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Weekly Planner: Taking Last Month’s Questions a Step Further

Last month some of us celebrated Family History Month by taking the time to answer five questions posed each week in this weekly planner. Let’s take it a step further and survey other family members as well. They could even be collected into a pamphlet to share at holiday get-togethers. (Yes, the holidays are almost here!)

Also, think about deceased family members. Do you know how they might have answered some of the questions? Did your grandparents love to dance? Mine met at a dance contest. Where was your grandmother’s favorite vacation place? I remember my grandma telling me over and over about her trip to Alaska and how it was her favorite trip. What did their home look like? Where did they gather and what did they do there? What stories from their youth did they share with you? Put their “answers” down along with the rest of the family and let your whole family get reacquainted this holiday season.

For more interview questions, check out this list from the Ancestry Learning Center.

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Using Ancestry: Exploring Civil War POW Records, by Juliana Smith

Civil War POW Records from Andersonville, Ga., Hospital RegisterIt started with a revisit to my Kelly roots and ended with a fascinating look into the records of the Andersonville Civil War prison camp. In the September 16th article I wrote on search tips, I mentioned that I thought I may have found James Kelly in 1860, with the entire family enumerated with only initials in place of given names. While I was off last week I spent a little time tidying up things around the office and ran across that record. It reminded me that I had never followed up on his son James. (Yes, those Kellys were a creative bunch with names. His son was actually the third in the succession of Jameses that I know of. If I had to guess what the elder James’s father’s name was, I’d put my money on James.)

A Kelly Family Story
An old letter from my mother’s aunt that dated back to 1974 said, “I believe [James Kelly] lost a son in the Civil War. He died on a prison ship in the South.” When we obtained a listing from the family plot in Calvary Cemetery, among the family members we knew of, the first entry was for a James Kelly; date of burial, 26 April 1865; age at death, twenty-five. He appears to be the right age to have fought in the Civil War. Continue reading

Glasgow Resources: Two Websites Are Better Than One, by Sherry Irvine, CG, FSA Scot

George Square, Glasgow, Scotland (From the LOC Photo Collection at Ancestry)The more you know the more surprises you find. This may sound odd but it’s true because you can only recognize a genealogical surprise if you know enough to spot that something is special.

Browsing the Web recently I came across a surprise for those researching in and around Glasgow. There is a nice fit between online resources at Ancestry and The Glasgow Story, and if you’re interested in learning more about your Glasgow ancestors and their daily lives, you’re in for a treat.

Resources at Ancestry
On the right side of the Ancestry search page, there is a list of resources grouped into categories. About halfway down you should see a heading “Directories and Member Lists.” Two or three titles can be seen, usually Early UK and U.S. Directories is among them. If not, click the “More” link, find this heading, and click it. Continue reading

Tips from the Pros: Seek Old Yearbooks, by Jana Sloan Broglin, CG

Yearbook, Parma High School, 1937We all like to look at our old high school and college yearbooks and remember all those goofy haircuts, clothes, and styles of glasses. But have you considered other types of school memorabilia for your ancestors? As genealogists, we tend to think of 100 years ago, or more, when doing research, but we also need to look at items from our parents and grandparents.

When looking at school yearbooks, look not only at the school picture, but any others, such as Future Farmers of America (FFA), the basketball team, art club, etc. I located my father, Jack Sloan, in a 1943 yearbook in Swanton, Ohio. In his senior year, Dad was shown as a member of the yearbook staff. It was interesting to note in later life, Dad was talented in writing, having done a book regarding his experiences in World War II.

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Image: Parma High School, Cleveland, Ohio, 1937, Leader’s Club and Booster Club (Click on the image to enlarge it.)

Your Quick Tips, 05 November 2007

Pet Cemetery Stone
In his article, After the Brick Wall Falls, George Morgan mentions, “Brisco never had a grave marker. I ordered a gravestone for him, and some of my first cousins have contributed to its cost.” 

We faced a similar problem for one of my ancestors. My great-grandfather died young, leaving a large–and young–family with no money. He never had a gravestone. My mom and I wished to do something, but the cost of gravestones was far more than we wanted to spend. We ordered a gravestone for him from a pet supply catalog. It is a beautiful granite headstone with his name and life dates engraved quite professionally. At a cost of less than $100, the marker is about one-third of the size of a traditional gravestone (much like the smaller tombstones you might see for children or infants). Except for the size, it is as beautiful and as professionally done as a more traditional and more costly grave marker.
As he was buried in an old cemetery now closed to new burials so there were no cemetery rules that we had to deal with. That might be a concern for some cemeteries. Nonetheless, we thought this was an excellent way to remember and honor one of our family without breaking the family budget.
Debbie Continue reading

The Year Was 1822

The year was 1822 and after a poor harvest in Ireland in 1821, famine and disease were widespread, particularly in the south and west of Ireland. The Gettysburg Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) of 24 July 1822 reported that,

“A letter from T.S. Lindlay, Esq. High Sheriff of Mayo, says, the distresses arise from ‘A failure in the potatoe [sic] crop of the last year, and the inability of the lower classes to purchase either this root or any other provision at present. The small plot usually attached to the cabins of the poor, in many cases, remain unsown from the impossibility of procuring seed. Nothing can be more wretched than the situation of the peasantry generally in Mayo. I have seen hundreds of wretched people greedily seeking for water cresses, wild mustard, nettletops, dwarf thistles, or dandelion all the spring, and this unnatural food has been the only meal within their reach.’”

The Edinburgh Advertiser (Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland) of 31 May 1822 gave similar descriptions of conditions in County Mayo, as well as reports from other counties. Typhus fever was reported in County Kerry and a report from Galway stated that, “the population of the town and vicinage of Galway, under-rated at 30,000 souls, to which are to be added thousands of wretched beings whom famine has driven hither from the remote parts of Connemara, exhibit at this moment a spectacle of extended and complicated misery which baffles description…”

From Limerick,

“The scene at the Catherine-street Street Dispensing Station yesterday, was truly awful–the poor meagre, half-starved women with cans and piggins [small wooden pails], many of them with an infant or two clinging to their backs, appeared in a continued crowd of great and almost impenetrable density, to obtain their pint of porridge (the quantum allowable on each ticket). A vast number of these were furnished with two, four, six, or eight tickets, according to the number of the family–but strange to tell, only one pint was given to many with a family. We are truly concerned to find that Dysentery Patients will not be received in the Fever Hospital as usual, in consequence of the increase of Fever in this city.”

The winter of 1822 in New York was remembered as a cold one by one resident in a New York Times article of 5 January 1879.

“There was no coal used in the City then except the soft coal which blacksmiths used. Wood was the only fuel, and it was piled as high as the housetops in yards in many parts of the City. [Stephen Sweet’s] father was in the wood business and his supply, which was large, was exhausted in February on account of the cold weather…Mr. Sweet remembers that the North River was frozen over for a number of days so that teams crossed on the ice where the ferry-boats now run, and that he rode on a load of wood from the foot of Cortlandt-street to Jersey City. He also recalls the fact that two young men named Harrison and Houghton built a shanty on the ice in the middle of the Hudson River and at the “Half-way House,” as it was called, sold rum to passengers for 14 days.”

In St. Louis, advertisements were appearing seeking “One Hundred enterprising young men … to ascent the Missouri River to its source, and there to be employed for one, two, or three years.” These men would form the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, organized by William Henry Ashley and Major Andrew Henry. Known as “Ashley’s Hundred,” these trappers would work independently and then gather in the summer to exchange pelts for pay. The company employed such notables as Kit Carson, Jedediah Smith, Joseph Meek, and Jim Beckwourth.

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Photo Corner

amuel Edward Sears (1876-1951) and Petronella Erma Symons (1895-1989), married 7 April 1913, in Prineville, OregonContributed by Donna Chernick
A wedding picture of my grandparents, Samuel Edward Sears (1876-1951) and Petronella Erma Symons (1895-1989). They married 7 April 1913, in Prineville, Oregon, and had four sons, Richard (my father), Raymond, Victor, and Wallace Sears.

Click on the images to enlarge them.

Unidentified from Minsk, ca. 1890-1910Contributed by Alex Morris, Sarasota Florida
Here is a picture from around 1890-1910. The two are mysterious ancestors or dear friends of my grandparents, Sam and Henrietta Oliphant. They moved from near Minsk during the 1890s and were in Brooklyn, New York, during the 1900 census. The back of the picture identifies the photographer’s studio in Minsk, Russia, now the Belarus capital. The studio had electricity, so could actually be open at night, and the photographer could tint with pastel colors as well.

Kids and Genealogy

FutureGenealogists.bmpSorry for the blog silence, but I’ve been trying to catch up after a lovely week off of work. We were blessed with some great weather, and my daughter and I took a trip to Chicago to take in the aquarium and meet my husband for dinner.

While I was out, Megan sent me a heads up that some interviews Chris Haley did on RootsTelevision with some of the youngest members of our genealogical community at this year’s FGS Conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Click here to view the interviews.

It’s really wonderful to see kids getting involved at such a young age. My daughter has been taking an interest and at that same conference got involved with the FGS youth organization, Future Genealogists. With kids like these taking an interest at an early age, the future of genealogy is looking very bright!