The Year Was 1964

The year was 1964 and after seventy-five days of filibustering by Southern Democrats, the required two-thirds vote was secured in the U.S. Senate that shut down the debate of the Civil Rights Act. Every senator, including Senator Clair Engle (D-CA) who had suffered a stroke, was present to cast his or her vote. Senator Engle could not speak, but instead pointed to his eye to signal his “Aye” vote.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on 2 July 1964. It bans discrimination on the basis of a person’s color, race, national origin, religion, or gender in regard to issues of public accommodation (e.g., buses, restaurants, theaters, etc.), schooling, employment, voting, and government programs. 

More history was made in the Civil Rights movement as Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., becomes the youngest man to receive the Nobel Peace Prize at age thirty-five in 1964.

Although the first U.S. regular combat troops would not arrive in Vietnam until March of 1965, by the end of 1964 there were more than 23,000 military advisors in place, and the CIA was running covert operations supported by U.S. Naval forces.

The public got a wake-up call in January of 1964 when the U.S. Surgeon General released a report stating that cigarette smoking gave smokers a 70 percent higher mortality rate than non-smokers and that smokers were at a much higher risk of developing lung cancer than non-smokers. At that time 44 percent of Americans were smokers. 

Disaster struck on 27 March 1964 when a 9.2 magnitude earthquake struck South Central Alaska causing catastrophic damage in Anchorage. The energy released from the quake was 10 million times that of the atomic bomb at Hiroshima and eighty times that of the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. It also set off a tsunami that was responsible for 122 of the 131 casualties attributed to the quake. 

Beatlemania was spreading around the world as the first Beatles album was released and sped to the top of the charts. On 6 April Beatles songs grabbed the top five spots on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart.

The “British Invasion” continued when the Rolling Stones appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in October of 1964. It was their first American appearance.

And this last one is for my husband who sighs wistfully every time he sees a Ford Mustang.  The famous “muscle car” was introduced in 1964 at the New York World’s Fair.

Were you around in 1964? Share your memories and family stories in the comments section below.

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Photo Corner, 16 June 2008

Ella Ann (Houston) Kraher, b. 1870Contributed by Maggie Baker
This is a photograph of Ella Ann (Houston) Kraher, b. 1870. She was the great-granddaughter of Robert Armstrong Houston, the first Sheriff of Knox County, Tennessee. The photo was taken by her husband, Philip Kraher, in his Studio on in St.James, Missouri, around 1905.

Click on an image to enlarge it.

Clara Louise GrondContributed by Sharon Mullane
This is my grandmother, , dressed as a gypsy, ca. 1920 in Newark, New Jersey. She was born to German immigrant parents in Westchester, New York, in 1899.

Happy Father’s Day!

Dad.bmpJust a quick note to all the dads out there to wish you a very happy Father’s Day. May a brick wall tumble in honor of your special day!

I’ll be visiting my dad this weekend and we’re going to start work on an AncestryPress project for his family. I just sent him a link to an article from the Ancestry blog by Stefanie Condie that has some really cool tips for showing off family photos. For those who are interested, you can read it here.

And on a more somber note, to all of those who have been impacted by the recent Midwestern floods and storms, please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you.


One-to-One Tutorials with Sherry Irvine at Pharos Tutors

Pharos Tutors.bmpMany of you are probably familiar with Sherry Irvine’s work through her columns here and in many other publications. Now she’s preparing to help students on a more personal level in tackling their brick wall problems. Here’s the press release from Pharos Tutors.

Pharos announces the launch of one to one online tutorials with expert genealogist Sherry Irvine

Pharos Teaching & Tutoring was the first British company to provide online tutor assisted classes aimed specifically at helping researchers with British ancestry. Now, Pharos is launching a new one to one tutorial service to help genealogists tackle those nasty research problems generally known as “brick walls.” The service provides a practical option when it is difficult to find a course that fits the problem or when expert analysis is needed. Continue reading

Free Access to Ancestry Historical Newspaper Collection Through June 19

Ancestry____logo1.bmpExtra! Extra! Read all about it! Ancestry has added 20 million images to its Historical Newspaper Collection—doubling the collection in size! And to celebrate, they’re newspapers-small copy.bmpoffering free access to the entire collection through 19 June 2008. Click here to start searching now.

More information on this huge launch is also available on the Ancestry blog.

Weekly Planner: Learn About One New Resource

Is there a particular record that you have avoided working with because you don’t have experience with it? Land records? Tax lists? Coroners’ records? Court records? Take the bull by the horns this week and research that record type and its availability in the areas in which you are researching. Start with a reference book or look for an article on the subject in the Ancestry Library. Follow up with research on the websites of repositories that may hold these records and determine what records are available and how they can be accessed (e.g., snail mail requests, online and e-mail requests, interlibrary loan, etc.). Then make it happen. You’ll wonder why you ever put it off!

Things I’ve Learned in Ten Years of Newsletter Editing, by Juliana Smith

ten.bmpThis week marks a big milestone for me. It was this week ten years ago, that I was hired on full time at Ancestry as editor of the Ancestry Daily News (this newsletter/blog’s predecessor).

Wow, have things changed! had a few hundred databases online when I started in 1998, but there were no censuses or record images online at that point. To search those records we would have to travel to repositories that held the microfilm and we were thankful for the head-of-household indexes that were available. Of course they weren’t online yet either–we didn’t get head-of-household census indexes online until early March 1999. Census images began being posted in 2000 along with Civil War Pension Index Cards. There was no, although was a popular and fast-growing online resource. And DNA testing? What’s that about?

When I first took the job, I had a young toddler in the house. Now my beautiful daughter is proud to tell people she’s almost as tall as I am and will soon pass me up! Over the years I had to learn to find a balance between work and family, although I still occasionally burn dinner when I get caught up in my work. Fortunately my office is next to the kitchen so I can smell the damage before flames erupt.

As I’m in a reminiscent mood today, I thought I’d share some of the lessons I’ve learned over the years here at Ancestry.

Finding Holes
If I ever want to find a hole in an area of my research, I should plan an article around that very topic. Never fails. As soon as I start writing about how I made this amazing find, I’ll find holes in my logic. But it’s a good way to keep my research on track. Try it. Write up a brief summary of the research steps you’ve taken and keep it with your research log. Not only does putting it in writing help you to better analyze your research, but years from now when you’re wondering how the heck you came to that conclusion, it will be right there for you.

Trial by Fire
If you want to learn about something, try to write about it. I guess that’s why they made us write reports in school. The best history class of my life has come in the past couple years by writing The Year Was… columns for the newsletter. Try it with one of your ancestors. Research the year they were born, immigrated, married, etc. As you learn about the events of the time, you may find that you better understand what prompted their decisions.

When I was researching The Year was 1902, I found that a huge coal mining strike occurred in the United States. My great-grandfather immigrated to the U.S. in 1902. He even went back home and came back again with more family members. He was a coal miner, as were the other family members, and it’s possible they were recruited to fill in for striking miners. Continue reading

Are Quakers in Your Ancestral Mix? by Mary Penner

What do James Dean, Daniel Boone, Richard Nixon, Dave Matthews, Betsy Ross, Joan Baez, and James Michener have in common? They either had family members who were Quakers, were raised in a Quaker home, or counted themselves among the Quaker faithful.

Having Quakers in your family tree, even if they weren’t famous, can be like a genealogical parting of the Red Sea opening up a promised land flowing with ancestors.

The Society of Friends, commonly known as Quakers, traces its origins to George Fox. In mid-seventeenth century England, Fox was disillusioned with the current religious practices and sought a more enlightened form of worship. When he was nineteen, Fox believed he received a revelation from God. This revelation, based on the concept of “Inner Light,” fueled a movement that snowballed into a full-blown religion across England.

Eventually, Quakers made their way across the Atlantic, but the welcome mat wasn’t always out. Two Quaker women, suspected of being witches, were promptly deported from Boston in 1656. Undeterred, more and more Quakers immigrated to North America and before long the religion had a strong presence in the Colonies.

Family history researchers relish having Quaker roots because the Quakers were diligent note-takers. These notes, or minutes, recorded at their monthly meeting for business, hold bundles of clues about our Quaker ancestors. For example, the minutes noted marriages. The industrious clerk recorded the marriage vows that my ancestor Manoah Chiles repeated when he married his second wife in the Virginia Cedar Creek Monthly Meeting in 1742. He also threw in some valuable genealogical scoops: “Manoah Chiles, son of Henry, deceased of the county of Hanover, and Anne Cheadle, daughter of John Cheadle of the county of Caroline.” The minutes often recorded births and deaths of members, as well.

Additionally, Quaker minutes frequently noted the comings and goings of its members. You might find a record stating that a member transferred to a different meeting. You will also learn about members who were disowned. Many were dismissed from the group for engaging in military service. My ancestor, Peter Hubbard, involved in a contentious land dispute with his brother, was disowned “whilst he remains in that un-Christian spirit.” Continue reading