Sunday, September 1, 2019

Labor Day Weekend 2019

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

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

Here's a playlist of songs which may help.



A Pict Song - Rudyard Kipling (1917)

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

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

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

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

We are the Little Folk, we ! etc.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Missouri Historical Society Library and Research Center databases

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

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

I decided to see what other subscription databases they might offer

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

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

Friday, August 2, 2019

Cousin to Boris Johnson - Oy Vey!

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

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

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


Friday, July 26, 2019

The Value of a Library Card - St. Louis

Post updated from 2015

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

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

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

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

Monday, July 22, 2019

Amanuensis Monday: Simon Cruvant breaks his leg - 1889

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, July 15, 2019

Amanuensis Monday: Play Ball! - Junior Baseball League 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.

Today I transcribe a newspaper clipping listing the teams of a municipal junior baseball league from 1914. While I don't know any of the youth on the teams, one of the teams appears to have been sponsored by my second great grandfather, and/or a combination of his sons. This clipping was found on Newspapers.com

St. Louis Globe Democrat
19 April 1914 Page 47

Junior League Will Meet Monday Night

The Junior Baseball League umpires, managers and captains of teams will meet in room 304 City Hall Monday evening at 8 o’clock. General instructions will be given in order that a thorough understanding between all will be had. The league is composed of ten teams: Day Ice Cream Company, Welsbach Company, H.N.’s, Lamoth Piano Company, Newmark Tailors, Claxton Juniors, Rock Islands, Majestic, A.C. Empires and American Steel and Foundry Company.

The Schedule Committee will meet Tuesday to arrange schedule and all necessary details for the opening of the season, which will be Sunday afternoon April 26, as follows: Preliminary games on grounds No. 8, Forest Park; grounds 2 and 4 at fair grounds and a double header at O’Fallon Park grounds No. 1. The double-umpire system will be in use at all games. All teams have strong line-ups and the public should witness some of the most interesting games in the Muney League on Sunday afternoon during the season.

Notes:

1) My second great grandfather, Samuel Newmark and his family immigrated to St Louis 1908-1909. Samuel and his sons Sol, Barney, and Max were all tailors. I can’t imagine they had any experience with baseball as a sport in Poland or England (where they lived for 15 years before immigrating to St. Louis.). However, they were sponsoring a team, not playing. From other articles I know  the players were age 14-16, and there were no Newmarks of that age in 1914.

Amanuensis Monday: The Education of Herman Feinstein

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

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

Today I transcribe a newspaper clipping mentioning a great grandfather's schooling. The St. Louis Globe-Democrat has recently been added to the digitized holdings at Newspapers.com. Born in 1886, my great grandfather Herman Feinstein was 15 years old in 1901.

St. Louis Globe-Democrat, 17 April 1901, page 9. 
JEWISH ALLIANCE SCHOOL
Closing Exercises Held Last Night at Jefferson Building.

The closing exercises of the Jewish Alliance night schools, at the Jefferson school building, at Ninth and Wash streets, were held last night under the direction of Prof. Emil Mayer, the principal. An attractive program was presented. It was opened by a song, “The Flag of the Free,” sung by the school. Recitations were presented by Ida Gellman, Louis Lambrakis, Ralph Goldman, Simon Shipper, Fannie Brenholz, Beckie Herman, Jacob Frelich, Annie Hall, Ike Stern and Mary Fridkin; orations by Sam Shor and Sam Shipper; dialogue by Esther Sherman, Sadie Greenspan, Carrie Dubinsky, Jenny Mason, Herman Feinstein and Jacob Rosenblatt; debate on “Resolved, That education should be compulsory,” by Emil Goldstein on the affirmative and Simon Ludwig on the negative; a song, “The Linden Tree,” by Fannie Brenholz, Rose Alberstein, Jennie Mason and Sam Shor; essay by Harry Singman, and the song, “Good Night,” by the school. A number of prizes were distributed by Rabbi Samuel Sale, and short addresses were made by Rabbis H. J. Messing and Moritz Spitz.

The enrollment for the term, which began in October, was about 350. Six assistant teachers were employed, Misses Sophie Barron, Rose and Minnie Kahn and Fishell, Isaacs and Goldberg. The school is maintained by the Associated Jewish Charities for purpose of affording opportunities for acquiring an education to the younger Jewish element of that locality who are employed in the daytime. It is under the management of a board of directors, the officers of which are Elias Michael, president; Louis Bry, Vice President; Albert Loth, secretary, and Isaac Schwab, treasurer. The next term of the school will begin in the new building that is being erected by the Jewish Charitable and Educational Association at Ninth and Carr streets. The new building is a three-story structure, 150x50 feet in area, and will cost upward of $40,000.

Notes:

1) Closing exercises doesn't necessarily mean graduation. From the description it appears all students at the night school participated, and there is no indication which students would be returning the following term. From this article I know my great grandfather in 1901 at age 15 had a job during the day and was receiving the equivalent of a secondary education at night. I also have insight into the type of education he was receiving.

2) I wonder if the presentation category of "Dialogue" was similar to the "Dramatic Interpretation" or "Duo Interpretation" categories in modern Speech and Debate competitions.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

D-Day Plus 75 Years

Today marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day

The closest relative I have found involved in the D-Day invasion was Arnold Burton Kruvant, a second cousin of my paternal grandfather. The details of his death were, I believe, first described in a book on his battalion published in 2016. While apparently several surviving members of his battalion witnessed his death, they decided not to share the details with his family, due to its gruesome nature.

First Lt. Arnold Kruvant of New Jersey was a Camp Claiborne original. He transferred to the 37th Parachute Artillery Battalion and became the S-3, jumping into Normandy even though he had never had jump training. Kruvant carried in with him the funds for the battalion, $500 in U.S. currency. He is listed as KIA and MIA on June 6. He was twenty-six years old.

Kruvant’s widow was well known and well liked by the men of the 321st. They decided at the time that she would not be told of her husband’s gruesome death. Several 321st officers recalled that Kruvant was bayoneted to death while hung up in his parachute harness, dangling from a tree just off the ground. Why his body was never positively identified remains a mystery to this day. (Source: Screaming Eagle Gliders: The 321st Glider Field Artillery Battalion of the 101st Airborne Division in World War II, G. J. Dettore, Rowman & Littlefield, 2016, pp 83-85. Image: East Orange High School Yearbook, 1936, p. 44. Retrieved from Ancestry.com June 5, 2019.)

***

Note: A week and a half ago I neglected to make my annual Memorial Day post. On future Memorial Days, I believe I will honor Arnold Kruvant's service in addition to that of my great uncle, Mandell Newmark. (Mandell and Arnold were second cousins.)

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

National Genealogical Society Conference 2019

Four years ago, the National Genealogical Society Family History Conference was in St. Charles, MO, 15-20 minutes from me. So I attended, and blogged about my experiences. It's back in St. Charles this week, so I will be attending again.

I have updated all the links on my 2015 blog post of Dining Recommendations. My personal recommendations are pretty much the same. However, there is a new excellent Kosher restaurant in St. Louis for those with dietary considerations. Cafe Coeur. About a 20 minute drive from the conference center, it offers a blend of Japanese and Italian cuisine. (Yes, sushi and pizza, but more.) The restaurant is about a month old, so reservations are recommended.

I didn't sign up for any of the Pre-Conference events today, so I will be headed there tomorrow for the Opening Ceremonies. I had a lot of educational fun four years ago, and I'm looking forward to the next few days.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Tombstone Tuesday: John Davenport Sr. 1784-1851

John Devenport and his wife Delilah Abernathy Devenport are my wife's fifth great grandparents.


This tombstone is filled with information. (The accuracy of the information depending entirely on the knowledge of whoever provided it.)

1) John's profession: Justice of the Peace
2) Where he was born: Virginia
3) His wife's maiden name: Abernathy
4) Where she was born: North Carolina
5) When they moved to Missouri: 1820
6) And that he was the first to be buried in the cemetery. (Old Union Methodist Church Cemetery; Bessville, Bollinger County, Missouri)

There are North Carolina marriage records for John and Delilah.
There is a likely father for John, William Devenport (1756 VA - 1826 NC).
William's will does mention a son by the name of John, and a witness on several of the documents has the surname Abernathy.




Monday, April 22, 2019

Amanuensis Monday: Melvin Van Every and Cotton in the El Paso Valley - 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.

Today I transcribe two newspaper clippings. One my great grandfather's obituary from 1929, and a letter to the editor one of his daughters, Minnie Van Every Benold, wrote in 1965. Both discuss my great grandfather's role in growing cotton in the El Paso valley.

El Paso Times, May 28, 1929, page 14 

MELVIN E. VAN EVERY, 60, died at Garfield, N.M., Sunday. Services will be held at 4 o’clock this afternoon at the chapel of Kaster & Maxon the Rev. W. Angie Smith officiating. Burial will be in Evergreen cemetery.

Mr. Van Every was one of the pioneer residents of the lower valley and was engaged in cotton growing and ginning. He was the builder of the first cotton gin in the valley.

He is survived by his widow, Mrs. Josie Van Every, three daughters, Mrs. Minnie Benold and Mrs. I.T. Herrin, both of El Paso, and Miss Myrtle Van Every of Kansas City, Mo., also by one son, Dr. S.O. Van Every of Kansas City, Mo. Pallbearers will be selected from the W.O.W. of which he was a member.

El Paso Times, Feb 12, 1965, p.4. 

Dear Mr. Hooten: I have just read your request for information as to who raised the Valley’s first cotton. I think I know!

My father, M.E. Van Every “scouted” for good cotton land in 1917 from South Texas to California and bought land two miles below Fabens. There he cleared and ditched the land for irrigation in time to plant cotton for the spring of 1918.

Louis J. Ivey was his good friend and may have experimented before, but all had decided the summers were too short. My father contended that some seasons were not and planted 11 acres, from which he harvested 14 bales, taking the cotton somewhere over in Texas for ginning. He then built a cotton gin in Fabens or Tornillo.

This set the Valley “on fire” and the farmers turned their alfalfa and wheat fields and orchards into cotton patches! He sent letters and telegrams to us, begging us to move out, until we did in 1919 to take charge of my uncle’s farm who was to ill to farm.

This is the story of how our family came West. That year we made enough on our cotton to buy a car and put $1,000 in the bank. Cotton was 39 cents a pound, the highest since the Civil War. I believe this to be the true story of cotton here.

Notes:

1) My great grandfather and Louis.J. Ivey were both mentioned in a 1919 article on El Paso cotton growing.

2) An obituary I previously transcribed from May 29th states he was 66. 66 is the correct age.

3) Minnie's letter clarifies that my great grandfather scouted out land in El Paso while his family remained in San Marcos, on the opposite side of Texas. Minnie, the eldest child, was 33 in 1917. His youngest child, my grandmother, Myrtle, was only 17 in 1917.

4) Minnie is the same great-aunt who wrote a series of letters to the Houston Post as a child for their Happy Hammers children's section.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Twelve Years of Genealogy Research

I've been blogging about something since May 2002.

  • In March of 2007 I wrote about my great grandfather Barney and his claim he was born in Dublin on March 17th.
  • A friend read my post, and sent me a census record with my great grandfather on it.
  • I had no previous idea what was online.
  • On April 16, 2007 I wrote my first two blog posts concerning research

In 2007 I wrote 131 blog posts.
2008: 263
2009: 323 (almost, but not quite, one per day)
2010: 293 (I began dating the woman of my dreams in May)
2011: 165 (We became engaged)
2012: 114 (We were married)
2013: 90 (We bought a home)
2014: 50 (We adopted twin 1 year old boys)
2015: 54
2016: 86
2017: 59
2018: 23

My research continues; I've just been blogging less.

  • Six years ago, the last time I looked at database statistics, my database had slightly over 2800 individuals, and my wife's had 340.
  • Today: There are over 4700 individuals in my database, and over 1700 in my wife's database.
I'm very pleased with the discoveries I have made, and I'm confident I will continue to make more. I missed my annual St. Patrick's Day post this year, but you can read all my past ones here.


Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Partnership between St. Louis County Library and Newspapers.com

According to the April edition of PastPorts (the St. Louis County Library's History and Genealogy Newsletter)
St. Louis County Library signed a cooperative agreement with Newspapers.com on March 13 to digitize newspaper microfilm in its History & Genealogy (H&G) collection. The project will for the first time provide online electronic access to the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, 1853–1963; Anzeiger des Westens, 1843–1898; and Westliche Post, 1857–1938. Other newspapers include those that once served St. Louis African American, French-speaking, and Jewish communities. 
Over 2000 microfilm reels will be shipped in Mid-May to Newspapers.com. (They may have been considering the NGS Conference in early May when they scheduled the shipment.)

They don't list all the newspapers being digitized, but below are some of the defunct titles that could be included in the list. (It would be nice if they have worked out deals with some additional newspapers that are still ongoing.)
  • Jewish Free Press, 1885 – 1887
  • Jewish Tribune, Aug 29, 1879 – 1884
  • Jewish Voice, Jan 6, 1888 – Dec 31, 1920
  • Modern View-St. Louis (Jewish), Mar 21, 1913 - Aug 27, 1920; Mar 4, 1921 - Feb 10, 1928; Aug 24, 1928 - Jul 28, 1938; Feb 2, 1939 - Jul 25, 1940
  • La Revue de l'Ouest (French), Jan 1854 – Dec 1854
  • Le Patriote (French), 1878 – 1887
  • St. Louis Palladium (African American), Jan 10, 1903 – Oct 5, 1907
  • Przewodnik Polski (Polish), Jan. 8, 1903 – July 7, 1910; Feb. 27, 1913 – July 11, 1929; Feb 2, 1945 – Feb 22, 1945 
  • St. Louis La Lega Italiana, Oct 9, 1914 – Dec 25, 1920 
  • St. Louiske' Listy (Czech), Oct 23, 1902 – Sept 1, 1923
The digitization of the St. Louis Globe Democrat archives will likely be what interests most researchers. The St. Louis Post Dispatch has already been digitized, and made available through Newspapers.com, and for decades the two newspapers were the primary dailies. But the weekly specialized newspapers will be of great interest to many as well.

I've been slowly working my way backwards through the Modern View microfilm looking for ancestral surnames. It will be a pleasure to be able to search the digitized records from home. The quality of the microfilm isn't consistent, so Optical Character Recognition will be poor in spots. This will require browsing the newspapers as I am currently doing. However, I will be able to do it from home. Several of my ancestors came from Poland, though I suspect if they are going to appear in a local community paper, it will be one of the Jewish ones.

Pastports also says:
Researchers will be able to view newspaper images on the Newspapers.com website and search them by name or keyword. Newspapers.com can be used at St. Louis County Library locations and remotely by library cardholders living in the St. Louis metro area.
I wasn't aware Newspapers.com had been added to the library databases. It's the ProQuest Library Edition. The description states 4,000+ newspaper titles. Newspapers.com Basic has 11,400+ newspaper titles. Newspapers.com Premium has even more. If all of the newspapers that the library is digitizing will be available through ProQuest, I *suspect* they will also be available through a Newspapers.com Basic subscription.