Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Back to School Time

So, September is here and the kids are going back to school. My kids are having major difficulty adjusting to the regiment of their home-schooled day. I try to make them understand that being in school for 3 hours is way better then the 8 hours I had to endure growing up. They don't quite get it yet.

But, it made me think that maybe it is time for "us" genealogists to go back to school also. Now, I don't know about the rest of you, but I just don't have the time to jump into my car, travel to the local Community College, and take a class. I also don't have the cash to fork out for the class or the books. What to do ... what to do??

Did a bit of searching and I found the answer. Free Online Classes in Genealogy! Yeah me!

Brigham Young University has an excellent selection of online courses. These aren't exactly the level 500 classes, but sometimes a refresher is what we need. These are some of the classes they have:

Family History/Genealogy - Introductory
FHGEN 69 — Providing Temple Ordinances for Your Ancestors
FHGEN 70 — Introduction to Family History Research
FHGEN 75 — Writing Family History
FHGEN 80 — Helping Children Love Your Family History

Family History/Genealogy - Record Type
FHREC 71 — Family Records
FHREC 73 — Vital Records
FHREC 76 — Military Records

Family History/Genealogy - Regional and Ethnic
FHFRA 71 — France: Immigrant Origins
FHFRA 72 — France: Vital Records
FHFRA 73 — France: Reading French Handwriting
FHFRA 74 — France: Genealogical Organizations and Periodicals
FHFRA 75 — France: The Internet and French Genealogy
FHFRA 76 — French Research: Paris
FHFRA 77 — French Research: Alsace-Lorraine
FHGER 71 — Germany: Immigrant Origins
FHGER 72 — Germany: U.S. Sources and Surname Changes
FHGER 73 — Germany: Jurisdictions, Gazetteers, and Maps
FHGER 74 — Germany: Reading German Handwriting
FHGER 75 — Germany: Calendars and Feast Days
FHGER 76 — Germany: Vital Records
FHHUG 71 — Huguenot Research
FHSCA 73 — Scandinavia: Jurisdictions, Gazetteers, and Maps
FHSCA 74 — Scandinavia: Reading Gothic Script
FHSCA 75 — Scandinavia: Church Records and Feast Days
FHSCA 76 — Scandinavia: Census Records
FHSCA 77 — Scandinavia: Probate and Other Records

You can find the class lists here.

Have fun and learn something!

An Un-Tapped Treasure - The Library of Congress' Digital Collections

I love reading old books, magazines, and documents. I think that's why I adore genealogy. To read how an event was viewed in the past, from the primary source, just gives me the tingles.

That is why I frequent The Library of Congress' Digital Collections often. They have everything there from newspapers to first-person accounts, from historic library collections to prints.

Take a look at it here.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Ultimate Reason for Genealogy

Who is genealogy for? For me? Sure, I love doing it for myself and for others. To discover the past, those persons who made me, those persons who contributed to my makeup ... it is a fantastic journey of "OMG I'm related to that person!?!".

But, ultimately, genealogy is for my kids. I mean that in the long run sense; in the short run their only response is to say "yeah, dad, whatever!". What I discover in my research is going to be passed along to them for their use. Maybe they will take it farther, maybe they will start a DNA bank and keep track of all markers. I don't know. Even if they don't take up the "genealogy" bug, they'll still have some information on where they came from.

My main job now, as a parent, is to put as many of my memories into archive now, so my children will have ready, available genealogical information on their father they can retrieve at a later date. How many of you have begun this task?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - My Parents' Wedding Picture

July 4, 1966, they did it, 2 years later, I was born.

Frank and Eleanor Wedding Photo

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Hemmings

Today is Tombstone Tuesday -- here is a picture of my great-grandfather's tombstone, Vernon L Hemmings.

Buried in Oak Grove cemetery in Springfield, MA.

Massachusetts Database to help in finding Jewish Roots

From a recent Boston.com article:

Many people tracing Jewish roots find stories with heartbreaking gaps as families were split apart by immigration and the horrors of the Holocaust, and records of birth, marriage, and death are often missing or deliberately destroyed.

Now, three new databases compiled by Clingan, who lives in Dedham, and others with the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston are about to go public to help Jews all over the world track their Massachusetts roots.

In the lists, every synagogue in the state is inventoried, as well as all Jewish cemeteries and newspapers, rendering the search for family a little more manageable for those starting out.

Clingan’s labor of love, which included searching through dusty archives and tapping the foggy memories of strangers to trace her grandparents’ emigration, two to Chelsea and two to Burlington, Vt., honors basic Jewish principles, she said.

The 568-item database Clingan compiled contains a listing of every congregation in the state, past and present. It says when and by whom it was founded, the various locations it occupied, as well as when it closed and what happened to its records, and tracks the many mergers among congregations, to the last surviving one.

That list is cross-referenced to a cemetery database compiled by Groton resident Alex Woodle, and a third database prepared by David Rosen of Boston that lists the state’s Jewish newspapers. The plan is eventually to convert all the information into a database format and to make it accessible using a one-step search tool, but that may take time to implement.

Links to the databases are located at JGSGB.org

Friday, August 20, 2010

How far do you roots go? Anywhere famous?

Hi there!

Earlier this week I was working on my application into the Mayflower Society. I'm a candidate as my 10th Great Grandfather is Francis Cooke, who married Hester Mayhieu. I always tell my wife, who is a product of pure Canadian bloodlines, that this is MY country, and if she doesn't like it here, she can leave with the rest of the foreigners! Just kidding; just do what I say because I was here first.

Anyhow, I also stumbled upon another site, "The Order of Founders and Patriots", where you had to be directly related to a person who was in this country since 1637 AND had the same line in the Revolutionary War. I started doing some searches on my known ancestors, when I stumbled upon a page showing famous descendants of the Pilgrims.

Some of the people I am now related (through very long roots in the ground) are: Franklin D Roosevelt, the Bush Presidents, Richard Gere, Grandma Moses, and Dick Van Dyke.

Pretty neat, eh? I am now thinking that I should either become an actor, paint, or become president ... what do you think??

Monday, August 16, 2010

Where do your roots lead?

I find it interesting to discover my roots. How promising is a family that extends back to England? One side of my family history takes me to Plymouth, as I have not one, but two, relatives that came over on the Mayflower. It flows into Springfield, the City that I have called home for these past 42 years, where one of my ancestors was with Pynchon when they stopped within these boundaries; the same relative who signed the deed along with Pynchon to purchase this land. It continues with statues and books written about another enlightened ancestor of mine (hint: his last name was Chapin).

The other side leads to Scotland and Germany; hard-working tough foreigners who came to this land to allow their families to succeed and grow. They worked in a multitude of common labor positions, such as house painters, truck drivers, and foreman. The only expectation they had for working hard was to earn a honest buck.

I look back on all of these roots and ask myself, "where will my generations roots lead to"? What will my descendants think about what we do today and who we are?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wedding Announcement for my Great-Grandparents

I found this link regarding the wedding of my Great-Grandparents, Helena Uhlmann and Frank Schlafer:

August 4, 1910, Page 10

Miss Lena Uhlmann of 6 Temple street and Frank F. Schlafer of Springfield were married yesterday morning at St. Paul’s Episcopal church, Rev. H. H. Morrill performing the ceremony. The attendants were Miss Minnie Uhlmann, a sister of the bride, and Rudolph Rossing of Springfield. The bride wore a gown of white embroidered batiste and carried white sweet peas. After the church service the bridal party were served with a wedding breakfast at the home of the bride’s sister, Mrs. E. F. Beaverstock of 861 Main street. The couple left yesterday afternoon for a short wedding trip and on their return will live at 86 Woodside terrace in Springfield. The bride gave her attendant an opal ring and the groom gave the best man a signet stick pin.

[Editorial note: Lena, in addition to her sisters Minnie and Hattie (Mrs. Beaverstock) had three brothers and four additional sisters. Other surnames associated with this family include Ittner, Beaton and Ward. -- Laurel]

Excerpted from The Springfield Republican.

It is so incredible the amount of information that is posted on the net.

Monday, August 9, 2010

How Do I Start?

I hear this question often from clients, "How do I start to create my family tree?"

Invariably, the answer is always the same .. "you start with YOU". You are the first step, as you are going to have some information that will be necessary to begin. You know your parents' names, birth dates, places where they've resided, siblings, their parents info, etc. With this information, you can being to develop your family tree.

Step 1 .. write it all down. Capture it in written form so that you can come back to it and review (you will often!). I like to start with pre-defined forms, but I know others who start with an Excel spreadsheet with simple headings. Whatever you use, make it simple, readable, and easy accessible.

Step 2 .. begin to work backwards. Talk with everyone in your family; brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. Ask them questions about their childhood, other family, places they lived, early family stories; pretty much everything you can think of. Write down the answers, or better yet, capture it on digital recorder that can be uploaded to a hard drive. Keep it handy, as you can use it to verify facts that you find later, or to expand your base of persons in your tree.

Step 3 .. expand your tree and facts. Keep track of the "family stories" that you've found and add it to their profile. If you write the "family history" later in life, you will utilize these facts to flesh it all out.

Once you have the family tree expanded, it's now time to start verifying the facts.

Next Blog ... finding and verifying facts.

38th President Sworn In Aug 9, 1974

On this day in 1974, Gerald R. Ford was sworn in as our 38th President.

From the History Channel:

In accordance with his statement of resignation the previous evening, Richard M. Nixon officially ends his term as the 37th president of the United States at noon. Before departing with his family in a helicopter from the White House lawn, he smiled farewell and enigmatically raised his arms in a victory or peace salute. The helicopter door was then closed, and the Nixon family began their journey home to San Clemente, California. Richard Nixon was the first U.S. president to resign from office.

Minutes later, Vice President Gerald R. Ford was sworn in as the 38th president of the United States in the East Room of the White House. After taking the oath of office, President Ford spoke to the nation in a television address, declaring, "My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over."

Ford, the first president who came to the office through appointment rather than election, had replaced Spiro Agnew as vice president only eight months before. In a political scandal independent of the Nixon administration's wrongdoings in the Watergate affair, Agnew had been forced to resign in disgrace after he was charged with income tax evasion and political corruption. In September 1974, Ford pardoned Nixon for any crimes he may have committed while in office, explaining that he wanted to end the national divisions created by the Watergate scandal.

President Ford was straightforward and clear on how the country would go forward. From his speech in 1974:
The oath that I have taken is the same oath that was taken by George Washington and by every President under the Constitution. But I assume the Presidency under extraordinary circumstances never before experienced by Americans. This is an hour of history that troubles our minds and hurts our hearts.

Therefore, I feel it is my first duty to make an unprecedented compact with my countrymen. Not an inaugural address, not a fireside chat, not a campaign speech--just a little straight talk among friends. And I intend it to be the first of many.

I am acutely aware that you have not elected me as your President by your ballots, and so I ask you to confirm me as your President with your prayers. And I hope that such prayers will also be the first of many.

If you have not chosen me by secret ballot, neither have I gained office by any secret promises. I have not campaigned either for the Presidency or the Vice Presidency. I have not subscribed to any partisan platform. I am indebted to no man, and only to one woman--my dear wife--as I begin this very difficult job.

I have not sought this enormous responsibility, but I will not shirk it. Those who nominated and confirmed me as Vice President were my friends and are my friends. They were of both parties, elected by all the people and acting under the Constitution in their name. It is only fitting then that I should pledge to them and to you that I will be the President of all the people.

Thomas Jefferson said the people are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty. And down the years, Abraham Lincoln renewed this American article of faith asking, "Is there any better way or equal hope in the world?"

I intend, on Monday next, to request of the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate the privilege of appearing before the Congress to share with my former colleagues and with you, the American people, my views on the priority business of the Nation and to solicit your views and their views. And may I say to the Speaker and the others, if I could meet with you right after these remarks, I would appreciate it.

Even though this is late in an election year, there is no way we can go forward except together and no way anybody can win except by serving the people's urgent needs. We cannot stand still or slip backwards. We must go forward now together.

To the peoples and the governments of all friendly nations, and I hope that could encompass the whole world, I pledge an uninterrupted and sincere search for peace. America will remain strong and united, but its strength will remain dedicated to the safety and sanity of the entire family of man, as well as to our own precious freedom.

I believe that truth is the glue that holds government together, not only our Government but civilization itself. That bond, though strained, is unbroken at home and abroad.

In all my public and private acts as your President, I expect to follow my instincts of openness and candor with full confidence that honesty is always the best policy in the end.

My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.

Our Constitution works; our great Republic is a government of laws and not of men. Here the people rule. But there is a higher Power, by whatever name we honor Him, who ordains not only righteousness but love, not only justice but mercy.

As we bind up the internal wounds of Watergate, more painful and more poisonous than those of foreign wars, let us restore the golden rule to our political process, and let brotherly love purge our hearts of suspicion and of hate.

In the beginning, I asked you to pray for me. Before closing, I ask again your prayers, for Richard Nixon and for his family. May our former President, who brought peace to millions, find it for himself. May God bless and comfort his wonderful wife and daughters, whose love and loyalty will forever be a shining legacy to all who bear the lonely burdens of the White House.

I can only guess at those burdens, although I have witnessed at close hand the tragedies that befell three Presidents and the lesser trials of others.

With all the strength and all the good sense I have gained from life, with all the confidence my family, my friends, and my dedicated staff impart to me, and with the good will of countless Americans I have encountered in recent visits to 40 States, I now solemnly reaffirm my promise I made to you last December 6: to uphold the Constitution, to do what is right as God gives me to see the right, and to do the very best I can f or America.

God helping me, I will not let you down.

Thank you.


MacArthur Genealogy Services

Come follow MacArthur Genealogy Services.  I am a Professional Genealogist who works on North American research, including immigration history from Europe.  I am based in Springfield, Hampden County, Western Massachusetts, and specialize in Massachusetts and Connecticut local history.

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