21 September 2017

THE RELUCTANT RELATIVE - FOSTERING and ADOPTING - WHO CARES WHO THE ANCESTORS ARE?

I am deeply impressed to learn that one of my relations, became the single mom of six children as she adopted five of the many foster children she was presented.  She lives in a state where adoption is inexpensive and where there is financial help for those who cannot afford to do so otherwise.  This too impresses me. 


Now a retired senior citizen, she recently told me that she's not much into genealogy.  I'd hoped that she could share memories with me that she had, because I was way too young or not even born yet when she had them.  What did she remember about certain relations who are a mystery to me?  After some sharing, she told me that her genetic daughter is not interested and the other children who she adopted don't care about their birth families or the heritage of their adopted mother.  Nobody is interested in searches or charts.  The chances are good that searches - such as adoption registries - would bring up parents who were fairly local at the time, and might still be.  She assures me that none of her children want the mess.


I thought it was brave of her to say all this in a matter of fact way, as she referred me to another family member who is "into" the family history and genealogy.  I contacted that person more than once, but have not heard back.  Meanwhile, I gave the oral history, all that I'd heard or knew, and what was on documents, to the reluctant relation.


I am not going to push.
No I'm not.
I've run into the brick wall that is another person many times.


As much as possible, I will respect her wishes.
I will never put anything on the Internet or in a database about her family.


Will one or all the children eventually change their minds?
I think it is possible, after she has passed on especially, as this is the one and only parent all of them have ever gotten to know.


Another issue with this person, if issue is the right word, is that she doesn't understand what little stories about a person's behavior or attitudes mean to me or people like me.  Certainly one incident doesn't necessarily typify their entire life, but she found that one woman burned garlic to rid the house of evil spirits stupid, while to me it verified the woman's peasant beliefs, folk beliefs that mixed with her Catholicism.  Ethnographic details can be extremely helpful also if you're trying to figure out someone's allegiance to their ethnicity.  In some parts of the world where there were many tribes or ethnicities living near each other, at the time they certainly knew the beliefs, as well as clothing, food, language, and other differences people had.


C Ancestry Worship Genealogy  All Rights Reserved  2017







16 September 2017

USING DAR LIBRARIES WHEN YOU'RE NOT IN DAR

Got to library.dar.org
Look up top for the GRC button and click on it
YOU WILL GET TO A SEARCH THROUGH GENEALOGY RECORDS THAT MEMBERS OF DAR TRANSCRIBED FROM BOOKS.  They scanned the books and indexed.
EXCERPT: The DAR Genealogical Research System (GRS) is a free resource provided by the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution   (DAR) to aid general genealogical research and to assist with the DAR membership process. The GRS is a collection of databases that provide access to the many materials amassed by the DAR since its founding in 1890.


But nobody is saying you have to join DAR or that the information won't be valuable to you.


EXCERPT:

GRC

The DAR’s Genealogical Records Committee Reports began in 1913 and continue to arrive every year. The information in these 20,000 typescript volumes is predominately Bible record and cemetery record transcriptions along with many other types of transcribed or abstracted genealogical sources. The Genealogical Records Committee has sponsored a project since the late 1990s to index all names in every one of the GRC Reports in the DAR Library. The GRC tab provides a direct link to the “GRC National Index” and to the page explaining this project in more detail.
The GRC Reports themselves are digitized. Researchers may view the digital images at the DAR Library’s Seimes Technology Center. The images are not available at the present time online outside of DAR headquarters. The original typescript volumes have been retired and placed in off-site storage, so researchers must now use the digital images.

06 September 2017

RADICAL VIEWPOINT ABOUT NAMING BABIES?

A new friend told me that he thinks that children who are named after someone exactly but with the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. after the name are abused by the naming.  He feels that naming this way automatically puts too much expectation on the child, usually a boy, to follow in some ancestors footsteps.  He says it's usually rich and influential families who name their sons this way, leaving little room for fulfilling one's own interests and talents; if the ancestor was a tycoon so should the child.  He feels family pride is a detriment.


He was so sure of this opinion of his that I had to think about it.


I see what he means, I'm just not sure that he's right most of the time. That's because while naming this way is about class and culture - you could say tribal - I've found such children usually have nicknames that are rather cute and don't carry the burden of the descendant's name except on official forms in adulthood Some of their own friends don't even know that they are a 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th.  Also sometimes they choose to go through life with a second or third given name.


Then there's that there are families who are warm, loving, nurturing, and caring for their children and families who are not of all classes and cultures.


However, I did once know a man who was burdened by an authoritarian dad who was a star in the insurance business and disappointed in him because he got a Masters degree and became an English teacher!  Though making a comparatively paltry salary, all his friends growing up who "had" still accepted him because they all figured he didn't really have to work and lived off inheritance.


For the genealogist, while a father's son is a Jr.  And when the father dies, the son is no longer a Jr.  But if he has a son named after him that son is Jr.  A numbered name does not imply direct descent.  A nephew can easily become a second.  A grandchild a third.  Some of the families with this tendency seem to recycle given names!

15 August 2017

LATTER DAY SAINTS DISCONTINUE MICROFILM PROGRAM

September first of this year - just a couple weeks away - you will no longer be able to order microfilm from Salt Lake City's Family History Library/Archives to be sent to your nearest temple library.  I have to tell you that I've talked to people at Genealogy Societies and at my public library and generally, people are panicked. 
I guess my commentary that I would never be able to duplicate my research without these films to this day has not been heard. 
What's up with LDS?  Is it that not enough films are rented, making it financially impossible? They say that microfilm is dead, sort of like microfiche has been.  Digitalized Computer Images are better. Well, digitalized images are computer dependent. And that forces you to own a computer or go to a public use computer.  Believe me my cell phone and FamilySearch are compatible, but the screen is way too small to deal with all those digital images.
Read the fine print and you'll see that individual libraries are going to make decisions about what they keep when it comes to microfilm.   Usually a fee is charged for the rental and then you can renew the film as you use it.  What I see ahead shortly is some fast ordering by researches and a pile of last minute money to be made by LDS but also a gradual phasing out of the microfilms.
Latter Day Saints/Family Search says that by 2020, just a few years, everything they have to offer will be on their web site, Family Search. It's those few years that worry us completely. That seems almost impossible to me, considering that one category of film I use a lot has apparently been considered done by revealing baptismals, but not marriages or deaths; I keep checking. In the past I've made a great number of family groups by reading the births in a town, each consistent with parents, while not finding a marriage for the parents in that some town.  Recently I spent an entire weekend on FamilySearch, playing games with crazy spellings, in order to see if I could find a marriage.
This was a personal quest and would be extremely expensive if was working it for someone else, and entirely speculative.  The fact is, if the marriages were up, I could likely focus on just one or two villages, and work the births of children from there.


So I suspect something secret is going on with Latter Day Saints and the Genealogy Business in general.  So far everything is free, and there is a lot of contributory work.  One person I know who indexed for FamilySearch is livid to find out his work has been given over to Ancestry - a fee based site.  He says if he had been asked he would have said no, but at least he wouldn't feel so disrespected.

LDS ORG on MICROFILM DISCONTINUATION ANNOUNCMENT  READ THE OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT.


Another aspect of the wait until 2020 is that in that year the 1950 census should be at least begun, since the 70 year Privacy wait will be over.  It will be a much larger project than the 1940 since this is the post World War II "babyboom" era.


From September 2017 till sometime in 2020 you can still pursue  your genealogy but if what you need is not on the web site, don't forget the "old fashioned" methods!


C Ancestry Worship Genealogy Blogspot

05 August 2017

WHAT'S IN A NAME CHANGE - WHAT MADES ME MAD - PART THREE

Use the Google Blogger search feature to bring up other posts on name changes, surnames, and part one and two of this tome!)


Besides ethnic pride and the discovery of roots, another reason for name changes, both given and surname, that I've encountered is numerology.  In part one of this post on NAME CHANGES, I mentioned that it seems acceptable to change your name completely to have success in Hollywood.  Well, believe it or not, some of those changes included the possibility that changing one's "numbers" would be good luck.  Numerology is the study of how letters add up as numbers.


I've known people who take numerology seriously when naming their babies, naming a business, or renaming themselves, because they want a happier life.  Imagine if you will growing up with a name that has felt truly impossible.  You're wondering what your parents were thinking when they gave you that name.  If you're really going to start over with a whole new name, why not take everything into consideration, even if it turns out there's nothing to it?


I've known artists and writers who have a career or "brand" name different from what's on their driver's license, and sometimes it's just so they can hide their other self and way of making money from a boss!  (More difficult these days than ever to do.)


To me being able to make enough money and get past being in survival and subsistence and moving forward in your life is a great reason to change your name, and it doesn't imply that you're greedy, materialistic, or a jerk.


There's only one reason a name change is bad and wrong and that's when the intention is to hide criminal activity.


C 2017  Ancestry Worship Genealogy BlogSpot All Rights Reserved.

27 July 2017

WHO SHOULD SHE SHARE HER GENEALOGY RESEARCH WITH? QUESTION FOR ANCESTRY WORSHIP GENEALOGY

Hi there AWG!

Because of all the information available on the Internet I've easily found the addresses of a number of relatives who I've had no contact with in 20 or more years and all around the country too.  I've done the genealogy and haven't shared it.  I thought I'd publish a little book someday and send it out.  Now I'm thinking that I should try and contact some of these people and establish connection again.  The problem is that I stopped connecting with most of them years ago because of a family scandal which effected me badly.  It seemed to me no one wanted to take sides or get involved or that I didn't want to put them in the position of having to.  The perpetrator is still alive.  I have no idea what her relationship is with others in the family. 

Sharon


Answer:

Hi Sharon,

Without giving me all the details I can say I know what you mean.  I've heard of situations like this many times.  Every family has secrets and maybe some of them should stay secrets.  Genealogy books can be "just the facts" or a bit more elaborate with memoir-like details and you might feel like letting it "all hang out" is honest (and accurate).  However, I'm going to try and be pragmatic here.

You can have the book published and send out copies to everyone, some may be interested, some not, and some relationships may be reestablished.  When they gossip they can say you were fair and sending EVERYONE a copy.

OR
You can contact everyone and say there is a book available and you'll be glad to send it, but request that they send a donation for the shipping, something like that, which might prove to you who is or isn't interested in the genealogy, appreciative of all your work, or who does not want to start contact with you for whatever reason.

OR
You could contact the people you feel more sure about and tell them you are working on a genealogy and family memoir book and ask for their memories, photos, and so on, including them in on the finished product, and a few of them will show interest and most won't, even if they say they will.

OR
You could publish limited editions of your book and put it on the shelves of libraries all over the country.  Most libraries are interested.  My city library keeps thousands, not in the stacks, but in back, to be used within the library by special request.  (You could then send notes stating that your published genealogy and family history rests in their local library.)  I intend to do this someday, and right now it will probably be in only four cities, but if I find clusters of relatives elsewhere, maybe more.

As for getting into what happened years ago and how it effected you, I understand that you equate the facts found in genealogy research through documents with truth and honesty, but I just don't know.

C 2017

22 July 2017

HALLOWED GROUNDS - AMERICA'S OVERSEAS CEMETERIES : ANCESTRY WORKSHIP GENEALOGY FILM REVIEW


HALLOWED GROUNDS focuses on the cemeteries in Europe where soldiers from World War I and World War II are buried. Turns out that simple crosses lined up like soldiers feature in most of these cemeteries. Most touching is that some Europeans have picked a soldier, learned of his sacrifice for their freedom, and have adopted him, bringing flowers since his own family is not likely to visit.  These cemeteries are in England and France, Italy, Luxemberg, Belgium.  Why was I surprised to learn that there are locations in Tunisia and the Philippines?
My meditation on this film was also that, sadly, we seem to be essentially hung up on World War II.  What about Viet Nam?  What about undeclared war?  I think maybe if it's not officially a war than it can't have official heroes (and heroines!)
According to this film at least 125,000 American military men and women are buried in these cemeteries.  Then there are so many more who are missing.  Probably forever.
Worth watching!

12 July 2017

WAYS AROUND THE MARRIAGE LICENSE and RECORD

You may have used a database that has an index or text version extracted from the original records that were originally on printed forms but handwritten. Depending on the database you've used, you may be satisfied with what comes up.  But I advise "go further."  Go to the actual document and if it's not available on that database send away for photocopies of the original from the county or state or city where those documents are held.

I recently looked at an original and there in neat but tiny handwriting were the words "real name Polasky" under the bridges name information.  This bit of information proofed an oral history as well as confirmed that a possible reason that the bride's family wasn't coming up on census records and so on was that, though it was a first marriage and she was just 21, there had been a name change in the family quite soon after immigration; these immigrants Germanized their surname. 

This means to me that:
1) They could have done so because they thought or knew that it would mean work.
2) Quite likely they also spoke some German, as well as their native Polish.
3) That could mean they were from the part of Poland that was once the Austrian Empire since people went to school for free but learned in German.
4) Perhaps someday I will go back a generation or two and find some of their ancestors in Poland were German and had German surnames.  Or that they left Poland but more recently lived in Germany.

Because the bride stated it was her first marriage, I knew that this name change was not a result of marriage.

But from the license and the civil paperwork submitted by the person who performed the marriage, it was not clear if that person was a priest, justice of the peace, circuit judge, preacher, or some other person officially able to conduct marriages.  The family was also not sure, because the groom married a second time quickly after this first wife, I'll call her the Polasky bride, died, if these were religious marriages.  Rumors flew that the Polasky bride was Jewish. The next step was to run the addresses of the bride, groom, and the officiate, as well as to check what day of the week they filed for licenses and the day of the week they married.  Did they have a church wedding?

And what did he mean "real name?"  Most likely, the family did change their name, but they might not have gone through a legal process.  At the time many people did not.

I was able, because historical information came up on the Internet, to verify that in both cases, the marriages were performed within a week of the license and during the middle of the week.  This means there was no long engagement and it's less likely I'll find any announcements of engagements, marriages, or honeymoons in newspapers.  They decided and they went ahead and were married.  In one case, the certificate was signed by a priest who did not mention he was a priest, and in another it simply says "clergy." Though I suspect that there wasn't a special wedding Mass said for them, and that these weddings were a bit closer to a simple ceremony, in each case though, the marriages were performed in Catholic Churches, the first a Polish parish, and the second a Hungarian parish.  I learned where the records are kept for each.  One of the parishes is still functioning a hundred years or so after being founded, and there is a cemetery attached. 

The Polasky bride's death certificate gives both names she used.  I called the cemetery and they don't know where she is buried.  There is no headstone, if there ever was one.

Then I ran the names through FamilySearch were someone has submitted for some branch of the family.  The name of the Polasky bride's parents are not the same as the one submitted, nor are they in the same state.  But the submitter shows that there was a name change - and it matches the family I was searching for.

What this means right now is that I feel certain that the family in the other state is that of her uncle and his children.  His birthdate makes him old enough to be her father, and I would guess that her father is an older or younger brother.

However, unless I eventually find her and her parents that match her wedding license, and I suspect I will with their names horribly written and further transcribed distant from the actual surname. There are some other speculations I must deal with:

That her birth father was in the United States for a while, but went back to Poland, leaving her, and possibly some siblings as adults to support themselves.  Also a possibility is that I have found her father but he has remarried, and was married three times, her mother being a brief second marriage.  Possibly her mother died.  Finally though I have a second possible clue that links me to a family in another states and that is the oral history that her mother was named Veronica.  Her mother was not named Veronica, but if she is linked to this family, she would have an older sister or half sister named Veronica who was also on the census in the same place as she was married - briefly.

It's my intuition that the oral history that she had a mother named Veronica is actually that her mother died when she was born or young, and that this older sister, so long as she was still living in the same place, still looked in on her though there was a remarriage.

This particular situation has really challenged by genealogy myopia (we all have it at times).
If the records are correct, she came in 1904 with someone.  The possible uncle in another state also states he came in 1904.  She married in 1916.  Had a first child in 1918.  Died in 1920.

Proofing of course is needed!

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08 July 2017

WHAT'S IN A NAME CHANGE - WHAT MAKES ME MAD - PART TWO

(Continued - part one was posted about a month ago.)


I know of a Celtic /Irish American author who has been defamed by one biographer by adding a second L...


If you are researching a "difficult to pronounce or spell" surname, first, use on online translator that has speech capability or talk to someone of the ethnic heritage (that may mean contacting a Native American tribe or special ethnic research group), and get the SOUND of the name.  Write down what it sounds like to you.  Ask other people to write down what they think they are hearing. 


Use SOUNDEX to bring up names that sound like that.  (Be aware that Soundex (s) aren't perfect.  One is considered to be Germanized.)  Try to imagine what it might be to a German speaker who is a census taker.


Become sensitized through the use of SOUNDEX or database opportunities to bring up names that are close in spelling.  Though so many names are common, in particular names based on professions, that it doesn't imply descendants are from one massive family.  However, you may find that the name has changed through time as people you're related to moved from country to country.


When it comes to snobbery, I've heard many people criticized for have a van, von, or other prefix indicating land ownership, if not also nobility, before their surname.  Some families dropped this when they accepted the democratic ideals of the United States of America, but if your family was using it in the Old Country, then that's your name!  Remember that wealth and elite status then isn't what it is now.  They could have had inherited land but be broke.)


(part three coming!)



28 June 2017

CHRONICLING AMERICA - LIBRARY OF CONGRESS's FREE HISTORICAL NEWSPAPER DATABASE

CHRONICLING AMERICA - NEWSPAPERS HISTORICAL 1789-1924

I ran a search for a name and was a little surprised to find a Pennsylvania Newspaper completely typeset in GERMAN.  Though I knew that at one time there was a vote about our National Language and German came in second to English, so many Germans were here by then that many publications and records used for genealogy are in German.

Depending on your library system, you may or may not have some newspaper databases available for free.  This one is, and is brought to us from the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

17 June 2017

FORENSIC GENEALOGY?

Forensic Genealogy is the use of genealogy in order to locate missing people and solve crimes, a juicy subject.

I recently attended a lecture by a well regarded and experienced Forensic Genealogist. She told about doing numerous family charts in order to locate someone who might know where a woman who had gone missing might be.  This was not exactly a teenage runaway situation.  There had been a remarriage, a step-parent, and the person intentionally cut off from everyone.  That's difficult to do.  Maybe her reasons wouldn't seem rational to you or me, but the Forensic Genealogist sought to give her family "closure." And they got it.  She had lived for many years but had commit suicide.  She had done what many people do when they want to get lost.  She had assumed the identity of a person who had died who was about her age. Other than assume this identity, and gather together the paperwork she would need to prove who she was and keep her cover, she was never involved in any other "criminal" activity.  I looked at some web sites that tied to the Forensic Genealogist's and some of them started out using the word "Criminal" because of "Identity Theft" on this person who needed to get lost as she saw it, and I sort of cringed. 

While listening to the lecture I thought about Missing Persons.

Tell me, if YOU hated your family, maybe had a terrible childhood, and you wanted to get lost, if you never wanted to hear from them again,what would you do?  Expect the FBI or CIA to create a new ID for you?  Law enforcement does those things for people in Witness Protection Programs sometimes. Tombstone websites would certainly make locating someone your age who died more accessible to you, easier than prowling cemeteries in other towns by yourself!

It turned out that yes, there was ONE person, a distant family member, who had contact with her and kept her secret for many years. That he kept her secret makes me think that she had some good reasons to leave and be in hiding.  My guess, the stepfather molested her.


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10 June 2017

WHAT'S IN A NAME CHANGE - WHAT MAKES ME MAD - PART ONE

Over the years, in books I've read especially, I've come across negative commentary by various authors who are finding fault with people's name changes.  Its their way of insinuating negative things about other's personality, character, or psychology, and that makes me mad.  It's most often unfair.  When I come across that kind of criticism in a biography, I wonder how much I should believe that the author wrote.

Many people are not comfortable with the name they were given at birth and many people have felt compelled to change their surname due to the prejudices they've experienced - or just because they feel like it.  Take for instance the children of hippies who were, as a friend's son was, given a long Native American name when they were Jewish!  (He changed his name in college.)

It seems to me that drastic name changes that individuals or their Hollywood studios, managers, or agents, demanded are understood or forgiven as the means to celebrity and career success.  (i.e. Norma Jeanne Baker became Marilyn Monroe.)  But oh if a common person adds a letter, gets rid of the son, ski, sky, szke, or some other suffix, or gives a name a twist or a twirl to do so.  Sometimes this change is to make a name difficult to pronounce in English easier on other people.

I've talked about the Ellis Island name change as a myth at least once on this blog, but I've met a lot of people who claim that is where a drastic name change occurred.  Maybe that's even what their immigrant ancestor claimed, but more than likely, if the name change was drastic, then the person probably decided that to completely start anew they might as well.

Some immigrants came from places were surnames were fairly recent, where family members were not unified in what they wanted the family surname to be, or they had a Jewish name and an American name.  (Their documents from the old country would be more revealing.  Did they get on the boat with the same name they got off with?  Did they apply for citizenship with the name they used on the boat? Did they appear on a census in the Old Country with that name?  What does it say on birth certificates?)

Many ethnic groups had a very hard time getting viable work and income, and found that when they were out of work employers didn't even call them in for interviews - until they changed their names.  This has been true for decades.  In my time one family I know changed their five syllable Italian name, which actually was quite musical to the ear pronounced correctly, to the father's first name (i.e. Robert Roberts) and his whole career changed.  Another family had a German name that sounded like a sex act and their children were being teased on the playground.  Let's just say they changed their surname to Fox, and their pubescent daughter stopped getting harassed.  If a child is being bullied, maybe it's time for a name change.

Other people have discovered their ethnic heritage roots in adulthood and discovered that their surname has been slightly misspelled all along and go back to the original spelling.

(to be continued)


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05 June 2017

GENEALOGY BLOCK BEFORE THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION : SHOULD SHE TRUST THE DAUGHTERS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION MEMBERSHIP

Daughters of the American Revolution as well as Sons of the American Revolution are two membership groups that honor those who can prove ancestry to a Patriot, that's to say someone who helped the United States in its war of independence from The British. (But we are just so interested in Pippa Middleton's wedding aren't we?) Let me say that I've met some "experts" who live to help people prove their connection, and sometimes the Patriot gave a soldier a cup of water from the well, under, of course, threat of being harmed or killed for doing so, but never saw military action.  One expert told me some years ago that DAR was questioning some of the memberships that had been granted and were politely informing some people they were no longer members. The reason was that the references that had been used were no longer considered authoritative. I believed him.


One of the best things to do before you submit is use the resources a DAR or SAR library or their books of members at public libraries.  If you can prove you're related to someone who is already a member, that's certainly helpful.


That's why recently I advised someone that though they were "in" due to their deceased brother's research, they should double check all his research before going any further.  This is a situation in which genealogy myopia can easily set in and that's why having another person who is professional or holds themselves to professional standards look at the work can be a good idea.  It wasn't that I suspected her brother of any wrong doing.  In fact I suspected that she would find his research was worthy of DAR.  But I strongly believe that when you inherit someone else's research (or their warm and fuzzy family memory book) that you familiarize yourself with that work, check it, add to it, and be sure you really aren't tracing a wrong family.  It happens.  Especially when the surnames are more common.


This researcher wanted to go back past her brother's work to Great Britain, from the surname I suspected Scotland or Scottish roots.  She had found the 1790 and 1800 census not too helpful.  Here are some suggestions I made to her that may be helpful to you.


1) Just because his name appears to be James, does not mean he never went by a nickname or that James wasn't his middle name.  Become familiar with the many nicknames besides Jim that a James could be called.  Be aware that sometimes a Jacob got called James.


2) Run general searches on databases to see if the name is particular to a country or a town. That's not to say that there won't be any Scots in say, France, but if you find that name has an important cluster in say, Sterling, that may be the place to go to work from there forward.  (i.e. records of who left there and came to American where and when.)


3) Do not depend on any electronic databases to provide you all the information you need.  The "old fashioned" methods still work and may be the best way to go.


4) Call the local historical societies and libraries where the family name appears on the 1790 and or 1800.  The smaller the town the better chance you have of encountering a librarian who will roll some microfilm only they hold or check an obituary for you, or that you will connect with some local person who is very proud to know who was who.


5) Don't assume that tombstone projects have counted all the people in the cemetery.  In some cemeteries more than half of the people under ground never had a tombstone in the first place.  They were too expensive.  Also consider that some families, especially who owned farm land, set aside land for a family cemetery.  Contact locals to find out who has those old cemetery records.


6) Look at old maps, such as Platt maps, land grant maps, and so on, to see if the surname features as a place name or road name. (Some of these old maps will show family cemeteries.)  I know someone whose big break came when she noticed a tiny dot that had the family surname and the word berries.


7) A whole lot of archives, courthouses, lawyers offices, and so on have gone up on fire!
Actually, records burned up in a fire accidently or on purpose is a reason or excuse I and so many others have encountered it really makes you wonder.  Ask again anyway.  Just incase the last time you asked a clerk was buried under work and had no time to really look. (And by the way that includes more recent Military Records.  Check out the NARA site for more information. You may get a letter with a government stamp stating that the person's service has been "recreated from other sources.")


8) Using databases that allow you to use wild card or phonetic searches and play around with spelling or letters in a name can sometimes make all the difference or be a crazy waste of time and you may not know till you try.  Consider that there is PENMANSHIP and then there is HANDWRITING.  Penmanship was stressed in the old days, and imagine one was dipping that quill back into the ink every few words!  Here are some quick suggestions.


a) Add an S to the end of the surname.  That's because people refer to Smith as Smiths if there is more than one of them and that's likely.  It's probably the most frequent "misspelling" you can find.
b) Consider that D, P, and sometimes T can look alike.  So can a T and a Z. That's the capitals.  When it comes to the vowels, so very many e's and i's not doted can be confused, and o's and a's.
c) It's possible that the surname has really been screwed up by someone imputing into a database with multiple errors, so try a search for everyone named Jim, then look closely for names that might be close.  I still think reading handwriting off microfilm can solve these mysteries.


9) DNA: ask experts which company is the best one for the type of test you want. Remember that there are currently no samples of Abraham Lincoln's DNA and they are not going to dig him up to get some.  You may want to gift some samples to your children and other relatives before you die, even if you aren't into this aspect of genealogy.  Possibly you will be connected by the company to those who have also submitted samples and they will have the information you need.


10) Was the person by any chance a member of the Masons or other Lodge or Secret Society?  Is there a family tradition of membership? Some have records fairly far back.


C 2017 Ancestry Worship Genealogy  All Rights Reserved including Internet and International Rights



29 May 2017

MEMORIAL DAY - OLD SOLDIERS HOME - LOS ANGELES

I believe this old postcard is of the cemetery in Los Angeles
associated with the Veteran's Administration Hospital. 
There's no more room in it.
Recent VA burials are minimalistic and the body is taken into another county.
So genealogically, the person might have a Los Angeles County death certificate but not a Los Angeles County burial.
If you're driving on the 405 Freeway you can see the stiff rows of identical tombstones, standing, yes, a bit like soldiers at attention.
As far as I know the Soldier's home is abandoned but on the property. Since there are so many homeless veterans in the area, there's talk of tearing it down - who needs another historical site when modern housing is needed?



20 May 2017

THE VALUE OF USING OLD PHONE BOOKS FOR GENEALOGY

Recently a friend was telling me that her parents have had the same phone number and landline since 1950 when they moved to a new suburb and shared a party line!  These days some people change their cell phone number every year.  (And I know a lot of people who never answer their phone unless a friend first text messages them.)


So it may be difficult to understand the value of old telephone books with all the amazing technological changes in both phones and networks.  Concerns about long distance phone call charges have evaporated with Unlimited calling all around the country, but not so long ago it could cost a lot more to call a few miles away into another network. The cost of phone calling meant that people used the mail (as in snail mail) to write each other letters.


Recently I traveled to Los Angeles Public Library Central to look through a half dozen old phone books there in the stacks.  Oh they were really decaying so much so that I had to wonder if the particular city I pulled from the shelf to look at 1940, 1945, 1950, 1955, 1960, and 1965 for certain surnames would disintegrate beneath my fingers.

Why would I do this, seeking what may be trivial information, when years ago I looked through the City Directories for the same surnames?

Well, let's remember that City Directories were often PRE-TELEPHONE or sometimes CO-EXISTED WITH TELEPHONE DIRECTORIES because City Directories had more in common with Yellow Pages or Business Directories than Residential Phone Books.


It cost to list yourself in most City Directories and so people did so to advertise the kind of work they were available to do or their business.  Sometimes a young woman would list herself so young men who might want to court her or marry her could find her, particularly if she was self supporting and had left home.

And then the telephone came to cities, towns, villages, suburbs at different times and places and not everyone wanted one or could afford one.  I once met a woman who discovered a secret in her family. 
A father in the family was so angered that one of his daughters would want to WORK and be a TELEPHONE OPERATOR and had responded to signs posted up around town for workers that he beat her and she rolled down the stairs and died.  Everyone knew he was a violent abusive man and in that time and place he wasn't the only class conscious man who thought "No woman in my family is going to WORK!",but he wasn't tried.  That he'd killed his daughter because she wanted to be a liberated woman was the dark family secret.

This leads into the value of using the old phone books.

They can put people at an address between census.  They can let you know that the same people lived at the same address for a short or long time.  Sometimes if the address is the same but a different person is listed, say the son or daughter, it can indicate that the father or breadwinner has died or left the home and that a child is now paying the bills.

Sometimes you can cross reference the address with the City Directory. Sometimes you can cross reference it with a census.  Sometimes you can cross reference it with a Social Security Application.  Or a ship manifest.

Sometimes you know where the family was living from a census but they simply do not yet have a phone.  (The 1940 census would be most revealing because by 1940 most places - especially the larger cities and suburbs surrounding them, have phone service for those who wanted it.  1935 there are phones but not as many of them. The books get fatter and fatter as they years go by and then with the onset of cell phones begin to skinny down.)


By looking for the surnames in the old phone books that I did, I stumbled upon one bit of information that is of special interest to me. That the wife of a man who divorced her some time after he returned from World War II does have her own phone, is listing herself as Mrs. and so by 1950 he must be living separate.  Because in 1950 it was rare for a couple to list their phone under the woman's name unless she was widowed or divorced.


Which brings us to the use of the phone book to possibly narrow down the years we must look for divorce or marriage records or death records.



Some of the phone books have the month and year date on them which is helpful but unlike a census this is the date of publication not the date of a census taker's visit.
Depending on the city and the location of the old paper books, you may find the old names, addresses, and phone numbers, with their now quaint "exchange names" very interesting!


C 2017 Ancestry Worship Genealogy All Rights Reserved including Internet and International Rights

16 May 2017

WHAT YOUR NOSE KNOWS

CNN: YOUR NOSE SHAPE and CLIMATE b


It's exactly as we suspected, our noses do reveal something about the climate that our ancestors lived in.


EXCERPT: They selected people from four populations: North Europeans, South Asians, East Asians and West Africans. Shriver and his team looked at 3-D photos of each individual and examined the width of the nostrils, the distance between nostrils, the height of the nose, nose ridge length, nose protrusion, external area of the nose and area of the nostrils.

10 May 2017

ORPHAN TRAINS brought HOMELESS CHILDREN TO ADOPTIVE FAMILIES

In 1853, a minister named Charles Loring Brace, decided to address the urgent problem of immigrant children who were homeless, on the street, or living in deplorable conditions.  This film doesn't say it, but these children were not just begging, or singing for donations.  Many of them probably were being used for sex or sex trafficked.   Many of them were orphans or the children of unmarried women.  His Children's Aid Society moved 150,000 of these children to the Midwest, usually to farms, between the years of 1854 and 1929.  Some of the people who were moved to homes this way were still alive to testify for this documentary film.  Overall the film presents both sides.  Stories of a child who was worked to death like a slave and lived in fear, children who became the beloved adoptees by excellent parents. Children who stayed in one place and came to appreciate that they had been given a chance that saved them.  Others who moved from one place to another, who were hard to place. Other charities followed this example of placing children who had no real home to go to.





While watching this film, I couldn't help but think of all the children today who are awaiting foster homes or adoption or who are homeless and living in vehicles or motel rooms. Today I do not think this system of putting children on trains, having them get off at a stop, being chosen or rejected, and then putting them back on to another town until someone wanted them would be allowed.


PBS ORPHAN TRAIN SITE


*****
Are you researching to find more out about someone who did or may have been adopted this way?  My advice is to find that person on a census at as young an age as possible.  Then inquire at the county they lived in to find out if any legal adoption was necessary.  I've found that adoption was often not a legal or formal procedure and the text to this program suggests that.  However, the Childrens Aid Society did ask any locatable parent to sign paperwork in which they agreed not to contact the child or interfere in their life, until they were an adult.


CHILDRENS AID SOCIETY NEW YORK  still in existence. 

06 May 2017

OFF AND RUNNING : ANCESTRY WORSHIP GENEALOGY FILM REVIEW



A Jewish Lesbian couple adopted three children.  Two of them, teenagers, a son and a daughter appear to be African American or Black.  The son has no interest in connecting with birth parents.  The daughter, Avery, who is the focus of this film, does.  Encouraged by her two mothers and of her own desire, she first contacts the agency that did the adoption.  She learns that her birth mother has never contacted them.  She persists and writes her birth mother a letter - and waits - and then another.  It seems the woman doesn't want to tell her too much about how she cameo be.  The delays, hesitations, and minor details she is willing to provide, mess up Avery.


She is the daughter of privilege as is, but, a track star with hopes of a college scholarship, she quits high school and thinks about a GED instead.  She's on the pill but she gets pregnant, and sure that she would never want any of her children adopted, she has an abortion.  She moves in with friends and out of the house, because she feels the tension over the birth mother and adoption issue is too much.


The whole time I was watching this film, I was thinking about adoption issues  Is it nurture or nature that makes us? 


Reaching into the experience of someone I'm related to my marriage, I think of a situation in which a child was adopted at about the age of 4 years old by two educated and working parents who were childless.  This child was treated well, not abused, and this child wanted for nothing but wasn't spoiled.  Still, as he neared teenage years he became a rebellious, violent, and hateful child, capable of saying horrible things to his parents, even striking his mother.  When he was 18 he was encouraged to find his siblings, who he had vague memories of, with the hopes that with some answers he would better find his place in the world.  Well, he did, and it turned out both parents were drug addicts who had overdosed or suicide, not all the children had been adopted, two of the siblings had quit high school and had babies without fathers, and one of his siblings was in prison. He had it better than any of them.  For whatever reason this knowledge made him worse.


Then there is the question of placement with a family. Avery appears to be African American or Black.  Very few African American or Black people in the United States are Jewish.  Usually they are Christians and Protestants.  Then there is the question of gay people, be they single or married, having children by adoption, surrogates, or sperm donations.  Frankly there are so very many children out there who need to be adopted, and in some places it's difficult to adopt unless you own a home, for instance.  Some children go through hell in foster care, though there are loving foster care homes.  To me anyone who is a decent human being who can be a responsible parent and wants to be should be allowed to.  But it can be complicated.


One thing that I felt was odd was how the discussions within the family seem to have a lot of analysis like you'd get in therapy.  (When I was growing up NOBODY talked therapeutic terms and if someone was in therapy it was considered their business.)  Avery states her needs in a sophisticated way, but she's still a child, and clearly what she wanted out of her birth mother was more acceptance.

A thought provoking film, the good news is that this young woman gets her life on track and decides to put off the birth mother until she's graduated from college.

25 April 2017

VIKING SURNAMES IN GREAT BRITAIN? ARE YOU a SHORT or a MAC MC - SON or SEN

HAVE A SON OR SEN at the end of your surname?  How about having an MC before?  We've heard President Donald Trump may be related to Eric the Red.  What about Mr. Rogers?

DAILY MAIL UK - EXPERTS REVEAL VIKING SURNAMES by Daisy Dunn


EXCERPT:


Dr Alexandra Sanmark, from the University of the Highlands and Islands, said: 'Vikings in Britain can be traced through archaeological evidence, such as burials, place-names, DNA studies, Scandinavian influence on the English language.

12 April 2017

SURNAMES - THE SMALLER AMERICAN FAMILY SOMETIMES OPTS FOR A FAMILIAL SURNAME ABOUT TO BECOME EXTINCT.



The typical American family today has an extended
family tree that is more of an inverted pyramid
as fewer children are born to couples.

In some families, the surname is becoming extinct because of the
historically low birth rate.

But, in most places, it is perfectly OK to name a child, even to a
married couple, without using the father's surname.

Some couples are opting to use the rarer surname to preserve it.



08 March 2017

VOTER REGISTRATION DATABASES and a BIRTH PARENT STORY

VOTERS REGISTRATION DATABASES are somewhat valuable for genealogy research.  Unlike some other databases, Voters Registration databases can be fairly current. Because they give an address where the person was registered to vote, you can start to focus on that city, county, and state, for other records, checking the address against census.  (President Trump and his people will be looking into issues of voting fraud.  As per a previous post of mine, I think the issue is that more people need to use their citizenship, use their right to vote, do some research on their elected officials and the issues, and get out there and vote!) 


One time I was researching to find the birth parent(s) of someone who was adopted.  The woman was in her 70's.  She had been told that her birth parents were Mormons (Latter Day Saints) and I was able to verify that rumor.  She had also been told some things that were, at best debatable.  Her birth mother was said to be an alcoholic and drug addict who went to skid row.  I thought this was to prevent her from having any desire to find her birth parents.  It was true that her mother had died, for I found her death certificate, but she hadn't been dead yet when her children were adopted out.  The year before she died she was married, living in Santa Monica with her husband, to whom she was married, and they had registered to vote as Republicans.  She had married in the Latter Day Saints, and I was thinking, so far so good.  Married first, children second, voting Republican - voting - what could have gone wrong.

Sadly, it turned out that my client had been living all her years near relatives of her birth parents.  I mean around the block.  And they knew where she was but had never visited with her.  She had a memory of showing up at someone's house and being shepherded back to her adoptive parents.  She thought that someone was actually a relative.


Her father had given up on raising the children of his marriage and had moved to Utah.


When I reported in to her, I told her that members of the LDS church had looked into their databases for me and all the Temple Ordinances had been done for her father, but not her mother!  We began to look into why not.  What was really wrong with her mother?  My client had been told some terrible things.  However, I came away with one idea: that her mother had been mentally ill and at a time when serious mental illness - and self medication - was not well understood.  This woman, her mother, was to be pitied, but it seemed that instead she and her children had been put out.


Further research proved to me that this mother had come from England and had been adopted by a family in the U.S. and into the religion.  When I got this far, certain LDS members told me that there had been orphans adopted at the time, who came to the United States and were made members of the church.


Perhaps the worst of this is that here was a woman in her 70's looking for the truth of her life on earth, and if mental illness was running in her maternal line, she should have known it.  Luckily, she had no daughters.  However, now the few blood relatives she was able to locate know this is a possibility - for now her sister got into the research and they shared what they had.  My sense is that her mother was probably an orphan in England due to similar mental health issues of her own mother, or perhaps both of her parents.


Out of money and time, we didn't try to break the "Brick Wall" we had run into trying to find a young girl living in England who would be orphaned on the census there.  the surname was common enough for there to be a number of candidates.


One of the things that was so remarkable about this client, was her willingness to hear me on what had been proven and what was speculated.  She had not been raised in the LDS religion but knew her birth father was in good standing and she did feel some relief about that and I was so happy that church members had been willing to look into that for me - her - us.  I suggested to her that she might want to talk to the Bishop about her mother, if she wished to pursue the Ordinances for the woman who gave birth to her and probably began to act schizophrenic after having children in her early twenties.


C 2017  Ancestry Worship Genealogy  All Rights Reserved.

08 February 2017

RUMORS OF JEWISHNESS - GENEALOGY RESEARCH MAY PROVE IT TRUE or NOT

Rumors of Jewishness?  Maybe you're pretty sure this cannot be true because you were not raised in Judaism and you don't know of a living relative who is. 


Some time ago I met a woman who told me a heartbreaking story.  She had become ill.  She had two children.  Her marriage wasn't working out.  She was forced to put her children in foster care.  She was telling me this because she wanted me to know that she had been diagnosed and if she ever collapsed onto the floor, I should not hesitate to call 911.  She said if she collapsed there was a very limited period of time in which she could be saved.  Eventually, her children were adopted.  She felt bad about this but had no choice. Her illness had remained both documented and a mystery for two long for her to get well enough to care for them.  She had endured a lot of medical tests, a lot of questions, long term hospitalization and nursing care.  And she was in her twenties!   She explained to me that she had been raised Presbyterian.  Her aunt was a major donor to a wealthy Presbyterian church.  It wasn't until she was near death that this aunt showed up at the hospital and revealed to the doctors that actually their family was Jewish.  This was the clue that lead them to a diagnosis.  She could have died!  When I looked at this women I never thought, "Oh she looks Jewish!"


There is a special kind of genealogy myopia that happens when an American is looking to prove or disprove rumors of Jewishness in the family.  That is that Americans tend to think that Jews have "Jewish surnames."  That they mean is commonly known names, like Cohen or Levi, or the German Jewish names, like Rothschild!  But, in fact, Jewish people have changed their names to fit the culture they are living in, or shortened them, or made them into an English equivalent, like an associate I had whose family turned Zukor to Sugar.

So don't get hung up on the surname.  Or the given name.


As for given names, as I understand it, observant Jews have their special Jewish names, but their legal names may or may not seem Jewish.  Again we need to be careful not to assume that names like Rebecca or Noah, mean the person is Jewish.  In fact, names that appear in the Bible - New and Old Testament - have long been used by Christians and Jews alike.  For instance, Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, are names rooted in Hebrew.   Any name of an apostle of Jesus Christ, including John and Phillip and Peter, could be Jewish. 


At one point I was researching a family in the south who seemed to have one possibly given name that could be Jewish in every family.  There was a Sarah among women called Dixie on the census.  They had Jewish rumors, but I went back generations and never found anyone buried in a Jewish cemetery, or any other evidence.  Some of the surnames in this family fit into some of those considered to be Melungion.  Some of the given names were those of Greek or Roman gods.  Of course, there's the question of How Jewish?  Seems to me that for some people, ten generations ago is as good as now, for others, not so much.


There are families who kept their conversions a secret, or who are many generations away from a single, clearly Jewish ancestor.  So what a researcher needs to do is start looking at burials.  There used to be rather strict rules about who gets buried in a cemetery, and looking at burials, as well as death certificates, is a good clue.  You might want to look at obituaries.  Mention of a temple or rabbi officiating is a clue.  Likewise, marriages, and birth records reveal those who were recognized to be Jewish at birth or united in marriage in Jewish tradition.  There are also so many converts to Judaism,  Ivanka Trump being a noteworthy individual who did so before marrying her husband, Jared Kushner.  As I understand it, in America there are a great many marriages between Jewish and Not Jewish individuals.


Today there are many secular or non-practicing Jews, people who do not belong to a temple, follow special dietary laws, or respect the tradition of Sabbath.  So DNA testing may help you get to meet some Jewish relations, or you may just have to realize that being Jewish is also sometimes a choice.


Check with your local Jewish Genealogy Society for information that may be more particular to your quest!


C 2017  Ancestry Worship Genealogy BlogSpot  All Rights Reserved including International and Internet Rights

09 January 2017

QUEEN VICTORIA'S CHILDREN : ANCESTRY WORSHIP DVD REVIEW

It's true that Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert wished to see their many offspring intermarried with many of the royal houses of Europe and so it was.  And so I was curious to find out more by watching QUEEN VICTORIA'S Children, a three part film series put out by BBC AMERICA.  I thought I might like this queen, even though I dislike Victorian houses and interiors of her era (all that excess), in part because I'd heard that she smoked pot to ease her female troubles of which she had many and that she and her husband were true soul mates. 


Dispatch such silly sentimental ideas immediately!


According to this series, not only did Albert become a dominating husband, but other than sex, the two of them fought a while lot, and worse, the two of them were not all that crazy about all those children they begot.  In fact, Victoria thought children were awful.


Victoria and Albert were demanding and hypercritical.  Albert died young and then Victoria amped up being a a pain in the you know what, pitying herself and pretty much expecting her younger daughters to live around her demands instead of moving into lives of their own.  There was a lot of bullying and emotional blackmail going on, and it did not help that there were so many protocols, rules, policies, traditions, and such to prevent the children from disobeying and being noncompliant with their parents, in particular their mother, because she was Queen.  Of course such environments often create some rebellions, some rogues.  Like Bertie, Prince of Wales.


What a disaster!  What a mess!


Oh, how we see parenting so differently now! 


Today's Prince William and Princess Kate, their attitudes and philosophies about raising the future King of England and his siblings, would get Victoria and Albert really angry.  There are times when you do not think, "God Save the Queen."


C 2017  Ancestry Worship Genealogy BlogSpot



05 January 2017

CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS into THREE KINGS

I'm lucky to live in a place where Christmas continues on for a few more days, through the feast of the Three Kings (or Wise men or Magi or Magicians or Astrologers) on January 6th, when these men, likely merchants who traveled the trade routes around the Mediterranean, followed a bright star in the sky that lead them to finding the baby Jesus and presenting their finest gifts.  This means that many of my neighbors of the Eastern churches still have their holiday lights up outside and inside.  So while others have thrown their live spent trees out for pick up to be turned (sans fake snow or flocking) into wood chips, I've kept mine up because of the children nearby who expect these lights to help their slightly delayed gifts arrive to the right homes.


It's been raining and the weather people say this is the wettest season in years, and that's a good thing because of the terrible drought we've been having.  But I lived in Southern California for years without using an air conditioner or a heater, and the leaves changing color and falling from the trees is rather new too.  My fairy lights have continued to twinkle in the dark and the rain, and I think they are safe, because I took care to wrap the electrical connections in plastic.


This year I met some Russians and Armenians, as well as Ukrainians, who are celebrating their traditional Christmas season, and who have not been here long enough to know that what they are experiencing is exceptional weather for Southern California. Coming from colder climates they seem quite happy for the relief of too high temperatures and dryness that characterized another rather insufferable summer.  Also, they are quite happy when they go out of the city to smaller towns that are not so expensive, congested, or where the crime is so high.  I completely understand.


For the first time in years, I decided to bake gifts.  I toyed with a few recipes to make them my own and the results were quite pleasing.  I hand delivered on the Winter solstice.


My dog is also very into the holidays.  I'm sure that the smells of the earth and the leaves have changed as they became wet and fell and those trees waiting pick up have been interesting for her to do her business near too.  My precious little one, who likes to stay under the warm covers when its cold outside!  She is such a California girl that she does not know how to deal with the rain and thunder scares her.  I get her out onto the front lawn, but she wants to make it fast, and run back into the house!


The Rose Bowl Parade is interesting to me (while football is not) because of all the creativity and hard work involved.  I must say it was great fun to see that Lucy Pet Foundation surfing dogs float!  What a talented surfer that one bulldog was, in particular.


So, slowly, I am gearing up for another year of challenging and rewarding genealogy research, so very slowly, for I too like to spend some extra hours under warm covers when it's cold and wet outside.  I watched some films that I think would be of interest to my readers as well, so I think I'll start out this year's ANCESTRY GENEALOGY BLOG by covering some of them.


Happy New Year 2017!