Saturday, November 18, 2006

Boston in 1775 - great blog!

Are you a New England, Revolutionary War history buff like me? If so, here is your Sunday treat!

There is a blog named Boston 1775, written by J.L. Bell, with some fascinating articles and posts. He describes the blog as

"History, analysis, and unabashed gossip about the start of the American Revolution in Massachusetts."

I especially liked the one about Dr. Thomas Young and the one about Benjamin Franklin and his use of new English words.

Very cool! I love it! I will add it to my blogroll soon even though it is not exactly genealogy.

CGSSD meeting today

The Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego is an active group with monthly meetings and software user groups. Their web site is at The major information page at the site is the San Diego genealogy events calendar at This calendar covers the next two months of speakers, meetings, classes and other events by all San Diego area genealogy societies, and is a wonderful aid for all local genealogists.

Today, I attended the FamilyTreeMaker user group meeting at 9 AM, led by Lance Dohe. Lance demonstrated downloading the FTM 16 (2007) version, which is a free download for those that already have FTM 15 (2006). Then he answered questions about merging duplicate individuals, importing GEDCOM files, splitting a data file, and even threw in details on organizing your files so that the databases aren't in the FTM folder on your computer with all the executable and other files.

An announcement was made that FTM is offering FTM 16 (2007) for $39.95, and it includes copies of GenSmarts and "Our History in Images" software - over 3,000 historical images, including over 1,500 historical maps. That's a pretty good deal, especially if you don't have FTM yet.

After a short break, the business meeting started, elections were held (the slate of officers won), and a member sharing time commenced. A fellow talked about his experiences with The Next Generation (TNG) software, which has just been updated; he likes the software and the results. Gary Hoffman gave the "news of the month" and talked about Roots TV, the free Immigration Records on Ancestry and several other topics. John Kracha provided a 5 minute review of his research trip to Croatia and visiting distant cousins there, which was interesting.

After the meeting, there was a very nice light lunch, with shrimp, deli sandwiches, fruit, cookies and desserts. I enjoyed talking to several of the members.

I was requested to give a talk on Genealogy Blogging for the January 20 meeting. If you have some thoughts on this, please let me know so I can appear to know what I'm talking about.

I came home to my wife and daughter napping, but my granddaughter was awake and demanded attention, so I had two hours of quality time with her. They are all out shopping right now and the house is quiet. I just put dinner in the oven - I can multi-task, you know!

Desperate Crossing: The Untold Story about the Mayflower

The History Channel will present this 3-hour TV show starting on Sunday, 19 November at 8 PM Eastern, 5 PM Pacific?). The show's description is:

Most of the people whom we now know as "the Pilgrims" made their way from England to the city of Leiden, Holland, a place of religious tolerance. They found religious freedom, but faced extreme financial hardship.

A bold decision is made to move to America. In the late summer of 1620 The Mayflower sets sails carrying 102 English settlers and 30 sailors. Over the next four months, about half of the settlers and sailors die of scurvy and weather-related illness.

An English speaking Indian, Samoset, visits the settlers and his visit leads to the signing of a peace treaty. By the Fall of 1621, the English decide to celebrate their harvest with a feast which is attended by at least 90 Wampanoags. That peace will last 40 years. This show features elaborate dramatic reenactments from original source material written by eyewitnesses and participants in the actual events of the early 1600s.

The History Channel link provides other times for the Premiere of the show. There is also a DVD for purchase of the show.

I can hardly wait to see this show, since several of my ancestors survived the crossing and the early years. However, I'll have to catch it at one of the alternate times, since my Chargers play at 5 PM Pacific on Sunday.

UPDATE: Thanks to Chris Dunham, I found the link to Caleb Johnson's review of this film at He rated it 4.75 out of 5, and said "this documentary is absolutely the best documentary ever made about the Pilgrims, the Mayflower, the Wampanoag, and the founding of Plymouth Colony. It is well researched, well written, well produced, and a pleasure to watch."

Friday, November 17, 2006

A Cure for Catarrh?

I had no clue what catarrh was when I found an interesting article in The Fitchburg (MA) Sentinel newspaper dated 18 August 1897. The article on Page 1 reads:


A Disgusting Habit Altogether too Familiar - How to Stop It.

It may be a habit.
It may be catarrh.
But catarrh is dangerous.
The habit is disgusting.
Catarrh causes headaches, inflammation of the eyes, deafness and consumption.
The habit causes humiliation.
Catarrh and habit should be cured.
That catarrh can be cured easily and quickly is proved by cases right here in Fitchburg, note this one:
A.W. Lawrence, 40 East Street, Fitchburg, says: "I am more than satisfied with California Catarrh Cure. My head was stuffed up and I suffered with headaches and pain and pressure over my eyes most of the time: all of which the California Catarrh Cure I got at Graves (??) drug store has removed. It has also lessened the buzzing and ringing in my ears and the dropping into my throat; and in all ways I feel greatly benefited."
Going away this summer?
To avoid Hay Fever?
Don't do it.
Stay at home .
And sneeze?
And suffer?
With red and smarting eyes and stinging nasal passages and burning throat?
Not at all.
Use California Catarrh Cure.
Use it early.
Use it often.
Use it morning and evening.
Use it as often as you have to.
And avoid Hay Fever.
California Catarrh Cure is the greatest reliever of Hay Fever and the greatest cure.
California Catarrh Cure is sold by all dealers, 50 cents, three times as much, one dollar.

Catarrh is basically the common cold - sniffles, nasal blockage, ear problems, coughing, etc.

The "cure" is described on this web page titled "The Great American Fraud," an article from Collier's Magazine dated 2 December 1906 :

Birney's Catarrhal Powder, Dr. Cole's Catarrh Cure, Dr. Gray's Catarrh Powder, and Crown Catarrh Powder are the ones most in demand. All of them are cocaine; the other ingredients are unimportant--perhaps even superfluous.

Whether or not the bottles are labeled with the amount of cocaine makes little difference. The habitues know. In one respect, however, the labels help them by giving information as to which nostrum is the most heavily drugged.

"People come in here," a New York City druggist tells me, "ask what catarrh powders we've got, read the labels, and pick out the one that's got the most cocaine. When I see a customer comparing labels, I know she's a fiend."

Naturally these owners and exploiters of these mixtures claim that the small amount of cocaine contained is harmless. For instance, the "Crown Cure," admitting two and one-half percent, says:

"Of course. this is a very small and harmless amount. Cocaine is now considered to be the most valuable addition to modern medicine. . .it is the most perfect relief known."

Fascinating...scary. Cocaine was a big business even in 1905!

Some success in the 1865 Norway census

Blogging will be semi-light this weekend - my daughter and granddaughter are down to visit. I'd rather be with Lauren than blog - I'm sure you all understand.

Since I had such good luck in the Norway vital records, both in the IGI and VRI, in finding families for my friend's ancestors, I thought I'd try my luck in the 1865 census for Norway at . After some familiarization to using the search, I managed to find all four ancestral families that were in the census.

The search process is a bit different - you input first the given name and get results by county, then you input the patronymic family name and get fewer results by county, and then you can input the birth year (with a range if you want to) and get fewer results by county. Then you pick a county and get results by parish.

The neat thing is that if you don't get a hit with one person, you might succeed with the wife (since she has her own patronymic second name) or the kids, as long as you know an approximate birth date (from the IGI or VRI). The only problem I had was I input "Nielsen" for a patronymic got no hits in the location I thought he was living. So I backtracked and put in the wife's name and found it quickly - he was listed as Nilssen, not Nielsen.

I used this archive back in 1999, and the search process and output format have changed since then. I may do the 1800 census records also.

However, I think I have enough for my friend to chew over - he's going to be real surprised I think - the ahnentafel report is 24 pages for five generations. The real funny thing is that I can get his Norway families back to before 1800 using online records, but the three American families cannot be taken back before 1850 using online records with any certainty.

You can buy genealogy research on eBay

I didn't know that! Look at this eBay auction - Bob Ausbourne has apparently been doing this for some time. He is offering 2 hours of genealogy research on the Internet for a $3 starting bid in the auction. Or you can buy 2 hours now for $5.

Bob provides a description of his capabilities:

I’m Bob Ausbourne, a professional genealogist for the past 7 years, a passionate family tree enthusiast for well over 40 years and former publisher of "The Genealogical Acorn". My field of expertise is U.S. research. Whenever I have clients with research needs outside the U.S., I prefer to refer them to professionals in those geographical areas. My wife, Linda, also a professional researcher, is excellent at documentation and can assist greatly with proper data entry in family tree software programs.

Our regular rate for research is $12 per hour. Here on Ebay we are offering 2 hours of INTERNET research for as little as $3. Why? No hidden agenda, we simply want you to be lured in by the thrill of discovery, pleased with our work and have a desire for us to continue. We will never withhold any info that we find during our research.

What we need from you is all pertinent data that you now possess regarding the line or lines that you want us to research. Full names (as best known), dates and locations of births, deaths and marriages, plus places of residence if not included in the vitals. Please do not withhold important information from us. We do not need to waste your money or our time playing “hide-and-seek”.

Want to see our references? Just check our feedback. We have received wonderful response and have many satisfied clientele, some ecstatic.

Interesting, eh? Is this how it will be done in the future? Are you willing and eager to sell your services on eBay? Of course, there is the ranking system for customers to express their satisfaction.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Undue Intimacy - just desserts?

I was poking around in the Historical Newspaper collection on Ancestry tonight, and found this gem from the Albert Lea (MN) Standard newspaper dated 19 September 1878, under the "News of the Week" column:

"Wm. T. White, of Visalia, Cal., suspecting undue intimacy between his wife and Dr. Mehring, family physician, ostensibly left home, but soon returning found Mehring in Mrs. White's bed room, attacked him with a pen knife and cut his throat, causing instant death."

It's amazing what news you pick up by browsing...I wonder if Mr White was charged with murder (obviously, he thought about it before he killed him), if the Whites remained husband and wife, and who cleaned up the bedroom. Wouldn't it be terrible to have any of these folks as your ancestors?

Would this make the newspapers today? It would probably be endless -- sounds kind of like the OJ murders, eh?

Back to browsing!

Research your family tree for $11

Well now, here's a real bargain. The Kankakee (IL) Daily Journal newspaper dated 11/16/06 has an article titled "Genealogists a family group" here.

The Iroquois County Genealogical Society in Kankakee meets regularly:

"Hostess was Denise Corke of Watseka, president of the Iroquois County Genealogical Society. Sixteen people attended, down from 28 in 1987. Many, including Corke, are the same as 19 years ago, except with white hair.

Secretary Phyllis Gerrick of Milford says the society sends the quarterly newsletter, The Iroquois Stalker, to 288 people all over the U.S., but only a small core group is active.

They also answer queries from all over the country, and notes:

The core members of the society are expert genealogists who deal with requests -- as many as 100 per month -- from folks who come here to access the library's extensive resources. That includes the 70,000 obituaries that have been meticulously organized for easy access by Pat Ohr of rural Watseka, says
vice-president Carol Wrench of Sheldon.

People can browse on their own through the history books and cemetery listings. The society charges $11 to research a family tree, plus extra fees for copies of legal documents.

Somehow I doubt that they provide whole family trees for $11, but having access to 70,000 obituaries is great! I wish I had ancestry in Kankakee!

Why they came to America - James Richman of Wiltshire, England

An example of a "vanity book" entry about one of my ancestors is this biography of James Richmond, provided in the book "Commemorative Biographical Record of Tolland and Windham Counties," Chicago IL, J.H. Beers & Company, 1903. The specific article was titled Arthur Lucius Fitts, but it included the biography of James Richmond, who was the father of Emma Richmond, wife of Arthur Fitts.


The Richmond portion of the article reads:

"James Richmond, father of Mrs. Fitts, was born in Hilperton, Wiltshire, England April 8, 1821, a son of John and Ann (Marshman) Richmond. John Richmond was a farmer and laborer, and lived in Hilperton where both he and his wife died. His children were as follows: Elizabeth, the deceased wife of Thomas Hogan, a soldier in the English Army and a resident of Hilperton, England; Sarah, the deceased wife of James Thompson, of Hilperton; John, a seafaring man who married Maria Matthews, and died in Hilperton; Ann, the widow of John Hall, and resident of Hilperton; James and Thomas, who was a twin and died at the age of twenty one.

"James Richmond was reared to the hard and unsatisfactory work of farming on a small scale, and his youth afforded scant opportunity for educational training. Nevertheless, he possessed a keen desire for knowledge, and improved such chances as came his way, by observation and reading. His first intimacy with books was acquired at Sunday School, and his alphabet was learned from a copy made by a friend. At the present time he is an unusually well informed and intelligent man, no opportunity having escaped him to add to his store of useful and interesting information. As a young man he found employment for a short time in Cardiff, Wales, but barring this limited experience, he lived on the home farm until his marriage. For the first ten years thereafter he kept house in Hilperton, and from his wages as a laborer managed to save. In 1855 he boarded a sailing vessel at Liverpool, and upon arriving in New York went directly to his destination in Pascoag, R.I. where he had friends to welcome him. He was accompanied by his wife's brother, Samuel Rich, and they landed in New York October 21, 1855, after a month's voyage. Mr. Richmond had very little money in his pocket, but his hopes were high, and he soon found work in a woolen mill in Pascoag, where he saved his wages, and made considerable headway. On November 12, 1856, he was joined by his wife and five children, they having been on the ocean for six weeks and two days.

"For about ten years Mr. Richmond was employed in Burrillville, and in March 1866, he began work in the woolen mill of Michael Moriarty at Putnam, Conn. where he remained until 1870 as manager of the engine. The LaFayette Reynolds woolen mills at Windsor, conn. employed his services as engineer until the destruction of the plant and the following year he returned to Putnam, where he purchased his present farm from Nathaniel Battey. He is engaged in general farming, in which he has achieved success. Mr. Richmond is respected by all who know him, and he is regarded as a substantial member of the agricultural community of Putnam.

"While living in his native town of Hilperton, England, Mr. Richmond married, Sept. 7, 1845, Hannah Rich, born April 14, 1825, a daughter of John and Rebecca (Hill) Rich. Of this union there have been born nine children: Thomas, a boss carder of Elmville, Conn., who married Juliette White; James, a boss designer in the woolen mill in Stroudsburg, Pa., who married Sarah Bigwood; Ann, deceased in infancy; Louise, unmarried and living with her father; Elizabeth Ann, wife of Abram Sykes of Putnam; Emma now Mrs. Fitts; Hannah Rebecca, married first to Frank N. Smith and afterward to Edmund A. Hoyle, and now a widow residing at Worcester, Mass.; John Henry, who married Mary Ann Ramsey, is a farmer managing his father's farm; and Charles Edward, an expert mechanic of Hartford, who married Lavinia Gurten.

"James Richmond, above mentioned, is an expert in his line, as is evidenced by the fact that he had charge of the famous feat of making a suit of clothes in six hours and four minutes. In the hands of a tailor supplied with materials this might not seem an impossible undertaking, but in this instance the wool was taken from the back of the sheep and placed on the back of the wearer in the shape of a finished suit, within the specified time of six hours and two minutes."


While visiting Hilperton in Wiltshire in 1993, I talked to the elderly vestryman of the Hilperton church, Mr. Potts. He recalled that he had searched for information on James Richman for another researcher -- Chester and Barbara Richmond of Washington state. He reviewed his information from the church vestry chest (apparently a record book about church members), and told me that "James Richman had been accused of stealing coal on the Avon and Kennett Canal, but was found innocent of the crime. However, he felt his reputation was besmirched, and left Hilperton for America."

James Richman was my great-great-grandfather, and he and his family are my "last immigrants." His story is one of the most complete I've ever found, and all of the family relations in the article are accurate as best I can tell. It is also one of the most interesting I've found for my ancestral families.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I Couldn't Resist...subscribing to

I finally subscribed to at the $99.95 rate they offered (ending today) via email the other day. Now I can concentrate on Rhode Island and other records when I go to the FHC instead of Ancestry (well, except for the British records, which aren't included in my subscription!).

I still can't find any data on Fred Baldwin, his wife Matilda or his mother Lucretia, other than the census records in Fillmore County MN and Howard County IA in 1870 to 1930. I have looked "everywhere" (but especially in NY) for Lucretia and her boys Orange, Lester and Fred Baldwin in the 1850 and 1860 census, but they are either well hidden or not enumerated.

I was reading Tim's Genealogy Reviews Online blog tonight and he mentioned the 1851 census is free at Ancestry right now. So I popped into my new subscription and found my three ancestral Canadian families in the 1851 census record, and I saved the summary page and the census page to my hard drive for:

1) Abram Kemp of Ameliasburgh, Prince Edward County, Canada West (I had a transcription but not the image)

2) Alexander Sovereen of Charlottesville, Norfolk County, Canada West (I had a transcription but not the image)

3) John Putman of Middleton, Norfolk County, Canada West (new data for me)

I also captured Jonathan Sever on Canada West for good measure.

Now I need to print those off and add the data to my database.

My Family History Journal

My Christmas gift to my aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers and children is a 16 page (usually) family journal, called the "Seaver-Richmond Family Journal." This will be my 19th year of doing this family journal. I end up sending about 25 copies out every year to the extended family. I print them on my own color inkjet printer two-sided, which is a major production.

Fred Seaver and Bessie Richmond married in 1900 in Leominster MA and had seven children. This family line is 3/4 New England colonial immigrant, and 1/4 English immigrant in 1855.

The content of my family journal has changed over time. I used to print more lines of descent from famous or notable people, and more lines from immigrant ancestors to my grandparents generation. However, I ran out of these types of articles several years ago - I had covered all of the family lines with 5-generations or more.

In recent years, I've added more family photos - both of the older generations and the new generations - young families with babies and the like. I've also written more memorials as the aunts and uncles have died.

Last year, the table of contents looked like:
  • 2005 Family Search - page 1
  • What's Inside? - page 1
  • "The Ancestry of Isaac Seaver" book project - page 2
  • Seaver-Richmond Ancestry on the Internet - page 2
  • Elizabeth Dill Ancestry - Mea Culpa - page 2
  • A Seaver Family Photo - page 3
  • More Seaver Family Photos - page 4
  • Some California Family Photos - page 5
  • More Seaver Family Photos - page 6
  • The Pilgrims as People - page 7
  • Costings for Emigrants - page 8
  • Lauren Olivia Born - page 9
  • "I Am the United States" - page 10
  • The Puritans - page 11
  • The Faith of Our Ancestors - page 12
  • Immigrant Ancestors - Joseph Jenckes (1599-1683) - page 13
  • Immigrant Ancestors - Edmund Rice (1594-1663) - page 14, 15
  • Tom Seaver is Our 10th Cousin - page 15
  • A Family History Quiz - page 16
  • Finis - page 16

This year, I have some records to put in (e.g., my father's World War II separation papers), more immigrant ancestors, some newly transcribed ancestral wills, a New England vacation summary with family photos, several births and marriages to announce, a eulogy for my cousin's husband, plus several articles found on the Internet or this blog.

I try to get this out to the family by the second week of December, so I'm going to start working on it tonight - getting the MSWord document ready for content, then finding content in my files.

It's funny - even though I ask the family for pictures and stories, either by snail mail, email or in person, I never receive anything from them. Maybe they are bored by it all; maybe it slips their mind or they think they don't have anything to contribute. I do get compliments in the Christmas cards I receive, so I think they appreciate the effort.

How about you - do you send family history items as Christmas gifts? If so, tell us about them.

I love Norwegian records

My wife has about 25% Norwegian ancestry, and I had a FUN time finding them in the online records plus the parish records and bygdebok (farm book) records I obtained on microfilm from the FHC. Then we went to Norway and visited Voss, one of the two "home towns," back in 1999, which I reported on here.

In my latest research effort for my friend Jay, his ancestry includes significant Norwegian ancestry - 5 of the 8 great-grandparents. He had data from a cousin for one of the five, but not for the other four. Three of the four were fairly easy - they stayed in one place and were found in the LDS IGI for Norway or in the LDS Vital Records Index for Norway, both online at, in Sogn og Fjordane fylke (county) just north of the Sognfjord. I took several families back into the late 1700's based on these records and educated guesses.

The fifth great-grandparent was a problem - he was Edward Elling Simes, born 29 Jan 1857 and died 19 Jul 1942 in MN. His death certificate, reviewed by DI who posted on my blog several days ago, revealed that Edward's parents names were Eric and Christine. I guessed that Edward's name was either Edward Eriksen or Elling Eriksen, using the patronymic name form that would still have been used in 1857 in Norway. However, I couldn't use the parents feature on the LDS site since I didn't know father Erik's last name.

I got no matches when I input Edward Eriksen and birth year 1857 and reviewed the entries for the parents given names. With Elling Eriksen, I found a match - an Erik Eriksen and Kristi Ellinsdtr as parents for an Elling Eriksen born 29 Jan 1857 - a perfect match. The data is from the Granvin parish in Hordaland. The parents married in Ulvik parish in 1837, and had at least 8 children born between 1841 and 1863 in Granvin. I couldn't find an obvious set of parents for either Erik Eriksen or Kristi Ellingsdtr in Ulvik or Granvin, so that will have to wait for a reading of the parish records and the census records.

Interestingly, there is a Seim farm near Granvin in Hordaland. In many cases, the immigrants to America took a farm name that they or their relatives lived on - in this case, Edward/Elling probably took Simes as a surname after he emigrated in 1875 as a young man.

It's amazing what you can find online. For the other Norwegian great-grandparents, I've taken the line back 7 generations from Jay, but I can take his 3 American lines only 5 generations back due to the dearth of 1800 to 1850 records. I'll leave the rest for him to do!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

"Our Name in History" books by Ancestry (Ancestry) announced today that they would produce customized books for "Our Name in History" for the princely sum of $49.95. The announcement is here. What you receive is:

Each Our Name in History book, approximately 90 pages and 8 x 8 inches in size, offers a wealth of fascinating tidbits, trends and trivia such as:

* Historical Timeline - Points of interest about the last name over the past two centuries in context of major events in history

* Family Facts - A variety of immigration, military and historical information about the name such as its origin, meaning, popularity, life expectancy rates, Civil War statistics,
occupations, household distributions, etc.

* Historical Visuals - A customized selection of photos, maps, charts, graphs, etc. showcasing the stories and facts about your family name

* Discover Your Family - How-to tips on getting started with your own personal family history by building your unique family stories and an introductory version of Family Tree Maker, the No.1 selling software product for searching and sharing your family history

Isn't that just bloody great? What a ripoff!

To be clear, they will provide exactly what they describe - fascinating tidbits, trends and trivia. It will be pretty much content free for a person's actual ancestry. At least the data will be more accurate than what we saw out of Halbert's in Bath OH or the "YourName" Family News scam in Denver about 10 years ago.

No thanks!

Ordinary People with Famous Names

Chip Rowe has a very interesting (and humorous) web site at (how original! Watch out for the first article in his stack, and many more. This guy is prolific). Among his pages, is an article about ordinary people with famous names at

He mailed a questionnaire to people with names like Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Bob Dole, Roseanne Barr, Howard Stern, Clint Eastwood, and several more.

He received seven responses, which are all posted on his web page. Take a look - it's fun.

My name? I was surprised the first time I name-googled myself - there were Randy Seaver people in San Diego, Minnesota (a lawyer), Florida (an alligator hunter?), Tennessee, Pittsburgh PA, and Biddeford ME (a newspaper editor). However, most of the hits were from my blog or research pages.

How about your name? Rare or common? Are you the only one with your name? Have you name-googled yourself?

New Genealogy Blogs

A number of relatively new genealogy blogs have appeared and are providing interesting content. They include:

There are many more out there - Chris Dunham has the most complete Genea-Blog roll at - over 300 genealogy blogs, some active, some not.

I will update my blogroll soon - if you have suggestions for blogs not on my blogroll, please let me know!

Please support genealogy bloggers by reading and commenting - we all post content and appreciate knowing that people are reading it.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Immigration Records of the Rich and Famous

Michael John Neill's Rootdig blog has a list of immigration records for the rich and famous at There are many new listings since Ancestry posted the Immigration Collection.

You can find records for Franklin Roosevelt, Charles Lindbergh, Adolph Coors and Katharine Hepburn, among others.

Michael also has a list of famous persons in the census records at and in World War I draft registration cards at

Fun stuff, isn't it?

A Bright Idea for Genealogy for Kids

There is an interesting article in the Charlotte (NC) Eagle World News newspaper today - titled "Carolina Panthers Award Genealogy Grant to Elementary School.". The idea:

On Tuesday, November 14, Union Power Cooperative, who sponsors the Bright Ideas education grant program, three Carolina Panther players and Sir Purr, the Panther’s mascots, will pay a surprise visit to Idlewild Elementary in Charlotte, NC, to kickoff Bright Ideas Month and present a $824 Bright Ideas grant for the project “Hunting for Family Treasures.”

The grant will introduce genealogy to second and third graders, and allow students to research information about their family history and present that information to their fellow students. Students will then create their own unique family treasures.

It is a yearlong project that will enable students to engage in a discovery of their family’s history and heritage through such methods as the creation of family trees and the learning and sharing of family stories.

Read the whole article.

There may be grant opportunities in many cities and states to do this. It only takes an interested teacher to make it happen, hopefully supported by a local genealogy society.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Gravestone Girls

There was an interesting article in the Worcester (MA) Telegram and Gazette dated 31 October 2006 titled "Gravestone Girls. Tombstone Touches Create Decorative Art From the Macabre." The lead:

Every day is Halloween for Maggie White and Brenda Sullivan. They spend as much time in cemeteries as they can making beautiful decorative art from gravestone rubbings and castings. They have been working together since they were children growing up in Southboro. When it came time to name their quirky artistic collaboration, the choice was … monumental. They called themselves the Gravestone Girls.

The last graph:
Have the Gravestone Girls met any scary “citizens” of the cemetery, perhaps around Halloween?

“No, but there was one cemetery in Pepperell that was cursed,” White said. They story goes that, back in Colonial times, a Pepperell woman was accused of witchcraft and put to death. Just before she breathed her last she put a hex on the town. “It seemed like she really did from the stones that we read,” White said. Those stones tell a chilling tale. Over the next 20 years or so, people that had been involved with her prosecution or their family members met with tragic endings. One got his head run over by a wagon and a little boy was crushed by falling boards at a lumber mill. “The carving on the top of the stone is just a little person laying down with two boards crossed over him,” Sullivan said. “There was a fire, a drowning, or their children died. There were eight of them and every one of those tragic deaths they attributed to the curse.”

Read the whole thing - it's a good article. Bravo to the Girls.

Collecting Immigration Records

With Ancestry's free access (until 30 November) for their Immigration Collection (records from 1820 to 1960, over 100 ports), I decided it was a good time to collect as many Seaver records as I can.

The Search box on the Immigration Collection page allows the user to choose Exact Searches and specify a year range. I started out with surname SEAVER and years 1900 to 1909, thinking I can do 10 years every night.

From reviewing the records, there is significant data of genealogical interest after about 1915, at least for the major Atlantic ports. Birth dates, birth places, US addresses, etc. are provided.

I chose to use the Save button to save the images on my hard drive (The other options are Print and Share, or write everything down). I set up an Immigration folder on my Seaver surname folder, and saved the images (for example: "1912-NewYork-Thomas Seaver.jpg"). This was pretty easy, and I have about 60 images saved from 1900 to 1915 at present. I will go back and extract genealogical data from them at a later time, and input them to the Seaver database.

Have you started using this collection yet? Only 18 more days for FREE!

Is Genealogy fun for you?

For me, genealogy is fun - I enjoy the challenge of pursuing elusive ancestors and being a detective. I'm having fun doing what I'm doing - serving in my local society, preparing and giving talks occasionally, helping people get started in genealogy and teaching or mentoring them in their research adventure, not to mention my own research.

I had a fairly relaxing day today - went to church, had a meeting of my committee, and got home in time to watch my Chargers come from 28-7 behind to win 49-41 over the Bengals. Great game, if you like offense! Then I took a short nap (I was worn out from rooting for my team - some of you must know what I mean).

Then I came in and read my email and worked a bit on my friend's ancestry - it was fun. I found some more data last night (1860 and 1870 census for the Wells family on HQO - poor Orsavilla Wells had 14 kids! Then her husband died and she raised them all herself). So I entered all that in the database, then looked for spouses for her children in the 1900 census. After that, I tried to add another generation to the Norway side of his family - I found decent data in the LDS IGI and Vital Records Index data. Now I have to input it into the database. Five or six generations is probably enough to give him an idea of his roots.

How about you? Did you get any genealogy fun done today? Tell me about it!