Saturday, September 16, 2017

Saturday Serendipity (September 16, 2017)

Here are a few recommendations for this weekend (reading and viewing) .  .  .

1.  Like most genealogy bloggers, I try to avoid blogging about current political polemics, but this particular post on The Vault caught my attention because it shows again how old things are apparently always new again -- including some of our history and national make-up that many (if not most) of us wish would disappear into the "dustbin of history." Without giving anything away, have a read here and see how much today's headlines can echo the sad headlines of just about a century ago!        

2.  This past Monday was the 16th anniversary of the horrific events of September 11, 2001. In the past I have posted about my personal experience and memories of that day working within walking distance of the Pentagon. The Weekly Genealogist of NEHGS brought to our attention this year a poignant personal remembrance of the "Ground Zero" site. Read here "The day I decided not to collect: A curator's view of Ground Zero." It is the recollections and photographs by Jane Rogers, a curator for the Smithsonian. 

3.  The Weekly Genealogist also brings to our attention this week an important collection of American portraits dating back to 1897 - 1917. During those years, photographer William Bullard captured images of members of the Worcester, Massachusetts community. The portraits are of members of the African American community in Worcester .  .  . and most importantly, Mr. Bullard kept a log of all the people who sat for their portraits and thus folks can identify images of ancestors and relatives they might have had in Worcester about a century ago! Read here more about this collection -- see a couple of the portraits, and learn how the entire collection can be viewed.      
4.  UpFront With NGS, the blog of the National Genealogical Society, had two posts that I recommend reading this week.  If you are not already a member of NGS, the first recommended post might convince you to join. In announcing the latest issue of NGS Magazine, the Table of Contents is presented with a list of the featured articles and the departments, but it is the Editor's Note presented in full that is of most interest as it discusses the "power of storyingtelling" and  the magazine issue that is devoted to "methods of developing and telling ancestral stories in appealing ways." The second recommend read is a short post by the Editor of UpFront, Diane L. Richard titled, "Just as speaking/writing satisfies a "hidden" teacher, genealogy research satisfies my "inner" sleuth."   Like many genealogists, I find myself frequently describing the lure of genealogy research as the seduction of being able to do real "detective work."  And I could not agree more with Diane's observation that genealogy sleuthing "[I]sn’t just the records you look at . . .  it’s the critical thinking that you pair with it so that you research strategically.  It’s also keeping track of all the places you’ve looked and noting what you’ve found and not found in those pursuits."

5.  The past two days, James Tanner of Genealogy's Star blog posted two interesting and useful pieces titled, Common Law Marriage and Genealogy, and What about missing marriage records? Both posts are worth reading and you can access each of them directly at the links provided.    

6.  The Legal Genealogist tells a family story that merges with immigrant history in the United States and women's rights. It is definitely worth the read to see how our immigration laws and treatment of women have changed in the last century -- or have they? Read Judy's post titled "Becoming unAmerican" here.  

7.  What do you think of when you hear the words "the pound" (uncapitalized and in reference to a building and not a monetary currency)? I think most of us have the image of an animal shelter for lost or abandoned pets and perhaps other animals come to mind. Well, "the pound" is not a new term or a modern creation. The pound existed in colonial times and since. This week Heather Rojo of Nutfield Genealogy blog shows us a somewhat haunting image of what is left of the old Derryfield Pound in Manchester, NH.  See her post here.

8.  And finally, a recommended viewing for this week rather than a read. Janine Adams of Organize Your Family History blog, has diligently searched out and obtained a video of LeVar Burton's RootsTech 2017 keynote address. See Janine's post here and get a link to view the talk.        
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

Copyright 2017, John D. Tew
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Discovering Grandparents and Remembering Them on Grandparents Day 2017 (september 10, 2017)

National Grandparents Day is a secular holiday that has been celebrated in the United States and the United Kingdom since 1978. It is scheduled in the U.S. for the first Sunday after Labor Day in the month of September and it is proclaimed annually by the President of the United States.  In 2017, National Grandparents Day is today!

The establishment of Grandparents Day was an act of determination and persistence by a woman from Oak Hill, West Virginia named Marian McQuade.  At the urging of Ms McQuade, Senator Jennings Randolph of West Virginia authored a resolution in the U.S. Senate to make grandparents Day a national holiday, but it died in committee. Ms McQuade would not let the defeat stop her and after the Governor of West Virginia proclaimed an annual Grandparents Day for his state, Marian and her supporters went on a campaign to get the governors and other elected officials in all fifty states to follow the lead of West Virginia and proclaim their own Grandparents Day.  By 1977 Ms McQuade and her supporters had obtained proclamations from forty-three of the fifty states.  She saw to it that Senator Randolph got a copy of each proclamation. The Senator then re-introduced his resolution with support from many of his colleagues and on August 3, 1978 President Jimmy Carter signed legislation forwarded from Congress to establish the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day. The stated purpose of the holiday is to "honor grandparents, to give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children's children, and to help children become aware of the strength, information, and guidance older people can offer."  

In the spirit of honoring my grandparents today, I am adopting a prompt from Marian Wood's recent adaptation of Dianne Nolin's 2017 Grandparents Day Challenge. I too am going to remember my grandparents today by recounting some things I only learned about each of them from my genealogy research in the years since they passed away.

I am lucky to have known each of my grandparents. Being the eldest of my generation, I have actual first-hand memories of all of them that run deeper than a couple of my three siblings and my twelve first cousins. Indeed, since my paternal grandfather died when I was not quite six years old, five of my Tew cousins and my youngest brother were not even born when my Grandpa Tew died. My maternal grandfather died when I was three months shy of turning ten years old. Of my six Carpenter cousins, three were born after my Grandpa Everett died and one was only eight months old. Moreover, my youngest brother was only nine months old when our mother's father died.

Therefore, based on the above facts, it is safe to say that of my twelve first cousins and my three siblings, only my sister, the older of my two brothers, and two cousins (5 of 16 grandchildren when I am included) have any real memories of our common grandfathers; the others were either not born or under three years old when the common grandfather died. And it is due to my interest in family history and genealogy that certain facts about my grandparents are now known and accessible to me and to my siblings and first cousins. This has made it possible for all of us to come to know our grandparents in ways that go beyond any individual, first-hand memories that survive in the few of us lucky enough to have known our grandparents.

Ruth Eaton [Cooke] Carpenter circa 1926.
Ruth Eaton [Cooke] Carpenter, my "Grandma Ruth" was born on September 8, 1897.  Two days ago was the 120th anniversary of her birth in Attleboro, Massachusetts. She died in March 1979 in Woonsocket, Rhode Island at age 81when I was married and less than a month from turning 27 years old. I knew her well and visited with her at least annually almost my entire life. She was an expert gardener and knew by sight and call every bird species that inhabited her area of Rhode Island. She was Salutatorian of her high school graduating class and had a definite interest in family history leaving many notes and letters about her Cooke and Carpenter families. But in all the time I knew her, I never ever heard her mention any siblings other that her two older sisters, Helen and Lois (who I also knew). At least two decades after Grandma Ruth died, I discovered in the records at least two facts that were previously completely unknown to me.

First, my grandmother had three other siblings who died as young children; one brother named Russell, who was born four years before her, died at 13 months old of cholera infantum; a sister named Dorothy, born two years after her, died at age six of typhoid fever and purulent otitis media (severe ear infection) at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston; and another brother (also named Russell) was born in 1902 and died at 26 months of tuberculous meningitis. I later learned my grandmother always said if she ever had a son she would never name him Russell. Her only son was named David Otis Carpenter.

Second, my grandmother's mother died at age 34 almost exactly two months after her second son named Russell died. My grandmother was not yet 7 years old. In 1926, my great grandfather, Walter W. Cooke (my grandmother's father) remarried at age 56 a woman who was 38 years old. My grandmother was 29 years old and the next year my mother was born less than two weeks before my grandmother's new half-sister (technically my mother's aunt) was born to her father and his second wife.

Everett Shearman Carpenter
Everett Shearman Carpenter, my "Grandpa Everett" was born on February 22, 1891 in Albion, Rhode Island.  He died in Providence, Rhode Island on January 6, 1962 at age 70. He was Valedictorian of his high school graduating class and graduated from Brown University with a degree in engineering. There were at least two facts I learned about my grandfather from my genealogy endeavors as an adult.

First, my grandfather had an older sister, Ruth Ann Carpenter, who he was very close to and who married one of his Brown classmates, Ira Knight. Ruth Ann died of birthing complications at age 31 just twelve days after giving birth to her one and only child, Richard Carpenter Knight. I never heard my grandfather mention his sister and since she died before my mother was born, my mother never knew her.

Second, during World War I my grandfather enlisted in the Army and was posted at Watervliet Arsenal in upstate New York. He was at Watervliet in March - April 1918 and suffered what was called "the grippe." He was hospitalized as the 56th man out of 360 to succumb to the high fever and aching of the illness. On April 1, 1918 he wrote a postcard to his mother to explain the situation and assured her that he was again marked as fit for duty after a fever of 103, a "stomach out of order," and a nice rest. What he and his mother did not know is the he and most of the men at Watervliet were lucky ones who had just survived the first wave of what would prove to be the deadliest pandemic in world history (then and now). What was not recognized at the time, is that the 1918 so-called "Spanish Flu" arrived and spread in two distinct waves. The first wave took place in early spring of 1918 and it caused severe illness with high fevers, aches, and gastrointestinal distress. It was the second wave that began in August 1918 that became horrifically lethal and was capable of suddenly infecting and killing a young, healthy man or woman within 24 - 36 hours. Modern estimates are that the lethal 1918 influenza pandemic killed between 50 and 100 million people world-wide including about 675,000 in the United States.  My Grandpa Everett was one of the early survivors who subsequently developed some degree of protection against the lethal second wave of the disease that arrived just a few months later.

Arnold George Tew, Sr.
Arnold G. Tew, Sr., my Grandpa Tew, was born on October 15, 1896 in Central Falls, Rhode Island. He attended Phillips Andover prep school and studied at the University of Virginia before transferring to and graduating from Dartmouth College with a degree in chemistry. He died suddenly on February 28, 1958 while on a business trip in Berlin, Connecticut.

There are at least two facts I learned about my grandfather from my adult genealogy pursuits.

First, and very similar to my maternal grandparents, I learned from my genealogy research as an adult that my Grandpa Tew was one of five children -- four boys and one girl. He and his older sister Edna were the only children to survive beyond two years of age. Edna was eleven years older than my grandfather and in effect was like a second mother to him when their father was hit by a train and died in 1903 when she was 19 years old and my grandfather was only 6 years old. I never heard my grandfather or my Grand Aunt Edna ever refer to their deceased siblings Charlie, Henry, and John. Their deaths were in the era before the so-called "miracle drugs," the antibiotics that made so many childhood diseases and other infections survivable.

Second, I knew as a child that my Grandpa Tew was lame because I never saw him without a cane to assist him with walking. When I was a teenager and young adult I was told by my father that his father's lameness was caused by a knee injury suffered during sports when he was in prep school. The  truth turned out to be that he had a knee malformation that was congenital.

From the time he was a young teenager at Phillips Academy, my grandfather was a prodigious writer. He often wrote several letters a day and expected prompt return correspondence.  He suffered disappointment and even resentment when he failed to receive mail and he commented on whether or not he got mail almost every day.  [I think he would have been an avid user of email, Twitter and social media had he lived in this technology rich age!] In addition to letter writing, my grandfather kept a Line-A-Day diary while he was at Phillips Andover and several years ago I was gifted his diaries. I read the the diaries meticulously and painstakingly transcribed all the entries. One striking aspect of his diary prior to June 1913, was the very sporadic and always casual references to his mother and older sister.  He was wrapped up in school activities, his social life, being a sports fan, and the rush to become an adult, so he showed little day-to-day time for or interest in his immediate family.

Beginning with his June 11, 1913 diary entry, my grandfather began referencing a Dr. Abbott in Portland, Maine who had agreed to see him for a consultation two weeks later. [The full story of my grandfather's solo trip to Portland for consultation and eventual surgery is provided in a post dated July 11, 2013; it can be read here.]  Through my grandfather's diary entries I learned the true nature of his disability and the very poignant and heart wrenching story of his lonely attempts to have his congenital knee defect corrected by painful surgery. His writing was also instructive and served as a reminder that teenage boys are teenage boys no matter what era they live in.  They are caught between the yearnings of and for manhood, yet they are still vulnerable to the loneliness and angst of immaturity.

One diary entry provided here will capture some of what my grandfather was enduring alone in a hospital in Portland, Maine in 1913 for what proved to be unsuccessful surgery .  .  .

July 6 :            Pain, torture & homesickness  Oh but I’m in awful suffering!  Can’t sleep, can’t sit down, can’t stand up!  It’s enough to drive me crazy!  I telephoned to mother to have her come up to-morrow or I’d leave here.  I’m all alone in pain!  I’m in Hellish agony!  I took some dope pills to quiet me, and finally they injected some cocaine in my arm.  Frank Hammond and Dick Richards came in for a few minutes in the evening to see me.  I am glad now I’ve undergone the operation but I would never do it again!  I sat out on the piazza for a few hours in the evening.

Huldah Antonia Hasselbaum
Huldah Antonia Hasselbaum, my Grandma Tew, was born in Providence, Rhode Island on July 16, 1898. She died on January 3, 1983 at age 84. She and her siblings were first generation American.  Both of their parents were from Germany and yet none of the children could speak German as it was forbidden in the house in order for the family to assimilate as soon as possible. My grandmother's father, Anton Hasselbaum (1857 - 1916) became as successful businessman in Providence, Rhode Island with a wholesale liquor business and bottling plant. He died before Prohibition passed and his business would have been devastated.

The most surprising fact I learned about my grandmother from my genealogy research involved her siblings. My grandmother had five siblings -- one brother and four sisters (including her twin sister Josephine). The eldest of the five daughters, Mary, married Dr. James E.F. Henry on September 19, 1910 and their one and only child, Dorothy Henry, was born almost exactly three years later on September 20, 1913. Mary died less than a year after Dorothy's birth. I never heard my grandmother refer to her older sister Mary or her niece Dorothy. I also never heard her refer to her sister Olga and I never met Olga (who died in 1970). While I heard my grandmother mention her only brother, Oscar (who died in 1974), I never met Oscar either. I only met my grandmother's twin sister once and I have no memory of her at all.

While all of the discovered facts about my grandparents could appear to be negative aspects of their lives, eventually knowing about them made my grandparents more human to me. It makes sense that grandparents would not discuss with grandchildren matters that caused them pain during their lives, but knowing that their lives involved hurt, disappointment, alienation, and loss made them less remote and fallible .  .  . and therefore more human and understandable from two generations away. I miss them all and wish I had known them all better when they were with us.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

All photographs are from the personal collection of the author.

The Grandparents Day word heart is from Valley Falls USD #338, Valley Falls, KS at

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Copyright 2017, John D. Tew
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Saturday Serendipity (September 9, 2017)

Here are a few recommendations for your weekend reading .  .  .

1.  With images of the devastation of Houston and other cities and towns in Texas by Hurricane Harvey still in the forefront of all our minds -- and the destruction yet to be imposed in Florida by Hurricane Irma haunting us -- many genealogists cannot help imagining the water-damage to precious photos and documents that is one of the heartbreaking results of major storms like Harvey, Irma, and Jose.  Just this morning UpFront With NGS blog posted a very helpful reminder and links for helping to deal with water-damage to family photos and important documents. You can read the post here and pass it on to those you know who might have need of the noted resources.     

2.  Tomorrow is the often little noticed Grandparents' Day. In recognition of Grandparents' Day, Dianne Nolin (author of Genealogy: Beyond the BMD blog) issued a challenge to "tell a story as told to you by one of your grandparents." Marian Wood of Climbing My Family Tree blog took a slightly different tack to recognize Grandparents' Day and instead noted at least one surprising thing she learned about her grandparents while doing her genealogy research. Both of these means of recognition strike me as wonderful ways to remember and memorialize one's grandparents. See Dianne's challenge at the link provide above and read Marian's surprising discoveries about her grandparents here.

3.  Immigration is in the news every day now for one reason or another -- and it has often been said that, but for Native Americans, all Americans descend from or were themselves immigrants at one time. This week Barbara Poole of Life From The Roots blog posted a very interesting interactive animation that illustrates immigration patterns into the U.S. since 1820 -- almost two centuries of new Americans!  You can read more about the animation and get the link provided by Barbara here.     
4.  Now that it is approaching one year since Diane Boumenot's great 8-part series on Guide to Rhode Island Genealogy Research was completed on her blog, One Rhode Island Family, it is worth posting to the summary of links to all eight guides.  If you have any roots in Rhode Island, then you really, really need to be aware of (and use) Diane's invaluable guides.  You can get the links to each of the guides here.   

5.  Amy Johnson Crow had a very interesting post on her blog about two weeks ago, but I only got around to reading it recently. The title of the post  -- "Why Ancestry and Family Search Aren't Sources" -- says it all and it is worth reading. You can read Amy's post here. Also, as someone who finally attended my first genealogy conference at NERGC 2017 in April, Amy also had an intriguing and thoughtful post a few days ago titled, "Are In-person Genealogy Events Dead?" I agree with her views. You can read them here.

6.  And finally, a little "this day in history' interlude .  .  . It was on this day in 1776 that the Continental Congress decided on a new name for the nation it was forging. Thomas Jefferson had used the name in both a draft and the final version of the Declaration of Independence, but it was the Second Continental Congress that resolved the name formally and issued an announcement, "That in all continental commissions, and other instruments, where, heretofore, the words 'United Colonies" have been used, the stile be altered for the future to the 'United States.'
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

Copyright 2017, John D. Tew
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Saturday Serendipity (September 2, 2017)

After a hiatus of two weeks for some family events and an anniversary trip to South Carolina to view the total eclipse, Saturday Serendipity returns this week with a few recommendations for your weekend reading.

1.  The Weekly Genealogist of NEHGS cited to an article in Smithsonian Magazine that provides a new theory on why Benjamin Franklin lived in Europe estranged from his wife Deborah for almost two decades -- repeatedly promising to return home to her -- and returned only after she had died as the result of her second stroke in five years. You can read the article here.  

2.  Gina Kolata, a science writer for the New York Times and author of Flu about the deadly 1918 influenza pandemic, had an article this past week about the effect of DNA testing on family histories and discusses the limitations that DNA test providers do not always acknowledge.  It is worth the read and you can view it here thanks to NEHGS and The Weekly Genealogist citing to it this week.

3.  Judy Russell -- The Legal Genealogist -- posted a very important piece this week that is getting a lot of attention.  For example, UpFront With NGS gave a major shout out to Judy and her post.  You can read Judy's post about ethics in genealogy by going here.  I agree that it is not just a should read, it is a must read.  After reading Judy's post, I recommend you go to the UpFront post by Diane. Richard for additional considerations and links to further reading.    
4.  If you heard or read about President D.J. Trump's re-tweet regarding General John Pershing's  mythical mistreatment of Muslim rebels in the Philippines in the early part of the last century, then you might want to check out this post on The Vault by Daniel Immerwahr.

5.  Bill West of West in New England blog just posted the initial notice about his upcoming "Ninth Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge."  Bill will post links to submissions on Thanksgiving Day. You can read the Challenge rules/guidelines here. There are various ways to participate, but I think my personal favorite is to find and post a poem created by an ancestor. It is a way to give that act of creation a new life and an audience that your ancestor never could have anticipated.

6.  As readers of this blog might recall, I have long had an interest in and fascination with the 1918 influenza pandemic (see #2 above) and I have blogged about it on more than one occasion. My maternal grandfather survived the first wave of the 1918 flu (called "the grippe" at first) and I have his postcard home to tell his mother about being laid low by it and being the 56th man out of 360 to end up in the hospital while stationed at Watervliet Arsenal in upstate New York in March - April, 1918. [See my post of March 11, 2014 here and learn more -- including why the pandemic was erroneously named the "Spanish Flu." See also my post of January 20, 1913 here for more about the horror of the pandemic.]  As we approach the 100th anniversary of that deadliest of all epidemics this coming March (up to 100 million people died world wide), there was an interesting post this week on Cow Hampshire blog by Janice A. Brown titled "100 Years Ago: Cures for the Spanish Flu."  You can read her informative post here.       
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

Copyright 2017, John D. Tew
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Saturday Serendipity (August 12, 2017)

Here are a few recommendations for your weekend reading.

1.  Increasingly, the popular press and genealogy publications and blogs are replete with stories of family discovery using DNA test results. This week The Weekly Genealogist newsletter of NEHGS recommended a fascinating story of persistent detective work begun with a simple yet surprising DNA test.  It is worth the read because it so clearly explains and illustrates the twists and turns such testing and subsequent detective work can take. The surprise ending is not at all the kind of story of infidelity or teen pregnancy sometimes encountered and warned about for those embarking on the path of DNA discovery. It is a solution that could only have been uncovered in the era of affordable "recreational" DNA testing and incredibly persistent detective work!  You can read the full story here.   

2.  And after reading the article above, you might want to take the time to read another piece recommend by The Weekly Genealogist that will resonate with the surprise solution to the DNA detective story. You can read "Handmaids, Hospitals, and The Pageantry of t he NewbornNursery Window" here.    

3. The Open University in the UK (self-styled as "the UK's largest academic institution and a world pioneer in distance learning") has offered almost a dozen colorized photos of life in the trenches and at home during WWI. One hundred years ago, the world was embroiled in the "war to end all wars," which, in August 1917, was still almost two years away from ending. The photographs bring a new vision and perspective on life during the war due to an extremely close approximation to exactly what a living observed saw at the time. Since so much of the world's population was caught up --directly or indirectly -- in the carnage that was World War I and its aftermath, many -- if not most -- of us alive today have ancestral connections to this regrettable chapter in human history. See the colorized photos here.        
4.  NPR had a piece on All Things Considered recently. It is about the discovery and preservation of photographs and makes very interesting reading for genealogists. You can read the piece here.      
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

Copyright 2017, John D. Tew
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Saturday Serendipity (July 29, 2017)

Here are a few recommendations for your weekend reading.

1.  First .  .  .  Greetings from the Adirondacks in upstate New York where we have been off the grid without any internet for the last week!  I must thank reader Linda Shufflebean for pointing out that a portion of last week's Saturday Serendipity was unreadable due to an author/editor's error. It could not be corrected until we returned to the 21st century and internet access late this afternoon.  The error has now been corrected and the full text of Item 1 can now be read by those who are still interested. 😀    

2.  Here is an interesting post on The Vault by Slate staff writer Rebecca Onion. If you have ever heard about clothing being made from feed bags during the Depression (or perhaps have such an item made by an ancestor or relative), you will find this piece -- "How Depression Era Women Made Dresses Out of Chicken Feed" -- and its illustrations of interest.   

3.  This week The Weekly Genealogist of NEHGS called to our attention a very important editorial by the Editorial Board of the New York Times. The editorial is about the importance of saving the next scheduled (and Constitutionally required) national census in 2020. Given the huge importance of the decennial national census to genealogists, you can -- and should -- read the editorial here.      
4.  My family knows that among the categorizations I have opined on over the years is the separation of folks into two general groups when it comes to outdoor activities and memories: (1) there are lake and mountain people; and (2) there are ocean and seashore people. Despite the fact that I was born in the Ocean State of Rhode Island, I am and have been since an early childhood in New Hampshire a confirmed and committed lake and mountain person. [This is evidenced by the fact that this week's Saturday Serendipity is written from the Adirondacks where Molly and I have vacationed for more than 41 years now.] Having spent the last week in the Adirondacks with our two sons, our daughter-in-law, our two granddaughters, and Molly's sister creating new lake and mountain memories, I was thrilled to see that Linda Shufflebean of Empty Branches on the Family Tree blog wrote this week of her memories of Little Sebago Lake in Maine during the 1950s (illustrated with some wonderful photos). If you too are a lake and mountain person, do have a look at Linda's post and her photos here; it is sure to stimulate some of your favorite lake memories too.    
5.  And finally, since I had time to revisit some reading I have put off until the summer, I want to recommend another post from Wait But Why blog by Tim Urban. I have recommended reading some of Tim's posts from time-to-time and, as Tim himself has written, some of the posts are not entirely G-rated. This post is long, but fascinating, and is worth the time to read it at your leisure. Is it directly or indirectly related to genealogy?? I'll let readers decide, but consider that Tim is discussing what may be a new normal -- if not a new reality -- for our descendants. Read "Neuralink and the Brain's Magical Future" here  
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

Copyright 2017, John D. Tew
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Saturday Serendipity (July 22, 2017)

Here are a few recommendations for your weekend reading.

1.  Readers of this blog know that like many other users of the Family Tree Maker (FTM) genealogy application, I have been awaiting the long-delayed release of the new Software MacKiev FTM 2017.  This week MacKiev posted three updates including its "Final Update" of July 18.  MacKiev notes that all emails have been sent to the pre-purchasers and waiting purchasers of FTM 2017.  As part of the final update MacKiev stated, "[W]hile the circumstances that prompted these reports were not what we would have wished for, we’re glad we had this opportunity to share our thoughts with you. To show you more than we would have otherwise about how we work. About our stubborn dedication to get it right. And about our delight at the FTM community’s encouragement to do just that. So we won't say goodbye. Just so long for now. And stay tuned." You can read all of tis week's updates here.

Having waited somewhat patiently for the final release of FTM 2017, I must say that I download my prepaid copy today and the download was easy, smooth, and without any installation problems. The syncing of my Ancestry trees was also easy and smooth so far.  The first hour of use was without any major bumps, but I am tracking a few possible suggestions for the future.  At this point I have to state that the wait appears to have been worth it and that MacKiev went to great pains to make sure the role out and functionality would be s easy and smooth as possible!   

2.  The General Society of Mayflower Descendants (GSMD) and the New England Historical Genealogical Society (NEHGS) have just announced the launch of a new database to bring the authenticated five-generation Mayflower genealogies (known as the "Silver Books") in searchable form to a computer near you!  The first release will include genealogies of eight Mayflower passengers: James Chilton; Richard More; Francis Eaton; Edward Fuller; Samuel Fuller; John Howland; Degory Priest; and Edward Winslow. You can read more about the joint project and the new searchable online database here. This is yet another good reason to join NEHGS if you have not already done so!    

3.  If you have seen the Civil War movie "Glory," then you will recall that the commander of the heroic, first all-black regiment was Col. Robert Gould Shaw of Boston, Massachusetts. Col. Shaw was killed during the 1863 assault on Fort Wagner in South Carolina.  As he led the charge, he carried in his hand a British-made sword. That sword has now been donated to the Massachusetts Historical Society and will be displayed there. Red more about the sword and the donation here.       
4.  The Weekly Genealogist of NEHGS noted an interesting article this week about the accents of Colonial Americans. Did the residents of colonial America sound like their counterparts in Great Britain or not? Find out by reading "When Did Colonial America Gain Linguistic Independence" here.     
5.  Marian B. Wood of Climbing My Family Tree blog has a very useful post this week about a good way to caption family photos with context and location as well as the usual people identification and date.  Read this interesting post here.         
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

Copyright 2017, John D. Tew
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Saturday Serendipity (July 1, 2017)

Here are a few recommendations for your weekend reading.

1.  Diane L. Richard of UpFront With NGS blog is reprising older posts this summer to revisit some of her favorite genealogy-related resources. The reprised post this week was from a piece originally published on June 27, 2014 and it deals with a source for death indexes and records. Go here to learn more about Joe Beine's Online Searchable Death Indexes & Records and to get a link to the site.     

2.   For those who are not members of NEHGS (New England Historic Genealogical Society), give the NEHGS databases a whirl FOR FREE during the June 29th through midnight (EDT) Thursday, July 6th free roaming period. All you need do is enter a "guest registration" and search away! Here is your link to American Ancestors where you can become a guest and get started.

3.  Here is an interesting article in The Atlantic that was recommended in this week's Weekly Genealogy newsletter from NEHGS. Read how the combination of state cancer registry data and Mormon genealogy records led to confirmation of a genetic cause for colon cancer as well as mutations for cardiac arrhythmia and melanoma.   
4.  James Tanner of Genealogy's Star blog posted Part I of a series on "levels of backup and storage" for genealogists. Read this useful and informative post here and return for further parts as they become available.   
5.  The maternal line of my wife Molly is from Canada and because the summer of Molly's birth was so brutally hot, her mother ventured north to Ontario for cooler weather and some time at her family's cottage on Lake Simcoe .  .  . and thus Molly was born in Toronto. Marian Wood of Climbing My Family tree blog posted today about her Canadian experience in attending Expo 67 in Montreal as part of her recognition of Canada Day (July 1st). This reminded me that not only is today Canada Day (much like our 4th of July), it is the 150th anniversary of that holiday celebration. Read Marian's post here and wish all your Canadian family and friends a very HAPPY CANADA DAY!   
6.  And finally, if you ever wondered what a wealthy woman in the 1700s actually wore when getting dressed -- and how long it would take each day (with assistance) to get dressed in all the layers you will learn were actually worn -- have a look at this 7 and a half minute video by the National Museums Liverpool to find the answers. 
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

Copyright 2017, John D. Tew
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _