Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Corned Beef on Rye

Corned Beef and Cabbage on Rye

To the left is a bio my great-grandfather Barney Newmark submitted to the North St. Louis Businessman's Association for their 1925 publication.

Are such bios trustworthy sources? Let's take a look.

Proprietor of a tailor shop, 1520 St. Louis avenue;

Native of Dublin, Ireland;
Attended public schools in Ireland;
Not quite. While we don't have a birth certificate, all evidence suggests he was born in what I like to call a suburb of Dublin, known as Warka, Poland. Google Maps will provide driving directions, and it will only take you 23 hours. (With the help of some ferries.)

Student at Oxford;
Barney doesn't say "Oxford University" or "Oxford College". During the 14 years spent in London, England, he lived within walking distance of Oxford Street, and the Oxford Circus Railway Station. He was a student of life. Perhaps there was even a local school on Oxford Street.

Learned the tailoring trade at the London Polytechnic, London, England;

For a while it was assumed this was also a stretch of his imagination. But research revealed that the London Polytechnic was short for The London Polytechnic Young Men's Christian Institute, and like some branches of its American cousin, they provided skills training to local youth. Certainly, Barney learned the tailoring trade from his father, who was also a tailor. However, he may have had instruction at the local Y as well.


Everything after that is also true. So the only outright fib was his country of origin. There was a large Irish community in St. Louis, and my suspicion is that since "Barney" isn't an uncommon Irish name, many of his customers would ask him if he were Irish, and he finally decided to say "yes." (With his fourteen years in England as an explanation of the absence of the accent.)

He also would say that his birthday was March 17th. His birthday appears as March 25th and April 14th on a few documents. I discussed recently how the Gregorian and Julian calendars might partially account for the different dates.

Eight years ago, after I discussed my great grandfather's 'blarney', a friend sent me a link to an online census document. I had always been interested in my ancestry, but had no clue what was available online. The rest, as they say, is family history.

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Past St. Patrick's Day posts

March 16, 2014: Happy St. Patrick's Day 2014
March 16, 2013: Happy St. Patrick's Day
March 17, 2012: Happy 126th Birthday to my Great Grandfather
March 17, 2011: Happy St. Patrick's Day
March 17, 2010: Barney's Birthday and Birthplace
March 17, 2009: On St. Patrick's Day Everyone is Irish
March 17, 2008: My 'Irish' Great Grandfather
March 15, 2007: Corned Beef and Cabbage on Rye

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

National Genealogical Society Family History Conference - Social Media Press

I received an email on Monday from the National Genealogical Society:

It began:
Congratulations! You have been accepted as a member of the official social media for the NGS 2015 Family History Conference. NGS looks forward to working with you to communicate conference news to the genealogical community and beyond.
I look forward to covering the conference. I will be seeing it through the eyes of someone who has never been to a genealogy conference. I have placed the Official Blogger logo in the sidebar to the left.

I've already begun to plan what panels I will go to when.

For those who are coming to the conference who would like to be an official member of the Social Media Press: you can apply here through March 16th.

For those interested in attending, but who haven't registered yet: The 'early bird deadline' for registering for the conference is 30 March 2015. For more information see page 15 of the registration brochure (pdf).

For those who are unable to attend: They are offering a couple different Live Streaming packages.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Who Do You Think You Are - Season Six

"Who Do You Think You Are?" returns to TLC on Sunday with a new season of celebrity genealogies. The eight guests scheduled for this season are:

  • Julie Chen, CBS news anchor, and producer (Big Brother, Early Show, The Talk)
  • Angie Harmon, Actress (Law and Order, Rizzoli and Isles)
  • Sean Hayes, Actor (Will and Grace)
  • Bill Paxton, Actor (Apollo 13, Aliens, Hatfields and McCoys)
  • Melissa Etheridge, Singer-Songwriter
  • America Ferrera, Actress (Ugly Betty, How to Train Your Dragon)
  • Tony Goldwyn, Actor (Ghost, Tarzan)
  • Josh Groban, Singer-Songwriter, Actor

In the past, I've stated that I'd naturally like for them to research a celebrity whose tree intersects with mine. For a brief moment in Season Two, back in 2011, I thought that might happen. Ashley Judd is a distant cousin of mine through Thomas and Katherine Stoughton. However, Judd's episode didn't focus on that branch of hers. So, that hasn't happened yet, and while I could be surprised, I doubt that it will happen for any of these eight. Perhaps next season.

While the shows haven't had a direct impact on my research, over the years I have seen parallels in the ancestries of some of the celebrities. For example, Sarah Jessica Parker's father is of Eastern European Jewish descent, and the show traced her mother back to Salem, Massachusetts. (I am distant kin to Salem's Chief Justice, William Stoughton. Fortunately, not a direct descendant.)

It has also been enjoyable to watch those celebrities who seem to actually conduct some of the research themselves, instead of simply react emotionally to what the researchers present to them.

I look forward to seeing what this season has to present.