Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Wallingford, CT World War II Honor Roll -- close-up photos Part 2 (May 30, 2017)

In my blog post of May 29, 2017, I contributed to the 2017 call for additions to the Honor Roll project of Heather Rojo.  My contribution for Memorial Day 2017 continued the process of transcribing the hundreds of men and women from the Wallingford, Connecticut area who served their country during World War II (my father being among them).

As the above photograph of the WWII memorial on the grounds of the Wallingford Town Hall illustrates, there are seven panels each with triple columns of the names of those who served. My 2016 Veterans Day post covered many, but not all, of the names listed on the first panel. The names are in alphabetical order across the entire seven panels and the first panel contains all the surnames beginning with A through B and some of those beginning with C.  

My post of November 10th, 2016 transcribed and listed all the names on the first panel from George C. Abbott, Jr. to Joseph E. Buza -- 244 names all together. My Memorial Day 2017 post listed all the surnames on the Wallingford WWII memorial that begin with C through E -- 298 names in all. In keeping with my intent to also post close-ups of the panels containing names I have transcribed and listed, this is the post of panel close-ups to provide photographs of all the surnames that begin with C through E. This is the process that will be followed for the remaining six panels over time in order to keep the transciption posts to a manageable size.  The transcribed names will be posted first and photographs of the panel close-ups covering the posted names will follow shortly thereafter.

I am very indebted to my cousin, Bruce Marquardt of Wallingford, for so willingly photographing the panels in close-up for me after my efforts to do so failed.  Thank you Bruce!

The following nine close-ups cover the names on the Wallingford WWII memorial from Joaquin Cachucha through Edward W. Eylward. Please note that in order to be sure all names were photographed, the photos overlap and some names are therefore shown twice and can thus be used to orient the precise order of the names from Cachucha to Eylward  The alphabetical order flows down the first column and then up to the top of the second column and finally up to the top of third column on each of the panels. The surnames starting with C start in the third column of the first close-up photo below.  

Photo No. 1 

Photo No. 2 

Photo No. 3 

Photo No. 4

Photo No. 5

Photo No. 6

Photo No. 7

Photo No. 8

Photo No. 9

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All close-up photographs of the first panel of the WWII memorial are by Bruce Marquardt of Wallingford, Connecticut.

Photo of the entire memorial is by the author.
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Copyright 2017, John D. Tew
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Monday, May 29, 2017

Adding a Special Marigold (May 29, 2017)

One week ago today, the Tew and Winkler families welcomed a very special marigold into our lives. Although the debut was delayed by 14 days we were all wonderfully rewarded by the arrival!

Our granddaughter, Nora Winkler Tew, and her family welcomed Nora's baby sister, Marigold Winkler Tew, at 1:06 PM on Monday, May 22, 2017. Marigold unfolded in the world at seven pounds 10 ounces. Her parents and sister are doing well and Marigold at one week old is blossoming nicely.

As when her sister was presented after her birth, we could not resist recalling and humming Stevie Wonder's "Isn't She Lovely!" as we looked on her for the first time. Nora is clearly fascinated and is already wearing proudly her newly presented "Big Sister" shirt.

Marigold newly born on May 22, 2017

Nora meets her baby sister Marigold, May 23, 2017

Nora comforts her baby sister Marigold, May 23, 2017

Marigold at six days old, May 28, 2017

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Field of marigolds photograph used through the kind permission of a wonderful year round garden center in Wilton, New Hampshire called House By The Side Of The Road. HBTSOTR has been in business since 1971 and maintains a visually beautiful and informative website here. http://www.housebythesideoftheroad.com/#welcome-april Thank you HBTSOTR!

Newborn photo of Marigold by her maternal grandmother, Nancy Winkler.

Photos of the first meeting between Marigold and her big sister Nora by the author.

Photo of Marigold at six days old by her father.

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Copyright 2017, John D. Tew
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Heather's Honor Roll Project (Memorial Day 2017) -- Wallingford, Connecticut World War II Memorial Part 2 -- C through E

Wallingford, Connecticut Town Hall

Monday, May 29, 2017, is Memorial Day. 

Among the Honor Roll memorials located in Wallingford, Connecticut on the grounds of the Town Hall is one for those who served (and in some cases died) in World War II. It is by far the most extensive memorial listing of veterans of war who lived in Wallingford.  The list contains hundreds of names -- in fact so many that it will take several posts to get them all transcribed and published. This is the second post of names from the Wallingford WWII Memorial. It will cover all the names in alphabetical order from C through E . . . and that comprises 298 names. [For the first post listing the 244 names from this memorial that begin with A or B, pease see the earlier post here.]  

I know that finding a database of transcribed names is one thing for those who are searching for ancestors and relatives, but for those who cannot make a trip to see the actual memorial, a photograph of their family member's name would be a very useful gift for inclusion in family genealogies; therefore, it is my intention to do a blog post shortly after posting each list of transcribed names to publish the photographs from which I worked to do the transcriptions. Please check back here periodically after you see a listed name of an ancestor or relative in a post and you will then be able to get a photograph of the name in a close-up of the memorial panel containing your family member's name.  [UPDATE: The close-up photos for surnames C through E on this memorial were published on May 30, 2017. You can view the close-up photographs here.]

For readers who take the time to scan the names, you will notice that unlike memorials for earlier wars there are a significant number of women listed on this memorial. Also, apart from the sheer number of names on the World War II memorial, one will note the wonderful ethnic diversity of the names in the list. And there are a number of obvious family members listed so that it appears several possible brother, father/son, and cousin combinations are listed.

My father is listed on the World War II memorial in Wallingford since he briefly attended a year of post-high school education at Lyman Hall in Wallingford before he entered Kings Point, the United States Merchant Marine Academy.  Prior to 1957 what is the present Town Hall was the Lyman Hall High School. [1]  I previously posted a close-up of the section of names containing my father's listing here. This post continues the transcription of the hundreds other names that are honored on the World War II memorial. The transcription posts will be submitted as part of Heather Rojo's wonderful Honor Roll project to create a searchable listing of all U.S. war veterans on memorials erected in this country.

One other point to make on this Memorial Day regarding memorials to World War Two veterans .  .  .
The names on this and other WWII memorials around the country list members of what has often been called "The Greatest Generation."  The names on these memorials recognize the hundreds of thousands of men and women who sacrificed years of their youth or middle age -- and in many cases their very lives -- to combat an undeniable evil. My father is now 94 years old. He turned 19 years old at the very end of November, 1941 and the United States declared war on Japan and Germany on December 8th and December 11th, 1941, respectively.  Before my father turned 20 years old he was attending the United States Merchant Marine Academy and shortly thereafter was making voyages to deliver supplies and materiel in the war effort. Today as we commemorate those members of the greatest generation who died in WWII, it is important to pause and realize -- with respect to this particular memorial and so many others like it -- that almost all of the men and women enumerated on WWII memorials are no longer with us. If they survived the war, the great majority have lived their lives and passed on. Very, very few remain with us today. Lift a glass today to all of those who made the ultimate sacrifice and to those who served!   

The World War II memorial on the grounds of the Wallingford Town Hall

The names of the men and women honored on the Wallingford World War II memorial with surnames beginning with C through E are as follows . . .

Joachim Cachucho                        Mario Cachucho                 Fred John Cadete
Joseph Calabrese                          Victor R.Calabrese              James E. Calamari
Theodore F. Campos                     John F. Canell                     Albert G. Canelli
Edmund J. Canelli                        Adrian Canning                   Charles J. Canning
Francis J. Canning                        James R. Canning               John W. Canning
William T. Canning                      James R. Cannon                Robert J. Cannon
Casper J. Caplan                           Jacob J. Caplan, Jr.             Anthony L. Cappella
Alan A. Carey                               Dominic A. Carini              John B. Carini
Arthur G. Carlson                         Gustave A. Carlson            Walter J. Carmody
August Carretta                             Francis W. Carroll, Jr.        John H. Carroll
John W. Carroll                             William F. Carroll              Carmel M. Cascio
Raymond J. Cascio                        Sebestian J. Cassarino       Anthony J. Cassella
Albert Cassello                              Frank M. Cassello             George E. Cassidy
Robert F. Cassin                            Joseph A. Catala                Archie J. Caturia
Peter F. Cefarilli                            Paul D. Cella                     Richard J. Cella
Albert J. Centner                           Frank Cerato                     Louis Cerato
Raymond W. Cerato                      Frank C. Cerri                  Walter P. Chandler
Wilbur R. Chandler                       Harry W. Chapman           Andrew Chappo
Joseph F. Chappo                          Louis P. Chappo                John P. Charnysh
Joseph F. Charron                         Marvin M. Cherico           Joseph Cherry, Jr.
Joseph Chervak                            William F. Chervak           Joseph Chiarelli
Teddy Chiz                                   John J. Cholefsky              Joseph Choti, Jr.
Frank J. Chovitz                           Joseph R. Christoni           Charles Ciko
Leo S. Ciszek                               Stanley J. Citak                 Theodore J. Citak
Samuel T. Clapp                           Frank A. Claps                  Frederick W. Clark
Louis Clark                                   Olive M. Clark                 Paul Clark
Francis B. Clarke                          Francis J. Clarke              Lawrence Clarke
Richard Clarke, III                        Guy M. Cleborne             Max Cohen
William J. Colby                           Henry G. Collins              Lester T. Collins
Raymond M. Combs                     Francis D. Comerford      John E. Comerford, Jr.
Warren B. Comiskey                     Edward P. Condon           George J. Condon
Robert W. Condon                        William J. Condon, Jr.     Robert E. Connelly
Dominic P. Conte                          Vincent B. Conte             Julio L. Conti
John F. Coogan                              Norman P. Coogan          Charles E. Cook
Edward F. Cook                             Eugene L. Cook              George E. Cook
Thomas J. Cook                             William E. Cook             Carroll J. Cooney
Deforest J. Cooper                         Lloyd G. Cooper             Ralph A. Coppola
Vincent Coratella                           Victor J. Coratelle           Donald E. Corazzini
Basil Corradino                              Albert Correia                Manuel R. Correia
Ralph Correia, Jr.                           Gabriel Correia              Charles E. Corriveau
Alexander Cortes                           Joseph G. Coss               Joseph Costa
Jean C. Cote                                   Mabel A. Cote                Francis T. Coughlin
Edward T. Cox                               Dan D. Coyle                  Robert F. Coyle
John R. Craig                                 Theodore H. Craig          Kenneth B. Crawford
Donald J. Crean                             James F. Crean                Francis J. Crebase
David E. Creed                              Edward H. Cremo           Gartrell Crenshaw
George N. Cross                            Charles G. Crump           Harold C. Crump
Richard E. Cullen                          Thomas F. Cullen, Jr.      Thomas F. Cullins
William H. Curtis                          Vincent J. Cusimano       Edward P. Cutter
Charles S. Cwirka                          Joseph F. Cwirka            Joseph J. Cwirka
Victor A. Cwirka                           John Cyganik                  Stephen P. Cyganik, Jr.
Charles Cziko                                John J. Czine                  Aldo D. D'Agostino
Angelo D'Agostino                        Daniel J. D'Agostino      Mario V. D'Agostino
Philip V. D'Agostino                      William D'Agostino       Maxime Daignault
James J. Daly                                 John J. Daly                    Lawrence D. D'Amico
Theodore J. Damm                        Edward J. Daney            Firmino Danio
Alfred T. Danorovich                    James F. Darin                John A. Darin
Raymond V. Darling                     Edward H. Dauplaise      Howard C. Davidson
Stanley A. Davidzonek                 Barbara H. Davis             Ralph R. Davis
Steve A. Dawidzionek                  Julius S. Dean                  James J. Debaise
Mathew Debaise                           Merino D. Debaise          Michael J. Debaise
Pasquale J. Debase                       Edmund C. Dechert          Francis D. Dechert
Henry Delgreggo                         Anthony Delsanto            James B. Deluca
Leo V. Delucia                             Albert G. Demarko           Louis Demarko
Henry P. Dembiczak                    Walter Dembiczak            Walter J. Dembiczak
Daniel H. Demeo                         Glendon H. Deming         Howard F. Deming
Norman S. Deming                      Andrew Denigris              George Denigris
John T. Denigris                           Michael Denino, Jr.          George F. Denya
William J. Denya                         Richard A. Deroy              Emery Desjardins
Raymond M. Desjardins              Leroy A. Desmond, Jr.      Salvatore Diamonte
Joseph F. Dicarlo                         Xavier J. Dicarlo               Morgan P. Dickerman, II
Anthony Dicosimo                      Anthony L. Digennaro      Ernest J. Dighello
Frank J. Dighello                         Fred J. Dighello                Dominic J. Dinuzzo
Nell J. Dinuzzo                            Anthony Diorsi                 Edward F. Divine
William J. Docker                        Emil A. Doehr                  Charles F. Doll
Herbert J. Doll                             George W. Dombroski      John J. Dombroski
Harry S. Doolittle                         Henry A. Doolittle           Lawrence P. Doolittle
Raymond C. Doolittle                  Robert E. Doolittle           William R. Dorau
Kenneth Dorsey                           Peter Dorsey                     Romeo Dorsey
Charles H. Dougan                       James M. Dougherty        Charles F. Downey
Edward J. Downey                       Raymond J. Downey        Richard N. Downey
Emery J. Downing                       Real Downing                   Frank P. Doyle
Arthur A. Draghi                         John W. Dringoli               Louis J. Dringoli
Joseph S. Drost                            Charles F. Drum                Stephen A. Dsupin
Michael Dubar                             Nicholas Dubiago             Dennis O. Dubois
Dudley A. Dubois                        John H. Dubois                 George E. Duffy
Harold F. Dunbar                         Charles E. Dunn                Dorothy Dunn
Edward P. Dunn, Jr.                      George E.Dunn                 Howard J. Dunn
John J. Dunn                                 John W. Dunn                   Joseph R. Dunn, Jr.
Wilfred J. Dupre                           Daniel J. Dwyer                John J. Dwyer
Robert A. Dybec                          Joseph A. Dzeima             Alfred R. Eckert
Bruno W. Eckert                          Edward J. Eckert               Frank L. Eckert
Walter S. Eckert                           Dorothy A. Edell               Frederick E. Edell
John M. Edell                               Allyn F. Ehler                   Merril W. Ehler
Lester L. Eichorn                         Anthony J. Elionfante       Dorothy M. Emerson
Robert S. Emerson                       Frank A. Encauskas          William G. England
P.J. Erdos                                     Frederick F. Erff                 Joseph F. Eskenazi
Antonio Esteves                           Manuel J. Esteves              David C. Everett
Frank J. Evon                               Steve L. Evon                    William J. Evon
Edward W. Eylward                                  

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[1]  Lyman Hall (1724 - 1790) was born in Wallingford and served as a representative to the Continental Congress from Georgia.  He was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and later served as a Governor of Georgia.

Photographs of the extensive list of names on the World War II memorial in Wallingford, Connecticut were provided to me for transcription by my cousin, Bruce O. Marquardt, of Wallingford.  This transcription contribution would not have been possible without Bruce's very kind and willing efforts to make sure I had legible photos from which to do the transcriptions.  THANK YOU BRUCE!
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Copyright 2017, John D. Tew
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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Saturday Serendipity (May 27, 2017)

Following another brief hiatus (the reason to be presented in a future post), Saturday Serendipity returns this week with a very few recommendations for your weekend reading.

1.  In my family trees I try to get photographs of ancestors and relatives at various stages of their lives to add an extra dimension to their life stories. This week The Weekly Genealogist newsletter of NEHGS mentions a photographic project that I found to be very interesting. In Faces of Century, photographer Jan Langer presents a collection of then-and-now photos of men and women in their youth and when they have lived an entire century.  See an amazing sample of the photographs and learn more about the project, here   

2.  As we know by now, the advent of DNA analysis has opened up a variety of new means for solving various puzzles in genealogy and other disciplines. This week The Weekly Genealogist also brings to us another example of DNA analysis providing new insight to a long-standing human puzzle
.  .  .  Who were the people that built Stonehenge, and what happened to them? Read here about the fascinating huge gene study that appears to have arrived at a conclusion.        

3.  For history and map lovers, The Vault blog from Slate presents some intriguing 1938 - 1939 maps from Ken magazine. Ken only last for 16 months, but became famous for having published Ernest Hemingway's dispatches from the Spanish Civil War. The magazine was co-founded by Arnold Gingrich, a founder, publisher and editor of Esquire. See here three maps published in Ken that demonstrate how many people in the U.S. both feared and ridiculed the global rise of fascism in the 1930s.         

4.  The wait continues on FTM 2017. The March 31, 2017 planned release of Family Tree Maker 2017 by Software MacKiev has not happened yet. There are many folks "test driving" the software, but it apparently is not yet ready for prime time and general release. It is all explained here on what is  NOT a progress report by MacKiev. Like many, although I have pre-ordered this new product, I choose to wait until all the testing is done and the "bugs" are worked out at MacKiev and with Ancestry. MacKiev was to meet with Ancestry yesterday (May 26th) and promises a progress report after that meeting. You can check at the link above for that progress report and others if the general release continues to be delayed. As the saying goes, "Good things come to those who wait." I continue to wait for what should be a wonderful product if and when it is ready for prime time.

5.  And speaking again of maps, the Library of Congress has now provided FREE access to the Sanborn Insurance Maps.  These maps show buildings in U.S. cities and towns and eventually there will be some 500,000 maps available.  Presently there are maps available online that were published prior to 1900, but maps will be added to the collection through 2020. These should prove to be very useful to genealogists tracing ancestors and relatives to places they lived and worked. Read more about the collection and get a link here at UpFront With NGS blog.     

6.  Marian Wood of Climbing My Family Tree blog has added two more posts to her helpful series Genealogy, Free or Fee. One provides a reminder to exhaust all the free information that resides in the hands and memories of family members. See that post here. The other post provides a comprehensive checklist of resources for information about ancestors. You no doubt have used many of the resources listed, but you will also find others you have perhaps never considered or forgotten about . . . and it is always handy to have a list at the ready. See Marian's checklist here.           
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Copyright 2017, John D. Tew
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Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Christmas Tree of Memories (May 14, 2017)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Recently I attended the 2017 NERGC (New England Regional Consortium) genealogy conference in Springfield, Massachusetts. It was my first genealogy conference and during the four-day conference I stayed at a wonderful Bed & Breakfast (pictured above) in the Forest Park section of Springfield run by Carol Kerr and her husband Neville .

One morning before returning to the conference center for another day of genealogy immersion, Carol asked me and Nancy -- another guest who was also attending the NERGC conference -- how the conference was going. As part of my answer I mentioned attending a session titled, "Planning a Future for Your Family's Past: Where Will Your Research and Collectibles Go?" by New England blogger Marian Wood. Carol then shared with Nancy and me the touching and wonderfully creative solution she came up with when faced last year with her mother's passing and the need to collect and deal with her mother's possessions. Upon hearing Carol's story I immediately asked her if she would be willing to write up her story for a guest post here on Filiopietism Prism. She agreed. 

I am thrilled and honored to be able to share Carol's story and photos with all of you on this most appropriate day .  .  . Mother's Day. I suspect that -- like Carol and Neville's house last Christmas Eve -- there will be many a moist eye in the blogosphere after reading . . .    

The Christmas Tree of Memories
Carol Kerr

My parents didn't have much when they came to America by boat from Germany in the mid fifties. They had a few suitcases, two children, a violin.  There was never much in the way of possessions or heirlooms to pass down.

Mom lived with me for almost 20 years. When she died in August, there was really no inheritance to pass on to her children. She owned no car, no home,  no insurance money. She had a small amount of savings, but even that was not in her name.

What Mom did have was stuff. Lots of it. Old photos, items she had knitted (she was a prodigious knitter), mementos, dishes, stemware, books, tchotchkes, things that her children had given her over the years, paintings she had painted, travel souvenirs. In short, the story of her life in ephemera, trinkets, glass, and costume jewelry.

For the last couple years of Mom's life, my husband and I turned our dining room into a large bedroom/sitting room for her and provided her with a storage room upstairs and parts of several other rooms as well. Mom had lots of stuff, and we had a home large enough to accommodate all of it. After she died, it was time to repurpose the downstairs to a dining room again, and create a guest room upstairs from the storage room.

Then, I had a dilemma. I had all of it . . . everything my mother possessed. I didn't want to keep everything, yet I couldn't bring myself to just get rid of so much. Her possessions represented so much of her life . . . and so many memories. Plus, in my mind was the thought that the other children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren she left behind had nothing of her.

At some point in my mind I made a decision to give stuff to my three siblings. But then the question was what to give and to whom. And what was a fair division? Should the brother with three daughters and a new grandbaby get more than the sister with one son? Or, should the other sister who already had a son, granddaughter, and three great grandchildren receive a larger share? Would they even want any of it? There was nothing of value beyond sentimental.  

In the end, I decided to give something to everyone, and let them decide what (if anything) they wanted to keep. And with Christmas just a few months away, I had an idea to give them this stuff when we were all together for the holiday. And from there, Mom's Last Christmas came to me.

I bought 10 moving boxes (3 siblings, 4 grandchildren, 3 great-grandchildren = 10 boxes) and set them all up in a side room. Then, I started going through all Mom's things while at the same time converting rooms. As I came across her things, I would put them in the boxes. I tried to evenly distribute as much as possible. Everyone got some old photos, everyone got something she knitted, everyone got something from her china cabinets, everyone got one of her cookbooks and some jewelry. I distributed evenly and randomly, so that even I wouldn't know what was in each box.

Then I found a series of cassette recordings. Mom married for a second time in her early sixties. For their honeymoon, they went on a tour of Germany to travel and to introduce Richard to all the family. Each night they would turn on the recorder and just discuss the day they had. It was wonderful to hear their voices. My husband, Neville, transferred all the cassettes to disk and I put a disk into each box.

Filling these boxes took about three months. Seems like every room I cleaned, there was more and more. Every room had bits of Mom in it. I think that going through it all helped me with the grieving process too. At some point it occurred to me that if I stacked the boxes 4, 3, 2, 1 it made a large pyramid which could easily look like a Christmas tree if decorated. 

When the boxes were filled, I wrapped each in festive holiday paper, added lights, garland, large balls, and a few ornaments. It turned out to be, by all accounts, a beautiful Christmas tree.

On Christmas Eve, after dinner and after all the other presents were distributed, it was time to open the gifts from Mom. Box by box we dismantled that Christmas tree as each person took one.

Opening each box was full of joy, surprise, and memories. People kept holding things up to show what they got in their box. Mom's signed photo of astronauts from her visit to Houston, her framed wedding invitation, her paintings, her knitted and crocheted hats, sweaters, and throws, her special wine glasses, her old family photos from Germany, her handwritten recipe books, the small bibles that she saved, photos of all of us, little statues, all things Egyptian, dishes, servers, cups, her favorite books, letters, cards, everything and anything. I encouraged everyone to feel free to trade amongst themselves.

In the end, there wasn't a dry eye in the house. We cried together, we laughed, and we all felt very close to Mom and to each other. Everyone agreed it was an amazing Christmas and a fabulous way to remember Mom.  As we headed up to bed, in place of the tree was just a heap of lights, garland, balls, and ornaments left for Christmas Day. It was beautiful!

I like to think that years from now as the grandchildren become adults, this will be the Christmas that will be remembered and they will tell their children about the Christmas Tree of Memories.

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All photos by, and courtesy of, Carol Kerr.

Copyright 2017, Carol Kerr.
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Saturday, May 13, 2017

Saturday Serendipity (May 13, 2017)

Following a hiatus to attend NERGC 2017 in Springfield, Massachusetts, and arriving on station in New Jersey to await the imminent birth of another granddaughter, Saturday Serendipity returns this week with a few recommendations for your weekend reading.

1.  A recent news story involved yet another use of DNA analysis to solve a family identification mystery. The story presents the solution to the real identity of the remains of a three-year-old girl who died on October 13, 1876. Her coffin and remains were found beneath a San Francisco home that was the site of a cemetery relocated back in 1902.  Read the full story here.       

2.  The Weekly Genealogist by NEHGS noted a useful piece in Barron's magazine about getting children and later generations interested in one's carefully assembled collections. The piece should resonate with those genealogists who wonder what will happen to all their meticulous research and collection of family artifacts when they are gone. You can read the brief article here and learn the surprisingly simple solution that is recommended. 

3.  Like blogger Elizabeth Handler, author of From Maine to Kentucky blog, I too resolved this year to learn more about DNA use in genealogy.  I attended the "DNA Day" at the recent NERGC conference and have taken some discrete, local lectures in my area. Unlike Elizabeth, however, I have not gone to the effort of organizing a "DNA tool box" for my nascent DNA edification. And I certainly have not done the service of posting an organized DNA tool box to generously share with other genealogy enthusiast . . . but Elizabeth has done just that! Read Elizabeth's recent blog post here and while you are there check out the new DNA Toolbox tab where she provides the links to very useful DNA resources.  You will be glad you did if you too are trying to get your head around the use of DNA in your genealogy research!         

4.  And speaking of the generous sharing of tool boxes, resource links, and the like, I met Marian B. Wood at the bloggers SIG (Special Interest Group) during the recent NERGC conference.  Marian is the author of a new-to-me blog that I have begun following -- Climbing My Family Tree.  As a late-comer to Marian's blog, I only became aware this week about her blog series Genealogy -- Free or Fee. Her most recent post in the series explains her path to a solution for a mystery divorce that occurred at the very beginning of the last century. You can read Marian's post here AND you can get a link to a summary of the other posts in this useful series.     

5.  Have you ever heard of "persuasive cartography?" I had not heard of persuasive cartography until a recent post at UpFront With NGS blog. It seems Cornell University Library has a collection of some 800 maps that are intended to influence opinions or beliefs rather than convey geographic information. Read more about Cornell's "Persuasive Cartography" collection, get some useful links, and view an interesting example of persuasive cartography that correlates incidents of drunkenness and crime rates in Great Britain by going here.  

6.  In another article recommended this week by The Weekly Genealogist, a decades-old mystery about the whereabouts of a WWI veteran is solved by some Toronto genealogists. Read the interesting genealogy detective story here.      

7.  As we all know, one of the keys to solving brick walls and genealogy mysteries can often be the simple act of becoming aware of obscure, but potentially enlightening sources. The Vault brought one such obscure resource to light in a post on May 2nd. Four admissions books from Philadelphia's Eastern State Penitentiary dating back to the 1830s and 1840s are contained in the American Philosophical library. At least three of the books were kept by Thomas Larcombe, a Baptist minister who was the "moral instructor" at the prison.  Read more about these admissions books here and see some excerpts and get links to scans of the books that contain prisoner names and much more.

8.  And finally, for those who remember watching Captain Kangaroo on TV in the period of 1957 - 1959 (and probably later in re-runs) here is a fun trip down memory lane courtesy of Holyoke, Mass blog. 
[For those who lived in Holyoke at one time or have connections to that city (as I do having attended Kindergarten there) .  .  . there is a special shout-out to Holyoke, Massachusetts!]        
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Copyright 2017, John D. Tew
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Thursday, May 11, 2017

What Is The Greatest Thing About A Genealogy Conference?

The MassMutual Center -- site of NERGC 2017 in Springfield, Massachusetts

Two weeks ago I attended my very first genealogy conference. It was the biennial New England Regional Genealogical Consortium's (NERGC's) 2017 Conference that took place this year in Springfield, Massachusetts from April 26 - 29.

To be sure, there were many opportunities at NERGC 2017 for learning from some genealogy experts and plenty of time to explore various tools and resources available at the Exhibit Hall. I was also able to meet several fellow bloggers who I have read, corresponded with, and recommended to others, but had never personally met .  .  . Heather and her husband Vincent, Diane, Barbara and her husband Bill, Elizabeth, and Wendy. I met new-to-me bloggers Marian, Barbara, Dan, and Sara. I sat and listened to the wisdom, encouragement, and humor of such genealogy luminaries and celebrities as Mary Tedesco, Blaine Betting, Thomas MacEntee, Kenyatta Berry, Diahan Southard, David Allen Lambert, Cherry Fletcher Bamberg, and others.  I also met and made some new friends such as Nancy from Vermont, and Carol from Springfield (about whom you will read more in a future post), Beth, and Dale.

So what was my biggest takeaway from finally attending a genealogy conference after having been a genealogy researcher and enthusiast for a few decades?

Well, it was a surprise to me.  It was not all the varied and valuable information from experts I was exposed to, or the ideas for new approaches to my research, or even the new tools and resources I learned about.  Though all these are excellent reasons for deciding to invest the time and funds necessary to attend a genealogy conference, it is now possible in this age of computer technology to seek out and obtain many of these aspects of a genealogy conference from the comfort and convenience of one's home.

The takeaway that I have come to realize is the unique aspect -- and the greatest thing -- about a genealogy conference, the ingredient that cannot be obtained other than through actual attendance, is at once subtle and yet profound. At the risk of sounding too "New Agey," the takeaway for me was the presence of so many people gathered for a single purpose and the energy and enthusiasm they generated and maintained for 3 - 4 solid days! One cannot get this online.  You have to be immersed in it and swim in it. You have to walk among the participants and listen to the patois floating up from the numerous conversations .  .  .

"my 3rd cousin twice removed"
"atDNA" (autosomal DNA)
"my 6 times great grandparents"
"the GPS"
"mtDNA" (mitochondrial DNA)
"daughtered out"
"non-parental event"
"brick walls"

It is then you realize that you are truly among "your people" absorbed in the same shared interest. You realize you can talk and listen to all things genealogy and no eyes glaze over (like the eyes of many family members do at holiday gatherings). 😀  It is the same experience that die-hard sports fans have when attending a contest in a stadium rather than watching alone on TV.

And after a few days of being with your people at a genealogy conference you realize that your genealogy juices are flowing again, you are energized and motivated to get back to your research and your trees.  You want to tackle that brick wall yet again -- and probably with some new approach you learned about from others at the conference.  In short, you realize the conference and the energy generated by the presenters and the participants has rejuvenated and invigorated your enthusiasm for genealogy and you cannot wait to get back to the detective work of discovering and documenting your family history.

You have experienced the greatest thing about genealogy conferences!

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Photograph of the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts (site of NERGC 2017) by the author.
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Copyright 2017, John D. Tew
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