The pull of family history … family is more than names

What motivates people to do family history?
Family history is more than names – we are drawn to the stories of their lives. We dig their names and dates out of vital records or the census and we dig deeper into newspapers and family letters to find the stories of their lives.

When I was teaching a genealogy class for the Darien Historical Society (CT) back in the early 1970s I asked my class – why were they interested in their family history?

One elderly man said – My sister was the kindest person he ever knew. She never married. I knew that if I didn’t write our family history that no one would remember her. That always stuck with me.

In today’s Denver Post Tina Griego wrote:

“Usually it starts with a family story. Grandma was tracking the family and they ended up with a box full of her papers. Or they heard someone in the family fought in the Revolutionary War. Or ‘My ancestors came from Spain and settled in Mexico and I want to find that branch of the family.’ “
What is it, I ask her, that draws people to their family histories? What is it they hope to learn? Why does it matter?
As I ask, I am aware that these questions are as much professional as they are personal.

Tina Griego, columnist for the Denver Post writes about the pull of genealogy in today’s paper.

Click here to read her entire column.
Family History is more than Names. 14 April 2009. Denver Post.

Paula Todd, Genealogist, Librarian – McIntire Library, Zanesville, OH

You will want to read this terrific article about Paula Todd, long time genealogist and volunteer librarian at the John McIntire Library in Zanesville, Ohio – part of the Muskingum County (OH) Library System.

I was at the (Family History Center in Zanesville) I walked in not knowing what I wanted to find out, except I wanted to find out about the Ethell family. I heard some woman in the back of the room say, ‘I have Ethells in my family.’ And I thought, ‘Oh, sure, that’s probably no relations of mine at all.’ But whoever was at the desk put me on a reader of some kind. A census reader to start with. And pretty soon the woman in the back came and laid this Ethell book beside me. I copied it off just to be nice to her if nothing else because she was going to such great lengths. And I got home and looked at that and there was my family laid out in front of me. Right in front of me!

Click here to read the rest of the article in the Zanesville Times Recorder. Kearns, Charlie. Genealogist Looks Back. 12 April 2009

…and there was my family laid out in front of me. Right in front of me!

Click here to search for obituaries – Zanesville Times Recorder – 2002 – Today
Click here to search Ohio’s old newspapers – 1802-1922

Reviewer looking for your opinion of GenealogyBank.com

We received this note from Claudia Breland looking for the experiences and opinions of genealogists in using GenealogyBank.
Let her know what you think.

Here is her letter:

Hi all, I’m writing a review of GenealogyBank.
If you’ve been using it regularly for 6 months or longer and would like to express your opinion, please email me off list.

I’m especially interested to hear from anyone using their Spanish newspapers.

Thanks!

Claudia Breland
ccbreland@comcast.net
http://www.ccbreland.com

Unusual Obituaries: Sir Sacheverell Reresby Sitwell

Speaking of unusual obituaries.
See this one from GenealogyBank – published in today’s (3 April 2009) Boston Globe.

Sir Sacheverell Reresby Sitwell, son of the late Sir George Sitwell (author of The History of the Fork and inventor of a revolver for shooting wasps).

Boston Globe, (MA) – April 3, 2009
Sacheverell Reresby Sitwell; restored hall of eccentric clan
LONDON – Sir Sacheverell Reresby Sitwell, who restored the stately home of his famously eccentric family to its former glory, has died at age 81.


Sir Reresby Sitwell died in a London hospital Tuesday, his family said. He had been in poor health since suffering a stroke in 2005.

In 1965, Sir Reresby Sitwell inherited Renishaw Hall in Derbyshire, the family seat since 1625.

At the time, the rambling three-story, battlemented house near Chesterfield had neither central heating nor electricity, and Sir Reresby Sitwell and his wife, Penelope, were said to retreat to the warmth of their car after breakfast.

The couple restored the house as well as the Italianate garden laid out by his grandfather in 1895. The garden’s attractions now include the National Collection of Yuccas, the succulent genus native to the Southwestern United States.

“His greatest legacy would be the revival of Renishaw Hall, where he resurrected the estate to the former glories of the Georgian era,” said Timothy Morgan Owen, who supervises exhibitions at the house.

Sir Reresby Sitwell was the elder son of Sacheverell Sitwell, who with his brother, Osbert, and sister, Edith, were famed for their literary talent and their quirks.

The trio’s oddity no doubt was influenced by their father, George, who was Sir Reresby Sitwell’s grandfather. He delighted in telling guests: “I must ask anyone entering the house never to contradict me or differ from me in any way, as it interferes with the functioning of my gastric juices and prevents my sleeping at night.”

George Sitwell dined alone, in full evening dress, exclusively on a diet of roast chicken; he invented a revolver for shooting wasps and wrote a book on “The History of the Fork.”

Author: Robert Barr Associated Press
Page: 12Copyright (c) 2009 Globe Newspaper Company

Genealogy Humor

One of our readers (Kevin Clark) pointed me to today’s Wizard of Id cartoon – that speaks to the “high cost” of family history research.

To see the cartoon – click here
or if that site is busy – click here

Wizard of Id by Parker and Hart is one of my favorites.

I’ve been having a ball ….

“I’ve been having a ball finding articles about my family.

The biggest find for me … was discovering my gr-grandfather’s uncle in Congressional records as well as in newspapers.

He had left home as a child and didn’t return home again until after his father died.

It was reported in the newspapers that his elderly mother (my gr-gr-gr-grandmother!) almost went into shock after not seeing him for nearly 37 years. GenealogyBank gave me great insight into his life as a fisherman turned world traveler and the names of his children that he had with his Russian wife and his locations in Russia and Japan back in the 1800′s! How cool is that??? :)

I can’t wait to see what papers you will put up next.
Keep up the great work!

Have a great weekend!”
Sincerely,


:) Catherine “Casey” Zahn

Find and document your ancestors in GenealogyBank – the best source for old newspapers on the planet. Period!

Start searching right now — click here.
What will you find?

Wow – I love GenealogyBank.

We routinely hear from genealogists telling about their success – “Wow, look what I found!”

We really love to hear those stories and today it is my turn.
Last week I was stunned to find that one of my cousins had posted early photographs of our family online.
There they were – the actual pictures of my third great-grandfather Isaac Garcelon (1790-1872)
and his parents William (1763-1851)
and Maria (Howe) Garcelon (1763-1850).
I could see why they were so bundled up.
They were from Lewiston, Androscoggin County, Maine. Having grown up in New England I am used to cold weather – the snow would stay on the north side of my grandparent’s home until April almost every year.
This find got me to searching in GenealogyBank to find out more about them. I simply searched the name: William Garcelon and quickly found death notices for William Garcelon (1763-1851) that were published in two newspapers, one in Massachusetts and one in Maine.
The Boston Evening Transcript 23 Jan 1851

and in the Portland Daily Advertiser (29 Jan 1851).

Then I quickly spotted the marriage announcement of William’s nephew – Captain Asa Garcelon (1796-1859) that was published in the Eastern Argus (Maine) 16 March 1825.

Notice that every one of these articles appeared in out-of-town or out-of-state newspapers.

TIP: Colonial and 19th Century Newspapers often printed out of town birth, marriage and death notices. GenealogyBank makes them easy to find because it let’s you search all 3,700 newspapers for your ancestors.

TIP: Be flexible in your searches and remember that their obituaries or marriage notices just might have been printed in out of state newspapers – like the wedding announcement of Nicholas Goodson and Sarah Matthews in Isle of Wight County, Virginia – that was published in the Maine newspaper – the Eastern Argus in 1825. Like cable news television stations today – newspapers carried news from across the country.

There were no articles telling if Nicholas Goodson was ever arrested.

It is a great day for genealogy. What an opportunity we have to find these historic artifacts, articles and documents about our family.

Tip: Search GenealogyBank now.
What will you find?

What do you have for my town?

Sometimes genealogists look at GenealogyBank‘s 3,700+ newspapers and only focus on newspapers published in their home town.

Beginning researchers often concentrate on their local newspaper or other newspapers published in their state and don’t think they need the rest of the content in GenealogyBank.

When I first began researching 43 years ago – I found an obituary about Edward Kemp (1863-1926) published in the New England Historic Genealogical Society’s Register (NEHGS Memoirs. January 1928. pp. 103-104).

The obituary said that he was born in County Cavan, Ireland. That would have been crucial information for my Kemp research at that time. But the article also said that he was born in New York City so I erroneously concluded this was not my relative. I thought our family was “only” from Stamford, Connecticut.

It would be years later that I would again find Edward’s obituary in the Register. The second time I recognized him immediately as my cousin. By then I knew that the family was from County Cavan – but I stared at that information and wondered – how was it I didn’t find this earlier? And, then I recalled that I had tossed it aside because he was from New York City.

Tip: Families move to other parts of the country. Use GenealogyBank to find your family obituaries; articles, and documents – no matter where in the country these items were published. Don’t assume you only want your hometown newspaper.

Let me give you an example – framed on the basic question researchers often ask – What do you have on Stamford, CT?

The question should be more precise. What do you have on Grace Stewart – who was born and married in Stamford, CT?

What was known?
Her name: Grace Toms
Approximate year/place of birth: born about 1896 in Stamford, CT
Spouse: She married “Charles Stewart”
Other: The rest of the “Toms” family lived/died in the Stamford area.

Problem:
Initial searches found nothing on them.
Charles Stewart and Grace Stewart are common names.

A search of GenealogyBank for Grace Stewart yielded 1,238 results – that is just too many to sort through to find her.

I narrowed the search to just the more recent America’s Obituaries section to see if I could locate her obituary notice.


That resulted in 143 hits – I could sift through those – but I first limited the search again by state – for just obituaries published in Connecticut newspapers. This time I got zero hits.

So I turned to search for her husband: Charles Stewart.

A search for him in the America’s Obituaries section for all newspapers produced 632 hits. When I limited the search to just CT newspapers I found one hit, but it was not him

I then repeated the America’s Obituaries section search for Grace Stewart but this time I added her middle name “Toms” to the extra search terms in “Include keywords” box.

Nothing.

One more try. I repeated the America’s Obituaries section search for Grace Stewart but this time I added “Stamford” to the extra search terms “Include keywords” box.

Success!

Grace Stewart
Washington Post, The (DC) – February 4, 1992
GRACE STEWART, LAWYER, ASSOCIATE JUDGE, DIES
Grace M. Stewart, 93, an associate judge of the Municipal Court in Washington in 1952 and 1953, died of pneumonia Feb. 1 at the Collingswood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Rockville, where she was a patient for five years. She was a Washington resident off and on for 74 years.


Mrs. Stewart was appointed to the court after serving as executive assistant in the attorney general’s office. She worked for the Justice Department for 24 years.
After she left Municipal Court, she was on the staff of the Senate District Committee and later became administrative director of the Washington office of Executive Manpower Corp, a recruitment firm. She retired in 1973.


A native of Stamford, Conn., Mrs. Stewart attended American University and its law school. She was a typist with the Veterans Administration before she became a lawyer at Justice.

She belonged to the Federal and Women’s Bar associations and Phi Delta Delta legal fraternity.

Her husband, Charles Stewart, died in 1920. Survivors include two daughters, Barbara S. Eskey of Rockville and Patricia S. de Hoffman of La Jolla, Calif.; four grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.
Copyright (c) 1992 The Washington Post

Tip: Don’t only concentrate on your home town newspaper. You can find articles about your family published in out of state newspapers – in this case the Washington Post.

Tip: Be sure to be creative in adding/removing search terms to fine tune your search.
Tip: Search GenealogyBank now.
What will you find?

Patty Barthell Myers, 1930-2008

Patty Barthell Myers died 9 October 2008, at the home of her daughter, Lucy Bonnington.

Her obituary (San Antonio Express-News (TX) – October 13, 2008; Philadelphia Inquirer, 13 Oct 2008) simply stated her “life’s work was genealogy.” Well said.

She was the author of numerous compiled genealogies and reference works including:
Female index to Genealogical dictionary of the first settlers of New England by James Savage. (Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2008).

Ancestors and descendants of Lewis Ross Freeman with related families : based partially on the work of Freeman Worth Gardner and Willis Freeman. (Camden, ME: Penobscot Press, 1995).

Cargill/Cargile/Cargal of the south and southwest : descendants of Cornelius Cargill of Virginia, John Cargile of Virginia & North Carolina, John Cargile of Virginia & Georgia, Andrew J. & John Cargal of South Carolina & Georgia. (Camden, ME: Penobscot Press, 1997).

Descendants of Joseph Barthel and his wife, Christina Lutz : who came to America 1830 on the Romulus and who settled in Erie County, New York. (Author, 1991).

The Hughes family from Virginia to Oregon. (San Antonio, TX: Burke, 1999).

Her lengthy obituary concluded by saying: “Her life was an example of overcoming enormous challenges, and making a difference in the world, patiently, quietly–and then there was the occasional wild rumpus. “

Her late husband, A.J. Myers had been a POW at the “Hanoi Hilton” at the same time John McCain was there.

San Antonio Express-News (TX) - October 13, 2008
Reprinted with permission GenealogyBank
Patty [Florence] Barthell Myers died October 9th, at the home of her daughter in suburban Philadelphia, where she was living and receiving hospice care since August.


Born in Evanston, Illinois on June 6, 1930, Patty was the third of four children of Harriet Lyon and Edward East Barthell, Jr. She grew up in Winnetka, Illinois, spending summers on Lake Michigan. She graduated from New Trier High School with honors and attended Northwestern University in Evanston.

She met her first husband, Louis Harold Cargill, Jr. on Lake Michigan and they married on Patty’s birthday in 1951. They had 3 children, Lucy, James, and Lon Cargill. Lou died in 1985 and Patty returned to San Antonio. Lon died in January of 1985. Patty married Armand J. Myers in 1988. A.J. and Patty met in 1965 when he was flying fighter jet missions over North Vietnam. He was shot down June, 1966, and was a POW in the Hanoi Hilton for 6 years. When he was re-patriated, his Air Force sponsor was Patty’s husband, Lou. Patty and A.J. married in 1988. A.J. died in 2002.

Patty’s life’s work was genealogy. In 2007, she published her FEMALE INDEX TO GENEALOGICAL DICTIONARY OF THE FIRST SETTLERS OF NEW ENGLAND, by James Savage,1860.

She is survived by her brother, John Peter Barthell of Sequim, WA, sister Polly Barthell Clark of Orlond Beach, FL, brother Edward East Barthell, III, of Appleton WI, cousin Charles Arthur Carroll, of Manhattan, and cousin Elizabeth (Betsy) Barthell of Overland Park, KS. She also leaves her daughter, Lucy, and her husband Mark Bonnington, of Malvern, PA, son James Eric Cargill of San Antonio, her grandchildren Colin Mark and Cara Ellen Bonington of Malvern, PA and John Shaw Lynch, of Williamsburg, VA and his sister Ashley Lynch Rodi, and God daughters Kemper and Edyn Rodi, of Newport Beach, CA, and sister-in-law, Sally Dulin Shaw of Mexico City.

Patty requested no memorial service. Her ashes will be scattered on Lake Michigan, the pink beaches of Bermuda, and the coast of Oregon.

Her life was an example of overcoming enormous challenges, and making a difference in the world, patiently, quietly–and then there was the occasional wild rumpus.

Friends may call at her home in Oakwell Farms, 15 Campden Circle, San Antonio, TX on Thursday, October 16th, from 2:00 to 7:00 p.m. Donations may be made in her name to the nearest public library.
Copyright (c), 2008, San Antonio Express-News. All Rights Reserved.