Category Archives: Historical Newspapers

Other Travelers Part 10 – Tracing the 1918 Flu Epidemic

(Part of an On-going Series – “Other Travelers”)

by Vicki Ruthe Hahn – SGS Stateline Genealogy Sorter

Have you gotten the flu this season?

Not the 24 hour stomach flu (which is bad enough), but the upper respiratory Influenza A or B?  Flu has hit this year especially hard, killing several children. But it is nothing close to the amount of deaths in the Pandemic of 1918.

Perhaps your ancestors were affected by that epidemic – one hundred years ago this year?  Whole families were wiped out.

 

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Let’s get some insight:

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From Standford Children’s Health:

“What are the different types of influenza?

Influenza viruses are divided into three types designated as A, B, and C:

  • Influenza types A and B are responsible for epidemics of respiratory illness that occur almost every winter and often lead to increased rates of hospitalization and death. Public health efforts to control the impact of influenza focus on types A and B. One of the reasons the flu remains a problem is because the viruses actually change their structure regularly. This means that people are exposed to new types of the virus each year.
  • Influenza type C usually causes either a very mild respiratory illness or no symptoms at all. It does not cause epidemics and does not have the severe public health impact that influenza types A and B do….
  1. A person infected with an influenza virus develops antibodies against that virus.
  2. The virus changes.
  3. The “older” antibodies no longer recognizes the “newer” virus when the next flu season comes around.
  4. The person becomes infected again.

The older antibodies can, however, give some protection against getting the flu again. Currently, three different influenza viruses circulate worldwide: two type A viruses and one type B virus. Vaccines given each year to protect against the flu contain the influenza virus strain from each type that is expected to cause the flu that year.

What causes influenza?

An influenza virus is generally passed from person to person through the air. .. with infected person who sneezes or coughs. The virus can also live for a short time on objects …can get the flu virus by touching something that has been handled by someone infected with the virus and then touching his or her own mouth, nose, or eyes.

People are generally the most contagious with the flu 24 hours before they start having symptoms  (emphasis mine) and during the time they have the most symptoms. That’s why it is hard to prevent the spread of the flu, especially among children, because they do not always know they are sick while they are still spreading the disease. The risk of infecting others usually stops around the seventh day of the infection.”

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See the source image

Most entertainments, churches, social clubs, libraries, movie houses, etc. were eventually shut down.  But they tried wearing masks for awhile!

Officials Wearing Gauze Masks

Milkmen(?) braving the Flu to deliver milk to stores, and to people’s homes

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The Flu Epidemic rapidly made many children orphans, dependent on the care of others.

Many families died of neglect or starvation, remaining isolated in their homes, afraid to come out for supplies or medical attention.  Some neighbors were afraid to enter the homes of those who were sick.  So many medical doctors were in the War, ill, or overwhelmed.  anyone with medical training was asked to help, and some communities recruited  volunteers to care for the sick.

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From Standford University, by Molly Billings, June, 1997 modified RDS February, 2005:

“The influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 killed more people than the Great War, known today as World War I (WWI) … It has been cited as the most devastating epidemic in recorded world history. More people died of influenza in a single year than in four-years of the Black Death Bubonic Plague from 1347 to 1351. Known as “Spanish Flu” or “La Grippe” the influenza of 1918-1919 was a global disaster…

In the two years that this scourge ravaged the earth, a fifth of the world’s population was infected. The flu was most deadly for people ages 20 to 40. This pattern of morbidity was unusual for influenza which is usually a killer of the elderly and young children. It infected 28% of all Americans (Tice).

An estimated 675,000 Americans died of influenza during the pandemic, ten times as many as in the world war. Of the U.S. soldiers who died in Europe, half of them fell to the influenza virus and not to the enemy (Deseret News). An estimated 43,000 servicemen mobilized for WWI died of influenza (Crosby). 1918 would go down as unforgettable year of suffering and death and yet of peace…

The effect of the influenza epidemic was so severe that the average life span in the US was depressed by 10 years.   (Emphasis mine.)…

In 1918 children would skip rope to the rhyme (Crawford):

 

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History is reflected in children’s games, and in songs.

(“Ring-around-the Rosie” is NOT from the time of the Black Plaque!)

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The mandatory gauze masks were not always very effective.  There is the story of 4 women who wore masks while playing cards one evening.  By the next morning three of them were dead from Influenza.

 

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In an effort to boost the War effort, President Woodrow Wilson (and others) initially tried to ignore the pandemic, and suppress news about it.  How depressing that so many of those who survived the war, ended up dying of influenza.  Whole shiploads of military men were affected, some never making it to serve in the War.

The cause of most of the deaths in this pandemic was the secondary pneumonia.  There were no antibiotics.  Influenza frequently has secondary infections – strep throat, ear infections, Pink Eye, etc.  But this time it was more than that. (see explanation below.)

Be alert if you see several people in your ancestor’s family die suddenly, and within a few days of each other, especially if between September 1918 and about June 1919.  A death certificate may not mention flu/influenza, but pneumonia, etc. as cause of death.  Or there might not have been a police officer/medical person/undertaker/county recorder available to make any registration. (see explanation below.)  Some members of the family may have been buried in a mass grave with no records.

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From History.com

The first wave of the 1918 pandemic occurred in the spring and was generally mild. The sick …experienced … typical flu symptoms….

However, a second, highly contagious wave of influenza appeared with a vengeance in the fall of that same year. Victims died within hours or days of developing symptoms, their skin turning blue and their lungs filling with fluid that caused them to suffocate….

Despite the fact that the 1918 flu wasn’t isolated to one place, it became known around the world as the Spanish flu, as Spain was hit hard by the disease and was not subject to the wartime news blackouts that affected other European countries. (Even Spain’s king, Alfonso XIII, reportedly contracted the flu.)

One unusual aspect of the 1918 flu was that it struck down many previously healthy, young people—a group normally resistant to this type of infectious illness—including a number of World War I servicemen…. Forty percent of the U.S. Navy was hit with the flu, while 36 percent of the Army became ill, and troops moving around the world in crowded ships and trains helped to spread the killer virus.

Although the death toll attributed to the Spanish flu is often estimated at 20 million to 50 million victims worldwide, other estimates run as high as 100 million victims. The exact numbers are impossible to know due to a lack of medical record-keeping in many places.

…Even President Woodrow Wilson reportedly contracted the flu in early 1919 while negotiating the Treaty of Versailles, which ended World War I.

When the 1918 flu hit, doctors and scientists were unsure what caused it or how to treat it. Unlike today, there were no effective vaccines or antivirals, drugs that treat the flu. (The first licensed flu vaccine appeared in America in the 1940s….)

Complicating matters was the fact that World War I had left parts of America with a shortage of physicians and other health workers. And of the available medical personnel in the U.S., many came down with the flu themselves.

Additionally, hospitals in some areas were so overloaded with flu patients that schools, private homes and other buildings had to be converted into makeshift hospitals, some of which were staffed by medical students.

Officials in some communities imposed quarantines, ordered citizens to wear masks and shut down public places, including schools, churches and theaters. People were advised to avoid shaking hands and to stay indoors, libraries put a halt on lending books and regulations were passed banning spitting… the Sanitary Code.”

The flu took a heavy human toll, wiping out entire families and leaving countless widows and orphans in its wake. Funeral parlors were overwhelmed and bodies piled up. Many people had to dig graves for their own family members.

The flu was also detrimental to the economy. In the United States, businesses were forced to shut down because so many employees were sick. Basic services such as mail delivery and garbage collection were hindered due to flu-stricken workers.

In some places there weren’t enough farm workers to harvest crops. Even state and local health departments closed for business, hampering efforts to chronicle the spread of the 1918 flu and provide the public with answers about it.

By the summer of 1919, the flu pandemic came to an end, as those that were infected either died or developed immunity.

Almost 90 years later, in 2008, researchers announced they’d discovered what made the 1918 flu so deadly: A group of three genes enabled the virus to weaken a victim’s bronchial tubes and lungs and clear the way for bacterial pneumonia.

Since 1918, there have been several other influenza pandemics, although none as deadly.”

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The 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic was world wide:

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The ultimate “other Travelers” in this story are the viruses and bacteria that exploded throughout the world for those 15 months 1918 – 1919.

PBS has a very good “American Experience” documentary of the topic

Aired January 2, 2018

Influenza 1918

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/influenza/

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The American military in World War I and the influenza pandemic were closely connected. Influenza spread in The crowded conditions of military camps in the United States and in the trenches of the Western Front in Europe. The virus traveled with military personnel from camp to camp and across the Atlantic military transit ships.  September – November 1918, influenza and pneumonia sickened many in the military at the height of the American military involvement in the war.  This affected the war.

US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health

Public Health Rep. 2010; 125(Suppl 3): 82–91.

INFLUENZA IN THE CAMPS

(read the entire article by clicking the links above.)

“…the virus traveled west and south, arriving at Camp Grant, Illinois, on Saturday, September 21, 1918, with 70 hospital admissions. “So sudden and appalling was the visitation that it required the greatest energy and cooperation of every officer, every man, and every nurse to meet the emergency,” wrote one observer.4 (p. 749) Hospital admissions rose to 194, then 370, then 492, to a high of 788 admissions on September 29. Hospital officials summoned all officers on leave, converted barracks to hospital wards, and by “extreme effort” expanded the hospital capacity from “10 occupied beds to a capacity of 4,102 beds in six days.”4 (p.751)

Influenza still overwhelmed every department. The hospital laboratory resorted to local civilian facilities to perform specimen tests. Camp ophthalmologists saw patients with conjunctivitis, an influenza complication, and ear, nose, and throat specialists saw those with other dangerous secondary infections. As individuals became seriously ill, camp officials sent out “danger” or “death” telegrams to families and loved ones, but soon they received so many return calls, telegrams, and visitors, they had to set up a separate hospital tent as an information bureau. Medical personnel were not immune. Eleven of the 81 medical officers fell ill, and three civilian and three Army nurses died. The epidemic even caused the Medical Department to drop its prohibition on black nurses so that Camp Grant called African American nurses to care for patients. The women had to wait, however, until separate, segregated accommodations could be constructed.”

 

National Archives: World War I Centennial

As the largest repository of American World War I records, the National Archives invites you to browse the wealth of records and information documenting the U.S. experience in this conflict, including photographs, documents, audiovisual recordings, educational resources, articles, blog posts, lectures, and events.

Veteran’s Service Records:

https://www.archives.gov/veterans

 

 

 

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More Historic Beloit Newspaper Microfilms at the Beloit Public Library

More Historic Beloit Newspaper Microfilms at the Beloit Public Library

February 22, 2018

by Vicki Ruthe Hahn

Image result for historic newspaper microfilm

Many more  of the Historic Beloit Newspaper Microfilms are cataloged and available now for patrons to use on the microfilm machines at the Beloit Public Library.
These were paid for by FNDN Beloit Public Library Foundation.
The patrons are going to love having these additional microfilms.
I put the reels into the bottom right hand side of the microfilm case.
Once the  rest of the microfilms get cataloged,
I will re-arrange the whole case with the earliest newspapers first, (by title).
See the source image
These have been added to the microfilms we have had:
Beloit Free Press (1848 – 1903) with a new one 1900 – 1903.
Beloit Daily Grit (1892 – 1897)
Beloit Daily News BDN (1897 –  March 2015)
(Then look on BPL homepage on-line)
See the source image
These are the titles we have added so far:
Weekly Argus (1885 – 1888)
Beloit Weekly Outlook ( 1880 – 1884)
Beloit Deutsche Zeitung 1895 – 1896
Weekly Citizen & Weekly News (1888 – 1906)
Beloit Labor Journal (1902 – 1903)
Soul City Courier (Oct 1976 – Jan 1977)

More information about the on-line Library newspaper holding is under the  BLOG tab “Genealogy Links and Electronic Helps”.

March 1, 2018 Update

More microfilms cataloged and added:

Beloit Outlook  (Jan 3, 1879; Jan 8, 1880 – May 8, 1880)

Beloit Outlook (Jan 3, 1880 – Jun 26, 1880)

Beloit Daily News! (Aug 14, 1945)

Crusader – Rockford IL  (Sep 1952, Nov 21, 1952; Jul 3, 1963 – Mar 29, 1957)

Crusader – Rockford IL  (Sep 6, 1968 – Jun 2, 1971)

 

 

Access Newspaper ARCHIVE PDF View Discontinued

Vicki’s note – Update from WI Libraries for Everyone – this is one of the major databases that we use for searching for (non-Beloit) historic newspapers at the Beloit Public Library.  I use it a lot for my own research for my family, and for others.

It is still available for free on our Homepage, through Badgerlink in Wisconsin.  Other States have different ways to access it, as each state chooses whether to pay for access (to this and other databases) for their citizens.

The only thing I found for Illinois so far is this:

The Illinois History –Digital Imaging grants expand access to electronic collections through the Illinois Digital Archives database maintained by the Illinois State Library (thru Jesse White, the Secretary of State. To view the collections and other historical artifacts, visit the Illinois Digital Archives website at http://idaillinois.org/.

We will just have to get used to using it a different way.  If you have not used historic newspapers in your family sleuthing, I recommend that you try this out.  I will be using it again soon to see how the new method works.

WI Libraries For Everyone:

Access Newspaper ARCHIVE

PDF View Discontinued

Access NewspaperARCHVE PDF View Discontinued

Posted: 21 Jul 2017 09:11 AM PDT

Friday, July 21, 2017

After September 30, 2017, in Access NewspaperARCHIVE, you will no longer be able to view an article as a PDF. But don’t worry, you will still be able to download newspaper pages as PDFs.

The PDF viewer is being discontinued because PDF images are much larger than the JPEGs, taking a considerable amount of time to download and also putting a massive load on Access NewspaperARCHIVE’s servers. Additionally, Adobe Viewer is a third party platform which means Access NewspaperARCHIVE has no control over how the end product is displayed to the user.

After the transition away from the PDF Viewer, you will still be able to download in 2 easy steps.

1. Click on the envelope in the toolbar.

2. Select Save as PDF.

Written by:
Kara Ripley, Resources for Libraries and Lifelong Learning

WPLC Announces – More Historical Content Added to Archive of Wisconsin Newspapers

Vicki’s note – more local historic newspapers on-line.

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WPLC Announces –

More Historical Content Added to

Archive of Wisconsin Newspapers

6-27-2017

More than 100,000 pages of early newspapers from six Wisconsin communities can now be discovered in the Archive of Wisconsin Newspapers. The Belleville Public Library, Black River Falls Public Library, Dwight Foster Public Library, Eager Free Library, Prairie du Chien Public Library and Stephenson Public Library worked together with BadgerLink, the Wisconsin Historical Society, Wisconsin Public Library Consortium (WPLC) and the Wisconsin Newspaper Association (WNA) to add this content to the Archive.

Wisconsin residents can now access the following titles through BadgerLink:

  • Belleville Recorder 1887-1923
  • Badger State Banner 1868-1926
  • Banner Journal 1931-1938
  • Evansville Badger 1898-1906
  • Evansville Enterprise 1895-1911
  • Evansville Review 1899-1932
  • Evansville Tribune 1899-1908
  • Jackson County Banner 1867-1868
  • Jefferson County Union 1870-1918
  • Prairie du Chien Courier Press 1852-1922
  • Marinette and Peshtigo Eagle 1871-1896

These titles join the list of historical newspapers added to the Archive in 2016 thanks to an LSTA-funded pilot project. To explore the full collection, visit the Archive of Wisconsin Newspapers.

The Archive of Wisconsin Newspapers is an ongoing collaboration of WHS, WPLC, WNA, and BadgerLink. For more information about how your library can participate, visit http://www.wplc.info/newspapers.

Stateline Travelers – Part 8 – A Stateline Celebration for 100 Year-old South Beloit, Illinois and Me

Stateline Travelers – Part  8  – A Stateline Celebration for 100 Year-old South Beloit, Illinois and Me

Part of an on-going series by

Vicki Ruthe Hahn, Stateline Genealogy Sorter.

June 24, 2017

 

South Beloit, Illinois will be celebrating 100 years this year.

Their Centennial Celebration will be August 24 – 27, 2017.

Sout Beloit 100

Beloit Wisconsin and South Beloit, Illinois have been linked for our entire history.

Next week the Beloit Public Library is opening their new coffee and food shop, “The Blender”.

I am welcoming South Beloiters to Beloit Public Library to visit “their” GEN Club and Coffee shop here in Beloit.

Opening the week of June 26, 2017

https://www.facebook.com/blendercafebeloit/#

Color Logo Grey Text

Blender interiorBlender sign

What a great place to go for a refreshing drink, smoothie, bakery snack, soup, sandwich, breakfast, lunch, or supper –  after doing genealogy at Beloit Public Library, after a Stateline Genealogy Club @ Beloit Public Library program.

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…0r anytime.  I believe that the open hours of The Blender will be something like 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monday – Thursday; and 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Maybe we can raise a “toast” to great collaborations between Beloit and South Beloit for another 100 years.

I was the Director of the South Beloit Public Library from 1991 – 1993.  Then I got a job as the Head of the Circulation Department at the Beloit Public Library, and I am still here, 24 years later, as the Public Services Librarian.

Catherine Hayes (at that time the former, former South Beloit Public Library Director) was the historian of South Beloit.  All historical knowledge stated here is from the book, “Our Golden History-South Beloit Illinois”, which is a non-copyrighted work by Catherine Hayes.  She wrote the book to inform the people South Beloit of their pre-incorporation roots for the Sesquicentennial.

Catherine and I had many friendly conversations, as she helped me learn how to be a library director, and taught me about the history of South Beloit –

“Always a City, never a Village!”

The South Beloit Centennial Committee is writing a new Centennial history book.

 

 

In 1818, the United States Congress told the people of the Territory of Illinois to form a state government.

A heated debate arose over the correct placement of the northern state line of Illinois.

If the old line of 1787 (Northwest Territory) were kept, Illinois would be much smaller than Wisconsin,

and Chicago would be in Wisconsin because Illinois would have no Lake Michigan shoreline.

A bill passed cutting 8,500sq. miles off of Wisconsin and adding it to Illinois, creating the current state line.

 

By 1838, the village of Turtle became Beloit.

South Beloit became the south part of Beloit.

 

Winnebago County voted in 1842 for annexation to Wisconsin.

However, the south had more people and out-voted the north.

So Winnebago County remained in Illinois.

 

They (south of Beloit) petitioned to become their own city in 1914.

In September 17, 1917, South Beloit became a city.

Hint – these are the newspapers from Rockford Illinois that would also cover South Beloit Illinois:
Winnebago – Rockford   Crusader                  1952 – 1971
Winnebago – Rockford   Morning Star          1961 – 1963
Winnebago – Rockford   Register Star           1988 – 2007
Winnebago – Rockford   Register-Republic  1952 – 1972
The Rockford Public Library should have these on microfilm.
You can contact them for a search if you cannot get there yourself.
We have the Beloit Daily News (in microfilm at Beloit Public Library, Wisconsin)
which also covers news for South Beloit Illinois.
South Beloit does not have their own newspaper that I know of.
We would be glad to look up local history for you, but Beloit Daily News is not indexed for all the years.
We would need to know which date – at least the month and year.
For requests, please send us more information to our Interlibrary loan email.
Or you can contact me at the BLOG email StatelinegenealogyClub@yahoo.com

New Old Beloit Newspaper Microfilm and a Magnifying Machine at the Library

New Old Beloit Newspaper Microfilm and

a Magnifying Machine at the Library

by Vicki Ruthe Hahn

SGS Stateline Genealogy Sorter

May 26, 2017

Thanks to our Library cataloger, we now have some long-awaited microfilms available (and a few more to come.)

There were many newspapers published in Beloit, Wisconsin before ( and contemporary to) the Beloit Daily News.

The Beloit Public Library will be closed on Monday, May 29 for Memorial Day, but take the time to research your military ancestors at home.

And come another time to see if any of these newspaper microfilms have your Beloit ancestors:

“Daily Graphic”, Beloit, Wisconsin – January 13, 1877 thru July 28, 1877.

“Daily Outlook” Beloit, Wisconsin – Two reels

December 20, 1881 thru May 31, 1882

June 1, 1882 thru November 22, 1882

You can also use the new magnifying machine in the Genealogy and Local History Collection area (similar to this image).  It was donated by a library patron.  It is very easy to use to enlarge one of our maps, small print in a book, etc.  It even has a reverse positive/negative that you can use to help interpret tricky handwriting, etc.

 

Skeletons in Your Family Closet and How to “Report” Them, (or Not)

Skeletons in Your Family Closet

and How to “Report” Them,

(or Not)

Vicki’s Note – This is a March 19, 2017 article from MyHeritage.com BLOG by W. Scott Fisher:

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Scandal! Dealing With Skeletons In Your Family Tree

This is a guest post by W. Scott Fisher, the creator and host of Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show, heard on dozens of radio stations in the US and as a podcast. A broadcaster by career, Scott has been a devoted genealogist since 1981. He was featured in People in 2015 for using his skills to locate the family of a murder victim, who had been missing for 32 years.

 

I still remember my verbal response to the very first family scandal I ran across in my research. “WHAAAAT?!!!” The 1893 newspaper article was lit up inside a banged-up old microfilm reader and began answering a long list of questions I had had for years concerning my great grandfather, Andrew J. Fisher, and his wife, Jane.

Where was their New York City marriage record? Who was this “Sarah Fisher” that appeared cryptically in the court file concerning a challenge to his will? Why did that record note “the said Andrew J. Fisher left no widow him surviving”? Of course, he did! It was Jane. She was right there in the will, and lived another six years!

One salacious headline told me all my genealogical conundrums were about to be resolved: “ANDREW FISHER’S RIVAL WIDOWS / One was Recognized by His Will, Which the Other Now Seeks to Break.”

It turned out that “Sarah Fisher” was Andrew’s other, other woman. Three decades younger than he, she had a child by him when he was 58. She claimed common law rights because, said she, Jane, though named in the will, couldn’t be a common-law wife because she was still married to someone else. Hence… no marriage record.

The truth is, if you haven’t found a scandal in your family yet, you haven’t been researching long enough. Just as we all descend from kings and paupers, we also all descend from saints and sinners.

As a writer of over a dozen books for my family, specifically on the ancestral families of both my wife and me, the 1893 story presented a challenge. How do I present this rather… ahem… interesting tale? And, yes, Andrew Fisher has been dead for well over a century, but what of his reputation?

After a lot of thought, I recognized that Andrew’s story was shared among countless people who knew him, and didn’t, during his lifetime. It was a widely spread story in its day. Needless to say, none of those people were still around, including children, to risk causing personal embarrassment to anyone.

I determined that I would have to include this chapter of his life story without embellishment, simply sticking to the facts. Further, I recognized there were many good things he did in his life… he was a volunteer fireman, for instance, who no doubt saved many lives. A comment from my friend, Janet Hovorka, stuck in my mind: “Every scoundrel has some hero in them. Every hero has some scoundrel in them.”

Further, through this final chapter of Andrew’s life, I was able to illustrate that the way people react to damaging family experiences can affect generations. Andrew’s oldest son, John, followed in his father’s footsteps. He drank heavily, was kicked out of the family by his wife, and led a life of despair. His brother, my grandfather, made a conscious effort not to repeat the past. He married and stayed devoted to his teenage sweetheart who died at 49 of tuberculosis. He never married again. He raised his own two sons as his number one priority. Both, including my father, became very successful.

A study at Emory University from the 1990s shows how building a strong family narrative among children, including how ancestors overcame adversity, developed in them greater emotional maturity and inner strength. Indeed, it was beneficial for them to know about the foibles of their ancestors as well as their moments of greatness.

Dealing with more recent family situations can, of course, be more difficult. Here’s a somewhat minor issue. In transcribing a stack of letters written by my grandmother more than a half-century ago, I made the decision to eliminate an unkind comment she made about a cousin of mine who was, at the time, just a pre-schooler. Grandmother is revered in our family, and I’m certain she would never have imagined her thoughtless scribble could have survived for decades and possibly come back to the ears or eyes of this (now) very successful business and family man.

My personal rule is, the feelings of the living, even if the individual in question is dead, must be taken into account. A record that causes pain or embarrassment is contrary to the purpose of family history research and the strengthening of future generations.

When I wrote the first volume of my father’s story, I talked about his first marriage and the challenges it created for the family when he and his wife divorced. I noted something he once told me. “I walked out of the courtroom with eight dollars in my pocket.” I never imagined his first wife, then in her 90s, would ever read it, yet alone take offense. She did. I removed that quote from the next revision.

Yes, it’s true. As the family historian, you get to tell the story the way you see it. (I warned my mother before she died!) But with the privilege of that opportunity also comes responsibility. Privacy is due to the living as well as living people who were close to those who may now be dead. The law may grant protections and maybe even penalties to living family members over what you make public about them. In the end, if you err on the side of sensitivity and ask permission where needed, you’ll avoid painful family trouble. Even as a historian, there are times where we don’t have to share everything we know… or believe we are aware.

The Flood of 1973 in Beloit Wisconsin and South Beloit Illinois

The Flood of 1973 in Beloit Wisconsin

and South Beloit Illinois

by Vicki Ruthe Hahn

SGS Stateline Genealogy Sorter

April 3, 2017

A  loose- leaf book, about The Flood of 1973 in Beloit, Wisconsin and South Beloit, Illinois, was “presented”  to the Beloit Public Library by Robert Solem in 1973?  It was updated in 2011 by a (prefers not to be named) volunteer who had additional (personal) information that doubled it into a 123 page book.  He labeled the photographs, added location indicators and most of the pertinent 1973 Beloit Daily Newspaper articles (copied from the Library microfilm.)  Our volunteer then scanned the final product and gave both to the Beloit Public Library for local history.  Both versions are implied fair-use copyright for the Beloit Public Library.

I am endlessly grateful for the good that these volunteers, and others, do to help further the work of easier access to information about local history and genealogy.  From transcribing historic books into readable form, scanning, labeling, arranging, creating indexes and bibliographies, etc. – all are blessings.  Although, I am not able to link the digital copy to my BLOG, I wanted you to know the added good that will come of these volunteers’ efforts.

We got an ILL Interlibrary Loan request from a researcher at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.  He wanted the original Reference book, which we do not send out of the Library.  That is so all you fine folks that visit libraries can access our local history.

That researcher will be using the flood information to build a model to help evaluate why the flood(s) happened.  The information will helpfully prevent future floods here, and elsewhere. I have requested that the researcher update me on his results, which I will include in a future Posting.

Looks like I will have to be sending the books pages in several emails.  That is entirely made possible and easy by the scanning that my volunteer did of this book.

The physical book is available to look at in the Beloit Public Library Genealogy and Local History Collection:

Title       The Turtle Creek flood, April 21, 1973 : Beloit, Wisconsin & So. Beloit, Illinois. With updated annotations Fall of 2011

Imprint [S.l. : s.n. ; 1973?]

Beloit Genealogy & Local History              GEN 363.34936 Turtle 1973         REFERENCE

Description         1 v. (loose-leaf) : chiefly ill. ; 30 cm.

Note      “Presented by Robert Solem”–Cover.

Subject Turtle Creek (Rock County, Wis. and Winnebago County, Ill.) — Flood, 1973.

Beloit (Wis.) — History.

South Beloit (Ill.)

 

Here is more information on historic flooding in the area, from the Beloit Historic Society.

Individual Membership
1 Year – $25 Membership at the The Beloit Historic Society   is well worth the value of receiving the 6 times a year newsletters filled with unique stories about Beloit history.  It also gives you a chance to support local history efforts in Beloit.

Another chance soon to support the Beloit Historical Society is to come hear my (short version) program – What They Wore When.  April 12, 2017.  This is one of several great programs that BHS Kelly Washburn is offering to the public.

BHS

Beloit Floods:

http://www.beloithistoricalsociety.com/newsletter/08_03.pdf

Beloit Flooding 1

Beloit Flooding 2

 

 

3 Tips to Locate Photos of Ancestors’ School Days

Vicki’s Note – article from Family Tree Magazine 9-1-2016.  There is a 6 volume set of One Room Rock County Rural Schoolhouse pictures and histories at the Beloit Public Library  – both in our Local History/ Genealogy collection and copies to check out and borrow to use at home.

Book Cover

A history of the rural schools of Rock County, Wisconsin. Vol. 1 : townships of Avon, Beloit, Bradford

Kidder, Clark.
[Place of publication not identified] : [publisher not identified], c2014-2015. 2015

Location Call No. Status
 Beloit Genealogy & Local History  GEN 378.7758 Kidder 2015 Oct v.1  REFERENCE
 Beloit Adult Non-Fiction  378.7758 Kidder 2015 Oct v.1  ON SHELF

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3 Tips to Locate Photos of Ancestors’ School Days

Photo Detective with Maureen A. Taylor

Sunday, September 04, 2016
3 Tips to Locate Photos of Ancestors’ School Days
Posted by Maureen A Taylor

For the first three years of grade school, I went to class in a 19th-century building. A big wide staircase and a classroom cloak room stick in my mind. That building is long gone, replaced by a modern school. I’ve search for a picture of the original structure to see if my memories of it compare to how it actually looked.

Finding images of the schools my family attended is a good beginning to understanding their classroom experience, and it helps flesh out my family story.

Depending on when and where they lived, the school could be a one-room schoolhouse or a massive brick-and-mortar city school.


Nebraska State Historical Society, [Digital ID, e.g., nbhips 12036]

If your ancestor attended school in Nebraska, count yourself lucky. The Nebraska State Historical Society added images to the American Memory Project of the Library of Congress. This one is a sod school, District 62, 2 miles west of Merna, Custer County, Neb., in 1889.

In this picture, you can see the backwards writing on the bottom edge of the original glass plate.

According to the cataloging record, in 1974, someone identified the teacher in the middle as Elsie Thomas who married a Bidgood. One of the girls in the back row, second to the left of the teacher, is Nettie Hannawald. There is another picture of Nettie online as well.

Tip 1: Look online. Search the Library of Congress for pictures of schools in places your ancestors lived. Choose “Photos, Prints, Drawings” from the dropdown menu at the top, and type search terms such as Merna Nebraska school.

Then expand your search to Google images. A quick search for history of public school architecture Grand Rapids resulted in a lot of hits including an online article and photo essays for Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Tip 2: Check newspapers.
In a town where I once lived, an old schoolhouse is now a bank, but I learned a lot about the building form old newspapers. In the 1930s, some members of the town balked at installing indoor plumbing. The old outhouse was good enough, they said.

Search newspapers looking for school information:

  • You might locate information about the school building.
  • Merit student lists in the paper could mention your relative
  • There might be an engraving or a photograph published

Tip 3: Ask the locals. Public libraries and historical societies often have pictures of old school buildings. Check the library or society website for a collection of digital images. Include school yearbooks in your search.

Beloit WI third in the nation to pass a Fair Housing (Open Occupancy) Ordinance – 1964

Beloit WI third in the nation to pass a Fair Housing      (Open Occupancy) Ordinance – 1964

By Vicki Ruthe Hahn –SGS Stateline Genealogy Sorter

Beloit Historical Society BHS  got a reference request from the Seattle NPR station KUOW that asked about the historic change in housing laws in Beloit Wisconsin.  Caroline Chamberlain, producer at KUOW Public Radio (Seattle), is “…working on a story about open housing in Seattle and .. looking for examples of cities in the country that passed open housing laws before 1968.  …(she) saw Beloit on a list of cities that passed an open housing law before 1966.”

Working in collaboration with the BHS volunteer, Bob Haas (who first got the request), I was able to find information to answer the question.  Bob and I have had several discussions about Beloit history and genealogy/local history requests in our efforts to collaborate and help each other.  Beloit Historical Society BHS and the Beloit Public Library refer seekers to each other frequently,  as we do not have duplicate collections of information.

My capable and regular volunteer Linda Smith, created a complete index to the very valuable local history book, published by the Beloit Daily News, “Book of Beloit II 1836 – 1986”.  Genealogy seekers who come to the Library are able to now make full use of that book.  Linda is currently working on updating and expanding the basic Index we have to the first “Book of Beloit”.  It takes over one year.   Many thanks to all of the volunteers who help make our searches quicker and more thorough.

 

“Evidently Beloit was ahead of the pack in anti discrimination laws.”, Bob said.

1964 was the year that the Fair Housing Ordinance (also known as an “open occupancy ordinance” ) was enacted in Beloit WI.

“It was only the third open occupancy ordinance enacted in the entire nation.”, according to the Book of Beloit II 1836 -1986.

Reference to the specific year 1964 is in the City Ordinances 1.82, pg. 1-106 #10 – Equal Opportunities Commission est. by statute “under the Title II of the federal Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 approved by the City Council … under Title X of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964.”

Hint – the City of Beloit Wisconsin Ordinances are in print at the Beloit Public Library, and on-line at the City website.

The full story of the 1964 ordinance is in The Book of Beloit II, 1836 – 1986 pages 252 & 254.

There is more information on City of Beloit, WI Website Documents- (Refer to City Website link below for full report.)

Beloit Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing- 2012

“Information for this report was obtained from a variety of sources including local data collection systems, nationally collected public data and statistics, as well as interviews and surveys. A focus group consisting of the members of the City’s Equal Opportunities and Human Relations Commission (EOHRC) and various community leaders was formed and met twice in a public workshop setting to review the data gathered for this report. The group offered their opinions on any trends or indicators they gleaned from the data.”

Appendix A of this report Pg 80 – end is the:

Timeline of the City of Beloit’s African American Residential Patterns: 1915-1989

Now I have a “Fair Housing“ folder, which includes a printout of this Timeline, in the Local History file cabinet that we all can refer to.

And if you hear a radio story on NPR National Public Radio from Seattle on the history of “open housing”, you will know some of the work that went into it:

“Vicki, Thank you so much for this- this is exactly what I was looking for. I’m going to include Beloit, Wisconsin in my list of cities that enacted open housing before Seattle.  Thank you, Caroline”

Beloit has discrimination, but it is nice to know that they have been at the forefront to make efforts to improve.

Hint – really dig into all aspects of the local area of your ancestors to understand their lives.