22 December 2016


Here in Southern California, few people actually have the appropriate outer wear for cold, rain, or snow.  So it's kind of funny to be having coffee at a coffee house near a transportation hub, nice and warm inside, see the rain pouring down outside, and watch all the people who have used plastic trash bags to fashion rain-coats of sorts or who are holding plastic bags over their heads, racing down the streets. 

Umbrellas are sold here, particularly by enterprising street venders who buy some wholesale downtown and head out.  They are mostly made in China and good for one storm, one blast of cold air.  Then they turn inside out or break off and go into the trash bins.

It's been raining off and on for a couple days, and I'm seeing men outside without hats or  umbrellas, without sweaters or jackets.  I'm seeing women who have matching hats and scarves; they must have them stored away for years for the opportunity to wear them!

Maybe you can appreciate that we endured weeks of above average temperatures - in the nineties and the hundreds - this past summer, and that means that when it goes down into the forties or fifties we've experienced a temperature crash.  I'm OK with the outside temperature in the 60's but one recent morning at five, I needed to take my very patient dog outside already, and it was thirty seven degrees and windy.  There was black ice on the street.  I was creaking.  Steam came up from under the dog as she went.


But I promised I wouldn't complain about the cold when it was too hot out.

On the news, the POLAR VORTEX, the reason for this FREEZE.  I looked at the map and long underwear sales must be fierce in much of the United States.

I think of our ancestors who came to the states from the cold and remained living in the cold, as if cold was their heritage and their inheritance.  Seems like many of these people were bodily acclimated to cold weather.  Did they really not notice it?  Not mind it?  Were they just sturdier people?  I think of Native Americans.  I think of Colonials.  I think of dwellings without insulation or central heating.  Hovering near a fire place.

For me, this stretch of rain and cold just makes me want to burrow in.  If I could, I'd be cabin bound.  Instead I'm doing a little more decorating, baking, sewing, and crocheting, than usual.

Happy Holidays to All My Readers!

07 December 2016


It's been a while, nearer 20 years than 10, since, around this time of year, when I was first trying to attract some pay for my genealogy research skills, that I met a woman who taught me a lesson.  Never ever, for any reason, take on a client who suddenly has a "rush order" for genealogy services.

I met the woman at a lecture about searching through the Ellis Island Databases, and she had, she said, spent years compiling research for a book.  A family reunion was coming up, and she was missing some information on a relative who had gotten lost in Texas.  She hoped to have the book published and ready to hand out at the reunion. Actually, the relative had married outside her faith and the family disowned and shunned her.  Now, decades later, this woman felt it was only right to include this once disowned person in the book. She hired me to find "Bertha" and provide some information which might be easy to get to.

I knew what I needed to do, but there was one big issue.  "Bertha" had a given name that had undoubtedly been changed, and this family had even forgotten what her married surname was.  There had apparently been absolutely no contact with her once she married. It was said that despite them the marriage had succeeded and that there had been property, a ranch.  They were sure she had died.  They couldn't even remember what the given name of her husband was. They also only knew it was in Texas, a big state with lots of counties.

Based on the information this researcher gave me as a starting point, I did historical research about how immigrants from Europe got to Texas in the days when Ellis Island was a frequent drop off point for steerage (sometimes called 3rd class) passengers.   Had Bertha come in steerage? People are so sure because they don't know that passengers with better tickets skipped the Ellis Island routine.   Had she taken a train from New York?  What trains ran to Texas?  After finding that there was a way to Texas mostly by train, from New York to Chicago and then going south, I decided that Bertha had possibly come into New York, but as she didn't appear on any of the New York Ship Records Databases, to try other ports.  The one I focused upon first was the one in Galveston, Texas.

One could travel by ship down the coast, around Florida, and through the Gulf of Mexico.  Or one could travel by land to Florida.  I found a woman with a surname that was probably a variation on the original surname coming into Galveston.

I wondered why she had gone to Texas?  I suspected that there was land to be had free or inexpensive, some lure to settlement in a place so different than Germany.  But maybe it wasn't that she chose Texas and went and then met the man.  Maybe she met the man and he said, "New York City is not for us."

I lost the trail.  Meanwhile my client started calling me too much and inappropriately, such as at ten at night and on Sundays.  I figured she was lonely and trying to make a friend but she also was in error thinking that all the time spent on the phone was pushing me to work harder.  I was already working smart and efficiently and started to feel hounded and resentful. 

I called historical societies and archives in Texas, starting with the Galveston area, to learn about local resources.  I talked to an "expert."  Was there, for instance, a particular settlement where people from Germany who spoke German wanted to live?  Had there been a call out from ranchers who needed wives?

Again using databases, I searched for this woman using several known variations of her maiden surname and given name.  Nothing came up.  That didn't mean she wasn't in Texas when she should have been, just that the information wasn't on databases.

I set up an in person appointment at this client's home to go over all that I had done and what I had found.  Was it possible that this might help her or one of her relatives remember more about Bertha? I wrote up a few paragraphs about Bertha that summed up what was known about her life before she left the family, careful to call what was speculation, speculation, and not fact.

I got there and my client suggested that she was a poor senior citizen and asked for a senior citizen discount.  Meanwhile, maybe it was only a condo in Beverly Hills, but the interior was lux.

I've never done this since, but I stopped working for her, stopped taking her calls, sent her the work I had done in the mail, and never billed her.
I heard she took all my work, claiming it was hers, down to a local LDS where she asked the missionaries for help.  They know what all I had done and told her they didn't know anyone who could.  I appreciated that.

C 2016 All Rights Reserved.  This post is a section of a book I will someday publish.
Please honor it accordingly. 

02 December 2016



Hi there.  I'm trying to trace a line of ancestors that came from Galicia, Poland, and am not Jewish.  I joined Jewish Gen and have looked at their databases but wasn't actually expecting anything to come up for me.  Latter Day Saints doesn't have anything useful.  Should I hire someone in Poland to do the research for me?  Any advice would be appreciated.   Anna


As I understand it there are reliable people in that part of Poland who can walk into archives and do research for you.  Before you hire someone though, at least research what archives you can expect the information to be in. Be prepared to hand over - by mail - the research you've done that would lead the researcher to these people, some documentation that you deserve to have the information, such as an explanation in a letter - preferably translated into Polish - on how you are related to them. Present any researcher with a list of the goals you want to achieve and have focused upon. Have a clear idea about how much you can afford and how much time you want to allow for the research to be done. As you know, sometimes information is found very easily and sometimes you have to dig.  There is no such thing as a "rush order" genealogy.
What you are hoping for is someone who knows their way around and has developed a personal relationship with some of the people who work in the state run and church run archives that hold documents.  You can always reassess as the project goes on.  Have the person mail you copies of what documents they find, even if this can all be done by e-mail, uploading photos and so on.  Be sure that they are checking in with you and giving a progress report at least every other week.

As for how to hire someone who does this professionally and what their background might be, for this I think I would make some phone calls and other inquires based on the region and town where you expect they lived before immigration.  JewishGen might be a useful tool for you, since they have groups based on towns and regions and people reporting in when they do heritage tours.  However, consider contacting the priest at the local church for a referral.  Call heritage tour operators, even if you have no plan to go soon yourself, and ask them who they might know there.  Also the Polish Genealogical Society in Chicago might have some leads.  See if you can talk to the people who have hired someone on the phone to get a feel for how it went. 
Yes there are some areas of Poland, some areas all over the world where the Latter Day Saint Missionaries have not been allowed to copy or film.  We are spoiled by the ease of renting films from them instead of traveling ourselves or hiring others.

Wishing you the best on this, Anne!

21 November 2016



EXCERPT:  In doing this, the economists found evidence of a 'glass floor' that keeps the rich from losing their status, reporting that the top earning surnames in modern Florence had already achieved this high status six centuries ago, while the lowest earners have long stayed below the median.


Italian names are derived from a number of sources, the economists explain.
Some were created from the father's name, using a Latin genitive or formed with a preposition. So 'Mattei' would mean 'son of Matteo,' while 'Di Matteo' or 'De Matteo' mean this as well.
Surnames also stem from origin, they explain, including habitat, specific places, and nearby landmarks.
Examples include Della Valle ('of the valley'), Romano ('Roman'), and Piazza ('Square').
Or, some surnames are born from occupation, including Medici ('medical doctors'), Martelli ('hammer') or Forni ('ovens').
Surnames can also come from nicknames given on the basis of physical attributes, like Basso ('short') or Grasso ('fat').
Based on this informational content, along with geographical localization, the researchers created 'pseudo-links' between ancestors and their modern descendants.
'For example,' they write, 'current taxpayers with surnames such as 'Mattei', 'De Matteo' or 'Di Matteo' are all considered descendants of 'Matteo'.
The surnames included in the data were 'highly Florence-specific,' the economists say. 

14 November 2016


According to the nationalists newspaper Estonian World Review Russian genealogist Aleksey Nilogov says Mr Trump has ties to European royalty but he claims Barack Obama is also a descendant of Rurik.
More descendants include Henry III of England, the first three King Edwards, and Joan Beaufort, Queen of Scots.
Mr Nilogov believes Mr Trump descends over the course of 35, 36 or 38 generations from the ninth century ruler, Rurik, via three distinct female lines.

12 November 2016


Just a moment here, now that we have gone through the controversies of the United States Presidential Election.  This is not the first time in history that there have been public protests or rioting over the election of a President, nor the first time that the ELECTORAL COLLEGE came into question because the vote was so close.  Many of us think a Popular Vote is long overdue.  I think Freedom of Expression is important.

For those of you who are not familiar with our election process history, at the founding of the nation, it was only MALE LAND OWNERS who got to vote. That was based on European standards in which people of nobility got to "vote", or at least have their opinions heard at meetings.  (Secret ballot voting came in with Democracy.) Most of those men who voted  in the early days of our country were also employers. Our population was not educated over-all, and it was wealthy or noble men who were educated. In the United States women were allowed to vote in 1920. Now due to literacy, as well as the information age, more people than ever before are QUALIFIED TO VOTE.

And yet, many do not.

On the way home the other day I took a local bus that also picks up students from some local private schools.  A group of intelligent and energetic teenagers got on and they were discussing the election.  One of them said to me "It's all fixed!"

I said, "I'll forgive you that because you are too young to vote.  But, as soon as you can, start voting and be as intelligent as you can be about it.  People who do not bother to vote should not complain about an election being "fixed" when they are not part of the process!

This was not the first person I'd encountered in the previous week or two that told me that it was not worth voting because the elections are always fixed. The mistrust is there and it's been fortified by those who find conspiracy in just about everything.  Not being able to know anything for sure in this fast changing word with ever more information available on the Internet every minute can make you overly informed and indecisive but when it comes to Democracy, you have to use it or loose it!


I also encountered a Korean American Man, about ready to get his Teaching Credential who has been in the U.S. 23 years and HAD NOT BOTHERED TO EVEN START BECOMING A CITIZEN.  I asked him why not and he shrugged and said it was expensive.  I asked him how much.  He said he thought it was $800.  Meanwhile at our public library here they have informational programs and tutorials on how to get your citizenship circa 2016.

There are many people, not just from so called Terrorist Countries that have remained in the United States illegally, and I do think that because of Terrorism, we will have to start asking WHY ? more often.  I encourage all the people who have come into our country as refugees to become citizens.  Yet I've met those also who have not even started the process.  Most of our cash job workers are not legal. They have their own economy and network for work that does exclude many people who are legal.  In California we have given everything to illegal immigrants that they would get with citizenship, including education, heath care, driver's licenses and ID cards, and maybe there is little incentive left.

One of the biggest complaints I hear about REGISTERING TO VOTE is that it puts a person on lists to be a Juror.  Being a Juror is apparently a P.I.A. especially because it's illegal for an employer to fire you over it, but many people do have employers who are mean about your taking any time off.  I was once on call for THREE DIFFERENT JURISDICTIONS FOR JURY DUTY, based on where I worked, where I lived, and where I HAD lived.  I remember calling in to say I could not do it one time and being told off.

Are we in for one hell of a ride with President Trump?  I think so.  I also think the experience of being President of the U.S. will be a humbling experience for him.  He has decided he will not take the $400,000 salary that is paid.  Other past Presidents including J.F.K. who didn't need the money gave it to charity.

So if you are reading this and are one of the bright young people who are becoming educated and have definitive ideas about how life should be lived here in the U.S.A., I think it's good that you're thinking, and good that you're participating, but ask yourself, WHY so many people are not getting their citizenship, are not registering to vote, and are not voting when they could be!

C 2016  All Rights Reserved  Ancestry Worship Genealogy Blogspot

10 November 2016



Click on this link and get to the map to see if YOUR SURNAME is the most popular in ANY STATE!    It's no wonder pretzels made in Pennsylvania are made by SNYDERS... and New York State has an outsized population of COHENS!

04 November 2016


More than 1,000 women joined the Women Airforce Service Pilots Program
And 38 of them lost their lives flying non-combat missions during the war 
But their contribution to the war effort remained unacknowledged for years 
It wasn't until 1977 that WASP members even received veteran status
Arlington officials said this year they don't qualify due to space limitations
But President Obama signed a bill into law giving them that right

30 October 2016


Coming up November 1 and 2, celebrated in Mexico as a day in which families visit and picnic on graves, in the Catholic Church this is the time of year for praying for the souls of the departed.  Enjoy coloring or otherwise using these images for personal use and non profit blogs and such from Dover Publications.  Sign up with Dover for more information.

28 October 2016


This may seem like an odd topic for ANCESTRY WORSHIP GENEALOGY, but as my more frequent readers know, I combine professional level genealogy research with a vivid interest in the human family and human beingness - DNA, early migrations of our ancestors, ethnicity, historical and cultural studies, some archeology, and the spiritual aspects of life, including theories about genetic memory (sometimes called cell memory), and reincarnation.  I ask, could it be that a person, when discovering an ancestor, is actually discovering themselves - in a past life?

This week I encountered two individuals while out walking my dog who had interesting things to say about dogs and reincarnation.  (The term transmutation is correct when saying that a person has incarnated from an animal to human life (usually seen as progress), or when a person next incarnated into an animal (usually seen as a demotion) but the term reincarnation is used more to describe any repeats of life on earth.)  Much of the world has long believed in reincarnation, and some Christians do, though usually, in Catholicism and most versions of main stream Christianity, we learn that this one life is it.  We have one chance to prove ourselves worthy of eternal heaven as an afterlife.  Or, we wait after death for a resurrection by God.

I was walking my dog in the park when I saw a man up ahead wearing the rolled white head dress of a Siik.   I  couldn't help but stop and talk to him.  He was pushing a fancy cart that contained not only his bright-eyed Chihuahua, who sure did seem to be enjoying being up front for the ride, and his beautiful toddler, who clearly loved her dog.  He told me that a friend of his was told by their guru that his dog was, in the last life, his partner, but that she had been reincarnated into this dog to learn the lesson of loyalty!

Certainly some pet dogs seem to be all about that, especially the ones that make the news for walking a thousand miles and somehow finding the family that left them behind when they moved,  or the ones who sit on a person's grave and don't want to give up on them even though it's been a while.

Then, my dog and I stopped at a corner store where a few of the employees are from India, and I tied her up on the door since I didn't want to take her inside against their rules.  One of the clerks and I got to talking about dogs and I told him mine was such a person.  He said he was a Buddhist, and incarnation into a dog was definitely a punishment.

My dog, I tell everyone, is most certainly feminine, not only because that her sex, but also her gender.  I give, as examples, her love of baths, her love of being dressed in clothes, wanting to smell and look pretty, as well as the way she has taken to pretending to be not interested at all when males approach her.  She has developed very specific taste, preferring males who are well past puppyhood, who are about her size, and who are usually poodles or part poodles!  One of these males lives across the way and high up on a balcony and I've seen them lock eyes - like Romeo and Juliet. However, I've seen her and a large young male fall in love with each other at first sight - not wanting to pass each other but stay put.  I've seen more than one male pup, at the sight of her, take in a deep breath and stare.  (In a month or two, when they've been there, done that, they get over it.) 

Many people who have rescued dogs from shelters have stories about the DOG PICKING THEM. I do think my dog picked me, though I don't have any strong feelings about her having been in my past life or lives.  I do hope, however, that I will be someday reunited with her in heaven, that she will be waiting for me when I get there, hopefully, and, full confession here, sometimes I do call her "daughter!"

Because many people who have pets these days see them as, perhaps not human, but as sentient beings, the relationship has changed for those people and those dogs.  There are still wild dogs, dogs who help people herd or hunt, dogs who people eat, dogs who people steal and sell for medical experiments, dogs who are terribly abused, dogs who stay outside their entire lives and never have a comfortable bed, and then there are dogs like mine, who is right now, all curled up in a swirl of old blankets.  I can only hope her previous owners were good to her!  She is not spoiled.  She is a survivor.

C 2016  All Rights Reserved.  Ancestry Worship Genealogy

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.

UPDATE!  ONE WEEK AFTER THIS POST, though the church, a connection was made.  I'll be delivering the collection to a go between any day!  So, Maureen RIP!

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.

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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.

16 August 2016


About a decade ago, I made friends with a neighbor, I'll call George.
Well, first I made friends with the widow of his best friend, a poet who liked to take after dinner walks around my neighborhood.  I met her, liked her, she wanted to copyright her poetry and we started talking about that.  I began to visit her at the Assisted Living where she was living.  I'll call her Marge.

Marge had only one grandson to visit her, having lost her son, and having a daughter with a serious mental illness that prevented any real relationship.  Her grandson did his best but was working full time and not feeling so hot himself. 

Marge introduced me to George.  George and his wife, who had been childhood sweethearts, and Marge and her husband had been friends for years and when George's wife, who had been his childhood sweetheart died, he went into a deep depression. 

When they'd given up their houses for Assisted Living, they picked one of the swankier ones, and for some time they barely needed any of the Assistance.  It was more than no one felt like cooking or making the beds anymore.

When Marge finally explained her situation to me, I offered to pick up things from the store that she might need when her grandson couldn't.  She held back from taking me up on it.  She just needed company. I started making mini visits with her, usually on my way to or back from work.

I learned she liked mint hard-tac candy but when I offered to bring her some she said I should not and if I did, she would never speak to me again.  I worked till 7 and would call her every night when I got off to see how she was.  I knew she had been to the hospital a few times but it wasn't until another resident whispered to me that she actually had colon cancer and it had been decided that she not know, that I realized she wouldn't be on this earth for long.

One night I called her a little after 7, and she was whispering into the phone.  She said that she was in trouble and that no one at the front desk had been summoned when she rang.  "I'll be right there,"  I said.  And I must have flown on a broomstick because before you could say Boo, I was in the kitchen finding the desk attendant having a long personal conversation on the phone.  "Get off that phone this minute,"  I said,  "Do you not know that Marge is sick and has been waiting for someone to go up to her room?" 

The desk attendant did hang up at once (and I've since wondered about my sudden authority)  Then I said, "Has her doctor been called?"  The desk attendant said yes, but it was a lie, which I found out when I demanded that the doctor be called again, she called back, and I spoke with her.  An appointment was made for her in 2 days.

Then I went up to Marge's room for the first time.  Like most Assisted Living rooms this one had the basics, and her possessions had been pared down to a few family photos.  She was in bed.  The first thing she said to me is "Where is my mint hard-tac!"

"You said you would never speak to me again if I brought you some!

"Well I changed my mind."

In the bathroom, Marge had left her Depends. She told me that it had taken her about a half hour to crawl back across the floor and hoist herself into the bed.
I told her to get settled in.  Then I put on the television and searched for a good station.  There was a Pavaroti concert on.

"Oh I love Pavaroti!"  she said.  And she rested back to just listen, with a slight grin on her face.

I left the room, and downstairs another resident told me that Marge had let the staff know that I was like a daughter to her and that's why I was now allowed in her room.
The next day after work I made my usual call, and found out that Marge had died in the middle of the night.

I may have been the last person to talk to her.

Her grandson came and took her few possessions away.  If there were ever a memorial service, I never heard about it.

But three days later, as I was walking down the street, I saw her face with a huge smile in my mind's eye, and I knew that she had been ready, willing, and able to pass into the next life and that she had made it to heaven.

This left George more alone than ever.
When I would walk past the Assisted Living on my way somewhere, I would see him sitting outside, and I went and said hello to him.  I told him that Marge had really admired him.

One day he decided the heck with the swanky Assisted Living and moved not far away, to one smaller and more humble.  It cost less, the food wasn't so good, but he thought they took good care of him.  The real problem was that he was one of the few people in this place who not only had his wits but who also liked to be opinionated and debate a little, and that there was no one else to talk to.
Oh, he tried their little Bible study - that was enlightening - but he could skip bingo and soap operas on the TV. 

George fought his depression by participating in writing classes and theatre outings with other seniors, and his one child who lived not too far away got him a personal computer, an e-reader, and a few other gadgets, so that he was up on his technology and could read his favorite genre - detective novels - with less strain on his eyes.  He managed to read over 60 of them when he got bad news about his eyesight.  This tweaked the depression, and he started saying his next move was Oregon where suicide was legal!

My friendship with George was much different than the friendship I'd had with Marge.  We talked about writing, but he preferred politics.  An ardent Democrat, George died before he could vote for Hilary Clinton in the California Primaries, and no doubt has been lucky to miss the antics of Presidential Candidate Donald Trump.  George had made it through the Great Depression as a ditch digger, married his childhood sweetheart after his service in World War II, had worked in aerospace but had lived past his retirement savings, and was the esteemed patriarch of a small but loving family.

Sometimes months would go by and I wouldn't have contact with George, but then I'd call or go visit.  He continued to claim that he couldn't get around but could be hard to get because he was so often out!

One day I heard on the radio that there had been a violent crime at the store right next to this Assisted Living, and I knew that the more mobile residents went in there to get themselves snacks and drinks.  The whole town was shocked.  I decided to visit George on my way home and got there right before his dinner time.  Though George claimed to be bored with most of the other residents and opted out of so called activities, he had a few woman friends who loved to have their meals with him at the table - a man!  George looked white, the only time I had ever seen him looking sick, and told me that he had just returned from two months in the hospital.

"So that's why I wasn't able to get ahold of you.  Tell you what, I think I will call you or come by here again when you're up to it to talk to you.  How did they treat you at the hospital?"

"Terrible!" he growled.

I didn't believe that, but I knew he was in a terrible mood.

Two days later I called and was told that his daughter had come and moved him out. He had been put in a hospice.

I called her.

"When did you see him and talk to him?"

"Just two days ago!"

"We had just taken him out to dinner.  It was like you said.  He had clarity.  But now he doesn't know where he is and he can't recognize me."

Sam died two days after that."

I wasn't the last person who talked to him.  Just the last person who had talked with him where he had his wits.

He was 95 years old.

The other day I saw his face in my minds eye. 

Mom used to say, "Two things never change.  Death and Taxes."

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

06 August 2016


Hitler's Forgotten Children
by Ingrid Von Oelhafen and Tim Tate  C 2016
A True Story of the Lebensborn Program and
One Woman's Search for Her Real Identity

Publisher is Caliber Rundon - Berkely Penguin House

What if knew in your gut that something was very wrong about your adoption?  Something so secret that you were not told that you were adopted until you were in adulthood and then given no clues.  Your mother was a cold, distant, and uncommunicative woman. You grew up without love.  As your curiosity gets to you, you do what you know how to do to find out the truth, and because you were raised a German,  you start out figuring that your birth parents must have been German too.

All of these things could have been true if you were born during Hitler's Lebensborn program, during a time and a place when being accepted into the SS and your rank had much to do with your genealogy chart.  A common soldier had to prove his Aryan or Nordic heritage back to 1800, officers to the mid 1700's.  To be considered fit  you had to prove that  you had no Jewish, Slavic, or other heritage that might label you a Mongrel.  A man had to also be over 5'6 tall and prove his physical superiority.  Then he, and such German women, were encouraged to reproduce. SS men were expected to marry and have families, but suddenly the government was promising that children born illegitimate with the proper background would not suffer for it financially.  Four German grandparents was good proof and so you would receive an "Aryan Certificate" or a "Greater Aryan Certificate."  By 1939 it was considered sacred to copulate to conceive children with the right physical and mental characteristics such as blue eyes and light hair.  Hitler wrote that if they could just get rid of 700,000 to 800,000 of the weakest people and have one million children a year, Germany would be a strong nation.  Forced sterilization and euthanasia were popular methods to get rid of the weakest.  At least 320,000 people had been sterilized by the beginning of World War II.

Ingrid Von Oelhafen learned the details of the Lebensborn program as she searched for her heritage. She had a terrible time accepting that she could be part of such a breeding program.  As it turned out she was part of the program, but a different part.  It took much of her adult life, off and on, to find some documented evidence of who she was, to figure out the puzzle. Unmoved and conspiratorial bureaucrats, silent relatives with fuzzy memories, the International Red Cross, support group members, and finally DNA figure in her story.

Maria Dolezalova's story was an example.  In Maria's case about 200 women from her village were transported to Rovensbruck concentration camp where 184 of their children were snatched to be examined by RuSHA.  103 children failed, 74 were handed over for immediate extermination by gas on a rigged truck, and only 7 including Maria were transferred to be raised as German by Germans. 

Now there is a point in this book where I was incredibly frustrated for and with Ingrid and all the other people involved in this search.  As soon as she learned that she was born Erica Matko on November 11, 1941 in Saint Sauerbrunn, genealogy myopia set in, no one used maps or other information akin to a village finder or index of old and new names for towns and villages, and so this all became a block that could have been more easily broken.  Her birth surname isn't German and the town wasn't in Germany and she needed to think about looking in countries were a Slavic surname was more common.

She had suffered and had to stop searching at times, but eventually she had the PARISH RECORDS for OLD YOGOSLAVIA including the birthdates of her parents and the name of the Village they lived in, Rogtaska Slatina.  But woops!  There was another living Erica Matko, so maybe this was wrong.  DNA testing gave her the answers she needed.  Indeed, she was the Erica Matko born of this couple and snatched from them.  She found she had a living brother in 2000.  Success finally!

C 2016  Book Review/Report Ancestry Worship Genealogy BlogSpot.  All Rights Reserved including International and Internet Rights.

27 July 2016



by Donald Harman Akenson  C 2007
Published by McGill-Queen's University Press - Montreal and Kingston

Pages13-14  Excerpt

"Where historical geneticist and Mormon genealogists completely lose touch with each other is in their notion of who are First Parents were and how we find them.  IN this regard, historical geneticists are humble, in the sense that they were aware that they are making a set of approximations and that they will never have a final answer. ... In contrast, the Mormons are confident to the point of arrogance (quiet arrogance, but never the less cocksure).  They know that humanity came into existence as described in the Book of Genesis in the Hebrew scriptures.  This was in the year 4004BCE, or thereabouts, according to the now-classical chronology of Archbiship James Ussher, the seventeenth century Church of Ireland archbishop of Armagh...

Page 88

...The conflicting forces are th4e Mormons, genealogists in general, historical geneticists, historical demographers, and anthropologists.  (I am lumping together anthropologists, ethnographers, and ethnologists, while being fully aware that over the generations they have fought with each other over the job specifications for each category.)  All the various forces are produced by individuals who are good-faith practitioners of their own discipline or sub-field within their discipline.  but if they cannot agree on something so basic as what to call the human adult  pair bond- then we are in trouble let alone when they begin developing their own terms for various family members and for generational interconnections.

...the Mormon use of "pedigree" to refer to human genealogical lines is to be voided.  The demographers, geneticists, and anthropologists are here correct: thoroughbred horses and show dogs have pedigrees,  but humans are not the product of controlled breeding programs.  In human society we have "lines: or "lineages,"  never pedigrees.

A set of words that also is to be avoided, except under very narrow circumstances, is "patriarchal" and "matriarchal".  These are perfectly good words, but not here.  They carry connotations of power relationships that can be confusing...

Page 110

If you enter any aspect of the Mormon genealogical system - from blank genealogy forms to computer-generated lineages - you will discover that it runs on the Standard Double system.  Is this ethnocentric imperialism?  Probably, but there is a potential intellectual justif8ication for the practice.  This is the very clear argument that all human beings have biological mother and a biological father and that, therefore, humans should be traced in the same way traces the breed roots of Secretariat or Red Rum.  .... one cannot retroactively impose the Standard Double system on cultures that did not employ it.