Regarding questions and comments, generally
For awhile, I was able to keep up with email and comments, but the volume of work has become such that I have fallen way behind on responding to emails or to questions posted in the comments. I’m not happy about this, but it is the reality. If you have sent me an email and I haven’t responded, I’m very sorry. This likely has much less to do with the content of your email than my inability to find the time to answer them.
Regarding Comments and Comment Behavior
Comments should be civil. Avoid just saying "_____ is a __________". Most people are remarkably good - given the general cesspools of discourse that pothole the internet - at distinguishing between criticizing behavior and simply insulting people. The former is what you are after. I welcome opinions that differ from my own, and enjoy the discussion that ensues. Despite my distaste for anonymous comments, I continue to allow them, as there are some folks who might be unable to comment on policy otherwise. (Like all of my readers in city and county government.) I also have older readers who are generally more uncomfortable with telling their stories if they have to put down personal information.
I will not abide people who want to hurl insults anonymously. I've tolerated a decent amount of this as I try to respond to whatever points may be mixed in with the invective, but it's no longer worth my time. Your comments will not be published.
Will you come and speak to my group about _________?
I’m more than happy to try to come and speak to your group if I have time. I need at least a one month notice to give a presentation, and I’ll need you to supply a digital projector. I can generally fit a presentation into the time you have, although some things aren’t really feasible – i.e. the history of Durham in 5-10 minutes. I speak for free to academic institutions and affiliated student groups, libraries and neighborhood groups. My fee for other groups is currently $100, plus travel expenses if you are located outside of the Triangle. I am happy to try to waive or reduce my fee for compelling circumstances, and I’ll gladly accept more.
I have copies of old family photos of houses/buildings in Durham? Do these interest you at all?
Absolutely. I would love to scan them. While I appreciate anyone taking the time to scan them to send them to me, I’d prefer to scan myself if at all possible so that I can scan at an archival resolution. If it isn’t possible for me to scan them myself (I can bring my scanner to you.) I use the following specs:
35 mm negatives: 4800 dpi
3x5 or 2x2 pictures, large format negatives: 2400 dpi
5x7 to 8 x 10 prints: 800 dpi.
Larger: 600 dpi
I use 8 bit greyscale for B&W prints / negatives, and 24-bit color. I adjust for maximum dynamic range and brightness /contrast to maximize detail. I do not sharpen during scanning.
If you are throwing building/landscape pictures away or don’t know what to do with them, please send them to me if you can’t figure out what else to do with them. The better option would be to donate them to either Duke or the Durham County Library, as they are set up for long term storage of these items where the public can access the originals, or let me know that I can do so.
I’d love to give you money or volunteer my time to support your efforts.
I’m not set up as a 501(c)3 to accept charitable contributions. If you would like to donate your time to set that up for me, that would be great. I would love to have help, particularly with gathering oral histories; there are a great many folks out there, many of them elderly, with unique knowledge about Durham. Their histories are usually unrecorded, to our detriment.
Why haven’t you posted on ___________?
1) Google __________ “endangered durham” (with the quotation marks.)
2) Check the Big Map of Endangered Durham
3) If you know the street it is on, click that label in the left column.
If I haven’t posted on it yet, then I probably will at some point. I try to stick within a given geographical range at any one time, but I’ll happily field requests to file away for later. If it’s your house, and it’s historic in some way, it’s unlikely that I’ll post on it anytime soon, but in the meantime, supplying me with the history will increase the chances that I’ll post it at some point.
I want a copy of the photo you published of ___________? Will you send it to me?
You can always save copies of the photos directly from the web browser; simply drag them out on your desktop if you have a Mac, and right-click on the photo, then Save if you operate a Windows rig. I don’t mind you republishing my photos (i.e., the present-day photos) as you wish with “Courtesy Gary Kueber / Endangered Durham.” I retain copyright to my photos.
If you wish to use historic photos for any commercial purpose, you need to obtain permission from the manager of the collection / copyright holder.
For the Durham County Library:
North Carolina Collection Website
(919) 560 - 0171
For the Duke Rare Book and Manuscript Collection:
Duke Rare Book and Manuscript Collection Website
For the Herald-Sun
If you wish to obtain high resolution copies of photos for reprinting, please obtain permission from the above parties first. The Durham County Library and Duke Rare Book and Manuscript Collection should be able to provide you with copies of their materials. I have scanned all pictures from the Herald-Sun myself, and they do not maintain a collection of these. I apologize that I cannot provide copies of these photos unless you can provide me with an FTP site or similar to upload the files to, as they are very large (70-400MB apiece) and cannot be emailed. I am unable to keep up with coordinating burning to CD and providing these to people.
Mr. Smith was born in 1872 not 1874 / you are wrong about _________ / it didn’t happen that way.
I am always happy to receive corrections / additional information that will improve the history I recount. Please be assured that any history I leave out is unintentional, and only the result of my inability to do a great deal of research from primary sources due to the pace of Endangered Durham. If you wish to correct a post, please provide a source for your information – if I’ve posted something specific regarding a date, place, or person, then I have an existing source that needs backup to overturn.
My grandma was a RigsMangumDukeCarr – do you know when the family came from Wales?
I apologize that I don’t generally have any additional information on families / genealogy other than what is on the site.
Can you tell me more about my building or house?
I try to answer these questions as best I can – I will do additional research as time permits, but I can’t do large amounts of research on individual properties.
But I do very much want such curious folk to be able to discover the origins of their home or building, so here are the sources I suggest:
Tools to use:
1. City Directories
No, not your telephone book. In Durham, there have been city directories published since 1881 – generally yearly. The great boon these provide for researching your building is to list people by street address as well as street address by people. I.e., there is a section with all the streets in alphabetical order, and under each street is a listing of addresses and next to each address is the name of the occupant. These are available at the public library on microfilm from ~1884-1961, and bound thereafter. In addition, those prior to the copyright cutoff of 1923 are available electronically here.
2. Deed Books
Look at your property record on the Durham Tax Records website or the Durham GIS website. There should be a Deed Book reference. You can search online for pdf copies of the deed records for your property (by grantee or grantor) back to the 1960s. You will need to go downtown to the deed record office in the old Durham County Courthouse to trace deeds back further.
3. Sanborn Maps / Aerial Maps / Photos.
Digital Durham has a good repository of maps on their site, and I’ve posted aerials now and then. The Durham County Library also has a repository of digital aerial photographs. These may help you establish when a property was developed, as subdivided parcels can get tricky in the deed books. Sanborn maps are available online through the Durham County Library, through NC Live, or through academic institutions. (You'll need to obtain a password for NCLive from the library.) The maps do not cover areas outside of downtown prior to 1913. However, they are extraordinarily detailed, and show the address and 2-D shape of all buildings / houses. The 1913, 1937, and 1950 maps include East and West Durham.
If you can find someone who had been in your neighborhood a long time, they can often fill in the gaps for you with information that isn’t recorded.
Essentially, the strategy involves continuing to build a case using these sources – sometimes you will find information at one source that allows you to go back to an already-viewed source and use it more effectively.
I’d love to chat with you about the history of Durham and my ideas for _______. Can we have lunch / coffee to discuss?
I’d love to as well – my schedule remains really busy, so it’s infrequent that I have time for sit-down meetings. If you are looking for contributions from me in any particular form, please send me your proposal / ideas via email.
Have you thought about publishing a book?
Yes, and I’ve spoken to a few publishers. Time, time, time.
Where do you find the time to do this?
I have a day job, so it’s not easy. I may spend ~2-3 hours a night +/- 10-15 hrs on a weekend researching, writing, taking pictures, scanning pictures, editing pictures, etc. I do sleep, but sporadically.
If I send you a picture of something old in Durham, can you identify it?
I’ll give it a try.
Are you from Durham? How did you become interested in this?
No, I’m from New Orleans. I’ve cumulatively lived in Durham 17 years now. I bought an old house in a strange little spot near downtown in 1997, and couldn’t figure out the terrain. I started researching Durham’s history to understand what I was seeing, became involved in preservation, and started publishing ED in August of 2006.
What’s your favorite old building in Durham?
I love them all…. ☺
You are a _______ (negative.)
Everyone is entitled to his/her opinion.
You are a _______ (positive.)
Everyone is entitled to his/her opinion. (But thank you!)
Monday, May 15, 2006
Regarding questions and comments, generally