Read a book ? Not me

June 15, 2018

I can not tell you the last time that I actually read a real book, cover to cover. Well, at least not until something let me to this book.

The Cemetery Keeper’s Wife (08 May 2018) by Maryann McFadden

You know you live in a small town when you can read a book and know exactly where the events described in the book took place. The focus is a local Cemetery. I have posted on the Find A Grave website about 30 photographs from this cemetery, including several that are in my Find A Grave Presentation. Actually, I have 129 photographs from that website, including this one.

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This book is about HER, Tillie Smith.

What kept me reading this book, was the connections between the characters in the book. It also reinforced my interest in moving from Collecting Names and Dates, to gather information that might help tell a story about individuals that I might research.

As I read the book, there was one thing that really didn’t make sense. But, that was answered on the last page of the book. (after the story ended). Just below the answer was a Surname, in that Cemetery, that I have researched.

Small town: This story took place within a couple of miles from my house. I knew of the story, but hadn’t paid much attention to it.

I had to keep reminding myself that it is a Novel. As I could visualize the places in the book. I have pictures of those places in my photo gallery.

The kicker, is that the author lives in the area.

Lastly, there is a small, side story that reminded me of my friend, The Legal Genealogist. But, that’s another story.

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Pirates of the Pedigree

April 30, 2018

I am learning more about a new Virtual Event; Pirates of the Pedigree. A 2018 International Family History Expo. I will be adding a direct link to the right column on this blog.

Since it will be a Virtual Event, and my cousin DearMYRTLE will be involved, as she is an Official Booster of the event, I’ll be involved some how, I am sure.

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Can the Find A Grave website be “Cousin Bait” ?

April 16, 2018

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Was talking with a cousin about the Find A Grave website and how we use this repository / resource. The discussion had nothing to do with the “old” vs the “new” look.

Until this conversation, I viewed it as a repository for photographs of headstones, names, dates, that might be on the headstone itself (if readable).

Other information may be on the memorial page, like an obituary, but I do not capture that, but put a ToDo item to find that newspaper article. There may be other hints on the memorial that may also be helpful.

For example:

There is no marker, but he is recorded in a partial listing of graves at Friends Cemetery, Tuckerton, in Leah Blackman’s ‘History of Little Egg Harbor,’ from 1880, pages 206-208.

I hope to get this book in the not so distant future, because I have a number of people in my file that are buried in this Quaker Cemetery.

The other valuable aspect of the website it the relationships that may be included. For example, I can go back from my Dad two more generations using the links that I created or asked to be created. I try to make those links between family members on all of the Memorials of MY family.

I get requests to “add” other information on the memorial, where I just took the photograph. I don’t do that, but ask what the relationship is between that memorial and the requesting person. If they are family, I just transfer the memorial over to them.

I just don’t use that website to “build my tree”.

But, the conversation took an interesting turn. WHAT IF I have a private tree, online, somewhere, but it’s private because I’m not happy with my research or it’s not documented the way I want it, how to I make those, most important, cousin connections.

What about a Virtual Cemetery ?

They can be Public or Private and can be created by a member of the Find A Grave website.

There is a cemetery in Jersey City, Hudson County, New Jersey with 89,133 (as of 16 April 2018) of which 14% is photographed. But, within that cemetery is, what I think, is very unique. A Virtual Cemetery.

OP–Dominican Nuns of former Blue Chapel Monastery: a Virtual Cemetery – Find A Grave

The Dominican Sisters of the Perpetual Rosary (OP) made their first foundation in the United States at Union City, New Jersey in 1891. The monastery became known as Blue Chapel. The Sisters were re-interred in Holy Name Cemetery in 2018.

Of the 90,000 burials, this Virtual Cemetery has 42 memorials.

Why am I re-thinking my use of the Find A Grave website ?

COUSIN BAIT.

I could create a Virtual Cemetery of all of the members of my family and when someone searches for a person in my family should be able to find My Family.

Thanks cousin, never thought about that before.


Re-Reading what you have

April 11, 2018

With a couple of days away from the computer and internet, I had a chance to “read a book”. Better stated, listen to a book as it was read to me while flying from Atlantic City to Florida and back.

The book: Hey, America, Your Roots Are Showing Paperback – February 1, 2012 – by Megan Smolenyak

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I have been to a number of presentations around my home state, where Megan was speaking, as her stories are awesome, and how she discovered the stories. I am also honored to be able to call her a friend. A couple of times I was able to call her up or email her and see if she “wanted a cup of coffee”.

I have had the book for a while, bought a couple for friends, and had it on my phone in Audiobook format, so I listened.

Not changing subject, but what really caught my attention, early in the book, what her references to relationships to some famous people and how they related to each other.

When I listened to the list of characters I was reminded of the We’re Related APP that I have blogged about before. Many, of the names there were mentioned have appeared in the We’re Related APP for me.

Now, I have seen a number of very negative comments about the usefulness of the APP, but I have experienced some ideas and hints for where I might look for my own research.

What was in the book, that I hadn’t realized earlier, is why these famous persons might be related, but that also lead to why I may be related to some of these folk. Colonial Ancestry. Well, I knew that I have that in my tree, but more specifically, many of the folks mentioned was Irish Ancestry. I have very few Irish Ancestors in my current database, that I have more or less proven, but not to the amount that my DNA Results show. When I say my DNA Ethnicity Estimate of 27% Ireland / Scotland / Wales really had to listen.

Just the fact that she may have been involved with some, if not all, of the research on these famous folk allows me to thing more positively about the “famous persons” “line” that was presented in the APP.

As I may have mentioned before, I am using the We’re Related APP Data as an “undocumented” source of information, BUT, I have documented using my DNA Results for my side of the data from the APP. While entered the APP Data, I looked at my exiting working database to see how many profiles from the APP were already in my existing database. Using my existing database and the Shared Matches from the DNA results, I have identified a number of people who do not have an online tree, or a private online tree, based on those shared DNA Matches.

A project that I have been wanted to do, was to merge the We’re Related APP Database with my Master (working) File. By re-reading this book, I am in the process of preparing for that merging of this 2,500 person database, into my 9,000 person database.

That includes bringing my Master Database up to my “new standards” of how I do research and more specifically, how I document my research. Features that were not in much earlier versions of my program and using some of the new features and are in the same program now AND skills, tips, and tricks that I have learned along the way.

Other books, written by Megan Smolenyak include: Who Do You Think You Are?: The Essential Guide to Tracing Your Family History Paperback – December 28, 2010

Maybe a visit to Megan’s Website, http://www.megansmolenyak.com/ will inspire you, as it does me. Her blog, video’s, Newsletter are must reading for me.

Re-reading what I already have, or listening to the book, has encouraged me to get back to my own research, reminding myself that this We’re Related APP work was NOT a waste of time, and maybe, I will get a better understanding about the 27% DNA Estimate is all about.

Thank you Megan


April Fools Day – 2018

April 1, 2018

As the sun rises this morning, I will be on my way to Florida, with my family for a 5 night Disney Cruise. It’s our 2nd Disney Cruise, as a family, but today will be very different for me.

Back tracking 51 years, or the Winter of 1967, I had returned from a different type of cruise, that is on the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Halfmoon (WAVP-378). That cruise was to GITMO, to play war games with the U.S. Navy. This was my 2nd cruise to GITMO, but this return was very different.

When we return, late February, something very different happened. A swarm of Engineers swarmed our rusty bucket of bolts, and started to talk about air conditioning. March, Air Conditioning, Snow, hmm, something weird is going on. Oh, our communications gear had issues with the Navy while we were in GITMO, where the equipment broke down. Not unusual for us. But Air Conditioning.

Would find out later, that through out the Halfmoon other folks were measuring, writing, suggesting changes that would happen quickly. But what ?

By this time, the  CGC Halfmoon had been my home for 2 years. Much of that time was “as sea” on our various missions. Just not at home, or where there was much “news”.

About the 15th of March, 1967, we had a All Hands On Deck meeting on the “mess deck”. Very rare gathering at best. We were told that we would be leaving on an “extended” cruise and thus all of the folks boarding the ship and new equipment, noise, that had been going on and would continue for a couple of more weeks.

On April 1st, 1967, the CGC Halfmoon would leave Staten Island for the last time, and head somewhere, to warmer weather. There had been a prediction that a Coast Guard Cutter would leave New York and not return,  or so the story goes. Well, in fact, we did NOT turn to Base St George for 1967.

We would return 22 January 1968, from a cruise to Vietnam. Through the Panama Canal (both ways). 2 other, east coast Cutters would make that trip, meeting up with 2 others in Hawaii. To the Philippines, then to our various missions off of the Vietnam Coast.

April 1st, 2018, another cruise, but from Florida for 5 days on a cruise ship Disney Magic

5-Night Western Caribbean Cruise from Miami

Experience the many exciting amenities of Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, and one more Caribbean port of call, where white-sand beaches, brilliant blue waters, balmy breezes and aquatic adventures await. Spend 2 relaxing days at sea enjoying your cruise ship’s onboard delights—from nightclubs and lounges to family-friendly entertainment venues.

According to the fine print, the Disney Magic is 3 times the length of the Coast Guard Cutter Halfmoon. The crew of the Magic is 7 times that of the crew of the Halfmoon (war time crew level). And, I’ll bet there won’t be the rust on the Magic that the Halfmoon had until she ended her career in 1969.

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The only time the 5 cutters with tied up together, after our journey across the Pacific.

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And our welcome home, with the traditional Navel Welcome Home. My folks were on the pier when we arrived.

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Will be so glad to have Jennie, Patrick, Carrie and Patti, on this April 1st cruise. Oh, and I won’t have to work this cruise.


A Rabbit Hole, In the Can

February 6, 2018

Must be too early in the morning, for a blog post subject, but …

Was doing some research and found an Occupation of this individual, and the Industry on a 1920 Census Record. A Timer in a Canning Company. What is that ?

This was in Carroll County, Maryland so what is going on there that might be of interest. Not finished my 2nd cup of coffee, I decided to see what this was all about, and I did.

The names of the people I am researching is not important here, but what is, seeing something that might seem weird (ok, unusual) but finding some documents that have some incredible amount of historical information.

I did s search for “canning company, westminster, maryland” (copied and pasted my search criterial.

Some great hits were returned, including a “Maryland Historical Trust Determination of Eligibility Form” A 24 page form for a preserving a property and buildings. At the top of the document, nothing was of interest, but I had to read down this document to put the house into historical context. On page 5, was mention of the Cannery that (remember the house of the subject) and the Family I was researching mentioned that in 1868 this cannery was established. The name is probably one or two generations further back from the information that I have, not sure if I will try to get back there, but it put that family into historical context.

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There were several other articles, putting that Cannery into context.By JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ MD – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23006480

The real kicker is, by follow that “what is this cannery” question, the Google Search found a web site on the history of the Union Mills Homestead (built in 1797) but a calendar of events that will take place this year.

One rabbit hole that I am glad that I followed.


Scanning Project–a Clue or a B.S.O.

December 1, 2017

Oh no, a Bright Shiny Object (B.S.O.)

I have been working on a project for one of my students. Finally am taking the time to work on it. Got my scanner hooked up to my computer, and it worked. (whew)

Did about 100 scans today, taking the papers our of the sheet protectors, very carefully and there were many pages in each sleeve.

As I am going through on sleeve, was a letter, Signed by “Mom” but don’t know much about this letter, nor dates. But the last item in the sleeve was an envelope.

The post mark was one clue, the “Miss” was to it was for, but what caught my attention was “Keep Genealogy

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The content of the letter is sending me on a search for a Revolutionary War Soldier now. It appears that the writer of the letter was trying to get into the D.A.R. (Daughters of the American Revolution), with the soldier’s name and where they connected. Wouldn’t you know the name was “Smith”.

The student did say that there was a story about a Revolutionary War soldier, so perhaps I can find who that was.


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