Friday, September 30, 2005

Man Finds Click-Talking Hadzabe in his Family Tree

From The Washington (D.C.) Post:

Swimming in the Gene Pool

Sunday, October 2, 2005; Page P04

WORTH A TRIP: "I woke up one morning last spring to find my life was a lie," Donovan Webster says in the October National Geographic Traveler. Despite his Anglo-Saxon name and a proper New England family tree, DNA testing revealed his roots went much further afield -- to "click-talking Hadzabe in Tanzania . . . Lebanese Arabs, tribal Uzbeks in Central Asia, and Basques in Spain."


[Read the whole story]
A photo gallery of Webster's travels to meet his distant cousins is available at the National Geographic Traveler website.

Genealogical Curiosity On Trial in Texas

From the Austin (Tex.) American-Statesman:

Kenedy case arrives at Texas Supreme Court

Court to decide if Austin judge had jurisdiction to order body dug up

By Jeremy Schwartz

Friday, September 30, 2005

Past the desolate miles of stunted mesquite, in an ornate and meticulously tended South Texas cemetery that rises out of nothingness, lies a body that may be worth nearly a billion dollars.


[John G. Kenedy Jr.], a hard-drinking bon vivant, was long assumed to have died in 1948 without heirs, sterile from a childhood case of the mumps. But the descendants of a maid on the sprawling Kenedy Ranch claim Kenedy fathered an illegitimate child with her, a secret kept for generations.


Travis County Probate Judge Guy Herman ordered an exhumation in January 2004. Lawyers for the John G. Kenedy Jr. Charitable Trust and John G. and Marie Stella Kenedy Memorial Foundation argued that Herman lacked the jurisdiction or the authority to make such an order and that even if Ann Fernandez is Kenedy's daughter, she would not be able to reopen Kenedy's long-settled estate because of statutes of limitation.

"We don't dig up bodies simply for someone to satisfy some genealogical curiosity," argued attorney Michael Hatchell.


[Read the whole story]

Genealogue Exclusive: Bill Bennett Now After Genealogists

A Genealogue Exclusive [What's That?]
Former Education Secretary William Bennett, already under fire for blaming the U.S. crime rate on black toddlers, has now offended another demographic: family historians.

Bennett suggested to The Genealogue Friday afternoon that "If you really wanted to stop identity-theft in this country, you could round up all the genealogists and make them drink poisoned Kool-Aid." He went on to call this "a ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but our credit cards would be safe."

Bennett explained that some irresponsible Internet genealogists have posted information online about living persons, making the work of identity thieves much easier.

"This is just a hypothetical," Bennett said. "I'm certainly not advocating that this should be done—only that it could be done, and that I'd be willing to pay for the Kool-Aid."

Confucius Says, That's a Lot of Grandkids

From China View:

Confucius has over 3 mln descendants worldwide

JINAN, Sept. 30 (Xinhuanet) -- Confucius, a great Chinese thinker in ancient China, has more than three million descendants around the world, according to recent statistics.


Kong Deming, vice director of the Qufu Confucius pedigree research center said that with Qufu as its main concentration region, the descendants of Confucius are now over three million, with 2.5 million on Chinese mainland, 100,000 in Republic of Korea, and many also in the United States and Malaysia and Singapore.

He also noted that the new version of Confucius family tree book will be published in 2007.


[Read the whole story]

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Millionth Visitor to National Archives Congratulated, Then Strip-Searched by Overzealous Security Guard

From NARA:

National Archives Welcomes Millionth 2005 Visitor

Washington, DC— The National Archives welcomed its millionth visitor on Thursday, September 29, 2005 at 1:15 PM. Visitor Ariya Shah, traveling with her parents from Austin, Texas, was greeted by Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein. The Archivist said: “I am delighted to welcome our millionth visitor this year. This milestone confirms that the National Archives is a “must-see” destination for Washingtonians and tourists alike.” Expressing surprise as the person reaching this milestone, 23-month-old Ariya saw the bunch of balloons, smiled at the Archivist and said “Wow!”

[Read the whole story]

Guinea-Pig Breeding Leads to Grave Robbery

From the (London, England) Daily Mail:

Four charged over body theft

30th September 2005

Three men will appear in court accused of conspiring to blackmail the owners of a guinea pig breeding farm at the centre of a hate campaign by animal rights activists.

The men, aged 35, 36 and 38, were arrested by officers investigating the theft of a pensioner's body from a graveyard last year.

They face blackmail charges against the owners of Darley Oaks Farm in Newchurch, Staffs, who include the dead pensioner's son-in-law David Hall, when they appear before Burton-upon-Trent magistrates.


[Read the whole story]

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Not That There's Anything Wrong with That...

From the (Johannesburg, South Africa) Mail & Guardian Online:

All the king's men ...

Munich, Germany
28 September 2005

An heir to a German aristocrat reached a settlement on Wednesday with an author who said his ancestor was the gay lover of Ludwig II, the "fairy-tale king" who built the legendary Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria.

Count Michael Siegfried von Holnstein, whose great-grandfather was the stables manager to the man also known as Mad King Ludwig, had taken the case to the regional superior court in the southern city of Munich, Bavaria's main city.


The count had argued that the honour of his family line had been "gravely defamed" by the claim.

"Everyone knows about certain tendencies of Ludwig II, but it is totally unacceptable that my great-grandfather gets dragged into it," he said.


[Read the whole story]

Can Tupperware Be Far Behind?

From Reuters:

Swedes may be freeze-dried for eternal rest

By Sven Nordenstam

STOCKHOLM, Sept 26 (Reuters) - "There's three things we can do with your mum. We can bury her, burn her, or dump her." A fourth alternative -- freeze-drying -- could soon be added to British comedy group Monty Python's catalogue of burial methods.

Next year the Swedish town of Jonkoping hopes to pioneer this novel way of preparing people for their final resting place. The body will be frozen, dipped in liquid nitrogen and pulverised prior to burial.


[Read the whole story]

Enslaver's Descendant Springs for Stone

From the Portsmouth (N.H.) Herald of Sept. 28, 2005:

Slave's grave will be marked

By Karen Dandurant

GREENLAND — Thanks to the tenacity of a Stratham woman and the generosity of a Greenland man, the grave of a slave named Caesar will be marked and remembered.

Vicky Avery came to the Board of Selectmen Monday night, asking for its support to get a grave marker put on the site of the old Brackett Farm on Tide Water Farms Road, to mark the location of the grave, which she proved was there in August.

Selectmen said they were willing to work with Avery to find a way to fund the grave marker, but it was resident John Brackett, whose ancestors owned the slave, who offered to pony up the estimated $500 needed.


[Read the whole story]

Top Ten Banned Family-History Books

In honor of Banned Books Week:

10. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finns: The Finnish Settlers of Huckleberry, Maryland

9. All's Quiet on the Western Frontier: Wyoming's Deaf-Mute Pioneers

8. Sects and the Single Girl: The Religious Lives of 17th-Century Spinsters

7. A Day No Pigs Would Die: A History of the Jewish Sabbath in America

6. The Grapes of Rathbone, Ohio: Moses and Miriam Grape and their Descendants

5. My Brother Sam is Dead, and I'm Looking Forward to the Obituary

4. Lady Chatterley's Lover: DNA Evidence of Illegitimacy in the Chatterley Family

3. What's Happening to My Body?: A Guide for the Recently Deceased and their Relatives

2. Mein Kampf: My Struggle to Track Down German Ancestors

1. Heather Has Two Mommies and Four Grammies

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Jefferson-Hemings Controversy Settled in Court

From The Kansas City (Mo.) Star of Sept. 27, 2005:

Judge draws line at naming horse after Sally Hemings

Now politics is getting into horse racing — but in a strange way.

A federal judge in Lexington, Ky., has dismissed a lawsuit by a Thoroughbred owner who sued to name one of his fillies after Sally Hemings, the slave who was reputed to be Thomas Jefferson’s mistress.


The mother of [Garrett] Redmond’s 2-year-old filly is Jefferson’s Secret, whose sire is Colonial Affair. Redmond thinks the name “Sally Hemings” would be a natural for a horse of such lineage.


[Read the whole story]

I'm Looking for Something Closer to Epcot...

From the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel:

Orlando's newest land rush: Plots in cemetery

At Greenwood, 1 of only 2 graveyards in the city, family-size space has been scarce.

Mark Schlueb | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted September 26, 2005

For Sale: Hot property in downtown gated community. Very quiet neighbors. Lot size: 4 feet by 9 feet. (Headstone not included.)

The land rush downtown isn't confined to cramped high-rise condos and pricey bungalows anymore. Orlando's historic Greenwood Cemetery is about to become the hot new property, with the first new section opening since 1989.


Simply by word of mouth, callers have learned about the opening and reserved more than 100 of the 220 plots in the first section. Most buyers are reserving four or more plots. At least a half-dozen plan to exhume loved ones from single plots and move them into the new section so they can be together again -- eventually, anyway.

"There's going to be a lot of jockeying going on," cemetery sexton Don Price said.


[Read the whole story]

Criminal Geniuses

From Seattle (Wash.) Post-Intelligencer of Sept. 27, 2005:

Teens arrested in vandalism at pioneer cemetery in Sumner


SUMNER, Wash. -- Two teenagers have been arrested following two nights of vandalism in which more than 250 pioneer grave markers were toppled and broken, police said.

The boys, 14 and 16, admitted being responsible when police questioned them Monday after municipal cemetery workers saw them pointing at the damaged gravestones and laughing loudly, Lt. Mark Mears said.


[Read the whole story]

Monday, September 26, 2005

Genealogue Obituary: The Cone of Silence Descends for Maxwell Smart

Former CONTROL agent Maxwell Smart died today. He was born in Washington, D. C., in 1930.

Smart served in the U. S. Army during the Korean War, and attained the rank of corporal. Drafted out of college into CONTROL, Smart went on to become the secret agency's top spy—despite several notorious blunders and his marriage to a fellow spy, known to him only as "Agent 99."

The couple's days of undercover snooping were cut short when Agent 99 was "outed" by columnist Robert Novak in 1982.

Smart's death reportedly occurred when he mistakenly dialed 117 on his new "cell-phone gun." Mortally wounded, he then pressed "redial" and killed his former CONTROL supervisor, with whom he was having lunch. His last words, written down by paramedics, were "Sorry about that, Chief."

One Name, 99 Spellings

From the Yorkshire (U.K.) Post of Sept. 26, 2005:

Members of worldwide family meet up in Dales

Brian Dooks

ONE of Yorkshire's biggest families, whose thousands of members have spread world-wide, met in the Dales yesterday to share family histories and meet previously unknown relatives.

The Metcalfe Society, founded 25 years ago, claims to be the biggest one-name organisation in the world in terms of the data it holds on descendants and with 1,500 past and present members. Arguably it keeps the ultimate family tree.

But we are not just thinking Metcalfe, Metcalf, Medcalf, Medcalfe, Mitcalf or Mitcalfe. The society, which had more than 150 members at its reunion at West Burton, near Leyburn, has at least 99 variations.

Former secretary and now assistant archivist Nina Benson, of Spofforth, near Harrogate, explains. "You can find records of 12 children of the same couple and because the parish clerks changed, the surnames got altered. Two or three will have a letter 'e' on the end of their names and the others will not."


[Read the whole story]

New Addition to Bill of Rights?

From the (Fort Worth, Tex.) Star-Telegram of Sept. 26, 2005:

Lawyers fight over exhuming millionaire's body

Associated Press

SAN ANTONIO - Lawyers are scheduled to argue Thursday before the Texas Supreme Court whether to exhume the body of rancher John G. Kenedy Jr. for DNA tests to determine if the supposedly sterile millionaire fathered a daughter with a maid.

At issue is an inheritance estimated between $500 million and $1 billion - including a 400,000-acre, oil-rich ranch near Kingsville - left to two charities.

In the lawsuit, Dr. Ray Fernandez and his mother Ann Fernandez claim Kenedy had at least one out-of-wedlock child with Maria Rowland Goates, Ann's mother.

"Morally, everyone has the right to pursue their lineage and family history. There is no reason to try and cover that up," said Ray Fernandez, 45, the medical examiner for Nueces County.


[Read the whole story]

The Math of Khan

You might know how many ancestors you have through five, ten, or even fifteen generations. But how many descendants will you have, say, 900 years from now?

The Genghis Khan Genetic Fitness Test allows you to measure your virility, fertility, or non-sterility against that of the Mongol ruler himself. He's credited with 16 million male descendants—and those are just the ones descended through direct patrilineal lines.

Just answer a few (sometimes personal) questions about yourself and your immediate family, and a system of calibrated algorithms and space-age nanotechnology will compute the number of your descendants through 32 generations. You'll also get a customized "family tree" laying out in graphic detail your genetic legacy, allowing for "sterility, birth rates, death rates, disease, drug abuse, nitwitism, and accidents."

You might want to exaggerate on the questionnaire: I told the truth, and learned that I am "no Mongol warlord," which we all know is untrue.

Genealogued Blogs 6

More proof that I have too much free time on my hands:
Back Home Again delves into Family Nicknames, and finds a Goose, Wobble, and Spick.

Berlindog Blog suffers a bout of [UGLY] Amnesia.

Random Genealogy plugs a blog that highlights our two favorite pastimes: Google Earth and Genealogy.

FamilyTrackers Blog recounts one couple's steps and missteps in researching Genealogy in England – A Hinde Family Adventure.

GenBlogger considers the possible union of Funny Names #2 - DRINKWATER and PASSWATER.

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter tells us to check and recheck our sources, and then publish our family history in The (Online) Annals of Genealogical Research.

OakvilleBlackWalnut celebrates the news: FHL to Digitize Microfilm. gives tips for Locating the place of Burial in statewide Massachusetts VR’s (19th Century).

Legacy News asks the question: Should we really share our findings online? Their answer: "Absolutely!" My answer: "Proceed with caution."

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Six Genealogical Degrees of Kevin Bacon

Gary Boyd Roberts' latest installment of Royal Descents, Notable Kin, and Printed Sources at includes ancestral lines of Marlon Brando, Robert Redford, Kevin Bacon, and the Baldwin brothers, among others. If you're related to all of these people, then you're probably already in show business.

The folks over at The Onion suggested in 2002 that "If you trace your family back six generations, you should arrive at the great-great-great-great grandfather of Kevin Bacon." In truth, the connection may be more direct: Kevin Bacon may be your brother.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Men in Kilts Not to be Mocked

From The (Glasgow, Scotland) Sunday Herald of Sept. 25, 2005:

‘Twee?’ Perhaps, but Tartan Days should be celebrated

By Senay Boztas, Arts Correspondent

THEY might inspire a hearty round of jeering in Scotland, but Tartan Days around the world should not be mocked, according to the author of a new book on the Scottish diaspora.

James Hunter, director of the centre for history at the prospective University of the Highlands and Islands, has made a plea for Scots to respect the diverse ways in which their distant relatives celebrate their Scottishness.


But he believes that many people unfairly pillory Scots descendants in countries such as America for celebrating their ancestry with Tartan Days and Highland Games.

“We think that if these people dress in kilts and go to Tartan Days, they are off their heads, but they are as entitled to their view of identity as we are to ours,” he said. “If you tried to organise a Tartan Day in Scotland, I don’t think many people would turn up.


[Read the whole story]
". . . how canst thou say to thy brother, 'Brother, let me cast out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the caber that is in thine own.'"

Worst Family Reunion Ever

From the Wilkes-Barre (Pa.) Times Leader of Sept. 24, 2005:

Boy struck by lightning discharged from rehab center

Associated Press

PITTSBURGH - An 11-year-old boy who was struck by lightning at a family reunion in July has returned home after a seven-week stay at a rehabilitation center.

David Rogan of New Castle, who had been in a coma, can again speak and walk and has made good progress, a doctor said Friday.


Rogan was struck during a July 16 family reunion at a farm in Sugarcreek, Venango County, about 70 miles north of Pittsburgh. The lightning strike left him unconscious and without a pulse for about 20 minutes. Relatives performed CPR.

[Read the whole story]

Shop 'Til You Drop Into an Ohlone Grave

From (of San Francisco, Calif.):

East Bay Shopping Center Sits Atop Burial Ground

Delicate Balance Between Commerce And Culture

KGO By Willie Monroe

Sep. 23 - A Bay Area filmmaker explores an open secret about a popular East Bay shopping center. Emeryville's Bay Street sits on an ancient Ohlone Indian community including a burial ground. It's a delicate balance between commerce and culture.

Bay Street Emeryville is described as a million square foot urban village. It's a center of commerce with upscale stores, restaurants and a movie theater. Nearly 400 apartments and townhouses are being built above the stores.


The dead buried here inspired Andres Cediel to make the documentary "Shellmound" for his master's thesis at the University of California at Berkeley's graduate school of journalism.

Andres Cediel: "You know, I grew up in the East Bay my whole life, went to school there, and I never heard of the burials at the Shellmound, never heard of any Native American burial grounds or anything until the shopping center opened."


[Read the whole story]

Strangely, They Spelled 'Tarczewski' Correctly


No license for errors when dealing with MVC

Friday, September 23, 2005


If you have a name like Tarczewski, chances are good that some bureaucracy will misspell it and drive you crazy for weeks while you try to figure out why your rebate check is late or why you can't log on to your new e-mail account.

This is the burden Gary Tarczewski has carried for 47 years.

"I'm used to it," said Gary.

Still, the Bergenfield machinist wasn't prepared for the news he received from the state Motor Vehicle Commission when he tried to renew his driver's license under New Jersey's new, ultra-secure digital licensing system. You see, Gary's name was misspelled on his birth certificate.


Gary knew this, of course. Although Tarczewski was spelled exactly as his mom and dad had intended, his first name had grown an appendage:


"Nobody ever made a big deal out of it before," Gary insisted. "Even when I got married; even when I got my first New Jersey license."


[Read the whole story]

Friday, September 23, 2005

Salvation and Exaltation After Death? Not Good Enough

From The Boston (Mass.) Globe:

State Supreme Court says adoptee has no right to know parents

September 22, 2005

PROVIDENCE, R.I. --The Rhode Island Supreme Court has rejected a Pennsylvania man's claim that his belief in Mormonism entitles him to have his adoption records opened.

Philip Sabatino, 34, of Erie, Pa., claimed in court records that according to his faith he "may be saved and exalted after death" if he meets certain requirements, including tracing his ancestry and fulfilling certain obligations to his blood relatives.

But the justices said confidentiality is important to the adoption process and the man did not show a need to know his parents' names.

The official court opinion did not say whether religious belief could be used as a justification in other cases. But the justices said in a footnote that they thought they could not open records for Mormons without doing it for others as well.


[Read the whole story]
God forbid that those damn Lutherans start asking questions. . .

Thursday, September 22, 2005

More Movies for Genealogists

Paul "CensusWhacker" Etherington has asked his RootsChat cohorts for additions to my list of Top Ten Movies for Genealogists. Moderator Boongie Pam's "Lost in Transcription," alcrighton's "Census Sensibility," and Paul's own "Look Back in Ancestry" are early favorites.

I would probably amend Pam's "Kill Bill" entry to read "Kill Bill, then Jot Down the Date and Place of His Death."

One-Eyed Mothers-in-Law are Wild

From PRNewsWire:

New Playing Cards 'Six Generations' Are Invented Unexpectedly

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Sept. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- The monarchic structure of standard playing cards with King, Queen and Jack is now breaking apart by an Alaskan game designer who invented a new "democratic" deck with a 64-person family in six generations.

When Ted Soloview, a graphic designer from Alaska was searching his genealogy with the roots of Russian, German, and Ukrainian ancestors, he caught an idea that anybody's triangle-looking family tree could be used to create a new card game.

After a year of research and choosing a universal match for parents and children, husbands and wives, lifestyle and clothing, names and countries for the European family of immigrants to America, his idea has generated an innovative card game, "Six Generations."


[Read the whole story]
These cards may also be used to play "Strip Genealogy," though this is not advised. Six Generations is available at

You Too Can Be a Nazi Hunter

From New York (N.Y.) Newsday:

Croatia seeks 92-year-old WWII suspect

Associated Press Writer

September 22, 2005, 9:52 AM EDT

ZAGREB, Croatia - Croatia has requested that Austria extradite a 92-year-old World War II war crimes suspect who was tracked down by an amateur Nazi hunter, the justice minister said Thursday.


Aschner, a former police chief in eastern Croatia, allegedly enforced racist laws in 1941-1942 under Croatia's World War II Nazi puppet regime, which persecuted tens of thousands of Jews, Gypsies and Serbs.

He is suspected of committing crimes against civilians, mainly Jews and Serbs, the minister, Vesna Skare Ozbolt, told The Associated Press.


Aschner lived peacefully in Croatia for years before he was discovered two years ago by an amateur researcher, Alen Budaj.

Budaj traced his family history and discovered Aschner's alleged wartime role. He then located him living in central Croatia and alerted authorities, setting in motion a hunt for the elderly suspect - and prompting Aschner to seek shelter in Austria.


[Read the whole story]

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Make Room for Daddy's Surname

From Sun.Star Pampanga (Philippines) of Sept. 22, 2005:

Illegitimate kids can now use dad's surname

By Reynaldo G. Navales

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- Illegitimate children may now use the surnames of their fathers.

This is provided for under Republic Act (RA) No. 9255 amending Article 176 of Executive Order No. 209, otherwise known as the Family Code of the Philippines.

However, the same law states that a father has to acknowledge the child who wishes to use his parent's name.


[Read the whole story]
In related news, thousands of U.S. servicemen formerly stationed in the Philippines have suddenly stopped answering their telephones.

Sorry, Not Indian Enough

From the (Little Rock) Arkansas Times:

When is an Indian not an Indian?

Arkansas schools are finding out the hard way.

Leslie Newell Peacock
Updated: 9/22/2005

The federal government is questioning grants totaling $1,089,745 that 24 Arkansas school districts have won based on the number of their American Indian students — a population that’s made a meteoric jump over 2002 census figures, if the documents accompanying the grants are correct.

Officials with the federal Office of Indian Education suspect that the increase is not the result of an influx of American Indians into Arkansas, but of misinformation spread by a group called the Lost Cherokee Nation of Arkansas and Missouri. The LCN, as it’s called, began in 2003 to spread the word about the grants, telling schools they could get federal dollars based on the word of students filling out so-called 506 forms. The LCN told schools that their Indian students didn’t have to be enrolled in federally recognized tribes to be counted, but only needed to be able to trace their Indian heritage to an ancestor several generations back.


[Read the whole story]
Like all lost Indian nations, Lost Cherokee Nation has a website.

The Bible Stripped of Begats


The Bible for slow readers

By Jonathan Petre, Religion Correspondent
(Filed: 22/09/2005)

In the beginning was the Word. But the Word went on a bit, so a new version of the Bible has been produced for readers with short attention spans.

The 100-minute Bible, aimed at the "hurried and harried" generation, was launched at Canterbury Cathedral yesterday by its author, the Rev Michael Hinton.

While the original takes about a week of solid reading to finish, the abbreviated version can be read from cover to cover in under two hours, said Mr Hinton.

While all the familiar Old Testament stories are there, from Genesis to Exodus, out have gone the genealogy and the law books. Also missing is the Song of Songs, and only two psalms have survived.


[Read the whole story]

Genealogy Gaining, But Still Less Addictive Than Crack


Family History Research Is More Addictive Than eBay!

LONDON, September 21 /PRNewswire/ --

- Research Shows People Spend 20% More Time on Family History Websites Than Shopping Online

It's official, family history research has overtaken online shopping as the most addictive hobby. Research from, the UK's number one online family history site, based on July 2005 data from audience measurement firm comScore Europe, found that the average time spent per usage day on in July 2005 was 34 minutes per UK user. This level of activity among users searching through family history records shakes the academic image of family history and puts it on the map.

In comparison, an average user in the UK spends 29 minutes per usage day on eBay, the online shopping portal, 10 minutes on Napster, the music downloading site and 6 minutes on Expedia Travel. The research shows that internet users spent nearly 20% more time on the family history site than on eBay, during the average usage day.

As internet usage increases year on year, the shopping, travel and media sites continue to be the most popular destinations. However, the new research suggests that most of these traditionally popular sites lack the capability to keep users engaged for long periods of time. This is not the case with family history search.


[Read the whole story]

Too Many Joshua F. Cockeys

From The (Towson, Md.) Jeffersonian:

Store tracks family names

By Loni Ingraham

Welcome to entrepreneur Josh Cockey's latest venture, "The Family History Store," in Towson.

Through the wonders of the computer, it elegantly answers the question, "What's in a name?" in Old English type and a wide choice of mats and frames - coats of arms optional.

The store, at 22 Allegheny Ave., can explain the derivation of 500,000 surnames.

"More people than ever are becoming interested in this stuff," Cockey says.

And speaking of the derivation of names, if 80-year-old Cockey introduces himself as "Joshua Cockey of B," is there an A or a C or a D?

No, there were just too many Joshua F. Cockeys to keep track of beyond the fifth generation, he says. So the B stands for Bennett, his father's name. "It means I'm the son of Bennett," he explains.


[Read the whole story]

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Something's Rotten in Groton

From The Boston (Mass.) Globe:

Years take toll on town records

Historic records decaying as funds go elsewhere

By Matt Gunderson, Globe Correspondent | September 18, 2005

GROTON -- The air in the high-ceilinged vault inside Groton Town Hall, with its tattered parchments and venerable-looking volumes, is cool and odorless.

Sliding a tall, reddish book from one metal shelf, Town Clerk Onorina Maloney opened it, trailing her white-gloved hand delicately across its faded writing.

"See," she said, pointing at the page. "Longley, Sawtell. It has all the old family names in town."

The volume is one of dozens of historic books in this vault, cataloging meeting minutes and vital records that date to the early 1600s. Unfortunately, Maloney explained, many of the books are falling apart.

"As time goes by, this will all fade away," she said, her hand grazing again over the book's worn, brown page.


[Read the whole story]

O Brave New World

From of Sept. 19, 2005:


A NEW study claims that by 2021 more than a third of households will be made up of singletons.

And, as the birth rate tumbles, extended family will also decline.

Researchers say family trees will grow upwards, not outwards, as numbers of aunts, uncles and cousins fall.


[Read the whole story]
Let's break out the soma and prepare to decant the Epsilons. At least genealogy will be easier.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Genealogy vs. the Mothman

From The (Huntington W.V.) Herald-Dispatch of Sept. 19, 2005:

Capitalizing on mystery

Organizers hope to keep expanding Point Pleasant event

By Nicole Young
The Herald-Dispatch

POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. -- Whether a horrifying monster or a really good hoax, the legend of the Mothman has been tacked on to this small West Virginia town since the 1960s. Now in its fourth year, the Mothman Festival in Point Pleasant has continued to capitalize on the rich history and mystery of the Mothman himself.

With a goal of jump-starting the town's economy, the festival was originally a way to capitalize on the "Mecca of history and genealogy," in the area, said Hilda Austin, executive director for the Mason County Area Chamber of Commerce.

Now, people from as far as New York, Canada and even England came to the town this weekend with one thing in mind -- to learn about and maybe even catch a glimpse of the legendary Mothman and his "glowing red eyes," she said.


[Read the whole story]

The Grass Looks Nice, But What About the Misplaced Bodies?

From The (Wilmington, Del.) News Journal:

Cemetery investigation continues

Riverview Gardens awaiting repairs


The grass at Riverview Gardens cemetery, which prompted angry calls to city and state officials from people with relatives buried there, has been cut.

But the wrought-iron fence and gate that disappeared along the cemetery's North Market Street side have yet to see repairs.

City officials said the summer's dry weather prevented the grass from becoming an overgrown tangle of weeds, leaving city inspectors no reason to further cite the cemetery's owner, the Rev. Tom C. Davis, pastor of the Restoration Christian Fellowship Church.


[Davis] acquired the graveyard for $1 after the former owners had to file for bankruptcy. At that point, a perpetual-care fund had been depleted, and officials were keeping poor burial records and neglecting maintenance. Some bodies buried at the cemetery had been misplaced.


[Read the whole story]

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Genealogue News Flash: Wins an Emmy

A Genealogue News Flash [What's That?]
The most surprising winner at Sunday night's 57th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards was—a genealogy company based in Provo, Utah. The first-time nominee walked off with the Emmy for Best Comedic Infomercial, beating out pre-show favorite Kevin Trudeau of "Natural Cures" fame.

The company's entry featured a woman tracing her lineage back 400 years, finding family pictures, and downloading supporting documentation from the website—all without adequate preparation, and all within thirty minutes of signing up.

Said fellow Emmy-winner Felicity Huffman, "It was the acting that made it seem believable. I don't understand why ... whoever it was ... wasn't nominated for Best Actress."

What Do Bill Gates and Walt Disney's Frozen Head Have in Common?


Da Vinci Code Supplements Released

Kamuela, HI Monday, September 19, 2005 — Da Vinci Code fans and critics alike will be surprised if not flabbergasted to discover the mystifying and highly interconnected web of generation-by-generation family ties (according to fully sourced recorded history) that actually connects most of the real people in Dan Brown's phenomenal best-seller "The Da Vinci Code" to each other as relatives.


A virtually limitless number of surprising and counterintuitive reports can emerge, including these 27 Da Vinci Code supplements which Millisecond Publishing Company, Inc. has released today at

All of the historical figures who are the subjects of these 27 Family Forest Kinship Reports, with only one exception, can be found in Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code."

The one exception is the world famous Oscar-winning Hollywood actor Tom Hanks who will be portraying Harvard professor Robert Langdon in the upcoming Ron Howard directed Sony Pictures film about "The Da Vinci Code."


[Read the whole story]

Off-Kilter Kilts

From Seattle (Wash.) Post-Intelligencer of Sept. 17, 2005:

Don't call them men in skirts — they're men in Utilikilts

By: ANNE KIM - Associated Press

It's the freedom, they say. The freedom to move, to feel the breeze, to stay cool on a hot summer day.

And all this freedom comes simply from banishing pants to the back of the closet, say the men who wear the Utilikilt, a rugged modern take on the Celtic kilt.

The garment ---- made in Seattle by the company of the same name ---- adds a twist of practicality to the traditional kilt. Made with tough fabric and accessories such as cargo pockets and a hammer loop, the garment has attracted marine biologists to construction workers who often point to the comfort factor as their reason for donning the pleats.


Utilikilts give men a way to make the usually formal kilt into something work-oriented, [Robert Laeger-Robertson, president of the Southwest Washington Scottish Highlanders Association] said.

But David Garman, president of the Scottish American Athletic Association, based in Los Angeles, says Utilikilts miss the point of the tartan colors and patterns, which represents family history and tradition.


[Read the whole story]

Keep the Ancestors Happy

From The (Port Harcourt, Nigeria) Tide:

Chiefs are chosen by ancestors in Akpor

Friday Nwinude
Saturday, September 17, 2005

The selection of chiefs in some communities in Rivers State and elsewhere is usually by election or appointment. This is at variance with the norm and practice of our forefathers.


The monarch who wears the crown of Nyenwe Ali Akpor, said he was installed in 1989 through nomination by his ancestors. He said that any reputable monarch should be cautious of any act capable of bringing disrepute to his domain and the stool he occupies so as not to bring the wrath of their ancestors on themselves.


[Read the whole story]
George W. Bush had better watch his step.

A Sister's Stony Silence

From the Medford (N.J.) Central Record of Sept. 15, 2005:

Mystery of grave stone solved! (Sort of)

by Nick DiUlio
The Central Record staff

TABERNACLE-A few weeks ago Howard Lincoln uncovered a tombstone buried in his backyard and no one-including township officials-had any idea where it had come from.


Because of a story that ran in The Central Record on Aug. 4, Agnes and Francis Edwards were alerted to a problem of which they had not previously been aware.


According to the couple -who live just a few blocks from the Lincoln residence - the name on the tombstone belongs to Agnes' late father.


Agnes claims her mother entrusted her son-in-law - the husband of one of Agnes' older sisters - with the task of ordering the granite stone and having it delivered to the gravesite. At the time, Agnes' sister and her brother-in-law lived at what is now the Lincoln residence in Tabernacle.

Presumably, the gravestone never made it to its destination and the Edwards are now in the process of trying figure out why. And to make matter more difficult, Agnes' sister has refused to speak to anyone in the family for some time now and her husband has been dead for several years.


[Read the whole story]
Read the original story.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Top Ten Movies for Genealogists

10. Divine Membership Lists of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

9. Sex, Lies, and Microfilm

8. The Dukes of Hazardous Inbreeding

7. Family Treeing John Malkovich

6. My Third-Cousin-Once-Removed Vinny

5. Born on the Fourth of July (According to Wisconsin Vital Records)

4. Analyze This Handwriting

3. There's Something About Marriage Intentions

2. I Know What You Transcribed Last Summer

1. The Sixth Census

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Friday, September 16, 2005

A New Way to Publish Your Family History

From The (Melbourne, Australia) Age:

Carrying the family mark

By Emma Quayle
September 17, 2005

MARK Ricciuto's tattooed back is not the result of a whim.

The 30-year-old deeply researched his Italian and Australian families' heritage before having the names Ricciuto and Light, and their crests, drawn on his right shoulder. On his left shoulder, Ricciuto wears what his father Murray describes as a "family tree".


[Read the whole story]

Is This a Whitewash Which I See Before Me?

From (Aberdeen, Scotland) Grampian TV:

Deeside community campaign to clear Macbeth's name

15/09/2005 17:38

A Deeside community's leading a campaign to clear the name of one of Scotland's most infamous characters.

The people of Lumphanan are rallying to the aid of Macbeth, who was killed near their village - and who they claim has been disgraced by Shakespeare.

The gravestones at St Finnan's Church in Lumphanan tell stories dating back hundreds of years.

And yet, there is no monument or marker to this cemetery's most famous resident.


Macbeth's name was immortalised by Shakespeare, who's tragedy has been performed on stage and the big screen.

But the people of Lumphanan believe the murderous monarch portrayed in the play is far removed from the truth.


[Read the whole story]

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Nothing Better Than a Murder and Hanging


The day 20,000 watched Mary Ball hang

Sep 14 2005

Special Report By Barbara Goulden

All the roads into Coventry were crowded as an estimated 20,000 people walked or rode into the city centre to witness the hanging of Nuneaton inn-keeper's daughter Mary Ball.

The date was August 9, 1849; the time 10am; and the place, the old jail and courthouse, now the semi-derelict County Hall, in Cuckoo Lane.

The 31-year-old had three months earlier bought a "pennyworth" of arsenic from a local chemist explaining that she wanted it to "kill bugs."

Instead, she'd put the poison on a mantleshelf at her home in Back Lane, Nuneaton. When husband Thomas returned from a fishing trip complaining of feeling ill, Mary casually suggested he took the "salts" on the shelf as they would do him good.


[Nuneaton-born Clive Ball, the great-great-great nephew of Thomas Ball] said: "I can still remember my grandmother telling me the story about the murder.


"I'm the great, great grandson of Thomas's brother James and have traced the Ball side of my family back 14 generations to 1654. But I don't expect to find anything more interesting than the murder of Thomas and the hanging of Mary."

[Read the whole story]

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

That's Disinter-tainment

From (San Francisco, Calif.) SF Weekly:

Love Among the Tombstones

A collection of cutting-edge films, including one on S.F.'s cemeteries

By Frako Loden

Published: Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Who knew that every strollable square foot of northwestern San Francisco once hid the remains of past citizens, going back to the Gold Rush? Hyperbole aside, that's the indelible impression left after viewing A Second Final Rest: The History of San Francisco's Lost Cemeteries, one of the terrific offerings in the ninth annual MadCat Women's International Film Festival.


Highlighting the evening is Trina Lopez's superb A Second Final Rest, which is about far more than just five cemeteries, all immediately south of the Presidio, that no longer exist. It's a history of San Francisco dug up, by both the filmmakers and the mid-20th-century work crews that accomplished one of the largest relocations of human remains in history -- to Colma, "City of Souls" -- so that our metropolis could resume growth.


[Read the whole story]

Now You'll Know Which Grave to Spit On

From the Norwich (Ct.) Bulletin of Sept. 14, 2005:

Historical Society receives good reviews on memorial given for Arnold's grave site

The Norwich Historical Society received a letter from London this week reporting, "... a steady stream of visitors from all over the world are visiting the memorial stone for Benedict Arnold."

Bill and Peg Stanley paid for the stone that was given to St. Mary's parish in Battersea, London.


Benedict Arnold, born in Norwich, was Washington's greatest field general and America's most notorious traitor.

His remains, and those of his wife, Peggy Shippen, lay in a crypt at St. Mary's since 1801 but never had a gravestone or cryptstone.


[Read the whole story]

The 411 on UFO FOI Requests


Nazi gold to UFOs - National Archives frees information

Case study: The National Archives invests £150,000 to prepare for FOI requests

By Dan Ilett

Published: Wednesday 14 September 2005


The Freedom of Information Act 2000 came into force on 1 January this year. Under the law, public sector organisations including central government, local councils, emergency services and health authorities are obliged to make most of their information available within 20 working days of receiving a request.

This meant the [U.K. National Archives] needed to have systems that could handle requests for information from the public.


[Dr Chris Owens, head of e-access development services] added: "We were on a very tight timescale - we finished testing in October or November. We had the system in one or two weeks later. We didn't go live until a week before January."

But after the rush to prepare, and although it has seen more requests than any other government department, the NA received fewer enquiries than expected.

"We get enquiries on Nazi gold, and on UFOs but most of the information we're asked for is about family history," he said.


[Read the whole story]

The Mother's Always To Blame

From the Loudoun (Va.) Times-Mirror:

Sisters to reunite after 57 years

By Shannon Sollinger

Julie Rogers gave her mother, Christa Ferguson, a birthday present in January 2002 that's hard to top.

"Happy birthday a few days early," Julie said in a phone call. "I found your sister."


The sisters haven't seen each other since 1948 when Christa, 8, and her mother, Elfriede Lubian, left Germany for the United States. Vera, 11, stayed behind with her dead father's parents in war-torn Berlin.

With a little help from Julie's genealogical itch, and a helpful co-worker, the sisters finally will be face to face Monday evening in Berlin.


When the idea "materialised" to go to America, wrote Vera in February 2002, "I decided freely for myself to stay with the grandparents."

Did their mother ever feel "secretly sorry that you two went to America?" Vera asked.

Christa always felt the absence of aunts and uncles and cousins and sisters. "The adults in our life," she wrote to her newfound sister, "did not use very good judgment."

[Read the whole story]

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Archivist Finds Faithful Cock in Cornwall

From The Seattle (Wash.) Times of Sept. 13, 2005:

This name game has odd entries

By The Associated Press

LONDON — Horatio Hornblower is an odd name but consider his siblings: Azubia, Constantia, Jecoliah, Jedidah, Jerusha and Erastus.

Rene Jackaman, archive assistant at Cornwall County Record Office, found all those names after coming across a real-life namesake of C.S. Forester's fictional naval hero in county census records. The Hornblower name has been on record for centuries.

Inspired by that discovery, staff and researchers at the Cornwall Record Office compiled a list of more than 1,000 unusual names found in censuses as well as in births, deaths and marriage records going back as far as the 16th century.

"My all-time favorites are Abraham Thunderwolff and Freke Dorothy Fluck Lane," she said.

Other discoveries included Boadicea Basher, Philadelphia Bunnyface, Faithful Cock, Susan Booze, Elizabeth Disco, Edward Evil, Fozzitt Bonds, Truth Bullock, Charity Chilly and Offspring Gurney.


[Read the whole story]
For the complete list of silly names, visit the Cornwall Record Office.

Died on His 100th Birthday?

From a sidebar of the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel of Sept. 11, 2005:

Suspicious birth and death dates are a clue this grave marker was a salesman's sample and never used.

Better Late than Never . . . I Guess

From The (Harrisburg, Pa.) Patriot-News:

Cemetery tour digs up centuries of history

Monday, September 12, 2005

Of The Patriot-News

Jim Schmick led about 50 people through the tall grass of Harrisburg Cemetery yesterday to the stately Wallower mausoleum.


He paused at a flat, cracked tombstone with a nearly illegible name: Gustavus Peters, a pioneer in color printing.

"He left special instructions in his will," Schmick said. "When he died, he wanted his stomach cut out, filled with snuff and put back. When he smelled bad, he wanted to be buried. The problem is he was buried before his will was read, so they dug him up and followed his instructions."


[Read the whole story]

Alabama Kids Learn Geeneolajee

From The Huntsville (Ala.) Times:

Library project grows 'trees'

Monday, September 12, 2005

For The Times

First-grader Sarah Reed wasn't sure how to spell "Huntsville."

Hunkered down over her paper in the library at Holy Spirit Regional School, Sarah was going to write about her family, but she first had to start by writing about herself and where she was born.

It didn't matter if the students didn't know how to spell city names or descriptions, librarian Kay McDaniels assured Sarah and her classmates.

Start with the letter H, she said, and "from there, you are going to guess how to spell 'Huntsville.' Then, we are going to look in the atlas to see if we spelled it right."

Freed from the worry of spelling their words correctly, the students began to enjoy writing down names and words associated with their families. Their papers covered with misspelled words and drawings were the beginning of a family tree project they were putting together for Holy Spirit's Grandparent's Day celebration.


[Read the whole story]

Monday, September 12, 2005

Family Reunion Spins Out of Control

From the Contra Costa (Calif.) Times of Sept. 12, 2005:

Olvera family seeks ties that bind

By Tom Lochner


WALNUT CREEK - The Olvera clan, many of whom live in Contra Costa County today, began their New World chapter sometime after the Spanish Inquisition of 1492 -- the year of Columbus' first voyage to America.

Now the clan is recapturing distant roots as it embarks on its fifth generation in the United States since the eight children of Miguel Olvera, a once-prosperous military officer and mining engineer who lost everything in the Mexican Revolution, came to Pittsburg around 1920.

More than 100 members of the clan -- from 3-month-old Francisco Gabriel Samaniego of Walnut Creek to his great-great grandmother Dolores Olvera and great-great-aunt Carmen Olvera -- held a reunion Sunday at Heather Farms Park. The clan takes its name from the town of Olvera in southern Spain.


There was a raucous moment when a group of Olveras, one of them proclaiming "There's a black sheep in every family," took off their shirts to reveal a T-shirt with a picture of clan member Jo Ann Olvera Trembath, of Monte Sereno, taking a slug from a wine bottle.

"My mom always said, 'When you're an Olvera you always hold your head up. You're proud,'" said Trembath's daughter, Kathyrn McCown. "She'd never be caught drinking from a bottle."


[Read the whole story]

Crocodile Dun-DNA

From the (Surry Hills, New South Wales) Australian IT:

Genetic data under fire

Karen Dearne

SEPTEMBER 13, 2005

RESEARCHERS in Western Australia have created a vast population database containing 17.5 million records of highly sensitive personal information about 3.6 million of the state's residents.

Next, they're planning to build a BioBank - a human genetics database containing the DNA of every consenting adult in the state. That will propel WA into the global bioinformatics research marketplace.

At the WA Institute for Medical Research's new laboratory for genetic epidemiology, director Professor Lyle Palmer is working on a database that will integrate all the state's human research information with the unique population data sets collected over the past 30 years.


The WA Genetic Epidemiology Resource (WAGER) database builds on the work of the state's Data Linkage Unit, which maintains a system connecting records about an individual held in a variety of public registries and other databases.

The unit provides a data linkage and geographical coding service to its partners - the University of WA and the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research - and to approved government, academic and hospital-based researchers and planners on a fee-for-service basis.

Recently, it added Medicare and PBS claims information from the Health Insurance Commission, and aged care data from the federal Department of Health and Ageing.

Meanwhile, a Family Connections genealogy project has linked nuclear families in the databases back to 1970. It is now planned to extend the pedigree linkages back to 1900.


[Read the whole story]

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Censuswhacking in England is allowing free access to the 1901 U. K. Census for the month of September, allowing me to try some censuswhacking "U. K.-style" (much like the American version, except done with a British accent). The links below will work only until the end of September for non-members.

I was excited to Even Cross the Atlantic. I am not one of those Americans who finds all things Royal Strange. Would Victoria B. Home? No, she had died in January of 1901. How would the Brits Ever Cope without their beloved monarch?

I arrived at the home of my Curly Cousins—so named because of their Curly Long hair—and marveled at their Lovely Hall. They showed me to my room in the stable. It was not the most comfortable lodging in London, but I was grateful for Every Straw.

The most curious part of my trip was having tea with the family. They had a Good Butler who, whenever he served Tea, Rose to his tiptoes. He would then totter across the floor, Wince, Crouch on the floor, and leap into my lap. Occasionally, he would Even Loosen my tie. Now that's Real Service!

There was something about the British that made me feel Less White. I understand that Even Short visits to Britain can produce the same effect in the whitest of Americans. Ah, well. So long as I have my memories of England, there is nothing I will Ever Lack.

Stones On Tour in the Southern States?

From the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer:

Artisan's headstone laid to rest at last


Godfrey Beimgard did what most of us will never do -- carved his own headstone.

The York County artisan, who died Aug. 31, 1839, chiseled these words above his head: "Adieu all both far and near, my loving wife and children. For my immortal soul has fled, I now lie numbered with the dead. Remember friends as you pass by, As you are now, so once was I, As I am now, so you must be. Prepare for death and follow me."

He intended these words to be above his buried crypt for all eternity.

The German native has stayed put for 166 years, but his headstone has been on the move.

Beimgard was buried at Clover's Old Center Cemetery. Ten to 15 years ago, someone stole the 41/2-foot-high tombstone from Clover during vandalism that has destroyed most of the grave markers in the cemetery. In the mid-'90s, the gravestone mysteriously appeared in the Union Grove United Methodist Church cemetery in Sevier County, Tenn. The church -- about 25 miles east of Knoxville -- has no connection to the Beimgard family. Church officials were puzzled by the tombstone because no one was buried there before 1886.


"I thought it was a joke at first because I couldn't figure out how in the world a Clover tombstone over 150 years old had ended up in Tennessee," said [Ed] Stewart, who works at M.L. Ford Funeral Home in Clover.


[Read the whole story]

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Not Enough Chinese-American Indians in San Bernadino

From the San Bernadino (Calif.) Sun of Sept. 10, 2005:

Money stands unused

Scholarship stiffly limited

Jacob Ogles, Staff Writer

San Bernardino Valley College wants to give away a third of a million dollars to dozens of lucky students.

They just can't find the right ones.

So $333,000 in scholarship funds sit untouched, waiting for the ambitious community college student with the right family tree. Only those born in the United States and claiming Chinese and American Indian descent, and who are pursuing an engineering degree, can lay claim to the prize.

Another wrinkle: The college doesn't have an engineering program.

"We want to give this money away," said college spokesman Paul Rubalcaba, "but we can't seem to find the right candidate."


[Read the whole story]
As it turns out, a student must be of Chinese or American Indian descent to be eligible. No word on whether candidates proving descent from both ethnic groups get twice the money.

New Orleans Long Plagued by Luters

From The (New London, Ct.) Day:

Luters From Louisiana Are Scattered, But Alive And Well

Day Staff Writer/Columnist, Police/Fire Reporter

Published on 9/10/2005

Rev. Marcus Luter, 71-year-old pastor of the Beulah Land Church of God In Christ United of Norwich, is one of 14 Luter children, born and raised in New Orleans. Some of them still live there. Many of them have children and grandchildren there.

While his prayers for the lives of the victims, living and lost, were plenty and powerful, Luter is grateful and thankful that his family members are all safe and accounted for in the after-wrath of Hurricane Katrina. And that's pretty phenomenal, actually. There's a lot of family.

“No, a hundred is not too high,” he said when I asked if that was a fair estimate of the number of relatives he had living in the Crescent City. “It's at least that many.”


[Read the whole story]

It's Good to Not Be the King

From The (Melbourne, Australia) Age:

Aussie Mike the true King of England

September 11, 2005

The man named by historians as the rightful heir to the English throne has a republican's disdain for the big job. Matthew Benns enjoyed tea with the reluctant monarch.

BUCKINGHAM Palace would be run differently if Australian rice farmer Michael Hastings successfully pursued his claim to the English throne. "Well, I'd put a keg on for the palace garden parties and some party pies instead of cucumber sandwiches for a start," he says.

"And I'm thinking of sending Lizzie a bill for 500 years of back rent on the palace, too."

It has been more than 18 months since a team of British historians led by Tony Robinson — Baldrick in the Blackadder TV series — turned up on the doorstep of his modest weatherboard home in the southern NSW town of Jerilderie and told the 63-year-old widower he was the real King of England.


"They arrived here and filmed my surprise as they put the family tree down on the table," recalls Mr Hastings.


"Who would bloody well want it, anyway?" asks the man who should be known as King Mike I.

"I feel sorry for poor old Liz. I think she has a very hard life because it is so regimented. I do what I want, but if Liz wants to sit in and watch Fawlty Towers on TV, she can't."


[Read the whole story]

His Brother's Keeper

From the Ann Arbor (Mich.) News:

Kin's ashes are found after decades

Man's search for remains of brother who died in 1947 ends at Muehlig Funeral Chapel

Saturday, September 10, 2005

News Staff Reporter

For seven years he scoured dozens of cemetery plot maps, public health and hospital records, and family files to complete a genealogy that would trace seven generations of his lineage, including a brief but significant stay in Ann Arbor.

Yet for all the hours he toiled perusing microfiche, government documents and visiting the graves of kin in several states, Ward had nothing to show for his search for a younger brother who died just shy of three months old in 1947.

That was until last month, when staff members at the Muehlig Funeral Chapel in Ann Arbor made a unique discovery that has had a profound effect on them while bringing Ward a sense of closure.


[Read the whole story]

Genealogist Comes to Aid of Katrina Survivor

From the San Antonio (Tex.) Express-News:

Genealogy buff finds elderly Katrina survivor's kin

Web Posted: 09/10/2005 12:00 AM CDT

Cindy Tumiel
Express-News Staff Writer

A San Antonio genealogy buff who "just had to do something to help," used her computer to track down the family of Ada Roppolo, a New Orleans nursing home resident evacuated to San Antonio last weekend with no medical records or history.

"I did it as a good Samaritan with hopes that God will bless me," said Barbara Harrell, who has been researching family trees for 35 years. "These people are in such dire straits and this lady looked so pretty."

Harrell read about Roppolo in Thursday's Express-News, which reported on how the elderly woman was airlifted to San Antonio last weekend with no identification aside from a yellowing wristband. That ID bracelet, it turns out, misspelled her name as Roppola.

But Harrell figured it out as she did her online detective work, which led her to Roppolo's nephew, David E. Duthu in St. Rose, La., about 20 miles west of New Orleans.


A few hours of searching led to Roppolo's maiden name, Dermady, and to obituaries that had been published in the New Orleans Times-Picayune listing the names of her relatives. Harrell was able to find a phone number for Duthu and called him to let him know his aunt was safe in San Antonio.


[Read the whole story]

Friday, September 09, 2005

Just Don't All Sit on His Lap at Once

From (of Salt Lake City, Utah):

Utah Man Celebrates Being a Grandpa 140 Times

September 9th, 2005 @ 4:07pm

Brooke Walker Reporting

Sunday is National Grandparents day and most grandparents would agree, there is a special joy that comes in filling that role. Brooke Walker introduces us to a Utah man who has felt that joy 140 times.

Today Homer Whitlock won a contest for having the most grandkids -- something he couldn't be more proud of. Homer told us he never thought he would live to be 87-years old. But looking back on it, he's sure glad he did.

While the names don't always come, Homer can tell you something special about nearly every one of his 140 grandchildren.

Homer Whitlock: "It's a lot easier than you think. If you can remember a few, they just come naturally. I can name most of them but it takes a while some times."


[Read the whole story]

Coming Soon: Everything You Ever Wanted

The folks at FamilySearch have begun digitizing their entire microfilm catalog—more than 2.3 million rolls of microfilm—in a project called ScanStone. And they're not doing it with your standard microfilm scanner.

At the 5th Annual Workshop on Technology for Family History and Genealogical Research, held last March at Brigham Young University, Heath Nielson gave a talk on "Digital Microfilm Frame Detection," which describes some of the technological challenges involved (available here as a PDF file).

You can read more on ScanStone, and other developments at FamilySearch, in Kimberly Powell's article at About Genealogy: A New Face for FamilySearch. (And, yes, Kimberly. I am as excited as your are.)

Update (Sept. 10, 2005): Learn more about the ScanStone project in The (Provo, Utah) Daily Herald.

Mom, This is Boring. . . Can I Watch Cartoons?


This Grave Brought To You By...

Jason Lee Miller | Staff Writer | 2005-09-09

Here's a nice formula: Technology + Creativity=I Have No Idea What To Make Of That. A Miami man has invented a video headstone to help extend the commemoration of the dearly departed.

I can see it now.

"Grandpa: Sponsored in part by Jack Daniels and Ben Gay. Thanks for the Memories."

The Vidstone Serenity Panel, the brainchild of Floridian inventor and entrepreneur Sergio Aguirre, is a tombstone equipped with a solar panel powered weather resistant LCD screen designed to play a 10-minute video dedication to the deceased.

With a $1500 price tag, visitors can enjoy the presentation at the rate of $100 a year. It has a shelf life of about 15 years (or until the warranty runs out, sometime between one and ten years).


[Read the whole story]

Belgian Woman Starts Out Drunk, Ends Up Stoned

From Reuters:

Drunk woman dies in cemetery accident

Wed Sep 7, 2005 11:23 AM ET13

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - An inebriated Belgian woman died in a freak accident when she ended up beneath a heavy grave stone at a cemetery, local news agency Belga said Wednesday.

The 33-year-old was on her way home from a bar in the Belgian town of Pulle in the early hours of Saturday when she took a short cut through the cemetery.

But she urgently needed to relieve herself and crouched down between two gravestones. As she lost her balance, she grabbed one of the stones which gave way and landed on top of her.

The public prosecutor's office said she died of suffocation as she was unable to lift the heavy stone.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

If These Walls Could Just Shut Up

From The (Oil City, Pa.) Derrick of Sept. 5, 2005:

Walls, drawers, the attic - they all talk in this historic home


WEST HICKORY - It's much more than the walls telling old stories at the West Hickory home of Frank and Judy Habjanetz.


The home stayed in the care of Siggins family descendants until the early 1990s when the Habjanetz family, formerly of Upper St. Clair, went looking for a hunting camp.

The structure had become a living time capsule and a testament to a lineage unwilling to part with family heirlooms, including French china, diaries, original family paintings - even linens and family photographs.


The Pittsburgh-area couple agreed to be stewards of the family legacy, and the former owner left a simple note next to a rolled-up sheet of paper when he left: "I have turned the outside spigot off. Inside this tube is the Siggins family tree. Hope you have a good winter. Jerry."

"It's been a strange, bizarre thing to be left with this kind of legacy," Judy Habjanetz said. "It's just been a lifetime treat that I never would have expected to have."


[Read the whole story]

General Genealogist Generosity

Seen on craigslist:

For all Katrina survivors ..... As a family historian and amateur photo restorer I would like to restore your old or damaged photos at no cost to you.

Please contact me about sending a photocopy or CD or scanned and emailed copy of your rescued photos and documents (Diplomas, Marriage Certs, Birth and Death Certs) Please do not send originals that could be lost in the mail.

God bless the survivors of Katrina. My prayers are with you.

R. Briggs

From AOL Genealogy Community News:
Help Hurricane Victims Recover Their Genealogy Research

We all know what a chore it is to find answers, locate records. Have you thought about all of the genealogists in the path of Katrina that fled their homes, leaving their computers and their data behind? Not today, but someday, they will be in a position to return to their genealogy, and have no idea where to start. A group has just been started to help. Please join!

Group email:
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Lincoln, Grant & Lee: The Reunion Tour

From the Wilkes-Barre (Pa.) Times Leader of Sept. 8, 2005:

Slots suppliers, Gettysburg opponents on tap for gambling board

Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Grant, Lee and Lincoln were up in arms at the State Capitol on Thursday morning, but this time they weren't fighting over slavery or states' rights. Instead, their enemy was a slots casino near Gettysburg National Military Park.

Three "living historians" who portray the Civil War giants appeared with four other costumed protesters at a news conference organized by Adams County Rep. Stephen R. Maitland and No Casino Gettysburg, a nonprofit group opposed to the gambling proposal.


[Read the whole story]

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

80% of Genealogy is Showing Up

From the (Northam, Australia) Avon Valley Advertiser:

Aborigines afraid of the truth – Goodacre

Thursday, 8 September 2005

FORMER Northam resident Jan Goodacre has strongly defended her integrity in her 35 years' genealogical work on Western Australian Aboriginal family trees.

Since her extensive data base was sold to the State Government for $300,000 Aboriginal groups and individuals have been claiming that their privacy has been violated and that family materials lent to her have not been returned.

Mrs Goodacre says there is a hidden agenda behind these claims and that some Aboriginal groups and individuals are afraid of governments finding the truth about their genealogy.

"Aboriginal people fear what the truth will do to their native title claims," she said.

"They are afraid of who will have access.

"But everything I have is on the public record.

"If anyone else got off their backside they could do the same as I did."


[Read the whole story]

Top Ten Signs the Census Taker was Insane

10. Spelled your ancestors' names without vowels.

9. Enumerated all the characters in Anna Karenina.

8. Wrote down ages in Roman numerals.

7. Half the entries written in the indecipherable script of his alternate personality.

6. Recorded census on the asylum's admission forms.

5. Only visited houses with green shutters.

4. Identified all the women in town as "Mommy."

3. Added an imaginary person to each household.

2. Page after page of "All work and no play make Jack a dull boy."

1. Listed everyone else's occupation as "Out to get me."

Genealogue Obituary: Gilligan Finally 'Voted Off the Island'

The man known to the world only as "Gilligan" died Friday at age 70.

Born in a small town in Pennsylvania in 1935, Gilligan attended Central City High School, where he was known as something of a beatnik. After a stint in the U.S. Navy, he served as first mate aboard a small charter boat called the S.S. Minnow, skippered by Captain Jonas Grumby.

In 1964, disaster struck. Gilligan, Grumby, and five passengers were shipwrecked upon a tiny Pacific island.

According to court records, Gilligan successfully thwarted rescue attempts for several years. While his motives remain unclear, it was suspected that he and Mary Ann Summers, another of the castaways, were engaged in a secret affair. Others suspect that his co-conspirator was Ginger Grant—later Hollywood's most sought-after adult-film star.

Left destitute by a lawsuit brought by Thurston and Lovey Howell, Gilligan had spent his last years writing his memoirs, titled If Not for the Courage of the Fearless Crew.

No cause of death was reported, but Gilligan had undergone medical treatment in the past for a brain injury attributed to being swatted with a cap repeatedly.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Bodies Dug Up in Front of White House; Karl Rove Not a Suspect

From the Washington (D.C.) City Gazette of Aug. 10, 1821:

In paring off the rising ground for the purpose of graduation, on the avenue, in front of the President's house, the labourers came to a spot where five graves were opened. One of the coffins was in perfect preservation, and the remains of a corpse was exposed exhibiting long dark hair, perfectly strong and neatly folded up under the scull. It is said to have been the burying ground of the Peerce family of Bladensburg, and that the bodies have been interred about forty years. Their remains were gathered together, and put into a coffin for re-interment.

Gravestone Discovered 'Absent from the body'

From The (Bergen County, N.J.) Record:

A tale, but no dead man, unearthed in Englewood

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Workers have accidentally uncovered a solitary gravestone behind the Englewood police station, the toppled monument to a 19th century timber dealer who lived and died before the city was founded.

No human remains or other graves were found near the 4-foot headstone, which lay on its side in a ditch by the railroad tracks, covered in brush and trash.


Local historians say the land originally housed a building supply business, the Prentice Co. The gravestone belongs to James H. Prentice, born June 28, 1817, died April 24, 1891. "Absent from the body/Present with the Lord," it reads.


"For that time, he lived a long life," said [acting Police Chief John] Banta, standing by the yellow tape that marked off the discovery.

"If we can't locate anybody from the family, we may have to fence off some small area, do something. I'd prefer that to just having it end up in the Dumpster."

[Read the whole story]

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