IDG Academy is offering, for the second time, The Genealogical Proof Standard – A Guide for Your Genealogy Journey, with instructor Cheri Hudson Passey. Here are some of the comments we received from past class participants.
I learned so much from this class!
Taking “intimidation” out of the GPS
This course helped me to see the importance of documenting my research. Although I have been researching for many years, I had a loose connection to the GPS and did not fully understand it’s purpose and how it could benefit my research in the long term. This course provided a clear background of the GPS and easy to understand instruction on how to get started documenting your research according to the GPS standard. Cheri provided great instruction and examples to aid in making the material more understandable. I highly recommend this course to anyone who is doing genealogy research but never understood or felt the need to fully document your research.
my mind has been opened up to new possibilities
Truthfully I have been terrified to start researching this way, as I simply was lost! Breaking it down has made it understandable!
The class is $99 and runs for four weeks. For more information, visitIDG Academy.
Of course, this shapes up as an interesting column to write. After all, I am male, and obviously have only the shared human experience with the other half of humanity. But I come from an area that has a long and rich history of female empowerment and think that maybe people would like to know more about some women of accomplishment with whom I am familiar.
Half of the pioneers anywhere are likely women. One thing that should be patently obvious is that half of the pioneers and early settlers of any area will be female. Perhaps not the original European scouts themselves, but once an area is settled, there have to be women there to create new life by bearing children and for the most part raising them. Schoolteachers are predominantly female, as are nurses. In our area, the development of the Erie Canal brought in a rougher element to the area, which in turn was followed by the development of many female-lead anti-drinking groups. That was a short step to anti-slavery activities, which in turn led to pro-woman suffrage activities.
Susan B Anthony. Photo Credit: Screenshot by author
First, of course, is Susan B. Anthony. She lived in Rochester NY for many years, and is well known for her suffragist work. There are numerous works that deal with her biography and political works. But did you know that she also was known for wearing colorful clothing around town? That’s not trivial or demeaning. All we now have left are black and white pictures of a woman of mature years (with the notable exception of a picture taken about 1848, when she was 28 years of age). Like all historical figures, she was alive and vital and not just a statue as we see her represented nowadays. During the 2016 election, thousands of women stood in a rainstorm to put their “I voted” stickers on her grave in the big city cemetery. That made the national news media. She traveled incessantly, giving lectures and organizing. Her sister Mary Anthony, with whom she resided, had a long career of her own. Mary was the first woman to received equal pay as the men who were principals in the Rochester City School Districts.
And yes, there was a Susan B. Anthony II. Dr. Susan B. Anthony (who is also sometimes known as Susan B. Anthony II) was the great-niece and namesake of the women's rights leader. She was born in 1916 and died in 1991. She was quite involved in politics.
Photo credit: Screenshot by author, from www.Rochestervoices.org (used with permission)
Kate Gleason may not be a household name like various politicians and suffragists. However, she was a local trailblazer as well. She was born in 1865 and died in 1933. Why is she important? Because Catherine Anselm Gleason was an accomplished engineer and businesswoman. Can we even imagine the hurdles that she faced in the late 19th century in such a male dominated field as engineering? She attended Cornell University and the precursor of the Rochester Institute of Technology. She was the first woman elected to full membership of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. She was a world traveling salesperson. She was a friend of Susan B. Anthony and a large donor to the woman suffrage cause. Some things that remain today, one hundred years later, are the houses made on concrete in the village of East Rochester, NY. There is a large collection of materials in, among other collections, http://rochestervoices.org/content/collections/kate-gleason-letters/.
Another way to celebrate women’s contributions to the civil life of a community is to see what activities in which they were involved. For example, before New York State granted women the right to vote, one of the activities that the suffragists engaged in was to assist very much in the taking of a military census in 1917. Yes, that’s neither the New York state census of 1915, nor the Federal ones of 1910 and 1920.
Suffragists take part in census. Photo credit: Screenshot by author.
New York decided to take a census of all persons, male and female, between 16 and 50 years of age, in 1917. Sadly, the results have been lacking for decades, as they would be of great use to genealogical researchers However the actual 80 questions asked of each person do survive, and looking at them makes one long for having the originals still in existence. Where the women appear in this equation is that many suffragists helped to take this enumeration. How quickly was it done? In two weeks, for free, over 5 million persons were enumerate in New York. That could not have been accomplished save for the volunteer work done by the women. [See: The New York State Military Census and Inventory: a report to Hon. Charles S. Whitman, governor of the state of New York, 1917]
News article telling about quick census. Photo credit: Screenshot by author, from www.Rochestervoices.org
Wayne County is directly east of Rochester, NY and then and now remains quite rural; it was a hotbed of woman suffrage activism. For example, the Town of Huron historian, Rosa Fox, (New York State requires by state law that every municipality have an official historian) was very involved in the 2017 centenary of women getting the vote in NY in 1917. She was coordinator of a study entitled “Women’s Suffrage in Wayne County, N. Y. 1848-1920: A Rural and Small Village Perspective”. In that work, there is a county-by-county enumeration of items that can used to study the development of woman suffrage in the state. The point here is that everything that happened wasn’t just the well-known names that are covered in school. Persons such as Ms. Fox and Dr. Judith Wellman (a retired professor from a NY college) help people to know more about their own history be informing us of the common people who did important work and did not make the history books. Another action that Rosa Fox did, on the local level, was to give a presentation called "What in the World Does the Sodus Bay Phalanx Have to Do With Women’s Suffrage?”
The Phalanx was a utopian community associated with the Quakers in the early and mid 1800s. It still exists as the Alasa Farms that is an animal help organization. Ms. Fox explored the local connections to woman suffrage “through abolition, socialism, spiritualism and romance. Recent research on a 19th-century Huron resident has uncovered local connections to women’s suffrage with ties to Seneca Falls, Rochester, and the Sodus Bay Phalanx.”
I hope that this very brief overview of a small area will inspire others to investigate and publish what happened in their own areas; there are millennials now alive who did not realize that their aged aunties almost 100 years old could not vote when those older folks were born. History informs genealogy.
In the same way that many Americans would like to think that their ancestors came over on the Mayflower, many English people claim that their ancestors came over with William the Conqueror. And just as many of the Mayflower claims don't stand up to scrutiny, neither do the claims of arrival in England in time to fight at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. While we don’t know the exact number of men who arrived with William, modern estimates amount to about 7,500 people1 But despite these estimates, the fact is that only a very small number of these people can be identified by name as definitely being at the Battle of Hastings.
In 1931 a tablet was unveiled in Falaise, France, claiming to be the results of two years' study. It named 315 people who fought at Hastings, but almost immediately was questioned by historians, which accepted only fifteen of those named.
Contemporary evidence for the names of those accompanying William of Normandy to England is limited to three sources. The first is the "Gesta Guillelmi, ducis Normannorum et regis Anglorum", which was a contemporary biography of the Conqueror written by his chaplain, William of Poitiers. The second source is the Latin poem "Carmen de Bello Hastingensi" by Guy, Bishop of Amiens, and the third source is the Bayeux Tapestry. These three sources together list only thirteen people.
A detail from the Bayeux Tapestry showing Odo, half brother to William.
A few years later the chronicler Orderic Vitalis wrote his "Historia Ecclesiastica" which, amongst other things, contains much about the events surrounding the Norman Conquest, and which add two additional names to the list of the companions of the Conqueror.
The "Roman de Rou", written by Wace, contained 117 names. It was often cited as a source for later works, but was not commenced until about 1170, more than 100 years after the Norman Conquest. Wace was also the author of the "Roman de Brut", in which he states as a fact that King Arthur was a descendant of the Trojan King, Brutus. Both works have been found by modern historians to be highly inaccurate, and it is therefore unfortunate that the "Roman de Rou" formed such a major source of lists that were compiled afterwards.
The "Battle Abbey Roll", even cited in an episode of "Time Team" as a definitive list of people at the Battle of Hastings, was shown by historian John Horace Round 1901 to most probably be a 14th century document, and does not have any scholarly basis. That 14th century original was lost in a fire in the 18th century, so all that survives are several unsatisfactory copies. It certainly includes the names of people known to have remained in Normandy, or proven to not have come to England until several centuries after the battle which it purports to document, so cannot be taken as an accurate list of those fighting in the Battle of Hastings.
Since the initial flurry of debate following the unveiling of the Falaise Roll in 1931, additional work has been done, resulting in the acceptance the names of only 27 men who fit into the group of those who certainly fought at Hastings, or the group of those who almost certainly were there. The names of the thousands who certainly must have been there, but who have not been documented, will forever be lost to history.
Camp, Anthony J. My Ancestors Came With the Conqueror", London: Society of Genealogist, 1990
This weeks genealogy tv was full of high emotions. On Relative Race 3 of the 4 teams met close relations, from a sister to uncles. On Long Lost Family the emotions continued as a women looks for her sister and a man looks for his biological parents. Join host, Cheri, as she discussed these episodes with the panel.
My new blog series focuses on some of my favourite free Australasian family history research websites, and this month's focus is on The Australian Women’s Register. The Register currently has over 6600 entries with references to over 3600 archival resources, over 8100 published resources and over 1200 digital resources. As the name suggests you can use it to find:
Australian women’s organisations
Australian archives with collections relating to women
Publications about Australian women
Women’s cricket team, Quarantine Camp, Jubilee Oval, Adelaide, 1919, accession no. PRG 1638/2/101, image courtesy State Library of South Australia
How to Search
Researchers have a range of search options. A simple keyword search can be useful, for example, to look for a place or occupation. As there are not many individual names in the database, a surname search may not be as useful. But if you are wanting to know more about nurses or the nursing profession, then searching by occupation will return more hits.
As the database is not large, it may be preferable to browse through the A to Z topics, to gain an understanding of the types of resources identified as relevant to women. For example, under the letter F there are entries to individual women and to topics such as:
Female emigration to Australia
Female Middle Class Emigration Society (see Women’s Migration and Overseas Appointment Society) 1862-
Female Orphan Institution 1801-1850
Feminist Club of New South Wales 1914-
Feminists, The Australian Women’s Register 1845-.
Vida Goldstein (with stick, bottom left) a well-known Victorian feminist ca 1885-1892, accession no. H2013.229/3, image courtesy State Library Victoria.
Another way to explore the website is to look at the themes which include:
What do women’s organisations do?
Women born or died in (by Australian state or territory)
Women and leadership.
The range of occupations listed is incredibly diverse and it is useful to look at some of the sources used to compile the biographical notes on individuals. Some of these resources may be of use to your own research. Women in regional areas may have joined local community organisations such as the Country Women’s Association in their state. Another area where women are to be found is in religious activities and a keyword search under a religious denomination can quickly locate references to Catholics, Presbyterians, Methodists and other religious groups.
Queensland Country Women’s Association children's hostel, Ipswich, 1946, digital image ID2842, image courtesy Queensland State Archives.
Under cultural artefacts there are numerous references to memorials or petitions such as the Women’s Suffrage Petition (Monster Petition) of 1891. This petition records almost 30,000 signatures, mostly women, who wanted females to have the vote in Victoria. It has been digitised, indexed by individual names and is online free to search. The Parliament of Victoria has Fact Sheet 14 Women in Parliament which provides more background.
There are numerous online exhibitions which show the highlights that can be found in the various archival collections across Australia. For example, exhibitions include:
Australian Women in War
Australian Women Lawyers as Active Citizens
First Ladies: Finding Women in Public Record Office Victoria
Karlkurla Gold: A History of the Women of Kalgoorlie-Boulder
She’s Game: Women Making Australian Sporting History
Unbroken Spirit: Women in Broken Hill
Where are the Women in Australian Science?.
As you can see, The Australian Women’s Register is a wonderful resource that is online and free to access. It groups together in one place a range of resources and organisations that are useful when trying to research women in Australia.
Remember that the Register is added to from time to time. Good luck!
Genealogists love anything they can get their hands on about their ancestors. Whether that is documents, photographs, ephemera or memorabilia, we want to collect it all. Many times family members hand down or bequeath genealogical related records and memorabilia to the next generation.
A lock of hair could be one of those unique items that a genealogist could receive among all the other documents and photos. In some families, it was even customary to clip a lock of hair from the deceased to save the memory of that person. Many individuals would clip hair from the deceased and make what was called mourning jewelry to remember the dearly departed.
I will explain how to preserve a lock of hair so that it endures for generations to come. There should be special attention paid to such an artifact because hair can be fragile. For this example, I have used a lock of hair that was donated with the Marie Stockard Records Collection in the Houston County, TN. Archives.
This lock of hair is housed in an old harmonica box and is tied with a delicate blue ribbon. On the top of the box is handwritten "N.H. Scholes, Halls Creek, Tenn". You can also see a place where there was once a postage stamp. We believe the lock of hair was actually mailed to Mr. N.H. Scholes. We estimate this lock of hair and box date to the late 1800's or early 1900's. There is as bit of a mystery as to who this lock of hair belongs to and one that we are working on in the archives.
First, the lock of hair was photographed, in the box and out of the box, to document the original disposition of the artifact. It is important that the lock of hair in the possession of the genealogist be documented in a similar way.
Next, the box was lined with a piece of acid free, archival safe tissue paper.
Then the lock of hair was carefully placed in the tissue paper lined box.
Last, carefully fold in the sides and ends of the tissue paper so that the lock of hair is entirely covered. Replace the lid back on the box.
The box with the lock of hair is then placed in an acid free box for additional protection. If you just have a lock of hair with no original storage container, purchase an archival safe box to preserve the lock of hair. Be sure and document whose lock of hair it is, how you came to have the lock of hair and any other pertinent information about the artifact. If you don’t document your artifacts, the stories and important information can be lost forever.
This artifact, along with all other genealogical documents and photographs should be stored in a cool, dark and dry place in your home. Never store genealogical records in an attic or basement. It is best to have the temperature and humidity at consistent levels and not fluctuating. Temperatures should be at a steady 55-65 degrees and the humidity levels should be at a 35-45 percent.
Locks of hair in the genealogist’s collections need to be preserved right along with the paper records and treasured for generations to come.
photo made with Pixabay CC0 photo and edited with canva.com
Natural disasters like floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and blizzards can change the life of a family.
Droughts bring the loss of crops and death of farm animals. Each of these weather-related events have a major impact on a community, living conditions and health of our ancestors. Lives and memories are wiped out and people are forced to relocate.
Turning to newspapers, local history books and internet sites that report on historical weather events can give us an understanding of why people moved, why they may have disappeared from records and why jobs suddenly changed.
Have you discovered any weather-related events that influenced your ancestors?
My step great grandfather died because a tornado hit the town where he was living in Florida in 1925. I wrote about the disaster that changed his family’s lives in the post: Cause of Death ~Tornado.
The Eargle family coming into Charleston Harbor on their journey to America from Germany ended up having to stay on the ship for a couple of extra days due to a storm that hit the area soon after it arrived. Their story can be read here: A Stormy Arrival.
Many of my ancestors were farmers and suffered from lack of rain, heat and storms. Lightening hit and burned down a home.
One rumor about the disappearance of an ancestor in 1922 claims he was among the unidentified victims of what may have been the aftermath of a hurricane as it moved inland.
Arthur Baker, my great great grandfather kept a little book in 1899 in which he recorded the business of running his farm. Daily he would mention the weather and how he could or could not work and take care of his fields and animals depending on the participation or temperature for the day.
Aftermath of Johnstown, Pennsylvania Flood Photo Credit: Wikimedia
While looking for information on a family line, I discovered evidence to suggest they lived in Johnstown, Pennsylvania at the time of the infamous flood that destroyed much of the town and killed thousands in May of 1889. This event was caused by a damn break and lead to in many families relocating. Learning of this disaster helped me to understand when and why the family moved to another state.
Now it’s you turn, what weather events caused upheaval in your family tree? Where did you learn about them and how did it change your ancestor’s lives?
Share what you have discovered by writing a blog post and adding the link to the comments below. Already have one written, feel free to share, it doesn’t have to be a new post.
No blog? No problem! Leave your thoughts in the comments section.
Remember that links to your posts and the comments you leave will be part of the GeneaChat: April Showers ~Weather in Your Family Tree- Recap at the end of April.
GeneaChat: Beware the Ides of March - Recap - What are Y’all Saying?
What a fun topic this month! Now, I know that sounds weird because we’re talking about causes of death, but some of your responses have been quite interesting and unique!
This time the twitter verse has been especially vocal on this subject.
The following responses were all received through the twitter platform:
From AG Knapper whose handle is @sillymummyft:
Death Cause: I have a great-great grandfather who got drunk, nodded his head to sleep and asphyxiated himself. #TrueStory #genealogy #familyhistory #DrunkHistory
She also sent the link to her blog post “Sarah Webb and James Squires” that tells the story of a tragic death due to a train accident. Love that it includes the account from the newspaper.
Another twitter friend Margaret Crymes @KINvestigations sent this response:
I've got one who lost his arm to a train (and then died because of it) and another who bashed his head on jail cell bars while in voluntary protective custody, and when that didn't work he choked himself on his necktie, all while in delirium tremens.
And finally, from twitter Jacki @Jtrainorjustj shares:
I found out my ggg-grandfather was on a stage from Deadwood seeking treatment for neuro issues in 1885. He began hallucinating, tried to attack the driver, then slipped out of the back of the coach on a bitterly cold night. He died from exposure at age 35.
A Facebook comment was left by Kelly Bembry Midura: My favorite that I have found is "hit on the head with a piece of wood and fell off the porch." Which really shouldn't be funny, but it made me LOL.
Causes of death can be very important to record as you research your family. Often diseases and other health issues can be seen from patterns over the generations. Sometimes, the deaths can be sad and unexpected like those of a child or an accident that takes the life of someone. And, as we’ve seen by some of the comments above, some are just downright strange and have us shaking our heads.
Thanks to everyone who took the time to share a link or comment about the causes of death they have discovered while researching.
Do you have interesting, sad or head shaking causes of death in your tree?