Aren't book reviews fun? They make you feel so much better about yourself. Anyway, if you are interested in space program history, the publisher that brought out my first book, tragically overpriced, is reissuing it in paperback at a more palatable cost, roughly half the hardcover figure. Testing the Limits: Aviation Medicine and the Origins of Manned Space Flight will be available in paperback August 22nd but amazon is taking preorders now. If you like to support independent historians or just want to read "...a brilliant piece of scholarship..." you can check it out on amazon or via Texas A&M University Press.
The Swiss Center of North America in New Glarus, Green Co, WI is an excellent example of why you need to do “boots on the ground” genealogical research and not limit yourself to "dot-to-dot genealogy," i.e. connecting data points you find online and hoping the picture you draw is accurate. You can hire a local genealogist (try the Association of Professional Genealogists), or see if the local historical or genealogical society will do lookups for you, or better yet, go there yourself.
Today I got a tour of the extensive holdings the Swiss Center of North America has related to Swiss and Swiss-American genealogy. The village of New Glarus was founded in 1845 by Swiss immigrants from the canton of Glarus but the Center has genealogical records, family histories, 19th & 20th century correspondence & business records, newspapers, photographs, books, sound recordings, music, and Swiss-American club records - in all 4 languages of Switzerland – plus clothing, furniture, artwork, and household items from ALL the cantons and from Swiss emigrants to other parts of North America, including Canada and Puerto Rico.
Places like this make up the 90% (or more) of genealogical records that have NOT been digitized and probably will never be.
The Swiss Center of North America would also like you to get in touch if YOU have any diaries, photos, clothing, artwork, recipes, letters, club records, etc. from your Swiss immigrant ancestors documenting their experience in the Old Country or the New. They welcome such donations (they welcome monetary donations, too) and if great-grandpa’s alpenhorn or whatever you have in the garage isn’t exactly right for their collection they can help you find it a home. Their contact info is: 507 Durst Rd. New Glarus, WI 53574 – firstname.lastname@example.org– 608-527-6565.
I have been remiss in keeping that updated, partly because I find so many photos in public domain sources and those are the ones I tally. However, don't forget about the photos I am not at liberty to publish outright but to which I can offer a findagrave.com link. People who are lucky enough to have or find photos of ancestors from the 1800s often post them on findagrave.com and even better, sometimes give credit to their source. They aren't available for download without the contributor/owner's permission (click on his or her name) but you can window-shop. The findagrave site for a Cooke-Browne ancestor of mine, Ephraim Tomson/Thomson/Thompson (1747 MA - 1820 NH) was updated since 2013 with links to some of his descendants and several had photos. Thus in the "Findagrave Mayflower Descendants" section on your left you can find links to son Ephraim Jr., daughter-in-law Lucy Thomas (also a Browne), daughter Mary (via a second wife), and one of Mary's sons and three of his children, all of the surname "Winch." I can't add that surname to the index, but if you are a Winch with roots in Canadice, Ontario Co, NY, these might be your people.
This morning my husband and I attended services at the Pioneer & Military Memorial Park in downtown Phoenix, where I had the honor of representing the Auxiliary to the Picacho Peak Camp #1, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW), one of the 5 Allied Orders all representing the Union at the event. The other 3 are Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War (DUVCW), the Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic (LGAR), and the Woman's Relief Corps (WRC). The Margaret Warner Wood Detached Tent #1 (Arizona) of the DUVCW already has photos on their facebook page, along with pictures of the other Allied Orders contingent that attended services at the National Cemetery in north Phoenix. Fast work, Verna!
FWIW, I attempted to enter the names of family members who died in the line of duty on the Memorial Day poppy page that USAA has been advertising during the Major League baseball games this week. I used both Firefox and Safari (Mac versions) and each time it just stared mutely when I hit the "submit" button. So, please remember in your prayers the souls of George L. Phillips, USN (WWII), Asa D. Packard, Charles Tuckwell, and John Geddes (all Civil War, Army), and others who gave their lives in the line of duty.
If you haven't already, please go put out your flag!
....to serve you better, as the slogan goes, it occurred to me that putting the surname of new profilees on the home page in BLOCK LETTERS would help when there is a string of siblings with middle names that are surnames. For example, by listing Gen. James Irish's battalion of daughters in the Rogers section as "Abagail, Adaline, Martha, Mary Gorham, Rebecca Chadbourne & Sophronia IRISH" on the home page it would be (hopefully) clear that Gorham and Chadbourne were middle names, and that the maiden name of each woman was "Irish." This is especially helpful when a non-Mayflower person is in the picture, such as their mother, Rebecca (Chadbourne) Irish. I hope you find this change helpful.
I also finally put in a link to the Twitter account I have had for a long time but didn't use. I will likely never put out tons of tweets but given that I will be traveling about half of the remainder of 2019 and will be doing research in the Midwest, East, and Northeast, Twitter should make it easier to share. So, if you wish, tell the little bird icon (top right) you'd like to "follow" or look for me out and about as @DoctorMaura.
If you are researching ancestors from southeastern MA, Cape Cod, and Rhode Island, like I am, it is easy to overlook their Dutch neighbors in New Amsterdam, part of the larger New Netherland colony in the 1600s. Well, there's a lineage society for that - the Holland Society of New York. Their research focus for the past 134 years has been the colonists and history of New Netherland. Recently I found an ancestor, Thomas Cornell, who had been in Rhode Island but went to what would today be the greater New York City metro area, got a land grant (along with other families), left after an Indian attack, went back again, and eventually died in RI. Anne Hutchinson and family were part of a group that left RI over religious issues and went to New York. Anne was killed in an Indian attack but left descendants. The Holland Society of New York has one requirement many (most) of us cannot meet: a straight male line of descent from that ancestor in New Netherland. In other words, if my surname were Cornell, I could join. There are other options for those of us whose surname changed, though. One is their "Friends Of" membership category, which costs $75 and includes "all the benefits" of membership except attendance at their annual meeting. Another option is to subscribe to their scholarly journal, De Halve Maen (named for the Half Moon, Henry Hudson's ship, if your Dutch is shaky.) Online it is just $15, and $45 for paper. A typical outmigration pattern from New England starting in the mid-late 1700s was into New York, along the Hudson River area settled by the Dutch, then across the state, intermarrying with the Dutch as they went. Also, people often tell me they can't possibly have any Mayflower ancestors because their ancestors settled in the Chesapeake Bay area, but the Allertons and Howlands sent contingents there in the 1600s. New Netherland reached that far. Particularly if you have anyone who ever set foot in what is today the New York City or Hudson River Valley areas or married into a Dutch family, The Holland Society of New York's research library, genealogical database, and journal may have the records you need to close your genealogical gaps.
Here is a link to a very interesting, albeit long, blogpost on BillionGraves explaining the difference between the it and Findagrave. Pictures and maps accompany the text so you can see what they mean and how it applies to your work if you are a genealogical researcher. Personally, I have felt that findagrave.com has gone downhill since being bought by ancestry.com, as I have found more misidentifications online than I had in the past and more postings of alleged graves with no stones or anything. People glom onto those memorials and add all kinds of things to them when, in fact, their ancestor ain't buried there. The down side to BillionGraves is that it only has a fraction of the number of memorials but they apparently have an app and are recruiting volunteers, so if you are a researcher, check it out. This is a multi-part post.
My pilgrim ancestors did not celebrate Easter, but I do. I hope all of you out there have a very blessed and holy Easter.
I found these links on the Plymouth 400 web site this evening - a site that is worth your checking out.
One is to a sample letter you can download and tweak, then send to the committee that approves new postage stamps. Certainly the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower's arrival is stamp-worthy. The Postal Service issued a special stamp at an earlier Mayflower anniversary and 400 years certainly calls for a stamp or even a set of stamps. Consider downloading their model letter and firing off your own missive to Washington, D. C. Be a policy influencer! Then you can brag to your friends next year about how you helped make the Mayflower quadricentennial stamp set a reality. The Postal Service issues lots of commemorative stamps and likes ideas for compelling, colorful imagery with a U.S. theme so if you don't like the ideas suggested in the letter (and I do not) feel free to swap them out for your own.
The other is to their postal artwork contest. Thinking "positive," new stamps are issued with a cachet - a fancy envelope with a complimentary design, usually postmarked at a place related to the topic. An example would be an envelope with a fancy Plymouth Rock on it (I am obviously not artistically visionary enough to win this contest), bearing one or all of the commemorative stamps you have lobbied for, and postmarked at the Plymouth or Provincetown, MA postal service on the exact date of the 400th anniversary. That would go straight into many a philatelist's collection. They need your artistic contributions, though. And teachers, assigning this as a project is a clever way to combine history and art for a curriculum double-whammy. Yes, ordinary people and ordinary artists do design the Postal Service's stamps and I believe they do pay, so when you're done with your cachet design, try for the stamp.
Dr. Maura Mackowski is an Arizona research historian who enjoys the challenge of looking for Mayflower descendants, hers and anyone else's.
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