Saturday, July 18, 2015

Saturday Serendipity (July 18, 2015)

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

1.  If you have New England roots (especially in Vermont), then you should check out the new additions to the early Vermont settlers 1784 database by Scott Andrew Bartley.  The project seeks to cover every head of household that can be identified within present day boundaries of Vermont up to the year 1784.  Fourteen (14) new sketches have been added covering the following families from Springfield:  John Barrett; John Kilburn; Joseph Little; Daniel Waterman; Josian Farwell; Lowden Priest; Luxford Goodwin; Nathaniel Powers; Stephen Caswell; Coombs House; Robert Parker; Simeon Powers; William Dwinell; and George Hall.

If you are a member of NEHGS, you can get links at the NEHGS website and learn more about this project (which currently contains 48 sketches and more than 2,900 records) in the Spring 2015 issue of American Ancestors magazine (pp. 31 - 32).        

2.  James Tanner of Genealogy's Star blog posted about major new features on the website.  Read review by James here.      

3.  One of the holy grails in genealogy research is the search for and discovery of photographic images of ancestors.  Judy Russell of The Legal Genealogist blog presents a brief, but elucidating post on why one must harness one's excitement and be careful about quickly accepting a purported photograph of an ancestor.   Read Judy's post here.   

4.  The Wall Street Journal ran an interesting article about the things people collect and what will happen to them when the collectors pass on.  You can read the article here.     

5.  The New York Times ran an article about a hoard of letters by Private Hyman Schulman that have been organized and digitized.  The letters were from Pvt. Schulman to his wife almost every day during his military service.  He served as aide to the first Jewish chaplain to arrive at Buchenwald.  This collection of letters cover the period from 1942 until the end of the war.  You can read more about this collection of letters here.      

6.  And finally, here is an interesting potential research source . . . UpFront With NGS blog posted about the FBI's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) library called "The Vault."  Read more about this resource here and get links to the site.
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Copyright 2015, John D. Tew
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Friday, July 17, 2015

Friday Fotos (july 17, 2015) -- Esquire Miller's Reward of Merit

Esquire (or Asquare) Miller (1813 - 1841) was the younger brother of my 3x great grandfather, Eber Miller (1805 - 1877).  The Millers owned and lived at 551 High Street in Cumberland, Rhode Island.

Esquire's "Reward of Merit," pictured above, is an example of the paper encouragements given to students back in the 1800s.  These encouragements were not report cards as we think of them today, but rather paper evidence teachers gave to the students (and thus to the parents) to indicate academic performance, "correct deportment," or positive progress in school.  We would call them "positive reinforcements" today.
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Scanned image of the Reward of Merit from the original in the author's collection.
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Copyright 2015, John D. Tew
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Saturday, July 11, 2015

Saturday Serendipity (July 11, 2015)

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

1.  Thanks to a link provided by NEHGS in The Weekly Genealogist, you can learn about the real life inspiration for "Uncle Sam" and the search for his descendants by going here.      

2.  Speaking of NEHGS . . . the Early New England Families Study Project of NEHGS has added five new sketches.  The new sketches are for the families of: Nathaniel Bacon (m. 1642); Joshua Holgrave (m. 1640); Jane [Conant] [Holgrave] Mason (m. 1640, 1647); Robert Moulton, Jr. (m. 1640); and Thomas Stowe (m. 1639).  You can get links at The Weekly Genealogist, Vol. 18, No. 27, Whole #747, July 8, 2015 or by going to the Ongoing Study Projects page at American if you are a member.    

3.  James Tanner at Genealogy's Star blog alerts us to a new technology called "Global Name Translation" that ". . . automatically translates names found in historical records and family trees from one language into another, in very high accuracy, generating all the plausible translations, to facilitate matches between names in different languages. In addition, a manual search in one language will also provide results in other languages, translated back to the user's language for convenience."  Read more about it here.

4.   I missed it last week, but for a little history lesson on "Horribles Parades" in New England and some photos that are sure to make you smile or even break out in laughter, have a look at Heather Rojo's post on the subject here at Nutfield Genealogy blog. 

5.  If you have ever been faced with sorting through piles of old family photos, then you might want to consider the approach used by Denise Levenick of The Family Curator blog.  Denise describes her "Parking Lot" method of sorting through boxes of family photographs here   

6.  Diane Boumenot of One Rhode Island Family blog continues the story of her relative who died at the Battle of Antietam almost 153 years ago.  Of particular interest is Diane's pursuit of some footnotes in some military histories that indicated the Antietam National Battlefield might have some letters from her relative that died in that battle.  Diane emailed the Battlefield to inquire and a few weeks later a package arrived that contained copies of the letters and other materials that have provided Diane with "a way to find [her] gggg-grandparents' life story."  Read Diane's story here

7.  For anyone with Catholic roots in Ireland, UpFront With NGS blog brings the news that the National Library of Ireland has released its entire collection of Roman Catholic parish registers.  Read more about the availability this important research material and get links here
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Copyright 2015, John D. Tew
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Friday, July 10, 2015

Another Gift From A VERY Kind Cousin -- Friday Fotos (July 10, 2015)

One of the wonderful things about doing genealogy and blogging is the likelihood that one will find previously unknown relatives.  In a little over three years of blogging, I have probably found and had communication with a handful of distant cousins of one degree or another.  A delightful bonus to discovering distant relatives is the ability to exchange genealogical information that one or both parties did not previously know about.  And even better is the ability to exchange ancestor photographs or genealogical artifacts.

Almost a year ago I posted here regarding the extremely kind gift I received of a photograph of my 3x great grandmother, Nancy Mason [Bullock] Carpenter.  

Charlene Butler is a descendant of Abel Bullock (1769 - 1832).  Abel is her 3x great grandfather.  He is my 4x great grandfather.  Abel's daughter, Nancy Mason Bullock (1793 - 1880), is the sister of Charlene's ancestor, Samuel Buffum Bullock (1810 - 1889).  This makes Charlene my very generous 4th cousin 1x removed.

When Charlene realized she had a photograph of my 3x great grandmother, she generously sent me the photograph stating that while Nancy Mason [Bullock] Carpenter was her 2x great aunt, Nancy was my 3x great grandmother -- an ancestor rather than a relative.  The photograph is one of my most treasured family artifacts since it provides the visual image of an ancestor now eight generations back from my granddaughter, Nora Tew! 

Charlene happens to also be descended from a common ancestor in my Tew line.  Charlene is descended from my 8x great grandparents, Richard Tew (1605 - 1673) and his wife Mary [Clarke] Tew (1618 - 1687), through their daughter, Mary Tew (1647 - 1688).  This makes Charlene my 9th cousin 1x removed through my father's Tew line while she is also my 4th cousin 1x removed through my mother's Carpenter line.  A genealogical "two-fer!" 

While Charlene and I have not actually met -- yet -- we have been in fairly regular communication for the last year and her kindness and generosity simply overwhelm me.  Most recently Charlene gifted me with another item (shown above) that she came across while going through materials she inherited from her mother.  It is the original social "calling card" of Ruth A. Miller, also known as Mrs. Samuel Carpenter.  Ruth A. [Miller] Carpenter is my 2x great grandmother on my mother's side.  Nancy Mason [Bullock] Carpenter was her mother-in-law.  And while I now have a photograph of Nancy and of her son Samuel, I have been unable to find anywhere a photograph of Ruth -- but now thanks to my double-cousin Charlene Butler, I have one of Ruth's original calling cards! 

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Scanned image of the Ruth A. [Miller] Carpenter calling card from the original generously gifted to the author by Charlene Butler.
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Copyright 2015, John D. Tew
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Thursday, July 9, 2015

Travel Thursday (July 9, 2015) -- Northville-Placid Trail Part 13 [AFTERWORD]

After following these trail markers for almost ten days and about 125 miles, Jonathan and I arrived at the trail's end at Lake Placid.  We were picked up by the family and had a victory party back at the camp that evening.  The next day was spent drying out, cleaning, and repacking the gear as we prepared for the drive back home to Virginia.  It was an "epic" family adventure that has provided memories and stories for over a decade and a half now.  Each of us had his or her challenges and victories.

Some weeks after returning to Virginia, I submitted a "Record of Trip" trail report to the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) -- to which I belonged at the time and for several years afterward.  The trail report was a courtesy to help maintain awareness of the condition of the trail, wildlife seen along the way, the status of lean-tos and outhouses, etc.  The trail report was also a requirement for obtaining the End-to-End Award, a badge/"patch" designed to be sewn on a pack or jacket.  

Before the year 1998 was out, Jonathan and I received our End-to-End patches.  A scan of my patch is shown immediately below. . . 

We completed the N-P Trail in the summer of 1998 and used the 1994 edition of the Guide to Adirondack Trails: NORTHVILLE-PLACID TRAIL during our trek.  That guide book states at pp. 11-12 with respect to the End-to-End Award . . . 

          "Almost a thousand individuals (1993) have become recorded End-to-Enders of the Northville-Placid Trail since 1922, the year ADK cut the trail.  One person (Richard Denker, 1973) completed the trail in an unbelievable 40 hours.  Another hiker (Orra Phelps) took a little longer.  She began in 1928 and didn't do the last section until 1978, 50 years later.  Most people explore the trail in sections over a period of years.  Few hikers initially start with the idea of completing the whole trail; rather they become curious about adjoining parts of the trail.  Eventually they may finish the whole route.  The trail offers not a race to be won, but an opportunity to enter and gradually come to understand a great wilderness forest.

          The Schenectady Chapter of ADK offers a large patch to "End-to-Enders."  (To allow for present-day realities and to keep hikers from having to walk on highways, ADK regards the end points of the trail as the Godfrey Road parking area at the Northville end and the Chubb River bridge at the Lake Placid end.)  The patch is blue on white, similar to the trail markers formerly used on the trail.  It can be sewn on a pack or jacket.  It is available to ADK members and non-members, and both to those who complete the trail in sections over a period of years and those who finish it in one trip.  There is a small charge for the patch to cover maintenance of the program.  Those wishing to obtain a patch should first apply for a "Record of Trip" form . . ."

A few years after we completed the N-P Trail, my former law partner -- who so kindly dropped the family at the Northville trailhead and accompanied us with his son on the first few miles of the trail -- became an End-to Ender himself!    

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All images are from original artifacts in the family collection.
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Copyright 2015, John D. Tew
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Saturday, July 4, 2015

Saturday Serendipity (July 4, 2015) -- I'm Back!

On March 7th, I posted the following introduction to my weekly round-up of genealogy-related blog posts that I wanted to recommend to others . . . 

"Saturday Serendipity, and most of my other blog posting (other than posts already auto-loaded for publication), will be on hiatus for a few weeks after this weekend while I attend to a necessary medical matter.  I currently plan to return on a regular basis sometime in April."  

Well, rather than a few weeks, the hiatus has turned into more like three months!  To remove any mystery about the medical matter and the long absence from blogging, I decided to post a brief explanation of the reason for the hiatus here because it was a matter of lucky serendipity for me and my family.

Late last year when I went to shave one morning, I looked in the mirror and saw a dark, oval bruise surrounding a mole that had been on my clavicle for decades.  It looked ugly and I had no explanation for it . . . so I got myself to the family doctor pronto and found myself at a dermatologist's office within 24 hours.  He took one look at the mole and announced it was nothing but a  hemangioma (a benign formation of blood vessels), but he offered to excise the mole and have a biopsy done if I wanted.  I said, "Yes, let's do that."

Within a few days the biopsy came back and just as the dermatologist had predicted, it was benign.  But, he told me that the pathologist had also found the presence of "amyloids" and so he wanted me to see a hematologist/oncologist.  I had earlier been experiencing some discomfort and numbness in my feet that was being explored as some possible vein valve insufficiency, but the serendipitous amyloid detection sent things in a new direction and by mid-January I was diagnosed with amyloidosis -- a protein abnormality with its genesis in the bone marrow.

Amyloidosis is a rare condition with only about 3,200 cases/yr in the U.S.  [Interested readers can Google it for more details.]  

The so-called "gold standard" treatment for amyloidosis is a stem cell rescue procedure, which is what Tom Brokaw and Mother Jones political blogger Kevin Drum underwent for their multiple myeloma.  A stem cell rescue involves knocking out the immune system and then being infused with one's own previously collected stem cells.  I underwent the procedure at the world-class Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) during the month of March.  In a follow-up with the treatment team in early June, the procedure was said to be "fully successful" and I am now in "complete remission."

And this is all because of the serendipitous bruise of a mole that led to the serendipitous detection of amyloid during a routine biopsy that I fortuitously asked to be done when the dermatologist offered it to set my mind at ease over the nature of a suddenly bruised, decades-old mole!

To begin my gradual return to more regular blogging here at The Prism, a few recommendations for inclusion on your reading list this weekend are presented below.  

Happy 4th of July to all as we celebrate the 239th anniversary of a truly remarkable document -- the Declaration of Independence!

1.    Upfront with NGS posted a nice resource compliments of Thomas MacEntee, "Free Online Genealogy Education Resources."   You can see the post and get a link to the list here.

2.    And speaking of FREE, Janine Adams of Organize Your Family History blog has done the work of gathering in one post a collection of 4th of July research tools available for free for a limited time. See Janine's post and the links here.

3.    Always well researched.  Always well written.  Always well illustrated.  Diane Boumenot of One Rhode Island Family blog, has done it again with her post "A Death at Antietam," which can be read here.  As Diane summarizes, "This is  the story of how the Battle of Antietam played a significant and unexpected role in my family’s history."  It is an engaging piece well worth the time to read and from which one can learn.

4.    Diane Boumenot is a wellspring of information and research sources regarding Rhode Island history and genealogy.  Anyone with Rhode Island roots would be well advised to peruse her blog, One Rhode Island Family, to discover available databases and sources for their Rhode Island research.  Diane's post of June 15th is an example of how she always has her eye out for new research tools and how she shares them when found.  Providence City House Directories are now available online and Diane tells us how and where here.   

5.    James Tanner of Genealogy's Star blog posted two pieces this week that should be of interest to genealogists of all experience levels.  One is his list "Essential Books for Genealogy," which can be read here.  The other is a reminder about how and where birth "records" can be found -- and how such records are not limited to governmental birth certificates.  This piece can be read here.    

6.    Heather Rojo of Nutfield Genealogy blog has a nice read about moving the Gay Head Lighthouse on Martha's Vineyard and how her sister sent her on a quick inquiry that netted a new cousin connection.  You can read Heather's post and see her photos here.  

7.    Nancy Messier of My Ancestors and Me blog posted what could be a nice prompt for genealogy bloggers to use periodically -- imagined conversations with ancestors.  Read Nancy's post here and perhaps write your own ancestor conversation post afterwards.

8.   "The Ghost of Midnight Mary" is the most recent post on New England Folklore, a blog by Peter Muise.  Read the horrible basis for the legend of Midnight Mary and see Peter's photographic illustrations here 
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The Old Glory photo was taken by the author at the 2010 Boy Scout National Jamboree (the celebration of 100 years of Scouting in the U.S.). 
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Copyright 2015, John D. Tew
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