"If you can't get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance"
-George Bernard Shaw

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Challenges in Genealogy

We all have our challenges in our research.  I think for me the biggest challenge has been my 4x great grand parents, John Fitzgerald, or William John Fitzgerald, and his wife Emily Tennyson.  While I have found one source that has given me John's parent's names, I proceed with caution.  Why you may ask?  Because like any other puzzle it takes more than one piece of evidence to support the information that we document. 
This may be the scientist in me coming out.  Researchers don't just test a new medication or medical device once before releasing it to the public, that could have catastrophic consequences for people.  These things are tested over and over again and exposed to rigorous testing to minimize potential harm t consumers (patients).
Now I realize that have unsupported or poorly supported research in genealogy isn't going to cost someone life consequences, but it can have a domino effect.  Let me explain.  My 3x great-grandpa, George Lardie, immigrated to Grand Traverse County, Michigan in 1860 from Quebec, Canada.  He married Mary Josephene Chartrand then Esther Beauchamp.  George and Mary had a son named George, Jr (among their several other children).  George, Jr married Harriet Coutu.  George and Harriet also named one of their sons George W., and he married a woman named Clara Franklin.  Anyone have a headache yet? 
So when I first started researching someone had given me the information that George, jr was married to Esther, which was actually his stepmother!  I added in the qualifiers to each George to help keep them straight here, but I did not have them when I was sorting this information out.  So I took an oversized piece of paper one evening and spread out on the living room floor with several printouts and different colored highlighters and a family group sheet.  Each George got a different color and I made notes and arrows and colors on my oversized paper until I figured out the right George with the right wife!  I then contacted all the people that had the information posted wrong online and gave them all the sources that I had used to come to my conclusions.  Can you see the cause and effect now?  So first off, please cite your sources.  Second, this is why it is important to use more than one source to support your research conclusions.

Leave your comments below and happy hunting!

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

New developments for Confessions

Hey Geneaholics, so new developments in the world of Confessions are coming.  I am working on the development of a podcast!  I'm hoping to launch by September, but sooner than that of course.  Right now I'm learning what I need and how to start a Podcast and develop topics for a weekly episode.  I'm excited to be able to bring my followers of Confessions, Confessions in a new format finally!
I'm working on topics for the first few episodes, but I'd like to know what topics you want to hear about.  Let me know in the comments below what topic ideas you have for the new podcast! I can't wait to hear your ideas for the new podcast!

Happy Hunting!

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Old Medical Terms- A List!

So in response to my Sept 1st post about old medical terms, I decided to make a list of old medical terms that I have discovered through my research.  This is not an exhaustive list by any means. Just a few terms that I have seen through my research and what they really mean.  I will be coming back to this post and updating as I come across additional old medical terms.  Please feel free to share any in the comments below!

Apoplexy- Paralysis caused by a stroke.
Bright's Disease: Nephritis-inflammation of the kidney
Childbed fever- infection after childbirth; see Puerperal fever
Cholera infantum- diarrhea in young children common in poor or hand fed babies-meaning that they were fed with a flour and water mixture and resulted in vitamin deficiency.
Consumption- disease of wasting away of any part of the body eventually becoming tuberculosis
Dropsy- Heart Failure
Effluvia- Exhaustion.
Erysipelas- Strep infection of the skin; highly contagious.  Generally not fatal unless other diseases are present and cause a weakened state.  Also called St. Anthony's Fire, or St. Anthony's Rose, and Eel Thing.
Generalized Paralysis of the Insane: (GIP) fatal complication of Syphilis infection
Inanition- Starvation
Le Grippe- Influenza
Puerperal fever- Infection after childbirth, common in the 1800s caused by lack of sanitary conditions which caused sepsis in the mother.  It was also called Childbed fever.
Senile debility- Old age
Shell Shock- PTSD
Soldier's Heart- PTSD
Yellow Fever- Typhoid fever

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

What happened to Baby Louise? The short life biography of Louise Valley

Louise Mary Valley was born on the 10th of January in 1912 in the village of Mapleton.  Mapleton is located in Grand Traverse County, Michigan on the peninsula between the two bays.  Louise was born to John Peter and Milicent May “Millie” (Evans) Valley.  Sadly, baby Louise learned tragedy in her short life and she learned it very early.  Millie died when Louise was only 7 days old from acute peritonitis and sepsis, a complication of childbirth.  It was a common complication for women in this time period.  Louise had no living siblings.  Millie gave birth to a daughter on 12th of May 1910, but she died hours after she was born from infant exhaustion.  Essentially the infant had the inability to take in nutrients, commonly seen with premature infants.  The baby girl didn’t have a name on her death certificate.  

Louise was raised by her father, John, after her mother’s death and likely the women in their family.  One can only imagine his sadness.  John worked as a farmer to support the family.  John was the son of Isadore and Mary Elizabeth (Deverney) Valley.  Tragedy struck Louise’s life again when she was 5 years old.  Her father was in an automobile accident and died from injuries from the accident, specifically a skull fracture.  John died on the 26th of October in 1917.  Louise went to then to live with her Aunt Mary (Valley) Lardie, Peter’s sister, and her family. From the stories of Mary Lardie, Louise had a happy life and was well taken care of.

Louise’s sad story continues.  At only the age of 8, Louise died on the 23rd of Dec 1920 from diphtheria at the home of her cousin, Lillian (Lardie) Wood, Aunt Mary’s daughter, and her family.  This must have been a truly sad time for this family indeed.  Mary’s grandson, Lillian’s son, baby John George Wood died of diphtheria on the 18th of December 1920 at only 7 months old.  Baby John was laid to rest on December 20th in the family plot at St. Joseph’s Catholic Cemetery in Mapleton.  Louise was laid to rest on Christmas Day 1920 in the family plot at St. Joseph’s Catholic Cemetery as well.  She was buried with her father, John, Grandparents, Isadore and Mary Valley, and baby cousin John Wood. 

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Women in History: Victoria Woodhull

I may not have talked about in the past that I took Women's History for one of my college electives. It was a great class!  And it was fun because we had one man in the class.  Plus our professor was a man.  We had some interesting conversations.  Those of you that know me personally may know that I do have a special interest in Women's History.  I often wonder what life would have been like for me if I had been born in another era or even another generation!  Plus I love Historical fashion!  (Probably why I have an independent fashion boutique as well).

With that being said, I thought I would start a series on Women in History.  Each post I will pick a woman from history, famous or infamous and talk about her and her life.  These women may or may not be in my genealogy, but they are all fun to learn about.  So for this post, I am going to talk about Victoria Woodhull.

Victoria Claflin Woodhull
 Victoria Woodhull was born Victoria Claflin on September 23, 1838, to Ruben Buckman and Roxanna Hummel Claflin in Homer, Licking County, Ohio.  Her mother was described as a religious zealot and illiterate and her father was described as a criminal.  She was one of 10 children.  She worked as a medium and traveled with her sister, Tennie C. Claflin, around the country.

She married Dr. Canning Woodhull when she was 15 on November 10, 1853, and had 2 children by him.  Her first husband is described as an alcohol and a philanderer.  Their son, born in 1854 was born mentally handicapped.  They divorced in 1864. 

Next, she married  Colonel James H. Blood.  Blood was said to have introduced Woodhull to multiple reform movements.  Blood was a Union Civil War Soldier and was elected city auditor for St. Louis Missouri.  Blood and Woodhull divorced in 1873.

In 1868 Woodhull and her sister had traveled to New York City where they met Cornelius Vanderbilt, wealthy and recently widowed.  Vanderbilt, in return for the psychological relief Woodhull provided, set up Woodhull and her sister in the first female-run stock broker company in New York City.  The Woodhull sisters, however; never received a seat on the stock exchange.

Woodhull's most notable achievement is that she was the first woman to run for United States President in 1872 under the equal rights act.  Scholars argue that she was removed from the ballot because she was not the required 35 years old at the time.  However, Woodhull was arrested for the crime of sending obscene material in the mail and spent election day in jail.  No one knows how many votes she actually got because her votes were never counted!

The indecent material were articles sent in the mail were articles about the affair between stockbroker Luther Challis and Rev. Beecher between Elizabeth Tilton, the wife of Beecher's friend, Theodore Tilton.  While the information was acknowledged to be true, the goal was to shut down Woodhull and her sister's weekly paper, Woodhull & Claflin'ss Weekly.  Woodhull was arrested eight times during this time and although she, her sister and her husband, James Blood, were all acquitted, the lawsuits bankrupted them, closing down their stock brokerage and their printing press was taken away.

She was a strong supporter of women's suffrage as well as women should be free to marry, divorce and have children as they control.  Other rights she advocated for were free love and birth control.  Despite her initial strong support from many of the other women's suffrage leaders of the time, they Woodhull eventually lost their support due to her love of being in the spotlight and her indecent behavior.

Cornelius Vanderbilt died in 1877.  In 1877 Woodhull and her sister moved to England.   Was this perhaps a change for the start of a new life?  Others argue that William Vanderbilt, the brother of Cornelius Vanderbilt,  paid for the sisters to leave the United States so they would not testify against the now deceased Cornelius Vanderbilt estate hearing for the distribution of his estate.

In England, where she spent much of her time writing.  She married her third husband, John Biddulph Martin on October 31, 1883.  Martin was a wealthy banker whose family did not approve of the marriage initially. 

Woodhull advocated against abortion, but she was a proponent of eugenics.  Some believe it is because of the handicap of her son.  She also advocated for better prenatal care for healthy children and preventing physical and mental diseases, sex education, and marrying well.  She returned to the United States occasionally, attempting to run for president.  In 1892 she attempted for the last time to run for president. 

Victoria Woodhull Martin died on June 27, 1927, at her home, Bredon's Norton in Worcestershire, England.  She was cremated and her ashes spread at sea.  A cenotaph memorializes Woodhull at Tewkesbury Abbey, Gloucestershire, England.  


Friday, September 14, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Week 1 "Unusual Source"

I've joined a genealogy prompt challenge called 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.  Each week, I'm shooting for Fridays, I will be posting for the next 52 weeks!  I will continue to write about other topics in between the weeks.  For more info check out  AmyJohnsonCrow.com/52ancestors2018/.  While this is week 1 for me this is actually week 39 for the 2018 challenge. 

So this week's challenge topic is "Unusual source".  

Thinking about this topic I was reflecting on what is an unusual source for finding genealogical information.  It came to me.  A source that we probably don't even consider a source...yet.  It's probably something that many of us use every day, or even multiple times a day!  It's something that has changed the way the world communicates. 

Of course, I'm talking about social media!  This is not something I think any of us would think about using as a source, but think about it!  We post about marriages, births and even deaths on our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat...(the list goes on!) This is a great way to find details on the current generation of the family, sometimes much more quickly and easily that it is writing or emailing family members to get the information.  Additionally, many families have created pages for their family.  I'm in several of these groups!  I love that my family shares stories of my great-grandparents.  Plus I've saved a lot of photos to my files.  For me, these photos and stories are what makes those people that I've been researching about into real people. 

This is a great way for me to update my database with my current generation of my family.  I'm terrible about keeping the current generation updated!  I spend so much more time researching historical generations.  Am I alone in this?

So, that being said.  Get out there and get all those vital statistics on your family!  Update those databases!!!!  Share those stories about how you plan to use social media to update your family files.

Happy Hunting!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

What's in a name?

In the play Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare writes, "What's in a name?"  That's a really good question.  AND that got me thinking while I was researching today. 

According to Dictionary.com (2002) the word name is a noun.  It means "a word or a combination of words by which a person, place, or thing, a body or class, or any object of through it designated, called or known". 

I have attended classes and webinars on conducting genealogical research and I have given classes on research.  One point I remember from a conference I attending when I first became active in the local genealogical society was the point that old documents, especially the census, is affected first by the language and accent of the person giving the information, as well as other factors such as memory and how much information they have been told truthfully or even at all.  How many times have you seen a death certificate with "unknown" written in for the parent's names?  The second element to this is how the census take hears the information being given.  Whoa!  Imagine the language barriers then!

So today while I was recording information during my own research I started thinking, even my own culture influences how I am interpreting and recording my information. I always try to include conflicting information or additional spellings of names, but what I choose to display it as the primary data in my database is very much affected by my own influences. 

Confused?  Here are a couple examples:
Today I'm working on searching out burials for those in my database that don't have burial information.  (How I got this is another post).  I'm working specifically on a couple generations of the Loomis family line from the late 1400's to early 1500's.  The surname Loomis appears in multiple forms: Loomis, Lummyus, Lymmus, Lommance...  My preferred spelling: Loomis.  Why?  Likely because that is my maternal grandmother's maiden name and that is the way I grew up spelling it.  Do I have the other spellings included in my database?  Of course.  We all know that spellings can and do change over generations. 

Another example I can give is the first name, Thomas.  I came across the alternate spelling for Thomas Loomis as Thomis.  I also noted this alternate spelling in my database using the AKA (also known as) function, but display Thomas as my primary way to display this name.  Again, likely tied to my cultural influences growing up.  My paternal grandfather was Thomas. 

A somewhat humorous example I have is my daughter questioning the spelling of the word colour the other day.  I can't even remember where she was reading it, but it was in a book and she looked at me and told me I needed to email the publisher and tell them to check their spelling.  She is used to the word color.  Imagine her surprise when I told her that sometimes words are spelled differently in different countries! 

Share your interesting name examples in the comments! 

Happy Hunting.