Saturday, November 9, 2019

Veterans Day/Remembrance Day 2019

Caption for photo to left: Human Statue of Liberty. 18,000 Officers and Men at Camp Dodge, Des Moines, Iowa. Colonel William Newman, Commanding. Colonel Rush S. Wells, Directing. Mole & Thomas, 09/1918. (source)

Monday, November 11 is Veterans Day in the US, and Remembrance Day in the UK, Canada, Australia, France and Belgium. In Poland it is celebrated as National Independence Day.

Below are the names of ancestors, and their siblings, who I know served their nation's military, either in a time of war, or in a time of peace. I am including my Loyalist ancestors; their nation was Great Britain. Canada became their country after the war. I am including my Confederate ancestors too, despite their desire to form a separate nation. I am also including a Conscientious Objector ancestor since the DAR counts him as a Patriot.

Fifth Great Grandfathers
McGregory Van Every (1723-1786) Loyalist/Butler's Rangers
Michael Showers (1733-1796) Loyalist/Butler's Rangers
Mark Fretz (1750-1840) Patriot (Inactive Duty) Pennsylvania militia

Fourth Great Grandfather
David Van Every (1757-1820) Loyalist/Butler's Rangers (served briefly as a Patriot in the NY militia)

Fifth Great Uncle
Benjamin Van Every (1759-1795) Loyalist/Butler's Rangers (served briefly as a Patriot in the NY militia)
William Van Every (1765-1832) Loyalist/Butler's Rangers
Peter Van Every (1771-bef 1816) Loyalist/Fifth Lincoln and Second York regiments (War of 1812)

Fourth Great Uncles
David Van Every Jr. (1782-1847) Loyalist/Second York regiment (War of 1812)
Michael Van Every (1790-?) Loyalist/Fifth Lincoln and Second York regiments (War of 1812)

Second Great Grandfather
Ebenezer Denyer (1828-1872) (Mexican-American War) (Confederate Army)

Third Great Uncles
Samuel Jennings Denyer (1822-1861) (Gonzales County Minute Men - Republic of Texas -1841)
Samuel T Hartley (1830-1920) (Confederate Army)

Great Grandfather
Samuel Deutsch (1861-1938) (Franz Josef's Austro-Hungarian Army)

Second Great Uncle
Nelson D Van Every (1845-1926) (Union Army)

Grandfathers
Melvin L Newmark (1912-1992), WWII
Martin J Deutsch (1907-1991), WWII

Great Uncles
Jerry Deutsch (1909-1950), WWII
Allen Deutsch (1914-1988), WWII
Harold Newmark (1915-2003), WWII
Mandell Newmark (1923-1945), WWII (KIA)
Bernard Feinstin (1913-1968), WWII
Seymour Feinstein (1917-1999), WWII

Uncle
Stevan J Newmark (1942-1997) Army Reserves

Photographs of those who served in World War II

My grandfathers Melvin Newmark (1912-1992) and Martin Deutsch (1907-1991)


Allen Deutsch (1914-1988) and Maurice "Jerry" Deutsch (1909-1950).


Harold Newmark (1915-2003) and Mandell Newmark (1923-1945).


Bernard "Benny" Feinstein (1913-1968) and Seymour "Babe" Feinstein (1917-1999)

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

AncestryDNA Ethnicity Results

DNA Ethnicity results aren't an exact science, and in some respects, are mostly for entertainment purposes. A large number of genealogists will tell you they do the DNA tests in order to find living relatives to communicate with, not for ancestral ethnicity. For that knowledge, we research the records.

In 2012 AncestryDNA described my Ethnicity like this. I knew I should be about 75% European Jewish, if I inherited exactly 25% of my DNA from each grandparent, but 53+17 came pretty close.




In October of 2013 they updated their results, and the Uncertain amount disappeared.

The trace amounts of Pacific Islander surprised me. Caucasus can include Russia, so that wasn't too surprising. Though I later learned that the Caucasus was on my maternal line, which meant either some of my Transylvanian Jewish ancestors came from Russia originally, or there were some Caucasus roots elsewhere.

The breakdown has remained pretty consistent at Ancestry. At some point in the past 7 years, they  added their information on Communities, but the overall ethnicity breakdown has remained the same for me. Until a recent update:



No more Caucasus. No more Pacific Islander. And I am 79% European Jewish. (That's actually the high end of a 66%-79% range. So I think it's a pretty good estimate. And illustrates how useless DNA ethnicity charts are for most European Jews. Yes, the community information is nice, but Ancestry is unable to currently tell us how much from each.) The composition of the remaining 21% of my ancestry doesn't divert much from my research. 5% is almost one second great grandparent, so that feels a little high for my Irish/Scottish ancestry, but I know I have some. I don't know who my Finnish ancestors are.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Labor Day Weekend 2019

As you light up your barbecues this weekend and enjoy your day off from work Monday (those who have the day off) - take some part of the day to consider the advancements we have made in workers' rights over the last century - Many of us may have ancestors who worked in the coal mines or sweatshops.

Also, consider in what ways the struggles aren't over.

Here's a playlist of songs which may help.



A Pict Song - Rudyard Kipling (1917)

Rome never looks where she treads,
Always her heavy hooves fall,
On our stomachs, our hearts or our heads;
And Rome never heeds when we bawl.
Her sentries pass on—that is all,
And we gather behind them in hordes,
And plot to reconquer the Wall,
With only our tongues for our swords.

We are the Little Folk—we !
Too little to love or to hate.
Leave us alone and you'll see
How we can drag down the Great!
We are the worm in the wood !
We are the rot at the root!
We are the germ in the blood !
We are the thorn in the foot !

Mistletoe killing an oak—
Rats gnawing cables in two—
Moths making holes in a cloak—
How they must love what they do!
Yes,—and we Little Folk too,
We are as busy as they—
Working our works out of view—
Watch, and you'll see it some day!

No indeed ! We are not strong,
But we know Peoples that are.
Yes, and we'll guide them along,
To smash and destroy you in War!
We shall be slaves just the same ?
Yes, we have always been slaves;
But you—you will die of the shame,
And then we shall dance on your graves.

We are the Little Folk, we ! etc.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Missouri Historical Society Library and Research Center databases

I received my copy of the Missouri Historical Society’s Genealogy and House History monthly eNewsletter yesterday.

They too mentioned the ongoing digitization of St. Louis area newspapers by Ancestry.com, which was announced back in April. Apparently they also have a subscription to the ProQuest version of Newspapers.com, and visitors can access it at their Library and Research Center.
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I go to the St. Louis County Library headquarters for most of my library-based genealogy research, but I have a nostalgic fondness for the Library and Research Center building. It used to be a synagogue. The reading room is the former sanctuary where I became a Bar Mitzvah in 1982, and where my grandmother was confirmed in 1930.

I decided to see what other subscription databases they might offer

1) America: History and Life
2) Ancestry.com (the library edition)
3) Fold3
4) Frontier Life (includes the journals of Lewis and Clark)
5) JSTOR
6) Newspapers.com (library edition)
7) WorldCat Discovery (with links to full text results from America: History and Life, and JSOR)
8) World’s Fairs: A Global History of Expositions

St. Louis County Library has Ancestry, Fold3, and Newspapers.com, however it doesn’t have America: History and Life, or JSTOR. Access to these is definitely worth making the 7 mile trip to visit my childhood sanctuary on a more regular basis. They don’t have evening hours, but they are open on Saturdays.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Cousin to Boris Johnson - Oy Vey!

American Ancestors – the website of the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) – has released a press release on “The American Ancestry of Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Is Revealed by American Scholar

The American scholar is Gary Boyd Roberts, Senior Research Scholar Emeritus at NEHGS. The press release and Gary Boyd Roberts' research suggests Johnson is descended from Samuel Lathrop and Elizabeth Scudder. I have posted before that I am not related to all Lathrop descendants, but I am related to Samuel Lathrop’s descendants through his wife Elizabeth Scudder. 

The American Ancestors article states:
Lathrop descendants include U.S. First Ladies Edith Kermit (Carow) Roosevelt and Nancy (Davis) Reagan; Canadian Prime Minister Sir Robert Laird Borden; the traitor Benedict Arnold; politicians William Jennings Bryan, Thomas E. Dewey, John Foster Dulles, and George and Mitt Romney; poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. and Jr.; inventor Eli Whitney; financier J. P. Morgan Jr.; artist Georgia O’Keeffe; composer Charles Ives; Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints founder Joseph Smith Jr.; Cecil B. DeMille and Agnes de Mille; aviator Amelia Earhart; and, among actors, Julie Harris, Clint Eastwood, Cissy Spacek, and Ben and Casey Affleck.
I’d have to conduct some research on those listed to see which Lathrops were their ancestors. From past research I’ve read, I believe Longfellow, Romney, and Holmes are all among my list of cousins.


Friday, July 26, 2019

The Value of a Library Card - St. Louis

Post updated from 2015

I conduct a lot of genealogy research from the comfort of my home computer. One of the key resources I use is my St. Louis County Public Library Card. (Other library systems, as well as some genealogy societies, provide similar resources for their users.)

Here's a sampling of databases I can search/browse from the comfort of my home, for free (complete list) I have indicated the subscription price I'd have to pay without the library card

Databases I could subscribe to as an individual
  • NewspaperArchive.com ($75/6 mos)
  • AccessibleArchives: ($90/year)
    • African American Newspapers 19th century
    • A Newspaper Perspective
  • Newspapers.com ($45/6 mos)
    • I am assuming that the ProQuest library edition is similar to the Newspapers.com Basic subscription
  • Fold3 ($80/year)
Databases only available to libraries and other institutions - not by individual subscription
  • Fire Insurance Maps Online
  • HeritageQuest Online
  • Newsbank: St. Louis Post Dispatch (1981-Current) 
  • Newsbank: Access World News (1978-current) 
  • Newsbank: America's Obituaries
  • ProQuest: Historical New York Times (1851-2011)
  • ProQuest: Historical St. Louis Post Dispatch (1874-1922)
  • ProQuest Digital Microfilm - St. Louis Post Dispatch 1989-Present
  • Gale Group: Nineteenth Century US Newspapers
  • EBSCOhost: Academic Search Elite (1985-current)
  • EBSCOhost: AAS Historical Periodicals Collection (1684-1912)
  • HistoryGeo (searchable database of 12.3 million names connected to land ownership maps covering the 29 public land states and Texas)
And while I can't access it from home, it is available to me at the library:
  • Ancestry Library Edition ($99/6 mos)
  • American Ancestors ($95/year)
  • FindMyPast ($129/year)
  • Archion (baptisms, confirmations, marriages and burials for Protestant churches in Germany. 16th-19th century) $200/year (at current Euro to $ rates)
So calculating only the databases which I could purchase access to as an individual, I am saving $1,127/year with my library card. Then there are the databases I can't purchase access to as an individual.

I know I am lucky to live in St. Louis, as not every library has equivalent resources. However, if you don't check, you won't know what your library has to offer.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Amanuensis Monday: Simon Cruvant breaks his leg - 1889

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 newspaper clipping describing a horse and wagon accident a brother of my second great grandfather was involved in. This clipping was found on Newspapers.com

At 3 o'clock yesterday afternoon, while Simon Cruvant, a Russian peddler, was driving a horse attached to a wagon on Broadway, near Koeln street, the shaft of the wagon broke, causing the horse to run away. Cruvant was thrown out of the wagon and had his right leg broken and received other injuries. He was sent to the City Hospital. Cruvant is a married man, and lives at 1122 North Seventh street.

Horse-wagon accident involving Simon CruvantHorse-wagon accident involving Simon Cruvant Fri, Oct 25, 1889 – 5 · St. Louis Globe-Democrat (St. Louis, Missouri) · Newspapers.com
Notes:

1. Samuel "Simon" Cruvand (1841-1895) would have been 48 years old at the time of this incident, with four children. His brother, Moshe Leyb Cruvant, was my second great grandfather. The family came from the town of Kruvandai in Lithuania, and different branches spelled the surname differently. At least five different phonetic spellings have been used by those who settled in the US: Cruvant, Cruvand, Kruvant, Kruvand, and Kroovand. I believe the 'Cruvand' spelling may no longer be in use. This is the second oldest newspaper article mentioning one of my paternal kin I have currently found.