Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The 77th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy: Disasters

Welcome to the 77th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy!

poster courtesy of the footnoteMaven

As human beings, our very existence is proof of the survival skills, faith, or just plain luck our ancestors possessed in order to persevere through millenia of disasters: epidemics, wars, pestilences, famines, accidents, and acts of nature. As I read through these 30 posts, I was constantly amazed: amazed at what mankind has endured over time, and amazed at the photographs, newspaper articles, research, and great writing that went into these articles! Again and again, I found personal or ancestral connections with these stories, and I hope you'll pardon the many references I make to my own family history in this post. I'm sure you'll have similar experiences as you read this fabulous, disastrous collection of human survival and endurance!

Man vs. Earth
“An earthquake achieves what the law promises but does not in practice maintain - the equality of all men.” --Ignazio Silon

In this case, it was the equality of women: Melody Lassalle introduces "The Remarkable Jones Women" on The Research Journal. "My Great Grandmother and her siblings survived the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire. Only one had a home to go to when it was over. They survived the disaster and the refuge camps. Then they rebuilt their lives."

Randy Seaver's wife's ancestors also survived the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire. In "18 April 1906 - San Francisco - They Were There! " at Genea-Musings, Randy explains, "Some people survive a disaster, some don't. It's probably just luck that determines these things. My wife's grandmother surivived the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and lived to tell about it. And we have a picture that shows the family shortly afterwards. " You'll have to read his follow-up posts (here and here) for more interesting details about the family home!

What could be more fitting in this Carnival than to hear how the California Genealogical Society survived--and provided leadership in the aftermath of--the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire? Kathryn Doyle of the California Genealogical Society and Library Blog explains in "CGS and the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire." She states, "The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire played a defining role in the history of the California Genealogical Society that continues to this day."

Man vs. Wind
“They have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.” Hosea 8:7

Midge Frazell's post, "Hurricane Books," on Granite in My Blood caught my eye since earlier this year I had listened to an audio version of The Great Hurricane on my MP3 player. "Native Rhode Islands still talk about the Hurricanes of 1938 and 1954 as if they were yesterday. Find out what it is like to grow up hearing the stories of death, destruction and survival."

In "COG 77th Edition Disasters: Cyclone of 1912," Kay Bauman of Kay B's Place shares how a disastrous cyclone hit Hennessey, Oklahoma. Her great-great-grandmother most likely witnessed the event, and Kay has the photos to illustrate it!

John Newmark of TransylvanianDutch published "This Post is a DISASTER!" in which he ponders the question, "In 1896 and 1927, were my ancestors in the path of a cyclone and a tornado?" Read more to discover the answer!

For some family historians, they need to go back quite a ways in history to find an ancestral disaster. In "How Not to Survive a Hurricane," Charles Hansen of Mikkel's Hus relates, "I almost forgot this one, and it took a while to figure out who survived a disaster."

In "Disasters: Not Today," by Caroline Pointer of Family Stories, she compares the Galveston Hurricane of 1900 to what her family experienced when Hurricane Ike hit in 2008. She concludes with: "One thing that can be said about the Gulf Coast storms - whether it be 1900 or 2008 - Islanders of Galveston [and the people of the surrounding areas] continue to raise their hand in the air, as if to say to Mother Nature, 'You didn't get the best of me. Not Today.'"

The footnoteMaven shares a personal story from her childhood, which although titled, "Auntie Em, Auntie Em!" reminded me more of Twister than The Wizard of Oz. And just like any good plot, there's always the edge-of-your-seat thrill that occurs in the aftermath of the storm...a carload of little children parked on a hill with no brakes! You'll have chewed your fingernails to the quick by the end of this true-life-is-stranger-than-fiction tale!

Man vs. Fire
"And where two raging fires meet together, they do consume the thing that feeds their fury."
-- William Shakespeare

In the "Buchanan Fire of 1862," Apple of Apple's Tree relates how "the Buchanan, Michigan fire of 1862 burned half of the downtown business and a dwelling and a barn. The Carlisle family recounts the disaster in a series of letters."

"Fire!" is the story that was handed down both orally and in written form in the Family History Book of the maternal line of Miriam Robbins Midkiff of AnceStories: The Stories of My Ancestors. While no newspaper articles could be found online to provide further details, a photograph illustrates life after the fire. Hmm...what photos, documents, or family Bibles went up in smoke that day?

Man vs. Water
“If you know someone who tries to drown their sorrows, you might tell them sorrows know how to swim.” --Anonymous

In "A Story that Needs to be Told," Jewelgirl of Searching for Family Branches tells us about a "Tall Tale or Real Wartime Story and The Document That Revealed The Truth." She starts out with an intriguing question: How does a person tell of a story that happened long ago that no one wants to remember?

Sue Edminster of Echo Hill Ancestors Weblog relates a tale of an event that my husband retells nearly every time we cross the I-5 bridge from Portland, Oregon into Vancouver, Washington while visiting my in-laws. In "The 1948 Flood," we hear from personal diary accounts how the city of Vanport, Washington was destroyed, never to be rebuilt again.

Who tires of a good Titanic story? Not I, and I'm sure not many of the COG readers! Sheri Fenley of The Educated Genealogist has yet another great one (she's written about this sinking previously on her blog) for us in "The Titanic: A Gugenheim Tragedy." It's another family link to the Titanic for her sister-in-law's family - The Guggenheim family.

It was hard to know whether to categorize this disaster as a water- or war-related one: Lucie LeBlance Consentino of Acadian Ancestral Home posted the tragic "One thousand Acadians lost at sea in 1758." The witnesses to this event must have been plagued with nightmares for the rest of their lives.

Lee Drew of Lineage Keeper relates an amazingly detailed story of courage and cowardice in "Shipwrecked In The South Pacific – 3 Oct 1855." But wait--there's more! The second half of the story is at: http://lineagekeeper.blogspot.com/2009/05/shipwrecked-in-south-pacific-4-oct-1855.html.

In "COG 77th Edition Disasters - Lightning Creek 1932," Donna Brown of DonnaB's Weblog explains how "a flood in Oklahoma City ruined my grandmother's possessions, so we have no access to photographs, letters, postcards or the family Bible." In other words, disasters often affect the future by destroying evidence of the past.

Man vs. The Elements
Whether the weather be fine,
Whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold,
Whether the weather be hot,
We'll weather the weather,
Whatever the whether,
Whether we like it or not.

I first heard about The Year Without Summer when I tried to find vital records for a son of my ancsestors Daniel and Mary Zwears. I learned that the Vermont town where he was born had closed up and become a ghost town, its records lost. Becky Wiseman of kinexxions shares her own ancestral tale of Vermonters in Eighteen Hundred and Froze to Death in "The Year Without Summer." She ponders, "It is possible that an event - horrific and deadly to so many - that happened half a world away impacted some of my ancestors and lead to their migration from Vermont to Ohio. And, if they hadn't gone to Ohio, would I be here? "

Man vs. Man
"Some of you young men think that war is all glamor and glory, but let me tell you, boys, it is all hell!" --William Tecumseh Sherman

Cyndi Beane Henry of Mountain Genealogists posted "They Survived the Biggest Change in America." She explains, "Although I really couldn't uncover a true disaster, as in nature, I did have this tale from the American Civil War."

For Leah Kleylein of Random Notes, a disaster became all too personal. In "Random Notes: COG 77 - The Shooting at Salt Lake City Family History Library," she tells how one very close ancestor was affected.

In "Cyprian Steven's Letter to the Governor and Council," Bill West of West in New England posts a transcription of a letter of one of his ancestors during one of the Indian Wars during the American Colonial period. Bill says, "This is something I posted earlier this year but if things had turned out badly in this incident, I wouldn't be sitting here typing this! Which, I guess, qualifies it as a near disaster!"

Donna Pointkowski of What's Past is Prologue writes about "The Battle of Pfaffenhoffen." She "discovered that her Bavarian ancestors lived through many disasters, include a little-known battle that took place right in the town. Although the 'home team' lost badly, the defeat took the country out of what was really the first 'world' war - the War of Austrian Succession."

Man vs. Machine
From the industrial age forward, our ancestors survived against or succumbed from the mechanical inventions meant to help, not harm, them.

Dorene from Ohio posted "Leroy Parker Survived Auto Accident in 1914" on her blog, the Graveyard Rabbit of Sandusky Bay. "While his father and two other men also lost their lives in a tragic automobile accident in Ohio in 1914, Leroy Parker survived."

In "77th Edition Carnival of Genealogy--Disasters," Linda Hughes Hiser of Flipside shares how her maternal great grandfather survived a horrific train accident. Despite his disability, he continued to work for the railroad...amazing!

Brett Payne of The South Derbyshire Graveyard Rabbit writes about a horrible mining accident in "Dreadful Calamity at Church Gresley." He says, "...my entry for the carnival concerns a disaster which affected a member of my extended family, but he wasn't an ancestor and, sadly, didn't live through it."

In "An Unfortunate 'Meeting' at the Top of the Mountain," by Diana Ritchie of Random Relatives we hear that "a head-on collision on a mountain in Colorado provides the setting for my entry into the 77th COG." Diana discovered this disaster while scanning photos from her grandfather's photo album, which she shares in her post.

Man vs. Disease
"Epidemics have often been more influential than statesmen and soldiers in shaping the course of political history, and diseases may also color the moods of civilizations." --Anonymous

Janet Iles of Janet the Researcher writes a post that is near to my heart. "Spanish Flu, Did it affect my ancestors? - Carnival of Genealogy" investigates whether this deadly pandemic influenced her family history. I'll let you read Janet's post to find the answer (if asked that same question, my own answer would be a resounding, "Yes!").

Double Trouble
Sometimes when calamity falls, it strikes more than once. In these sad tales, we see how tragedy occurred in pairs, in a long-time struggle, or how a family endured several disasters over the generations.

Earline Hines Bradt shares "COG 77 - God's Wrath" from her blog, Ancestral Notes. "When her brother was killed, the tornado seemed to my mom at nine years of age to be God's justice." This story of tragedy and guilt will tug at your heart.

War. Famine. Struggle. Lorine McGinnis Schulze of Olive Tree Genealogy Blog details in "A Family Abandoned in the Wilderness" how "in 1779 my 5th great grandmother and her 8 small children were taken from their home at North River, New York by American patriots, marched 80 miles north into the forest and left to die. This is the story of their survival."

In "Hard Days, Sad Times," Jasia of Creative Gene shares two major disasters. "Surviving blizzards is hard, grieving the loss of a loved one is sad. These are the disasters that have befallen my family. "


My thanks to Jasia for letting me host this 77th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy. I've come away with a great deal of appreciation for the work done by Jasia, her guest hosts, and the hosts of the many other carnivals so that we can enjoy such quality publications. I've also been endowed with gratitude to my ancestors for their faith and survival skills which I can only hope I've inherited. But thank goodness this disastrous carnival has come to a conclusion! The next one will be a bit more on the lighter side of life!

Call for Submissions! The topic of the 78th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy will be: Pony Pictures! This is your chance to show off those pony pictures in your family album. Did you ride your first pony at the state fair or on a farm? Did you have to sit on the back and hold on to your older brother? Was your pony real or a rocking horse? Got any pictures of other family members on ponies? Show us the cowboys and cowgirls in your family and tell us the stories to go along with them. Giddyup pony! The deadline for submissions is August 15.

Submit your blog article to the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy using the carnival submission form. Please use a descriptive phrase in the title of any articles you plan to submit and/or write a brief description/introduction to your articles in the "comment" box of the blog carnival submission form. This will give readers an idea of what you've written about and hopefully interest them in clicking on your link.

Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.


Lucie LeBlanc Consentino said...

Hi Miriam,

Thank you for a great carnival. All of the submissions are interesting and some very touching.

Lucie LeBlanc Consentino

Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...

Great edition Miriam! Thanks for hosting.

Donna said...


Wow - what a collection. It sounds odd to say "I can't wait to read" all about the disasters, but they all sound so interesting. I guess we can resist reading about tragedy - and survival. I love your intro to each of man's opponents! Thanks for putting it together. Jasia has taught you well. ;-)

What's Past is Prologue

Kathryn Doyle said...

Outstanding presentation! You obviously took great care and much time with the carnival. Thank you for hosting. I love how you organized the articles and introduced them with a fitting quotation. Well done!

Thomas MacEntee said...


What a great presentation - I love the format you used and I know, having run carnivals, that it isn't easy to organize entries.

Thomas MacEntee
Destination: Austin Family

footnoteMaven said...

Brilliant! The presentation is as interesting as the submissions.

What a tremendous amount of work this was! I'm off to share my morning tea with the COG.

Thank you, Miriam.


Bill West said...

Great job, Miriam! Your intros to each section are interesting and spot on!

I'm busy today getting ready for my trip but I'll have some great reading to look forward to tonight!

Jasia said...

Wonderful, wonderful job Miriam! I'm amazed at how many submissions you had. I guess many of our ancestors had to face adversity at one time or another. This was obviously a popular topic.

Thanks again for hosting the COG. You did such a good job I think you should host again next year ;-)

Becky Wiseman said...

Wow, having hosted the COG several times myself, I know that you sure put a lot of work into the introductions. Great Job! It's a wonderful edition.

Brett Payne said...

Thank you Miriam, for a thoughtfully collated and presented series of Disaster articles. I look forwarded to spending some considerable time reading them, and appreciate how much work you've put into making it easier for us.

Regards and best wishes, Brett

Sheri Fenley said...

Wow Miriam, the previous 10 comments pretty much say it all about the mahvalous job you did with COG.

Thank you for making each and every one of the submissions special!

Sheri Fenley
Stockton, California

Miriam Robbins said...

Thank you so much, everyone! It sure was a lot of fun to do this.

Leah Kleylein said...

Wow, there were a lot of entries for this one! I like how you organized it, thanks for all the hard work!


You are amazing and I will try to read everyone of these interesting
genealogy stories! Thanks for

Disaster Preparation said...

Very interesting read. Thanks for posting!

Miriam Robbins said...

Thank you for dropping by, Disaster Preparation!