Some of the write-ups will be getting a facelift that may turn out to be my New Year's resolution if it takes all of 2016. (Nearly 600 individuals have now been immortalized electronically here since 2012.) Some images will be cropped and reposted so viewers can focus in on the face. Early listings with no lineage spelled out will have that added. Mentions of reference books that have been replaced or augmented by later editions will be corrected. If my minions in Washington are able to get better scans from print volumes at the Library of Congress, those will be swapped for the worst of the digitized ones. (We essentially lost 2 of the 3 genealogical libraries in the Phoenix metro area in 2015, and the remaining one is 50 unpleasant driving miles from here.) One thing outside my control is that Weebly randomly makes some pictures bigger or smaller, loads the picture noticeably later than the text, or de-bolds some text. Weebly is free and easy to use, though, so for now it's the home for this website. So, "new and improved to serve you better," as they say.
I have posted an image in the "Mystery/Fun Photos" section of a man in GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) regalia. Two pictures of him, one in ordinary attire, were among a jumbled group of photos that a now-dead relative scanned, did not label, then let a family member scan, and I scanned that. I've lightened it a bit with GraphicConverter and the other photo is a bit clearer. He probably belonged to a GAR group in southeastern MA. If you have access to their records or a history book with pictures, ideas are welcome.
If you apply before January 1st, the Descendants of Cape Cod and the Islands is giving a discount to charter members. (This is one of those groups that you pay a biggish fee up front to join but do not have to pay annual dues.) Those who join in 2015 pay only $200 plus a $35 application fee. Laggards who join after 1-1-2016 will pay $250 plus the fee. Note also, that one need not have an ancestor who was an islander or lived on Cape Cod to join. Your forebear could also have been an absentee landlord pre-1700, a Wampanoag inhabitant, a trader, a surveyor, a soldier, or a judge hearing cases pertaining to those areas. Remember, Martha's Vineyard was part of New York from roughly 1665-1691 (don't quote me) and an "armchair land owner" need not have ever left England. A slave brought to the area or a POW such as the Scottish prisoners sold in New England circa 1651 who later became a resident, carried on a trade, owned land, or performed a service there (military or civil) could also qualify. Check out your roots and see if someone unexpected makes the cut. And remember the ladies! "Land owner" did not always mean "male." Neither did "slave."
View of the shallop taken from the starboard side rail of the Mayflower II, docked at Plymouth, MA, September 2014. Photo by webmaster.
Yesterday I attended one of the classes offered at the Southeast Regional County Library in Gilbert, which has hosted classes, workshops, and genealogy fairs for years now (click on their calendar.) The speaker was a regular volunteer at the LDS Family History Center in Mesa, which usually closes for 2 weeks in the winter for refurbishment. They closed about a year ago for a slightly longer time, promising upgrades and then never reopened. For months they have had a posting on their web site saying to "phone this number" for updates that were made "frequently." Not really, but it has been updated now that they've opened the nearby training center for one day a week of online access (only.)
I have been reluctant to say anything about the cause of the closure since nothing was forthcoming from the source, but what I heard yesterday seems reliable. The speaker said that the refurbishment revealed previously unknown roof leaks that had caused mold to grow inside the walls (it sounded like all 4 walls), then rusted leaking plumbing was detected I forget where, but I think in the foundation. On top of that, they had termites. Thus the building, which is not that old, is essentially rotten from top to bottom. She said the church committee that funds capital projects (my paraphrasing) meets just once a year, in January, so no decision would be made until then. No one knows whether a new facility will be built, whether the books and microfilms will remain here in the area, or if there will be no facility to replace it. That would be a shame since only a fraction of vital records and genealogical materials are online, in spite of what people think. For now, the computers in the training room are open M-F 9-5, only, and I do not know what they offer that your local library does not. Microfilms from Salt Lake City still cannot be delivered there. The main FHC Library in SLC will only deliver films to designated libraries and those are few. In the Phoenix metro area there is the McLellan Irish Library, part of the Irish Cultural Center, that is affiliated with the Phoenix Public Library. The speaker said that the SLC library will deliver to select local LDS churches and those can be found on familysearch.org. The map of the SE Valley she showed displayed only a couple of sites, and being a church, they are only open one or two days a week for a few hours at at time. If the committee decides not to reopen the FHC, I would hope that a local public library would take it upon itself to obtain some or all of the collection.
This is why I tell people who ask me about leaving their books and papers to an LDS-affiliated library not to do so. As a private entity, especially one run by a religious denomination, they can do whatever they want, when they want, including cutting off your access to the items you donated. Recently the Phoenix area also suffered a loss when the Secretary of State (Lt. Gov.) decided more office space in the capitol building was needed so the state genealogy library and its holdings were summarily kicked out. This was done surreptitiously but someone who heard about it squealed to the press and it was suddenly in the news. That is the benefit of a government-funded library: sunshine laws. A city, county, or state cannot just quietly close and keep all your stuff without the press and the public finding out and dragging the matter into the open to demand an explanation and/or redress. Sunshine laws couldn't change the AZ decision but by hollering real loud, the local genealogy community was able to play some role in the disposition and destination of the state genealogy library's holdings.
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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