Monday, November 25, 2013

Recent Updates to the Wikipedia Newspaper Archive List

I didn't realize it had been a few months since I had posted about the latest links I have added to the Wikipedia newspaper archives page, but the timing worked out well — this is my 500th post!   I never would have guessed I could write so much about genealogy.

• The first addition to talk about isn't actually an archive link, it's a search engine.  Elephind (which I added under "Worldwide", since it searches sites from Australia, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, and the United States) is a free mega search for newspaper archive sites.  It never hurts to have another finding aid.

• Ireland:  The Church of Ireland Gazette has a current online archive for 2005–2011 and has posted the complete run of the newspaper for 1913 (free)
• United Kingdom:  Many issues of Colburn's United Service Magazine are available on HathiTrust; issues often listed births, deaths, etc. (free)
• United Kingdom:  Historical Newspapers has an index to the New York Times and two indices to the London Times (pay)
• Alabama:  The Alabama Citizen, a (mostly) weekly Birmingham newspaper, apparently complete from November 10, 1913 through August 10, 1918 (free)
• Alabama:  The Huntsville–Madison County Public Library online index to obituaries in its newspaper collection, currently covering 1819–2006 (free)
• Alabama:  The Tuscaloosa News, scattered issues from 1910–2000 (free)
• Colorado:  Scanned obituaries from the Fort Collins Coloradoan from 1988–2002,  courtesy of the Larimer County Genealogical Society (free)
• Indiana:  Elkhart Public Library index to obituaries in the Elkhart Truth from 1921–present (free)
• Massachusetts:  Lincoln Public Library obituary index from 1959 to "recent" (free)
• Michigan:  Name index to Dziennik Polski (Polish-language Detroit newspaper), 1904–1941; the search page uses Steve Morse's One-Step tools (free)
• Pennsylvania:  Altoona Area Public Library birth (1931–2011) and obituary (1929–present) indices (free)
• Pennsylvania:  Kutztown University database of the Kutztown Patriot, the local newspaper, with articles from 1889–1940 (free)

Don't forget, since this is Wikipedia, you also can add links to online newspaper archives that are not listed.  If you don't want to, send links to me and I will be happy to add them to the page.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Latest ZichronNote Is at the Printer

The November 2013 issue of ZichronNote is at the printer, and the electronic edition will be sent to members this week.  The main article in this issue is about how one woman was surprised to discover a possible Jewish line in her family while researching her great-grandmother, and her search for more information to prove it.  Other articles include member comments about their experiences at this year's IAJGS Conference on Jewish Genealogy, the ways in which the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society supports Jewish genealogical research around the world, and the benefits members of the society receive.

Speaking of benefits, one of them is that the most recent issues of ZichronNote are available only to members of the society. If you join (at the still very affordable annual membership rate) you get a subscription to the journal, help fund research projects, and support a hobby you enjoy.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Unidentified Portraits from India during the Raj

The illustrations in question were done in 1908, most likely in Calcutta, by an Englishman named Whitwell Tryon Nash, who spent a number of years in India prior to World War I.  He was a civil engineer and worked with both railroads and waterworks in places such as Calcutta, Cawnpore, and Kasara (to use the spellings current at that time).  After serving with the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve during the war, Nash returned to India in late 1919 and was there for some indeterminate time before immigrating to Canada, where he died in 1948.

His descendants have a number of these illustrations—clearly caricatures of people he knew and perhaps worked with—and are trying to identify them. If you think you might have an inkling of who any of these people might be, they would appreciate hearing about it.  Nine portraits are posted online; contact information is on the site.

Golf, anyone?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Portrait of a World War I Veteran

Zalmon Reuben Orlowsky was born about 1891, probably in Bachmach or Glukhov, Chernigov gubernia, Russian Empire (now Bakhmach and Hlukhiv, Chernihiv oblast, Ukraine).  When he immigrated to the United States, arriving in New York City on October 30, 1906, his father was likely already dead, as he listed his mother, Elke Orlowsky, as his closest relative in the "old country."  His occupation given on the ship manifest was merchant.  A family story says that he taught himself to read English by going back and forth between Russian and English versions of Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace.

By 1910, Zalmon, now going by the last name of Orloff and sometimes the first name of Sam, was living in New Haven, Connecticut and working as a shop laborer.  On December 16, 1914, he was naturalized as an American citizen in New Haven.  He registered for the draft on June 5, 1917, still in New Haven.  Surprisingly, he does not seem to have been enumerated in the 1917 Connecticut military census, or at least I haven't been able to find him in the database on

The state of Connecticut, to show its pride in its citizens who had served during the "War to End All Wars", published a three-volume work in 1941 with details on those citizens' service.  According to his entry (in the second book), Zalmon was inducted into the National Army on October 3, 1917 at Local Board 2.  (The number 1,912,305 isn't explained in the book; I'm thinking it might be his service number?)  He was living at 31 Anne Street, New Haven.

Zalmon was assigned to the Headquarters Company of the 319th Field Artillery Regiment through to his discharge.  He was made a corporal on December 7, 1917; a sergeant on February 1, 1918; and also a supply sergeant on February 1, 1918.  He was with the American Expeditionary Forces from May 19, 1918 to March 25, 1919.  He was honorably discharged on April 4, 1919.

From letters Zalmon wrote to his sweetheart while he was in the Army, we know that he went through basic training at Camp Gordon, Georgia.  His tour with AEF took him to France, where he was near the front lines.  As with many soldiers, he was deeply affected by what he saw during the war.

Sometime between his discharge in 1919 and the 1920 census, Zalmon moved to Detroit, Michigan, where he worked as a mechanic.  By 1924 he was married and had a son, and by 1927 they had moved to the bustling city of Chicago, where some of Zalmon's cousins lived.  He had trouble getting good work, however, and was a paper hanger from 1924 to 1930.

Zalmon survived World War I, but he did not make it through the Great Depression.  He died March 1, 1930, in Chicago.  His death was unexpected; he is buried in a section of the cemetery where the plots were sold individually, on an "as needed" basis.  He is not far from a family member, though; his sister-in-law had died the previous year in a car accident, and he is buried only two plots away from her.

I am lucky to have a friend in the Chicago area.  She tries to visit Zalmon on Veterans Day every year to let him know he is not forgotten.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Family History in Sacramento

Saturday I attended the Sacramento FamilySearch Library's annual seminar, with the theme of "Get a Clue."  I think they've held them for a few years, but this is the first time I've gone.  It was a well organized day with a good selection of talks.  There were five class periods and seven classes during each period.

I was invited to give two presentations (which is the reason I went), on online newspapers and women's maiden names.  Both of my sessions were well attended, and everyone was really enthusiastic about learning new methods to find answers to their research questions.  I love seeing people get excited about family history research!

I attended talks on military records, researching collateral lines, and adoption research.  By far the standout was the session on adoption, which I thought was appropriate, since November is National Adoption Month.  The speaker, Don Mencarini, has worked in the Adoptions Support Unit of the California Department of Social Services (DSS) for more than 27 years.  He gave lots of detailed information on how the Adoptions Support Unit can help with research and also about the limitations of what they can reveal.  The unit has records going back to 1928 and handles all of them under California's closed adoption laws, even though California didn't actually seal adoption records until 1935.  Mencarini was very surprised to learn, however, that before adoption records were sealed they were indexed with other civil cases in county superior courts.  (Yeah, I'm the one who told him that.)  He also told us that DSS has a record of all adoptions in California.  I am very happy I learned about this useful resource.