Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Some Civil War Soldiers Buried in Spokane, Washington

As I mentioned before, I photographed a few Civil War veterans' graves in Greenwood Memorial Terrace here in Spokane on Sunday. Here's a list of the veterans, with links to their memorial pages and grave photos on Find A Grave:

C. R. Bardwell - Company C, 6th Minnesota Infantry

His wife, Mary E. Bardwell.

Eugene S. P. Bolton - Company A, 1st Vermont Heavy Artillery

F. W. Fiske - Company C, 8th Minnesota Infantry

Martin Holston - Company B, 1st Illinois Cavalry - UPDATE 23 Sep 2007: Read his biography here.

Pvt. Albert B. Hurd - Company H, 6th Minnesota Infantry (He already had a memorial page and photo, unbeknownst to me, but I added the photo I took.)

Hiram O. Johnson - Company H, 9th Indiana Infantry

Pvt. Joseph Litterneau - Company F, 12th Regiment, Wisconsin Infantry

William W. Mason - 39th Massachusetts Infantry

John W. Proctor - "U. S. Soldier"

Corp. Christian Sanders - Company F, 6th Wisconsin Infantry

His probable wife, Elizabeth Sanders.

Sgt. Walter Scott - Company K, U.S. Colored Troops Infantry (I'd love to find out more of his story! African-Americans have always been a definite minority in this community, especially at the time this man would have lived here.) - UPDATE: Craig Manson, at GeneaBlogie, has created a "brief study" of Sgt. Walter Scott's life here.

John C. Squires - Company I, 2nd New York Heavy Artillery

Henry S. Walker - Company L, 3rd Wisconsin Cavalry

James B. Warren
- Company D, 18th Missouri Infantry

Musician Charles F. Wightman - Company C, 26th Illinois Infantry

I used the Sons of Union Veterans National Graves Registration Database to try to find more detailed information on these men. There wasn't much, but I did get some full names where I only found initials, a couple of dates (most of the stones did not list birth/death dates), and some explanations for some of the abbreviations.

These are but a handful of the 393 known Civil War veterans buried in this cemetery and the 803 total buried in this county. I want to know more about these men, and perhaps this summer I can do some research on them, or find their obituaries in the microfilmed newspapers in the downtown library.

Monday, May 28, 2007

What I'm Reading These Days - Part 6

Last week, I picked up a small book from the New Book section of my local library: A Military Miscellany by Thomas Ayres, published 2006 by Bantam Dell. At only 184 pages, it is packed with not-so-trivial facts, lists, and stories from American's military history. Did you know...
  • an Army photographer took 20,000 German prisoners of war during WWII?
  • ground was broken for the Pentagon exactly 60 years to the day that it was attacked by terrorists flying a civilian plane into it (September 11, 1941)?
  • one man was present at the attack on Pearl Harbor, the dropping of the A-bomb at Hiroshima, and the Japanese surrender ceremony aboard the USS Missouri?
  • three Union generals--William Terrill, Thomas L. Crittenden, and John B. McIntosh--had brothers that served as generals in the Confederate Army (James Terrill, George Crittenden, and James M. McIntosh)?
  • First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln had a brother, three half-brothers, and three brothers-in-law who served in the Confederate Army?
  • the War of 1812 was more unpopular with the public than the Vietnam War (representatives from the New England states met in Hartford, Connecticut to discuss secession and many American citizens openly aided British invaders)?
  • General George Patton believed he had had seven past lives in great military campaigns of history, including his belief that he had been Hannibal, crossing the Alps to invade Rome?
This is both a fun and sobering look at our rich military legacy. I highly recommend it to you.

An Afternoon at the Cemeteries

Yesterday afternoon, my 16-year-old daughter accompanied me to two local cemeteries so that we could honor the deceased of our families. I had planned to go on Saturday, which was a gorgeous warm day, but errands--including purchasing a new flag for the holiday and a bouquet of roses for the purpose of distributing them at the graves--took up most of my day. Sunday arrived with strong gales of wind, so strong I dared not put up my new flag for fear of bending the aluminum pole or snagging the banner on the gutters above. Thunderstorms were forecast for the late afternoon and evening, so I decided it was now or never.

The first cemetery we visited was Riverside Memorial Park, where a special little boy now rests in peace: Brandon Tyrone Chapman, a special-needs student I worked with for four years, who was like a second son to me. He is buried underneath some pines not far from the Spokane River. The cemetery was beautifully decorated, with hundreds of memorial flags fluttering along the roadsides and graves brightly trimmed with real and silk flowers, flags, and pinwheels. At the entrance, throngs of people milled, visiting Heritage Funeral Home, which normally has a historic display for the public every Memorial Day weekend. Last year, Ulysses S. Grant had been the focus; this year was Elvis, so I did not go in (I like his music, but I had hoped for a more "historical" figure). Classic cars were being shown in the parking lot, and I took a quick shot with my camera while my daughter picked up some free pizza from a nearby booth (yes, it's quite an event!).

We then crossed the road to Greenwood Memorial Terrace, where we noticed a large American flag was posted near the monument of Chief Spokane Garry. We drove up to the first terrace where a large Midkiff monument marks the lot where George Henry, his wife Arzella (Glasgow), and their son Samuel C. Midkiff are buried. I've done a little research on this family, and can trace George back to Kentucky, but how he may be related to my husband is still a mystery. There are no descendants; their only son Samuel died in 1918, so our family has "adopted" the graves to clean and decorate them on Memorial Day. My daughter remarked that Samuel was only 16 when he died (her own age), and I told her he had probably died in the Influenza Epidemic.

We then went up to the top terrace, where two of my cousins, Christopher Wrex Pierson Zaagsma and Caren Jeanne "Carrie" Pierson Zaagsma, are buried in the Inspiration block. We stayed for a while at their graves, while I told my daughter the stories of my cousins, what their personalities were like, memories of special times together, and how they had died. Then we went over to nearby Honor Lawn, where some distant Midkiff cousins are buried. I shared memories with Missy about Betty Lou(Midkiff) Bryant, a petite woman who had researched the Midkiff family in the area and had contacted us about 18 years ago to try to fit us into the family tree (she was my father-in-law's second cousin). Together, she and I organized the first local Midkiff Family Reunion in 1990. Betty's husband, George Wesley Bryant, is buried next to her; a salty-tongued WW2 veteran, he had worked on the Grand Coulee Dam as an ironworker. On the other side of Betty rests her brother, George Vernon Midkiff, a Navy veteran whose life was cut tragically short by an automobile accident.

When we were done with the graves of family and friends, we returned to the first level, where the graves of many Civil War veterans are situated around the Grand Army of the Republic monument. We chose graves that had no flowers or flags (and sadly, there were many) on which to lay the last of our roses. I took photographs to upload to Find A Grave. There was a nest in a pine above us and a baby bird fell out, fluttering around. My daughter was very worried, but I assured her the bird's mother would return as soon as we left, and that the good thing was there didn't appear to be any predators in the area.

We returned home tired from our outing in the wind, but satisfied in having enjoyed our time together, knowing our loved ones had been honored.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

What I'm Reading These Days - Part 5

I've been a fan of Robert Ragan's for quite a while. His Treasure Maps website subtitled Genealogy resource page - Your guide to free search tips, articles, and family tree information is chock-full of great, easy-to-understand tips and tutorials. I signed up to receive his free e-mail newsletter, and encourage my Online Genealogy students to do so as well. He also offers all his tutorials for sale on his Pajama Genealogy Research System on CD, which includes much more than what you'll find on his website. Back in November 2006, he began a blog, and this week, he's got a handy new tutorial video on it: "A Google Search Tip that Every Genealogy and Family Tree Researcher Should Know."

You would be amazed at all you can learn through Robert's website, newsletter, and blog. He is a very good teacher, and his simple tips and tricks really make the basics of online searches so much easier! I encourage you to take a look and sign up for his newsletter. I guarantee you will learn something!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Selected Military Resources on the Internet

On April 21st, Eastern Washington Genealogical Society member Barbara Brazington taught a computer class entitled "Selected Military Resources on the Internet." I love attending Barbara's classes! Several years ago, our society had an educational program based on military records (it was not Internet-based). Every month during the year, a different member would teach on an American War or military era, starting with colonial wars and ending with the present war in Iraq. The instructor would give a summary of the war, and list resources where we could find records for our ancestors who fought in that war. Barbara did a fantastic, in-depth presentation on World War I facts and resources, so I was looking forward to her computer class on military records online. I was not disappointed!

We were given a long list of URLs for sites with military records, history, and resources, nicely categorized by Barbara. First off, she listed the major American wars starting with the colonial ones:

Records of military service before the Revolutionary War are kept in state archives.

Pequot War 1637 - 1638
Iroquois War 1642 - 1698
King Philip's War 1675 - 1676
King William's War 1689 - 1698
Queen Anne's War 1702 - 1713
King George's War 1744 - 1745
French & Indian War 1754 - 1763

U.S. Wars for which there are Federal records:

Revolutionary War 1775 - 1783
War of 1812 1812 - 1815
Mexican War 1846 - 1848
Civil War 1861 - 1865
Union records only; Confederate records are found in state archives.)
Spanish-American War 1898
Philippine Insurrection 1899 - 1902
World War I 1917 - 1918
World War II 1941 - 1945
Korean War 1950 - 1953
Vietnam War 1965 - 1973
Gulf War 1991

Ancestry.com - U.S. Military Collection - $
Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System
National Personnel Records Center - 20th-century records. In 1973 a fire destroyed most of the records stored there, except for Navy and Marine records. Eighty percent of Army records and 60% of Air Force records were destroyed. However, Army and Air Force records have been reconstructed using those stored in other places.

Ancestry.com - U.S. Military Collection - $
HeritageQuest Online - available through many city or county library websites (check this list) - and coming soon to a Family History Center near you!
Cyndi's List (remember, Confederate pension records will be held in state archives)

Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System
U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center

WWI/Doughboy Center
King Philip's War
Civil War - this site and this one

Medals and awards
Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System
U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center - contains military info between wars

Burial sites
American Battle Monument Commission
Veterans Administration Gravesite Locator - much of this is duplicate information of what is found at the American Battle Monument Commission
Commonwealth Graves Commission
Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War National Graves Registration Database - this was not on Barbara's syllabus, but I have added it here

U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center - choose digital documents, not photos
Library of Congress
U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center - another link

Oral histories
Veterans History Project

Other countries

National Archives - Home Page: "Genealogists/Family Historians," "Veterans and Their Families"; ARC - Archival Research Catalog: "Search," "Topics" - state summaries and copiled service records; AAD - Access to Archival Databases
U.S. Army Center of Military History
Naval Historical Center - Dictionary of American Fighting Ships here
U.S. Marine Corps History Division
Cyndis's List - Military
Olive Tree Genealogy
Online Military Indexes, War Records & Databases of Soldiers - Joe Beine's site!
Access Genealogy
Library of Congress Reference Guide
Office of Medical History

Barbara also recommends doing Google searches by state and by war. This is how she found many of the links above. Some great information is located on sites where you would never expect to find military information. For instance, the Missouri State Parks website contains Civil War battle site resources.

Thank you, Barbara, and happy hunting to all of you!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Report on May Scanfest

On Sunday, several of us gathered to scan and chat via the Gizmo Project and also Windows Live Messenger for our monthly Scanfest. Susan Kitchen of Family Oral History Project and 2020 Hindsight was our gracious and enthusiastic host from Southern California. We were joined by Amy Crooks of Untangled Family Roots in Northern Idaho, and also Donna Wendt of Hawaii who told us about an interactive genealogy educational website called FamilyHistoryLiveOnline.com. I haven't had time to fully investigate the site...maybe Tim will review it for us!

I must say that actually being able to hear the voice of another genea-blogger adds a whole new dimension to chatting. Regular chatting, despite its name, uses only text messages from one user to another, while programs like the Gizmo Project allow chatters to do exactly just that: chat! The software was easy to download, easy to use, and the reception was clear (great for someone who is hard-of-hearing, like myself!). I called into the conference by phone using my 10-10 long-distance code for a cheap rate because my desktop doesn't have a microphone, and it was too much hassle to hook my laptop (with a microphone) to the scanner; besides, I didn't have a headset, which is recommended. I wouldn't mind purchasing a headseat and the software needed for my desktop to be able to use this technology in the future.

While experimenting with the new technology and listening and participating in the conversations, I was able to nearly finish my scanning project of photos and documents from my step-grandfather's estate. Most of the documents and photos are available on my Picasa Web Albums.

I hope you'll join us for the next Scanfest, which is scheduled for Sunday, June 24, 2007 from 11 AM - 2 PM, Pacific Daylight Time.

U.S. Military Collection Free at Ancestry.com Through June 6

Ancestry.com is featuring its newly-packaged U.S. Military Collection with free access through D-Day (June 6th). The collection is a blend of old and new databases which cover over three centuries of American wars and conflicts, containing "more than 90 million names, 700 titles and databases of military records from all 50 states."

New features include the United Newsreel Motion Pictures from WWII, WWII Stars and Stripes Newspaper, U.S. Marine Corps Muster Rolls, U.S. WWII Army Enlistment Records, and the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System. The last two items may also be found elsewhere for free on the Internet: the WWII Army Enlistment Records can be found at the National Archives website here, and the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System can be found here (I blogged about this earlier). There are many other databases and features that are well worth the visit. My favorite are the WWI and WWII draft registration cards.

This is a good (although limited) opportunity for those who do not have an Ancestry subscription to check out the features of this website. If you are not a subscriber, you may be asked to complete a (free) registration to create a guest account.

Family Tree Magazine's New Blog

One of my favorite genealogy magazines, Family Tree Magazine, has a new blog called Genealogy Insider, authored by Diane Haddad. I hope you'll stop by and welcome them to the genea-blogger-sphere!

There's a great post called "Nine Steps to Civil War Ancestors" that is very informative. Some of the links are the same as the ones I posted on my "Some Civil War Resources for Genealogy" post, and there are some new ones as well. What's nice is the step-by-step procedure that's very clearly outlined. I can hardly wait to get my new issue!

I highly recommend this magazine...it's got such a nice format, with educational articles that balance both standard and internet resources. This publication was on my Christmas wish list this year, and lucky me...Santa delivered!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Footnote.Com Teams with FamilySearch to Release Revolutionary War Pension Files

Last Tuesday, I posted a press release from FamilySearch.org about its partnership with Footnote.com. Today I received the following press release from Footnote. It covers the same information, but from their perspective:

-Revolutionary War Pension Files Will Be Available For Free at All Family History Centers Worldwide-

Lindon, Utah – May 15, 2007 –Today, Footnote.com announced an agreement with FamilySearch, historically known as the Genealogical Society of Utah, a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FamilySearch is the world’s largest repository of genealogical information.

This new partnership brings together two organizations that will utilize their combined resources to digitize and make available many large historical collections. The first project will be the three million U.S. Revolutionary War Pension files which will be published for the first time online in their entirety.

“The Revolutionary War Pensions will provide an intimate look into the historical events and individuals that shaped our country’s history,” said Russell Wilding, CEO of Footnote.com. “We are excited about this relationship which enables us to put many more historical collections online.”

The Revolutionary War Pension Files feature original records that include muster rolls, payrolls, strength returns and other miscellaneous personnel pay and supply records of American Army Units from 1775-1783. They provide a wealth of new information for historians and genealogists which they can share with other colleagues and family members.

“We are excited to partner with Footnote.com to provide historians and genealogists alike a tremendous source of data that will assist greatly in putting puzzle pieces together to create a rich family history,” said Paul Nauta, manager of Public Affairs for FamilySearch. “This affiliation allows us to better meet one of our goals to provide as much data online as fast as possible for those working on their genealogy.”

Also, as a part of this agreement, Footnote.com will be accessible for free in all FamilySearch operated centers worldwide. FamilySearch has more than 4,500 Family History Centers in 70 countries.

Since partnering with the National Archives in January 2007, Footnote.com has digitized over eight million historical records. Each month an additional two million documents are digitized and added to the site. Footnote.com estimates that by the end of 2007 it will have made over 25 million digitized documents available on its web site.

To see free examples of the Revolutionary War Pension Files, go to www.footnote.com/revolutionary-war.php.

Footnote.com has now begun offering free seven-day trial memberships. To start a free trial, visit www.footnote.com/freetrial.php

About Footnote, Inc.

Founded in 1997 as iArchives, Inc., Footnote is a subscription-based website that features searchable original documents that provide users with an unaltered view of the events , places and people that shaped the American nation and the world. At Footnote.com all are invited to come to share, discuss, and collaborate on their discoveries with friends, family, and colleagues. For more information, visit www.footnote.com.

About Family Search

FamilySearch (historically known Genealogical Society of Utah) is a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FamilySearch maintains the world's largest repository of genealogical resources accessed through FamilySearch.org, the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, and over 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Some Civil War Resources for Genealogy

Memorial Day began in the United States with the observation of Decoration Day, which was a day when citizens decorated the graves of Civil War soldiers. It was a day for parades and speeches, featuring local Civil War veterans. Over the decades, it has become much more, from honoring all military dead to honoring all the dead.

The American Civil War, or War of the Rebellion, or War Between the States, or War for Southern Independence--whatever your preferred term--is of great interest to many, evident by the number of books, magazines, movies, and websites one can find on the subject. I can't begin to do justice to number of websites in which the Civil War relates to genealogy. However, I can list some websites that have proven very helpful in the research of my Civil War ancestors and relatives. First off, the list of my known Civil War people can be found on my website's military page here and my husband's family's military page here. These individuals are either our direct ancestors or brothers of direct ancestors. This does not include in-laws or cousins who were in the war, of whom there were many. I think these lists give you an idea of the magnitude of the war: everyone who possibly could serve, did (or perhaps, if wealthy enough, paid someone to serve for them...but that's another story). And because whole neighborhoods of men served together in the same units, the consequences were quite devastating; whole communities lost the majority of their young men in battle or to disease. This war affected our country in a way that none of the subsequent wars could or did. (A bit of trivia: one of the effects was that from this point forward in American history, women outnumbered men; a statistic that continues today.) It's important to find out whatever you can about your ancestors or relatives that may have served in one of the great conflicts of history; because what happened to them ultimately affects who we are today.

The Civil War Soldiers and Sailor System website is a great place to verify that your ancestor served during this war. In searching for a soldier or sailor, you must use the exact spelling on their record to find them, so it may take some creativity on your part to find your man. Currently, only African-American sailors are listed in the sailors list. Once you find your soldier, his unit and company will be given, and you can click on the link to read about the history of the unit: where they served, traveled, and battled (sailors have information on enlistment dates and ships on which they served). In the upper left corner of the website, you will find a link marked "Tools." Clicking on it brings up a right-hand menu with information about the National Archives and ordering service and pension records. Military service records are indeed interesting, but it is the pension records that are most useful in genealogy, as they often list marriage dates, spouses' and children's names, and other relevant information.

If you would like to read more official correspondence regarding your ancestor's military unit, check out Cornell University Library's Making of America Project here. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and choose either Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion or The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. While it is unlikely that you will find your ancestor by name in either of these multi-volume online books (unless he was an officer), you certainly can trace his unit's movements and various engagements through the war. From this site I copied and pasted pages upon pages of my 4th-great-grandfather Joseph Josiah Robbins' unit, the 58th Regiment of the Pennsylvania Volunteers for my records.

Civil War Rosters is a private website that is a directory of Civil War Rosters and Muster Rolls that have been found on the Internet. Named one of Family Tree Magazine's 101 Best Websites for 2003, it is the only online location where I was able to find a mention of a possible burial place for my 3rd-great-grandfather, Sylvester Fredenburg.

Another site I use quite frequently is the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War National Graves Registration Database. Your ancestor need not be a Union veteran for his name to appear in this database; some Confederate veterans' graves are also recorded. You can freely search for your ancestors and relatives. If you would like to submit information, you must first register (for free). I am simply amazed at the number of Civil War veterans that are buried here in my home county of Spokane County, Washington...located far from any Civil War battlefields. The National Graves Registration Database lists veterans that died long after the war, not just those that died in or soon after from battle or disease. For this reason, you too may have a long list of Civil War veterans buried in your area.

An interesting site that also relies on submitters is Military History Online - Civil War Genealogy Database. Here you can freely search for and also submit your Civil War ancestor or relative, along with your contact information: name, e-mail address, website. You can edit or delete information as well.

On subscription websites, Ancestry has the Civil War Collection - a compilation of 26 databases. It also has the 1890 Veterans Schedules, a fragment of the 1890 U.S. Federal Census, and includes widows of Civil War veterans as well. Footnote contains Brady War Photographs, the Civil War Pensions Index, and Confederate Soldiers Service Records for Alabama, Texas, and Virgina in its Civil War-era collections.

For offline resources, check out the Family History Library's catalog Place Search for your ancestral locations (put the county name in the top box and the state name in the bottom box of the search page) and check out the cemeteries listed for that area. It may be that the Daughters of American Revolution or the Committee of Civil War Graves Registration transcribed Civil War graves in that county; the organization will be listed as the author of the cemetery records in the list of titles. If the title is on microfilm or microfiche, you can go to your local Family History Center (FHC) and for a small fee, have the microform shipped to the FHC from Salt Lake City for you to peruse. If the title is not filmed but is in print, go to your local FHC and ask for a "Request for Photocopies" form. For $4.00, volunteers in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City will look up your surname in the book and mail you the results. For an additional $2.00 a page, they will also send you photocopies. For many titles of other microfilms, microfiche, and books relating to the Civil War, go to the Keyword Search of the Family History Library's catalog and use the boolean method ("civil war" michigan; "civil war" mississippi; etc.).

For further reading and information, check out Cyndi's List of U.S. Civil War/War for Southern Independence sites here. Happy Hunting!

Using Funeral Homes for Genealogy

Last weekend, I wrote about connecting with cousins using the cemeteries where your ancestors are buried. Today I would like to talk about another great genealogical resource with Memorial Day connections: funeral homes.

If you have obtained your ancestors' or relatives' death certificates or obituaries or even their funeral cards, chances are you have the name of their funeral home printed somewhere on that document. Funeral homes are an excellent source of information, much like cemetery offices. Keep in mind that families often utilized the same funeral home service for several generations, which can help you find missing information on ancestors and relatives. Also, it's my understanding that funeral homes did not really come into much use until the late 1800s.

First of all, you'll need to find the funeral home. The documents mentioned above may not have the funeral home listed, or perhaps you've done a little investigating and discovered that a funeral home by that name no longer exists in that community. Don't be discouraged! Here are some tips for finding a funeral home. A great website is www.funeralhomes.com. This link will lead you to a database of funeral homes in the United States and Canada--good for current ones in business now. If your ancestor's funeral home is not listed, look for one with a similar name in the same city (Smith Funeral Home becoming Smith-Jones Mortuary, for example). You can always call a funeral home in the area and ask where the records for the obsolete business are now located. Very often, when one funeral home went out of business or was absorbed by another, the records were archived by either another funeral home in town or by the business that took over.

Many public libraries may have old copies of the Yellow Book (not to be confused with the Yellow Pages business directory in telephone books). The Yellow Book's full name is The National Yellow Book of Funeral Directors, and by browsing through several years' worth, you can often see the evolution of a funeral home business from one name to another to sometimes even another (Smith Funeral Home > Smith-Jones Mortuary > Jones Mortuary > Jones-Brown Funeral Parlor). The Yellow Book has a website, but it is only accessible for industry practitioners (a.k.a. Death Care Professionals). You may also wish to check city directories as well. And check with the local genealogical or historical society in the area to see if they can help you locate where old funeral home records are archived. Cyndi's List of Cemeteries and Funeral Homes is also helpful.

Once you've found the funeral home, you'll want to make a call. I prefer calls rather than letters, because it's quicker and often in a conversation with the funeral home employee I will think of other questions I wish to ask. I've created a "Funeral Home Employee Interview" form on my website here. It's been amazing what I have discovered by calling a funeral home. I've also been able to get copies of death certificates and funeral cards, names and addresses of family members, occupations and causes of death of the deceased, and names and addresses of cemeteries (especially helpful when one isn't listed in a death notice). George G. Morgan has a nice list of other items that can be found in funeral home records in his article here. As we near Memorial Day weekend, I encourage you to contact an ancestral funeral home.

Happy Hunting!

Connecting with Cousins on Memorial Day

Saturday, May 19, 2007

A Poem for Memorial Day

Years ago I found this poem in a book handed down from my maternal great-grandparents, John Martin and Lillian Fern (STRONG) HOEKSTRA entitled The Family Book of Best-Loved Poems, edited by David L. George and published by Hanover House/Doubleday & Company, Inc. in 1952. Some of my most precious childhood memories are of my father reading to us from this book after we were tucked in bed.


(The women of Columbus, Mississippi, scattered flowers alike on the graves of the Confederate and the Union Soldiers.)

By the flow of the inland river,
Whence the fleets of iron have fled,
Where the blades of the grave grass quiver,
Asleep are the ranks of the dead;--
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment day;--
Under the one, the Blue;
Under the other, the Gray.

These in the robings of glory,
Those in the gloom of defeat,
All with the battle blood gory,
In the dusk of eternity meet;--
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment day;--
Under the laurel, the Blue;
Under the willow, the Gray.

From the silence of sorrowful hours
The desolate mourners go,
Lovingly laden with flowers
Alike for the friend and the foe,--
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment day;--
Under the roses, the Blue;
Under the lilies, the Gray.

So with an equal splendor
The morning sun rays fall,
With a touch, impartially tender,
On the blossoms blooming for all;--
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment day;--
'Broidered with gold, the Blue;
Mellowed with gold, the Gray.

So, when the summer calleth,
On forest and field of grain
With an equal murmur falleth
The cooling drip of the rain;--
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment day;--
Wet with the rain, the Blue;
Wet with the rain, the Gray.

Sadly but not with upbraiding,
The generous deed was done;
In the storm of the years that are fading,
No braver battle was won;--
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment day;--
Under the blossoms, the Blue;
Under the garlands, the Gray.

No more shall the war cry sever,
Or the winding rivers be red;
They banish our anger forever
When they laurel the graves of our dead!
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment day;--
Love and tears for the Blue,
Tears and love for the Gray.

--Francis Miles Finch

For a wonderful website on the observance of Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, go to http://www.usmemorialday.org/. Be sure to check out the "History" link.

May 2007 EWGS Computer Class

One of the many benefits of membership in Eastern Washington Genealogical Society is to receive (and part of the society's mission is to provide) genealogical education. Since January 2006, several members have taken turns in instructing classes on various computer- and Internet topics relating to genealogy, such as "The Boolean Method of Searching," "Using the GenSmarts Software," and "FindAGrave.com." We use our local library's computer lab which contains ten stations and an instructor's station with an overhead projector.

My friend and fellow EWGS member Ruby Simonson McNeill was the instructor for this month's computer class. Her topic was "State Archives," or more accurately, "Online Archives." Her syllabus is listed on her website (until June 30, 2007 only!) and from there we investigated links to a myriad of state, university, and regional archives. It truly is amazing what is out there on the Internet, and even for someone like myself who spends a lot of time online, it is good to have that sit-down time with a group to interact, share, and browse the web.

If your genealogical society is looking for a good educational program, I highly recommend something like this. We have had approximately eight people join our society in the last four months just because we offer these classes (visitors to our genealogy collection on the third floor of our main library branch see flyers announcing the classes).

Scanfest Will Be Early This Month - UPDATE

UPDATE: We will be using Gizmo as our means of chatting, rather than Windows Live Local. Go to Susan's blog here to get details on how to do this. I will hang out in Windows Live Local and direct those who show up to the Gizmo project, in case they miss this message.

Scanfest will be held one week early this month, on Sunday, May 20th from 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM, P.D.T. Susan Kitchens of Family Oral History and 20/20 Hindsight will be our host. Normally held the last Sunday of each month, the time has been moved up by one week because of Memorial Day weekend.

See my post of April 25th for a description of Scanfest and details on how you can join. I have so far scanned quite a few dozen documents, family journal pages, and photographs that I otherwise would never had made time to get to. You don't have to be a blogger to join; we always enjoy new "faces."

Hope to see you there!

Friday, May 18, 2007

The 24th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy Is Here!

Jasia of Creative Gene has posted the 24th Carnival of Genealogy on her blog here. The topic is Mothers! in honor of our recent holiday. Fourteen bloggers have posted eighteen stories of the love they share for their mothers. I encourage you to read these poignant articles.

If you've never participated in a Carnival of Genealogy, here's your chance: the topic for the next one will be Who Inherited the Creative Gene in Your Family? Jasia says, "We're all aware of someone on the family tree who was/is 'the creative one' or 'the talented one'... the painter, musician, poet, wood carver, interior designer, writer, knitter, singer, calligrapher, or such. Tell us about their creative pursuits. Let's hear it for the creatives! Please submit your blog article to the next edition of Carnival of Genealogy using our carnival submission form. The deadline for submissions for the next edition will be June 1st. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page."

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Announcements Galore

To continue from my post of yesterday, many major announcements were recently made about a variety of partnerships that will benefit the genealogical world.

Rather than recap what everyone has already posted, I recommend visiting Dick Eastman's blog as well as Chris Dunham's synopsis.

I just finished teaching my Spring Quarter Online Genealogy class for the Community Colleges of Spokane, in which I spent a lot of time during the course having the students pencil in new URLs or change information altogether on the course syllabus and handouts. I explained to my students that the online genealogy world has made so many changes in the last six months that it is difficult for many of us to keep up. Add to it all the changes made this week, and I will definitely be revamping my entire curriculum to reflect the updates. Of course, I plan to print up nothing until right before my next course during Fall Quarter. Who knows what more great changes lie ahead?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

WorldVitalRecords.com Making Three Major Partnership Annoucements

WorldVitalRecords.com will be making three partnership announcements today, Wednesday, May 16th, at 11:00 PM at the National Genealogical Society Conference. The annoucement will be made in the VIP suite (room B20) in the Greater Richmond Convention Center (click here to view a map to the VIP suite). The partnership will be made with FamilySearch, The Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island Foundation, and Quintin Publications.

My note: While I don't know for certain, I suspect that the announcement regarding FamilySearch has to do with what I blogged about on April 27th. I'm looking forward to hearing confirmation of this, as well as discovering what's up with the other two partnerships. As I posted yesterday, we are living in some exciting genealogical times! Stay tuned...

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

More from FamilySearch: Revolutionary War Records

I received another message from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints this morning. We are living in some exciting genealogical times, folks!

Revolutionary War Records Are First Fruits of New Record Services Program

FamilySearch Teams with Service Providers to Expedite Historic Records Access

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH-FamilySearch and Footnote announced today the first project of the new Records Access program-to digitize and index the historic U.S. Revolutionary War Pension records. The Record Access program helps archives and other records custodians publish their collections online. A significant collection of genealogical and historical significance will be accessible online by leveraging the resources of FamilySearch, the world's largest repository of genealogical information, with those of Footnote.

Footnote is one of the new breed of genealogy web sites working with FamilySearch to digitally preserve, index, and publish the world's records in concert with archives around the world. As part of the agreement, FamilySearch will digitize the images currently held in the National Archives Record and Administration's collection (NARA) in Washington, D.C., and Footnote will create the electronic indexes. When complete, the indexes and images will be viewable at Family History Centers and at Footnote.com. Indexes will also be available at FamilySearch.org. Numerous other national and international projects are under development at this time and will be announced as agreements are signed or data is published. To see examples of the Revolutionary War Pension Files, go to www.footnote.com/revolutionary-war.php.

Records custodians worldwide are experiencing growing pressure to provide access to their records online while maintaining control and ownership. At the same time, websites that provide digitizing and publishing services are struggling with the staggering costs," said Wayne Metcalfe, director of Records Services for FamilySearch. "The new Record Access program takes advantage of FamilySearch's resources and creates an economical and effective forum where records custodians and genealogy websites can work together to accomplish their respective objectives," added Metcalfe.

FamilySearch's new Records Access program provides tools and assistance to records custodians who want to publish their collection using state-of-the-art digital cameras, software, and web-based applications. FamilySearch Records Services has representatives worldwide who can work with archivists to determine how FamilySearch and affiliates can help them achieve their digital preservation and publication needs.

About FamilySearch

FamilySearch (historically the Genealogical Society of Utah) is a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FamilySearch maintains the world's largest repository of genealogical resources accessed through FamilySearch.org, the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, and over 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries.

About Footnote, Inc.

Founded in 1997 as iArchives, Inc., Footnote is a subscription-based website that features searchable original documents that provide users with an unaltered view of the events , places and people that shaped the American nation and the world. At Footnote.com all are invited to come to share, discuss, and collaborate on their discoveries with friends, family, and colleagues. For more information, visit www.footnote.com.

Monday, May 14, 2007

FamilySearch Unveils Program to Increase Access to World's Genealogical Records

I received the following message from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints today:

FamilySearch Unveils Program to Increase Access to World's Genealogical Records

Tidal Wave of Online Databases Will Result

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH-FamilySearch announced today its Records Access program to increase public access to massive genealogy collections worldwide. For the first time ever, FamilySearch will provide free services to archives and other records custodians who wish to digitize, index, publish, and preserve their collections. The program expands FamiliySearch's previously announced decision to digitize and provide online access to over 2 million rolls of copyrighted microfilm preserved in the Granite Mountain Records Vault. A key component of the program allows FamilySearch and archives to team with genealogy websites to provide unprecedented access to microfilm in the vault. The combined results ensure a flood of new record indexes and images online at www.FamilySearch.org and affiliated websites.

The plan combines the assets and experience of the Genealogical Society of Utah with the state-of-the-art technology resources of FamilySearch-all under the single brand name of FamilySearch. The Records Access program allows records custodians to publish their data online by themselves or with the assistance of FamilySearch or affiliate genealogical websites and historical societies.

"Records custodians worldwide are experiencing growing pressure to provide access to their records online while maintaining control and ownership. At the same time, websites that provide digitizing and publishing services are struggling with the staggering costs," said Wayne Metcalfe, director of Records Services for FamilySearch. "The new Record Access program takes advantage of FamilySearch's resources and creates an economical and effective forum where record custodians and genealogical websites can work together to accomplish their respective objectives," added Metcalfe.

Working with the records custodians, FamilySearch can leverage its extensive microfilm and growing digital image collection to create digital images for affiliate genealogical websites at a fraction of the cost. The affiliate genealogy organization will create indices of the digital images and then publish the images and the indices on its own website, the archive's website, or a jointly published site. A copy of the index will also be made available for free on the popular FamilySearch website, which will help drive traffic to record images on the custodians' or affiliates' sites. Full, free access to both the indices and images will be provided to family history centers, FamilySearch managed facilities, and the archives. If the record custodian seeks revenue to sustain operations, a small fee may be required to access images outside FamilySearch managed facilities or the archive.

For archives and heritage societies, the new program benefits include:
  • Digitally capture, preserve, and publish records online
  • Increase access to records while maintaining control and ownership
  • Increase patronage and business viability
  • Over 100 years of archival and publishing experience
For genealogy websites, the new program helps them:
  • Benefit from the knowledge and relationships of FamilySearch with the archival community worldwide
  • Significantly lower costs associated with acquiring, preserving, or providing access to data
  • Increase business viability and website traffic
  • Leverage an open platform that develops value-added services around FamilySearch, the world's largest repository of genealogical data.
Under the program, FamilySearch will also provide tools and assistance to records custodians who want to publish parts of their collection using state-of-the-art digital cameras, software, and web-based applications.

The archive can work with an affiliate, historical society, or FamilySearch to index the images or host a website for the records custodian. The index of the record collection will be available for free on FamilySearch, and the records custodian's site will provide access to the images for free or a fee depending on the needs of the archive and those assisting in the digitization.

One example of the tools FamilySearch can provide is FamilySearch Indexing, a web-based application that engages tens of thousands of volunteers worldwide to create searchable indexes linked to the digital images created by FamilySearch. "Through mere word-of-mouth promotions, literally tens of thousands of volunteers are already joining this effort to index the world's records by registering at FamilySearchIndexing.org and donating a few minutes a week online to the effort. Over 100,000 volunteers are expected to enlist in the initiative by year end with the numbers increasing as more projects-particularly international projects-are added," said Paul Nauta, manager of Public Affairs for FamilySearch.

FamilySearch will announce the first collaborative projects of its new Records Access program during the National Genealogical Society (NGS) Convention in Richmond, Virginia, the week of May 14, 2007. Many more project announcements are expected in the following months.

Record custodians and archives that would like additional information regarding the FamilySearch Records Services can contact Wayne Metcalfe (metcalfewj@gensocietyofutah.org) and genealogy web service providers should contact Dave Harding (hardingdp@ldschurch.org).

FamilySearch (historically known as the Genealogical Society of Utah) is a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FamilySearch maintains the world's largest repository of genealogical resources accessed through FamilySearch.org, the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, and over 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Eight Generations of Mothers

Craig has a great post, "The Mothers of Me" on his blog, GeneaBlogie. It inspired me to write the following.

These are my children, Melissa Joy and Matthew Jon MIDKIFF. I'm so proud to be their mother!

I, Miriam Joy (ROBBINS) MIDKIFF, am the first generation of mothers in their family tree.

My mother, Faith Lillian (VALK) ROBBINS, is the second generation of mothers in my children's family tree.

My grandmother, Ruth Lillian (HOEKSTRA) VALK DeVRIES (1919 - 2001), is the third generation.

My great-grandmother, Lillian Fern (STRONG) HOEKSTRA (1897 - 1967), is the fourth generation.

My great-great-grandmother, Mary Lucy (WRIGHT) STRONG (1859 - 1946), is the fifth generation.

I have no more photos, but I can continue back a few more generations:

Ann Elizabeth (ROCKWELL) WRIGHT (1829 - 1860) may have died when her apron caught on fire while cooking.

Lucy (PARTRIDGE) ROCKWELL (1803 - 1893) lived to the ripe old age of nearly 90 years old.

Mehitable (BISHOP) PARTRIDGE (c. 1773 - 1838) is the earliest known ancestor whose mtDNA I share.

Mother's Day Tour of Historic Homes in Spokane

Every Mother's Day, the Spokane Preservation Advocates sponsor a tour of historic Spokane homes with the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture. This year, the theme is Mediterranean-Revival and Mission-Revival homes. The metro (Spokane) blog has a post on this, along with a link to the Spokesman-Review's story.

I've already made plans for today, but I am going to put this on my must-do list for Mother's Day 2008!

New Prompt (Week Eighteen) at AnceStories2

"Your Neighborhood" is topic of the journaling prompts over at my other blog, AnceStories2: Stories of Me for My Descendants. Did you have a favorite hangout, secret hideaway, or haunted house in your neighborhood? I imagine you have favorite memories of running around your neighborhood as a child, something our children don't often have opportunities to do. Leave a record of these memories for your descendants in a journal.

Although my mother was very protective (with good reason), I still had a lot of freedom in roaming my neighborhood as a child...more than my kids have today in theirs. For eight years, we lived in and near the town of Klawock, Alaska (population about 300 in the 1970s) located on Prince of Wales Island in the Southeast Alaskan panhandle. If you click on the link to Klawock, the photo on the page does not actually show the town; it shows the rural area to the north of Klawock, and my childhood home is located on the bay behind the blue tarp in the photo. You can't see the house, it is in the woods to the right of the bay. Although it looks quite small, it's about a half-mile from the tarp to the buildings seen behind it.

Miriam, age 11, in the Alaskan woods on our family's farm

My best friend was Chon [pronounced "shawn"] and she and I and her older brother Shannon, who was in the same grade as I, would ride our bikes from one end of town to the other (about a mile in length). When I use Google Earth or Windows Live Local to "visit" Klawock these days, I can see that all the streets are named now, as well as paved. When I was a kid, the roads were dirt and heavily pot-holed, and none of them were named. They were great for bike rides!

Chon, age 9

Shannon, age 12, in his best Last of the Mohicans pose

Chon, Shannon, and I would hike the heavily-wooded trail up the Klawock River, which emptied into the bay near her home, and often see deer. There are no snakes in Alaska, so that was never a worry, although I was always wary of black bears. Sometimes we would ride over to Crystal Dairy, which was a little convenience store in a mobile home, located halfway between her home and mine. We would buy a Shasta soda or a Popsicle, the kind you could split in two, each piece with its own stick.

A class field trip to the Klawock River.
Miriam (age 5) is standing in the red sweater;
Shannon (age 6) is sitting on the left.

Sometimes we would be invited to play at the home of the chip mill owner when his granddaughters were visiting from Ketchikan. We were not supposed to play on the mountains of wood chips and sawdust that were piled in the mill yard, but we never could resist. I shudder to think how we took our lives into our hands and played and climbed and rolled down and dug into those huge hills of chips and sawdust. It would have been so easy to have them collapse on us and be suffocated!

I never learned to swim until I moved to Washington State. We did not have a pool on the island, and mom wouldn't let me swim with the native kids on the beaches in town because the sewer dumped into the water there. When we moved to our place about a mile out of Klawock, we would sometimes go wading at the waterfront on our property. But there were no nice sandy beaches...just tidal mud flats with seaweed, scurrying small crabs, and the occasional clam squirting out at you as you walked by. It was also too cold to go swimming, and on a really "hot" day (75*F), the water was still pretty chilly for anything more than wading waist deep.

One of my favorite hideouts was a "cubbyhole" that Chon could access from her bedroom. Her room was located next to the stairway on the second floor, and a large cupboard was built from her room into the unused space over the stairs. Louvered hinged doors concealed the cubbyhole, and as it was about three feet from the floor, you had to scramble to climb in. It was a two-story cubby. The floor of the "top story" was even with the bottom of the cupboard doors. A trap door in the floor led to the "bottom story" of the cubbyhole, which was really only big enough for two little girls to squeeze into. Once, Chon's cat, Thomasina, had a litter of kittens there. I still have dreams about being a kid and playing in the cubbyhole!

And last, but not least, I remember we used to think it was so fun to slide down the stairs of her home on our rear ends. It was a long flight of stairs, and as my home was single-story, it was quite the attraction! However, one day we were really stupid and did it over and over again, wearing shorts instead of long pants. We had horrible rug burns on our legs for weeks after that! I'm surprised I don't have scars!

What are the memories of your neighborhood?

Connecting with Cousins on Memorial Day

Three years ago, my husband, children and I traveled across the state of Washington to spend Memorial Day weekend with my in-laws in Vancouver, Washington, which lies just across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon. I always enjoy this cross-state visit, as the longest leg of it--driving along the Columbia River on the Oregon side--follows both the Lewis and Clark trail and the Oregon Trail. I enjoy imaging the explorers and pioneers traveling the same route, and seeing Mt. Hood towering in the distance.

While in Vancouver, we went with Norm's parents and sister to Park Hill Cemetery in Vancouver, to visit and photograph the MIDKIFF, TOLLIVER, DAVES (step-ancestor), LUKE, and CHAPLIN graves. The following year, 2005, we made the same trip, and I insisted that we were going to travel down to the Willamette Valley to visit and photograph the grave of one of Norm's great-great-grandmothers, Rebecca Catherine (SNOOK) WESTABY, buried in Salem, as well as the graves of my great-great-grandparents, Charles Frisbe STRONG and his wife, Mary Lucy WRIGHT. Charles and Mary are two of only four of my ancestors buried west of the Mississippi River, and the other two are nowhere near my home! My paternal grandfather, Robert Lewis ROBBINS is buried at Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio, Texas, and a 4th-great-grandmother, Lura Ann (JACKSON) PECK CRAPSEY, is apparently buried in St. Paul, Minnesota. So to actually be able to be within a few hours of an ancestor's grave is a big deal to me, and I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity.

When we arrived at Belle Passi Cemetery in Woodburn, Marion Co., Oregon, where Charles and Mary are buried, we found that the graves had already been cleaned and decorated. They were surrounded by other graves, obviously of the family of their daughter, Ethel Melissa (STRONG) HASTIE, who is buried there along with her husband, the Rev. Ezbon Roy HASTIE. I remember visiting the widowed Aunt Ethel in 1979, when we first moved to Washington State, and remembered meeting her son.

We were rather rushed on that visit, and so I didn't have time to try to find out how to contact the family. But on the way home, I had a couple of ideas that could work for you to help you connect with cousins on Memorial Day. Obviously, I could have looked up the Hastie family in the phone book in Woodburn, or on Dex Knows when I got home. But what if you are looking for descendants of an ancestor, yet you don't know your cousins' surnames?

First off, you need to know where your ancestor is buried. If their grave is in your hometown or nearby, you're in luck. If you are like myself and live far from your ancestral cemeteries, it's important to obtain death certificates and/or obituaries of your ancestors to determine their final resting places. I use Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness quite frequently to get obituaries of ancestors. They're easier and less expensive to access than death certificates. Once I have the name of a cemetery in hand, I use Find A Grave, Interment.net, Dex Knows, or Cemetery Junction to find an address and telephone number (check out Cyndi's List of Cemeteries as well).

My next step is to cold call the cemetery office during local business hours. I have had so much luck with this! You would be amazed at how helpful cemetery employees are! From phone interviews I have discovered the names of other ancestors and relatives buried in the same cemetery, the names of the funeral homes that provided services (I'll post more about this in the future), the names and addresses of the lot owners (which may be obsolete, but may provide relatives' names). I always try to obtain the lot number of the grave(s) I am interested in, and sometimes the employee will mail me a cemetery map. I ask the cemetery employee if it's okay to send them an info packet that they could place on my ancestor's grave (see following paragraph). In fact, I have been so successful in this type of research, that I've created a form that I use to help me remember all the questions I want to ask when I call.

The fourth step is to write a letter explaining that I am a descendant of the ancestor buried in that cemetery, and that I am doing genealogical research on the family. I leave contact information: a phone number, mailing address and e-mail address. This letter is folded and sealed in a zip-lock bag and then placed in an envelope which is addressed either to the cemetery office or to a volunteer in the area that I've contacted through the local genealogical society or Random Acts. The cemetery employee or the volunteer can then place the info packet (my letter in a zip-lock bag) on the grave, hopefully weighted with a small rock or wedged into a crevice of the headstone, so it won't blow away. If this is done about a week before Memorial Day weekend, there's a chance that I could connect with another descendant of that ancestor who has come to the cemetery to clean and decorate the grave! If the cemetery doesn't allow an info packet left on the grave itself, ask if your letter could be placed in your ancestor's file at the office.

So what's the purpose of this? To hopefully connect with other relatives of a common ancestor and exchange information...photos, documents, stories, etc. It's likely that the two of you have missing information that the other may be seeking. Perhaps you'll break down a brick wall! Memorial Day weekend is only two weeks away, so I hope you'll take advantage of this tip. Good luck to you!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Ancestors in the 1930 U.S. Federal Census - Part 8

April 1st was Census Day for the 1930 U.S. Federal Census. In honor of that census day, throughout the month of April I posted lists of my known direct ancestors and where they were residing during that census. I am continuing this series into the month of May. I'll also list who's missing; for us family historians, missing individuals on census records can be the most frustrating and intriguing challenges of genealogy!

In Part 3 of this series, I posted information about one of my paternal great-grandfathers, Howard Merkel YORK, who was living with his father and step-mother when they were enumerated in the 1930 U.S. Federal Census. In this post, I will be focusing on Howard's mother and step-father, Mary E. "Mae" McARTHUR and Evan J. "Dick" RANDELL, and their sons, Howard's half-brothers.

On April 11th, 1930, this household was enumerated at 1004 South Seventh Street in Ward 3 of St. Clair, St. Clair Co., Michigan (E.D. 48, Sheet 9A). The household consisted of:
  • Evan J. RANDELL, head, owner of a home worth $3000 [$34,175.11 in today's money], radio in the home, does not live on a farm, male, white, age 62, married, age at first marriage: 36 [incorrect; this was his age when he married Mary, his second wife; he was 23 when he married his first wife, Annie O. ANTEN], not in school, able to read and write, born in Michigan, father born in New York, mother born in Michigan [other census records indicate she was born in New York], English-speaking, occupied as a "janiter" at a salt works who earned wages (vs. a salary), employed, not a veteran
  • Mary E. RANDELL, wife, female, white, age 55, married, age at first marriage: 29 [incorrect; this was her age when she married Evan, her second husband; she was 18 when she married James L. YORK], not in school, able to read and write, born in Michigan, father born in Canada and an English-speaker, mother born in New York [incorrect - she was born in Ingham Co., Michigan], English-speaking, occupation: none
  • Clare M. RANDELL, son, male, white, age 23, single, not in school, able to read and write, born in Michigan, both parents born in Michigan, English-speaking, watchman for a passenger bus [company] who earned wages, unemployed (line number 36 on Unemployment Schedule), not a veteran
  • Wayne E. RANDELL, son, male, white, age 21, single, not in school, age to read and write, born in Michigan, both parents born in Michigan, English-speaking, shaper for a salt works who earned wages, employed, not a veteran

I hadn't noticed the Unemployment Schedule reference before, so I pulled out my copy of Your Guide to the Federal Census: for genealogists, researchers, and family historians by Kathleen W. Hinckley (2002, Betterway Books - now Family Tree Books). Unfortunately, I could not find any information listed. I Googled it, and came across a page with some FAQs on the National Archives site, which said those schedules no longer exist.

I do have some information about Evan/Dick's first marriage. What I hadn't thought to look for are possible children of that marriage, and whether or not he divorced his first wife or she died before he married Mary/Mae. I do know from interviewing relatives who knew her well that Dick was the love of Mae's life, and that she married him two months after her divorce from James, who was the plaintiff in their case. In their divorce, James received custody of their two boys, Ernest and Howard, and Mae had custody of Hazel, their daughter. The York family lived in a corner of Atlas Twp., Genesee Co., Michigan, which was just a few miles from the Randell home in Hadley Twp., Lapeer Co., Michigan. I have often wondered if Mae and Dick met and fell in love while she was still married to James. I have not had much success in obtaining the Yorks' actual divorce record, and although it's on my "to-do" list, I am going to have to prioritize that!

(Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

More New Posts from My Old Blog!

I just finished copying 18 posts from my old blog site onto this one. They range from January 16, 2006 through June 18, 2006. You can access them by going to my Blog Archive in the right-hand menu on this page.

Now all of the posts from my old blog have been copied to this site...finally! They are searchable using the search box in the top left corner of this page or by clicking on the Labels drop-down menu box in the right-hand menu of this page.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Spokane Man Last Living Canadian WWI Veteran

From the Associated Press:
TORONTO, CANADA -- One of the last two Canadian veterans of World War One has died, leaving a man in Spokane, Washington, as Canada's last known surviving veteran of the war.

Dwight Wilson died today in Toronto at age 106.

His death leaves 106-year-old John Babcock of Spokane as the lone remaining Canadian veteran.

Read more here.

Genealogy Conference - Sandpoint, Idaho

I'm very excited to announce my first genealogy conference as the sole presenter, which will be held Saturday, June 23, 2007 at the East Bonner County Library District in Sandpoint, Idaho from 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM. Following will be an open forum form 1:00 - 4:00 PM. It is co-sponsored by the library district and the Bonner County Genealogical Society. The conference is especially targeted to those in the community who are new to genealogy, but there are also many in the society who are seasoned researchers. I will giving three presentations:
  • Local Research Resources You Can't Afford to Ignore
  • Getting It Together: Organizing Your Files
  • Goals & Strategies: Organizing Your Research
The last presentation will be in an interactive workshop-style, where attendees can bring information on their brick wall ancestors to set goals and discuss strategies for breaking through to the next generation.

Sandpoint is a beautiful community on the edge of one of the deepest lakes in the world, Lake Pend Orielle (pond duh RAY). I look forward to meeting the library staff and members of the BCGS, and hope that together we can inspire new researchers with the joys of genealogy!

To register for the conference, please contact either the East Bonner County Library or the Bonner County Genealogical Society .

Monday, May 07, 2007

Ancestry.com Images Removed From My Blog

After reading that Ancestry.com has "requested" that Michael John Neill remove images of famous people enumerated in the censuses from his blog, I decided I had better do likewise. Last month I started a series of posts entitled "Ancestors in the 1930 U.S. Federal Census," with snippets of images of my direct ancestors, along with human interest-type information that I thought would be fun for my readers to know. I also included some of the difficulties I had come up against in searching for these ancestors in that census. I'll continue to keep these posts up and I hope to complete the series, but it will be without the images, I'm afraid. I can find them at HeritageQuest Online, but somehow they download differently than Ancestry.com's (haven't figured it out, yet!), and I'm not sure if I'll be violating their terms of use if I use HQ's images on my blog.

This recent issue, along with The Generations Network's insistence that FreeOnAncestry.com be removed, has not endeared this corporation to my heart lately, nor to many other genealogists as well. I repeatedly see comments from other genea-bloggers such as "shooting themselves in the foot" or "cutting off their nose to spite their face." I wrote quite some time ago about how angry patrons were when the "new, improved" site came out and was such a bear to navigate...even though there was no outcry for an "improvement" before the change! Is anyone listening out there?

Sunday, May 06, 2007

New Prompt (Week Seventeen) at AnceStories2

I've just posted the newest journal prompts, titled "Your Pets" over at my other blog, AnceStories: Stories of Me for My Descendants.

My first pet was actually my dad's first baby, born before he and Mom were married: a white-and-apricot toy poodle, St. Charity Robbins. "Charity" was one of the first words I said, according to what Mom wrote in my baby book, although it came out as "Tare-tee." I also used to say "ro-ro," which meant "roll over," a command Dad taught her. Charity lived to the ripe old age of 13 or so, when Dad put her to sleep. She had once fallen out the window of a moving car and had epileptic seizures after that. She was nearly blind with cataracts and deaf, and consequently, startled easily and snapped frequently at family members. My parents have a portrait of Charity with my three-year-old self taken by a family friend who had a professional camera. I think I'll send them an e-mail and ask to scan it...it would make a nice addition to my journal.

Tessa is our shorthair brown-and-black tabby who rules the Midkiff household these days. Her favorite thing is to snuggle on my lap when I first wake up and sit down at the computer to read my favorite genealogy blogs. She's a bit of a spitfire, but it's during that cuddle time that I'm allowed to rub her tummy and she doesn't mind a bit, purring deep in her throat and kneading my lap with her feet.

Have you written about your favorite pets for your descendants? Join me!

Research Log - TUINSTRA and VALK obituaries

In the last two weeks, I have received a stack of obituaries, thanks to two tireless volunteers. The first is Donna Rogers, whose husband is a relative of a step-ancestor, Jitske "Jessie" (TYSMA) DeGROOT TUINSTRA. She has sent me a number of TUINSTRA obituaries, including all the ones available in the Grand Rapids, Michigan newspapers for the brothers and sisters-in-law of my great-grandmother, Agnes (TUINSTRA) VALK - a total of eleven obituaries! An interesting coincidence occurred when she happened to sit across from a gentleman in the Grand Rapids Public Library who was researching city directories...turns out he was my uncle who was working on some DeVRIES-related information to send to me!

Evelyn Ehlert, a Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness volunteer, sent me copies of obituaries of my step-ancestor, Ida Eva (LAMBRECHT) SCHADLER VALK and Elmer MEYERING, first husband of my grand-aunt Bertha Wilma (VALK) MEYERING KRAMER.

These will keep me busy analyzing and entering into my database for quite a while!

Free Genealogy Class in Spokane Valley

My friend Pat Gorman Ewers of the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society will be presenting a FREE four-week class series on genealogy at the Spokane Valley Library, 12004 E. Main Avenue, every Monday in June at 7 PM. The topics are: Getting Started, Getting Organized; Sources and Digging for Facts; Networking; and Research Techniques. You can attend as many or a few classes that interest you. To register, contact Sherry Prentice at (509) 893-8400.

The Spokane County Library District offers in-building access to Ancestry.com (Library Edition subscription), as well as HeritageQuest Online and ProQuest Direct to remote users. One must be a patron of the library district to use these services, but anyone can attend Pat's classes. Sign up today!

Report on April Scanfest

Last Sunday, I hosted the April edition of Scanfest. It was a small group that met and we were not all online at the same time; nonetheless, we enjoyed ourselves as always, and I for one was able to get a lot of materials scanned. Joining me were Amy, Lee, Jasia, the footnoteMaven, and my daughter, Missy. I scanned some photographs my sister-in-law had recently shared with me, along with the listing of my ancestor Jan Martens HOEKSTRA in the Musekgon County, Michigan Probate Records Index, as well as many materials of the DeVRIES family that my uncle recently sent to me. These items can be seen on my Picasa Web Albums account in the following albums: Collins Photographs, Tolliver Photographs, Midkiff Photographs, Hoekstra Documents, and DeVries Documents.

The May edition of Scanfest will be hosted by Susan, and will be held Sunday, May 20th, from 11 AM to 2 PM, Pacific Daylight Time. This is not our regular meeting time, which is normally the last Sunday of each month. It has been changed to an earlier day due to Memorial Day weekend. Please read the other posts on Scanfest to find out how to join. You don't need to be a blogger; we always enjoy new people and it's a great way to get to know each other. Stay tuned to Susan's blogs, Family Oral History and 20/20 Hindsight for more information.