25 March 2012


I'm not linking to any posts on my post here, but you've probably heard about it in the media if you haven't read one of hundreds of posts on the Internet about the Mormon (Latter Day Saints) belief in "Baptism of The Dead" into their religion, a ritual of inclusion which is said to have been performed for Princess Diana, Eva Braun Hitler and Adolph Hitler, the Nazi, and other characters. I first heard about this years ago when there was an outcry by Jewish people who learned their ancestors had been baptised without their knowledge or permission.

I believe that the Latter Day Saints Church's policy on this practice is that a church member should only baptise those who are a direct familial link - parents and grandparents and great grandparents. This is a church that is gaining in converts and converts wish to spend eternity with their families in eternal life after death. From an anthropological view point (anthropology of religion being one of my favorite subjects) in many religions and cultures such rituals have the effect of lessening the natural human anxiety about death. Some would say Last Rites in Catholicism has the same effect on the person about to die and the family.

Also during the uproar I recalled that the Church also stated that this ritual does not take the person's free will from them. Since our dead ancestors are believed to be conscious and alive in eternal life, it is up to them to accept or reject the invitation to join the church through this baptism.

Since my own beliefs include reincarnation as well as free will, I'm a bit of a fence sitter on this one. I do believe a live family's wishes should be respected. For instance I believe that you should never post information about your siblings, parents, or grandparents on any Internet or club site without permission from each and every one of them, which is why obtaining the private services of a genealogist may be in order. You may be subjecting people who have no wish to have their personal private information - including who they are related to - accessed by others - including identity thieves.

Many people I've communicated with are suspicious of all the databases and information collection going on by LDS. One archivist I spoke with in New Jersey said "Why do they need all that information?" We can only hope that the information will be used with respect.

20 March 2012


Recently it was in the news that Israel was undecided about recognizing the Armenian Genocide, a Holocaust by Ottoman Turks. I couldn't believe there was any question but I guess politics wins out over recognizing truth. You see officially the country of Turkey says that over one million Armenians died not at the hands of the Ottoman Turks but because there was a CIVIL WAR and so these one million dead people died because they were engaged. This Civil War coincides with World War I, by the way, and as a result many Armenians that had a way out came to the U.S.

Called the greatest story never told, I'm personally partial to the truth that this was a genocide.

You see, like the Holocaust during World War II, civilians were removed or chased from their home villages and marched - men, women, and children, people who were not in any military unit. I learned this and saw the photographic evidence by watching this video, the funding of which came from many Armenian Americans. The primary difference between Turks and Armenians was and is religion. The Turks - Muslims and the Armenians - Christians. Armenians in Turkey were true to their faith and felt the pressure to become more Turkish.

History repeats itself constantly with the violence of Muslims. I'm sorry, I really am, that so many Muslims here in the states say that this is not the essence of the religion and that terrorists are not main stream Muslims but if so, they seem to have little to no influence on their co-coreligionists who are so violent in the name of, or with the permission of, their religion.

Be it the Muslims breaking Pakistan off from India and Holocausting Hindus, the Ottoman Turks Holocausting Armenians, of Middle East Muslim terrorists flying planes into the World Trade Center, the distinction between official military and men, women, and children as common citizens who should not be attacked, marched, violated, starved, killed, or thrown over borders, seems to be a unrecognized. So I think Israel is being weak kneed, and the hell with Israel (or maybe shame on Israel), individuals such as myself CAN RECOGNIZE THE ARMENIAN HOLOCAUST!
For genealogy purposes, watching this film it is to understand the motivation for Armenians coming to the United States as immigrants and refugees.

15 March 2012


Genealogy friends, if you're like me you have already tried at least one 1930 Enumeration District (ED) in the utility that I've posted as a link both at the title of this post and to the side bar near the NATIONAL ARCHIVES site. Now if any of you remember how jammed up the ELLIS ISLAND site was when it opened years ago, expect the same of the National Archives site. YOU MAY BE UP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT TRYING TO ACCESS THIS!

Now if you are lucky the people you're looking for HAVE NOT MOVED SINCE 1930. So far most of the people on my A list DID MOVE by 1940, though within the same city, which means there could be dozens of Enumeration Districts to look at page by page. Truth is, I wouldn't mind using the microfilm at all!

Here then are other ways to find an address closer to or for 1940 before the census comes out!

1) Listings in City Directories. Start looking in 1940, then 1941, then 1939, and so on. Remember that listing in a City Directory was not free and some families saw no reason to list. Listings for pay were favored by people who wanted work.

2) LOOK FOR A WORLD WAR II draft registration. THE OLD MAN'S DRAFT REGISTRATION will provide you addresses closer to 1940 for men and their families who were well over 40.

3) Naturalizations that took place closer to 1940 will give you an address.

4) Original Applications for Social Security closer to 1940 will give an address. Generally people applied for a SS number when they started their first job at about the age of 16 or when they were ready to retire at age 65. The fee used to be $7 and is now about $36. I'm hearing reports of the Social Security Administration censoring and then sending information, on the basis of longer life expectancy. (This has not been legally legislated and I think may be a reason for protest or asking for your fees back.)

5) Information on CCC or Works Project Administration workers, if you can find it, may also list addresses closer to 1940. On this census participants in the CCC or Works Project Administration were counted where they worked rather than what would be considered their "permanent" address. Eventually indexing may be the way to go.

6) Always check the old neighborhood and surrounding vicinity. Here is where family stories may help.

10 March 2012


I recently attended a short but intense lecture on the state of the art in DNA genealogy. One of the books mentioned was Bryan Sykes "The Seven Daughters of Eve."

The lecturer said that all women in Europe (actually about 98%) can be traced to one of seven great mothers who have given them a distinctive DNA identity. I was fascinated, so I read the book ASAP. The book was first published in 2001, and the author has another book coming out called "DNA USA."

First "The Seven Daughters of Eve" is exciting enough and novelesque enough to be a page turner. Without getting heavily into technology Sykes takes you where he went, to getting ancient DNA out of the skeletons of Cheddar Man and other archaeological discoveries and then to the discoveries that he is genetically related to the Russian Tsar's family that was assassinated back in 1918, and that the butler of a friend of his was a direct descendant of Cheddar Man.

Let me explain that Sykes is not saying there were never more than these 7 women. What he is saying is that these 7 women are the ones whose DNA has survived thousands of years to today, as traceable from mother to mother. The other women's DNA does not appear because they had no children, had only one daughter, had only sons, or possibly because over those thousands of years only descendants of women with the best DNA for survival won out. The focus here is on European DNA.

I'm linking to information on Sykes USA DNA.

Here's some of the inforation within it:

• Of Americans whose ancestors came as slaves, virtually all have some European DNA.

• Racial intermixing appears least common among descendants of early New England colonists.

• There is clear evidence of Jewish genes among descendants of southwestern Spanish Catholics.

• Among white Americans, evidence of African DNA is most common in the South.

• European genes appeared among Native Americans as early as ten thousand years ago.

08 March 2012


There's a commercial before you get to the story, but I thought you might be able to relate to this! A woman is honoring her father whose scrapbooks were ruined. Link to the Yahoo news story here!

07 March 2012


Have you ever bought a book to give as a gift to someone else - something you thought they would like - and started reading it and been unable to put it down?

I bought Anita Diamant's "The Red Tent" for a friend of mine who is way more traditionally religious than me. But oh how I love this book so - good thing my friend had to cancell our plan to meet up for gift trading during the Christmas season - I'm keeping this one for me!

I realized that the book's appeal to me was quite like the appeal of Jean Auel's Earth Children series (Clan of the Cave Bear and on) because like Auel, who brings to life the time when humans worshiped cave bears and lived in mammoth bone huts, Diamant has brought to life once more the reality of women's lives in the middle east when a man, a patriarch like Jacob, took several wives. You may have heard of some of the children of Jacob; Reuben, Simon, Levi, Judah, Zebulun, Naphtali, Isschar, and Dinah.

The red tent is the tent in which only women of the tribe are allowed, where they have their periods and give birth with the help of other women. Through this book I became intensely aware of ancient women who lived around their biology and circumstances in life, how dependent they were on each other and how their status in the family had so much to do with their child bearing success, and what it might have been like to be a first, second, third, or fourth wife, to be loved and afforded or abused and sold.

The story is that of Dinah, the child of Jacob and his first wife, Leah, who is a fertile mother who has had all sons before this long wanted daughter. While this book is certainly an imaging of what these characters lives must have been, it is based on the bible, historical and cultural research, and the evidence of the life of Dinah which has been lost to us.

At the front of the book, there is a genealogy chart of the characters, which is helpful

This book focuses on the life of Dinah.

Picador USA is the publisher and the work is C 1997 Anita Diamant

04 March 2012


I read the book GUNS GERMS and STEEL years ago and was impressed so I decided to watch the documentary, put out by National Geographic.

The documentary actually explained Diamond's theory more simply. It also explained that his initial research question was why there was such a discrepancy between the advantages or wealth of modern life by those of European descent versus the people in New Guinna who have lived the same way for 40,000 years.

The answer is not racist but it is tied in with the advantages of geography, which includes the advantages of weather and also natural food sources, the development of farming grains and domesticating animals, as well as the specter of disease, which killed more humans than soldiers with guns has.

So I say read the book or watch the video. Either way Jared Diamond is the original thinker (and researcher) they say he is.

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