Monday, December 29, 2008

Symphonic Studies

Currently I am over 2000 miles from St. Louis, however, I found a poem by Emma Lazarus I thought would be appropriate to share here.

Lazarus is best known for her sonnet, The New Colossus, the final lines of which are engraved on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty:

..,"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I life my lamp beside the golden door!"

Below, however, is part of a series of sonnets she wrote, entitled: Symphonic Studies.

Symphonic Studies: IV
Emma Lazarus

Hark! from unfathomable deeps a dirge
Swells sobbing through the melancholy air:
Where love has entered, Death is also there.
The wail outrings the chafed, tumultuous surge;
Ocean and earth, the illimitable skies,
Prolong one note, a mourning for the dead,
The cry of souls not to be comforted.
What piercing music! Funeral visions rise,
And send the hot tears raining down our cheek.
We see the silent grave upon the hill
With its lone lilac-bush. O heart, be still!
She will not rise, she will not stir nor speak.
Surely, the unreturning dead are blest.
Ring on, sweet dirge, and knell us to our rest!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Weekly Picks

I've been inspired by others who do this to put together a weekly list of blog posts that I have found notable, and related to genealogy, in some fashion.

Weekly Picks for December 20-26

Internet / Technology

  • Thomas MacEntee at Destination: Austin Family describes How to Make Your Blog Available to Amazon Kindle Users. Not only are Amazon Kindles for reading e-books, users can subscribe to blogs through them. And owners of blogs can make money from those subscriptions.

  • Arlene Eakle heard Paul Nauta, Public Affairs Director for the Family History Library, give a speech on the past, present and future of the Family History Library, and she provides a summary.

  • GoogleBlog announces the ability to Search Google Images by Style. Results for image searches can be restricted just to photographs, line art, clip art, or just images that contain faces. All the options are selectable through Advanced Image Search.

  • Genealogy/Family History Tips

  • The Missouri State Genealogical Association Messenger links to some tips on writing your life story.

  • History

  • Lee Drew at FamHist describes how wearing Scottish tartans was banned in the 18th century.

  • Photography

  • Two cool Christmas Eve photographs were posted. One from 1968, taken by Apollo 8 astronauts, was posted by Craig Manson at GeneaBlogie. Another from 1898 appeared at Old Picture of the Day.
  • Wednesday, December 24, 2008

    Divergent Yet Intersecting

    Both ReadWritePoem and Totally Optional Prompts have weekly writing prompts - both with a deadline of Thursday. The creative juices still have a tendency to flow even while on vacation.

    This week's prompt at ReadWritePoem was Go Ancestral, which wasn't specific enough for me, since I think and write about my ancestry often. I needed a secondary prompt, which Totally Optional Prompts provided: Opposites.

    Divergent Yet Intersecting

    Transylvania, Holland, Alsace, Poland,
    England, Germany, Lithuania and Texas
    all contain soil upon which ancestors dwelt;
    Farmers, beekeepers, shepherds,
    tailors, blacksmiths, salesmen,
    clergy, judges, and doctors.

    As I research ancestral lines I discover
    some ancestors celebrated Hanuka,
    others Christmas, and still others
    the Green Corn Ceremony;
    Jewish, Methodist Episcopalian,
    Puritan, Christian Scientist, Mennonite,
    Choctaw, and Cherokee.

    I shall never find the records
    for my distant ancestors
    who either came to this continent
    by crossing the Land Bridge,
    or originally emerged
    from the Nanih Waiya in Mississippi.

    I delve through obituaries,
    microfilm depositories,
    internet databases;
    I interview relatives,
    and rummage through attics.

    What I find doesn't alter who I am;
    It illuminates the divergent,
    yet still intersecting
    paths of my ancestors.

    Monday, December 22, 2008

    Happy Hanuka

    Happy Hanuka to all who celebrate.

    Last night was the first night of the holiday, and my family (parents, siblings, nephews, niece) celebrated in the Caribbean.

    It is now 1:45 in the afternoon - but still the first day of Hanuka - as like all Jewish holidays, it runs from sunset to sunset. I spent a couple hours at a beach - it's a nice way to celebrate.

    I don't expect to do much genealogy research over the next week - or much blogging - but spending time with the extended family often yields stories to preserve.

    Monday, December 15, 2008

    Dear Genea-Santa

    It's time for the Carnival of Genealogy, and this issue's theme is: 3 Wishes!

    This is your chance to write a letter to Genea-Santa. Make a list of 3 gifts you would like to receive this holiday season from 3 of your ancestors. These have to be material things, not clues to your family history (we're talking gifts here, not miracles!). Do you wish your great grandmother had gifted you a cameo broach? Or maybe you'd like to have the family bible from great great grandpa Joe? How about a baby doll that once belonged to your dear Aunt Sarah? This is a fantasy so you can dream up gift items. They don't have to be actual items that you know your ancestors owned. However, they do have to be historically accurate to the time period in which your ancestor lived. Do your research. No asking for a new computer from your great grand aunt! Genea-Santa wouldn't like that ;-)

    Dear Genea-Santa,

    I believe I’ve been a good boy this year. I know some of these three wishes may be difficult ones to grant, and may be beyond your ability to produce, but I know they would make me very very very very very very very happy. Very.

    1) The military uniform my great grandfather, Samuel Deutsch, wore while he served in the Austria-Hungarian army of Emperor Franz Josef from 1881-1907.

    2) If I am correct about the origin of the surname, a dudelsack (bagpipe) constructed or played by a Dudelsack ancestor.

    3) The copy of Les Miserables that my mother tells me was on my grandfather’s bookshelf. He moved to a retirement home before I became a fan of the novel and author, and most of his books were given to Goodwill.

    4) Photographs of my second great grandmothers: Annie Perlik Feinstein, Bella Wyman Blatt, and Sarah Hartley Denyer Foster. I am trying to be realistic here, as there are others I am missing photographs for, but I know photography wasn't really existent until the civil war, and wasn't really common until the late 19th century. Annie Perlik Feinstein lived until 1930, there's got to be a photograph of her somewhere in some cousin's collection. Bella Wyman Blatt died in approximately 1892 in Poland, but there are some photographs of some possible cousins. Sarah Hartley Denyer Foster lived until 1898 in Texas.

    Yes, I know I went over 3 wishes, Genea-Santa. That will give you more of an opportunity to fulfil some of them.

    Saturday, December 13, 2008

    The 8 Days of Hanuka

    Since many fellow genea-bloggers are getting into the spirit of the holiday season with lots of festive posts, here is a series of 8 posts I posted last year on my non-genealogy blog. I rewrote the lyrics to 12 Days of Christmas, removed four verses, and for each post included a video from YouTube with another song for the holiday of Hanuka. I also included some notes on my song choice, and on Hanuka itself. Three of the songs I mentioned yesterday are there, plus several others.

    On the first day of Hanukkah, YouTube gave to me a lesson in the spelling.
    (video: LeeVee's How do you spell Channukkah?)

    On the Second Day of Hanuka YouTube gave to me…two barenaked ladies. (video: The Barenaked Ladies singing Light the Menorah. Commentary: The difference between a 'menorah' and a 'Chanukiah')

    On the Third Day of Chanukkah YouTube gave to me three folk stars. (video: Peter, Paul and Mary singing Light One Candle)

    On the fourth Day of Hannukah YouTube gave to me: Four dreidel sides (Video: A children's song about playing with dreidels)

    On the Fifth Day of Khanike YouTube gave to me five golden rings five torah books. (Video: Miami Boy's Choir singing Maoz Tzur or Rock of Ages. Commentary: The similarities in the sometimes alleged origins of 12 Days of Christmas and Dreidels)

    On the Sixth Day of Januca YouTube gave to me six muppets singing (Video: A medley of four children's songs)

    On the Seventh Day of Hanukka YouTube gave to me seven sons refusing (Video: a choir singing Who Can Retell. Commentary: Hannah and her Seven Sons)

    On the Eighth day of Hanuka YouTube gave to me Eight Nights of Presents (Video: Two versions of The Hanukka Song. Adam Sandler's version, and an Aussie Punk version. Commentary: On giving presents.)

    Friday, December 12, 2008

    Minnesota Onlnie Marriage System

    Minnesota marriage database with ability to order certificates online. Dates indexed vary by county. Some go back to the 1870s, and some are up to current. I found a few individuals with my favorite surnames, but I am unsure of their relationship.

    Hat tip to Stephen Wainer

    Blog Caroling

    The FootnoteMaven has set December 12th as Blog Caroling Day.

    Yes, even bloggers have traditions. From the comfort of my blog, with Hot Toddy in hand, my flannel jammies and furry slippers on, I will blog my favorite Christmas Carol on Friday, December 12.

    So my fellow GeneaBloggers, I challenge each of you to blog your favorite Christmas Carol - Blog Caroling. We'll all sing along!
    Here are my four favorite Hanuka song YouTube Videos

    1) Adam Sandler's Original Hanukkah Song
    [I like this concert video since he used the concert video screens to display pictures of all the people mentioned in the song.]

    2) The Leevee's "How do you spell Channukkahh?"

    [Pedantic note: There is no one proper way to spell the word in English. Since the Hebrew alphabet uses different characters, any English spelling is a phonetic approximation. And as the song points out, in Spanish, the initial 'H' sound is spelled with a J.]

    3) Tom Lehrer's "Hanukkah in Santa Monica"

    4) Peter Yarrow, Paul Stookey, and Mary Travers performing "Light One Candle" [Written by Peter Yarrow]
    (Yes, I like the serious songs too.)

    And my favorite Christmas Carol, which I have difficulty listening to without crying.

    5) Skip Ewing's "My Name is Christmas Carol"
    [I chose this particular video since it provides the lyrics as well]

    Friday Five

    Randy at Geneamusings had Census Fun with Christmas Names, and I realized something.

    I haven't done a Friday Five in awhile. (A Friday Five is where I list the names of five individuals from various databases at on a related theme)

    1. In the 1860 census there was a Menorah Longnecker, age 7, in Cleveland OH
    2. In May of 1828 Menorah Robertson married Caroline Salmons in Richmond, GA (Georgia Marriages)
    3. In the 1930 census there was a 26 year old Simon Maccabee in Chicago, IL
    4. In the 1910 Pennsylvania Miracode there was a 57 year old Elizabeth Dreidel
    5. In the 1910 census in California there was a 1 year old Hanuka Wycki

    Thursday, December 11, 2008

    Andrew David Van Every Ahnentafel

    In my recent post about Canadian Ancestors a few people revealed themselves as cousins in the comments. So under the possibility they are reading my blog, I thought I would post for them an ahnentafel of the information I have for my ancestor, Andrew David Van Every, whose maternal grandfather was loyalist Michael Showers. If they (or anyone else) know any further information, I would certainly be interested.

    The below information comes from the New Toronto Historical Society, though much of it I have seen elsewhere.

    [Note to those unfamiliar with ahnentafels: To find an individual's father, multiply their number by two. For their mother, multiply by two, and add one.]

    1. Andrew David Van Every
    Born: Mar 1796, West Flamborough Township, Wentworth, Ontario, Canada
    Marriage: Nancy Lucinda Van Sellas
    Died: 25 Jul 1873, South Dumfries, St George, Ontario, Canada aged 77

    2. David Van Every
    Born: 13 Oct 1757, Poughkeepsie, Dutchess, New York, USA
    Marriage: Sarah Showers in 1782
    Died: 1820, St George, Brant, Ontario, Canada aged 63

    3. Sarah Showers
    Born: 1761, Pennsylvania, USA
    Marriage: David Van Every in 1782
    Died: 1795, St George, South Dumfries Township, Ontario, Canada aged 34

    4. McGregor Van Every
    Born: 27 Apr 1723, Lunenburg, New York, USA
    Marriage: Mary Wilcox on 17 Jan 1750 in Poughkeepsie, , New York, USA
    Died: 15 Sep 1786, Newark, Niagara, Ontario, Canada aged 63

    5. Mary Wilcox
    Born: 29 Apr 1736, Lassingberg, , New York, USA
    Marriage: McGregor Van Every on 17 Jan 1750 in Poughkeepsie, , New York, USA
    Died: 1786-1809, Niagara, , Ontario, Canada

    6. Michael Showers
    Born: 1733, Rhinebeck, Dutchess, New York, USA
    Marriage: Hannah Von Toch in 1756 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
    Died: 1796, West Flamborough Township, Wentworth, Ontario, Canada aged 63

    7. Hannah Von Toch
    Born: 1740, New York, USA
    Marriage: Michael Showers in 1756 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
    Died: 5 Jul 1825, Barton Township, Wentworth, Ontario, Canada aged 85

    8. Martin Van Every
    Born: 1685, Kingston, , New York, USA
    Marriage: Judith Holmes in 1718
    Died: 1760, , , New York, USA aged 75

    9. Judith Holmes
    Born: 13 Jun 1694, New York, , New York, USA
    Marriage: Martin Van Every in 1718

    10. William Williamse Jaycocks
    Marriage: Mary

    11. Mary
    Marriage: William Williamse Jaycocks

    12. Johann Adam Schauer
    Born: 14 Aug 1701, Massenbach, , W?rttenberg, Germany
    Marriage: Maria Elizabeth Fritz on 3 Apr 1720 in Claverack, Dutchess, New York, USA
    Died: 1762, , Berks, Pennsylvania, USA aged 61

    13. Maria Elizabeth Fritz
    Born: 2 Feb 1699, Massenbach, , W?rttenberg, Germany
    Marriage: Johann Adam Schauer on 3 Apr 1720 in Claverack, Dutchess, New York, USA

    14 John Johan Van Toch
    Born: 1714, Beaverwick, New York, USA
    Marriage: Unknown
    Died: New Jersey, USA

    16 Burger Myndertse Van Iveren
    Born: 1660, Albany, , New York, USA
    Marriage: Elizabeth Meyer
    Died: Southern, , New York, USA

    17 Elizabeth Meyer
    Marriage: Burger Myndertse Van Iveren

    18. Martin Meyer
    Marriage: Unknown

    24 Michael Schauer
    Born: 1679, Massenbach, , W?rttenberg, Germany
    Marriage: Anna Magdalena in 1698 in Massenbach, Germnay, W?rttenberg, Germany
    Died: 1710, Emigrating, New, Yorkshire, England aged 31

    25 Anna Magdalena
    Born: 1679, Massenbach, Deu, W?berg, Germany
    Marriage: Michael Schauer in 1698 in Massenbach, Germnay, W?rttenberg, Germany
    Died: 1734-1802, , , New York, USA

    26 Georg John Fritz
    Born: 1656, Anhausen, Neuweier, , Germany
    Marriage: Maria Elisabetha Rosimund on 24 May 1698 in Salzbach, , , Germany

    27 Maria Elisabetha Rosimund
    Born: 1660, Anhausen, , , Germany
    Marriage: Georg John Fritz on 24 May 1698 in Salzbach, , , Germany

    28 Abraham Van Toch
    Born: 1690, New Jersey, USA
    Marriage: Sarah Speer

    29 Sarah Speer
    Born: 1694, New York City, New York, USA
    Marriage: Abraham Van Toch

    32 Myndert Frederickse Van Iveren
    Born: 1640, Everinghs, Zealand, , Holland
    Marriage: Unknown
    Died: 1 May 1706, Albany, , New York, USA aged 66

    33 Cathalyn Burger
    Born: 16 Dec 1640, New Amsterdam, , New York, USA
    Marriage: Unknown
    Died: 1663 aged 23

    48 Michael Sauer
    Marriage: Anna Marie Heaton in 1655
    Died: 1696-1708

    49 Anna Marie Heaton
    Marriage: Michael Sauer in 1655

    52 Henrich Fritz
    Born: 1630
    Marriage: Unknown

    58 Hendrick Speer
    Marriage: Catherine Van Giesen in 1693 in New York City, , New York, USA

    59 Catherine Van Giesen
    Born: 1677, New York City, New York, New York, USA
    Marriage: Hendrick Speer in 1693 in New York City, , New York, USA

    118 Jans Van Giesen
    Born: 1645, Niagara, , ,
    Marriage: Justrina Kierstede in 1674 in New York City, , New York, USA

    119 Justrina Kierstede
    Born: 10 Oct 1649, New York, , New York, USA
    Marriage: Jans Van Giesen in 1674 in New York City, , New York, USA

    Some (e.g.) believe Justrina is descended from Aneka Jans. Though others question this.)

    Tuesday, December 9, 2008

    American Bottom and Illinois Harvest

    In March I mentioned the American Bottom Riverweb site, which

    contains a large digital archive of artifacts related to the American Bottom region, defined as the area south of the confluence of the Missouri, Mississippi and Illinois rivers. This includes portions of St. Clair, Randolph, Madison, and Monroe Counties in Illinois. Most of the information on the site appears to be centered on the Cahokia Mounds, and East St. Louis.

    The site has moved to a new location on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's servers, and while they still have an interesting archive, it appears they have removed the East St. Louis City Directories.

    Never fear, Illinois Harvest, a product of the UIUC library, has them.

    Illinois Harvest has a large digital book collection for download, including over 400 entries under the subject header of County and Local Histories, another 400 under Church and Congregational History in Illinois, and 125 under Genealogy Resources.

    The latter includes the 1813 and 1818 Pension lists, listing everyone in the US receiving a military pension in the given year. As well as a couple dozen Chicago "Blue Books" and social registers.

    What is Truth?

    A Family History/Genealogist actively tries to sort out truth from 'family fictions.' But what exactly does 'Truth' mean?

    I have a couple examples from the family of my great grandfather Barney Newmark's brother Sol.


    Sol and Sarah Newmark were married in 1902 in London. What was Sarah's maiden name? Looking at the marriage certificate, UK 1901 census, various birth and death certificates of herself and her children (I don't have her birth record) It's roughly 50% Sandler and 50% Nathan. The origin of the confusion is clear - her father's name almost undoubtedly was Nathan Sandler. Sometimes she utilized the religious tradition of adopting her father's given name as her maiden name (without using the 'daughter of' construction). She wasn't consistent though, and it's not as if prior to Year X she used one, and after Year X the other, it went back and forth, even when she was the informant. She had two maiden names, neither one more truthful than the other, and which one she gave to those who asked must have depended upon her mood.


    Sol and Sarah's oldest son, born in 1905, was named after Sol's deceased grandfather, Israel David Nejmark (believed to be the original Polish spelling of the surname). Sol's youngest brother, born in 1904, was also named for the same man. So there was an uncle/nephew one year apart in age named Israel David. Or was there?

    I just retrieved the birth certificate of Sol and Sarah's son. It reads "David Israel". The inversion could easily be a clerical error. However, there is a Jewish superstition against naming children after living relatives, so there may have been reason for them to avoid giving him the exact same name as his 1 year-old uncle. If the names were intentionally inverted on the birth certificate, I have no reason to believe their son was ever referred to in that manner by family or anyone else his entire life.

    The superstition was that the angel of death could get confused and come for one and take the other. But even if we assume that there was no clerical error on the birth certificate, and they intentionally gave him an 'official' name different from his uncle, if the 'official' name was never actually used by the family, is it still the 'true' name? Wouldn't the name he was called by everyone his entire life be the 'true' name?

    3) and a final example from my great grandfather Barney Newmark

    Barney was born in Poland on March 17, 1886, or so he always told everyone, including his family (at least when he wasn't claiming he was born in Ireland). On his Draft registration form, and on his death certificate with his wife as the informant, it says April 14th. On his Declaration of Intent to become a citizen he wrote March 25th. So minus a birth certificate, what is Barney's true birthday?

    (Interestingly March 25th is exactly 8 days after March 17th. This is interesting because the Jewish naming religious rite is scheduled for the 8th day, which could provide an explanation for the importance of both dates. April 14th, 1886 also fell almost exactly one lunar month after March 17th. March 17th was the 10th of Adar 2, and April 14th was the 9th of Nisan. However, the only thing that happens 1 month after birth that I can find is the redemption of the first born male, and Barney wasn't the first born. It is conceivable that in converting from Hebrew date to Gregorian date some incorrect math was used that produced a date a month off. However, even if this is the explanation for the multiple dates, not knowing what the Hebrew date was, it is impossible to know which was the correct calculation, and which one wasn't.)

    Reading this years later on Sept 14, 2017

    I realize I had forgotten what I discovered about the Hebrew calendar in 1886. In the intervening years I've confirmed that observing a birthday on the date of circumcision was definitely a Polish/Lithuanian Jewish custom. However, I am intrigued that March 17th, 1886 fell in a leap month. I'm unsure why this didn't occur to me back when I wrote this post, but...

    Those who are born on February 29th would celebrate their birthday in most years on March 1, even though they realize that their 'true birthday' was February 29th. Might someone born in the 2nd month of Adar, in non-leap years, celebrate their Hebrew birthday in the month of Nisan on the appropriate date? Could this have lead Barney, really born on March 17th, 1886, to state that his birthday was April 14th. But still, use March 25th as his 'circumcision date.'

    This explanation connects all three dates of birth in a very logical fashion. It isn't necessarily true. But it is very intriguing.

    Sunday, December 7, 2008

    Pearl Harbor Day, 2008

    Since posting my Veteran's Day, I have found the remaining photographs, and today seemed to be an appropriate day to post an update.

    Below are the photographs of my grandfathers, their brothers, and brothers-in-law who served in WWII.

    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)

    Thursday, December 4, 2008

    Illiterate Ancestors

    As the Genealogue points out the UPI's headline for an article on Michelle Obama, "Future First Lady had an Illiterate Ancestor" is a little unfair. Every first lady in the history of this country probably had an illiterate ancestor.

    I suspect the UPI may have thought "great great grandparent" was closer than many. However, I will point out that several of my paternal great great grandparents would likely have been recorded as illiterate, since they didn't know English. They may have been literate in Yiddish, or other tongues, but not English. My maternal great grandparents from Transylvania were similarly 'illiterate'. That is often the case with first generation immigrants to America, unless they come from an English speaking country.

    The original Chicago Tribune story had a more appropriate headline. A first lady closely descended from slaves is newsworthy.

    Monday, December 1, 2008

    What's in a Number?

    Randy Seaver at Geneamusings asks Who's Number 1000? That is: Who was the 1000th person entered into your family history database.

    Most databases, being number-based, assign every entry a number starting with #1. My software, IFamilyForLeopard, is no different.

    If you click on the pull-down menu in the searchbox in the upper-right of the screen you can select "Numeric ID" and then just enter the Numeric ID of your choice.

    I don't know a lot about #1000 who is only recorded as "Kathryn".

    I found it interesting to work backwards and see what # entry I was (45). Some people likely start entering data with themselves, but the first person entered into my database was my second great grandfather, Samuel Newmark.

    The most recent entry was #1395, who is a living 3rd cousin, grandson to a cousin who passed away approximately 2 weeks ago.

    What's in a Name?

    Olive Tree Genealogy raises the topic of nicknames that aren't derived from given names - how we can't assume "Uncle Charlie's" name was actually Charles.

    She asks others to contribute similar occurrences in their family tree.

    My grandmother Sissie (Feinstein) Newmark was born "Belle". It's not too difficult to guess that one of her brothers gave her the nickname that stuck with her the rest of her life. Equally obvious in its etymology, her younger brother, Seymour, was known as "Babe." There were actually two Seymour Feinsteins known as Babe, first cousins to one another, both youngest childs.

    A related topic are nicknames that are derived from the given name, but in a manner that isn't immediately obvious. I went into detail on this in my post on Jewish Mysticism and Genealogy.

    One ancestor was named Zvi Dudelsack. He never immigrated to America, but his children passed his name down as "Harry". Another ancestor was named Zev Perlik, and some of his descendants knew him as "William." You have to be multilingual to follow the etymology, but if the Royal Family were Jewish, it would not be surprising if Prince Harry and Prince William had the Hebrew names of Zvi and Zev.

    From Inbox to Blog in 30 Seconds

    Received an email with lots of pictures of dogs with funny captions. I felt this one was appropriate to post here, and might be the perfect thing for a Monday morning following a holiday weekend:

    "So, Dad left when he found out about Mom and the Panda."

    Thursday, November 27, 2008

    Thanksgiving poetry

    GRATITUDE - by Edgar A. Guest (©1917)

    Be grateful for the kindly friends that walk along your way;
    Be grateful for the skies of blue that smile from day to day;
    Be grateful for the health you own, the work you find to do,
    For round about you there are men less fortunate than you.

    Be grateful for the growing trees, the roses soon to bloom,
    The tenderness of kindly hearts that shared your days of gloom;
    Be grateful for the morning dew, the grass beneath your feet,
    The soft caresses of your babes and all their laughter sweet.

    Acquire the grateful habit, learn to see how blest you are,
    How much there is to gladden life, how little life to mar!
    And what if rain shall fall to-day and you with grief are sad;
    Be grateful that you can recall the joys that you have had.

    The poems I posted last year

    Conflicting Emotions

    I want to talk about a holiday filled with conflicting emotions.

    This is a holiday that remembers our ancestors’ religious persecution.

    This is a holiday that commemorates freedom and hope.

    Celebration of this holiday involves food, prayer, games, and family gathered.

    This holiday requires us to close our eyes, temporarily, to the facts.

    This holiday requires us to forget, for the moment, what happened afterward, in the following generations.

    We focus on the freedom, the hope, the opportunity, with the albatross of that same opportunity squandered hanging over our heads, but not welcome at the holiday table filled with food, family, and festivities.

    I probably should wait to talk about this holiday, since it doesn’t begin for another 3.5 weeks.

    Hanuka begins on December 21 this year.

    However, in the year 164 BCE, when Mattathias, his sons, and their followers fought back against religious persecution, the month on the Roman calendar was November.

    As Rabbi Joseph Telushkin in Jewish Literacy, writes, “One of the sadder ironies of Jewish history is that the Maccabees led a successful revolt against King Antiochus’ anti-semitic oppressors only to turn into oppressors of the Jews themselves. (p. 112)”

    On Hanuka we will focus on the freedom, the hope, and the opportunity, just as we as Americans do on Thanksgiving. We need to teach our children what happened next, so they aren’t blind to the forces of history, but that can be done on a different day. It doesn’t need to weigh us down on a holiday meant for celebration.

    Wednesday, November 26, 2008

    Take'er Easy There, Pilgrim

    I subscribe to the Oxford English Dictionary's Word of the Day email. The OED is best known for their 'genealogy (etymology) of words.'

    On holidays their word choice is often related to the holiday. For example, here is a selection from today's word: Pilgrim

    4. a. U.S. Hist. Usu. in plural and with capital initial. Any of the English Puritans who founded the colony of Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1620; (gen.) any of the other early English colonists. See also Pilgrim Fathers n. at Compounds 2.

    In quot. 1630, William Bradford (the second governor of Plymouth) uses pilgrim of the settlers figuratively, alluding to Hebrews 11:13 (cf. sense 3). The same phraseology was repeated by Cotton Mather and others, and became familiar in New England. By the late 18th cent. commemorative toasts were often given to the Pilgrims or the Sons of the Pilgrims, and through such celebration Pilgrim and Pilgrim Father eventually passed into use as historical designations.

    1630 W. BRADFORD Hist. Plymouth Plantation 36 They knew they were but pilgrimes, & looked not much on those things; but lift vp their eyes to ye heauens, their dearest cuntrie. 1654 E. JOHNSON Hist. New-Eng. 216 Yet were these pilgrim people minded of the suddain forgetfulness of those worthies that died not long before. 1660 in Publ. Colonial Soc. Mass. (1914) 17 366 [New Haven colony] bounds extended neare unto Cold Spring, beyond Pilgrims Harbour. 1702 C. MATHER Magnalia Christi II. i. 3/1 They found..a new which they found that they must live like Strangers and Pilgrims. 1794 in Publ. Colonial Soc. Mass. (1914) 17 366 Toasts on the occasion, viz..The Pilgrims in Concord. 1841 A. YOUNG Chron. Pilgrim Fathers 88 The term Pilgrims belongs exclusively to the Plymouth colonists. 1892 Nation (N.Y.) 21 Apr., What shall we say to the descendants of the Pilgrims, and the Signers,..who are happy and content under his sway? 1957 Encycl. Brit. XIV. 101/2 The Betty lamp of the Pilgrims (1620)..was equipped for hanging from mantelpieces or shelves. 1987 N. BLEI Neighborhood xxii. 146 Thanksgiving was as gray as the clothes the Pilgrims wore.

    Note: The link at the top of this post will take you to the page with the complete entry for the current date. It changes every day, though. There is a link in the upper-left though for those who wish to subscribe via email or RSS feed.

    Canadian Ancestry

    I missed the first edition of the Canadian Genealogy Carnival back in September. My entry for the second edtion will actually be appropriate for both topics.

    First Edition: Introduce us to your Canadian ancestors.
    Second Edition: Tell us about famous Canadians in your family.

    "The first Loyalist settler in Upper Canada may have been Michael Showers. On May 30, 1781, Captain Walter Butler reported from Niagara that 'an old man in the Rangers named Michael Showers' had been permitted, although still fit for service, to build himself a house, and had begun planting and 'Commencing Farmer'" -- From "Loyalist Narratives from Upper Canada", by James J. Talman, 1946, p. xl

    Michael Showers' daughter, Sarah, married David Van Every, the son of McGregor Van Every, another early Loyalist settler of Niagara. David and Sarah Van Every were my 4th great grandparents. Their son, Andrew Van Every, lived and died in Canada. Andrew's son, Samuel, returned to America in the mid-19th century, though he had siblings and cousins who remained in Canada.

    Does First Loyalist Settler of Upper Canada qualify as a 'famous ancestor?' Some might accept it. Others might ask for some broader name recognition. In that case I need to move away from direct ancestors, and toward the Stoughton Descendants I've blogged about before. If I need a famous cousin, that will always be a good place to start. Through my Stoughton ancestry I am related to the Marquesses of Dufferin. While this is an Irish peerage, it began with Frederick Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, 1st Earl of Dufferin, 1st Marquess of Dufferin and Ava, who served as Governor General of Canada.

    Lord Dufferin served as Governor General of Canada during a period of rapid change in Canadian history. During his term, Prince Edward Island was admitted to Confederation, and several well-known Canadian institutions, such as the Supreme Court of Canada, the Royal Military College of Canada, and the Intercolonial Railway, were established.

    I will assume that satisfies any definition.

    I am as proud as any American can be of their United Empire Loyalist heritage. As I like to point out, there is nothing wrong with loyalty. It is usually the loyal who are considered patriotic. The Revolutionaries were the ones who committed treason. Of course, when the treasonous are successful, they get to write the history and instantly they become the patriots.

    I also have some Newmark ancestors who were in Canada for 3 months in 1907.

    Sunday, November 23, 2008

    During This Week

    Birth, marriage and death anniversaries for my ancestors and their kin during the upcoming week:

    Gregorian Calendar: November 23-29
    Nov 25, 1956 – Barnet Newmark died (great grandfather)
    Nov 26, 1848 - George Van Every born (2nd great uncle)
    Nov 26, 1999 – Belle (Hoffman) Feinstein died (great aunt and godmother)
    Nov 29, 1825 – Elizabeth Ann Sliver Denyer born (3rd great aunt)

    Hebrew Calendar: Heshvan 25 – Kislev 2
    Heshvan 26, 5765 – William Venable Campbell died (1st cousin once removed)
    Heshvan 27, 5691 – Alice Van Every died (2nd great aunt)
    Heshvan 27, 5650 – Anna (Blatt) Feinstein born (great grandmother)
    Heshvan 28, 5682 – Charles Van Every died (2nd great uncle)
    Heshvan 29, 5555 – William Denyer born (3rd great grandfather)
    Kislev 1, 5609 – George Van Every born (2nd great uncle)

    Wednesday, November 19, 2008

    LIFE images 1850s-today

    LIFE magazine has released millions of their photographs on Google Images.

    Search millions of photographs from the LIFE photo archive, stretching from the 1750s to today. Most were never published and are now available for the first time through the joint work of LIFE and Google.


    It should be noted that while they say they will continue to add more photographs, the earliest decade currently in the archive is 1860s. The first successful photograph supposedly was produced in 1827. Therefore, I think the above contains an obvious typo.

    The question might arise -- are any of these photographs in the public domain? Let's take a look at this chart by the Cornell University Copyright Information Center. My assumption is that all the photographs fall under the category of Works for Hire - the company of hire being LIFE. According to the description, most of them were unpublished. So prior to their publication this week on Google, they had a copyright of 120 years from creation. Therefore, on January 1, 2008 any of the photographs dated prior to 1888 were in the public domain. I am fairly certain once a work enters the public domain, that isn't retracted.

    However, all the post 1888 photographs are now published. And published works for hire have a copyright of 95 years after publication.

    So it is quite understandable why LIFE went along with Google's idea of publishing all these unpublished works. If I am correct, it extends their copyright significantly. But the currently 100-200 pre-1888 photographs are in the public domain.

    Tuesday, November 18, 2008

    Rate of Exchange

    A year ago I wrote a summary of what I had spent retrieving documents.

    One section was devoted to the UK General Register Office, from whom I had obtained several birth certificates and a marriage certificate. Each certificate cost 7 pounds, and last year the rate of exchange was 2 dollars = 1 pound, so that was $14 apiece.

    The rate of exchange is back down to $1.50 per pound. Most of this drop has occurred within the past 90 days.

    So now could be a good time to make purchases from the GRO and UK National Archives.

    Sunday, November 16, 2008

    During This Week

    Birth, marriage and death anniversaries for my ancestors and their kin during the upcoming week:

    Gregorian Calendar: November 17 - November 23

    Nov 18, 1930 – Alice Van Every died (2nd great aunt)
    Nov 20, 1948 – Ada Bell (Reeves) Vann died (1st cousin twice removed)
    Nov 20, 1972 – Sol Cruvant died (2nd great uncle)
    Nov 21, 1889 – Anna (Blatt) Feinstein born (great grandmother)
    Nov 21, 1918 – Samuel C Van Every died (2nd great uncle)
    Nov 22, 1794 – William Denyer born (3rd great grandfather)

    Hebrew Calendar: Heshvan 19 - Heshvan 25

    Heshvan 21, 5610 – Elizabeth (Fretz) Geil died (5th great aunt)
    Heshvan 21, 5717 – Melvin Edwin Denyer died (1st cousin twice removed)

    A desire for legible handwriting

    For the past year I believed my Great Grandfather, Barney Newmark, and his father Samuel Newmark, traveled from England to Canada in May of 1904, spent three years in Canada, and then crossed the Canadian border into the US in July of 1907, returning to England in 1908, delivered good news, and the family permanently immigrated to the US in two trips in 1909 and 1910.

    Part of that was based on this image

    It comes from the Canadian border crossing document from July of 1907. The month/year for their arrival in Canada is pretty legible, I think. I realize that 4s and 7s can look alike, but we have a 7 in the same hand two boxes over, so I was pretty confident Samuel and Barney spent three years in Canada, though I knew I wouldn't know for certain until I found the documentation. I also wondered if I would ever find any footprints of where they went and what they did in Canada during those three years.

    Today I found their Canadian manifest in the Canadian Passenger Lists database (1865-1935) on Ancestry. They arrived in Quebec on May 11, 1907. The ship was the Tunisian. They only spent two months in Canada. They probably left very few Canadian tracks.

    I now have all the manifests documenting all their ocean travels and border crossings except for how they got from Poland to England in approximately 1893.

    Tuesday, November 11, 2008

    Veteran's Day, 2008

    My grandfathers and several great uncles who served in WWII:

    Mandell (1923-1945) and Melvin (1912-1992) Newmark; Martin Deutsch (1907-1991); Allen Deutsch (1914-1988); Jerry Deutsch (1909-1950).

    This isn't a complete set of great uncles who served, as there are others for whom I haven't found appropriate photographs yet. My grandfather wasn't stationed with his brother, Mandell, but they had a couple chances to be together on leave during the war.

    Sunday, November 9, 2008

    During This Week

    Birth, marriage and death anniversaries for my ancestors and their kin during the (past week and) upcoming week:

    Gregorian Calendar: November 2-November 16
    Nov 7, 1908 – Shirley Ruth Benold born (1st cousin once removed)
    Nov 8, 1905 – August Benold and Minnie Ray Van Every married (great uncle and great aunt)
    Nov 10, 2004 – William Venable Campbell died (1st cousin once removed)
    Nov 15, 1852 – Alice Van Every born (2nd great aunt)

    Hebrew Calendar: Heshvan 4 – Heshvan 18
    Heshvan 4, 5669 – Aaron Cruvant Stern born (1st cousin twice removed)
    Heshvan 4, 5703 – Stevan J Newmark born (uncle)
    Heshvan 4, 5703 – August Benold died (great uncle)
    Heshvan 4, 5751 – Clara (Rubin) Newmark died (2nd great aunt)
    Heshvan 5, 5763 – Belle (Feinstein) Newmark died (grandmother)
    Heshvan 6, 5748 - Selig Seymour Oxenhandler died (1st cousin twice removed)
    Heshvan 6, 5681 – Samuel Tillman Hartley died (3rd great uncle)
    Heshvan 10, 5666 – August Benold and Minnie Ray Van Every married (great uncle and great aunt)
    Heshvan 10, 5657 – Ida (Waldman) Cruvant born (2nd great aunt)
    Heshvan 11, 5649 – Abraham Altman born (2nd great uncle)
    Heshvan 11, 5648 – Louis Stern born (2nd great uncle)
    Heshvan 13, 5669 – Shirley Ruth Benold born (1st cousin once removed)
    Heshvan 16, 5697 – Bernard Feinstein and Belle Hoffman married (great uncle and great aunt)
    Heshvan 17, 5730 – Minnie Ray Van Every died (great aunt)

    Saturday, November 8, 2008

    Smile for the Camera: Oh Baby!

    The word prompt for the 7th Edition of Smile For The Camera is Oh, Baby! Show us those wonderful family photographs of babies, or those you've collected. Share the ones that are too cute for words, or those only a mother could love. Your favorite of grandma or grandmas' favorite. Grandpa on a bear skin rug or grandpas' little love. Everyone has a baby photo, so let's see it!

    Above are baby photographs of three of my four grandparents. My maternal grandfather was born in rural Transylvania, and I suspect they didn't have a camera. The top two photos of my paternal grandparents were taken in St. Louis. (Most likely Missouri, though my grandfather's maternal grandparents were living in East St. Louis, Illinois at the time.) My maternal grandmother's baby picture was most likely taken near San Marcos, Texas, which is between Austin and San Antonio.

    Monday, November 3, 2008

    Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery - Hanley & Olive

    Chesed Shel Emeth means "Kindness of Truth." Celebrating their 120th year, the Chesed Shel Emeth Society was founded on November 3, 1888. A Chevra Kadisha, it was a burial society originally unattached to any particular synagogue.

    After successfully opening the cemetery, a process that took about five years, the Chesed Shel Emeth Society later built a hospital, a senior center, and an orphanage. From 1919-1996 they had their own synagogue.

    In 1967 a second cemetery was opened in Chesterfield, MO, and that is where the main offices are now located.

    If all you want to do is visit the grave of an ancestor, the indexes and map below should be sufficient to guide you. However, keep in mind that their main offices are at the newer of the two cemeteries. You may not find someone to answer questions you might have if you just show up at the original cemetery.

    When you enter the main entrance off of Olive Blvd you will pass a small chapel. There is a map of the cemetery in front of the chapel (photograph of the map below). It is best to park on the side of the road, just beyond the chapel.

    Click to Enlarge

    The St Louis Genealogical Society has indexed Chesed Shel Emeth cemetery by section. You can also search a database of seven Jewish cemeteries in the area, including Chesed Shel Emeth. Either index or database will provide you with the section number, and the map is fairly straight forward.

    It is traditional to leave a stone on the marker of a loved one. Some will light a candle and say a prayer. There are stones available at the front entrance for those who forget to bring some.

    Below is a satellite map of the cemetery.

    View Larger Map

    Addresses and Phone numbers:

    Chesed Shel Emeth Society Cemetery
    7570 Olive Blvd.
    St. Louis, MO 63130

    [newer cemetery & main offices]
    650 White Rd.
    Chesterfield, MO 63017

    [Both cemeteries are closed on Saturday for the Sabbath.]

    Thursday, October 30, 2008

    CoG #59: Apathy is foreign to my genes

    In conjunction with the US election on November 4th, the topic for the 59th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is: Politics and Our Ancestors.

    There have been several lawyers and judges over the centuries, but I have been able to find only one direct ancestor who held a public office. My 9th great grandfather, Barnabas Horton, one of my earliest non-Native ancestors to step foot in America, is described thusly:
    BARNABAS HORTON, of Southold, L. L, was born in 1600, at Mowsley, Leicestershire, England, and died July 13, 1680, at Southold, Long Island. His wife, Mary, survived him. He emigrated to America prior to 1640, and settled at Hampton, New Hampshire. As early as 1651 he removed to Southold, and resided there until his death. He held many public offices and was one of the prominent men of Southold. He was deputy to the General Court of the New Haven Colony in 1654, 1656, 1658, 1659 and 1661. In 1663 and 1664 he was a commissioner for Southold. - Source
    While he may have been the most recent direct ancestor to entangle himself in local affairs by actually holding office, politics are of great interest to my family, in all branches, and have been for generations. Getting involved in political parties, campaigns, protests, internships on Capitol Hill, voting in every election, and freely and eagerly voicing our opinions, are things my siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents have done. I suspect apathy is foreign to my genes.

    During the summer of 1990 I interned on Capitol Hill for Congressman William L Clay of St. Louis. Mostly I opened and helped respond to constituent mail, though I also proofread a couple chapters of one of his books. I also worked two summers at the St. Louis County Election Board, and helped Gephardt campaign in Iowa in 1987-8 while I was attending college in Grinnell, IA.

    I will be standing in line to vote at 6 am on the morning of November 4th.

    [Image created by footnoteMaven]

    Sunday, October 26, 2008

    UK Passenger Lists

    A few days ago I mentioned that the UK Passenger Lists had been added to Ancestry.UK, and I provided Ancestry's description of the database:

    This database is an index to the Board of Trade’s passenger lists of ships arriving in the United Kingdom from foreign ports outside of Europe and the Mediterranean from 1878-1888 and 1890-1960. Information listed on the passenger lists may include: name of passenger, their birth date or age, port of departure, port of arrival, date of arrival, and vessel name.
    And then I went on and talked about how I hoped to obtain access to the international edition of Ancestry so I could see if my Newmark ancestors' arrival in the UK from Poland was in there. I'm not sure how I missed "from foreign ports outside of Europe."

    As I've written before, my Newmark ancestors did a lot of traveling in the first decade of the 20th century. Likely in 1904 my second great grandfather, Samuel, and great grandfather Barney traveled from London to Quebec. In July of 1907 they definitely crossed over into the US, and those documents suggest they arrived in Quebec in May of 1904, though I have been unable to find backup for this. I knew that sometime between July of 1907 and October of 1908 they returned to the UK, and in October of 1908 they returned to the US with another of Samuel's sons, Sol. The rest of the family followed in March of 1909.

    So while I still don't have a date for when they arrived in the UK from Poland (estimated in 1893), I did make a trip to the St. Louis Genealogical Society offices this weekend and using their computers found Samuel and Barney's return trip from the US to England on June 21, 1908.

    I've drawn a box around Samuel and Barney. They traveled only under their first initial, so theoretically it could be a different S Newmark and B Newmark. However, both of the travelers were tailors, which matches, and both of them are single or traveling unaccompanied by their spouse. (That's what the tally mark by their name indicates, here's a closeup of that box on the form):

    The only other information it provides is their port (Southampton), they traveled third class, and they were considered British subjects. (later pages contained lists of foreign subjects. This was the first page of the manifest, the date of the ship's arrival was on every other page.)

    Barney and Samuel had lived in England for at least ten years prior to traveling to North America, and the rest of their family still lived in England, so it's logical they would be treated as British subjects. They also had to have made a return trip around this time, so I am fairly certain that this is their passage.

    During this Week

    Birth, marriage and death anniversaries for my ancestors and their kin during the upcoming week:

    Gregorian Calendar: October 26-November 1
    Oct 26, 1956 – Melvin Edwin Denyer died (1st Cousin Twice Removed)
    Oct 27, 1921 – Janice (Liebovitz) Newmark was born (Great Aunt)
    Oct 29, 1887 – Louis Julius Stern was born (2nd Great Uncle)
    Oct 29, 1908 – Aaron Cruvant Stern was born (1st Cousin Twice Removed)
    Oct 29, 1969 – Minnie (Van Every) Benold died (Great Aunt)
    Oct 29, 1987 – Selig Seymour Oxenhandler died (1st Cousin Twice Removed)
    Nov 1, 1910 – Agnes Lee Roberts born (1st Cousin Once Removed)
    Nov 1, 1936 – Bernard Feinstein and Belle Hoffman married (Great Uncle and Great Aunt)

    Hebrew Calendar: Tishri 27 – Heshvan 3
    Tishri 29, 5681 – Agnes Lee Roberts born (1st Cousin Once Removed)
    Tishri 29, 5518 – David Van Every born (4th Great Grandfather)
    Tishri 29, 5680 – Sarah Jane Van Every died (2nd Great Aunt)
    Tishri 30, 5684 – Judson Adrian Van Every died (2nd Great Uncle)
    Heshvan 1, 5763 – Roswell Spear died (2nd Cousin)
    Heshvan 1, 5765 – Israel David Newmark died (2nd Great Uncle)
    Heshvan 1, 5610 – Samuel Jennings Sliver Denyer and Zarelda Ann Singleton married (3rd Great Uncle and 3rd Great Aunt)
    Heshvan 1, 5639 – Benjamin Feinstein Born (2nd Great Uncle)
    Heshvan 1, 5680 – Sigmund Oxenhandler born (1st Cousin Twice Removed)
    Heshvan 3, 5659 – Henry Blatt born (2nd Great Uncle)

    Tuesday, October 21, 2008

    UK Passenger Lists

    Ancestry.UK yesterday added incoming passenger lists (1878-1960).
    This database is an index to the Board of Trade’s passenger lists of ships arriving in the United Kingdom from foreign ports outside of Europe and the Mediterranean from 1878-1888 and 1890-1960. Information listed on the passenger lists may include: name of passenger, their birth date or age, port of departure, port of arrival, date of arrival, and vessel name.
    My second great grandparents Samuel and Rose Newmark immigrated to England from Poland at some point in the early 1890s with their four eldest children: Sol, Barney, Nellie and Morris/Moses. I don't have an international subscription, but with my US subscription I was able to search for my surname, and while they don't allow you to access any other details, they do provide the names and ports of entry. There are several Samuels, one Rosie, one Nellie, and a couple Morrises. No Sol, and no Barney, but there is a B. Newmark. Enough to suggest their records might well be there.

    I believe the St. Louis Genealogical Society office has a full subscription, so I will visit them this weekend and see what I can find.

    Monday, October 20, 2008


    A week ago the mother of a good friend passed away. The family didn't want a crowd at the funeral so my friend was quiet for a week. While I would have respected her family's wishes, I would have liked to know. There was an obituary, but I don't read the obituaries daily, so I missed it.

    I have heard several of my parents' generation remark that they read the obituaries daily, but I haven't felt the need. I'm realizing I'm now old enough (turning 40 in January) that perhaps I should be too.

    I don't subscribe to the local newspaper. I gather my news online. I can read the St. Louis Post Dispatch obituaries online, but that requires me to make a special effort to visit the website daily, and I am sure I would miss days.

    There are only two ways I would be certain to see all obituaries in a timely fashion. If they were emailed to me, or if they appeared in my RSS newsreader. handles the obituaries for many newspapers - including the St. Louis Post Dispatch. They have an email service called ObitMessenger.

    For $20 a year you can get every obituary sent to you with a particular surname (up to 5 surnames) across all their newspapers. They call this their Genealogy Package. Though it only sends you an obituary if the surname matches the deceased's. (So you won't get the obituary if it is their maiden name, or the surname of one of the relatives mentioned in the text.)

    For $200 a year you can get every obituary with any keyword anywhere in the text (up to 5 keywords, and extremely common words not permitted.) For $15 per year you can get up to 5 keywords for one newspaper. They call these their Custom Keyword Packages.

    That's nice, and has its uses. I might consider their Genealogy package for a few of my surnames someday. However, at this moment all I want is every obituary for one newspaper.

    Luckily, I discovered on the Post Dispatch website that they do offer an RSS feed. I suspect not every newspaper does. Today I've added another feed to my newsreader, and I won't miss another obituary.

    During this Week

    Birth, marriage and death anniversaries for my ancestors and their kin during the upcoming week:

    Gregorian Calendar: October 19-25

    October 19, 1898 - Henry Blatt was born (2nd Great Uncle)
    October 19, 1919 - Marvin Feinstein was born (1st Cousin twice removed)
    October 19, 1920 - Samuel Tillman Hartley died (3rd Great Uncle)
    October 22, 1791 - William Denyer and Jane Goldfinch were married (4th Great Grandparents)
    October 22, 1902 - Theodore Deutsch was born (Great Uncle)
    October 23, 1866 - Samuel William Denyer was born (2nd Great Uncle)
    October 23, 1919 - Sarah Jane (Van Every) Colbert died (2nd Great Aunt)
    October 23, 1990 - Clara (Rubin) Newmark died (2nd Great Aunt)
    October 25, 1919 - Sigmund Oxenhandler was born (1st Cousin Twice Removed)

    Hebrew Calendar: Tishri 20-26

    Tishri 20, 5580 - Andrew Van Every and Nancy Lucellas were married (3rd Great Grandparents)
    Tishri 21, 5663 - Theodore Duetsch was born (Great Uncle)
    Tishri 23, 5649 - George Van Every was born (2nd Great Uncle)
    Tishri 24, 5552 - William Denyer and Jane Goldfinch were married (4th Great Grandparents)
    Tishri 25, 5680 - Marvin Feinstein was born (1st Cousin Twice Removed)
    Tishri 25, 5682 - Janice (Liebovitz) Newmark was born (Great Aunt)

    Friday, October 17, 2008

    Meme: 25 Things

    Bill West has tagged me in a meme that has been traveling quickly around the genea-blogosphere. For those of you who don’t know me, this provides a list of facts that when combined may say a lot about me.

    10 years ago I was....

    1. 29 years old
    2. A COBOL programmer for AG Edwards and Sons
    3. A freshly minted Uncle
    4. Performing my poetry weekly at the Venice Café open mic
    5. Maintaining a website at Geocities, mostly focused on politics and Victor Hugo

    Five things on today's to-do list:

    1. Happy Hour with some colleagues
    2. Performing my poetry at Hartford Community Cafe
    3. Watch the Presidential Debate I DVRd earlier this week
    4. Enter some data I collected from the St. Louis County City Directories last night at the library
    5. Finish writing my response to this meme.

    Five snacks I enjoy:

    1. Dried fruit
    2. Carrots and hummus
    3. Cheese and crackers
    4. Peanut butter and celery
    5. Chocolate

    Five places I have lived:

    1. Clayton, MO
    2. Grinnell, IA
    3. Georgetown, DC
    4. University City, MO
    5. Brentwood, MO

    Five jobs I've Had:

    1. Stockboy
    2. Congressional Intern
    3. Poet/Fiction Writer
    4. Computer Programmer
    5. Grant Writer

    #3 has never provided me with a steady paycheck. I think my earnings still fall in the double digits. Total. For over 10 years. I need to work on increasing it.

    Like so many memes, I’m supposed to tag five more geneabloggers to answer this. I’ve tried to name five who haven’t responded to this meme yet, however, it’s possible I’m tagging someone who’s already been tagged by someone else, as this meme has been traveling around.

    1. David at OakvilleBlackWalnut
    2. Amanda at Random Ramblings
    3. Chery at Nordic Blue
    4. Craig at GeneaBlogie
    5. George at George Geder

    Wednesday, October 15, 2008

    Days of the Week

    I really ought to wait 6 days before posting this, but I'll post it today anyway.

    The FootnoteMaven has a post on Nursery Lore and what it means if you are born on ___ day of the week.

    Monday's child is fair of face.
    Tuesday's child is full of grace.
    Wednesday's child is full of woe.
    Thursday's child has far to go.
    Friday's child is loving and giving.
    Saturday's child works hard for a living,
    But the child who is born on the Sabbath Day
    Is bonny and blithe and good and gay.

    She has even more details for each day of the week, as the poem only tells a fraction of some of the superstition and lore.

    She then asks others to reveal what day of the week they were born on.

    I, like the FootnoteMaven, was a Tuesday child. I, too, am not full of physical grace. I am somewhat clumsy actually. Nor do I consider myself wealthy, solemn or sad, other attributes attributed to Tuesday children. I have a tendency towards optimism and mirth. The word, Tuesday, comes from the Norse god of Combat and Heroic Glory, which are also far afield from my personality.

    However, I come from a different tradition than the traditions that likely sparked this poem. In the Jewish tradition, Tuesday is an auspicious day of the week. Some say 'lucky' though Judaism doesn't really teach that luck exists.

    The origin of Tuesday's special nature is the Book of Genesis, Chapter 1

    Ask most, and they will tell you that G-d "saw that it was good" each day of the first six days of creation. That's not true. (Follow the link above, and read the actual text. You will see I'm right.) On the first, fourth, fifth and sixth days, He did so. On the second day He said nothing. On the third day, He said it twice. The day G-d was silent was the first Monday, and some suggest that is why few people like Monday. Tuesday was when G-d spoke twice, blessing the day twice. And that is why it is considered auspicious. And maybe that is why I have a tendency towards optimism, and a desire to make myself and others laugh.

    270 Digital Libraries

    270 Digital Libraries organized by state.

    Hundreds of libraries and archives exist online, from university-supported sites to individual efforts. Each one has something to offer to researchers, students, and teachers. This list contains over 250 libraries and archives that focus mainly on localized, regional, and U.S. history, but it also includes larger collections, eText and eBook repositories, and a short list of directories to help you continue your research efforts.
    Three examples:

    Missouri Historical Newspaper Project (scanned and searchable issues from 13 newspapers across Missouri. Some 19th century, some early 20th century.)

    Digital Past "The North Suburban Library System offers a treasure trove of photographs, postcards, diaries, oral histories, documents, movies, interpretive exhibits, and other historical materials from libraries, historical societies, museums, and other cultural venues throughout Illinois. "

    American Journeys "This site contains more than 18,000 pages of eyewitness accounts of North American exploration, from the sagas of Vikings in Canada in AD1000 to the diaries of mountain men in the Rockies 800 years later."

    Returning to St. Louis City - 1908

    Today, October 15, is Blog Action Day. "Blog Action Day is an annual nonprofit event that aims to unite the world’s bloggers, podcasters and videocasters, to post about the same issue on the same day. Our aim is to raise awareness and trigger a global discussion." The theme for 2008 is Poverty.

    I thought I would return to a post I wrote back in July. St. Louis City Housing Conditions in 1908. I wrote about the disturbing conditions I had discovered that my ancestors had lived in from a report given by the Civic League of St. Louis. It was an 88-page report, though, and I only quoted a few paragraphs. I will try to give a fuller picture of what life was like for those who lived in this area bordered by 7th and 14th streets, and Lucas Avenue and OFallon Street. (1908 and 2008 maps provided in July post.)

    I am going to "copy and paste" several clippings from the report straight into this post as it is certainly easier than transcribing or rephrasing, and the images should be readable.

    Let's start with a chart of the number of bathtubs found in the neighborhood

    As the report states, "It is useless to try to add anything to the force of such figures as these." As one might expect, the majority of tubs were in the apartments of the building owners.

    A lot of space is given in the report to the conditions of the Yard Vaults, since toilets were a new innovation and rare.

    Another factor the report considered was the overcrowding situation. They compared the neighborhood to a similar report Chicago had conducted.

    Housing conditions in St. Louis City have improved greatly in the past 100 years. However, I have heard people over the years, when comparing the situation in today's inner cities to the situation in the tenements, to focus a lot on crime. There is a sense that things are different today.

    The differences that exist, I suspect are due mostly to technology, and greater access to a different class of weapons, and less to do with the individuals involved. The authors of the report back in 1908 knew that there was a connection between crime and poverty that was unrelated to race, nationality or ethnicity. As Victor Hugo wrote, "If the soul is left in darkness, sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but he who causes the darkness." (Les Miserables, p. 14)

    Understandably, many of the posts for Blog Action Day will focus on what it means to be poor today. Author, John Scalzi, had an excellent blog post three years ago on that topic: Being Poor. The Blog Action Day site had a list of resources for those interested in fact sheets, statistics, and suggestions on what can be done to alleviate poverty around the world.

    Monday, October 13, 2008

    Fractions and DNA

    in honor of what some localities refer to as Indigenous Peoples Day or Native Americans Day:
    Short Math Quiz

    Your mother told you she was ½ Choctaw and ½ Cherokee. Your father told you he was ½ Choctaw.

    You are in front of a bunch of judges and they start asking you questions, and they want to know what your percentage of Choctaw blood is. What do you tell them?

    What if you only have a primary school education? Do you think you’ll get it right

    Reading through the testimonies my great grandmother, her half-sister, six cousins, and her uncle provided to the Dawes Commission, one thing remains constant. None of them understood fractions. Fractions can be difficult.

    There were eight testimonies delivered in November of 1900. And my previous post on my Choctaw ancestry was based on reading through those eight testimonies. Another search turned up one more testimony delivered a year later. Samuel T Hartley, the brother of my second great grandmother, Sarah Hartley, brought another daughter of his before the commission. She was completely flummoxed by the questioning, and while it doesn’t say it, I suspect she was close to tears by the end. Her responses were all over the place, and it was clear she was very confused. Her father was present though, and was called to the witness stand. His testimony didn’t directly conflict his testimony of a year prior, but he was asked slightly different questions, which led to more information.

    In 1901 he claimed his father said he was ½ Choctaw. And that his mother said she was ½ Choctaw and ½ Cherokee. (He had no proof. Neither had ever had their names on rolls, or applied for land. That is why the commission denied the applications, they wouldn’t give land to just anyone who said they thought they had blood from one of the 5 civilized tribes, no matter how earnest they looked. They needed some evidence, and DNA evidence wasn’t around back then. My ancestors had no proof beyond what they had been told by their parents and grandparents.)

    In 1900 he had been asked whether he claimed his Choctaw heritage from his mother or father. His response was ‘father’. (It should have been ‘both’ but maybe he thought from the question he had to choose one.) The next question was how much blood his father had, so he had responded ½, and from that the Commission told him he would be ¼, and he accepted that.

    If the 1901 testimony is accurate, his mother claimed to be 100% Native American, half Choctaw, half Cherokee. And since she would be my mtDNA ancestor, taking the test might actually solve this question for my family. If my second great grandmother was ¾ Native American, then I am 3/64, which is getting higher and higher as I continue doing research. A year ago I thought I was only 1/128.

    Here are the people named in the nine testimonies I have downloaded from Footnote, and their percentage of Native American DNA assuming the testimony given by Samuel Hartley in 1901 is accurate.

    First Generation
    (1/2) George W Hartley
    (1/1) Eliza Beasley

    Second Generation (3/4)
    Samuel T Hartley (married Margaret ___ and Nannie ____)
    Sarah Ann Hartley (married Ebenezer Denyer and George W Foster)
    [Research indicates there may have been a third child named William Hartley]

    Third Generation (3/8)
    Caroline Hartley (married Jesse M Taylor)
    Georgia Amelia Hartley (married Miles J Phillips)
    Robert Hilliard Hartley (married Louisa ___ )
    Sophronia Hartley (married James Cagle)
    Virginia Hartley (married Henry Shultz)
    Amie Hartley
    Samuel H Hartley
    Eddie Hartley

    Samuel William Denyer (married Alice Gollihar)
    Margaret Jane Denyer (married Melvin Van Every)
    Eliza Caroline Foster (married William T Reeves)
    [George and Sarah Foster had two other children: George Foster Jr. and Sarah Ann Foster. Neither testified before the Dawes Commission as far as I can tell.]

    Fourth Generation (3/16)
    Taylor children: Maudie, Claudie, Mattie, Earline, Jesse
    Phillips children: Hester, Ruby
    Hartley children: Bessie Leanner, Youler May
    Cagle children: Dessie, Edna [later children include: Flossie, Hazel, Ruby, Otis]
    Shultz children: Birdie, Callie, Julia, Richard
    Denyer children: Alfred, Arthur, Addie, Zenovia, Lee, Samuel, William, Melvin
    Van Every children: Minnie, Samuel, Willa, Evva, Myrtle