Monday, July 25, 2016

Rhode Island Historical Cemetery, Cumberland 3 (July 25, 2016) -- Part IV

As the previously presented and transcribed minutes of the Board of Trustees for Cumberland Cemetery show (see Part II of this series), after the minutes of May 20, 1912  there are no business records for the Cemetery until June 29, 1939.  It appears that very little was done by the Cumberland Cemetery corporation during the period that included the prelude and denouement of World War I as well as the Great Depression.

While there are no specifically dated records for any activity by the corporation after 1916 until 1939, the above correspondence of July 13, 1939 from Roscoe M. Dexter, Attorney and Secretary pro tem for the corporation, to the Slater Branch of the Industrial Trust Company in Pawtucket, RI indicates the incorporators of the Cumberland Cemetery met on June 29, 1939 and elected my grandfather, Everett S. Carpenter, to be one of the Trustees of the Cemetery.  My grandfather was also at that time elected to be the Secretary and Treasurer of the corporation.

Although there is no precisely dated record of business being transacted by Cumberland Cemetery corporation or the Board of Trustees for more than two decades, there were events transpiring that affected the Cemetery.

In 1938, Dr. George J. Howe of Central Falls died. His wife, the former Isabel Dana -- daughter of Samuel Payton Dana (1833 - 1907) and Mary Hinkley Miller[1] (1834 - 1916) -- predeceased him in 1931. In the First Codicil to his Will, dated December 31, 1931, Dr. Howe substituted Cumberland Cemetery in place of the Town of Cumberland for a legacy of $500 to be held in trust for "the perpetual maintenance and care of the burial lot standing in my name and of the lot standing in the name of Samuel P. Dana adjoining, in the Cumberland Cemetery, situated at what is known as 'Robin Hollow' in said Town of Cumberland." Both George Howe and Isabel Dana Howe are buried in the Cumberland Cemetery.

Also, on September 10, 1938, Susie N. Smith of Pawtucket, RI died. Susie was born Susan Dana in 1856 and most likely in Cumberland, Rhode Island where she lived with her parents, Samuel P. Dana and Mary Hinkley [Miller] Dana at the time of the 1860 and 1870 federal Cumberland censuses. In addition to three younger siblings, Susie's older sister by two years was Ruth Ann Dana. In her will, dated June 24, 1935 and probated October 5, 1938, Susie [Dana] Smith left a legacy of $1,500 to Cumberland Cemetery Corporation "for the care and upkeep of the Samuel Dana lot, so-called, and of the adjoining Howe lot, so-called, and to use, in its discretion, any balance thereof for the general care and upkeep of the whole cemetery." As can be seen from the documents provided below, the ultimate amount of the legacy bequeathed to the Cumberland Cemetery amounted to $1,173.28 after paying any debts of the deceased, specific legacies, expenses of settling the estate, and any applicable taxes.

As shown via documents presented in Part II of this series, almost on the eve of the outbreak of World War I, the Cumberland Cemetery Corporation had a balance in its operating funds of $1,341.30. While we have no definitely dated document indicating the corporation's funds status over the next two-plus decades, toward the end of the Great Depression when records resume in 1939 we see the arrival of two legacy bequests between early July and early December 1939 totaling $1,673.28. BUT, by May 1, 1940, we see that the Cemetery Corporation is inquiring of attorney Roscoe Dexter whether the principal of the Susie Smith bequest can be used to maintain and care for the cemetery "as may be deemed necessary." And this is where the following undated document might reveal something about the financial state of the corporation and the demands placed on it by the conditions at the cemetery.

A transcription of the above Notice, apparently drafted by my grandfather as Secretary of the corporation -- and therefore dated sometime after his election to the position on June 29, 1939 -- follows.

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                                                                                               CUMBERLAND CEMETERY
                                                                                                   Everett S. Carpenter, SEC.
                                                                                                   551 High St., Lonsdale, R.I.
                                                                                                       TEL-PA 5-8858


     Hugh S. Ward
     Calustus Barlow
     "Barney" Barlow
     James A. Broadbent
     James Thomas
     Fred Smith
     Mrs. Ruth Lacuna
     Mrs. Alice (Tucker)
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Based on the document immediately above, it seems reasonable to conclude that by the early 1940s the Cemetery corporation was being overwhelmed by the financial demands for the care and maintenance of the cemetery property and the graves themselves. A legal opinion about the ability to invade the principal of the Susie N. Smith bequest had been sought and a draft Notice prepared to try to drum up financial and labor support for the cemetery. 

On April 22, 1941, a meeting of the Cumberland Cemetery Corporation was apparently held at the home of my grandparents -- 551 High Street in Lonsdale. As the document below demonstrates, Roscoe Dexter, the corporation attorney (?), sent his proxy to my grandfather. We have no idea why Mr. Dexter was unable to attend or what the nature of his proxy was, but it does not stretch the imagination to believe that the meeting might have been to discuss sending out the draft Notice, or to discuss the financial straits in which the corporation found itself. 

As we will see in Part V of this series, the 1940s and early 1950s seemingly marked the end of an active Cumberland Cemetery Corporation and the records and documents I have inherited come to a close in 1956.
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All images are scanned from original documents in the collection of the author.

[1]  Mary Hinkley Miller was the daughter of Aurin Miller (1800 - 1859) and his wife, Ruth Ann Hunt (1801 - 1874). Ruth was the daughter of Maj. Daniel Hunt (1769 - 1843) and his wife, Susannah Northup (1773 - 1845) and the sister of my 3X great-grandmother, Abby Hunt Miller (1807 - 1893) who married Eber Miller brother of Mary Hinkley Miller's father, Aurin Miller. Thus, Mary Hinkley Miller Dana is my 1st cousin 4X removed and I am related to her through both my Miller and Hunt ancestors. 
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Copyright 2016, John D. Tew
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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Saturday Serendipity (July 23, 2016)

After a week off to visit to our 20-month old granddaughter and my parents, here are a few recommended items of interest from the last couple of weeks . . .

1.  Having engaged in a family Bible search myself, and discovered a 4th cousin along the way, I found this story about the quest to find a 220-year-old Bible interesting -- particularly what the searcher did with the Bible once it was found and given to him.     

2.  Week 6 of Diane Boumenot's excellent series "8 Weeks to Better Rhode Island Genealogy Research" is out!  Only two more installments to go, so I highly recommend that you read weeks 1 through 6 and begin following Diane's wonderfully written and researched blog One Rhode Island Family! I believe this series is so good that Diane should seriously consider publishing this as a compendium primer on Rhode Island genealogy research.  I would purchase one just to have the entire series quickly and permanently at my fingertips.  Read Week 6 about Family Genealogies here.   
3.  I have always taken a very liberal view of the use of photographs and snapshots I post on this blog. My view is that for very old (100 years and more) family portraits that I have in my collection, or snapshots of more recent vintage taken by unidentified photographers such as my parents or other family members where I have the negatives (and the only known copies of the developed pictures), I in no way own the copyright to the photos -- and either does anyone else with similar photos in their collection if they did not create the photo.  With this view, I believe that the descendants of people I have photos for are as entitled to see what their ancestor looked like as I am -- and so I post them on this public blog, but I always try to indicate where the photos came from (especially if I am not the creator.)  Recently I have come across several instances of very old portraits that have been posted on my blog surfacing on public family trees on Ancestry -- none of them came from my Ancestry trees since mine are all private, so they must have come from my blog.  I know at least one person emailed me to ask if they could use one of the photos and I agreed immediately -- BUT I did not ask for the simple courtesy of attribution for surfacing a long lost or previously unknown photograph.  [I now make explicit a request for credit when I get a request  -- NOT due to any copyright claims on my part, but rather for finding and making available the photo created by someone long gone.] In her post titled "No right to sharing,"  Judy Russell of The Legal Genealogist blog gives an excellent explanation of the difference between having a copyright and having the right to limit the use of a photograph for which one does not own a copyright, but which one has discovered or otherwise gone to pains and cost to make available to others.  It is a definite "must read" in my opinion and you can access it here.       

4.  If you have ever thought about exploring the qualifications for membership in a lineage society, you need to read this post at UpFront with NGS blog.  A list of such societies is proved via a link in the post. 

5.  Do you know what "mitten" (as in "never mitten a mechanic") meant in the late 1800s? Have you ever wondered why a relative in the late 1800s never married, or why an ancestor in the late 1800s never remarried? Well, help is on the way in the recently digitized 112-page book published by by J.S. Ogilvie Publishing Company in 1890.  The book is titled, "DON'T MARRY; or Advice As To How, When and Who To Marry." You can access the book via a post at The Vault here.          

6.   Anyone who is a subscriber to will find this post by Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings blog of interest. Randy summarizes for us the 2nd Quarter 2016 financial statement for LLC.   

7.   James Tanner of Genealogy's Star blog posted a nice piece about surnames in genealogy. He reminds us that surnames alone do not indicate relationship or descent. You can read his post here and watch a humorous, short (2 minute) video he has appended to the piece. James also has an interesting post this week that puts the issue of identity theft risk in genealogy in perspective.  I suggest you read it here.

8.  Belatedly I came across Bill West's intriguing post of July 12th titled "How 'The Clapboards' Got Its Name." Clapboards, or The Clapboards Trees, area of Dedham, Massachusetts has an interesting back story to the derivation of its name. You can read Bill's explanation here

9.  I mentioned recently that blogger Heather Kuhn Roelker is back at it after a research hiatus of a couple of years. Heather is back to posting her Friday Favorites (formerly Follow Friday) and I recommend that you check out her picks. To see the most recent example of Heather's recommended reads go here.

10.  When I come across a blog post titled, "What Did Louisa May Alcott's Father Think About Genealogy?," I know I have to check it out because there must be an interesting story behind the question. There is an interesting story and Barbara Poole of Life From the Roots blog tells and illustrates it here.  TEASE: The story involves Henry David Thoreau, the artist N.C. Wyeth, two famous New England cemeteries, and some dedicated research effort.

11.  It is with some hesitance that I use Saturday Serendipity to ask for input from readers, but here goes. 

Users of Family Tree Maker (FTM) will be aware that Software MacKiev bought FTM when Ancestry announced that they would discontinue the product.  Software MacKiev acquired the rights to all versions of FTM and said they would continue supporting and developing the software!  For FTM users of the last Ancestry versions of FTM, Software MacKiev promised a FREE upgrade to the Software MacKiev FTM.  On their website, Software MacKiev stated as long ago as March or April 2016 (and still today), "There will be a free update available at some point soon. Please sign up for our mailing list to be notified when it's available . . ." I signed up almost immediately. This past April 15th I received an email from Software MacKiev stating, "Family Tree Maker is BACK." It also stated, "1. Users of FTM 2014 and Mac 3: Hang in there! FREE updates are coming. We don’t have a fixed date yet, but are working hard to make sure that they are everything you would want them to be. We will send you an email to let you know as soon as they are available." On May 9th I got an email from Software MacKiev saying the free updater was not ready for release yet.  On May 12th I got an email from the President of Software MacKiev, Jack Minsky, stating in pertinent part, "I wanted to drop a quick note to all of those like you who are waiting patiently (or not) for the free updates . . .  So when will the updates be released? No one is sure, not even me. It’s when the popcorn stops popping and our twenty trusted outside beta testers stop finding things they are sure we should fix before releasing. If I had to guess I’d say that’s weeks, not months away." 

It is now July 23rd -- going on three months later -- and no further communication from Software MacKiev has been received. Am I missing something, or is the promised free updater just not going to happen in order to "encourage" purchase of the applicable upgrade? Any update on this situation from more informed FTM users would be greatly appreciated! 

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Copyright 2016, John D. Tew
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Friday, July 22, 2016

The Rhode Island Hospital School of Nursing (Class of 1947)

My mother is a graduate of the Rhode Island Hospital School of Nursing.  She graduated in 1947 and was a member of the United States Cadet Nurse Corps before it was disbanded in 1948.  The Cadet Nurse Corps was established by Congress in June 1943 and was signed into law by FDR on July 1, 1943.  A woman between the ages of 17 and 35 was eligible to enter the program if she graduated from an accredited high school and was in good health. The purpose of the Cadet Nurse Corps was to assure that there would be a sufficient supply of nurses to care for Americans serving abroad in World War II and to care for Americans at home.  The Corps was overseen by the U.S. Public Health Service. 

My mother joined the Cadet Nurse Corps at age 17 shortly after she graduated from high school. She was admitted to the Corps on November 6, 1944. She is pictured in her Cadet Nurse uniform immediately below.

When Japan surrendered in August of 1945 Truman set the final date for student admission to the Nurse Cadet Corps as October 5, 1945. Just over 116,000 students were still in training at the time of Truman's order and about 3,000 more were admitted for the final days of the program. Student nurses were then providing some 80% of nursing care in the country. A period of time was allowed for the orderly transition away from the Cadet Nurse Program and it finally ended in 1948.  My mother entered the Rhode Island Hospital School of nursing in the fall of 1944 (about a year after the Cadet Nurse Corps was established) and was admitted to the Corps that November as shown on her membership card below.

The Rhode Island Hospital School of Nursing was organized in the fall of 1882 when it was known as the Rhode Island Hospital Training School for Nurses. After 91 years of service, the program was shuttered and the school closed in June 1973.

Over the course of its life, the Rhode Island Hospital School of Nursing provided thousands of nurses to the state of Rhode Island, the other New England states, and, during the years of 1943 - 1948, to the nation.  Many (if not most, or even the vast majority) of the 1947 graduates of the Rhode Island Hospital School of Nursing became members of the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps -- my mother among them. 

Shown below is the program for the Commencement ceremony for the Rhode Island Hospital School of Nursing Class of 1947 held on September 17, 1947 at the Rhode Island School of Design Auditorium.  Shirley Carpenter (the 16th name in the first column) is my mother.

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All images scanned from original documents in the collection of the author except: (1) the Cadet Nurse Corps poster taken from the ebay "cadet nurse" memorabilia listings at; and (2) the image of my mother's Cadet Nurse membership card obtained via the author's membership.
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Copyright 2016, John D. Tew
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Saturday, July 9, 2016

Saturday Serendipity (July 9, 2016)

Here are a few recommended items of interest for your reading pleasure . . .

1.  If you know you had ancestors or relatives in Portland, Maine in early July 1866 (or think you might have), then you should read an article The Weekly Genealogist of NEHGS linked to this week in Down East magazine. The article is about the Great Fire of 1866 that has been called "the most devastating blaze ever to strike an American city." You can read the article here. Perhaps you will find clues about known ancestors or relatives who were in Portland at the time -- or learn of information that could help solve a mystery.   

2.  If you have Irish roots and have perhaps experienced some delays in your on-line research efforts on Ancestry UK, the Brexit vote might be a reason. As many know, one can apply for citizenship and a passport from the Republic of Ireland if you were born in Ireland or have parents who are Irish. In some cases one can also qualify if one has an Irish grandparent. In the wake of the Brexit vote in the UK, Ancestry UK reports an upsurge of 40% in people suddenly trying to research their Irish roots! The Weekly Genealogist provided this link to the story.  
3.  Here is an interesting bit of background history about the Civil War. Most of us know that the almost incomprehensible death toll during the war happened largely because of disease, infection, and the primitive state of medical treatment and care (when viewed with modern eyes). The Vault published a piece this week about the woeful gunshot wound experience among Union Army surgeons. In an attempt to do something about this dangerous lack of information and training, the Navy Surgeon General, P.J. Horowitz of Baltimore, composed a three-page document to get medical officers familiar with the most basic and rudimentary problems to be encountered by gunshot wounds.  Have a read here.       

4.  In 2013, Heather Kuhn Roelker of Leaves For Trees blog set herself the goal of researching each of her 32 three-times great grandparents. Until just this past week, we had seen only one blog post since December 6, 2013. I am happy to report that Heather is now back to blogging and is posting the results of her blogging hiatus and research efforts. You can check out her return and posts about the 17th (Elijah Happy) and 31st (John Joseph Coffman) 3X great grandparents on her project list by going here. Welcome back Heather!  

5.  There is nothing to say about the post two days ago by Judy Russell, The Legal Genealogist, except  . . . go and read it! Now.     

6.  Have you ever used the Library of Congress for your genealogy research? If not, you should read James Tanner of Genealogy's Star blog. He has a very brief summary of what LOC material is available to genealogists online and how you can gain access to "closed stacks" or via interlibrary loan.  Read the post (Part Three in a series) here.    

7.  Nancy Messier of My Ancestors and Me blog has a great cautionary tale post about the excitement of finally finding some information about an elusive ancestor only to find -- due to thorough research and being a stickler for complete citations -- that the information was probably about the ancestor's son and not the elusive gentleman himself. This is a good, elucidating post and you can read it here.   
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Copyright 2016, John D. Tew
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Friday, July 8, 2016

Friday Fotos -- A Poignant 4th of July Photograph (July 8, 2016)

Just a few days after the celebration of Independence Day 2016, the photograph above was discovered among a collection of family photos and snapshots neatly stuffed into shoebox-sized boxes. The photo instantly transported me back to the 4th of July holidays of my boyhood in the days before I attained the double-digit age of ten years.

The photograph shows one of the family gatherings on my mother's side of the family -- the Carpenters of Cumberland, Rhode Island. It was taken on the 4th of July 1961 in the field behind the house where my mother and several generations of her ancestors lived -- 551 High Street, Cumberland, RI. To the left side of the photo is the dark green foliage of a tall tree and folding lawn chairs can be made out in the background under the tree. This is the horse-chestnut tree that grew in the field and was the site of many 4th of July family picnics after the clan had returned from viewing the annual Arnold Mills 4th of July Parade.

It is a real shame that time has degraded what might not have been a very good photograph to begin with -- quality-wise -- but, nonetheless, after looking at the snapshot for a few minutes it dawned on me what an important photo this is in the Carpenter family history.  Not only does it capture a moment in time on one of the family's favorite holiday events, it presents what was certainly the last such family gathering for my maternal grandfather, Everett Shearman Carpenter.

My grandfather is the man second from the right in the damaged portion of the photograph. He is standing with two of his daughters and a daughter-in-law. While the date in the left margin of the snapshot seems to indicate the photo was taken in May 1962, the handwritten "61" and the caption on the reverse side confirms clearly that this was indeed a photo taken at an annual family 4th of July picnic under the horse-chestnut tree. [The reverse side of the photo is shown immediately below the photo itself.] Moreover, I can be absolutely positive that this was a 4th of July family gathering and not some shoehorning of a snapshot to fit one of my favorite childhood memories. 

What makes this photograph so poignant and such an important piece of our family history is that this photo could not have been taken in May 1962 despite what must be the processing date in the margin.  This was the last 4th of July family gathering attended by my grandfather for he died almost exactly six months to the day after this snapshot was taken. He died on January 6, 1962 and -- known or unknown to him -- was probably suffering from cancer as he stood there with his family on a happy, sunny day in July! 

P.S.  For those trying to figure it out . . .  I am the handsome young man with the crew cut in dungarees and a short-sleeved, plaid shirt standing to the left between two pretty girls -- my sister and one of our cousins.                                                              

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Photograph scanned from the original in the author's possession.
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Copyright 2016, John D. Tew
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Monday, July 4, 2016

A Horrible 4th of July Parade Participant! (July 4, 2016)


Every 4th of July I think back to the celebrations when I was a young boy and we visited my maternal grandparents in Cumberland, Rhode Island. We usually had a family picnic out under the horse chestnut tree in the field surrounding the barn and house. But the real highlight of the celebration event was going to the parade held every 4th of July up at Arnold Mills. My mother and her family were long-time participants in the parade and while my siblings and I never walked in the parade, we loved the festivities as wide-eyed observers for several years.

It was not until recently that some family photos surfaced relating to the Arnold Mills parade and one photo in particular finally made some sense to me after reading last year's "Salem Willows Horribles Parade" at Heather Rojo's Nutfield Genealogy blog. I have been waiting a year to publish the following photo of my maternal grandmother, Ruth Eaton [Cooke] Carpenter, taken as she was ready to walk in the Arnold Mills 4th of July Parade sometime in the late 1930s we guess.

Now this photo never struck me as a particularly representative one of my grandmother . . . and in fact I would not have recognized her if my mother did not identify it as her mother and it was confirmed by the description on the reverse side of the photo (shown immediately below).

Nothing about my grandmother's attire shouts "patriotic." And one wonders what the cape, the hat, the gloved hands, and the . . . well, what appears to be a hot water bottle and tube with a bulbous end looking for all the world like an enema bag . . . is supposed to mean. It was all very puzzling and my mother did not recall exactly what her mother was supposed to be or what she was conveying in walking in the parade in such garb.

But then Heather's post made it all clear. What I always thought of as a fun, patriotic 4th of July celebration when I was a kid of less than ten was actually that and much more. It was part of a regional New England tradition known as a "Horribles Parade." Heather explains it all and I urge readers to check out the link to her 2015 post as well as her post from today!  After reading Heather's post from last year and seeing Arnold Mills listed among the communities in New England (largely Massachusetts and Rhode Island) that carry on the Horribles Parade tradition, my grandmother's getup will begin to make a whole lot more sense; but I still wish I knew for sure what amusement she was seeking to convey in what looks like a nurse's uniform and a . . .  medical implement.

The 4th of July parade tradition continues to this day in Arnold Mills, Rhode Island and today is the 90th year for the holiday celebration. As stated at the Arnold Mills Parade website . . . 

"The origin of the Arnold Mills Parade is the theme of 'Ancient and Horribles.' First seen in the histories prior to the United States Sesquentential Celebration of 1926, the ancient and horribles were a grass roots phenomena which highlighted the love of the American people of all things 'wild and wonderful.' It is a tradition to which Arnold Mills Parade Association hopes to encourage with its reintroduction, in 1994, of awards for ancients and horribles entrants."

You can read more about the history of the Arnold Mills 4th of July parade tradition here and view  some of the more modern entries in the Arnold Mills Horribles Parade here.
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American flag .gif file from a Google Images link to what is stated to be a image.

Photograph scanned from the original snapshot in the author's collection.
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Copyright 2016, John D. Tew
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Saturday, July 2, 2016

Saturday Serendipity (July 2, 2016)

Here are a few recommended items of interest for your reading pleasure . . .

1.   Do you enjoy figuring out handwritten text for transcription purposes? Are you a cryptogram fan and like trying to break codes? Well, if you have not heard, The Smithsonian is looking for members of the public to help decode and transcribe some 16,000 communiques from the Civil War. The Weekly Genealogist of NEHGS posted a link to the story this week. You can find out more about the project and get a link where you can begin participating by going here

2.  Janine Adams of Organize Your Family History blog has a very brief but intriguing piece about keeping up the genealogy researching pace when involved in a busy life. We can all relate to that right? Well, the very organized Ms Adams has worked out a 15-minute "first thing in the morning" research session that she actually monitors by setting a timer. I can relate to the problem of restarting after a research hiatus and the frustration of seeming to always be behind in genealogy research goals (but I think I'd need more than 15 minutes). Read Janine's post here
3.  Laura Mattingly of Old Trunk In The Attic blog follows up on her post of January 15, 2016 about some orphan photos she has and that she is looking to reunite with family members if possible. Read Laura's post here to see what might be another member of the family (or perhaps a later photo of the same child?). See what YOU think and see if perhaps you can help Laura find some living relatives to reunite with these photo gems.     

4.  And speaking of helping to solve genealogy mysteries . . . Barbara Poole of Life From The Roots blog has a post this week about doing just that. One of the great pleasures of genealogy blogging is making contact with unknown relatives and helping (sometimes unknowingly) to solve brick walls or just providing previously undiscovered genealogy data. Read Barbara's post here . . . and keep  on blogging!

5.   The NGS blog UpFront With NGS had two posts this week that I found interesting. One was about getting children interested in researching family and history. Read the post and get a link to a Vermont newspaper piece about the subject here. The second post is about library cards. I have a belief that the great majority of genealogy buffs are voracious readers and their love of reading, history, and genealogy probably began with their obtaining their first library card. I actually recall my first library card in Concord, NH as ranking right up there with getting my first bicycle. Both were markers of obtaining a measure of independence! Read the UpFront post and see various examples of library cards here.

6.  While on the subject of libraries of old . . . have a look at this post at The Vault. The post provides examples of posters from the 1960s teaching children how to use the library. 

7.  And finally, though it has little to do with homo sapiens genealogy, this diversion is quite interesting, photogenic, and even educational when you consider we are 1 of some 423 species in the mammalian order known as primates. Have a look here at "The Primate Awards" at Wait But Why blog.
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Copyright 2016, John D. Tew
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