I often wondered how 10% of Black Americans had obtained their freedom by 1860. When I looked for manumission records I often found none. Was I looking in the wrong places? Did war/climate/insects/careless people destroy the records? How could so many records just disappear?
I attended a recent NGS Conference session by Ric Murphy who finally gave me the answer – there were Black Americans who were “indentured” and not enslaved arriving as early at 1619. This was certainly news to me as I never was taught that in history classes. I’ve been to Jamestown and no one there ever mentioned that fact. How did I miss this my entire life?!
The story is intriguing and much too long for a blog article. Major players were the Roman Catholic Church, Portugal, Spain, Great Britain and what is now the Netherlands. Piracy and violation of international treaties resulted in the decision to indenture rather than enslave.
I wish the book was offered in an electronic version as I’m trying to pair down my hard copies but it is not. There is one one-star review on Amazon but the person who left their concerns is in error in some of the points made – the Native Americans and the colonists did not get along prior to the African’s arrival and the majority of the white settlers had died due to famine because they feared hunting in the woods as Native Americans were hunting them. There is strong evidence from a variety of sources outside of the US that those first arriving Africans did come from a well educated, multilingual area of Africa. Although we now know that Bermuda is not part of the Caribbean, early maps considered it as part of the Caribbean islands. The author could have clarified that but I wouldn’t avoid reading the book because he didn’t.
Put this book on your summer reading list – Ric Murphy. Arrival of the First Africans in Virginia. Charleston, SC: The History Press, 2020.
I attended the National Genealogical
Conference virtually this week, the second time the conference has been in that
format. Here’s my take on it…
This year there are 3 days in May for the
general attendees compared to last year, where there was only one. This makes sense since the organization had
to pivot at the last minute to move the format while this year they had a
longer time period to adjust.
I enjoyed SLAM! on Tuesday. SLAM is an acronym for Societies, Libraries,
Archives and Museums and featured “posters” from submitting organizations
regarding innovative programs they provided to members/patrons during the
pandemic. Monday was society today but
since I registered as an individual I was not able to attend those
sessions. Friday was society wrap up
which, although sessions showed on my dashboard, I was not able to enter.
I was greatly impressed by the SLAM! submissions. Three Top Poster Winners and three runner ups
were highlighted and representatives from the winning organizations answered
questions from conference attendees. My
personal favorite was a circle Family Wheel Chart provided by Mary Kate Gliedt,
Genealogy Manager at the St. Louis Public Library. The beauty of this simple chart is to allow
flexibility and inclusion with family dynamics.
If you have step-family, adoption, foster parents, nonparental event or
same sex parents, the traditional family tree does not work. With the Wheel Chart, lines can be made to
include those important people that influenced a child. I have altered the form by making the lines
faint so they can be written over if not needed and drawn over when used. An
example is above.
You would put your name in the ME
circle. Your birth mother could be
written in space Mom 1 or Mom 2. If you
have an Adopted, Foster or Step Mother, she could be placed in the other Mom
space. If you had 3 “moms” then the top
half of the second circle could be divided into 3 sections. You can alter the form from there. When finished, drawing over the lines with a
pen can make the form easy to follow.
I’ll be including spaces around the 4
quadrants of the page to include children of those relationships. Now you have one sheet displaying the family
dynamics and including everyone.
After the SLAM! winners, attendees could
visit each submission site and chat with representatives. I will be blogging next week about the
Veteran’s Legacy Project.
Overall, the first day went well with this
new format. There were only two minor glitches. The first was that the kickoff event was
purported to be a livestream from Ancestry but it wasn’t livestream, it was a
replay from an older Youtube video from that organization. Event personnel clarified in the chat that
was the case after a number of participants mentioned the discrepancy.
The day ended with the second glitch, a
livestream from Family Search. Clicking
the button to view did not work.
Eventually, a note was displayed to go to Youtube. Several of us missed the first few minutes of
the presentation because of the tech issue. Overall, it was a wonderful day!
One tech issue occurred on Wednesday when
Dani Shapiro’s presentation froze. NGS
allowed viewing through Friday at 5:00 PM for those who missed it.
Thursday’s line up included more than one
option at the same time period. If you
wanted to view a missed presentation, viewing was made available through Friday
at 5:00 PM. In that way, I was able to
view every option.
For those who purchased a 20 or 40 session
packet, beginning June 15th, all of the sessions except Dani Shapiro’s,
is included in either packet. The
syllabus for all sessions was provided electronically and those that purchased
a packet, more sessions not yet shown will be available to view through
December 31, 2021. Since I don’t have
many lines in Virginia, I purchased the 20 session packet. Looking forward to more interesting sessions
to view over the summer.
Although I miss the camaraderie of
attending conferences in person, there is a lot of positives to virtual – no wasted
time or expense by travel and the ability to view at my leisure. Next May the NGS conference will be held in
Sacramento, California. I’m hoping that
a virtual option remains as I have no needed research to do in that area.
Here are my personal favorite sessions:
Most Heartfelt – Family Secrets
Most Entertaining – Young General Lafayette
Most New Information – The Story of Virgina: Arrival of the First Africans (I’m buying the book by Ric Murphy!)
Most Consistent Presenter Over Venues
Demonstrating Excellence – Elizabeth Shown Mills. How she makes everything look simple is just
Most Knowledgeable about Virginia – Barbara
DNA Technique – Tie between Angie Bush and
Christa Cowan who both demonstrated how they use the colored dots on
Ancestry. I use mine like Angie but am
willing to try Christa’s method.
Special shout out to Erin Shifflett, NGS
Staff. I couldn’t find the syllabus as
the link was buried in one of the many emails that they had sent to remind me
of the conference. I sent an email and in
less than 5 minutes had a response with the document to download. Now that’s service!
Hopefully, by 2022, we’ll resume traveling to in-person conferences. In the interim, genealogy education continues to be offered online. Here are some coming up soon that may be of interest to you:
National Genealogical Society (NGS) Annual Family History Conference that was to be held in Virginia takes place online May 18-20 and with the package you select, on demand lectures begin on June 15th. Register at NGS soon to take advantage of the Early Bird special.
The International German Genealogy Conference will be held July 17-24. Early Bird specials have ended but you can still attend virtually by registering here.
The Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research has a few open seats left for their online conference to be held July 25-30. Check out what’s available on their site.
Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) Virtual Professional Management Conference is for those interested in a career as a professional genealogist. There are 3 sessions over 3 months: August 24-25, September 21-22 and October 19-20. Sign up for those most interesting or attend all sessions offered by taking advantage of their Early Bird offerings. Register at APG.
According to FamilySearch, there are over 9,000 historical and genealogical organizations so the few I highlighted are just a sampling. Google conferences near you so that you can begin to make new connections. I’m looking forward to meeting my new “cuz” I discovered at RootsTech soon who is working on the same Morrison line that I am. It’s a small world after all! By attending a conference from your home you may also discover family you never knew who just may hold the key you are looking for to unlock your family mystery. That’s definitely worth the price of the conference.
If you aren’t on rootsTech today you are missing some awesome genealogy stuff. I don’t think it’s too late to participate – it’s free – just go here to register.
This is what has impressed me the most so far and it only just began:
FAMILYSEARCH.ORG – my thanks for pulling this off virtually without a hitch. Maybe there was a hitch on your end but it was seamless on ours. I absolutely LOVE the interactive RootsTech relatives feature and found a 4th cousin once removed living very close to me. Didn’t know she even existed! Using the Send a Message feature I made an attempt at connecting. Maybe if I ever get the covid vaccine we can meet. The map feature of where my people are is shown above and I think it’s just wonderful. Proves I’m a mutt without research, doesn’t it?! Actually looks very similar to my ethnicity results from Ancestry/MyHeritage/23andMe.
My FAVORITE research session so far has been from Goldie May’s Richard K. Miller on How to create Google Chrome shortcuts for Faster Genealogy Research. More info is available on their website so check this out here.
My FAVORITE AH HA session has been How to Make Rooibos Tea by Sarah Wing from South Africa. Funny but I brewed a cup right before the Expo Hall opened last evening so I thought I would enjoy the video but I was shocked to learn that a small strainer I inherited from my grandmother is a tea strainer. Duh, she used it to drain liquid from kidney beans so that’s how I’ve used it for over 50 years. I got so excited to learn what the kitchen device is really supposed to be used for I sent out an email to my family who would remember how it was used. Nothing like making connections over the simplicity of everyday living!
Which gets me to the next part of RootsTech I find interesting – I signed up for the 21 day Family Connections Experiment. What a brilliant idea, especially now with our world turned upside down for so many reasons. Learn more about it here.
The CREEPY BUT COOL tech toy is from MyHeritage – Deep Nostalgia. I can’t wait to try it! Take a photo and it animates it. You have got to check into this.
Another CREEPY BUT COOL tech device is from Audiobiography which has designed a product that can be placed on a tombstone or family heirloom and using an ap on your phone, the bar code will be read and you can learn more about the person/item via audio or text. Pricing was reasonable, too. Learn more about it here.
There’s much much more but those were the items that were most interesting to me so far. Two more days to go so don’t miss out – check it out now.
Welcome back to another year of Genealogy at Heart. Here’s hoping your holidays were quiet, safe and delightful!
I’m longing for the comfort of ritual traditions that were discarded last year due to all the chaos. In keeping with how I have started every past January blog, here’s my review of the top 10 Genealogy at Heart posts for 2020:
What’s odd is that there was only one article that made the top 10 that was B.C. (Before Covid). Maybe you were all too busy in the first three months of the year to read my blog?!
I’m not surprised by the others listed as I know, dear reader, you are interested in stretching your cash as genealogy can get expensive. You also want to keep your hard work safe so you care about tech safety. Keeping up with trends, such as DNA, and realizing the importance of seeking out new records in out of the way places and then analyzing closely what was discovered is something you value.
I do think it’s hilarious that two of my more other worldly posts are in the top 3. Next week, I’ll be writing about a weird find I made Christmas night. See you next week…
Today’s blog is not about genealogy so you can stop reading now if that is your interest Instead, it is my take on the current state of the educational environment. I am writing this because I am furious. Our today becomes tomorrow’s history; I want the future to learn from the past.
I missed writing last week as I was consumed with my newly designated title of ESSENTIAL WORKER and due to the lack of communication, cooperation and consistency in government policy, was working 16.5 hour days with no compensation for the overtime or weekend work so that children can go back to school and die alongside their teachers. It makes my heart break.
My long time readers know I try very hard to not to be political in my weekly blog. I understand bureaucracy moves slowly. I respect free speech and differences in opinion. I have been an educator since 1977. I did not choose that career to get rich or for the summers off (we don’t get paid and we work most of the summer unpaid planning and taking training).
That said, I will not stand by silently when peoples’ lives are needlessly risked. Don’t believe it (like one of my neighbors who insists there is no reason to wear a mask), here’s the facts – a 6-year old girl died Monday of covid in the same school district that the person WITH NO BACKGROUND IN EDUCATION who is UNELECTED but APPOINTED by the governor and who, like those currently tweeting that the virus will magically go away, refused to allow the school district where this child died to deliver educational services for an additional 3 weeks online because “Step aside, folks, there is nothing to see here!” These bullies threatened to withhold all state funding if school does not resume with a brick and mortar, aka traditional, model by the end of August.
Due to the wavering decisions and the utter lack of concern for children, their families and the public school staff, I, along with my colleagues across the country, have worked tirelessly to try to make the smallest classes possible for social distancing and to quickly trace students from period to period WHEN THE VIRUS ATTACKS. This is not an IF, this is most definitely a WILL.
For those that don’t believe that, here’s the truth…in my small school that opened to teachers only 3 weeks ago, we have already had 1 teacher with a covid diagnosis in the second week. At my previous school, in the same time period, with about the same number of staff, they’ve had two. My husband’s school has had two since April, one in the last two weeks. If you have this many infections with educated adults all wearing masks and social distancing, using hand sanitizer and washing their hands well, you don’t think you’re going to have a problem when the students return?! Think of yourself as a kid. Instead of playing cooties the elementary kids will be playing covid. Middle schoolers can not stay out of each others faces and forget social distancing with high school and college – they are huggers! The children are doing developmentally what is normal but these times are not. If we can’t save them from themselves their is blood on all of our hands.
I am outraged at the system that allowed this to happen I also question how a teacher became an essential worker in the last week. If that’s the case, why do we close schools for weather problems?
Just come out and tell us how many in power view our role – you want cheap childcare and if you lose a few, well, that’s life! You never cared about educating children before; if you had, you would have funded us adequately so the little darlings didn’t have to go door to door selling overpriced junk. My husband and I wouldn’t have had to spend our own money for years on items our students needed. If the value of education was really a priority there would be no threats to withhold funding. I am so sick of the lies.
If I read one more article or hear one more news story about teachers being happy to return to school this fall I’m going to scream. NO THEY AREN’T. Like the rest of humanity, they long for the good ole days, last seen this past February, when they could make a difference face-to-face with their students. Those days are gone for now and what is needed more than anything else is prioritizing life over what once was.
If everyone had done what was the right thing to do we wouldn’t be faced with this problem today. Children wouldn’t be dying. Those kids that return to school and live through this will not have to have the burden for the remainder of their lives of knowing they brought home an illness that killed their family. They won’t have to face the grief at the loss of their beloved teacher. This madness can be halted and I’m praying someone, somewhere has the power and the sense to do the right thing.
I’m also sick of hearing about students falling educationally behind. Here’s a quick and simple solution for that – just have everyone attend year round once the virus is behind us. Cut out the electives for the summer term and just teach the basics. Duh! If we can have students skip a grade then the whole issue of learning loss is a moot point anyway. Studies have shown that students who do not start school until age 8 can compete academically in a short time. Funny how our leaders, and I use that term loosely, pointed to Nordic countries who kept schools open last spring as what we should do. Those are the same countries with well funded educational systems that don’t have young children in formal education. They have physicians and dentists available for the children. Heck, I can’t even get Walmart to donate free eyeglasses to my needy kids anymore. So again, I ask, if education is so vital, then why are the basics not provided for our children?
No electronics in the home? Seriously, except for the last two generations NO ONE WAS EDUCATED BY USING THE INTERNET. Here’s a novel solution – have local districts pay the local newspaper for a subscription for every family. The lessons can be incorporated in the newspaper. It’s delivered daily to the family’s door. You’re developing a generation who will learn more about their community and the world. They are practicing reading and math by analyzing the charts and graphs. Vocabulary is enriched. You’re insuring that the press remains a vital and important partner in the community. Why are we not doing this? As much money as schools saved on paper and ink they can certainly afford to purchase a year newspaper subscription for their students. Actually, in my community, the newspaper is already free electronically for our students. If schools wanted to save even more money, they would just need to purchase a paper edition for those that don’t have electronics.
I am fortunate to be able to be eLearning but several of my fellow teachers were not granted the same privilege I was, even though several has serious medical conditions and two are still recovering from covid’s long lasting side effects.
If you have taken the time to read this I want to thank you. Send good thoughts or pray or whatever you believe in because my colleagues, my students, their families and the greater community needs all the help it can get.
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.
Every conference is a learning experience and today was no exception. My local genealogy society sponsored four presentations by Dr. Thomas Jones, PhD, CG, FASG, FUGA and one break out session by a local genealogist.
I’ve lost count of how many in person and online presentations I’ve attended given by Tom. In every one, he always makes the most difficult scenarios seem easy to resolve. I enjoying following his logic in drawing a conclusion based on the records he has or has not found.
The program today started with the beginner level, progressed quickly and then ended with an upbeat – you can (and should) do this approach. Here’s my four biggest take aways that can help your research:
Tom lamented that he wasted nearly 20 years at the beginning of his family history career by not reading genealogical journals. I made the exact same mistake. If you’re a newbie, you will benefit from reading articles published by the National Genealogical Society, The American Genealogist, New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, New England Historic and Genealogical Society, your state societies and more. No, the articles probably aren’t going to help you name your brick wall ancestor but they will provide the tools that others used to discover what you’re having difficulty locating. No excuse if being a member of all of these societies aren’t in your budget; your local public library probably has a subscription. If not, ask for a year’s membership as a birthday gift. Find a friend interested in genealogy and each of you become a member of one and share the journals. Post on Craig’s List or go on eBay and search if someone is selling their collection. I’m trying to be a good environmental steward so I’ve stopped getting hard copies in the mail and read the articles online. When I did get the paper version, I always donated to my local library when I was done. Pass yours on, too!
Tom reminded us to “consider everything and trust nothing.” Personally, I think that’s good advice not just for genealogy. He was referring to online family trees and in print family genealogies. It’s not too difficult to tell which are well researched. It is a must to check out the citations to confirm the accuracy.
“Inconvenience is not a reason for drawing a conclusion; get as close as you can to original records.” I’m blending Tom’s quote with the breakout session I attended on England and Wales records. I do some, but not a whole lot, of English and Welsh research. I wasn’t aware that the British equivalent to the U.S. National Archives has only 5% of their records online. I don’t know what the latest percentage estimates are for U.S. records but whatever the amount, not everything is available from the comfort of your home computer. True, it’s not always convenient to have to do boots on the ground but it is necessary.
“Gather the stories you’ve been told, write them down and share them.” Definite words of wisdom! For my long time readers, you know that was one of the reasons why I started blogging. I wanted a place to connect with my far flung relatives by sharing the stories passed down to me by my maternal grandmother. Every family has heartwarming tales and whispered lore. Write it down, check it out and pass it on before it’s been forgotten. Your descendants will be so thankful you did!
Last, as promised, here’s a shout out to one of my New Port Richey followers that happened to be in line in front of me today. It was awesome meeting you in person. Happy Hunting!
You may be contemplating taking advantage of the DNA specials that are currently offered – Ancestry.com and MyHeritageDNA.com are both being sold for $59.00 plus shipping. Maybe you’re like me and have tested with a number of different companies over the past several years and believe you know the directions well enough to not read them. I am going to share an embarrasingly dumb mistake I made last month when taking a DNA test to spare you having to learn this lesson on your own.
At my annual wellness physical my physician and I discussed genealogy. Side note: Physicians and genealogists share a lot in common, especially at parties where acquaintances want to poke your brain and get free advice on their chronic complaint – a health issue for the docs and a brick wall for the genealogist.
My medical provider was sharing the results of her recent DNA test and I told her how I had compiled an ancestor health history going back several generations as I believe that some genetic conditions reoccur farther than the two generations back that typically the medical community zeroes in on when you complete the initial paperwork of who had what conditions.
Granted, I have no proof of my theory other than what I’ve discovered in my own family tree and usually, when I mention this to a doctor, I get the same look that is given when you tell them you tried to self diagnose using WebMD. I understand I’m enchroaching on their professional judgement but I mean no disrespect. My current physician is very understanding of this tendency I have and although neither my parents or grandparents had medical concerns that DNA testing could show might affect me, I had two aunts that clearly carried a trait. We both agreed it would be beneficial for me to be tested for medical information.
Deciding I could handle the test’s results, I made a followup appointment to spit into the test tube the next week. The receptionist reiterated what the doctor said, don’t eat or drink anything within an hour of the test. Yeah, yeah, I know already, I’m an expert DNA test taker!
Since my appointment was scheduled as the first visit of the morning, I decided I wouldn’t eat or drink anything after dinner the previous evening. I even brushed my teeth right after dinner so there’d be no chance of a toothpaste interference.
The next morning I got ready quickly and drove straight to the doctor’s office. After signing in and being taken back to an exam room, the MA asked if I had eaten or drank anything in the last hour. “No,” I replied, “Nothing since last night about 6:00.” She then handed me the test tube and told me foam didn’t count so make sure to spit to the line.
No worries, I got this. My only thought was why didn’t they just take a cheek swab as in the days of old – that’s how I took my first Ancestry.com DNA test.
MA left the room and I began to fill the test tube. I was really going to town so I didn’t stop to look at the tube for a bit. When I finally did, I had quite a shock. My spit was not clear; it was tinged with pink.
My first thought was I was bleeding but I felt fine. Then it hit me; I had put lipstick on that morning.
Lipstick does not process in my brain as food or drink. It reminds me of my history as my maternal relatives never left the house without applying it. I asked my grandmother why when I was about 8 and she said you should always put your best face forward. That is, except when you’re taking a DNA test in the doctor’s office.
I didn’t know what to do; should I go look for the MA and ask if I should continue or should I just finish filling the tube? I opened the door and saw no one in the hall so I decided to finish and maybe the test would be valid.
A few minutes later the MA returned and I sheepishly showed her the pink vial. “I’ll check to see if that’s okay,” she said, “Never had that happen before.” That made two of us. Returning, she told me that the test wasn’t going to be acceptable and I needed to “Wash off your makeup, wait an hour and we’ll retest.”
The last time someone told me to “Wash off that makeup” was in 8th grade and my lipstick of choice was Wow Wow White that looked awesome with my then braces. Sister Rosarita felt differently and I was sent to the girl’s gang bathroom to remove it. Then, I was angry at the school rule that was enchroaching on my lifestyle. At the doctor’s office, I was angry at myself for being so stupid.
I was planning on meeting my husband after the appointment so I texted him I’d be late because, well, my lipstick got between my DNA and the tube. He thought that was hysterical. Me, not at all.
A little over an hour later the MA called me from the waiting room and asked if I was sure I had gotten all the lipstick off. I showed her my pale pink lips and said, “This is what they really look like.” She laughed and said, “Nice color.”
The second test went smoothly. My results have been returned and they’re good, too.
The doctor’s office staff were so kind about my mistake and said they’d make sure that they mention “NO LIP PRODUCTS” to future women who will DNA test. I’m letting my dear readers know that, too.