Saturday, December 27, 2014

England Family Cemetery – Found!

Two burial sites (depressions) Notice white flag and rock at head of one
John England Family Cemetery, Stafford, VA

On April 4, 2014 I wrote about John England and his Seine Pocket Farm located between our Del Webb development and the Rappahannock River. One of our goals since then was to locate the England Family Cemetery. We acquired the deed that stated when the family sold the farm to the Fredericksburg Power Company, they reserved a 150 square grave site.

On this beautiful sunny 70+ degree day we met with three women from the Stafford County Cemetery Association who in 2011 located this cemetery. We walked with them on the trail to relocate it.  Easily done as the map she had drawn marked out the turn in the path, at which the burials were located. We could easily see many of the depressions.  My husband marked a few with flags.   Burials done at that time did not have cemetery stones as we know them, but just rocks placed at the head and foot of each plot, with head facing east.  

The cemetery is on high ground, overlooking the Rappahannock, though obviously placed on land not tillable.  We located a temporary marker, but it was rusted so contained no information.  We are excited to locate this cemetery, and have plans for cleaning it up and erecting a marker stating: John England Family Cemetery.  We might even put up corner fence to define the outer limits of the burial sites. 

Next on the list is to locate the farmhouse and to clear that site.  We want the England family descendants to know that although developers have come close to their property, we residents respect the history of the England family and Seine Pocket Farm, and won’t let them be forgotten. 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

The magic of Christmas

Our family is many miles away, so this Christmas we are remain connected through email, videos, phone calls and FaceTime.  We know that our children are happy and are developing their own holiday traditions, and that is how it should be.

Christmas mid-1950s
Me and my brother
Taughannock Boulevard house
A quiet day here provides time for reflection on Christmases past, both of our childhood, and of all those magic moments for our children during their growing up years.

We remember when our daughter woke us in the middle of the night because she heard something on the roof, she was sure was reindeer…we advised her to return to her bed quickly before Santa saw her, and she did.

Our young son pronounced one Christmas morning, “Look, Mom, Santa shops at J.C. Penny, too!”  I had left his toy in the box in which it was shipped. 

As we watch the videos of our young grandsons, as they made cookies for Santa, and put out a plate of carrots for the reindeer, and then left the fireplace door open a crack, we are happy to see new family Christmas traditions starting.

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year. 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Leon Tucker

Bernice, Don, Leon Tucker

I know this is not the most flattering photo of Leon, Bernice and Don Tucker, but at this point it is the only one I have – so Leon, Bernice and Don, please accept my apology. But don’t you wonder where they were when this photo was taken?  They certainly didn’t look very excited to be there.  It would be a great story if we could find out!

But I wanted to continue with documentation of the family of Bert and Ida Lanning Tucker.  Earlier I shared information on Neva Tucker and Ursula Tucker.  Bert and Ida’s youngest child was Leon born in 1895 in Enfield, New York.

On December 17, 1916 Leon married Bernice M. Conover (1898-1989).  Beatrice was the daughter of Elihu and Anna Conover of Ulysses.  Leon and Bernice had seven children: Charlotte, Doris, Evelyn, Juanita, Donald, Carol and Shirley.

Leon earned a living by farming, by hauling milk, renting out his truck for long distance hauling of hay, and then he worked for the Tompkins County Highway Department.  He and Bernice moved from Enfield, to Trumansburg, then back to the farm in Enfield, and then to Trumbulls Corners. They stayed active with gardening, in the Enfield Baptist church, Newfield Senior Citizens and the Enfield Valley Grange. 

Bernice died 6 March 1989 at the age of 91; Leon died 10 December 1990 at the age of 95.  They are buried in Lot 851 of Grove Cemetery, Trumansburg, New York.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Herbert F. Agard and the Jacksonville Community Church

Herbert F. Agard

Every writer knows that Murphy’s Law states that as soon as you publish, new information immediately comes to light.  It is somewhat comforting to know that my great grandmother, Jessie Agard, was not immune.

As I read through the Jacksonville Community Church history, towards the back is a page marked “Extra,” and dated March 1947.  The entry reads:

“The day after this church manuscript was finished and had already been handed in, a paper was found. It was a copy of the Last Will and Testament of the late Herbert F. Agard. The will was executed on the 5th day of January 1926.

The third notation in this document concerns this church and will be quoted verbatim.

‘Third – After the death of my said wife, if any of my property should remain, I give, devise and bequeath, to the Methodist Church of Jacksonville, Tompkins County, State of New York, the sum of Two Hundred Dollars ($200) to belong to said church absolutely.’

Herbert F. Agard died Feb. 27, 1926 and his wife died July 18, 1926

John Agard was executor and settled the business.

A returned voucher from the First National Bank, Trumansburg, N. Y. dated Jan. 25, 1927, the amount ‘Two Hundred dollars’ estate of Herbert F. Agard was made out payable to Philo B. Smith, President of the Board of Trustees of the Jacksonville Methodist Church and signed by John W. Agard, executor.

Trustees book shows no record of such bequest.

And therein lies a mystery. Did the money get put into the church treasury, was it turned back over to the bank to relieve some of their debt, or just missed in during the next meeting discussion? 

On May 23, 2013 I wrote a blog on Herbert and Emma Susan Baker Agard.  In that blog I wished for a photo of Herbert.  During this recent search, I found an early photo of Herbert, so another Christmas wish has been granted.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Ursula Tucker

Ursula Tucker (1891-1922) was the second child of Bert and Ida Lanning Tucker, and named for her maternal grandmother.  According to the genealogy section of the Pioneer Clevelands, Ursula never married.  This brief death notice appeared in the 31 March 1922 Interlaken Review:

“Miss Ursula Tucker, 31, died at her home on Whig Street [Trumansburg] having been ill for several days with pneumonia. She is survived by her mother, sister and brother. Funeral is Friday afternoon at the Baptist Church.”

At the time of her death she was living with her mother, Ida. Neither had an occupation listed in the 1920 census.  In 1915 Ursula’s occupation was listed as “housework.” 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Jacksonville Community Church – A History

Christmas came early for me this year. Yesterday UPS delivered a copy of the handwritten manuscript pages of the Jacksonville Community Church history written by my great-grandmother, Jessie Tucker Agard.

On January 20 of this year I wrote a blog about my search for the history.  I talked with a number of folks in the church, including the pastor, and none of them knew about it, nor could find it.  My cousin talked with the former Jacksonville historian, and she walked across the street to the church and put her hands on the history.  It has taken a few months to get the sections together and copied, but good things come to those who wait.

The history begins in 1790 when Methodist Samuel Weyburn and family settled at what was later called Goodwin’s Point, and now known as Taughannock. Four years later Richard and Benjamin Goodwin, also Methodists settled at the same place.  In 1795, three Methodist preachers, Rev. Valentine Cook, Thornton and Fleming preached in the territory.

The history details the beginnings of the Jacksonville Church, and then includes minutes of the trustee meetings through 1946. 

Members of the “Jacksonville Station” and classes are listed, with some notations on who was “removed” or “expelled.”

An interesting note in the Quarterly Conference meeting held in Jacksonville on 22 August 1846 was this resolution:

“In the T-burg and Jacksonville Quarterly Conference held at Jacksonville the following, “Preamble and Resolution” was adopted as expressive of the wishes of each charge.
From personal observation we are satisfied that a membership with secret societies tends to estrange men from the means of grace and promotes spiritual declension.

Therefore Resolved – That we do most respectfully represent to the ensuing annual conference that a Preacher, who is a member and holding fellowship with any ‘Odd Fellows Society,’ ‘Masonic Lodge’ or the ‘Sons of Temperance’ would not be acceptable on either of these charges.”     Signed: Peter Farrington R.S.”

Friday, December 19, 2014

Neva Tucker and George Laue

Albert “Bert” and Ida Lanning Tucker had three children: Neva A. b: 1889, Ursula L. b: 1891, and Leon H b: 1895.

In 1911 Neva Tucker married George Laue (b: abt 1870).  Often Laue is indexed as “Lane.” Even their wedding announcement in the Ithaca Daily News reads as such: Miss Neva Tucker and George Lane were married at the Methodist Episcopal parsonage by Rev. Mr. Winkworth Tuesday evening.”

Neva and George continued to live in Enfield, New York where he earned a living as a farmer.  Neva and George had two boys: Harold A. Laue b: abt 1917, and Ernest G Laue b: 1920. 

The Laue tombstone is located next to the Tucker family stone (Grove Cemetery Lot 1172, Trumansburg, NY) and listed there are: Ernest d: 27 Dec 1994, George W. d: 15 February 1943, and Neva A. d: 6 April 1964. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Albert “Bert” and Ida Estelle Lanning Tucker

When we visited the Ithaca area in September for my husband’s high school reunion, we spent some time in Trumansburg, and I grabbed that opportunity to take photos of some family tombstones.  Am just now getting them off my phone!  We shall start with the stone of Bert Tucker and Ida Lanning Tucker.

Albert “Bert” Tucker (b: 1864) was the son of Albert R. Tucker (1842-1864) and Sally Lavina Hausner (1841-1906).  Bert’s father passed away the same year Bert was born. Bert’s mother, Sally Lavina, then married Charles Hubbell, but that's a story for another day.

Bert Tucker married Ida Estelle Lanning in 1883. Ida was the daughter of Horace and Ursula Lanning of Enfield, NY.  Bert and Ida had three children: Neva A. (b: 1889), Ursula L. (b: 1891), and Leon H. (b: 1895).

Bert Tucker died 10 September 1916 at the age of 51. He is buried in Lot 1172, Grove Cemetery, Trumansburg, New York. Ida Estelle Tucker died 17 February 1936 and is buried alongside her husband.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

New York City Municipal Archives – Good Egg Award

I have been waiting since September for the death certificate of Kate Nunn Preiss (or letter stating “Not Found”) from the New York City Municipal Archives. My check of late July had been cashed, so I know they had received the request form and SASE.

This week I decided enough additional time had gone by that I should contact them to see where my request was in the queue.  To my surprise, my email was answered the very next day. The note implied that something had been sent, though further communication revealed that my request was probably lost. 

In spite of this I am giving the New York City Municipal Archives the Good Egg Award, because they not only answered my query, they immediately searched through the April 1928 deaths for Kate.  

Alas, Kate was not found.  But the archives informed me of the newly updated German Genealogy (and Italian Genealogy) databases that I could search for vital records myself from home. I have used these databases for years through, but the links the archives gave me sends me to the updated sites.  I was told if I found Kate listed, let them know and they would send the certificate.  Needless to say I am impressed by the customer service, not something I expected.

I searched the updated database, expanding the boroughs, expanding the years and found nothing for Kate or Carl Preiss. Sigh. Not surprising this family continues to give problems.  I thank the archives for alerting me to the updated website and for honoring my check for a future search for Kate. 

I hope the database will prove useful in searching more of my German relatives.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Rightmires to Darraghs to Wixoms

Delia, Elmer and Shirley Wixom abt 1927

While working on my Tucker family line this morning I came upon this photo that for years rested in a box in the corner of my great-grandmother’s barn. The box of photos was rescued by my cousin and delivered to our home in Newtown, Connecticut.

The photo was damaged, so I decided to scan and put it in its rightful place within the Tucker genealogy document.  And that is what brought me back to the Rightmire family, which then lead me to the family of John Darragh.

John Rightmire (who married my great-grandmother’s sister Olive B. Tucker) was born in 1867.  John and Olive had one daughter, Delia born June 1896.  Currently my research goes right to Delia who married Elmer Wixom. The photo shows this couple with their baby daughter Shirley.

As I started to fill in the Enfield, New York family of Delia’s father, John Rightmire, I found that at three years of age, John was living with his mother, Rachel, his sister Ann age 4 and brother Charles, age 1. Where is the father?  By 1880 these three children are living with their grandparents, John and Rachel Kennedy Darragh, Where is the mother?

In the local Rolfe Cemetery I found three children of John and Rachel Darragh that all died in 1858.  To what disease did they succumb?

If I thought this was going to be a quick and easy fleshing out of the Rightmire family, I was way off the mark! I do look forward to solving these mysteries.

Monday, October 27, 2014

“Marriage Bureau Calm Once Again”

Front page of the 1 August 1940 Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star reported this happy news.  Happy news, at least, for those working in the Fredericksburg court clerk’s office.  That office had been under siege for 20 months with couples fleeing their states’ premarital examination law and “wait laws.”

“Stampede for Licenses over. Expect return to Normalcy” was the subheading. Why? Because on August 1, 1940 the State of Virginia’s new law requiring a serological test went into effect.

As reported in an earlier blog about digitizing of these marriage records, the Free Lance-Star confirms our guesstimate on numbers.  Through the end of July 1940 the total for July was 484, exceeding all records for a month, with the number to date for the year to 1,456.  [The end total for that year was 1,599]

The paper reported, “ Since early December 1938, when Virginia first began to feel the effects of “wait” laws which had been passed in a number of eastern states, until yesterday a total of 3,312 licenses were issues at the local clerk’s office.” 

Maryland no longer a Gretna Green.  Couples came to Virginia when Maryland, “one of the most famous Gretna Greens in the east passed a 72 hour wait law between issuance of license and marriage. That law went into effect December 1, 1938.  Pennsylvania, New York, and Connecticut had already passed laws – the reason for the high volume of these residents pouring into Fredericksburg.

Seeing this massive invasion of couples and the pressure it was putting on the court clerks, the Virginia Assembly discussed passing a “wait law” similar to that of other states. This was shelved and replaced by a law requiring a blood test for venereal disease.  Although the presence of venereal disease did not prevent marriage, the law demanded the infected person take treatment until cured, as long as they were Virginia residents.

Two photos are included with this article.  Couples being married are: Roland J. Leveque and Ellen Gordon; John Erhardt and Josephine Ryan of Philadelphia.  Virginia has Marriage Commissions, so couples could fill out the paperwork, pay a couple of dollars, and be married immediately inside the courthouse (or outside by a crepe myrtle in summer) by a Marriage Commissioner.  These commissioners are still available today and are allowed to charge up to $50 for each marriage performed.

Today - The article is helpful to us as we continue our digitizing efforts since it lists the years previous and how many licenses were issued each year.  As we go back to 1914, we will know ahead of time how many we can do in a morning.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

FRGS Fall Genealogy Program – A Success!!

For the past several months Shannon Bennett and I have been busy organizing a Fall Genealogy Program scheduled for Saturday 11 October 2014 at the Central Rappahannock Regional Library in Fredericksburg.

The program featured two 45 minute presentations on helpful search techniques for and using the U.S. Census. The third presentation was on a relatively new site, Find My Past.   Immediately following the presentations we offered one-on-one consultations for those who had made appointments - Fredericksburg’s version of Ancestors Road Show.

Over 50 people arrived for the three morning presentations.  Nine people were assisted with their brick walls following those sessions. Four more left their names for future assistance.

What we did right:  We kept the presentations to 45 minutes. The presenters were challenged to keep their PowerPoints to this amount of time, but were thankful when they achieved it.  We had a few minutes break between each session so computers could be switched out, which gave the audience time to visit the restrooms, grab some coffee, water and to sample some of the wonderful baked goods our members supplied.  The one-on-one sessions, called Brick Wall Busters, was also a hit. This concept is new to Fredericksburg, but I wanted to try it because it was a huge hit when we offered this in Newtown several years ago.  We are so thankful to the five volunteers who gave up their time, energy and expertise to assist these folks.

What we will do better next time:  When Shannon brought up the suggestion of doing a fall genealogy program there didn’t seem to be much enthusiasm by members of the society.  But we forged ahead working with the library staff over the summer to put things in place.  A sort of holiday weekend (schools are in session on Monday), and apparent lack of the club’s enthusiasm to spread the word made us feel not many would show. Consequently, we did not feel registration was necessary except for the consults.  About 25 people thought they should register so my cell phone and email were busy this past week.  I realized then why registration is important - refreshments!!  Duh!  At first I thought one Box of Joe each for regular and decaf would suffice – I ended up getting 5 boxes (50 cups), which was way too much.  Live and learn.

We see the need for presentations that meet various experience levels. That is also a challenge for the presenters, but our three presenters yesterday met that challenge well.

We are already brainstorming for our next genealogy program!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

And the winner is …

New York City, with close runners-up of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Washington, DC.

By 1913 many states had laws on the books requiring some sort of medical certificate or oath that the male was free of venereal disease before a marriage license would be issued.  New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia required an oath.

By 1925 many states passed laws that required a physical examination of both parties, but there was not much interest in enforcement.

In 1935, however, Connecticut passed the “Premarital Examination Law,” which required a blood test for Syphilis and a physical examination of both parties before a marriage license application could be made.

In 1936, Surgeon General Thomas Parren of the Public Health Service began a nationwide drive for venereal disease testing before marriage.

New York State enacted their “Premarital Examination Law” in June 1939.  Marriages in Upstate New York increased that year from 1938, and we suspect it was to get married before the new law took effect mid-year.

New Jersey enacted legislation in 1938, which may have driven those residents to seek licenses in Virginia that did not require blood tests until August 1940.

On October 1, we sorted the 1,771 1939 marriage licenses taken out at Fredericksburg, VA Circuit Court into piles of 100s.  We will start digitizing them next week, and it will be at that time we will learn when the licenses of the states listed above as the “winners” were taken out.  If the licenses for couples from New York were during the first half of the year, we will surmise it was to avoid the new premarital examination law passed by that state.

For further information on this subject please see Premarital Health Examination Legislation: Analysis and Compilation of State Laws, J.K. Shafer, M.D., published by the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Public Health Service. Digitized by Google; original from University of Michigan. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Philadelphia, PA 1940 Marriages

One reason for my blog silence the last couple of weeks is we have been working overtime on your volunteer project of digitizing marriage records at Fredericksburg, VA Circuit Court.

After a month’s hiatus while the circuit court employees got settled into their spacious office space in the new courthouse, we were called back to work on September 12.  That day we digitized 285 1941 marriages, coming down from the 335 1942 marriages done at the end of July.

Easy street we thought.  We knew as we went back in time we would have fewer marriages (less population), and could then possibly digitize two years each week.  Wrong.

Our mouths dropped when we asked to see the boxes of 1940 marriages, thinking that might be the year we could start doing multiple years in one morning.

The most archive boxes we had faced previously was three.  For 1939 and 1940, each of those years had TEN archive boxes.

We did not plan on the effect the war in Europe would have on American couples.  That, and the fact that Virginia is a Gretna Green, and Fredericksburg is easily accessible by rail, and the Court only three blocks from the station, created a perfect storm of marriages.

It took us five hours of steady work just to sort the 1,599 marriages for 1940 into piles of 100s.  It took another four mornings of 3-4 hours each to digitize those.  As we plugged along, the Circuit Court Clerk stopped by and said, “Just think how great this information will be for genealogists.”  We agreed. That is why we were there.

Several days were heavy traffic days, the court overrun with people wanting marriage licenses. The clerk at the time cried out for more help; the circuit court was open on Saturdays to accommodate the crowds.  On Saturday, July 27, for example, the circuit court processed 69 marriage licenses. Another reason for the rush was that starting in August 1940 Virginia required blood tests. Consequently, approximately 1450 licenses were processed by the end of July, with only about 150 for the rest of the year.

These are not Virginia people.  What we noticed as we worked our way through 1940 is many, many couples were from Philadelphia, PA.  If your ancestors lived and worked in Philadelphia in the late 1930s, you just might find their marriage license in Fredericksburg, VA.  Of course there are many other states represented as well, but Philly really stood out in this group.  We shall see what information the 1,000+ 1939 licenses bring us. 

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?