What do you do when you find unspeakable things in your family history? How do you handle the accurate reporting of what happened? It’s easy to judge others, but I think a fundamental key to really reconstructing your ancestors’ lives is to not judge them. It’s paramount to take a step back from your emotional reaction, and walk in their shoes for a little while. To do this does not mean you approve of everything your ancestors did in their lifetimes, but it allows you to freely explore as much as you can of their lives. In doing this, a researcher can get a more accurate picture of the conditions in which your ancestors lived in and the circumstances in which they went through.
In her book, Into the Briar Patch: A Family Memoir, Mariann S. Regan does a superb job dealing with difficult family history issues. At the beginning of her book, she promises the reader that she will be objective with all information she finds, and she lives up to that promise. She delves into all family relationships she encounters in her family tree and shows the reader the complexities of family relationships.
Additionally, Mariann explores her ancestors who were slaveholders, and gives the reader a glimpse as to the repercussions of slaveholding on her family tree and the relationships contained therein.
As we’ve seen in several episodes of Who Do You Think You Are? and in the first two episodes of Finding Your Roots, it is not easy for descendants to learn their ancestors were slaves nor is it easy for descendants to learn their ancestors were slaveholders. And I believe in her memoir Mariann takes it past her emotional reaction and carefully looks at her slaveholding ancestors - not to condone the actions - but to fully understand the influence these actions have had on her family tree.
I highly recommend this book to anyone, but especially those who have come across unspeakable circumstances and actions in their family history research, and especially to those who have come across ancestors who were slaveholders. Not only does she give a great example as to how to explore this difficult issue, but her "Works Cited and Selected Bibliography" might be helpful to the researcher as well.
I invite you to visit Mariann’s website as she has written in other genres as well. She also indicates on her memoir page that she is in the process of writing another memoir, and she includes the surnames of the ancestors that she is currently researching for it. Personally, I would like to know from where her Sanders line originates in America as I have a Sanders line as well from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Thus, I’m eagerly awaiting her next memoir.
Note: I am an affiliate of Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble. If you click on a link ~ image or text ~ and purchase a copy of the book, I will receive a small commission for referring you. I received a copy of this book from the author so that I may review it and share it with you. Additionally, all opinions stated in my book review are honest and not contrived to make you purchase the book. I happen to love reading. I love history, especially family history. I enjoyed reading this book, and I thought you might like it as well. Please visit my Disclosure Page for general information concerning my affiliations.
Big Paw Paw's WW2 Shadow Box
Following are the instructions for the Heritage Shadow Box Craft that was presented in the Heritage Craft Video Series. It can be printed out or saved as a PDF document.
The following press release was received from findmypast.com for release Monday, 26 Mar 2012:
Bad news for Mad Men’s Don & Betty Draper: their names head U.S.
endangered list, finds study marking 1940 US Census release April 2
• The names that time forgot: ‘Donald’, ‘Betty’ are biggest losers
in U.S. names league since 1940: study by findmypast.com
“Names can be to genealogy what carbon - dating is to archaeology”
Donald Trump, Betty White still blooming but namesakes top threatened list
Santa Monica, CA; Monday, March 26 2012 – Once two of America’s most popular names,
‘Betty’ and ‘Donald’ are the baby names that have fallen farthest from favor since the
time of the 1940 Census, reveals a new study.
Iconic owners of such names, like Betty White and Donald Trump, are still going
strong but their monikers top the endangered list, reveals the study conducted by
genealogy website findmypast.com to mark the Government’s release of the 1940
Census records April 2.
The news comes the very week that Don and Betty Draper returned to TV in the hit
show, Mad Men (Series 5), starting March 25. It comes the very month that Betty
White has been voted America’s favorite Hollywood star.
Donald was the ninth most popular name for American boys born in 1940 but now
ranks just 377
, while Betty was the fifth most popular name for American girls
born the same year but no longer even makes the top 1,000!
“Baby names are like period pieces”, says Josh Taylor, a leading genealogist and
spokesperson for findmypast.com. “Some recall a particular era, which can make
them useful clues for researching family history. Indeed, you can sometimes guess
roughly when s omeone was born simply by their first name. In such cases, names
can be to genealogy what carbon -dating is to archaeology.”
Findmypast.com researchers trawled the records of the US Social Security
Administration, which has recorded baby names, based on Social Security
applications for births, since 1879.
Over 23,000 American babies born in 1940 were named Donald. Donald Trump was
a forties baby (born 1946), who these days styles himself "The Donald.”
The best -known “Donalds’ in American life were born in the decades either side of
1940: Donald Rumsfeld in 1932, Donald Duck in 1934, actor Donald Sutherland in
1935 (albeit in Canada).
Betty’s hailing from the golden age of Betties include movie idol Betty Grable; Betty
Crocker, an inventor character o f cake -mix fame; and, of course , America’s favorite
celebrity Betty White.
Famous Donald’s (And Their Birth Year)
Donald Rumsfeld (1932)
Donald Duck (1934)
Donald Sutherland (1935)
Donald Trump (1946)
Donald “Don” Draper (1926)
Famous Betty’s (And Their Birth Year)
Betty Draper (1932)
Betty Boop (1930)
Betty White (1922)
Betty Friedan (1921)
Betty Crocker (1921)
Betty Grable (1916)
Top U.S. Baby
Names in 1940
Rank Boys Girls
1 James Mary
2 Robert Barbara
3 John Patricia
4 William Judith
5 Richard Betty
6 Charles Carol
7 David Nancy
8 Thomas Linda
9 Donald Shirley
10 Ronald Sandra
Top U.S. Baby
Names in 2010
Rank Boys Girls
1 Jacob Isabella
2 Ethan Sophia
3 Michael Emma
4 Jayden Olivia
5 William Ava
6 Alexander Emily
7 Noah Abigail
8 Daniel Madison
9 Aiden Chloe
10 Anthony Mia
• Source: Social Security Online
• Note: Mary and James topped the U.S. rankings for baby names in 1940. In our time,
Jacob and Isabella rank top. Jayden and Aiden both make the top 10 boys’ names, while
Madison, Chloe and Mia are all in the girls’ top 10.
Biggest Losers In U.S. Bab y Name Popularity Stakes Since 1940
Table: Most Popular Boys’ Names In 1940, Ranked By Size Of Fall Since
NAME RANK 1940 RANK 2010 FALL(PLACES)
1. Donald 9 377 368
2. Ronald 10 342 332
3. Richard 5 127 122
4. Charles 6 63 57
5. Thomas 8 62 54
6. Robert 2 54 52
7. John 3 26 23
8. James 1 19 18
9. David 7 15 8
10. William 4 5 1
Source: Social Security Online
Table: Most Popular Girls’ Names In 1940, Ranked By Size Of Fall Since
NAME RANK 1940 RANK 2010 FALL (PLACES)
1. Betty 5 Not in top 1000* 996+
2. Carol 6 Not in top 1000* 995+
3. Shirley 9 Not in top 1000* 992+
4. Judith 4 879 875
5. Barbara 2 710 708
6. Linda 8 624 616
7. Patricia 3 615 612
8. Nancy 7 521 514
9. Sandra 10 517 511
10. Mary 1 109 108
* Betty was the first name to drop out of the top 1000 and the one to do so from the
highest ranking. It last made the top 1000 in 1996; Carol in 2006; Shirley in 2008.
• Source: Social Security Online
NOTES FOR EDITORS
• About the name “Betty”
English, Dutch and Hebrew in origin, it means “God’s promise”, “God is my oath” or “My
God is a vow”. It is also a diminutive or pet form of Elizabeth.
• About the name ‘Donald’.
Gaelic and Scottish in origin, it means “world rule”. It derives from the clan name
Domhnall. St Donald (Domhnall) was a Scottish saint who lived in the 700’s.
• About findmypast.com
findmypast.com is a proud participant in the 1940 US Census Community Project and
the new US addition to the global network of findmypast family history websites, with
over 18 million registered members worldwide and over a billion genealogical records
dating back to 1200.
From early April 2012, visitors to findmypast.com will be able to browse 1940 US Census
images and find out more about their American family tree.
A full launch of findmypast.com will happen this summer. This will provide US customers
with an extensive set of US records, in addition to a vast overseas collection, including a
billion English, Welsh, Scottish, Irish, Australian and New Zealand records, plus millions
of pages from the British Library's newspaper collection.
findmypast.com is owned by bright solid online publishing.
All inquiries should be directed to
Best Public Relations
It's Friday again, and you know what that means, right? The 48 Hour Ephemera Challenge! This week I have a photo of a young girl named Emilia Kebe. I bought this photo in an antique store in Gruene, Texas [pronounced like Green cuz, um, it's German for green. =) ] I've no idea how a photo from Guadalajara, Mexico ended up in an antique store in the itty bitty town of Gruene, Texas.
Who was Emilia Kebe? Was she from Guadalajara? Did she ever come to America? And if so, when? Who were her parents? Did she have siblings? Did she ever marry? Have kids? Did she ever work outside the home? What is Emilia Kebe's family story?
Can we find Emilia Kebe's family story...
...in 48 hours?
We won't know unless we try.
And? You've just been challenged!
Join us this weekend in the 48 Hour Ephemera Challenge Forum as we attempt to place Emilia Kebe back into history where she belongs. No, you don't have to know everything about genealogy to help. And you can watch, help, whatever you like. =)
While researching, how many times have you asked yourself, "Why didn't I ask them that while I still had the chance?" 'That' being, of course, whatever genealogy stumbling block you're trying to eliminate from your research.
Me? I have lots of regrets. I regret no one ever took and saved a picture of me and my great-grandmother, Boo.
And I really, really regret not asking my Great Aunt Anne about her service in the U.S. Navy as a member of the history-making W.A.V.E.S. I also regret I don't have a photo of her.
And while I am of the opinion that both of my grandfathers were jerks, the fact remains I still never met them. For my mom's dad, I've only a microfilm copy of a photo of him from the back of his U.S. Passport. Until that discovery, I had never, ever seen him.
But now? Jennifer Holik has written Branching Out: Genealogy for High School Students. What does this mean? It means there is now a wonderful resource with which to attract the younger generations to the joy of genealogy. Inside the high school editions, 30 lessons can be found that are guaranteed to not only instruct the student on best practices and strategies on genealogy, but get them addicted to genealogy in no time.
Why purchase Branching Out: Genealogy for High School Students Lessons 1-15 and Lessons 16-30?
Note: A PDF copy of Branching Out: Genealogy for High School Students Lessons 1-15 and Lessons 16-30 was given to me to read and review. My review is an honest and unbiased response to my review of both volumes. For more information about my general disclosure policies please visit my Disclosure Page.
The following press release was sent to me by Jennifer Holik of Generations for release 23 Mar 2012.
Generations Publishes Kids’ Genealogy Textbooks Chicago, Illinois – March 23, 2012: Professional Genealogist, Jennifer Holik, of Generations publishes six new genealogy textbooks for kids. Parents, teachers, and genealogical societies looking for a how-to genealogy textbook for elementary through high school-aged students need to look no further. In Branching Out, a new series available from Generations, author and professional genealogist Jennifer Holik provides parents and educators with the tools they need to teach genealogical research skills to children and teens.
Through thirty fun and educational lessons, students will learn the foundations of genealogy and how to begin research on a level that they can understand and enjoy. Each lesson contains a clearly defined goal, all necessary vocabulary, additional reading assignments, and lesson and homework assignments to extend understanding of the concept.
The Branching Out series of books begins with six paperback textbooks which are also available as a PDF or PowerPoint download. The PowerPoint files, which were created with the visual and hands-on learner in mind, contain the same information as the textbooks with a few fun and interactive extras.
The Branching Out: Genealogy Lessons for Adults will be released in April with additional books for families, genealogical societies, and educators to be published later in 2012.
The books are available on CreateSpace in paperback form at the links provided. The PDF and PowerPoint files are available at the Generations Store at: http://www.e-junkie.com/generations
Branching Out: Genealogy for 1st – 3rd Grade Students Lessons 1-15 Book $24.95
Branching Out: Genealogy for 1st – 3rd Grade Students Lessons 16-30 Book $29.95
Branching Out: Genealogy for 4th – 8th Grade Students Lessons 1-15 Book $26.95
Branching Out: Genealogy for 4th – 8th Grade Students Lessons 16-30 Book $32.95
Branching Out: Genealogy for High School Students Lessons 1-15 Book $29.95
Branching Out: Genealogy for High School Students Lessons 16-30 Book $34.95
If you live in the Chicagoland area, you can meet Jennifer and purchase books at the Fountaindale Public Library’s Author Fair on Saturday, April 14, 2012. For more information visit the Generations Blog.
Please direct all inquiries to Jennifer Holik on her blog listed above.
Look for my review of Jennifer's books in my next blog post.
I have this FANTASTIC idea. Wouldn't it be cool if we had our own genealogy cable T.V. channel? We could name it the Saving Crap and Finding Stories Cable TV Channel, or SCFS channel. Think about it. We have Who Do You Think You Are? [WDYTYA?] on Friday nights on NBC and starting this Sunday evening the PBS show Finding Your Roots will begin its season. If we had our own cable TV channel, we could rerun these shows a la USA cable channel or a la ion cable channel. Then? We could rerun the other countries' WDYTYA? TV shows.
And we could throw in Find My Past's BBC show where they take an historical moment, research it, and find 3 living descendants to tell them of their connection to the historical moment. [And we SO need the American version to this show. STAT.] We could call it something like, I dunno, You're Connected to History!
We could then throw in some forensic-related shows. I can just see it now. Who Shares Your DNA? [I dunno. Who?!?] I can see people getting their DNA tested for genealogy purposes and finding others they are related to. Some weeks, it'd be kinda scary. Do you really wanna meet them? ;)
And then throw in the I'm Not a Celebrity but I Wanna Know My Family History and Be On TV! TV show, which [and I know you're going to find this hard to believe] I totally just made up, but, darn, it sounds good, doesn't it? I bet we'd have NO problem finding people for this show.
Ooh. And what about the House Secrets TV show? I totally made that one up too, but can't you just hear the announcer saying, *in low bellowing voice* "Your house has secrets. It's time you found them out..."? Houses have histories too, and, boy, wouldn't it be fascinating to watch a house historian give us the lowdown on someone's house?
Late nights on the SCFS cable channel? One hour infomercials featuring gadgets researchers could use. Can't you just imagine your insomniac self [Don't lie. You were up doing genealogy.] watching the Flip-Pal infomercial? Yeah.
Then, of course, we could have Made-for-TV shows based on popular memoirs. I bet Melissa Gilbert and Genie Francis would be all over these shows in a skinny minute. And we could rerun them during the holidays a la Lifetime Channel.
Here's a personal favorite: Don't Throw Out That Inherited Crap! TV show. An Ephemera Rescuer saves family ephemera heirlooms from a certain fate worse than death by finding the stories behind all that crap families inherit and giving it meaning and thus, a new life.
Better yet? Bring the 48 Hour Ephemera Challenge to life on TV! Take a team of Ephemera Rescuers who comb antique stores and estate sales in search of identifiable ephemera, watch them research it a bit, tie it into history, and find descendants of those identified in the ephemera, and return it to them. Can you imagine the looks on the descendant's faces when we come a-knockin' with a part of their family history? And, of course, the overlying tension of the show comes from the ever tick-tock of the 48 hour countdown. Can you hear the announcer? *in low bellowing voice* "Can they do it? Can the Ephemera Rescuers put these people back into history where they belong with just...a postcard?" Yes! Yes, we can! [Oops! I totally just got wrapped up into this TV show concept. Heaven only knows why.] We could even have our own critics who chastise the show for not showing all the detailed research steps in each episode. ;)
*Big sigh* Oh, for the Saving Crap and Finding Stories Cable TV Channel to be a reality. But, alas! We have just our 2 TV shows to keep us company.
This Friday night at 7pm CST, Helen Hunt will be the celebrity spotlighted on NBC's Who Do You Think You Are? Will it be the Hunt kinfolk they pursue? Were they hunters? Anyone care to guess how many folks will chastise Helen and the show for doing a tombstone rubbing? Here's a sneak peek of Helen's episode:
Finding Your Roots
And then this Sunday is the season premiere of Finding Your Roots on PBS with Henry Louis Gates Jr. He'll be spotlighting 2 celebrities' family histories ~ Harry Connick Jr. [I think I might just faint. Love him.] and Branford Marsalis! Harry has a pirate in his family. And? So do I! [Not that that matters.] Here's a season preview of the show:
So. Provided you didn't just faint from seeing Harry Connick Jr. in the above preview [Um, like me.], do you have any ideas for TV shows? And most importantly, have you named them? Lemme know in comments below.
Willie Nelson & Kris Kristoferson
I Was a Winner!
Not only do I have Flip-Pal coupons for you this week, I have a contest for you. But before I get into the details of that, I'd like to mention that I was 1 of 4 winners in the 1940 US Census Blog Ambassador contest last week. YES! That's right. I won a $50 Amazon Gift Card.
Along with thanking, of course, the 1940 US Census Project Sponsors, I'd like to also thank one other person.
Willie Nelson. Without him, I still could have written last week's blog post about the 1940 US Census and transportation, On the Road Again, but it would've lacked a certain je ne sais quoi. Don't ya think? ;)
Would You Like to Be a Winner?
That's a silly question, right? Duh. Of course, you'd like to be a winner.
Well, this is the thing. The 1940 US Census Project has this really cool contest with outstanding prizes. How outstanding are they? Well, I dunno. Do you like gift cards? Visa Gift Cards? Yeah. They're giving away to one lucky and randomly chosen entrant a $100 Visa Gift Card. And to 2 lucky and randomly chosen entrants, they're giving each one a $50 Visa Gift Card.
[Told you. OUTSTANDING.]
What do you have to do to enter? Just 4 things:
[For more information, check out the 1940 US Census Project contest post, Weekly Contest - Week of March 19th.]
That's it. And the winning continues because the more people we can get indexing the 1940 US Census when it comes out, the faster we can all be back on the road again finding our ancestors in it. See? Win-Win.
So. Don't wait. Enter the contest now! Practice, practice, practice. Do you realize how many Willie Nelson songs [or whatever] you could buy with a $50 or a $100 Visa Gift Card?
Yeah. *nods head once* THAT'S what I'm talking about. ;)
Note: I am a 1940 US Census Blog Ambassador, and this blog post [along with a whole list of other things I've gotta do] enters me into another Blog Ambassador Contest this week for an Amazon Kindle Fire. Like last week's contest, to win this week's contest would make me one very happy mom. Why? Because both my kids were born in April, and their birthdays are next month. And? They've both asked for tablets. Yeah. So. This would help me out a great deal. You know what else would help me [and a whole lot of other people] out a great deal? If you joined us with the indexing of the 1940 US Census. So, yes, I wrote this blog post because I am a 1940 US Census Blog Ambassador. And I wrote it because I'd like to be able to give that Amazon Kindle Fire to one of my kids for their birthday without having to buy it. But? I also wrote it because I think it'd be nice to get the index up as fast as possible so everyone can start researching it that much quicker. =)
I know that I already mentioned this a while back...but? Have you started? Have you started scanning 3 photos a day? Because if you had started the last time I talked about scanning 3 photos a day to make your ancestors stay, you would have scanned 126 photos by now.That's right. 126 photos. So, if you haven't started, start today! Make your ancestors stay with Flip-Pal.
Don't have a Flip-Pal? Not a problem! Flip-Pal has 2 coupons for you that are good through 30 Mar 2012:
Coupon Code: FP312A When you purchase a Flip-Pal mobile scanner ($149.99), get a Flip-Pal mobile scanner Carry Case FREE (both items must be in your shopping cart)
Coupon Code: CS312A When you purchase a Flip-Pal mobile scanner with Creative Suite Craft Edition DVD ($199.99), get a Flip-Pal mobile scanner Carry Case plus a package of Flip-Pal Window Protector Sheets FREE (all three items must be in your shopping cart)
Save for the Scanning Fairy visiting you & scanning everything for you for free, I don't know how this task could get any easier. So? Get your Flip-Pal today with one of the coupon codes above by clicking on any of the Flip-Pal image links on this page.
Then with your Flip-Pal, scan 3 photos a day to make your ancestors stay.
What are you waiting for? The Scanning Fairy? ;)
Note: I am a Flip-Pal affiliate and when you click on a Flip-Pal link or image on my website and purchase from them, I receive a commission from them. For more information about disclosures, please visit my Disclosure Page.
The long-awaited Heritage Craft Series Video: Big Paw Paw's World War I Shadow Box is finally here! It's been a while, but it takes quite a bit of time and steps to make these heritage craft videos. But? They are SO worth it!
The subject of this video is my paternal grandfather, Big Paw Paw, who I never met in person, but I probably know him better than a lot of people who actually did know him in person. He's one of my favorite to research because he was so naughty, and because of his naughtiness he left a helluva paper trail wherever he went. While I've written a lot about him on my family history blog, Family Stories, I'm still not done with researching all of his many secrets. From what I've heard about him from those who did know him, I'm pretty sure he'd appreciate my tenacity. However, I don't think he'd be too happy to find that his secrets and story are what I've chosen to pursue. =)
If unable to watch the video here, click the link below to watch it on YouTube: