Sunday, May 31, 2020

1913 Benton Basketball Team - Robert Lee Gober - Genealogy and Algebra


Robert Lee Gober (1895-1971) is on the far left in the photograph below, holding the basketball. He is my wife's great grandfather. Benton is the County Seat for Scott County, in Southeastern Missouri. 

Born in 1895, Robert Lee Gober would have been 18 in 1913. We know as an adult he was 6'4" tall, though we do not know if he had stopped growing by the time of this photograph. I don't know the identities of any of the other young men, but I was curious how much they varied in height. Let's assume he was 6'4" tall. Can we estimate the height of the shortest teammate? Definitely. 

Examining the photograph in my photo-editor, RL Gober is 1,775 pixels in height, and the shortest teammate is 1,515. (I measured from the top of the head to the bottom of the foot, choosing the back foot for both individuals)

76 inches / 1775 pixels = X inches / 1,515 pixels
Solving for X, he is 64.87 inches tall. Or 5'5. Almost a full foot shorter than Robert.
Naturally, there is some room for error in how I calculated the pixels.

(You didn't realize algebra would come in handy for genealogy, did you?)

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Memorial Day Weekend 2020

Below is my annual post for Memorial Day.

A post on what Memorial Day is for, besides barbecues.

The above image comes from a past version of the Memorial Day page at the US Department of Veterans Affairs, explaining that Memorial Day is a day for remembering those who died in the service of their country.  [Read the full text of the poem.]
Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. men and women who died while in the military service. First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War (it is celebrated near the day of reunification after the civil war), it was expanded after World War I to include American casualties of any war or military action. [source]
[More on the history of Memorial Day]


Unnamed Remains the Bravest Soldier - by Walt Whitman (From 'Specimen Days')

OF scenes like these, I say, who writes—whoe’er can write the story? Of many a score—aye, thousands, north and south, of unwrit heroes, unknown heroisms, incredible, impromptu, first-class desperations—who tells? No history ever—no poem sings, no music sounds, those bravest men of all—those deeds. No formal general’s report, nor book in the library, nor column in the paper, embalms the bravest, north or south, east or west. Unnamed, unknown, remain, and still remain, the bravest soldiers. Our manliest—our boys—our hardy darlings; no picture gives them. Likely, the typic one of them (standing, no doubt, for hundreds, thousands,) crawls aside to some bush-clump, or ferny tuft, on receiving his death-shot—there sheltering a little while, soaking roots, grass and soil, with red blood—the battle advances, retreats, flits from the scene, sweeps by—and there, haply with pain and suffering (yet less, far less, than is supposed,) the last lethargy winds like a serpent round him—the eyes glaze in death—none recks—perhaps the burial-squads, in truce, a week afterwards, search not the secluded spot—and there, at last, the Bravest Soldier crumbles in mother earth, unburied and unknown.

The cartoon above is by John T. McCutcheon - published circa 1900

I have many ancestors and kin who served in their nation's armed forces during war-time. I honor them on Veterans Day.

However, the closest relative who was killed in action was my grandfather's brother, my great-uncle, Mandell Newmark.

Mandell was born Jan 31, 1923. He was almost certainly named after his great-grandfather Mandell Mojsabovski. He enlisted in the army on Feb 22, 1943, and served as a Sgt. Technician Fifth Grade, in the 163rd infantry. He was killed in action on April 15, 1945. Less than a month prior to VE day

My grandfather also had a second cousin, Arnold Kruvant, who was killed in action during the D-Day invasion.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Ancestry’s Indexing of Newspapers.com Obituaries

Here’s a research tip that probably should go without saying, but sometimes as humans we get tired or sloppy, and forget. Indexes made by humans have errors in them. Indexes made by computers do too. Perhaps more.

Ancestry’s indexing of their obituaries from Newspapers.com should not be trusted without looking at the actual obituary. A computer has done the indexing, and not a human. The algorithms are good, but not perfect. This is a great illustration. Patrick Swayze never resided in a town called “Ghost,” and he didn’t marry “Jennifer Grey.” While these mistakes are humorous, and obvious to any fan of the actor, consider what other mistakes the computer algorithms may be making with the obituaries of those in your tree. (I have distant Swayze ancestors, and Patrick is possibly a 9th cousin.)

Thursday, April 2, 2020

MyHeritage InColor App

Through April 22nd, MyHeritage is making their new InColor app, free for everyone to use for an unlimited number of photographs. You need to create an account (which is free), but then you can upload as many black and white photos as you wish and see what they look like in color.

Of course, I wanted this 1947 photograph of my paternal great grandparents in Miami. The story goes that they had enough difficulty with Miami hotels, as they were Jewish, but as their vacation lengthened, their difficulties grew, because my great grandfather Herman Feinstein had a very dark tan.

Here is my maternal grandmother at the Grand Canyon in 1925 - age 25.

And my paternal grandparents on their honeymoon. My grandfather's leg illustrates that the inColor app sometimes has difficulty with parts of photographs that are in shadow. But I really don't mind the small colorization errors. The results overall are outstanding.


Here are my maternal great grandparents Samuel and Helen Lichtman Deutsch, and all their children, early 1920s. 
(Their youngest was born in 1914.)

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Tombstone Tuesday - Andrew David Van Every

Andrew David Van Every (1795-1873)
St. George Baptist Cemetery, Brant County, Ontario
My third great grandfather

My only maternal Van Every ancestor who lived his entire life in Canada. His father, David Van Every, a United Empire Loyalist, fled the colonies after the Revolution. His son, Samuel Andrew Van Every, immigrated back to the United States.

(Image source: Find a Grave, with permission)

Monday, March 30, 2020

Amanuensis Monday: Declaration of Intent for Jacob Perlik

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

Today I transcribe a Declaration of Intention completed by Jacob Perlik, a brother of my second great grandmother, Annie Perlik Feinstein.

No. 86276 
US DEPARTMENT OF LABOR NATURALIZATION SERVICE
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
DECLARATION OF INTENTION

Invalid for all purposes seven years after the date hereof

State of Illinois County of Cook In the Circuit Court of Cook County

I, Jacob Perlik, aged 41 years, occupation Carpenter do declare on oath that my person description is: Color white, complexion Ruddy, height 5 feet 9 inches, weight 176 pounds, color of hair Black, color of eyes Brown, other visible distinctive marks None.

I was born in Zdobietzen, Russia on the 12th day of April, anno Domini 1879. I now reside at 1438 So. Turner Ave, Chicago, Ill.

I emigrated to the United States of America from Quebec, Canada on the Canadian Pacific R.R.; my last foreign residence was Russia; I am married; the name of my wife is Bessie; she was born at Russia and now resides at With me.

It is my bona fide intention to renounce forever all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, and particularly to THE PRESENT GOVERNMENT OF RUSSIA, of whom I am now a subject; I arrived at the port of Detroit, in the State of Michigan, on or about the 12 day of May, anno Domini 1905.

I am not an anarchist; I am not a polygamist nor a believer in the practice of polygamy; and it is my intention in good faith to become a citizen of the United States of America and to permanently reside therein; SO HELP ME GOD.

Jacob Perlik

Subscribed and sworn before me in the office of the Clerk of said Court At Chicago, Ill, this 10 day of April anno Domini 1918

August W Miller Clerk of the Circuit Court
By G, Sienneschen, Deputy Clerk


Notes:

1) You may note that while I underlined all handwritten text, 'White' after 'Color" is not underlined. That is because if you look at the image, it is not handwritten. It is part of the typed form. Non-whites could naturalize after the Naturalization Act of 1870, so Non-white individuals declaring their intention to become naturalized either received a different form, or had to cross White out.

2) We're not exactly sure what town in Russia Jacob came from. There is no town named Zdobietzen. But it could be Dobryzn or Szczebrzeszyn.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Poetry Friday: The Influenza, 1890 - Winston Churchill

The Influenza, 1890 - Winston Churchill, age 15
Oh how shall I its deeds recount Or measure the untold amount Of ills that it has done? From China's bright celestial land E'en to Arabia's thirsty sand It journeyed with the sun. O'er miles of bleak Siberia's plains Where Russian exiles toil in chains It moved with noiseless tread; And as it slowly glided by There followed it across the sky The spirits of the dead. The Ural peaks by it were scaled And every bar and barrier failed To turn it from its way; Slowly and surely on it came, Heralded by its awful fame, Increasing day by day. On Moscow's fair and famous town Where fell the first Napoleon's crown It made a direful swoop; The rich, the poor, the high, the low Alike the various symptoms know, Alike before it droop. Nor adverse winds, nor floods of rain Might stay the thrice-accursed bane; And with unsparing hand, Impartial, cruel and severe It travelled on allied with fear And smote the fatherland. Fair Alsace and forlorn Lorraine, The cause of bitterness and pain In many a Gaelic breast, Receive the vile, insatiate scourge, And from their towns with it emerge And never stay nor rest. And now Europa groans aloud, And 'neath the heavy thunder-cloud Hushed is both song and dance; The germs of illness wend their way To westward each succeeding day And enter merry France. Fair land of Gaul, thy patriots brave Who fear not death and scorn the grave Cannot this foe oppose, Whose loathsome hand and cruel sting, Whose poisonous breath and blighted wing Full well thy cities know. In Calais port the illness stays, As did the French in former days, To threaten Freedom's isle; But now no Nelson could o'erthrow This cruel, unconquerable foe, Nor save us from its guile. Yet Father Neptune strove right well To moderate this plague of Hell, And thwart it in its course; And though it passed the streak of brine And penetrated this thin line, It came with broken force. For though it ravaged far and wide Both village, town and countryside, Its power to kill was o'er; And with the favouring winds of Spring (Blest is the time of which I sing) It left our native shore. God shield our Empire from the might Of war or famine, plague or blight And all the power of Hell, And keep it ever in the hands Of those who fought 'gainst other lands, Who fought and conquered well.

Source