Monday, July 7, 2014
Tuesday, July 1, 2014
It's time to evaluate my second quarter goals. Since I've been using Janine Adams' (Organize Your Family History) quarterly method now for two quarters, I'm amazed at what I've accomplished in my paternal grandfather's line. I decided this year I needed to reorganize and adapt my family history methods to "best practice" if I ever want to become a professional genealogist. Has Janine's method helped me? That's a resounding yes, though not to say that I haven't been distracted. I have spent a day here and there on another line. It's usually an email from a potential cousin that gets me running that rabbit trail. But for the most part, I've been able to stay disciplined and focused on my paternal line. So what have I accomplished this quarter?
- All citations in my Pastoor line are complete and accurate, even if they aren't perfect. Every bit of data has a citation, including a media file and transcription;
- Research plans have been created and brought up-to-date;
- Research logs and correspondence logs have been updated or created as necessary;
- Proof summaries have been written and saved;
- Notes and supporting files have been moved or linked to OneNote;
- Biography page has been created in OneNote to add stories as I go along;
- Completed the Mastering Genealogical Proof study group.
Although I didn't further any research on this line, I'm more organized and prepared for targeted research. Productive quarter? You betcha.
Friday, June 20, 2014
The James Baisley family owned land near Montrose Station Road and near what was called Crugers Station in the late nineteenth century. Both places were stations on the Hudson Line of the Hudson River Railroad, later known as the New York Central Railroad, until they were abandoned in 1996 and replaced by a new station at Cortlandt.
|Family Photo of Montrose Station, c. 1940s|
The Erie canal had opened in 1825 which helped in the transport of goods across the state, but because the locks were very slow, stagecoaches would pile up causing the goods to be delayed. It was in response to this that the first railroad in New York was built in 1826. It was called the Mohawk and Hudson Railroad and went to the capital city of Albany.
Because the towns along the Hudson River used the river heavily for transporting goods, they didn't see a need for a railroad until ice starting preventing travel in the winter. The Hudson River Railroad was formed and opened a line in 1851 in order to further extend the railroad. But it was only when Cornelius Vanderbilt purchased the railroad and merged it with other railroads he owned in 1869 that it became the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad, and was later renamed the New York Central Railroad in 1914.
In 1861 Abraham Lincoln rode the Hudson River Railroad and stopped in Peekskill, one of the villages near Montrose and Crugers, on his way to his inaugeration. I'm sure my Baisley ancestors were among the many people who lined the streets of Peekskill and along the Hudson River Railroad to see their future president. I even found an obituary of a great-uncle which mentions the incident and an article which describes how another great-uncle was injured when he fell out of a train at Montrose Station.
Unfortunately it appears that incidents on the Hudson River Railroad were not uncommon. Here is a tragic story about an accident at the bridge near Montrose in the 11 June 1872 edition of The Poughkeepsie Daily Eagle. You never know what you will find while browsing old newspapers.
Friday, June 13, 2014
This week since the weather was just right for photographing headstones, I decided to check both Find A Grave and BillionGraves for local cemeteries that needed photos. I had both apps but hadn't used either of them yet. The cemetery in my town was mostly taken care of in Find A Grave, but much to my surprise, it wasn't even listed in BillionGraves. So I added it and then went out to take pictures. Even though Find A Grave had many headstone photos, I thought it was worth while to add them to the other site. You can never have too much redundancy in genealogy. You never know when a site will disappear with all that data.
In less than two hours, I managed to photograph 265 headstones using the BillionGraves app, and that was only the first row of graves in the cemetery. Obviously, it is going to take me quite a while to photograph the 6000+ graves there.
I wasn't the only weirdo walking through the cemetery taking pictures. A woman with her niece was also taking pictures for the photo requests on Find A Grave. She wasn't local but her niece was; and she was the only one in her family interested in genealogy, just like me in my family. We compared notes and shared tips with one another. Anytime you see someone walking with a camera from grave to grave in a cemetery it is likely a genealogist. We are the only ones who think cemeteries are a social meeting place.
When I'm taking the pictures, I can't help but think about the people named on the headstones. So many seem to be forgotten and the graves uncared for. I like to take a moment at each grave just to remember that each person beneath the headstone had a life story. Infant and children's graves always sadden me as I think about the families and how grief stricken they must have been at their loss. So many of the older stones were very legible but some newer ones were worn away with names unreadable. A visual lesson in the wear patterns of the different types of stones.
I found a headstone for a Civil War veteran from Company A, 183rd Pennsylvania volunteer infantry. I added the link to the information I found on his page in BillionGraves, hoping it will be useful for a fellow genealogist. One of the more unusual names I came across was Return H. Deming and his wife, Mary. A quick search for him on Ancestry.com, and I learned his wife's maiden name was Conover and that they both were from Ohio; they were living in Illinois in 1880 and had moved to Washington territory by 1887. Today's technology makes finding this information so much easier than when I first started researching.
The BillionGraves app was very easy to use. From the dashboard, just click "take photos" and start taking pictures. When you are done, at the click of a button, they will automatically upload to the site and be ready for transcribing. The biggest complaint I have with the app is the lack of editing tools. I had several photos which needed to be rotated. The BillionGraves site allows you to rotate them for viewing, but the rotation won't stay. This means everyone who views the photo will need to rotate it or I need to save it to my computer, edit it, and then upload it again to BillionGraves. Not something I want to do for a hundred or more photos. I'd rather spend the time transcribing them.
I don't know if I'll get photos for all 6000+ headstones taken and added to BillionGraves, but I hope the ones I do add will help someone find out more about their family history.
Saturday, June 7, 2014
Sometimes you never know where something as simple as a photograph will lead you. Among old photographs given to me by my father is the one pictured above. There are no markings on the back, which is solidly tannish-brown in color. The photo itself is actually a thin piece of paper adhered to a thick sturdy gray frame. I have no idea who these people are; there is no one still living in my family who knows who they are. The only clue may lie in the provenance of the photos. They belonged to my father's only sister, his half-sister, who was twenty-two years older than he was.
During birthdays and holidays, my aunts and uncles and cousins would often gather together to celebrate. These celebrations would often wind down with a slide presentation of family photos and even some of the old photographs would make a showing. I suspect the photographs of the unkowns may have been from Aunt Edna's family because everytime I asked about who they were, she would quickly respond that they were "old family friends" and change the subject. For some reason, no one in our family was supposed to know that my Aunt Edna was only our half-aunt; it was very hush-hush. Even later when I learned my grandmother had been a young widow and was remarried to my grandfather, it didn't make sense why it was never talked about. Even my father learned that his sister was his half-sister accidentally. He was about 8 years old and snooping through his parents' things looking for something when he found his sister's birth certificate hidden away. He had noticed there was a different last name—Outhouse, not Pastoor— but he didn't think much about it, and it was never discussed. It wasn't until I was about twelve or thirteen and became interested in learning about family history that the family "secret" was revealed, but only to me. I don't recall thinking it was much of a bombshell. Aunt Edna was my favorite relative and learning she was only "half" related didn't change anything.
Well, I guess almost anything. That revelation opened up a door to learning about her family history. I learned that there had been extensive research done on the Outhouse family, and that her family—and mine, since we shared a relative on her mother's side—could be traced back to The Netherlands, into the 1600s. But the real bombshell was learning that my grandmother, Edna (Baisley) Pastoor, was not only my Aunt Edna's mother, but that they were also third cousins! Aunt Edna's 2nd great-grandparents were James Outhouse and Esther "Hetty" Tompins through her father, Lester Outhouse. But Aunt Edna was also related to them through her mother whose 2nd great-grandparents were also James Outhouse and Hetty Tompkins.
Learning this, it doesn't take much imagining to think that these old photographs may have something to do with the Outhouse family and were probably taken around Peekskill, Westchester county, New York. So I'm posting them here just in case some long-lost cousins recognize them. Please, if you know any of these people, contact me or post a comment below! I'd love to finally put a name to the faces and learn more about their lives. If nothing else, these photos have taught me the importance of sharing our photos and passing along our family stories to the next generation. Otherwise, how long before our faces become the faces of the unknown?
Thursday, May 15, 2014
Awhile ago, I blogged about my notetaking choice between Evernote and OneNote. Both are popular notetaking programs for genealogy, but I finally chose OneNote. It fits my organization style better than Evernote. Here's how I'm using it after reading Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W. Jones.
I chose to create a notebook for each ancestral surname and one for collateral surnames, including the additional maiden names from my ancestral lines. I also added specialized notebooks for my study groups and a general notebook for webinar notes, location studies, or foreign language tips, or anything else that strikes my fancy.
This notebook template isn't my own creation; I found it on the Internet sometime ago, but I can't remember where. If someone recognizes this, please let me know so I can give proper credit to the creator!
When a notebook is opened, there are tabs arranged across the top, called sections. These are like the dividers in a physical binder. They can be named however one desires and any number of notebooks can be created. The tab on the end with the elipses (...) indicates that there are several more sections hidden; clicking the triangle opens a dropdown menu with the names of the hidden sections.
Down the right side are the pages in the highlighted section. Pictured to the right are the pages in my research plan section. Each ancestor has a main page, on which I keep a research checklist, with several subpages beneath, each containing a research plan for a particular event in that ancestor's life. Any number of pages or subpages can be created can be created. Since Albert Herman has two marriages, a sub-subpage can be created for the former marriage, if desired.
Although I'd love to take credit for this research plan, this template is a modification of one that I found on the Internet some time ago. Again, I cannot remember where I found it or who to credit.
The research plan starts with a research question and then a list of all the facts--where it came from and who the informant was. A working hypothesis is crafted and a list of potential sources is created. From this source list, a research strategy is developed listing the order in which to search them. This order is likely to change as information is discovered and new sources are found.
Next is the research log in which the sources searched are recorded as they are used. If there are positive results to the search, any items scanned, copied or saved are recorded and then given a document name, which is also recorded here. If there is nothing found, this is also recorded since it might be used as negative evidence at some point.
This is also the time to record the citation while the source is still handy so there are no missing pieces to search for later.
Once all the citations are completed, a preliminary analysis of the source is done, recording the type of source and its provenance. This is information that can be cut and pasted to be used in other programs.
Each piece of information is briefly noted and analyzed, the informant recorded, and the evidence is labeled as direct, indirect or negative.
After the preliminary analysis is completed, any potential conflicts are recorded with ideas on how they might be resolved. This is where to note ideas about correlating the evidence and the best way to present it. Finally, a conclusion is drafted...
...and the cycle begins again as more questions emerge.
So far, I'm really liking this research plan template. It's been a great place to capture my thoughts and record my research all in one place. One thing I do want to point out is that this is only one section of my whole research notebook. When I add digital images of my records, which I can then hyperlink to webpages, notes in other sections, or to other computer files, I will never lose a piece of information again. But that's best left for a blog post for another time.
Saturday, May 10, 2014
The first Mother's Day was celebrated in 1908 when Ann Jarvis organized the celebration to honor her mother's death and the "sacrifices mothers made for their children." It didn't become an official U.S. holiday until 1914 when President Woodrow Wilson officially signed a proclamation declaring "the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day 'as a public expression of love and reverence for the mothers of our country.'"
In honor of Mother's Day, I decided to search my family tree for all the women who might have been alive to celebrate that first official Mother's Day. There were 10 mothers between the ages of 18 and 80 in my family tree who were alive in 1914, four of whom were grandmothers as well.
Only four of those 10 mothers were in my ancestral line, and only one of them was a grandmother. My great-great-grandmother, Emily (Outhouse) Lamb, would have been a 74-year-old widow. She had four children who survived to adulthood to give her 13 grandchildren. She likely would have celebrated Mother's Day with her only daughter, my great-grandmother, Nettie (Lamb) Baisley, who gave birth to 7 of those grandchildren and would have been pregnant with her eighth child at age 41.
My great-grandmother, Anna (Kolb) Passtoor, was a German immigrant and would have been a widow at 41-years old. It was probably a bittersweet holiday for her since only two of her four children survived childhood. It would have been the only Mother's Day she would have celebrated; Anna died seven months later.
My great-grandmother, Stanislawa (Makowska) Chrzanowski, a Polish immigrant, would have been 26 years old and six months pregnant with her third child on that first Mother's Day.
So, on this 100th anniversary of Mother's Day, I honor those women of my past for the sacrifices they made for their children.
History.com staff. "Mother's Day," online article, History.com, (http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/mothers-day : 10 May 2014), First Mother's Day.
President Woodrow Wilson's Mother's Day Proclamation of May 9, 1914 (Presidential Proclamation 1268)., 9 May 1914; General Records of the United States Goverment, 1778-1992, Record Group 11; [Online version, www.archives.gov/historical-docs/todays-doc/?dod-date=509, National Archives and Records Administration, 10 May 2014.]
ArLynn Leiber Presser, "The Pre-forgotten Mother's Day," Arlynnpresser, 16 Apr 2012 (arlynnpresser.com/tag/mothers : accessed 10 May 2014).
Christopher Fox Graham, "May 11 Marks the 100th Anniversay of Mother's Day," Journalaz.com, 7 May 2014 (www.journalaz.co/Opinion/may-11-marks-the-100th-anniversary-of-mothers-day.html : accessed 10 May 2014).