Monday, September 29, 2014

Military Monday (September 29, 2014) -- Everett S. Carpenter in the Rhode Island Militia: Part III



On January 19, 1946, my maternal grandfather, Everett Shearman Carpenter, was thirty-four days away from his 55th birthday. He had been serving in the Rhode Island Militia for a number of years and had attained the rank of Major.  World War II was over and he apparently was serving as the Commanding Officer of N Section of the Provisional Company of the Rhode Island State Guard Reserve when decided to discontinue his service with the Militia.  His "Honorable Discharge" from the Rhode Island Militia with the rank of Major is shown above.

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Scan of the discharge paper from the original in the collection of the author. 
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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Saturday Serendipity (September 27, 2014)



The following are recommended for inclusion on your reading list this weekend: 

1.     And so they should! NEHGS recently got a shout out on Face The Nation when host Bob Schieffer asked documentarian Ken Burns, who just had his 14-hour opus on The Roosevelts aired on PBS, about his relationship to the Roosevelts.  Mr. Burns replied that he first learned he was related to the Roosevelts when NEHGS gave him a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011 that was accompanied by a professional rendering of his genealogy.  Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of The Bully Pulpit (about Teddy Roosevelt and William Howard Taft) and No Ordinary Time (about FDR and Eleanor), was also on the same show and explained that she too learned of her relationship to Sarah Delano Roosevelt when she received the same award from NEHGS in 2014.  You can watch the the shout out here.            

2.     Don't just discover your family history -- create it! Since this will be the last Saturday Serendipity in September, now is a good time to remind everyone that this coming week begins Family History Month, which comes around every October. In what may well be some shameless self-promotion, I would like to suggest you read my post of October 3, 2013 "Family History -- Memorializing Your Personal Experience of Big Events" and then resolve to take the time during October to write down some piece of history you experienced so your personal observations and emotions can be preserved for your descendants. You can see my most recent such effort here where I posted my personal experience of 9-11 as someone who was at the Washington Navy Yard on the day of the attacks. [If you take on this challenge in October, please post your writing on your blog if you have one and indicate it is your contribution to creating family history for your descendants during Family History Month 2014!]             

3.     The weekly survey that NEHGS runs in The Weekly Genealogist newsletter asked about the role of luck in genealogy research. This week there is a moving story in the Concord Monitor out of Concord, NH (where I lived for a few years in the 1960s) about a family's search for roots in Germany. The story wonderfully illustrates how great a little serendipity and luck can be.  Read the story and see some photos here.             

4.     Like many, I have a commute to and from work that is, frankly, ridiculous. Increasingly I ponder how much I hate the daily grind of it -- and while it leads me to ponder retirement more and more frequently, it also led me to wonder about the commutes of my ancestors and relatives.  Did they even have what would be considered in modern terms a "commute" to work?  And then I came across this piece at The Vault about a truly different and amazing commute by a group of employees at the CIA.  Have a read here.            

5.     If genealogy has some Holy Grail of ultimate discovery, it just might be the revelation of a commonality we all share. Well, Tim Urban at Wait By Why blog did not go on an intentional quest for such a Holy Grail, but he did do a world travel series and in each country he visited he asked people he met the "Genie Question."  "If you had a genie and were granted three wishes, what would you wish for?"  It turns out that we humans have a lot in common when it comes to answering the Genie Question.  You can watch a 5 minute 58 second video to see that we truly are more alike than different. Just go here  

6.     Barbara Poole at Life From The Roots blog has been continuing her series on Lowell, Massachusetts -- "There's A Lot To Like About Lowell!"  I dare you to look at Barbara's photo tour of Lowell and not want to visit this city next spring or summer!

7.     One often hears in genealogy, "You never know where you might find a new source of information for your family research."  This oft repeated adage came immediately to mind when I saw yesterday's post on the Holyoke, Mass blog.  Anyone looking for information -- and a photograph -- for Edward P. Griffin of Holyoke from just over 100 years ago, would probably not think to consult the monthly trade journal The Carpenter published by the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America.  You can read here why the March 1913 issue of The Carpenter would be a very fruitful (and perhaps disturbing) source of family history for any descendants of Mr. Griffin.


8.     Nancy Messier of My Ancestors and Me blog, provided an example -- and a humorous one at that -- of unusual bits of family history that can now be found through modern research tools like OCR (Optical Character Recognition) and access to the web.  Read here Nancy's story of discovery of new humorous details about the character that was her  great grandfather, Henry Meinzen.

9.     Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings blog provides a very useful and informative review of  genealogy applications that have synchronization capability and mobile apps.  You can see his review here .

10.     If you use any of the family of Ancestry websites, then you REALLY should read Judy Russell's review of the change in Ancestry's Terms of Use for its three websites.  As always, The Legal Genealogist (the #1 Rockstar Genealogist for 2014!) has our back in delving into the details of the terms and pointing out the pitfalls and areas of concern.  Read Judy's review here. 

11.     UpFront With NGS blog had an interesting post on Banned Books Week, which takes place the last week of September each year. You can read the post and follow the links to lists of books that have been challenged or banned here. How many of these "dangerous" books you have read?  [I have read at least 24 of the 97 books on the list of 97 classic books that have been challenged or banned and 23 of the books on the list of books banned by various govenrments (with some duplication between the lists).]

12.     And finally (to end where this week's Saturday Serendipity began), if you have seen Ken Burns' latest documentary opus, The Roosevelts: An Intimate History, you have a renewed appreciation for the influence the three most prominent members of this family had on American history in the 20th Century.  So how cool would it be to discover your own family's connection to one of the three highlighted Roosevelts?  Elizabeth Handler of From Maine to Kentucky blog has an interesting and well-documented post that does just that.  Go here to see the story.
  
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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
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Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday Fotos (September 26, 2014) -- "The Kilties"



On Monday, May 30, 1921, my future maternal grandmother -- Ruth Eaton Cooke -- was a single woman 101 days shy of her 24th birthday. It would be five years and 111 days before she married Everett S. Carpenter (my future maternal grandfather) on September 18, 1926.

In the photograph above, Ruth Eaton Cooke is in the center of the line of seven young women dubbed "The Kilties."  She is fourth from the left and fourth from the right. 

This photograph is contained in an old book of photographs that my grandmother assembled after a trip to Peases Point, Mattapoisett in Massachusetts with a group of male and female friends. The friends are referred to as "The Crowd" in a group photograph she labeled in the album. Everett Carpenter is among the members of The Crowd.  Unfortunately, almost none of the other members of The Crowd are fully identified in the photo album.  Mostly they are identified by their initials and in many cases the silvery ink my grandmother used on the black album paper has faded beyond legibility. Still, the album stands as a moment captured in time showing young adults in the Roaring Twenties on a late spring vacation trip to Mattapoisett.



Mattapoisett is located in Plymouth County, Massachusetts. It was originally settled in 1750 and was formerly a settlement of Wampanoag Indians. Mattapoisett is Wampanoag for "place of resting." For over 125 years Mattapoisett was a center for shipbuilding and whaling and the town supplied many of the whalers used along the East Coast in the early 1800s. After the discovery of oil in Pennsylvania, the whaling industry slowly disappeared and Mattapoisett evolved into a popular summer vacation destination on Buzzard's Bay.

Peases Point is almost directly east of Ned Point Light and due south of Holly Woods on Buzzards Bay

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Photographs from originals in the collection of the author.
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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Another Book Recommendation (September 25, 2014) -- "Sustainable Genealogy: Separating Fact From Fiction In Family Legends"



This past Sunday I had the opportunity to attend a lecture by author Richard Hite at our local history/genealogy library in Leesburg, Virginia -- the Thomas Balch Library.  [See my earlier post about this gem of a library here.] 

The Thomas Balch Library in Leesburg, Virginia

Mr. Hite is the author of the recently published book Sustainable Genealogy: Separating Fact From Fiction In Family Legends (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2013). He is also currently the State Records Coordinator of the Rhode Island State Archives and Public Records Administration.

Sustainable Genealogy is a different kind of resource and one I find well-written and quite useful. I would recommend it for those new to genealogy research and to those seasoned researchers who enjoy fresh perspectives on how to do genealogy. The book, as described in a review on the back cover, is a "how not to," but I would add that it is a guide and not a rule book -- so like a good travel guide or birding guide, it provides easy to follow, concisely written, and engaging illustrations to drive home the advice and guidance being offered. The book is a paperback and its 11 Chapters and 110 pages are filled with good advice illustrated briefly, comprehensively, and pointedly from Mr. Hite's own genealogy research. He provides a number of tips for tyros and reminders for those who are experienced genealogy researchers, but who occasionally forget possible approaches to a nagging brick wall.  One quick example will suffice to illustrate the useful nuggets dispensed by Mr. Hite . . . 

If one is trying to nail down the original nationality of an immigrant ancestor, relying on the surname alone can be misleading. A Smith ancestor could at first appear to be of obviously English nationality (like Millers, Carpenters, Coopers, and other English occupational surnames); but the German equivalent for Smith -- the cognate "Schmidt" -- could be and often was the original surname for many Smiths whose name was anglicized upon immigration to America. If generations later one's Smith ancestors passed on the information that the family was English, can one rely on that essentially oral history? Mr. Hite cogently explains why one cannot do that without more research -- and he passes on the useful tip of examining the surnames of the surrounding neighbors of early immigrant ancestors and coupling that information with historical knowledge about how areas of America were colonized and settled by various ethnic/national groups and not others. It often turns out upon more detailed research, that one's supposedly English "Smith" ancestors were actually German "Schmidts" who became Smiths in America. Historical records disclose that they lived in an area well-known to have been settled largely by German immigrants and census and other data reveal that almost all their neighbors were Hasselbaums, Strassers, Osterbergs and the like -- Germans all.

I recommend Sustainable Genealogy: Separating Fact From Fiction In Family Legends as a very useful resource and guide that would be a welcome addition to anyone's genealogy library.

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Cover of Sustainable Genealogy: Separating Fact From Fiction In Family Legends from the author's personal copy.

Photograph of Thomas Balch Library by the author.
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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
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Monday, September 22, 2014

Military Monday (September 22, 2014) -- Everett S. Carpenter in the Rhode Island Militia: Part II


My maternal grandfather, Everett Shearman Carpenter, served in World War I as has been discussed previously here at The Prism. He served for a time in France and ended his service on a courier mission back to Washington, DC in July 1919.  He was honorably discharged with the rank of Sergeant at Camp Meigs in the District of Columbia on July 17, 1919.

After returning to his home in Rhode Island, my grandfather at some point joined the Rhode Island Militia. As the promotion paper shown above illustrates, Everett Shearman Carpenter was promoted to the rank of Major in the Rhode Island Militia on September 20, 1945 -- just over sixty-nine years ago.

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Scan of the original promotion certificate in the collection of the author.
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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
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Monday, September 15, 2014

Military Monday (September 15, 2014) -- Everett S. Carpenter in the Rhode Island Militia


My maternal grandfather, Everett Shearman Carpenter, served in World War I as has been discussed previously here at The Prism. He served for a time in France and ended his service on a courier mission back to Washington, DC in July 1919.  He was honorably discharged with the rank of Sergeant at Camp Meigs in the District of Columbia on July 17, 1919.

After returning to his home in Rhode Island, my grandfather at some point joined the Rhode Island Militia. As the promotion paper shown above illustrates, Everett Shearman Carpenter was promoted to the rank of Captain in the Rhode Island Militia on June 3, 1943.

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Scan of the original promotion certificate in the collection of the author.
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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Saturday Serendipity (September 13, 2014)




The following are recommended for inclusion on your reading list this weekend: 

1.            If you are going to be traveling to do some genealogy research, it could be handy to know what museums are in the area that might be a fruitful source for research.  UpFront With NGS had a post about a tool that will do just that for you -- the U.S. Museum Explorer.  You can find museum resources within selected miles of a zip code and then you can narrow your search by type of museum to include historical societies, historic preservations, etc.  

2.            As Barbara Poole of Life From The Roots blog illustrates in Part 2 of her photo tour of Lowell, Massachusetts, Lowell is a very interesting city.  While there probably are other cities that have shown similar pride in and memorialization of the ethnic groups that have contributed to the building of their community, I have to say I am not aware of them.  Barbara shows us the pride and recognition Lowell has for the people who have built the city.  Other cities and towns should take note! See Barbara's newest photo tour of the City of Lowell here. There is a lot to like about Lowell
. . . and one of the things is that Lowell likes its people a lot!

3.            James Tanner has an interesting and informative post at  Genealogy's Star blog about the importance of learning the meaning and use of sourcing in genealogy research. I like his reference to the often difficult lesson in the study of the law that distinguishes between evidence and proof.  In genealogy terms, sources are the bits and pieces of evidence that must be collected, analyzed, and evaluated before they can then be logically assembled into a mosaic that becomes a recognizable drawing for a well-supported conclusion (what in the law would be called proof).  You can have a read here

4.            UpFront With NGS also posted a very interesting piece about genetic testing and the possible unintended consequences that can result.  The piece links to two articles well worth reading if you or anyone in your family is interested in doing genetic testing for genealogical purposes.  You can read the piece and access the links to the two stories here.  

5.            And speaking of uses for DNA testing, how about possibly identifying who Jack the Ripper actually was?  Judy Russell of The Legal Genealogist blog had a post this past Sunday that discusses the claim that The Ripper has been identified after more than 100 years.  Read Judy's post here.  

6.           Lastly, how could one not mention a blogger extraordinaire when he reveals seven facts about himself to his 100,000+ readers a month and then, amazingly, honors your blog with a mention as one of the 15 blogs he admires?? I am speaking, of course, about Randy Seaver. He of "One Lovely Blog" known as Genea-Musings.  Learn seven things you probably never knew about this premier genealogy blogger (who I am proud to say is a recently discovered very distant cousin).  You can find links to -- and brief descriptions of -- some the blogs Randy admires here.  Randy was limited to 15 blogs, but as he said, he could surely name "hundreds more." So THANK YOU Randy -- much appreciated!! 

Oh, you can also go to Randy's blog and see a photo of "Charlie" his fifth grandchild and third grandson.  Charlie arrived yesterday and has already made his debut on Facebook!    
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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
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Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday Fotos (September 12, 2014) -- Two Of The Four O'Kane Brothers

Edward F. O'Kane (L) and Daniel Joseph O'Kane, Jr. (R) circa 1923

My late father-in-law, Daniel Joseph O'Kane, Jr., was the oldest of the six children of Daniel J. O'Kane, Sr. and his wife, Nora C. [Hayes] O'Kane. Daniel and Nora had four boys and two girls. Pictured above are the two older brothers -- Daniel and Edward -- both now deceased.

Dan was born in June 1919 and his brother Ed was born in January 1921.  Both were born in New York.

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Scan of a photograph in the family collection.
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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
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