Saturday, April 23, 2016

Saturday Serendipity (April 23, 2016)

Just a few recommended items of interest for this week . . . 

1.  Do you think you have ancestors or relatives who served in the Red Cross? UpFront With NGS posted a piece about both the British and American Red Cross and databases that are available for your genealogy research. You can read the post here and get links to learn more.

2.  A very interesting and disturbing article about Georgetown University in Washington, DC was mentioned this week in The Weekly Genealogist newsletter of NEHGS.  In 1838, 272 slaves owned by the Jesuit priests were sold to Southern plantation owners in order to save the Catholic institution of higher education that became known as Georgetown University.  Learn more about this story here.        

3.   This week, James Tanner of Genealogy's Star blog ruminates on DNA testing and its usefulness to genealogy research.  As usual, the post is food for thought and you can read it here.

4.   Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings blog has posted a notice to summarize the new records databases available for research on FindMyPast. If you are researching Ireland, Scotland, or England roots, then you should check out Randy's post here.
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Copyright 2016, John D. Tew
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Saturday, April 16, 2016

Saturday Serendipity (April 16, 2016)

The recommended items of interest for this week are as follows . . . 

1.  The Weekly Genealogist by NEHGS provided a link this week to an article that serves as a primer on available Irish genealogy resources. You can read the article by Kathy Donaghy here.

2.   The Weekly Genealogist also alerted readers this week to an article by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. at The Root regarding DNA testing of dying or incapacitated ancestors/relatives. The piece has some valuable information and advice. You can access the piece here.     

3.  James Tanner of Genealogy's Star blog has another thoughtful and thought provoking piece today. He ruminates on the nature of what can be called the "burden of proof" when adding an ancestor to one's tree, or evaluating the addition of a person to a tree you are consulting. Read the piece here.

4.   Last Sunday, Heather Rojo of Nutfield Genealogy blog posted a very useful piece on her "Top Ten" places to do genealogy research in New Hampshire. Anyone with New Hampshire roots should have a look here.

5.  The third installment of Diane Boumenot's series on "8 Weeks to Better Rhode Island Genealogy Research" is out!  Anyone with roots in Rhode Island needs to be familiar with Diane's One Rhode Island Family blog. Read installment 3 on "Probate and Cemeteries" here and catch up on the earlier parts of the series. You will see what I mean.  

6.   UpFront with NGS blog posted some very useful news this week for those who have -- or think they have -- ancestors or relatives who were married in New York City. Indexes for 1908 -1929 are now online with FREE access.  Read more about this new online resource here

7.   The Legal Genealogist, Judy Russell, posted a piece today that voices what most of us feel at some point in time while gathering and organizing the facts that make up our family history. Once we have accumulated a number of facts, photographs, and perhaps artifacts about particular ancestors or relatives, what do we really know about them in the end? Have a read here.

8.  And finally, for those with ancestors and relatives in Massachusetts, Barbara Poole of Life From the Roots blog has provided some very useful links to cemetery resources in several towns in Massachusetts. Read Barbara's post here.     
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Copyright 2016, John D. Tew
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Saturday, April 9, 2016

Saturday Celebration -- 65 Years of Marriage (April 9, 2016)

Saturday Serendipity is on hiatus this week as our extended family gathers today to celebrate my parents' 65th wedding anniversary.

My parents were married on Friday, April 13, 1951 and despite being married on what many consider to be a particularly unlucky day, their marriage has endured through six and a half decades and four children.  My mother just completed her 89th trip around the sun and my father is almost half way through his 94th trip around the sun.  

Today my parents are joined in a celebration of their long marriage by 4 children, 6 grandchildren, 3 great grandchildren, one sibling, one nephew and three nieces with their respective spouses, one 4th cousin, and some family friends. This rare marriage milestone moves my parents into second place among all the ancestor marriages from both the Tew and Carpenter sides of our family. Upon reaching 65 years of marriage, only Joseph Carpenter (1789 -1880) and Nancy Mason [Bullock] Carpenter (1793 - 1880) have had a longer marriage at 67 years. 

The family history of marriages seen below was first compiled five years ago and shows the longevity of the various Tew and Carpenter nuptials since 1709. 

From the entire family comes rousing cheers for a 


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All photos from the author's personal collection.
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Copyright 2016, John D. Tew
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Saturday, April 2, 2016

Saturday Serendipity (April 2, 2016)

The recommended items of interest for this week are as follows . . . 

1.   Anyone with roots in Rhode Island absolutely MUST pay attention to a series started last week by Diane Boumenot at One Rhode Island Family blog! Diane's series is titled "Eight Weeks to Better Rhode Island Genealogy Research" and the title says it all.  Diane is walking us through the resources available to do genealogy research in and about Rhode Island and she is sharing her little secrets and tips along the way.  Read Week 1 here . . . and the most recent installment, Week 2, here 

2.  The Weekly Genealogist by NEHGS gave a tip this week about a new collection of biographical data on over 115,000 photographers, studios, and others involved in the making of photographs. This can be a valuable resource for sleuthing those old photographic portraits of unidentified people that you think might be ancestors or relatives. For example, as I was just discussing with my cousin Neysa earlier this week, if you happen to know some chronological data about an ancestor or relative, and you have a cabinet card portrait of a person you think could be that ancestor or relative, and the portrait has a photographers logo on it, you could gain valuable clues to bolster or eliminate the identity puzzle. If your subject only traveled to the location of the photographer's studio once in her life, but it was well before the photographer was in business, then the likelihood is that the portrait is not one of your ancestor or relative. To learn more about this new resource and get a link to the "Photographers' Identities Catalog" (PIC) at the New York Public Library, go here. PIC "is world-wide in scope and spans the entire history of photography."     

3.   Here is another very interesting post on the Wait But Why blog, a blog about which I often post recommendations.  This one is of interest because Tim Urban takes what he calls a "horizontal view" of history.  Of course that is what we genealogists almost always do when we focus on the history of our families; but when Tim takes the view to a more general treatment of history writ large, we get a different take on history and the people who have left large footprints in the historical narrative.  Tim's "horizontal history" can be a nice tool to see at a glance many famous people decade-by-decade and thus get a better idea of who was shaping the world while some of our ancestors were living.  Have a look!

4. Did you know there are "Twelve Golden Rules of Genealogy?" I didn't until I ran across the link to the rules at on Organize Your Family History blog by Janine Adams. As Janine says, the rules are a "great compilation of common-sense genealogy truths."  Have a look here at Janine's blog, or follow her link to the source at GotGenealogy . . . where there actually is now a 13th Rule stated.  What is the 13th rule? Go to the source and find out.  :-)  

5.  "I may be any minute!" is the punchline to a wonderful little story by Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings blog. Randy answers the question (so often asked) regarding whether or not he is related to Tom Seaver the Hall of Fame baseball pitcher. Read the answer and find out the context of the punchline here. 

6.  I did not know there were other cemetery index sites out there in addition to the Big Boys -- and, but there are. James Tanner at Genealogy's Star blog has a useful post about the FREE and you can read about it and get links to the noted sites and others here

7.  And finally, while on the subject of cemetery databases, check out the post by Barbara Poole at Life From The Roots blog. Barbara provides a cautionary tale wherein she researched three databases for the same cemetery and found that not one of them was complete. Read Barbara's post here.      
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Copyright 2016, John D. Tew
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