Monday, September 22, 2008

Farewell to House That Ruth Built

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Watching last night's emotional farewell to Yankee Stadium brought back many childhood memories of going there with my father and sisters. We never saw a World Series game in person, but we did see many Yankee greats play--Maris and Mantle and other legends of this once mighty baseball team.

Mounting the stairs to the subway station as the final inning drew to a close, we'd peer over and see the last out(s) from the platform and then slip into a subway car and be gone before the crowds surged out of the stadium. Babe Ruth would (should) be angry that the house he built is being torn down.

Farewell to an era. I doubt the new stadium will inspire the strong feelings that this grand old stadium has inspired over its 85 years.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Great-grandpa Came from Kaunas (formerly Kovno)

clipped from www.smso.net
Location of Kaunas
Remains of Kaunas Castle
Kaunas' view in 19th century
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Kovno was part of Russia when Great-grandpa was born (around 1861 or so). Today it's Kaunas, part of Lithuania. Lots of history to learn about there. Would Great-grandpa be pleased that I want to trace his roots, see where he was born and where he was married?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Finding Kovno ancestors

My ggrandfather's death cert shows his birthplace as Kovno and his father's birthplace as Riga. It also gave his mother's maiden name as Luria, a name with a long heritage in Lithuania and surrounding areas. Tracing ancestors in these areas during the mid-1800s is no picnic. My cousin Amy is doing some of the historical research (thanks, Amy!) and has found a Davidic connection through the Lurias.

Another source of ideas for researching in this area is Schelly Talalay Dardashti's Tracing the Tribe blog. Thank you, Shelly!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Never Underestimate the Power of Google for Genealogy

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Last fall, a speaker at the local genealogy club suggested searching for ancestors and relatives via Google Web AND Google News. He advised searching on "Marian Wood" and "Wood, Marian."

Following his advice, I found a relative (Violet) who I think is the daughter of a great-aunt I never knew (but whose image I have on a postcard sent to my maternal grandfather).

I couldn't find Violet's current address or phone and put the search aside.

Today I Googled her again and found she had written brief memoirs that were published in a book now searchable through Google.

I checked 411.com for the phone number of that book's editor, called her, and she's going to try to help me find and connect with Violet! Maybe Google should have a "Google Genealogy" search box especially for finding people?

Monday, September 1, 2008

Finding Distant Woods

clipped from www.old-picture.com
Fernando Wood
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My husband's cousin Larry has done a remarkable job researching the Wood family. One of the distant relatives he researched is Fernando Wood (above), a former mayor of NYC who was apparently corrupt and whose brother Benjamin owned the NY Daily News for a time. Fernando and Benjamin were outspoken opponents of the Civil War (Fernando suggested NYC secede).

Benjamin Wood's widow Ida had quite the story of her own--The Recluse of Herald Square, a woman of modest origins who reinvented herself to join high society and finally died with millions stuffed under the mattress. You never know who you'll find as you climb your family tree. To be continued.