25 November 2009

Wordless Wednesday, Library of Congress American Memory Collection

I love the Library of Congress American Memory Collection (http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/index.html). Here are a couple of knitting photos I downloaded years ago.



[Women knitting, as they are sitting outdoors on wooden chairs]


From "Photographs from the Chicago Daily News, 1902-1933"



CREATED/PUBLISHED
1917.


SUMMARY
Group portrait of three women knitting as they are sitting outdoors on wooden chairs in Chicago, Illinois.


NOTES
This photonegative taken by a Chicago Daily News photographer may have been published in the newspaper.

Cite as: DN-0068504, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago History Museum.
-------------






Tulalip woman named Magdeline Whea-kadim knitting, Tulalip Indian Reservation, 

Washington, 1906


From "American Indians of the Pacific Northwest"


Created/Published

1906
United States--Washington (State)--Burton

Notes

Older woman sits on woven rug on grass knitting with 4 needles; several balls of yarn sit in front of her. She wears a scarf wrapped headband-style around her forehead.
Note from unidentified source: Chief William Shelton's mother, Magdaline Whea-kadim, Tulalip Washington, 1906
photographer's reference number: [2]

24 November 2009

Korean War Honor Roll, Shrewsbury, MA

The last list of soldiers listed in the Book of Remembrance held by the First Congregational Church in Shrewsbury is from the Korean War.

HONOR ROLL – KOREAN WAR

Lloyd Hill*
Thomas H. Ross
Gilbert Harrington
Robert Olson
Archie Horton
Bradford Francis
David Wright
Alan Daniels
Wayne Daniels
Robert Schultz
Paul Clark
Thornton Farnsworth
Lawrence Bartlett
Richard B. Proctor
Jean Boodell
Robert Goodell
William Webb
Russell Webb
John B. Sequin
Joseph S. Fleming
Russell Eaton
Richard Dean
Richard Green
Richard Williams




Compare the church's "Honor Roll" to the Central Massachusetts Korean War Veterans Memorial Honor Roll. Online at http://www.sbsb.com/korea/index.html there is a rather dated description of the memorial. Seems it was a long time in the making. According to the website, there are only two Shrewsbury names on it:
     Dana A. Curtis, USA and
     Lloyd E. Hill, USMC



Note that only Lloyd Hill is listed in the FCC book. Maybe Dana A. Curtis was not a church member.   A 21 October 2007 article in the Worcester Telegram describes the dedication of the memorial, saying it had taken many years and $1.8 million to complete.


Photo courtesy of the Telegram.

World War II Honor Roll, Shrewsbury, MA



More from the Book of Remembrance at the First Congregational Church in Shrewsbury.

Albert H. Allard
Abbott P. Allen
Howard C. Allen
Roger E. Allen
Gordon R. Allen
Robert W. Anderson
Rexford H. Avery
Winthrop B. Avery
Wallace N. Bailey
David S. Bath
James S. P. Beck
John Berg
Robert E. Bergstrom
George D. Blakeslee
William H. Boyce, Jr.
George A. Brigham
Thomas R. Brooks
Crawford A. Burgess
R. Cutler Burgess
Herbert J. Butler
Walker F. Caniff
Alfred G. Carr
William G.Carruth
Edwin H. Casten
Lois I. Chamberlin
Norman K. Channin
Carl Chapman
Clifford A. Coe
Norman E. Cortis
Ethel Costel
Paul Cotting
Alvah M. Crooker
Bruce E. Dean
Randall L.. Dean
I. James Donahue, Jr.
G. Frank Drinkwine
Randall V. Dufresne
Roger J. Dufresne
Alan E. Duke*
James E. Duke
John E. Dunn
Arthur G. Empie
Leslie C. Empie
Douglas S. Fairbanks
Harold L. Farnsworth
Robert W. Farnsworth
Richard D. Fipphen*
Edward H. Fletcher
Clayton M. Fowler
Harvey C. Friars
Donald T. Gelley
Richard C. Gelley
E. Kendall Gleason
Bernard E. Green
Frances Green
Harold E. Green
James A. Green
J. Alfred Grocut, Jr.
Henry E. Gunnerson, Jr.
Norman C. Gunnerson
Raymond A. Gunnerson
John J. Hadley
A. Frank Hale, Jr.
Richard H. Ham
Henry J. Harlow
Everett W. harrington
Frederick S. Haskell
harlan P. Herbert
Ruth E. Hirchert
Edward H. Holland
Elwood V. Horne
Sidney E. Horton, Jr.
Clayton R. Huckins
Gordon E. Huckins
Lyman E. Huckins
Thomas Hunter
Russell D. Ireland
John Jacobs
Richard Jackson
Carl A. Jefts, Jr.
Howard T. Jensen
J. Edward Jensen
Franklin C. Judson
Reginald A. Judson
Wilbert E. Keddie
Theodore O. Kuhl
Paul E. Langhill
Robert T. Leach
Charles B. Lewis
John S. Loring
Laurence Lougee
Ralph F. Lumb
Rodney E. Marston
James M. Martin
Chester W. Maynard, Jr.
Lora H. MacDonald
Horace D. McCowan, Jr.
Vernon D. McVickar
Malcolm C. Merrill
Robert L. Miller
Forrest C. Miner
Paul E. Mitchell
Richard F. Nash
Jay Raymond Needham
Alan C. Morris
David S. O’Brien
George H. O’Brien
W. Stewart Paul
Helene H. aulsen
Charles Pellcok
Walter R. Porter
O. Stanley Porter, Jr.
Douglas W. Pow
Marson E. Pratt
Robert S. Pride
Arthur F. Raymond
Rockwood F. Reed, Jr.
Donald F. Ricker
Everett H. Robie
Earl F. Rodgers
John S. Rose, Jr.
Chauncey L. Russell
Robert W. Russell
Robert Sanborn
Roger Sanborn
George Schunder
Donald Sieurin
Randolph C. Smith
George T. Sophos
Carletan W. Sprague
Duane O. Sprague, Jr.
Donald W. Sweet
Wilbert E. Taylor
Howard C. Towne
Belton S. Wall
Bruce B. Ward
Donald B. Ward
Paul P. Warren
Irving E. Washburn
Ervin E. Weagle
Alice E. Williams Weatherly
David H. Webb
Russell D. Webb
William H. Webb
Frederick W.White’Howard B. White
Henry Whittemore
Robert H. Whittemore*
James L. Wood
Ralph C. Wood
William W. Wood
Edward Bartlett
Stanley Bartlett

22 November 2009

Ruth Sieurin, WWI Army Nurse Corps Veteran



I went in pursuit of an answer as to why Ruth Sieurin was listed as a World War I veteran in the records of the First Congregational Church in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. Simple answer is that she was a nurse. I found an informative listing on the Arlington National Cemetery Website, under an entry for her husband, Willard Stewart Paul, a US Army Lieutenant General (http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/wspaul.htm : 21 November 2009).

The webmaster Michael Robert Patterson does not cite any sources (except for the gravestone photos), but he seems to have given careful consideration to ascertaining his facts. Willard S. Paul married Ruth M. Sieurin 14 April 1919. Ruth passed away 4 February 1953, and Willard married 2nd Luella Musselman. Willard passed away 21 March 1966. Luella passed away in 1978. Though she is not shown on the gravestone, Patterson says that Luella is also buried there.


PAUL, WILLARD S
LT. GEN. USA
VETERAN SERVICE DATES: Unknown
DATE OF BIRTH: 02/28/1894
DATE OF DEATH: 03/21/1966
DATE OF INTERMENT: 03/29/1966
BURIED AT: SECTION 30  SITE 1074 RH
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY

PAUL, RUTH M SIEURIN
RES NURSE ARMY NURSE CORPS USA
VETERAN SERVICE DATES: Unknown
DATE OF BIRTH: 03/01/1893
DATE OF DEATH: 02/04/1953
DATE OF INTERMENT: 02/09/1953
BURIED AT: SECTION 30  SITE 1074


[Gravestone photo courtesy of Russell C. Jacobs, January 2006]


21 November 2009

World War I Honor Roll, Shrewsbury, MA




The First Congregational Church in Shrewsbury has a "Book of Remembrance." It is a large volume that was created in 1956 and presented to the church by Elsie G. Cook. The occasion for this was a large building project, including the erection of a three-story addition which added a chapel, parlor, kitchen, offices and classrooms. The minister at that time was Rev. Robert Merrill Bartlett, D. D. Minister. Having just stumbled upon a transcription it that I did in 2004, I realized it's useless just sitting in my computer, hence my post. Mostly it's lists: of renovations to the church, of ministers, of legacies, of veterans of three wars, and of gifts, ranging from early gifts of silver up to gifts given in 1982.

One list is of soldiers who served in World War I from Shrewsbury. Though it is not an original source it is useful to use for comparison.  Since the Shrewsbury World War I memorial is now practically crumbling, the VFW and the Town have agreed to rebuild it, and are about to start solliciting donations. The memorial lists the eight men who died, whereas these are probably either all Shrewsbury men, or church members who served.  If I get a break with client work, I'll look into this, especially the one woman mentioned, Ruth Sieurin.

Honor Roll – World War I
  • Edward S. Ross
  • Raymond Stone*
  • W. Steward Paul
  • Henry O. Eaton
  • R. Lisle Marston
  • Robert E. Marston
  • Oke Sieurin
  • Albert J. Daniels
  • Harold Daniels
  • Herbert H. Gates
  • Herbert M. Bartlett
  • Carl F. Vaughan
  • James Schouler
  • Malcolm C. Midgley
  • Harry E. Gray
  • Harlow A. Shepard
  • Everett E. Winch
  • Irving E. Clapp
  • John A. Boyce
  • Alf E. Sieurin
  • Ward G. Keegan
  • Bernard N. Knowlton
  • Bruno P. Haas
  • Wells E. Daniels
  • Bryon Stone*
  • William L. Keddie
  • Everett C. Woodard
  • Ralph E. Christie
  • Harris G. Field
  • Rockwood F. Reed
  • Ralph B. McKenzie
  • Ruth Sieurin
  • Ernest Bisson
  • Philip H. Prouty
  • Frederick L. Stone
  • Jay R. A. Morton
  • Clarence A. Crooker
  • Clarence E. Dunn
  • John MacDuff
  • Charles F. Abbott
  • Whitney Hastings
  • F. Harold Holland
  • Henry Vaughan
  • Carlton R. Dean
  • Harold W. Green
Rest in Peace, Soldiers.

20 November 2009

Honor Bestowed







Sound the trumpets!! I have just received the Kreativ Blogger Award from Family Curator, aka Denise Levenick, from www.thefamilycurator.com. In keeping with the mutual support bloggers always give one another, it is a means of spreading the word about interesting blogs. In that vein, I'm supposed to share seven (obscure) things about myself and then recommend seven of my favorite blogs.

Seven things about me that you may not know:

1) I lived in Rome, Italy for three and a half years and spoke fluent Italian even though I was a French major and had not studied Italian.

2) In college I almost majored in music (flute). Instead I joined the UMass Marching Band and the Umass Chorale.

3) My grandfather was born in 1867! If he had lived, he would have been 88 when I was born.

4) I spent three weeks in India in the early 1980s, traveling around visiting sites like the Taj Mahal on my own.

5) In Rome I worked in an international law firm that did research for United Nations Working Groups.

6) I came very close to death after my third son was born at 11 pounds, 2 oz on New Year's Day.

7) I've spent my life battling with my weight––sadly, to no avail. And I just HATE being large.


Seven blogs I love. I don't follow too many because I don't have the time to read them, but I love stumbling upon a fine post. I therefore award the Kreativ Blogger Award to (drum roll):

1) Newly discovered Family Curator who has an intelligent and well organized blog that is so informative and apparently just what I need! I love the Blogger's Almanac with writing prompts. Visit www.familycurator.com.

2) Footnotemaven.com has a beautiful and interesting blog that is a pleasure to peruse. Visit footnotemaven.com.

3) Nationally-known professional genealogist Paul Stuart-Warren is a dear person as well as an amazing genealogist. I love her blog, too. Paula's Genealogical Eclectica can be found at paulastuartwarren.blogspot.com.

4) We have a natural teacher in Ol' Myrt who is passionate about passing on her tremendous knowledge to other genealogists. I remember reading her words of wisdom in the very early days of the internet, when it seemed like nobody was out there. I love that she's still there, still helping and teaching. Check out her blog at blog.dearmyrtle.com.

5) Chris Dunham, as the Genealogue offers tantalizing, sometimes quirky historical tidbits at www.genealogue.com.

6) Geneabloggers taught and keeps me in the know about what bloggers actually do. Since I'm so new to this it really helps me be creative and not stagnate in the same old ideas. There are calendars, prompts, how-tos, technical assistance, and just about anything I need. The gentle handholding and guidance are much appreciated. Visit geneabloggers.com.

7) Miriam Robbins Midkiff has a fine blog at AnceStories: The Stories of My Ancestors at ancestories1.blogspot.com. I love it!

Keep up the great work, fellow bloggers. I'm looking forward to exploring more and more blogs every day.

18 November 2009

A Beauty, In-Deed!


Plymouth County, Massachusetts, original quitclaim deed, Thomas Stetson, Sary Stetson, John Peirce,  Patience Peirce, John Booth,  Mary Booth, Jonathan Dodson, Eunice Dodson, Rodulphus Ellmes and Bethiah Ellmes to Nathaniel Tilden, 5 January 1696/7; digital image, Ebay (www.ebay.com : 2 February 2009)

I found this beautiful quitclaim deed on EBay earlier this year. Despite bidding what felt like an extravagant amount of money, I lost it in the last seconds of the auction. Some of the signers were my ancestors, so I was sad not to win, but at least I have the image. First I'll transcribe, then I'll talk a bit about it. I'm being very brave doing this, because the hidden meanings in early legal documents scare me. Things can seem obvious but these old transactions have a plethora of implications that I do not always catch. I suspect I'm not alone in that, still it makes me reluctant to look at this publicly! I'm not able to print superscript in this blog's text editor, so I will write out the words I believe they are intended to represent. There was no source given. I suppose I'll find it in the deed books, but here it is in raw format.
-----------
Know all men by these presents that we Thomas Stetson and
[S]ary Stetson John perce and patience perce John booth
and Mary Booth : Jonathan Dodson Eunice Dodson Rodulf
is Elms and Bethiah Elms Have Remised, Released and forever
quitt Claimed and by these presents do for us our hairs Exsecutors
and administrators and Jointly and severaly for every of us our
hairs Exsecutors & administratours do fully freely and forever also
[lately] quitt Claime unto Nathaniel Tilden of Sittuate in the County
of plymouth in New England Exsecutor to the Last will and Testament
of our Honored Mother Marah Dodson of Sittuate aforesaid do
ceased him his hairs and assigns of and from all Leggacies Gifts bequests
som and soms of mony and demands whatsoever bequethed and giv
en unto us the said Thomas and Sary Stetson John perce and patience
perce John booth and Mary booth Jonathan dodson Eunice dodson
Rodulfis Elms and bethiah Elms in and by the Last will and testament
of our honored Mother Mary dodson aforesd Deceased and of and
from all manour of actions and Suts Cause or Causes of [actions] or Suts Som and
Soms of mony debts dutys Recknings accounts and demands whatsoever which
against the sd Nathaniel Tillden we Ever had Now have or which nead our hairs
Exsecutors or administratours shall or may have Claime Challenge or Demand
for or by reason of any mater Caus or thing from the beginning of the world unto
the day of the date of thes presents in wittnes whare of we have here unto
sett our hands and Seals this fift day of January one thousand Six hundred
Ninety Six : or seven 1696/7 Jonathan Dodson (signature and seal)
Signed Sealed and delivered John Peirce (signature and seal)
in presents of Wittnesses John booth (signature and seal)
"the mark of Abraham Barden" Rodulphus Ellmes (signature and seal)
Thomas Turner (signature)
witnes "the mark eunice (signature) dodson" (seal)
Benjamin Stetson (signature)
Bethia Stetson (signature) Thomas Stetson (signature and seal)
---------
Before examining this deed closely, I had a look at the Vital Records of Scituate, Massachusetts to 1850, and Deane's History of Scituate to get acclimated with the family. Deane isn't always accurate, but used in conjunction with the VRs provides a good springboard. Of course, this information would need to be verified in original sources before determining anything conclusive, but for our purposes, they provide enough background information.

Anthony Dodson and Mary Williams were married 12 Nov 1651 in Scituate, Plymouth Colony. They had eight children. One, Gershom, died in Rehoboth during King Phillip's War. There remained six daughters and one son.

Sarah m. Thomas Stetson 1671
Margaret m. Nathaniel Tilden 1693
Jonathan
Mary m. John Booth jr. 12 Dec 1687
Patience m. John Peirce 12 Dec. 1683
Bethia m. Rodolphus Ellmes 20 Feb 1695/6
Eunice m. Simon Delis 1 Jan 1717

A quitclaim is executed to relinquish any right of ownership, whether actual or only implied, meaning the grantor may or may not have had title to begin with. People had a variety of reasons for executing quitclaims, but I think it was mostly a safety measure, a way to ensure that a title was clear, just in case...

When Mary Dodson died (sometime before 5 January 1696/7), she left a will. In this quitclaim, six of Mary's children are handing over their claim to any inheritance to the seventh child. Mary's one son, Jonathan, signed in his own right, as would be expected. The only unmarried daughter, Eunice, did the same. But for the rest of Mary's children, all married daughters, the laws of coverture govern how the ownership is determined. Once they married, they gave up their right of ownership to their husbands. For this reason we do not see their names at all, even though they were the main characters.

So why are Nathaniel and his wife (Margaret) the lucky recipients? I just don't know! This would require some study and I've already spent a load of time just getting this far. I suspect that there are probably other deeds conveying property for payment, and that this is just a clearing of title. Feel free to chime in, if you know, and I'm being stupid, which, sadly, is entirely possible.

15 November 2009

When Sparks Flew






Hunt-Spiller Manufacturing Corporation Magazine Advertisement ca 1940 

My grandfather, William Otis Humphrey Barnes, died before I was born. He left behind my grandmother Vernetta, who I adored, even though most of our interaction consisted of her shushing me so she could chat with my mother! She won me over entirely by playing "Go Fish" with me every Sunday. I was fascinated by that dead animal fur thing she wore on her coat collar and have fond memories of going to sleep over at her house a few times. She died when I was only seven, so I didn't really know her well, just loved her like only a child can.

Right before I got married in 1988, I found a couple of letters that WOHB had written to Vernetta when they were still youngish. I was intrigued at the tone of his letters, and loved how he called her "Babe." Bill worked as an engineer, traveling around Eastern Massachusetts on various jobs. I thought this was a great description of what an electrical engineer did in 1919. He was obviously very homesick! Later he got a job with Hunt-Spiller Electronics in South Boston, an advertisement for which is shown above.

-----------

Young Men’s Christian Association
Brockton, Mass.
Public Correspondence Table

15 Jul 1919
My Dear Babe,
I rec’d your letter
to-night. It made me feel very
good to get it. You are a good girl
to write so soon and so good a letter.
It was really two in one, wasn’t
it dear? I’ll tell you something
about my work. I get up a
6., go down the street and eat-
breakfast and take the G.41 train
from Brocton. To-night I
got a train back[interlined] that gets to Brockton
at 6.40, so I had my supper
and was cleaned up just before
I talked with you. Yesterday
I spent most all day walking
around with the chief engineer.
He was showing me all the
--------

[page two]
motors, generators and all the
electrical equipment and giving
me what information he could.

He seemd to be allright.
To-day I have bee connecting
up 6 motors, that is I have
been working on them but will
not have them all ready to run
for a couple of days. Besides that
I have worked on the electric
wiring on a gasoline engine
and put 4 new brushes in one of
the big motors. Well, I guess
that’s enough about my work.
I am going to write to Mr.
Maxwell just as soon as I
can decide just what I want
to tell him. I hope that
----------

[page three]
you will go to the movies
to-night, and have a good time.
I wish that I could go with
you. Well, you best little Wife,
be a good girl and take good care
of my three little girls.

Tell Priscilla and Louise that
their daddy loves them and
is sorry that he can’t be with
them. Good-night Babe darling,
write soon and often.

Lots of love to my three wonderfull girls.

Daddy Bill



Briefest of Histories of Genealogy




I recently agreed to write a column for an online newspaper that centers around my town. Here is my first column.

Genealogy, or the study of our ancestors, is the fastest growing hobby in the United States today. Let's look at the history of genealogy as it moved from an obscure form of record keeping into an expanding field of professional study. 


Originally, genealogy served as a means to validate someone’s ancestry, whether to prove religious qualification, as in the Biblical genealogies, or to prove the right to inherit land and title, as in heraldic genealogies. For millennia it changed very little, remaining a dry list of begats guaranteed to put readers to sleep. You may be familiar with Bible passages like this one: “Matthew 1:3 And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram…” Riveting stuff!

Well if that’s all there is to genealogy, why is it the fastest growing hobby in America? Documenting your family history is addictive detective work! And it’s all about you. It’s like assembling a jigsaw puzzle that keeps pulling you in with its detail and interestingly shaped pieces: each one containing a tiny clue as to who you are. And just so you never get bored, its edges are unfinished, always inviting further exploration in an infinite variety of directions.

You start with a modest goal, perhaps “Who were my four grandparents?” When you solve that, you then have clues about your eight great-grandparents, and your family tree has just doubled! The modern genealogist is not content with simply listing begats, however. Today we are family historians, gradually unfolding the mysteries of who our ancestors were, why (if) they came to America and what they did when they got here. We flesh out the birth, marriage and death information with bibliographical information that brings them alive.

Genealogy was wildly popular in the nineteenth century. It was the tool by which potential members proved their worthiness to join elite lineage societies like the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) or the Mayflower Society. In order to join, you had to prove descent from a Revolutionary War patriot (DAR), or a passenger on the first Mayflower voyage. Membership was a privilege determined by birth and therefore off limits to recent immigrants, African-Americans and Native Americans. It was a hobby mainly of upper-class white Protestant women who seemed to specialize in finding ancestors with status. There was no mention of black sheep, skeletons or scoundrels of any kind. Because of this, I believe, genealogy experienced a gradual decline in popularity throughout most of the twentieth century. We all know we have unsavory characters in our family and people automaticaly discounted themselves from the hunt because they felt unqualified in some way.

In the 1920s there was an upsurge in scholarly approach to genealogy. Research and reporting standards were established which helped all genealogists be more accurate and productive. Still, the vast majority of those doing family history research continued to gather secondary information and write about it selectively, without citing their sources or using proper analytical techniques. But the professionals were starting to teach the rest how beneficial proper techniques can be. By 1964, the Board for Certification of Genealogists ® was founded, thus finally establishing genealogy as a professional field of study.

Alex Haley’s miniseries Roots, the story of an African man captured and brought to America as a slave, was broadcast in 1977. It told the story of the immigrant’s descendants and in so doing validated the worthiness of everyone’s genealogy. Some began to realize that they had no sense of history in their own families which had been separated by war, job-opportunities and divorce. Many were in the dark about their own ancestry.

Yet even with the wild popularity of Roots and a growing tendency to honor America’s multiple ethnicities, genealogy was still a rather neglected pastime. Those who did take it up were known to bore the whiskers off anyone silly enough to enquire as to how they were. Despite the influence of professionals, the final product of most genealogists was only a little more detailed than the biblical begats. Genealogists were still perceived as dotty and eccentric name collectors who would boast of having “finished the family genealogy.” Too many still relied heavily upon previously published genealogies, and they didn’t care much about citing the sources of their information.

In the days before the internet, research was agonizingly slow. Work was done in libraries, courthouses, archives or by mail, and proceeded one step at a time, sometimes with weeks between steps. It was a hobby for most and a profession for very few: all were extremely patient.

In the mid-1990s the internet came along to magnify genealogical knowledge, for better or for worse. Message Boards like Rootsweb sprung up, allowing individuals to compare notes about their surnames of interest or localities, etc. Ancestry.com was a leader in digitizing and indexing original sources and providing them for a fee. Before we had time to wish for it, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints put online some of its holdings, including the International Genealogical Index. Many archives realized that they could provide widespread access to their holdings without the wear and tear of individual researchers actually touching the documents, so universities and libraries began to digitize their holdings. And even some governmental agencies began to do the same with vital records. Like kids in a candy store, genealogists everywhere went crazy.

The internet catapulted people into genealogy faster than anyone could believe. All it really takes is one look at your great-grandmother in the 1880 census to get you hooked. You can see who she’s living with, how many children she has with her, (maybe some by a different husband), who her neighbors were, where her parents were born and all kinds of things you thought you might never know. Instant gratification! You get your information, but then are left with more questions, so the search continues. Endlessly addictive!

Between changes in society and the availability of information on the internet, the field of genealogy has changed dramatically in the past fifty years. The stigma attached to genealogy was reduced as the racism inherent in the lineage societies dissipated. The DAR now not only welcomes but celebrates African-American and Native American applicants. The Mayflower Society works with Native American groups to celebrate their heritage as well. Professional organizations exist to help beginners learn how to properly record their own family histories so that they can enjoy the full story of their own varied ancestry. With the proliferation of information on the web came also a multiplying of faulty data, thus the need for professional guidance became even more important. Conferences and institutes are held all over the United States where you can learn about Polish, Irish, Italian, Mennonite, French-Canadian, Cherokee, Freewill Baptist or just about any group you can think of. DNA testing can confirm some relationships, though not, obvously, provide a thorough genealogy. In addition, it can show you the trails your ancient ancestors took when migrating to Europe or wherever they ended up.

Today, the skillful genealogist uses professional methodology. We continually educate ourselves to stay current not only with record sources, but with methodology. We consult a wide variety of sources, both in repositories and online, to flesh out the lives of our ancestors. Every single item of information is attributed, via footnote, to a source which is then evaluated as to relevency. We acknowledge when there is not enough evidence or there is conflicting evidence. When there is no direct evidence, we write a proof argument using indirect evidence. Accreditation or certification are two of the ways in which professionals can be credentialed, and there the opportunities for learning continue to grow exponentially. Not everyone needs to be a professional, but if you follow professional methods you will find that your research is much more fruitful and will lead to discovery of more detail than you dreamed possible.