25 January 2010


HERALDIC CRESTS are an interesting area of research. Crests were typically transferred from oldest son to oldest son in Europe.
Americans buy up tartans, crests, and other motifs of kinship in clans and in aristocratic houses, but once the person whose lineage granted them such status has GIVEN UP THEIR AMERICAN CITIZENSHIP, they no longer may officially have a title or assume the use of these legally!
Finding the crest for a family with your surname, or perhaps one that would have been transmitted to your family if they had not left Europe is still great fun for the genealogist!

18 January 2010


GEORGE FRANKLIN FELDMAN's book is "a vivid account of the barbaric practices of both native Americans and European explorers and colonists."

At a time when New Age Spirituality seems to have taken on an interpretive view of Native American beliefs, it seems a relief to get back to historical reality, and that is that many Native American tribes practiced cannibalism, headhunting, and human sacrifice, often in war, sometimes in religious ritual. Covered are the Taensa and Natchez, the Calusa and Timucua, the Skidi Pawnee (they sacrificed 13 year old girls to their Morning Star god), The Iroquois, The Chippewa, Nootka, Kwakiutl, Yuki and Their Neighbors in California (where they didn't cannibalize but thought their enemies did), the Comanche, the Apache (Fierce enough to keep the Mexicans and the Spanish away for 300 years), and White Scalp Hunters.

The evidence is not just in the early explorer's diary, or anthropological study - though that's included, but in the latest in testing the physical evidence or bones, skulls, and most interestingly, human excrement which shows that human beings were eating human beings. While in some places and times this might have been the result of famine and drought, we learn that tribes warred with tribes, taking prisoners, slaves, and torturing captives before killing them and that taking scalps as trophies escalated when prizes for scalps were offered. Black hair being black hair, many humans innocent to various wars, died when their scalp was taken. So much for that New Agey idea that Native American paganism was essentially peace driven or that "Indians" had a sense that the earth was to be shared, rather than fought over for resources.

C 2008 by the author

The publisher is Alan C. Hood and Company Chambersburg, Pennsylvania

14 January 2010


Answer: Copies of the picture of Elvis Presley posed with Richard Nixon, Elvis' letter to Nixon! Link to the Los Angeles Times article out today, about that day...

11 January 2010


One of a few steamboat lines that left deep water ports. Our notions of immigration have been swayed to think that just about all immigrants came through New York City and Ellis Island - not! Other ports included Baltimore and stops along the Great Lakes, and Galveston Texas in the Gulf.

09 January 2010


I took the test to be a U.S. Census taker! I wanted to see if I would pass - and I did with a near perfect score. Now, as I was taking this test, I couldn't help but think how VALUABLE the INFORMATION I might collect will be for FUTURE GENEALOGISTS!

There is a LOT to learn from past census, including historical ATTITUDES about people!

I don't know if I'll get to do my neighborhood or not.

Here is what has been explained to me. THE UNITED STATES IS GOING TO DO THE MOST MASSIVE MAILING IN HISTORY, hoping that the vast majority of us will reply - and honestly!

THEN, those who HAVE NOT MAILED IN THEIR INFORMATION will be approached the old fashioned way when a census taker comes to the house and asks the head of household about the family!

Just to make this more difficult in Los Angeles, which is considered to be the MOST DIFFICULT area to census take, those who walk the neighborhoods will have to deal with more than pit bulls and raving but adorable chihuahuas! They will mostly likely encounter people who do not speak English - in a place where voters information comes in Japanese, Chinese, Viet Names, and Thai - but ILLEGAL ALIENS...

Should they be afraid?

We know that immigrants to the United States in the 1910 and 1920 census were not especially afraid but things have changed since that immigration.

We'll keep you posted!


02 January 2010


Recently another person asked me to help them prove they are part Native American, because they want Tribal Rights or advantages such as certain college scholarships.

I love a challenge.

Luckily the tribal affiliation this person is seeking is Cherokee, I believe Eastern Band.

I've found that contacting tribes for help from their end does not usually result in help. Many tribes just do not have the volunteers to coordinate efforts. I have many unanswered e-mails, even when the tribe has a website.

My advice is to proceed with proofing your genealogy starting with yourself. Then your parents, and then moving back through the lineage to show the death, marriage, and birth of the grandparents or great-grandparents who would be Native American. Besides certificates of death, marriage, and birth, THE UNITED STATES CENSUS helps you put these people in family groups.


So - honesty - I've found so many discrepancies when it comes to census information on a family when it comes to race that in itself race on a census is not dependable. There is always the question of if a family member reported these races or a census taker looked at a person and made a personal judgment.

BUT LOCATING THE FAMILY ON CENSUS IS STILL ALL IMPORTANT because it places the family at an address, a location.

CHECKING THE NATIVE AMERICAN CENSUS is a good idea, in this case the census of the Cherokee is categorized as one of the FIVE CIVILIZED TRIBES! You may or may not find people listed with Indian names and/or Americanized names. (By the way the notion that the Cherokee were "civilized" because they were more cooperative with the U.S. Government is subjective.)

Do all these steps - as much as you can - before contacting the tribe! The tribe will probably only tell you what their requirements for membership, if at all possible, are. Usually proving 1/16th relationship is the key.

UPDATE MARCH 2016: This is a very popular post and I'm so happy to be of some help to all of you.  Now that DNA testing is getting more and more specific, I think it's a good idea to get a DNA test as part of your quest.

01 January 2010


Chances are you have run into a few research blocks since you began working on your genealogy project. It happens to even the most ardent researchers!

SOMETIMES YOU DON'T KNOW WHEN TO ACCEPT THAT YOU HAVE TO STOP. That's where someone like me comes in. I can review your entire genealogy project and give you some advice on what you need to work on and how to get around research blocks, if at all possible.

My strongest suggestion is that you give any research path that seems to be blocked a break for a while, or let someone else go over your research. This can be a lot to ask, but if you're willing to do the same for a friend, and you both hold yourself to professional standards, it can help.

There is always more that you can be doing on another line. Sometimes the information you need is coming in its own time. It's a matter of synchronicity. Maybe what you need has been moved around from one archive to another, or is in someone else's hands at the moment. Or you need to meet someone else who will have the answer!