Some Technical Details

This arti­cle shares some tech­ni­cal details behind the SFAA Web site. If you’re inter­ested, read on! Oth­er­wise, move along, there is noth­ing of inter­est here!

Interim Web­mas­ter

Back in Feb­ru­ary 2009, I offered to take over interim web­mas­ter duties for the Strong Fam­ily Asso­ci­a­tion of Amer­ica. That offer was accepted. I also offered to donate use of my com­mer­cial web server (hosted by m3server.com who I’ve used for more than a decade) as a cost sav­ings to the Asso­ci­a­tion, and that offer was also accepted. As with the pre­vi­ous paid host­ing arrange­ment, there’s a lot of horse­power behind this Web site!

Joomla

At the same time I took over web­mas­ter duties, I had been con­sid­er­ing mov­ing to the Joomla! Con­tent Man­age­ment Sys­tem for sev­eral of our Web sites. I chose Joomla because some­one has inte­grated the Geneal­ogy soft­ware I use, with Joomla.

Sad to say, Joomla proved to be an unfor­tu­nate deci­sion. Joomla is not easy to learn, even with good books avail­able. After work­ing with it for quite a few weeks, I could see the poten­tial, but real­ized this is not the best answer for SFAA. Bury­ing the Web site in a difficult-to-learn Con­tent Man­age­ment Sys­tem would be a ter­ri­bly unrea­son­able bur­den to place on the next webmaster.

By con­trast, the pre­vi­ous host­ing arrange­ment used a per­fectly rea­son­able and intu­itive site builder. Mov­ing the mate­r­ial to my own server was quite sim­ple and straight-forward.

So… months later… I threw away all the time invested in Joomla! It’s not what we need, and it’s not suf­fi­ciently usable for my other web sites either. The learn­ing expe­ri­ence served me well on sev­eral fronts. But it sure did suck up a lot of time in the process!

Word­Press

Word­Press, on the other hand, is a “blog­ging” sys­tem which actu­ally works fairly well as a Con­tent Man­age­ment Sys­tem. That is, it does work fairly well for what we need for the Strong Fam­ily Asso­ci­a­tion of Amer­ica. I’ve been using Word­Press for years, and so have a whole lot of other people.

It is quite likely that the next web­mas­ter, who­ever he or she might be, will already be famil­iar with Word­Press, or can quickly become familiar.

The Word­Press ver­sion of this site is now open (you’re look­ing at it right now). It’s not com­plete, but I expect to fin­ish out the details over the next week or so.

What We Gain

Why bother chang­ing things at all? What we gain is involve­ment and inter­ac­tiv­ity. Direc­tors and autho­rized mem­bers can add arti­cles to the site. If you’re famil­iar with Microsoft Word or do any blog­ging on your own, you’ll prob­a­bly find this site very sim­ple to use.

We also gain room to expand. We can add a forum area, photo gal­leries, etc. as we dis­cover the need.

Geneal­ogy Software

On our other Web sites, we use The Next Gen­er­a­tion to dis­play the geneal­ogy infor­ma­tion. It’s one of the best meth­ods avail­able for dis­play­ing our knowl­edge in a way that’s use­ful to other peo­ple learn­ing or research­ing. I’ve slowly been typ­ing up the Elder John Strong ances­try infor­ma­tion. I’ve done about 700 indi­vid­u­als, but have a lot of typ­ing to go!

To Do

  • The geneal­ogy sec­tion and main site are not yet color-coordinated.
  • The directors-only sec­tion is not yet up.
  • The photo albums are not yet up.
  • The “con­tact us” page is not live.
  • I have some tweak­ing and color changes needed to spruce things back up.
  • I need to ver­ify the site sign-up process, so I can invite Direc­tors to sign up; then I can give them post­ing priv­i­leges and instructions.

I’ve left a link to the old (Feb­ru­ary 2009) site at the bot­tom of the front page, until every­thing is in place on the new site.

2009 Strong Family Reunion Details

Come to Dixon, Illi­nois Sun­day, August 2, and Mon­day, August 3, for the 2009 Strong reunion!!

We are stay­ing at the Qual­ity Inn and Com­fort Inn, located near the inter­sec­tion of I-88  & Il Rt. 26  at the south end of Dixon, IL    The motels are mid­way between Chicago and the Quad cities, and about  45 miles south of Rock­ford, IL.

The two motels are under one roof and share two pools and ban­quet rooms.  The Qual­ity Inn with an entrance at the east end of the build­ing serves a full hot break­fast.  The Com­fort Inn with the entrance on the west end of the build­ing has a deluxe con­ti­nen­tal break­fast fea­tur­ing waf­fles.  The motels are located beside a large Wal­Mart and small strip mall.

The SFAA has a block of rooms reserved at both motels.

The Qual­ity Inn:

  • 815–288-2001
  • Room rate — $93.46 plus tax

Com­fort Inn:

  • 815–284-0500
  • Room rate — $84.96 plus tax

The motel will hold the rooms for the SFAA until July 2. Con­tact the Qual­ity Inn and Com­fort Inn directly and men­tion SFAA.  A credit card will hold the room. You can can­cel with no charge until  4 p.m. of the day of arrival. Please reg­is­ter early to assist us in our planning.

Dixon, in Lee Co., IL, is the boy­hood home of Ronald Rea­gan.  His home is open for tours daily.  It is also the home of the Wal­green fam­ily. Our ban­quet speaker will be Paul Lan­gan, a retired psy­chol­ogy pro­fes­sor with an inter­est in Dixon area his­tory.  His topic will be the founders of the Wal­green Drug Store chain.  More infor­ma­tion on area points of inter­est, din­ing and shop­ping will be avail­able in the SFAA hos­pi­tal­ity room located across from the Com­fort Inn reg­is­tra­tion desk.

A spe­cial guest at the Strong­hold Cas­tle tour on August 3 will be W. Ansel Strong III.  He, and pos­si­bly some of his cousins, will share sto­ries of  his grand­fa­ther, Wal­ter A. Strong, who was a Chicago news­pa­per­man and builder of Strong­hold Cas­tle. The Wal­ter A. Strong fam­ily descends from Elder John Strong’s son John Strong. More infor­ma­tion about the cas­tle and adjoin­ing prop­erty is found at http://www.strongholdcenter.org/

Reg­is­tra­tion for the SFAA reunion in Dixon, Illi­nois   August 2 & 3, 2009

Main Con­tact Name______________________________________________________________

Address_______________________________________________________________________

City__________________________________  State ________________ Zip_______________

Phone  ________________________       email __________________________________

Names as they should appear on the Name Badges_______________________________________

Reg­is­tra­tion fee for the 34th SFAA reunion in Dixon, IL

Adults           $15                    _____adults X  $15=___________

Ban­quet meal                          _______adults X  $20=_____________

Mon­day, August 3

_______children under age 8  X  $10=_____________

Sun­day late after­noon at the Low­ell Park shel­ter north of Dixon

oven fried chicken, potato salad, fruit bowl, Del Monte bicol­ored sweet corn, dessert and iced tea or pink rasp­berry lemonade

Get Acquainted catered pic­nic       _____adults X $8=______________

_____   chil­dren under 8 X $8=______________
(Update: chil­dren same price. Our caterer was unable to get us the discount.)

Strong­hold Cas­tle tour          num­ber of peo­ple   X $3=______________

Tour­ing inside the cas­tle involves many steep steps.  It is NOT hand­i­capped acces­si­ble.  Any­one may walk around the grounds with­out a charge. W. Ansel Strong III’s pre­sen­ta­tion about his fam­ily and life at the cas­tle will be in the cafe­te­ria at 11 a.m., fol­low­ing the 10 a.m. tour. That is open to all of the SFAA.  It isn’t nec­es­sary to have also toured the castle.

Lunch in the Strong­hold Pres­by­ter­ian Con­fer­ence Cen­ter cafe­te­ria  on August 3

________number of peo­ple X $8.25=_____________

Make check or Money order payable to SFAA Reunion 2009 and Send reg­is­tra­tion to:

Mrs. Ann Hecathorn
P.O. Box 95
Ear­lville, Illi­nois 60518

Ques­tions?  s.hecathorn@verizon.net

About Myself

My name is Edward Barnard, and live near Can­non Falls, Min­nesota. I became the interim SFAA Web­mas­ter in Feb­ru­ary 2009.

I do soft­ware devel­op­ment by day, for an artists’ site named Deviant Art. My per­sonal Deviant Art page is here: Morris88 (Edward Barnard) on Deviant ART. I thor­oughly enjoy work­ing from home!

Our per­sonal geneal­ogy sites are:

So far as I know, I per­son­ally descend from three of Elder John Strong’s chil­dren — Sarah, Expe­ri­ence, and Return. Dr. Walther Barnard (who does the Notable Kin­ships series) and I both par­tic­i­pate in the Barnard DNA Project. Our close DNA match ver­i­fies that we both descend from Fran­cis Barnard (1719–1789) and Lucre­tia Pin­ney (1722–1805). Fran­cis Barnard (1719–1789) is a grand­son of Sarah, daugh­ter of Elder John Strong and Abi­gail Ford.

The New SFAA Web Site

Hi Every­one! Please excuse our dust!

I am open­ing up the new Strong Fam­ily Asso­ci­a­tion of Amer­ica web site, even though it isn’t quite ready. It’s close! I expect to fin­ish clean­ing up the details by 1 June 2009.