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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  1. John, thank you kindly for including me in your "Saturday Serendipity" post. I'm going to click on your other suggested posts, as well. Wishing the mothers in your family a happy Mom's Day!

  2. Thanks for the mention of my DNA toolbox. There really are so many resources out there that I have to make sure I don't make it too long a page!