Saturday, June 14, 2014

Saturday Serendipity (June 14, 2014)

Here are a few recommendations for inclusion on your reading list this week:  

1.  TODAY is "Flag Day" so be sure to put Old Glory out for a day in the breeze. Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed June 14th as Flag Day in 1916, but it was not until 1949 that National Flag Day was established in a statute by Congress.  It is not an official federal holiday and it is at the President's discretion to proclaim the observance.  For more on the history of Flag Day see the Wikipedia article here. However, for a special treat on this Flag Day, spend a few minutes visiting here (courtesy of a tip at The Vault) to listen to a recreation of what the original version of The Star-Spangled Banner might have sounded like in 1814.  This year is the bicentennial of Francis Scott Key's anthem and you can hear all four verses.  It does sound different and you might find that, like me, you actually prefer it to modern renditions.  Enjoy! 


2.  Last week I mentioned a post about Johnny Appleseed and "word pictures" based on descriptions of John Chapman by those who actually knew him.  I speculated that this might be a way for us to reconstruct -- with the help of a forensic artist -- what our ancestors might have looked like where we have no photographs or paintings, but we do have some rich written descriptions. Now there is even better and more exciting news about finding out what ancestors might have actually looked like.  The Weekly Genealogist by NEHGS linked to this brief BBC News Magazine article about the use of DNA to possibly show us the faces of our ancestors!  Read about this fascinating possibility here.    

3.  I have mentioned here before -- and it bears repeating -- that anyone with New England roots who rarely gets the opportunity to visit that region should bookmark and visit Barbara Poole's Life From the Roots blog! Barbara is a talented and accomplished photographer and she repurposed her blog some time ago to emphasize New England through photographic imagery.  Barbara takes us on photo tours of various sites in New England and I highly recommend regular visits to her blog.

4.  And speaking of New England and photographic tours . . . If you have ancestors in Rhode Island, you should stop by Midge Frazel's blog, Granite in My Blood, to see her new series on visiting and photographing Rhode Island cemeteries.  Start with Midge's post of June 10th here and then follow as she continues the series.

5.  A recent post by Harold Henderson at Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog caught my attention and resulted in a post here on The Prism.  While considering alternative genealogy education resources when one finds conference attendance too difficult due to expense or other reasons, I failed to mention the increasingly popular and FREE genealogy resources in the world of podcasts.  Elizabeth Handler of From Maine to Kentucky blog commented on my post and correctly pointed out the oversight of podcasts among my resource listing.  I cited to her very useful post of May 9, 2014 -- Listen to Podcasts -- that provided links and brief summaries of a number of freely available genealogy podcasts in last week's Saturday Serendipity.  Since then, I have loaded my iPod with subscriptions to the podcasts Elizabeth cited so I can listen more regularly on my daily commute to and from work.  And this gave me the idea of occasionally mentioning  and linking to genealogy podcasts in Saturday Serendipity recommendations.  Today is the first such recommendation. 

Almost exactly a year ago (June 19, 2013) Jane Wilcox of The Forget-Me-Not Hour podcast did an extensive interview with Thomas W. Jones, author of the recent book Mastering Genealogical Proof. Learn more about Thomas Jones, his background, and his path to a passion for genealogy.  Thomas explains what the genealogical proof standard is (an accepted basis for accuracy) and why it is so important to apply it.  He shares stories of mistakes, how the genealogical proof standard was developed, etc.  This is an interview that anyone who pursues genealogy should listen to and learn from.

6.  If, like me, you are a confirmed northern lake person as opposed to an ocean seashore person, you will enjoy the silent movie clip Heather Rojo posted at Nutfield Genealogy blog.  It is silent footage of scenes from Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire from 1929.  I lived in New Hampshire for several years growing up and our family spent memorable times on Lake Winnipesaukee. One time that lives in now humorous infamy was the weekend we spent in a pop-up camper on a spit of sandy shore on Lake Winnipesaukee during three days of torrential rains -- two adults, four kids under 12 years old, and a dog deathly afraid of thunder and lightening.  It couldn't possibly have gotten any better than that, right? The next trip to Lake Winnipesaukee was therefore to a cabin at Kessler's Last Resort and that went much better.  Lots of swimming, learning to water ski, and making friends with the Anderson family in a neighboring cabin.  These experiences and summers on Lake Sunapee at the cottage of my best friend's family sealed the love affair I have with northern lakes.  It is why we have now spent more than 37 years vacationing on lakes in the Adirondacks of update New York.  Watching Heather's clip actually makes me very thankful for how little northern lake summer life has changed in the last 85 years.  If you too love northern lakes or have ever been to Lake Winnipesaukee, have a look here and enjoy!    

7.  Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings blog has a very engaging book publication notice for "The Parrett Migration," a new book by Dawn Parrett Thurston about her Parrett ancestors. I especially like the publicity summary for the book that states, "The Parretts were not generals, social reformers, or celebrated leaders of any kind.  They were not the sort of people who have books written about them."  In other words they sound like the vast majority of American families!  The book is 344 pages with lots of illustrations and is by an author who teaches how to write memoirs and family histories that people will want to read.  It sounds like a learn-by-example read and I think this is one I might have to add to my ever-growing reading pile.  Maybe you will want to do the same.    

8.  And finally, there is an interesting post with links in UpFront With NGS blog.  If you are stuck in your research on an ancestor and have little or no information to help you narrow possible birth dates and age, but you do have a reliable first name, then maybe you can use statistics on the popularity of first names to narrow a range of birth years and ages.  Sound intriguing?  Have a look here.    

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Image of the 1917 Flag Day poster from  The image is in the public domain as a work where any copyright has expired due to publication prior to January 1, 1923.
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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
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  1. I must admit I like having a groupie! Any RI cemeteries for me to include?

  2. Thanks for mentioning my new family history on your blog. What a surprise.