Surname Saturday: Campbell

So we reach another Saturday and that means another surname study.  We cycle back to my own ancestry again with a line where I only know my second great grandmother, Jane Neal Campbell.

Surname Saturday: Bennetts

Okay, I missed updating with a surname post last week, so let's get back to the schedule with the line that should have been posted then.  Today we'll look at another line where I know only two generations.  As far as I know right now, this line wholly resided in England, specifically in Cornwall.

Tombstone Tuesday - A poetic family legend

By now you should know that my surname is Lamb and that I've been able to trace my direct surname line to Francis Lamb (b. 1796 in Ireland).  There's an old family legend that links this line with a famous Lamb, a link that I am still trying to prove.  You've probably heard of him.  His nickname has appeared in quite a few crossword puzzles through the ages.  That nickname is Elia, and the poet was Charles Lamb.

Surname Saturday: Cahoon

Well, here we are at another Saturday and that means another look at a surname that I'm researching.  We come back to my lines this week with one that I learned about only very recently, and that discovery came about after discovering that a surname further down the line was misspelled.  So, today we look at the Cahoon surname connection.

One of many who served

Today is November 11, Veterans' Day in the United States.  Although I only got as far as a recruiter's office before deciding that I was too afraid to serve after all, there were quite a few other family members who did serve honorably.  One of them was my grandfather, Floyd Beach.  Here he is in his Navy uniform sitting outside an unidentified building near the start of his military career.

Surname Saturday: Benjamin

This week we move back to my wife's lines and look at the surname history of her 2nd great grandmother, Clara Benjamin.  This is another line in America during the 19th century where we should be able to find out more.  So far, I've only got two generations in my notes, but I was able to confirm a couple of details using Beta FamilySearch, and I also found a possible residence through the search there that I still need to verify.

Call for articles - Genealogy Stories, Holiday edition

The pursuit of genealogy is all about finding and telling family stories.  There is quite a bit more to the family story than just dates and places.  Let's hear some of the stories that have been told around the dinner table or that have come up in our research.  Dates and places by all means can be included, but they shouldn't be the main focus of the story submitted for the carnival.

As this carnival will be posted on November 30, just after Thanksgiving in the U.S. and leading into the winter holidays, the theme of this carnival will be "Holiday."  This theme can be interpreted in a number of ways; here are some ideas to get you started:
  • Tell us a story about the most memorable holiday celebration you've had.
  • Are there any unique holiday traditions in your family history?
  • What does a specific holiday mean to your family?
  • Share a picture from a holiday celebration and tell us about it.
  • Find someone in your ancestral lines who was born, married or died on a holiday and tell us the story of that person(s).
  • You could even use the British definition of the term "holiday" and tell us about a memorable vacation.
Once you've written your post, submit it to the carnival to participate.

Let's have fun with this.

Genealogy Stories, Halloween edition

Here it is, the premiere edition of the Genealogy Stories blog carnival.  There weren't as many entries as I hoped, but this is the first edition of the carnival.  So here goes...

Surname Saturday: Cafferty

It's still Saturday in my time zone, so I'm not late with this week's surname post yet.  We alternate back to my ancestral lines again this week with  on of my closer lines.  This week we'll look at my Cafferty ancestors, beginning with my great grandfather, Samuel Warren McCafferty.

October 2010 research trip report

Early in October, I made a genealogical research trip to central Illinois and eastern Indiana.  The goal of the trip was to view some pertinent records in a university archive and then to visit one of the family graveyards - after all, what better activity is there for the haunting month of October?
The short story is that the trip was a success.  Now to tell you the longer story...

Wordless Wednesday - Halloween edition

Surname Saturday: Benedict

We're back to a surname again of which I know only one person in our direct ancestry lines.  Today we'll look at my wife's sixth great grandmother, Hannah Benedict.  I did do some searching around this week and found her only in Ancetral File and in the one book that I mentioned recently about referencing.  Who is this mysterious woman?

A quick note on referencing

I'm slowly working my way through the Hand-book of Hartwell Genealogy, 1636-1887, this week adding a ton of information to my database and realized there's something that you might not know.  It has to do with citing Wikipedia as a source.

Surname Saturday: Burton

This post has turned out to be the surname post that has taken the longest to write so far.  It's not that it was entirely difficult, but when I sat down on Monday evening to start working on it, I found that there were a number of connections in Ancestral File that I didn't have in my database yet.  These connections linked a couple of different Burton family members that I knew about, extended my ancestry back a couple generations and brought several descendant lines down to listings for living cousins.  The big caveat here is that the data was in Ancestral File; I've found a few incorrect records there in the past (like records showing a child's birth a year or two after the mother's death, or a mother who only lived ten years), so I generally treat anything in Ancestral File as unconfirmed, but it does give me many more leads for research.  So, let's take a look at the ancestry starting with my 5th-great grandmother, Sarah Burton.

Surname Saturday: Amstutz

Another Saturday, another surname.  This time we look at one where we know a little bit more again, starting with my wife's 3rd-great grandmother, Katherine Amstutz.  Although this line is well populated, we recorded the information on family group sheets before we were as well versed in saving source information as we are now.  The only outside source that we have listed for this information right now is dated 1997 from, which used to be a site listing genealogy data.  This line can get a bit confusing as names were reused frequently throughout the generations that I know about.  Regardless, here's what we know so far...

Wordless Wednesday - research trip teaser

I made a quick genealogy research trip over the weekend.  I'm still working through the data, but here's a teaser of one location I visited...

Surname Saturday update: Brown (yes, already!)

So after putting today's Surname Saturday post together, I popped over to Beta FamilySearch and tried a couple quick queries.  The short story is that I found a couple of significant records that relate to this line, including this:

Surname Saturday: Brown

It's Saturday again, so it's time to review another of the surnames that I am researching.  Just like the Beach surname, since there are still living relatives in this line, we'll start this post with my great-grandfather Charles E. Brown.  Since I started my research, I learned that Brown is the fourth most common surname in the United States as of the 2000 U.S. census.  This may make scanning indexes a little more difficult, but I have a strategy.

Early memories and science influences

At first glance, you might not think of this post as related to genealogy research.  Well, it isn't but it is.  This post contains stories from my past, and when you get right down to it, a major part of genealogy is recording stories like these.  I didn't have to research these stories since they come from my own memory, but if I didn't record them anywhere, they wouldn't be written down for a future researcher to find.  So, here we go...

One of my many interests is reading and watching various science fiction works from a wide range of artists.  There was a long discussion on the Slice of Sci Fi podcast this past summer about what got listeners interested in science fiction.  I had a couple of thoughts on this, but when the discussion branched into asking what was the first thing that scared the bejeebus out of listeners, it got me really thinking about my experiences in the early to mid-1970s.  Now that we're into October, let's hear all about those scary events.

Surname Saturday: Allen, but a different line

Yes, it's another Allen line, but this is one that I have exceptionally little knowledge about.  Last time, I told you about the ancestry of Elva Allen, and then gave you an update with a few more details that I found in the U.S. census after the original post.  This time, the Allen connection is my wife's 7th great grandmother, Frances Allen.  I really know almost nothing about this woman except that she married Peter Lehew (M; b. Apr 1762, France; d. Apr 1780, Prince William, Virginia) and together they had nine children, of whom, other than their names (which will be listed in a future post) I know only one birth date and one spouse.  The priority on researching this line should therefore be to find the vital dates and locations for Frances Allen and then to find more details on her children.  I still need to research an American colony to learn more about the family, but this time the location is a bit farther south.

Wordless Wednesday - a postcard from the past

So what does this postcard of UCLA in the 1960s have to do with my family?  My parents are the couple right there in the foreground; they were students there at the time this photo was taken.

Surname Saturday: Birdsey/Birdseye

Okay, it's another Saturday, so it's another surname.  Today we'll look at one that connects at my 8th-great grandmother, Joanna Birdseye.  Being so many generations ago, and judging by past Surname Saturday posts, you might be able to guess what region this surname connection starts in and where it goes after that, and you'd probably be right.  So let's look at it.

Call for articles - Genealogy Stories, Halloween edition

I've been kicking around this idea for a while and now it's time to act on it.  I'm starting a new blog carnival for genealogy bloggers called Genealogy Stories.  As I put in the carnival description, the pursuit of genealogy is all about finding and telling family stories. While many genealogists concentrate on finding only birth/marriage/death information, there is quite a bit more to the family story than those dates and places.  I'd like to have a series of carnivals posted on a monthly basis with various themes, but to share the fun, I'd like to have the host for each edition rotate around various blogs, posted on the last day of the month.  The focus of this carnival is the stories beyond the vital statistics; dates and places by all means can be included, but they shouldn't be the main focus of the story submitted for the carnival.

When I started this blog a little over a year ago, the first article that I thought about writing was a story about a real skeleton in the attic of one of my ancestors.  And now that I've started on the post that I want to add for Halloween 2010, it seems to me that this theme would be perfect to start off the Genealogy Stories carnival.  So, write a post to your blog containing a Halloween-inspired story from your genealogy.  It could be about the scariest Halloween you ever had, a story of the first thing that scared the bejeebus out of you, something that happened to an ancestor around the holiday, an unusual death story or even a photo of a Halloween costume. Once you've got your post prepared, submit the permalink to the carnival (the deadline is October 29) and then join us on Halloween to read all the stories.

Let's have some fun with this!

More handwriting interpretation

Every once in a while, I take a ride through the links available through the Stumble Upon toolbar.  Since I can specify exactly which kinds of links that I want to look at, I always find something interesting.  Today's tour was no different, and it reminded me of a topic that has popped up a few times recently. 

Last month I wrote about my thoughts on cursive handwriting.  Conversation at a wedding reception that I attended on Saturday also turned to cursive and generally mirrored my thoughts there (yes, we were all nerds there).  Finally, today I came across a link through Stumble Upon that took me to a page at the Library of Congress.  The specific article that was presented to me detailed a change that Thomas Jefferson made while he was writing the American Declaration of Independence.  The article detailed the change from "our fellow-subjects" to "our fellow-citizens", a change that symbolizes the change in thinking for the population of the American Colonies.  But it struck me that he simply wrote the new word over the old word.  It seemed to me that this might be one reason why it can be difficult to interpret handwriting sometimes.  Well, it's at least something to keep in mind as I continue my research.

Surname Saturday: Aldis

Today for Surname Saturday, we'll look at another line that connects through Massachusetts Colony.  We alternate back to my wife's side of the family and start from her eighth great grandmother, Hannah Aldis.  As with many of the families from this era, I don't have a whole lot of information on this line yet, but I do know about three generations.

Why didn't he hire a genealogist?

So I'm sitting here looking at my own records and furthering my research with NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday on the radio in the background.  They just played a story about Benjamin Kirk, an amnesia patient.  The story went through a few of the different methods that he used to try to find his past, including a DNA test and a check for his fingerprints in criminal databases.  But there's no mention of the one professional that is trained and finds people's histories on a daily basis.  He should have hired a genealogist to find his past!

Surname Saturday: Beach

Okay, time to alternate back to one of the lines on my side of the family.  This week, we will look at one of the most heavily researched lines in my family.  It connects back to some of the earliest settlers of Massachusetts Colony and continues all the way to close family members who are still living today.  There are quite a few researchers looking into this line from the early-1800s back to the 1600s, possibly due to the line's connection to Sir Winston Churchill (yes, that Winston Churchill), so this will be a fairly long post with nine generations listed, but there seems to be one universal stumbling block when we go back far enough.

Surname Saturday: Aggar

When I started this blog, it was my intention to cover my lines and my wife's lines each about equally.  So, rather than strictly sticking to my lines for the next several Surname Saturday posts, I've decided to alternate between the two sets, but still follow each alphabetically.  That means that for this week's new Surname Saturday post, we'll take a look at a line that connects as far back as 11 generations ago.

Surname Saturday update: Allen

After I wrote about my Allen connections last week, I decided to do a quick lookup on FamilySearch Pilot to see what I could find for Elva Allen.  I should have done this some time ago as one of the first records that was returned was a page from the 1870 U.S. census covering Sugar Creek Township, Montgomery County, Indiana.

What was her name?

Okay, so I'm going through the steps as a volunteer indexer for FamilySearch.  I've heard of some rather interesting names in my own research, but the name that I spotted today has got to be my favorite so far.  Here's a partial extract of the relevant page from the 1930 U.S. census; take a look at the name that is highlighted:

Am I reading this right?  Does that really say this woman's name was Easter Ham?  It may be a misspelling of  Esther, but it made for a chuckle as I went through the page and transcribed exactly what I saw today.

Surname Saturday: Allen

So today I'm going to start an overview of each of the surnames that I'm researching, looking at each surname one at a time.  I'll start with the names in my own lines first, going in alphabetical order.  That means that today we'll look at how the Allen surname connects into my research.

Cursive - a lost art?

Earlier this week, we watched a very well-known silent movie from 1936.  Specifically, we watched the Charlie Chaplin film, Modern Times.  At one point in the film, the warden of the local jail wrote a recommendation letter for Chaplin's character to help him find work after his release from jail.  The letter is shown on the screen a couple times, and as someone who was schooled in the 1970s and 80s, I was able to read the cursive writing in the letter quite easily.  But we had to read it aloud to my son who had resisted learning cursive in school.

Today there's a discussion on the radio program To The Best Of Our Knowledge about fonts, and as I type this, the segment I'm listening to is discussing cursive writing.  The conversation in the show noted that cursive is not taught in elementary schools as much as keyboarding (I'll still consider it an intro to typing, even if they don't teach the home row, which is another loss that I've noticed, but not quite as severely).  That got me thinking that any of these young students who are not learning cursive will have an exceptionally hard time when they start into genealogy research.  When you go back far enough in researching from original documents, and this could just be one generation of research, you'll find cursive letters. 

How long will it be before cursive basics becomes one of the most popular class topics at genealogy conferences?  Time will tell.

The show that started it all...

My first research into family history began when I was assigned a heritage report project in middle school.  For me, that was in the early 1980s.  But, as I continue my research now and hear about how new shows like "Who do you think you are" are inspiring a new batch of genealogists, I'm left to wonder more about a miniseries that is often cited as inspiration for researchers that are my age and older.  "Roots" first aired in 1977 and then received 36 Emmy nominations, of which the show won nine as well as a Golden Globe and a Peabody Award.  The final episode, which originally aired on 30 January 1977, saw a record viewership and remains today the third-highest rated television program in the US of all time, according to the show's Wikipedia entry.  Today, I will see for myself what all the hubbub was about, because the first disk of the 7-disk DVD set has reached the top of my Netflix queue and I'll be watching it tonight.

American Independence and our family

I'm doing the genealogical happy dance this weekend.  A few months ago I wrote about the Hartwell family and their involvement in Paul Revere's famous ride.  This week, I found some more documents that further link this family to the Revolutionary War.  And with today being Independence Day here in the United States, it's only natural that we take another look at this family. 

Not so Wordless Wednesday - who are these people?

The wordless part of this Wordless Wednesday post is that most of the people in this photograph aren't talking to me.  I know who a few of these people were (read more to see them), but who were the rest?

Black Sheep Sunday - fynes in New Haven colony

Yes, it's been a while since I last posted here, but now that a number of large commitments are passed, I have some more time to devote to my genealogical research.  I've been spending some of that time going through old photocopies and correspondence rereading them and re-entering information into my database.  While working through these documents, I found a few notes that fit perfectly into a Black Sheep Sunday post.

So few answers so far

A friend of mine from high school today sent me a link that other genealogists should be interested in.  According to the 2010 census participation map, so far, only 46% of the census forms sent out at the start of March have been completed and returned.  The stats so far shows the top five states as North Dakota (58%), South Dakota (57%), Nebraska (57%), Wisconsin (54%) and Iowa (54%).  We played our part to become part of the current top five states. 

Returning the form in the mail means that a census worker won't have to knock on your door to ask you the same questions.  You've sent your form back, right?

Lot's of work and a new mystery

So it's been a while since my last post.  I'm a bit busy with preparations for the MATC Portfolio Show where I will be exhibiting my photography next month, but I have had a few minutes here and there to do some more research.

I had started on a couple of posts describing how I was working through the keying tools for both Family Search and Ancestry, adding to the indexes of new records that will soon be on both sites (and my frustration on going through one census page from Minnesota that was mostly German and Austrian immigrants).  I also started another post about receiving our own 2010 Census form in the mail recently and that we had saved a photocopy of the form for future generations of researchers in my own family.  Finally, I also started a post on my trials in evaluating Roots Magic and whether or not I will be switching databases any time soon.  But, mostly because I didn't have a chance to fully flesh out my blog ideas on these topics, none of these posts got published.

Now, I've got a bit of a mystery...