13 October 2016


Recently I started handwriting family stories with the idea that I will be putting these together with documents and sending them out to some of the newer members of the family.  These people were born way too late to have ever met the people I did, such as my grandmother who is their great great grandmother.  I think how different it might have been if I had ever received such information about my own great great grandmother and had more of a sense about her!

I try my best to tell the stories with research providing the proven information, but also will add the ones that are interesting and probably true, but with the hope that my recipients will someday wish to do some research - perhaps in other countries - to prove these stories true - or to add to them.

As I handwrite, I'm surprising myself with how much I remember, and I'm also imagining how different people might take what they read.  I know that once the information is in their hands, they may not even be interested, or they might put it aside until one day, maybe a bad day, they will get around to a reread and get some inspiration.  Maybe some of them will think, "Who is she anyway? - oh her!" and some of them might think, "Why look back?  Just look to the future."

My grandmother, their Great Great grandmother, actually used to say that very thing!  She taught her children that there was no use in looking back because you couldn't change the past.

One of the reasons I want to do this is that I recently saw some pictures of two of these children, who would be her Great Great grandchildren, and I instantly saw that they LOOKED like, not their parents, not their grandparents, but their Great Great grandparents!  (And a third looks like my mother's sister!)

One of them has the distinctive nose that was said to have "run in the family" on Great Great Grandma's side, and I'm awed by the mysteriousness of DNA, genetics, how that all works.
I don't know if I'll ever meet this person to see him with the nose in person, but I want to assure him it is a family trait.  As this seems to be a family trait not seen in other descendants, it was last seen on someone born in the 19th century!  How I hope his 19th century nose will take him wisely into the 21st!

Another person has the rest of her family towering over her and calls herself "the peanut."  I want to tell her about her Great Great Grandmother who was barely five feet tall.

I also, because I don't think anyone else has, tell them about what their GG Grandparent's house looked like and smelled like, from the horribly hard and uncomfortable horse-hair filled sofa in the living room, to the goldfish in a bowl in the window, who happened to, more than once, freeze over the winter, and reanimate in the thaw! 

C 2016  All Rights Reserved

10 October 2016


Part of being a genealogist is having respect for other people's family' stuff. Although I will be contacting the church directly, I need some help to find Maureen O'Toole, whose parents were Ollie and Millie O' Toole,  and who lived in North Hollywood/ Valley Village and may have been members of the parish.  If these people are familiar to you, please leave me a COMMENT, along with your e-mail address (preferred) or phone number, which I will not publish on the Internet but use to contact you.

I was walking my dog early Saturday morning when I saw a spill of cards under a tree.  There was also a slippery plastic laundry type bag nearby, as if maybe someone didn't know they had lost the cards they were carrying in the bag.  This was not near a garbage bin.  I got closer and noticed that the cards and letters were not wet from the sprinklers, nor dirty or smelly, though clearly near a well used path. "It must have been recently that they were lost," I thought!  No one was around, so I decided that before they could get wet, dirty, or smelly, to take this all home, look at it, and see if I could determine the rightful owner!

The genealogy detective in me was enthralled as I saw that most of the stack were MOTHERS DAY CARDS, with Maureen's profuse love for her mom expressed in so very many handwritten notes inside.  There were envelopes without corresponding cards in them, from Rossmore, California, Sparta, New Jersey,  La Crescenta, California (the Flynns) and Hopewell, Virginia, as well as older yellowed correspondence from a male writer based in Saint Louis, which were all about theatrical events, as well as a large envelope that had once contained a will.  I noticed an envelope from Saint Charles Church and an address in No Ho, but I suspect that the O'Toole family has not lived at the address since 2005, the last postmark in the collection. 

THERE IS A 25th Anniversary card from Ollie to Millie.  From this, I know that they married on June 23, 1937 and the card is from 1962.  At the time, either Ollie or Millie's own mother was still alive as she sent a card.  Thus I believe that Ollie and Millie, who were probably born 1917 or before, have likely passed away and that the person I'm looking for is their loving daughter Maureen or a close relative, such as a grandchild, niece, or nephew.

Another clue is a Christmas card to "Aunt Millie" from Jerry, Randy, Jeffery, and Julia Rose.  Either Millie or Maureen were sometimes called "Mo."

There are some cards handmade by Maureen in the pile, an old photo of a young man. That white card below is Ollie's Silver Wedding Anniversary card to Millie and the card with the orange stone on it is a handmade Silver Wedding card from Maureen to her parents.

UPDATE OCTOBER 13th.  Progress.  A short letter has been delivered to the church.
But more amazing than that is that when I went to drop off the letter, I picked up a bulletin, and flipping through it, saw that there was a Mass being said for a Maureen O'Toole, on October 9th!  So I asked the desk clerk and confirmed she had died.  So on the Internet I found an OBIT with a picture of Maureen, and some other information.  Ollie was a character actor who had worked in cowboy films.  Maureen had an acting credit too.  And there was a funeral Mass for her on August 31st, 2016, plus mortuary information.  She had died at 73! I called the mortuary and will be sending a letter they may pass on.  Between the church and the mortuary, I feel certain that we will locate SOMEONE who may be a close family member, eventually, if they are responsive.  Besides a feeling of synchronicity that in dropping off the letter I thought to pickup and read the bulletin this morning yet another synchronicity occurred.  I waited outside a library for it to open, and got into a conversation with a man sitting on the bench next to me.  So though this library is miles from the other locations, when I told him about being out with my dog so early that it wasn't quite light out yet, and being attracted by the envelopes, he said, "I was riding my bike and saw those a few days ago, wondered what they were, but didn't stop!"
especially Mother's Day cards, with her great love for her mom expressed in handwritten messages on large, beautiful cards.

I can just imagine Maureen shopping for the perfect card to send!



ACTOR OLLIE O'TOOLE on IMDB (the movie database)  HER DAD WAS BORN IN PITTSBURGH and he actually worked as a character actor in more films than on this list.

05 October 2016


Scientists have managed to determine what Otsi's voice would sound like, and you can link to a recording of the English vowels A, E, I, O, and U.  Let's just say you probably know someone who sounds like this, if you don't sound like this yourself!


EXCERPT: Computer simulation was conducted by a team under the leadership of Rolando Fustos from the hospital of Bolzano. Scientists have tried to recreate the voice of the ice man etti. His frozen mummy was discovered in 1991 in Attansic the Alps at an altitude of 3200 meters. The analysis showed that he was killed about 5300 years ago in a fight with multiple opponents.
The mummy of ETSI is considered the oldest found in Europe. Was previously reconstructed his clothes. Now, 3D technology has helped to synthesize the voice. The reconstruction was carried out based on the CT data of the mummy. Was created a three-dimensional model of the vocal tract including the ligaments and the hyoid bone. The reconstruction showed that the ancient people communicated at a frequency between 100 Hz and 150 Hz, typical for modern people.

If you have missed the story of the ICE MAN, the oldest intact human body ever found, a man murdered a thousand years before the pyramids, you may want to watch the documentary here:

And science has recreated how this man looked and dressed from the burial.  (Just like your neighbor taking out the trash for pickup!)
Il Museo Archeologico dell'Alto Adige

02 October 2016


As you know, this BlogSpot is not owned, operated, or related to the ANCESTRY.COM databases, and though I do use those databases, I also use others, as well as microfilms, books, and much else.

I do check to see what is new or updated on ANCESTRY.COM every few months, even if I'm not working on a genealogy research project in which I would use those databases.  I feel that I should always be current with knowledge of resources, just in case.
I recently discovered one called  PENNSYLVANIA PRISON, REFORMATORY, and WORKHOUSE RECORDS 1829-1971.  To me the 1971 is MUCH TOO RECENT TO BE PUBLISHED as it might OUT PEOPLE WHO ARE ALIVE. 

I'm concerned about the lack of discrimination and the use of these databases by both Ancestry and the State of Pennsylvania... but I'll have to check and see if such records have always been, like marriage and divorce records, open to the public in Pennsylvania.  In California arrest records are, but I'm not aware of the public easily learning about sentences, and other details.

At this point I'm very concerned about the use of genealogy databases by criminals, in this era in which other countries are hacking our e-mails, web sites, even voters registrations in order to ID THEFT.  Identity theft is not just about ruining a person's credit and financial reputation, but in ASSUMING IDENTITIES.
Criminals doing this targeted a senior citizen couple in my neighborhood, calling them with knowledge of their children's names and even a grandchild's name.  They had their address and phone number - easy enough.  They claimed that they were calling from Mexico, with a made up story about how their beloved grandson had gone there for a wedding, drank too much, acted crazy, and was in a Mexican prison.  For a sum of $40,000 (their life savings) he could be bailed out of jail and returned to the United States and no one need to know.  His young life would not need to be ruined with an arrest record.  So much did the criminals know about this family that the seniors wired the money to Mexico, only to learn their grandson had never left the United States and was alive and well (and not at all criminal) at his college...

Never the less I did look at the database, which names people, the reason why they were arrested, the time or fine they were sentenced to, their prison job, and any amount of money they had earned while in the prison, reformatory (reform school - indicative of a juvenile delinquent), or workhouse (place a person works off their debts), from a historical point of view.

These places were frightening to the people who were put into them, and the offences are quite telling.

For instance, I came across men who were put into prison for sodomy and women who were called Com Prost  (Common Prostitute).  The Com Prost must have not been an Uncommon Prostitute, but maybe this was to indicated that the woman walked the street, or had a pimp, rather than that they worked in a Bordello with a Madam, or perhaps were the Mistress of a Rich man!  I saw one that, I think - because the handwriting was so bad - was in the institution for  "dice and cards."  (Could it be that this was considered minor gambling?) Vagrancy, in other words homelessness, was punishable by being put into one of these places.  Selling liquor became a crime during prohibition.

I ran a number of family names from Pennsylvania and was relieved not to discover that anyone I'm familiar with through my research was put into any of these places.

However, let's face the facts that some people have not and do not live privileged or charmed lives and that poverty or mental illness could condemn them to activities that might have meant their survival, that is if the conditions they found themselves in didn't hurt their health or even kill them in the mean time.

C 2016 Ancestry Worship Genealogy Blogspot  All Rights Reserved including Internet and International Rights

26 September 2016



link to this site to see some of the collection...

Mark Michaelson has collected more than 10,000 photographs of men and women of all races and ages, taken after their run-ins with the law...The New York-based art director and graphic designer said he has always been drawn to 'Wanted' posters, but noted when he came across his first mugshot, 'it was love at first sight'...

From murderers, pimps, hookers, thieves and miscreants, these are the faces of the many who were captured on camera at the lowest points of their lives.

And while many people would say mugshots of the past hold a certain curiosity, one man confesses what started as an initial fascination turned into an obsession.

Mark Michaelson has collected more than 10,000 photographs of men and women of all races and ages, taken after their run-ins with the law.

10 September 2016


Since my recent post about my senior citizen friend who had a well lived 90 plus years on this earth, word has reached me that a friend from the 1990's died a few months ago, though very little is being said as for the details, she left a son and husband.  A neighbor I posted about last year in my story about senior citizens, girlfriends, and good neighbors, has also died.

Walking the dog the other day, my senior citizen neighbor who had been in a nursing home recuperating when her roommate had a bad motorcycle accident and went into a coma last year, came over to me to tell me he had died.  She was rattled and I was shocked.  This man had really pushed himself to get well enough to go back to work and keep his job after being a coma for a month, and so swollen with edema that the physical therapy had to wait.  The macho type who liked to ride that motorcycle on the freeway between the cars, it had been difficult for him to accept taking a Paratransit van back and forth for a few months.
His motorcycle remained in front of the drive and a biker friend of his would come over on the weekends to help him get back on it.  His coworkers had donated their vacation time to him so that he could remain out of the office for a longer time than usually allowed, and over time, slowly, he had overcome much.  He had been through a lot of medical procedures and tests and was well enough to relax by going camping.  Now he had been found dead while out camping.  Likely his heart gave out, but since he was not at home or in the hospital, there will be the usual scientific probing called an autopsy.

DEATH RECORDS are public records.  Public does not mean that the details of a persons death are as easy to access as what used to be called a "police blotter," and is the report of crime and arrests in an area.  However, anyone can send away for a death record, usually to the county in which the person died and for a small fee.  Some states have you state or prove you are a close relation such as a child, sibling, parent, or spouse.  Some don't.  In some cases the death record a person can get only states that in fact the person has died, and that person would be named and a birth date and death date, no details.  In others you get a copy of the paperwork filed, usually with a doctor's signature, stating the cause of death.

For those of you who want to collect the DEATH RECORDS of your relatives not only because of genealogy interest, but for medical history, perhaps inclinations towards genetic issues in the family that DNA testing may or may not prove, here are some considerations.

1) Doctors are not and never were all equal, and the further you go back, the more likely it is that the doctor did not know what is known today by medical science.  Prior to X-rays and the sophisticated tests possible today, doctors did their best, but the full sum of their knowledge and education may have been lacking.  In other words, the diagnosis might be speculative.  (Remember that barbers - hair cutters - used to be surgeons - and that included pulling teeth!)

2) Poor people often did not call doctors, or called them only in emergencies.  This lead to more speculative diagnosis as well.  So consider the diagnosis.  For instance, if the record mentions broken bones or a pregnancy related death, it's probably correct.  However, cancer was not well understood, and might be called "tumor" or "long illness."  "Long illness could also be TB, or many other diseases.)

3) Currently, if you are a close family member and your loved one is being autopsied, before you give permission, be sure to state that you want a copy of the report.

4) FUNERAL HOME records and CEMETERY RECORDS tend to repeat the information on the DEATH RECORD.  You never know, however, when more details might be given.

5) Consider doing  some research about the state of the art in medicine, treatment of the disease at the time, and so on, in order to put the report into a historical perspective.

For instance, death by TB was considered so frightening that some health departments in the United States issued booklets to the citizens, advising them not only to cover their nose and mouth and wash their hands, but stated that the children on a mother with TB could not be raised by her.  (Many children were born with TB because their mothers were infected.)

DEATH and DEATH RECORDS always remind me of an old Italian proverb that goes like this, "After death, the King and the Pawn go back into the same box."

01 September 2016


I'm an unconventional genealogy researcher and writer. I'm working on a book about my adventures in this field, a book that's alternatively spiritual! I have at least two decades of experience as a genealogy researcher. I started with interviewing my own relatives years ago. I use books, maps, family artifacts and records, microfilms, and specialty databases, at private and governmental archives, museums, libraries and historical societies... And of course there is now the amazingly impactful Internet...

23 August 2016



Your cells could soon keep an accurate record of their entire biological history, including attacks from microbial invaders or exposure to harmful chemicals.
By tweaking DNA, US researchers have been able to store markers of biological events inside the cells themselves and read them at a later date, essentially turning cells into analogue recorders.
They believe that capturing the ‘memories’ of these biological events could help to shed light on disease and even unlock the secrets of how cells develop from an embryo to the billions of adult cells which make up the human body.