28 February 2009

California State Libraries Closed 2 Days Per Month

To try and handle a huge deficit in the coffers of the State of California, Governor Arnold Schwartznegger signed Executive Order S-16-08 in December 2008. This order calls for a two day per month furlough. These two days are the 1st and the 3rd Fridays of every month. All State offices will be closed and employees have to take the days off without pay.

This is not good news for researchers who frequent the either of the California State Libraries, the Sutro in San Francisco or the State Library in Sacramento.

The Guvenator says this will remain in effect from 1 February 2009 to 30 June 2010.

The Brothers Skillman from Altoona, Wilson County, Kansas

The 11th Edition of Smile For The Camera is all about Brothers & Sisters. Were they battling brothers, shy little sisters, or was it brother & sister against the world? Our ancestors often had only their siblings for company. We are asked to show those photographs which we feel best describe a sibling relationship.
I had no problem choosing which photos to use for this edition. My grandfather and his older brother - Darrell Kenneth Skillman and Paul Frederick Skillman. The boys were the only children of Fred Wilson Skillman and Pauline Sheern (Yes she is named after her first cousin, once removed - Pauline Sharon/Helen Hunt).
Paul and Darrell are two years apart in age, but they were inseparable while they were growing up and they remained very close even after each married and had their own children.

The photo above was taken about 1919 in Altoona, Wilson County, Kansas. The boy on the left is my grandfather Darrell and the boy on the right his brother Paul. Take a look at those tricycles wheels - no rubber tires. Darrell is about 2 1/2 years old and Paul about 4 1/2 years old when this photo was snapped.

The photo above is circa 1923 in Altoona, Wilson County, Kansas. Again, my grandfather Darrell on the left and his brother Paul on the right. Darrell is about 6 years old and Paul 8 years old when this was taken.

It is the photos below that are my most favorite of all. Darrell married my grandmother - MaryEllen Harris - in 1935. Paul married his wife Irene Ayers in 1935. They each had their first child the following year. A girl for Darrell and Maryellen and a boy for Paul and Irene.

The occasion was so special that a 4 generation photo was taken for each of them.

In each of the photos above my great grandfather, Fred Wilson Skillman is on the left and his mother Sallie D. Wilson Skillman is in the center. The photo on the left is Paul Skillman and his first born child. The photo on the right is my grandfather Darrell Skillman and his first born child.

[Note: The names of the first born children are withheld because they are still living]

27 February 2009

Names, Places and Most Wanted Faces

Well Craig Manson over at GeneaBlogie has jumped on the meme bandwagon and has come up with not only a meme, but a very useful meme. How many of us started our blogs because we wanted to connect with others researching the same families as ourselves? How many of us actually advertise what surnames we are researching? I don't know about you, but this was a very "duh" moment for me. Like why didn't I think of doing that?

Craig's meme instructions are quite simple:

"List the surnames you are researching and the general localities. Then tell the names of your “Most Wanted Ancestors,” that is, the ones you most want to find behind that brickwall."

The first list I have is the surnames of my family. I am going to list them a little differently, listing them by geographic area first then the surname.

  • Beam
  • Bess
  • Carpenter
  • Dellinger
  • Hoyle
  • Wacaster


  • Harris
  • Naylor
  • Rhodes
  • Welborn


  • Berry
  • Dilks
  • Ping
  • Robinson


  • Befort
  • Ernst
  • Stecklein


  • Berry
  • Delaney
  • Harris
  • Sheern
  • Skillman

The other list I want to present is my SIL's that I am researching:


  • Eising
  • Blun
  • Strauss
  • Rothschild
  • Guggenheim
  • Neugass
  • Seligman


  • Meier
  • Hirsch


  • Heller
  • Walter
  • Bachman
  • Ehrman
  • Newman
  • Shainwald
  • Ehrlich
  • Symonds
  • Fleishhacker
  • Meertief
  • Sinsheimer
  • Sinton
  • Koshland
  • Sachs
  • Stern

OK, I showed you mine......Let's see yours!

Genealogists In The News

Back in February 2008 I got together with a group of genealogists from the Transitional Genealogists Forum (TGF) listserv to form an online study group we call ProGen. We use the book "Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers and Librarians" (2001), edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills. Each month we read a chapter and are given an assignment to complete. Within our peer groups, we comment on each other's work and have a discussion once a month via online chat.

It was a venture no one had tried before and we were the experiment. I can tell you first hand that it has been and continues to be one of the best educational experiences I have had. It is so successful and generated such interest that a second group has been formed - ProGen2.

Stefani Evans, CG writes a genealogy column for The Las Vegas Sun. Her latest article is all about the ProGen group . You can read the article here . She does a fantastic job of explaining all about us. It puts such a positive light on genealogy and reinforces the importance of a genealogical education.

23 February 2009

Who Is Number Twenty One?

It is great to see that Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Fun and Games is becoming quite popular with the genea-bloggers. I'm late in participating but our task was to find number 21 on our pedigree chart which is the paternal 2nd great grandmother.

My paternal 2nd great grandmother is Mary Elizabeth Hobrock Borgstadter. She was born 26 December 1861 in Beardstown, Cass County, Illinois to Henry Hobrock and Mary Thron. She was the second of 14 children.

Elizabeth Hobrock Borgstadter (age 56) 1917

Henry Hobrock (age 63) and Mary Thron Hobrock (age 68) c. 1900

Fred Borgstadter (age 64) 1917
Elizabeth married Fred Borgstadter 24 March 1881 in Beardstown. They had four children, the first two were born in Beardstown. Annie Borgstadter was born 21 December 1881 (almost exactly 9 months after the marriage) and Henry Fred Borgstadter (my great grandfather) born 25 August 1884. In the fall of 1886 The Borgstadter family moved to Lincoln County, Kansas. There the last two children were born. Herman George Borgstadter born 29 January 1891 and Clara Borgstadter born 28 February 1902.
Lincoln, Lincoln County, Kansas c. 1889

The photos of Elizabeth and her husband Fred were taken in 1917 when they were required by law to register as "Enemy Aliens". They had to sign their photographs and a copy of that was used to issue them an I.D. card that they were required to carry at all times. It seems that Fred had filed his first papers - his intent to become a U.S. citizen - with the Circuit Court in Virginia, Illinois, but never completed the naturalization process. I can see this happening. The intent was filed in Illinois and then the family moves to Kansas and gets put on the back burner.
When World War I breaks out, the law required anyone of German descent who was not a U.S. citizen to register as an "Enemy Alien." Elizabeth was also required to register because when she married Fred, the law required that she give up her citizenship and assumed that of her husband.
I look at their photos and then realize what age they were when those pictures were taken and am shocked. Elizabeth's was taken at age 56. She looks like she might be 76. I know life was hard back in those days and she looks so weathered and tired. We most certainly take for granted they way we all live in this day and age.

Photo of Lincoln, Kansas courtesy of Special Collections and University Archives - Wichita State University Libraries

Good News For Genea-Bloggers

In the March 2009 issue of the Stanislaus Researcher, editor Susan Parks has written an article about how we can continue with our ongoing genealogical education by reading genealogy blogs. The article puts five genea-bloggers in the spotlight: ThinkGenealogy by Mark Tucker, DearMyrtle's genealogy blog, Dick Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter, Gene-Musings by Randy Seaver and yours truly The Educated Genealogist.

The Researcher is the newsletter of the Stanislaus County Genealogical Society in Modesto, California. You can read the latest issue of The Researcher
here .

Could it be that blogging is finally finding it's way into the hearts of the genealogy community? Many thanks to Susan Parks for the recognition.

18 February 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award

Olive's Granddaughter who is the author of a new-to-me geneablog called Grandma's Stitches has awarded The Educated Genealogist with the Kreativ Blogger Award. Olive's Granddaughter says that I will motivate and energize all who read my blog. Well I will try to live up to that claim. Maybe now I'll get more of you dancing in the frozen food section at your local grocery store. Ah come on...I'll bet every time you put those tater tots, cool whip and ice cream into your shopping cart you think of me!

I'm in one of those whacky goofy moods today, however I am obligated to now pass this award on to 7 other Kreativ Bloggers.

footnoteMaven - She is Kreativity with alot of Klass!

What's Past is Prologue - Being friends with Donna helps me earn those "Get Out Of Hell Free" cards.

ThinkGenealogy - Clever Mr. Tucker is one smart cookie.

Desktop Genealogist Unplugged - Terry is an inspiration, the world is a better place because of her. No longer am I a closet crankypants, she opened the "Vat of Crabbiness" for all to wallow in!

Genea-Musings - footnoteMaven did such a great job turning Randy into Genea-Santa I wonder ...hey fM ! Can you turn him into the Easter Genie?

Creative Gene - Jasia this award has your name all over it.

Destination: Austin Family - After seeing Thomas dressed as a leprechaun it must be true that he is "magically delicious"!

10 February 2009

Saturday Night Fun At The Seaver's House on Tuesday Afternoon

Well, I am running a little behind, but I didn't want to miss participating in Randy's fun and games. He has put together a little survey about our high school years. So let's give this a whirl, shall we?

1. What was your school's full name, where was it, and what year did you graduate?
I attended 3 different high schools:
1. Freshman year - Oliver Wendall Holmes High School, San Antonio, Texas
2. Sophmore, Junior and 1/2 Senior year - California High School, San Ramon, California
3. 1/2 Senior year - Bullard High School, Fresno, California , 1976

2. What was the school team nickname, and what are/were your school's colors?
1. Huskies , green and gold
2. Grizzlies, orange and black
3. Knights, blue and silver

3. What was the name of your school song, and can you still sing it? I was a cheerleader not a song girl. It was enough that I remembered the cheers.

4. Did you have a car? How did you get to and from school?
Oh yes, I had a Fiat Spider. It was canary yellow with a black ragtop convertible. I got a loan from the credit union where I was working. I looked so cool in that car. My brothers warned me not to buy it, that it was a piece of crap, but I didn't listen. Six months later it died.

5. Did you date someone from your high school? Or marry someone from your high school? Were you considered a flirt?
Yes, No, Maybe

6. What social group were you in?
I wasn't a nerd or a geek, I was a freak. I was a blonde cheerleader who got straight A's, loved to read and loved history and civics classes.

7. Who was/were your favorite teachers?
My history teacher - Mr. Turnipseed.

8. What did you do on Friday nights?
I was a cheerleader so football games in the fall and basketball games in the spring.

9. Did you go to and have fun at the Senior Prom? Yes.

10. Have you been to reunions, and are you planning on going to the next reunion? No and Maybe.

09 February 2009

There They Were, Just A Walking Down The Street

The word prompt for the 10th Edition of Smile For The Camera is Costume? No, not as in Halloween. Costume as in dress in general; especially the distinctive style of dress of a people, class, or period. Show us that picture that you found with your family collection or purchased that shows the costumes of the rich to the not so rich, from the civil war to the psychedelic sixties.

Darrell K. Skillman, Mary D. Skillman, Maryellen Harris Skillman

Garnett, Anderson County, Kansas 1937

There they were, just a walking down the street, my grandparents and my mother. What a handsome devil my grandfather is. And my grandmother , well that dress is so...so..so "Lucy Ricardo-ish" don't you think? Actually their clothing is very typical for the time.

How this photo came into being was also very typical in small towns in Kansas. The economy at the time prevented many people from coming into photography studios to have formal portraits taken. So many photographers took to the streets with their cameras. They would take photos of people and give them their business card. When the card was presented at the studio a week later, it could be purchased for a modest price. This was called sidewalk or street photography.

In larger urban places like New York City, where there was an abundance of tourists, this was a profitable business. As you can well imagine, it was also a breeding ground for scam artists. In 1944 there was a huge problem with sidewalk photographers swindling U. S. servicemen who were on furlough in New York City.

07 February 2009

Nuns With Guns

I'll bet you are asking yourself right now - "What does this picture have to do with genealogy?"

My answer to that is - Nothing .

But my purpose for this blog is twofold, genealogy and education. So here comes the part about education.

As some of you know, I was practically raised by nuns. Well....I attended Catholic school until I entered high school....same thing.

The life of a nun has certainly changed from when I used to hang with the sisters. If the photo above does not convince you, just take a look at these blogs authored by "Honest-To-God-Bona-Fide-Catholic-Nuns":

Note: This was one of the hardest posts I have ever written. I was severely impaired by the tears in my eyes from uncontrolled bouts of laughter.

Note #2: I am certain that I am in trouble for this, therefore I am opting to use one of my "Get-Out-Of-Hell-Free" cards which is shown below.

04 February 2009

Carnival of Genealogy Posted - 50 Genea-Bloggers!

Doing The Genealogy Happy Dance is what the 65th Edition COG was all about. Becky over at kinexxions is the Hostess with the Mostess to Fifty (that's right, five-o, 50) Genea-Bloggers who took time to share their exciting moments with us.

Why don't you take a few minutes and be-bop your way over to Becky's place. I promise that you'll have a Groovy time!

02 February 2009

The Streets of San Francisco

I have been having entirely too much fun lately! Surely you must remember my previous articles about my SIL (sister-in-law) family. No? (GASP!) Well, click here and here and here so you can catch up with the rest of us. Go ahead, we'll wait for you.

Glad to see you found your way back. On with the story.....

SIL's ancestors came to San Francisco around 1857. They are all German Jews from Bavaria -Heller, Walter, Bachman, Sachs, Neuman, Ehrman, Fleishman, Dinkelspiel, Shainwald, Fleischhacker, Sinsheimer, Hellman, Strauss....Well you get the idea. SIL's collateral lines can be found in New York City ( Blun, Eising, Straus, Rothschild, Seligman, etc.) and Portland, Oregon (Meier, Frank, Ehrman and Hirsch).

Countless passport applications, census records, city directories, newspapers and social registers were used to record the addresses of her family from 1857 to 1930. These are both business and residential addresses all located in San Francisco.

After I finished plotting over 60 different addresses, I sat back and looked at the map. What a story it tells.

The red stars are where SIL's immediate families of ancestors lived and the blue stars are the residences of the more distantly related lines.

Cropped from the map above, this area shows where the families first built their homes and businesses. The time period covers from about 1857 to 1885.

Around 1885, they left their businesses in the same place, but moved their residences west. You can clearly see the group moved almost as one to an area now known as Pacific Heights.

My original thought was for SIL and I to spend a day in the city taking a walking tour of the addresses. I realize that things have changed and probably none of the homes are still standing, but the idea was to get a feel for things, a sense of place.

Through my research I found that in the early years in San Francisco, the most economically successful Jewish families formed their own exclusive circle, comprised of interrelated clans linked by blood, marriage, and business.

In her book, "Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California", Frances Dinkelspiel discusses the "Reckendorf Aristocracy."

Stephen Birmingham writes - "They have referred to themselves as "The One Hundred"... They have been called the "Jewish Grand Dukes". But most often they have simply called themselves "Our Crowd."

In an historical essay by Kate Shvetsky entitled "The Gilded Circle", members had a strict code of behavior: 1. Make money 2. Marry one's own kind (German Jewish) 3. Belong to Reform Temple Emanu-El or to no other congregation 4. Acquire tastes of people of rank.

I was hooked on SIL's family from the time I realized how much a part of the history of San Francisco they were. Learning that they were also part of the social elite now has got me hooked, line and sinker!