Saturday, February 25, 2017

Saturday Serendipity (February 25, 2017)

Here are a few recommended reads for this weekend.

1.  Janine Adams of Organize Your Family History blog posted some important advice to keep in mind.  Read "Take another look at your documents" here.       

2.  Knowing history is important; it has a lot to teach us. As Jorge "George" Santayana famously said,  "Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it."  The Legal Genealogist, Judy Russell, did the important service this week of reminding us of the 75th anniversary of a shameful chapter in our nation's history. Last Sunday marked the anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  The Order is one of the most infamous in our history. It began the internment of thousands of men, women, and children who were citizens of the United States (and their family members who in many cases were not).  These citizens were often of Japanese descent and had committed no crime. They were uprooted from their homes and livelihoods simply because they were of Japanese descent.  Read Judy's post here and learn more about this part of our history to we do not forget. And then read about the 6 - 3 decision of the United States Supreme Court that found the Executive Order was constitutional. In Koramatsu v. United States, six of the eight FDR appointees to the Court sided with the President. The sole Republican Justice on the Court, Owen Roberts, voted against the constitutionality of the Order! It took 41 years for Fred Koramatsu, who was convicted of evading forced internment, to have his conviction overturned.  Mr. Koramatsu died in 2005 and sadly did not live to see California declare in 2011 that January 30 would be "Fred Koramatsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution." Nor did he live to see the Commonwealth of Virginia in 2015 become the second state to declare each January 30th as Fred Koramatsu Day. One of the last things Mr. Koramatsu said before he died was, "I'll never forget my government treating me like this. And I really hope that this will never happen to anybody else because of the way they look, if they look like the enemy of our country."

If we fail to remember this bit of our history, we might be tempted some day to repeat it!   

3.  James Tanner of Genealogy's Star blog posted an interesting piece yesterday about genealogy as a business. It has links to other articles related to the subject and provides some data points worth mention.  You can read the post here.   

4.  With the 100th anniversary years of World War I (1914 - 1918) slowly winding down, UpFront With NGS blog calls to our attention a major resource on the subject of WWI . . . one sure to be useful to the many genealogy enthusiasts who have ancestors or relatives who participated in the "war to end all wars." Read here about the new WWI collection portal just launched by the Library of Congress and get some useful links to further explore this topic to enhance your genealogy.                

5.  At one time I had a regular feature on this blog called Samaritan Sunday. At last count there were 32 such postings before the series petered out at the end of 2014. I enjoyed searching out "Good News" articles about people who rendered assistance with some genealogical importance for complete strangers, but the series never seemed to be of interest to readers and I do not recall ever getting a comment about the series. This week I came across a truly impressive act of genealogical kindness that would have fit beautifully into the old Samaritan Sunday series and I want to highlight it here. Laura Mattingly of The Old Trunk in the Attic blog performed a truly wonderful service by posting an extensive extraction of references in wills from "Wills of Washington County, Kentucky 1792-1858,"compiled by Annie Walker Burns in 1936.  The extracted references are intended to capture all the mentions of negroes in the wills in the hope that it might assist descendants to locate some of their ancestors. Laura has extracted only half of the Burns book in her blog post of February 22nd, but when you have a look at the length of her post here, you will appreciate what a service she has provided. I can only imagine the time and patience it took to capture all the references and type up the extractions. Laura has performed an outstanding genealogical "Good Samaritan" act and we join her in the hope that it helps folks locate some long lost or unknown ancestors/relatives.  Well done Laura!

6.  And finally, The Weekly Genealogist from NEHGS brought several interesting articles to our attention this week.  The first is about the discovery of a previously unknown photograph of the famous African-American abolitionist, Harriet Tubman. See the beautifully clear portrait of a young Ms. Tubman and learn more about the discovery here.  

     Speaking of photographs, the second item of interest brought to us this week by The Weekly Genealogist answers the question, "What can you do if you do not have beautifully clear and detailed color photographs of your ancestors (male and female), but you do have some old painted portraits?" The answer for Peruvian artist/photographer, Christian Fuchs, is to painstakingly dress up as those ancestors and take your photograph with all the detail and clarity modern photography can capture.  You really should have a look at what he has done by going here.

     Third is a very intriguing article that illustrates the genius and creativity of women who are devalued in their culture, but nonetheless find a way to express themselves by keeping their autobiographies, writing their poetry and stories, and communicating with "sworn sisters," . . . bonds between women who were not biologically related. Read here about who these women were and the experiences that led them to invent "Nüshu" to secretly bond with one another and communicate what they could not otherwise express. 

     Last, but certainly not least -- and perhaps most directly related to genealogy -- is an article about how the huge genealogy databases of and are being used to analyze "for patterns like migrations, lifespan, and when people stopped marrying family members."  You can read this interesting piece here.
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Copyright 2017, John D. Tew
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1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the laudatory mention, John, but more importantly thank you for sharing that post. The more it gets shared, the better chance it has of reaching the right people and the more good it just might do!