Saturday, April 19, 2014

Two Poems for April 19th (Repost)

The Midnight Ride of William Dawes - by Helen F Moore (1896)

I am a wandering, bitter shade,
Never of me was a hero made;
Poets have never sung my praise,
Nobody crowned my brow with bays;
And if you ask me the fatal cause,
I answer only, “My name was Dawes.”

‘Tis all very well for the children to hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere;
But why should my name be quite forgot,
Who rode as boldly and well, God wot?
Why should I ask? The reason is clear –
My name was Dawes and his Revere.

When the lights from the old North Church flashed out,
Paul Revere was waiting about,
But I was already on my way.
The shadows of night fell cold and gray
As I rode, with never a break or a pause;
But what was the use, when my name was Dawes!

History rings with his silvery name;
Closed to me are the portals of fame.
Had he been Dawes and I Revere,
No one had heard of him, I fear.
No one has heard of me because
He was Revere and I was Dawes.


Excerpt from Campo dei Fiori, by Czeslaw Milosz (1943)

I thought of the Campo dei Fiori
In Warsaw by the sky-carousel
One clear spring evening
To the strains of a carnival tune.
The bright melody drowned
The salvos from the ghetto wall,
And couples were flying
High in the cloudless sky.

(full poem)

April 19th is filled with historical events.

Many Americans think of the Battles of Lexington and Concord.  (Some erroneously place it on April 18th, but it was a midnight ride. The battles took place the next day.)

But this is also the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943. Last year's April edition of Tablet Magazine was devoted to Warsaw, including a haunting look at repurposed gravestones.

Note: According to this source William Dawes, who rode with Revere, was related to Henry L Dawes, for whom The Dawes Act was named.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Surname Saturday: Genealogy Filk

Bill West of West In New England recently announced the Second Geneabloggers' Just Make Up the Lyrics Challenge 

1. Set the names of your ancestors to the music of any song. It can be
any number of names, any song. Just remember to mention what song
you are using so we can all sing along as we read!

More info

While I posted a comment on the first round of this back in 2009, apparently I was unable to come up with a contribution, which surprises me. I love writing filks, and what could possibly have caught my attention more than a genealogical filk challenge?!

I hear a few head scratches. What's filk?

One definition: A popular or folk song with lyrics revised or completely new lyrics and/or music, intended for humorous effect when read, and/or to be sung late at night at Science Fiction conventions.

While the term was invented for the science fiction community (some say it was originally a typo for 'folk' music) there's no reason its use can't be broadened to include any similar parodies.

I may have passed on the 2009 challenge, but I'm not passing this time around. (the lyrics of the final verse below are very close to the original, but the original lyrics worked quite well.)

Lyrics by John Newmark, 2014
Sung to the tune of: Supercalifragilisticexpealidocious, by The Sherman Brothers, 1964

Um diddle diddle diddle um diddle ay
Um diddle diddle diddle um diddle ay
Even though our surnames, yes
We often can’t remember
If we say them long enough
We’ll know them by December

Um diddle diddle diddle um diddle ay
Um diddle diddle diddle um diddle ay
Because I was confused as heck
When I was just a lad
My father taught a little trick
It wasn’t quite so bad
“Our surnames might be bothersome
But I bet you didn’t know
String all our names together
And this is how it goes:

Even though my surnames, yes
I couldn’t quite remember
When I said them long enough
I knew them by December

Um diddle diddle diddle um diddle ay
Um diddle diddle diddle um diddle ay
So when your names you can’t recall
There’s no need for dismay
Just string your names together
In any sort of way
But better do it carefully
Or it could change your life
One night I taught this to me girl
And now me girl's my wife!
She’s WallaceGoberTaylorBlackmanFulkersonAndSchrock
I’m NewmarkCruvantFeinsteinLichtmanAdlerDeutschAndDenyer

Friday, April 4, 2014

Raising Relatives and non-Relatives

As I mentioned a month ago, my wife and I are in the process of adopting twin boys, so I've wondered a little bit about other adopted children in my genealogy database, and how easy it is when looking at census records to confuse parent-child relationships.

One instance is the Denyer family in 1870. 

Samuel and Zerelda (Singleton) Denyer - Children: Amanda, Robert, Albert and Ida
Ebenezer and Sarah (Hartley) Denyer - Children: William and Margaret

Samuel Denyer died in 1861, and Zerelda died in 1867, so by the time of the 1870 census, their children were orphans. It is common for a relative to assume guardianship of orphaned children, and that is what happened.

According to the 1870 census, Amanda, Robert, Albert, and Ida Denyer were living with their uncle's family - my second great grandparents Ebenezer and Sarah (Hartley) Denyer, and their two children William and Margaret.

Another instance is the Feinstein family in 1930

Harry and Dora (Servinsky) Feinstein - Children: Sidney, Adeline, Alvin, Willard, Seymour
Herman and Annie (Blatt) Feinstein - Children: Bernard, Belle, Seymour

Dora Feinstein died in 1920. Harry remarried in 1928. According to the 1930 census, he was employed as an insurance agent. However, his children were no longer living with him and his second wife. (By 1930, all but their youngest was over the age of 18, but Seymour was only 15 years old.)

In 1930 Adeline and Alvin are living with my great grandparents Herman and Annie Feinstein, and their children. Sidney Feinstein is a lodger in a hotel, and Seymour was a resident of the Jewish Orphan Home. I have been unable to find Willard in the census.

If Harry was alive and employed, why was Seymour placed in an orphan home? I'm unable to answer this question. It's possible he was placed in the home prior to his father's remarriage.

A third instance is my wife's 2nd great grandfather, Louis Pleas Gober

In the 1880 census, Louis is living with the (unrelated, to my knowledge) Kinder family in Cape Girardeau, MO. I know his father died in 1876, but I am unsure what happened to his mother.

I recently came across these statistics:

In 2010, in the State of Missouri, "there were 10,174 children in the custody of the Children’s Division."
Only "3,427 of youth placed in the foster care system live in the homes of relative and kinship providers."
I suspect the numbers in other states are similar.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day 2014

Every year on St. Patrick's Day I've blogged about the Irish ancestry of my great grandfather, Barney Newmark. I was named after him through my Hebrew name, בָּרוּךְ (Barukh).

He wrote a bio of himself for a "Who's Who" of local businessmen claiming to be a native of Dublin, even though he was almost certainly born on the outskirts of Warsaw, in Warka, Poland. He celebrated his birthday on March 17th, though some documents state he was born on March 25th, and others state April 14th. I shared my Irishness with a friend back in 2007, and he looked Barney up in the 1930 US Census, and sent me a link. I've long been interested in my ancestry, but I had done no research, and had no idea what was available online. And here I am seven years later.

While my Irish ancestry may be somewhat mythological, my wife's isn't. According to some sources, her 3rd great grandfather, Thomas Muldoon, was born in Ireland in 1817, in County Fermanagh.

Past St. Patrick's Day posts

March 16, 2013: Happy St. Patrick's Day
March 17, 2012: Happy 126th Birthday to my Great Grandfather
March 17, 2011: Happy St. Patrick's Day
March 17, 2010: Barney's Birthday and Birthplace
March 17, 2009: On St. Patrick's Day Everyone is Irish
March 17, 2008: My 'Irish' Great Grandfather
March 15, 2007: Corned Beef and Cabbage on Rye

Friday, February 28, 2014

Social Media Policy for Parents

My wife and I are in the process of adopting twin boys.

Many questions have popped into my mind over the past few weeks, and one of them is what our social media policy should be.

I am a very public person. You can find out a lot of information about me on the internet. Some, perhaps, I might wish you couldn't. (Some I might attempt to see if I can remove before my sons-to-be are of internet surfing age.) However, almost everything I have put online about myself, I have made a conscious decision to do so. I have a policy on this blog of not sharing photographs of living relatives without being absolutely sure they will approve. The boys are only 1 year old, so they don't have the ability to consent, yet.

This blog is public, and indexed by search engines, which is one reason I refrain from sharing photographs of and stories about living relatives. My Facebook account is visible only to 'friends.' However, those Facebook friends include dozens of people I have never met - mostly fellow genealogists. A lot of them I feel like I know through their blogs, but I don't really know them. And there are a handful of other 'friends' I only know through the internet. Facebook does make it relatively easy to share posts with only a select group of friends, and I could divide my friend list between those people I have met, and those I haven't.

Then there is the question of whether I need to go through the process of removing geotags from photographs that I do choose to upload. This is an easier one for me to answer. The main concerns with geotags is that they can pinpoint the location the photograph was taken. So if you post a photograph when you are on vacation, someone might know you are on vacation. If you post a photograph of your kid at home, someone can figure out where you live. I don't post vacation photos until I am home. It's a common safety precaution whether one has kids or not. And whether or not I post photographs taken at home, it is very easy to find my home address on the internet. (A little more difficult since my wife and I dropped our landline, but still fairly easy.) Posting photographs with geotags will not lead to a decrease in privacy. At least not in my situation.

Lots of my friends post photographs of their children on Facebook, and while the boys haven't yet been placed into our home, that date is only days away, and I already am feeling the 'proud father' cravings to share my naches ('joy') with the world.

Input is welcomed.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Sepia Saturday 210: Do You See What I See?

I haven't participated in SepiaSaturday since May, but I thought I would return to the meme. They provide a weekly prompt for bloggers to search through their files of old photographs.

Many of us will have experienced the joy of discovering a precious old photograph tucked away within the pages of a dusty old volume. Now is your opportunity to share such discoveries, or, if you prefer, share your photographic discoveries whether they were found in a bound volume of Shakespeare or in an old shoebox.

My mind returns to the photograph on the left. I didn't discover it in a 'dusty old volume.' I discovered it in a digitized newspaper article. The article doesn't identify the individuals beyond the neighborhood - Little Jerusalem, St. Louis, Missouri, 1900. I had two great-great grandfathers who owned a second hand store at that time. I wondered if it could be the Cruvant family. The few photographs I do have of the family aren't conclusive either way. But the facial similarities are intriguing. At the time, the presence of a baby made the identification less likely.

Since I last posted about this photograph, I have figured out who the baby could be, if it is the Cruvant family. Fannie Cruvand, the daughter of Ben and Pearl (Grossberg) Cruvand, was born July 1, 1900. Ben was the nephew of my second great grandfather. According to the census, they lived at 1125 North 12th street, whereas my second great grandfather lived at 1111 Morgan street. Looking at old maps they weren't far from each other. In that case, the mother in the photo could be Fannie's mother, Pearl, or my second great grandmother. Of course, they could still also be a completely different family. My mind could certainly be only seeing similarities it wants to see, and ignoring crucial differences.

To be more certain either way, I would need a known photograph of my second great grandfather closer to 1900. A childhood photograph of Sol could also be helpful.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Amanuensis Monday: Death Certificate for Barney Newmark - 1956

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.

I began this project back on February 16, 2009.  Since I began, many others have joined in on the meme. I am thrilled that this meme I started has inspired so many to transcribe their family history documents. Why do we transcribe? I provide my three reasons in the linked post. You may find others.

This week I transcribe the death certificate of my great grandfather, Barney Newmark. He died November 25, 1956.