In addition to having a great Swiss genealogy & history library AND being within a 3-5 hour drive of significant Norwegian, Danish, Cornish, and Polish genealogy research centers, New Glarus, Wisconsin also turned out to be a (relative) hotbed of Manx genealogy. The North American Manx Association is active here and their web site is advertising Hotel 1620 at Plymouth, MA as the site of their 2020 Annual Convention, August 7-9, 2020. If you are a Standish descendant, you know that he was a Manxman, which makes you eligible to join and take part in the celebration. The event is on top of the GSMD's triennial Congress festivity the following month, in September. The Society of Myles Standish Descendants meets on a biennial basis, and their next event is not until 2021, unfortunately. So, if you can't make it to Plymouth, MA in September and are lucky enough to be a Standish descendant, you can still have a great time celebrating the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrim's landing with the Manx cats of the NAMA (pun intended.) If you are interested, this group also has an active facebook page. (Not sure if you have any ancestors from the Isle of Man? NAMA has a list of Manx surnames here. You don't have to be a Standish descendant to join.)
To find out, you'll have to pull yourself away from your computer and go to Monroe, WI's National Historic Cheesemaking Center. Yes, they have a website and it has a link to cheesemaker oral history interviews (on their YouTube site) plus a "History of Cheese" recap. The interviews might be useful for Swiss/Wisconsin family lore that would give you some ideas, but the earliest interviews I saw dated to 2018. What the actual venue in Monroe - just outside the town square - offers is the chance to physically locate your family's farm and see who & what they lived near, whether they were in the town or off in the wilderness, what natural resources and avenues of transportation they had (navigable waterways, roads), etc. All of these matter, particularly when there is more than one person in the town with your ancestor's name and you need to figure out which one married your other ancestor and ultimately produced YOU. Especially if you have to do a written analysis, you will need to be able to show how the couple could ever have possibly met and the map is your ally in that case. In the photo below, taken at the National Historic Cheesemaking Center (© Maura Mackowski 2019), you will see a notebook, wall map, and photo display. Look up your ancestor in the notebook, see a photo of their farm on the left, and find their farm on the wall map. In this example, the Flannagan, Olson, and Geigel cheesemaking operations are pictured and the map to the right should give you an idea of how two of them became "Flannagan-Olson." The moral of the story is, you will miss a lot, sometimes the most important clues, by just looking at records. Find out what your ancestors did for a living, look for museums & historical organizations dedicated to that craft, and visit the local museums in their town.
Mineral Point, Iowa County, WI in the "driftless" section (look it up) of the southwestern part of the state, is the place to go for Cornish genealogy. A great many of the European settlers in the area during the 1840s were Cornish miners there and you can today visit Pendarvis, essentially a recreated Cornish "village," eat pasties at the local restaurant, ask about their sister city (Redruth, Cornwall), and join the Southwest Wisconsin Cornish Society. It aims to promote Cornish culture, especially among people in North America of Cornish descent and to do so they offer a newsletter, meetings (if you are in the vicinity), links to other Cornish cultural organizations, and access to their Cornish collection at the public library in Darlington, WI. They want to help you with your Cornish genealogical research, and the group's facebook page is advertising a free year of membership (or one year's free renewal if you are already a member). That offer expires July 31, 2019, but if you join after that, the dues are only $10. Not sure if you're Cornish? Surnames like Cornish/Cornwall/Cornys/Cornewallis or with prefixes such as Tre, Pen, or Nan, or occupational names such as "Dyer" (thatcher), "Bligh" (wolf, possibly for a hunter), or characteristics such as "gwynn" (white) or "teague" (beautiful) are often Cornish. Particularly if your ancestors first appeared in an area associated with mining, look for possible Cornish heritage.
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.
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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