Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Yes, I'm still here...

but my genealogy projects for the last few weeks have been limited to trying/updating old family recipes. Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Talented Tuesday: Esther Beaumont of Durham

 I often set aside articles on topics that look like they might deserve more research - and that's how I discovered Esther Beaumont. A Native American basket-maker, Esther sold her wares in Durham during the late 1800s. From the practice,she gained the title "Durham's last Indian."
  But what do we really know about Esther? Relatively little. According to the Middlesex County Historical Society, she was born about 1797 and was of Wangunk (a local tribe) descent. Originally married to a Native American man, she finished her life married to Prince Beaumont, an African-American man. Vicki Welch's And They Were Related, Too adds more information. Esther's father was Namaan Rogers; her first husband was a Mohegan man named John Uncas.
   Unfortunately, this paints an incomplete picture of Esther's family. Who was her mother? Her siblings? When did she first marry? Was her first husband's father a Revolutionary War veteran, as the pension list suggests? As the family does not appear on the census, they are hard to trace. But for a Native American genealogist, this is a potential goldmine. I hope someone chooses to pursue it.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tech Tuesday: Looking for a Good Website on Copyright Term?

  Are you looking for a good handout on copyright term? Turns out Cornell has a nice chart posted on their website: http://copyright.cornell.edu/resources/publicdomain.cfm. The chart offers a brief summary of the law - and when items under it should fall into the public domain. It makes for a solid reference.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sorting Saturday (okay, Sunday): How do you decide what to keep?

 I'm in the midst of a massive paper sorting binge. And I'm gasp throwing things out. I finally reached a decision: christmas letters written by family friends do not belong in my save pile. I have just tons of paper...
   So what are your rules for what to keep?
   These are mine thus far. Please feel free to add your suggestions!

1. Does it directly relate to a family memory? I save menus and brochures from trips/. Grad plan at some point - scapbooking. 
2. Does it directly relate to an ancestor? Is it an article about my ancestor? 
3. Is it otherwise useful?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tech Tuesday: Godfrey Scholar Updated

   I just received an update that made me very happy. Godfrey Scholars will now have access to AGBI. The American Genealogical Biographical Index has previously been available on Ancestry.com, but often, all you could find was a short reference to your ancestor- and not where the information appeared. This new addition will take you a step further.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tuesday's Tip: Google Patent Database

   Was your ancestor an inventor?  Do you know?
   If your ancestor was involved in manufacturing, it is worth checking the patent database. You can search by the individual's name and town. Your results will include a description and patent art.
   Why do you care?  Because census descriptions of manufacturing are often vague. Using patents, you may be able to find out more details on what your ancestor did. He or she likely tried to improve their trade.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday: Pine Grove Cemetery, Middletown, Connecticut

  Are you looking for an ancestor buried in Pine Grove Cemetery in Middletown? The cemetery has created their own searchable cemetery database. Enter the last name. The search results were list all the families by that name. Click on the name, and you'll get a profile - including gravestone image.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Follow Friday: Connectiuct Yankees at Antietam

  I've been lucky enough to have John Banks, blogger at John Banks' Civil War Blog,  as a guest blogger. Reading John's writing is a treat. He intertwines historical documents to make a compelling narrative. You really feel that you have delved into the experience of a Civil War soldier.
  That sense travels into John's  book, Connecticut Yankees at Antietam. The book is written as a series of profiles. Short snapshots of soldiers in the 8th, 11th, 14th and 16th Connecticut bring the varying experiences of Civil War soldiers to life. Some endings are tragic; others simply sad. In any case, you are left with a deep understanding and respect for these men. If you have an ancestor in these regiments, it's worth a look.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Church Record Sunday: Godfrey Scholar Expands to include Middletown Records

 Did your ancestor attend First Congregational Church in Middletown between 1668 and 1870? Those records are now online through Godfrey Scholar. According to an announcement from the library, the new database contains over two thousand records of births, marriage, and death. An article written by a local research provides a nice indication of what a record may contain.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Tech Tuesday: Litchfield, CT Historical Society database

  Have ancestors from Litchfield but can't visit to do research? Litchfield Historical Society has a solution for that. They've created an online database of their collection (currently 1/3rd complete). Search by name or topic to pull up artifacts. Click on one item in the list of results, and you'll be treated to an image, description, dimensions, and more.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Have you organized your digital photos?

  I'm teaching a class shortly which requires lots of photos to supplement the curriculum. I had the photos, so I thought putting the lecture together would be easy. WRONG! Why? I have tons of photos, but I've never organized them. So I've spent the last few days beginning the process.

Here's the steps I'm using:
1) Go through the appropriate folders on the computer. Delete blurry or unusable photos (I have wayyy too many of people's feet/blurry).
2) Right any photos that are sideways.
This has taken me two days! I'll have to take a break and finish writing my class. 

3) Relabel the folders with dates/locations, instead of the photo download date.
4) Label the photos with names instead of the download date.
5) Make scrapbook, so that I have a physical backup.

I just wish I'd done this years ago, when my memory was better. These photos are almost seven years old!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Who Do You Think You Are? episodes available on TLC website

  I've been really frustrated most of the summer. I've been wanting to watch Who Do You Think You Are?, but I don't have great cable and didn't want to install ITunes. An email from Ancestry.com informed me that they've solved the problem for me. Full episodes are available at www.tlc.com/videos. And I love the new format... same material, less jumpy, and it doesn't look like celebrities are doing all the research!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

New Genealogy Mystery Series

  I know I've been missing for a while, and I apologize. I've been - and am - dealing with some major family stuff. It will take me a long time to get going again, but in the meantime, expect some occasional fun genealogy posts. I'm still finding stuff to read and watch that I want to share with you all!
   My latest find is Sheila Connolly's Buried in a Bog. Like her orchard series, it's a genealogy-based mystery. This time, the series is set in rural Ireland. The main character, an Irish-American, untangles her own family tree while solving a murder. It's a light and fun read. I didn't retain a lot of details, but I did get a good start in Irish history from the book. Definitely worth the time.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Follow Friday: Ancestories

  Like so many new genealogy blogs, AnceStories follows the author's personal genealogist research. Given that most of research all over the country, this can make it hard to recommend a blog for its value to a specific area. I mean, why would you want to read about Alaska while researching a Connecticut family... But these blogs often have fantastic write-ups on an individual family's history. For example, AnceStories just featured a great post on the Higby family. So, it's always worth a look. Enjoy reading!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Follow Friday: Hastings Genealogy and the Phelps faily

  Run by blogger Roscoe Hastings, Hastings Genealogy is a classic cousin bait blog. It lists the blogger's ancestors, their basic vital statistics, and their children. It's a bare bones format - and one I would normally not recommend - unless you're descended from the Phelps family of Windsor. There are great citations to this bare-bones format and opportunities for new research.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Those Places Thursdays: Kent, CT

  Yes, it's a resource I should have remembered... Chamber of Commerce = history of town. Why? Because most chambers want to sell their town as a good place to do business. The Kent Chamber of Commerce must have thought just along those lines when they set up their website. The "Visit Kent" section covers everything from local utilities and maps to the structure of town seal. Of course, you'll have to sort through the advertisements for local businesses, but it appears to be worth it.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Follow Friday: Riverfront Middletown Connecticut

  Guess what? Middletown's trying to redevelop its riverfont! Why should you care? Because the effort is producing some great historical research. The redevelopment committee has posted a wide variety of historical documents on Facebook, including histories from the 1900s - and much earlier. If you have ancestors from Middletown, this Facebook group is a must-join.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Those Places Thursday: Christmas in July :)

  It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas - if you're in Bethlehem, Connecticut. The Abbey of St. Regina Laudis is home to a famous Neapolitan Creche. If you've ever thought your religious ancestors were boring, the Abbey's life proves how wrong you are. While the site is best known for the Creche, it has numerous other claims to fame. There's a working cattle herd on site. Mother Delores Hart starred alongside Elvis. Need I say more? The Abbey has only existed since 1947, but if your ancestors or relatives were members, you're in for a treat.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Twilight at Morningside: Follow Friday

I'll admit it - I'm a fan of Connecticut travel blogs. Why? Because even though I live here, I've probably never been to half the state. Twilight at Morningside falls straight into the genre. It's intended for foodies - about 90% of the posts are restaurant related- but if your family is from Milford, you might get some fun information. Hey, it's worth a look, right?

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Independence Day: Enjoy July 4th!

  In the spirit of Independence Day, enjoy some of these articles about Connecticut history!

1) Connecticut Firsts

2) Connecticut Historic Firsts

3) Resources for Connecticut History

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Society Saturday: Cornwall Historical Soceity

   Researching Connecticut's smaller towns can be quite the challenge. There's no local newspaper, no well organized website, no easy way to access resources - unless, of course, you know how to reach the local historical society. Historical societies are the best way to research a small town. They often have hundreds or thousands of boxes of documents, not to mention a great oral history.
   The Cornwall Historical Society's website provides an entry point to the history of Cornwall, CT. The site provides not only suggestions for research - books for purchase, access to the genealogy library - but also for learning more about Cornwall. "Cornwall Cemeteries", linked to from the "Points of Interest" page, traces the past of Cornwall's burying grounds. Other page delve into the Historical Society and more.
   Happy research!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Follow Friday: Barkhamsted Historical Society

   It's basic - but they're there. The small town of Barkhamsted (population of 3500, according to their website) actually has a historical society blog. The blog's main page covers recent events at the Society, while "community" would be of interest to someone living elsewhere, as it is where most of the history articles are posted. "Squire's Tavern" features the Society's property.  "History" concerns - guess what - history...,and "Contact Us" will help with requests for research.
   The site is barebones but has everything you need to get started...

Friday, June 21, 2013

Follow Friday: Revive, Restore, Renew

  Next in the series of old house blogs I found listed on OldHouses.com - Revive, Restore, Renew. The blog focuses on the restoration of the Wilcox home in East Berlin. Revive, Restore, Renew is divided into five parts: "Home," "Who Lived Here?," "About Us," "About the House," and "Paint Colors." "Who Lived There?" contains exactly what you'd expect: a history of the house divided by period. "About the House" offers a style history of the house; "About Us" talks about the owners. "Paint Colors" contains... guess what?... paint color choices.
   If you're interested in house renovation, start with "Home." It's a pretty regular update (up to last January) of events in their house, complete with photos. You'll love the before and after. Otherwise, enjoy the "Who Lived Here?"

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tuesday's Tip: Remember to Check the Town's Website for Record Information

  When you search for a Connecticut vital record, do you start by checking the town's website? This is so basic, I often forget to do it. It seems so easy. You send a request to the town clerk along with twenty dollars. You have your record. But was the record taken in that town? Checking the town website can save you a few steps. Connecticut towns were often formed from other towns. That means your ancestor's record may not be where you think it is. Some Connecticut towns (such as Canton) have made an effort to help. You might as well take advantage!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Follow Friday: Bringing Back Holleywood

   I was blog surfing again... (For those of you who wonder how I find new blogs, my keyword combination has changed a few times - but here's the current model. Find a map of Connecticut and start searching using the a)name of the town b)words genealogy and blog and c) Connecticut. Why do I add Connecticut? Because it turns out that Massachusetts has a lot of the same town names.)... and found a great new site. OldHouses.com provides a place for old home restorers to share stories, look for help, and even list their house. I'm falling in love with its story listing, as it turns out, it's a great place to find house history blogs. I'll be sharing a few over the next few weeks, starting with one from Lakeville, CT.
    Bringing Back Holleywood tells the story of two New Yorkers who purchased the 19th century home. The "Welcome" page charts their interest in the property. "House Before" is a photo montage. "Restoration Diary" is a photo journal of the project, day by day, ending in August 2012. Of most interest to genealogists will be the "History" and "Heritage" sections. "History" provides a quick overview of the home, and its connection to the Holley and Rudd families. "Heritage" provides snapshots of the family's life.
   Is the blog fine literature? No. Entries tend to be short, and mostly photos. However, if you love old houses and DYI projects, this is a great read. Please take a look - and share your thoughts.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tech Tuesday: Teach Me Genealogy

    When I get busy, I tend to neglect my "tech genealogy" - except for one thing. I always read the new blogs list on Geneabloggers.  It's a great way to see what's new in the field, what's out there that you may have missed, etc. My find for this week is a website called Teach Me Genealogy.
     As many of you probably know, I teach beginning genealogy. I love the enjoyment my students get out of their first steps in research... but... someone always has project specific questions that you can't easily answer and keep the attention of the rest of the class. Ancestry.com  and FamilySearch are big ones. That's where Teach Me Genealogy comes in. The "How To" section covers everything from how to export your family tree from Ancestry to how to use Google Maps. Other sections look equally helpful. "Free Printables" includes pedigree charts and more. "Getting Started" starts with the basics - including how to create a family tree folder on your desktop. If you've never done genealogy before or if you're looking for a great website to share with your students, this is definitely a  possibility. It doesn't quite function as a stand-alone site, but it's getting there. I will be recommending it in tandem with other course resources.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Motivation Monday: Looking for a summer history/genealogy project for your child?

  Okay, this is only tangentially genealogy related... but I'm excited and want to share! I'm in the process of preparing the materials for this year's American History Essay Contests for my DAR chapter. What's that you ask? The DAR actually runs two. One is for middle school; the other for high school. The rules (and the rewards for participation) vary slightly by age group. Topics change every year. This year's middle school topic is fantastic:
Pretend you are a boy or a girl during the colonial fight for freedom. Using historical facts, discuss how the war is affecting your life. The war dramatically changed the lives of children during the Revolution. Some actually followed their fathers into battle; others stayed home and assumed new responsibilities that were necessary for their families’ survival. Imagine yourself in the place of such a child taking on important and often adult responsibilities. Describe some of the changes that are taking place in your life and that of your family as you face this new situation. You may portray either a historical child or a fictional child living in the era of the American Revolution.

   Why is this so cool? Can you imagine a better way to get your child digging into genealogy? Send them looking at their Revolutionary ancestor's kids. They could study battle narratives. They could look at pension files. There are a multitude of options. What a great teaching tool!
    How do you find out more? If you're not my chapter's area, you'll need to contact your local chapter for details.  Or feel free to post comments. I'll do my best to answer questions or point you in the right direction. Remember one thing, though - they need to do their own work! You're just the teacher :) 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Follow Friday: Sprague Family Research

   So guess what? There's a Sprague Connecticut and a Sprague family. The two may or may not be related... (If someone knows, please tell me. The town's website focuses more on its villages than the town history.)... but as it turns out, some of these Spragues were from CT.
   Sprague Family Research is a surname study blog. How does a surname study blog work? The blogger highlights family members with the same surname. In this case, the surname is Sprague.  Posts cover the background of one branch of the family. Sometimes branches are related. Sometimes not.
   Sprague Family Research hasn't been updated since 2012 but showed a solid foundation. Posts do more than just detail findings. They provide the author's research path. Sometimes they include a critique of previous research; sometimes they make it clear that he started from scratch. It's an interesting view into the Sprague family - and how a surname blog can work.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Follow Friday: Parkman Genealogy

   Some of the best blogs seem to peter out quickly. I suspect it's because the author pours huge amounts of time and work to each post. Once life gets in the way, continuing may no longer seem worthwhile. I suspect that's what happened with Parkman Genealogy.
   Designed to trace the American version of the Parkman family, the blog ran for only a few posts. But what is there offers great  material for new researchers. You can study the Parkman Coat of Arms, review the history of the first Parkman immigrant, even enjoy pictures of their shoes. Have fun!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Those Places Thursday: Terramuggus, Connecticut

  I just relearned an important lesson: do not believe everything you read on a document. I just read the name "Terramuggus" on Google Maps.  Cool name, I figured. Probably a village I hadn't heard of...Not so much.  Lake Terramuggus is in Marlborough. Google Maps, once again, gave the closest "village" the name of the nearby lake. Interesting reminder, anyone?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tech Tuesday: Godfrey Scholar+ Connecticut Cemetery Database

  The Godfrey Memorial Library is updating Connecticut's classic Hale Collection. From the 1910s through the 1930s, Charles R. Hale ran a project transcribing Connecticut's cemeteries. (You can read more about it here.) While local cemetery managers and historical societies have made new transcriptions - sometimes with images - of their own cemetery, there has been no statewide update until now. Ed Laput and other Godfrey volunteers have spent the last few years giving new life to an old collection.
   I received an update on their project from the Godfrey's email list a few days ago and decided to check it out. To access the database, you'll need to have a subscription to Godfrey Scholar+. Rates vary depending on which package you choose. Once you have registered, click on "Scholar+" under "Memberships" and log in. You'll then click "Search our Databases." On the next screen, click "Cemeteries." On the following page, it's "Ed Laput Cemetery Project." Once there, you can search by as much information as you know.
   I entered one of my family names (which happens to be very common in Connecticut.) Once the search results came up, I clicked on one of my ancestors. This brought me a page for the cemetery where they were buried. If I clicked on their name, I was provided with an image of their gravestone.
   Technologically, is this a great advance? No. The website functions like most cemetery listings and perhaps has a few more steps than it needs.
   Where will it be helpful? If you have a lot of family from Connecticut. Find A Grave is far from complete, and many gravestones have been lost since the Hale Collection. Who knows - with the other databases in the subscription, you may even save money. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Follow Friday: Holmes Genealogy

  It's time for another surname blog... Holmes Genealogy traces a family that began in Massachusetts, in the Plymouth Colony, and eventually moved to Montville. Posts reflect the author's unusual tastes - one post consists entirely of references to the Smith family in the land records, another reveals his struggles with family relationships - and require tolerating ads. But if you're related to the family, he does offer some solid hints.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Thrifty Thursday: The In-Depth Genealogist

   If you haven't found The In-Depth Genealogist yet, you're missing out.  The site is a one-stop shop for introductory level (and sometimes more advanced) genealogy research. Going In-Depth, their magazine, covers everything from Civil War research to the use of city directories to study female ancestors. The newsletter precursor to the magazine offered the same informative articles in a shorter format. The blog covers news in the genealogy world... and there's even more available on the site.
    I may not always learn something new, but I make sure to review any new material on The In-Depth Genealogist. I'd hate to miss something. Think they haven't touched far enough on something? You can volunteer to write for them.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Sorting Saturday: How to Archive Family Keepsakes

   It's official - I'm in love. I guess I should explain. For the last few years, I've taught a course on managing your family papers. While there's a lot material out there, much of it is complex. Want to find out how to protect your family photos? The first explanation you'll come across is often one designed for a professional archivist. It makes suggesting reading material pretty hard.
  Until now. I stumbled across Denise May Levenick's How to Archive Family Keepsakes: Learn how to preserve family photos, memorabilia  & genealogy records while preparing for the next class cycle. (We all have to keep up to date!) The guide concisely answers my students' primary questions: how do I decide what to keep and how do I organize what I have. Preservation sections deal with most kinds of material in an easy to follow format. I probably could have skipped the section on organizing your genealogy research, but I know those who have just inherited a family story will love it. Happy research!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Follow Friday: Avon Historical Society

   I'm sure I've looked at the blog for the Avon Historical Society in the past. It just looks too familiar with anything else to be possible. But honestly, I'm glad I took a second look. There are some nice features for Avon historians.
    First among these is the "History of Avon" section. The section has several sub-parts, including barns, local homes, and history rooms. Photos and descriptions are solid. If you happen to be related to the family mentioned in the section, you will have found a gem.
   Sites to visit allows you a virtual visit to the Avon Historical Society's homes. Schoolhouse #3 - now the living history museum - had a fascinating past as part of the town's rural community and life.  Pine Grove Schoolhouse played the same role, 30 years later.

   And there's even more there... My only complaint - the site needs to be updated. I see 2011 and worry!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tech Tuesday: Andover, Connecticut website

 Have you ever heard of tiny Andover Connecticut? It only has 3600 residents, but the town website is a genealogist's gem. The "About Andover" section provides an introduction by the town's historian, a page describing historic sites, a history of the public library, stories and memories, a town tour, and more. I am thoroughly impressed with the attention to detail. While not everything on the site is of use to genealogists - you may not be interested in political parties - the town's site provides a fantastic starting point for research.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Follow Friday: The Distracted Wanderer

  I love a good travel blog. Even when you've been there -once or many times - you can always take something from a writer that knows what they're doing. From one writer, it may be a good piece of history. From another, it's a new photo. And if you've never been there, the experience is that much better.
   Linda Orlomoski's The Distracted Wanderer meets my qualifications of a good travel blog. The blog is a bit eclectic, since it covers her trips throughout the U.S. Her "Wander List"  allows you to follow her visits to California, Vermont and more. Want to narrow it to one state? Simply click on the posts underneath that state's name. I found the Connecticut posts detailed, informative, and a fun read. Her voice shines through... And the photos aren't bad either. A nice way to "visit" CT!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Thankful Thursday: Angela Packer McGhie's Hard at Work Again!

  If you haven't "met" Angela Packer McGhie, you've missed out on a series of wonderful genealogical opportunities. Angela coordinates the ProGen Study Group, which gives members a chance to study the chapters of Professional Genealogy. As a recent grad, I can tell if you've ever considered professional genealogy (in the sense of professional level skills, not necessarily taking clients), this is a must. She also writes about education opportunities in her blog, Adventures in Genealogy Education. And now she's launched a new endeavor...
   Angela has just announced study groups about Mastering Genealogical Proof. They're scheduled to organize in May. Here's the link for more information.
    Thank you a million fold, Angela! I have no idea how you manage all this!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sorting Sunday: Playing Catch-up on blog organization

  It seems like every time life gets busy one thing gets neglected - my blog. I had a little time today, so I've been doing my best to remedy the neglect. It's definitely a long process. I'm not done yet, but you'll see a few updates already.
  1.  My "Travel and Research Guide" page has been updated for Durham and Middlefield. If you have any suggestions for improvements, please let me know!
  2. My "Connecticut Blogs" page is almost up to date. There's a little formatting work needed, but I'm getting there. 
  3. The Connecticut Map provides links to every post, sorted by town. Search by town name to get a list. 
  4. I'm in the process of bringing my business up to date. 
  Lesson learned: keep up on things if you can manage!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Follow Friday: Trees for Wethersfield

    Did you know village improvement associations still exist? Yes, it was news to me, too... My sense of the village improvement society came straight out of the Anne of Green Gables series. At least until I stumbled across the blog for Wethersfield's Village Improvement Association.
    According to the blog, the mission of the Association is to "enhancing the local streetscape." In 2009, they launched a movement they called "Trees for Wethersfield." The goal of the movement was to replace trees that had been removed from the surrounding streets. Straightforward, right? Unfortunately, the website for the group is defunct, so I can't tell you the results of the effort.
  So, why am I sharing Trees for Wethersfield? Because the blog has a nice Wethersfield history section. It even has historic photos - my favorite. Some of the content was copied from other sources; some of it is unique to the site. If you have Wethersfield ancestors, it is definitely worth the look!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Follow Friday: Windham Connecticut Cemeteries

   Like it or not, cemeteries are a big part of genealogy. They're the way we learn when our ancestors died, who they were related to, and in a sense, they're the way we honor our ancestors. That's why I find it helpful when someone synthesizes cemetery history into a useful summary.
    Cheryl LeBeau has done just that. Her Windham Connecticut Cemeteries provides a short history of Connecticut cemeteries, a history of Willimantic, and descriptions of the old Willimantic Cemetery. The site functions as a short textbook for anyone who might be interested in Windham County cemeteries. Unfortunately, it's a bit outdated - it was started as the author's 2011 thesis project and doesn't appear to have been added to - and hasn't reached it's full potential.
   What would I like to see? Could LeBeau's site be expanded to contain all of Windham County?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Follow Friday: llewellynbarkerdiaries - a snapshot of life in 19th century Branford

  This time I almost gave up from frustration. Searches for new blogs about Waterbury, Torrington, and Danbury left me empty handed. (Each search takes anywhere between twenty minutes and two hours.) Thank goodness a search - on a whim - for Branford turned up a gem of a blog.
   Ted Braun (with the help of the Branford Historical Society) runs llewellynbarkerdiaries, a blog made up of excerpts and selections from the diaries of Llewellyn Barker. A native of Branford, Barker kept diaries documenting life in Branford during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Entries depict everything from school disputes to the Civil War. The style of blog posts varies widely - early entries are essentially summaries, while later entries are more narrative - but each imparts enough information to be helpful and useful. If you have an ancestor from Branford, this is a must read.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tech Tuesday: Branford GenWeb

   GenWeb sites are usually not the most usable. Many were abandoned sometime in the last five years. Even those that weren't often have problems.  They're based on old website formats or have lists of volunteers who haven't participated in a decade. And then there are the rare sites that know exactly what they're doing.
   Branford falls somewhere in between. The site's outdated (the last update was in 2011); the format is rather basic. However, the content is good. The author - a reference librarian at the public library- provides links to state and local resources and even general genealogy guides. If you have ancestors from Branford and don't know much about genealogy, this is a good place to start.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Matrilinear Monday: Do I have the right wife?

   I've been poking my way back through one of my Revolutionary War lines. The ancestor is already an established "patriot" under DAR rules. No big deal, right? I've added all his children, and I can clearly trace the line between his children and me. Of course, I've already found one issue - I'm not sure my ancestor's wife is identified correctly.
   We know her maiden name, where she lived, and approximate age. In theory, I should be able to locate her on the town birth records. And I can, except for one thing. There are two women of the same name, born less than a year apart to different parents. I can't prove one of the two died or moved - they simply disappear from the record - and the age recorded on her tombstone does not perfectly match either woman.
   Unless I can confirm her age somewhere, my female ancestor is likely to become a brick wall. I won't go forward until I feel comfortable with the parents I've identified. And right now, there's no way to confirm her identity using town records. Church records and probate aren't digitized, so that's likely my next stop.
   I have to wonder, though... What else might work?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Follow Friday: Waterbury Thoughts (Waterbury, CT)

    I finally had to admit defeat on my original  strategy for finding new "Follow Friday" blogs. Turns out you can exhaust the Google search term "Connecticut + history + blog."  I was checking out blogs I'd already seen, reading occasional news articles, and not finding anything new. So I started over... I'm now searching by town name.
   End result - I found a great new blog about Waterbury. Waterbury Thoughts is written by a local artist and touches on her opinions about all aspects of life in Waterbury. Wondering about restaurants, bird watching, and more? Here's your place. And for the historians among us, click on "History." You'll be treated to histories on local scandals, a female attorney, woman's suffrage, and more. It's primarily intended for city residents - or people who want to live there - but it's a great way to learn about your (resident) ancestors.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Military Monday: How often have you actually read the pension record?

  I should have known better... I really should have known better. I finally got back to my personal genealogy research after weeks away. It's been a challenge balancing my classes - I teach introductory genealogy - with my own work. There's always so much new to learn! Since I finally had time, I went right to the meaning to finish line... That would be my supplemental DAR application that's been sitting in a pile for a year. First stop, the ancestor's pension file. Of course, as I discovered, I'd never actually read the pension file.
   Like many genealogists, I do look at the file. The problem is that I often end only skimming the pages. I look for marriage records, death dates, and key pieces of vital records information. If it looks like straight paperwork (application dates, etc), I often end up skipping pages. I didn't do that today - and that's when I discovered I'd been making a major mistake. Buried in the paperwork was a reference to the fact that my ancestor had six children. I had two listed. Oops...
  I'm definitely going back to the birth records. I've already found at least eight kids (some died before the application date). 
   Lessons learned:
     1.Read the pension file. 
     2. Check everything twice.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Follow Friday:The HartfordHistory.net News Blog

 I'll admit it flat out. It needs work. The HartfordHistory.net News Blog has only posted once since November 2012. The posts have to be more frequent to convince me to read the blog on a regular basis. But that's the bad side.
   Fortunately, there's a lot more good than bad. The blog covers history related news in Hartford. Some of it is only of use if you're local, such as the tour referenced in an August 17, 2012 post. A bit of it has national interest, such as the campaign to have the Harriet Beecher Stowe house listed on the National Historic Register. If nothing else, the topics should give you a quick introduction to Hartford's history: Constitution Plaza, anyone?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Those Places Thursday: Italian Settlement in Connecticut

      Do you have Italian ancestors from Connecticut?
     Did you know that where they lived in CT may be an indication of where they lived in Italy? Immigrants tended to settle in one place and stay together. They brought their Italian ethnic identity into their American life. As a result,many towns have sister cities in Italy. If you want to find out the sister city to your ancestor's Connecticut town, start with the website of the town's historical society or library.
    If you're still stuck, there are other resources that might help. The Connecticut State Library has a list of Italian genealogy resources on their website. There's a Facebook group for Connecticut residents with Italian ancestors. And ItalianGenealogy.com has topics on CT...

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Tech Tuesday: Adventures in FamilySearch Wiki

   Do you spend a lot of time getting lost on the FamilySearch Wiki? As it turns out, there's a blog for that :)  I discovered the Adventures in FamilySearch Wiki blog thanks to Geneabloggers new blog list. While it still needs a lot of work - there's no way to subscribe to the blog or add comments - the blogger shows a lot of promise. The blog covers how to use the Wiki, what the benefits it offers to the reader, and even how to improve the Wiki. Posts are pretty basic right now, but I'm looking forward to seeing what comes next.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Follow Friday: Manuscripts and Archives Blog, Yale, New Haven

   Few of our Connecticut ancestors have ties to New Haven, let alone Yale - but if yours do, you now have options for learning more about their past.The Manuscripts and Archives blog is a partially developed blog run by Yale's Manuscripts and Archives section. Some sections are "buyer beware." Click on "About," and you'll be treated to WordPress's filler for that page. Those filled in are far more interesting.. The earliest post dates to December 2012 and links to an article on Yale alums who died at Pearl Harbor. More recent posts offer exhibit information, links to newspaper and magazine profiles, and in one case, great history
   My favorite post thus far is definitely the one on William Howard Taft. Taken from a Yale alumni publication, it chronicles the future President's decision not to take the presidency of Yale. Since I knew little about Taft, the view into his thought process was fascinating. The man should probably be know for more than the bathtub story.
 The blog is- and probably will remain - a clearinghouse for material from other Yale publications. However, if you need a place to find Yale history, this is definitely a place to start.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tech Tuesday: Trying to Find an Article in a Connecticut newspaper?

   (Thanks to reader Mike Sullivan for the suggestions!) Are you struggling to locate an ancestor's marriage record or obituary? You have a lot of options for finding the document, but you'll need to be able to answer a few questions first:

    1) Do you know what newspaper it came from? If you don't check out the directory on Chronicling America... Run by the Library of Congress, the directory lists all the newspapers published in a certain town. Of course, you need to approach it with a bit of caution. Small towns may have gotten their news from a larger local town.

  2) Do you know where to find the newspaper?
        a) Start with the Connecticut State Library "newspaper" page. Their page offers detailed instructions for accessing papers statewide. You can inter-library loan many newspapers. Before you do that, check to make sure it isn't available online.
       b) Google News  has a few scattered newspapers. If you're interested in the New London Day, this is the place.
        c) Have you contacted the local library? Some libraries charge for copies, but many don't. Just be nice - and if you can, offer a donation. It keeps up the genealogy goodwill!

   3) Are you ready to work? By now, hopefully you will have found the paper... If not, it may be time to ILL the microfilm - or hire someone to look up the article at the State Library. Contact your local library for suggestions and help. Good luck!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Matrilinear Monday: Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame

     Do you know if your ancestor was a famous Connecticut woman? It may be time to find out. The Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame was founded in 1993 to celebrate influential Connecticut women. I'd never heard of the organization but was very impressed when I stumbled across its website. The Hall's physical contains portraits of women in the Hall of Fame; the website contains portraits and much more.
   Each feature has interesting attributes. "The Inductees" lists all of the members. Have you ever heard of Margaret Rudkin? Click on her name, and you'll discover that she had a lot to do with your children's goldfish...If you're hoping to teach Connecticut history, you'll want to review "Educational Resources." There are even interviews with inductees.
    Is this site going to show every interesting Connecticut woman? No. But it's a place to start.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Follow Friday: North Haven Historical Society

   A big shout out to the North Haven Historical Society for their efforts in developing a new website. Set up as a blog, the website features membership information and a lot more. "Alternatives to Demolition" encourages owners to save their historic homes. "Available Publications" lists several books that can be purchased from the Society, as well as a few that can be accessed online. "Past Programs" allows you to preview slideshows from recent events - even if you missed the event. "What's New in Preservation" chronicles the Society's efforts to save town buildings. "Life in Early North Haven" provides a nice overview of lighting.
    The site is evolving to cover three separate topics - the Society, historic preservation, and history - and honestly, I'd love to see them separated a little more clearly. I takes me a second to jump back and forth. Also, consider adding the word "Connecticut" to your title so that it shows up a little more easily in websearches. Beyond that, I'm impressed. Content is detailed and well written. A regular effort is being made to update the site. It's accessible.  Great job!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tech Tuesday: Research Database for Connecticut Town and Record Information

     Have you ever wondered where to find records for a specific town, how to access them, or  where to ask questions when you get stuck? The Connecticut Society of Genealogists is doing their best to offer a solution. For years, their website has hosted a "CSG City/Town Details" database. It has long been a great resource for locating vital records or contacting the town historian. The latest issue of The Connecticut Genealogy News indicates that they're making a real effort to expand the database. While you need to be signed in (see the upper right of page) to do so, you can add new information on libraries, websites and more. And, hopefully, you'll be able to benefit from other's expertise.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Follow Friday: Hartford Daily Photo

  Do you love virtually visiting your ancestor's home? I stumbled across another great photo blog that can help you make that visit. Hartford Daily Photo is published by Jack, a West Hartford native. Jack photographs anything Connecticut related that interests him.I scanned about ten posts and saw exhibits by Connecticut artists, farmhouses in Bloomfield, and cafe chairs. His photos are eclectic and a lot of fun to see. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Those Places Thursday: What protection does the National Historic Register listing offer?

   Apparently none.
   It's (temporarily) over, and I'm less than thrilled with the results. If you've been reading my blog over the last few weeks, you know that I've been following the debate over changing zoning for a section of Washington Street in Middletown.
   Like many once industrial cities, Middletown has been struggling for decades to keep itself vibrant. New opportunities are understandably embraced with open arms. Tax breaks, new permits, and ease of development are used to draw new businesses into the city. Unfortunately, it often comes at a cost: the loss of historic homes.
    Do you remember Middletown's vibrant historic waterfront or the older homes that filled the streets between Main Street and the River? If you've ever passed through town or gone to the movies there, you've probably seen them. Still confused? The harbor homes - or the remnants - are under Route 9.  River access is limited to one street, and one often flooded tunnel. The sites of those old homes are currently parking lots surrounded by retail strip malls. The end result of "urban renewal" isn't pretty.
   I had hoped that Middletown had finally learned its lesson. While "urban renewal" draws businesses and traffic into the city, it doesn't often keep them there. Those retail strip malls stood empty through most of the 1990s. Most businesses turn over within only a few years leaving storefronts empty for months or even years at a time. And empty storefronts aren't good for business. Route 9 did temporarily draw shoppers to Main Street, but how many bypass the city completely? It's impossible to bring back the lost history, but it is possible to prevent more from being lost.
   Last night's Planning and Zoning decision will not protect the town's historic homes. You can read the coverage of the meeting here at Middletown Patch and on the Hartford Courant. P&Z permitted development (including drive-throughs) within the only remaining area of Middletown with a large group of historic homes, provided that it fit within the "character" of the area and met certain limitations. They made a nod to historic home preservation by agreeing not to demolish any home on a 2005 inventory of historic places.
   I went to take a quick look at that "inventory." If it's the one I found, it was first published in 1979... which means a house in the area being demolished was not currently on that site! It also clearly states in the introduction that the inventory was of "outstanding and representative structures." In other words, it does not include every building in the area. Basically, what the committee agreed was that any structure that wasn't "good enough" could be demolished, without regard to its history or the continuity of a historic neighborhood. Never mind the fact that it was on the National Register of Historic Places... Because, yes, the National Register listing does not stop the home from being demolished.
    This plan bothers me on so many levels. First and foremost, there is the loss of history. Important people lived in these homes. Frankly, they're what makes Middletown beautiful. How much would you like to visit your ancestor's home and discover that it is now a parking lot or drive-through? Second, what's to guarantee that this great new development won't be empty in three years?
    I'd love to see Middletown and the United States start talking about this logically. For me, the issues boil down to this:
1) What can we do to accommodate the business and development needs of town? The developer likes the site. Honestly, I can't blame him. It's close to Main Street and the (captive) audience of Wesleyan University.
2) What can we do to protect our history? Making way for new businesses doesn't mean we need to knock down the past. Older buildings can be adapted to new purposes. If that process is taken seriously, all sides can benefit. An owner can get his site - and coexist with an 1860s home.
    Where do we go from here? As genealogists, I feel like we have to make some attempt to protect the past.  If you're interested in becoming involved in Middletown's debate, you can volunteer your efforts to the appeal process. I'm sure they could use genealogists and house historians to research the sites, as well as people familiar with historic preservation.  On a greater level, let's start talking about development. This discussion needs to move beyond a small percentage of Middletown's residents. NGS and other organizations have mentioned the idea as a kind of genealogy advocacy but rarely addressed head on.Working together, perhaps we can find responsible ways for towns to meet their present needs without destroying their past beauty. Are there ways to rehabilitate old buildings? What benefits can be offered for doing so? We need to decide what we consider important to preserving in our ancestors' pasts. Is it only going to be their gravestones? 


Those Places Thursday: Connecticut in 1934

  Have you ever wondered what your ancestor's home looked like in 1934? I was first introduced to the University of Connecticut website in a Patch.com article. The website uses mapping software to compare aerial images of modern Connecticut addresses with those present in 1934. It's an interesting way to see how much the state has changed. The last address I tried was a farm field in 1934. Now if they would add images from the front!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Fun with Search Terms

It's time for "Fun with Search Terms" again! Frankly, these are getting a little boring... because most of these topics were actually covered in my blog!
 1)Unique Place Names in CT: This is a fantastic document produced by the Connecticut State Library that tells you where "places" in Connecticut were actually located. Here's the document.
 2)DeKoven House Middletown: You're probably looking for the Rockfall Foundation, which owns the house. You can read more about its history here.
  3) Charles Tucker, Durham: Here's the link for his Find A Grave entry.

Happy research!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Motivation Monday: Why are Historic Homes Missing from Development Plans?

   As I've mentioned in previous posts, I've been following a plan for a development zone change in Middletown with interest and a fair amount of concern. The issues are complex: increased tax base for a city that needs it, new jobs, commercial traffic into a residential district. While I can appreciate a few of the points made by both sides, the argument being carried out in public is essentially boiling down to the following.
      1) Middletown needs the jobs, no matter the cost.
      2) It's a safety/development risk to a residential neighborhood. (You can read one of those viewpoints here.)

   What strikes me as odd is that the area being discussed is on the National Register of Historic Places - and that fact has not been mentioned once.  Why is historic tourism/historic preservation not in the mix? And what can we do as genealogists to change their minds?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sorting Saturday and Sunday... Keeping the blog list straight

   I tend to sign up for a lot of blogs. It's an unfortunate side-effect of how I research and write my own blog. I need to know what's going on in New England genealogy! Unfortunately, that also means that I pick up blogs that - for one reason or another - I don't end up reading on a regular basis. End result: cluttered inbox.
   I finally decided to clean out my blog list this weekend. I thought I had gotten it straightened out. And then I opened Blogger this morning. All the blogs I had unsubscribed were back! Turns out I had unsubscribed in Google Reader. Since they were in still active in Blogger, Google had just readded them. Lesson learned: if you need to unsubscribe to a blog in a Google account, do it in Blogger by clicking on the wheel. Save yourself time. Now let's hope I read what I kept.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Follow Friday: Connecticut Commemorates the Civil War

 Planning on visiting Connecticut? Interested in learning more about Connecticut's experience during the Civil War? Try visiting the Facebook page "Connecticut Commemorates the Civil War." Organized by area history groups, the page lists events and shares links for  history articles. It is of most use to locals, but there are lots of suggestions for future research. Happy reading!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Thrifty Thursday: Connecticut State Library Card

  Are you a Connecticut resident and interested in doing genealogy research? The Connecticut State Library is a hidden secret for amateur researchers. Not only does the library have fantastic special collections onsite, but it also offers ways to do research from home! A state library card will give you access to borrowing materials as well as a variety of research databases, many of which are genealogical favorites. You can read about their options here.
   Tempted? Apply for a card here.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Tuesday's Tip: Suggestions for Beginning Connecticut Genealogy Researchers

   In reading message boards and answering student questions, I see many of the same themes come up over and over. People want help locating birth, marriage, and death records for their ancestors... and don't know how to start. Here are a few suggestions:
  1) Determine what time period your ancestor lived in: I know it seems simple, but records vary widely depending on time period.
  2) Determine what records are available for your time period: In Connecticut, vital records may exist back to the start of the town. However, the state did not require recording until 1897. While there is an index available for some dates before 1897, it does not include every record and is missing most records after 1860.
  3) Determine the town's name for the period - and where those records are currently held: Connecticut town names have changed over time. Can you find East Middletown on a map? What about Chatham? You'll need to determine where the town's records were held when they were written. The records haven't moved - but the town's boundaries have. There's a Connecticut State Library webpage that can provide a good way to start.
   4) Learn what records might exist for your town. Start with the FamilySearch Wiki for Connecticut for more information.
...And start researching.

Happy Research! If you have questions, please comment below!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Military Monday: World War I Veterans Database

   Time to feature another Connecticut State Library database...  The World War I Veterans database documents military service during World War I. Sort of. In the late 1910s and early 1920s, according to the state's webpage, questionnaires were sent to military veterans asking them to describe their service. While the database doesn't contain information from the questionnaire, you can learn if your ancestor filled one out, where they were living, and if it includes photos. The main page tells you how to order photocopies. New military file to order :)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Follow Friday: A Fashionable Frolick

  Are you interested in what your ancestors wore? A Fashionable Frolick is authored by two Virginia-based sisters who are interested in 18th century fashion. Posts cover accessories, reenactments including reproduction vintage photos, and more. It's definitely a connoisseurs blog - and I'll admit, parts don't catch my attention. So what's the CT connection? They're great about including fashion related exhibits and events that take place in Connecticut. Who knows - you might learn something!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

What is our role in historic preservation?

   The area where I do most of my work is currently embroiled in a debate over zoning laws. The saga began because a local developer planned to build a large complex on a site that currently contains several historic homes. You can read more about the debate here:
   1) Middletown Patch: http://middletown-ct.patch.com/blog_posts/chamber-corner-with-larry-mchugh-041cf64d http://middletown-ct.patch.com/blog_posts/developers-should-not-author-zoning-code

  While you can probably guess how I feel about the issue - history is my lifeblood - the issue raises larger questions.
   1) What is our role in historic preservation?
   2) Can we - or should we - encourage our towns to consider historic homes as a business model?
   3) If yes, how do we do so?

Here are the views of one blogger. What do you think?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tech Tuesday: Connecticut General Assembly, Connecticut State Library

   Did your ancestor serve in the Connecticut General Assembly? Why should you care? If your ancestor served in the General Assembly, he may have appeared in one of the many biographical sketch books of the legislature. And even if he doesn't - you may be able to learn more about his personality by seeing which political party he supported.
   Stumped on how to get started? Try the Members of the Connecticut General Assembly database from the Connecticut State Library. The database has entries for all members from 1849 to 2008 and goes back much further if your ancestor served in the Senate. You can search by chamber, town, name, and party. I tried one ancestor's last name and received a nice surprise. In addition to the man I knew about, at least three other ancestors had served.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Follow Friday: Lost History of Bridgeport, CT Missing Pieces

   Bridgeport doesn't have a huge online footprint, so I was very pleased to stumble across the Lost History of Bridgeport, CT: Missing Pieces. The blogger, also a dog lover, writes short posts on Bridgeport history.  Posts are somewhat irregular - there have been only three posts this year - but provide insight into the town's history. Each post covers a different topic, drawing on  publications from the period. If you have no knowledge of the city, this is a great place to start.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Military Monday: Fitch's Home database

    If your ancestor served in the Connecticut regiments during the American Civil War, you might have missed a record source. Fitch's Home for Soldiers served as the late 19th centuries equivalent of the modern veterans home. Soldiers were able to live there during the end of their lives, and receive care. Pensions were paid to them at the home, they may have been buried from the home, and they had prove their service. The end result - a rich paper trail.
    So how do you access these files? According to a Connecticut State Library webpage, access is onsite at the state library. On the plus side, an online database allows you to tell if your ancestor lived in the home. You can search by name, unit, or town. And if you need only your ancestor's regiment, this may be another place to check.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Follow Friday: Sinotte Loiselle Genealogy Blog

  Are you related to the French-Canadian Sinotte and Loiselle families? You may enjoy the Sinotte Loiselle Genealogy Blog. The author traces the family back to 1640s Quebec. Each post features a new generation and a new variation on the family name. Some child lists are more extensive than others, but each should provide you with a start for researching your family. By the way, the Connecticut branch of the family seems to be from Waterbury.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Mystery Monday: Who was James Goddard, CSA?

  In researching last week's Mystery Monday, I discovered another mystery. There were two Goddard families that served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War - at least according to their gravestones. I've already mentioned Francis. The second family contained two soldiers, both named James. I found them referenced on Find A Grave. According to the gravestone - which post dates the family - suggests that the father James (1820-1894) and the son James Frank (1848-1922) both served in the Confederate Army.
   Is it true? From first glance, maybe. James senior would have been forty-one when the Civil War started. it would make him on the older side for a soldier but not impossibly old. James Frank would have been thirteen. A little more digging may help.
   James and Sophia Hayes are listed together on the gravestone, but they also appear together in the census. In 1860, James and Sophia were farming in Jackson, Butts County, Georgia. By 1870, there were back in Southington. Did he enlist in the meantime? It's unclear.
    There are a few clues. There were three Goddards in the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors database. James would have been ineligible for a pension, living outside the former Confederate South. There may be a hint in the Compiled Military Service Records.
   And James F... Well, try looking for Franklin James.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Church Record Sunday: There should be a bapistmal record, right?

       I've been doing research long enough to know that Protestant children didn't always have a baptismal record - they could baptized into adulthood - but that Catholic children usually have records. Infant baptism is an important part of the faith. Of course, I've forgotten something crucial until today.There wasn't always a Catholic church.
       I finally realized my mistake by reviewing church records for a period that had become a brick wall. As it turns out, my ancestor had been born years before the area's church was built. Chances are high that he was baptized at home. No formal record, which means it was time to stop looking for one.
    If you're looking for a Catholic record prior to about nineteen hundred, this is definitely something to consider. There might a reason why you can't find the record. There may not have been a church...

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Blizzard Saturday: Connecticut Blizzard History

   Like most of New England, I spent today digging out - and will probably be doing so tomorrow as well. Since blizzards have such a big impact on our life right now, I'd thought I'd share some links to histories of the previous blizzards.

1) Blizzard of 1978
   a) National Weather Service: A weather related view of the storm.
   b) Jim Shea's view: A favorite Connecticut columnist remembers 1978.
  c) And photos...

2) Blizzard of 1888:
  a) A Courant article, which sadly, is making me feel better. At least it isn't 50 inches (somewhere around 30 with higher drifts).
   b) And an article from Connecticut History Online with photos.

3) Comparing and Contrasting the last three storms:
   a) New Haven Register article on all three.

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Connecticuter, Today in Connecticut History: Follow Friday

   I try to avoid featuring news blogs, simply because I don't want this blog to turn political - but I found a news blog with a nice Connecticut history feature. The Connecticuter runs a "Today in Connecticut History" segment. Each blog post covers an event in Connecticut history. The blogger clearly loves basketball (many of the posts cover state basketball games) but is also willing to feature state military and civil events. A photo post about women in World War II especially caught my eye. These are not detailed posts, but they provide a good beginner's overview to Connecticut history.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Mystery Monday: Why did Francis Goddard of Norwich join the Confederate Army in Alabama?

  I blame John Banks... For those of you who don't know who I'm talking about, John runs a Civil War blog dedicated to Connecticut soldiers. On January 23, he wrote about a Civil War soldier buried in a Norwich cemetery. Not a big deal, right? Wrong. This soldier's regiment was the 3rd Alabama. And John provided just enough detail to get me really interested.
  So I started my own research (John, apologies, some of what I found overlaps with what you already had...) First stop, Google. I just like to see what has already been done. Find-A-Grave and one pro-Confederate site (ugh), and a useful Norwich Bulletin article. Turns out Goddard's been a mystery in Norwich for years. Next stop, the census. I was able to find only two listings for Francis or "Frank." In 1850, he is listed as age 13, living in the household of his parents James B. and Jane N. Goddard. Although the two oldest children are recorded as born in Connecticut, the family lives in New Rochelle, New York. The 1870 census places "Frank," now 28, still with his parents and working in a pistol and gun manufacturer in Brooklyn. Finally, a few articles on Google Books provide more details on his parents. The Chronotype of 1873 indicates that Jane N. was born Jane Newton Adams and provides a sketch of the family. The Quarterly Register and Journal of the American Education Society suggests that the two may have met and initially resided in Norwich.
   What happened to "Frank" in 1860? How does he get to Alabama? Why?

I'd love to see if anyone could find an answer.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Fun with Search Terms

  It's that time again... So here goes:
1)Connecticut Gravestone Network: CGN is devoted to protecting and restoring local cemeteries. Their website is http://www.ctgravestones.com/.

2) UConn Law Blog: I mentioned the Law Library blog in a previous post, but you're probably looking for the UConn Law blog written by students.

3) Holmes Family: There are probably more than this source, but start here.

And back to our regular genealogy :)

Friday, February 1, 2013

Follow Friday: Greenwich Library Oral History Project

   I discovered the Greenwich Library Oral History Project blog only by accident, but it is a pleasant surprise. The oral history project dates back over twenty years, recording the memories of local residents. The blog is much newer, dating back to April 2011. Posts provide a fascinating view into the project's inner workings.  Some posts describe the interview process or the memories of a retiring chair. Others discuss the interviews themselves. One hurricane related post harkens back to a resident's memories of the 1938 hurricane. If you have recent Greenwich ancestry, it's more than worth a look.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tech Tuesday: On-Site New England Research

  Okay, it's official. I am in love with On-Site New England Research  with Marian Pierre-Louis. The concept of her podcast is pretty simple - explain to listeners how to do research in sites throughout New England. The level of detail is what makes the program valuable. The first program on the microtext department at the NEHGS covered the department's function in great detail, even down to what one should bring and read before arriving and what one shouldn't expect to find there. If you're on your first visit, this is a must listen. I'll be listening to the next episode.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Genealogy Mystery Novels...

   If you've been reading for long enough, you probably already know that I'm a fan of "cozy" mystery novels -especially when they have a relationship to genealogy. I mentioned two of my favorite series in a November 2012 post. But, like so many readers, I've exceeded the writing speed of my favorite authors. Rather than waiting for months, I decided it was time to go hunting for new authors.
  Of course, I started with Google. One of the first listings is a review of ten genealogy mysteries from Kimberly Powell at About Genealogy. The list is a little outdated - most date from the 1990s - and isn't confined to cozies, but I did decide to order a few. A book list on Cyndi's List overlaps a little and offers a few more suggestions... Unfortunately for me, most are not cozies :( An e-zine review can help you narrow your choices.
   Despite all this, I suspect I'm missing a few choices. What have you read and loved?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Follow Friday: Calling all Connecticut Genealogy and History Bloggers!

   After looking through a few hundred genealogy blogs, I decided it was time to send out a request. Do you know of a good genealogy or history blog covering Connecticut that I haven't already reviewed? Please share.
   In the meantime, I thought I'd share a Civil War site that might be helpful to a few of you. Damian Shiels runs Irish in the American Civil War . An Irish archeologist, Shiels is clearly interested in the Civil War from all sides. Blog posts profile soldiers from both sides of the conflict, discuss Irish attitudes towards African-Americans, and much more. I admire the author's attempt to handle contentious topics with care and sensitivity as well as his clear effort towards historical accuracy (most have images of documents). It's an interesting read - and may provide those of you with Irish ancestors with new information!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Those Places Thursday: Durham Connecticut - genealogical tourism

   I've finally gotten my act together and finished compiling a genealogical tourism page for Durham, CT. I've focused on resources that are actually in Durham - some Durham records are held elsewhere, usually Middletown - and on places I've visited. For right now, the listing is pretty basic. It includes places to stay, eat, and research. I've left off church records for the time being, because most do not store their records onsite or would require permission to access the records. I've got grandiose visions of improving the site in the long term... but this is a starting point!
   Which brings me to the question: what have I missed? What do I need to improve? What resources do you think should be featured?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday: Beyond the Gravestone Blog

    It's an unusual business, so I was surprised to stumble across the blog of Beyond the Gravestone. Run out of Storrs Connecticut, Beyond the Gravestone specializes in gravestone repair and cleaning. Their basic philosophy is pretty simple: care for the gravesite shows respect for those buried there. It sounds like the business is fairly new, but that the owners have done their best to advance their training.
    While I don't usually like commercial blogs, their blog is less pushy than most . Each post profiles a project in process. Some are short and mostly promotional, talking about a project's successful completion. Others depict a smaller project and focus on the details of the individual's life. I very much appreciated the respectful attitude. Now I would just like to see a little more history.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Inauguration Monday: Connecticut Connections

  Yes, it's Inauguration Day, and my family has been watching the parade. (If you're interested, it's on CSPAN). It got me to wondering: what presidents have Connecticut connections?

1) #41 + #43 have strong connections: According to WhiteHouse.gov, George H.W. Bush went to Yale, and George W. Bush was born in CT.

2) John Adams made a visit to Middletown that has been quoted for generations.

3)Abraham Lincoln made a famous follow-up to the Cooper Union Speech in New Haven, according to the New Haven Register.

Who am I missing? Oh, yes... George Washington (while many houses still claim he slept there, a few are telling the truth) - and probably John Quincy Adams. Who else?