Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sunday Serendipity (October 5, 2014)

The automatic posting of yesterday's usual Saturday Serendipity failed for some reason (quite probably user error!), so this week for the first time ever we have "Sunday Serendipity." The following are recommended for inclusion on your reading list this weekend: 

1.  Back in June they said they were going to do it and as of October 1, it appears to be done. has deleted the Y and mtDNA databases from their site and in the process destroyed tens of thousands of irreplaceable DNA records. To read about and understand the full extent of this action, read Roberta Estes blog post at her DNAeXplained -- Genetic Genealogy here.

2.  When The Legal Genealogist, Judy Russell, opines about a MUST READ, I for one pay attention. Readers of Saturday Serendipity know I am a fan of the way cool items posted at The Vault. Judy has now called attention to a new online magazine, JSTOR Daily, with content that she tells us is "just plain cool." The magazine will strive to do daily blog posts and "one captivating long read each week" along with occasional scholar interviews and other features. As The Legal Genealogist describes the magazine, it "draws connections between the stories you read about in your favorite news publications and the material housed on JSTOR." To learn more and get the link to visit the magazine, read Judy's post here

3.  And speaking of way cool posts at The Vault, this week one item will be of interest and perhaps use to those who have ancestors among the hundreds of thousands of immigrants who passed through New York City in the late 19th century. Using data from the 1890 census, maps were published in 1894 that illustrated the population density and nationality in the numerous small sanitary districts of Manhattan. As Richard Hite has explained in his recent book, Sustainable Genealogy [See the post of September 25, 2014 here at The Prism.], knowing the nationality/ethnic background of the neighbors of early immigrant ancestors, can be very useful to determining the correct nation of origin and original surname of one's ancestors.  Read about these maps of Manhattan and see the maps themselves here.

4.    Do you enjoy the challenge of a rebus? If you are from New England, have roots in New England, or just plain love New England, you can test your knowledge of 19th century New England and your rebus skills at another fun link at The Vault. In 1875, Anna Heerman published a project called A Hieroglyphic Geography of the United States. It was an ambitious project to engage children in geographical information about the U.S. through imagery -- pictures used in a rebus format like hieroglyphics to convey little geographical facts about various states. The project was to be a multi-volume effort, but it turned out that only one volume was produced -- a volume about some New England states.  Have a look at some of the rebus creations for Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Connecticut here.  Good Luck! 

5.  Bill West of West in New England blog is now accepting submissions to his 6th Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge through Thursday, November 20th.  Bill will publish links to your poetry submissions on Thanksgiving Day (November 27th). Your submissions can be original poetry written by you, poems from ancestors or relatives, or poems you have discovered that you find speak to the subject of genealogy.  Read Bill's rule details here.

6.  Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings blog has admitted to being a little hooked on the search capability at that can help one find relationships with people. Randy shared with us this week some quick looks he did at and how he discovered his cousins Jimmy, Ronnie, Billy, two Georges, and Barry. Read about Randy's explorations and discoveries here. I think Randy might need to take a trip to the east coast soon to have his cousin Barry give him a personal tour of the residence in DC that is almost a family homestead.    

7.  And finally, Donna Catterick of This I Leave blog went to a great deal of effort to figure out how to create and post a clip of a home movie from the 1950s showing her grandmother sewing a "geranium leaf hat" for Donna's sister Jeanie.  The clip is only 44 seconds long and we get a passing glimpse of the manufacturing process and part of the completed hat, but the post is a wonderful capture of a moment in time of fun and happiness shared between grandmother and granddaughter.  Have a look here and learn about a fashion that has apparently been lost -- the geranium leaf hat! Who knew?
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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
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