The Truth About the 4th of July

Myths about the 4th of July

1) Date of Signing…

The common myth is that the Declaration of Independence was signed on the 4th of July 1776. Sadly, this is far from the truth.

“The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America,” wrote Adams, in a July 3, 1776 letter to his wife, Abigail.

Poor Adams. He was only off by two days. The Continental Congress actually issued an initial resolution asserting independence from Britain on July 2, which was then revised and finalized on July 4.

However, historians believe that the signing didn’t take place until about a month later. Emily Sneff, research manager of the Declaration Resources Project at Harvard University, writes that 49 of the 56 signers didn’t even add their signatures the declaration until August 2, 1776: “It took several months, if not years, for all of the signatures to be added.”

She cites the Journals of the Continental Congress, which include this August 2 entry: “The declaration of independence being engrossed and compared at the table was signed.”

The first announcement of the completion of the form and content of the Declaration was made July 8, 1776.

2) The Revolutionary War was only about the American Colonies

England and France had been at war during the Seven Years War. George Washington learned to command as a colonel in the Colonials fighting the French

England added the taxes to the colonies to try to pay for the war effort. England was going broke.

France ‘helped’ us only to force Britain to dedicate forces away from Canada

3) The Liberty Bell Cracked When it Was rung on the 4th

The actual first announcement was issued on the 8th!

The bell was made in 1751. Records show it was in need of repair. There is no documented evidence when it did crack. The myth was better than truth and saved the officials the expense of repairing it.

4) John Hancock Signed Big to Taunt King George

Hancock was president of the assembly. He was the first to sign. He did sign big. He signed EVERYTHING the same way.

Remember, the Declaration was all done by hand. There were no copiers, typewriters or carbon paper. They would NOT have sent a copy to King George. If they did, does anyone think he would send it back?

5) John Adams Mentioned Thomas Jefferson with his last breath

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were friendly rivals for most of their lives. They became friends when both were in Congress. They became estranged after a contentious campaign in 1800. After they retired, they wrote 158 letters combines over 14 years.

The myth is that John Adams muttered “Jefferson lives” as he died July 4, 1826. It was 50 years to the day after the completion of the document. Problem was, it was not true. Jefferson died a few hours before Adams. Their is also no documented evidence of any death bed statement.

Other “Presidential 4ths” James Monroe died on July 4, 1831. Calvin Coolidge was born July 4, 1872.

The Truth About Photographic File Formats

Questions have arisen on genealogical websites about which format to use for archival purposes of important pictures.


A camera raw image file contains minimally processed data from the image sensor of either a digital camera, image scanner, or motion picture film scanner. Raw files are named so because they are not yet processed and therefore are not ready to be printed or edited with a bitmap graphics editor. They require special processing programs to edit such as Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, Corel Aftershot Pro or Apple Aperture. The major problem is that no two camera makers use the same “RAW” format.

TIFF – Tag Image File Format

(.TIF file extension, pronounced Tif) TIFF is the format of choice for archiving important images. TIFF is THE leading commercial and professional image standard. TIFF is the most universal and most widely supported format across all platforms.

GIF format is limited to 256 colors and is a lossless compression file format, a common choice for use on the Web. GIF is a good choice for storing line drawings, text, and iconic graphics at a small file size.

PNG format is a lossless compression file format, which makes it a common choice for use on the Web. PNG is a good choice for storing line drawings, text, and iconic graphics at a small file size.

JPG format is a lossy compressed file format. This makes it useful for storing photographs at a smaller size than a BMP. JPG is a common choice for use on the Web because it is compressed. For storing line drawings, text, and iconic graphics at a smaller file size, GIF or PNG are better choices because they are loss-less.

The common theme of most of these is to save space on hard drives. I.E. smaller file sizes which means less “information”

In reverse order, JPEG (JPG) is “good” for direct saving of PERFECT images. It is the default format for digital cameras and scanners. It has 8 bits for grey (256 shades) and 8 bits for red, green and blue (256 each) This is 16 million colors.

PNG is good for graphics and line art. This has 16 million colors as well.

GIF is further limited to 8 bits for color (256 total colors). No longer commonly used.

The last two are loss less. TIFF and RAW. Preferred for archival purposes.

When your camera saves a digital photo as a RAW or TIFF file (if it can), the photo includes all of the information captured by your camera’s image sensor. High end cameras are required to be able to get TIFF or RAW recordings. RAW is “better” because it can be stored very quickly. A TIFF file can take 50 seconds to fully record to the memory card. If you want “archival” files, take the picture in RAW then save directly to TIFF (IF your photo editing program can process RAW formats).

JPEG has another problem. There are choices about how MUCH information is “removed” in compression. A TIFF/RAW file that is 3.8 MB becomes a jpg of 1.3 MB on low compression and 0.7 MB on high compression. That is a loss of 66% of the information for a low compression and a whopping 82% for high compression.

“Converting” back up does no good. The information is long gone.


The Truth About Labor Day

Labor Day was not always for family fun and interaction. It began as a memorial to a harsh event in American History.

The seminal event was the strike by railroad workers in Pullman, Chicago against the Pullman Company. This was a nationwide railroad strike in the United States in the summer of 1894. On the labor side was the American Railway Union (ARU). They were faced the Pullman Company, the main railroads, and the federal government in the Administration of Grover Cleveland. 


The strike and boycott shut down the majority of the nation’s freight and passenger traffic west of Detroit, Michigan The physical conflict began on May 11. Nearly 4,000 factory employees of the Pullman Company began a wildcat strike (not voted on by members) as a reaction to recent reductions in wages. Many of the workers lived in the “company town” of Pullman, Chicago. George Pullman did not lower rents when people were laid off or had wages decreased.

Eugene V. Debs had formed the ARU in 1893 in a reaction to the very poor treatment of railroad workers. He had organized many of the Pullman workers into the ARU. Pullman refused to recognize the union. The union called a strike with no success until Debs decided to stop all rail movement west of Detroit on trains that carried a Pullman car. It involved more than 25,000 workers and involved 27 states.

The Federal Government wanted the trains moving again. They sent in thousands of U.S. Marshals and 12,000 Army troops. The arrival of the military and the subsequent deaths of workers in violence led to further outbreaks of violence. During the course of the strike, 30 strikers were killed and 57 were wounded. Property damage exceeded $80 million. Debs was sent to prison where he read the Communist Manifesto.

In 1894, in an effort to conciliate organized labor after the strike, President Grover Cleveland and Congress designated Labor Day as a federal holiday. Legislation for the holiday was pushed through Congress six days after the strike ended. Samuel Gompers, a powerful labor leader, had sided with the federal government in its effort to end the strike by the American Railway Union, spoke out in favor of the holiday.

Now you know the history and “tradition” of :Labor Day. It commemorates death and destruction in the struggle to get better treatment for the common workers.