Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Diary Entries Describe Decoration Day Traditions

Today is the 150th anniversary of Decoration Day. The original purpose was to honor those who died serving in the Civil War by putting flowers on their graves. After World War I, the concept of Decoration Day expanded to decorating the graves of all U.S. military men and women who had died in wars.

For decades, my late father-in-law, Edgar J. Wood (1903-1986) would drive his wife, Marian J. McClure Wood (1909-1983), from their home in Cleveland to Upper Sandusky, Ohio, for Decoration Day. In his diaries, he wrote "Decoration Day" on the space for May 30th and jotted notes about laying flowers on her relatives' graves. Interestingly, only one diary entry ever mentioned decorating his parents' graves in Highland Park Cemetery, Cleveland, and that took place on the day before Decoration Day.

At top is a partial listing of Marian's relatives buried in Upper Sandusky's historic Old Mission Cemetery, including her mother, Floyda Mabel Steiner McClure (1878-1948). Also buried there are her aunts, uncles, and grandparents. None of these folks had fought or died in war; it seems it was family tradition to honor the memories of much-loved relatives by laying flowers on their graves every Decoration Day.

According to the diaries, Edgar and Marian would pick up her father, Brice Larimer McClure (1878-1970), for the drive to Old Mission Cemetery, where they laid flowers and had a picnic nearby. If it was raining, they ate in the car. Then they visited relatives in the area, such as Marian's Aunt Carrie Steiner Traxler (1870-1963), before driving home.

For this generation of my husband's family, Decoration Day was a day of remembering those who had passed away and spending time with family members they rarely saw.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Write Family History Now, Add or Change Later

Thinking about writing your family history? There's no time like the present. Anything you write will be a real gift to your family and to future generations, whether you write about a special family photo or trace the life of a matriarch or patriarch.

If all you have is a photo and the names of some or all of those pictured, you've got enough to make a good start. The goal is to write as much as you know about who, what, when, where, why, and how. Today, you may only know "who" and "when" but tomorrow, when you discover "where" or "when," you can add that to your write-up or make corrections.

Always ask family members for help. Many times, cousins can identify people we've never seen or met. Photos can also trigger recall of a family story that adds color and personality to the family history.

Here's a photo taken at the NYC wedding of my parents, Daisy Schwartz (1919-1981) and Harold Burk (1909-1978). When I was writing about their courtship and marriage, I asked several cousins to help identify the wedding guests. Unfortunately, we identified only four of my mother's maternal aunts and uncles shown here. Still, I kept moving ahead with my write-up.

A few weeks later, one cousin suddenly remembered the name of the lady seated fourth from the right. Based on this new info, I located the lady's son and ultimately connected his branch to my great-grandma's family tree in Hungary. Because of my cousin's memory, I now have more names, relationships, and stories to add to my family history.

Never give up! Eventually, we identified the last two "unknowns" in this photo as more cousins on my mother's side.

Please, do the "write" thing for the sake of future generations. There's no time like the present for starting on this gift to the descendants of our ancestors.

NOTE: This is part of my series about writing family history:

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Saving WWII Letters for the Next Generation

One of my 2d cousins was kind enough to lend me a scrapbook of letters written by my mother's 1st cousins and her sister serving in World War II.

The letter-writers were the American-born grandchildren of Leni Kunstler Farkas (1865-1938) and Moritz Farkas (1857-1936). Leni and Moritz, my great-grandparents, were born in Hungary and came to New York City at the turn of the 20th century. Their children (my grandma and her generation) formed the Farkas Family Tree (the FFT) association during the Depression to keep the family close-knit.

One by one, as these grandchildren of the matriarch and patriarch joined the military in the 1940s, they wrote letters to be read out loud during the family tree's monthly meetings. In all, five men and one woman wrote home about their WWII experiences. They were dedicated, patriotic, and often quite candid about their military experiences.

Above, a letter from my mother's first cousin Harry, who trained as an X-ray technician after enlisting in the Army in 1943. He was stationed at Camp Grant (Rockford, IL), Lawson General Hospital (Atlanta, GA), Fort Lewis (Tacoma, WA), and Fort Jackson (Columbia, SC), among other places.

While being shipped cross-country every few months for additional training, Harry wrote about wanting to finally, finally work with patients, which he eventually did. After the war, he went to medical school, set up a practice in a small town, and was sorely missed when he passed away at age 89.

My aunt Dorothy Schwartz (1919-2001) enlisted as a WAAC in 1942. She was keenly aware of what she was and wasn't permitted to say in her letters, describing where she was stationed without actually naming the place or revealing other details. In the letter above, she reassures her family by mentioning the beautiful countryside in England (no town mentioned) and gives the latest news about a WAAC controversy over wearing "overseas hats" when out and about.

At the same time, my aunt didn't mince words when expressing her outrage about German prisoners of war being allowed to stand and watch while U.S. servicewomen handled jobs like cleaning mess halls that could and should have been performed by the POWs. She was also realistic about the dim prospects for an early peace in Europe, from her vantage point of being the administrative support for military officials.

On this Memorial Day weekend, I salute my cousins and all the men and women who have defended our country over the years. This military post is for week 21 of #52Ancestors.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Where Have All the Gen Bloggers Gone?

Do you remember that 1950s folk song, Where Have All the Flowers Gone? by Pete Seeger (read the story here)?

This mournful song came to mind today as I tested the links on every one of the dozens of genealogy blogs I follow. Where have all the genealogy bloggers gone?

  • Nearly 3 dozen blogs haven't been updated in at least 6 months. Of these, at least 10 have been dormant since 2015. Most of the blogs had been active for a few years, on and off, and then activity dwindled to zero.
  • Several blogs have transitioned to websites (and are still functioning, so I changed my "follow list" to reflect the new address). These are keepers.
  • Inexplicably, 2 blogs are now "hidden" from view. Can't see what they are now, so I deleted them from my reading list.
Now I'm down to reading only 78 genealogy blogs. Since few bloggers post as often as, say, Randy Seaver on Genea-Musings, I can easily keep up with the blogs I like to follow.

But I really miss the meadow of genealogy blogs that once blossomed with information, education, and discoveries. I miss buzzing from blog to blog and enjoying the diverse voices and stories that these bloggers were kind enough to share.

Despite the shrinking population, I do not think that genealogy blogging is dead. Some bloggers have, I imagine, decided to focus on Twitter or Pinterest or both. Some are surely active on Facebook genealogy pages or Instagram. Most are probably busy living their lives and researching their trees. At least, I hope that's what happened. My 10th blogiversary is coming up in August, and I plan to keep blogging as I climb my family tree.

Let me thank all of you genealogy bloggers who are still posting, and encourage those of you who are new to add your voice and believe you have an audience. I look forward to seeing what you're doing, learning from your experiences and expertise, commiserating with you when an ancestor refuses to be found, and rejoicing with you when you smash a brick wall.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

So Many Ancestors, So Many Languages

For #52Ancestors #20, I'm trying to identify the different languages spoken by key ancestors in my family tree and my husband's tree.

My paternal grandparents (above) probably spoke three languages apiece. Grandma Henrietta Mahler Burk (1881-1954) was born in Latvia, and surely spoke Latvian as well as English and, I'm guessing, Yiddish. Possibly she spoke Russian too, although I don't know for sure.

Her husband, Isaac Burk (1882-1943) was born in Lithuania, and spoke that language plus Russian and maybe even Yiddish in addition. Isaac certainly picked up some English when he stopped in Manchester, England, to stay with family in 1901, en route from Lithuania to North America.
My maternal grandparents also spoke multiple languages. Grandpa Theodore Schwartz (1887-1965), shown above escorting my mother down the aisle at her wedding, had a way with languages. His native Hungarian tripped off his tongue, but he could also speak several other languages, including English--which is why the steamship lines employed him in NYC as a runner around Ellis Island in the 1910s.

His wife, Hermina Farkas Schwartz (1886-1964), was fluent in Hungarian, having been born there, and learned Yiddish in the Lower East Side of NYC as an immigrant. Also she learned English in NYC night school.

In my husband's Wood family tree, there are three adult Mayflower ancestors (Degory Priest, Isaac Allerton, Mary Norris Allerton). Therefore, in addition to English, they may have learned some Dutch when the Pilgrims fled to the Netherlands prior to sailing to the New World. Once in Plymouth, perhaps they learned a few words to talk with Native American tribes? Photo above shows my late father-in-law (Edgar James Wood, 1903-1986) at left with two of his Wood brothers.

Also in my husband's McClure line, his ancestor Halbert McClure (1684-1754) was born in County Donegal, and sailed to Philadelphia with his family in the 1740s. Because the McClures were originally from Isle of Skye, hubby's ancestor may have spoken Scottish Gaelic or Gaelic (or both). On arrival in the American colonies, however, the McClures would most likely have learned English, because they walked from Philadelphia to Virginia. They would probably need to speak English to buy provisions along the way. Once in Virginia, they bought land--again, a transaction that probably required English.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Honor Roll Project, Part 3: Newtown, CT, Gulf War and Civil War

In Newtown, Connecticut, the stately memorial at the head of Main Street includes plaques with names of men and women who served in our country's military over the years. As part of Heather Rojo's Honor Roll Project, I'm transcribing the names and including photos to pay tribute to these brave people.

This is Part 3 of names from Newtown. Part 1 covers those who served during the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Spanish-American War, and the Mexican Border War. Part 2 covers those who served from 1944-1971.

Here are the names of those from Newtown who served during Desert Shield and Desert Storm, 1990-1991:

Check, Emory T. (Army)
Demand, Dana B. (Air Force)
Denslow, Alan L. (Navy)
Evans, William (Navy)
Fischer, Lawrence B. (USMC)
Godfrey, Kenneth C. (Air Force)
Gottmeier, Richard P. (Army)
Hannah, Stephen (Army)
Hayward, Brian P. (Air Force)
Knapp, Letitia Renee (Army)
Knapp, Robert D. (Army)
Kieras, Christopher (USMC)
Killing, Robert E., Jr. (USMC)
Klewicki, John E. (Army)
Leavitt, Brian (Air Force)
Leedy, Roberta C. (Army)
Mead, James g. (Navy)
Schaedler, David A. (Army)
Schmidle, Paul W. (Navy)
Schmidle, Robert E. (USMC)
Swart, John J. (Army)
Sturges, Donald (Navy)
Wade, Brian (Navy)
Waller, Darrick (USMC)
Wrinn, Johnathan (Air Force)

And here are the names of Newtowners who served during the Civil War:

Adams, James
Alldis, Frederick G.
Andress, David
Banks, Allen
Banks, Edward A.
Beers, Hawley
Beers, James M.
Benedict, Edwin
Benedict, Henry W.
Bigelow, Henry B.
Bissell, Henry
Blake, Martin
Blakeslee, George B.
Booth, Charles, Jr. 
Booth, John W.
Booth, Starr L.
Botsford, Gideon B.
Botsford, Israel C.
Bradley, George A.
Bradley, Thomas
Brewster, John H.
Brisco, Ephraim
Briscoe, Charles
Briscoe, George
Briscoe, Gustavus
Brown, George W.
Brown, Jeremiah
Brown, Jerome
Bruno, Gottfried
Bulkley, George
Burritt, Charles H.
Butcher, Charles
Camp, Daniel B.
Camp, George B.
Carley, Edward
Carmody, Michael
Casey, Barney
Cavanaugh, Michael
Chipman, Charles C.
Clark, Allen B.
Clark, Newell
Clark, Robert
Clinton, George
Coger, Henry B.
Coley, George S.
Colgan, Matthew
Conger, Charles T.
Conley, William
Connell, William
Cornell, Hiram
Cunningham, John
Curtis, Charles G.
Curtis, Jasper L.
Curtis, Joseph
Curtis, William
Curtis, William E.
Davis, Daniel
Davis, William
Dayton, Charles W.
Dick, Charles L.
Dimon, Arthur
Downes, Munroe D.
Downs, Oliver
Downs, Smith
Dunn, Hugh
Dunning, Edward A.
Edgett, Seneca
Edwards, Levi H.
Egan, James
Ellwood, Frederick
Ellwood, William
Evans, James
Evarts, George A.
Fairchild, Alpheus B.
Fairchild, Henry W.
Fairchild, Jerome B.
Fairchild, Lewis
Fairchild, Lewis H.
Fairchild, Reuben A.
Fairchild, Robert B.
Fairchild, Theodore B.
Fairman, Arthur
Faulkner, John
Flannery, Patrick
Foote, John G.
French, David R.
Gage, George R.
Gannon, John
Gilbert, Charles E.
Gilbert, Henry A.
Gilbert, Horace 
Gillette, David A.
Glover, Henry J.
Glover, Martin V.B.
Gordon, James
Gordon, William A.
Greene, John W.
Griffin, John
Groever, Paul
Guernsey, Truman
Hall, Henry C.
Hall, James P.
Hawley, Charles E.
Hawley, David B.
Hawley, George
Hawley, James
Hawley, William G.
Hayes, Dennis
Hickey, John
Hubbell, George S.
Hubbell, John P.
Hull, Andrew C.
Jackson, Henry J.
Johnson, Henry
Johnson, Jacob
Johnson, Thomas
Jones, Charles
Jones, David W.
Jones, John
Kaine, Patrick
Kane, Daniel
Kane, James
Kane, John
Keenan, Michael
Kelly, Bernard
Kelly, James
Knapp, John S.
Lake, George
Lattin, John O.
Lewis, George H.
Lillis, Griffin P.
Lillis, John
Lillis, Martin
Lynch, Patrick
Manley, Henry T.
Matthews, Benjamin W.
May, Charles
McArthur, William L.
McMahon, Michael
McNerney, Thomas 
Merritt, Charles
Meyer, Fritz
Monson, Charles
Nash, Adelbert
Nichols, Beach
Nichols, Elijah B.
Nichols, Harmes L.
Nichols, Henry E.
Nichols, James
Northrop, Alpheus
O’Brien, David
O’Brien, Thomas
O’Halloran, Michael T.
Olmsted, Peter D.
Parker, James
Parsons, Charles M.
Payne, Charles H.
Payne, David S.
Peck, Albert W.
Peck, Austin L.
Peck, Chester D.
Peck, David M. 
Peck, John F.
Peck, Nelson J.
Peet, Benajah H.
Pete, Elijah S.
Peterson, Arlan
Peterson, Carl
Platt, Francis W.
Platt, Orlando M.
Ramsay, George W.
Reed, Hawley
Reicker, Edward
Rigby, Matthew
Riley, James
Roberts, Charles H.
Root, Nathan H.
Ryan, Michael
Sanford, Andrew W. 
Sanford, Julius
Schriver, Andrew
Seeley, Eli B.
Seeley, John D.
Shaughnessy, Lawrence
Shepard, Charles
Shepard, Charles S.
Shepard, Hall
Sheridan, James
Sherman, George H.
Sherman, Ira
Sherwood, Charles R.
Smith, Frederick E.
Smith, John
Smith, Pearl
Smith, William A.
Spencer, George H.
Spitzler, Gottlieb
Spring, Charles
Squire, Cyrenius N.
Squires, George D.
Stuart, Louis L.
Sullivan, James
Tappan, John
Tappan, Robert
Taylor, Ammon
Taylor, Milton C.
Taylor, Roswell
Tongue, Elam M.
Tongue, Hanford
Troy, Edward
Twitchell, Franklin S.
Tyrrell, Stephen
Urmston, Thomas D.
Walsh, John
Weed, Daniel B.
Weed, Joseph B.
Weible, Christian
Wenzel, Frederick
Wheeler, Cyrus W.
White, Joseph
Williams, George W.
Wood, Smith B.
Wooster, Charles 

Monday, May 14, 2018

Honor Roll Project, Part 2: Newtown, CT, 1944-1971

Continuing with the names memorialized on plaques honoring military service by residents of Newtown, CT, here are the people who served from 1944 - 1971.

This is Part 2 of my series...Part 1 lists Newtown's military veterans from the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Spanish American War, and the Mexican Border War. Part 3 lists Civil War and Gulf War military veterans.

Although the original plaques in Town Hall on Main Street don't show names in alphabetical order, I transcribed and alphabetized everything by time period.

My goal was to make it easier for relatives and descendants to find these folks who served our country, and see who else from that family served from 1944 through 1971.

Abbott, A.
Adams, G.
Adams, T.
Allen, C.
Allen, G.
Allen, P.
Anderson, J.E.
Anderson, K.
Anderson, N.
Anderson, W.A.
Andrews, L.V. Jr.
Arbetelli, J.
Arndt, K.A.
Arnot, K.A.
Atkinson, G.
Ballerini, D.
Barchi, F.T.
Bardelli, D.
Bardelli, J.
Bardelli, T.
Barna, S.
Bayerle, W.A.
Bedat, A.E.
Beers, C.
Beers, E.
Beers, M.
Belander, R.W.
Bell, P.T.
Bellesheim, G.
Benedict, C.
Berglund, K.
Berls, C.
Berls, C.
Blantin, E.G.
Bolmer, C.
Bolmer, L.
Bowles, E.
Boyle, A.M.
Bradshaw, A.
Bradshaw, A.J.
Braun, J.T.
Bresson, G. Jr.
Bresson, H.
Bresson, J.
Bresson, R.
Brown, R.
Bryk, M.
Buonaiuto, F.V.
Buonaiuto, J.A.
Buonaiuto, J.T.
Buonaiuto, V.
Burdett, A.C.
Burnett, D.C.
Burns, D.J
Burns, G.
Burr, B.
Canfield, W.
Card, W.R.
Carroll, F.
Casey, D.
Casey, E.
Cassidy, D.
Christie, W.A.
Cogswell, C. Jr.
Cole, W.
Connor, R. Jr.
Corrigan, R.
Costello, T.
Cox, E.
Cox, E.E.
Craig, D.
Craig, E.
Crick, J.
Crookes, W.C.
Crouch, E.A.
Crouch, J.T.
Curtain, R.A.
Curtis, J.
Curtis, N.G. Jr.
Davis, G.
Dayton, R.
De Cesare, G.
De Groat, E.B.
De Groat, R.G.
Dean, R.
Dean, Robt.
DeCesare, K.
Delay, R.
Dellea, C.T. Jr.
Digilio, R.
Dinkle, B.W.
Dinkler, D.A.
Downs, R.L.
Eaton, N.
Eaton, R.D.
Eberhardt, E.V.
Echols, D.
Echols, J.W.
Eddy, R. Jr.
Eggert, O.
Farrell, D.J.
Farrell, E.
Farrell, R.
Ferris, D.
Fleischman, C.
Fleischman, C.
Forbell, E.
Fortier, P.
Frederickson, K.
Giambra, A.
Gies, J.C.
Gill, J.
Glover, L.
Granniss, K.
Granniss, K.E.
Greenman, R.
Griffith, C.M. Jr.
Haas, C.
Haig, R.
Hammond, J.C.
Hanlon, C.
Hannah, J.W.
Harris, M.
Harrison, T.
Hart, E. Jr.
Hartmann, J.
Hayden, R.
Hellauer, W.A.
Henckel, W.E.
Herman, E.
Herring, R.M.
Hileman, T.
Hill, M.
Hill, R.
Hollister, W.
Hopkins, L.
Hopkins, M.L.
Hopkins, P.
Hoyt, F.W.
Hribal, J.F.
Hubert, J.
Hull, R.
Hunihan, J.
Ingram, E. Jr.
Ingram, R.
Jackson, E.
Jackson, R.R.
Jandreau, R.A. Jr.
Jensen, E.
Jensen, R.
Johnson, D.
Jones, B.
Kamas, J.
Kamas, T.
Kayfus, D.
Kayfus, F.S.
Kayfus, J.
Kayfus, L.
Kayfus, R.
Kayfus, W.
Kearnes, J.
Kennedy, F.
Kennedy, J.
Kennedy, J.
Kennedy, M.
Kershaw, P.
Kessinger, J.
Kilbride, F.
Killing, A.
Killing, G.
Killing, R.
Kingman, G.
Kingman, P.
Kline, R.C.
Knapp, E. Jr.
Knapp, J.
Knapp, R.
Kondrat, M.
Kovacs, K.
Krafcsik, J.
Krafcsik, M.
Krager, R.
Kuhne, E.G.
Kyle, D.
Lani, J.P.
Larson, L.
Lawler, D.
Leach, D.
Leach, J.
Leaver, W.H.
Leebold, R.
Leondard, E.
Lewis, C.
Lewis, D.
Lewis, D.
Lewis, J.
Lewis, W.
Lillis, W.F.
Liska, R.
Locke, F.
Lockwood, C.
Lockwood, E.
Lockwood, R.
Lorenzo, J.
Loveland, R.
Lovell, W.E.
Lucas, J.W.
Lucas, M. III
Lucas, R.
Macmillan, W.
Mahoney, J.
Mallette, C.
Manwaring, D.H.
Manwaring, J.
Marron, R.
Matern, R.
Maye, A.E.
Mayer, R.W.
McKee, L. Jr.
McLaren, G.
McMahon, M.L.
McPhie, A.
McQuillan, A.
Melot, R.
Mentley, J.
Miles, H.
Miller, R.
Miller, R.
Milon, W.
Moody, D.A.
Moody, H.
Morgan, E.
Morgan, R.
Nalven, H.E.
Nalven, L.I.
Nestor, M.S.
Nezvesky, I.
Nezvesky, J.
Northrop, E.
Northrop, F.
Northrop, G.
Northrop, J.
Norwell, J.
Nyberg, P.
Nyborg, D.
O’Brien, H.D.
O’Connor, R.J.
Oliver, W.D.
Paglinco, D.
Palmer, D.
Parsons, T.
Pearson, A.
Peck, C.
Peck, D.
Peck, K.
Peck, R.
Peck, R.T.
Pellietier, K.
Pendergast, F.
Pendergast, J.
Perillo, F.
Perrotte, D.
Petersen, D.
Phillips, R.
Pitcher, S.
Powell, T.
Presnell, T.
Pressmar, E.
Pressmar, J.
Preusser, A.C.
Proctor, G.W.
Proudfoot, R.
Qubick, J.
Qubick, R.
Quinn, H.
Quinn, R.
Ramsdell, T.
Rasmussen, R.
Reardon, D.
Reiner, R.
Romain, J.
Rosenthall, H.
Roth, E.
Sagnelli, N.
Sanborn, D.
Saren, J.
Saren, W.
Saunders, D.
Saxton, L.
Schettino, R.
Schwaiger, G.L.
Scott, C.
Scott, F.
Scott, S.
Seaman, F.
Sedor, J.
Selph, R.
Seman, W.
Shannon, R.
Shredders, M.
Simmons, R.
Simon, R.
Simpson, J.
Simpson, R.
Slocum, W.
Smalley, B.
Smith, D.
Smith, J.
Smith, L.
Smith, R.
Smith, S.
Sniadecki, J.
Sniadecki, R.
Spencer, E.
Spencer, G.
Sperling, R.
St. Pierre, J.
Stanton, T.
Steinfeld, J.
Steisel, D.
Steisel, J.
Stiewing, J.
Stikkel, F.
Stikkel, H.
Stikkel, V.
Stilson, T.
Stithan, D.
Stoddard, F.
Story, I.
Stratton, J.
Sturges, D.R.
Sullivan, V.T.
Talsey, J.
Tani, C.
Tani, J.
Tarrant, J.
Taylor, J.
Temple, A.
Thomas, J.
Tillbrook, R.
Tonnessen, A.
Tonnessen, A.
Tremblay, P.
Trudeau, D.
Trudeau, R.
Trudeau, R.
Trull, S.
Tuttle, W.
Ugolik, S.J.
Valo, J.
Van Almelo, F.
Vandemark, R.
Verrell, E.
Walker, M.
Walker, R.
Watkins, E.
Watkins, J.
Watkins, R.
Watkins, S.
Watkins, T.
Webber, E.
Wechter, D.
Wechter, P.
Wheeler, R.
White, D.
White, E.
Williams, L.
Winston, M.
Wiser, K.
Wolff, R.
Woodin, H.E.
Woodward, P.
Wrable, E.
Wupperfield, J.
Yurgilevich, A.

Thanks again for the opportunity to participate in Heather Rojo's Honor Roll Project, as Memorial Day approaches and remember those who have served in the military over the years.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Honor Roll Project, Part 1: Newtown, Connecticut

There are two places where servicemen and servicewomen are memorialized in Newtown, Connecticut.

One memorial is the tall, graceful monument at the head of the main street. At left, a view of what the base looks like.

Embedded around the base of the monument are bronze plaques listing the names of Newtown residents who served, from the Revolutionary War onward (see photo below for an excerpt).

This memorial was dedicated in 1939, with two prominent opera stars singing during the ceremony: Grace Moore (who lived in town at that time) and her friend and fellow diva, Gladys Swarthout.

Some of the bronze plaques with
names were added in stages after the dedication. Many but not all of the plaques were transcribed during the 1930s but I'm double-checking and correcting before posting, having found errors and omissions.

The other place where Newtown residents who served are memorialized is on "roll of honor" plaques hand-lettered and framed in the lobby of Town Hall on Main Street. See photo here for a peek at one of these plaques (to be transcribed later this month). These have not been written up in the town's archives, to my knowledge.

Today, I'm posting Part 1 of the listing of Newtown residents who served in the military. Part 2 (names from 1944-1971) can be found here. Part 3, with names from the Civil War and Gulf War, is here.

Watch for more in the coming weeks, each separate list alphabetized to help people find their ancestors!

Newtown residents who served in the War of 1812

Beardslee, Bailey
Beers, Abel
Beers, Philo
Bennet, Abel
Bennet, Eli
Bennet, Isaac
Bennet, James
Bennet, James W.
Bennet, Joseph
Bennet, Philo
Booth, Philo
Botsford, Daniel
Botsford, Daniel, Jr.
Botsford, Theophilus
Bradley, Abijah
Camp, Lemuel
Caulkins, Joseph L.
Chapman, Alma
Crofut, Abel F.
Curtis, Abijah B.
Curtis, Alfred D.
Curtis, Matthew
Dibble, Philer K.
Dibble, Squire
Fairchild, Kiah B.
Fairchild, Philo
Foot, Arnold
Foot, Isaac
French, David
Gilbert, Elisha
Glover, John
Glover, William S.
Gray, William
Hard, Niram
Hawley, Lemuel
Hays, Abraham
Jarvis, Charles
Johnson, Ichabod
Judson, Abner
Judson, David
Judson, Zera
Middlebrook, Peter
Nichols, David
Northrop, Isaac
Peck, Andrew
Peck, Ezekiel
Peck, Rufus
Prindle, Jonathan
Shepard, Amos
Shepard, Timothy
Stilson, Abel, Jr.
Stilson, Jacob
Taylor, David
Thorp, Ira
Tousey, Joseph
Wells, Amos
Wheeler, David
Wheeler, Joseph B.
Whitney, Philo
Winton, Czar
Wooster, Roswell

Newtown residents who served in the Mexican War

Barnum, Franklin
Cole, Andrew

Newtown residents who served in the Spanish American War

Brennan, James
Hawley, Willis
Lovejoy, Arthur G.
Lovejoy, Morris B.
Morris, Charles G.

Newtown residents who served in the Mexican Border War

Barnett, William E.

Thanks to Heather Rojo for the opportunity to participate in her Honor Roll Project!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Remembering Ancestral Mothers with Love

A tribute to the ancestral mothers in my family . . . 
And in my husband's family . . . 

They are loved and remembered, not just on Mother's Day!

Friday, May 4, 2018

Do the "Write" Thing for Genealogy: Be Honest, Be Ethical

As family historians, how can we write about ancestors in a way that is both honest and ethical?

After all, every family has a secret or a story that the current generation knows nothing about. Maybe an ancestor hid an early marriage or had some other hidden relationship . . . or committed a crime . . . or behaved in a manner considered, then or now, to be shameful or questionable or downright wicked.

Our genealogy research can turn up things that families never expected would be known. Especially if we want people to share stories and documents with us, I believe we have an obligation to use that information in a responsible way. It's a balancing act between the honesty we genealogists owe to future generations and the ethical responsibility we owe to those living today.

My personal approach is: If disclosing something about an ancestor would be truly harmful to someone living today, I don't write about it, either on my blog or in any "public" family history.

This has been a real issue only once in my 20 years of genealogy research. In that instance, I put the information into my private genealogy files so the story won't be lost forever. This allows me to be honest with future generations and act responsibly by avoiding potential damage today.

My "genealogical will" leaves my files to relatives who will safeguard them for the sake of descendants. Years from now, when these genealogical heirs sift through the files, they can weigh the consequences of disclosure in light of how much time has passed and whether anyone would be harmed if the story is told then, not now.

What do you think? Please share your thoughts on this delicate balancing act.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

A Close-up Look at One Brick-Wall Mother

Combining two #52Ancestors challenges ("Close Up" and "Mother's Day") with this month's Genealogy Blog Party theme of "Marvelous Mothers," I thought it would be fun to take a closer look at a particular brick-wall mother on my husband's tree.

Eleanor Kenny (1762-1841) was hubby's 4th great-grandma. She is intriguing because, according to some family trees, she is shown as the daughter of James Kenny, a private in the Cumberland County (PA) militia who died during the Revolutionary War in 1784. He served in the 7th Co., 1st Battalion of this militia.

Eleanor's father (hubby's 5th great-grandpa) would be the first direct family connection to that war, if this is the right Eleanor and right James Kenny.

Now, before you say "grain of salt," this James Kenny's will specifically lists his daughter "Elinor Kenny" (she wasn't yet married). That's not enough, of course, but consider that one of the witnesses was . . . Brice Smith, who married Eleanor Kenny one year after her father died. Seems more likely that this is hubby's family after all.

The only other clues I currently have about Eleanor Kenny are:
  • Her marriage to Brice Smith took place on Aug. 23, 1785 in Carlisle, Cumberland county, PA. The Family Search transcription of the original ledger is shown above.
  • She is mentioned (as "Elenor") in her husband's will of 1828. So she was clearly alive when he died.
  • She is buried in Driver Cemetery, Bremen, Fairfield county, Ohio, alongside her husband. The Find A Grave memorial provided her birth/death dates and shows her as "Ellen Smith."
So very possibly this James Kenny is hubby's 5th great-granddaddy and his only ancestor who we know fought in the Revolutionary War. And I discovered this link by taking a closer look at his probable daughter Eleanor, an elusive brick-wall mother on my husband's tree.