Several family stories from both sides of my family give personality and life to ancestors.
For example, at the funeral of my Aunt Isabel (my mother’s sister) recently, my first cousin once removed, Isabel’s granddaughter, said Isabel told this story: Grandfather Spencer (my mother and Isabel’s grandfather) got married late in life after being widowed. It seems a lady came to town looking for a rich husband. Because Grandfather Spencer had a surrey with fringe on top, just like the song. Apparently, as Cathy said, it was the Lamborghini of the time. Seeing this fancy rig, she assumed the owner was what she was looking for. She set her cap and they were wed.
Now, as Aunt Isabel told it, at the time a rich widow in town would have happily married Grandfather Spencer, had he only asked, because she quite liked him. But he went for the younger, prettier and slier girl.
Once settled into domestic life, the new Mrs. Spencer discovered to her dismay that he was not rich. Not at all. Grandfather Spencer had been a successful farmer in Indiana before moving to Mississippi, but the crops he was accustomed to growing just did not fare well in the Mississippi heat. So he was not only not rich, he was losing money each year. He had a nice house, with nice furnishings, some land, and of course that surrey. But income was not what the bride expected.
She cut her losses quickly, leaving town with all the family heirloom furnishings and was never heard from again. And, we all assumed the nice, rich widow decided Grandfather Spencer was too foolish a man to pursue any further.
This is another family history tale I want to turn into a novel someday!
This conference is free and open to the public, but registration is required (e-mail MAGIC@nara.gov). A continental breakfast, lunch, and refreshments will be provided.
Journalists, bloggers and others who write about public affairs will gain insights and learn strategies for improving access to government records. Experts from within the Federal government and from the private sector will provide roadmaps to the often frustrating and challenging task of tracking down government information.
Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero will welcome the participants. Government officials, reporters, scholars and NGO leaders who will participate in the discussions include: Gary Bass, Founder and Executive Director, OMB Watch; Sarah Cohen, Knight Professor of the Practice of Journalism and Public Policy, Duke University; William Kammer, Chief, FOIA Division, U.S. Department of Defense, and Vice President, American Society of Access Professionals; Miriam Nisbet, Director, Office of Government Information Services, National Archives; Derek Willis, Web developer, New York Times; Jennifer LaFleur, Director of Computer-Assisted Reporting, ProPublica; Mark Horvit, Executive Director, Investigative Reporters and Editors; and Charles Lewis, Executive Editor, Investigative Reporting Workshop.
The conference will address the following issues:
* Improving access to federal government records;
* Analyzing technical challenges faced by journalists in making sense of government documents;
* Exploring hurdles to gaining access to state and local records;
* Identifying actions that the private sector can take to help journalists access and analyze government records.
I took a bit of a blog break while I finished up the first draft of Genealogy Online 9th Edition, but that’s all turned in. While I await the copy edits and galleys, I’m back to blogging!
So if I still have any readers out there, here’s a question: What specific aspects of online genealogy would you like to see a book about? Is there some topic or aspect that you feel has not been covered adequately by the existing lexicon? Is there a need for something to be updated? Speak up and let’s talk about it!
The graveyards are full of indispensable men. – Charles de Gaulle
Especially if you’re a genealogist — Libbi Crowe
The above quote by Charles de Gaulle made me think: for a genealogist, the graveyards are full of the indisensable, because they are our ancestors, and without them, we wouldn’t be here. I’m just saying…
One news tidbit worth looking at: A Hamrick family history web site, Little Shop of Memories (www.littleshopofmemories.com) has been updated. They added new content to the genealogy and more photos to the gallery of pictures. All sections have updated or new information. If you have any information that you can add to our record, or photos that you can share, please forward to the site!
I haven’t blogged in a while because I’ve been working so hard on the 9th edition of Genealogy Online. I do think this is the best edition yet: New chapters on using social networking and blogs to further your genealogy hunt, revised chapters on Ancestry.com and FamilySearch. And lots of new and updated links to cool genealogy places on the web! My esteemed editor, Roger Stewart, says the finished product should be on sale in the fall.
I love words, and thinking about how we use them, and then don’t. One such word is “jitney”.
When I was growing up, a small grocery store at the bottom of our hill was called “Jitney Jungle”. Jitneycan mean “nickel”. It can also mean “cheap, shoddy, poorly made”. Or to ride on a bus. (Makes one wonder why you’d put such a term in your company’s name….)
The Jitney Jungle was where Mama sent us for a loaf of bread, a carton of milk, or even a package of cigarettes. Getting back up the hill, on a bike, with a carton of milk was not easy, but doable! I haven’t seen one in ages, but apparently they still exist.
According to Reference.com, Jitney-Jungle Stores of America, Inc., one of the largest, privately owned grocery chains in the nation, operates in six southern states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. It is the largest retailer in Mississippi, its home base, where it enjoys a 25 percent share of the grocery market. It is associated with Delchamps; Sack and Save (McCarty-Holman Company, Inc.); Foodway, Inc.; Megamarkets.
The etymology (genealogy of a word!) of “Jitney” seems to be obscure to many dictionaries, but the Financial Dictionary has this history of the word:
“Jitney, or “the jitney game,” is basically the same thing as circular trading. The term originated from “Jitney buses,” which was a derogatory slang term for Ford buses at the beginning of the century. A reporter coined the term by alluding to the five-cent piece it cost back then for a bus ride. It has since been used to refer to something that is cheaply and poorly made.”
I’m currently doing the chapter on messaging and online genealogy: Any of my readers have success stories using Twitter? I’d love to hear from you! I’m @ECWriter, and you can hash #GenealogyOnline on Twitter, or just leave a comment here!
I’m considering whether to write a 9th edition of Genealogy Online.What would my dear readers like to see in a new edition? More on social networking? Multimedia? Databases?I’m listening….let me hear from you!
Leading Family History Web Site Spotlights Members Who Have Discovered Family Connections in Five National Television Ads
PROVO, Utah /PRNewswire/ — Ancestry.com, the world’s largest online resource for family history, will showcase the stories of five Americans who have made amazing family history discoveries through its Web site in My Story, a new advertising campaign launching today. Tapping into the powerful tradition of storytelling, the new campaign seeks to convey the possibilities of discovering yourself through family history and inspire Americans everywhere to dig deeper into their own heritage.
The new campaign will run for at least the next 12 months. The five 15, 30 and 60 second television ads will spotlight Ancestry.com members from across the country and their heartwarming family history connections, including a New Yorker who found answers about a father he wanted to better understand and a woman from Chicago who is opening up a restaurant with a cousin after exploring how far the cooking talent extended in her family tree. The TV spots will appear on popular cable networks and channels such as AMC, CNN, Fox News, History Channel, Lifetime Movie Network and Hallmark, among others.
Each member’s story and TV commercial will be available at Ancestry.com beginning today, and an online campaign featuring a variety of “Who Will You Discover?” banner ads will begin on June 29.
“What is truly amazing is that these miraculous discoveries are happening every day,” said Cheyenne Richards, vice president of marketing, Ancestry.com. “We literally went through thousands of incredible member-submitted stories before we chose these five. That’s the inspiration behind our new My Story campaign – to convey how life-changing a family history discovery can be.”
The new My Story campaign was designed to resonate with all adults, particularly those ages 45 and older. “One’s motivation to discover their heritage tends to grow over time, but curiosity about family history is a basic human desire,” continued Richards. “We expect these new ad spots will inspire people of all ages to learn more about their heritage. It’s very important to us to help people understand how easy it can be to have such a meaningful experience.”
My Story Television Spots
Ancestry.com Creative Director Shawn Perkins worked closely with Director Jeffrey DeChausse at Boxer Films (Los Angeles) to create the five spots. The new television spots feature the following stories:
* A New Yorker Finds Answers about His Father – Alton Woodman (White Plains, N.Y.) never knew much about his dad, who passed away when Alton was just 14 years old. Turning to Ancestry.com, Alton found his father in a 1920 census record as a 14-year-old himself, and discovered that he was attending an orphanage. To help connect the dots, Alton got in touch with a representative from the orphanage and received a package that offered a more complete picture of his father’s childhood.
* One Man Discovers His Great Grandfather was a War Hero – Cary Christopher (Pittsburgh and San Diego) always wondered about his German great grandfather, who disappeared after a short-lived marriage to Cary’s great grandmother ended in divorce. After 40 years of futile searching, Cary discovered his great grandfather in a World War I draft registration card on Ancestry.com. It turned out his great grandfather had immigrated to the United States before World War I, became a U.S. citizen and rose to the rank of Captain in the U.S. Merchant Marines, where he was killed by a torpedo fired by a German submarine during World War II.
* South Florida Man Connects Father to His Own Mother – Jim Lane’s (Key Biscayne, Fla.) father never knew his mother, who died when he was an infant. Through historical records and member connection services on Ancestry.com, Jim discovered relatives who sent him pictures of his grandmother, and for the first time, Jim’s father was able to see a photograph of his mother.
* Chicago Cook Meets Like-Minded Cousin – When caterer Peggy McDowell (Chicago) began researching the cooking talent in her family tree, she had no idea she would end up going into business with a long-lost cousin. Through searching records on Ancestry.com, she connected with her cousin, who also shares her passion for cooking. Together, they’re opening a soul food restaurant in Chicago’s Hyde Park.
* Washington Woman Confirms Father’s Passing – Cathryn Darling (Olympia, Wash.) had many unanswered questions about her father, who had disappeared when she was eight years old after her parent’s divorce. After searching obituary records on Ancestry.com, Cathryn learned her father died as a fisherman while at sea in Oregon in 1970, and she recently held a memorial service in his honor.
Ancestry.com recently announced that its members have added more than 1 billion people to more than 10 million user-generated family trees on the site since the tree-building and -sharing tools debuted in July 2006. For more information, or to build your family tree, visit www.ancestry.com.
About Ancestry.com and The Generations Network
The Generations Network, Inc., through its flagship Ancestry.com property, is the world’s leading resource for online family history. Ancestry.com has localized sites directed at nine countries. Since July 2006, Ancestry.com users have created 10 million family trees containing 1 billion profiles and 20 million photographs and stories. The Generations Network also includes myfamily.com, Genealogy.com, Rootsweb.ancestry.com, MyCanvas.com, dna.ancestry.com, Family Tree Maker and Ancestry Magazine. More than 8.7 million unique visitors spent over 4.2 million hours on a TGN website in April 2009 (comScore Media Metrix, Worldwide).