Monday, March 30, 2009

Citing Sources: An Overview of Styles

By now I'm sure most people have seen this. I won't put in my two cents because I obviously agree with everyone in the GeneaBlogger community, especially footnoteMaven and The Genealogue (who both wrote wonderful responses to the article in question). What the article made me think of, after seeing through all the red that was clouding my vision, was the importance of source citations. This post is really more for anyone who doesn't have Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills, a book I'm sure most genealogists out there have. As a student I've had to do every kind of source citation under the sun. There is Chicago style (my favorite), MLA (the standard), as well as lesser forms such as APSA. I've never seen writing on any stones that said you had to cite genealogy sources a certain way, so I thought I'd present an overview of the different styles of source citation that I've had to do as a student. I use these types of source citation when doing genealogy work as well, especially Chicago style.

Chicago style:
  • works well with footnotes and endnotes.
  • favored style for historical writing as well as literature and arts citation.
  • is more flexible (in my opinion) when it comes to how to appropriately cite sources
  • Chicago Manual of Style

MLA (Modern Language Association of America) style:

  • widely used for academic writing and the standard style in general
  • MLA's official site (everyone should own one of their Handbooks)
  • very structured (i.e. Works Cited page alphabetized by author's last name) but also very thorough (you include just about EVERYTHING in your citation).
  • tackles how to cite a unique source to genealogists: personal testimony as well as sound recordings.

APSA (American Political Science Association) style:

  • lesser known, primarily used for political science writing.
  • good format for analytical writing
  • very similar to Chicago style but also combines elements from other styles like MLA.

These are websites I use frequently when I need help with source citation, each one a great resource for anyone who needs to cite work:

Also, I just saw that over on the GeneaBloggers site, there is a new post which lists some bibliography generators, something worth checking out.

In academics I'm usually forced to strictly follow a specific style (as a history major it is usually Chicago), but in genealogy I have the liberty of taking aspects of different styles that I like and combining them. Often times I don't care for the format of in-text citation of a certain style or the Works Cited/Bibliography format of a certain style, so I mix and match those. While Evidence Explained is a great book for genealogists and anyone who doesn't need to learn the various styles, it is well worth it to try and learn the MLA style at least as well as footnoting (which in a word processor can be inserted using the keys: Ctrl+Alt+F). There are also cardinal rules to source citation which are easy to remember regardless of format:

(For in-text citation)

  • Always try and include the name of the author of the source as well as where in the source the info you are citing is located, like page number. Use (parenthesis) with that information inside and put at the end of the sentence.

(For bibliographies/works cited)

  • Always try and have some order to the sources. In a good, thorough document you will find AT LEAST ten sources (and this is not one source repeated over and over). To keep some kind of organization to all the sources (and to make it easier for people to look up the sources) keep an order to them, be it through alphabetizing them or some other personal way- I know in genealogy I will sometimes organize my sources based on when the sources where written or recorded with the most recent coming last.
  • Always mention the publish status of the document. If the source is a family heirloom that was handwritten and never publish, mention that that source is unpublished. If the source is, for example, A History of Wabash Co., Indiana and Its People and was published, mention that it is! That way people will know if what you are citing is available (published) to them or not (unpublished) if they don't have a copy of the unpublished family heirloom.
  • Date your sources. Along with publish status include when the source was written, published, recorded, etc. You wouldn't want to leave a photograph undated would you? (We all know how frustrating that is!) Well, this is no different from that.
  • Include the page numbers cited in your source if possible. If the source is only a page or two then don't bother. If it is the size of War and Peace, however, you might want to go so far as to cite the paragraph number as well as page number.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Genealogy Can Go to the Dogs!

Who says genealogy is only for people? This video about DNA testing and our quadruped friends was fun to watch and got me to thinking about my dog's family tree. She is a Shih Tzu/Poodle mix which, if I wanted to break it down even further, means she is half Chinese and half French (where her breeds originated). I know people who have done DNA testing on their dogs to find it's genetic makeup and were it not so expensive (and the fact that I knew my dog's parent's and therefore pretty much know her makeup already) I would give it a go. The results they came to in the video however were a little surprising making me somewhat question the science involved. Then again, my genetic makeup/heritage dictates that I should be able to get a tan and I'm still waiting for that to happen...

To Publish or Not to Publish

I've long debated over whether or not to make publish a family history book. I know many genealogists do and I treasure the ones of my family that others have written, but I go back and forth over whether or not I should attempt putting one together for publication. Well, correct that, I did make a family history book for my grandmother last winter. When all was said and done, it was a nice, simple book and she loved it, which was all that mattered to me. I didn't go to Blurb, Lulu or mycanvas, I just printed off the pages from my word processor, put them in page protectors and bound them in a scrapbook-style binder. In the final analysis, I don't consider it a family history book both because of the way I organized it and because it wasn't done professionally (published like a book), but was a good project and gave me experience in the area. These are the pros and cons I can think of when it comes to publishing a family history book:

Pros~

  • Makes a wonderful keepsake that can easily be passed down to future generations.

  • Looks professional, tidy and is easier to keep all the information together as opposed to loose binder binding.

  • Easy to make copies for relatives and anyone interested. Also, easier to make replacement copies for yourself. (If you are using a self-publishing service like Blurb that is)

  • More diverse formatting options.

  • More condusive to image heavy pages.

  • When you're gone and you want your local library to have your genealogy work, they won't accept loose papers and clunkily bound pages. They will however, accept published family histories.

Cons~

  • Cheaper not to publish.

  • Easier to revise, take out information and add information and newer generations.

  • Easier to change formatting and binding.

  • If done on a word processor more internet and e-mail friendly.

These are just the ones I could come up with off the top of my head, I'm sure if I sat and thought about it I'd come up with more. The biggest reason for me to not publish is that second con, the one about revision and changing information. I know that I am personally always finding new information or contradictory information. I'd like to easily annotate or change my family history book, not deal with 2nd and 3rd editions and so forth and the hassels that go along with that. I was inspired by this website not long ago to try and create a book blog (not this blog) similar with same plan to eventually publish off of that, but I'm not completely sold that this is the way to go. I have a Footnote account and have been thinking that maybe People Pages would be the way to go if I did want to publish. For anyone that doesn't know, Footnote members (you don't have to be a paid subscriber) can create "People Pages" on whatever you want. For instance, I created a page that is entirely devoted to my branches from Indiana and their involvement in the Civil War. Footnote itself has also created many pages, usually of men whose deaths appeared in the SSDI. Both my grandfathers and at least one of my great grandfathers have been found in these Footnote pages and I can easily add personal information to them. The only thing to be wary of is violating any Copyright policies on Footnote. I'm not sure, but I would imagine that submitting info to Footnote's pages makes it their property, but since (if I do decide to publish) it won't be a mass market printing for profit, I think I'll be okay. In any case, there are many possibile ways to publish and many pros and cons to the process. It is something I'm conflicted about because while I love the family histories I have, the inflexibility when it comes to changing information is a real turn off to me. A general surname study or perhaps a publication on a specific person might be the exception because there is less room for error or omission when the window of study is that narrow. It is something I have been dabating for awhile, but I know that since all my info is digitized, should I bite the bullet and decide to publish, it will be pretty easy to get things in order.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Saturday Night Fun- Patrilineal Line

I'm afraid I know next to nothing about my paternal grandmother's family (the only branch I don't know much about) so this is going to be a pretty abridged Saturday Night Fun:

1. What was your father's mother's maiden name? Lapicirella (also spelled Lapiccirella or Lapicerella), it means 'Little Darling' in Italian.

2. What was your father's mother's father's name? Giuseppe (Joe or Joseph after coming to the US)

3. What is your father's mother's father's patrilineal line? That is, his father's father's father's ... back to the most distant male ancestor in that line? I don't know any further back than Giuseppe.

4. Can you identify male sibling(s) of your father's mother, and any living male descendants from those male sibling(s)?
My paternal grandmother only had one brother who died several years before I was born and didn't have any children. Giuseppe (my paternal grandmother's father) had at least one brother who also lived in the US, Nicola (Nick in the US). Nicola had a son but he died a few years ago without having any sons of his own.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Genetic Genealogy?

The genetics of genealogy have never been of any interest to me. I know it is viewed as the "new frontier" and cool kid on the block by a lot of researchers, but it just never got me excited. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that the best I can do is a mitocondreal DNA test. My father or my maternal uncle would be the only two immediate family members who could do the y-DNA kit and it isn't a subject I've ever brought up (how do you even mention it? Do you just go up to a relative and say "I'd like it if you took a DNA test?" That's a little "Maury Povich" don't you think?). I'd be over the moon if my dad agreed to take the y-DNA test, but I know him and I'll bet dollars to donuts that he wouldn't go for it (bad blood and hard feelings between family members have made him wary and uncomfortable with a lot of aspects of genealogy). My interest in genetic genealogy has started to take off a bit in the last few months and you'll never guess why. I actually found my first grey hair when I was fifteen- yes, I said, FIFTEEN- years old. It was only one so I never gave much thought but then the other day I actually went looking for some and by golly if I didn't find a few more than one this time! It certainly freaked me out and made me peeved at my mother and her cursed Shinn genes (she was grey by the time she was thirty). Since there is always hair dye, it isn't such a big deal anymore and the shock has worn off, but it has certainly got me interested in genetics... For a high school science class one year I had to do a family health tree and I'm planning on hunting for it just to learn a little more about some of the other genetic treats in store for me. I remember I got really indepth with the family tree and while I'm sure my aunt wouldn't appreciate the fact that I wrote about her endometriosis for a school assignment or the male pattern baldness in my family, I'm glad I did because it is a very thorough family health history I can refer to now. And by the way, I know genetic genealogy isn't really concerned with the health aspect of genealogy, it is just the only thing close to genetic genealogy I've ever been involved in (and I think a good starting place for learning more about genetic genealogy).

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What's Going on with Find-A-Grave?

I just tried to add some people to Find-A-Grave and I got an error message that said they would be down until Tuesday morning. Is this a typo or is the site really going to be undergoing maintenance for SIX whole days?! Has anybody heard anything about this and do you know if ANY functionality will be back before Tuesday? I'd ask this on the site's forum but even though they say that the forum isn't affected, I couldn't access it.

UPDATE: Nevermind, the site appears to be back online... I worked myself into a tizzy over nothing, as usual. I'm just so excited about the Michigan Death Records being released that I was anxious to add my new names and dates to the FindAGrave site!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday: Killed by Curiosity


Little Hazel Edna Allmen was the daughter of Joseph and Missouri (Sizzie) Myrick Allmen. Hazel's aunt (Joseph's sister) was Susanna Allmen Berger, my ggg-grandmother. Hazel was born in February of 1888 in the Evansville area of Vanderburgh, Indiana. In 1903 one of the darkest moments in Evansville's history occured in the form of the Evansville Race Riot of 1903. The story of the start of riot follows:

"One of the ugliest blots on the pages of Evansville’s history was the bloody race riot of 1903, which started over a 5-cent glass of beer.
On the evening of July 3, a black man who called himself Robert Lee (this may have been a alias) was drinking beer at Ossenberg’s saloon at 10th and Mulberry streets. He got into an argument with Thomas Berry, a black bartender, over payment for a nickel beer. Berry finally threw Lee out of the saloon as Lee loudly threatened that he would come back and “get” him.
A white policeman named Louis Massey was walking his beat in the neighborhood. Berry told the officer about Lee’s threat. Presently Lee returned, and as he was about to re-enter the saloon, Massey placed a restraining hand on his shoulder. Lee wheeled around and fired point blank in the policeman’s abdomen.
Before Massey fell, he returned fire and struck Lee in the left shoulder. After several more shots were fired, Massey was rushed to the hospital and Lee was hauled off to jail.
As the morning of July 4th dawned, Massey died, the first Evansville police officer to be killed in the line of duty. When word of his death spread throughout the city, an angry mob began to form."

The rest of the story can be found here. Suffice to say, the incident caught the attention of the nation with The New York Times even taking notice here and here. During all the commotion, Hazel and her family (along with many others who lived in the country around Evansville) came into the city to see all the excitment. While sitting in their buggy Hazel was shot in the chest by a ricocheting bullet on Court St. She is buried in the Allmen plot at Oak Hill Cemetery in Evansville, she was just fifteen. While Joseph and Missouri had other children, Joseph was a broken man after Hazel's death and always blamed himself for going into town for "curiosity's sake." Apparently, he was "a funny person who became very quiet." He died fifteen years after Hazel, in 1918 in Evansville.

Obligatory St. Patrick's Day Post

St. Patrick's Day doesn't really do much for me. I look terrible in green, don't drink, and am a vegetarian so the corned beef is out (although when I was little and did eat meat I remember quite liking corned beef) and most of all, the day only serves to remind me of all the Celtic brick walls in my family tree. I have several Celtic lines in my family tree, but couldn't tell you where in Ireland or Scotland any of them lived. Below are my Celtic connections (mostly Scottish). Hopefully I'll find something on these families someday, maybe then I can enjoy St. Patrick's Day a little more.

Montgomery and Wood: Jane Montgomery married Charles Wood, and they supposedly lived in the Edinburgh area of Scotland. Son Charles Wood was born in 1842. The family also lived in Ireland for a time, though I don't know when or why. Son Charles Wood came to Ontario Canada, possibly with a brother and married Didame Beam. They lived in Jackson Co., Michigan and then Canada again and finally Isabella Co., Michigan. Their daughter, Marion, was my great-great-grandmother.

Allen: Joseph Allen was born in Scotland (sometimes he says Ireland on documents) around 1824. He came to Pennsylvania and married Elizabeth Clemmens around 1850. Family legend says this is an old Scottish family with ties to clan McKay. There was also supposedly a Thompson ancestor who married into the family in Scotland too.

Clemens/Clemmens/Clements/ Clemments: Elizabeth Clements/Clemens (most frequent spellings) was born in Ireland around 1824 to James and Mary (unk.) Clemens. She had at least a brother, John, who was in the Civil War and a sister Jane (or May or Mary) who disappears after 1860. The family came to Pennsylvania, probably in the 1840s and settled in Lawrence Co. They lived in Shenango and New Castle. Elizabeth married the above, Joseph Allen and they were my great-great-great-grandparents. They lived in Lawrence Co., PA as well as Pittsburgh before settling in Trumbull/Mahoning County, Ohio in the 1860s.

Doyle: All I know about this is that on the 1880 census, my greatx4 grandfather, Heman Doyle, said that he was born in Vermont to a father from Ireland and a mother from Connecticut. Heman was born 31 Dec 1809/1811 in Vermont. He married Alzina Jackman and they had three daughters and lived in Rochester, New York before the California Gold Rush. Heman came west with John R. Shinn and while John went back east to marry Heman's daughter, Heman stayed in California. He was the first District Attorney for Douglas Co., Nevada and was also a prominent lawyer, justice of the peace and judge in El Dorado and San Joaquin Counties. Heman died in 1881 and is buried in Woodbridge, California.

So those are my "Celtic roots." Maybe someday I'll be able to find out more about them and where they lived in the "old country." I sat down and calculated it and while my maternal Doyle line is too far back (I am 1/64th Irish from that) to really amount to anything in my "heritage pie," my father is 3/16ths Scottish/Irish which amounts to a little over 1/8th or a little less than 1/4 depending on how you want to look at it. So... that would make me a little over 1/16th or a little less than 1/8th, depending on how I looked at it.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Unpopular Much?

I may have mentioned it before, but I have next to no southern connections. There are some colonial Virginia branches in my tree and a branch that settled in southern Kentucky for a few years in the early 19th Century, but that is it as far my southern branches go. My one Kentucky branch left in 1850 for Iowa, but relatives of my ancestors remained in Kentucky and later went to Missouri (which is really a "border state"). Today I was researching these branches that stayed in Kentucky and came across a relative who not only remained in the region where my family lived (Pulaski, which is a very southern portion of the state), but he also fought for the Union during the Civil War. When I first read that, all I could think was how unpopular he must have been in his hometown for doing that. Research into the history of Pulaski revealed a surprising contradiction to what I had originally thought though. I know Kentucky was considered a "border state" during the war, uncommitted to either side but critical to both. I had just assumed that since Pulaski was so far south in the state, that it would have been Confederate. Boy was I wrong: "During the Civil War, Pulaski County openly supported the Union, even though many residents were Southern sympathizers. Two battles, Mill Springs and Dutton's Hill, resulted in Union victories, and for a brief time a Federal garrison was occupied in Somerset. Although the area was invaded by Confederate General John Hunt Morgan, Union troops held the county until the end of the war, even renaming the town of Point Isabel to "Burnside," in honor of the Union general." How 'bout that? Even an old history buff like me can learn something new! All of this just goes to show that assumptions have no place in genealogy- shame on me!

Source of the above quote is here. For better geographic understanding of Pulaski Co. and Kentucky during the Civil War, see here.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Saturday Night Fun: Wordle Surnames

Since it is Saturday, you know what that means! Yes, it is another edition of Saturday Night fun courtesy of Randy over at Genea-Musings. I think the Saturday Night Fun prompts (along with not having to wake up to an alarm clock) are one of the best things about Saturdays, they're something I look forward to doing every week at least. I have heard of Wordle and played around with it once, but never really thought to revisit it. I really like the idea of creating a "surname cloud" though and I look forward to posting this on the side bar of my blog:

For some reason when I put in the surname "Allen" it wouldn't recognize it so I had to improvise and put it in as "AllenShinn." Also, I didn't make this Wordle cloud but I saw it and it made me chuckle, especially since my name is so uncommon.

I also thought it would be fun to do a geography wordle, a cloud showing where my family put down roots (originated, lived for a least a generation or where a major life event occurred like birth, marriage or death). For simplicity's sake I just did countries, states and counties (or the equivalent) I did one for my paternal branch:



And one for my maternal branch:



Since I have some ancestors who came to America during the colonial era, I included the names of those colonies in honor of that part of my family tree, New Netherland, Lange Eylant and Plymouth Colony are examples. Just an FYI for anyone interested: the trick I used to keep place names together was to eliminate the space, i.e. San Joaquin is typed as SanJoaquin.

Paper or Digital?

The other day I did a bit of a "spring clean." I got rid of a lot of old things, cleaned and dusted and polished and, gulp, organized. I have a drawer in my main dresser in which I keep all my genealogy research and yes, I actually tackled organizing that drawer. I love the DearMyrtle blog and look forward to reading her posts and I never fail to learn something new or gain further insight into genealogy. I also think her monthly organizational posts are a wonderful idea. I have a problem, however, and that is that roughly 90% of all my genealogy research is digitized only (meaning I don't have hard copies of much of anything). I have tried to follow DearMyrtle's model and create and organize paper files and I know the vast majority of people in the genealogy world do this. But I have come to the conclusion that I simply cannot and for several reasons. For one, I've discovered that I just don't have the room, even after all the spring cleaning I did. That one little drawer is really all I can spare for genealogy, though I could always do the paper files and binders and on and on and simply dump it on my parents to deal with and host. While they are interested in the genealogy I've done, I know they wouldn't appreciate that. I also just don't have the time to make paper files and binders with all my research. I work and go to school full-time and while most of my free time is devoted to genealogy, I don't have enough free time to do the paper work that goes along with the research. For me it is easier to just save the info and source to the appropriate file than handwrite it all out or print it and then go shuffle through a binder looking for a place to organize it. I also just am not completely sold on the importance of creating hard copies. Obviously I treasure all the original documents and photos I have, but I think as far as pedigrees and family group sheets (which I hate, but that is another story...) go, a flash drive or internet storage (I do both) will suffice. Family stories are the one exception, I do print those off as well as recipes and anything else that isn't just names and dates (which are important too, don't get me wrong). I know what a lot of the arguments are for having paper files of research but I don't know that they are strong enough to convince me.

1) Technology changes so it is best to keep hard files as back-ups. Yes, technology does change, but it doesn't change overnight. An example would be the floppy disk. It is now obsolete and most new computer don't accomadate them. But, who didn't see this coming? Early genealogy work I did I saved on floppy and then I converted it to CD. Now, I am using flash drives and internet storage since it is pretty clear that is where the technology is going. What I am saying is that while technology changes, there is usually a certain amount of warning beforehand and it is pretty easy to be prepared for eventual changes.

2) There is more security in being able to hold hard copies in your hands than trusting a storage device or the internet. Yeah, there is truth in that too. That is also more guaranteed privacy for the living in hard copies than technolgy but the only major difference is hitting the 'print' button on your family tree maker program or word processor. I have all my research backed-up on two flash drives (a few CDs too) as well several places online. I also don't keep everything on one device that way if a device goes does go down, I haven't lost everything (much like if you've lost a binder). Then again, I also don't believe in the "its only real if you can touch it" argument. Just because it isn't in my hands and taking up space and dust on my bookshelf, doesn't mean the work isn't valid and there.

3) It is easier to share hard copies with interested parties. I don't agree with this one either. I actually think it is easier (and cheaper) to e-mail information to someone. On the off chance that that person doesn't have e-mail (like my grandmother), I can just as easily print off copies of information for her than take paper files and make copies (that's a lot of papers to deal with!).

So those are some of my reasons for not having paper files. If paper works for you, then I think that is how you should do it, I just have noticed that my argument isn't really voiced in the genealogy world and I thought I would give another perspective. At least I'm saving a tree somewhere by not having hard copies of my work, that's got to count for something, right?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

John R. Shinn Journal, Vol. 8 and 9

Since I missed 'Mailbag Monday' this week, I'm going to combine this entry with what I would have posted then, so this post will cover the final month of John's journal. I'll start in on the penny postcards and letters that I was recently given by my grandmother soon, but for Monday I plan on posting scans of John's Journal, just as a kind of companion to the transcriptions I've been doing. I also looked up the term "brackish" (If you read the last entry on John R. Shinn's journal you know what I'm talking about) since it is one I'd never heard of before and good ol' Wikipedia came to my rescue on that!

"September 1st Traveled 23 miles down the same beautiful valley. Plenty of grass and water all the way, camped by a spring, good place to camp. Road good, weather cool and[?] pleasant.

September 2 Traveled 20 miles over a dry and hilly country. Found water once and that very poor, camped by a small creek pretty good place to camp. The Indians are bad in this place, drove off some stock from one company that was camped in the same place. Weather good.

September 3 Traveled 19 miles down the above creek until it sunk. Camped by some holes dug for to get water. Not very good place to camp. Road very good this day, weather fine.

Sept. 4 Traveled 16 miles of good road. Camped by a creek this one of the branches of the of the Humboldt. Plenty of water, grass and wood.

Sept. 5 Traveled 18 miles. Camped at the head of a canyon. Plenty of wood, water and grass. Weather warm through the day, but so cold at night as to make ice. Road good.

Sept. 6 Traveled 18 miles, some of the way through a canyon. The road rough and bad, having to cross a creek several times. Camped at the Junction of Fort Hall Road and the one that comes south of Salt Lake. Pretty good place to camp, weather pleasant.

Sept. 7 Traveled 22 miles over rough country. Camped in the mountain by a spring, water pretty good and some bunch[?] grass and sage for fuel. Weather fine.

Sept 8 Traveled 17 miles down Mary's River. Plenty of grass. Camped on the river, tolerable good place to camp.

Sept 9 Traveled 25 miles. Road good, passed 3 graves. Camped on Mary's River. Weather good.

Sept 10 Traveled 25 miles over a desert country without water or grass. Camped on Mary's River. Pretty good camping, passed 1 grave. The Indians are some troublesome on this portions of the road. Weather good.

Sept 11 Traveled 18 miles over a desert without feed or water. Road good, camped on Mary's River. Plenty of feed and water and some wood. Weather pleasant.

Sept 12 Traveled 20 miles. Camped on Mary's River, plenty of feed, water and some wood.

Sept 13 Traveled 20 miles, passed 2 graves. Camped on Mary's River, plenty of grass and water and some wood.

Sept 14 Traveled 13 miles over deep sand. Camped on Mary's River, passed 1 grave, plenty of feed, wood and water.

Sept 15 Traveled 20 miles. Passed 2 graves, camped on Mary's River, feed and water scarce. Weather pleasant.

Sept 16 Traveled 20 miles. Camped on Mary's River, passed 3 graves. Road pretty good, feed and wood scarce, water not very good, weather pleasant.

Sept 17 Traveled 16 miles, passed 1 grave, this day's travel was over a desert, camped on Mary's River, feed and wood very scarce, water poor.

Sept 18 Traveled 20 miles, camped on the Mary's River, feed and wood scarce and water very poor. Weather pleasant.

Sept 19 Traveled 18 miles. Camped by a lake near the sink of the Mary's River. Water, feed and wood poor. Passed 1 grave. Weather good.

Sept 20 Traveled 18 miles by 6 o'clock pm thence to the Boiling Spring by 12 o'clock am. This spring or springs are a curiosity seldom found on deserts, thence over to the Truckey [I think this is supposed to be Truckee] River by 12 o'clock noon Sept 21st. Making the desert in 25 hours distance 40 miles. Passed 1 grave. Road good except about 8 miles of the last end which is deep sand. Weather good.

Sept 21 Laid by 1 mile above the first crossing of the Truckey River in the afternoon, good place to camp.

Sept 22 Laid by at the above camp (Sunday) to rest. Plenty wood, water and grass. Weather pleasant.

Sept 23 Traveled 16 miles up the Truckey River. Road rough, camped on the River. Plenty of grass and wood and water good. Weather warm with a shower in the evening.

Sept 24 Traveled 24 miles. Camped on the River, plenty of water, wood and grass. Road some rough.

Sept 25 Traveled 15 miles of very mountainous country. Camped by a small stream in the mountain, pretty good place to camp, weather warm.

Sept 26 Traveled 18 miles good road, camped by a creek of good water, wood and grass also good. Weather pleasant.

Sept 27 Traveled 18 miles, crossed the Nevada mountain, camped 4 miles from the summit in the Yuba Valley, road over steep, 1 mountain.

Sept 28 Traveled 20 miles, camped in the mountain, plenty of wood and water but no food. Road very rough, weather pleasant.

Sept 29 Traveled 7 miles, camped in a small valley, plenty of wood and water and some feed.

Sept 30 Traveled 16 miles of pretty good road except the Bear Valley Hills which was very steep, camped in mountain opposite Washington on the Yuba River. No feed or water, but plenty of timber.

Oct 1 Traveled 15 miles of good road, camped on Rock Creek 5 miles from Nevada City, good water and wood not much grass. This brings us to a termination of our long and tedious journey for which I trust we felt thankful,

John R. Shinn"


On the last page there is an excerpt from the poem Lament of the Irish Emigrant. While it is in John's hand, it is with a different marker than what he used to write in his journal and the handwriting is a little different (less defined), which makes me think he added it at a different date, either before his journey or after.

"I’M sittin’ on the stile, Mary,
Where we sat side by side
On a bright May mornin’ long ago,
When first you were my bride;
The corn was springin’ fresh and green,
And the lark sang loud and high—
And the red was on your lip, Mary,
And the love-light in your eye."
The rest of the poem can be found here.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Saturday Night Fun: Genealogy Junkie Survey

What an exciting genealogy day for me! This morning when I went to check the mail I found the death records and obituaries I had ordered waiting for me as well as a few answers (and some new questions) to old brick walls. Today is also exciting because it means another Saturday Night Fun assignment from Genea-Musings, something I enjoy doing when I am able. Here are my answers and I'll confess, I really had to think about some of these answers. While doing this survey and trying to remember when and why I got into genealogy it brought up a lot of memories I had forgotten and reminded me about old research and articles that I had but buried away long ago- I can't wait to go digging those things up now (perhaps this will be my "Sunday Night Fun" assignment)!

1. When did you start genealogy research? I use to enjoy looking through a Shinn family history book when I was little as well as my mother's baby book but I didn't actually start researching my tree until I was eleven in 1999.

2. Why did you start doing research? A collection of reasons. My great-grandmother died in December of 1998 and I think that kind of peaked my interest in my family tree. An aunt of mine was also dabbling in genealogy at the time and gave me an article on the USGenWeb project. My middle school computer teacher also had a lot to do with it. She had recently come back from a trip to Salt Lake City and was heavily involved in genealogy at the time. I remember going into the computer lab at my school at lunch time or other quiet times in the day when I wasn't in class and she would be on the FamilySearch site looking for people. She was actually the one that introduced me to the site and the world of internet genealogy. All of this happened throughout 1998 and 1999. I do remember the first person I researched: my great x5 grandfather, Moses Jackman, b. 1776 Boscawen, New Hampshire- d. 1861, Livonia, New York. The reason I was drawn to him was because of this article (note: the article I linked to is just a transcription of the original which I have and was refering to) which I had seen and read many times as a child.

3. What was your first big success in research? Breaking down the biggest brick wall in my family tree, Joseph James Allen to find out who his parents were (John Grant Allen and Marion Wood) which was only about two or three years ago.

4. What is your biggest genealogy regret? I always wished I had asked more questions of my great-grandmother when she was alive. Sadly, I also wasn't very good at listening to her family stories. She died right before my eleventh birthday in December of 1998 at the age of 100.

5. What are you best known for in the genealogy world? Um... I do have a website on a branch of my family tree, the Jackmans, that has attracted some attention within that research group, but otherwise I'm not really a presence in the genealogy world.

6. What is your professional status in genealogy? I'm not a professional and I don't do it for a living. It is just a fun hobby that borders of extreme obsession for me.

7. What is your biggest genealogy achievement? The family history book I made for my grandmother last Christmas.

8. What is the most FUN you've had doing genealogy? Making new discoveries like finding an obituary, record or picture or exchanging information with fellow researchers. I also like my blog and the genea-bloggers group a lot.

9. What is your favorite genealogy how-to book? Uncovering Your Ancestry Through Family Photographs by Maureen A. Taylor.

10. What notable genealogist would you like to meet someday? Maureen A. Taylor

Thursday, March 5, 2009

John R. Shinn Journal, Vol. 7

August 16-31. John goes from Utah to Nevada in this installment. For a map of his route, click here.

"August 16 Still in camp at the above place. Weather warm.

August 17 Traveled 25 miles. Camped by a spring. Water some brackish[?], we found no fresh water in this day's travel. Road pretty good. Passed 1 grave, weather good.

August 18 Traveled 10 miles. Camped at Elbow Spring, here is the last good water for 95 miles. Road good but very dusty. Weather warm.

August 19 Traveled 15 miles over a desert country without water or grass. Camped at a spring at the foot of the mountains, this water is a little brackish, but does very well for camping purposes, and is the last of any kind until after crossing the desert. We found some feed and plenty of wood. Weather pleasant.

August 20 Left the above camp at a quarter before 3 o'clock p.m. Traveled all night and the day following and next night, until half past 6 am on the 22nd making the distance of 80 miles in 39 hours whole time, about 27 hours traveling time on the desert after crossing the mountain which took 5 and a half hours, to travel 8 miles it being very steep and rough. Camped at Pilot Peak Creek until noon then traveled 2 miles to better grass and water. Weather good.

August 23 Laid by to recruit the cattle. Weather pleasant.

August 24 Traveled 4 miles to the last spring before crossing a 35 mile desert. We left this place at 5 p.m., found a small spring at midnight in the mountains but very little water, not sufficient for stock. Arrived at the next water at half past seven in the morning of the 25th, August.

August 25 Laid by the rest of the day. Weather pleasant.

August 26 Traveled 18 miles over a level but dry and dusty country without water and but very little feed. Camped by a spring, the water is quite strong of sulphur, will do for camping purposes.

August 27 Traveled 20 miles over a mountainous and desert country without water and very little feed. Road good, but very dusty. Camped by a spring at the foot of the mountains, the water is rather warm and tastes strong of sulphur. Pretty good place to camp. Weather warm through the days, cool at night.

August 28 Laid by to rest. The company divides at this place, Heman Doyle [John's future father-in-law], Alvah Grow, Daniel Bacon, Orin S. Grow and John R. Shinn. Left, Peck, Andrews and company. Weather pleasant.

August 29 Traveled 19 miles about 4 of it was up a gradual ascent to the top of a mountain, thence down a gradual descent and across a valley which is quite barren. No water and very little grass until within 3 miles of the mountains on the other side, there we found good water, grass and sage for fuel. The Indians are very troublesome in this vicinity, stalling and shooting cattle and horses seems to be their business. Weather pleasant.

August 30 Traveled 20 miles over a low mountain and through a valley without feed or water. Camped by a stream of good water, good place to camp. The Indians are bad at this place also.

August 31 This day's travel was down a large and beautiful valley abounding with grass[?] and water and some good timber. Good camping. Weather good."

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Celebrate Your Name Part 2: Family Names

I was looking through my tree today, trying to pick out the most common ancestral names and/or naming patterns (I'm not however including the HUNDREDS of Johns and Marys in my tree). Names that carry for at least three generations and are within the last two hundred years were what I was looking for and are below. Here are some of the most common names in my family tree:

Mae/May: This started with Ida Mae/May (Shinn) Snedigar, the daughter of John R. Shinn and Maria Doyle (my ggg-grandparents). Ida Mae was born in 1867 in San Joaquin Co., California, a few months before her father's death from malaria. Next is Flora Mae (Shinn) Bancroft who always went by Mae. Flora's daughter, Elizabeth also had the Mae moniker as a middle name.

Everett: My gg-grandfather was Lauren Everett Healey, b. in 1873 in Newark, California to Comfort and Mary Gertrude (Mott) Healey (it was originally Haley but Comfort changed the name for whatever reason). Lauren's grandson (my grandfather) also got the Everett moniker as was born Everett Heman Shinn in 1925. My grandfather in turn passed on the Everett name to his son who in turn passed it on to his son who a few years ago passed it on to his son. That makes four generations with the Everett name, not including Lauren (who I skipped because his daughter was the one who had my grandfather and she obviously wasn't named Everett). Lauren himself also had a son named Lauren Everett Jr. That's a lot of Everetts! There is apparently also a famous artist named Everett Shinn, though my branch of the family (as far as I know) is not connected with him.

Kathryn: Was the name of my Danish gg-grandmother, Kathryn (Nielsen) Healey. She was probably named Katherine, but everyone in the family insists that it was spelled KATHRYN (which I think is a pretty modern spelling). In any case, Kathryn has two descendants (one of whom is VERY close to me) named after her, which I won't go into because they are living.

Heman: This is one of the odder names in my tree. I've done digging and it is a biblical name, though I can't remember the meaning. It is almost ALWAYS mispelled as Herman or Hiram or some other bizzare way (I found this out curtesy of many frustrated hours sifting through census records). I also remember when we ordered my grandfather's headstone, the maker kept calling us because he just couldn't believe that we didn't mean Herman. Heman Doyle was the above Maria (Doyle) Shinn's father. When Maria (pronounced Ma-RYE-ah by the way) had her first, she named him Heman Doyle Shinn. Heman's (known as H. D.) grandson, my grandfather was also given this name (Everett Heman Shinn). Interestingly enough, while the Heman name died out with my grandfather, the Doyle name has fairly recently been resurrected as a family name.

Gottlieb: Okay, so I cheated, this one was only the name of my great-grandfather, Gideon Gottlieb Berger, and his son, my great-uncle. I love the name though because it just sounds so German and it also has a sweet meaning. It means "God's love" which is fitting considering my great-grandfather was a Methodist minister.

Joseph: this (along with John) are the two most common names on my paternal side of the family. Joseph Allen was born in Scotland around 1824 and came to Pennsylvania in the 1840s. He married an Irish immigrant, Elizabeth Clemens and they eventually settled in Trumbull Co., Ohio. Joseph and Elizabeth's grandson (my great-grandfather) was also a Joseph. This Joseph was born Joseph James Allen in 1891 in Wyman or Edmore, Montcalm Co., Michigan. Joseph was in WWI and (I'm told) received a certificate or commendation from the President due to his service during the war. He was badly gased during the war and eventually had to give up his farm in Blanchard, Michigan. He was wheelchair bound and in and out of VA hospitals in Jackson, Michigan before he died (at an a rather early age) in the 1940s. The Joseph name has passed on from him to current generations.

Grant: Okay, so this was only the name of my gg-grandfather, John Grant Allen but I just had to include it. I spent years trying to figure out what the elusive middle initial G. stood for in his name and once I found his birth certificate it all fell into place. John was born a mere two months (or two weeks depending on the source) after Ulysses S. Grant (another Ohioan) became the 18th President of the United States. What is even more interesting is that John was a first generation American, the son of immigrants. I wonder if his moniker was to celebrate the first time John's father got to vote as an American or perhaps it epitomized a dream of John's family to become American citizens or perhaps is was just meant to signify John's parent's love for their new homeland or the great American hero of the Union, US Grant. In any case, it is fun to speculate.

Now that I've compiled this, I think I'll keep a copy handy to send to any expectant cousins. Perhaps if they give their children family names, it will be the needed spark to get these new generations interested in their family tree- one can always hope, right?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Mailbag Monday: John R. Shinn Journal, Vol. 6

August 1st-15th. John is in Utah throughout. While I find the journal interesting, I do wish he had at least commented on Salt Lake City and frankly, I'm a little puzzled why he didn't. Salt Lake City would have only been about three years old and the only thing close to a city in the vacinity, therefore, I would think it would get more of a mention. Oh well, though. As I re-read the journal, I'm beginning to think that John wrote it as a guide for his return trip. John would return to New Jersey after arriving in California in 1850 and then went back to California in 1853. I always had just assumed that he was unexpectedly forced to go back to New Jersey for that brief while, but now I think that his return was always the plan. The technical and geographical observations make me think this is a guide for other travelers west , like John, more than anything. A love poem at the end, written (I think) about John's future wife back east, is another reason why I think it was always his plan to return to New Jersey, albeit briefly. I THINK, but I'm not sure, that the mountains mentioned below are the Timpanogos. When I was in Salt Lake last summer we went on the "death hike" as we called it (because it was so gruelling) up to the Timpanogos Cave and it seemed like maybe those were the "mountains" mentioned. If I'm wrong, PLEASE correct me as I do not really know the Salt Lake area well (we were only there a few days). As a side note: Every genealogist's worst nightmare happened to me when we were in Salt Lake City. I FINALLY made it to Temple Square and the Family History Center but everyone in my group was anxious to get back to Idaho before dinner so I had to relegate myself to walking through the center hurredly. I could almost cry about that now...

"August 1st Traveled 19 miles. Camped in a ravine by a spring. Plenty of grass and water, some wood. Passed 1 grave. Weather fine with a quite a frost in the morning on Bear River.

August 2 Traveled 15 miles over a very rough road. Camped in Echo Canyon, good place to camp. Nothing particular occurred to attract the attention of the company except that we upset one wagon twice. Weather pleasant.

August 3 Traveled 8 miles. Camped 2 miles east of the junction of the old and new road, on the Wiber River, good place to camp. Weather pleasant.

August 4 Traveled 16 miles up Wiber River. Plenty of grass, wood and water. Passed 1 grave. Weather warm.

August 5 Traveled 15 miles over a rough country. Camped by a stream for good water. Plenty of grass, wood and water. Weather pleasant.

August 6 Traveled 16 miles over a rocky and mountainous road and through a deep canyon. Camped at the foot of the Great Salt Lake. Passed 1 grave. The mountains, each side of the canyon, are said to be 7 or 8 thousand feet high.

August 7 Stayed in camp at the above named place. Weather warm and showery.

August 8 Traveled 6 miles to the city of Salt Lake, thence 4 miles to the Jordan River and camped. Weather warm.

August 9 Stayed in camp getting cattle shod. Weather warm.

August 10 Still in camping shoing or getting cattle shod. Weather warm.

August 11 Still in camp at the above place. Weather very warm.

August 12 Still in camp on the Jordan. Weather warm.

August 13 Traveled 17 miles. Camped by a spring near the Salt Lake at the foot of the mountain. Water a little brackish[?]. Road good. Weather warm.

August 14 Traveled 23 miles camped on Willow Creek. Plenty of water, wood and grass. Weather warm.

August 15 Stayed by at the above camp cutting[?] and preparing for crossing the desert."

After this installment are the best entries in the journal, where John describes crossing the salt flats and desert and finally the mountains to reach California.

CORRECTION: I'm told that the mountains are probably the Wasatch which would make sense.

Celebrate Your Name Week!

I found this on the The Educated Genealogist through my Google Reader this morning and thought it would be fun to do. When I was a little girl I used to love names. My mother saved all the baby name books she had and there was nothing I loved pouring over more. I use to make list after list of my favorite names. Then when I was eleven and started becoming interested in genealogy, I had fun writing down all my favorite ancestral names. My problem with names is that I can never pick just one that I like. Looking back on all the lists I made, I singled out my favorites (which were basically the top fifty out of a hundred or more) and decided those would be the names of my future children. Some of those name combos are a bit much, there is even an instance on one list where I gave my poor future daughter thirteen names! While I don't pour over names as much as I used to, I've been in love with Behind the Name for a long time and I still find myself "collecting" names, meaning I write a name I hear that is new, nice or unusual down on a scrap of paper and save it (what exactly for, I couldn't say).



As for my own name, I have never liked it. I wasn't named after anyone, it was just a name my mother heard and liked. I was originally going to be named Maleia because of my mother's love of Hawai'i, but then my cousin had her daughter a few years before me and named her Maleia, so that was out. One interesting thing about my name, Leah, is that there are two correct pronunciations of it. In Hebrew, my name is pronounced like Princess Leia (LAY-ah). For gentiles, it is pronounced with a hard E, LEE-ah. Since my family isn't Jewish, I've always gone by LEE-ah, but if you call me LAY-ah, I won't correct you because technically that's correct too. Leah is a biblical name from the Old Testament (which is why it is also very popular among Jewish people). Leah is kind of a loser in the Bible. She isn't pretty, she can't see very well, her name means "cow" or weary," her snotty sister Rachel is the pretty one and the one Jacob loves, and in fact, Leah's father has trick Jacob into marrying her. The only thing going for her is that God feels sorry about her pathetic life and gives her a bunch of kids. Don't ask me any more of the story because I've honestly never read the Bible beyond Genesis and parts for anthropology assignments. I just know that out of all the HUNDREDS of people in the Bible, Leah has got to be the lamest one to be named after, except maybe Lot's wife, she didn't have it so good either... So yeah, I'm not a big fan of my name. I've heard that Leah is also an Assyrian name for "ruler" or "mistress," so whenever someone asks me where my name is from I give that as the meaning.



My middle name, Elizabeth, is named for a relative. Elizabeth Mae (Bancroft) Gardner was my grandfather's first cousin (her mother was the sister of my great-grandfather). My mother was always close with Elizabeth and considered her a favorite relative. When my mother was trying to figure out what she wanted to do for a career, it was Elizabeth (who was a nurse) who suggested my mother go into nursing, and she has always been grateful to Elizabeth for that and has never regretted her career choice. I got to know Elizabeth a little towards the end of her life and she was pretty amazing. I remember visiting her at her rest home once, she had to have been in her eighties and she was sitting in a position that only yoga instructors can do. She could also remember everything and had a great sense of humor. Elizabeth died in Lodi, CA at the age of 90 in 2001. It is also worth noting that I wasn't the only one named after her, a niece of Elizabeth's was also named for her.