09 April 2014

A Pressing Engagement

Last Saturday my DAR chapter had a wonderful program given by one of our own chapter members.  She brought to the meeting a small portion of her antique pressing iron collection.  She had been all over the world in her earlier traveling days and always seemed to find an iron where ever she went!

I am here to tell you that our female ancestors were not wussies.  Those irons weigh on average 5 to 9 pounds each.  Can you imagine what it must have been like for them?

For most households, one entire day (usually Monday) was devoted just to do the washing.  Water was heated in large copper pots and clothes were boiled.  Those heavily stained were rubbed with soap and scrubbed on a washboard.  After rinsing the clothes in yet another large pot of boiling water, they were fed through a hand cranked wringer then either spread on bushes or hung on a line to dry.

Although wash wringers had become common in middle class households, they were relatively easy to manufacture, and competition was stiff. The much-advertised Universal Clothes Wringer, marketed by Julius Ives & Company in New York City, outsold the one manufactured by Gunn, Amidon & Co. nearly two-to-one.   Gunn, Amison & Co. came up with a new and improved version.  Some advertising genius had the idea to place "odes to the new wringer" in newspapers all over the country.  Here are a few examples:

"Lady, fair lady, O pray have you seen 
Gunn, Amidon Co.’s Wringing Machine? 
For beauty, utility, elegance, blend 
In this gem of perfection your helper and friend."

"The rich and the poor, may every one try it, 
For the pitiful sum of eight-fifty will buy it, 
When you’ve used it yourself for many long years, 
You can leave it your daughters, the charming young dears."

Anyway, back to irons.  Like the washing, an entire day (usually Tuesday) was also devoted to ironing.  Most households used heavy flat irons, forged by the local blacksmith.  Also referred to  as "sad" irons, these flat irons are often  shaped like a triangular to make it easier to iron around buttons. These were heated on an open fire or a stove, and the metal handles had to be grasped with a thick potholder.

In 1870, a woman by the name of Mary Florence Potts, in Ottumwa, Iowa, was awarded a patent for a sad iron with that came to a point on both ends, which allowed women to iron in either direction.

Just a year later, she introduced the biggest change ever in the history of ironing:  a sad iron with a detachable, wooden handle. They were sold in sets of three irons and one handle, the idea being that two irons could be heating on the stove while one was in use.  

Here are a few books that I enjoyed to learn more about this subject:

Feminine Ingenuity: How Women Inventors Changed America
 By Anne Macdonald

Mechanical Brides: Women and Machines from Home to Office
 By Ellen Lupton

The Mrs. Potts' Sad Iron Collector's Guide
By Eric Marshall 

05 April 2014

The Ragu Challenge 3-2-1 CITE!

Dahling Dear Myrtle has come up with a fun contest that will help hone your citation writing skills and your evidence analysis thought process.  She calls it "The Ragu Challenge 3-2-1 CITE!"  Please click on the link and read all about it.  Myrt even made a short 10 minute Google+ Hangout video to explain it all which you can view HERE.

The rules are very simple:  Use 3 documents and write 2 paragraphs about 1 event AND YOU MUST write citations for your sources.

For my entry, I am going to interpret the "event" as a research question.

The research question - Did John Fred Borgstadter become a naturalized citizen of the United States before his death on 5 March 1929?

Document #1 - Declaration of Intent for John F. Borgstadter

I found this record on microfilm from the Family History Library.  
Citation - First (Full) Reference Note
Declaration of Intent for John F. Borgstadter, 12 February 1880,  Cass County, Illinois naturalization records, ca. 1837-1921, Springfield, Illinois : State of Illinois, Registration and Education, Microfilm Division, 1984; Declarations of Intent, Circuit Court 1859-1899, FHL US/CAN Film 1,688,535.

Document #2 - 1900 U.S. Census for Fred Borgstadter

I found this record online at the FamilySearch website.
Citation - First (Full) Reference Note
1900 U.S. census, Lincoln County, Kansas, population schedule, Elkhorn Township, enumeration district (ED) 62, sheet 14B, dwelling 314, family 315, Fred Borgstadter household; digital image, FamilySearch.org   (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MMT1-PDJ : accessed 04 Apr 2014); citing National Archive microfilm publication T623, FHL microfilm 1240486.

Document #3 - Enemy Alien Registration Affidavit for Fred Borgstadter

This record I am not sure how to cite.  I found the name Fred Bargstadter in an online index of Enemy Alien Registrations at the Kansas Council of Genealogical Societies website way back in 1999.  If a name was found in this index, the website advises one to contact NARA Central Plains Region to obtain the actual file.  So I wrote to them and they sent me the files for Fred Borgstadter and his wife Elizabeth.  Problem #1 - NARA Central Plains Region no longer exists, it is now the National Archives at Kansas City.  Problem #2 how do I explain all of the above - how I obtained and viewed the record (in 1999) especially now that digital image of the files are available at Ancestry.com?  Help with this would be appreciated.  In the meantime I came up with the following:
Citation - First (Full) Reference Note
Enemy Alien Registration Affidavit for Fred Bargstadter, 8 February 1918; Textual Records from the Office of the U.S. Marshal for the District of Kansas 1917-1921, NARA Identifier: 289130; Record Group 118: Records of  U.S. Attorneys, 1821-1994; National Archives at Kansas City (RM-KC), 400 West Pershing Road, Kansas City, Missouri.

Two Paragraphs

In 1880 Fred Borgstadter files a Declaration of Intent to become a U.S. citizen with the Circuit Court in Virginia, Cass County, Illinois.  Twenty years later in Lincoln County, Kansas, the 1900 U.S. census record for Fred Borgstadter indicates that he is a naturalized citizen. A thorough search was done in the court records of  Cass County, Illinois and Lincoln County, Kansas but no  petition for citizenship (final papers) for Fred Borgstadter was found.  However, he could have filed his petition in any courthouse between Illinois and Kansas. It would take forever to look through court records in every county from Cass County to Lincoln County.   If one were to stop researching at this point (which I did in 1999) and evaluate the information in the two records, it is easy to come to the conclusion that Fred Borgstadter must have  been naturalized. 

A short time afterwards I found Fred Borgstadter in an online index of Enemy Alien Registrations (see above).  This registration is proof that Fred was not naturalized as of 8 February 1918.  I think is not likely that Fred ever followed through after filing his Declaration of Intent back in 1880.

FOLLOW UP:  You will never believe this - one hour after I published this post, I was following a bunch of rabbits into their proverbial holes.  One of those holes led me to an Index of Naturalization Records for Lincoln County District Court in Kansas.  For years I have been looking for these records.  There is no microfilm for any kind of court records for Lincoln County, Kansas at the Family History Library. I sent an email to the clerk of the court asking for instructions on how to obtain these records.

Geeeez Louizzzzee - I thought this challenge of Myrt's was going to be a fairly simple task.  I am extremely grateful I did decide to participate. 

02 January 2014

DNA and National Society Daughters of the American Revolution

DAR Begins Accepting DNA Evidence 
Launches New Online DNA Genealogy Class
Which is Open to the Public

Although no single DNA test can point to a specific ancestor, advances in the science and interpretation of DNA testing have placed the DAR in a position to begin accepting DNA evidence in a limited manner within the context of traditional genealogical evidence. 

Many advances have been made in the testing and interpretation of DNA results for use as evidence in genealogical research, but the information is still very complex. With the new DAR policy, DNA test results can be used for evidence of lineage for DAR applications or supplemental applications, but specific criteria must be met. To help navigate how individuals can use DNA as a piece of evidence for a DAR application, the DAR is launching an online genealogy class “DNA and DAR.”

The “DNA and DAR” online course will provide an introduction to the basics of DNA and applying DNA to genealogical research along with the impact of DNA on the process of documenting a DAR application. The course will cover other topics such as guidelines for using DNA for DAR applications; case studies for determining whether DNA evidence is an appropriate avenue of research for a particular application and the steps you would take to take the test and how to interpret the results; along with specific instructions for submitting the application with the DNA report. The “DNA and DAR” online course is open for anyone to participate and costs $100. For more information and to enroll, visit the  DAR Genealogical Education Program website.

DAR begins accepting Y-DNA evidence, effective January 1, 2014, in support of new member applications and supplemental applications. DNA evidence submitted along with other documentation will be considered along with all of the other source documentation provided to prove heritage. Y-DNA will not be considered as stand-alone proof of linage because, while it can be used as a tool to point to a family, it cannot be used as absolute proof for an individual. For those applicants wishing to submit DNA evidence as proof of lineage along with their other traditional proof documentation, they must submit Y-DNA test results from at least two test subjects following criteria outlined in the guidelines and test requirements for Using DNA Evidence for DAR Applications.

Identifying the specific types of situations in which DNA can be accepted by the DAR, as well as the testing and reporting methods for the surrogate Y-DNA test subjects, are outlined in documents that can be found HERE

Additional information for members and the public to help them learn about this new policy for the DAR application process, including communications, educational materials, guidelines and procedures, can be found HERE

01 January 2014

Got Sacramento German Ancestry?

Got Sacramento German Ancestry?

Sacramento Turn Verein 1874

For 160 years, the Turn Verein (pronounced “TOORN-fair-ine”) has served as the center for German traditions in Sacramento. Founded in 1854, this historic club is where locals with German ancestry—and those with an interest in German culture—congregate to socialize, study German language, celebrate, exercise, and carry on revered German customs. 

Originally a gymnastics club (that’s what Turn Verein means, in German), the Sacramento Turn Verein is the oldest still-active institution in the capital city—and continues to uphold the organizations original mantra: Frisch, Fromm, Fröhlich, Frei (Lively, Pious, Merry, Free).

After the failure of the 1848 uprising  in which called on citizens to free themselves from the rule of monarchy, the Germans who emigrated to the United States, called the “Forty-Eighters,” carried with them the Turnverein culture.  By this time the focus had turned toward more non-gymnastic activities such as funding libraries and reading rooms.

In the early 1990's, Dr. Jon Ingelman proposed rescuing all the letters, photographs, club records, photographs and other memorabilia that was in the basement of the building.  From this comes an incredible amount of archival material which is now in the library.

3349 J  Street
Sacramento, Ca  95816
(916) 442-7360
Open Tuesdays and Saturdays 10:00 am until Noon

18 December 2013

Dancing Reindeer

That's right - it's time for my annual Holiday Video!

This year's video stars are:

Randy Seaver author of GeneaMusings and an all around wonderful guy.

Elizabeth O'Neal author of Little Bytes of Life and a video favorite.

Jeff Vaillant who doesn't author a blog, but is the Head Honcho of the California Genealogical Society.

And a newcomer to my video shenanigans - Gena Philibert-Ortega.  Gena is the author of Gena's Genealogy.


12 December 2013

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Archives

Today my good friend Susan Saunders-King picked me up and we headed up to the foothills of Tuolumne County to do some research in Sonora at the Carlo M. DeFerrari Archive and Record Center.

We decided to make a quick stop in Knights Ferry to visit the Oakdale Cemetery where Susan's family are buried.  On the road to the cemetery you will not believe what we came across!

"I think it's a camel"

"Are you a camel?"

 "It is a camel and it's getting ready to spit.  Run for your life!"

We finally made it to the Archives.  Susan had called Charlie Dyer the archivist ahead of time with specific records requests.  So when we arrived, all the records had been pulled and were waiting for us on the table in the reading room.

Very comfy public reading room at the archives

Tuolumne County has put together a very useful finding aid for their holdings.  You can download a copy of this 104 page publication HERE.

A brief list of Tuolumne County records in the archive:
Assessment, Auditor, Board of Supervisors, Clerk, Great Registers, Justice Court, Oral History, Naturalization, Probate, School Districts, Sheriff/Coroner/Jail ,Superior/ District Court, Treasurer,  and Tuolumne County Newspapers.

Carlo De Ferrari Archives
490 Greenley Road, Sonora, CA 95370
Phone: (209) 536-1163  

25 November 2013

We Should All Have An "Attitude of Gratitude"

Dae Powell, a man I absolutely adore, has an excellent website called "Shoestring Genealogy."  He sends out a weekly newsletter to remind us of the 3 weekly GENTREK chats that he runs:  Mondays at (9:00 pm Eastern in the AOL Chat Room, Mondays at 10:00 pm in the GenealogyWise Chat Room and Thursday at 10:00 pm in the Looking4kin Chat Room.  The chats are open to the public and cover all topics of genealogy.

Happy Dae (as he is best known) shares his knowledge and has a multitude of useful items at his website.

22 Forms, Charts and Checklists - all free for you to download.

A page full of useful links and another with many search utilities.

In the recent newsletter delivered via email, Dae asks that we all have an "Attitude of Gratitude" as we get ready to celebrate Thanksgiving next Thursday.

I, for one, am very grateful for Dae Powell and his contributions to the genealogical community.

24 November 2013

This is Definitely One for the Family History Books!

So a couple of weeks ago, my niece turned 15 years old.  For her birthday she wanted to go flying.  Yep, that's right, flying - and not in an airplane.

On my bucket list, item #23 is skydiving.  It's not that I want to jump out of an airplane.  At the time, it was the only way I knew to fulfill the true dream - FLYING.  Jumping out of a plane is FALLING not FLYING.

I was educated by the younger generation in our family about a place where my dream could really come true, a place where I could really fly.

In the San Francisco Bay Area there is a place called iFLY.  They use a vertical wind tunnel to get your butt in the air and keep it there.

When I am old and gray and if my sons ever give me grandchildren, this will be the story that I will tell them about - over and over again.  The day I went flying!

18 November 2013

Northern California APG Chapter Field Trip

The California History Center
at De Anza College, Cupertino, California

NorCal APG Field Trip
29 October 2013

"Le Petit Trianon"

The California History Center at DeAnza College is housed in a mansion called "Le Petit Trianon" which was owned by one of Cupertino's first millionaires and avid polo player - Rear Admiral Charles S. Baldwin.  Charles married Ella Hobart, the daughter of W. S. Hobart who was a kajillionaire who profitted from the  riches of the Comstock Lode.  Charles Baldwin commissioned Willis Polk, a renowned San Francisco architect to design the mansion.

The next owner of the mansion was heiress Harriet Pullman.  Harriet was the daughter of George Pullman - inventor of the "Pullman Sleeping Car" for trains.

Left to right: Ellen Fernandez-Sacco, Sheri Fenley, Jeff Vaillant and Lisa Christiansen

Carolyn Ybarra was the organizer of this field trip and she deserves a huge "Atta Girl" for arranging the private tour for our group by archivist Lisa Christiansen.

Regarding the photo above:  I love, love, love Ellen Fernandez-Sacco's bright red clogs!

Left to right:  Janice Sellers, Phyllis Garratt, Kim Cotton and Sharon Hoyt

Located inside "La Petit Trianon" is the Louis E. Stocklmeir Regional History Library and Archives.  Although none of the photos here show it, the room has a beautiful domed oval skylight.

Much older photo of the library see above and below.  It still has the same built-in, floor-to-ceiling blookshelves!

Left to right:  Cath Trindle, Lisa Gorrell, Ellen Fernandez-Sacco and Jeff Vaillant

Lisa Christiansen, the archivist, knows the holdings of the library inside and out. She knows all the little intricate things about all the collections that are not written down on index cards or finding aids.

One of the many in-house finding aids

The back of my head and archivist Lisa Christiansen

There are so many different collections available to researchers but a few that stood out for me were these:

The Photograph Collection number approximately 10,000 photographs that focus mainly on local families, agriculture, public works, historic buildings and the history of Moffat Field Naval Air Base.

There are over 2000 student research papers which are a unique resource for genealogists because the reports are written using primary source records, oral interviews, etc.

The Palo Alto Times from 1908-1991 is available on microfilm.

Special Collections include the Castro Family collection, Fuller Albumn, Laura Thane Whipple collection and the Bol Family collection.

A few of the great county history books house in the library

Special "Thank You" to Corey Oiesen who served as the photographer for the day and has allowed the use of these photos.

California History Center
Open Tuesday thru Thursday  9:30 am to 4:00 pm
Open Friday by appointment only
(408) 864-8987
Library use fee:  $5 per day if you are not a student
Plenty of on campus parking, however it will run about $3 per day.

07 October 2013

It's Time For Halloween Videos!

OK, I know it's a little early, but I created a new videos and couldn't wait to share it with you.

I cast some very familiar faces - Thomas MacEntee, Lisa Alzo, Bill West, Elizabeth O'Neal and me. They are all good friends who put up with my shenanigans!