Thursday, September 6, 2018

Q is for Questions: R is for Results


It is the question which propels us.  From our earliest days, to the meaning of life at the end, we ask questions, and, if we are lucky, we have the time and the means to answer at least a few.

Genealogists answer questions regarding an individual's identity, and the relationship of one individual to another.   Along the way, and sometimes in order to substantiate a relationship many "facts" about individuals are discovered.

Results, for a genealogist, is that which answers the asked question (specific or implied) about the relationship and/or identity of a specific individual.


Answering a semi-global question about an individual may require many contributary questions, which will each have their own results - which may in turn spawn more questions before a satisfactory result is developed (rarely just found), to the large question.

My grandfather taught at Keewatin academy.  There is no book or even magazine article about this school.  Through multiple newspaper ads, listings in catalogs of schools, and comments about former students of Keewatin, it was possible to determine specifics about the school.   30 different sources and at least that many footnotes for a paragraph in the final document.

So…. Ask those questions…. And seek results !!!


Till next time,
Liz

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2018 begins with an "ABC-darium," a walk through the alphabet expanding into short comments on matters genealogical.  Published on most Tuesdays and some Fridays, a letter may be visited more than once before moving on.  
© 2018, SE Ross

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

O is for Oh Wow!!!


We've all had them. 

The deed which describes the piece of land bought by your ancestor that fits the space in the map,
The German church book entry which bridges the Atlantic to your great-grandparents and lists 3 more generations
The discovery of stillbirths and suicides and divorces which illuminates family dynamics, and on and on and on. 

Everyone who has done genealogy for more than three minutes knows the joy and the satisfaction of these finds.

(N.B. -- and… so you don't end up having to relive that "oh, wow!" moment way more often than you would wish, strive to develop -- even as that OhWowMoment develops -- a way of recording where the OW was found.  What you record may or may not be ESM, but it should be enough that you can find the OWM document again, even if the "citation" is not enough to write an formal citation without looking at the document a second time.)

O is also for "Oh My…,"  learning/knowing a bit more about the actions of your ancestors.  For good or ill, these people 100+ years ago were people.  Someone comparing philosophy said that the major difference between then and now was electricity.  True enough, but electricity alone had many spin-offs, including how far one could travel in a day, how homes were heated and lit, and how shoes were made…, and where shoes were made.

And so…. I am circled back to one of my beloved themes… Genealogy/history as time travel. 

Till next time
Liz

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2018 begins with an "ABC-darium," a walk through the alphabet expanding into short comments on matters genealogical.  Published on most Tuesdays and some Fridays, a letter may be visited more than once before moving on.  

© 2018, SE Ross

Thursday, July 19, 2018

M is for Mitochondrial DNA


Could have tackled this topic right off the bat during "D" as in DNA, but didn't. 

DNA is the new kid on the block in genealogy.  It's even more exciting than the next census.  Ancestry.com started DNA in 1983, according to Google.

I say at the outset that while I understand how the three tests work - autosomal, mitochondrial and Y-chromosome - I have yet to get excited about DNA, though I know lots of people who are very excited, and spending lots of time learning how to construct the science, especially that of autosomal DNA comparisons.

I will say that in the last 2 months I have heard info that leads me to be a bit more interested in autosomal, and I join those who are glad there may be another avenue for cold cases, but so far, the DNA tests that truly intrigue me are mitochondrial and Y-chromosome.

Quick review:
Mitochondrial DNA, the 'x' chromosome,  is passed mother to daughter to daughter to daughter… etc., though the last generation can be either daughter or son.
The incredible thing about the 'x' chromosome is that unlike most of DNA, it does not combine and divide with each child and generation.  It remains, being passed from generation and eon to eon as it is.  Rarely, very very rarely, there is a mutation, and then that mutation stays for the next several eons.

The same is true for the Y-chromosome, the male chromosome, which is passed father to son to son…etc., and ONLY to sons, so even the last generation must be male. 
Repeat:  The incredible thing about the 'x' chromosome is that unlike most of DNA, it does not combine and divide with each child and generation.  It remains, being passed from generation and eon to eon as it is.  Rarely, very very rarely, there is a mutation, and then that mutation stays for the next several eons.

We talk about lines "daughtering out" with reference to the disappearance of the last name, but the Y-chromosome can just as easily daughter out.   Likewise, a family line of all sons ends that line for the X-chromosome.


Looking ahead:  What intrigues me is the vast reaches of time that these two DNA tests,  Mitochondrial and Y-chromosome, have the capability of bridging.  My "Ross" is presumed to come from Scotland, either directly, or by way of Ireland.  The earliest fixed date in the US is 1824/25 figured from the age Patrick Ross gave on his enlistment in 1861 for the Civil War.  Given that he was born in Knox, Tenn, I hold small hope of finding paper to carry him back.  I hold small hope that the Y-chromosome test taken by my brother will link with someone in UK, but after years of searching for paper and finding nothing, my small hope of a DNA link to UK is slightly bigger than my small hope of finding paper.

Three companies do autosomal tests; one does X & Y.  Have a look and save your pennies.

Till next time,
Liz

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2018 begins with an "ABC-darium," a walk through the alphabet expanding into short comments on matters genealogical.  Published on most Tuesdays and some Fridays, a letter may be visited more than once before moving on.  
© 2018, SE Ross

L is for local/regional doings -- take 2


NB - I saw this post in my working basket, and thought it had not been posted.  A few weeks have passed since the CAGGNI conference, and MUCH in my life has happened.  This post was worth a second look, and I hope you think the same.)

A few weeks ago I spoke at the CAGGNI conference.  Held every two years northwest of Chicago, it is a daylong affair run by CAGGNI (Computer Assisted Genealogy Group of Northern Illinois). The conference has 4 time slots and 4 topics during each time slot.  Speakers are nationally & regionally known; this year the class lineup included a hands on option for DNA learning.  (and yes, they took walk-in registrants).

NGS, FGS, RootsTech & PMC are the big national conferences, and they are wonderful.  I got to NGS in May, and hope to be at more during 2018.  I do hope that you get to one (or more) every so often.
It's carnival time with all the vendors, many who offer info and answer questions.  (Where else can you get help with RootsMagic or Family Tree Maker or ask the Ancestry folk why something is doing what it is doing?)
It's carnival time meeting people you know from other conferences -- often by chance.  I met a friend/fellow genealogist from Alaska.  We last met January of 2017? or was it 2016? 

At the same time, (returning to the topic) let us not neglect the regional conferences.  Societies put an enormous amount of effort into sponsoring a conference, one day or two.   Speakers are good, and in addition to the day of learning, there are the vendors (jewelry, t-shirts & bumperstickers), the society reps (DAR, SAR), the library reps (Newberry, Mid-Cont), and the social time during coffee breaks and over lunch.

Consider attending a regional conference as part of vacation travel.  Societies generally pull from regional speakers, so you will hear people that rarely (or never) get to your part of the country.  If the conference is where your family came from, some of the people attending may be relatives.  (do your homework?)

My take home in this post is "don't discount the 1-2 day conferences."  Yes, national/huge is lots of fun & has lots to offer, but regional/local, while smaller/shorter, also offers much.  Don't write them off.

Till next time,
Liz

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2018 begins with an "ABC-darium," a walk through the alphabet expanding into short comments on matters genealogical.  Published on most Tuesdays and some Fridays, a letter may be visited more than once before moving on.  
© 2018, SE Ross

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

L is for Local (also Regional) Conferences


This coming weekend I am speaking at the CAGGNI conference.  Held every two years northwest of Chicago, it is a daylong affair run by CAGGNI (Computer Assisted Genealogy Group of Northern Illinois). The conference has 4 time slots and 4 topics during each time slot.  Speakers are nationally & regionally known; this year the class lineup includes a hands on option for DNA learning.  (If enchanted, you can be a walk-in for the conference, but not for the DNA classes. Check their website for info)

NGS, FGS, & PMC are the big national conferences, and they are wonderful.  I got to NGS in May, and hope to be at the other two.  I do hope that you get to one (or more) every so often. 

I also hope that you get to one (or more) of local/regional society gatherings.  These smaller groups put a lot of effort into bringing speakers "to you."  and putting together a day of learning.
(It's also lots of fun to go to a conference where a relative lives!  Their local speakers are people you've never heard!)

A few years ago I had the option of hearing a national speaker for a full day at a small regional conference outside of my local area.  Even though I did travel a bit, it was still closer, easier, less expensive in time and housing/etc., and dovetailed wonderfully with a research trip. 

My take home in this post is "don't discount the 1-2 day conferences."  Yes, national/huge is lots of fun & has lots to offer, but regional/local/smaller also offers much.  Don't write them off.

Till next time,
Liz

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2018 begins with an "ABC-darium," a walk through the alphabet expanding into short comments on matters genealogical.  Published on Tuesday and some Fridays, a letter may be visited more than once before moving on.  
© 2018, SE Ross


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

I is for Indexing


This blog is a short and heartfelt encouragement to give back to the folks who have given genealogy so much.

We all know that the records which we use every day were not created for us, though they are so basic to our work that this is sometimes overlooked: census, tax, land, wills, probate, birth, marriage, divorce, death, draft registration, social security, etc., etc.

Some of these records included name indexes at the front of the volume (land, birth(some), wills) and some not so (census for starters).  We (the cloud of genealogists) can use ALL these records so easily because people INDEXED them.  Note that I said "people."   People can read handwriting, and make decisions.  OCR sort of works on newspapers, not so much for court journals.

Ancestry, data base of waving leaves and TV ads, hired people to do the indexing.  No argument with their decisions; they were first off the block with an easily accessible census data base, and got MANY people interested & involved in researching.

Family Search took a different tact on indexing, asking members of their church (Latter Day Saints, aka Mormons) to undertake this task.   That is still the model for records currently being added to the collection, and for the thousands of records previously filmed, but currently only available as a browsable collection. 

While members do indexing, they are delighted to open the door to volunteers with no connection with their church.  I've indexed and will continue to do so.  (Many non-LDS folk volunteer at FHL libraries)

What one indexes is easy to customize.  Records are described; some are typescript; many handwritten; tons are in English.  You ask for a "chunk" which you then read and put info from the records into a grid (also supplied).  When done you hit a button.  Your work goes back to Salt Lake City and you get a brownie point. Indexing any 'chunk' takes roughly 30 minutes (or less).  If you find you have misjudged your abilities in regard to a given 'chunk,' you type the equivalent of "oops" and that record group closes.

Each "chunk" is given to 3 indexers.  If all agree it gets stamped "good" and is added to the data base.  If all doesn't agree, someone very skilled looks at the record in question and solves the problem.  (For me, this cuts down the anxiety factor really big time. Ie. I'm not the only word, nor the final word)

So… I'm encouraging you to give back.  Speaking for myself, but suspecting I have fellow travelers, my schedule is such that I cannot, at this time, volunteer every Tuesday at…, or be a big sister, or run an 'x' for my favorite charity, but I can (and again, suspect many fellow travelers) find an hour or three (or 16) during a month to index.  Each month may be different, and that's ok.  I can index day (or night), do as many chunks at a sitting as I wish, or one and sign off.  It is not taxing, but rather the different that refreshes, and I guarantee you will get a warm glow from helping out (in addition to your brownie points from LDS).

Google FamilySearch.org, and sign in or make an account.  Last time I was on the site the top banner had "indexing" at the right hand end.  Click and go. 
Few surprises, and all good ---

Isn't summer a good time for resolutions?

Till next time,
Liz
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2018 begins with an "ABC-darium," a walk through the alphabet expanding into short comments on matters genealogical.  Published on Tuesday and some Fridays, a letter may be visited more than once before moving on.  
© 2018, SE Ross


Wednesday, June 6, 2018

P is for Penguin Portfolio

Penguin travels with me... as said. 
He decided that it was time to celebrate the staff of VH, where my mother lives.   I totally agree. 


anyone wishing to join this parade -- just let me know !!! 



I always have my phone on me, and I will make it a point to have penguin. 




















Till next time, 
Liz 
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Copyright 2018, SERoss

N is for Names


We live in the 21st century.  We were named by our parents, with the name usually carefully chosen before we were born.  For today's babies, the SS# follows rapidly, I hear that some hospitals arrange for it to be issued while the baby is still in hospital. Our name and that number become our handle, our label, at school, at work, and on into the grave.  It seems that in this computer driven century there is much less use of nicknames, either w/in the family, and little in school or other formal settings.  William may be called Bill, but only if William permits.  And calling William "4-eyes" or "short stuff" wouldn't even be considered.  (Hydra head of slurs?)  

My mother was the youngest of three children: junior (boy named after his father), brother (as in "that's my brother"), and sister (as in "that's my sister").  While they were called by their "real" names in school, when playing on their street, or called by their mother or neighbors, they were junior, brother, and sister.  Their parents ran a store, where customers and friends were also graced with nicknames.  One was "Junkie";  she went weekly to Maxwell St. and dealt in antiques.  Her real name was Gertrude, and I never heard her last name. Another customer was "2 lb. of coffee with the ticket ground," her standard order.  The ticket?  Ala Green Stamps.  But back to nicknames... Would it be possible to broadcast a sitcom using the names used in "Lil' Rascals"?   And even the early Bill Cosby monologues sound dated with "Fat Albert." 

On the other hand, for us genealogists, we need to be very aware that for most of history, even into the early 20th century, you were who you said you were.  Want to REALLY lose a past?  Move far away, and take a menial job, or talk your way into entry level in shop or office, and build from there.  Sort of witness protection without the federal support.

I am continually "charmed" by genealogists with less than 100 weeks under their belts saying, "That couldn’t possibly be my ancestor; their name is spelled with an 'a' not an 'e'"  or "His mother is Tabitha, not Polly.  I have to keep looking."

For this week, consider your favorite ancestor, and think of all the things you know about him or her outside of their name, and how, when the going gets tough and brick walls threaten, that the chink in the wall is undoubtedly found in all the information that is not their name.  

Till next time,
Liz

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2018 begins with an "ABC-darium," a walk through the alphabet expanding into short comments on matters genealogical.  Published on Tuesday and some Fridays, a letter may be visited more than once before moving on.  
© 2018, SE Ross

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

N is for NGS Conference (but mostly the penquin portfolio)_

NGS - aka National Genealogical Society - held their yearly conference in Grand Rapids the beginning of May 2018.  Lots of people, lots of vendors, and lots of lectures with many ideas of all sorts flowing around.  A great time of listening, learning and meeting people, known by face and known by name, and the incredible time of asking questions and having time to explore genealogical situations.  Whew -- and, as always, way too short. 

Penguin (still no first name) travels with me, and I invite people to poise with penguin and join the pengiun portfolio.  (and yes, if the person is pictured, they have given their permission...) 


Enjoy -- whimsy is good. 




Grand Rapids is a beautiful city.  Compact and varied downtown, LOVELY convention center, good and wide ranging restaurants, and the river, with convention center on one side and Gerald Ford Library on the other.   There was so much that I saw around the fringes, that I have put Grand Rapids on my "return and see much more of the town."


Till next time,
Liz




main hall of convention center





one of the many gracious & helpful volunteers -- 








*** notice that everyone holding a penguin is smiling?!! ***




Last Look -- see you next year
8-11 May 2019 - St. Charles, MO
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2018 begins with an "ABC-darium," a walk through the alphabet expanding into short comments on matters genealogical.  Published on Tuesday and some Fridays, a letter may be visited more than once before moving on.  © 2018, SE Ross



Tuesday, May 22, 2018

L is for LOCKSS


In the wake of Hurricane Harry*** – L is for LOCKSS.  “lots of copies keep stuff safe.”  Go old school with photo copies sent to your three 2nd cousins living in two different directions.  Go medium tech with scans on a stick.  Go cloud, go “finish the book and send it to Allen County.”

               (I did not invent this saying, but believe the idea should get about, and I would be very happy to credit the person who sparked LOCKSS, but I really don't remember where or from who I heard this.)

In the olden days, documents were one of a kind, as were photos.  Getting copies was time-consuming, often expensive, and often not possible. Not so now.
I do my family research in the vacuum of records lost on both sides of my own family. On one side, two households were basically trashed

I am the descendant (on one side) of two house “explosions” in the same generation.  In the first, the sister of the deceased cleared the house in a weekend.  The car went north with two kids, one suitcase each, and the sterling flatware.  The second was the death of the sister, whose apartment was cleared by daughter in law, flying cross country, and having no room and no interest in family pictures or documents.

So…. Get moving… make copies… send about … you have NO excuse.

Till next time,
Liz

*** and the many other natural disasters since Harry. 
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2018 begins with an "ABC-darium," a walk through the alphabet expanding into short comments on matters genealogical.  Published on Tuesday and some Fridays, a letter may be visited more than once before moving on.  
© 2018, SE Ross

L is for Lineage Societies


The premise of lineage societies is that an ancestral line can be tracked back to 'x' (a category of people, or someone famous…or someone infamous) through direct ancestors (read blood line).

This is a situation where it is "just the facts m'am," though you may well have to go far (or very far) afield to get the proofs required for the linkage.  For each generation it must be proved that person 'x' was born to parents 'a' & 'b,'  and usually that a & b were married to each other.  All those other things that make interesting tales around the campfire - occupation, migration, other children -- are not necessary for the lineage, though they may be called upon to prove the lineage.
And when one parent child triangle is proved, take the parent who is headed the right direction, treat the parent as the child and form another triangle with parents.  In other words…rinse and repeat.

DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) & Mayflower Society (descendants of the colonists who arrived on the Mayflower) are venerable US lineage societies.  These two, and many others celebrate the history and settling of the US. 
My paternal grandmother was DAR, and I may follow her lead.

I am also aware that many states have a "First Families" designation.  New England goes one step further, offering a First Families of New England designation to all who can prove first family in each New England state.  It's tough. 

Family friends belong to a society that is open to descendants of President's wives.  This society allows collateral connections -- so the potential pool of members is HUGE. 

At the same time, against the serious are a whole raft of "tongue-in-cheek" lineage societies, for which one has to prove descendancy from a pirate, a witch, or a black sheep, to name a few.  I must admit I have a soft spot in my heart for these who honor the diversity of our heritage in this manner … and note my personal favorite, encountered at a Scottish Highland games some years ago.  This is the "Venerable Order of the Flamingo." To join you are required to wear a flamingo hat, and while standing on one leg and flapping one's arms, repeat the oath of the order, vowing to protect and value flamingos forever and always, whether of flesh and blood and feathers or of plastic and wire and paint.   It was a moving ceremony; obviously I have not forgotten it, though I have no idea what happened to my membership parchment.

Till next time,
Liz
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2018 begins with an "ABC-darium," a walk through the alphabet expanding into short comments on matters genealogical.  Published usually on Tuesday and some Fridays, a letter may be visited more than once before moving on.  
© 2018, SE Ross

J is for "Just," as in "just one more..."


J is for “just,” as in “just one more ….”  This is the cry of the never finished research.  Be brave, take a stand, finish a small bit and distribute it however you intended – to family, to a local genealogical society, to friends who are cheering you on.  Might your conclusions be amended when more records are found in a church attic…perhaps.  But for today, for now, you have done everything “right,” and the world deserves to see (and possibly point out something you didn’t know!).

I may start using a footnote in reports for myself that reads TDL aka "to do later."  A fact found creates a question to be answered, but… answering that question is not central to the story/question that is on the table, and therefore TDL. 


Till next time,
Liz

"things" in April & early May.  I'm back...

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2018 begins with an "ABC-darium," a walk through the alphabet expanding into short comments on matters genealogical.  Published usually on Tuesday and some Fridays, a letter may be visited more than once before moving on.  
© 2018, SE Ross


Tuesday, March 27, 2018

J is for Jewelry


Jewelry is small, fraught with memories and family connections, passed down through generations, and usually really,  really pretty.

It behooves every genealogist to have a sit-down with each of their relatives, especially the women, and take an annotated stroll through their baubles.

My jewelry box includes a wedding band engraved with my grandparent's names and wedding date, and a ring given to my mother on her 16th birthday (along with the story about how it was presented, in a set of 16 nested boxes, the smallest a ring box, and the largest the size of a toilet paper carton).  I also have my great grandmother's embroidery scissors, the only item remaining from her dresser set,  and the ID bracelet my father had engraved with his name and military serial number.  (Old school; now the military uses Social Security numbers as ID's.)  I wear the rings from time to time, and use the scissors when I sew. 

As part of your recording, be sure to include items that were added to the collection by the person doing the talking.  I often wear ring with overlapping leaves, chosen as a celebration of my work in genealogy.  It's not a particularly valuable piece of jewelry, but the story makes it valuable to my family's history.  Another favorite was bought on holiday with husband Bob.

And of course, you are going to take good clear pictures of the jewelry, and LOCKSS the resultant record -- :-)

Till next time,
Liz

(L is for LOCKSS... stay tuned)
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2018 begins with an "ABC-darium," a walk through the alphabet expanding into short comments on matters genealogical.  Published on Tuesday and some Fridays, a letter may be visited more than once before moving on.  
© 2018, SE Ross

I is for Immigration


OK, so that is a gimmee. Start researching and the basic information collected enlarges from birth, marriage, death,  to birth, marriage, death and "new place."

Even though cold in Chicago, the first day of spring was this past week, and that induces thoughts of buds and green leaves, of planting and enjoying flowers, all images of "new growth." 

Immigration… the same.  Immigration for many (most?) included the hope, the belief that things would be better in the new place -- house, county, country -- and therefore the willingness to undertake both the considerable bother, and the considerable expense of moving.  [I know, technically the first two moves are emigration, but the point is still true.]  Leaving "the old country" might well be prompted due to duress -- the potato famine, pogroms, wars, conscription -- but the other side of the coin was the tied belief that the "new country" would offer better options.  Hard probably, extremely hard, perhaps, but still, for whatever reason, or reasons, better options than the current situation in "the old country" had on the table.

And let's be honest.  The "standard" mental image of immigrants is the Ellis Island era, the "tired and poor" arriving with their possessions in bundles and chests.  This was true, for thousands.  But … immigration is not done.  YoYo Ma immigrated, and became a US citizen: his naturalization card is on Ancestry.  My friend and banker immigrated from Vietnam.  

Additionally, enlarge your mental construct past the US-centric sphere, where all roads lead to USA shores.  Historically, and now, people leave the US as well come to the US, and move between other countries (which shouldn’t surprise..)  And many traveled with a stop-over, months, years, a generation, before arriving in the US. (ie. England --> Canada --> US).   If you can make a case for a certain immigration route, it probably happened, at least once.

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Practicum: When your immigrant ancestors are recent enough for you to know the European hometown, and you have living known relations in that town, get out your saving information tools, asap.  Get all the documents, BMD, and pictures of all people/houses/churches/farms.  You have a great gift waiting to be tied up with a bow.

When you don't have recent immigrant ancestors, hit the 1900/1910 US census, and check the Naturalization column, which may produce a homerun to the tiny hometown named as birthplace on the naturalization application/certificate.  Ditto for the obit, and look for the obit not only in the appropriate English newspaper, but also look at the native language paper published for that area.  (and don't forget to check the obit of sibs.)   And,… look for every scrap of paper that relates to these people on this side of "the pond."  Everything that you find will be useful if not vital.

"May the road rise up to meet you. 
May the wind always be at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face, 
and rains fall soft upon your fields."  
Traditional Irish blessing.

Till next time,
Liz

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2018 begins with an "ABC-darium," a walk through the alphabet expanding into short comments on matters genealogical.  Published on Tuesday and some Fridays, a letter may be visited more than once before moving on.  
© 2018, SE Ross

Friday, March 16, 2018

H is for History

H is for history.  People live in a context.  Now, then, and in the future.  I like to think that reading lots of science fiction prepared me for genealogy, because while the people in these alternative realities are often human (or mostly so), their contexts made different paths and choices the norm.  (cf. Handmaid’s Tale; any Heinlein, Ribbon World, I Robot series).  So read.  Maybe science fiction, maybe not.  Certainly read the histories of the location, and for the late 19th century you have the bonus of easily reading the history of a place which was written in that time (aka county histories).  Read not only the novels written in that time,  but also read speeches given and newspapers written at that time (not only the obits), and as possible the school books used.  All will reveal a world with different suppositions, different mental constraints, which are as powerful or more powerful than physical or legal constraints.  If all women KNOW that they cannot live as single women, …. If every tailor’s son KNOWS that he will become a tailor…

"you cannot do what you cannot imagine"

A great way to jump start entering another time is to visit one of the encampments which do first person interpretation.  Join the population of Plymouth Plantation, Massachusetts, where Goodwife Abigail is sure that it is the rose infused oil and not the temple rubbing which eases her husband's head aching, and all are sure that God has blessed their enterprise because their town has not been afflicted with any of the great illnesses (cholera, diphtheria).  Travel a different direction and spend a day in Conner Prairie. When I visited there (over a decade ago) the entire town was on one script, years before the Civil War, and living life in middle Indiana.  The buildings for the town were gathered from all over Indiana, set down just north of Indianapolis, and the year depicted was around 1857.  You strolled the town, learning that you could barter a woven coverlet (not sewn together) for siding for a house, or $4. cash.  And where the general store, run by Mr. Terwilliger (no joke), was stocking ready-made shirts, but he "can't really believe that people will buy them because they certainly won't fit right."

Now the situations above are across decades and centuries, but closer to my time the same appeared in my family and possibly (probably?) in yours.  One grandmother lived in a mental world where she believed she needed her father's permission to do the big; she wanted to be a teacher, and her father wouldn't permit her to attend university.  She stayed home and worked in the family store till she married; her three brothers went to university. The other grandmother and great aunt lived in a family/world that believed in educating daughters, and they did go to college, and taught high school, and did this in a town that was 60 miles away from their hometown … [until marriage, because that was the world then.]  Their father was an entrepreneur and engineer, and also he had two daughters. 

Yes, for successful research, you do need to know county formation, and starting dates for various documents, but I think it also matters how far one could travel in 4 hours, what the family did for a fever, and what was used for light after sundown (and how much that light cost).


There is a most interesting novel titled "Time and Again."  The book postulates that there are thousands of threads that connect you to your present time, everything from the fibers in your clothing, to food ingredients & food preparation options, to how you travel, and continues the supposition (necessary for the plot) that if you can break those threads you can walk around the corner, and be in that other time. 


On a personal note, while I think that 1900 or 1720 would be lovely for a visit, but I will stay in 2018, despite the many current difficulties.  I appreciate greatly that food is available all year, my home is warm in winter, antibiotics are known, computers aide my work, and occasionally I learn or vege with TV.   You?

Till next time
Liz

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2018 begins with an "ABC-darium," a walk through the alphabet expanding into short comments on matters genealogical.  Published on Tuesday and some Fridays, any letter may be visited more than once before moving on.  
© 2018, SE Ross