Category Archives: Life Writing Your Family History

In the Genealogy Zone of Serenity

In the Genealogy Zone of Serenity

by Vicki Ruthe Hahn

SGS – Stateline Genealogy Sorter

7-8-2018

See the source image

I spent a great day indoors on the beautifully sunny day this last Saturday July 7, 2018.  What could tempt me to do such a thing on a perfect 80 degree summer gardening day?

(By the way, as I have told you before – Genealogy is the most popular hobby, and gardening is the most popular in the summer.)

The annual (MCGS) McHenry County Genealogical Society Conference was held at the McHenry County Community College, Illinois.  Always professional regional and national genealogy speakers, and great accommodations at a fairly low price. The  MCGS group has it organized well, and improves every year.  This is my third ? year attending.

I learned a lot from all four sessions – one with each speaker.

2018 Jul 7 - MCGS Conference McHenry IL - Vicki Hahn, Judy Russell

Vicki Hahn with the “Legal Genealogist” Judy Russell – who spoke on “NARA Mythbusters: Your  family IS in the Archives”.  I learned how to navigate the complex and thorough government website.  So many records of your family’s interactions with many government agencies!

 

2018 Jul 7 - MCGS Conference McHenry IL - Vicki Hahn, Lisa Alzo

Vicki Hahn with Family Tree University instructor, author, and Slavic Genealogy expert Lisa Alzo “ImmersionGenealogy.com“, who spoke on “Crossing the Pond: successful Strategies for Researching Eastern European Ancestors”.

The closest that my family gets (as far as I know now) is a slight DNA for “Finland/Russia”, but what a lot of great techniques I learned.  And so many links to Slavic websites that Lisa shared.  Be looking for them soon on the BLOG tab ” Genealogy Links and  Electronic Resources”.

Lisa describes –

“What is Immersion Genealogy?

Immersion Genealogy is the process of discovering where and how our ancestors lived, worked, and worshiped, and experiencing first-hand those customs and traditions they passed down through the generations.”

Some hints from Lisa Alzo:

After searching the United State online records, then search the other country’s on-line databases.  Open them in  Google Chrome using that country’s Google, not the United States one – “.com”  If the website doesn’t not have an in “English” button, GC will ask, “Do you want to translate this page?”

When the records are in a foreign language – learn the key foreign words from that country’s FamilySearch.org WIKI.  Learn the words that are on the column headings, or circle the key words if in a paragraph form – birth, marriage, death, burial, father, mother, village, etc..  Look for your ancestor’s original name.

Look for your cousins/ancestor/village on Facebook (Groups), or location photographs on Flickr.com or Ebay.com. (Click on these two links to see some historic Beloit Wisconsin pictures.)

 

David Rencher, Chief Genealogist Officer for FamilySearch.org spoke on “Applied Methodology for Irish Genealogical Research”.  He gave some further insights on how to search for those elusive same-named Irish folks.  Narrow it down to their original name and village. Also look into connections to the rich families in the area – servants were only named in household inventories and did not have their own records early on.  David likened it to searching for African-American slaves before the Civil War.

 

Curt Witcher, Allen County Library’s Senior Manager for Special Collections, spoke on “German Migration into the American Midwest”  focusing on mostly Indiana.  He showed how to use any secondary source for additional information/clues on the history of your ancestors.  David gave several examples of this, including the use of Wikipedia (which I use all the time.)  He even found pertinent references to German immigrant settlement patterns in a Walworth County (Wisconsin) County History book!

I asked Curt to announce our upcoming visit from Astrid Adler to the Beloit Public Library on October 23, 2018.  It was too perfect of a segue-way on the same topic.  He said, “Come to the program and hear from a real German expert on migration to the United States.”  About 25 people took our Stateline Genealogy Club @ Beloit Public Library 2018 Programs handout with information about the 6:30 p.m. program, “Our Ancestors Were German”.  As Astrid is coming from Germany, it really is great to have a wider interest from the area.

David and Curt both said that migration follows language and not religion.  You may find your ancestor in church records not their own.

 

I will be adding the two books on McHenry Illinois, (that I obtained), to the Beloit Public Library Local History Genealogy Collection.:

“McHenry County Illinois Genealogical Society 10th Anniversary 1981 – 1991 Index – Quarterlies, Newsletters.”, 1993.

“1870 McHenry County Illinois Federal Census”, transcribed by Dee-Ann Stambazze, 1992

I also gathered several brochures to share – on several topics/ regional genealogy groups.  We may want to look into going to Newberry Library in Chicago   Lots of resources, like at WHS Wisconsin Historical Society Library in Madison.

 

One of the things that I learned from volunteers at the Chicago LDS Family Center was that FamilySearch.org  intends to have all of their microfilm collection digitized and on-line in 2022.  Some of the bigger Family Centers (like Chicago) have their regional microfilm on-site meanwhile, even though FamilySearch has stopped sending patron’s requested microfilms to any Family Center.  I guess Salt Lake wants to have the microfilm there to digitize 🙂

Lunch was spent speaking with others at the table about genealogy (and quilting!); and sharing information with venders at the booths.  I got three speakers from the venders who are going to present genealogy programs for us in Beloit in 2019.

Marty Acks – from (CAGGNI) Computer Assisted Genealogy Group of Northern Illinois will do a program to be determined – maybe on USGENWEB.org.

Kathy Meade from ArkivDigital.com, a subscription service will do a program on how to find your Swedish roots on-line.

And Rebecca Quinn from CreativeMemories.com – “Your photos and stories + our best quality albums = memories to be shared and enjoyed.”  She will present a workshop on either scrap-booking, or how to do the Lifewriting techniques  of “Snapshots of the Spirit; Capturing Your Current Family’s Stories with Bullet Journaling”.  Rebecca will bring her products for purchase, or supply your own.

I also touched bases with people from two genealogy groups that are having me give programs this year (more on that in another Posting,)

So overall, I’m a happy genealogy camper after submerging in the Genealogy Zone of Serenity.

Maybe I will see you there next year?

 

 

 

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What did Your Ancestor Look Like?

What did Your Ancestor Look Like?

Vicki’s note – article from Legacy Family Tree News magazine online to find out what your Ancestor looked like, even if you don’t have a photograph. Read the full article by clicking on the title below. :

5 Sources to Find Physical Characteristics of Your Ancestor

by Lisa Lisson

“As we research our ancestors in historical records, we start to get to know them. …

But do you ever wonder what your ancestors looked like?

How tall was your great grandfather? Which side of the family did you get your blues eyes from? What color hair did your ancestor have? Did you ancestors have any physical deformities?

Even if you have no photographs of your ancestors, you can find descriptions of their physical characteristics.

Let’s take look at 5 sources for finding a description of an ancestor’s physical characteristics and potentially a photograph. …”

1. Draft Cards

2. Civilian Conservation Corps Records

3. Jail Records

4. Passport Applications

5. Yearbooks

Celebrating Women’s History Month

3-17-2018

Vicki’s note – We know how hard it is to find some of those elusive women in our family history searches. All are quiet heroes (or the new word “shero”) in their lives as they take care of their families, in sometimes hard circumstances.  Which women in your life, or in your genealogy searches, have especially inspired you? 

That is one way that you can join in celebrating Women’s History Month.  Another way that you can recognize the sacrifices our female ancestors made to allow women to vote, is to vote – every election!  Read about other recognition of women’s strength  from the U.S. National Archives to Mattel’s new collection of “Inspiring Women” dolls and and the “Shero” Program dolls.

Celebrating Women’s History Month

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Mattel Is Releasing 17 New Barbie Dolls Honoring Strong Female Role Models

 

 

Orphan Trains and Rock County Wisconsin At the Beloit Public Library:

Orphan Trains and Rock County Wisconsin; At the Beloit Public Library:

Vicki’s note – See notice below of a bonus Tuesday evening program  at the Beloit Public Library of interest to many.  This is from the Library’s “Around the Library” March/April/May 2018 brochure:

“Emily’s Story – The Brave Journey of an Orphan Train Rider
A presentation by Clark Kidder
Tuesday, March 27, at 7 p.m.
In this presentation, Clark Kidder brings to light his own
research on the orphan trains. Between 1854 and 1929,
nearly 250,000 children were transported from New York City to the homes of farm families in almost every state, particularly in the Midwest. Kidder tells the Dickensian story of his paternal grandmother, the late Emily (Reese) Kidder, of Milton, who, at the tender age of 13, rode an orphan train to the Midwest in 1906. Kidder will read from his book, Emily’s Story – The Brave Journey of an Orphan Train Rider. He will also show pictures from the book in a PowerPoint presentation. The presentation runs about one hour in length, and Mr. Kidder will conduct a Q & A session and book signing following the presentation.”

 

Quote from Amazon.com site about the book:

“It seems incomprehensible that there was a time in America s not-so-distant past that nearly 200,000 children could be loaded on trains in large cities on our East Coast, sent to the rural Midwest, and presented for the picking to anyone who expressed an interest in them. That’s exactly what happened between the years 1854 and 1930. The primitive social experiment became known as placing out, and had its origins in a New York City organization founded by Charles Loring Brace called the Children’s Aid Society. The Society gathered up orphans, half-orphans, and abandoned children from streets and orphanages, and placed them on what are now referred to as Orphan Trains. It was Brace s belief that there was always room for one more at a farmer s table. The stories of the individual children involved in this great migration of little emigrants have nearly all been lost in the attic of American history. In this book, the author tells the true story of his paternal grandmother, the late Emily (Reese) Kidder, who, at the tender age of thirteen, became one of the aforementioned children who rode an Orphan Train. In 1906, Emily was plucked from the Elizabeth Home for Girls, operated by the Children’s Aid Society, and placed on a train, along with eight other children, bound for Hopkinton, Iowa. Emily s journey, as it turned out, was only just beginning. Life had many lessons in store for her – lessons that would involve perseverance, overcoming adversity, finding lasting love, and suffering great loss. Emily’s story is told through the use of primary material, oral history, interviews, and historical photographs. It is a tribute to the human spirit of an extraordinary young girl who became a woman – a woman to whom the heartfelt phrase “there’s no place like home” had a very profound meaning.”

Clark Kidder will have his book available for sale at the Library program, and will sign books.

Clark Kidde’s Orphan Train Website.

http://www.clarkkidder.com/home.html

This is the same author who produced the six volume set of  “History of the Rural Schools of Rock County” – (mostly one room schools) books that we have at the Library:

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
Description 340 pages : illustrations ; 28 cm.
text txt rdacontent
Series History of the rural schools of Rock County, Wisconsin ; 1.
Note Rock County author.
Included in this book are written histories of the school buildings, memories of pupils and teachers, as well as lists of students, teachers, and board members associated with each school. Also included are various photos of students, teachers, interiors and exteriors of the schools. A history of Rock County Normal school is included, which includes a list of teachers who graduated from the school during its operation.–from container.
Wisconsin author.
Subject Rock County Authors.
Rural schools — Wisconsin — Rock County.
Wisconsin authors.
ISBN 9781505823677
1505823676

Here is some additional information on Orphan Trains:

A non-fiction DVD available at the Beloit Public Library:

Publisher
PBS Home Video,
Publication Date
2006 1995

A book available thru WorldCat on Orphan Trains:

The Children’s Aid Society of New York : an index to the federal, state, and local census records of its lodging houses, 1855-1925

Author: Carolee R Inskeep; Children’s Aid Society (New York, N.Y.)

Publisher: Baltimore, Md. : Clearfield Co., 1996.

Edition/Format:  Print book : English

Database: WorldCat

Subjects –  Children’s Aid Society (New York, N.Y.) — Registers.  Children’s Aid Society (New York, N.Y.)  New York (N.Y.) — Genealogy.

ISBN: 080634623X  9780806346236

OCLC Number: 34963937

Description: ix, 150 pages ; 22 cm

Other Titles: Children’s Aid Society of New York (1855-1925)

Related Subjects:(19)

(The Related Subjects listed will give you suggestions on other terms to use while searching for information on the topic.):

Children’s Aid Society (New York, N.Y.) — Registers.

Children’s Aid Society (New York, N.Y.)

New York (N.Y.) — Genealogy.

Children — New York (State) — New York — Registers.

Vagrant children — New York (State) — New York — Registers.

Registers of births, etc. — New York (State) — New York.

New York (N.Y.) — Census — Indexes.

New York (State) — Census — Indexes.

United States — Census — Indexes.

Census.

Children.

Registers of births, etc.

Vagrant children.

New York (State)

New York (State) — New York.

United States.

United States, New York, New York (City) — Orphans and orphanages.

United States, New York, New York (City) — Societies.

United States, New York, New York (City) — Census — Indexes.

 

“Cenotaph” – Genealogy Word for The Day.

“Cenotaph” – Genealogy Word for The Day.

Vicki Ruthe Hahn

February 9, 2018

Your ancestor may have more than one FAG FindAGrave.com memorial ID #.  You would add an (Alternate) Alt. Burial event to record the second memorial ID numbers/location.  It may be that FAG needs to merge 2 records, or (a common situation) is that a person will be buried in one place and have a Cenotaph in another location.  I had not really heard of that term before.

 Here is the Wikipedia definition for all of us –

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cenotaph

” Cenotaph – A cenotaph is an empty tomb or a monument erected in honour of a person or group of people whose remains are elsewhere. It can also be the initial tomb for a person who has since been reinterred elsewhere. Although the vast majority of cenotaphs honour individuals, many noted cenotaphs are instead dedicated to the memories of groups of individuals, such as the lost soldiers of a country or of an empire.”

 

 

Here is further information from FAG FindAGrave.com about how they use cenotaphs-

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“A cenotaph is a marker within a cemetery placed in honor of a person whose remains are buried elsewhere. It may also be the original marker for someone who has since been reinterred elsewhere. To add a cenotaph, create a memorial. Then email edit@findagrave.com with a link to the memorial and request to have the memorial designated a cenotaph. Only add relationship links to the actual burial memorial when both a cenotaph and actual burial exist.”

So to find the family relationship links in FAG, we would look at the actual burial memorial ID# , not the cenotaph memorial ID# .

 

Here is another variation of a cenotaph, and a personal example – my Great-grandmother:

Minerva Christiana “Crissie” Shultz

1867–1950

Birth 3 APRIL 1867 Mayberry, Montour, Pennsylvania, United States

Death AFT JULY 1950 Elyria, Lorain, Ohio, USA

Burial

abt 1950Unknown

The headstone (in Sharp Ridge Cemetery, Montour County, Pennsylvania,USA) with her husband (Henry A. Bennett) has her birth date, but not her death date. She may not be buried there, but near where she died in Elyria, Ohio while living with her sister.

I have not been able to pinpoint Crissie’s exact date of death, nor where she is buried. My Mom just knows it was in late 1950 after July. My parents had just moved to a new place in Illinois with a very little baby, and did not go to her Grandmother’s Pennsylvania? Ohio? funeral.

This headstone would probably be a cenotaph, but we don’t know for sure.  My Mom might have remembered better before memory loss set in.  She is the last one of her family generation.  None of the genealogy-searching cousins have any idea either.  A cautionary tale – ask your relatives while they can still tell you.

Crissie headstone

Vintage Aerial- historic aerial photography of rural American farms and homesteads

Vintage Aerial- historic aerial photography

of rural American farms and homesteads

12-14-2017
Vicki’s note –  Ron Zarnick  shared a new source that he found. 

Find Your Photo

Vintage Aerial has more than 18 million photos, taken in 41 states over the second half of the twentieth century. If you are looking for an aerial photograph of a rural area or small township, we most likely have your picture.

Start your search now by selecting your state and county:  https://vintageaerial.com/

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(From Ron:)
The following website has aerial photos for many years and many locations in 41 states. I found 6 pictures of my grandparents Pa. farm. They were for 1966 through 1999. The photos are not only farms.
You start off by specifying the state and county. There is no index, and some may find it difficult to use.
The sample teaser photo you find is copyrighted. Prints are expensive. There are several options ranging from $29-$250.
We have not yet decided to purchase a photo. However, I feel finding what I did was worth the effort.

A Fun Photo Discovery

A Fun Photo Discovery

by Vicki Ruthe Hahn

SGS Stateline Genealogy Sorter

I was able to date (my 2 x Great Grandmother’s) Lucy Adams Leighty’s dress from researching and presenting my program several times on “Contemporary Fashion through the Decades – How to Identify Our Ancestors’ Timelines  by What They Wore, When”.   I am learning the time periods of some of the historic styles by sight.

Here is Lucy Adams Leighty’s 1897 dress:

Lucy Adams dress 1Lucy Adams dress 2Lucy Adams dress 3Lucy Adams dress 4

My sisters and brother have been working on a 600+ pages family photograph book; Chris is creating the book, all of us donated photographs, two of us (Melodie and I)  are editing and doing genealogy research (as fast as we can) to fill in gaps, and I have been writing family stories about our ancestors based on research.  So much for waiting until I semi-retire someday and have more time to do all that!  🙂
Greg, our third cousin from Pennsylvania, has been invaluable in donating old family photographs and filling in family history.  We connected due to an Ancestry.com DNA test match.
If the “book” is ever published on paper, we would have to split it into 2 books.  The cost would be about $1 per page through the program that my sister is using.  We may just print one copy and give everyone else a DVD or electronic version.  What a great way to preserve family history.  The very last revision needed from me was to write a story to go with these photos.
My niece Andrea had done research on this dress for her college costuming history class.  She had surmised that Lucy made the special dress for her own wedding (in 1867).  This is not the correct style for that time period.  And Andrea had put in examples of 1890s dresses. 
Hint – don’t let preconceived notions of family stories detract you from the evidence, “i.e. “This must have been Gt Gt Grandma’s (1867) wedding dress.”  Keep your mind open to see the possibilities.  Look for clues and pieces of the puzzle that fit together.
While writing this history story last night, I discovered the fun photo discovery:
I was right – the dress is from 1897!  Lucy sewed the dress for her to wear as mother-of-the-bride at her daughter’s wedding!
Lucy Adams (probably) beautifully sewed this dress herself.  It’s style of fitted sleeves with a small puffed upper “leg of mutton” is from about 1897, when Lucy would have been age 60.  She married William Smith Leighty on March 29, 1867. They had five children in 20 years. Lucy and her husband were farmers in Morgan, Ohio.
Lucy may have worn a small bustle with the dress, as the back is longer by about an 1 1/2 inches.  It has a one-piece fitted bodice with hook and eye closure, and full skirt which was a little less full than the style (as a cost savings?)  The special fabric – a print of white flower sprigs on dark blue/black,  and the black lace collar, indicate that she made it for a special occasion, probably her daughter Annetta’s wedding.
One of Lucy’s children was our paternal Great Grandmother Annetta Leighty Jewison.  Annetta married Charles Oscar Jewison on February 17, 1897, in McDonough, Illinois. They had three children during their marriage, including our paternal grandmother Muriel Helen Jewison Ruthe.
Great Great Grandma Lucy would have used this as a Sunday dress afterward.

Save Your Genealogy Research by Donating It

Save Your Genealogy Research by Donating It

Vicki’s note – a Family Tree Magazine article.  Their articles have lots of great resources for genealogists. 

I am including this posting as a reminder of an additional way to preserve your genealogy work.   Can’t get no respect or find a genealogy appreciator from your family to be an inheritor of your hard work?  Ask your local library.  Don’t forget about donating to Allen County Library of  Fort Wayne Indiana, (in previous posting.)  Or look on my Electronic Links and Genealogy Helps page/tab for the Genealogical Will for Preserving Family History form.

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Ask A Librarian: How to Donate Your Genealogy Research So It Doesn’t Get Thrown Out

Kids don’t want your genealogy research? Don’t let it get thrown away when you’re gone. Here’s how to donate your family history papers to a library.

 

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Family Tree Magazine

Legacybox turns your outdated formats into digital

Vicki’s note – Maybe try this?

9-27-2017

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Legacybox turns your outdated formats into digital

Legacybox

“Getting the box back was such a delight! It felt like finding treasure.” -Blog: Design Mom

Legacybox

Legacybox turns your outdated formats into digital GOLD

Convert your home movies, videotapes, film reels, and pictures – including slides, negatives and prints – all to DVDs or thumb drive easily with Legacybox.

Legacybox was founded on the conviction to restore — to revalue what has been devalued. On the surface, we are about preserving outdated memories — tapes, film, photos, and audio — into digital keepsakes that are usable and safe for future generations. We are led by the desire to find simple, technology and design-driven ways to reconnect people with things that matter most, but are being lost or overlooked. Simply put, we help make memories matter.

Learn More

legacybox.com

 

Daily Life of Our Ancestors 150 Years Ago

Daily Life of Our Ancestors 150 Years Ago

Vicki’s note – a book that I ran across on Facebook – “The Lost Ways” by Claude Davis.  Even if you don’t appreciate the survivalist attitude, this quote from his Facebook ad is a good reminder of what our ancestors lived. This can help us to learn more about how they lived, and hopefully none of us will have to use their skills.

I learned a new term for survivalists – preppers.  It is always good to be prepared, and self-sufficient. There certainly have been enough natural and man-made disasters lately to be prepared to deal with.

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“The Crisis we should all prep for

is what folks 150 years ago called daily life:

…no electrical power, no refrigerators, no Internet, no computers, no TV, no hyperactive law enforcement, and no Safeway or Walmart.
They got things done or else we wouldn’t be here!

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Introducing ‘The Lost Ways’

Saving Our Forefathers’ Skills”