Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday - Anna Emma Brainerd

Vacation wandering brought me to the tiny cemetery adjacent to The Chapel by the Sea located in Captiva Island, Florida. I was immediately attracted to Anna Emma Brainerd’s gravestone. A precious lamb sits atop the monument. The lamb is a Christian symbol of Jesus Christ the Lamb of God and of innocence and is a perfect symbol for a beloved child’s grave marker.

Anna Emma Brainerd 
Born: 17 Jan 1891 in Stanstead County, Quebec, Canada 
Died: 13 Sep 1901 in Captiva Island, Lee County, Florida 

Anna contracted tetanus, died and was the first person buried here on Captiva Island. Her parents later purchased the surrounding property and donated it to the people of Captiva Island for the Captiva Cemetery. Find A Grave has a memorial for little Anna Emma Brainerd at www.findagrave.com.


Monday, April 29, 2013

Motivation Monday - My Chocolate Side of Genealogy

Getting caught up in the hunt for ancestors’ records is such great fun. It is the chocolate side of my genealogy. There is, of course, the other side of genealogical research.  I find citing my sources and constructing quality footnotes to be complete drudgery.

I was educated as an elementary school teacher and was quite good at creating lesson plans. I was not educated in constructing footnotes. As a result, my early years of research lacked any form of citation causing me to go back and reconstruct my research. After doing that for a few times, I learned my lesson and besgan adding some basic “free form” citations. 

Getting better, but not there yet.

The Armchair Genealogist offers a "Ten Step Program for Getting Sources and Citations Under Control!” If you are having trouble with citations, Lynn suggests a logical, ten step at a time plan to tackle all those overwhelming citations.

Today is the day I begin working towards better citations. She suggests purchasing Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills. I own the book and it is high time to start using it!

My genealogy computer software program is Reunion. I like Reunion, but find the citation part of the program difficult. It is time to try again!

To begin this project:

I will identify sources for one ancestor.
Record the citation in my Reunion software program.
I will refer to Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills.
Once one ancestor has complete citations, I with then begin with the next ancestor until each tree is fully cited.
Setting a schedule and paciing myself will hopefully not overwhelm me.

To read more about Lynn’s Ten Step Program, visit her website, www.thearmchairgenealogist.com/2013/04/a-10-step-plan-getting-sources.html


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Are You A Twattler?

I am definitely not a twattler! However, me thinks I am a hugger-mugger!

The Great State of Washington rocked my vocabulary yesterday when Governor Jay Inslee signed a piece of legislation into law calling for gender-neutral vocabulary. While news to me, it has been in the works for six long years. Beginning today. . .

A fisherman will now be called a fisher.
A freshman is now a first-year student.
And penmanship becomes handwriting.

Not to fear, manhole will remain as manhole for there seems to be no other term to describe a manhole. As genealogists, we come across words that are no longer used. I must admit that I am a bit distressed to watch my vocabulary become archaic!

Here are a few examples of archaic terms:

Baseborn - Born out of wedlock
Foresooth - In truth
Gadzooks - A mild oath
Hugger-mugger - To be in a state of confusion often trying to conceal the confusion
Me thinks - I think
Swink - To toil or work
Twattling – To Gossip   
Yeoman - A farmer/freeholder who tills his own land and ranks below a gentleman

Yes, I am hugger-mugger with the exception of my not trying to conceal my confusion. How about you?

Have a great day!


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Social Media

Facebook is that social networking phenomena that has grabbed the world’s attention. From its humble beginnings in a Harvard dorm room Facebook has grown to more than one billion users. I have used Facebook as a tool to advance my family trees by searching for possible living descendants. My Dollen cousins and I have had success in reaching out to several unknown, living cousins.

Who would think a Navy attack cargo ship that has been sold for scrap would have a Facebook page? The U.S.S. Washburn does. My Uncle Dick Dollen was an apprentice seaman aboard the ship at the time of his death.

Wishing to learn more about the incident, my sister, Nancy, volunteered to contact the owner of the Facebook page. She privately messaged him, received a prompt reply with the promise of putting out the word and assisting us in learning more about our uncle’s death. The next day Nancy received an email from a gentleman nicknamed Red who served aboard the U.S.S. Washburn from 1950-1953.

Red tells us that the U.S.S. Washburn was in dry dock for routine maintenance when word was passed down of someone falling to the deck of the dry dock; which is concrete. Our uncle was cleaning and scraping the port side aft (Left side and back) of the ship at the time of his accident. Red went up to the deck and looked down at our uncle prone on the dry dock deck with hospital corpsmen tending to him. Words such as these are painful today and I can only imagine how painful they must have been in 1952. I am so very sorry for my grandmother, my mother, and our family's loss.

Red offered to contact other shipmen with the hope of someone knowing more about what happened. A promise was made to mention our uncle at the U.S.S. Washburn reunion this fall. Our family is grateful.

I write quite often about my Uncle Dick Dollen as his death caused considerable pain for my grandmother and mother. Conversation about Dick was kept guarded and minimal. Curiosity keeps me searching for more information about the man and his untimely death.

Uncle Dick ended his last letter home with these prophetic words:

“I still love you all and don’t you ever forget it.”

We haven’t forgotten, Uncle Dick.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

 My Dollen Family Tree has many branches. My focus of late has been on my British ancestors. Jumping the pond proves challenging and fills me with ideas and many questions.

Information gathered from the Family Search Somerset, England Wiki has possibly advanced my trees to the early 1700s. While the indexes provide names, dates, towns, parishes etc., they do not give me scans/copies of the original documents. Naturally, I want to see the documents.

This is the point where I must use a favorite quote; “You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know!” for it aptly applies to my Family Search strategies. When using Family Search, my preferred method of search has been to begin by browsing by location near the bottom of the home page. It worked well until I decided to jump the pond, as I was unable to located records for Somerset, England.

Now my cousin, Sharon, is always sharing scans of British baptismal, marriage and burial records located through Family Search. She would tell me what parish she located them in, but I was unable to find the records. I was doing something wrong!

Tired of bumping into Family Search brick wall, I decided to try a novel approach. Why not try the Family Search Catalog? I chose to search by place names.

  • I entered Curry Mallet, Somerset, England. No Luck!
  • I entered Somerset, England. No Luck!
  • I entered England. I got lucky with an abundance of search opportunities. I needed to define my parameters.
  • I entered England, Somerset, Curry Mallet. BINGO! There they were: census, church, poorhouse, taxation, and land and property records! Microfilm was ordered and I am now waiting to receive them.

 It took me awhile to understand the search parameters for Family Search, but making mistakes still proves to be the best learning experience.

  • When adding information to my personal trees, I always record U.S. data as city, county, state, country.
  •  For my British ancestors, I record town, county, country.

The logic used in my personal trees did not work with Family Search’s catalog. As I said earlier, you just don’t know what you don’t know! But now I know!

Lessoned learned: It is time to explore Family Search more thoroughly.

Happy Hunting!