31 July 2010

Online Video Features Elizabeth Shown Mills

NGS is proud to announce the presentation to our members of the newest in the NGS Online Interview Series:

Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA

Arguably the most influential genealogist of our time, Elizabeth Shown Mills was for many years, with her late husband, Gary B. Mills, Ph.D., the editor of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly.  She edited Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers, and Librarians and authored Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace as well as many other works valued by genealogists.

The video provides an opportunity to meet Elizabeth “up close and personal” as she shares her thoughts on our work and her own personal experiences as a researcher in these five short features:

  • Genealogy Is History, Up Close and Personal
  • The Importance of NGS
  • Family Traditions: My Choctaw Princess
  • We Are All Cousins
  • The Search
Now showing for Members Only:

  • Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA
  • David E Rencher, AC, CG, FIGRS, FUGA
  • Willis H. White, CG
Also showing:

  • Thomas Adams, 2009 Rubincam Youth Award Winner
  • Helen F. M. Leary, CG (emeritus), FASG, FNGS
  • Paths to Your Past
  • American Genealogy: Home Study Course
  • NGS Conferences-What to Expect 
Log in and go to NGS Videos http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/ngs_videos 

Coming attractions:

  • Thomas  H. Jones, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA
  • Leslie Anderson, MSLS,  Alexandria Library
  • National Archives and Records Administration
  • Laura DeGrazia, CG
The NGS Online Interview Series was produced by the award winning team Kate Geis and Allen Moore.

27 July 2010

How Are We Exciting Young Genealogists?

Our recent video about Thomas Adams, recipient of the Rubincam Youth Award, proves that genealogy is truly a family affair. Upon learning that he won the award, the first person he told was his great-aunt, Rosalie T. Adams, who was instrumental in helping him discover information about his great-grandfather and grandfather.

NGS wants more young people to experience the excitement of discovering their roots. We're looking for stories about genealogy projects that families are doing together. Perhaps you're planning a road trip with research stops, recording oral histories at family gatherings, or showing your children how to sleuth for records at the library or county clerk's office. Maybe you're working together to compile and illustrate an ancestry chart, or even visiting your forebears' old stomping grounds. Now's the perfect time to engage young people in the joys of genealogy and immerse them in living history.

How are you getting the next generation interested in family history?  Share your experiences in the comments section below!

25 July 2010

Memories made on family vacations

In The (San Bernadino) Sun, Jim Matthews wrote a wonderful perspective on the real value of family vacations while attending his wife's family reunion. The excerpt below provides but a glimpse of his insights and inspired poetic expression.
"Family reunions are about hearing the stories describing our ancestors, recent and older, and understanding the sweep of history is drawn through a succession of short lifetimes. You realize through the years that blood, family ties, and community friendships, which frequently end up binding families through marriages and churches, are like drops of water in the rivers we fish on these reunions: you really can't appreciate your place in the scheme of things without the perspective of family history, just as one pool or riffle doesn't define a whole watershed."
To read this beautifully written article in its entirety, click here.

24 July 2010

Buzzy Jackson Shakes Her Family Tree

The Old Community Center in Truckee, California, will be the site of a July 25 ice cream party, book reading and signing, with a portion of proceeds from book sales benefiting the Friends of the Truckee Library, to celebrate the release of Buzzy Jackson's new book, Shaking the Family Tree…Blue Bloods, Black Sheep and Other Obsessions of an Accidental Genealogist.

In her new book, Jackson (see photo) investigates her roots and dives headfirst into her family gene pool: flying cross-country to locate an ancient family graveyard, embarking on a week-long genealogy Caribbean cruise, trekking to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and even submitting her DNA for testing to try and find her Jacksons. Through her research, she connects with distant relatives, traces her roots back more than 250 years and in the process comes to discover — genetically, historically and emotionally — the true meaning of “family” for herself.

To read this entire article,  "Book Bash for hometown author Buzzy Jackson in Truckee" from the Sierra Sun, click here.

19 July 2010

Tales of an Heirloom Civil War Hat

Terry Crowley of Lake Havasu, Colorado, goes out of his way to tell his great-grandfather's stories to anyone who will listen, and every July he does it while wearing a special family heirloom – a hat worn by his great-grandfather during the Civil War. The hat, Crowley said, has seen many battlefields, possibly including the battle of Gettysburg, which marks its 147th anniversary this July.

Crowley’s great-grandfather, Jebediah Oakes, fought with the Fourth Alabama regiment and was one of only 202 soldiers still alive at the end of the war when General Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox, according to Alabama National Guard archives.

To read the entire article about Crowley and his great-grandfather in the Havasu News-Herald, click here.

Bastrop, Louisiana, History Club Preserves Morehouse Parish History

The Family History Club has provided a valuable service to Morehouse Parish over the past two decades by collecting and preserving historical and genealogical records. The club’s library of historical books and ancestral records have recently moved into a new, larger genealogical room at the Snyder Museum in Bastrop. Here one can find a treasure trove of information for the purposes of research and human interest.

“We have a vast collection at the museum,” said Fay Bowe, who is a charter member of the club. “To me, history is very important because it is ongoing. Morehouse Parish history is so interesting to delve into.”

To read the entire article from the Bastrop Daily Enterprise, click here.

11 July 2010

Early NY Paper Reveals Family Murder

by Jan Alpert, NGS President

Some gems of information take a little tracking, but that makes the discovery all the dearer. Here is one that recently rewarded my efforts:
On Saturday evening last, in Painted Post, Steuben co, a Mr. Birst [Borst] killed a Mr. Wagon [Wygant], by literally beating out his brains. Wagon kept a tavern and had been drinking freely as also had Birst. A scuffle commenced, during which both parties became much exasperated. The women interfered and Birst was put out doors, where he remained nearly an hour, using the most provoking language. Wagon finally tore away from his family — Birst retreated a few rods— the scuffle was renewed, and Wagon was soon taken up nearly lifeless. His skull trepanned but he died the next day. Birst is in custody. We have these particulars from a gentleman direct from the scene, and they are a striking commentary on the folly of intemperance.
Finding a copy of this newspaper article has been on my research list since last November, when I was at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. There I found reference to a murder in Painted Post, New York in an Index to the Newspapers Published in Geneva, New York edited by Gary B. Thompson in 1981. Today I found a wonderful website, http://library.hws.edu/archives/newspapers with a copy of the article from The Geneva Palladium, 1826, Ja 4, 3:3. At that time I noted the source as The Geneva Palladium, Vol. 10, January 4, 1826 (every Wednesday morning) Geneva, NY (Ontario Co.) p. 3 column 3 (from the Geneva Gazette), showing that the item was originally published in the Geneva Gazette.

The names in the article are both spelled incorrectly, so I enclosed the correct spellings in braces. This spelling variation added a sleuthing challenge, but it is understandable because the article is being reported in another town that is not familiar with the families mentioned. Henry Borst is my ancestor, and I first learned about the murder on page 307 in the Historical Gazetteer of Steuben County, New York by Millard F. Roberts, Syracuse, NY 1891. John Wygant had designed a replica of the “Painted Post” about 1824. The Steuben County history reports, “He was killed some years after in a broil with Henry Borst, who fractured Wygant’s skull with a stone, for which Borst suffered legal punishment.”

Only a family historian can tell you what was omitted from both articles, that Henry Borst’s daughter, Polly, was married to George Wygant, the victim’s son. This missing fact helps explain why “the women interfered” and tried to break up the fight. I imagine the family felt the effects from the devastating murder for several generations. However, the family and descendants lived in the community for at least another fifty years, and this story was not passed down in family folklore.

A few years ago I found a copy of the badly decayed court documents in Steuben County, New York, but they did not include details of Borst’s conviction or sentencing. Although not online, the same newspaper archive listed above has the following entry in the index: “Steuben County—Courts, H. Bust [yet another spelling] sentenced for manslaughter, Geneva Gazette, 1826, Je 28, 3:2.” I have just written to the Geneva Public Library for a copy of the article.

The Warren Hunting Smith Library at The Hobart and William Smith Colleges has a subject index found at http://library.hws.edu/archives/newspapers covering the surviving issues of the two Geneva newspapers, the Geneva Gazette and the Geneva Palladium, between 1806 and 1839. Not all of the issues are available online. If you have ancestors in western New York during this time period, it is worth a look. Note that the names of the individuals were not indexed; however, I found the entries under “Murder” and “Steuben County—Courts.” If you find any nuggets, feel free to post them to the UpFront blog.