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Some people are lucky to have found old letters during their genealogy research. They may be thoughtful love letters sent home from soldiers at war or general greetings from one cousin to another across the country. But did you know that in the early days of the U.S. parcel service, some parents tried to send their babies by mail?
Smithsonian Institution / Flickr
After the parcel service was introduced in 1913, a few children were sent via parcel post with stamps attached to their clothing. The children rode with railway and city carriers to their destination.
Evening Star, January 26, 1913 / MyHeritage SuperSearch
In January 1913, Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Beagle sent their baby boy via mail carrier to his grandmother, Louis Beagle. At 10 and three-quarter pounds, the baby was just within the eleven pound weight limit. The postage was just 15 cents and the “parcel” insured for $50.
The Citizen, February 11, 1913 / MyHeritage SuperSearch
Others tried to ask the Postmaster General directly for the right specifications to send a baby via parcel post. After hearing of this practice, the Postmaster General quickly issued a regulation forbidding the sending of children in the mail. The only live things that could be transported by mail – bees and bugs.
The Sun, January 28, 1914 / MyHeritage SuperSearch
Despite regulations, some parents still sent their children through the mail. In 1914, Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Savis handed their daughter to mail carrier James Byerly to be delivered by parcel post. With their daughter weighing at 40 pounds, the parents were charged 40 cents and she was safely delivered by the afternoon.
The Leon Reporter, July 29, 1915 / MyHeritage SuperSearch
In 1915, Mr. and Mrs. Albert J. Combs mailed their daughter Helen to her grandmother. It was a first for Atchison County, Missouri. Mail carrier Charles Hayes delivered her in first class condition!
Hopkinsville Kentuckian, September 4, 1915 / MyHeritage SuperSearch
That same year, 3-year-old Maude Smith was sent 30 miles to see her ill mother in Jackson, Kentucky. She was pasted with the necessary stamps and given to the care of postal authorities. She was placed on a wagon used for parcel posts and happily ate candy during her journey.
These days it’s hard to imagine sending children in the mail. Good thing there are much better travel options for children today!
On this day in 1808, Napoleon III was born in Paris, France. The nephew and only heir to Napoleon Bonaparte, Napoleon was the first Head of State of France to hold the title of President. After being barred from running for a second term, he organized a coup in 1851 and took the throne as Napoleon III.
He was born Charles Louis Napoleon Bonaparte on April 20, 1808. He was the third son of Louis Bonaparte, the King of Holland and younger brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, and Hortense de Beauharnais, who was the daughter of Empress Joséphine from her first marriage. The empress had proposed the marriage as a way to produce an heir for the French emperor. After Napoleon Bonaparte’s defeat at Waterloo in 1815, the entire Bonaparte dynasty was forced into exile.
Napoleon grew up in exile in Switzerland, but was determined to one day regain the French crown. After the Revolution of 1848, he saw his opportunity to return to France. In 1850, Napoleon was elected the first president of the Second Republic by a direct popular vote. However, when he was barred by the French constitution from running for a second term, Napoleon led a coup d`état and seized control. He declared himself emperor and ruled as Napoleon III.
His reign as emperor ended in 1870 after a crushing defeat during the Franco-Prussian War. The loss marked the fall of the Second French Empire. Napoleon was deposed and lived the remainder of his life in exile.
Explore Napoleon III’s family tree on Geni and share how you’re related to the last French monarch.
Today we remember French physicist Pierre Curie, who died on April 19, 1906 at the age of 46. Considered one of the founding fathers of modern physics, Curie is best known for his groundbreaking work in radioactive studies alongside his wife, Marie Curie.
Curie was born on May 15, 1859 to Eugène Curie and Sophie-Claire Depouilly. His father was a doctor and trained Curie in math and science. From a young age, Curie showed a strong aptitude in both fields.
In 1895, he married fellow scientist Maria Skłodowska. The couple pioneered the study of radioactive materials and discovered the elements radium and polonium during their research. In 1903, he received the Nobel Prize in Physics along with his wife and French physicist Henri Becquerel.
Curie died suddenly in a street accident on April 19, 1906 in Paris, France. He had slipped and fell under a heavy horse-drawn cart while crossing a busy street in the rain. He was killed instantly.
Explore Pierre Curie’s family tree on Geni and share how you’re related!
Today we remember former First Lady of the United States Barbara Bush, who passed away yesterday at the age of 92. The matriarch of the Bush family, Barbara was known for her frank and outspoken manner. As First Lady, she worked tirelessly to advance the cause of literacy and founded the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy.
Barbara Pierce was born on June 8, 1925 in Rye, New York to Pauline Robinson and Marvin Pierce. She first met George H.W. Bush at the age of 16 during a Christmas dance at the Round Hill Country Club in Greenwich, Connecticut. After 18 months, they became engaged and married in 1945. Just this January, the couple had celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary.
During her husband’s presidency, Barbara took on the cause of family literacy. She worked with many literacy organizations and eventually founded the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, which seeks to improve literacy in the United States with programs where parents and children could learn together.
When her son, George W. Bush was sworn in as the 43rd President of the United States, she became the second woman to be the wife of one president and the mother to another. The first was Abigail Adams, who was married to John Adams (the 2nd President of the United States) and the mother of John Quincy Adams (the 6th President of the United States).
During the last years of her life, she battled several health problems. She passed on April 17, 2018 at her home in Houston, Texas.
Do you enjoy baseball? On this day in 1820, Alexander Cartwright, the “Father of Baseball,” was born in New York City, New York.
Alexander Joy Cartwright, Jr. was the son of Alexander Cartwright, Sr., a merchant sea captain, and Esther Rebecca Burlock. A volunteer firefighter, Cartwright often played bat-and-ball games with other volunteers. He founded the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club in New York and is often credited with being the first person to develop a set of rules that would form the basis for modern baseball, including the use of a diamond-shaped field.
In 1849, Cartwright headed west to California to join the Gold Rush. He then sailed to Hawaii, where he lived until his death in 1892. Cartwright became a prominent citizen in Hawaii and served as fire chief of Honolulu. He was also an advisor to Queen Emma of Hawaii.
For many decades, controversy surrounded the origins of America’s national pastime, with many claiming that Civil War soldier Abner Doubleday was the true inventor of the game. In 1953, Congress officially declared Cartwright the inventor of modern baseball.
How are you related to Alexander Cartwright? Explore his family tree on Geni and discover your connection to the inventor of modern baseball.
On this day in 1889, Charlie Chaplin was born in London England. One of the biggest stars of the Silent Era, Chaplin is often remembered as a pioneer of the film industry and one of its most important figures.
The early years of his life were fraught with hardship and poverty. Chaplin’s parents were both music hall entertainers and separated shortly after he was born. He lived with his mother and brother, but his mother suffered from mental illness and spent time in-and-out of asylums. From a young age, he took on a wide range of jobs to support himself.
Chaplin was first thrust onto stage at the age of 5 to fill in for his mother when she lost her voice during a performance. By the age of 14, he used his mother’s connections to join a clog-dancing troupe called the Eight Lancashire Lads. As he gained experience and popularity, Chaplin successfully transitioned from vaudeville to the big screen. During this time, he came to refine what would become his most iconic character, “the Tramp.”
A pioneer of the film industry and a cultural phenomenon, Chaplin was not only one of the most successful actors of the Silent Film era, but also one of the original founders of United Artists. Along with Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, and D.W. Griffith, Chaplin formed the revolutionary film studio that placed control of their projects in the hands of the artists.
How are you related to Charlie Chaplin? Explore his family tree on Geni and share your connection to the star.
We’ve made some new enhancements on how to share content from Geni. Now when you want to share a page on Geni, whether it’s a profile, a project or even a discussion, you can simply click on the new Share icon at the top of every page to quickly copy the URL or share it on social media.
In the heading of a page, you will now see a new Share icon between your notification count and your profile picture. When you click on it, it will reveal your options to share. These include a new Copy Link icon as well as options to share on Twitter or like on Facebook. This new Share icon replaces the Share modules that appeared on profiles, projects and surname pages.
When you click on the new Copy Link icon, the URL of the page will be instantly copied. You can then paste it elsewhere, for example in an email or a message, to send it to others. With just one click, it is now much easier to copy the link to any Geni page. No longer is there a need to manually highlight a URL with your mouse to copy it and thus, eliminating the chances of not copying a URL in its entirety.
An embed button will also appear for pages that support embedding. Currently, this option is only available for projects.
If you have logged into Geni using Facebook Connect, the Share icon will appear blue. The Share icon will appear gray if you have not used Facebook Connect.
Those who have used Facebook Connect will also see a new slider to activate or disable Facebook Sharing. This slider replaces the obtrusive Social Sharing box that previously appeared below your name at the top right of the page. You can slide the toggle on to start sharing your public Geni activity on Facebook. Note you will only see this option if you have connected your Facebook account to your Geni account.
As a reminder, you can disconnect your Facebook account at any time. Simply go to your Applications Settings on Facebook and look for the Geni application. Check the box next to the Geni application and click ‘Remove.’
On this day in 1743, Thomas Jefferson was born at the Shadwell plantation in colonial Virginia. One of America’s Founding Fathers, Jefferson was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence and served as the third President of the United States.
Jefferson was born to a prominent Virginia family. His father, Peter Jefferson, was a planter and surveyor. In 1751, he created the Fry-Jefferson Map in collaboration with Joshua Fry, which accurately depicted the Allegheny Mountains for the first time. His mother, Jane Randolph was the daughter of Isham Randolph, a ship’s captain and merchant.
At the beginning of the American Revolution, Jefferson was selected as a delegate to the Second Continental Congress. A gifted writer, he was asked to draft the Declaration of Independence, which declared the 13 American colonies’s freedom and independence from the British Empire. The document was signed and adopted on July 4, 1776.
After the war, Jefferson became the new nation’s first Secretary of State. He then served as the second Vice President of the United States during John Adam’s presidency. In the following presidential election, Jefferson ran against Adams in one of the most intense and contentious elections in U.S. history. Jefferson won and was sworn in as the third President of the United States in 1801.
Jefferson died at the age of 83 on July 4, 1826 on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. In a remarkable coincidence, John Adams also died on the same day in Massachusetts.
Explore Thomas Jefferson’s family tree on Geni and share how you’re related to the third President of the United States.
Today we remember pioneering nurse Clara Barton, who died on April 12, 1912 at the age of 90. A battlefield nurse and founder of the American Red Cross, Barton is remembered for her incredible humanitarian work throughout her life.
She was born Clarissa Harlow Barton on December 25, 1821 in Oxford, Massachusetts. The youngest of five children, Barton found her calling for helping people at a young age. At the age of 10, she helped nurse her brother back to health after he received a serious injury.
A nurse during the American Civil War, Barton risked her life to help wounded soldiers on the battlefield, earning her the nickname, “Angel of the Battlefield.” After the war, President Abraham Lincoln authorized Barton to run the Office of Missing Soldiers to locate and identify soldiers killed or missing in action. By the time the office closed in 1867, she had helped identify the fate of over 22,000 men.
In 1881, Barton founded the American Red Cross in Washington, D.C. Barton had first worked with the International Red Cross behind German lines during the Franco-Prussian War. As soon as she returned to the Untied States, Barton campaigned for the establishment of the American Red Cross organization to provide emergency aid in the event of a crisis from war or natural disaster. She served as the organization’s first president and held the position for 23 years.
How are you related to Clara Barton? Explore her family tree and share your connection!
While researching your ancestors, have you come across a cause of death that you do not recognize? When looking at old records, it’s not uncommon to find a cause of death or illness whose name is no longer in use today. You may find these terms in old historical records such as obituaries, death certificates, probate records, or census mortality schedules.
Here’s a quick roundup of a few terms you may encounter:
Croup – a swelling of the airways caused by a virus typically in children. It typically produces a hoarse, “barking” cough
Apoplexy – a stroke or a bleeding of an organ from hemorrhage. Death was usually sudden beginning with a sudden loss of consciousness.
Bilious cholic – a disorder of the gallbladder. This occurs when a gallstone blocks the bile duct, causing pain in the abdomen
Bilious fever – a general term for a fever that exhibited the symptoms nausea or vomiting in addition to an increase in internal body temperature
Flux – dysentery, an excessive flow of fluid like diarrhea
Scrofula – tuberculosis of the bones and lymphatic glands, causing tumors and swelling on the neck. Affected young children especially. It was also known as King’s Evil.
Lax – loose bowels
Hooping cough – whooping cough
Milk leg – a thrombosis of the leg veins after childbirth
Lung fever – pneumonia
Canker rash – a form of scarlet fever characterized by ulcerated or putrid sore throat
Childbed fever – an infection following childbirth
Colic – pain or cramping n the abdomen or bowels, an infection of the colon
Red gum – also known as strophulus. It is a skin disease affecting infants characterized by an eruption of red blisters on the skin
Lockjaw – tetanus, an infection characterized by muscle spasms
Check out more modern names for old diseases here!
What old or unfamiliar terms have you found in your genealogy research? Share them in the comments below!
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