The Year Was 1938

New England hurricane. Chicken house between Worcester and Amherst, State/Province: Massachusetts, 1938The year was 1938 and many countries were still engulfed in the Great Depression. Rumblings of World War II were heard as Hitler and the Nazis grew in power. In Germany, laws were passed disenfranchising the Jewish population and in October an estimated 15,000 Jewish people, originally from Poland, were sent to the Polish border. Enraged by his parents’ deportation, a seventeen-year-old assassinated the Third Secretary of the German Embassy in Paris. This gave the Nazis the excuse they needed and on the night of 9 November, Nazis stormed through cities burning synagogues and breaking windows in Jewish homes and businesses. 30,000 Jewish men were imprisoned in concentration camps. The sounds of breaking glass gave the infamous night its name–Kristallnacht.

On 21 September, disaster struck New York and New England in the form of a category three hurricane nicknamed the Long Island Express. Only one weather forecaster saw it coming and he was overruled by others in the Weather Bureau who believed it would turn back out to sea before posing a threat. At 3:30 p.m. just before an astronomical high tide, the storm struck Long Island with fourteen to eighteen foot tides and moved across to New England, hitting Rhode Island particularly hard. In the end, it was estimated that the storm was responsible for 700 deaths and another more than 700 injured. It destroyed 4,500 homes and farms and damaged another 15,000. Cars, electrical and telephone lines, livestock, produce, boats, and shoreline commerce were also devastated.  Continue reading

Photo Corner

Maria and Antonio Buchicchio, ca. 1912, Chicago, IllinoisContributed by Nick Colagrossi
Here is a picture of my grandparents, Maria and Antonio Buchicchio. I have been told this picture was taken around 1912 in Chicago, two years after they came to America.

Click on the images to enlarge them.

Andrew A. and Laura Annie MitchellContributed by Charles Hines                       
These are my great-grandparents, Andrew A. and Laura Annie Mitchell. He was born in 1849 in Texas and she was born in 1844 in South Carolina.

A Lull on the Blog…

Just a quick note to let you know that there will be a little lull on the blog while I’m working ahead on newsletters. I’ll be at the FGS Conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana next week and in addition to preparing the newsletters for the 13th and 20th this week, I’ll also be working on my presentation on Searching

The newsletter for Monday should roll this weekend and I’ll try to post some live updates from the conference. I hope to see some of you there!

Have a great week!


New Feature at Ancestry Will Give Your “Click Finger” a Rest!

Hover.bmpThis week I ran across a new feature at Ancestry that is going to make my life MUCH easier, and I’m guessing you’re going to like it too.

Remember how you’d get a nice long list of search results in a database like the census, and you had to go back and forth trying to find your ancestor? You click on a hit, wait for it to load, say, “No, that’s not him,” click back, click on the next hit, wait for it to load, “No, that’s not him,” click back…-you get the idea.

Well, help has arrived for those tired clicking fingers. A new feature at Ancestry allows you to see more details by simply hovering your mouse over the “View Record” link. No more clicking back and forth-just hover over it for a second or two, scan the information and move on until you find your guy (or gal)! Click on the image to the right to enlarge it and see what I mean.

Index fingers of the world, rejoice! 😉

New at Ancestry

Ancestry logo1.bmpPosted This Week

Weekly Planner: Clean Out Your Inbox

For most twenty-first century family historians, e-mail plays a vital role. Working with my mother, most of our finds are exchanged via e-mail. While folders can help organize genealogical correspondence, we can run into problems when our e-mail program gets overloaded. In addition, saving e-mails only in your e-mail program means that our family data may be split into too many places. Save e-mail messages with important information as plain text files in the electronic folders where you keep other family history information (e.g., word processing documents, spreadsheets, images, etc.). Just open the message, select “Save as” from the File menu, change the file type to Plain Text (.txt), modify the name if you like, and click “Save.” You may also want to keep print copies to protect them from computer failures.

Click here for a printer friendly version of this article.

More Tales from the Poorhouse, by Juliana Smith

Blackwell Island death certificate samples, February 1864I want to thank everyone who wrote in a couple weeks ago following my article on Mary Tobin. I’m sorry I left everyone hanging on what Mom found at the library, but I took off a few days for some family time. This summer has really flown by!

Anyway, I’m back now and have copies of several poorhouse records. For those of you who missed the first column, a few weeks ago, elation at finding an obituary for my fourth great-grandmother, Mary Tobin, led to more questions when we found a Mary Toben who was near enough to the correct age of ninety-eight to be our Mary enumerated on Blackwell’s Island in 1870.

With Mom conveniently visiting Salt Lake City for a conference, she was able to squeeze in a few hours at the Family History Library and locate two records of admission for Mary. I’ve posted images of these records and some other samples here (click on the images to enlarge them) and today I thought we’d explore these finds a bit more. Continue reading

Making Certain I Have the Right Person, by Michael John Neill

I recently located testimony that appeared to have been given by my wife’s ancestor in a Revolutionary War pension application. My excitement over the new discovery was tempered by the realization that I needed to make certain the person giving testimony was indeed my wife’s ancestor. While it is certainly natural to be excited over new discoveries, it is important not jump to conclusions. Hasty research can lead to wasted time, money, and brick walls higher than the ones we originally had.

The 1847 Revolutionary War pension application for Katharine Blain in Delaware County, Ohio, contained testimony from a Katharine Wickiser. My wife’s ancestor, Katharine Wickiser, also lived in Delaware County and both women were about the same age. But before I used the clues contained in the pension file to further my research, I needed to be reasonably certain the two women were the same person.

The first step was to review the chronology and family structure I had compiled for Katharine Wickiser and her husband Abraham. Comparing the information already located with the information in the pension testimony would help me in determining if the two Katharines were one and the same.

Chronologies are such an important tool that we’ll briefly discuss some suggestions for compiling them. Continue reading