Saturday, June 30, 2007
Friday, June 29, 2007
It started off yesterday afternoon while examining the information I have on my paternal grandfather, Robert Lewis ROBBINS. I'm re-organizing and cleaning up my file folders, making sure I have copies of all the records I need, especially printouts of things I've found on the Internet. I've got my U.S. Research Checklist I created to help me remember to find certain "must have" records for each of my direct ancestors. There were some documents I figured I'd better scan and keep both on my hard drive and in my Picasa Web Albums. Copies of the documents are going into the file folders, while originals and photographs, as well as expensive copies I've paid for, are being placed in acid-free sleeves, ready to go later into a newly-rented safety-deposit box at my financial institution. This is something I've wanted to do for a long time to keep these heirlooms safe. And then there's the (dreaded) source citations I need to do properly in my RootsMagic software!
Besides my grandfather's birth and death certificates that I need to order, I realized I didn't have any land records for him. I knew he bought land in Coopersville, Ottawa County, Michigan at 185 River Road, on which he built his house and business--this was after he had served in World War II. I also knew he purchased property on Crockery Lake in the northern part of the county sometime after 1953, and there built a cement-brick cottage on the foundation of an old barn for family summer vacations. And I knew he bought a house in Coopersville sometime around 1972 at 131 Madison Street for his widowed mother to live in and for Grandma and him to stay at when they weren't snow birding in Texas. I thought he might also have owned land in several Texas counties, although it was more likely he rented lots for the various RVs and mobile homes he and Grandma had in their retirement.
The only evidence I had of his property records were oral history from my dad and one of my aunts, and a copy of the advertisement flyer the real estate auctioneers printed shortly before Grandma sold the house on Madison Street in 2005. I did a Google search on Crockery Lake to see if I could stumble upon some land records or assessment records though the county clerk's office. What I found instead was more than I could have imagined! The Chester Township History & Genealogy website has a wealth of information about its communities, including old photographs, biographies, history, and maps (including some of Crockery Lake). What surprised me was that on its Genealogies page the surnames Robbins and Lewis were listed. There isn't a search engine on the site, so I did my little trick of using Google to search a website: search term, followed by a space, then the word site followed immediately by a colon and the URL (no spaces between site and the end of the URL).
(Notice that I didn't include the index.html from the URL, because I wanted Google to search the entire site, not just the index--or home--page).
Wow! Was I ever in for a treat! The first link I clicked went to the page about the American Legion Auxiliary founded in 1946 in Conklin. As I scrolled down the page, I noticed that Marie Robbins, Josephine Robbins, and Joyce Robbins were charter members of the Reinhart W. Roman Post 537. Why, those were the names of my great-grandmother, my granduncle's wife, and my grandaunt! Could it be...? A little further down the page, it said that Marie Robbins was the first President of the Auxiliary. Really? And yet, I wasn't done! Just a little further, and I found Great-grandma's smiling face staring back at me from the Internet. Holy cow! Gosh, I knew Great-grandma had been in the Auxiliary, because her grave had an Auxiliary marker at it. But I had never before heard she had been the movement behind getting an Auxiliary started in her community! And isn't that grand: a photo of her I didn't have before!
Well, then I went to the American Legion page, and there was information that my great-grandfather, William Bryan Robbins, Sr., and his son--my granduncle, Bill Jr.--were charter members of the Legion post. Very cool! Again, new information!
But, wait! There's more! In 1948, the Conklin school district published its one yearbook ever in its short-lived history. I browsed through the photos and text, not finding anything on my family, but being interested in the small-town history and nostalgic drawings. A quick check with my RootsMagic program confirmed that all my relatives were either too old, too young, or living in another community at that time to have attended school there that year. As I neared the end of the yearbook (third-to-last page), I noticed in the advertisement section there was a notice of compliments to the graduating class from Marie's Gift Shop...yes, that Marie! I had already written about Great-grandma's little shop in her AnceStory on my website, but it had always been a kind of vague story from the past. It suddenly became very real to me. This wasn't easy to find, either. I had to go to the Schools page, then click on the Conklin district page, and finally the yearbook page. It would have been easily overlooked, but somehow, I found it.
My Robbins family were latecomers to this area. They had arrived from McKean County, Pennsylvania at Hesperia, Michigan on the Newaygo-Oceana County border in the late 1860s, migrated south to Muskegon County in the 1910s, and settled in Conklin sometime in the 1930s. Yet, it is evident they were heavily involved in their community. Great-grandpa died in 1972 and Great-grandma moved to my grandparents' home in Coopersville. I do have some very faint memories of visiting my great-grandparents in Conklin in 1970, when I was three! I distinctly remember the inside of the little white house and eating a meal there. I also remember going to see Great-grandma there two years later when Great-grandpa died. She was sitting out in the yard with the grandaunts and uncles, and I ran to give her a big hug (prompted by my grandfather).
The Chester Township History website won the State History Award in 2005 from the Historical Society of Michigan for an outstanding website design, and it's easy to see why! The design has a standard I'd love to meet with my Atlas Project. Needless to say, my printer was very busy last night! I wrote the webmaster, asking for any more information she might have on the Robbins and Lewis families. I also fired off several e-mails to extended family members, excited to share my find with them.
What exciting, new discoveries about your family are awaiting you on the Internet or at your favorite archives?
(Coming up next: More finds on the Robbins family in online property records!)
Thursday, June 28, 2007
In response to Richard Conniff's controversial Smithsonian article, "Genealogy Is Bunk," JMK of Genealogy Gifts has created a new line of genealogical gifts (shirts, mugs, buttons, tote bags, etc.) proclaiming "Genealogy Is NOT Bunk." He also sarcastically agrees with Mr. Conniff in his other new line, "History Is Bunk, Genealogy Is Bunk, Knowledge Is Bunk, Family Is Bunk, You Are Bunk, I Am Bunk, All Is Bunk."
Go check them out!
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Here are the rules for the meme:
1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think. Tag blogs with real merits, i.e. relative content, and above all - blogs that really get you thinking!
2. The origin of the meme is "Too Many Blogs, Not Enough Thoughts!" at The Thinking Blog.
3. Display the Thinking Blogger Award with a link to the post that you wrote.
This wasn't an easy task. First off, I wanted to stay true to the principle behind this award, and list blogs that really made me think. Secondly, many of the thoughtful genealogy bloggers that immediately came to mind had been tagged before I could write this post (of course!). So with some more pondering (I am a thinker, after all!) and a little creative "thinking outside the box," I now give you my list:
- One of the most thoughtful bloggers I read is no longer with us. Ken Aitken posted his helpful tips on being an effective genealogy researcher, speaker, writer, and educator at Genealogy Education. I considered him one of my mentors and am so sad that there will no longer be any new wise thoughts he can share with us. His son has graciously kept his blog up on the Internet, and I still revisit to relearn or get new ideas. Yes, I realize that Steve Danko has also posthumously given this award to Ken; in my humble opinion, Ken deserves it many times over!
- Before I had the pleasure of meeting Michael John Neill last fall at my local genealogical society's October Workshop, I had already been a huge fan of his blog, Rootdig, and the articles he writes for various genealogical publications. Michael's posts on his blog generally run short, and thus the lessons he shares are very effective. They do make me stop and ponder the point he's making. His "Can You Read It?" posts really make me think...many are true head-scratchers! Another reason I like his blog: he often references his research on his Frisian ancestors; his come from Germany, while mine hail from the Netherlands.
- Speaking of the Netherlands, Hank van Kampen has a very good blog, fittingly titled Trace Your Dutch Roots. Hank's blog has made me understand that no matter how much I learn about research in a certain location or culture, there's always more to discover! It's also very helpful to know there is someone I could turn to if I got stuck on a certain Dutch genealogical research challenge! In addition to his genealogy interests, Henk also has two other blogs, Masterpieces--highlighting masterpieces of art, literature, and architechture--and Haagse Prenten (Images of the Hague), featuring images of the capital city of his country. Take a look at his reading list at Masterpieces, and you'll agree with me that Henk is a thinker!
- Very Short Novels by David Hodges, a.k.a. David B. Dale, make me think, and think, and think some more. In fact, a visit to VSN usually leaves me feeling like my brain has been turned upside down or inside out, or both. Never before have I seen someone take 299 (or less) words and write a complete, compact, conflicting, emotional and thought-provoking novel! One of the David's great abilities is to re-write his novel from another character's point of view. Ah, the twists (and hence, the brain flip-flops)! So what does this have to do with genealogy? On the surface, nothing; and yet I believe the mind exercises involved in reading and comprehending these novels are great for strengthening the outside-the-box processes that good genealogists need.
- I just discovered that my fifth nomination for the Thinking Blogger Award had already received it (not surprising); and as I am too exhausted to hunt though my long list of the many blogs I read to find another (!), I'll leave you with this: Peter Haslam's Necessary Skills is chock-full of insightful, inspirational posts that educate his readers on thinking about what they are thinking, changing and improving their thinking, and utilizing their thinking for personal growth and fulfillment. Again, the relationship to genealogy is obvious to me: when faced with a brick wall, we often need to critique our thought process. Is the problem our ancestor's lack of records or our own incorrect or undeveloped thinking about the situation?
[A hat tip to Bill West of West in New England and Tim Agazio of Genealogy Reviews Online for their mentions of me in their own Thinking Blogger Award posts.]
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Anyway, this week's prompt is "Your Reads," and it's all about the magazines, newsletters, or newspapers that you grew up with or subscribe to today. When I was little, my maternal grandmother always used to subscribe me to Humpty Dumpty and Highlights! magazines. My mother had had Highlights! as a child, and I purchased subscriptions for my children when they were little, too. Highlights! has always accepted children's submissions of short stories, poems and drawings for publications. I wasn't into writing back then, but I would occasionally send off some original artwork. They never were published, and looking back, I know why!
My parents always received Guideposts and Reader's Digest and National Geographic. Dad had his NGs encased in specially purchased storage boxes. Some of the oldest were water-damaged from when the Nenana River flooded Fairbanks, Alaska when I was a baby, filling our apartment with 2 1/2 feet of water. And speaking of National Geographic, when I was 12, I received a year's subscription to National Geographic World (for kids). I always liked the posters of wild animals in those.
I don't really remember our family having a subscription, but the local newspaper for our area was the Ketchikan Daily News. Our barn made the front page in 1978 when a tremendous windstorm blew through Southeast Alaska and uprooted and snapped trees all over Prince of Wales Island. A huge spruce next to the barn was uprooted, and it took the barn with it. Another regional magazine was Alaska magazine (of course!).
Being in the ministry, my parents also received religious publications. I remember New Wine magazine (the Charismatic movement), Decision (Billy Graham's publication) and The War Cry (the publication of The Salvation Army). I also enjoyed reading Sunday School papers, because they usually had a serial story done up in comic book style on the back page. At school, I remember getting Scholastic newsletters, and being able to order paperback books from them.
As my parents really got into their little homestead and farming lifestyle, they subscribed to Mother Earth News, and received the National Pygmy Goat Association newsletter (Dad was on the board for a few years, and even wrote a couple of articles for the newsletter, including one about shooting the bear on our front porch. What? I haven't told you that one? Maybe later...). They also received a magazine about New England rural life (which I can't for the life of me remember), and the newsletter for a Frisian-American ethnic society (again, the name slips my mind).
In my home today, you'll find my genealogy magazines, Internet Genealogy and Family Tree Magazine, as well as quarterlies and/or newsletters from the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society, the Western Michigan Genealogical Society, the Grand Rapids (Michigan) Historical Society and the Potter County (Pennsylvania) Historical Society. We also receive Energy Times, Smart Computing, Guideposts, and Nostalgia (Inland Empire edition), as well as quarterly publications from our health insurance and auto/home insurance companies. My husband subscribes to Reminisce, Reminisce Extra! and Good Old Days magazines. My teenage daughter receives Seventeen and Cosmo Girl, and my son loves his subscription to Mad magazine. We also tend to pick up many favorites at our local library, as well as visit magazine and newspaper websites online.
What do you read? What did your ancestors read? What (and how) will your descendants read?
My presentations were "Local Genealogical Resources You Can't Afford to Ignore," "Getting It Together: Organizing Your Files," and "Goals and Strategies: Organizing Your Research." Although my focus was aimed at the intermediate and experienced researcher, I did answer many questions from some obvious beginners, and encouraged them to attend society meetings to learn more. I especially stressed this in my first presentation, as the local resources I mentioned were: your local genealogical society, your local library, your local Family History Center, and the Internet. I felt a lot of energy from the attendees, and hoped they enjoyed themselves and much as I did! After the conference, several members of the board generously took me to lunch, and we had great conversations on the future of genealogical societies, trips to Salt Lake City, and upcoming area genealogy conferences.
The trip to Sandpoint was a refreshing experience in itself. I drove up Highway 2 under a cloudless sky, with little traffic and the sparkle of the Priest River on my right. It was later in the morning, so I didn't have to worry about deer and little critters being on the road, but still early enough to just enjoy bright morning sun, the radio cranked up (yes, Randy, it was country music!), cup of coffee on hand, and the road beneath my wheels! A friend recently reminded me that the West is God's Country, and I as took in the woods, mountains, farms, and old railroad, lumber, and mining communities, I was filled with gratitude for being able to live in the gorgeous Inland Northwest. The country began only 10 minutes from my doorstep.
My travel homeward was a bit slower, with more traffic and clouds quick to cast their shadows below. My mind was filled with the events of the day, wisps of conversations flittering about, anxious to return home and unwind. A day like this comes by once in a while to call attention to the great blessings in our lives, and I was listening.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
The letter I have was saved because it mentioned that my grandfather, Robert Lewis Robbins, had frozen his fingers during the service. I'm sure it was used toward obtaining some sort of disability pension from the military. He and his brother, Bill, Jr., signed up together and served in the 1452nd Army Air Force, Air Transport Command. Bob worked as a flight mechanic and achieved the rank of sergeant before he was discharged.
So that you understand some of the people mentioned in the letter: Bob, my grandfather, was married to my grandmother, Jeanne, and they had two children at the time of this letter: two-year-old Louise and 6-month-old Bryan (my dad). My grandfather was the oldest of five siblings; the rest of the family included Bill, Jr., Shirley (not mentioned), Jack, and Joyce. My grandmother, aunt and father were living in Edmonton, Alberta to be near where my grandfather was stationed. Great-uncle Bill was also married to Josephine, a Edmontonian, although she's not mentioned here. The letter was written to Bob's parents, William Bryan ROBBINS, Sr. and Marie LEWIS.
The letter is written in cursive pencil on United States Army Air Forces stationery with a matching envelope. It's addressed from:
Sgt R Robbins 16086708
Sq F, 1452 AAF Base Unit
AIRO 462 c/o P.M. Minn, Minn.
and is addressed to:
Mr & Mrs Wm B Robbins
Instead of a stamp, Bob has written "Free" and the faded postmark says "U.S. ARMY POSTAL SERVICE, DEC 23 1944 402"
A note has been scrawled across the front in ink:
Record of Bob freezing
finger en route on flight
Dec 14/44Dear folks
Am now over the headwaters of the Mississippi in northern Minn. or Dakota heading south. We are going to some place in Ill. to a hospital with a patient we picked up in the Artic [sic] early this morning. I frosted my two thumbs and a couple of fingers last night when we had some mechanical trouble I had to correct in sub-zero temps in a forty mile an hour wind. Just like Michigan. I should be back to our base by this time tomorrow. I can't get back too quick to suit me this time though because Jeanne took Bryan to the hospital with a bad cold day before yesterday. He wasn't very bad but they have so much better facolities [sic] there than we have in one room and they seemed very willing to keep him there for a couple of days. He's such a tiny guy that we hated to have him in someone else's care but as he would be better off we think it's best, at least for a couple of days.
Sure glad to hear Jack is in the Navy. I'm sure he'll get along OK. We'll drop him a line as soon as possible congratulating him. And I do bet it's a relief for you folks. I suppose Bill will be leaving soon, two weeks is all too short to be at home only once a year. We'll soon be coming into Minneapolis now so will finish this later01:00 o'clock
Dec 23/44Was just going thru my bag and found this letter that I'd never finished. Bryan is well and home now, he was in the hospital just one week. Am now on my way back to base from a trip to Montana. Which reminds me that I was down here just before or on Christmas day last year too. Jeanne and I have a little tree and we look forward to having a very merry Xmas for our little family. We have all kinds of presents for Louise and Bryan. Say sure thought that turtle that Joyce made was cute and it's a very practical little pillow too. I bet Bryan will spend hours on it. Last week I made Bryan a pottie chair out of an orange crate and I'm just as proud of the design & workmanship as can be. I've been getting to see quite a bit of the family in spite of all my traveling lately. I wish we could all be together for this Christmas, but in our family we're together in mind if not in body so I sincerly [sic] wish each of you still there at home a most merry Christmas and may God bless you all, every one.BobP.S. Bill is back, going strong. he has a new job now no more flying for him, too much rank. Incidentaly [sic] that was Moline, Ill & Davenport Iowa that I was at. Just had a short layover though, and I slept all of those few hours
I replied, stating that the county birth records I had access to were only filmed to about 1918, and that "I am reluctant to look up records on persons who may be living. If [this person] is currently living, I suggest that you contact [him or her] yourself to obtain [his or her] birth date and place."
Even having access to county birth records as late as 1918 presents a bit of a dilemma: Michigan privacy law only allows access to birth certificates that are 110 years old, and grants them only to certain persons, such as heirs or legal representatives. Of course, if one was born in Michigan, one may obtain one's own birth certificate, but must provide ID and other documentation to procure it. I usually don't hesitate to look up birth records for the early part of the twentieth century; but then, in the past, the only people who have requested these stated their ancestor or relative was deceased.
So my unspoken question to the requester is this: Why did you ask me to look up this person's birth record, if he/she is still living and you could ask him/her yourself?
In Part 2 of this series, I presented census information on my paternal grandmother living in the home of her adoptive parents, Alfred Henry HOLST and Nellie May CONCIDINE. Nellie's parents were both deceased by 1930, although she had a step-mother (Minnie Belle FIELD) and younger half-brother (Everett CONCIDINE), possibly living in California (they are currently missing-in-action in this census). In this post, I will discuss Alfred's parents, Johann "John" D. HOLST and Ida C. (or Marie) GUSTAVSON, in relation to the 1930 Federal Census.
On April 9, 1930, John and Ida were enumerated (E.D. 28, Sheet 9B) at their home on Center Street in the village of Coopersville, Polkton Township, Ottawa County, Michigan. This is the village in which my father, his siblings, his mother and his uncle grew up, and where one of my aunts and some of my cousins live today. In 1930, all five of John and Ida's surviving children (they apparently lost two in infancy) were living in the area, with the exception of John, Jr., who lived in Florida.
The household consisted of:
- John D. Holst; head of household; owner of a home worth $2,000; home not on a farm; male, white, age 69, married; age at marriage: 20; did not attend school in the last year; able to read and write; born in Germany; parents born in Germany; language spoken before coming to the United States: German; immigrated to the U.S. in 1883; a naturalized citizen; able to speak English; works as a janitor at a condensery for wages; employed; not a veteran.
- Ida C. Holst; wife; female, white, age 68, married; age at marriage: 19; did not attend school in the last year; able to read and write; born in Sweden; parents born in Sweden; language spoken before coming to the United States: Swedish; immigrated to the U.S. in 1883; a naturalized citizen; able to speak English; occupation: none.
The 1920 U.S. Federal Census states that John had been born in Hannover, and the 1900 census gives his birthdate as April 1860. Ida, born 28 October 1861 in Sweden, must have immigrated to Germany before her marriage there to John on 6 February 1880. Their son, Alfred, was born in Germany before the young family immigrated in 1883, departing Europe from Hamburg, Germany and Le Havre, France. They arrived in New York City on 5 July 1883 on the Lessing (go here and scroll down to the bottom of the page to see a photo of the ship). Also aboard was 17-year-old Henriette HOLST, who was listed as being a citizen of Prussia, while John, Ida and Alfred are citizens of Hannover. Holst is a common German name, however, as its meaning is "woods." I'm keeping an eye out for Henriette to see if she ever shows up in my Holsts' lives again.
The Holst family first settled in Spring Lake Township, Ottawa County, Michigan, where they were enumerated on the 1884 Michigan State Census. In 1900, they were in Ravenna Township in nearby Muskegon County, and in 1910 and 1920, resided in Sullivan Township, also in Muskegon County. According to John's obituary, they moved into Coopersville in 1923; it erroneously states they had always lived in Ottawa County since immigration. John enjoyed hunting even into his elder years, and he and Ida celebrated their 50th anniversary in a community-wide event in 1930. She died in 1939; and John died the following year.
(Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 11, Part 12)
Yes, it's June, summer's here, and many of us would rather be out enjoying the nice weather. But somewhere in your home is a pile (or many piles) of photos that need scanning, or perhaps some files that need purging. You've got to start somewhere, sometime; why not now? Our next Scanfest is scheduled for Sunday, June 24th, from 11 AM - 2 PM, PDT.
To join me, you'll need a Hotmail or Gmail account, and Windows Live Messenger downloaded to your computer (Mac users go here to download Microsoft Messenger for Mac). Although WLM states that it is compatible with Yahoo! e-mail accounts, we have had difficulty adding Yahoo! users to our chat conversation. Once you have gotten set up, send me an e-mail (see my profile in the right-hand menu) and I'll add you to our chat list. You'll receive an invitation message from me in the e-mail account that you've set up for Messenger, and will need to verify that I can add you as a contact. My Messenger account is identical to my Gmail account, except that it's "@hotmail.com".
Hope to see you there!
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
It started out after I realized I had not received my July issue; you know, the one in which Jasia and Randy gave interviews on the topic of declining genealogical society memberships? I made a quick call to my sister to verify that she had received hers. She had bought me my subscription for a Christmas gift and received a free subscription in turn (see what I mean by affordable?). So then I went to the FTM website and discovered they had a nifty online form to report a missing issue. After filling it out, I received a confirmation e-mail that informed me that I would receive the issue in two to three weeks. That was June 12th. Eight days later, I'm excited to have some new reading material! I'm very impressed with their speedy solution, and they can be assured I'll be a satisfied customer for many years to come!
|Your Personality is the Rarest (INFJ)|
Your personality type is introspective, principled, self critical, and sensitive.
Only about 2% of all people have your personality - including 3% of all women and around 1% of all men.
You are Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Judging.
Although I am listed as an Introvert, or Reserved, those who know me understand that I can be very social and outgoing (I test out as either an I or an E, depending on the test). It was explained to me that if you are borderline in this area, as I am, think about your preference when you are trying to renew your energy: do you seek out others or retreat? Since I tend to retreat to recharge, I am more purely an I, rather than an E. I also tend to be borderline in the J/P area (Judging vs. Perceiving; or Scheduling vs. Probing). I do prefer order and work best with structured time, but it has to be external structure (which is why working at a school, rather than at home, is probably best for me). I'm not very good at structuring my own personal time. I figured out that things that are intangible, like time and money (numbers in a bank account, not actual coins and bills) are harder for me to organize, but I have little trouble organizing physical objects, like personal belongings and files of documents.
Another interesting aspect is understanding that when conflict arises between two people, it generally comes down to the fact that one is a J and the other is a P, or that if they are both the same, one will be more extreme than the other in that particular area of conflict. Js like to be on time, have structure and order, and can appear to be controlling and uptight to Ps. Ps, on the other hand, love lots of options, can adjust easily to and be recharged by change, are laid back, and tend to be viewed as messy, lazy, and even irresponsible by Js. Although my husband is a very strong J, he is much less concerned about arriving places on time than I am, which has led to many an argument between us (I'm getting better at letting that go, honest!). My poor daughter is the only P in a household of Js, and when I get frustrated with her, I have to remember that her messiness and seeming indecisiveness mean that details will never overwhelm her and that she can push through obstacles that would otherwise submerge me!
I like to try to figure out the personalities of my ancestors, too, so I guess this is where the connection to genealogy comes in! Of course, they're not around to give the test to, but I like looking deeply into their lives and trying to figure out what motivated them to do the things they did or make the choices that affected their own lives and the lives of their descendants.
What is your personality type?
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
This post has nothing to do with genealogy, although I suppose it is history-related. I awoke this morning to the sound of heavy equipment tearing down the house across the street, one home west of mine. I started to watch for a few minutes, but I had to turn away. There's something extremely saddening about watching what was once a home for many people over the last century be reduced to a pile of lumber. When I researched the history of my own home, I ended up researching most of the homes on this block, so I feel like I have a personal investment in this neighborhood, as old and as tired as it may be. That structure was built in 1918, and for the past 89 years, people have eaten, slept, laughed, cried, argued, loved, and perhaps been born or even died in that house. I was only in it a few times; but when they were younger, my kids played over there with the children who lived there for a short while, and loved exploring the "secret" back stairway. It's a shame nobody bought it and moved it to another lot here in town. A little run-down from years of neglect, there was nothing that a new roof, some fresh sod, and a little TLC wouldn't have fixed. Now, there will be a parking lot, expanded from the KFC down at the corner. My digital camera isn't working right now, so I can't post a photo of the destruction; I did find one taken several years ago on the county assessor's site:
Monday, June 18, 2007
I had hoped to write about the wonderful men in my own family, but I ran out of time, having submitted two other posts ahead of time; one about the origins of Father's Day, started here in my hometown of Spokane, Washington; and the other, a photo blog of my children's paternal line to correspond with my Mother's Day post. I am very fortunate to have a warm, loving, wonderful father, as did he. Perhaps next year, I'll share the stories of the great fathers in my Robbins family!
This is a great time to publicly acknowledge Jasia for all the hard work and long hours she puts into the Carnival twice a month! She has brought us closer together by allowing us to share our personal experiences and letting us see each other as real human beings behind the posts we write. Next time, Becky from kinexxions will be hosting the 27th Carnival, which will be the topic "What America/Independence Day means to my family." I hope you'll join us!
Sunday, June 17, 2007
- The National Archives of the United Kingdom
- Spatial Literacy - map surname concentration by county
- Cyndi's List of General United Kingdom Sites
- British Isles Genealogy
- Census Records (National Archives)
- Documents Online (National Archives)
- Domesday Book
- Historical Directories
- The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, London 1647 to 1834
- Family History Online
- British Origins
- Origins UK
- The Scotsman Digital Archive - digital newspaper archive
- British Agricultural History Society
- Hugh Wallis' IGI Batch Numbers - British Isles and North America
- Burke's Peerage & Gentry
- The Workhouse
- Genes Reunited
- GENBIRES - Genealogy - British Isles - Resources - a blog on British subscription websites
- GENBIRES - Networking - a blog on British networking and free genealogy websites
Thank you, Dolly, for an interesting, informative, and well-researched class!
Friday, June 15, 2007
These are my children, Melissa Joy and Matthew Jon MIDKIFF. While 50% of Missy's autosomal DNA is inherited from her father, only Matt--as a male--inherits the Y-DNA from his direct father's line, the Midkiffs, and in turn has the possibility of passing it on to his male descendants. If you are interested in joining our Midkiff Family DNA Project, click here.
This is their father, Norman Jon MIDKIFF. He is the first generation of fathers in their family tree.
My father-in-law, Troy Wesley MIDKIFF. He is the second generation of fathers in my children's family tree.
My husband's grandfather, John Franklin MIDKIFF, II (1910 - 1957). He is the third generation of fathers in my children's family tree.
This is my husband's great-grandfather, John Franklin MIDKIFF, I (1870 - 1926). He is the fourth generation of fathers.
This is my husband's great-great-grandfather, Charles Anderson MIDKIFF, Sr. (1839 - 1919), a Confederate veteran who served in the Texas Cavalry. He is the fifth generation of fathers.
There is one more generation of fathers: my children's 4th-great-grandfather, Franklin Preston MIDKIFF (c. 1800 - c. 1840), who died about the time photography was invented. Franklin is our Midkiff brick wall, but through DNA testing, we do know that this line connects with many other Midkiffs who hail from Virginia in the 1700s.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Sonora Smart Dodd was raised along with her five siblings by their widowed father, William Jackson Smart, a Civil War Veteran, in Spokane, Washington. Wikipedia reports:
She was inspired by Anna Jarvis's efforts to establish Mother's Day. Although she initially suggested June 5, the anniversary of her father's death, she did not provide the organizers with enough time to make arrangements, and the celebration was deferred to the third Sunday of June. The first June Father's Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910, in Spokane, WA.These plaques, mounted on a rock in downtown Spokane's Riverfront Park, commemorate Mrs. Dodd and her accomplishment in setting aside an official day to honor all fathers. You can read more in this article on the city's website.
Unofficial support from such figures as William Jennings Bryan was immediate and widespread. President Woodrow Wilson was personally feted by his family in 1916. President Calvin Coolidge recommended it as a national holiday in 1924. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson made Father's Day a holiday to be celebrated on the third Sunday of June. The holiday was not officially recognized until 1972, during the presidency of Richard Nixon.
Flag Image from 3DFlags
Here are some interesting links:
- Wikipedia's definition of Flag Day in the United States
- Wikipedia's article on Elizabeth "Betsy" (Griscom) Ross
- Flag Etiquette for the United States Flag
I also recommend a great little book I picked up a few years ago at the public library: The Flag, the Poet & the Song: The Story of the Star-Spangled Banner by Irvin Molotsky, published 2001 by Dutton (Penguin Putnam, Inc.), New York. It includes some fascinating, not-so-trivial facts about our flag and its origins, the National Anthem, Francis Scott Key, and the War of 1812. I just picked it up from the library again today for another good read. Here are some facts that I remember reading the first time around:
- The National Anthem should be sung or played at a brisk, martial pace, not slowly. Its tune was an old pub song (modern-day scenario: think of creating a National Anthem to the tune of Toby Keith's I Love This Bar!).
- The Star-Spangled Banner that flew over Fort McHenry, which inspired Francis Scott Key, and which is now displayed in the Smithsonian, was made by Mary Pickersgill. It is very likely she had the help of her 13-year-old daughter Caroline, three nieces, a free black woman who worked as a servant in the household, and a slave girl owned by Pickersgill.
- Francis Scott Key, who repeatedly penned the words "the land of the free" in his song, was also a slaveowner.
- The British burned the capitol and the White House in Washington, D.C. during the War of 1812 as retaliation for the American destruction of many buildings that housed the provincial government in York (now Toronto), Upper Canada (now Ontario). These included the Parliament Building in York and the Governor's House at Fort York. We Americans are not taught this in our history classes!
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
My baby brother is now 33 years old, and like generations of Robbins men, loves working with wood. He displays his creative genes through his splendid chainsaw carvings:
Happy Birthday, Ade!
Monday, June 11, 2007
Volunteers from around the world to benefit from new social networking site
Provo, UT, June 12, 2007 -- Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness (RAOGK), a global volunteer organization in which volunteers perform various genealogy-related tasks for researchers who live far away, has recently partnered with FamilyLink.com.
"We are excited about this opportunity to join forces with FamilyLink.com as we continue to expand our resources in support of genealogists and their research," said Bridgett Schneider, Program Administrator, Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness.
As part of the partnership, RAOGK will introduce more than 4,000 of its volunteers to FamilyLink.com, a new free, social genealogy network that is operated by WorldVitalRecords.com.
“Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness is an incredible organization in which its members provide free services to genealogists, such as looking up a record from a courthouse or taking a picture of a tombstone. We are so excited to work with this group of volunteers and hope to expand their network, as well as their resources by introducing them to FamilyLink.com,” said Paul Allen, CEO.
FamilyLink.com launched its beta site in April 2007 with the goal of helping other genealogists connect with one another throughout the world. Currently FamilyLink.com has nearly 5,000 members and is growing by nearly a thousand members each week.
As part of the FamilyLink.com service, individuals who sign up can indicate on their personal profile page if they are willing to do local or Internet record lookups. RAOGK will also have an area on the site where their members can communicate with each other, post announcements, invite others to join the organization, view photos, and more.
RAOGK volunteers who sign up to FamilyLink.com will also be able to place a graphic on their personal profile page that will allow others to see that they are volunteers. RAOGK hopes to recruit additional volunteers and also help current FamilyLink.com members to connect with RAOGK members.
“RAOGK members are a perfect fit for FamilyLink, they are willing to do so much just for a “thank you”. They will be a great benefit to our members,” said Jason McGowan, Product Manager, FamilyLink.com.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
I started genea-blogging on January 16th, 2006 on Bravejournal. Already I was a regular reader of Dick Eastman and Leland Meitzler (who I had discovered through my friend Donna Potter Phillips, who occasionally contributed to his blog). Through Donna, I learned about RSS Genealogy, and thus discovered Ken Aitken and Chris Dunham. I also used GenJet (no longer online) to find other blogs (this was before Chris's Genealogy Blog Finder). I signed up for a Blogger account, but didn't use it to blog, merely to search for other genealogy blogs. At that time, I only found two of any interest to me, people who blogged with any kind of regularly: Randy Seaver (a frequent commenter on Ken's blog) and Craig Manson. I felt pretty much alone in the genea-blogging world.
Then one day, probably after visiting Randy's blog, I discovered the Carnival of Genealogy, hosted by Jasia. While I had been plodding along in isolation, a whole genea-blogger community had sprung up and was interacting with each other! Immediately, I signed up for the next Carnival, and in late January 2007 , I switched over to Blogger for ease-of-use. The rest, as they say, was history; not family history as we know it, but I did discover a new family along the way: people who were as obsessed with genealogy and with writing about it as I was! Through the Carnival and a few memes (here, here, and here), we were able to make personal connections, and when I started up Scanfest on February 25, 2006, we learned even more about each other (and perhaps, ourselves) through chatting using various technologies.
I can't imagine not having this community surrounding me. We've stood by each other through thick and thin. We keep each other updated with news from the genealogy world so quickly, it's old and outdated by the time it hits the magazines and newsletters (for instance, the recent issue of Internet Genealogy had a short article about using FreeOnAncestry.com, a website that no longer exists). During the days and weeks when life gets too busy for me to post my thoughts or read my favorites regularly, I just about go crazy! I don't think I would have reached this 200th post so soon if it hadn't been for this community. We're each others' fans.
And so, this is really an open thank-you letter to all of you: those who read my blog, those who take the time to comment, and those who post on their own blogs, either from a professional or avocational standpoint. Thank you for being there, and for expanding my genealogical and personal world. And always, Happy Hunting!
Saturday, June 09, 2007
In Part 3 of this series, I presented census information on one of my paternal great-grandmothers, Mary Jane BARBER. This post looks at the household in which her widowed mother, Mary Jane FREDENBURG lived in 1930. I refer to my great-great-grandmother as Mary Jane (the Elder) in this post, to differentiate her from her daughter, whenever it is necessary.
I had a great deal of difficulty finding Mary Jane (the Elder) in the 1930 Federal Census at Ancestry.com. I knew that her husband, Orlando BARBER, had died in 1910 in Lapeer, Lapeer County, Michigan. I found her (again, with much difficulty) in the 1920 U.S. Federal Census, married to a man named Fred SMITH and living in Flint, Genesee County, Michigan. A map of Michigan shows that Genesee and Lapeer Counties are adjacent, and this family emigrated back and forth frequently between counties. In both the 1920 and 1930 Censuses, I had to look for Mary Jane's children in order to find her. Alexander "Red" BARBER, Mary Jane's middle son, was living in Fremont Township, Tuscola County, Michigan in 1930, and that is where I found Mary Jane. I had to do some creative searching, as the household was indexed under "Barter."
The household, enumerated in E.D. 20, sheet 5A, consisted of:
- Alexander BARBER, head of the household and owner of the home, which was located on a farm. There was no radio listed, indicating the house probably did not have electricity. He was a male, white, 25-year-old single person, not in school, able to read and write, born in Michigan, as were his parents. Able to speak English, he was employed as a farmer in general farm work (self-employed), but not a veteran.
- Mary [Jane] BARBER, mother, female, white, 54 years old, Widowed ["Divorced" has been crossed out], age 16 at the time of her first marriage, not in school, able to read and write, born in Michigan. Her father is listed as having been born in Pennsylvania, and her mother's birthplace is stated as Scotland. The correct answers should have been New York and Michigan, respectively. She was able to speak English.
- Levi KELLER, Lodger ["Servant" has been crossed out], male, white, 51 years old, Widowed ["Divorced" has been crossed out], age 25 at the time of his first marriage, not in school, able to read and write, born in Michigan. His father was born in the "U.S." ["not known" is crossed out], mother was born in New York. He was able to speak English, and employed as a farm laborer (no doubt on Alex's farm), working for wages. He also was not a veteran.
This was a third marriage for both Levi and Mary Jane (the Elder). Their children who married each other were both from their respective first marriages, and it appears that they were both widowed in their first marriages and divorced from their second spouses. Levi died in 1945, and Mary Jane never married again.
She had had eight children with Orlando BARBER; the first three had died in infancy between 1894 and 1901. The five surviving children were Clara May, James Albert, Alexander, Arthur, and my great-grandmother, Mary Jane. So far, I have only found Alex and Mary Jane in the 1930 Census. Mary Jane (the Elder) did not have any other children with her subsequent husbands, Fred SMITH and Levi KELLER.
(Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12)
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Seems like a rare tri-color lithograph after Charles' sketch of the battle of Kenesaw Mountain, Georgia is selling for $850 at OldPrintGallery.com! The website has an incorrect middle initial for Charles, but a little research proved out that he was the only Charles Wightman to serve in that regiment, or the state of Illinois.
Saturday, June 02, 2007
From there, I went in search of Spokane newspapers on microfilm for that week. In 1923, the city had three newspapers, The Spokane Press, The Spokane Daily Chronicle (which later became simply The Spokane Chronicle) and The Spokesman-Review, the only one of the three still in existence. Most people in those days did not have obituaries, unless they were prominent citizens or celebrities. Occaisionally, one might find a short "blip" of a paragraph or two tucked away behind the front page, notifying the public of the death of a well-known or beloved person in the community. Births, marriages, deaths, funerals, and cards of thanks were listed with the public notices directly before the advertisements, not unlike today's paper.
In The Spokane Daily Chronicle of Saturday, 6 January 1923, on page 14, column 1, I found Walter's death notice:
Scott - Walter. Age 75 years, passed away a E3604 2d avenue, January 6th. He is survived by his wife, Alice M.; a daughter, Eva M. Petway of Spokane; two sons, Miner [sic] L. of Seattle and Walter of Anaconda, Mont.; also a granddaughter of Portland. He was a member of the K. P. lodge and Reno Post. The body is at Smith & Co.'s funeral parlors.The Spokane Press had a funeral notice two days later on page 7, column 2:
Walter Scott, Tuesday, 3 o'clock, from Smith & Co.'s. Rev. Johnson, Reno Post of GAR and Knights of Pythias to officiate. Greenwood.There was nothing found in The Spokesman-Review. I ran out of time to check funeral home records, city directories, Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, and a number of records I could have accessed in the genealogy room, Northwest Room, or microfilmed newspaper section. On my To-Do list is to discover when and where Josephine died.
When I got home, I was curious to see what I could find on the Washington State Digital Archives website. I noticed that Walter's wife was listed as Alice M. in the death notice, so I figured he had married again after Josephine's death. My search for Walter Scott turned up many results, most of which were not the man I was researching. However, three were of interest: the 1910 Federal Census of Spokane County; a 1911 Spokane County (historic) marriage record to Alice M. Harris; and a Walla Walla Penitentiary record. The 1910 census listing is actually an index, and does not list other members of the household. Since Craig had already found this information (likely on Ancestry.com), I didn't feel compelled to dig deeper here. The marriage record was definitely a jackpot, because one can view images of these historic records! It confirmed Walter's birth in Ohio, and gave his mother's maiden name: Sophia Hall, born in Kentucky. His father's name was unknown. Alice had much more detailed information, including the fact that she was an octoroon, divorced, and her parents' names and birthplaces. The record contained the Scotts' signatures as well. I could not make out the last name of one of the witnesses: Belle Sear? The other witness was definitely a relative: W. E. Scott. They were married by F. L. Donohoo, elder of the A.M.E. Church in Spokane.
The penitentiary record was probably not this Walter, but may have been his son. A Walter Scott, Negro, was convicted of Grand Larceny in King County (Seattle) in 1915, and served time in Walla Walla.
There are certainly many more things I could research on this family. Currently, my curiousity has been satisfied. Perhaps having this information online may bring about a result for a descendant Googling Walter Scott's name.
I'm so impressed with Craig's research, because it gives an example of what can be found on the Internet these days, from starting with only a name and regiment number to a three-and-a-half page biography!
Walter's grave can be seen here at Find A Grave, and I provided a link to Craig's study on the memorial page. While I am at the library for the society meeting, I plan to see if I can find an obituary (and other records) to add more details to his life story.
Friday, June 01, 2007
Accessible Archives Inc. Partners With WorldVitalRecords.com To Provide Greater Access To Unique Historical Data
Important collection of 18th and 19th century periodicals now online at WorldVitalRecords.com
Provo, UT, June 4, 2007 --- Normally only offered in libraries, Accessible Archives Inc. has recently partnered with WorldVitalRecords.com to make millions of records from the 18th and 19th centuries accessible to a broader audience.
“We are very pleased to be working with World Vital Records getting our material to the masses on a global scale,” said Rob Nagy, President, CEO, Accessible Archives.
Accessible Archives typically works with nearly 300 universities and libraries to offer the databases in full-text format.
“We have had a great appreciation for the valuable content on Accessible Archives, and we are enthusiastic about being able to now provide what is typically library content to our subscribers at WorldVitalRecords.com,” said David Lifferth, President, WorldVitalRecords.com.
Some of the collections that will be available at WorldVitalRecords.com from Accessible Archives will be American County Histories to 1900, The Liberator (1831-1865), The Civil War: A Newspaper Perspective, The Pennsylvania Genealogical Catalogue Chester County (1809-1870), The Pennsylvania Gazette (1728-1800), African-American Newspapers: The 19th Century, and Godey`s Lady`s Book (1830-1885).
“One of the databases in the collection of most interest to genealogists would be the American County Histories to 1900. These histories form the foundation of local historical research and contain many important details of genealogical significance that are unlikely to be found in any other resource,” said Yvette Arts, Director, Content Acquisition, WorldVitalRecords.com.
Accessible Archives’ databases contain more than 600 million words, and they are growing at a rate of 1-2 million words each month. The databases will be updated at Accessible Archives, as well as to WorldVitalRecords.com as they occur.