Saturday, February 27, 2010

SNGF: If I had $20k

So, if I had $20,000 for genealogy travel, what would I do with it... Really, it is more like what WOULDN'T I do with it.  There are so many places I want to go but I don't think $20,000 would cover it all so my main destination: Italy.

First, I'd go to Naples because that was the port of departure for my family when the left Italy in 1920.  Then I would travel east (and take my time doing it), preferably by train or bicycle.  Remember, Southern Italy is the rural part of the country and has always been primarily agriculture based so you really have to take your time going from village to village, farm to farm soaking in the local color.  They make a lot of olive oil in that area so I'd like to stock up on that and maybe go to a tasting (yes, they do have olive oil tastings).  Unfortunately they also make a lot of wine and tomato based products there too. Since I hate tomatoes and wine, I'm passing up anything that has to do with them, sorry Italy.  Once I make it to the other side of Italy and am in the region of Apulia, I'm heading straight to the coastline of the Adriatic and will travel along it until I reach Vieste, which is the small fishing village my Italian ancestors lived in for generations and left for Ohio.  It was primarily a fishing community but thanks to the incredible waters it has become a major tourist destination in Southern Italy. 

While I'll enjoy doing the tourist thing for awhile, I mainly want to get records for all my Lapiccirellas and Daccias.  My grandmother's sisters were all born there so their birth records would be the first thing I hunt for and then I'd work my way backwards.  I've also got relatives still there, though I doubt there are any left who would remember my great-grandparents (they left Italy 90 years ago).  It would still be fun to try and connect with them, especially since I'm sure they could show me the ancestral haunts and fill me in on the family.  I'd also go graving and visit the local Catholic church to look for records. 

All in all, I'd like to spend at least a month there.  How much it all comes out to, I have no idea but I would think $20,000 would cover it.  If I had any left, I'd travel north to England.  I'd like to go to Sydling St. Nicolas in Dorset, where my Croads were from and maybe also go to Lincoln to research my Tocks, and Somerset and the places in Wales where my relatives worked in the coal mines and lived before coming to Michigan in the mid-1890s.

GeneaBlogger Games 2010 Diary: Final Tally

With the games coming to a close here is where I am at:

1. Go Back and Cite Your Sources! - Silver (24 sources)
2. Back Up Your Data! - Silver (Tasks A and C)
3. Organize Your Research! - Diamond (Tasks B, D, E, F)
4. Expand Your Knowledge - Platinum (All)
5. Write, Write, Write - Platinum (All but A)
6. Reach Out and Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness - Silver (Tasks A, D)

I didn't do as well as I wanted, but I'm satisfied.  I would have done better in the first three catagories if I hadn't been trying different organizational ways (still haven't found one I reall like) instead of actually doing the tasks.  I was also planning on joining another society but in the end, I opted not to. I prefer to join or subscribe to things in January or June so that I can keep a better tab on when I'll need to renew.  A big thank you to GeneaBloggers for coming up with this and hosting. I'm looking forward to 2012!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Family Time


(c) The Internet Genealogist, http://www.shbwgen.blogspot.com/
Privately held by the author, {address for private use}, California, February 2010
Taken at The Sacramento Zoo, November 2009

Monday, February 22, 2010

GeneaBlogger Games 2010 Diary, Day 10 (2/22)

I got another Platinum medal!  I participated in this week's 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy Challenge (Task F) which was enough for the Platinum in the Write, Write, Write category.  I also got a Bronze in the Genealogical Kindness category by completing Task A.  Here is my medal count thus far:

1. Go Back and Cite Your Sources! - Silver

2. Back Up Your Data! - Bronze
3. Organize Your Research! - Gold
4. Expand Your Knowledge - Platinum (COMPLETED THIS SECTION)
5. Write, Write, Write - Platinum
6. Reach Out and Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness - Bronze (I'd like at least a Gold)

If the category is in red it means I won't be doing any more in this area.  If the category is in blue it means I'll try and do more, but it isn't the highest priority.

I'll be working all day tomorrow so I doubt I'll get much done then but this is my list of tasks (in order of priority) to complete before the Games end:
  1. Task D, Category 6
  2. Task E, Category 6
  3. Task F, Category 6
  4. Task A, Category 3
  5. Task F, Category 3
  6. Task A, Category 2

Sunday, February 21, 2010

52 Weeks To Better Genealogy, Challenge 8: Maps

For this challenge, I chose to look at the Library of Congress' collection.  I was less than thrilled with what I was (not) able to find so I went a different route.  Many USGenWeb sites have maps or links to maps for areas in their respective counties.  I am consistently blown away by how wonderful the Isabella Co., Michigan USGenWeb site is.  It is the type of GenWeb site all others should aspire to and in all my years of using the GenWeb network, I have yet to find another county site that compares.  So obviously, Isabella's site was the first I went to to find maps and I wasn't disappointed.

See that, the name in the orange box?  That "C.S. Wood" is my third great-grandfather, Charles S. Wood.  The map is a Plat map for Rolland Twp. in 1899.  You can view the whole map here.  Also on the map was a Mary Hubscher.  A Mary Hubscher married Charles S. Wood's son, James.  I knew Charles was a farmer in Michigan, but I had no idea he owned so much land, his plot is one of larger ones on the map.

There was also a Plat map from 1915.  I was surprised at how much the area had changed in just sixteen years.  Charles' son James took is on the map farming 80 of the 160 acres.  I think Charles had died by now and James (the eldest surviving son) inherited the farm.

Another resource I liked was the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection. They had many California maps and I found some real gems.  I was most excited about an 1878 Atlas for Alameda Co. because it had my Haley ancestors farms on it.

I've underestimated how valuable a resource maps were.  I'm certainly going to try and seek them out more as a research aid.

My Very Favorite Family Photo

For the 21st Edition of Smile for the Camera, the prompt is: "Give Their Face A Place." March is Women's History month and you are asked to picture women back into history. The unknown, known and unsung women who are often the foundation of our family history. Give their face a place. The interpretation is yours. Admission is free with every photograph!

Once I read the prompt I immediately knew I'd be participating and what's more, I knew exactly what picture I'd be using:



It is my absolute favorite family picture (it is also my Blogger image and the one I use on GenealogyWise). I found it in May of 2008 when my grandmother let me go through and take any and all family documents and pictures I wanted.  It was in an old box which originally held Christmas Cards (that my great-grandmother paid 59 cents for, lol). I think it is the style I love the most.  The beads, the pose, the hair, the fur rug, I just love the look of it all.

While my great-grandmother was born and raised in California, she kept in contact with her father's cousins back in Iowa and many of the pictures I have for my Wellons family were sent to my great-grandmother from these cousins.  The person in the picture above is one of those cousins. 

She is Winifred B. Wellons, born 15 June 1895 in Iowa, probably Richland in Warren County. She was the daughter of Andrew Jackson Wellons and his second wife, Susan Ellsworth.  They were in Richland until late 1910 when they went to Yakima, Yakima, Washington.  They lived there until fall of 1915 when they went back to Iowa.  You can clearly see that Winifred is wearing a wedding ring and prominently displaying it in the picture.  I don't know when she married but the picture was taken on 18 August 1913 when they were supposedly living in Yakima.  Winifred was married to Raymond Morkert and theylived in Franklin, Marion, Iowa for many years.  They had two children there, Marion A. and Marvin C.  The family was in Shelton, Mason, Washington by 1930 and Winifred and Raymond lived there the rest of their lives.  Marion died on 23 July 1934 in Shelton at sixteen.  Winifred died on 25 April 1974 in Shelton, Raymond also there on 9 October 1980 and Marvin there too on 18 January 2002.  All but Marion are buried at Shelton Memorial Park.  A directory of the interred can be found here.

Winifred was seventeen at the time this picture was taken.  If the picture was her wedding picture like I suspect, I wonder what might have been going through her mind that day.  A young girl, a bride, hopeful and in love with the world at her feet.  I don't know what place in history she'd have but I do think she represents all of us on the threshold of adulthood and marriage and the optimism that accompanies that stage in life.

This post was written for the 21st Edition of Smile for the Camera
Photo of privately held by the author of this blog, [address for private use], CA, Feb 2010
All images, including this one, are not to be reprinted, altered in any way or accredited to anyone else without the expressed, written consent of the author of this blog.

GeneaBlogger Games 2010 Diary, Day 6 (2/18) through Day 9 (2/21)

Day 6 and 7:
Nothing

Day 8:
Organizing, but nothing medal worthy

Day 9:
More organizing, but again, not medal worthy.  I've been trying different methods of organizing my digital files because I've never been happy with my original method (or lack thereof).  I haven't really found a style I like completely so I'm just going to create my own and use the elements from all the different styles I've tried that I like the most.  I also added a 7th generation to my ahnentafel page but this isn't medal worthy either. And I added some memorials to FindAGrave but sadly, I don't have any pictures to add to those memorials so I can't count them in the FindAGrave Task, too bad too because it would have gotten me a Bronze in that catagory.  RAoGK Catagory is the one I need to work on the most (and the one I want to work on the most) so that will be my concentration today (Day 9).  I'm not going to be getting a Platinum in sourcing or organizing and I'm a-okay with that.  In fact, I doubt I'll do much more in either of those catagories.  My sourcing and organizing is okay and it isn't really an area I NEED to focus on so I don't see the harm in going after the more enjoyable catagories.  I DO want a Platinum in the Write, Write, Write catagory and I'm currently working on the task that'll get me there.  But for now, my medal count is the same as its been.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

My Tizzards

This post is for Task D of the Write, Write, Write section of the 2010 GeneaBlogger Games.  While the Tizzards (also spelled Tyzard and Tisard) have one of the more unique surnames in my tree they were just regular working folk.  Farmers, laborers, maids and laundresses make up this family.  They lived in southern England, primarily the Dorset area, in rural villages except for those who went to the cities (London, Dorchester or the Weymouth area) during the Industrial Revolution.  I can't trace my line very far, it starts with William Tizzard.  He was born around 1800 in the Frampton area of Dorset.  He married Harriet Gibbons (born about 1807 in East Lulworth) in 1830 in Frampton.  Their daughter Susannah was born on 19 Nov that same year.  Their daughter Elizabeth was born about two years later, also in Dorset.  I think William died not long after this because just Harriet and the girls appear in all the later records. 

In 1841 Harriet appears with her girls (ages 10 and 8) in Frampton.  She is single and her occupation is "of independent means."  Many other "Tizards" appear on the same page so though William was gone, it seems as though Harriet had many of her husband's relatives nearby to lean on.

In 1851, Harriet is 42 and living in Sydling St. Nicolas, Dorset with her girls (ages 20 and 18).  They are living on West Street with Harriet working as a laundress and both girls working as seamstresses.  I wonder why they moved from Frampton where they clearly had family.  But, I'm glad they went to Sydling St. Nicolas because that is where Susannah's future husband was from.  In 1853 Susannah married Robert Rendle Croad and they lived in Sydling St. Nicolas the rest of their lives.  They had thirteen children and also raised their illegitimate granddaughter.  Of those fourteen children, all but four lived to adulthood.  Robert's family had long been in Sydling St. Nicolas and he carried on the family (and regionally predominant) occupation of "agricultural labourer."  Susannah also continued to work and was a seamstress during the early years of her marriage.  Robert died in 1903, Susannah in 1907.  During their lifetimes they saw their children move farther than in generations past.  Most stayed in southern England, but several went to Wales to work in the coal mines and two went to America (one around 1894, the other around the time of Susannah's death).

Harriet's other daughter, Elizabeth married George Courtney around the same time Susannah married Robert Rendle Croad.  They lived in Sydling St. Nicolas for a time before moving to Minterne Magna in the 1860s.  Harriet lived with Elizabeth and her family in 1861.  By 1871 Harriet is living in Sydling St. Nicolas on East Street (Susannah and her family are on West Street).  Harriet is a "pauper" in this census.  She dies a few years later in 1876.

Elizabeth and George Courtney have two daughters, Martha Tizzard Courtney and Jane Courtney.  Martha goes to London to work as maid and for several years worked in the household of the Bischoffsheim family who were wealthy financiers that married well (one daughter became Countess of Desart).  Martha married William Barrett and they lived in London.  After her husband's death, Martha went to Nottinghamshire to live with her sister and her family, the Greens.  Jane's husband Augustus P. Green was also a domestic (a butler).  Before going to Nottinghamshire, they also lived in London.  They had five children and went to Nottinghamshire in the mid-1890s.

Susannah Tizzard Croad was my third great-grandmother through her son Frederick Rendle who came to Michigan around 1894.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

GeneaBlogger Games 2010 Diary, Day 3 (2/15) - 5 (2/17)

Day 3:
First off, I completed my Ahnentafel page (which can be found on the left-side of this blog at the top and under pages) which falls under Task E in the Write, Write, Write section and earned me a Bronze medal there.

Next off, I made a page on Footnote for my third great-grandfather, John W. Berger.  I was actually not planning on making one of these but I'm glad I did because it was so much fun!  I plan on making many more in the future.

http://www.footnote.com/page/110565948_john_w_berger/

Doing the Footnote page is enough to get me a Platinum in the Expand Your Knowledge area.  Yay!

I also completed Tasks B and D in the Organize Your Research section so I've got a Silver there (am going for Platinum). And then I backed it all up on a flash drive and my parents' computer which is a Bronze in the Back Up Your Data! section.  While I was organizing those files, I also, FINALLY, got around to adding sources to them (23, so that's a Silver)

Day 4:
Some sourcing/organizing, but no medals.

Day 5:
I did B, C and D in the Write, Write, Write area which is enough for a Diamond there.  By the time this posts, I'll also have completed Task E in the Organize Your Research section because I'm currently scanning some letters and pictures.

Here is a breakdown of what I've done in each catagory:

1. Go Back and Cite Your Sources! - Silver
2. Back Up Your Data! - Bronze
3. Organize Your Research! - Gold
4. Expand Your Knowledge - Platinum (COMPLETED THIS SECTION)
5. Write, Write, Write - Diamond
6. Reach Out and Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness - haven't competed yet, though I've added thirty+ blogs to my Google Reader in the last two days.

I'm going to concentrate on organizing and genealogical acts of kindness over the next couple days.

Wordless Wednesday: A Typical Winter Day in California

I'm not gloating, just sayin'.

(c) The Internet Genealogist, http://www.shbwgen.blogspot.com/
Privately held by the author, [address for private use], California, February 2010

Monday, February 15, 2010

In Honor of President's Day

In honor of President's Day, I thought I'd have a little fun and figure out all the connections (non-genetic, I'm not directly related to any Presidents past or present) between my direct ancestors and all the Presidents.  Obviously, I'm not including the ancestors who were born outside the US or were loyalists and would soon be moving to Canada.

Ancestors born under each President are:
1. George Washington (1789-1797)
1. Samuel Mason, b. circa 1789 in either Kentucky, Pennsylvania or Virginia
2. Nancy Moore (wife of Samuel Mason), b. circa 1796 in either North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee or Pennsylvania
3. Martin Webb, b. circa 1797 in Ohio
2. John Adams (1797-1801)
1. Isaac Thomas Mott, b. 1800 in New York City, New York
3. Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809)
1. John Chappel Wellons, b. 1805 in Pulaski Co., Kentucky
4. James Madison (1809-1817)
1. Heman Doyle, b. 1809 in Vermont
2. Alzina Jackman (wife of Heman Doyle), b. 1810 in New York
3. Mary Johanna Rose (wife of Isaac Thomas Mott), b. 1811 in New York City, New York
4. Sarah Elizabeth Hudson (wife of John Chappel Wellons), b. 1816 in Pulaski Co., KY
5. James Monroe (1817-1825)
1. Andrew Webb, b. 1820 in Orange Co., IN
2. Priscilla Mason (wife of Andrew Webb), b. 1822 in IN
3. John R. Shinn, b. 1823 in Burlington Co., NJ
6. John Quincy Adams (1825-1829)
None
7. Andrew Jackson (1829-1837)
1. Mariah Adelaide Doyle (wife of John R. Shinn), b. 1832 in Rochester, Monroe, New York
8. Martin Van Buren (1837-1841)
None
9. William Henry Harrison (1841-1841)
None
10. John Tyler (1841-1845)
1. John William Berger, b. 1841 in German Twp., Marshall, IN
11. James K. Polk (1845-1849)
1. George Washington Wellons, b. 1849 in Pulaski Co., KY
2. Susanna vonAllmen (wife of John Berger), b. 1849 in Olney, Richland, IN
12. Zachary Taylor (1849-1850)
None
13. Millard Fillmore (1850-1853)
1. Mary Gertrude Smith Mott, b. 1852 in Benicia, Solano, CA
14. Franklin Pierce (1853-1857)
1. Heman Doyle Shinn, b. 1853 in NJ
15. James Buchanan (1857-61)
None
16. Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865)
1. Mary Anna Webb (wife of George Washington Wellons), b. 1862 in Lawrence Co., IN
17. Andrew Johnson (1865-1869)
None
18. Ulysses S. Grant (1869-1877)
1. John Grant Allen, b. 1869 in Niles, Trumbull, OH
2. Marion Wood, b. 1871 in Summit, Jackson, MI
3. Lauren Everett Healey, b. 1873 in San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
4. Katherine Nielsen (wife of Lauren Everett Healey), b. 1875, Mt. Eden, Alameda, CA
19. Rutherford B. Hayes (1877-1881)
1. Elmer John Shinn, b. 1877 in San Joaquin Co., CA
20. James A. Garfield 1881-1881)
None
21. Chester A. Arthur (1881-1885)
None
22. Grover Cleveland (1885-1889)
1. Gideon Gottlieb Berger, b. 1885 in Wabash Co., IN
23. Benjamin Harrison (1889-1893)
1. Joseph James Allen, b. 1891 in Wyman, Montcalm, MI
2. Georgiana Wellons (wife of Gideon Gottlieb Berger), b. 1891 in Siskiyou Co., CA
24. Grover Cleveland (1893-1897)
None
25. William McKinley (1897-1901)
1. Daisy May Croad (wife of Joseph James Allen), b. 1897 in Mecosta or Montcalm Co., MI
2. Gladys Viola Healey (wife of Elmer John Shinn), b. 1898 in San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
26. Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909)
None
27. William Howard Taft (1809-1913)
None
28. Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921)
None
29. Warren Harding (1921-1923)
None
30. Calvin Coolidge (1923-1929)
Three of my grandparents
31. Herbert Hoover (1929-1933)
My grandmother
32. Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1933-1945)
None
33. Harry S. Truman (1945-1953)
My parents
34. Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961)
None
35. John F. Kennedy (1961-1963)
None
36. Lyndon Johnson (1963-1969)
None
37. Richard Nixon (1969-1974)
None
38. Gerald Ford (1974-1977)
None
39. Jimmy Carter (1977-1981)
None
40. Ronald Reagan (1981-1989)
Moi!

Namesakes:
5: The number of blood relatives in my tree named after George Washington and there is possibly a sixth.
2. The number of my blood relatives named after Franklin Pierce, U. S. Grant
1: The number of blood relatives named after John Quincy Adams, Samuel K. Polk, Abraham Lincoln, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield (only one was named for him but he also named a son Garfield), Grover Cleveland, Warren Harding
Bet. 1 and 3: The number of blood relatives named after Andrew Jackson (one for sure and two others named Andrew with the initial J. who were born during or soon after Jackson's presidency)

One thing I find interesting is that my mother's family, the majority of whom came over in colonial times, was quite fond of naming children after the presidents.  But on my father's side, where all of his family were either loyalist or late comers to the US, there is hardly any instances of children named after presidents (I could only find one for sure and maybe a second). 

I don't know who each of my ancestors viewed as their favorite president, but judging by the fact that George Washington was the namesake for at least five people in my family tree, I'd assume he ranked pretty high up with a lot of them.  Since my family is Yankee through and through and has many Union veterans in it, I'd imagine Abraham Lincoln was pretty popular also.  I know my great-grandmother's favorite president was Theodore Roosevelt.  She was a young girl when he became president and I think he was the first to really leave an impression on her.  I remember her talking about "Teddy" from time to time but I wish I could remember the details such as way he was her favorite throughout her life.  As for me, I don't have a favorite but if pressed I'd like to do my great-grandmother proud and say Teddy too.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

GeneaBlogger Games 2010 Diary, Day 2 (2/14)

The catagory I've been most drawn to has been the Expand Your Knowledge one.  Yesterday, I completed Task A by using Google maps to find an ancestral location.  Today, I did a timeline (Task B), read some tutorials and articles (Task D) and created a surname map with Wordle (Task E).

For my timeline, I was planning on updating the one I did for my great x 3 grandfather, John W. Berger.  But I still don't have his pension record and so I wanted to wait until I had that so that the timeline is as complete as possible.  So instead, I did a timeline on his wife, Susanna vonAllmen.  I used TimeToast to make the timeline:

http://www.timetoast.com/timelines/39310

For Task D, I read some articles on Ancestry and FamilySearch.  There were a few good ones on California research and organizing, but the really great articles were at NEHGS.  Some of my favorites were:

Counting the People: Using Vermont Census Records
O’s By many Other Names: Common Myths About Irish Surnames
Locating Ancestral Homesteads in Rhode Island

For my Wordle (Task E), I chose to go a different route.  I've done several Wordles for my surnames but for this one, I wanted to focus on just one family.  In keeping with the theme of my timeline, I went with Susanna vonAllmen and John Berger.  Included with them are all their children and all the places where they lived or were born:

Medal Count at the end of 2/14:
1 Diamond in Expanding Your Knowledge

GeneaBlogger Games 2010 Diary, Day 1 (2/13)

Today was a bit of a bust unfortunately.  I was down with a migraine much of the day (and yesterday) but I did manage to earn a Bronze in the Expand Your Knowledge area because I completed Task A and mapped out the home of my great x 3 grandparents, Niels Christian and Engeline Christine Petersen Nielsen in 1930.  From the 1930 census I learned that they were living with their daughter Lillian and her husband, August Peterson along with two boarders. The family was at 1626 Versailles Ave., Alameda, Alameda, California in 1930.  Here is the house now:


View Larger Map

Judging by how small the house is, I wonder if it was easy living there in 1930 when the household consisted of six people.

Medal Count at the end of 2/13:
1 Bronze

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Winter 2010 GeneaBlogger Games!

I'm participating in the 2010 Winter Games brought to us by GeneaBloggers!  I doubt I'll get any Platinum medals but I think I can definitley grab a Gold or two.  But the games aren't about the awards, they're about improving and growing as a genealogists and also, of spreading goodwill to other geneabloggers.  There are several catagories of competition and much more information on the event, all of which can be found here.  First off, here is my flag:




The flag is made up of three very important flags to me.  My heritage quilt above is made up of the US flag which is the flag my allegiance is pledged to.  It is also the flag my ancestors wanted to live under and the flag they helped establish and fight for.  The next flag is the Italian flag because of my Italian heritage.  The Italian flag represents a weird dichotomy for me because it is both the part of my heritage I know the least about and yet also the part of my heritage I most identify with and was raised in.  Next is the flag of the United Kingdom because most of my ancestors came from the British Isles.  I have Welsh, Scottish, English and Irish ancestors and the flag of the United Kingdom represents all of them.  I don't want to offend any Irish out there, but I lumped my Irish heritage under the flag of the United Kingdom because it was the flag my Irish ancestors lived under (whether they liked it or not).  So that is my flag and that is what it means to me!  I'm very proud to be representing it, now, let the games begin!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Interview Questions of the Future

I've come to a bit of a crossroads lately in regards to my cell phone. I still have the first phone I ever got and for that reason, I'll be sad to let it go; but it is almost four years old and as everybody knows, in the technology world, four years is more like a hundred. While I've been debating what to do about my "cellular quandary," it dawned on me that this sort of thing will be an interview question of the future (and possibly even now if parents and grandparents are techies). I started thinking and came up with a list of interview questions for my descendents to ask (in addition to the generic "where were you born?" or "what was your father's full name?") me in about thirty years. And, since I'm a nice person, I'll provide my answers (you're welcome, future descendants!).


What was the first cell phone you ever got? When or how old were you?

I was 18, yes, you heard right, 18. My parents didn't believe in buying any child of theirs a cell phone (and I agree with them) so it was something I got once I became an adult. Before then I had to just struggle along using e-mail and a land line, tragic, I know... The first phone I got was a flip phone. It HAD to be a flip phone because ever since I was little, the flip cell phone was the essence of cool, the epitome of technological awesomeness. Now, people wouldn't be caught dead with a flip phone. C'est la vie...

What was your first e-mail address? Did it hold any special meaning? When or how old were you?

My father got his first e-mail account in the mid-1990s and I used that until I got my own. He had one of those CompuServe e-mail addresses and I remember the assigned password was "ankle lustre" and that continues to crack me up to this day. Mostly, I just had fun sending emoticons back and forth to friends. When I was in Jr. High I got my first e-mail account but I let it drop after a few months and don't really remember much about it. When I was 15 and on Yearbook in High School, an e-mail address was mandatory so I got one on Yahoo. I tried about a hundred different combinations which were all taken so in frustration I just typed in "blueomega128," blue because it is my favorite color, omega because I was playing a video game with that in the title at the time and 128 because my birthday is 12/28. I still have that e-mail account to this day, though I prefer my gmail account now. I've kept the same moniker and while it is embarrassing to tell people, it is certainly unique and easy to remember.

When was the first time you used the internet and/or "got connected?"

It was the early 1990s, I'm thinking 1993, when my dad came home with this thing called a modem. It was about the size of a bread basket and almost never worked. I remember he was up most of the night trying to set the thing up and once he did we all kind of had a "now what?" moment. It would be a few years before we ever used the internet and even then, I wasn't allowed to go online. I remember I felt like quite a little rebel when I was eight and I'd sneak online when no one was looking (though I don't think I ever did anything once I was online).

When did you get your first computer? What did it look like? Do you remember what brand it was?

We got our first computer the same time we got that modem that didn't work. I remember my parents were all excited and took me into the living room where there was this big "thing" in the middle of the room. I was totally bored because it didn't look like it was at all fun so I really didn't care less. I remember how they tried to explain to me that "you play games" and "type stuff" on it but all it looked like to me was a big box and a little TV screen on top of it. I literally remember thinking "what the hell am I going to do with that?!" (or a five year-old equivalent of that thought). I think it was a Dell, the first couple we had were Dells. Then, in 1998, we got our first HP and that's what its been pretty much ever since.

What kinds of stuff did you do on that computer?

I played different games. I remember one of them was this puzzle game with bugs and lizards and another one I liked was this weird game with elves(?) playing musical instruments. There was also Mavis Bacon and a Mario typing game in their somewhere. I was completely crazy about SimTown too, I think that was my favorite. I remember in the late 1990s, I got obsessed with playing board games on the computer and Clue and Life were my favorites. I was also crazy about Caesar III and the other city building games in the series. At school, once we got computers, the hot game was Where in the World is Carmen Sandiago? If you want to play that you pretty much had to fight someone for it. Another biggie there was Oregon Trail. I was a total Oregon (and later Yukon) Trail junkie. Ironically, doing genealogy, I found out an ancestor of actually traveled part of the Oregon Trail and wrote a diary about it. I actually think I played more computer games at school than I did at home in the beginning.

What kind of technological achievements did you see if your lifetime?

I lived through the birth and proliferation of the home PC, mass internet use, cellular phones, e-mail, instant messaging, chat rooms, websites and I'm sure I'll be adding to this list.

What things did you use or do that have been replaced (either partially or entirely) by technology?

I remember life without cell phones (and sometimes I miss those days!) and that is probably the biggest thing I remember living without. I also remember using, you know, BOOKS to get information and actually going to the library and thumbing through the card catalog to try and find one of those said BOOKS (crazy, I know!). I also remember using a typewriter, though that was more for fun than for necessity. I also used floppy disks and I remember when, gasp!, people kept paper records of things and, double gasp!, wrote stuff out by hand. And here's the biggest thing I remember (and miss), penmanship actually mattered and was taught in schools!

What was the first Apple product you ever got?

It was a second generation iPod and it wasn't mine, it was my parents', though I often stole it.  Before then we listened to music the old fashioned way, on CDs and cassette.
I'm also working on a separate set of interview questions which are television related and have to do with events in the 1990s and 2000s (like Oklahoma City and 9/11). While my grandmother doesn't have a computer and thus, can't answer any of these new interview questions, my parents can and so can some older relatives. While I'll continue to ask using the standard questions, I'm planning on integrating these types of questions into my interviews. Though a lot of these events and developments are fairly recent, I think it is important to ask about them now, while they're still fresh in the minds of those who experienced them as opposed to waiting until they're a distant memory.  If anyone can come up with any other good interview questions to add to this list or the ones I'm working on, I'd love to hear them!

UPDATE: I just thought of some questions you could add having to do with social networking such as whether you used Twitter, Facebook, BLOGS (wink! wink!), etc.  Like technology, the possible interview questions are limitless apparently.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Food for Thought on Italian Naming Patterns

While I haven't broken through my Italian brick wall (my grandmother's family), a recent find is making me wonder about some possibilities.  My great-grandfather, Giuseppe Lapiccirella had six children, three in Italy and three after the family came to Ohio in 1920 (in fact, one of them was born in Ohio one month after the family got to the States).  His first born was either named Clara or Carmella (I've seen it spelled both ways on several documents), then came Mattia (which turned into Martha once they left Italy) and then Michelena (I've seen various alternate spellings for this). 

What is interesting is that Giuseppe's brother, Nicola (aka "Nick") also lived in Warren, Ohio and had six children which included a daughter Carmella, a daughter Michalena and a son, Matteo.  Now it could just be that both brothers had a real fondness for those three names but I think it is more than that.  I think they are, in some way, family names.  Obviously, I like to think at least one of them was a parent's name but I really don't know.  One thing I find interesting is that I came across a Michele (aka Michael) Lapiccirella in an Ellis Island immigration record going to the same area in Ohio where Giuseppe and Nicola later settled.  Sadly, this is the only record of Michele I've been able to find, so I don't know how connected he was to my Lapiccirellas.  There are also a fair number of Lapiccirellas in nearby Ravenna, Ohio who I'm sure are in some way related to my Warren, Ohio Lapiccirellas.  In any case, I am now going to concentrate on any and all Carmella, Mattia or Matteo and Michele or Michalena Lapiccirellas I can find.  Of course, if I knew more about Italian naming traditions, I might have a better idea as to who (if any) the Carmellas, Mattia/Matteos, and Michalenas were named for.

Using NUCMC

This recent post immediately inspired me to check out the Library of Congress' National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC).  As per Gena's post, I started searching by clicking on "Searching the OCLC WorldCat"  I chose to search all name fields and typed in "Shinn" for two reasosns, 1) because it isn't a terribly common name and 2) because I have an ancestor that I know for sure did keep a diary and that I know for sure is at the Bancroft library at UC Berkeley.  So I went in knowing I ought to get at least one hit - I ended up getting 380!  Most of the hits were academic papers or technical articles for specific profession publications but some of the names were immediately familiar to me.  For instance, there were several mentions of Ridgway F(oulks) Shinn, the great-grandson of my third great-grandfather's brother, John Irick Shinn (so I guess he was my grandfather's third cousin).  Since Ridgway is a unique given name I remembered him as being in my tree right away.  Apparently he wrote "The right of secession in the development of the British Commonwealth of Nations,"  in 1958.  Clicking on "more on this record" gave me more information about this work and where I could find a copy of it.  Here is a screen shot of what came up when I clicked on "more on this record" from the search results:

So now everything I need to know to get a copy of Ridgway's work is available to me.  Also worth noting, if the work is available to view online a link is provided usually.

(NOTE: While it says Ridgway Foulks Shinn was born in 1922 and no death date is given, I know he died in 2006 which is why I was able to post about him)

Oh, and my third great-grandfather's diary?  It was there too:


Although I don't know why it says the diary is in "private possession."  My mother and a cousin were the ones who found it in the basement of the family home in the 1950s and once it was discovered the adults took it away and gave it to the Bancroft library in the 1960s (along with most family papers).

UPDATE:  I spoke too soon.  Immediately after typing that I found a second reference to John:

I plan on doing many more searches, not just on my surnames, but by location (like Gena suggested).  I think this will be a wonderful tool and I thank Gena for bringing it to my attention.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Transcription Monday: Death of One of California's Builders

I'm taking a break from the Mott memoir to post an obituary for my great-great-great-grandfather, Ebenezer Haley that I just found.  I've been having some luck finding family pictures online lately and Ebenezer's obituary came with a rough sketch of him so I'm including it below.

8 Dec 1897, The San Francisco Call

"LIVED NEARLY A HUNDRED YEARS

Death of Ebenezer Haley, One of the Oldest of Pioneers.
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Kept Out of Public Life, but Was One of This State's Builders.
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For Half a Century He Has Been a Busy Farmer in Alameda County
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OAKLAND OFFICE SAN FRANCISCO CALL, 908 Broadway, Dec. 7.
Had Ebenezer Haley lived till the close of the present McKinley administration he would have completed just a century of life.  This satisfaction, however, was denied him, and this morning, at his old residence at Newark, he passed away at the age of 97.

Since 1855 Mr. Haley has resided on the farm which is still in possession of his family and on which he died.  He was one of those industrious, unassuming pioneers that laid the foundation of this State.  Never heard of in politics, opposed to all kinds of publicity, he laid the foundation of his moderate fortune in the mines, after which he followed the profession of his father and located in this county.

In 1801 at Yarmouth, N. S., Ebenezer Haley was born.  His parents were pioneers of that province and the boy was brought up on the farm.  When he was 20 years of age he married, but his wife only lived three years and their son was drowned at sea in 1843.  Haley married a second time in 1832, and his five sons and three daughters are all settlers on the Pacific Coast.

As soon as the news of the California gold fields reached Nova Scotia, Haley was one of the first to come West.  He, with eighteen others, sailed from Yarmouth November 22, 1849, in the little brig Mary Jane, of only eighty tons burden.  Their cargo consisted of home frames and other building material, and among the passengers and co-operative owners were B. B. Redding and several others who have helped to make the history of this State during the last half-century.  Their brig arrived here in May, 1850, having been 183 days on the passage.  Upon his arrival in California Mr. Haley started for the mining centers, locating on the Yuba River, at Downieville and Minnesota Flats, where he remained until November, 1852.  Having obtained a snug sum of money, in that year he came to Washington Township and engaged in agriculture.  Three years later he went to Nova Scotia, intending to remain there, but after a few months he became so dissatisfied that he sold all his property and brought his entire family to Alameda County.  In November, 1855, he settled on his Newark farm and has resided there for forty-two years.  His wife lived to be over 80 years of age and died on the farm many years ago."