Friday, September 19, 2014

Monographs – A way to share

We like to produce monographs of our research.  According to Merriam-Webster, a monograph is, “a learned treatise on a small area of learning.”  In other words, take one family line, follow it, include photos, social, cultural, religious, geographic information about that particular family, and write up that research in a way that makes interesting reading. 

It is not as hard as you might think, and it is a perfect way to share your research to date.  Everyone knows genealogy research is never done. So publish now what you have!

As I ready my next monograph for publication, I came across a handout I received from Patricia Law Hatcher, CG, FASG in 2004 titled, Monographs: Reviving a Respected Publishing Format.

In a nutshell, she advises to keep the topic focused. Not easy when you have lots of branches on that family tree. But your monograph could be: “extended biographies, documentary transcriptions of diaries, limited pedigrees, family that turn out to not be attached to your family tree, and research-in-progress.” 

There is a number of genealogical self-publishing printing companies sprouting up. If you decide to go this route, research these carefully. We like to print an original ourselves on 28 or 30 pound paper. We then take it to the local PostNet or Staples, and give them our 28 or 30 pound paper on which to run the copies.  We usually run any pages with color photos ourselves since sometimes copy centers don’t have the best color cartridges installed.  Another option is we remove the pages with the color photos and pay to have them run separately.  But we always supply our own paper.  After checking each set one page at a time, we then have the copy center bind them. 

Check the pages:  When I was producing Voices of our Past, the oral history project for the Ulysses Historical Society, I had Staples make the copies.  I brought the six sets of 334 pages each home and proceeded to look at every page. On the third set, a quarter the way through, something had gotten onto the drum, and the bottom half of all the pages were blank. I had to go back over and have those copies rerun. Not a fun time.

The title: If you want researchers to find your family, don’t title it something like, The Branches on my Family Tree.  A better title includes the family name and geographic place.  One of my monographs has the title: The Tuckers of Enfield, New York. Include all major surnames on the title page. 

The Devil is in the Details: Develop a table of contents and an index.  When developing your index think like a researcher. If your family had a business, or you talked about a number of farms, index those. Geographic areas in your monograph should also be indexed.

How Many? Before going to print think about the number of copies you will need. How many family members will want a copy of your research? Is there an historical society or library that would want one or more copies?  And there is the Family History Library, the Library of Congress and the DAR Library. Do check their submission guidelines. Some accept only unbound works.

Once the finished product is in your hands, you will have such a feeling of accomplishment.  And it is rewarding to receive all those heartfelt thank you notes from the repositories to which you sent your finished product.

Would love to hear success stories!!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Family Search Family Trees – A Problem

The new website has a feature in which you can build your family tree. It is quite sophisticated in that it allows/encourages/facilitates genealogists to add sources, photos, stories, and in time audio clips.

My hubby volunteers at the Family History Center and regularly takes their Saturday classes in order to be on the cutting edge of the new features offered at the FamilySearch site.

One of the family tree features is when you put in a name, the site searches through its “zillion” records to see if there is a match. If so, it gives you the list and if your guy is there, you can then attach that person and all its research to your family tree.  Neat, huh?

Yesterday we found this was not so neat.

Another feature is you can check a “Watch” box that will tell you if anyone has made changes to your family tree.  You can then check those changes and if incorrect, you can contact the person making the changes. If there is a dispute, Family Search will arbitrate.

Yesterday the “Watch” feature notified hubby of changes to his relative Abraham Brown. Now realize, Abraham was a challenge to research, but trips to the Westchester, NY historical society and to Scranton, PA we were finally able to document that Abraham was indeed born in Westchester County, New York.  And from there hubby carefully researched and documented Abraham’s family that ended up in hubby’s home town of Newfield, New York.

Hubby was quite surprised to see that his information on Family Search was now changed to show his Abraham Brown was born in Rhode Island. Hubby contacted the person making the changes as no citation was supplied.  The man replied he had just taken the information off!!!  OMG – when will people learn that information without citation is fantasy, and research is needed!!!!!

Bottom line is the man who linked the Rhode Island Abraham Brown to hubby’s Abraham Brown admitted his was a different one.

Not the end of the story. Hubby found that also attached to his family line were all the children of the RI Abraham Brown that had similar birth dates.  Hubby spent all afternoon correcting his family tree removing all the erroneous information.

To say the least, hubby was not a happy camper. has to come up with a better way for linking families.   We were great advocates but now are discouraged with that site.  We have better things to do with our time than spend it correcting wrong data.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

African American Cemeteries in Central Virginia

I was notified recently of a new book detailing the cultural importance of preserving African-American cemeteries. This book focuses on cemeteries in Central Virginia, but promises to be an interesting read for those interested in the importance of preserving cemeteries. Below is the write-up sent to me:

Lynn Rainville’s book is Hidden History: African American Cemeteries in Central Virginia (University of Virginia Press) is now available. In addition to preserving African-American cemeteries for future generations, funerary traditions, gravestones, and cemetery landscapes illustrate past attitudes towards death and community. Because of the historical importance of mortuary landscapes, cemeteries provide a window into past family networks, gender relations, religious beliefs, and local neighborhoods. In this project we take an interdisciplinary approach, combing anthropological, archaeological, historical, oral historical, sociological, geological, and environmental techniques and theories. These combined perspectives are necessary to understand the cultural and environmental context of historic black cemeteries and uncover the rich cultural and religious traditions that produced these sacred sites.

Lynn Rainville received her PhD in Near Eastern Archaeology in 2001. After a decade of work in Turkey, she returned to an earlier research interest, historic cemeteries. She has taught anthropology and archaeology courses at the University of Michigan, Dartmouth College, University of Virginia, and Sweet Briar College. Her research interests range from slave cemeteries to war memorials, from segregated schools to historic architecture, from enslaved communities on antebellum plantations to rural neighborhoods, and from town poor farms to urban life in the 19th-century. Her work has been supported by numerous grants, from the National Science Foundation to the National Endowment for the Humanities, from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities to the Wenner Gren Foundation, and from various private donors. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Women’s Suffrage Day

One of my favorite blogs is The New York History Blog.  I try to check it each week to see what’s new in New York State.  This morning I found of particular interest their article on The Spirit of 1776: A New Suffragette Anthem.  On this day in 1920 the 19th amendment was passed giving American women the right to vote.  What I had forgotten was that there were a number of states in which women already had the right to vote.

The western states of Wyoming (1890), Colorado (1893), Utah (1896), Idaho (1896) Washington (1910), California, Arizona, Montana, Nevada and Oregon lead the way. New York’s centennial of Women’s Suffrage is scheduled for 2017.  For a more comprehensive list see the timeline at Womens History at

I think this is an interesting piece of information when writing about ancestors who traveled west in the late 1800s.  Did those women, your ancestors, take advantage of the state laws allowing them that freedom? 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Progress Report – Mohrman and Doolittle

The cold call I made to someone I hoped to be a relative of Beldon Mohrman was returned. That is the good news. The bad news is this person is not a relation, though he took the time to check with his brothers to see if they knew anything about a Beldon Mohrman of San Diego, and he would also keep looking. 

On a more positive note, as I turned my attention back to the Tucker line, I had a note from a descendant who gave me the married name of Evalina Doolittle b: 1875; d: June 1930. Lena, as she is later referred to married Frank Leishear and with that information I was able to find her obituary as well as the obituary for her mother, Mary Jane (Tucker) Doolittle Dickens.  I also now have the name of her daughter who married Harry G. Lanterman.  The Leishears lived in Elmira, New York. I can now learn more about the story of Lena and her husband Frank.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Stepping Outside My Comfort Zone

This month has tested my comfort zone.  The subtitle for this blog post could be, “Doctors, Dentists and Genealogy.”

I am someone who practices natural medicine, so I have a difficult time with western doctors who have little training/understanding in diet, nutrition, exercise, and natural forms of keeping well. I think I have finally come upon a woman doctor who at least respects my beliefs.  But it is always nerve wracking to make that call to schedule an appointment.

Then there was dental work to be done. Putting that off as long as I could, August was the month to get it done. I am happy to report everything went well!

On to genealogy - the Nunn family line continues to frustrate me.  With each step forward I am faced with another roadblock to circumvent.  This week I stepped outside my comfort zone and made a cold call to a gentleman age 65+ with the surname of Mohrman in the San Diego, CA vicinity. There was no answer - was he at home but didn't recognize the 540 area code? Is he away on vacation? Is he skeptical of a caller asking about family - his or maybe not his. Does he know this family but has no interest in genealogy research? Ba humbug!!

A shy person by nature, cold calling is very difficult for me do. If I want to learn about Beldon Mohrman's wife Mildred, I have to go outside my comfort zone. From Beldon's obit, I learned his sister was Nellie Entwhistle.  Searching Entwhistles in the San Diego area, I find they all have unlisted phone numbers.  So to the keyboard I went writing to the oldest on the list explaining my research with the goal of ascertaining whether Mildred Nunn Mohrman was our Emilie Nunn born 1897.   

And so my genealogy journey has provided yet another life experience and I suspect there will be many more before I'm done.  Will keep everyone posted as to any progress on finding Mildred Mohrman. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Still Searching Beldon and Mildred Mohrman

Thanks to the diligent searching of a San Diego, CA Genealogical Society volunteer I received this death notice for Beldon Mohrman.  There was no obituary, nor was there an obituary for his wife Mildred. I wish to find out if Mildred (Nunn) Mohrman is our “Aunt Millie” aka Emilie Nunn born 1897 in Manhattan, New York.

The obit does provide some clues giving me names of Beldon’s siblings.  The volunteer also told me I can request an “informational” copy of the death certificate from the San Diego County Recorder’s Office, which will provide parents name, funeral home, burial place and name of informant.

I wonder why this man who served in the military and held public office in San Diego did not have an obituary.  That is a clue as well.  And so the search continues.