored OCR technology at some length Thankfully, in the end I did not need to use this.
  • Microsoft Word was useful to convert the book source into a form that I could convert to HTML.
  • Perl programs were used to automatically create the HTML that you can read. These also create the database files that can be searched. Perl is SO COOL.
  • Since the jpeg images from the scanning were so large, I used the pbmplus utilities to scale these down to create the smaller images you see in the HTML documents. A similar program was used to create the thumbnail images you see when invoking the search engine.
  • Swish provides a convenient search engine to allow us to sort through all this data.

You can read about all the technical details here.

My Own End Notes

This work is copyrighted. Please observe this.

My thanks to Donna for her work - it speaks for itself.

My thanks also to various friends and family members who provided advice and technical assistance at times. And especially to my wife, Mary, for her tolerance of the time it all took.