Saturday, January 17, 2015

Saturday Serendipity (January 17, 2015)

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

1.  Heather Rojo's post today at Nutfield Genealogy blog is a must read for anyone with early New England roots.  Read "What I Learned From Another Blog That Helped Me Write This Surname Saturday Post" here

2.  If you are a New Englander, or if you have ancestors who lived in New England in 1919 -- particularly in the North End neighborhood of  Boston and its immediate environs -- then you might have family connections to, or family memories of, a truly unusual tragedy that happened 96 years ago this past Thursday, January 15th. You might want to research and explore any family memories of or connections to the Great Molasses Flood.  You can see photos of the tragedy here and read more about the history and cause here and here. [At the third link you can find a list of the 21 people who died in this unusual disaster!]

3.  Nancy at My Ancestors and Me blog had a thoughtful post that mused about the importance of accurate parent-child identification, the bias of early records toward males, and the challenges presented for discovering early female ancestors.  Give this post a read here -- and be sure to look at the helpful comments Nancy's musings invited.  

4.  Many of us have ancestors who served in the First World War a century ago.  Hundreds of thousands never came back from that "war to end all wars," but many lucky ones did. The soldiers themselves and their loved ones back home hoped and prayed for safe delivery from that awful conflict and many resorted to the use of "luck charms" to help get them through the dangers and horrors into which they had been thrust. This week The Vault had a poignant post about the charms used by WWI soldiers and you can see photos of many of the objects the soldiers carried with them here.  Does your family have any century old trinkets that you wonder why they they were saved all these years? Go back and look at them again, you just might be holding a luck charm carried into war by an ancestor!       

5.  This week Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings blog deconstructed the letter from's CEO Tim Sullivan and raises some interesting questions about what is to come on Ancestry in 2015.  Read Randy's analysis here.  

6.  And speaking of Randy Seaver, he weighed in on the latest post in James Tanner's continuing and informative series on "The Ins and Outs of Evidence fro Genealogists" (now up to part Six). Have a read of Part Six here and get links to the previous installments in this series -- but be sure to read the comment by Randy and the reply by James. [BTW, I agree completely with Randy's views on what constitutes "evidence" for genealogists.  Evidence can be positive/negative, right/wrong, good/bad but anything that is a piece of information or data that can be used to solve the puzzle at hand should be considered "evidence" IMHO. I agree with both Randy and James that the ultimate conclusion drawn from the amalgamation and analysis of all the bits of data ("evidence") is often if not always a personal opinion.] 

7.  Sticking with the subject of "evidence" for genealogists . . . The longer I pursue genealogy, the more I conclude that the universe of what can be considered "evidence" (as defined for us by Randy Seaver immediately above) and where it might be found or stumbled across is limited only by the creativity and ingenuity of people. Case in point is the "Reader's Perspective" piece by David M. Lamb in The Weekly Genealogist this past Wednesday. David had a repair shop for antique clocks in Des Moines, Iowa for many years. You can read here what David has to say about his discoveries in clocks over the years and then you might want to go exploring in those heirloom clocks you have in the house.     

8. So if you come across a statement in early vital records that an ancestor (usually female but sometimes male) was "keeping house," you know that she or he did not have a job or occupation outside the home, right? Well, not so fast! As The Legal Genealogist Judy Russell so carefully schools us in two informative posts this week, "keeping house" is not so easily defined.  Read "The Housekeeper" here and "The Other Housekeeper" here.      

9.  And finally, for those of you who know about Hart Island, New York City's final resting place for some 1 million plus "unknowns," the blog of NGS, UpFront With NGS, had a post this week about a database of Hart Island burial records.  People still are denied access to the island itself, but perhaps this database will be of use to some genealogists searching for lost souls from NYC. Read about Hart Island, the new database, and find links to learn and see more about Hart Island here.     

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Copyright 2015, John D. Tew
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1 comment:

  1. Thank you,for including my post, John. I appreciate it.