February 20, 2017

Bringing the Dead Back to Life: An Eagle Scout's Project

"David Swegle wanted to do something unique for his Eagle Scout community project, and bringing the dead back to life certainly qualifies for that category." Source NWHerald.com

Example of Buried Tombstone
David Swegle, 15, knew that he wanted to contribute to the community in his Illinois town with something historical in origin.

So he contacted the nearby Lee County Historical and Genealogical Society to ask if they had any projects on the go. He was put in touch with President Pat Gorman who had been restoring grave markers in the Oakwood cemetery in his spare time

15 year old Swegle worked with Gorman and identified eight stones that had been buried, broken or displaced, the oldest of which dates to 1845 and belongs to 2-month-old William McCraw.

They began digging up the buried stones, cleaning with a special solution to removie algae and other material, scrubbing the stones, and hosing them off.

Then they re-lettered the stones using pungent, dark shadow paint. The repaired stones will be replaced in the spring. Young David also plans to research the people whose stones he repaired to discover pieces of their history and their family. Officials believe there may be over 100 stones that are buried.

Read the full story at Dixon Boy Scout rehabs 8 tombstones in Oakwood Cemetery

February 17, 2017

Looking for Ancestor Naturalization Records?

Are you looking for Naturalization records for an ancestor? Those records can provide so many clues and so much information on an ancestor - such as place of birth, name of ship they arrived on, date of birth and more. That's where my NaturalizationRecords.com website can help you!

Naturalization Certificate for Robert Taylor
I spent all of last week updating and adding links to online Naturalization records, Passport records and Oaths of Allegiance for USA and Canada. I also added a section for United Kingdom Naturalizations and Passports

If you do happen to find a bad link that I missed, please take a moment and let me know. All I need is the URL of the page where the bad link is found, and the name of the link. I'll do the rest!

A few of the online databases that I have transcribed and published on NaturalizationRecords.com for all genealogists to use freely are:

February 15, 2017

Find Ancestors on Ships to Canada 1400 to 1800

For anyone interested in the names of passengers sailing to Canada 1400 to 1800 I have corrected bad links to several ships lists.

The new links are for the following ship sailings:

Le Christoph April 14, 1535 voyage to Newfoundland from La Rochelle, France 

List of the Crew of Jacques Cartier Second Voyage, Spring 1535 

Index to Lists of Ships Sailing from France to New France (Quebec) 1600s & 1700s - gives dates of arrival, port of arrival and names of Captains  

Ships to New France 1633 - 1647 

Ships of the Carignan Regiment Info and pictures of the seven ships that transported the regiment in 1665

Duke of York arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia from Liverpool, England on May 1, 1772  

Albion from Hull, Yorkshire, England, 1774 to Halifax, Nova Scotia, with 184 passenger 

Providence from Newcastle, England to Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1774 

Thomas and William from Yorkshire to Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1774 

Image Copyright:  Expired
Credit:  Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. 1937-499-1

February 13, 2017

A Valentine's Day Love Story

A Valentine's Day Love Story: 50 Years Apart
Happy early Valentine's Day to all my wonderful readers! In honour of tomorrow being all about love, I want to share a true love story with you. 

First, take a look at the 1916 photo on the left. It is a picture of my mom (in my grandmother's arms), my grandmother Fuller, my aunt Lily (in my grandpa's arms), my grandpa Fuller and standing in front, a little 2 year old boy named Godfrey Harwood.

Godfrey's parents were best friends with my grandparents. My grandparents lived in Guelph Ontario and Godfrey's parents lived in Toronto Ontario but the two families visited frequently. 

Mother's First Winnebago parked in my driveway 1973
When Godfrey was a teenager he went to live with my grandparents and during his stay he fell in love with my mother. He did not say a word to her, as his old-fashioned values prevented him from declaring his love when he did not have a job or money. So he left their Guelph home when mother was 18 and he was 20 years old, determined to work and save money to come back and ask my mother to marry him.

What he didn't know was that my mother had feelings for him too but of course being a woman in those days she could not tell him. She in turn had no idea he felt the same way about her. Godfrey did return when mother was 19 but she had just gotten engaged to my father, so he kept quiet and never spoke to her of his feelings or why he went away. 

They drifted apart and never saw or heard of each other again. My mother and dad married, had 4 children and lived out their lives until my father died 24 years after they were married. Mom was alone after that and eventually she went to live with her widowed mother and sister. 

In 1971 the 3 widows sold their belongings and bought a Winnebago. They traveled around N. America for many years. In fact they were written about in several articles in RV magazines. Eventually they decided to settle down more permanently. Sometime around 1984 when they bought two trailers, one to park in Florida, the other to park in Ontario. 

They chose a trailer park in Lettuce Lake Florida and settled in. As they were unpacking, who should step out of the next-door trailer but Godfrey! It was the first time mother and Godfrey had seen each other since 1934 - some 50 years earlier. 

Mother & Godfrey buld their own Ultra-Light
I'm sure you can figure out where my story is going so I will cut to the ending. Godfrey was married but his wife was gravely ill. A few years later she died and Godfrey felt free to tell mother about his feelings. Yes, he still loved her and much to his surprise (and I'm sure delight!) she returned the feelings. 

Mother and Godfrey never married but they lived together until his death in 1995. And so they came full circle and had several years of happiness together. 

During their time together they had many adventures. They built their own ultra-light airplane. Mother took flying lessons towards getting her pilot's licence. They went out for coffee one morning in British Columbia and decided to leave the coffee shop and drive to California to see the Rose Bowl Parade in person. They did not stop at their trailer, deciding they could buy what they needed on the way. 

Another year they decided to pack up their pup tent and go camping in Alaska. Mother was in her 70s at this time. They were gone for several weeks on that little jaunt. 

After Godfrey's death mother sold everything, packed what little she had left in her car and drove over 2,500 miles alone back to Ontario. She was 79 years old at the time. She continued her life of adventure, starting with her decision to back pack across Australia for her 80th birthday. But her next 10 years of adventures galore is best left for a different blog post.

February 10, 2017

Ashes of 11 Year Old Boy Found in Woods

From a Ohio newspaper we learn the sad story of a young boy's ashes found in a wooded area still in the urn:

Richland County Sheriff's deputies have a mystery on their hands, as they look for the owner of a brass urn believed to contain the ashes of an 11-year-old child."

The name Casey Shaun is etched on the top of the urn, with a birth date of 1986, and date of death as 1998. Investigators are hoping to find relatives of this young boy

Read the full story which also contains a phone number you can call if you have information, on Urn with 11-year-old's ashes found in rural area

Credits: Image from http://myfox28columbus.com/

February 8, 2017

The Victorian Slum

The Victorian Slum is a series of documentary on YouTube but you'll have to try to ignore the dreadful display of a "box within a box".

The video is displayed in a small rectangle in the center of the larger screen which displays the identical video blurred out but playing, in the background. The image on the left is a screenshot I took while the video played.

It's very difficult to watch but the documentary is interesting if you can overcome this.

February 6, 2017

Coming Soon! NYGBS Labs

The NYG&B Announces NYG&B Labs

NYG&B Labs will create an innovative space which leverages the latest trends in technology and digital services to assist in telling the stories of New York’s families.

NEW YORK, NY -- The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYG&B) announces the creation of NYG&B Labs, an innovative space which leverages the latest trends in technology and digital services to assist in telling the stories of New York’s families.

NYG&B Labs will be a destination for aspiring digital professionals who seek to advance their expertise in technology and its applications for the fields of history and genealogy. Each quarter team members will work on a designated, pre-approved project. Once completed, projects may be added to resources at newyorkfamilyhistory.org and beyond.

Members of the NYG&B Labs team will benefit from one-on-one interaction with experts in the fields of genealogy and technology as they work to creatively apply technology to traditional genealogical methods relating to New York’s history. Team members will also receive a quarterly stipend and can work from anywhere in the world.

“NYG&B Labs will provide benefits to anyone researching the stories of New York’s past,” noted NYG&B President D. Joshua Taylor; “with NYG&B labs, the opportunities to create new tools and resources are nearly endless.” The launch of the project was made possible with funding from the NYG&B, individual donors, and support from commercial and nonprofit entities within the genealogical community.

Applications for NYG&B Labs Team members are now being accepted at http://www.newyorkfamilyhistory.org/labs. The NYG&B is specifically seeking team members with an interest in technology, geo-coding, mapping, social media, website development, digital services, history, and other topics. 


February 3, 2017

Who Was Shakespeare?

 The Guardian has a very interesting article where Literary detective Heather Wolfe reveals how her passion for manuscripts helped unravel mystery of who the bard really was.

According to the article "In the simplest terms, Wolfe delivered the coup de grace to the wild-eyed army of conspiracy theorists, including Vanessa Redgrave and Derek Jacobi, who contest the authenticity, even the existence, of the playwright known to contemporaries as Master Will Shakespeare."

Read on to learn  How ‘Sherlock of the library’ cracked the case of Shakespeare’s identity