28 January 2012

RESCUE AT PINE RIDGE : A BUFFALO SOLDIER NOVEL by ERICH MARTIN HICKS

I'm going to admit to you that I have not yet read this novel. However, I met the author Erich Martin Hicks, in of all places, a laundry, and the story he told me about how hard and smart he worked in order to get his work published and read while we both awaited our comforters to dry, was inspiring.

We also had a little conversation about African American genealogy and historical research and he is a direct descendant of a Buffalo Soldier and did heavy research. So I told him, I was going to aid in his effort by posting about him and his book.

I'm linking to his own web site, and I'm recommending also that my local public library buy a copy, since he is a local author. To me, genealogy research should go hand in hand with historical research...

25 January 2012

1940 INSTRUCTIONS TO THE ENUMERATORS : THIS WILL OPEN YOUR MIND TO POSSIBILITY

Linking now to the United States - National Archives site that will allow you to read the actual instruction book that enumerators (census takers) learned in order to do their job. Reading this will open your mind to possibilities.

The United States government was very concerned about EMPLOYMENT and PARTICIPATION IN GOVERNMENT programs such as the Civilian Conservation Corp or the Works Project Administration in 1940. People were questioned on how many weeks they had worked in the previous year. So you may learn that family members were working in government projects or just how out of work someone was.

22 January 2012

ODESSA : A GERMANS INTO RUSSIA GENEALOGY SEARCH

Odessa is one of the few databases I know of that is free and concentrating on Germans into Russia. I find it's difficult to use as is. But I want to appreciate it for what it is.

18 January 2012

COSTA CONCORDIA SHIPWRECK FROM SPACE and SHIPWRECK GENEALOGY

Linking here to the latest news on the COSTA CONCORDIA LUXURY CRUISE DISASTER which has truly been compelling news to watch. This link is to a Yahoo news story that includes photos taken from space.

I admit it! I'm even checking on this news when I wake up early or come home late.

You see, there are some ancestors I'm looking for who are said to have "gone down with the ship." What ship? When? This story is a sign that I should start that search over again.

When I tell my fellow researchers the story they always suggest first I should check the Titanic. Did you know that the Queen Mary, harbored in Long Beach, is much larger than the Titanic was in its time? No, it was not the Titanic. But a lot of ships were sunk besides the Titanic. Now here we are in 2012 and this is a massive ship in comparison to the Queen Mary - a floating luxury liner - and yet it seems the same problem of disembarking a sinking or threatened ship has occurred.

I know the Italian authorities have the Captain under house arrest and all the press reporting seems to have designed him a scoundrel. If you read a whole lot of reports on the Internet, however, you will come across some information that I do hope will be considered. That is that there is a computer on board that does much of the navigating and the electrical problem referred to may have prevented this computer from working. If so the Captain might have misinterpreted where they were. I do think also that trying to bring the ship as close to shore as possible was brilliant and I credit him. Also they say he deserted the ship because all of the passengers had not yet left, but the numbers who were not off yet were closer to 50 and thousands had already left. How would a Captain or anyone else really know that every last person was accounted for with so many passengers?

Depending on the tides the ship lies in between 45 and 60 feet of water. And it was very close to shore as the pictures show. I asked my friends if they thought they could swim to shore in that water and most of them said they thought they could. The ship was not out to sea and the cold would have been to them the problem rather than the depth of the water or the distance. It would be frightening but achievable. I think that I would try to swim it, though I'm not a robust swimmer.

13 January 2012

CAMPO CAHUENGA : WHERE CALIFORNIA FIRST BECAME A STATE

This Campo Cahuenga history site is so interesting and well done. It has accurate historical information along with pictures that focus on the various periods from the Tongva Indians of the area to the women like Dona Bernarda Ruiz who may have brought the men to the peace table.


I'm posting it not only because it's interesting American history, but because on Sunday it will be the 165th anniversary of the Signing of the treaty between the Californios and Mexico and there's going to be a celebration at the Campo, which happens to be right across the street from the big Universal Studios Tourist Trap. Sadly, though thousands visit the Tourist Trap and spend lots of money there, few look across the street to a place that is open to the public once a week for free and the site of transformative history.

Being so close to the Universal Studios Tourist Trap also means that you can get there by public transportation very easily, forget the gas prices and the parking fees, including simply getting off the subway station at Universal and taking the elevator up to street level. That subway itself is one of the most beautiful artistic subway stations in Los Angeles featuring local history in pillars of handmade glazed tiles (a wonderful photo-op).

Despite what certain history revisionists may want us to believe (that this territory still belongs to Mexico) the treaty was signed fair and square back when the people who lived in California did not identify themselves as Mexicans but as Californios. Many Spanish land grant recipients had huge (Malibu for instance) ranchos here. Today as you ride down Lankershim Boulevard, you may not realize that stage coaches once came down this way.

See you there?

12 January 2012

MONDAY APRIL 2nd 2012 IS THE DAY THE 1940 CENSUS BECOMES AVAILABLE!

72 years after the 1940 U.S. Census was taken, by law it is no longer protected, and can be revealed to the people.
The 1940 census will be released DIGITALLY by the National Archives only, meaning those of us who also love microfilm will have to use computers and click away. (I think medicine needs to concentrate on forefinger joint replacements! I know mine is arthritic!)
The census will be AVAILABLE ON LINE AT THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES SITE at no charge! (You may want to search this blog for other 1940 census information, including the project that helps you go to the right ED (enumeration district) based on the 1930! But did you know that the census also counted people who were not technically living in the United States on April 1, 1940?

Eventually certain subscription databases will work on making an index but they too will have to wait for the NATIONAL ARCHIVES release to do so! Since this is going to be a MASSIVE PROJECT most of us will not wait!


Because this release is of momentous importance to genealogists, I will be blogging a lot about it in the next couple months!

08 January 2012

THE FATE OF THE NEANDERTHALS : A and E FILM : WE HAVE A LITTLE OF THEM IN US?

Just noshing the other night watching this film, which came out in 2006, and is probably still available for rental or at your public library. A and E's THE FATE OF THE NEANDERTHALS, narrated by Leonard Nimoy of Star Trek fame, is the kind of educational film I enjoy. Several important professors of anthropology and archeology speak, and here is the consensus:

Neanderthals had very difficult lives. They usually lived to about 40, but this was enough time for some of them to have grandchildren. The men were buried with grave goods like weapons and flowers, the women were never buried with anything. This reflects a lack of status, possibly even a belief that women did not have an afterlife and suggests women were not respected in life. It is also possible that women and children lived separate of men for long periods of time. There is evidence that Neanderthals lived in small groups, and there were probably never more than 100,000 living at any one time. Their range based on burials and other evidence includes Israel and Iran, the British isles, and sweep of Mediterranean Europe. Since they treated each other differently than they treated most animals, they probably had a sense of themselves as special and different, and they may have had a concept of religiousness or worshipped a deity.


They were alive when Homo Sapiens emerged and the two groups probably encountered each other and recognized each other as both different and as people. Physically they were very robust, men with the strength of about 3 times that of modern man.

06 January 2012

1940 CENSUS WILL BE ONLINE AT THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES : THE BIGGEST GENEALOGY NEWS STORY OF THE DECADE

The 1940 census!

No doubt this will be the biggest genealogy news story of the decade, and may we all be alive and still doing genealogy when the 1950 comes out!

I'm going to focus on the 1940 until it comes out Monday, April 2nd, 2012, because census work is the backbone of American Genealogy and it is on that basis that so many are able to go back three or more generations in their family without much more difficulty.
Don't get me wrong. I personally can rarely let a genealogy research project rest only on the census, but nor do I believe this is a step anyone can skip!

NATIONAL ARCHIVES LINKED HERE!  (click on title to get to the link!)

03 January 2012

100 YEAR OLD WOMAN MEETS 77 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER SHE GAVE UP FOR ADOPTION : A STORY THAT MIGHT MAKE YOU CRY

Imagine being an innocent 16 year old girl in 1928 who believes that babies are brought by storks, out picnicking when you are raped. You don't even understand that you are pregnant at first. You are sent away. Then you give birth and give up a baby for adoption. 77 years go by. You have married, had children, grandchildren. Then one day...

Minka Disbrow lived this life, living to be 100 years old, outliving most of her contemporaries and long enough to be found. Now she has met Ruth, the baby she gave up, and has learned that she has a famous astronaut as one of her grandchildren!

This story is almost unbelievable.


It brought tears to my eyes.

Here was an innocent teenager who, despite what happened to her, loved her baby and wanted the best for it. As genealogists we learn a lesson here that perhaps there is no giving up.

(Linking to the full story brought to us through KPCC news.)