Thursday, February 28, 2013

Immortality -- Arnold G. Tew

"Immortality Lies in Being Remembered by Family and Friends."
                                                                                                                                                                -- John D. Tew

Arnold George Tew (1896 - 1958)

My paternal grandfather was born on October 15, 1896 in Central Falls, Rhode Island.  He died suddenly and unexpectedly on this day 55 years ago in Berlin, Connecticut while on a business trip.  He was the only one of the four sons of John Andrew Tew and Margaret "Maggie" (Conner) Tew to survive beyond age two.  Arnold was married to Huldah A. Hasselbaum of Providence, Rhode Island and together they had three children.  Arnold is the grandfather of ten grandchildren, the great grandfather of sixteen great grandchildren and the great great grandfather of at least three great great grandchildren.

Raise a glass in memory of Arnold!

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All photographs from the collection of the author.

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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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Monday, February 25, 2013

Military Monday -- The World War I draft

One of my grandfathers was of an age where he qualified for the draft when the Selective Service Act of May 18, 1917 was passed by Congress and signed into law.  The other grandfather reached draft registration age about a year after the Selective Service Act of 1917 was passed.

Under the 1917 law, all males age 21 to 30 had to register for military service; but in August 1918 (just three months before the war ended) the War Department requested that the eligible age range be expanded to those males age 18 to 45.  As of 1917 the U.S. army only numbered 121,000 troops (and the National Guard supplemented with another 181,000), but by November 1918 some 2 million men had volunteered for services in the various branches of the U.S. military and some 2.8 million had been drafted.

The efforts of my maternal grandfather to volunteer and serve are covered in an earlier post here discussing the impact of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and his survival of the first wave of the flu.  His actual service is covered here.

My paternal grandfather was born with a deformed knee and was thus ineligible for service, but he nonetheless was required to register -- as all men between certain ages were.

Below are the WWI draft registration cards for my grandfathers.

Registration card for Arnold G. Tew -- age 21 on the date of his registration June 5, 1918.

Registration card for Everett S. Carpenter -- age 26 on the date of his registration June 5, 1917
(exactly one year to the day before Arnold G. Tew registered)

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Sheet music cover published in 1917 -- words by Andrew B. Sterling, music by Arthur Lange.
This media file is in the public domain in the U.S..  This applies to U.S. works here the copyright has expired, often because its first publication occurred prior to January 1, 1923. 

Source for both draft registration card images: U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005.
Original data: United States, Selective Service System. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. M1509, 4,582 rolls. Imaged from Family History Library microfilm.

For more information on the WWI draft, see 

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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Saturday Serendipity -- February 23, 2013

Saturdays often allow a more leisurely approach to life than work days. I can more easily post links to some blog posts or other materials I have discovered during the week, or even to those discovered during a Saturday morning coffee and extended blogosphere/internet surfing.

Here are a few serendipitous discoveries from this week that I commend for inclusion on your reading list.

1.   A very interesting piece brought to my attention by a friend.  The Economist from February 9, 2013, Nomencracy: Surnames offer depressing clues to the extent of social mobility over generations.  As the article says, "The past has a tight grip on the present." 

2.   A couple of posts again from a gem of a blog, The Legal Genealogist by Judy G. Russell.  [IMHO, if you are a genealogy blogger this is a blog you should follow.]  First, an informative and useful post about images you can use on your blog without worries concerning copyright violations.  Judy explains about "Photochrom prints" and provides a site link.  Second, an interesting story that Judy titles, "The boy who lived."  Judy investigates a young boy who ran away from a sanatorium  for patients with tuberculosis (TB) in Akron, Ohio in 1927.  TB touched many families in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when it was often called "consumption."

3.   One of my favorite blogs is Nutfield Genealogy by Heather Wilkinson Rojo (who was recently discovered to be my 9th cousin 1x removed).  This week Heather had a fun piece titled, "Weird Search Terms February 2013."    Heather shares some amusing (and real) search terms from Google and other search engines that have hit her blog.

4.   A two-part piece by Jana Last on Jana's Genealogy and Family History Blog culminated in "The Big Reveal" this past Wednesday.  Read -- and see -- what Jana discovered inside a metal tube found in her grandfather's black briefcase.  Start here and then (after you make your guess as to what is inside) go here for The Big Reveal.  No cheating now!!
5.   This one is admittedly not very serendipitous (since it responds to one of my own posts), but I enjoyed learning about what other genealogy bloggers had done by way of creating and using "Blog Cards" to accurately pass on the name and URL for their blogs.  Heather Rojo and Barbara Poole responded with useful information on what they have done -- and Barbara at Life From The Roots posted a photo of her blog card.  I would love to hear and see what other genealogy bloggers have done, so perhaps Barbara's post will be a catalyst for others to show their cards too.

6.   Heather Kuhn Roelker at Leaves For Trees raised an interesting topic for thought and discussion, "What are your thoughts on cemetery behavior?"

A New Blog To Me. . . Organize Your Family History by Janine Adams.  Anyone who has seen my workspace knows I am in serious need of tips on organizing my genealogy "stuff."
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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday Fotos (February 22, 2013) -- Happy Birthday to Whom??

QUESTIONS:  Who are these people?  What do they have in common?


1.  George Washington:  1st President of the United States

2.  Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell:  Founder of the Scouting movement

3.  Everett Shearman Carpenter:  my maternal grandfather

4.  Edna St. Vincent Millay:  American poet and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry

5.  Edward J.  "EJ" Collins:  my sister-in-law's father


They all share the same birthday -- today, February 22nd.

1.  George Washington -- born February 22, 1732.  ["Contemporary records, which used the Julian calendar and the Annunciation Style of enumerating years, recorded his birth as February 11, 1731. The provisions of the British Calendar (New Style) Act 1750, implemented in 1752, altered the official British dating method to the Gregorian calendar with the start of the year on January 1 (it had been March 25). These changes resulted in dates being moved forward 11 days, and for those between January 1 and March 25, an advance of one year."]  

2.  Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell -- born February 22, 1857.

3.  Everett Shearman Carpenter -- born February 22, 1891.

4.  Edna St. Vincent Millay -- born February 22, 1892.

5.  Edward J. "EJ" Collins -- born February 22, 1918.

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This work is in the public domain in the U.S., and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or less.

Photo of Baden-Powell.
This work was published before January 1, 1923 and it is anonymous or pseudonymous due to unknown authorship.  It is in the public domain in the U.S. as well as countries and areas where the copyright terms of anonymous or pseudonymous works are 90 years or less since publication.

Photo of Edna St. Vincent Millay by Carl Van Vechten (14 January 1933).
As the restrictions on the collection that contains this photograph expired in 1986, the Library of Congress believes this image is in the public domain.  However, the Carl Van Vechten (photographer's) estate has asked that use of Van Vechten's photographs "preserve the integrity" of his work, i.e., that photographs not be colorized or cropped, and that proper credit is given to the photographer.
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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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The Golden Wedding Anniversary Poem to Joseph and Nancy Carpenter

As a follow-up to yesterday's post, here is the transcription of the 50th wedding anniversary poem written to celebrate the Golden Anniversary of Nancy and Joseph Carpenter 150 years ago yesterday.  The author is not known because the signature cannot be made out beyond the first letters as shown below.

February 21, 1863

Golden Wedding Lyric
By L___ D ___

Awake my muse! And bear a cheerful part
In this thy first and joyous “Golden Wedding”,
The range is ample, harness up and Start,
From 1813’s hitching-post depart,
And let thy steed o‘er fifty years be speeding.

Today ‘tis fifty years since loving hearts & plighted troth
From out two households came and wandered forth;
One name, one path, one sorrow and one joy
One life created by a Cupid Boy.

Life’s morning was rosy, the sunshine of hope
Rose bright on their path, the shadows dispelling
While pluck, nerve and vigor were ample to cope
With trials without, or with fears indwelling.

The honeymoon passed; how quickly it mizzled!
A milestone was set, and upon it was chisselled [1]
“James, - son of Joseph and Nancy”, Old Time travel fast,
There’s lots more to come, before Edward the last.

How these milestones came forth, all set in their places
To show how a nag can be kept to his paces.
There’s James, there’s George, there’s Nancy and Sarah –
Nigh! Why should I stop at the waters of Marah [2]
There is William and Samuel, Newton and Lucy,
The latter so sweet[3] poetical and sprucy.
And Edward the true plucky old soldier boy
The last of the lot, age’s milestone of joy –

James is a farmer, away down in Maine,
George is a minister, a duck somewhat lame,
Nancy is true to her motherly life,
Sarah, alas!, is not yet a wife.
William breaks colts and distributes his wits,
Samuel to rebels gives “particular fits.”
Newton’s a Badger [4] seeking his grist,
Lucy the Sweet is here and not missed
Edward, the youngest, is in the army you see,
Upholding, with Samuel, Liberty’s Tree ---

Silence should cover all such sad mishaps
Saving our feelings from some gentle raps
A replaced killock from some store in town
Would “save our bacon” and suspicion drown
But some keen lad who doth the tiller keep
Drinks in the scene but will not let it sleep
Losses thus audited stand upon the page
And serve, a moment, thus our thoughts to engage –

Under the rooftree and around the board
Growing beneath its rich and generous hoard
Let us all gather; Sire and son and mother
The stranger friend, as well as bachelor brother
The lovely maiden and the cheerful wife
And let us celebrate the golden year of life.
Buried all killocks, raise your glasses high!
Profits are here, let’s let the losses fly!

Haste to the wedding, the wedding of gold;
Tin and silver have passed; it is fifty years old;
Come, crown with your song, your blessing, your wit
The honored occasion so fitted for it –
Come brother, come sister, come daughter, come son,
Do honor to age so uprightly won.
Come James, my New Yorker Insurance friend,
Come Newton, from Daybook and Ledger unbend,
Come Sarah, twice Carpenter, of Attleborough,
Come Lucy, the Mason and widow also,
Come John, my brave Bullock, my bachelor friend,
With Abby the witty your countenance lend,
Come Amos, with John, for even with your years
Together you make but one pair of shears,
For you both should be paired with Sarah to Maine
As of wedlock, for certainly all are appraise.
Come Samuel, a nag with a dog under the chaise
Come Lois and add your garland of praise.
A wedding of gold is an uncommon event
May time add to its value one hundred percent.

Profits and losses are but life’s event.
Profits are children kindly to us lent.
Losses are posted on each daily page
Of human life, from youth to hoary age.
We are but fishermen on uncertain sea,
We find our landmarks under favoring lea,
Our boat is staunch, our lines and tackle nigh
Our bait at hand, our hopes zenith high,
We huff and throw the splendid killock [5] o’er
And with it goes six feet of cable more,
Planted forever in the deep blue sea
A fitting type of what our losses be.
Up comes the tiller – straight for shore we speed
The jig is up – of fish we feel no need.
That planted killock on our plate doth sit
Before our minds the fairy killocks flit
Bended so nicely on the cable’s length
And thrown so surely by the muscle’s strength,
We dream of killocks, aye, awake, or sleep
The killock dance doth still its vigil keep.
We lose our killocks and we lose our fish
One is as much as mortal man could wish!

Here is our toast

To Joseph and Nancy, the husband and wife
For fifty long years in true wedlock life.
Blessings upon them, father and mother,
True to their children, true to each other –
May the sun of their life find a cloudless sky
And its moments pass on, unburdened with sigh,
Until lost in the depths of a glorious sea,
Boundless, joyous, happy and free -

[1] Misspelled, this should be “chiseled” or “chiselled.”  As much as possible, this transcription retains the spelling, spacing and punctuation of the originals (there are two handwritten copies).
[2] Marah” is a reference to one of the locations which the Torah identifies as having been travelled through by the Israelites during the Exodus.  According to Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary – Marah, meaning “bitterness,” was a fountain at the sixth station of the Israelites (Ex. 15:23, 24; Num. 33:8) whose waters were so bitter that they could not drink them. This caused rancor toward Moses, who, under divine direction, cast into the fountain "a certain tree" which took away its bitterness, so that the people drank of it.
[3] This is a play on words since Lucy married Lepreliet Sweet and so was Lucy (Carpenter) Sweet.
[4] “Badger,” capitalized as here, refers to a native or resident of Wisconsin and is often a nickname for such people.  Newton Carpenter moved to Wisconsin at one point in time.
[5] A “killick” is a small anchor often formed by a stone that is usually enclosed by pieces of wood.
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Transcription by John D. Tew from documents discovered among the Anna Garlin Spencer Papers (DG 034), Swarthmore College Peace Collection. 

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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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Thursday, February 21, 2013

“Immortality Lies in Being Remembered by Family and Friends” re: Nancy and Joseph Carpenter

[As mentioned in my post of January 27, 2013, it is my belief that “Immortality lies in being remembered by your family and friends!”   In a sense, the largest part of this blog is devoted sharing memories, images, stories and facts about ancestors and relatives that contribute to their immortality; but a special series I am developing is devoted to occasionally focusing on an individual or individuals on the anniversary of some meaningful event (birth, death, marriage, graduation, etc.).  I call the series simply, “Immortality.”  This is the second in that series.]

Allow me to introduce to you today the groom, Joseph Carpenter, and his bride, Nancy Mason Bullock.  Like Jack and Rose in the movie Titanic, Nancy and Joseph are dancing together again today . . .

Two Hundred years ago this very day (February 21, 1813), Joseph Carpenter and Nancy Mason Bullock were married in Rehoboth, Massachusetts.  Joseph was born in Rehoboth to James Carpenter and Lucy (Bliss) Carpenter on September 8, 1789.  Nancy was the daughter of Abel Bullock and Lois (Mason) Bullock.  Nancy was born in Rehoboth on December 10, 1793.  Joseph was 23 years at the time of their nuptials and Nancy was 20.

For the next sixteen years after their marriage, Joseph and Nancy lived in Rehoboth where they started their family.  The family eventually grew to include 14 children – of whom all but four lived to adulthood.

1.              James Mason Carpenter (1813-1892)
2.              George Moulton Carpenter (1815-1883)
3.              Nancy Mason Carpenter (1818-1901)
4.              Sarah Martin Carpenter (1820-1846)
5.             Jonathan Bliss Carpenter (1822-1857)
6.              Lucy Bliss Carpenter (1824-1910)
7.              William Wallace Carpenter (1826-1877)
8.              Jane Buffum Carpenter (1828-1830) – Samuel’s twin sister
9.              Samuel Carpenter (1828-1904) – my 2X great grandfather
10.          Newton Francis Carpenter (1831-1907)
11.          Jane Buffum Carpenter (1834-1836)
12.          Joseph Carpenter (1835-1836)
13.          Albert Norton Carpenter (1837-1838)
14.          Edward Everett Carpenter (1840-1900)

In or around 1829, the family moved to Attleborough, Massachusetts* and in 1842 they were living in Providence, Rhode Island for a time.  [See the post on the Aplin/Carpenter correspondence of 1842.]  In the 1850, 1860 and 1870 Census, Joseph was reported to be employed as a “farmer” -- at age 60, 70 and 80 respectively.

In 1863, Joseph and Nancy celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with most of their family in attendance.  A poem and a toast were written for the occasion . . .

[The images above are of the original handwritten poem pages from 1863.  The original pages were shuffled in the repository where they were discovered a couple of years ago.   There were also what appeared to be two working versions of the poem resulting in overlapping verses.  I have restored the order of the pages and verses as best as can be determined.  I have also transcribed the writings.  The transcription of the poem and toast will be the subject of the next post and it will include some background explanatory annotations.]

Nancy and Joseph were married for 67 years before they both passed away in 1880 within six months of one another.  Nancy died on May 4, 1880 at age 86 and Joseph died on November 12, 1880 at age 91.  They were living in Attleborough at the time.

Joseph and Nancy’s long marriage and large family produced many descendants.  Among their children, grandchildren and other descendants are men and women of considerable achievement and education -- to include a federal district court judge, a noted early feminist/ suffragette and a famous anthropologist (some of whom will be subjects of future blog posts).   

So . . .  please join me this evening in raising a glass in toast to Joseph and Nancy Carpenter, newlyweds 200 years ago today!

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In 1914 the town of Attleborough was reincorporated as the City of Attleboro.

The toast and poem were discovered among the Ann Garlin Spencer Papers (DG 034), Swarthmore College Peace Collection.

Photo of Nancy Mason Carpenter's gravestone posted on Find-A-Grave by Ginny DeLong on June 29, 2011.

Photo of Joseph Carpenter's gravestone posted on Find-A-Grave by Susan on March 26, 2009.
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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Blog Cards?

I am fairly new to blogging (less than two months), but I have already had a few occasions where people have asked me for the name and address of my blog.  I have happily supplied both to them by carefully writing out the URL and blog name in my all-caps, block printing -- so that they have a reasonable chance of being able to read it later.  [My cursive writing is atrocious and I gave it up many decades ago to the great relief of all the teachers I had from the 4th grade onward.  The only thing I write in cursive nowadays is my signature.]

It occurred to me (when I recently noticed an unobtrusive banner ad for Vistaprint on my Gmail page), that maybe a courtesy to interested people in the future (and a convenience to me) would be to visit the Vistaprint site and see what I might be able to do to create a simple "Blog Card" to legibly and accurately provide my blog name and address to anyone who might be interested. This blog is definitely NOT a business, but the business card format looked perfect -- and Vistaprint had an almost unbelievable offer of 250 cards for a mere  $10.  [It appears they are now offering 500 for $15.00 and even have an option to "Try before you buy -- Get 250 business cards for FREE -- Choose from 45 designs and just add text."]

Aside from their new offer to choose from a limited selection of 45 designs, the Vistaprint site provides a huge selection of possible card logos and design formats.  I had to quickly limit my explorations since all I really wanted was a basic card.  In less than an hour later I had designed and ordered my new Blog Card using Vistaprint's impressively easy step-by-step design engine.  Six days later I had the cards in my hand for exactly the $10 advertised -- shipping IS free if you don't expedite; but who needs Blog Cards in less than 6 days??

So here is my new Blog Card . . .

I am curious.  Do any other bloggers out there use a Blog Card?  If so, how about sharing a link to a photo of your Card along with any tips you have for others.

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I have absolutely no connection to Vistaprint!!  If you are interested, you can check out their options for a potential Blog Card here
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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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Monday, February 18, 2013

Military Monday – Joseph Carpenter (War of 1812)

Joseph Carpenter's gravestone (click to enlarge)
Joseph Carpenter is my 3X great grandfather.  He was the grandson of Col. Thomas Carpenter (1733 – 1807) who served in the Revolutionary War.  Joseph was born in Rehoboth, Massachusetts on September 8, 1789.   He married Nancy Mason Bullock there on February 21, 1813 and together they had 14 children.  Joseph and Nancy resided in Rehoboth until Joseph was 40 years old and they then moved to Attleboro, Massachusetts.  Their son, Samuel Carpenter, is my 2X great grandfather.  Samuel served n the Civil War.

The ABC, at p. 430, states as follows with regard to Joseph and Nancy:

[Joseph] was a pensioner in the war of 1812, also a member of the Bunker Hill Monument association and much interested in public affairs; a man of strict integrity and much respected.  His wife was a woman of rare sweetness of nature and of self-sacrificing devotion to her family for many years; a constant attendant and member of the Congregational church.  Their house was noted for their generous liberality.  They celebrated their golden wedding in 1863. 

After 67 years of marriage, Nancy and Joseph died within six months of one another:  Nancy died on May 4, 1880; Joseph died on November 12, 1880 at age 91.

Joseph Carpenter's obituary (click to enlarge)
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My lineage from Thomas Carpenter and his grandson, Joseph Carpenter:

     Thomas Carpenter (1733-1807) m. Elizabeth Moulton (1736- 1804)

     James Carpenter ((1767-1812) m. Lucy Bliss (1769-1817)

     Joseph Carpenter (1789 - 1880) m. Nancy Mason Bullock (1793-1880)

     Samuel Carpenter (1828 - 1904) m. Ruth Ann Miller (1828-1893)

     Samuel Eber Carpenter (1853-1929) m. Sarah Etta Freeman (1858-1945)

     Everett Shearman Carpenter (1891-1962) m. Ruth Eaton Cooke (1897-1979)
     [my grandparents]
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Photo of Joseph Carpenter's gravestone post on Find-A-Grave by Susan on March 26, 2009.
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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Genealogists' Addiction Vindicated!!

Family tree of Ludwig Herzog von Wurttemburg,
Louis III, Duke of Wurttemburg (1554 - 1593)

For many -- and perhaps most of us -- who are devoted to the topic of genealogy in general and the study of our family history in particular, the unbelievers among us often greet us with bemusement, polite indulgence and, perhaps rarely, derision.  I have heard from more than one family member the ambiguous comment on my hobby that goes something like this . . . "Wow!  He is really into dead people!"

Well, fellow genealogists, it is now time for us to unite and collectively engage in a little indulgent, magnanimous bemusement of our own!  That well-known and greatly respected weekly academic journal -- PARADE magazine -- has just published a cover article titled The Secrets To A Happy Family by Bruce Feiler.  The learned article is adapted from Mr. Feiler's new book, The Secret of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More (due out February 19, 2013, William Morrow).

Mr. Feiler's Parade article extracts 19 questions to illustrate what happy families have in common.  And what is the No. 1 question -- the one the leads off the whole article?  Here it is fellow genealogists.  Sing it loud, sing it proud!!!

               1.     When a team of psychologists measured children's resilience, they found that kids who ________ were best able to handle stress.

  (a)   ate the same breakfast every day
  (b)   knew the most about their family's history
  (c)   played team sports
  (d)   attended regular religious services

And the answer of course?  All together now all you genealogists out there . . . 

Answer: (b)  The more children know about their family's history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives and the higher their self-esteem.  The reason: These children have a strong sense of "intergenerational self" -- they understand that they belong to something bigger than themselves, and that families naturally experience both highs and lows.

NOTE TO FAMILY MEMBERS:  Yes, I am "really into dead people" and their stories.  And here is just one reason why!

And that is not all that Mr. Feiler provides for genealogists!  How about Question No. 18??

  How many Americans attend a family reunion every year?

  (a)   25 million
  (b)   50 million
  (c)   100 million

Answer:  (c)  About 40 percent of Americans attend an annual reunion, with another 25 percent attending one every few years.  To increase bonding during reunions, hold a family trivia contest or play intergenerational games like capture the flag.  Having fun together is a key part of building a strong family identity.

NOTE TO FELLOW GENEALOGISTS:  You should be disqualified from playing in the family trivia game, BUT you should be the one to come up with the questions and answers!

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PARADE, Sunday, February 17, 2013.

PARADE article adapted from Bruce Feiler's new book, The Secrets of Happy Families (Feb. 19, William Morrow)

Image of Ludwig Herzog von Wurttemburg family tree is from The work is in the public domain in the U.S., which recognizes a copyright term of the life of the author/creator plus 100 years or less.  The image file is from the Wikimedia Commons.
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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Saturday Serendipity -- February 16, 2013

Here are a few serendipitous discoveries from this week that I commend for inclusion on your reading list.

1.              A great follow up on the DNA story of Richard II at The Legal Genealogist.  It gives a reminder primer on mtDNA, corrects errors in the media, and reminds us all of the difference between an ancestor and a relation. .   I enjoy the writing style of Judy Russell and the way she finds topics to write about with a twist.  Case in point, have a look at her post from yesterday .  I found this to be a delightful read – thoughtful and humorous.
2.              A nice little story about the serendipitous discovery of ancestors in a photograph on a restaurant wall at Abbie and Eveline by Kathy Morales.

3.       The NEHGS newsletter, The Weekly Genealogist, has a feature known as “Stories of Interest” and it seems I always find the feature title to be true.  This week in The Weekly Genealogist, Vol. 16, No. 7 (February 13, 2013),  there is a link to the story of the murder of 57 Irish laborers who worked  on the Duffy Cut for the Philadelphia and Columbia line in 1832. 

4.             Also at The Legal Genealogist -- the poignant piece on remembering an ancestor even when you did not really know him or her.  “The Mystery of Marie”


Friday, February 15, 2013

Friday Fotos (February 15, 2013) – Two Cooke Sisters

Sisters -- Ruth E. Cooke (L) and Dorothy B. Cooke

This picture was taken on a family outing sometime around 1902 (notice the croquet mallets against the tree).  The little girl on the left is my maternal grandmother, Ruth Eaton Cooke.  The girl she has her arm around is her younger sister, Dorothy B. Cooke.

Dorothy B. Cooke

Ruth and Dorothy were two of the six children of Walter Wilson Cooke and his wife, Florence Leonette Flagg.  They had four girls and two boys between 1892 and 1904.  Only three girls survived beyond age seven and into adulthood.  Their mother "Nettie" died in 1904, the same year that her second son died.

The Cooke children were born in an era before the so-called miracle drugs (antibiotics) were developed to combat fatal bacterial infections.  Therapeutic penicillin use, for example, did not come about until after the 1929 publication of a paper by Dr. Alexander Fleming on how penicillin prevented growth of a neighboring colony of germs in a common petri dish.  Streptomycin was not isolated until 1943 at Rutgers University (my alma mater). 

Many of us have discovered that children of our ancestors died at shockingly young ages and often due to diseases or infections that today would rarely be fatal.  This is the fate that befell poor Dorothy, my grandmother’s younger sister.  Dorothy was born on December 6, 1899 in N. Attleborough, Massachusetts and died on January 7, 1907 at Massachuestts General Hospital in Boston.  She was barely seven years old.  As the death certificate below indicates, the primary cause of Dorothy's death was typhoid fever.  Typhoid was a common disease worldwide.  It is a bacterial infection and is usually transmitted by ingestion of water or food containing the bacterium Salmonella typhi.  The contributory cause of Dorothy's death was "purulent otitis media," which is a serious ear infection.  Her fatal illness lasted four weeks and must have been quite painful. 

Death certificate for Dorothy B. Cooke (January 1907)
Typhoid fever and deaths from it fell sharply -- especially in the developed world -- with greater understanding and implementation of sanitary techniques in the 20th century.  These days typhoid fever is usually not fatal when it does occur due to treatment with antibiotics.  Antibiotic treatment has reduced the fatality rate to about 1% of established cases.

The classical case of typhoid fever runs its course over four weeks and is divided into four stages or phases that each last about one week -- just as happened with poor little Dorothy.  It must have been horrible to watch as Dorothy and the medical personnel at Mass General fought for her life.  

The onset of the disease arrives with a slowly rising temperature accompanied by headache, cough, and, in perhaps 25% of cases, a bloody nose.  Abdominal pain is also often seen.

In the second week the victim of the disease runs a fever of perhaps 104 F.  The fever usually increases in the afternoon.  There is often a slowed heartbeat, frequent delirium and rose colored spots on the lower chest and abdomen in about 33% of those afflicted.  The abdomen is usually distended and painful and can be accompanied by diarrhea with a distinctive green color sometimes compared to pea soup.  The spleen and liver are enlarged and quite tender.

During the third week, things get worse for the poor victim.  Intestinal hemorrhage is seen.  Symptoms such as picking at bed linens or at imaginary objects can occur along with "muttering delirium."  Encephalitis (swelling of the brain) is also a complication that can be seen during the third stage of the disease.

From the third to the fourth and final phase of the disease, the fever remains quite high and steady over the day.  The victim becomes dehydrated and delirious until the fever begins to subside in the fourth and final week. 
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My connection to Dorothy B. Cooke

1.            Walter Wilson Cooke m. Florence Leonette Flagg
                        (1)  Helen Raeder Cooke (1892 - 1987)
                        (2)  Russell Cooke (1893 - 1894)
                        (3)  Lois Vinal Cooke (1894 -    )
                        (4)  Ruth Eaton Cooke (1897 - 1979)
                        (5)  Dorothy B. Cooke (1899 - 1907)
                        (6) Russell Church Cooke (1902 - 1904)

2.          Ruth Eaton Cooke m. Everett Shearman Carpenter (my grandparents)

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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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