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."