Saturday, December 29, 2007

Ricky's Wiki Googled

Who comes up with these names anyway?

Resuming my genealogical research, I googled (yes, it can now be used in lower case because it is an "official word" and no longer just a proper name) my paternal grandfather's hometown in the Ukraine.

Prominently featured were a Wikipedia (this one's still a proper name) article to which I had contributed. There I noted a mistake I had not yet corrected--the year that the Nazi Einsatzgruppen (death squads) followed their advancing German army across the Russian Ukraine and rounded up and shot Jews in every locality, including those relatives of mine who had not emigrated to the U.S. or Israel. A family tree I had stated it was 1942, but during my visit to Yad Vashem, I discovered it was really 1941.

Anyhow, after fixing that, I searched for a couple of other topics in Wikipedia, adding some edits to another article I had previously contributed to.

It's quite amazing that this open encyclopedia exists and that everyone in the world can contribute information to make it as accurate (possibly, also, as biased) as possible. The site does have some controls, and I've read some interesting articles discussing how they function (most notably locking most people out from controversial subjects). Wikipedia articles I've read on subjects I know fairly well have turned out to have a high degree of accuracy.

The other Google (gotcha!) listing for the town happened to be a Google Earth placemark I had set online to mark it geographically based upon latitude & longitude coordinates I received from a reliable source (OK, he's a distant cousin). I guess I wasn't sure I was posting it correctly for the world to see, but it's there.

What amazed me the most, however, was that my previous blog post mentioning the town, Staro Zakrevsky Meidan, also appeared when I googled (gotcha again!) the name.

So, be careful what you blog--once it's posted, you will have been published in perpetuity by the siliconopoly!

Until next time...


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