Monday, October 20, 2014

Is your down-and-out Chicago ancestor in this database?



"Forty-four-year-old Adam Huber of 2026 N. Paulina became a 'social cipher' around midnight Saturday, March 17, 1894. According to the Sunday Tribune, the immigrant German carpenter had been beating his wife, Katherine. Then his son George intervened, shooting his father in the chest and killing him instantly.
"Huber's death certificate, prepared the next day by Cook County Coroner James McHale, bears the laconic notation: 'Co. Undertaker. Dunning.' Perhaps because the family was left without resources, Huber was buried at taxpayers' expense in Dunning Cemetery, the county cemetery on the semirural far northwest side of the city.
"There may have been a grave marker--but if there was, it did not last long. Huber's remains vanished into the cemetery, along with those of thousands of other people--the poor, the insane, the tubercular, the stillborn, the vagrants--whose only crime had been to die in Cook County without friends and without money." (Harold Henderson, "Grave Mistake," Chicago Reader 21 September 1989)

Barry A. Fleig is doing what many genealogists dream of -- making sure that no one is forgotten. Over more than 25 years of diligent activity he has collected many records of those buried in the "potter's field" on Chicago's northwest side. Now his work (in an on-line database) and much more information chronicling these forgotten and abandoned burials is on line at Cook County Cemetery at Dunning, Chicago, Illinois. The database contains about 7800 names but Fleig estimates more than 38,000 were buried there over the years beginning in 1854.



Harold Henderson, "Is your down-and-out Chicago ancestor in this database?," Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog, posted    2014 (http://midwesternmicrohistory.blogspot.com : viewed [date]). [Please feel free to link to the specific post if you prefer.]

Friday, October 17, 2014

The ultimate Ancestry insider -- part of a Salt Lake City twofer for ambitious genealogists

If I hadn't already signed up for APG's Professional Management Conference January 8-9 in Salt Lake, I'd be scrambling now. Thursday's speaker will be Ancestry CEO Tim Sullivan on the role of professionals in genealogy.

This conference has plenty for professionals who take clients, for professionals who don't make a business of it, and for any genealogist who would like a more serious, substantial conference than the usual fare. It's at the beauteous Salt Lake Hilton, not far from the Family History Library.

The other speakers and topics that already had me convinced:

Tom Jones on citations
Angie Bush on DNA and genealogical proof
Elissa Powell on measuring yourself against standards (workshop) and on setting fees
Angela Packer McGhie on time management
James M. Beidler on finding your niche and on taxes
CeCe Moore on adoptee research (workshop)
Christina Grover on difficult conversations with clients and colleagues
Judy G. Russell on finding the law
Anastasia Harman on improving your writing (workshop)
Kimberly Powell on Scrivener
Ron Arons on mind maps
Thomas MacEntee on self-publishing
Billie Stone Fogarty on becoming a genealogical speaker

For more information and registration (same link as above).

And as long as you're in Salt Lake, check out the classes still open at the five-day Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy the following week. Discounted early-bird registration ends at the end of October, and four classes still have room:

F. Warren Bittner on German research
Paula Stuart-Warren on U.S. research
David Ouimette on finding immigrant origins
John Philip Colletta on researching in original document repositories.


Harold Henderson, "The ultimate Ancestry insider -- part of a Salt Lake City twofer for ambitious genealogists," Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog, posted 18 October 2014 (http://midwesternmicrohistory.blogspot.com : viewed [date]). [Please feel free to link to the specific post if you prefer.]


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The perfect is the enemy of the good . . . and of the getting published

From my new talk, "Why We Don't Write and How We Can" (which is a larger first cousin of my 2012 blog post of similar title):


We genealogists are already trained to be more picky and more detail-minded than normal people, but this good habit can turn against us and strangle our own work if we're not careful. Eventually we have to learn that a "reasonably exhaustive search" that the Genealogical Proof Standard calls for is not the same as an [impossible] "exhaustive search." Similarly, a "soundly reasoned, coherently written conclusion" is not the same as an [impossible] "irrefutably reasoned, perfectly written conclusion." In both cases it can take a while, but we need to realize that we are looking for something that is good enough to meet standards, as opposed to perfect.

If you want to hear the rest, show up at the Monroe County Public Library in Bloomington, Indiana, tomorrow afternoon, or at the New England Regional Genealogy Consortium in Providence, Rhode Island, Friday, April 17, 2015. (And if you're wondering, yes, it was proposed for NGS in May 2015, but not accepted.)



Harold Henderson, "The perfect is the enemy of the good...and of the getting published," Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog, posted 14 October 2014 (http://midwesternmicrohistory.blogspot.com : viewed [date]). [Please feel free to link to the specific post if you prefer.]


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Good news for Ohio researchers!

Twentieth-century researchers will be especially pleased to learn that the Ohio History Connection now has an index on line for Ohio death certificates 1954-1963. To see the originals -- what we really need -- we must either travel to 800 E. 17th Avenue in Columbus (a great place to research the many materials still confined to paper or microfilm), or order them from the Ohio History Store.

The death certificate index is part of the Select Ohio Public Records Index, which includes some material now on FamilySearch, and some you may not have thought to look at, such as records of the Boys' and Girls' "industrial schools" 1858-1944.



Harold Henderson, "Good news for Ohio researchers!," Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog, posted 8 October 2014 (http://midwesternmicrohistory.blogspot.com : viewed [date]). [Please feel free to link to the specific post if you prefer.]

Monday, October 6, 2014

Isaac Humphrey and his descendants in The Genealogist

More than ten years ago I heard a cliche come to life. On my first genealogical road trip (to Licking County, Ohio) I overheard a library visitor ask a genealogy society volunteer where the book of her family was kept.

A week ago the cliche came to life again, but in a much better way. The new Fall 2014 issue of The Genealogist arrived in our mailbox, and it included the first installment of a full account of the ancestors and relatives of my mother-in-law's great-grandmother Sarah Mehitabel Humphrey Coleman Bliss, researched and chronicled by William T. Ruddock of Michigan.

TG is published twice a year by the honorary scholarly American Society of Genealogists. Among other things it specializes in family accounts that are too long for any other magazine to consider. The descendants of Isaac Humphrey (1748-1829) are numerous and obscure and include multiple generations of men named Isaac. They gave my daughter and me multiple migraines when we struggled with the family back when we had fewer internet resources and less expertise.

Isaac's daughter Sarah married John Russell (4 children) and stayed around Stephentown, Rensselaer County, New York (a crossroads village for several lines of ancestors). Daughter Asenath married William Dixon (6 children) and went west to Lorain County, Ohio. Son Lemuel married Sarah Allen (6 children) and went north to Warren County, New York. Some of Lemuel and Sarah's children went to Wisconsin.

The article covers female lines to the grandchildren and male lines to the great-grandchildren. If the numbers of descendants in this first installment are typical, it may be a year before I get to see the whole "book" of this family, but it will be worth the wait.




William T. Ruddock, "Isaac6 Humphrey of Stephentown, New York, and His Descendants" [part 1], The Genealogist 28 (Fall 2014): 202-222.

Harold Henderson, "Isaac Humphrey and his descendants in The Genealogist," Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog, posted 6 October 2014 (http://midwesternmicrohistory.blogspot.com : viewed [date]). [Please feel free to link to the specific post if you prefer.]

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Two events to fit into your Salt Lake City plans!


Midwestern genealogists have two new reasons to wish that their ancestors had been more tolerant of the Mormon settlers in Nauvoo in western Illinois in the 1840s. If they had, then two big genealogy opportunities coming up in Salt Lake City might have been a lot closer!

On Saturday October 11, the Board for Certification of Genealogists will present six lectures from top genealogists Elissa Scalise Powell, Judy G. Russell, Stefani Evans, and Elizabeth Shown Mills -- free and open to the public at the Family History Library.



And this coming January 8-9, the Association of Professional Genealogists will hold its annual star-studded Professional Management Conference, with talks and workshops focused on professionalism both in the business and the expertise senses, at the downtown Hilton Hotel.

Both are open to anyone, not only to members of any particular group. APG is offering a discount to young (under-25) genealogists.



Harold Henderson, "Two events to fit into your Salt Lake City plans!," Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog, posted 2 October 2014 (http://midwesternmicrohistory.blogspot.com : viewed [date]). [Please feel free to link to the specific post if you prefer.]

Monday, September 29, 2014

Two kinds of genealogists and the question that sorts them out


You're researching Thralls, and someone posts this image on line. What's your first thought?

(a) Thank the poster for breaking down your brick wall.

(b) Enter the information into your genealogy database.

(c) Message ten friends about this breakthrough.

(d) Ask "Where did that come from? How do they know?"


Options a, b, or c = Type 1 Genealogists

Option d = Type 2 Genealogists (For details, check out the first section of Evidence Explained.)

One goal of genealogy education, from which most everything else follows: to encourage Type 1 folks to recognize that (d) is a possibility, and to choose it more often.



Harold Henderson, "Two kinds of genealogists and the question that sorts them out," Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog, posted 29 September 2014 (http://midwesternmicrohistory.blogspot.com : viewed [date]). [Please feel free to link to the specific post if you prefer.]