I’ve been consumed with my Hollingsheads for the last two months so I’ve not blogged about a few awesome resources I’ve come across that may benefit you. Some are free, some are not. Here they are:
MyHeritage Photo Enhancer is a wonderful tool not just to fix blurry photos but also get a better view of fuzzy documents. I tried this out in June when I was having difficulty transcribing handwriting from a Quaker document. I also tried it on an extremely blurry group photo I had of my husband’s Harbaughs but the original photo was too small so it didn’t work well. You can read more about this here.
New York Genealogical and Biographical Society began Beta testing in March their new online collections. I was not a participant due to other commitments though I did use it briefly in June and July when I was in need of New York records. Here’s more info about the update.
Want to attend a training/conference/Zoom/GoToMeeting, etc. session but know you’re not available at the day/time it’s being presented? No worries – most organizations will record and make the session available for viewing later. Go ahead and sign up anyway. You’ll probably get an email with a link to view later. I had to miss an APG Virtual Chapter meeting in June and an American Ancestors class in July but was able to watch what I missed at my convenience later. So, go ahead and sign up for the event even if you can’t attend!
Academia.edu is a new tool in my toolbox and I honestly couldn’t have analyzed my Hollingsheads in Barbados as I did without it! There is a membership fee, ballpark about $50 annually, that I’ve more than gotten my money’s worth in the last two months. The site allows you access to unlimited journal articles and papers by educators on a wide variety of topics. I selected history and the Caribbean in particular to learn more about the time period I was researching (1650-1750). That allowed me access to archaeological studies recently done to gain a better perspective of what life was like then, historical works revisited (so I could easily find primary sources), and opportunity to contact social scientists with questions directly. The site is not just for history enthusiasts but that’s the only part I’ve used. Membership also provides you your own website, which I have not set up since I already have my own, but it’s a nice feature and looks like it’s quick and easy to use if you’re new to webdesign. If you’ve used JStor, this is similar but I’ve found that it contains more info if you’re focusing on a sliver of time and place.
Don’t forget YouTube and your local Genealogy Society! I recently watched a wonderful video about River Pirates. I had no idea there was such a thing in the Midwest, nor was I aware of some of the terror that reigned in small communities due to deranged families. It also never occurred to me that there was poor workmanship back in those days that resulted in lives and supplies being lost. I heard about the topic from my local genealogy society; one of the member’s brother was the speaker and I’m so glad I viewed it. Hubby and I went to school in Indiana and that topic was never addressed in the curriculum!
Last but not least, and probably more important than everything mentioned – if you haven’t noticed Ancestry.com has updated their messaging system. Gone are the folders you may have previously used to save correspondence with other members. You can download it so you don’t lose anything. I strongly urge you to do so TODAY as it will be gone this month. I don’t know what they did yesterday but I had 11 messages. I had recently reached out to several folks who had some Hollingsheads in their trees but it wasn’t 11. In reviewing the messages, I discovered most were not new (9) and the two that were were old – one was from November 2019 and the other from June 24, 2020. Guess they got lost in cyberspace but it did make me look bad as I try to respond within 48 hours! Check out this feature to see if the update they did before dawn’s early light this past week affected your messages.
Ever wonder what happened to an object that was once held in high regard in your family but has since disappeared? Maybe you aren’t sure if there ever was such an item but you’d like to explore the possibility. This blog is for you… When I began internet genealogy back in the 1990’s we still had dial up service. Remember that? Going through your home phone line to connect resulted in no one being able to get a phone call while someone was surfing. With all the junk calls I get daily, I’m thinking that wasn’t such a bad option, but I digress. Back then, my husband would joke that it was okay he couldn’t make a phone call because I was hunting down the family jewels. Clearly, our families never had much jewels but I did wonder whatever became of the muskets or hoop skirts or Bibles. Most likely, the muskets broke and when the hoop skirts were no longer haute couture they were either repurposed or trashed. The Bibles, however, never went out of style so what happened to them? Your first step in locating the long lost item is to research if it ever was. Start by asking your oldest living relative. I know that no Bible was brought from the old country by my maternal side because I asked my grandparents, who were the gateways, if they brought it with them. Both said they brought one suitcase filled with clothes. Case closed, pun intended! I never asked my paternal grandparents that question, though, because my grandmother died when I was a child and my grandfather remarried, moved away and we never had contact again. My father then became the oldest relative and his reply was, “You’ll get the book when I die.” Huh? I questioned further and he meant there was a family history book that had been written in the 1970’s and he intended for me to have it. Except that didn’t happen. Since my step-mother would not give it to me, my second step became casting a wider net. I had two aunts but neither responded to a letter I wrote (this was before wide use of email) so I posted on a genealogy website that I was looking for a copy. Two people responded that they had copies and provided me a look up. One even reached out to the author who was living in Europe and he sent me an electronic database of his book. Today, you can easily accomplish this by messaging distant family members who have online trees that contain the ancestor whose information you’re seeking or you can check worldcat, Google Books, Hathi Trust, Internet Archives and Archive Grid to see if the whereabouts of what you’re hunting is listed there. Facebooks’ Family Treasures Found would be another site to check. One of my aunts eventually responded and sent me her copy. Patience is key here for lots of reasons; perhaps the site you messaged isn’t used much by the recipient or life just happened to get in the way. In my case, my Aunt wanted to check with her two daughters to make sure they had no interest in the book. They didn’t so that’s how I ended up with a copy. Actually, I ended up with two copies because my step-mother took pity on me after my mother died and gave me the book. So now, I have two – one for each of my kids or for another family member that may sometime in the future contact me with the same request. Getting the information through look up was wonderful, however, if what you’re seeking is a one of a kind item then this approach may get you closer but not really fill your need. Step 3 will save you time and it’s quite simple – just go online and research if what you’re seeking is documented to have existed and if so, when and where was it’s last location. If you’re following me, you know that I’ve been working all summer on my Hollingshead line. In my research to verify the identify of Daniel Hollingshead in three locations (England, Barbados, New Jersey Colony) I looked everywhere online and emailed numerous archives to check for information that hasn’t been digitized. It was during the online portion of the research that I discovered Daniel had brought a Bible with him from England as it was noted in old biographical books highlighting descendants in the late 1800’s. To aid in keeping the whereabouts of the Bible’s locations known, I went to Step 4, I created a timeline. For simplicity here, I’m not including the source citations but my timeline in Excel notes exactly where the information came from so I can analyze it later: 1683 Leicestershire, England – Daniel’s birth as reported in 5 books (1965, 1911, 1900, 1886, 1882) Lancashire, England – Daniel’s birth place as reported in 2 books (1870 & 1857)1686 Leicestershire, England – Christening record for the 2nd Daniel born (1st Daniel 1679-1685)1688 Bible printed in Oxford, England You can clearly see the problem with the conflicting place and dates. Further research shows no Daniels born in Lancashire during this period. Only two Daniels were born in Leicestershire during this time, both to the same parents. Probably every book is wrong with the birth year as there would be no reason for the family to name a 2nd child Daniel until the first one was deceased. Yes, some families do that but this line hasn’t shown that to be the case although they often reuse names when a child dies. More likely, Daniel 2 was born between 1685 (1st Daniel’s death) and 1686 (christening record). Typically infants are baptized soon after birth but that might not have been the case. A family member may have seen the 1683 recorded but was really written was a sloppy last digit that should have been a 5. Here’s another problem the timeline unveils – the published date of the Bible would be AFTER Daniel’s birth, no matter what year is correct. Still, I want to locate it as it would hopefully confirm the birth location and would have been the next closest document made to Daniel’s real date of birth. Here’s the next problem – The Bible mentioned in some of the books state that Daniel brought the Bible with him when he came to New Jersey. I need more info to further develop the timeline. If you’re wondering why I would need to know where the Bible was kept that long ago it’s simply because if it is found, I need to understand how it was passed along. Since I don’t know if the Bible contains any genealogical information as many Bibles exist and families don’t record vitals in them, I need to know where it’s been so I can validate the information it contains, if any. Ship manifests haven’t been found for him so it’s not known exactly when Daniel emigrated. The books mention he, along with several brothers, were in the Battle of Blenheim. So, did Daniel take the Bible with him in battle (August 1704)? No clues there. Did Daniel return to England after the battle? Don’t know! At the time of the battle Daniel was not the oldest son so the Bible would have likely been in the possession of a brother who died in battle. If the Bible had been brought to Blenheim, Daniel would have assumed ownership of it at that time. It’s probable he did return to England after the battle and took the Bible with him when he decided he was permanently leaving England so that would have been between 1705-1711. The last date is when his first child was born in Barbados; since he met his wife in Barbados he probably arrived between 1705-1710. So my timeline continues: 1705 Battle of Blenheim (now Germany)1711 Daughter born in Barbados1714 Wife dies in Barbados1715 Daniel listed in Barbados census1716 Daniel remarries in Barbados1717 Daniel purchases land in New Jersey Colony1717-1718 Two children born to second union in Barbados1721 Beginning of numerous land sales in New Jersey Colony1730 Daniel dies intestate in Somerset, New Jersey Colony Step 5: To determine where the Bible went after Daniel’s death is to expand the tree to include all of Daniel’s children from both of his marriages. You also must keep in mind customs from the time period. Understanding how the family thinks is key to finding the current location of the item. My line follows Daniel’s first child, Mary. She would not have inherited the Bible for several reasons – she was from the first union and she was a female. Clearly she was not a favored child by her step mother as she was not named in the will. Daniel had older sisters in England so if the family was unconventional for the times, an older sister and not Daniel would have kept the Bible after the oldest sibling died. I know that Mary did not have the Bible as there was no documentation found in her line to ever note she had it. There is no documentation that any of the female children ever had it. Daniel’s eldest son, the second child, would seem the person to have inherited it but that does not seem to be the case. Numerous books and documents show that Francis did, as the oldest male, manage the assets after Daniel died intestate and quickly lost them. From the will of Thomasin, Daniel’s second wife, she acknowledges his ineptitude by naming one of her youngest daughter’s as administrator to her estate and gives each of her adult children only a shilling. Her manumitted slaves receive most of the proceeds from the remaining estate. You may think that the administrator would have received the Bible, since she was given the responsible task of handling the final paperwork, however, she had married late in life and had no children so she did not get the Bible. Two of Daniel’s male sons had died before his second wife. They had no children so we can eliminate them from the hunt. That leaves one line – 6th child, 3rd son William. Oh joy, William had 9 children. This may seem overwhelming but following what we know – most likely to be passed to a MALE with CHILDREN, we can quickly eliminate who got it. It appears that son James inherited it as books from 1882 & 1886 state his son, Stroud Jacob’s wife, had the Bible in her possession after Stroud died, along with “old family papers.” So now I want to find both the Bible and the papers. First, I want to understand why Stroud had the Bible. He was the third son and fourth child. The eldest died with no children, we can skip the female (sigh) and the next son left to go out west and never married. Makes sense why Stroud would have it. Fast forward to 1900 when the Bible was known to be in the possession of one of Stroud’s grandchildren, a Jeannette Jackson. WOW! How did a female get so lucky? Times were a changing and it seems everyone of the now fewer children got something. Harriet, the oldest, had died but her oldest daughter was Jeannette who got the Bible. Stroud’s second child had died childless. The third child, James’ son received a breast pin that was passed down to Edgar Pinchot Hollingshead. The eldest, a daughter, received a painting on ivory of one of Daniel’s sons, William (same line). Now this should be easy, right?! 1900 wasn’t that long ago and so we just need to track Jeannette and we’ve found the Bible. Not so fast…Jeannette died unmarried and childless in 1923. Two brothers predeceased her. Her sister married but had no children. Now we’re at a dead end. Not! STEP 6 is to research further in new areas. Since we’re looking for a record from less than the last 100 years newspapers are the way to go. Thanks to a “cousin” helping me with the search, a record was found in a Pennsylvania paper (and the Bible came to New Jersey first, remember!) that said an Elizabeth Malvern Hollingshead was going to “loan” the Bible to a local historical society in 1924 for an event that was to be held. Loan is the key word here but still, I reached out to the historical society to see if a) they still have it on loan or b) they reborrowed it sometime since and know where it is. Alas, they do not but they do have the “old family papers.” Bingo! I’ve at least traced part of the missing items. I’m awaiting their lookup for confirmation of vitals. Now it’s time to go back to Step 5 and trace Elizabeth’s line to the present. That was done and the most likely candidate was emailed at his work email. He hasn’t responded. I know he’s reading his work email because it was an interesting system – it notified me that he had been on the site the previous day to my email. Finding a long lost heirloom is a matter of patience and persistence. Keep notes, enlist others to lighten the load and you will hopefully find what you seek. Happy Hunting!
As genealogists, we are used to spending our days looking at old documents, reading up on events that happened long ago and trying to put our “head” into the times that were so we can better understand when we analyze our findings. We don’t dwell much on the fact that every day we are all making our own history. I haven’t read anywhere a recent personal finding I discovered so I’m putting it out here now… As a blogger I get A LOT of spam, I’m not talking the pork based product – I don’t do sales pitches! I’m referring to the internet type. You don’t see it because of the filters I constantly update to insure that the junk doesn’t get through to impact your experience or worse, infect your device. In a typical pre-pandemic week, I got over a thousand spam hits easily, often closer to two thousand on each of my sites (my website and Blogger). Since the pandemic, the amount has fluctuated over the months. When various countries reopened the spam increased; as they shut down again it decreased. The majority in the past was from China and Eastern Europe. How do I know that? Because it wasn’t in English. I suppose someone who speaks English could have been using Google Translate to fake a hit but I’m not sure how likely that would have been. Since May, my spam has been two-thirds in English based on my unscientific analysis. I’m basing the one third on the incorrect English word choices that are being used. (Hint to Russia and China Spammers: We really don’t say ‘that cool’ much anymore). In the past, the spam consisted about half regarding dating, a quarter for obtaining cheap medicines and a quarter claiming my blog was the best ever and directing readers to a link for purchase of a product that had nothing to do with genealogy. Interestingly, the medical links are now scant. The dating has turned hardcore and blunt. The majority is product links. My take is spammers are focusing on frustrated people and are trying to make a fast buck. Just like elective medical procedures taking a back seat, so are sales of pharmaceuticals. Last night I got a late email selling Halloween costumes. I was flummoxed! My first thought, was this couldn’t be serious – who is thinking of Halloween when nearly each day of 2020 has been a horror and we’re stuck in a perpetual Ground Hog’s Day. Then I thought, maybe it’s a message of hope to return to what we used to take for granted – normal times. I don’t know what the motivation was to send an email late on a Friday evening for a holiday that may or maybe not be celebrated in three months but it did give me pause. Based on my spam and email type and amount, we’re a long way from “normal.” What does this have to do with genealogy? Everything! Our times are historical and the stresses we humans are under right now impact the choices and decisions we make. This data analysis shows insight on the conditions of our times. IMHO, with the utter chaos that greets us daily, what should become a priority is responsibility and obligations to community to insure the well being of all. I’m seeing so much of that in the genealogy community and not so much in other groups in which we belong. History will be the judge of how we, as a society, have handled the numerous crises that have befallen us in the first half of 2020. I’m looking forward, not to Halloween or Thanksgiving or Christmas, but for a turn around of hearts so that we can move forward together for a better future. Today, I’m going back to my tree to work on my long dead people who have faced their own tragedies and rose to the occasion. I want to follow in those footstep. Perhaps your ancestors will help guide you in dealing with these troubling times. All the best!
I am pleased to announce that I have linked my Daniel Hollingshead to the Hollinshead family in the New Jersey Colony! If you’re a Genealogy At Heart follower, you’ve experienced (remotely) the twists and turns of this family saga, along with the intermarriages with the Duers, who have their own family drama. Upfront, I want to apologize for the length of this blog, please bear with me!
I’ve written frequently about the odd happenings that occur when I research these lines that I can’t explain. As blog follower Linda Shufflebean commented on Synchronocity and my Roots “I love Hank Jones’s Psychic Roots series – I’m even mentioned with my own weird experiences. I think the ancestors are up there pointing the way for us at times.” I so agree, Linda!
If you’re a new reader and have no idea what I’m talking about or you need a refresh, you can read some of the backstory here, here and here. The ancestors may be giving us a nudge from beyond but it’s up to us to take that tidbit and go with it. It’s also about connections in the here and now. Today, I want to give a shout out to some very special people who went above and beyond to answer my questions, give me suggestions or furnish a copy of a paper document that hasn’t been digitized. None of them had to do this, especially not during these difficult times.
I realize my requests were not important to anyone but me and a few descendants of the Hollingsheads. When the world is falling apart, finding a source in a locked archive is definitely a low priority. Regardless, the following folks stepped up and helped me and I am so very grateful for their positive character, work ethic and dedication. What I’ve learned from them can help every genealogist be better! The list is in alpha order by first name as they all are equally important:
BARB WALKER TERRONES, Ancestry.com Tree Owner Have you ever messaged someone about more info on Ancestry and never gotten a response? Duh, every genealogist has! Barb is not one of those people who never respond. In fact, Barb, who has a private tree, not only quickly responded she volunteered to help me find the missing Hollingshead Bible that Daniel brought with him when he left England about 1704. Barb would be my 7 times removed step cousin. Regardless of being that distant, Barb stopped her own research to help me and shared what she found. Barb, I thank you for your quick replies and I know we’re going to find that Bible someday. Please continue to keep me in the loop of what you discover as I’ll do the same.
BRYAN MULCAHY, Reference Librarian Ft. Myers Regional Library Nothing like needing to find a 300 year old will transcription that’s not online and was made out of the country. Even in normal times it’s a feat. The volume I needed was 140 miles from my home. Back in the day, I would have requested it be sent to my local library or perhaps I would have even made the drive because I love Ft. Myers but now, those options weren’t possible. I completed the form filler request Ask a Librarian and Bryan responded within two hours with a scan of what I needed. Bryan, you are awesome! Your information helped me trace extended family and led me to further documents that I would no way have known existed if I hadn’t uncovered the relationships that were mentioned in the will you provided. My deepest appreciation to you!
ELIZABETH PEARSON, British Genealogist I’ve attended lectures Liz has given locally a few times and have always been impressed with her wealth of knowledge. The area and locations I was researching are not in my comfort zone so I contacted Liz for direction. Liz gave me insight into British world view from the time period, reminded me of boundary changes, and provided me recommendations and direction. Liz, I cannot thank you enough for your help. Your insights helped me understand what I was discovering and your recommended methodology was what cracked the case! Tracking Daniel’s relatives was definitely the direction to go.
GAYLE MARTINSON, Reference Librarian, Wisconsin Historical Society Nothing like needing to review a collection of family information (circa 1800) from South Carolina that was donated to a historical society in Wisconsin when I could not possibly travel from Florida to review the information. Add that the organization was closed and that the automatic reply I received when I inquired about availability said it would be at least 12 weeks before I could get a response. I told myself, what’s 3 more months as the man I’m researching has been dead for nearly 300 years so patience, Lori, patience. I was so pleasantly surprised to receive an email from Gayle the next day asking for more information about my request. She placed me in the queue and was responsible for someone to go into a locked archive to look for a manuscript last cited in 1853. Unbelievable to me, not only was this accomplished, a scan of what I needed was emailed to me at 5:11 PM a few days after my request was made. In these difficult times, I am in awe of this librarian taking my request seriously and getting me answers to my questions so expediently. Gayle is a tremendous asset to her organization and I hope they realize how fortunate they are to have her on staff. Thanks, Gayle!
GUY GRANNUR, Archivist with the National Archives of Great Britain I have zero experience with the record sets in Guy’s archive. Guy was the presenter of the online class last month called Caribbean Connections and I couldn’t have been happier with his presentation that I needed. After his conclusion, he responded to questions via the chat box and he was most helpful. His expertise enabled me to find a connection on another site mentioned to show that a close relative of Daniel had gone to Barbados in 1690. Who knew?! Well, those that did know are all dead but because of that record I had my “Caribbean Connection.” Thanks, Guy, for your interesting and informative presentation.
HULYA TASCI-HART, Translator What can I say about a multi lingual educator who is so dedicated that she’ll stop what she’s doing to translate from English to German for me in seconds?! This smart workaholic took the time to clarify what I meant so that she could be as accurate as possible with the translation. Now I know you’re wondering, why would I need a German translation when I was researching England, Barbados and New Jersey. It appears that my Daniel served in the Battle of Blenheim in August 1704, along with his unnamed brothers. No records exist in the British Archives so I decided to see if there were any records left near Blenheim aka Blindheim, a Bavarian village where the battle was fought. I reached out to Hulya to translate my request and she came through as always. I so greatly appreciate Hulya, not only as a genealogist but as an educator.
JIM LYNCH, Caribbeanavenue.com I always seem to find what I need in a place my ancestor never lived and it has happened again! Jim Webster had used a resource he owns, the 1715 Barbados census, to help me pinpoint where my family was living on the island. I have been in search of that information for YEARS! I’ve reached out to many and no one ever told me that the information was published in a 1980 book. I had to have a copy! Jim Webster linked me to Jim Lynch who responded to a form filler I completed almost instantly. It was a Saturday and Jim mailed the book early Monday morning when the post office reopened. It’s probably stuck in customs but I’m eagerly anticipating its arrival. If you are doing Barbados research you must have this important work. All it takes is contacting Jim for a copy – he uses PayPal. Jim, thanks so much for answering my questions on a weekend and being so prompt in responding to my request. I’m impressed with your business ethics!
JIM WEBSTER of BajanThings.com If you’re researching Barbados this is a site you need to explore. I was confused when I found a sugar planter listed in 1680 and 1715 with a similar name to what I was researching and questioned if it had been mistranscribed. Jim responded in minutes to a contact form I filled out on the website. Seriously, who does that?! I’m so glad Jim does because he shared his knowledge and pointed me to where I could find a 1615 census of the island (none online!). Jim, because of you, I discovered that my Mary was being cared for by her aunt after her mother’s death and my Daniel was living separately with an 18 year old youth. I’m still trying to determine who that might be. Thank you so much for your dedication to Barbados history.
KAREN STOKES, South Carolina Historical Society What to do when you need to check a reference and it’s no where?! Beating your head on the desk is not the answer. Turning to Worldcat, I located a copy of Richard Yeardon’s History of the Circular Church in South Carolina. Why would I need that when my Daniel was never in South Carolina? Yeardon was a source for a bio on Daniel’s grandson, William, who was a Presbyterian minister in South Carolina after the Revolution, according to a William B. Sprague (1857). Sprague cited Yeardon so I needed to find where Yeardon got his info. A day after my request, Karen responded that she had looked through the book and no reference was given. In fact, there was no information about the family at all in the book. Karen, I greatly appreciate your checking the source and recommending that I look at another work by a different author, David Ramsay, who Yeardon extensively quoted. You were unaware that I had already reached out to another archive to check Ramsay’s notes. This speaks volumes about your knowledge of research process as you would have no way known what the other obscure sources were pointing toward. Kudos to you!
PAUL DAVIS, Collections and Research Assistant, Historical Society of Princeton I was looking for a reference made to confirm my Daniel was a pioneer in Princeton, New Jersey. Everything I had found at that point was for other areas. Although Paul couldn’t enter the locked society, he made great suggestions and provided links for me to check out. Thanks, Paul, I appreciate the direction you provided; you were very helpful.
TOM DREYER, NEHGS genealogist In Boston, during a pandemic, Tom found a book on a shelf in a closed archive and provided me the information I was seeking. Seriously, I am overwhelmed by this man’s dedication to a fellow genealogist. We discovered that I’m distantly related to his wife who is from the New York Duer family while I’m from the New Jersey Duer line. I love the reminder that we are all connected – we’re all family. Tom, next month when I get my first paycheck, I’m making a donation to your organization of which I am a member in your name. The document you supplied was vital as it was the missing link to connecting a newer and older source. Thank you!
TODD THULL, Ancestry.com Tree Owner Like Barb, Todd responded to a message I sent him about a document he had posted about his Hollinshead line. I was trying to locate a copy that I couldn’t find online. Todd responded quickly and lo and behold! it was online although the copy was incomplete. As could only happen with this family, the paragraph I needed was the last paragraph showing on the scanned book. I don’t even know how that’s possible! Thanks, Todd, for helping me link my line to yours. I will be sending you a copy of my paper so you can see how the Quaker Hollinsheads are related to the Church of England Hollingsheads. I couldn’t have made the connection without your wonderfully sourced online tree.
VICKIE URBAN, Ancestry.com Tree Owner I have consulted with Vickie over the years as we are Duer cousins and I greatly appreciate that she ALWAYS uses sources on her tree. She shares her findings and always responds to messages. Thanks, Cuz, you are most appreciated!
Last but not least, my wonderful family who puts up with my obsession. None of them have been bitten by the genealogy bug, yet they put up with me and in their own way, try to relate to my interest. My husband, bless him, even attempted to do some online research for me and help me decipher handwriting from the 1600s as I was transcribing. My son suggested I watch an episode of the Sarah Connor Chronicles that might help me with a research path. My daughter who listened attentively while I drone on about my findings. Both my kids risk their lives daily trying to put an end to this awful disease and make the world a better place. For them to care about my finding a christening record from 1686 is touching to me. Thanks guys, all my love!
Yep, it’s all about love and connections. In these crazy times I think it’s more important than ever to share some love so this week, thank someone who helped you with your research. They deserve the recognition and appreciation. Stay safe and happy hunting!
It’s Independence Day here in the U.S. and this one will be like none I’ve previously spent. Got a 3 part text from the Surgeon General of our state notifying us to “Avoid the 3 Cs Closed Spaces, Crowded Places & Close-Contact Settings.” Kind of catchy! Later that day, the bureaucrats came out stating the typical spin that this will poof be gone so no worries. The disconnect would be funny if it wasn’t so sad for the millions who are suffering because of the disease or its side effects, such as unemployment, eviction, food shortage, and so on. We plan on staying home and hubby has ventured out to the grocery store WITH HIS MASK to get our traditional picnic dinner that we usually have with family in the park right before the fireworks display. This year, we’re eating it for lunch in our backyard on a quilt our daughter made to commemorate the times. We’ll use the quilt every year from now on and perhaps next year will be different, perhaps not. Like the immortal lyrics sung by Janis Joplin, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” My family and I realize how privileged we are and this temporary loss of our freedoms to go where we want with no restrictions is a small price to pay to insure our community stays safe. Others aren’t so fortunate now or in the past. The past week I have been heavily into researching my Daniel Hollin[g]shead to prove or disprove he was the only Daniel from Leicestershire, England that went to Barbados and became a real estate mogul in the Eastern New Jersey colonies. I’m at the point I can say I have strong evidence but I want to make sure I haven’t made an error somewhere so I await a few more documents to examine. Those records – the Bible he brought with him from England, a manuscript donated by family of a Presbyterian minister in South Carolina to an archive in Wisconsin, and a list of military men who died in the Battle of Blenheim in August 1704 would add further support or not. The “or not” is key to the previous sentence and it’s what I love most about genealogy. We think we know, we think we’ve found everything, we think we understand until a new document is discovered that throws us for a loop. In the past three weeks I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster ride with my findings. I’ve had to face the facts and process that my gateway ancestor wasn’t the pious Quaker that I always thought of him. Family legend stated that he was indentured to Barbados, possibly as a tailor, since he was the oldest son and his father, a tax collector, had died. There was the issue that some of the money collected didn’t get turned in to the King’s treasury. I guess my interpretation of that information says a lot about my personality. I was fine with the religion – I’m pretty much a nonconformist myself. His “career” choice was okay, too. I love to sew and once had my own costume business so maybe that was how my skill came about. The missing tax money I attributed to an error or the sudden death of Daniel’s father but it all got resolved at the end so life was good. I never realized that I tend to make excuses for my ancestors actions and try to rationalize their behavior turning it into a positive explanation. Until now. In early June, I took every document I had on Daniel and his purported father, Francis and reviewed them. I then asked a member of my local genealogy society who is a Brit and experienced with the time period I was working with to examine them for her suggestions. She pointed out that the son of a tax collector at the time would not have been indentured as a tailor so that story, with no documents, was probably untrue. Britain had a rigid class system I hadn’t considered. There was a Daniel who was a tailor in London but he was of an older generation than the Leicestershire Daniel. There was also an indenture record for a different Hollingshead line but it was also for a much later time period than Leicestershire Daniel. Perhaps, she suggested, that the family story got muddled over the past 300 years. Heck, if we can’t even have our government officials in the same day have the same story, a 300 year time span certainly would have some errors. She suggested I search for more records and then reanalyze the findings. Great advice! Now I’ve looked for documents on this family for years and years and I can’t explain why I happened to find so much in just 3 weeks. What I discovered is disturbing to me and altered my perspective of Daniel’s life and my own. I still am working through it. I discovered some conflicting evidence based on bios in old books. One source stated he was born in Lancashire; the others all stated Leicestershire. That was the first of my sick to my stomach feelings – I had put out the wrong info and so many other’s trees blindly accepted it as fact. If that turned out to be correct, I didn’t even know how I could fix the problem. I took a break, cleared my head and then began to research Hollin[g]sheads in Lancashire and found two families in two different parishes but he wasn’t there. I examined the citations for the Lancashire book and hunted down the first source, another old book. That book provided a different source so I searched for it and surprise, the initial source DID NOT HAVE LANCASHIRE – it didn’t name a location. I’m still waiting to see what the second source states – that’s possibly the documents in Wisconsin. I’m seeking a manuscript written before 1800 in Charleston, South Carolina. Daniel never even visited South Carolina (or Wisconsin) so my theory of looking where they never lived seems to be supported again. I also wanted to find the Bible to see what was recorded there. Until I found the old bios from the 1800’s I didn’t know it even existed. The last record of it was October 1882 in Chicago. I’m grateful to a genealogist from the New England Genealogical and Historical Society who provided a look up for me this week. That immensely helped me move forward with finding the Bible. The person who owned the Bible never married and had no children. She predeceased her two brothers. A sister, ironically, moved to a few miles from where I currently live with her husband and died there in 1939. She had no children. I suspect the Bible was given to a cousin from a different line who had received some other family memorabilia. He was living in Manhattan at the time the Bible owner was and he had three children. My theory is it was passed down to one of his children. So I spent a day trying to locate the living of those lines. I emailed 4 individuals and received a response from one. Doesn’t say if she has it or not but that, to her knowledge, the Bible never contained genealogical information. I laughed, that would be my family! They never notate on photos, keep records, etc. I’m not giving up hope that the current owner comes forward to verify that. I also was trying to think of reasons why Daniel would leave Leicestershire. Several old books mention he, as did several of his brothers, served in the Battle of Blenheim which was in August 1704. My Brit friend stated that the brother who had died there as a Captain under the Duke of Marlborough (who Winston Churchill is descended from) would have been in the class of a tax collector so that further supports I have the correct Daniel. She suggested finding proof of their military experience. The National Archives of Great Britain doesn’t have it. I’ve reached out to a few military societies in England hoping someone somewhere has the info. I then theorized Daniel went to Barbados because he was in the military and I began to read up on the history of that island. The history is not pretty! I knew there sugar plantations; his second wife, Thomasine Hasel’s father was an owner of one. I knew there were slaves but I didn’t think much about them over the years. I now know a lot and it is relatable to our current times. I was astounded to learn that Lord Cromwell placed many Scotts and Irish men into slavery. How had I missed that? I never knew how far back slavery went. I do remember learning in school that the Romans had slaves but I thought they were prisoners of war. I didn’t know that Africans were taken as slaves because of their religious convictions. I never thought about the Spanish and Portuguese using and abusing African slaves before settling the “new world.” I was astounded to read an archaeological study that explored a former sugar plantation in Barbados and determined that economic power brokers in London had made the decision to exploit so they could become richer. The evidence was buried in the soil, untouched for 400 years. I’m still coming to terms with the picture posted at the top of this blog. Daniel died intestate in 1730 in Somerset County, New Jersey. You can see from the inventory that he owned slaves. I am sickened at the thought. My mantra has always been I identify with the underdog as I am one of them. I have been discriminated against because I was the only child in my parochial school whose parents were divorced at a time when divorce was frowned upon. I was repeatedly called a carpetbagger because I was a northerner who had relocated to the south. Some of my husband’s family would not accept me because my grandparents were immigrants. They made negative comments about my religion. I had a relationship severed by a friend because she hated my religion, too. Those experiences and my interpretation of my ancestry made me wrongly believe I was the great grand daughter of an indentured servant of Caribbean. I thought that made me linked in kinship and someone who understood the hardships of African Americans. Geez, I even grew up in Gary, Indiana so I certainly understood the black experience, right? WRONG! Growing up, even though I was at the lower rungs of the social economic ladder did not take away my white privilege. I never asked for it but I inherited it. As I reflect, I could have and should have done more. Coming out about my family’s involvement in slavery is not easy for me to accept but it is necessary. My blog today is my first step in this journey. Who were “Tippeo, an old negro-man, Jack, Lelia, Jack, a boy, Bellinda and Dido?” What became of them? Were they related? I don’t know but intend to try to find out. This Independence Day I am reflecting on the past and trying to make plans for the future. My people had freedom and took away others’ freedom so that they could prosper. I’m not sure how to make amends but I will work it out going forward. I hope you will join me if you are at the same point in your life that I am. Being embarrassed, sorry and ashamed isn’t enough. Black Lives Matter – always have and always will. It’s time for change and I will be a positive force in that.
Hello, Dear Readers! Didn’t blog last weekend because I was trying to do what I recommend everyone do – organize your genealogy. It is NOT fun! Let’s start with the negative to get it out of the way… It resulted in my allergies going bonkers from the dust (and the Sahara Dust Storm further put me over the edge), bags of refuse for the trash collectors to have to heave away in the intense heat (we’ve had advisories for a week now) and a field day for the cats who were running through the piles knocking them to the floor just to see paper fluttering. Why do cats do what they do? On a positive note:
I can find everything I need quickly
I have a lot more office space
I have a much healthier environment
I found a few personal genealogical gems
I feel great that I am well on my way to completing the task
I would love to tell you I started this major undertaking because it was the right thing to do but that wouldn’t be honest. Two weekends ago, we had a generator installed since I’ve got a freezer full of food that I typically don’t have at this time of year due to the ‘rona. In Florida, summer is the lean times, meaning we grill and eat lots of quickly made cool foods right from the fridge. Open a can of kidney beans for a salad, mix up a can of tuna with some mayo and you have a sandwich, you get the picture. Since our groceries were in such short supply of canned goods and charcoal from the break in the supply lines, I didn’t stock up as usual and instead, had to rely on frozen items. I don’t want to lose all that food when the power goes out, which it does in our area frequently, so we decided to buy a generator and have it installed. That meant we had sporadic electricity the day it was installed so I didn’t blog. I had all intentions of doing that the following day but, I was bored so I decided I would just go through one of four tubs I keep in the office where we store our warranty receipts and other important papers. That project consumed me for the next few days so the blogging didn’t happen. I may have mentioned in past blogs that my family and I have been fortunate so far escaping covid which is spreading like wildfire in my area (well, we think one of our kids had it in late January and the other in early February but it was mild compared to what could have been and hubby and I didn’t get it, although we were in close proximity to both of them at their sickest. One kid tested with the results of no immunity so we have no idea what they had but it matched all but one of the symptoms. Hmm.) I don’t know what “virus” infected our appliances but in the past three months, the following has needed repair: refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave (still waiting for parts), toaster, coffee maker, iron, sewing machine, vacuum, pool vacuum, pool heater, laptop power cord, cell phone, blow dryer, flash light, water softener, ceiling fan, chain saw, pole saw, blower, jet ski battery and then, there was the well guys cutting the lines so we had to have the internet and phone cables reinstalled and they broke several sprinkler heads so there was more fixing needed. Luckily, most of those items were under warranty (which says a lot about how items are made these day). Although that saved us tons of money, it resulted in my constantly pulling out the four tubs to find the necessary paperwork to contact companies to arrange repairs. The organizational system quickly became a mess and I knew I had to devote time to cleaning it. With the electricity off it seemed like a great time to devote to it. You may be thinking – why does she keep this stuff in tubs? Simply because I live in a hurricane state. After losing everything in Hurricane Elena in 1985 I learned that file cabinets aren’t the way to go here. Put stuff in tubs and you can easily transport in your car when you flee and have the documentation to prove to FEMA when you return. Plus, no bugs get in and it does cut down on dust somewhat. I got the brilliant idea to change the file folders from “Small Appliances”say, to the room in which the item is held. That meant making new labels; I love my Dymo but that’s starting to act weird, too. Any item we no longer owned went into the trash and those remaining went into a pile on the desk based on the room they were housed. That’s where the cats had a field day. My reorganization left me with space in the tubs so I decided I’d tackle an attic niche where we store tax returns. I had taken Judy Russell’s APG seminar earlier that week and according to her, I only needed to store the IRS documentation for 7 years. I’ve had much more saved and although I hated the thought of pulling it all down and going through it, decided I had to do it. That’s where I made my personal genealogical discoveries that are meaningless to everyone but my husband and I. I found his very first tax return from the 1970’s when he worked part time at Pepper Pot Pizza. I found my Work Permit signed by my guidance counselor and school nurse for my first job while in high school (it was for a summer job as a “basket girl” at a local pool – I became a mole that summer, standing for hours in a dark room that was a partial basement handing patrons baskets to put their belongings in and then retrieving them when they were ready to leave. It smelled of chlorine and sweat. Yuck! But I was making $2.00 a hour so all way good.) I found paperwork for family members who were deceased that my husband and I served as administrators. Looking over some of the medical records reminded me of things I once knew about the person but had filed away somewhere in my brain and wouldn’t have been able to retrieve had the documents not jogged my mind. Tossing all that stuff out felt great and now everything is together! You’d think I’d stop there but I was on a roll so I next decided to clean a small tub that I place in person conference syllabuses. I decided to pitch what wasn’t important to me and scan what was. I am in the middle of that project now. I am leaving two shelves of genealogical gems to clean out when I retire someday. They once were housed in the attic (hence the dust) but when we cleaned the attic out a year ago I moved them to an indoor storage area. I seriously hate the thought of going through that stuff and figure it will take me a few months to get all that organized – it’s WW2 diaries, notes from older family members, letters, etc. What does one do with old film, negatives, camcorder stuff? We’ve digitized all of it to DVDs and some to the Cloud but what should I do with the original? It’s probably deteriorated and no longer viewable even if I had the device to see it. I actually was ready to pitch it but hubby said no which is surprising as I’m the one who usually hangs on to stuff. Let me know if you’ve faced this situation and how you resolved it. So, for the remainder of today, as I look out at the milky white sky, I’ll be scanning my dwindling pile of syllabi. Think I’ll get another cup of coffee first. Have a great weekend!
Last week I blogged about my strange experience looking for my Hollingshead family going from England to Barbados to Pennsylvania/New Jersey. I was desperately searching for a document to show proof that my ancestor, Daniel, was the individual in all of those locations. Some odd happening occurred – a dream, an undelivered email, an internet site popping up after the electricity had been turned off – put me back on track. Here’s what happened this week… Although the member of my local genealogy association that I had reached out to for help in connecting with a presenter’s email was returned as undeliverable, I used the same email address and reached the person I was seeking a few minutes later. She responded she was unavailable but when get back with me soon. I’ve signed up for a British seminar online that I found by “looking small” as instructed in my dream. It’s scheduled for Friday and I’m eagerly awaiting it. Being impatient, I had a hunch that the dream meant more than just the upcoming lecture. I don’t know why I did the following, but I did and I’m glad of that. I decided to check Ancestry.com hints for Daniel. I don’t use the hint option very often. I do sometimes if I’m starting a new search for a client but for my own tree, not so much. In case you aren’t aware, your Ancestry hints never really leave you. If you click “Ignore” that isn’t the same as delete – which isn’t an option. When you Ignore, it simply goes to the Hint section and is placed under that heading. The other categories are Undecided and Accepted. Accepted hints are all those that are showing in your Facts section, Undecided are those you can’t make up your mind about after you’ve reviewed it. In my Undecided section, I had about 15 hints and most were completely wrong – wrong locations (like Ohio and I was searching before there was even an Ohio territory), wrong time period (like the 1900’s and I needed 1600-1700’s), or wrong names (like Hollins). There were 2 interesting hints, however, that I clicked on and both were from a DNA relative I’ve corresponded with in the past. I trust her work and she always uses citations! The hints were notes she had taken from old texts she had found in her local library. Lucky lady, she lives close to an awesome research library.. I wanted to find the original books to check her notes so I did a Google book search (on Google, click the “Other” box and then click “Books” is the easiest to find and lo and behold, this is what I discovered:
Alfred Mathews. History of Wayne, Pike and Monroe Counties, Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: R. T. Peck & Co,1886, p. 1156.
Even though this is exactly what I’m looking for regarding the route of immigration, there is no proof, other than that Stroud J. Hollinshead, a likely descendant, shared the info for his personal biographical sketch. Sigh! He even got some of the facts wrong. The second paragraph is a hot mess; How could Daniel, the first ancestor, be killed at the Battle of Blenheim and then hold public office in Sussex County, New Jersey? Quite a feat, I say. The date of birth is off by a few years. Didn’t mention the first wife, Ann Alexander, from whom I’m descended but does mention their child, Mary, as the daughter of the second wife, Thomasin. Mary married a Duer; according to this bio, so did Mary’s stepmom after the death of Daniel. Hmm, but something isn’t quite correct there, either. Thomasin was a female and the information states she married a Jane Deuer. I suspect they meant John as this would have been the early 1700’s. Then I found the following interesting story:
Rev. John C. Rankin, DD. The Presbyterian Church in Basking Ridge, NJ. Jersey City: John H. Lyon, 1872., p.7.
I knew Daniel was flipping property but I didn’t know that he had sold to a James Alexander of New York. That peaked my interest as his first wife was an Alexander and I’ve not been successful in locating her family. So I read up on James Alexander and Lord Stirling. The family liked to hide among other Alexander families in Ireland and France where they fled after picking the wrong political side in Scotland. Scholars haven’t been able to sort through all the stories the family told in the documentation they left behind of who was related to whom as the same individual’s tales changed from time to time. Then, there’s the whole timely topic of race relationships. Lord Stirling made his money partially from the slave trade while father James was alive and didn’t object. My Daniel, however, appeared to have not been in favor of slavery. He brought a slave family with him to New Jersey but it appears there was manumision. I told myself (no proof here!) that Daniel was empathetic as he was purportedly an indentured servant, though others felt this showed he was of the Quaker faith. Yet, as I learned more about James Alexander, I discovered that Daniel’s second wife Thomasin left several slaves to her children when she died so the couple may not have the same shared beliefs or, I’m completely wrong about Daniel. More research definitely needed. The Presbyterian Church reference provides another important clue. Some believe that Daniel was Quaker but I’ve found nothing to support that. He and his children were baptized in the Church of England in England and Barbados, Some of the Alexander land was later donated to the Presbyterian Church. That’s not surprising since James was a Scott and probably of that faith. Further reading informed me there were no Quakers in the the area when Daniel relocated there. If he had been a devout Quaker, he would have likely settled in Bucks County, Pennsylvania as the Duer’s initially did. This would explain why I’ve never found a Quaker record for Daniel. Although all of this is interesting to my research, the last weird occurrence happened while I was reading online. My husband and I share an office and he decided he was going to clean his workspace. He is a piler and I’m a filer – he has piles everywhere and I have everything sorted in a variety of devices (handing file folders, in/out baskets, file cabinets, tubs in folders, etc.). As I was deeply involved in an old text my husband said, “Is this yours?” He was holding a CD. I haven’t used CD’s in I don’t know how long so I shook my head no. “Should I toss it?” he asked. “What’s on it?” I replied. “The theme song of Pirates of the Caribbean.” I thought he was kidding me. “Yeah, right.” I said. “Seriously,” he replied. He thought I had recorded it to help me with my search. (Photo above – you can see it’s scratched so it’s not new.) Nope, wasn’t I but somewhere in the great beyond there’s a tech savvy spirit with a sense of humor who is helping me along. Keep it coming!
It’s been a rainy, windy week in my area with Tropical Storm Cristobal passing off shore. I spent my free time catching up on two books I’ve always had on my “To Read” list but never got around to checking out – Henry Z. Jones’ Psychic Roots and More Psychic Roots. If you’ve followed my blog for some time, you know I occasionally write about the unexplainable and downright weird things that happen to me when I am deep into a genealogical research problem. I get a hunch, am driven to reach out to follow through on that thought and voila, a long lost photo or document or knowledgeable individual miraculously provides me what I am seeking. Several years ago, one of my blog posts was selected by a major organization to be featured in their newsletter. One of my dear readers and the editor of the newsletter both suggested I ready the books but I was so involved with other projects, I didn’t have time. I finally made time when I saw that both titles were available through genealogical.com which I subscribed to for 3 months during the pandemic. Does reading about coincidences increase them?! It seemed to work for me this week. Perhaps it’s like opening a communication link. You have internet access, however, if you don’t go on you’ll never be connected to the wealth of information out there. That’s my take on how this all works and you’ll see why in a moment. I really enjoyed reading the events that others experienced, especially when I have met some and others are my followers. One of my husband’s distant ancestors was also mentioned, Thomas Harbaugh and his wife, Polly. Thomas’ story always was one of my favorite Harbaugh recollections so I wasn’t surprised that his descendants would have a strange event when they sought information on him. Just like the author cannot explain his passion for Palatine research, I can’t explain mine for the Harbaughs. I’m not one, bloodwise. Some have married into some of my related lines but the connection hasn’t been close. The Harbaughs’ are my husband’s maternal line. I was never close to my mother-in-law and his grandfather had passed before I met him. Why did I take the time to enter every bit of Harbaugh data into our family tree? Beats me but I was (and am) obsessed. I would work late into the night entering information and trying to connect all the Harbaughs in the US since the 1947 Cooprider & Cooprider book on Harbaugh History was published. I’m a quick reader so I finished both Jones’ books in three days. Each night, I had a genealogical related dream. The first night I dreamt that the Gateway Ancestor for the Harbaugh’s was not Yost but Jost and if I looked for records for Jost I would find them. I told my husband the next morning and he laughed, pointing out in German that was probably correct. I don’t know German and my husband and I have been a couple since our high school days. He knows that renown Harbaugh historians have puzzled over the oddness of a Swiss first name of Yost. Did my husband ever mention that the name wasn’t odd at all in German? Nope. Later that day I was reading a different book on genealogical.com and sure enough, it explained German names. Everyone assumes that the Harbaughs emigrated from Switzerland so no one looks at the surname as being of German origin. In the German book I looked at later in the day, Harbaugh is recorded as meaning being near a brook (baugh). I’ve read that before but somehow it never sunk in. The family lived for a time in Kaiserslautern, in the Palatine region of what is now Germany. How did I miss the obvious all these years? How did everyone else researching this family? I don’t know! This helpful hint from beyond will be useful going forward. I’ve been working on finding proof for one of my Gateway ancestors, Daniel Hollingshead for a lineage application I submitted. He is not listed in any of the typical texts that show emigration so I’m required to document more fully. He left Saxelby, England for Barbados in the early 1700’s, possibly indentured (according to family tales). He married in 1710 (have the record), wife, Ann from whom I descended died in 1714 (record) and he remarried in 1716 (record). The family relocated to New Jersey via Pennsylvania (Philadelphia) about 1720 (land and tax records). One of his children from his second marriage even moved back to Barbados with her husband. The rest of the family remained together in the colonies. I can prove he left Barbados and lived in what is now the US but I can’t prove how he got to Barbados. My second night’s dream had me standing in front of a mirror but the reflection was not mine, it was blurred, like a computer screen without my glasses. A male voice told me to look in the mirror and to look “smaller.” What the heck did that mean?! I shared that dream with hubby, too. He laughed and said he thought it meant the information was in front of me but I wasn’t seeing it all. Hmm. We’ll come back to how this played out. After finishing the second book, the third night I dreamt my deceased maternal aunt was taking me to her new home. We entered the back door into a kitchen and I saw my grandmother and mother. Everyone was glad to see me and I was taken to the kitchen counter where a box was being unpacked. It contained the most beautiful clear glass plates I’ve ever seen. My aunt asked me to help unwrap them and put them into the cabinet. I thought we should wash them first but she said they were fine. The bowls were exquisite and I remarked I wished I could find a set like this (on my side of the universe). I then said they wouldn’t work for me because I don’t have a wooden table but a glass one where they wouldn’t show up well on it. When I awoke I instantly knew one of my family members will be dying soon and the “move to a bigger house” was to prepare for their “homecoming.” I don’t know who that will be but I have a hunch between 3 individuals. None are ill. I’m keeping my mouth shut to see how this turns out. In the meantime, my second dream’s meaning surfaced… Thursday afternoon I got an idea out of the blue to contact a local woman who does British research. I searched for her email address, which I know I have as I distinctly remember writing it down a few years ago after she gave a lecture. I couldn’t find it but I did clean up my office! I decided that evening to email the former president of my local society who I thought would surely have her email. I hate asking someone to give me a phone or email address without the individual’s permission so I requested he forward the email I would have sent to her. Three hours later he responded that he had tried but the email bounced back as undeliverable. He had used it recently and was surprised. He gave me her phone number and suggested I call. It was late in the evening and I told him I would follow up the next day and let him know if we connected. I then sent the email, which didn’t come back as undelivered. I decided to give her a day or two to respond before I called (since the weather is inclement and knowing our power would be up and down for the next few days). Knowing that my power would be out is also weird, as you’ll see in a minute. While writing the email to her I had rechecked several sources I had used to try to find emigration, census and indentured records online. Typically, I close out any work I’m doing on the computer when I stop for the day to insure I don’t lose anything. I thought I had done that but perhaps I hadn’t. On Friday morning our doorbell rang and an employee of our power company informed us that we were scheduled to get a new meter installed so he was requesting we turn off all appliances, televisions, computers and the air conditioner while he installs the new device. I distinctly remember walking into our office and turning off my and my husband’s computers, then turning off the A/C. The new meter was installed quickly but I was reading on my Kindle so I had no reason to immediately turn the office computers back on. Later that afternoon I decided to restart mine but I walked away before it was fully up. I can’t recall what the reason was that made me go back to my desktop Friday evening because what happened next totally threw me. I sat down at my desk and saw that the Google was already up on my right screen. I thought my husband must have used my system for some quick need since his computer hadn’t been restarted. I clicked and what was displayed was a page from the National Archives of England (shown at the top of this blog). I remember thinking that was odd since there is no reason my husband would ever have gone to that site. Something caught my eye on the bottom right corner so I scrolled down and what did I discover? A link to Caribbean Connections! I clicked and discovered that an online lecture will be held on June 19th at 2 PM London time. I immediately signed up for the class.
You can see for yourself from the top picture above what I saw when I clicked on my Google browser. I had to scroll down to see the map on the right (shown directly above). If not, I would have missed it. Even odder, how did that website show on my computer when it had been shut down for the installation of a new meter? I got the eebie jeebie feeling for sure! I told my husband that the strangest thing had just happened and asked if he had used my computer. No, he replied. I then told him his explanation of my dream was correct. The information was in front of me but I wasn’t seeing it because I was only seeing a small part of it. I can’t wait to attend the lecture and I’m hopeful I will be finding the information I am seeking soon. I love these strange experiences and hope they keep coming. I hope you find all that you are seeking, too.
I’ve blogged many times before about the Field of Honor project in the Netherlands who memorializes service personnel that were killed in the line of duty during World War 2. They had originally planned a 75 year memorial event for early May that had to be cancelled due to the pandemic.
On Memorial Day, they held a small event for 30 people that was attended by the King and had a flyover. They reached their goal of obtaining 7500 photos of the interred; thank you to all that helped with the research!
You can learn more about the organization and the ceremony here and here.
They have set a new goal of 8000 photos for the larger event that was postponed until next spring (hopefully). Please continue to send photos by checking their website.
Wednesday I attended the virtual National Genealogical Society Conference and it was as informative as always! It was a long day, however, beginning at 11 AM Eastern time and ending at 7 PM. A few 15 minute breaks were included throughout.
The best part is that each speaker’s topic was so different yet all packed full with useful information. Some of the knowledge was new – I loved Elizabeth Shown Mill’s “crowd sourcing” analysis which is slightly different from her FAN Club. Both Mills and Tom Jones reminded us of the importance of analysis. I absolutely loved how Jones used online unsourced tree data as a stepping stone to find the facts. Judy Russell’s talk was poignant and reminded me of how fortunate my immigrant grandmother was in not having to be a child worker. I had no idea that a child of one month old could become indentured! Blaine Bettinger was awesome as always with his DNA explanations. I absolutely loved that he used closed captioning for those who might need it. Some folks were critical of it because it overlapped the bottom of the shown slides but IMHO, the presentation was readable anyway. That was such a thoughtful gesture to end the day I was deeply touched by his attempt at inclusion.
There were also wonderful presentations by FamilySearch.org, Ancestry.com and FamilyTreeDNA. Lots of changes coming – some good, some not so good if you loved a feature that will be disappearing (Ancestry is dumping the shoebox in the trash and the folders you may have set up in messaging while FamilyTreeDNA has eliminated offering one of its test kits). Change is what it is – we’ll adapt and move on. Some of the moaning and groaning in the chat box made me laugh – get a grip, folks, it’s not the end of your genealogy practice.
The “lunch” speaker was an actor who took the character of a unknown (to many) suffragette from Utah. It was a moving presentation and a great remind of the short time period all women have been allowed the right to vote in this country.
Kudos to the the NGS staff who was able to put on this virtual conference on such short notice. Most of the remainder of the what was to have been an on site conference in Salt Lake City will be available for view beginning July 1. I’m not sure if you can still purchase viewing or not as I bought a package in early May when it had just become available. So glad, I did! Although it’s definitely not the same feel as person-to-person, it was a wonderful and well done alternative during these difficult times. I highly recommend checking the availability out at the site – NGS – the syllabus provided is worth the price.