Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Part I, The POW Camps in America

Where Were Your Ancestors?

POW Camp Chapel, Texas

Location of Camps
There is often a need to do research on events we would all like to forget, like the Prisoner of War (POW) camps in America. In WWII America had POW camps scattered throughout the states. By the end of the war there were over 500 such camps documented containing over 425,000 POWs. There were POW camps in Arkansas and as far north as Minnesota; Japanese concentration camps were along the west coast; and Internment Camps in Texas held many Peruvian and Japanese natives, as well as, German Americans.  These various POW camp were as far north as North Dakota, and of course Ellis Island, but were also in Midwest states like Minnesota, and they reached both the east and west coasts. The south held their fair share of camps, as the cost of heating the barracks and a longer planting season, which the prisoners often maintained, made that region more cost effective.

Camp Workers
What is amazing is that historians write about those imprisoned, but forget to tell the story of the workers; those who ran the camps daily.  In the McLean Prisoner of War Camp in Texas, also known as the McLean Permanent Alien Internment Camp, jobs for the locals and men (mostly guards) for the young women to marry were advantageous for the community.

For More Information
Were your ancestors’ administrating these camps? Details of your ancestor’s involvement may be hidden in collections housed at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). The NARA holds video, still pictures, and textural documents that accurately provides an account of POW camps’ events and activities. Along with this information, specific deck logs, attacks of ships or men in battle are recorded, as well as reports of field casualties and injuries can be found. President F.D. Roosevelt’s papers are also revealing as to American’s policy on POW’s. Pairing any information found in the NARA collections with medical records (military and civilian), you can get a full picture of not only your ancestor’s life or demise, but also a clearer picture of World History and America’s involvement.

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Language Awareness - Dialects (Scottish, Hatian and More)

Origin of Surnames and Native Dialect
We all need to know the origin of our surname and the origin and language of our ancestors. But sometimes it is easier to begin with the present and work towards the past. There are 35 million Americans who continue to speak their native tongue rather than English according to the 2000 US Census. Foreign language speakers in the USA communicate in 329 different languages. 

Everyone knows by now that the U.S. is the fifth largest Spanish-speaking country in the world with a total of 43 million Hispanics, (abt 13% of the USA population). Twenty-one (21) million Hispanics speak Spanish as their primary language and 1.5 million cannot speak English at all. The number of Hispanics in the USA grew by 60% in the last decade, representing the fastest growing non-English speaking minority in the US.

But did you know the 2000 US Census also reported that 1.9 million Americans speak French in the home. French, as a foreign language, is the second most frequently taught language in the world after English with 28 countries having declared it as an official language. It is the only language other than English to be considered as a global language since spoken on five continents.

Follow the 2020 Census statistics to under stand the top languages spoken at home: 

Worldwide there are about 130 million people who speak German as their mother tongue, approximately 1.7 million in the US. In addition, there are 1.3 million Italian speakers in the US.

What Language is that?
When researching your ancestors, be sure to look carefully at their recorded native tongue.  You may even find a rather unlikely dialect like Doric - Scottish language from Northumbria and the Lowlands. Knowing this to be her "mither tongue" I began my research in Aberdeenshire region with success. 

Kathleen Brandt, a3Genealogy
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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Funeral Home Documentation

Funeral Service Records

Hidden Notes
Although genealogists love cemeteries they often overlook the funeral home documentation. But this documentation is vital to our research for several reasons: 1) it allows us to look at the social history of the time. 2) it may have family secrets held in it, like private notes of the cause of death that was withheld on the death certificate 3) it may tell you about the customs and traditions of an ethnic group. 4) it may have a listing of family members not yet known. 5) it may help you solve a mystery (i.e. in my case a murder. 6) it may help you find a copy of a DD214 (military discharge) that was lost in the NARA – St. Louis fire of 1973.

Recently I was hired to assist in confirming if a person was murdered. The family believed the murder was due to a generational family feud, but couldn’t prove it. However, it was suspicious that the wife and husband died within a day of each other, both of “heart failure” on their death certificate. After pulling death certificates of the couple, and noticing the informant was the same, I chose to widen the search, for additional hints. Voila! Everything needed was written in margins. This began my love affair with funeral home documentation.

Since funeral homes rarely go out of business, but are acquired, sold or merged with other business, their records are passed on. The seller rarely cleans up his records, but boxes them, and walks away. Making these boxed documents true treasures. In the margins, you can learn what was left off the death records, so that a proper burial could be had. For example, as suicides were not honorable, if on the death record a church burial might be denied. But the information might still be found within the funeral home’s archives. Also, where coroners and funeral homes were collaborating, transactions may be hidden in the documentation. In one document, it just said “same as James Well.*” Leading me to one more name to my murder case.

As many funeral home archives are being digitized, I began my search for a copy of a veteran’s WWII DD214 with the local library. The University of Florida Digital Collections of Cunningham’s Funeral Home from Marion County Florida, had all the information needed to prove the veteran’s military service.

African American Funeral Homes

Not Even Death Brings Racial Integration
The Journal Herald, Dayton, OH,  25 Apr 1693, pg 73

African American funeral homes became more prevalent between 1880 and 1920. Many learned their trade after the Civil War up to the Yellow Fever Epidemic. Prior to that, the deceased were handled by white morticians, if allowed. However, keeping with the social times, it was usually the case that the white bodies were kept upstairs, waiting for burial, while the blacks were held in the basement. These notes can also be found in archival records of funeral home. To learn more on history of African American funeral homes, morticians and embalmers, visit the National Funeral Directors and Morticians Association.

Back to my murder, it is likely that not only was the couple murdered in 1921, so were four other acquaintances in the following six months.
* Name changed to protect the client. 

Be Historically Correct
Kathleen Brandt
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Sunday, March 21, 2010

DD214 Substitute

WWII - Final Payment Roll Was Saved

In the Military Records Burnt in Fire? Try Morning Reports dated 10 December 2009, I explained that Morning Reports could be used to gather ancestry data when the Military Service Records were lost in the 1973 fire.
“…between 16-18 million Military Personal Files were destroyed in the fire of 1973 at the St. Louis National Personnel Records Center. This fire destroyed about 80% of Army records from Nov. 1 1912 to Jan. 1 1960; and 75% of all Air Force records from Sep. 25. 1947 to Jan 1. 1964. So how can you get military information on your ancestor?”

However, I also suggest due to the time and cost investment needed to peruse these microfilm reels which have not been indexed, you may wish to gather all other resources first. One such resource is the last pay stub often held in the veteran’s personal folder. For most veterans these have been saved; perhaps they were not held in the same repository as the fire. Although this last pay stub may be one lone sheet of paper with scribbles and numbers, a keen eye may uncover a few ancestral hints.

For one, the discharged date, along with the specific regiment and where the veteran was stationed at time of discharge is provided on this last pay stub. It also provides the rank/class, i.e. Private First Class. If the service/serial number was not known prior, the last pay (if complete) for the veteran may also hold that number, making it easier to distinguish your ancestor from other veterans with the same common name.

Along with discharge information, the veteran’s enlistment date and rank may also be listed. As transfers often generated a payment, they may also be itemized payments on the allotment sheet. This is one step closer to creating a scratchy service map of your military ancestor.

Even though this all seems quite meager, it will assist you later when scouring military repositories and resources. It may even assist in lessening the time and cost investment needed to locate additional information within the Morning Reports.

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Friday, March 19, 2010

DNA Primer

Primer with Mavis of Georgia Black Cracker
and Tips from Miriam,
AnceStories: The Stories of My Ancestors

At the Morris family reunion of 2007 in Las Vegas, I revealed the results of our DNA test. In doing so, I created a power point slide show, to explain the importance, relevance and meaning of our Family Tree DNA Certificate. I only wish then, I had Mavis Jones’, author of Georgia Black Cracker, post entitled Ancestral DNA of 17 March 2010.

In this posts, Mavis gives an easy to read explanation of “three basic types of testing with regard to ancestral DNA – yDNA, mtDNA and autosomal (admixture).”

To compliment the Georgia Black Cracker DNA post, Frugal Genealogy: DNA Testing, authored by Miriam Robbins Midkiff on her blog AnceStories: Stories of My Ancestors , gives us tips on “the most frugal way to do testing.” This 16 March, 2010 post is a part of her “Frugal Genealogy, or How Not to Spend a Fortune on Your Family Tree” series. Be sure to read the comments and answers section, as they too are informative on the DNA testing process.

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Buffalo Soldiers' Oversight

St Louis Arch and Museum -
Jefferson National Expansion Memorial

Besides the obvious slight on the Native American’s westward expansion, the Museum of the Westward Expansion in St. Louis at the Arch totally overlooks those who were vital in the westward expansion: the Buffalo Soldiers and even Sacagawea (spelled many ways). There is no way, walking through the exhibit, that one would realize that Sacagawea accompanied Meriwether Lewis and William Clark as a vital interpreter to obtain horses, that she was their guide across the Rocky Mountains, or that she assisted them in negotiating with the Shoshone. Also missing was the Buffalo Soldiers' vital role in protecting the new frontier and making way for the westward expansion.

Robert Banks plaque at the Museum of the Westward Expansion.
There is a lone plaque of Sergeant Robert Banks in front of a talking human size figure. It does not mention that he was a Buffalo Solider; it only states that he was in the 10th Cavalry. It failed to explain the purpose or importance of the 10th Cavalry, the original Buffalo Soldiers. It even failed to explain that Robert Banks, an original member of the 10th Cavalry, began serving July 1866 and enlisted 4 times, to complete over 15 years as a soldier.
Note: There is a small unmarked/unexplained photo of a group of Buffalo Soldiers on the “Soldiers” wall.

Who Were the Buffalo Soldiers?

On 28 July 1866 Congress passed an act to establish two cavalry regiments of “colored men – The 9th Cavalry activated in Greenville, LA and the 10th Cavalry activated in Fort Leavenworth, KS. The 9th and the 10th Cavalry Regiments were used to contain the Native Americans.

In addition to the two all black Cavalry Regiments (with white officers due to the laws of Congress at the time), there were two all black Regiments: 24th Infantry and 25th Infantry. A good place to learn about the Buffalo Soldiers: Google Books “The Buffalo Soldiers – A Narrative of the Black Cavalry in the West” by William H. and Shirley A. Leckie (online).

Origin of Name – Buffalo Soldier

The Cheyenne are believed to have been the first to use the term, but there is not a consensus of which Native Americans - Kiowa, Cheyenne or Plains - first used “Buffalo Soldier (or Wild Buffalo) as a nickname for the 10th Cavalry. There is agreement, however, that this was a nickname of respect as the 10th Cavalry was considered valiant opponents. Although some speculate that the resemblance of the soldier’s hair texture with that of a Buffalo contributes to the name, all believe that in showing respect the Native Americans were praising the soldiers who fought tirelessly and with courage earning the high honor of being nicknamed after the sacred “buffalo.”
(Note: Today the generic term Buffalo Soldiers is often used for all African American soldiers.)

Female Buffalo Soldier
Cathay William's Discarge
Cathay Williams is the only known woman Buffalo Soldier. She was an ex-slave who after being freed by the Union Army during the Civil War, worked as a cook and laundress for the military. After the Civil War she enlisted in the 38th Infantry, Company A as William Cathay. After about two years of service, she feigned ill and through a medical examination, her gender was revealed and she was discharged, which was her desire. For more information and to see enlistment and discharge documents, see http://www.buffalosoldiers-lawtonftsill.org/williams.htm.

Buffalo Soldiers Monument

The Buffalo Soldier Monument was proudly dedicated 25 July, 1992 at Fort Leavenworth, KS.

Be Historically Correct
Kathleen Brandt
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Monday, March 15, 2010

Immigration with Dr. Colletta

They’re Coming to America:
Immigration Records

They came to America; for freedom, for land, for self-determination. Our ancestors came to this place for many reasons, but they all made the same trip to get here. Our featured speaker, John Philip Colletta, has spent many years studying the emigration and immigration patterns our ancestors left behind. John and our guest speakers will be talking about passenger lists and other records that document the passage to America.
Midwest Genealogy Center, brochure

Certain repositories and genealogical centers have a reputation of offering workshops that are worth exchanging household chores and grocery shopping for a $55.00 registration fee to sit, listen, and ask questions. The Midwest Genealogy Center, the largest public genealogy library, located in Independence, Mo., right outside Kansas City, is such a repository who hosted They’re Coming to America: Immigration Records.

I find that many family genealogists do not have the opportunity to go to conferences, so it is a treat when conferences are held at local genealogy centers. It not only gives locals a chance to network with other family genealogists, it allows the participants to be dazzled by the depth of information of featured speakers like Dr. John Colletta, PHD whose presentations Passenger Arrival Records, 1820-1957 and Passenger Arrival Records, 1820-1957 Advanced Problem Solving were worth the sacrificing of weekend chores.

Along with Dr. Colletta’s informative presentation the two days conference gave the registrants information on Colonial Immigration and Colonial Land and Servitude presented by Beth Foulk, and Jennifer Audsley-Moore from the Central Plains Division of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) shared information on Immigration Records emphasizing the process of the Declaration of Intention and Naturalization records. A wonderful treat was had by all when author Rodney Staab gave us a preview of his unpublished works on Galway, Galway to America: Enlistment Records, Migration History. (I wish I were a publisher, this book is needed!)

Now that the weekend is over…the household chores are still waiting on this cloudy Monday morning and my refrigerator is still void of food, but my information bank is brimming with newly acquired knowledge of immigration and naturalization processes!

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Keeping a Treasure

A Call To the Genealogy Community
The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation

Perhaps you remember my 5 February, 2010 blog "The Wall of Honor Ellis Island", or maybe you remember Gini's Wordless Wednesday's blog of 3 Feb, 2010 honoring Marie Beekman Webb, her husband's paternal grandmother. Or it may be that by chance you have used the free database of the Ellis Island Foundation while researching your own immigrant ancestor. What ever the case, know that this foundation, like most, has been hit by the economic slow-down. I have attached a recent plea from Lee Iacocca, the Founding Chairman, seeking donations. You may wish to consider supporting this effort.

A message from Lee Iacocca, Founding Chairman
The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation

This past year has been tough, as you know. In the non-profit world, many organizations have cut back on services or shut down altogether. For nearly a decade, The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation has made Ellis Island Online available to you and millions of other Americans for free, but this past year has been the most challenging in our history.

We are committed to keeping this site open and still free for public use, but now more than ever Ellis Island Online needs your immediate help to make this happen!

Read the entire letter at The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Native American Boarding Schools

Where Are My Native American Ancestors Hiding?

("Haskell Babies" are still referred to in ancestral "ghost stories")

From Boarding School to University
In searching for American Indian ancestors, the universal questions of “Where did my ancestor go?” “How do people vanish in mid-air?” and “Why can’t I find this person for a 10-20 year span?” all apply. But have you checked the 125 year old Haskell Indian Nations University records or any of the small cemeteries located on the historical land of Native American boarding schools?

Haskell Indian Nations University (HINU), located in Lawrence Kansas, a school of American Indian and Alaskan Native people mirrors the USA indigenous people’s history. In 1884, the then United States Industrial Training School, a Federal boarding school established by a legislative act, opened its boarding school to 22 elementary students, some as young as four years old with the suspected goal of force assimilation to the “American culture” but operating under the auspices of “to fulfill numerous treaties that promised to educate Indians in exchange for their land.”[1] The industrial school offered trades for the boys- wagon making blacksmithing, farming, etc. and home-economic skills for the girls - cooking, sewing, etc.

Children as young as 4 years old were separated from their families for months at a time as they attended the school, which focused its training on domestic arts. In keeping with the thinking of the day, Indian culture and language were seen as the culprits that kept American Indians from becoming American citizens. Children were routinely punished for speaking their language or disobeying the military-style rules of the school. Punishment included incarceration in a jail on campus. The lock from the jail cell is on display today at the school’s cultural center.[2]

(Haskell Cemetery for the Haskell Babies)

This ominous beginning helps to explain the Haskell Cemetery, the burial place for 103 Native children, mostly around 10 years old, but as young as 6 months, who died between 1885 - 1913.[3] Although this cemetery can barely be seen on the campus map, it is significant to the history of the Native Americans who died in one of the many boarding schools established across America. Checking through these forgotten cemeteries may be a key to your genealogical search.

History Summary
In 1887 Congress renamed the school Haskell Institute in honor of US Representative (KS) Dudley Haskell. The enrollment of the Industrial School jumped to 400 students by its second semester,[4] and by 1894 approximately 600 students represented 36 states.

Around this time, 1895, the school became a “normal school” for teachers, accepting students beyond elementary and incorporating business skills (typing) classes. By 1927, Haskell began offering post high school vocational technical courses, but was best known for its athletics department. The American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame for athletes like Billy Mills, a member of the Lakota tribe and the Olympic Gold medal winner of the 10,000 meter run, is appropriately located on the campus of the University.

By 1970 it was granted junior college status, renamed as Haskell Indian Junior College, offing free room and board to American Indians, of any tribe, who could prove their one fourth “American Indian blood.[5] In 1993, the school evolved into Haskell Indian Nations University, a four year degree institution.[6]

Accurate, Accessible Answers

[1] Junior college evolving into 4-year university, Journal World, Nachison, Andrew E.; 17 Oct 1993; (online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2199&dat=19931017&id=XSMyAAAAIBAJ&sjid=WeYFAAAAIBAJ&pg=6325,51181; accessed 9 March 2010
[2] Diverse Issues In Higher Education (online magazine); Pember, Mary Annette, 1 Jun 2009; http://diverseeducation.com/article/12608/; accessed 9 March 2010
[3] Haskell Cemetery: A symbol for Healing and Growth, Colmant, Stephen A., MA, LPC; (online: http://www.dlncoalition.org/related_issues/haskellcemetery.pdf; accessed 9 March 2010
[4] [Haskell Indian Nation University, School History; (online: http://www.haskell.edu/about.html; accessed 9 March 2010
[5] JSTOR, Community Colleges Haskell Indian Junior College, May 1955, Vol 55, Martin, Donna; (online: http://www.jstor.org/pss/40162071; accessed 9 March 2010
[6] Diverse Issues In Higher Education (online magazine); Pember, Mary Annette, 1 Jun 2009; http://diverseeducation.com/article/12608/; accessed 9 March 2010

Monday, March 8, 2010

Chasing Jewish Roots : Ethiopia, Israel, Spain & USA

The (Ethiopian) Falasha 
Operation Solomon
From 1993-1994, a span of about 18 months, I traveled back and forth to Tel Aviv Israel working at Bezeq, an Israeli communications company. It is there that I met and befriended my Falashan friends who lived on the outskirts of Tel Aviv and frequented the large market, (my Israeli playground).  My living accommodations faced the Mediterranean sea where I enjoyed the beach, but I played in the dusty city market, learning foods, history, customs, and a few vital words in Hebrew which I’ve long since forgotten. (Photo: The Ethiopian Jews - The Pickman Museum Shop).

Although I loved the Israeli dishes, especially the spicy ones with a touch of Northern African influence, I also fell in love with Ethiopian food in Israel. The Beta Israel community, (they all seemed to live together), didn’t appear to really blend into the Israeli culture; many not having much more of a working knowledge of Hebrew than I.  But with the help of young ones translating, I would sit at their communal gathering, following customs, and falling in love with berbere, the use of turmeric, the feel of injera, and homemade Tej (a honey wine, but milder than that found in the American-Ethiopian restaurants).  Last night when preparing doro wat, an Ethiopian spicy chicken, gomen wat, collard greens and Ethiopian cabbage, tikil gomen, (I never learned how to make injera, but I buy it at the local Ethiopian market/restaurant), I gave tribute to the "Falashans"  who I met over twenty-five years ago.

My experience with the Ethiopian Jews became vital in some genealogical research of a few Mediterranean-tanned friends who discovered their Ethiopian roots.  In America they claimed to be Sephardic Jews.  But family folklore and history confirmed Falasha or Ethiopian Jewish, a distinct group of Jewish persons. There were records of generational names (similar to Genesis, who begat whom), and the elders could recite them without referring to the written word.  The last few generations, however, only recognized it as family folklore, for they were born in the USA and had embraced all that is American. It appears their ancestors, who had left Ethiopia many generations before, also left their generational customs behind as they traveled through northern Africa and Europe, finally landing in the USA on working boats or through some form of trade, intermarrying with other cultures, slowly sending for family members to join them. These American born, mostly claiming to be descendants of Moors from southern Spain, did not quite believe in the Falashan folklore until they did the genealogical data given to them by a dying elder.

As I was only asked to verify the accuracy and probability and to extinguish some of their doubts, I printed off historical information for them to read.  At the time I was not knowledgeable enough in Falashan research to do more than to share my Israeli experiences, but a3Genealogy reviewed their DNA results.

Last I heard, they continued to claim Judeo-EspaƱoles (Jewish Spaniards), but they sprinkled Ethiopian artifacts throughout their home to remind them of their ancestry, and are dedicated to passing the family stories to their children. They were also looking for relatives amongst the Israeli-resident Ethiopian Jews who were airlifted between 1980 and 1990, those who were part of "Operation Solomon," including the ones I met in 1993.  Photo: (Operation Solomon: The Daring Rescue of the Ehtiopian Jews, book).  However, according to recent data, some Falashans who were forced to convert to Christianity in Ethiopia quietly continue their Jewish customs and remain in Ethiopia, awaiting permission to enter Israel.

Maybe if they search a bit more, they will not only find their Falashan relatives in Ethiopia and/or Israel, but also a link to their family claim on Spanish or Moorish heritage.

In the meantime, I need to get back to the kitchen and make some Nitter Kebbeh (spiced butter) for this week’s Ethiopian feast.

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Friday, March 5, 2010

Virtual Lockbox

Do you have a plan? Sanjay Maharaj

Frequently an allusive Sanjay Maharaj posts comments on my blog postings. Generous with his comments, they are always encouraging and informative. But, he never reveals who he is or how to respond directly to him. So this week I decided to uncover his identity and I landed on Virtual Lockbox where he is the President and C.E.O. (http://www.vlockbox.com/about-blog-author).

Sanjay who is an avid genealogy blog follower wrote on his Virtual Lockbox blog, 29 Jan 2010, a passionate post on family genealogists safe-keeping records for future generations. The blog is entitled Do you have a plan? Although Sanjay is not a family genealogist, as of yet, I found that his wording on this post puts into perspective why we research our family histories.

“I am also fascinated by all the treasures they [genealogists] have in their possession which reminds them of not only their heritage but gives them a sense of belonging as it brings the past to the present day and helps them appreciate who they are and where they come from.”

In this particular post, Sanjay asks genealogists “…do you have a succession plan in which a family member or a friend will be the guardian of all your hard work?” Well, in reviewing the concept of the Virtual Lockbox, perhaps Sanjay offers us one solution through Virtual Lockbox: “similar to a bank vault, Virtual Lockbox allows users to upload and store images, video, audio and document files in a secure virtual vault” (http://www.vlockbox.com/faqs#what).

What I like most of this post is that Sanjay gives us a different perspective of our work; one, not of a genealogist but of a fascinated reader. What I like most about this Virtual Lockbox, although this is not an official review of the product, is that you can put release dates on your treasure to share at a given time.

The hardest part of this concept is the lingering twinge of facing our mortality, but I maintain that we, genealogists searching deceased ancestors, see that up close on a daily basis. So readers like Sanjay are reminders of the importance of safe guarding and passing our data to future generations.

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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Edwardian Fashion for the Ample Body

Nola Morris Wells Jackson
(Part II)
From Edwardian to Flapper Casual

(Nola Morris Wells Jackson, Edwardian Fashion, holding Grandson, Morris Porter)

The Edwardian years, 1890-1915 was a very fashionable era thanks to King Edward VII (1901-1910). King Edward carried England, with the United States and France following, out of the Victorian era, upon the death of Queen Victoria in 1901. As King Edward was more accessible to the common laborers and women through his travel and his propensity to socializing, the Edwardian years are claimed past King Edward’s death up to the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, and ending around WWI.

The Edwardian fashion was looser fitting, mobile, and flexible, no longer requiring the breath-taking corset and high backed bustle. These fashionable confinements were replaced by more comfortable form fitting bodices, larger sleeves and ankle length skirts.
Day wear, or casual wear often included, that as seen on Nola in this 1912 photo, the bodice with a high collar, commonly called a “shirtwaist” during the Victorian and Edwardian periods. The original meaning of shirtwaist was based on the bodice (waist) having buttons down the front like a man’s shirt. This may give us, as genealogists, one more way to date photos through clothing. See posting Morris Porter with Grandmother Nola (Morris) Wells Jackson for information on infant clothing for this period.
According to Charles Dana Gibson, the American satirist who became popular by The Gibson Girl, “the new woman was competitive, sporty and emancipated as well as beautiful.”
The Sears Catalog offered over 150 version of the The Gibson Girl shirtwaist. It was the ideal of feminine beauty at the turn of the century, and by 1905, the Sears Roebuck catalog offered 150 versions of the high-collar, back-buttoning yoke style blouse [1].

For larger women, the Gibson Girl clothing was impossible. While the Gibson Girl style that focused on the slender, athletic woman was being redesigned by dressmakers throughout the states, Lane Bryant lead the Nola Morris full-bodied shaped woman out of the Edwardian era into the Flapper era by 1915.

(Photo, Nola (Morris) Wells Jackson abt 50 years old; Grandson, Morris Porter, abt 8 years old)

Nola Morris, 9 Mar 1896 Rutherford, North Carolina died 6 Aug. 1923, Anthony Kansas. Fitting the Edwardian description of an emancipated and beautiful girl, she was married twice. She married Leander Wells in Cocke County TN, at the age of 15, four months pregnant with her first of four children. Having moved to Kansas with her four young ones in tow, Nola married James Jackson in 1905. Family folklore maintains she was too head-strong for a husband. Nola died 6 Aug. 1923 in Anthony, Kansas at the age of fifty four due to heart complications. [2].
Part I, Infant Fashions of Edwardian Years, 1908 - 1914.

Accurate, Accessible Answers
[1] (Fifty Years of Change: Societal Attitudes and Women’s Fashions, 1900-1950); The Historian, Presley, Ann Beth, 9 Oct 2009 [online: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/119107096]]; accessed March 4, 2010)
[2] Nola Jackson birth, marriages and death information is on file with author.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Infant Fashions of Edwardian Years 1908-1914

Morris Porter 
with Grandmother Nola (Morris) Wells Jackson (Part I)

The year young Morris Porter was born, 1911, it was still popular to clothe infants in the androgynous white dress that first appeared in the Sears catalog in 1896. Children under three years old wore white to emphasize their purity and innocence, as well as the simplicity of one’s life. The re-making of this dress kept the dressmakers busy during the Edwardian era of 1908-1914. Baby boys, like little Morris Porter, born before WWI, donned this white dress, not using color to distinguish his gender until about the age of three, when he became “a big boy” and transitioned into trousers, also probably given his first haircut.

Morris Porter, born 13 March 1911, in Kingman Kansas, recently passed away at the age of 97 years, 4 Dec 1911 in Wichita Kansas [i]. He graduated from Kingman High School in 1928, and played with a popular jazz band in Kansas City, after attending three years of college at Southwestern College, in Winfield, Kansas. He served as a Warrant Officer in the US Army from 1942-1946 where he was stationed at Ft. Huachuca, AZ and the South Pacific. He then joined the railway Postal Service in 1946, where he worked until retirement in 1971. His expertise was in the territories of OK, KS, IL, MO, and AL, but after 1965 when the railway mail ended, Morris remained in Nebraska with the Postal Service. He was married twice, first to Margaret Giles for about 5 years and then to Melba Walker from 1946 until her death in 1982. Morris and Melba had one daughter, who still resides in Wichita[ii].

He was given the family name Morris to keep alive the long heritage of the Wiley J. Morris family. His grandfather Wiley J (Tobe) born in 1838 was born as a free colored [iii] having never been a slave since he was born to Louisa Griffin (Morris), a free woman. Louisa was Morris Porters’ great-great Grandmother. His Grandpa Tobe, who had eleven children, one being Nola, born in 1869, is shown holding little Morris Porter.

Nola, fashionably shown in an Edwardian top, carried the typical Morris women features- a rather large lady of Irish mulatto blend [proven by DNA and family lineage]. She was only forty three in the photo. Morris liked to say “she looked like a large Irish Washwoman, but she claimed to be colored.”

As I have another photo of Morris, at about the age of 8, with his Grandma Nola, I will compare the two fashions worn by Nola in my next blog. You might find it interesting that like Nola, most of Wiley and David Morris’ 13 daughters shared an affinity for Lane Bryant, which luckily for them, had a booming catalog sales business by 1915.

Part II, Edwardian Fashion for the Ample Body.

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[i]“Social Security Death Index,” Ancestry.com. (Online: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010). [Original data: Social Security Administration, Master File. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010.] http://search.ancestry.com accessed 20 Mar 2010

[ii]Morris Porter, Personal Interview, 16 Jul 2007; extracted from video tape

[iii]“1840 United State Census” Rutherford County, North Carolina Ancestry.com. (online: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2009). [Original data: Sixth Census of the United States, 1840; National Archives Microfilm Publication M704, 580 rolls]. http://search.ancestry.com. Accessed 20 Mar 2010

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Evidence Explained Missing

Source Citation Generator Needed

I’ve scoured the internet using the keywords “Evidence Explained citation generator,”“EE citation generator,” and “citation generator.” I’ve even substituted “machine” for “generator,” nothing was found. But this is the era of technology!

It would appear to me that if your primary goal is to encourage standardizing genealogy citations you would have already implemented a software citation generator to the public. This concept is not new to the academic world as done by Modern Language Association of America (MLA), or even APA. Then there are the more popular Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) citation machines used by the genealogy community. Perhaps CMS is still very popular because there are source citation generators out there that can be easily tweaked for genealogists, even though it fails to adhere to the genealogy world’s need of standardization. But this posting would not be necessary in the technology age of 2010, if the primary goal to encourage standardizing the use of Evidence Explained for genealogy was being met.

Sure, Legacy software has the Evidence Explained based “source writer” in its Deluxe software for about $40-$60USD, but I don’t want or need new genealogy software, I want and need an electronic version of the citation generator. Just the "source writer" part! I don’t need the $24.95 electronic copy of the book as sold by Footnote.com; however, this searchable and more practical version would be more appealing if the source citation software was included, but this is not indicated. I really truly just want a citation generator. Plug in, print out!

My ProGen Study Group, who put up with my babbling and pontificating during class yesterday, put all the arguments on the table: it’s fairly new to the market, Elizabeth Shown Mills is probably still benefiting from copyright protection, it may take more time to implement the Legacy source writer independently from the software bundles/packages, etc. And I must agree with all. But what happened to the “need to standardize?” I don’t want an 885 page book, that weighs practically 3lbs; I can’t travel with it and as a professional genealogist, I’m always on the road. I want to install a generator on my computer and voila! I’ll pay for it, just like I paid for the Evidence Explained Quicksheet Citing Online Historical Resources Pamplet.

I’m truly not denying the need for Evidence Explained. I hope my ProGen Study Group understands that, even though it sounds like I’m taking this way too personally. Sidebar: I always have a revelation through this group. Yesterday it was, “I hold grudges.” I have yet to release an incident, a rather inappropriate comment made, at the NGS Conference in KC. What was that, in 2008? And I haven’t been in a Walmart for over 10 years, but that's another story. Grudges aside, I will still purchase a plug and play Evidence Explained citation machine.

In the meantime, I’ll continue using the Chicago Style Manual citation generators as much as possible, and pull out the Evidence Explained Quicksheet when all else fails.

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Monday, March 1, 2010

Kampfflugzeuge Search

WWII Missing Air Crew Reports (MACRs) -
“Kampfflugzeuge USA”

Chronological Index to downed aircraft for 15 Oct. 1944.
Identifies incident crash or death, location, type of aircraft and down aircraft report designation.
(Not all reports have been translated).

Often, as genealogist or family historians we search through the NARA records looking for any hint of an ancestor, with a certain amount of confidence that the record has to exist. The key to our success may be in our knowledge of the subject.

Recently, in search for “downed USA plane” information I had to rely on my rusty German to locate reports concerning captured Allies during World War II, but even then, I had difficulty connecting a few key words: Luftgau, KU Reports and MACR.

Well, as it turns out KU Reports, shorten for Kampfflugzeuge USA Reports, as it was labeled by the Germans, was exactly what I was looking for. The USA Kampfflugzeuge, combat aircraft, reports were prepared in Luftgau (German administrative offices) referencing Allied downed aircraft over German-occupied Europe (and their interest) primarily for US aircraft flying from the UK. The NARA houses about 7000 of these original German textural documents in Record Group (RG) 242. Probably over half of the original reports were destroyed by the end of the war, so, there is not a complete collection of the German reports. According to the NARA index, the earliest KU report held at the repository is dated for an incident on 12 Aug 1943. These WWII reports end in 1945. Of course there are other Luftgau records in the Luftgaukommando, German prisoner of war files.

For genealogists and family historians, these KU Reports may be used to locate the crash cause, its time and location, burial data or POW information.

Although the RG242 Luftgaukommando Records Relating to Captured Allied Personnel reports have not been microfilmed, RG92, MACRs or Missing Air Crew Reports compiled by the U.S. Army Air Forces from 1942-1947, are on microfiche publication M1380 and may also be found on Footnote.com.

For genealogists and family historians, the MACRs holds military personnel information, the time the aircraft was lost, and emergency contact information for the victim. Usually an Individual Casualty Questionnaire completed by a witness and or surviving crew member is also included. Here you may also find a copy of the original German KU report, again only some are translated.

For more information on this topic:
NARA MACRs: http://www.archives.gov/research/ww2/missing-air-crew-reports.html
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