Sunday, July 23, 2017

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: What Was the Biggest Surprise You Found about an Ancestor?

For this week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun, Randy Seaver borrowed a provocative question from another blog.

For this week's mission (should you decide to accept it), I challenge you:

(1) The Family History Hound listed 20 Questions about Your Ancestor, and I'm going to use some of them in the next few months.  

(2) Please answer the question - "
What was the biggest surprise you found about an ancestor?" 

(3) Write your own blog post, make a comment on this post, or post  your answer on Facebook or Google+.  Please leave a link to your answer in comments on this post.

I considered whether I should choose learning that my grandfather's biological father was not the man his mother married, but that really wasn't a surprise.  By the time I had my cousin's DNA tested, I pretty much expected my cousin and my father not to match.

What was a surprise, however, was learning that my great-grandmother Nanny Ireland gave birth to a daughter three years after her husband, Elmer, had died.  It was also surprising that my grand-aunt did not try to hide the information.

Several years ago, I acquired a list of the children buried in the same cemetery plot as my great-grandfather.  One of the names was Bertolet Grace Sellers.  She was said to have been born about 1921 and died in 1927.

I had never heard of Bertolet Grace and had no idea who she was.  I had been told that one of my grandfather's sisters had had a daughter who was born about 1922 and died in 1927.  This little girl was very close in years, although that other child was not said to have been named Bertolet.  I wondered if perhaps there had been some confusion about the name in the records.

I called my grand-aunt and told her about my discovery.  I asked if Bertolet Grace could be Catherine's daughter, and someone had gotten the name very wrong.  Aunt Betty responded in a totally unexpected manner:  "Oh, so you've found our little secret, have you?"

She proceeded to tell me that no, Bertolet was not Catherine's daughter.  She was in fact a much younger sister [technically half-sister] born in 1921, three years after Elmer had died.  Aunt Betty did not know who Bertolet's father might have been.  She remembered her little sister very well, though.

Some additional research turned up another surprise:  a memorial printed in the newspaper on the one-year anniversary of Bertole's death.  The memorial was stated as being from Bertolet's mother (my great-grandmother) and all of Bertolet's siblings.  It was a very sweet poem saying how much the family missed the small light in their lives.  So not only did my great-grandmother have an illegitimate child out of wedlock three years after her husband died, she placed a memorial in the newspaper a year after the child had died.  Definitely not trying to cover up the information?

The last surprise related to Bertolet, at least so far, came when my sister obtained copies of Bertolet's birth and death certificates.  Nanny Ireland declined to list Bertolet's father on either document.

Overall, I think I'm safe in saying that Nanny Ireland was a surprising woman for her time.

Friday, July 21, 2017

My Genealogy Mentor: Marge Bell, June 8, 1946–July 20, 2017

Enoch and Marge Bell, Oakland FamilySearch Library, June 15, 2017
It's likely that even in the genealogy world, not a lot of people outside the San Francisco Bay area knew Marge Bell.  But in the Bay Area, she was well known and appreciated for her contributions and knowledge.  She had been on staff at the Oakland FamilySearch Library for many years, and we all relied on her.

Marge had also been researching her own family history for years, and her research was of the highest caliber.  She deplored the state of online family trees, whether on Ancestry, FamilySearch, or somewhere else.  She was particularly aggravated when FamilySearch began its collaborative tree, which allowed others to "correct" your information.  Marge had meticulously researched her tree, and she knew that any information she posted was accurate.  While everyone else (multiple times over) had her distant female ancestor's father as one man, she was the apparently the first (and only) person who made the effort to search through the unindexed loose probate documents for the county to find the father was a totally different man.

Marge was my genealogy mentor.  She tricked me into teaching my first genealogy class, but she gave me advice and feedback throughout the time I was creating the presentation.  She came to that first class and let me know what went well and what could use some work.  Her recommendations always improved my work and made my talks better.  I can't imagine where I would be without the benefit of years of her advice and support.

Marge was also wonderful to brainstorm with.  She could offer a different perspective and new insights on difficult research problems that had me stumped.  Sometimes I was even able to return the favor.  We enjoyed bouncing ideas off of each other.

Marge announced she was moving to Utah about the same time I had begun to make my plans to move to Oregon.  She warned me that just because we each were moving didn't mean I wasn't going to hear from her when she had a question or wanted a second opinion.  Unfortunately, I won't be receiving any more messages from her.

Marge had just barely moved to Utah when her health took a turn for the worse, one from which she was unable to recover.  The genealogy community, especially that of the Bay area and the Oakland FamilySearch Library, has lost a tremendous resource and a dear, loving friend.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Treasure Chest Thursday: Defending the League of Nations

I've run into a problem with posting the remaining documents relating to the dispute between Emma (Schafer) Le Forêt and her Curdt half-siblings.  The documents are oversized, and the large flatbed scanner that I normally use is not working at the moment.  I would prefer to avoid scanning them in pieces and then tiling them, because I'm really not very good at that.  While I wait for repairs, I decided to post this small newspaper clipping.

This is about 2" square.  It appears to be newsprint that has yellowed with age.  There is no indication on either side of which newspaper it came from or when.  It was mingled in with the documents about the property inheritance.  I suspect this was saved by Jean Le Forêt, as he seems to have to followed other international news stories.

I have tried some online searches but have not been able to determine the newspaper source of the item.  My first guess is the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, as other newspaper clippings saved by Jean came from it.  My guess for the year is 1923, as October 8 fell on a Monday that year.  I did find items with similar topics published in St. Louis and area newspapers in 1922.

I didn't recognize the names of the people, so I looked around a little.  "Senator Reed" was James A. Reed, a Democratic Party senator from Missouri from 1911–1929.  In addition to opposing the League of Nations, which was counter to the prevailing attitude of the Democratic Party at the time, he was against immigration of anyone who was not white into the United States, and he opposed reauthorization of an act designed to reduce infant and maternal mortality.  He got his mistress pregnant but wouldn't divorce his wife to marry her, instead waiting until his wife died and then marrying the mistress (even though his first wife had divorced her husband to marry him).  Sounds like a charming fellow.

Lee Meriwether was an author and worked for the government at times.  He wrote a biography about James Reed, who was a friend of his.

George Barnett's name appears many times in the Post-DIspatch.  He was an attorney in the St. Louis area and lived in Webster Groves at some point.

H. W. Belding lived in Webster Groves.  Along with being a judge, he was a member of the Board of Managers for the Federal Soldiers' Home.  One newspaper item called him a police judge.

Charles M. Hay was another lawyer in the St. Louis area.  The State Historical Society of Missouri holds a collection of his papers.

Webster Groves is described on Wikipedia as "an inner-ring suburb of St. Louis in St. Louis County, Missouri."  It is about 5 miles from Clayton, and 9 miles each from Overland and Creve Coeur, placing it squarely in the area in which Jean and Emma were living.  Maybe Jean attended the discussion himself.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Your Unbroken Chain of Gravestones

I'm going to be pretty much a total failure tonight for Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge.  Lack of digitization is part of the problem, but not all of it.

For this week's mission (should you decide to accept it), I challenge you to:

(1) Determine what is your longest unbroken line of ancestral gravestones:  How many generations can you go back in time?  Do you have photographs of them?

(2) Tell us and/or show us in a blog post of your own, in a comment to this blog, or in a Facebook status or Google+ stream post.

Let's see how lacking my contribution is and the reasons for that.

I am happy to report that my father is still alive.  That means that he has no tombostone, and therefore nothing for me to have a photo of.

My mother was cremated and her ashes scattered in Choctawhatchee Bay in Okaloosa County, Florida.  She has no cenotaph or other marker.

So much for my parents.

On my mother's side, even though I have seen it, I don't think I have a photograph of my grandfather's tombstone.  I believe I have a photo of my grandmother's tombostone, but it was taken with a film camera and I haven't digitized the image.

On my father's side, I'm not sure if my grandfather has a tombstone.  If he does, I'm pretty sure I don't have a photo of it.

I do, however, have a photo of my grandmother's tombstone.  (Finally!)  Anna (Gauntt) Stradling [Sellers] was born January 14, 1893 in Westhampton Township, Burlington County, New Jersey and died January 20, 1986 in Lindstrom, Chisago County, Minnesota.

According to FindAGrave, neither Nana's mother nor her father has a marker in the Brotherhood Cemetery in Burlington County, New Jersey, where they are buried.  So I have one generation in this unbroken chain!

But let's get hypothetical.  IF I could find the photo of my maternal grandmother's tombstone, that would give me one for that family.  I do have a photo of the tombstone of her father, Joe Gordon, who was born about 1892, probably in or near Kamenets Podolsky, Podolia, Russian Empire, and died May 2, 1955 in Brooklyn, Kings County, New York:

That's my grandmother, Lillyan (Gordon) Meckler, standing on the left and her brother Sidney Gordon on the right.  I think this photo was taken at the unveiling of my great-grandfather's stone, but I'm not 100% sure about that.

I also know I have a nondigitized photograph of the tombstone of Joe's father, my great-great-grandfather Victor Gordon.  He was born about 1866ish in or near Kamenets Podolsky and died January 26, 1925 in Brooklyn.  So even though I'm not able to post them all tonight, I have a chain of three generations of tombstones on my Gorodetsky/Gordon line.  I have no idea when my 3x-great-grandfather Gersh Wolf Gorodetsky died or where he is buried, so I don't think I'll be adding that to my records anytime soon.  And my maternal uncles are happily still alive.  I think three is about as far as I'm likely to get for a while.

Obviously, I have not made a huge effort to photograph tombstones of my family members, nor to digitize the ones that I do have.  I guess I can't do everything!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Blogger Recognition Award

On Thursday Elizabeth O'Neal nominated me for a Blogger Recognition Award.  Beyond thanking her, I've been told that there are rules to follow after accepting one's nomination.

The Rules

• Thank the blogger who nominated me.
• Write a post to show the award.
• Write a brief story on how my blog started.
• Share two pieces of advice for new bloggers.
• Nominate seven other bloggers for the award.
• Comment on each of those seven blogs to let them know they have been nominated and provide a link to this post.

I thanked Elizabeth once already, but you can never say thank you enough.  So thank you again, Elizabeth!

How My Blog Started

My blog began after I attended a class through the California Genealogical Society in 2011.  Craig Siulinski, who has been blogging for several years about his family, encouraged everyone to jump in the pool.  I had been thinking about starting a blog for a while, and his class was the extra push I needed.  You can read my introductory post from January 15, 2011 here.

Advice for New Bloggers

1.  Commit yourself to writing on a schedule and put it on your calendar.  It's really easy to tell yourself, "Oh, I'll get to that tomorrow."  Then you'll find that it's been one, two, three, or even more weeks since your last post.  And if you don't write regularly, people will think your blog isn't active and move on to others that are.

2.  This is my advice for anyone who wants to start writing:  Don't be afraid to write, but take the time and effort to look over your spelling, grammar, punctuation, flow, etc.  I can't tell you the number of blogs I have read once or twice and then abandoned because of fractured grammar, misspelled words, and incoherent logic.  Every word processor has a spellchecker function, and there are grammar and writing guides available online and in print.  With all the blogs out there, I'm much more likely to read one when I don't have to reread every sentence to figure out what it was supposed to mean.  (Can you tell I've been an editor for a long time?)

My Seven Nominees

Since I'm coming along later in the chain, several of the blogs I read have already been mentioned.  Nothing in the rules says I can't renominate someone, but I bypassed some of the bloggers I read regularly in order to highlight ones I haven't seen mentioned.

Schalene Dagutis - Tangled Roots and Trees
Banai Feldstein - Ginger Genealogist
Emily Garber - (going) The Extra Yad
Lisa Gorrell - Mam-ma's Southern Family
Xiaoming Jiao - All of a Sudden Part Jew
Kenneth Marks - The Ancestor Hunt
Nicka Smith - Who Is Nicka Smith?, Atlas Family

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Treasure Chest Thursday: Jean La Forêt Does Land Research

This sheet of paper is 8 1/2" x 13".  It's a piece of off-white 20# bond with a watermark of BERKSHIRE / SOUVENIR BOND / USA.  It has a small rectangular piece of paper, on which is written "Original" in pencil, folded over the upper left corner.  This page is followed by eleven others on the same type of paper.  They are backed by a rectangular piece of an advertising poster, which appears to have been cut down to size for the purpose of backing these pages.

Jean La Forêt was definitely willing to spend time on research.  It must have taken many hours to find all the records he cites in this document and then type up the summaries.  He researched the property that John Schafer, Emma (Schafer) La Forêt's father, bought in 1856 from that purchase through to 1919, the year Emma's mother died.  He even included transcriptions from Louis and Elizabeth Curdt's divorce case.  Here's a quick overview of the contents:

1856:  John Schafer bought lots 9 and 10.

1864:  A warranty deed was executed for lot 9.  The property was released on margin October 19, 1867, six weeks after letters of administration were granted to Elizabeth Schafer to handle her deceased husband's estate.

1870:  John Schafer's estate was settled.

1874:  Louis Curdt and Mrs. Elizabeth Schafer married.

1883:  Emil Petit and Emma Schafer married.

1885:  Emil and Emma Petit's waiver was filed.

1885:  Louis and Elizabeth Curdt filed a deed of trust on the land with a life insurance company.

1891:  Elizabeth Curdt divorced Louis Curdt on grounds of desertion.  She was awarded custoy of Louisa, August, and Alvina and ownership of lots 9 and 10 but received no alimony.

1891:  Louis Curdt filed a quit claim on the two lots.

1891:  Elizabeth Curdt took out a $2,800 mortgage on the land.  She paid it off in 1895.

1892:  Elizabeth Curdt leased some part of the land for two years to C. W. Seidel.

1896:  Elizabeth Curdt deeded part of lot 10 to Charles Frederick Schaefer (Louisa's husband), apparently for $3,000.

1897:  Charles and Louisa Schaefer filed a quit claim to Elizabeth Curdt for half of the property deeded in 1896.  The amount is $1 and "other consideration."

1897:  Elizabeth Curdt filed a quit claim to Charles and Louisa Schaefer, also for $1 and other consideration, to exchange property.

1898:  Elizabeth Curdt took out a mortgage for $2,800.  She paid it off in 1900.

1898:  Charles and Louisa Schaefer took out a mortgage for $1,000.  It appears to have been paid off in 1904.

1900:  Elizabeth Curdt took out a mortgage for $1,500.  She paid it off in 1903.

1901:  Charles and Louise Schaefer sold part of lot 10 to August Eves for $3,350.

1901:  Elizabeth Curdt sold part of lot 10 to Charles Schaefer for $600.

1903:  Elizabeth Curdt sold part of lot 9 to Jacob Wagner for $2,000.  In 1912 Jacob Wagner and his wife, Louisa, sold the land for $15,000.

1903:  Elizabeth Curdt sold part of lot 9 to William Curdt (a relative of Louis?) for $1,300.  In 1912 William Curdt and his wife, Katarine, sold the land for $5,500.

1906:  Elizabeth Curdt sold part of lot 10 to her daughter Alvina for $1,000.  In 1919, after Alvina had married, she and her husband, Edward Schulte, sold this for $1 on a quit claim deed to Emma Opperman.

1906:  Elizabeth Curdt sold part of lots 9 and 10 to her son, August Curdt, for $500.  In 1909 August and his wife, Mathilda, sold the property to his brother-in-law Charles Schaefer for $1 and part of the land Charles and Louisa Schaefer received in 1906.  August and Mathilda Curdt sold this second piece of land in 1912 for $6,000.

1906:  Elizabeth Curdt sold part of lots 9 and 10 to Charles Schaefer for $875.  In 1912 Charles and Louisa Schaefer sold part of this land for $5,600.  In 1914 they sold an additional section for $2,000.

1912:  Elizabeth Curdt sold for $100 a small easement adjoining property she previously sold.

I can see from this how one could interpret the sales and resales as ripping off Elizabeth Curdt.  Playing devil's advocate, however, it could be that the land had simply appreciated quite a bit due to development in the interim between Elizabeth selling the lots and the children reselling them.  It also could be the case that Elizabeth was being generous with her children.  It's obvious from previous documents that Jean and Emma believed she was being taken advantage of.  I don't think I see enough evidence here of that, though.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: What Ancestor Had the Most Children?

It's Saturday night, and time for more genealogy fun with Randy Seaver!  This week we're mining details from our family tree programs:

For this week's mission (should you decide to accept it), I challenge you:

(1) The Family History Hound listed 20 Questions about Your Ancestor, and I'm going to use some of them in the next few months.

(2) Please answer the question "What ancestor had the most children?  How many?"

(3) Write your own blog post, make a comment on this post, or post your answer on Facebook or Google+.  Please leave a link to your answer in comments on this post.

The most children I have entered for any couple in my database is ten.  I found two couples with ten children.  The first couple I am listing are my great-grandparents.

Jane and Thomas Gauntt, c. 1940's
Thomas Kirkland Gauntt, born May 23, 1870 in Fairview, Burlington County, New Jersey; died January 21, 1951 in Mt. Holly, Burlington County, New Jersey.  He was the son of James Gauntt and Amelia Gibson.  He married Jane Dunstan September 2, 1891, probably in Burlington County, New Jersey.

Jane Dunstan, born April 28, 1871 in Manchester, Lancashire, England; died August 1, 1954 in Mt. Holly, Burlington County, New Jersey.  She was the daughter of Thomas Cleworth Dunstan and Maria Winn.

The children of Thomas Kirkland Gauntt and Jane Dunstan are:

1.  Frederick Cleworth Gauntt, born January 7, 1892 in Rancocas, Burlington County, New Jersey; died March 17, 1910 in Rancocas, Burlington County, New Jersey.

2.  Anna Gauntt, born January 14, 1893 in Westhampton Township, Burlington County, New Jersey; died January 19, 1986 in Lindstrom, Chisago County, Minnesota.  She married Charles Cooper Stradling on November 3, 1913 in Masonville, Burlington County, New Jersey.

3.  Bertha Gauntt, born June 14, 1895 in Camden, Camden County, New Jersey; died before June 27, 1900, probably in New Jersey.

4.  Carrie Florence Gauntt, born September 9, 1896 in Rancocas, Burlington County, New Jersey; died April 19, 1985 in Burlington, Burlington County, New Jersey.  She married Levi Ellis on July 29, 1914 in Mt. Holly, Burlington County, New Jersey.

5.  Mary Louise Gauntt, born October 31, 1899 in Mt. Laurel, Burlington County, New Jersey; died 1971, possibly in New Jersey.  She married Oliver Goldsmith Holden on August 10, 1919 in Mt. Holly, Burlington County, New Jersey.

6.  Edna May Gauntt, born July 15, 1902 in Masonville, Burlington County, New Jersey; died January 29, 1981 in Orlando, Orange County, Florida.  She married Roscoe Sherman Flynn on July 4, 1920 in Hainesport, Burlington County, New Jersey.

7.  James Kirkland Gauntt, born August 7, 1905 in Masonville, Burlington County, New Jersey; died October 31, 1949 in Fern Park, Seminole County, Florida.  He married Katherine Boyle in 1932 in West Virginia.

8.  Thomas Franklin Gauntt, born July 14, 1908 in Masonville, Burlington County, New Jersey; died December 4, 1991 in Sarasota County, Florida.  He married Anna Marie Stayton on July 12, 1935 in New Jersey.

9.  Elmer Gauntt, born March 30, 1912, probably in New Jersey; died June 1, 1912, probably in New Jersey.

10.  John H. Gauntt, born December 30, 1914, probably in New Jersey; died March 16, 1917, probably in New Jersey.

The second couple are the great-grandparents of Jane Dunstan and therefore my 4x-great-grandparents.  I don't have as much information about them and their children.

James Dunstan married Maria Hilton on June 6, 1811 in Manchester, Lancashire, England.

The children of James Dunstan and Maria Hilton are:

1.  Sarah Dunstan, born about March 11, 1812 in Manchester, Lancashire, England.

2.  Richard Dunstan, born about June 9, 1813 in Manchester, Lancashire, England; died after April 7, 1861.  He married Jane Coleclough on December 25, 1833 in Manchester, Lancashire, England.

3.  Maria Dunstan, born about January 10, 1816 in Manchester, Lancashire, England.  She married Robert Hill on August 12, 1832 in Manchester, Lancashire, England.

4.  Harriet Dunstan, born about January 7, 1818 in Manchester, Lancashire, England.

5.  Frederick Augustus Dunstan, born about December 20, 1918 in Manchester, Lancashire, England; died after April 5, 1891.  He married Bridget before 1844.

6.  Mary Ann Dunstan, born about September 25, 1822 in Manchester, Lancashire, England.

7.  James Dunstan, born about July 7, 1824 in Manchester, Lancashire, England; died before 1832.

8.  Susannah Dunstan, born about April 27, 1828 in Manchester, Lancashire, England.

9.  Caroline Dunstan, born about February 16, 1830 in Manchester, Lancashire, England.

10.  James Dunstan, born about October 2, 1831 in Manchester, Lancashire, England.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Treasure Chest Thursday: Draft of a Response?

This piece of lined paper is 5" x 8".  It has no watermark and is of moderate to poor quality.  It is similar to the page with notes about land that each of Emma La Forêt's siblings had but is definitely of different stock.  This sheet has a larger blank margin at the top of the page, and it lacks the textured lines of the earlier one.  It does have a lengthwise fold in about the same position as the first paper, which could mean that they were in an envelope together at some point.  This sheet has two holes in the upper left (first side)/upper right (second side) that suggest it had a straight pin in it.  The holes are fairly easy to see on the second side.

Everything on both sides of the sheet is handwritten in pencil except for a small typed line on the first side.  It is oriented parallel to the lines on the page.  The writing is probably that of Jean or Emma La Forêt.  (I'm leaning toward Jean due to the awkward English.)  Here is a transcription of both sides.

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

Typed line:

Overland  Missouri  February 10th 1919

Front of page:

  You know quite well that the land
you received from her, was given you
because you are farmers, but you
know also that mother gave it to
you under the condition that my
share be given to me, either in cash
or other valuable consideration.
There should Do not forget that
transfer of propriety does not give prevent
the canceling of any fraudulent act –

Back of page:

  Acts accomplished by use of
undue influence and pressure
undue influence and under a
nefaste moral pressure, are
void –
  Is it not very strange that just
at the moment time Mother intended
to call on me, at my house, to speak
over that very matter, she should
have such an accident, . . . and no
                      one around.  Strange! . . .

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

The date is before one topic discussed in the handwritten portion occurred.  Elizabeth Curdt died April 25, 1919, two and a half months after the February date.  The place in which the date is typed and its orientation to the rest of the page suggest that perhaps someone was going to type a note on February 10.  Why that person did not do so, we are unlikely to learn.  The date does not appear to be connected to the note itself.  It looks as though someone who was frugal simply used the piece of paper and ignored the typing.

The note itself has some content similar to that of the letter that Emma wrote to her three Curdt half-siblings:  the discussion of "Mother" (Elizabeth Curdt) having intended that Emma receive her "share."  It has more in common, however, with the handwritten narrative of Emma's life that I posted at the beginning of my journey into this story:  "fraudulent" act, "nefaste moral pressure", and the phrasing used when writing about Elizabeth's death.

I'm pretty sure that "property" was meant where the word "propriety" appears.  Unfortunately, swapping that word in doesn't cause the sentence to make much more sense to me.  I could see that transfer of property would not prevent the accusation of a fraudulent act, but the cancellation of one?

I wish more of these items had dates on them (well, dates that actually relate to the information).  This sheet might have been a draft for a response to the letter from the Curdt siblings that reused phrases from earlier writing.  According to the typed transcription of that letter, an answer was sent on February 3, 1920.  Why, oh why, is there no copy of it in my piles of paper for this family?

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Hooray for Newspapers!

It's amazing how quickly time can get away from you.  I knew it had been a while since I had posted the new additions to the Wikipedia newspaper archives page, but I didn't realize it had been eight months.  That's obviously far too long.  My only excuse is that I've been busy trying to move to Portland, Oregon, and it's amazing how much time it takes to do all the paperwork.

Lucky for us researchers, almost all of the newspapers added have free access.  The exception is the Friedens Messenger, for which you need to be a paid member of the St. Louis Genealogical society.

• Hungary:  Although the newspaper itself has closed down, the online archive of Népszabadság is being maintained for free access.  I don't read Hungarian, however, and I can't figure out what years are covered.

• Korea (new country!):  Yes, you read that right, Korea.  Not North or South, but just plain old Korea.  The National Library of Korea (in South Korea) has an online collection of newspapers published in Korea prior to 1950.  The link I posted is to the English-language interface, but the newspapers are in Korean.

• Mexico:  El Universal is online for 1999 to the present.

• Sierra Leone:  I discovered that Early Dawn, available on and incorrectly labeled as "Earley Dawn", is also on the Internet Archive and much easier to read, although the site notes that some issues are missing.

• California:  The Monterey Public Library has digitized its historical newspaper collection and placed it online for free.  The 34 newspapers range from 1846 to the present.  They are listed on the library's site in chronological order, which is a little different.

• Florida:  The Weekly Challenger, the newspaper of the black community of St. Petersburg, has partnered with the University of South Florida at St. Petersburg, which is now hosting digitized issues of the paper for 1976, 1985–1988, and 2009–2016.  Plans are to to digitize more historic issues and add them to the online archive.

• Idaho:  The University of Idaho has digitized the historical run of Argonaut, the student newspaper, and posted it online.

• Illinois:  The Aurora Public Library has online indices for the Aurora Beacon-News for obituaries (1933–2004 with many gaps) and for a clipping collection (1925–1956 and 1963–1978).

• Illinois:  The Coal City Public Library has a searchable index for obituaries and death notices, most of which came from the Coal City Courant newspaper.  The index can be searched only by surname, and nothing on the page indicates what years the database covers.  I searched for Smith as a general test, and years ranged from 1884 to 2017.

• Kansas:  The Rossville Community Library not only has posted an obituary index online, it has gone the extra step and scanned and posted the obituaries listed in the index.

• Massachusetts:  Smith College has placed every issue of its alumnae quarterly, for 1909 to the present, online.

• Michigan:  Oakland County has an online historical archive site which houses what appears to be a substantial collection of digitized newspapers.  Unfortunately, I can't find a way to determine the names of the newspapers in the collection or what years it covers.  Seventy-four locations are listed on the browse page.

• Michigan:  The University of Michigan has an online archive of the historical run of the student newspaper, The Michigan Daily.

• Missouri:  The St. Louis Genealogical Society has posted issue of the Friedens Messenger, published by the Friedens United Church of Christ, for 1940 and earlier, although the range is not specified.  Paid members of the society may view the digitized files.

• New Jersey:  The Elizabeth Daily Journal for 1872–1915 (with more years to be digitized and posted online) is available courtesy of the Elizabeth Public Library.

• New York:  The entire run of the New Yorker, all the way back to 1925, is now available through the New York Public Library site with a library card.

• Ohio:  The Lepper Public Library has a collection of seventeen newspapers covering the Lisbon (formerly New Lisbon) area, ranging from 1810 to 2011 (with a lot of gaps).

• Ohio:  The Ohio National Guard has shifted its publication, The Buckeye Guard, from print to digital and has posted the archives of the print edition (1976–2011) on its new site.

• Ohio:  The Salem Public Library has an obituary index for 1938–2016 for the Salem News and will send you a copy of the obituary.  It also has the "Yesteryears" section of the News for 1991–2002 online.

• Ohio:  The Warren–Trumbull County Public Library has two indices for obituaries:  The Warren Tribune Chronicle for 1900–1949 and the Youngstown Vindicator for 2011–2014.

• Pennsylvania:  Elizabethtown College has digitized its students newspapers, Our College Times (1904–1934) and The Etownian (1934–2009), and uploaded them to the Internet Archive.

• Tennessee:  A near-complete archive of the original incarnation of Confederate Veteran magazine, from 1893–1932, including a searchable index, can be found on the Internet Archive.  I placed it under Tennessee because that's where it was published.

• Texas:  The Texas Obituary Project is a collection of scanned obits from LGBT publications, dating back to 1975.

• Wisconsin:  The complete historical run of the print version of the UWM Post, the student newspaper of the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, has been digitized.

• Multistate:  The Catholic News Archive currently has nine newspapers (including one issue from 1832!) from five different states and the United States in general.  This is a Veridian site (yay!), and more newspapers will be added over time.

• Multistate: now has a database of GenealogyBank obituaries from 1980–2014.  Even though GenealogyBank itself is a pay site, this collection is free.

• Worldwide:  Catholic Newspapers Online is a portal collecting links to Catholic newspapers from multiple countries, both historical and current, and has 22 pages of links so far.

• Worldwide:  "Last Seen:  Finding Family after Slavery" is a collection of ads posted in newspapers after Emancipation, where people tried to find relatives from whom they had been separated, whether by slavery, escape, or the military.  Currently the volunteer effort includes notices one Canadian and thirteen U.S. newspapers, but the project continually grows.

• Worldwide:  The Mennonite Library and Archives in Kansas has placed online a large collection of German-language newspapers and other publications from German Mennonites.  The countries include Canada and Paraguay!

Wordless Wednesday

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Treasure Chest Thursday: Fraudulent Conveyance!

This piece of paper is 5" x 6 1/2".  It's a dark cream in color, with one section on the back that's orangish, where something, probably a business card based on the size, was pinned previously.  It has no watermark but seems to be of decent quality.  It might be writing paper, such as people used to use when letter writing was more common, although it's perhaps a little small for that.

There is handwriting on both sides, although the writing on one side is minimal, only numbers.  That side also has some names typed on it.  The handwriting appears similar to that of Jean La Forêt from his journal entries.  It also would seem to be his writing because it refers to Emma in the third person.  As some of the writing is a little difficult to read, I'll transcribe the entire side:

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

Fraudulent Conveyance
Section 1931 - Page 564 - I -

Emma was german thru
her marriage with Petit

The mother was adminis-
tratrix – Her husband
bought and returned
property to her -

Fraudulent conveyances all
over, since the marriage of
Mrs. Shaefer with Curdt,

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

This appears to be more information that Jean had noted for his and Emma's fight against Emma's half-siblings in the dispute over the split of Elizabeth Curdt's estate.  The reference to fraudulent conveyance seems to be from The Revised Statutes of the State of Missouri, 1899, which was cited on a document discussed a month agoSection 1931 is "Fraudulent conveyance" and does appear on page 564 in that edition.  I don't know how useful of a tool it was going to be in the La Forêts' fight, however, as it carried only a misdemeanor conviction.

It was not necessarily true that Emma became a German citizen through her marriage to Emile Petit.  Until the law was changed in 1907, whether a woman's citizenship status changed to that of her foreign husband was decided on a case-by-base basis.  What would have caused her to lose her citizenship was leaving the country.  When the act of March 2, 1907 went into effect, Emma's divorce from Petit was already in process; it was finalized in March 1908.  But even if she was considered a foreigner based on that marriage, her subsequent marriage to Jean in 1908 (a mere two months after her divorce) made her an American citizen again, because he had naturalized in 1890.  So well before the time Emma's mother died and all these disputes over the estate arose, Emma was no longer a foreigner.

The broad overview of the Schafer estate included the information that Elizabeth had been the administratrix of her deceased husband's estate.  That same document mentioned that Louis Curdt had sold the property back to Elizabeth after they were divorced.

The accusion of fraudulent conveyances since Elizabeth married Louis Curdt is interesting, primarily because it's so open-ended.  I'm guessing he was referring to the pressure to have Emile Petit and Emma sign away their rights to the Schafer property.  It's hard to tell if the punctuation mark at the end of the sentence is a period or a comma, as Jean seems to have used them almost interchangeably.  If it was intended as a comma, this thought does not continue on the other side of the paper.

That other side doesn't have much information on it.  Typed at one end are three names:  Miss Rosita La Foret (daughter of Jean and Emma), Overland, Missouri; Miss Ethel Schaefer (first time we've seen her name; perhaps the daughter of Charles and Alvina [Curdt] Schaefer?); and Mrs. E. M. La Foret (Emma).  Nothing else is there, so there's no way to tell why the names were typed.

Written in the middle of the page and upside down from the names are some numerals with absolutely no context.  Jean must have been trying to figure out some amounts connected with the estate, but he left no clues to follow up on.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Preserving Family History Research for Family Members

I don't know why I only received a message about this month's Genealogy Blog Party on June 23, when it apparently was posted on June 6, but at least I heard about it.  It's an important topic, too:  What will happen to your research after you are gone?  How do you preserve it for other family members?

I don't have any descendants, but I do have plenty of family members:  parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins by the dozens, extended family members.  And I've been sharing my research with as many of them as possible for several years.

Before sending everything by e-mail became the norm, every year for Christmas and Chanukah (because I come from a "mixed marriage", you know) I would mail out about fifty or so manila envelopes to all the family members I was in contact with.  Each person would receive updated information for all the family lines he (or she) was descended from.  (Yes, I tried single-handedly to keep the U.S. Postal Service in business.)  I sent family trees, narrative reports, and copies of photographs.  I found out the relatives I was sending them to shared them with other family members when some of the latter contacted me.  Hooray!  That meant more people had the information.

Nowadays I do that sharing mostly by e-mail.  I also readily share my research with cousins who find me while wandering the Web (the way my Cuban cousins found me).

A couple of years ago I had a lot of my family photos digitized.  (I still have a lot to go.)  I posted them online and shared the URL with all the cousins I knew from that side of the family.  It was a good exchange:  They could download copies of the photos, and they were able to identify most of the people in the photos for me.

I have put together several photo books through one of the popular online sites and given them as presents to family members.  Some books have focused on specific family lines, with photos of ancestors, collateral relatives, and scenes from ancestral hometowns.  Other books were about living relatives and their families.  I've also had magnets, playing cards, mugs, placemats, and shopping bags made with family photos.

I post lots of family stories and photographs on my blog, another way to share with family members.  I have downloaded the blog occasionally to archive it, but I haven't really thought about making a book out of it.  It's an interesting idea.

It seems like I'm doing quite a bit, but I know I could do more.  I'm not sure I'll ever work my way up to a book, though.  Now, if one of my relatives asks me to help supply information for a book that person wants to write, that would be great!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Which Ancestor Do You Admire the Most?

For Saturday Night Genealogy Fun this week, Randy Seaver is borrowing another question from the meme that surfaced a few weeks ago.

For this week's mission (should you decide to accept it), I challenge you:

(1) The Family History Hound listed 20 Questions about Your Ancestor, and I'm going to use some of them in the next few months.  

(2) Please answer the fifteenth question:  "Which ancestor do you admire the most?"

(3) Write your own blog post, make a comment on this post, or post your answer on Facebook or Google+.   Please leave a link to your answer in comments on this post.

I knew immediately who I wanted to write about, but this is frustrating, because I don't remember her name.  The name is in a 560-page book about my Gauntt family, but I don't know where the book is in the house because half of my belongings are still in boxes due to an aborted out-of-state move nine years ago.  But I remember her story.

Most of ancestry on my maternal grandmother's line is Quaker.  One umpty-umpth-great-grandmother who married into the Gauntt family was renowned in the Quaker community of New Jersey.  She was known for giving inspiring testimony that lasted for hours.  When she was older and could no longer stand, she instead prayed on her knees for hours.  And people stayed to listen.

How can you not admire someone like that?


Addendum, Sunday, June 25, 2017:

I found her name!  I was moving some reams of paper tonight and discovered the book beneath them.

Ann Ridgway was born October 10, 1710 and died February 6, 1794.  According to David L. Gauntt, the author of Peter Gaunt, 1610–1680, and Some of His Descendants (Woodbury, New Jersey:  Gloucester County Historical Society, 1989):

"Ann Ridgway was a well known Quaker minister of Little Egg Harbor, N.J.  She began preaching when she was a very young girl and traveled extensively on preaching excursions from that time until a very advanced age.  She was a minister for over 60 years . . . .  When very old, she could not stand to preach, but would kneel while preaching for an hour or more."

Friday, June 23, 2017

Double Issues for Two Journals

Sometimes real life has an annoying way of intruding on volunteer activities.  That's what happened to me earlier this year, and it's why issues of ZichronNote and The Baobab Tree did not appear in the spring, as they should have.  But I've been dancing as fast as I can, and I managed to catch up.  Both journals have recently been published as double issues, with more pages and stories than usual in an effort to atone for the delay.

In the February/May 2017 issue of ZichronNote (from the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society), Fred Hertz wrote about his successful efforts to contact cousins from other branches of his family tree and his thoughts on the different paths family members took.  Martin Gewing was fortunate to see a torah from the town his mother's ancestors lived in.  Judy Vasos shared a special photograph from World War II, of an entire wedding party in Germany wearing the required yellow stars of David, and shared her discovery of a second photo from that day.  Alan Silverman related one Sephardic family's journey, over several generations, from Spanish expulsion to Dutch sanctuary to British establishment.  In the third article in a series, Kevin Alan Brook described documentation proving that Sephardic Jews resided in central and northern Poland.  Sheri Fenley, the Educated Genealogist, graciously allowed us to reprint her story (with new material!) about David Nathan Walter, an early Jewish pioneer in San Francisco.  One of our members wrote about her pleasant surprise at discovering that her 10-year-old grandniece is actually interested in family history.  And the SFBAJGS Treasurer, Jeff Lewy, went over the society's financial performance in 2016 and explained how we were able to help several genealogy projects around the world.

The Winter/Spring 2017 issue of The Baobab Tree (published by the African American Genealogical Society of Northern California) led off with an article by Patricia Bayonne-Johnson about the Georgetown Memory Project, which grew out of the public revelation that Georgetown University survived an early financial crisis through the sale of slaves.  This article is a follow-up to one Pat wrote in 2008, also published in Baobab, about her family members that were among the Georgetown slaves.  Veola Wortham contributed her hard-learned lesson not to take everything family members tell you as gospel.  In the first half of a two-part article, Ellen Fernandez-Sacco discussed her discovery that her early ancestors in Puerto Rico owned slaves and how her research has changed due to learning that.  Richard Rands eloquently explained why your family tree should be on your computer at home, not online.  Janis Minor Forté didn't let one adverse piece of information define the legacy of her grand-uncle.  In addition to her first article, Veola Wortham also reviewed the book Black Indian Slave Narratives and discussed its relevance to genealogical research.  There is also a review by Sharon Styles of this year's Sacramento African American Family History Seminar, where the keynote speaker was Paula Madison.

That sounds like a lot of interesting genealogical reading, doesn't it?  Wouldn't you love to see how those stories turned out?  All you have to do is be a member of the respective societies, and you can happily receive issues of the journals.  Visit the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society (for ZichronNote) and the African American Genealogical Society of Northern California (for The Baobab Tree) for membership information, and all your problems will be solved.  Well, at least those relating to being able to read the journals.

Another way to obtain a copy of either journal in the future is to have a story published in it.  (In fact, for Baobab, you will receive five copies!)  You do not need to be a member to submit a story.

Have you had a breakthrough in your research, solved a family mystery, discovered a different way to use resource materials, or walked where your ancestors walked?  Do you have an interesting story about your family?  Other people would love to read about it!  Submission guidelines for The Baobab Tree (including deadlines) are online, or you can send me a message regarding a submission to ZichronNote.  Let's talk about it!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Treasure Chest Thursday: Notice of Final Settlement and Probate Court Docket

This is a calling card that is 3 3/4" x 2 1/4".  It is made of fairly heavy card stock.  It is yellowish-brown and has some staining or discoloration in the lower left corner (which doesn't show up when I look at the card itself).  It also has holes that appear to be from two straight pins that were stuck through it (although I don't think it had pins in it when I received it).  A newspaper clipping has been pasted on the back of the card, and that side has some handwriting.

The calling card is for Jean La Forêt, apparently from the same printing as the one I posted two months ago.  That card had the June 25, 1920 "Notice of Final Settlement" pasted over the front of the card  This time we can see the front of the card.

The back of the card has a copy of the same "Notice of Final Settlement" pasted on it, with blue pencil outlining the notice.  It also has a note in what looks like Jean's handwriting:

Settled 8-10-20.
accepted check for $119.94

That dollar amount has come up before also.  It appeared in Jean's notes on the breakdown of Elizabeth Curdt's estate, with his comment that it should have been $133.35.  It's the amount that Emma, Elizabeth's daughter, accepted as her portion of her mother's estate.

This piece of newsprint is 5" x 7 1/8".  It has been torn out and has rough edges on three sides.  The right side appears to be the edge of a newspaper page.  The section that was saved is the "Probate Court Docket", with Tuesday, August 10, 1920 as the first date listed.  Underlined in blue pencil is Estate "5173 Curdt, Elizabeth", with "Aug W Curdt" under "Admrs. and Extrs." (Administrators and Executors).  It was folded down the first column, maybe to fit in an envelope, but that doesn't appear to show up in the scan.

Pasted on this piece is yet another copy of the "Notice of Final Settlement" dated June 25, 1920.  (I'm really starting to believe that Jean La Forêt had a pathological fear of losing paperwork.)

The August 10 date matches what Jean wrote on this card, on the card posted earlier, and in his notes on the estate.  While the $119.94 amount matches that on Jean's notes, it does not match what he wrote on the first card, which was 119 98/00.  So there's a difference of 4 cents for some reason.  I'm leaning toward the $119.94 figure being what Emma actually accepted, since that's in Jean's breakdown, but there's no way to tell for sure just from these items.

None of these clippings has any note saying from which newspaper it came.  The announcement of Elizabeth Curdt's death was said to be in the St. Louis Daily Globe-Democrat, so maybe these were published there also.

And sometimes I'm really slow, but I figured out tonight what the N. C. probably stands for on Jean's calling card:  "Non Commissioned."  It took a while to sink in because I've never seen it abbreviated in that way.  But Jean was a noncommissioned officer (NCO) in the Marines, so it makes sense.

These two items were next to each other in the original pile of papers I received.  I kept them together because they both have the "Notice of Final Settlement."

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Three Stories for Father's Day

Tomorrow is Father's Day, so of course tonight Randy Seaver picked a relevant theme for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun:

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission: Impossible music) is:

(1)  Sunday, 18 June, is Father's Day.  Let's celebrate by writing a blog post about your father or another significant male ancestor (e.g., a grandfather).

(2)  What are three things about your father (or significant male ancestor) that you vividly remember about him?

(3)  Tell us all about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this post, or in a Facebook Status or Google+ Stream post.

I decided to write about my paternal grandfather.

• One of the first things I always remember about my grandfather is his prosthesis and amputated leg.  He never talked about the accident that caused him to lose his leg (we finally learned details several years after he died), but he let us kids play with the prosthesis when he visited us in California.  After my family moved to where my grandfather lived in Florida, it became a regular part of the routine that every now and then Grampa had to see his doctor to have the prosthesis adjusted.  And one great adventure with my mother driving happened when we were going to Pensacola with Grampa to see his leg doctor.

• Something very important in my grandfather's life was being a Shriner.  He was a member of the Hadji Temple (in Pensacola) Tailgater Unit.  He was an active participant in the group's outreach and fundraising activities and proud of his membership.  Every year there was a big Shriners Fair in our area, and of course everyone in the family went.  (One of the public benefits they offered was blood pressure checks.  I used to have lower-than-average blood pressure, and it always freaked them out when they measured it.  They would turn to my mother and express their grave concern, and she would assure them everything was fine.)  I think they did parades through Niceville, but I don't remember if they had the silly little cars.  I have only one photograph of Grampa in his Shriner fez, and that's because my aunt brought it with her when I coordinated our little Sellers family reunion a couple of years ago.  But I don't know what happened to the fez itself!  (Hmm, I wonder if Shriners have records I should be looking for . . . .)

• Another vivid memory is my grandfather's stamp shop in Niceville, Florida.  It was attached to his house, so anytime we visited, we usually stopped in the store also.  And I worked for Grampa in the shop, so I spent extra time there.  Sellers Stamp Shop was a homey little operation.  The front part was the retail area, which had glass display cases for coins, postage stamps (for philately, not for mailing), and associated paraphernalia.  He sold some other odds and ends also.  The rear of the shop was where we made rubber stamps, such as "PAID" and address stamps, with "hot lead" by hand.  (Nowadays it's all done with computers.  Feh.)  Working at the shop was my first job after babysitting, so I was very proud of the work I did.  And I got to hang out with Grampa!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Treasure Chest Thursday: The Curdt Siblings Respond

These four sheets of lined paper measure 7 13/16" x 9 13/16".  They appear to be inexpensive and of low quality, with no watermark.  Although the paper is lined on both sides, the writing is on only one side of each page.  Unlike so many items in this collection that have been glued together, these pages are attached by an ingenious metal brad.  The pages have three fold lines; it looks as though they were folded in thirds to fit into a business-sized envelope, and then one end was folded over to fit into a shorter envelope.

This is a four-page letter, all handwritten, dated January 28, 1920.  It is from Emma (Schafer) La Forêt's three siblings — Alvina (Curdt) Schulte, August W. Curdt, and Louisa (Curdt) Schaefer — and was written to Emma in response to the letter dated January 25, 1920 that she sent to them (which I posted last week).

If you don't want to read the handwriting, don't worry — look at this.

Yes, conveniently, I also have a typed transcription of the letter.  It is not exact — several capital letters were made lower case, a few letters went the opposite direction, spelling was changed, ampersands were converted to spelled words, and punctuation (which is very casual in the original) was adjusted.  In addition, two entire phrases were omitted.  But it's a little easier to read than the handwriting.  This particular page is 20# watermarked bond (BERKSHIRE SOUVENIR BOND USA), 8 1/2" x 13", and cream in color.  If that sounds familiar, it should.  It's the same type of paper as used in the typed copy of Emma's letter to her siblings.  In fact, this is attached to those two pages.

The differences between the original handwritten letter and the typed transcription are:

The second page of the original begins with "she always did with her property as she pleased & sold to whom she pleased for what she pleased & did with her cash as she pleased and saw best".  The transcription omitted "& sold to whom she pleased for what she pleased".

About halfway down the third handwritten page is "C. F. Schaefer bought several pieces of ground at different times, & sold them at a good profit, but he bought and paid the prices Mother asked for them, you say there was ($7,000.00) severn thousand dollars worth of property sold".  The transcription left out "at a good profit, but he bought and paid the prices Mother asked for them".

In addition, the transcribed letter has two notes at the bottom not from the original:  when it was received and answered, and a comment that the letter proves distribution of property was accomplished, not a sale.

In this letter we finally hear something from Emma's siblings, giving us a new perspective on some of the goings-on in the family.  Something that particularly caught my attention were the two comments about Emma having left her children in the care of her mother:

"when you married J. L. La Foret and went to Europe & left your children & her in her old age"

"but you do not mention the debts that were on same, & which Mother was left with three small children to pay interest on"

(Although the grammar in the letter is very fractured, it's usually easy enough to figure out the meaning, so I am going to assume that the interest mentioned in the second comment was being paid on the debts, not the children.)

I admit, I have wondered why Emma did not bring her children from her first marriage with her when she married Jean La Forêt and went to Europe.  But the siblings' accusations do not ring true.

First of all, when Emma left Missouri to marry Jean in 1908, the children were not that small.  Camilla Petit was born in 1894, making her 14, and Eugene in 1896, making him 12.  Marie was the oldest.  Emma did not give her birth date on any documents I have, but Jean wrote in his diary that she was born in 1885.  So she was an adult in 1908.  In fact, she apparently was married that year, because I found Marie in the 1910 census, married to William Schulte (as Emma stated in her narrative).  The census says that they had been married for two years.  And Camilla and Eugene are living with them, not with their grandmother.  (As an aside, the census shows that Marie was born in Germany; given how friendly Emma's in-laws were toward her, I'm sure that they were even more excited to have a baby in the house.)  While I have no documents that indicate how long Camilla and Eugene had been living with their older sister, it is not unreasonable to think they had been doing so since Emma had departed.

United States 1910 Federal Population Census, Enumeration District 119
Central Township, St. Louis County, Missouri, May 13, 1910, page 24A, lines 18–22
Once I call the complaint about Emma dumping her children on her mother into question, the siblings don't have much ammunition left.  So even though they wrote that Emma was the person who should dread the family's dirty linen being aired in court, I'm still inclined to think that the siblings were probably in the wrong and deliberately deprived Emma of at least some of her rightful inheritance.

I have one more item to include in this post:

Both the original letter from the Curdt siblings and the three glued-together typed pages with the transcriptions were in this envelope.  One of the copies of the waiver signed by Louis Curdt was in it also.  What was not in it was a copy of the response to the Curdt siblings letter dated January 28, which was sent on February 3, according to the note at the bottom of the transcription.