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Wired up and ready to go, I don't sit still for long! 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sunday's Obituary - Auto Death Is Aftermath Of Fatal Shooting

The headline says it all!  Instant attention and three generations of one family outlined in one obituary.  The article relates how two brothers were in the back yard practicing using a shot gun when one accidentally killed the other.  In 1927 it was quite common for youngsters to know how to help out on the property or the farm which required knowledge of guns.  Driving back from the boy's funeral, his grandmother was in an automobile accident and died.  So this family had two funerals within a very short time of each other:

East St. Louis Journal
August 25, 1927
Page 1 Column 4
Belleville Public Library
Belleville, Illinois
"Mrs. Ella Hammond dies in crash while returning from grandson's funeral, boy killed in accident, youth succumbed after being shot by brother who thought gun unloaded. 
The second death stalked in the Hammond family yesterday when Mrs. Ella Hammond, 65, of Washington Park, grandmother of Clifford, was killed by an automobile near Vincennes, Ind.  The woman was en route to her home after attending the funeral of her grandson whose body was buried at Mt. Carmel, Ill. 

Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Chaney of 1908 Cleveland avenue, uncle and aunt of the dead boy, were also injured in the crash which occurred when a machine driven by Orville Holland, 20, of Decker, Ind. collided with that of the Hammond party.  Holland was not injured.

Mrs. Hammond, who resided with her son-in-law and daughter, Mr. and Mrs. Ike Krause, was thrown against the top of the automobile as the two cars came together five miles south of Vincennes.  She died an hour later in a Vincennes hospital.  No funeral arrangements have been made but Mrs. Hammond's body has not been brought to East St. Louis and it is believed she will be buried at Mt. Carmel beside her grandson's body.

None of the members of the funeral party could be reached for a statement today and details of the accident were not obtainable.  John Hammond, 4500 St. Clair avenue, father of the boy, and Julian Hammond, 1822A Cleveland avenue, an uncle, had not returned home.  Relatives of Mr. and Mrs. Chaney could not be located today.

Clifford Hammond was shot with a shot gun Sunday morning while he and his brother, Lawrence, were discussing their ability to shoot.  The younger dared Lawrence to shoot at him and he did thinking the gun was unloaded.  The boy died on the way to the hospital."

AncestryDNA Autosomal Test Results

Last year I was contacted by Ancestry to receive a free test kit for the new autosomal test that would be available this year.  Kudos to AncestryDNA for offering tests to long time subscribers!  Of course, as a big believer in DNA as another tool for genealogy research I jumped at the chance and quickly sent in my test kit for my DNA.  Let me add that I have been a member of Ancestry since the mid 1990s and use it to document my Isbell line frequently (citations included).  DNA test results have provided advantages with my Isbell genealogy research in proving and disproving traditions while identifying close colonial Virginia lines through an Isbell surname project.

The autosomal DNA results were available this past March and of course it was the same evening I was giving a presentation about DNA!  So afterwards I was finally able to view the results of my own genetic make-up:

Being 49% British Isles was no surprise.  My paternal grandmother was born in Lancashire, England.  In fact many of my documented paternal and maternal lineages are Scots Irish.  What WAS surprising was 49% Scandinavian.  I have not identified anyone of Scandinavian descent in my family as of yet.  In developing a few theories  I knew I needed more in order to determine which side of the family the Scandinavian heritage is from I needed DNA results to compare it to.  So I also had an autosomal test for my father done through another lab.  In comparing the two seperate autosomal results I am hoping to narrow the different Scandinavian heritage to either my father's or my mother's side of the family.  The pre-liminary results are in and there will be more on this research stragey in a future blog post.

Musings about AncestryDNA
In waiting a while to post about my AncestryDNA test results, I was able to maneuver through the page and determine how the site will help in research.  Matches are most certainly provided with predictions about the specific relationship.  Also, access to family trees of the matches is provided.  Searching through most of my matches I was unable to find a connection with anyone.  Unfortunately as of this moment, a persons DNA results can only be linked to one tree through Ancestry.com.  If you have multiple trees (like me) to get the most out of your results in comparison to others, adding all the extra ancestors to a single tree is required.  For me, that was a week worth of effort!  As someone who revels in SNPs, there are none.  I hope in the future that AncestryDNA will make SNPs available.

Don't get me wrong folks, I am elated to have a free test and results to work with.  Certainly another tool to use!  And my results seem to confirm my research - well at least 49% of it!  This leaves me with some more research to do.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Sunday's Obituary - Dropped Dead

Here is the obituary for Anna (Schmidt) Kramer, b. 25 February 1861 and d. May 1906, Caseyville, Madison County, Illinois.  She was my husband's great-great-grandmother.  The Kramer's were part of a German farming community in Madison County, Illinois.  Obituary is from the May 19, 1906 issue of the Belleville Daily Advocate.

"Mrs. Anna Kramer, aged 45, dropped dead Saturday afternoon at her home on the Caseyville road, five miles northwest of Belleville, while attending to some household duties.  Deceased was a powerful woman and weighed over 300 pounds.  She had been a sufferer from heart trouble for a number of years and over exertion is supposed to have hastened her death.  Coroner Irwin of Belleville held an inquest and a verdict of death from natural causes was returned.  Mrs. Kramer is survived by her husband and several children.  The funeral was held Monday afternoon to the Caseyville cemetery."

The obituary was written at a time when yellow journalism was used in the area.  We now call it the tabloid press.  Adding that she dropped dead and her weight certainly was a sensational read!  The other obituaries on the page fared a little better.  Glad that practice is no longer common in the press.

Letter to NSDAR President General

In catching up on blogs this weekend after a long hiatus, there was one in particular that stood out from the rest that I feel compelled to respond to in my own way.  Judy G. Russell, CG as The Legal Genealogist wrote in her blog "We paid in blood" about her response to the Who Do You Think You Are episode featuring Rob Lowe.  Please read Judy's blog and the responses and also her follow up post "Readers respond to 'We paid in blood'" which highlights many great responses also. 

One particular response caught my eye from Cathi Desmarais over at Stone House Historical Research in which she correctly pointed out that individuals may not join the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution through collateral ancestors.  A collateral ancestor is one not of direct lineage but shares a common ancestor on a lineage, such as an uncle, aunt, niece, nephew, or cousin.  As a Hessian soldier, Lowe's ancestor was sent to the colonies to fight against the Continental Army and did so at the Battle of Trenton.  Although Rob Lowe's ancestor would qualify for service in the NSDAR as a former Hessian soldier who paid a supply tax, Judy's collateral ancestor would not qualify even though he fought in the Battle of Trenton and subsequently died. Cathi responded to Judy "you should be able to honor you uncle's and your family's sacrifice".  Cathi, I couldn't agree more!

This post is not so much about the WDYTYA episode, but in support of Judy and others to be able to honor and document collateral ancestor's service and participation in the Revolutionary War.  My own response has formed into a letter for the NSDAR President General.  The letter outlines the positive reception of the society's involvement with the show and steps the genealogy staff has taken for public access to the lineages from the applications for membership through the Genealogical Research System.

If you belong to NSDAR or are interested in this subject, please consider writing your own letter.  Or feel free to print out mine (just might want to change the genealogy librarian bit).  Read them at chapter meetings, email it to friends, and discuss it with your State Regent.  Maybe if enough people respond, NSDAR will listen.

Mary Ann T. Wright
President General
National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution
1776 D St NW
Washington, DC  20002

Dear President General,

The Who Do You Think You Are episode featuring Rob Lowe was certainly inspiring and a wonderful  highlight of the NSDAR Library, historic building, genealogy staff, and society in general.  With such interest in a good-will organization and particular national pride in the time period, the society was well represented.
Another important segment of the episode included the standards that the society maintains for those applying for membership in the organization and for those submitting supplemental applications.  These standards have certainly changed and improved over the years.  It is well known that the staff of the genealogy department give careful time and consideration of each individual application to check for accuracy and legitimacy.  The evolution of such standards has created an important collection of genealogy lineages that prospective members, members, and at large researchers use to document family histories.  Creating public access to these lineages via the Genealogical Research System has also provided a valuable resource.   As a genealogy librarian, I can vouch for its usefulness and its’ use by information professionals and the general public.  The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution has earned its’ stellar reputation as a curator of Revolutionary War lineages.
In evaluating the episode, Rob Lowe read a letter stating his ancestor would qualify for membership in NSDAR, should a female relative wish to join, with service based on a tax he paid for the war effort.  The episode provided detail of how a Hessian soldier was brought here for a cause not of his own and later chose to stay due to the ideals of the country.  As a member of NSDAR, I was appreciative of the principles of the society on display for a national audience:  historic preservation, education, and patriotism.
Unfortunately, not everyone may honor their ancestor according to current standards as collateral lineages are not allowed .  There are a number of those that served in a military or civil service capacity that either died during the war or whose lineage has died out.  As NSDAR is evolving with social media, outreach, and records preservation, perhaps it may also be time to evaluate how members may contribute to the ongoing genealogical and historical effort with collateral ancestors that served during the Revolutionary War.  With an inspiring story of a Hessian soldier who fought against General Washington later providing service and being acceptable to NSDAR, it would be reasonable to follow with collateral ancestors who also provided service and in some cases their lives to be acceptable also.  Who better to provide the stories of fallen patriots than the NSDAR.

Understanding that the requirements of the organization are for “any woman 18 years or older who can prove lineal, bloodline descent from an ancestor who aided in achieving American independence is eligible to join the DAR”, I respectfully request that consideration be given to establishing collateral ancestors through supplemental applications only.  Although there may be an increase in the amount of applications submitted, there would also be an increase in revenue from the submissions.  The additional research may aid genealogy staff in passing membership applications as additional lineages are documented.  As family history is such an important aspect of the scope of the society, more members will be able to contribute to their heritage and the historical importance of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution.

If I can add any further thought, discussion, or communication about this request please do not hesitate to contact me.

Warm Regards,
Heather Kramer

Friday, May 4, 2012


Wow, what a whirlwind past few months.  Bought a house, moved, budget preparations, presentations at a state library conference, and a new puppy!  My son's birthday party is also next week.  Looking forward to the summer to continue blogging, research, and of course our first beach excursion at the end of the May.  We practically live at the beach during the summer. 

Also, I have created a goal for myself and my personal genealogy research which I do in ever diminishing spare time.  Much of the research for my Isbell line is circumstantial and I am determine to establish the children of one of my ancestors as best I can using the genealogical proof standard.

So my summer will be filled with blogs (have some really good posts coming up), beach, and Isbells.  With work that may not leave much time for sleeping, but who cares!  It's genealogy!

5 Genealogy Predictions for the Future.......and Beyond!

It is so interesting to see the many changes happening in genealogy.  Over the past 10 years, things have changed dramatically.  Really.  In thinking back 10 years ago before Facebook, before smart devices, before wide DNA use, it really was a different era.  While databases and websites were used, they did not allow for much of the sharing and discovery we now consider normal.

Surveys and trends in the past decade provide some short insight into how genealogists research and how they organize.  So here are my humble predictions for what is in store for us in the future!

Genealogy will continue to become more community based
Think of all the collective think tanks that genealogy offers.  Whether people belong to an online community, lineage organization, cruise group, haplogroup, or society, the act of gathering with like people for a shared interest creates the ties that bind.  Really, many people want to be inclusive and not exclusive so such outlets provide ample opportunity for socializing, sharing stories, and learning.  This is a time of transition for many of these groups as they try new approaches for members.  When it comes down to it, all involved want to create knowledge from events and experiences and as such groups become more informal, more will join.

Flash mob anyone?

Genealogy will increase in mobility and sharing
Thank you smart devices!  Wherever the genealogist goes texts, email, video, family trees, voice recorder, cloud storage, document retrieval, GPS will follow!  With so many apps for personal organization and storage, genealogy is now mobile.  A few years ago there were only a few apps genealogists could use, now there a hundred. With the ability to capture information in hand, genealogists will not only be able save what they find but share it instantly with other researchers and family.  Digital captures also allow for genealogists to create digital libraries which are also shareable.  Although not everyone knows it yet, we are all moving toward an always online and always plugged enivornment.

More people will discover genealogy through technology
As the internet changed access to information, databases changed how information is stored, and smart devices changed how we manage our daily life, technology has become a mainstay in our material culture.  It is here to stay and yes it will change frequently.  However, as youth grow up with technology it will become the go to source for information searching.  Many may start with Google or with Ancestry or FamilySearch before attempting to use.......books?  Those with old family photos may discover genealogy through preservation and photoshop.  Others may use Google Earth to hunt down old addresses.  Whatever the initial interest, technology will lend a large helping hand to spark that interest.

(Let me add here that I am not saying that the book should be replaced or the book is obsolete.  Far from it, as there are so many wonderful book publications that offer unique and valuable information not available online.  We will come to a mutual multimedia world of books, digital, and microfilm)

Genealogy will become multidisciplinary
History, social history, psychology, philosophy, anthropology, archealogy, genetics, all play such an important role in genealogy.  Genealogy will no longer be a stand alone discipline as it is enhanced by the other subjects.  More subjects may be added to the list as genealogists apply their different world view to their research.   Such a multidiscplinary field will increase the need for standards; however, as genealogy communities and technology become more informal they will be less used. 

All for genealogy and genealogy for all
Genealogy will be ageless.  People will be interested in genealogy for all sorts of reasons and it will no longer be uncommon for younger generations to start asking about their ancestors and doing their own research.  Families will discover their roots together with youth being a part of that process.  We may also start seeing genealogy more common in the classroom.