Sunday, April 26, 2015

NERGC 2015 – Obscure and Neglected Sources

The first thing Diane Florence Gravel, CG told her audience was to join the FAN club!  For genealogists this means following Friends, Acquaintances, and Neighbors of your ancestors. She credited Elizabeth Shown Mills for this concept.

A good place to look for FANs is in the family bible.  Family lines may be written there, though Ms. Gravel warned to check the publication date against the dates written in the family pages for verification of information written there. Was it noted as the event was happening – birth, marriage, death, or were these events recorded well after?

If you are not in possession of your family bible, and wish you were, try searching Cyndi’s List, the National Genealogical Society,, local historical societies and libraries. Even check ebay!

Other sources you may not have thought of where your ancestor might be listed are lineage societies, church records, Library of Congress, military records, account books, poor farm records, land maps, Google books, and criminal records.

Ms. Gravel suggested that when using the Library of Congress NUCMC index of manuscripts print the instructions as they have to be followed exactly if you want a successful search.

Her parting advice was don’t give up. Use the FAN club to push through those brick walls.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

NERGC 2015 – Copyright Law for Genealogists

The session, Facts, Photos and Fair Use; Copyright Law for Genealogists presented by Judy Russell, JD, CGsm , CGLsm was by far the most sobering.  This is a complex issue and the one rule of thumb Ms. Russell repeated is: It depends.            

Ms. Russell began her talk by sharing a story about a small Midwest genealogy club who reprinted a genealogy poem by Linda Ellis.  This poem is copyrighted and may not be reproduced without permission.  The small Midwest genealogy club didn’t realize this when they reprinted her lovely poem in their newsletter.  When they digitized their newsletters and put them on their website, an employee of Ms Ellis found her poem and notified the club they were violating copyright. They faced a huge fine.  The club responded they were a small 501 (c) 3 and had only a couple hundred dollars in their treasury.  The fine was then reduced to $2,500. The club faced bankruptcy. If you Google "Linda Ellis Copyright Infringement" you will find some interesting articles!

Ms. Russell told us copyright infringement carries serious fines – for copyrighted material used for commercial purposes without written permission, the fines can range in the millions; for non-commercial use fines can be $150,000.

Now that she had our attention . . . Ms. Russell helped us relax by explaining how copyright works.  As soon as one sets pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) whatever is written is automatically copyrighted.  The owner has these rights:  to make copies of the material, prepare derivative works, distribute copies and display the work in public.  The work has to be in tangible form and has to be produced by a human.

Other protections for creative works are patents and trademarks.

Some things can’t be copyrighted, like facts and U.S. Government material. You can use things in the public domain and items published in the U.S. before 1923. This is not true for the other 164 countries who also have copyright law.

Everything created after 1 January 1978 carries a copyright for “at least" 70 years from time of creation. Here is where “it depends” comes in. 

Ms. Russell provided two pages of Resources on copyright law starting with the US Copyright Office.   
Ms. Russell's website, the Legal Genealogist is where she has posted a number of blogs on copyright law as well as many other legal issues.  

Thursday, April 23, 2015

NERGC 2015 – Photo Preservation

Maureen Taylor did her usual great job of sharing information about photo preservation.  She learned through the years when she provided too much information it was not retained, and so she condensed her advice into eight easy steps.

I wish I had taken this session many years ago when I was cleaning out our old photo albums, because Rule #1 is: Retain the Original Order.

The reason: It helps determine provenance.  Someone placed the photos in the order they are in for a reason.  Next, make a list of the photos as they appear in the album.

Black paper albums can be wrapped in muslin cloth and placed in an archive box. Don’t take apart.

Magnetic sticky albums are deadly for photos. Get them out! If the photos don’t remove easily, use Glide dental floss, and a micro spatula.

Survey Photo Damage: Biologic, environmental, chemical and physical.  When working with old photos, use non-latex powder-free gloves (not cotton).  Gloves can be purchased at stores like Wal-Greens. Separate moldy photos; place in separate acid, lignin free envelopes.

Photo Storage: Store photos in acid, lignin free paper and boxes on the main level of your house. A good spot is under the bed. Basements are damp; attics are hot. Photos need a stable environment. Identify your images using a ZIG marker or 6B artist’s pencil. Look for the PAT label on archival materials. PAT is Photographic Activity Test. Storage containers can be found at Gaylord or the Container Store. Remember, just because it says “archival” doesn’t mean it has passed the PAT. Tintypes need to be stored in acid free envelopes.

Scanning:  Use 600 dpi TIFF, and create a Word or Excel file to identify with keywords. Keep it simple.

Photo Album Recommendation: KOLO albums are the best.

Last but not least: Maureen reminded us we should have a photo disaster plan. Have multiple back up storage places for scanned photos. Don’t use Dropbox!! She has had bad experiences with Dropbox. There are other cloud backups available.

And, have fun!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

NERGC 2015 - Up the North River

On Thursday April 16 we joined 930 other genealogists at the Providence, Rhode Island Convention Center for the 13th New England Regional Genealogical Conference.

We were greeted and checked in by a former Newtown Genealogy Club member - old home days had begun! 

Since we had time before the first afternoon session, we went in search of food! We learned the convention center was attached to a multistory mall, and at the very opposite end was a Panera. We decided to have an early lunch that would carry us through the rest of the day.

My first session was "Up the North River: Pre-1800 Hudson Valley Ethnic Groups and Religions" by Jane E. Wilcox. I chose this session thinking it would be primarily about the Dutch who I thought were the majority of early settlers in that area. Boy was I wrong!

The first settlers of the Hudson River Valley were the Walloons, a French speaking people of Belgium. Close behind came multiple nationalities, and according to Ms. Wilcox, by 1800, there were at least 18 languages being spoken in this region. 

Needless to say, this session was eye opening and I now have a different perspective on this geographic area. 

Sitting next to me was another former Newtown Genealogy Club member who I learned has moved to Portland, Maine. She is attending the conference with her sister. 

For further information: Jane E. Wilcox at

Friday, April 17, 2015

St. Joseph's Home, Peekskill, NY Heritage Day and Alumni Picnic

I just received notice from Carman Velez about the upcoming Heritage Day activities on April 25 and the July 11, Alumni Picnic.  

Here is the notice:

We are having a Mass at 11 AM, followed by Lunch & memorial of our deceased Sisters & a celebration for us all has been planned. 
Please RSVP by this Saturday -April 18th to Carmen M. Velez 646-271-7787 or 212-982-8474 ,
so we have enough BREAD to go around.

WE are so grateful to God that our paths have crossed both at St. joseph's Home and Kennedy Home
and look forward to welcoming all of you; I understand Sister Connie Gaynor( Sr. Joan) will be able to be here with us!

AND don't forget  ---- Hold the date--- on July 11 for the Alumni PICNIC
**If you would like to remember your favorite Sister or Group Mother,
you may want to light a candle that burns by the Tabernacle,or
supply the alter wine or bread; or
have a Mass offered... feel free to do sowe are accepting your OFFERINGS.
suggested donation $10.00. Any DONATION WILL BE GREATLY APPRECIATED!

The Lord has always been very marvelous in sustianing his loved ones
in MERCY and LOVE. we never have to doubt HIS gracious and generous LOVE.  
God Bless each and everyone of you and your families!

Sister Anne Mattthew/thanks to & through Carmen
Any donation would be deeply apreciated.
CHECKS written payable to:
Franciscan Sisters
250 South Street
Peekskill, NY 10566

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Conrad Dorn of Obernau, Germany

Immigrant Conrad Dorn was born in Obernau, near Ashuffenburg, Bavaria, Germany on 4 July 1842. He came to America with his family in 1879, and they immediately settled in the small Upstate New York town of Utica.  He first worked for the Empire Woolen Company in Clayville, New York. Clayville is situated on Sauquiot Creek, about ten miles south of Utica. The mill was incorporated in 1860 and produced fancy cassimere, worsted and overcoats.

Conrad then enjoyed long time employment with the Globe Woolen Mills in Utica.  The Utica Globe Mills was begun in 1847, with the mill reorganized into the Globe Woolen Mills. This mill where Conrad was employed as a skillful weaver produced the finest fancy woolen and worsted goods. The label Globe Woolen Mills meant the highest quality.

Globe Woolen Mills
Utica, New York
Unfortunately, in late Augusts 1907, at the age of 65 Conrad suffered a stroke and on 1 September died at his home on Saratoga Street, Utica. During his life he had been a member of St. Joseph’s Church The Bavarian Sick Aid Society, the Deutsche Bruder, and an honorary member of the Maximillian Section of the Bavarian National Verband.

His wife and five children survived him as well as a sister in Germany. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Dorn Family of Upstate New York

As the monograph of the Nunn family circulated among my Florida relatives, the question was raised, was George Dorn who married Emma Nunn (my grandfather’s sister) related to our newest “family” member with the last name of Dorn?

It wasn’t until we returned from Florida that I could really get into researching this question – I mean, I just couldn’t sit inside at the computer when the sun and water beckoned, could I?
We were busy building sand castles
It is great fun researching the Utica Dorn family. I learned the ship City of Montreal brought Conrad and Maria (Schuck) Dorn to New York on 13 October 1879.  Conrad and Maria traveled from Germany with their five young children: Adam, Ann, Nicholas, John and infant Josephine. Whereas my Dorn line stayed in New York City, this Dorn family relocated immediately to Utica, New York, where at the time there lived seven other Dorn families.

Conrad was immediately hired in the lumberyard, (one of the Dorn males already there worked as a carpenter), but Conrad later became a long time employee and valued weaver at the Globe Woolen Mill in Utica.

The story of the Utica Dorns will continue in another post and then we will see if George Dorn of New York City is indeed related to the Conrad Dorn line of Utica, New York.