Saturday, November 29, 2014

Saturday Serendipity (November 29, 2014)

This was a busy week of work, family and Thanksgiving, so the blog posting largely went on hiatus. But there was still some time to surf the blogosphere and find a few posts to recommend this week. You will notice a food theme to this week's recommendations and that seems appropriate this Thanksgiving week.  Here are my recommendations:

1.  As my family knows, over the years a favorite social prompt of mine during the holiday season is to inquire of friends and new acquaintances what their family holiday feast traditions are. I find it interesting to see what food traditions have been developed and maintained in families and the prompting inquiry almost never fails to open up lively discussion of family traditions around holiday foods. Well, The Weekly Genealogist of NEHGS kindly provided a nice link that served as the source for some lively discussion about Thanksgiving foods around our table on Thursday. The NYT presented the results of Google searches for Thanksgiving recipes in every state. The results, of course, are perhaps more modern than traditional coming as they do after the advent of Google searching, but the most popular foods in each state on Thanksgiving are shown on a U.S. map and then broken down in detailed state-by-state results. You can view the results here and see some of the surprising Thanksgiving foods served around the country.     

2.  And speaking of the Thanksgiving holiday, The Weekly Genealogist also provided two other very interesting posts about our celebration of Thanksgiving over the years. I really think you will enjoy reading about celery and olives dominating the Thanksgiving table for more than 100 years (and into the 1960s) here. One quote from the celery and olive article resonates after reading the first reading recommendation above. Rick Rodgers, author of Thanksgiving 101, states, "Whatever is in vogue worms its way onto the Thanksgiving menu." And some apparently stay on the menu long enough to become family and regional traditions. Sauerkraut in Baltimore anyone??

3.  How about Thanksgiving as a first cousin to Halloween? Did you know that in the early years of the last century Thanksgiving was a time to dress up in costumes?  I did not and so found this article and the accompanying photos quite fascinating and educational.  See if you agree. 

4.  The Vault presented a post about a 1690 London advertisement regarding the medical benefits of drinking coffee, thee/tea and chocolette (chocolate) and for doing so often at home. The benefits of coffee are many according to the advertisement. One of the claims for chocolate was the curing of broken ribs. You can read the advertisement here and wonder (as I did) if this early strong marketing of coffee led (along with the Revolutionary War era boycott of English tea) to its slow rise in popularity above tea in America.     
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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Doodles From The Past (November 24, 2014)

In the most recent Saturday Serendipity post here at The Prism, I recommended two items of interest. One involved watercolor paintings done by a New England whaler of the 1840s and the other involved a study of some 800-year-old doodles found in the margins of medieval books. I asked in the post if readers knew of or had old doodles from some of their ancestors or relatives and I mentioned that I would post a doodle from my family artifact collection. The promised doodle is present above.

As can be seen, the doodle is on a scarp of aged paper. The precise date of the drawing is unknown and the meaning, if any, of the doodle is equally mysterious. But there is the signature in the center of the scrap of paper -- "Asquire Miller."

Backside of the paper scrap containing the doodle above. 

Asquire Miller (1775 - 1825) is my 4th great grandfather on my mother's side. Asquire was born in Cumberland, Rhode Island and was one of the early residents and owners of the Miller/Carpenter homestead formerly located at 551 High Street in Cumberland. Asquire and his wife, Amey Bishop, had four sons: Namon, Aurin, Eber (1805 - 1877) and Asquire Jr. (1813 - 1841).

It is unknown if the doodle and writing on the depicted scrap of paper is by either Asquire Miller, Sr. or his son, Asquire Miller, Jr., but the clear signature -- "Asquire Miller" -- leads to the supposition that the doodle is by one or the other of the Asquire Millers.  My guess is Asquire Miller, Jr. because the uniform on the soldier looks like a uniform of the War of 1812. Asquire Jr. was born in 1813 and that war would have been one of stories during his pre-teen youth.  Just a guess but I'm going with it.

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Scan of the original scrap with doodle and now in the collection of the author. 
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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Saturday Serendipity (November 22, 2014)

The following are a few recommendations for inclusion on your reading list this weekend.

1.  If you have any New England whalers in your genealogy, you might like to see the collection of watercolor paintings done by seaman James Moore Ritchie during a whaling voyage circa 1842-1845. The Vault presents some of the watercolors here, but if you are in Providence for NERGC next April, you might be able to see the originals in an exhibition at the Providence Public Library.   

2.  Have you seen this remarkable story in the news this past week? Surprisingly, there are perhaps 35 children of Civil War Veterans still alive today, but they are among us. Thanks to a link in the NEHGS Weekly Genealogist newsletter, you can read here about the sons and daughters who are the last people with actual memories of direct contact with men who served during the Civil War. And one of the highlighted children has a particularly amazing (and documented) event that he can tell about his Civil War veteran father. Go to the link to read about the amazing true story -- and DO watch the video interview with two of the children.    

3.  "Family History Bingo??" Upfront With NGS blog provided a link to a wonderful blog post at blog titled "Creative Ways To Get Your Kids Excited About Family History Month -- Part One."  You can read the Ancestry post here and see here the family history bingo game that Diane Richard of NGS created after reading the Ancestry post.        

4.  Also courtesy of Upfront With NGS, if you liked the 170-year-old whaling watercolors in recommendation #1 above, how about 800-year-old doodles in books from the medieval period? Have a look here. Do you have any old doodles among your family artifacts? [Watch The Prism over the next several days when I will post a doodle from my family artifact collection that dates back to the early 1800s.]

5.  Now here is a different kind of "Turkey Shoot!" Call it the family friendly, pacifist, no-firearms-allowed Turkey Shoot -- a wonderful idea brought to us by Denise Levenick of The Family Curator blog. Read the rules here and maybe get ready to play next week.       

6.  For those who have used AncestryDNA, the post by Judy Russell on November 20th explains "the good, the bad and the ugly" about the rollout of the recent changes in matching systems. You AncestryDNA users can and should read Judy's post "Changes at AncestryDNA" here.  

7.  What should one do with information found in unsourced family trees? Anyone who has done modern genealogy research with the plethora of published family trees now on the web has come across the conundrum of what to do with information from undocumented, unsourced trees. Harold Henderson has a brief post well worth reading about how to approach such trees and the information they contain. One should not simply scoff at such trees nor accept them on blind faith . . . well read here Harold's brief, well-reasoned (and illustrated) take on how such trees should be handled.

8.  Does your family have any connections to North Andover, Massachusetts? If so, you should really take a few minutes to visit Barbara Poole's blog Life From The Roots. This week Barbara posted about the North Andover Historical Society (with her usual excellent photographic illustrations). But for those of you who know or suspect you have family connections to North Andover, Barbara provides the service of listing for you the surnames of the first European settlers to the area and the 146 surnames of all the area families up to the present day!  Have a look here.

9.  And finally, in a mix of the serious and the whimsical, Nancy at My Ancestors and Me blog, muses on the need to be prepared for retirement, the changing nature of jobs and job titles, and what our ancestors would think of today's employment opportunities. Read Nancy's brief post "Work, Lice, My Ancestors, and Me" here.       

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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
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Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday Fotos (November 21, 2014) -- Sarah Etta [Freeman] Carpenter

Sarah Etta {Freeman] Carpenter (1858 - 1945)

My Great Grandmother, Sarah Carpenter, was born March 27, 1858 in East Douglas, Massachusetts. Her family later moved to Lincoln, Rhode Island and it was while living there that she met her future husband, Samuel Eber Carpenter of Cumberland, Rhode Island. They were married on June 15, 1887, less than three months after Sarah turned 29. Sarah lived the rest of her life in Cumberland, Rhode Island residing at 551 High Street, the Carpenter/Miller family home.  Sarah died on July 24, 1945 and is buried in Swan Point Cemetery in Providence.

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Scan of the original portrait in the collection of the author.
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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Treasure Chest Thursday (November 20, 2014) -- The Samuel and Sarah Carpenter Family

L to R: Ruth, Samuel, Everett and Sarah Carpenter 

The above snapshot was taken in the front room of the Carpenter family home at 551 High Street in Cumberland, Rhode Island in approximately 1900. Samuel and Sarah are my maternal great grandparents and the boy, Everett, is my maternal grandfather. Everett's sister Ruth, my grand aunt, is also pictured.

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Scan from the original snapshot in the collection of the author.
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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Saturday Serendipity (November 15, 2014)

The following are a few recommendations for inclusion on your reading list this weekend.

1.   This week the National Genealogical Society officially announced the full program for the 2015 Family History Conference to be held in St. Charles, Missouri May 13 - 16.  Read about it here at Upfront With NGS blog.  

2.  Heather Rojo at Nutfield Genealogy blog posted an interesting piece about "Runaway Bride" legal notices in newspapers. She provides an example from an 1832 issue of the New Hampshire Patriot and State Gazette.  Read the post here.     

3.  Here is an interesting research tip from Researching Relatives blog. Don't limit your searches in directories and newspapers to just surnames -- try searching on house or building addresses too.           

4.  Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings blog posted about  new releases off activity books designed to engage youth in discovery their family history. The books are part of the Zap The Grandma Gap "My Ancestors" book series. Read more at Randy's post here.     

5.  Another cautionary tale on the importance of backing up your genealogy files and data can be found this week at Genealogy's Star blog. Read The Dreaded Event by James Tanner, then go forth and back-up!     

6.  Upfront Mini Bytes provided a useful research resource for locating burial sites for Civil War veterans. The resource includes information for both Union and Confederate soldiers. Check out the search tool here.

7.  Is an ancestor or relative of yours perhaps one of the 90,000 who volunteered for work with the British Red Cross during World War I? Upfront Mini Bytes also provided a link to this search tool to answer the question for you. Check out the site and search tool here.   

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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
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Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday Fotos (November 14, 2014) -- Ruth and Everett Carpenter, Part 4

This is the fourth and final installment in a series of portrait photographs of my maternal grandfather and his older sister as youths. The portraits were recently discovered among some family boxes in storage. These two portraits were obviously taken at the same sitting because Everett and Ruth are dressed in the exact same clothes in both photographs. 

The portraits were done at the Ye Rose Studio located in the Conrad Building in Providence, Rhode Island. It is believed that the portraits were done in about 1900 - 1901.  My grandfather looks to be about 8 to 10 years old and he was born in February 1891.  His sister Ruth was two years older than he.

The Ye Rose Studio opened in the Conrad Building on Westminster Street in Providence, Rhode Island in 1886. At first it was known as Rose & Sands specializing in "High Class Portraits from Cabinet to Life Size."  Later the studio went by the name Ye Rose and was well known for "cabinet card" portraits such as the ones shown here. 

Conrad Building, Providence, RI

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Scans from original portraits in the family collection.

For more information about Ye Rose Studio and cabinet cards, see 

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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Treasure Chest Thursday (November 13, 2014) -- My Sister's First Day of School

This recently discovered snapshot was taken in September 1958 when our family was living in Chicopee, Massachusetts. The photograph is a special treasure because it captures the morning my younger sister and I were about to leave for school on what was her very first day in Kindergarten. We were both attending Streiber Memorial Elementary School in Chicopee at the time.  [Our younger brother -- at the left in the snapshot -- was three years old and not yet in school.]

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Scan of original snapshot in the family collection.
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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Nearly Wordless Wednesday (November 12, 2014) -- Guarding The Shovels In Salem Depot, NH

There is a well-known story in our family about the time my father came home from work one evening when we lived in Salem Depot, NH. He was the Assistant Manager at the Sears store in Lawrence, Massachusetts just across the state line from Salem. It had been snowing all day and he anticipated that he was going to have to shovel snow from the steps, walks and driveway when he got home. When he went to shovel after grabbing some supper, he found that the shovels were nowhere to be found.  Apparently, there was telltale evidence that some shoveling had taken place earlier in the day in the back yard where we often made snow forts or cleared an area to spray with water and create a rink -- but the snow had gone on all day and the shovels could not be seen. My father rousted the three kids and we had to don our snow gear and trudge around the backyard feeling for the shovels that were buried in the late-accumulated snow.

For years I have teased my siblings (particularly my brother Peter), by insisting that he/they were to blame and that I was innocent in the Great Disappearing Shovels caper. 

Recently a trove of lost snapshots was discovered and amongst the treasures is the proof of my innocence!

As can easily be seen in the photograph above (taken in January 1960), all three shovels were in the front yard of our home on Joseph Road in Salem Depot. My maternal grandfather's Packard is at the head of the driveway and the family Scotsman station wagon is sitting behind it. I am leaning against the lamp post holding one shovel and guarding the other two that can be seen leaning against the Packard and the Scotsman respectively. The depth of the snow can be gauged by the untouched accumulation on top of the Packard.

I take this snapshot as belated proof positive that not only was I not involved in the loss of the shovels in the back yard under late arriving snowfall -- I was actually trying to make the shovels easily available and noticeable for my father!  

Case closed.            

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January 1960 snapshot from the family collection.
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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Heather's Honor Roll Project (November 11, 2014) -- Veterans Day 2014

Heather Wilkinson Rojo of Nutfield Genealogy started an Honor Roll Project in 2010. The goal of the project is to post photos of various war memorials and honor rolls along with the transcriptions of the names on the memorials/honor rolls in order to make the names available for search engines. In this way, people can search for family members, ancestors and friends. This is a VERY worthwhile project and I want to participate in even a small way to support Heather (my blogging mentor and, incidentally, a distant cousin).

To participate in Heather's project this Veterans Day, I offer photos and transcriptions of names from the war memorials in Leesburg, the county seat of Loudoun County, Virginia.  Leesburg is located about 35 northwest of Washington, DC.

The old courthouse in downtown Leesburg, Virginia 

Historic Marker at the Leesburg Courthouse 

Loudoun County lost thirty (30) residents in "The Great War" -- later known as World War I.  The names of those who died are as follows.

                   Russell T. Beatty                                        Frank Hough
                   Charles A. Bell                                          Alexander Pope Humphrey
                   Charles  E. Clyburn                                   Robert A. Martz
                   Thubert H. Conklin                                   Harry Milstead
                   Nealy M. Cooper                                       Judge McGolerick
                   Mathew Curtin                                          John O. McGuinn
                   Leonard Darnes                                         Edward Lester
                   Franklin L. Dawson                                  Ernest H. Nichols
                   John Fleming                                             Linwood Payne
                   Edward C. Fuller                                       Charles Carter Riticor
                   Gilbert H. Gough                                      
                   Grover Cleveland Gray                             Ashton R. Shumaker
                   Leonard G. Hardy                                     Henry Grafton Smallwood
                   Bolling Walker Haxall, Jr.                         John Edward Smith
                   Ernest Gilbert                                            Valentine B. Johnson
                                                                                      Samuel C. Thornton

Loudoun County had sixty-eight (68) residents who made the ultimate sacrifice during World War II. There were four (4) Loudoun residents who died in the Korean War.  The names of these fallen warriors in two wars are as follows . . . 


                            Spieler H. Abell                                                 Frederick F. Grossi
                            Stanley C. Adler                                                Vernon T. Hackley
                            Samuel E. Badger, Jr.                                         Donald O. Harding
                            Louis Bentley                                                     Clinton R. Harris, Jr.
                            Lewis S. Bettis                                                   Charles F. Harrison, Jr.
                            Daniel J. Bolt                                                      Robert S. Hawes
                            James W. Brent                                                   Claude J. Hill
                           Thomas W. Bridges                                             Billie F. Hottle
                           William K. Brown                                               Robert Janney
                           Calvin V. Carter                                                  Sandy V. Johnson
                           William H. Carter                                               James H. Kemp
                           James R. Chenn                                                  William P. Keven, Jr.
                           Willis G. Chinn                                                   John F. Kincaid, Jr.
                           Lyle T. Clarke                                                     Millard J. Klein
                           Raymond Cooper                                               Morris B. Laycock
                           Carl M. Darby                                                   William T. Lemon
                           James H. Eldridge                                             Norman J. Lloyd
                           Harry M. Ellison                                               Thomas E. McArtor
                           Morton C. Eustis                                               Robert J. McCray, Jr.
                           Norman F.C. Fletcher                                       Robert W. Nix, III
                           Festus F. Foster                                                 Harry Palmer
                           Raymond Fry                                                    George F. Payne
                           Eddie Frye                                                        Elijah M. Phillips
                           Harold C. Furr                                                  George R. Reid
                           Oscar I. Furr                                                     Thomas E. Riley
                           Paul R. Gibson                                                 Paul W. Rorrer
                           Alfred W. Glascock                                         Berton L. Smith
                           George E. Grant                                               Robert M. Sprague
                           Harry F. Gray                                                   John A. Tebbs
                           Joseph T. Griffith                                             Earle L. Teele
                           Herbert B. Grimes                                           Charles R. Titus
                           David L. Grotf                                                 Charles N. Walker                                                            


                             Wilson Bongers                                                 Milton V. Crouch
                             Alfred O. Hutchison                                          William Lemar

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All photos of war memorials at the County Courthouse in Leesburg, Virginia by the author.

Name transcriptions by the author.
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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
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Saturday, November 8, 2014

Saturday Serendipity (November 8, 2014)

The following are a few recommendations for inclusion on your reading list this weekend.

1.  Having recently discovered that a health issue I was confronted with was also experienced previously by a parent and a sibling in addition to a parent's sibling and his son, this item noted in The Weekly Genealogist of NEHGS is noteworthy and well worth reading, "Take time on Thanksgiving to talk about family health history."    

2.  Here is a story to send violent tremors through the body of any genealogist.  It is a story with a very lucky happy ending, but it is also a potential horror story that provides a lesson on why one should never ever have genealogical data/material in one location and not backed up elsewhere!    

3.  We never know where we might find some bit of family history. Diligent research that produces those "Eureka moments" is what we often live for and what drives our genealogy research, but the thrill of the completely serendipitous discovery brought to us out of the blue is also something altogether surprising and exciting. And it is especially so when it comes courtesy of a kind and thoughtful stranger. Jana Last tells us of just such an experience in her post "Iver's Letter."  Read her story here.           

4.  How about statutory law publications as fodder for personal genealogy research?  Possible or a waste of time and brain cells?  The Legal Genealogist demonstrates in short order the wealth of material to be found in these publications!  Read here and find yet another new source for your research efforts.   

5.  Researching potential descent from a Mayflower passenger is probably one of the gateway curiosities for many who get drawn into genealogy as a hobby or profession.  Heather Rojo of Nutfield Genealogy blog has a nice primer on how to go about researching for Mayflower ancestors.  Read the post here.  

6.  Diane Boumenot explains her preference for software over Family Group Sheets in a review of her use of Dropbox, Evernote, Family Tree Maker, and Evidentia. Read Diane's post "Software Solutions" here.

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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
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Friday, November 7, 2014

Friday Fotos (November 7, 2014) -- Young Pennsylvanians Shaping Politics

This is an unusual post for Friday Fotos, but it is not every day that one reads something like this about one's son.  Entry No. 14 in the article "Who's Next: 18 Young Pennsylvanians Shaping Politics" is shown below.

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Screen shots from the website  The full piece can be viewed and read here
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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
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Monday, November 3, 2014

And Then Along Came Nora (November 3, 2014)

This is the post I have been waiting over a week to write. At 4:17 PM EST on Monday, November 3, 2014 our first grandchild, Nora Winkler Tew, was born.  Six pounds twelve ounces of wonder!

Best viewed with Stevie Wonder's "Isn't She Lovely" playing in the background.

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Photo taken by the author on the first visit to Nora, Wednesday, November 5, 2014.
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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
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Saturday, November 1, 2014

Saturday Serendipity (November 1, 2014)

The following are a few recommendations for inclusion on your reading list this weekend.

1.  If you have ancestors and/or relatives who lived and died in County Kerry, Ireland, then you need to know about an amazing new resource for you to explore. NEHGS in The Weekly Genealogist tipped us off to the 50,000 photos of most of the headstones in County Kerry taken by Joe Maher.  Read about the project here and visit Mr. Maher's website here.   

2.  Registration is now open for the April 2015 New England Regional Genealogical Conference (NERGC) to be held in Providence, RI. Anyone who is interested in attending should certainly read Diane Boumenot's recent post at One Rhode Island Family blog on what to see and do in Providence while attending NERGC. You can see the Conference program and registration materials here and read Diane's post here.

3.  Present day expert consultants and contractors have nothing on those of yesteryear who tried to use flow charts to distill very complex and complicated matters into graphic explanations that are supposed to simplify the problem. As an example, see the chart diagramming the structure and function of the federal government in 1861 created by N. Mendal Shafer, a Cincinnati lawyer. Mr. Shafer wanted to educate north and south on the government's purpose and functioning in the hope that understanding and familiarity would lead to "peace, happiness, prosperity, and security. . ." Have a look at the Shafer chart here  as posted on The Vault and see if you think it could serve its intended purpose then or now.      

4.  Barbara Poole is continuing her series, There Is A Lot to Like About Lowell [Massachusetts] at her Life From The Roots blog. She has some wonderful photos as always. I suggest you start here with the Swamp Locks photos and scroll back through the earlier posts in the series. 

5.  From the Mini Bytes series at UpFront With NGS comes a tip this week (with link) about maps that show the most common religions in the various states based on 2010 Census data.  You can see the maps here.

6.  And finally, Family History Month ended yesterday so I take this last opportunity for some shameless self-promotion. I do this by asking readers, "What did you do to pay it forward to descendants by creating and preserving some family history as part of the celebration of Family History Month this October?"   If you are not sure what I am talking about, I refer you to these posts on The Prism during October:; and

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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
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