Saturday, July 30, 2016

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Female Ancestors' Ages at Death

The project for this week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun is kind of an extension of one Randy Seaver did this past April, when he asked people to figure out the lifespans of their great-great-grandparents.

Here is your assignment if you choose to play along (cue the Mission:  Impossible music, please!):

1) Review your pedigree chart (either on paper or in your genealogy management software program) and determine the age at death of your female ancestors back at least five generations (and more if you want to).

2)  Tell us the lifespan in years for each of these ancestors.  Which of your female ancestors in this group lived the longest?  Which lived the shortest?  

3)  Share your results in your own blog post, in a comment to this post, or on Facebook or Google+.

So here are my female ancestors for whom I have at least approximate birth and death years in my family tree program:

• Myra Roslyn (Meckler) Sellers Preuss, 1940–1995, 54 years

• Anna (Gauntt) Strickland, 1893–1986, 93 years
• Lillyan E. (Gordon) Meckler, 1919–2006, 87 years

• Laura May (Armstrong) Sellers Ireland, 1882–1970, 88 years
• Sarah Libby (Brainin) Gordon, about 1885–1963, about 77 years
• Jane (Dunstan) Gauntt, 1871–1954, 83 years
• Minnie Zelda (Nowicki) Meckler, about 1880–1936, about 56 years

• Amelia (Gibson) Gauntt, about 1831–1908, about 77 years
• Sarah Ann Deacon (Lippincott) Armstrong, 1860–about 1927, about 67 years
• Martha (Winn) Dunstan, 1837–1884, 47 years
• Ruchel Dwojre (Jaffe) Brainin, about 1868–1934, about 66 years
• Esther Leah (Schneiderman) Gorodetsky, about 1874–1908, about 34 years
• Dobe (Yelsky) Nowicki, about 1858–1936, about 78 years

• Frieda (Bloom) Yelsky, about 1838–about 1898, about 60 years
• Jane (Coleclough) Dunstan, about 1811–1865, about 54 years

And that's everyone I have entered in my database.  I have more names and dates for the Gauntt lines, but I haven't had time to enter that information.

The longest lived I know about in those five generations was my paternal grandmother, Anna (Gauntt) Stradling, partner of Bertram Lynn Sellers, Sr., who lived to be 93 years old.  The shortest by far was Esther Leah (Schneiderman) Gorodetsky, wife of Victor Gorodetsky, who died at about 34 years old.

The average age for these 15 women (I have fewer than half the number Randy has!) is a little more than 70 years.  (Well, I used to have more, until I went and proved that Elmer was my grandfather's adoptive father.)  The averages for each generation are:
• Mother:  54 years
• Grandmothers:  90 years
• Great-grandmothers:  76 years
• Great-great-grandmothers:  62 years
• 3x-great-grandmothers:  57 years

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Treasure Chest Thursday: Addresses for Emma Schafer's Siblings

This week's document is one small piece of lined paper, 4 15/16" x 7 15/16".  It's yellowish-green with no watermark.  It reminds me of the pages you see in a stenographer's notebook, but there are no perforations indicating it was torn from a book.  The writing is in pencil in a strong hand.  I'm pretty sure it's Jean La Forêt's handwriting.  It is undated.

-- >< -- >< -- >< -- >< --

Mrs. Louisa Schaefer
nee Curdt
c/o - C. Fred Schaefer
Route 28 – Box
P.O. Overland, Mo.
(Ashby Road)

Mrs. Alvina Schulte
c/o Edw. H. Schulte
Route 28, Box 89
P.O. Overland, Mo.
(Ashby Road)

Aug. Curdt and wife
Mathilda nee Schulte
Clayton Road #1
P.O. Clayton, Mo.

-- >< -- >< -- >< -- >< --

Maybe Jean made this list to keep it handy while he and Emma were living in Missouri.  I wonder why it's on this paper and not one of the pages in his journal.

It's nice to have the siblings' names with those of their spouses.  Emma didn't include the spouses' names in her writings.

Louisa and Alvina appear to have lived down the street from each other, although Louisa's box number was left out.  We learned from Jean's list of dates that he went to Overland in 1918 (although Emma said in her handwritten narrative that he came in 1919), so he and Emma were apparently living close by.

In my comments on the second part of Emma's narrative, I mentioned that some surnames kept popping up.  From this list of addresses, we can add another Schulte to the family.  So Emma's oldest daughter, one of her sisters, and her brother married Schultes.  This is sounding even more like an insular community.  Or maybe they were all part of the conspiracy?

Monday, July 25, 2016

Could "Bertram" and "Bertolet" Be Named for the Same "Bert"?

Bertolet Grace Sellers birth certificate, March 6, 1921, father "unknown"

I've written previously about how I proved that the man my great-grandmother married was my grandfather's adoptive father.  Of course, once I did that, my new task became the search for my grandfather's biological father.

The starting point for this search has been going back over some of the information that led me to suspect in the first place that Elmer might not have been Grampa's father:

• no father's name was listed on Grampa's birth certificate

• father's name was added to Grampa's amended birth certificate in 1940, 22 years after Elmer (the supposed father) had died

• my grandaunt told me that my grandfather, Bertram Lynn, was named after a close family friend, even though he was the oldest son

• my great-grandmother had a daughter three years after her husband had died and named her Bertolet

The last two in particular have really had my mind whirling.  Not only do Bertram and Bertolet have "Bert" in common, let's face it, "Bertolet" isn't exactly your garden-variety, everyday name.  I started thinking, Hey, maybe this guy's name really was Bert-something (maybe Bertram?), and Laura and he got together again after Elmer died.  That's why she named her daughter Bertolet, after him.

I figured the most direct way to try to find the answer was obtaining Bertolet's birth and death certificates.  Makes sense, right?  So when my sister told me she was going to Trenton again to visit the state archives, I asked her to look for Bertolet.

She found both of the certificates.  But . . . Laura foiled us again.  Neither certificate lists the father!  So much for the easy route.  That woman sure liked to keep her secrets.

Bertolet Grace Sellers death certificate, January 11, 1927, father "not known"

While there could be several reasons why Laura declined to state that particular piece of information (twice!), I'm leaning toward him being married.  My sister, on the other hand (who is named after our great-grandmother), came up with a really complicated theory:

What if our great-grandfather was a married man (most likely) and wanted to name his child Bertram.  Laura gets pregnant and "Papa Lynn" insists he'll take the child away from her . . . IF it's a boy.  Laura doesn't want the child taken away from her, so declares the child a female and names "her" Gertrude on the birth certificate.

Actually calling/naming Grandpa Bertram Lynn was thumbing her nose at Papa Lynn, even though she corrected the BC years later.

In the meantime, Papa Lynn goes on with his life and Laura marries Elmer.

Papa Lynn HAS his baby boy and names him Bertram.

But wait . . . Papa Lynn was NOT a married man, but Laura's childhood sweetheart from an affluent family!  She was their domestic!  He was a few years younger and his family frowned upon the older Laura.  The family threatens to take her male offspring, so she names him Gertrude and then marries Elmer.

Elmer dies and Laura reaches out to Papa Lynn to confess her secret.  They rekindle the flame and create Bertolet.

How's that for melodrama?

Whatever the reason was, we didn't get the answer we were hoping for.  Now I'm working on the Y-DNA angle.  My father has a match at 111 – 4 markers, which means something like 6th cousins.  Luckily, the guy has a bare-bones family tree on FTDNA.  I'm working it backward and bringing every male line forward in time, hoping to find someone who plausibly could have been in Burlington County, New Jersey (or Philadelphia as a reasonable second possibility) in 1902.

In a funny coincidence, the man who matches my father has an Irish name.  Maybe that Ancestry DNA test will prove to be right about my Irish ancestry after all?

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: How Many Place Names in Your Family Tree Database?

Another Saturday, another chance to play with the statistics in our family tree databases!  This week for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun Randy Seaver asked people to count the locations appearing in their databases:

Here is your assignment if you choose to play along (cue the Mission:  Impossible music, please!):

Go into your genealogy management program (GMP; either software on your computer or an online family tree) and figure out how to count how many places (e.g., towns, counties, states, countries) you have in your family tree database.

2)  Tell us which GMP you're using and how you did this task.

3)  Tell us how many place names are in your database and, if possible, which place has the most entries.  If this excites you, tell us which surnames [places?][ are in the top 5!  Or 10!!  Or 20!!!

4)  Write about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this blog post, in a status or comment on Facebook, or in Google+ post.

I use Family Tree Maker 16.  I was unable to learn much information from my lovely family tree program for this task.

First I had to figure out where I could get a list of the locations that appear in my database.  Searching through the help index got me nowhere, notwithstanding Randy's suggestion to look for "count places."  (My FTM doesn't call them "places"; they are "locations.")  So I started working my way through each menu.  Under "View" I clicked "Map", which finally gave me something:

According to this minimal information, I have 3,591 different locations, 3,431 of which the program was able to locate.  I didn't ask it to check for the other 160 locations, as this computer is not connected to the Internet.

After I clicked OK, the output was 41 pages long.  The locations were in alphabetical order based on how they were entered in the program.  I would have to go through the entire list and rearrange them manually to learn anything useful.

This is probably the worst disappointment I've had when trying to find informtion in FTM.

If anyone out there knows a more useful way to find this information in Family Tree Maker, I would appreciate learning about it!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Treasure Chest Thursday: The Marriage Certificate of Jean La Forêt and Emma Schafer

Now that I've finished up with Jean La Forêt's journal, I'm back to regular documents, and the first one is Jean and Emma's actual marriage certificate from 1908!  And I thought I was going to need to order it from Duval County.  (I may still try to get a copy of the marriage license application, if it still exists.)  Please forgive the imperfect image; I had to scan it in two parts, and my tiling was inexact.  But you can pretty much see everything.

This piece of paper is 12" x 9 3/8" and yellowish; it might have originally been white.  It's about a 20# bond weight.  There is a watermark, though I can't tell exactly what it is; it seems to be an image of a person, apparently a man, because he's wearing pants.  The head is cut off.  This was a blank form that was filled in after the marriage was performed.  The Justice of the Peace's seal is impressed in the lower left corner.  In the upper left corner, a newspaper clipping was pasted onto the certificate.

The paper was folded twice as though to fit in an envelope.  In addition, the far right side was folded over about a quarter of an inch, which I did not notice until now, so it was scanned with that fold.

Following the transcription of the certificate is a transcription of the newspaper clipping.

-- >< -- >< -- >< -- >< --




I have this day joined in


 Mr. Jean L. LaForest         of  Poblo Beach       State of    Florida           
~~ AND ~~
 Mrs. Emma Schafer Petit  of  Poblo Beach       State of    Florida           

according to the laws of the State of   Florida                      and that there were present as witnesses

W. R. Coulter                          of Jacksonville  Florida 
G. W. Wilkinson                      of Poblo Beach  Florida 


Dated Jacksonville Florida May 7th 1908                    E E Willard 
                                                                               Justice of the Peace 


-- >< -- >< -- >< -- >< --

May 7 1908
Marriage Licenses Issued.—Yesterday Edward H. Satchell and Annie L. Lauterwitch (and to-day Jean L. LaForest and Mrs. Emma Schafer-Petit secured licenses to marry.)

-- >< -- >< -- >< -- >< --

What struck me immediately as I began to transcribe this was the spelling of Jean's last name.  Both on the certificate and in the newspaper announcement of the marriage license it is spelled LaForest.  Now the name as it appears on the photograph from Pablo Beach makes more sense.  But I wonder why Jean's name was spelled this way in Florida.

The next thing that jumped out at me was "Poblo" Beach.  Judging by the same photograph, that wasn't the way everyone spelled it.  Maybe it was an idiosyncracy of Justice Willard.

I wonder what was blacked out in the lower left, before the words "Jacksonville, Fla."  When I look at it under a bright light, it seems to be three words covered by felt marker (or whatever the equivalent writing implement was in 1908).  I think I can make out "Co." at the end, so maybe it was simply the company that printed the forms.  But why black it out?

Jean and Emma got their marriage license and married the same day.  I thought it was a sweet touch that someone marked Jean and Emma's listing with parentheses on the newspaper clipping.  I've never seen a license announcement glued to a marriage certificate before.

It was entertaining to compare the actual marriage certificate with the transcription that Emma submitted with her application for a pension based on Jean's military service.  Not counting discrepancies with punctuation (of which there were several), I found six differences between the original and the transcription:  LaForet instead of LaForest; Pablo instead of Poblo (three times); the second witness was listed as Wilkerson, but it's actually Wilkinson; and 7 instead of 7th in the date.  That's significantly worse than the differences in transcription of Emma's divorce decree.  So much for the "true and correct copy" certified by notary W. T. Kelley!

-- >< -- >< -- >< -- >< --

-- >< -- >< -- >< -- >< --

The marriage certificate was in this envelope when I received it.  I'm not sure whose writing this is, but it's likely either Jean's or Emma's.  I like the little doodle at the bottom of the back side of the envelope.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A New "Where I'm From" Poetry Project

George Ella Lyon, the 2015–2016 Kentucky State Poet Laureate, wrote the original "Where I'm From" poem in 1993 after being inspired by a poem in Stories I Ain't Told Nobody Yet.  The idea is to write about the people, places, and things that have influenced you and your life.  As a writing exercise, the idea has continued to inspire others and has been used around the world.  Lyon has said, "Its life beyond my notebook is a testimony to the power of poetry, of roots, and of teachers."

For Saturday Night Genealogy Fun one week in November 2015, Randy Seaver suggested his readers write a poem for the "Where I'm From" contest being held by Lisa Louise Cooke of Genealogy Gems.  I wrote a poem and posted it on my blog.  I also submitted it to the Genealogy Gems contest (and won a premium subscription).

The exercise of writing a "Where I'm From" poem is still popular with many genealogical societies.  The Santa Clara County (California) Historical and Genealogical Society (SCCHGS) currently has its own project for would-be poets and would love to hear from more people.  It isn't really a contest, as the poems will not be judged.  Everyone who submits a poem will receive a small gift and have their names put into a drawing for prizes, which include cash and a year's subscription to  Those who mention Santa Clara County by name or an identifiable landmark in Santa Clara County in their memory poems will be entered into an additional drawing.

If your interest has been piqued, more details about the project can be found here.  Drawings for prizes will take place at the SCCHGS meeting on October 18.  To be eligible for the drawings, you need to submit your poem by August 31, 2016.

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The 2016 Civil War Teacher Institute in Richmond, Virginia

I've just returned from a great educational opportunity.  The annual Civil War Teacher Institute is an event run by the Civil War Trust, and they really respect and appreciate educators.  Attendance is actually free — when you register you pay a deposit of $100, but it's refunded after you attend.  They just want to make sure you're serious.

The institute is targeted primarily at K–12 teachers and museum professionals, but educators and historians of all types are welcome.  When I told people that I taught family hyistory, that seemed to fit right in.  And even though the approach for the workshops and tours was from big-H history, it was not difficult to see family history aspects of almost everything I learned.

The 2016 institute was held in Richmond, Virginia.  Things started Thursday night with a reception and buffet dinner.  One of the speakers was Reggie Harris, a performer who has created dialogs and songs to educate people about the Underground Railroad and other aspects of the historical conditions of black people in this country, particularly around the time of the Civil War.

We had Friday morning to ourselves (breakfast that day being the only meal not provided).  Instead of sightseeing, I headed over to the Library of Virginia for some on-site research (and I am now the proud owner of a Library of Virginia library card!).  Then everyone met at the host hotel for a buffet lunch, where the speaker was author and former teacher Kevin Levin.  He subject was that, no matter what people say, the Confederate flag is and always has been a symbol of racism and white supremacy.  By extension, notwithstanding high-minded speeches about states' rights and sovereignty, from the Southern perspective the Civil War was about maintaining the institution of slavery, pure and simple.  He made his points passionately, giving several excellent examples to illustrate them.  (It was a shame that the keynote speaker for the Saturday night banquet resorted to the jaded claim of "Federalism versus states' rights" as the cause of the war, but some people will always cling to their rationalizations.)  Levin is currently working on a book about the black "body servants" (i.e., slaves) that many Confederate officers brought with them to battles and the persistent myth (many, many times disproved) that these men "fought" as armed soldiers.

In the afternoon six different workshops were offered in three tracks.  I passed on "Richmond in the Civil War" and "Using Art to Teach the American Revolution."  I first chose "Teaching Civil War Military History by Accident", which ended up being about using simplified miniatures rules to get students interested in studying military history.  The instructor, John Michael "Mike" Priest, uses 54 mm figures becaue they're easier for small hands to maneuver, and cards because they're a little easier than dice and less of a swallowing hazard.  (I participated in the demo later in the day and led the winning side.)  The same person taught the second session I went to, "Locating and Evaluating Civil War Primary Sources for the Classroom", on online sites for historical primary sources.  He listed several sites I am familiar with, such as and Chronicling America, but some on the list were new to me, such as War Papers of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS) and Pennsylvania Volunteers of the Civil War.

For the third session I seriously considered going to the talk about "Civil War Navies:  Brown and Blue Water Warfare" (I'm a sucker for a Navy man), but fortuitously I chose instead to go to Jesse Aucoin's presentation on "Journey through Hallowed Ground."  This is a project to plant a tree within a designated National Heritage Area for each of the more than 620,000 soldiers, Union and Confederate, whose deaths were caused by the Civil War.  (Men who died after the war due to injuries or illness from the war are eligible.)  As part of the project, research done on each man is added to his public page on the Fold3 "Honor Wall."  Currently the organization has been reaching out to schools and having students research soldiers as class projects, but I thought this looked like something a lot of genealogists would be interested in.  I'm going to be talking with Jesse about modifying her presentation to target genealogists, and I hope to start speaking about the project in the Bay Area next year.

Battery 5 of the Dimmock Line
On Saturday, after a lovely breakfast buffet, we had our first day of field trips.  The choices were "The Bloody Battles for Richmond", "400 Years of History on the Peninsula", and "In the Trenches at Petersburg", which is what I opted for.  The first half of the day was spent at Petersburg National Battlefield, where at our first stop National Park Service Ranger Grant Gates demonstrated how General Ulysses S. Grant cut off General Robert E. Lee's supply lines to Petersburg by creating a human map on the grounds.  He asked for volunteers and designated them as Grant, Lee, the cities of Richmond and Petersburg, and the five railroad lines coming out of Petersburg.  The rail lines were represented by strings held on one end by each of the rail heads and on the other by Petersburg.  Gates had Grant and Lee bounce off each other in a circle around Richmond, with Lee between Grant and Richmond, to show how Lee was able to block Grant from his original goal of taking that city.  Then Grant walked about the perimeter of Petersburg, stopping at each rail line and cutting the string.  (I was Boydton Plank Road and South Side Railroad.)  It was a clear illustration of how Grant stretched out Lee's men and slowly cut off his supply lines.

photo courtesy of 
Jean-Marie Bronson
This location has some surviving earthworks and interpretive displays, including one board explaining that earthworks were created with slave labor.  This area was owned by the Josiah Jordan family.  Their house was destroyed, and a small depression in the earth is what remains to mark the spot.  A small family cemetery is fenced off from the main grounds; the rangers don't include it in their talks.

The next stop was "The Crater."  I had never heard of the Battle of the Crater, but now I know it was where, in July 1864, Union forces dug a tunnel underneath and blew up a Confederate battery, Elliott's Salient, leaving a sizable hole in the ground.  It was where USCT soldier Decatur Dorsey earned a Medal of Honor through his actions as the color bearer of the 39th Regiment.  Unfortunately, it was also where about 200 USCT soldiers were massacred, most by Confederates but some by their own Union comrades.  The Union lost this engagement, and Lieutenant General A. P. Hill paraded the intermixed black and white prisoners of war through the streets of Petersburg to horrify the populace.  We were told this was the first time Southern troops had actually faced black soldiers in combat.

William Mahone, the Confederate general in command at the Crater, surprised everyone during Reconstruction by creating a mixed black and white political party, the Readjusters.  While it appears he did so for purely pragmatic reasons, not because his opinion of black people had actually changed, it forever tainted Virginians' views of him.

The latter part of the day was spent at Pamplin Historical Park/Museum of the Civil War Soldier.  This is an educational complex with two museums; reconstructed models of a plantation big house and slave quarters; reconstructions of Civil War era earthworks, so visitors can get an idea of what it was like to behind a bunker; antebellum homes; even a soldiers' camp.  The large plot of land was donated by Robert B. Pamplin, Sr. and Dr. Robert B. Pamplin, Jr., descendants of the slave-owning family that owned the original plantation on whose grounds the complex now stands.  It looks like the family came out pretty well after the war.

After a buffet lunch in the museum dining room, we had an hour in the main building, the Museum of the Civil War Soldier.  This has a unique audio set-up.  You choose one of thirteen historical soldiers, and a docent programs your choice into your audio player.  On entering each room in the museum, the audio kicks in automatically and gives you a two- to three-minute overview of the subject, e.g., camp life, hospitals, etc.  In each room are several numbered cards for different subjects.  You punch in a number, and you hear a short piece about your soldier, in his own words.  At the end you find out if your soldier lived through the war.  I chose Alexander Heritage Newton, the only USCT soldier on the list (there were no Jewish soldiers available).  He survived the war, became a minister, and wrote an autobiography which included information about his USCT unit.  One of the choices is a young drummer boy, intended for use by school children (he also survived the war).

After this museum, we went outside to the big house and slave quarters area, where the foundation is now growing a garden similar to what the slaves would have had.  Then we headed to the soldiers' camp, where a reenactor described some of the daily life of a Confederate or Union soldier.  After a short rifle demonstration, he rounded up some volunteers and marched them around in the sunny 95/95 weather (95 degrees and 95 percent humidity) while the rest of us watched from the shade.

At the Saturday evening banquet, former University of Georgia football coach Vince Dooley was one of the speakers.  Dooley earned a Master's degree in history and apparently has maintained an interest in the subject.

Sunday we had another lovely buffet breakfast (did you notice that all meals but one were included as part of the program?) before the last field trips.  This time the options were "Lincoln in Richmond" and "Hollywood Cemetery."  I'm a genealogist, so of course I chose the cemetery.  I shouldn't have.  The program gave no warning about the amount of walking up and down hills that would be required, and I couldn't keep up.  Before I gave up and headed back to the cemetery entrance to wait for everyone else, I did see some of the cemetery's sights:
• Confederate graves as far as the eye can see, many of which had faded flags next to them, probably still there from Memorial Day
• A massive memorial pyramid, built in 1869, dedicated to the more than 18,000 Confederate enlisted dead buried in the cemetery
• The famous iron "black dog", a guardian over the grave of a little girl
• A large memorial to Jewish Confederate soldiers
• A monument to George Pickett, of Pickett's Charge

The description of Pickett reminded me a lot of George Armstrong Custer.  Pickett was the last in his class at West Point, had a huge ego, was very proud of his shoulder-length hair, and was extraordinarily devoted to his wife.  In addition, after he died, his wife wrote glowing, heavily exaggerated stories about him.  He was the Confederacy's version of Custer!

This was a wonderful program, and I am very happy I was able to attend.  If you teach history, if you are fascinated by the Civil War, I encourage you to consider going next year.  At the Saturday night banquet, it was confirmed that the 2017 institute will be in Memphis, Tennessee, though the dates are not yet posted.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: How Many Ancestors Did You "Meet"?

Randy Seaver has another fun question for this week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun:

Here is your assignment, if you choose to play along (cue the Mission:  Impossible music, please!): 

1) Write down which of your ancestors that you have met in person (yes, even if you were too young to remember them).

2) Tell us their names, where they lived, and their relationship to you in a blog post, in comments to this post, or in comments on Facebook.

These are my ancestors whom I have met:

Myra Roslyn (Meckler) Sellers Preuss (1940–1995), my mother, lived in Brooklyn, New York; Miami, Florida; Los Angeles County, California; Sydney, New South Wales, Ausralia; Okaloosa County, Florida (two separate stints); Villa Tasso, Florida; and San Antonio, Texas (and possibly Chicago and Hawaii).  (She died in Okaloosa County.)

Bertram Lynn Sellers, Jr. (1935– ), my father, has lived in multiple locations in New Jersey; multiple locations in New York; Sanford, Florida; Miami, Florida; Los Angeles County, California; Sydney, New South Wales, Ausralia; Okaloosa County, Florida (two separate stints); Villa Tasso, Florida; Mossy Head, Florida; Cleveland, Ohio; and San Antonio, Texas.

Abraham Meckler (1912–1989), my maternal grandfather, lived in Brooklyn, New York; Miami, Florida; Las Vegas, Nevada; Margate, Florida; and I think Sunrise, Florida (until his death in one of the two latter locations).

Lillyan E. (Gordon) Meckler (1919–2006), my maternal grandmother, lived in Manhattan; Brooklyn, New York; Miami, Florida; Las Vegas, Nevada; Margate, Florida; Sunrise, Florida; and then in Carson City, Nevada until her death.

Sarah Libby (Brainin) Gordon (about 1890–1963), my great-grandmother (mother of Lillyan), lived in Kreuzburg, Russian Empire (now Krustpils, Latvia) and Manhattan, where she died.  I have no documentation that I met her, but my mother told me that she took me to Florida to meet her grandmother while I was still a babe in arms, and my father remembers the event also.

Bertram Lynn Sellers, Sr. (1903–1995), my paternal grandfather, lived in multiple locations in New Jersey; multiple locations in New York; and Okaloosa County, Florida (that I know of).  He died in Niceville, Okaloosa County.

Anna (Gauntt) Stradling (1893–1986), my paternal grandmother, lived in multiple locations in New Jersey; multiple locations in New York; Sanford, Florida; Jacksonville, Florida; maybe somewhere else in Florida?; and Chisago City, Minnesota, where she died.  (And likely more places I don't know about.)

Laura May (Armstrong) Sellers Ireland (1882–1970), my great-grandmother (mother of Bertram Sr.), died eight years after I was born, but I never met her.  The rest of my ancestors died well before I was born.

So I have met only seven of my ancestors, one fewer than Randy, and one of those I have no recollection or proof of.  And Randy thought eight was a low number!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Treasure Chest Thursday: The Last Pages from Jean La Forêt's Journal

We've reached the end of the pages in Jean La Forêt's journal that have entries on them.  These pages seem to be notes rather than something organized.  Maybe these were just pieces of information Jean wanted to remember and keep track of.  None of this writing requires translation.

-- >< -- >< -- >< -- >< --

Marie Josephine Leonie Adrienne – 1 fevr. 74

Pauline – Eugen Stein
Eugen Messein.

Fred Frantz & Joe
Endert – Crescent City

63 – rue Ramey, Paris

Mabel Cornwell – Vaughan – Gallegly
Mrs. Harve A. Gallegly.
Dazey – North Dakota

Henry Pelissier – Sonoma
Lawrence Villa —

John Steiner — " —

Mrs. Curdt Elizabeth
Wellston, Mo.

Mr. Otto Villamarin
Calle Real, Paris Saloon

Major General Tom Barry, comdt
West-Point Military Academy

Marie Robert
rue le Regratier #8

Elisa Dudot
rue St Bernard #11

Tony Kaul
Sablon(?) – Pont-à-Mousson
Elsie Fachette

Wilson B. Morse
Athlone, St Joaquin Valley

Marion P. Mauss [sic], Gen'l

Louis Soudieux – Salonns[?]

Les Messeins  — " —

Oscar & Ferdinand Levy

-- >< -- >< -- >< -- >< --

As with the list of birthdays last week, some of these are names we've seen before, but most are totally new.  Adrienne's full name is very pretty.  About halfway down the list is Emma's mother, Elizabeth Curdt, in Wellston, Missouri.  And near the end of the list is Wilson B. Morse.  He's the man Jean visited May 14 to June 14, 1890.

Jean had a Pauline in his birthday list, but her last name was Cohen.  Maybe Pauline Cohen married Eugen Stein?  But is Eugen Stein the same man as Eugen Messein?

Some names appear to be people Jean met on his travels bu didn't mention previously.  We know he was in Crescent City and Cavite.  Considering the problems he had in Crescent City, I'm surprised he cared to remember anyone there.

The Paris address might have been Adrienne's, since the photograph of her has Paris written on it.  With no context for the other names, I have no idea who they were.  I'm sure many cities have a rue St Bernard, but maybe not as many have a rue le Regratier.  Jean has left me another mystery to work on.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Personal Research Projects Seeking Information and Participants

Usually the projects I write about are posted on public Web pages, often by organizations rather than individuals.  These, however, are smaller scale, people who sent messages to e-mail groups I'm in.  I checked with each of them beforehand to see if a little extra publicity about the projects might be helpful.

The Dora
Joke Stans is a graduate student at the University of Antwerp, Belgium, currently writing a Master's thesis about a Jewish refugee ship named the Dora.  This ship sailed from Amsterdam (with a stopover in Antwerp on 17 July 1939) to Palestine and arrived on 12 August 1939 at Sheffaym Beach.  The research is on the passengers who embarked in Antwerp and on the organization of the illegal Zionist undertaking (from the Belgian perspective).

The hope is to find more information concerning contacts between the Belgian authorities/leaders and the Palestinian, British, and Dutch embassies (a lot of organization on account of the Dutch Jewish Committee) or other representatives in the case of the Dora.

Perhaps information exists about contacts between Belgian Jewish committees (Belgian Zionist Federation, Jewish relief committees in Antwerp and Brussels) and governmental authorities or between different Jewish organizations (Hagana, which organized the trip; HICEM; Mossad l'Aliyah Bet; the Joint; Dutch Jewish committees).  So far five pages have been discovered in the State Archives in Brussels, but that is all.

The Belgian government offered assistance for the trip but denied its part in the undertaking to British emmissaries.

It is unknown so far who took the lead in this in Belgium, but perhaps Max Gottschalk had a role in the organization of the trip.  In addition, the Torczyner and Kubowitsky families were involved in one way or another.

Joke is also searching for databases and information about the places where the passengers on the ship prepared for the trip (hachshara).  Already known is a database for training farms in Germany.

Some people did their hachshara in Villers-la-Ville, Belgium.  Because a lot of the passengers on the Dora came to Belgium from Austria and Poland, they might have done their hachshara in Poland and Austria, so a list of those locations would also be helpful.  Probably the majority of the passengers did the hachshara somewhere, but this is not definitely known.

If you know of any information which could be helpful to Joke's research, please contact her at

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The father of SFBAJGS board member Preeva Tramiel created a shelter for Jews to hide in toward the end of World War II, somewhere near Munkacs or Kaschau or in between.  She is looking for names of and information about people he saved.  Does anyone have parents who escaped the camps by hiding in a building used by the Germans to repair vehicles?  Or have you heard a story about the shelter?  If so, please contact Preeva at

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Stephen Ankier is conducting research on the massacres in Słonim, Belarus during World War II.  He would like to hear from anyone who was a witness to the massacres in Słonim, who has relevant reliable information or documents about those events, or who has information about events that occurred in Słonim prison.  He is particularly looking for documents and photos that can be shared showing the names of any voluntary auxiliary policemen who worked for the Nazi SS in Słonim — in the prison or transporting prisoners from the prison to the death pits or active executioners — during the period 1941–1944.

Any assistance is appreciated, as even one small fragment of information can often lead to others.  If you can help, contact Stephen Ankier at

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Michael Waas, a Master's candidate in Jewish history at the University of Haifa, is looking for individuals to participate in a study of Western Sephardi paternal DNA lineages.  Thanks to a generous grant, testing kits will be provided at no cost to participants.  Eligible men are those who are direct paternal-line descendants of the Western Sephardi community.

What is the Western Sephardi community?  The Western Sephardim were arguably the original transnational people in the age of Imperialism and Colonialism, transcending religious boundaries and empires.  Western Sephardim had significant communities in Amsterdam, London, Livorno, Venice, Bordeaux, and Southwest France and their daughter communities in the New World in Curacao, Suriname, and North America.  Western Sephardim also went to the Ottoman Empire, most notably to Izmir, Salonika, and Tunis.

Anyone who is of direct paternal descent from those communities is eligible.  Michael himself is part of the testing cohort, representing the Vaz Lopes family of Bordeaux and Amsterdam.  As part of the testing, he will also need an accurate paternal genealogy, with as much information as each participant can provide.

The goal of this project is to try to shed light on the origins of the Western Sephardi community and to establish a strong dataset of DNA results, grounded in strong archival research and results that could lead to further intensive studies of Sephardim.

The aim is to have at least 50 men tested for the project.  It is planned to publish the results of the study.  Participants' privacy will be protected.

Please contact Michael if you are interested in participating or know someone who might be eligible.  He is happy to answer any questions!  His e-mail address is

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Ancestor With Most Census Entries

This week's challenge for Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun is one of my favorite types, where I get to look through my records for information I hadn't thought about before:

Here is your assignment if you choose to play along (cue the Mission Impossible music, please!): 

1)  Do you know which of your ancestors appears the most times in the census records?  How many years?  Are there duplicate entries?  

2)  Describe that ancestor's entries in the records in a blog post of your own, in a comment to this blog post, or on Facebook or Google+.

I don't think it's fair to count censuses for which I have no copies, because there is no guarantee someone was actually enumerated (as I know from frustrating personal experience).  So far the most census entries I have found for an ancestor is eleven, for my great-grandfather Thomas Kirkland Gauntt:

1870:  Thomas was born May 23, 1870 in Fairview, Medford Township, Burlington County, New Jersey and was enumerated in the U.S. population census on June 28 in Medford Township with his parents, James and Amelia (Gibson) Gauntt, and older siblings Charles, John, James, Sarah, and William.  Although Thomas was not enumerated twice, his brother Charles was; on July 14 Charles was in Evesham Township in Burlington County.

1880:  In the 1880 U.S. population census, Thomas was enumerated with his parents, James and Amelia, older brother William, and baby brother Samuel.  The census taker came by on June 15, and the family was living in Mt. Laurel, Burlington County, New Jersey.

1885:  In the 1885 New Jersey state census, Thomas is not living with his family but is working as a farm laborer in Centre, Camden County.

1895:  The 1895 New Jersey state census is the first in which Thomas is enumerated with my great-grandmother Jane Dunstan; they married on September 2, 1891.  What's interesting is that they were living in Centre, Camden County, but without their two children, born in 1892 and 1893.  I'm still looking for the children, especially since one is my grandmother.

1900:  In the 1900 U.S. population census, Thomas Gauntt, a farm laborer, was enumerated on June 27 in Mt. Laurel, Burlington County, New Jersey.  Also in the household were his wife, Jane Gauntt, and children Frederick, Anna (my grandmother!), Carrie, and Mary.

1905:  In the 1905 New Jersey state census, Thomas was enumerated in Burlington County.  Also in the household were Jane and children Anna, Carrie, Mary, and Edna.

1910:  In the 1910 U.S. population census, Thomas was working as an insurance agent and living in Mt. Holly, Northampton Township, Burlington County, New Jersey.  Family members living with him were Jane and children Anna, Carrie, Mary, Edna, James, and Thomas.  They were enumerated on April 27.

1915:  In the 1915 New Jersey state census, Thomas and family were still living in Mt. Holly, Northampton Township, Burlington County.  The other family members enumerated were Jane and children Mary, Edna, James, Thomas, and John.

1920:  In the 1920 U.S. population census, Thomas had moved to the city of Burlington in Burlington County and was working as a farm laborer again.  The enumeration was in February, but no date is on the page.  Also in the household were Jane and children Edna, James, and Thomas.

1930:  In the 1930 U.S. population census Thomas and Jane no longer had any children living at home with them, and Thomas has no occupation listed.  They were back in Mt. Holly, Northampton Township, Burlington County and were enumerated on April 23.

1940:  In the 1940 U.S. population census, Thomas and Jane were again in Mt. Holly, although the census notes that in 1935 they were living in Burlington.  They were enumerated on April 15 and have no occupations listed.

When the 1950 census is released I hope to find Thomas in that, as he did not die until 1951.  That should give me a total of twelve censuses for him.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Treasure Chest Thursday: Important Birthdays in Jean La Forêt's Life

While I finished last week with the chronological journal entries Jean La Forêt had in his little notebook, there are other pages in the book.  I thought I had three pages of birthdays, but the third page surprised me when I read through it.  The first two pages are almost entirely names and dates, so I am not making a separate section for the one phrase that required translation.  The third page, however, has more French and does have a separate translated section below.

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Notes à tenir [Notes to keep]


Hattie – Sept. 28

Nat – " 29

Adrienne – Febry 1

Marie Davis – Fevrier [February] 2 [18]59

Annie W. – Dec. 6

Theresa  Nov. 9

Robert  fevr. [February] 4

Père [?] W.  Dec. 19

Pauline Cohen  Sept. 8

Tellie Van der Heyde  July 28 [18]84

Marie Petit  Avril 25 85

Camilla – March 19 1895

H. Petit – Jan. 5 (J. J. Thirion)

Helène Christmann – Jan. 9 (Lina)

Nettie ——"——  Sept. 2  ——

Emma – Nov. 14 – 1866

Camilla – February 19 – 1895

Marie Petit – April 23 – 1885

Eugene – June 19 – 1996 [sic]

Helen (Lina) Christmann  Jan 9th  Sept. 2nd

Annie Witz – Dec. 6th

Theresa Witz – Nov. 9th

Robt. Witz – O. M. Dec. 19

Mama Witz –

Marie Davis – Mrs. Chas. S. Johnson – Febr. 2 [18]59

Nettie Christmann – Sept. 2

Adrienne – Febr. 1st [18]74

Rosita Emma  Sept. 4 [19]09

Naissance de Rosita Emma le 4 Sept. 1909 à Versoix, Canton de Genève (sur les bords du lac Leman)

Parti de Suisse : 30/4–10
A Lyon (France, du 30/4–10 au 3/5–10
A Marseilles du 3/5–10 au 6/5–10

A Alger et Algérie : du 7 May 1910 au 13 Août 1918

via Marseilles, Paris, Brest, New York, Washington, St. Louis à Overland, Mo.

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Birth of Rosita Emma on September 4, 1909 in Versoix, Geneva Canton (on the banks of Lake Geneva)

Departure from Switzerland:  April 30, 1910
In Lyon (France) from April 30, 1910 to May 3, 1910
In Marseilles from May 3, 1910 to May 6, 1910

In Algiers and Algeria:  from May 7, 1910 to August 13, 1918

Via Marseilles, Paris, Brest, New York, Washington, St. Louis to Overland, Missouri

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I wonder why Jean wrote several of the names and birthdays twice.  Sometimes he didn't include the last name, sometimes he did.  I'm sure his method made sense to him.

A lot of names here are totally new to me.  Who are the Christmanns?  And the Witzes?  I don't recognize the name Marie Davis or Charles S. Johnson.  I have no idea who Nat, Pauline Cohen, J. J. Thirion, and Tellie Van der Heyde are.

We have seen the name Hattie before.  Jean acknowledged that his survival from the assassination attempt in 1889 was in part due to Hattie.  Was the woman whose birthday was September 28 that Hattie?

Marie, Camilla, and Eugene Petit are Emma's children by her first husband, Emile Petit.  It's good that Jean was keeping track of his stepchildren's birthdays, even if he had two of them wrong the first time he wrote them down (but he was close).  The dates for Camilla and Eugene are almost the same as those Emma gave when she registered as an American citizen in Switzerland — Jean wrote that Camilla was born in 1895, while Emma said 1894.  I'm guessing Emma was probably correct.  Obviously, Jean didn't really mean that Eugene was born in 1996.  And now we have a birthday for Emma's oldest daughter, Marie.  But H. Petit?  Maybe that's one of Emile's parents?

Camilla and Eugene, by the way, are almost definitely the children in the photo between Emma and Jean in yesterday's Wordless Wednesday post.

The remaining name in these lists is Adrienne.  I haven't written about her yet, but I know a little bit about her — I have a photograph of her from 1890.  Her last name was . . . La Forêt.  The writing on the photo looks more like Emma's than Jean's.  If Adrienne was born in 1874, and Jean was born in 1853, there's a good chance she was his daughter.  If that's the case, then who was Adrienne's mother?  Neither Emma nor Jean has written anything about a previous marriage.  According to Jean's first recommendation letter, in 1874 he was an instructor in Salonnes.  I guess that's where I'll start looking for information about Adrienne.

Then there's that third page.  Funny how I joked last week that maybe Jean would add Rosita's birthday out of order, as he did his marriage to Emma, and then it shows up this way.  And there's no question about the order of the pages:  These pages are still attached to each other, and the notes about travel dates definitely come after the birthdays.  But because Jean added these notes, we know he came back to the United States a little less than one year after Emma did and went to Missouri.

And my geography lesson for the day is that Lake Geneva is called lac Léman in French.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

"Online Resources Regarding Enslaved Ancestors", July 30, Oakland FamilySearch Library

Dr. Charles Foy
A new talk has just been scheduled in Oakland!

Online Resources Regarding Enslaved Ancestors
Speaker: Dr. Charles Foy

Oakland FamilySearch Library
Saturday, July 30, 2016
10:30 a.m.-12:00 noon

Often genealogical research regarding African American ancestors ends with the 1870 U.S. census, as earlier records of enslaved peoples rarely contain surnames.  Despite this significant barrier to detailing black life in the Colonial and Antebellum eras, there are online resources that can enable one to develop a fuller picture of one's ancestors.  In this presentation Dr. Foy will discuss and demonstrate such online resources.

Speaker bio: Charles R. Foy is a social historian and an Associate Professor of History at Eastern Illinois University.  He specializes in uncovering the hidden lives of black mariners in the Age of Sail.  He continues to work on the development of a black mariner database that as of 2013 contains records on more than 24,000 black mariners and black maritime fugitives.

Dr. Foy is in the Bay Area for a couple of weeks and generously offered to give this talk while he is here.  The talk is free, and everyone interested is welcome to attend.

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

What's that, girl? Timmy fell down the well?

Lassie was always ready to help, wasn't she?  But she probably wouldn't have been able to do much to assist with the below projects.  Maybe you can?  The first three are a little more time-sensitive than the others, but it's a long list this time with plenty of options.

Neoklis Girihidis in 1943
When he was a teenager, Neoklis Girihidis saved the lives of 17 Jewish Greek boys from Thessaloniki (Salonika) by guiding them to guerrilla fighters in the mountains and allowing them to escape from the Nazis.  Now, more than 70 years later, he is trying to find out what happened to those boys.  He would like to connect with at least one of them before he dies; he is currently 88 years old.  A story with more details is online.

Please share this story.  It is probably the only way to find the children Mr. Girihidis saved, if any of them is still alive today.  If you have any information on any of the boys, please send a message to

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Two Irish sisters are looking for their mother, who may have immigrated to the United States in the 1960's, possibly to Chicago.  She may have moved because she had two aunts who were living here.  Details about the family's story were published on Irish Central.  The sisters are being assisted in their search by Finders International, which welcomes any information about the mother.

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Dr. Charles Foy of Eastern Illinois University is conducting research for a book on black dockyard workers and longshoremen.  The book will include a chapter on the San Francisco Bay area from 1934 to 1969.  Dr. Foy will be in the Bay Area from July 25 to August 5 this year and would like to interview black dockyard workers and longshoremen or their family members.  Dr. Foy can also arrange to do interviews at other times, either by phone or Skype.  He can be contacted at or (347) 200-9893.

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Eduardo Propper de Callejón
The Spanish diplomat Eduardo Propper de Callejón is remembered for having facilitated the escape of thousands of Jews from occupied France during World War II by issuing more than 1,000 visas in Bordeaux in June 1940.  For his efforts, he received the Righteous Among the Nations designation from Yad Vashem in 2008.

The official list of the visas somehow "disappeared" in 1941.  Felipe Propper de Callejón, son of Eduardo, has asked for assistance in locating a visa or travel document issued by his father.  He has never seen one.

Karen Franklin, Director of Family Research at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York, is trying to help Mr. Propper de Callejón.  If you are in possession of one of the visas or travel documents, or know where one can be found, please contact Ms. Franklin.

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Béla Guttmann in 1953
David Bolchover, a writer based in London, is currently working on a biography of soccer coach Béla Guttmann (1899 Budapest–1981 Vienna), a Holocaust survivor whose team won the European Cup in the early 1960's.  Mr. Bolchover would appreciate hearing from anyone who can help answer several questions about Gutmann, or suggest avenues for research:

• Where was he from 1939–1943?  Gutmann was in Budapest in 1939, in 1944 was hiding in Ujpest, and then was in a labor camp in Budapest.  He was probably also in or near Budapest in the intervening years, but that is not known for sure.  Some commentators have suggested he was in Switzerland, but no evidence has been found to support that conclusion.

• When and where were Guttmann and Mariann Moldovan, who met in Ujpest in 1939, married?  Biographical sources say 1942, but she was a non-Jew and intermarriage was against the law in Hungary from August 1941.

• Where did his father, (Moshe) Abraham Guttmann, die?  He was born in Tiszaújhely about 1866–1867 and was alive at the outbreak of World War II but simply disappeared.

• Did his brother Armin Guttmann (1893 Budapest–1945 Buchenwald) have a wife and children?  If so, what happened to them?

• When did Guttmann become an Austrian citizen?  (Bolchover thinks it was in the 1950's and has submitted a request to the Austrian authorities regarding this, so he may find out the answer himself.)

• When was Mariann Moldovan born?  Her father was Pal Moldovan.  She lived in Ujpest before the war and died in 1997 in Vienna.

• Who, if anyone, inherited the estate when Mariann died?

Please send any information or leads to David Bolchover.

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During World War I, a married couple in Vignacourt, France, Louis and Antoinette Thuillier, took more than 4,000 photographs of Allied soldiers who were billeted in the area.  Due to circumstances related to the war and the family the glass negatives lay ignored and forgotten for decades, but they survived and there is now a project to try to identify British soldiers in the photos.  Read about the "Lost Tommies" project and look at the photographs, conveniently posted on Facebook and available to everyone.  If you can identify anyone, instructions on how to send the information is included in the article about the project.

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The next request for assistance is again related to the United Kingdom and a war, but this one is for World War II.  The new International Bomber Command Centre (IBCC), being built to honor those who served in Bomber Command, has sent out an appeal for letters, photographs, and oral testimonies of Caribbean and West African crew members, which will be included in the center's digital archive.  An article about the search for information about these black war heroes gives some background about the IBCC and information on who to contact to send materials.

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A new site, the USAF Basic Military Training Flight Photograph Project, aims to collect copies of the approximately 119,000 U.S. Air Force basic training photographs from the creation of the modern Air Force in 1947 to the present day.  The collection currently includes photos from all bases that conducted USAF basic training, including Lackland (Texas), Parks (California), Sampson (New York), and Sheppard (Texas).  The intent is to include USAF basic training that was conducted overseas.  The site also has a "Memories" section, where people can post their comments about basic training.

In addition to the photos that are currently being processed, the project is looking for donations from former airmen and their family members.  Instructions on how to send electronic or print copies can be found in a light-hearted article about the project.

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Richard Ayer tugboat
The San Francisco Maritime Museum is currently working on the restoration of a New Deal mural in the museum. You can help if you have any photographs of the building's interior taken prior to 1976 showing the Richard Ayer murals.  These photos will be useful in reconstructing the painted-over images which featured his abstract nautical themes with fish, ship parts, and relief designs.  Some clues even came from a home movie of the 20th anniversary get-together of the UC Berkeley 1919 graduating class!  If your personal archives show even a glimpse of any of the rooms, please contact National Park Service Historical Architect Todd Bloch.

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The New York Public Library has another crowdsourcing project.  This time it's transcripts from the library's Community Oral History Project.  The project includes narratives focused on Greenwich Village, Harlem, SoHo, Upper East Side, veterans, Latinos, and more.  Volunteers are sought to go through computer-generated transcripts of the oral narratives and make corrections.

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Aufbau, founded in 1934 in New York City, is a journal focused on German-speaking Jews around the world.  During its history it has included announcements about births, marriages, deaths, and other events, including many related to the Holocaust.  The Aufbau Indexing Project is a volunteer effort to create a free every-name searchable index so that genealogists and other researchers may more easily find the names they are seeking.  While you need to know how to use a spreadsheet, knowledge of German is not required.

Aufbau itself is also available free online.  Digitized issues for 1941–1950 are on Rootsweb, and for 1934–2004 at the Internet Archive.

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If oral histories and newspaper announcements sound boring to you, how about decoding Civil War telegrams?  This is another crowdsourced project.  Almost 16,000 top-secret telegrams saved from military communications during the Civil War were saved and are now held by the Huntington Library, along with the cipher books to crack them.  The project page has all the information you need to get started.

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The Washington Post has launched a crowdsourced black history project on Tumblr, somewhat in conjunction with the anticipated opening of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture in September 2016.  While the opening of the museum is national news, not everyone will be able to attend, and the "Historically Black" Tumblr project creates an opportunity for people to participate in another way.

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A man in Newfoundland, Canada and a jewelry store owner are trying to find out who the lovely woman is in a photo in a locket.  Was she a soldier's sweetheart?

The locket was among the personal effects returned to the family after Sergeant Charles Reid died during the Battle of Beaumont Hamel in World War I.  It came in a box from a jeweler in Oban, Scotland.  The store is still in business, but its records don't go back to 1916.

A CBC article has more details about the locket and the family.  If anyone recognizes the woman or has any information which might help in the search, send a message to the e-mail address given in the article.

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Molly Marcus, a doctoral candidate in Clinical Psychology at Chestnut Hill College, is looking for transracial adoptees that fit all of the following descriptors to share their experiences by participating in an in-person or phone interview:

• 25–35 years old
• Hispanic/Latino (defined as "a person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race")
• Adopted by white parents by the age of 2, in a closed adoption
• No contact with birth relatives prior to the age of 21

The interview will take approximately 1 to 1 1/2 hours to complete.  It will be audio recorded and transcribed.  To ensure confidentiality, all transcriptions and materials will be stored in a locked cabinet accessible only to the researcher.  Identifying information will be kept separate from interview materials, and fictitious names will be used to protect the identities of all participants.

The study has been approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at Chestnut Hill College.  The chairman of the IRB is Dr. Kenneth Soprano, whose e-mail address is  He can also be reached by phone at (215) 248-7038.

If you meet the above criteria and are interested in participating in this study, contact Molly Marcus at or (215) 821-8022.  If you know of other individuals who may fit these criteria, please share this information with them to spread the word.

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Pepperdine University’s Culture and Trauma Research Lab is seeking participants who are descendants of European immigrants who emigrated after World War II for an important psychological study on generations.  Participation involves the completion of an online survey which will take about 15–20 minutes.  Individuals may be eligible if:

• They are 18 years of age or older and
• Their parent or grandparent emigrated from Germany, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia (formerly known as Czechoslovakia), Austria, Hungary, or Romania between 1945–1952

This study will create a more robust understanding of the long-term impact of specific immigration factors.  Participation in the study is voluntary and confidential.  Each participant will receive a $10.00 Amazon or Starbucks gift card for completion of the survey.  This study is being conducted under the auspices of Dr. Thema Bryant-Davis.

If you have any questions or would like more information on the study, contact the principal investigator, Melissa Duguay, at or (818) 971-9877, or Mia Singer at

If you are able to send out a news blast about the study, post information on your social media pages, or distribute flyers, please let them know.

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The JewishGen Yizkor Books in Print Project is looking for Yiddish speakers who are at least mildly proficient with using MS Word and have about 2 to 3 hours a week available to devote to a project that publishes translations of memorial books (Blach Buchs) of destroyed Jewish communities of Eastern Europe.  The project needs help with translating captions of images and placing them into newly translated books using MS Word in preparation for publishing.  People fluent in Yiddish with knowledge of Word would be very helpful to the project to facilitate the ability to publish books more quickly.  All work on the project is done by volunteers.

The original books were written in the 1950's–1970's, mostly in Yiddish and some in Hebrew, by survivors and former residents of the towns.  The Yizkor Books in Print Project has already published 46 books.  See for a listing of currently available books.

Books are sold at very low prices to enable this unique literature that captures the intimate history of the shtetlach to be available to as many people as possible.  The project is part of, the primary online source of Jewish genealogical information, and is not-for-profit.

If you can help in any way please contact Joel Alpert, the project coordinator, at

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Donna Gilligan is a museum archaeologist and material culture historian now working on a Master's thesis on the topic of the visual and material culture of the Irish women's suffrage movement.  The year 2018 will mark the centenary of the first time any women were granted the national vote in Ireland.

As part of Gilligan's research, she is attempting to trace and record information and images on the Irish suffrage movement.  She is appealing to people who hold or know of such objects to contact her with details.  If you have any information or inquiries relating to Irish women's suffrage, contact Gilligan at

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Harald Hadrada on window
An online archive of Norse and Viking culture is in development, funded by the Irish Research Council, and contributions are being sought.  While it's likely that the majority will come from museums and other such institutions, individuals are invited to contribute items also.

"Do you happen to have any Viking-related material lying around the house?  Maybe a helmet or two, or a sword or dagger?  Perhaps there’s a longboat buried in your garden.  If so, or even if you have something a lot less dramatic to offer, you should get in touch with the World-Tree Project, which is being launched today by UCC’s school of English with the objective of creating the world’s largest online archive for the teaching and study of Norse and Viking cultures."  Also acceptable are translations of Norse poetry, films of Viking reenactments, and original artwork.

Read about the background of the project, then visit the World-Tree Project to see what's there so far and how you can add to the collection.