Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Celebrating the 4th - Reflections



As I sit here tonight listening to "A Capitol Fourth", I have been reflecting on the 4th of July celebrations that have been part of my life.

As a child I don't remember there being quite as many big celebrations as there are now, although I certainly remember going to the East End Park in Elmhurst where we would spread a sheet or blanket on the grass and crane our necks skyward and respond to the fireworks with OOOhs and Ahhs. We may have had popcorn or an ice cream but I really don't remember.

As a young married, we usually celebrated the 4th with my husband's family since the town they lived in, Wheaton, had a parade on the 4th and Elmhurst didn't. It was an all day affair. beginning around eleven in the morning and extending until about midnight. The parade was a long one and went right past the front door. There were hot dogs, burgers, potato salad, sloppy joes, ambrosia salad. soda and beer according to taste. Food was served all day long and friends and family were welcomed. In the evening, the activity moved to the park about 3 blocks away where we spread blankets and tuned the portable radios to the stations playing patriotic music. Usually we visited with friends or played cards until it was time for the fireworks.The ground shuddered and sounds exploded with the force of the explosions. Kids cried or cheered according to their age and everyone oood and aahhd. We sang to the music on the radio because we all knew the words. At the end of the fireworks, everyone made there way out of the park and we walked back to my in-laws to claim the babies that they watched who were too small to go to the park.Sometimes we played cards for a while before packing up for the journey home.

Later we took our kids to fireworks closer to home and as scouts and band members they were always involved in a parade. Still later we watched fireworks from our pool deck while listening to the radio. Our neighbors had a display worthy of a small town in the backyard and the next day the neighborhood smelled of sulfur.

I have celebrated the 4th on the beach in Florida and on several military bases over the years. Once even in Germany but one thing they all had in common was the sense of pride in our county and the strong sense that we were all together.

It warms my heart to see that my grandchildren have followed the same path. They have grown up on military bases and their dad was in the Army Band but they have also marched in the parades celebrating Independence Day as scouts and band members. Keep the traditions going.
 Long may we celebrate!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Father's Day 2017 - Documenting Dad

Since it is Father's Day and my brother so eloquently wrote about our dad here, I thought I would share some of the details of his life.

Donald George Hansen was born on May 14, 1910 in Tooele, Tooele, Utah. His birth certificate is here.  His birth certificate tells us that his was a full term baby and was the second of two births for his parents.  I had always heard that dad was a preemie and weighed only 2 pounds at birth. The birth certificate does not show a birth weight but does show that he was not premature.

Donald does not appear in the 1910 Federal Census because the Tooele census was taken in April that year.

Since dad was born in Utah, I began my search for his Baptism in Utah. The Diocese of Tooele had no record for a baptism for him. I knew where his older sister Dorothy had been baptised so I checked those records. Nothing. Where to look now? There are 372 Catholic parishes in the Archdiocese of Chicago. Then I remembered that the Catholic Church requires a copy of a baptismal record to get married in the Catholic Church.

I knew when and where my parents married so I wrote for a copy of their marriage record requesting that special attention be paid to all notations. It worked! The notation on the marriage record stated that Donald George Hansen son of Adolf Hansen and Henrietta Burbach was Baptized at Gesu Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on September 4, 1910. Sponsors were George Burbach (brother of Henrietta) and Anna Burbach, his wife. Gesu is the same church where Adolf and Henrietta were married in 1907. It is interesting that there is a notation added to his baptismal record about his marriage. The note gives name of bride, place and date of marriage.


FHL film 007856328 Baptisms, Gesu Catholic Church, Milwaukee, Wisconsin/
volumn 2 page 27, image 717.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

SCGS Jamboree 2017 - Sunday

Sunday is the last day of the Jamboree which ends at 3:00 with the Grand Prize Drawing. My Sunday began with a change of topics.  I had planned to listen to Duff Wilson present " Getting the Most Out of Family Tree Maker 2017" because it is a program I will be using often but on the way to pavilion 1, I literally changed my mind at the last minute and made a left turn into pavilion 2. There was Anna Swayne of Ancestry and her presentation "Putting Your DNA Matches to Work".   Anna demonstrated how to interpret the results page from the Ancestry DNA test and highlighted the importance of attaching a family tree to your DNA results. She also explained how to use the hints feature to see cousins with whom you have a shared ancestor. There is a built in notes area and a way to mark the matches that you have already reviewed. AncestryDNA also allows searching by surname/birth location which can help find patterns in addition to the shared matches tool.

From Anna's DNA lecture I went to one by Jim Brewster of Family Tree DNA. Jim's talk was on "The ABCs of Y-DNA . After a short history of the beginning of genetic genealogy, Jim explained STRs and SNPs which are on the Y chromosome and how haplogroups are determined by SNPs found on the Y chromosome. He also discussed the various Y tests and when they might be useful. There are lots of projects which use the Y DNA tests such as Surname, Haplogroup, and Geographic projects.

After lunch on the Quad, there were two more DNA classes on my horizon.

The first was"DNA, Your Research, and Legacy Family Tree" with Geoff Rasmussen of Legacy Family Tree. Legacy Family Tree has come out with a new version which includes helps for managing and recording DNA data. Legacy has DNA charts for male Y-DNA and female mtDNA which will help you determine who the carriers are. Geoff discussed his own DNA experiences with DNA testing and how it helped him topple a brick wall.  He also showed his method of recording who has tested using hashtags (#) another new feature of Legacy Family Tree. Unlimited #s can be created and added to your family file as a way of making and saving lists people etc.

The final session I attended on Sunday and of the Jamboree was once again with Jim Baker and dealt with "Autosomal DNA Test: So Good You Caan Hardly Believe It".  Jim explained the differences between the scoring of FTDNA, Ancestry DNA, and GEDmatch. The major features of each company were shown and the range of scores for expected relationships were discussed. He defined the scoring done by both FTDNA and Ancestry DNA. Jim finished his presentation with two case studies one of which was finding an ancestor in the 6th - 8th generation. Jim's charts helped to clarify the process.

At 3;00 the conference was over except for the Grand Prize drawing. The Exhibit Hall had closed at 2:00 and many attendees had been leaving so it was time to say "Good Bye" until next year.



Wednesday, June 14, 2017

SCGS Jamboree 2017 - Saturday

Saturday morning I began the day with "Understanding DNA for Genealogy" by Jim Brewster of FamilyTree DNA.  It is a beginner level class on DNA and discussed the three basic types of DNA for genetic genealogy.  Jim explained about haplogroups and the various DNA tests and how and why they might be used.  He also mentioned the types of projects people can become involved in.

At 11:30 I joined Shannon Christmas for his talk on "How to Get More From Your DNA with GEDMatch.com.  This was categorized as suitable for beginners through advanced.  GEDMatch is a "third party" DNA vendor. They don't actually do DNA testing but they do provide a place to upload raw DNA data from any of the testing companies so that you can compare with others who have tested with any other company. In other words I can compare my DNA test from 23andMe with those who have tested at Ancestry.comDNA and FamilyTree DNA.  More matches = more chances of finding cousins! Shannon explained the free utilities available at GEDMatch as well as Triangulation and Matching Segments.

Lunch in the Quad between the conference center and the tower of the hotel was very pleasant and it is always fun to talk about genealogy with others.  Making new friends and greeting old friends. No one is lonely at a genealogy conference unless they choose to be!

After lunch, I went to Drew Smith's "Your Ancestor's FAN Club: Using Cluster Research".  Drew pointed out that we can often find records to tell our ancestors' stories in looking at their friends, acquaintances and neighbors.  Since people often moved together, we can follow a group to see their story.  Did your ancestor marry the boy or girl next door? Who did they work with, go to church with or serve in the military with?  Many times, the stories of our ancestors are intertwined with theirs.

After Drew's class, I stayed in the same room to listen to Randy Whited discuss ""Technology Resources for Deciphering Foreign Language Records".  Randy talked about the tools we can employ to further our understanding of what a foreign language record is telling us. He mentioned the use of dictionaries and wikis for translation helps and also using both Microsoft Word and Google Translate.. Randy also talked about types of records to be found and how record layout might be a clue to understanding the meaning of the record.

Both Drew and Randy's lectures are part of the streaming video available to watch until July 10.

My last session of the day was Lisa Alzo's "Creating Family History ebooks: Your Blueprint for Success". Lisa talked about the Self-Publishing Process and the dos and don'ts. Lisa also showed us some of the online tools that can be used as part of the process.  The writing process was discussed and mind mapping was explained. Lisa's syllabus has a wonderful list of self-publishing toolkit items. Lisa's best and last advice was to Write, Write, Write! Make time every day to write>

After five presentations, it was time to meet my roommate for dinner at the Daily Grill and then put my feet up while my brain tried to absorb all the information it had been exposed to.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

SCGS Jamboree 2017 - Thursday and Friday

I arrived at the Marriott Hotel Convention Center in Burbank on Thursday afternoon just in time for the "No Host Social" and in time to meet my roommate before her last DNA session of the day. I was able to pick up my bag of stuff  so that Thursday evening I could look over the schedule of talks and try to decide which speakers I wanted to hear.

Friday morning was devoted to round table discussions of various topics including DNA, Societies. Professional Genealogists, and Genealogy Basics.  I went to the DNA roundtable discussions.  Tables were set up for the various DNA vendors as well as topics like Virginia/Carolinas, Scottish Genealogy and DNA and others.  Each table had a host who moderated the discussion and participants moved from table to table freely to explore their interests.  I spent time at the Virginia/Carolina table since one of my husband's lines began their migration to southern Illinois from Virginia through North Carolina.  Shannon Christmas was the extremely knowledgeable host and shared his knowledge graciously.

The afternoon sessions provided a wide variety of choices with 9 lectures per time period and four time periods with a 30 minute passing period. (Think high school change of class) The thirty minutes and necessary because the classes are held in the Hotel, Conference Center and two tented Pavilions just beyond the Conference center.


I only went to two of four classes offered Friday afternoon since I spent quite a bit of time in the Exhibit Hall. Most of that time was with Kathy Meade of ArkivDigital. She spent time with me working on a record I had found in the Swedish Church Records and was able to help interpret the place my subject had moved to. This may go a long way to solving one of my Swedish brick walls. I did attend Michael John Neill's "Generating Genealogy Blog Content" and have been re-inspired to keep writing my blog. With all of the changes in genealogy software, I went to hear Bruce Buzbee speak on "Roots Magic: Home Base for your Online Research" so I could learn what's new.

At the end of the day, I was ready to meet a high school classmate for dinner and a visit.  We only get together when I am in California so it was a real treat.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Finding Church Records - a Family Search Catalog Discovery!

Recently I discovered a short-cut to finding parish records in the Family Search Catalog.  I was looking for the Church records for my mother's family, in Chicago during the 1890-1925 time frame.


In the search form for the Family Search Catalog, under place, I entered "Illinois, Cook, Chicago" and saw a list of records held for Chicago, selecting "Church Records" I saw that there are about 370 Catholic Parishes listed. 

 These parishes are in no particular order and it can be very tedious scrolling through that many  pages while reading the name of each church to avoid missing the one you are looking for.  While scrolling today, I noticed the author field. It was consistent and as follows: Catholic Church, St. Mel..."  So I tried using the author field for my search and it works!  Using only the author field, you get a list of all Catholic Churches in the Family History Library catalog and where they are located. 

 If you fill in the place field as well you get a specific parish.



I guess I learned something else!  There is only one St. Mel parish in the United States!  I hope this saves you some search time.  It appears to work for all Catholic Church records in the Family Search Catalog.