Monday, December 26, 2011

Amanuensis Monday: The Birth of Israel David Newmark - 1903

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

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

I began this project back in February of 2009, and since then, many others have joined in on the meme.  Why do we transcribe? I provide my three reasons in the linked post. You may find others. If you participate, feel free to leave a link to your post in the comments.
***
This week I transcribe the London birth record of my great grandfather's brother, Israel David Newmark (1903-2004)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Khanike!

Hanuka began at sundown tonight.  It's an 8-day celebration starting on the 25th day of the first month of Winter on the Hebrew calendar, marking the Maccabean revolt in 166 BCE.

There are only two ways to properly spell the name of the holiday: חנוכה or חנכה (The one on the left being more common today according to Wikipedia)

If you use any other alphabet, it is entirely phonetic, resulting in many options, none of them being more 'correct' than the other.  However, the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research did decide that 'Khanike' most closely approximates the pronunciation.  Their spelling is one of the least used in America, though, even if it has the most academia behind it.






There are more videos in my post from 2009 at this time.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Amanuensis Monday: The Birth of Cecile Newmark - 1896

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

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

I began this project back in February of 2009, and since then, many others have joined in on the meme.  Why do we transcribe? I provide my three reasons in the linked post. You may find others. If you participate, feel free to leave a link to your post in the comments.
***
This week I transcribe the London birth record of my great grandfather's sister, Cecile (Cissie) Newmark (1896-1973)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Amanuensis Monday: Baby Pines for Lost DaDa - 1907

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

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

I began this project back in February of 2009, and since then, many others have joined in on the meme.  Why do we transcribe? I provide my three reasons in the linked post. You may find others. If you participate, feel free to leave a link to your post in the comments.
***
This week I transcribe a news story that appeared in the 1907 St. Louis Post Dispatch. Goldie Cruvant, who I mentioned last week, had just returned to East St. Louis from Chicago, with husband, Benjamin, and their two children. And Ben's parents weren't happy about the relationship.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Week In Review

Below are some highlights from news stories and blog posts I have read in the past week that deal with my overlapping interests in Genealogy, History, Heritage, and Technology.

Genealogy Resources
Technology and Digitization
Hot Topic
In the News
    Carnivals

      Other Weekly Link Lists
      Vacation

      I will be taking a vacation from Week in Review through the end of the month.  I have scheduled several Amanuensis Monday posts.  Otherwise, any blogging will be light.

      Monday, December 5, 2011

      Amanuensis Monday: Goldie Cruvant - in Denver Colorado - 1914

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

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

      I began this project back in February of 2009, and since then, many others have joined in on the meme.  Why do we transcribe? I provide my three reasons in the linked post. You may find others. If you participate, feel free to leave a link to your post in the comments.
      ***
      This week I transcribe a short excerpt from an issue of The Typographical Journal, which appears to mention Goldie (White) Cruvant, the first wife to Benjamin Cruvant, the brother of my great grandmother, Bertha (Cruvant) Newmark. (Found on Google Books)

      Sunday, December 4, 2011

      Week In Review

      Below are some highlights from news stories and blog posts I have read in the past week that deal with my overlapping interests in Genealogy, History, Heritage, and Technology.





      Other Weekly Link Lists

        Friday, December 2, 2011

        Julie Andrews and Gene Kelly sing about their family trees

        I shared this back in 2007, but there are probably one or two current readers who missed it, and others might enjoy listening to this again.  This is probably from The Julie Andrews Show (1965)
         
        Part I



        Part II



        On a personal note, back in 2007, I recall wondering whether I was going to end up like Gene's "Uncle Jim." Happily, that isn't the case; my fiancée last weekend was #1 on my list of things to be thankful for. For the second year running.

        Monday, November 28, 2011

        Amanuensis Monday: The Birth of Kate Newmark - 1894

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

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

        I began this project back in February of 2009, and since then, many others have joined in on the meme.  Why do we transcribe? I provide my three reasons in the linked post. You may find others. If you participate, feel free to leave a link to your post in the comments.
        ***
        This week I transcribe the London birth record of my great grandfather's sister, Kate Newmark

        Sunday, November 27, 2011

        Genealogy Research - a poem

        Genealogy Research

        I was kneeling in front of the gravestone
        Wearing a faded pair of jeans
        I had forgotten to bring my digital camera
        But had remembered the charcoal and paper
        I rubbed the grave, and read the results
        November 11 1819
        November 13 1820
        The child would have been
        One year, two days old when he died
        The stone had to be wrong
        This was the grave of my ancestor
        I looked at the death certificate
        I had found on the state website
        And brought with me to the cemetery
        1820 should be 1870
        I stood up
        And walked over
        To my computer desk
        Which was incomprehensibly situated
        Between two nearby stones
        I entered the data
        Into my family tree
        And then entered
        My ancestor’s name
        Into a database
        The name of which I don’t recall
        But I knew I had never seen it before
        There was one result
        And following the link
        I was reading the diary
        Of my fourth great grandma
        Where she mentioned the name
        Of the ship on which the family traversed
        The Pacific ocean
        I had thought they came from Europe
        But apparently
        They came by a more
        Circuitous route
        I entered the name of the ship
        Into Google
        And learned the passengers
        Were ex-convicts
        Exiled to Australia
        Who commandeered a boat
        And sailed to America
        By way of Argentina
        I returned to the diary
        Of my fourth great grandmother
        Only to discover
        Someone had deleted it
        From the database
        And I hadn’t yet downloaded it
        To my desktop

        I woke up, clichéd sweat
        Covered my forehead
        I grabbed pen and paper
        And wrote down everything I’d learned
        Fully aware my dream
        Was as reliable a source
        As most of what I find
        On the Internet
        My only concern
        I didn’t know the proper
        Citation format

        © John Newmark, 2011

        Some prior attempts at poetry

        Week In Review

        Below are some highlights from news stories and blog posts I have read in the past week that deal with my overlapping interests in Genealogy, History, Heritage, and Technology.

        Press Releases
        Humor

        Other Weekly Link Lists

        Saturday, November 26, 2011

        The Internet Wayback Machine - and Blogspot

        There are occasionally discussions regarding whether or not a blogger should host their blog for free at Blogspot, Wordpress, etc - or buy their own domain name.

        One factor I haven't heard mentioned in these discussions is: How Often Will the Internet Wayback Machine at Archive.org 'crawl' your site?

        Archive.org has been preserving webpages for over a decade.  This can be very useful.  Bloggers may wonder what will happen to their blog posts if their blog disappears -- but if it's being archived somewhere else, survival isn't completely dependent upon the blogger's backup regimen.

        I recently discovered that:

        1) This blog, which currently has over 200 subscribers according to Google Reader, has been 'crawled' by the archival spiders at the IWM a grand total of 2 times, both in 2008, and a total of 67 pages have been preserved.

        2) A blog I have maintained since 2002 on my personal domain, and which currently has 6 subscribers according to Google Reader, has been 'crawled' 52 times since 2006, and a total of 5359 pages have been preserved.  (Note: This is a Wordpress blog, and has separate 'pages' for comments, trackbacks, and rss feeds, so the number is probably closer to an equivalent of 1000 pages.)

        3) I decided to look at the results for some other blogs.  I've decided not to name them.  Those who are curious about their own blogs, can follow the links above, and replace the URLs for my own blogs with any other site they wish to test.

        I looked at three other popular genealogy blogs maintained on Blogspot, all with more subscribers than I have through Google Reader.  Two blogging since 2008, and one blogging since 2006.  The former two have been crawled twice each, with 15 and 23 pages preserved.  The one blogging since 2006 has been crawled 7 times, and has 346 pages preserved.

        Then I looked at two popular geneabloggers, both blogging since 2006, who switched to a personal domain back in 2008.  Their Blogspot blogs were crawled 2 and 7 times, with 60 and 783 pages preserved respectively.  Their personal domains have been crawled 37 and 40 times since 2008, with 427 and 2118 pages preserved respectively.  While the numbers are different, moving to a personal domain clearly benefited both on this measurement.
          4) The last page preserved for each Blogger-blog has the exact same filename, and may be part of the reason why so few pages are preserved:  robots.txt.  

          Following some links on the archived pages results in this error:

          From what I have found researching so far, Google added the robots.txt files to Blogger blogs in 2007. (Explaining perhaps why those blogging since 2006 were crawled a little more) This file, which cannot be changed, is preventing search 'robots' from following certain links on the blog.  I'm not entirely certain which links are blocked, and which ones aren't. It's certainly not stopping Google from indexing their blogs.  Google has owned Blogger and Blogspot since 2003, and certainly wouldn't do that.  But it appears to have an impact on how other robots crawl the site.

          Some references to the Blogspot Robots.txt suggest its primary purpose is to prevent the 'duplicate' pages that otherwise might result, as exemplified by the 5000 pages the Internet Wayback Machine has preserved for my Wordpress blog.  But it appears to be having a larger impact than that.

          The Robots.txt file is on the Custom Domains as well, so it's not the entire explanation.  The Internet Wayback Machine might treat Blogspot, in general, differently.


          Why did I originally set my genealogy blog up on Blogspot?

          I didn't at first.  For the first few months all my genealogy-related posts were a subset of the personal blog referenced in (2) above.  But as I grew more obsessed with genealogy, I knew I needed a separate space devoted to the one topic.  So many other geneabloggers were using Blogspot, and it was easy to use, so that's the direction I went.

          It wasn't a mistake, per se. Blogspot has been a fine home.  But I've considered moving the blog back 'home' before, and this was just the proverbial straw for me.



          All of this explains why as of this post, this blog is no longer located at http://transylvaniandutch.blogspot.com - but is now at http://blog.transylvaniandutch.com

          All links to the former Blogspot version should forward automatically to the new page.

            Wednesday, November 23, 2011

            Thanksgiving Poetry

            Below are several poems I have posted here on past Thanksgivings, all gathered together in one post. 
            I am posting them a day early in case someone is inspired to include any of them in their festivities tomorrow.

            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.

            Thanksgiving - by Edgar A. Guest (©1917)

            Gettin' together to smile an' rejoice,
            An' eatin' an' laughin' with folks of your choice;
            An' kissin' the girls an' declarin' that they
            Are growin' more beautiful day after day;
            Chattin' an' braggin' a bit with the men,
            Buildin' the old family circle again;
            Livin' the wholesome an' old-fashioned cheer,
            Just for awhile at the end of the year.

            Greetings fly fast as we crowd through the door
            And under the old roof we gather once more
            Just as we did when the youngsters were small;
            Mother's a little bit grayer, that's all.
            Father's a little bit older, but still
            Ready to romp an' to laugh with a will.
            Here we are back at the table again
            Tellin' our stories as women an' men.

            Bowed are our heads for a moment in prayer;
            Oh, but we're grateful an' glad to be there.
            Home from the east land an' home from the west,
            Home with the folks that are dearest an' best.
            Out of the sham of the cities afar
            We've come for a time to be just what we are.
            Here we can talk of ourselves an' be frank,
            Forgettin' position an' station an' rank.

            Give me the end of the year an' its fun
            When most of the plannin' an' toilin' is done;
            Bring all the wanderers home to the nest,
            Let me sit down with the ones I love best,
            Hear the old voices still ringin' with song,
            See the old faces unblemished by wrong,
            See the old table with all of its chairs
            An' I'll put soul in my Thanksgivin' prayers.
             
            Looking Back - by Edgar Guest (©1921)

            I might have been rich if I'd wanted the gold instead of the friendships I've made.
            I might have had fame if I'd sought for renown in the hours when I purposely played.
            Now I'm standing to-day on the far edge of life, and I'm just looking backward to see
            What I've done with the years and the days that were mine, and all that has happened to me.

            I haven't built much of a fortune to leave to those who shall carry my name,
            And nothing I've done shall entitle me now to a place on the tablets of fame.
            But I've loved the great sky and its spaces of blue; I've lived with the birds and the trees;
            I've turned from the splendor of silver and gold to share in such pleasures as these.

            I've given my time to the children who came; together we've romped and we've played,
            And I wouldn't exchange the glad hours spent with them for the money that I might have made.
            I chose to be known and be loved by the few, and was deaf to the plaudits of men;
            And I'd make the same choice should the chance come to me to live my life over again.

            I've lived with my friends and I've shared in their joys, known sorrow with all of its tears;
            I have harvested much from my acres of life, though some say I've squandered my years.
            For much that is fine has been mine to enjoy, and I think I have lived to my best,
            And I have no regret, as I'm nearing the end, for the gold that I might have possessed.

            A Song of Thanks - by Edward Smyth Jones (©1922)

            FOR the sun that shone at the dawn of spring,
            For the flowers which bloom and the birds that sing,
            For the verdant robe of the gray old earth,
            For her coffers filled with their countless worth,
            For the flocks which feed on a thousand hills,
            For the rippling streams which turn the mills,
            For the lowing herds in the lovely vale,
            For the songs of gladness on the gale,—
            From the Gulf and the Lakes to the Oceans’ banks,—
            Lord God of Hosts, we give Thee thanks!

            For the farmer reaping his whitened fields,
            For the bounty which the rich soil yields,
            For the cooling dews and refreshing rains,
            For the sun which ripens the golden grains,
            For the bearded wheat and the fattened swine,
            For the stalled ox and the fruitful vine,
            For the tubers large and cotton white,
            For the kid and the lambkin frisk and blithe,
            For the swan which floats near the river-banks,—
            Lord God of Hosts, we give Thee thanks

            For the pumpkin sweet and the yellow yam,
            For the corn and beans and the sugared ham, 
            For the plum and the peach and the apple red,
            For the dear old press where the wine is tread,
            For the cock which crows at the breaking dawn,
            And the proud old “turk” of the farmer’s barn,
            For the fish which swim in the babbling brooks,
            For the game which hide in the shady nooks,—
            From the Gulf and the Lakes to the Oceans’ banks—
            Lord God of Hosts, we give Thee thanks!

            For the sturdy oaks and the stately pines,
            For the lead and the coal from the deep,
            dark mines, For the silver ores of a thousand fold,
            For the diamond bright and the yellow gold,
            For the river boat and the flying train,
            For the fleecy sail of the rolling main,
            For the velvet sponge and the glossy pearl,
            For the flag of peace which we now unfurl,—
            From the Gulf and the Lakes to the Oceans’ banks,—
            Lord God of Hosts, we give Thee thanks!

            For the lowly cot and the mansion fair,
            For the peace and plenty together share,
            For the Hand which guides us from above,
            For Thy tender mercies, abiding love,
            For the blessed home with its children gay,
            For returnings of Thanksgiving Day,
            For the bearing toils and the sharing cares,
            We lift up our hearts in our songs and our prayers,—
            From the Gulf and the Lakes to the Oceans’ banks,—
            Lord God of Hosts, we give Thee thanks!

            Tuesday, November 22, 2011

            Conflicting Emotions

            Reposted from 2008

            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 the evening of December 20 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.  Kislev 25 fell on November 21st, to be exact.

            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.

            Related newspaper column: Chanukah's History: Challenging but Full of Meaning

            Monday, November 21, 2011

            Amanuensis Monday: How to Pack Bees - 1910

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

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

            I began this project back in February of 2009, and since then, many others have joined in on the meme.  Why do we transcribe? I provide my three reasons in the linked post. You may find others. If you participate, feel free to leave a link to your post in the comments.
            ***
            This week I transcribe a letter my great grandfather, Melvin Van Every, wrote in 1910 to the editors of Gleanings in Bee Culture.

            Sunday, November 20, 2011

            Week In Review

            Below are some highlights from news stories and blog posts I have read in the past week that deal with my overlapping interests in Genealogy, History, Heritage, and Technology.
            What happens to our research when we're gone?  This question is addressed by:
            Two related press releases regarding the 1940 Census
              Humor

              And a comic with which I identified.


              I saw the above XKCD comic, and thought about changing the text to: "Never have I felt so close to another soul and yet so helplessly alone as when I Google an ancestor and there's one result: a thread by someone with the same brick wall and no answer. Last posted to in 2003.  Who where you, GeneaResearcher9? What have you learned?!"


              Other Weekly Link Lists

                    Monday, November 14, 2011

                    Amanuensis Monday: Marriage License for Melvin Newmark and Belle Feinstein - May 1936

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

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

                    I began this project back in February of 2009, and since then, many others have joined in on the meme.  Why do we transcribe? I provide my three reasons in the linked post. You may find others. If you participate, feel free to leave a link to your post in the comments.
                    ***
                    This week I am transcribing the marriage license of my grandparents, Melvin Newmark and Belle Feinstein on May 9-10, 1936.

                    Sunday, November 13, 2011

                    Week In Review

                    Below are some highlights from news stories and blog posts I have read in the past week that deal with my overlapping interests in Genealogy, History, Heritage, and Technology.
                    • Michael John Neill at RootDig, reshares an article he wrote 11 years ago: The Third Grader's 1850 Census. His attempt to distract his daughter so he could get some work done failed miserably in its primary goal, but his daughter learned a lot in the process.   

                    Other Weekly Link Lists

                    Friday, November 11, 2011

                    Veterans Day, 2011

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

                    In honor of Veterans Day and Remembrance Day, below are the names of ancestors, and their siblings, who I know served their nation's military, either in a time of war, or in a time of peace. 

                    I am including my Loyalist ancestors; their nation was Great Britain. I am including my Confederate ancestors too, despite their desire to form a separate nation.




                    Fifth Great Grandfathers
                    McGregory Van Every (1723-1786) Loyalist/Butler's Rangers
                    Michael Showers (1733-1796) Loyalist/Butler's Rangers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                    Uncle
                    Stevan J Newmark (1942-1997) Army Reserves

                    Photographs of those who served in World War II

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


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


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


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

                    Wednesday, November 9, 2011

                    November 9th - The International Day Against Fascism - A Day of Fate

                    November 9th is sometimes referred to as "The European 9/11" since most European countries write their dates with the number for the month second. Schicksalstag, German for "Day of Fate," is also used for the day.

                    Schicksalstag was first used for November 9th by some German historians after WWII, but it picked up in popularity after 1989. There are several major events in German history that occurred on this date, with conflicting emotional baggage. However, when you look at a list of events for November 9, you realize this Day of Fate doesn’t stop at Germany’s borders.

                    Here’s a partial list:
                    694 – Egica, a king of the Visigoths of Hispania, accuses Jews of aiding Muslims, sentencing all Jews to slavery.
                    1494 - Medicis assume rule of Florence, Italy
                    1799 - Napoleon overthrew the French government in the coup d’etat of 18 Brumaire
                    1918 - Kaiser Wilhelm steps down, and Germany’s Republic begins
                    1923 - Hitler’s failed Beer Hall Putsch
                    1938 - Kristallnacht/Pogromnacht - German pogrom viewed as the symbolic start of the Holocaust
                    1953 - Cambodia declares its independence
                    1989 - Berlin wall comes down

                    Tuesday, November 8, 2011

                    Third Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge

                    Bill West at West in New England is hosting his Third Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge
                    Find a poem by a local poet, famous or obscure, from the region one of your ancestors lived in. It can be about an historical event, a legend, a person, or even about some place (like a river)or a local animal. It can even be a poem you or one of your ancestors have written! Or if you prefer, post the lyrics of a song or a link to a video of someone performing the song.
                    The deadline for submission is November 20th.  The rest of the details can be read on his blog.
                    ***

                    I have participated in the first two editions of this contest, but between last year and now I have come to the conclusion my Feinstein/Dudelsack ancestors arrived from Volhynia, Russia.  So I decided to find a Volhynian poet. It wasn't difficult, and I was pleasantly surprised, as he turned out to already be one of my favorite poets.

                    In 1873, Chaim Nachman Bialik was born in Radi, Volhynia. Bialik's father died in 1880, when Bialik was 7 years old. In his poems, Bialik romanticized the misery of his childhood, describing seven orphans left behind—though modern biographers believe there were fewer children, including grown step-siblings who did not need to be supported. Be that as it may, from the age 7 onwards Bialik was raised in Zhitomir by his grandfather. (source).

                    Bialik is considered by many to be the "father of Modern Hebrew poetry," and it is great to see he was raised in the same town (Zhitomir) my great great grandfather's brother, Julius, put down as his town of origin on his immigration papers.  Selig and Julius Dudelsack left Russia in the 1890s, a decade before Bialik began publishing poetry - but did the Dudelsack family know Bialik's grandfather?

                    Bialik's poetry (in Hebrew) can be found here.

                    I share an excerpt below of an English translation. with a link to another site where the entire poem can be read. (While the original Hebrew was written in 1904, the translation is still under copyright.) The poem below was read in 2003 at the Memorial for the fallen Columbia astronauts.
                     
                    ***
                    After My Death

                    Say this when you mourn for me:

                    There was a man – and look, he is no more.
                    He died before his time.
                    The music of his life suddenly stopped.
                    A pity!  There was another song in him.
                    Now it is lost
                    forever.

                    (Read the rest of the poem)

                    ***

                    Bialik is also known for his gathering and editing of the Sefer Ha-gaddah (Legends from Talmud and Midrash)



                    ***
                    Note for the curious - actress Mayim Bialik has indicated she is descended from a sibling of Bialik's.

                    Monday, November 7, 2011

                    Amanuensis Monday: Marriage License for Herman Feinstein and Annie Blatt

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

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

                    I began this project back in February of 2009, and since then, many others have joined in on the meme.  Why do we transcribe? I provide my three reasons in the linked post. You may find others. If you participate, feel free to leave a link to your post in the comments.
                    ***
                    Last week I transcribed the Application for a Marriage License filed by my great grandparents Herman Feinstein and Annie Blatt. This week, I transcribe the actual marriage license.

                    Sunday, November 6, 2011

                    Week In Review

                    Below are some highlights from news stories and blog posts I have read in the past week that deal with my overlapping interests in Genealogy, History, Heritage, and Technology.
                    Holiday Related
                    • In Halloween is More Funny than Scary in St. Louis - NPR reports on the unique St. Louis Halloween tradition of forcing kids to come up with riddles and jokes.  (Personally, I think other cities should adopt this tradition.  But I was born and grew up in St. Louis.)

                    Other Weekly Link Lists

                      Thursday, November 3, 2011

                      Yankel and the Holding Cell

                      Found this in a drafts folder. I wrote this a couple years ago to post, but I never did. Nothing's changed.

                      We’ve placed a relative in a holding cell.  We didn’t know where else to put him.  But somewhat similar to Schrödinger’s infamous cat, who is half-alive and half-dead, he’s in two different holding cells simultaneously, depending upon whether you ask me, or my cousin.

                      Yankel, son of Meier, was born in an Eastern European shtetl about 1839. This we know from census records.  A Meier was born in 1795.  I consider him the ‘father’ of the line, though we do know the name of a brother.  Meier would have been 44 in 1839.  Not too old to be a father.

                      My cousin, who’s been researching the family for twenty years, has created a Meier son of Meier to be the father of Yankel, because he fits better in the next generation.  When I remind her that this goes against European Jewish tradition, she reminds me that most Jews had multiple Jewish names, and the birth records only have one written down.  One could have been Meier Zev, and the other Meier Leyb.  Or for that matter, one could have been Zev Meier and the other Leyb Meier.  Still, I feel uncomfortable creating the appearance of a ‘junior’ unless there is proof that a ‘junior’ existed. 

                      The superstition was that the Angel of Death could get confused and take the infant instead of the father/grandfather.  Superstitions like that only fade away when infant mortality begins to drop, and parents stop asking G-d, ‘why did you take our child?’  In the 20th century it’s just a tradition, one that gets broken on occasion, but in the 19th century I suspect the superstition still held.

                      Still, for both of us, it’s a holding cell.  A guess.  We are almost certain he is a member of the family and fits in somewhere, along with all of his descendants. (Which could be tested with a DNA surname study.)  I’m more comfortable with my holding cell; she is more comfortable with hers.  The important thing is that we make notes that it is a holding cell.  She has been extremely careful to cite all sources and explain all logic to the point that I occasionally think she’s gone a little overboard in her notes.  But it’s a good practice I need to learn.

                      Hopefully, someday, Yankel will be free.

                      Tuesday, November 1, 2011

                      Reading a Passenger Manifest: Is it a Match?

                      Above is a clipping from the October 28, 1891 passenger manifest for the TSS New Amsterdam, taken from Ancestry.com

                      The question I asked myself back in 2007 when I first discovered it was: Is this my great great grandmother, Anna (Perlik) Feinstein, her mother-in-law, and her several children.

                      In the below table I show the information I had for each family member from Family Records(FR): name, approximate birth year - and the matching information from the Passenger Manifest (PM). In no cases do I have birth records from their ancestral Russian village.

                      (For the passenger manifest, I'm using the spelling of names as indexed, even where I'm pretty certain it's wrong.)

                      FR: Name FR: Birth Year PM: Name PM: Birth Year
                      Anna 1868 Mechame 1866
                      Gitel 1840 Gitel 1856
                      Harry 1884 Hersch 1885
                      Herman 1886 Chaim 1887
                      Ben 1888 Berl 1890
                      Pearl 1890 Pirl 1891
                      ??????? ??????? Jette 1873

                      1) Anna: Anna's Hebrew name was Nechama.  It means, 'comfort,' and was often Americanized to Channa or Anna.

                      I didn't know her Hebrew name when I first found the Passenger Manifest, as I hadn't yet visited her tombstone.  But I asked someone familiar with possible Hebrew names, and they suggested Nechama, which turned out to be correct.

                      2) Gitel: The name matches, the birth year is a complete mismatch.  But do I discard the record because of that?  I don't think so.  Could she have lied about her age? Could a 51 year old woman pass for 35?   There are stories of families getting the necessary immigration papers through less than direct methods where the information on the records might not always match exactly.

                      3) Harry's Hebrew name was Zvi, which means 'Deer.'  The Yiddish variant is, 'Hirsch.' 'Harry' was a common Americanization of Zvi/Hirsch.

                      4) 'Herman' is a common Americanization of the Hebrew name, Chaim, meaning, 'life.'  There are no documents with my great grandfather's Hebrew name on it, however, he does appear in the 1900 census as "Hyman" which shows the progression from Chaim to Herman as a name.

                      5) The Hebrew name 'Berel/Beryl', meaning either a gemstone, or 'bear,' was often Americanized to 'Ben.'  I have no documents, however, with Ben's Hebrew name.

                      6) Perl is also a Hebrew name, and means 'Fruit.'  'Pearl' would have been an obvious choice for an American name.

                      ***
                      Anna's husband, Selig, made the journey alone in 1890.  It makes sense his wife, mother, and children would make the trip not long after.  And 1891 is recorded as their year of immigration on the 1910 census. (The 1900, 1920 and 1930 census say 1890 for everyone.)

                      The coincidence of names, and close approximations of most of the birth years, makes this a very likely match.  However, there is certainly the possibility that there was another family out there with similar names and birth years.  I think the number of matches lowers the odds.  I wish the passenger manifest said they were headed to St. Louis.  Unfortunately, it says New York.  However, the destination on Selig's Passenger Manifest was also New York, and I haven't found evidence the Feinstein family was in St. Louis until 1892.  It's possible they weren't.

                      There is also the issue of Jette (or, more likely, Yetta) Feinstein.  I have no record of any relative who would have been traveling with them with that name.  I've tried to research the name, and haven't been able to find out what happened to this person.

                      Feinstein was not my ancestors' original surname.  Selig immigrated under his original name of Selig Dudelsack.  He changed his surname to Feinstein soon after arrival in the US.  The reasons aren't clear, and the family had been told the traditional story of his name being changed at Ellis Island (or in Selig's case, Castle Garden.)  It's actually possible that it was Selig's wife and mother who adopted the Feinstein surname in their immigration process. It's conceivable they may have been 'traveling with' Yetta Feinstein, but weren't actually related to her.

                      Monday, October 31, 2011

                      Amanuensis Monday: Application for Marriage - Herman Feinstein and Annie Blatt - 1912

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

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

                      I began this project back in February of 2009, and since then, many others have joined in on the meme.  Why do we transcribe? I provide my three reasons in the linked post. You may find others. If you participate, feel free to leave a link to your post in the comments.
                      ***
                      This week, I transcribe the application for marriage for two of my paternal great grandparents, Herman Max Feinstein, and Annie Blatt.

                      Sunday, October 30, 2011

                      Week In Review

                      Below are some highlights from news stories and blog posts I have read in the past week that deal with my overlapping interests in Genealogy, History, Heritage, and Technology.

                      Around the Blogs
                      Some genealogists may wish to consider ways to celebrate Dia de los Muertos.  This Mexican holiday, "Day of the Dead," occurs on November 1st and 2nd, traditionally in conjunction with All Saints Day and All Souls Day. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died.

                      Other Weekly Link Lists

                      Monday, October 24, 2011

                      Amanuensis Monday: Everett Van Every - April 2, 1924

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

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

                      I began this project back in February of 2009, and since then, many others have joined in on the meme.  Why do we transcribe? I provide my three reasons in the linked post. You may find others. If you participate, feel free to leave a link to your post in the comments.
                      ***
                      This week, I transcribe an article for the April 2nd, 1924 edition of the San Antonio Express.  The article is very brief, but confirms what I have learned from other sources regarding the death of my maternal grandmother's nephew, Everett Van Every.

                      Sunday, October 23, 2011

                      Week In Review

                      Below are some highlights from news stories and blog posts I have read in the past week that deal with my overlapping interests in Genealogy, History, Heritage, and Technology.

                      Around the Blogs
                      • Jessie at The National Archives announced that they have released some digitization tools on the social coding platform, GitHub. "Over the last year and a half, our Digitization Services Branch has developed a number of software applications to facilitate digitization workflows.  These applications have significantly increased our productivity and improved the accuracy and completeness of our digitization work...We have made two digitization applications, “File Analyzer and Metadata Harvester” and “Video Frame Analyzer” available on GitHub, and they are now available for use by other institutions and the public."
                      Newspaper and Magazine articles

                      Other Weekly Link Lists

                      Wednesday, October 19, 2011

                      Ancestry Can Be Quick to Fix an Error

                      Michael John Neill at RootDig wrote a post entitled, Ancestry.com - There is More To Illinois than Cook County

                      Ancestry's Illinois, Deaths and Stillbirths Index (1916-1947) provided the following source information:

                      Ancestry.com. Illinois, Deaths and Stillbirths Index, 1916-1947 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.Original data: "Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths, 1916–1947." Index. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2010. Illinois Department of Health records. "Certificates of Death." Division of Vital Records, Springfield, Illinois.
                      But the description indicated that the records were extracted from the Cook County records.  This wasn't accurate as there were records in the database from all over Illinois. I use the past tense, as while his post was this morning, and he has a screen print of a record, someone from Ancestry must have read his post, because they have already corrected the error.

                      Below is an image of my Great Great Uncle, Max Newmark's record copied a few minutes ago:
                      No longer does the description indicate that it is only Cook County Records.  Which is a good thing, as my great great uncle died in East St. Louis, Illinois - a fair distance from Chicago/Cook County.

                      Something else I'll note -- this is another good example of the issues with record transcriptions without accompanying images.  While the transcription comes originally from FamilySearch, they too don't have the image.  Though with the microfilm number, I can obtain a copy if I wish.

                      Max's wife's name should be Dora, not Iona.
                      The cemetery's name is B'nai Amoona, not Bnar Amoona.
                      I'm sure the informant said he was born in England, even though I'm pretty certain that isn't the case. The Newmark family moved to England shortly after his birth.

                      I transcribed the newspaper account of his death back in February of 2010.

                      Monday, October 17, 2011

                      Week In Review

                      Set this to post on Sunday morning and somehow Blogger failed me.

                      Below are some highlights from news stories and blog posts I have read in the past week that deal with my overlapping interests in Genealogy, History, Heritage, and Technology.



                      Other Weekly Link Lists

                      Amanuensis Monday: Judson Van Every - Manchester Journal - 1915-1917

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

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

                      I began this project back in February of 2009, and since then, many others have joined in on the meme.  Why do we transcribe? I provide my three reasons in the linked post. You may find others. If you participate, feel free to leave a link to your post in the comments.
                      ***
                      This week, I share more transcriptions from The Manchester Journal (Manchester, OK).  Judson Van Every, the brother of my great grandfather, Melvin Van Every, appeared often in the pages.  These transcriptions were originally written down by Wayne York, a grandson of Judson Van Every.  I found the transcriptions attached to an entry on an Ancestry Public Member Tree belonging to plnjmw. They are shared with her permission.

                      Last week, we saw Jud and his family left the Manchester area in April of 1910 for Idaho.  But his travels didn't end there.