Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Christmas Gift for Rose

Goyer, Tricia. A Christmas Gift for Rose. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2013.

Rose has grown up in the Amish community of Holmes County, Ohio. She was upset when her beloved Jonathan enlisted in World War II to serve as a medic. How could she forgive him for participating in a war, even if he never fired a shot? She discovers that she was born English and that the Yoders adopted her when her parents, struggling in the Great Depression, could not support all their children and moved to California to be near other family members. They left her with the Yoders, knowing she would have a better life. How can Jonathan accept her? This is a touching story which should appeal to fans of Amish fiction. Although this is marketed as a Christmas book, it can be enjoyed any time of year. I received an advance electronic galley of this from the publisher through NetGalley with the expectation that a review would be written.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Hidden Heritage

Hinger, Charlotte. Hidden Heritage. Scottsdale, Ariz.: Poisoned Pen Press, 2013.

Lottie is a historian who is employed by the Carlton County Historical Society, but she's also the #2 person at the sheriff's office. Her husband became a deputy just to protect her. They are called to the feedyard when a man's body is discovered there. They call the KBI in as required. The KBI lacks confidence in the abilities of almost all western Kansas law enforcement, but Lottie sets out to prove them wrong. Through her work at the historical society, she uncovers a possible motive. The head of the murdered man's clan is a medicine woman, and Lottie begins to study under her so that she can document the ancient craft for the historical society. I found the historical element to be interesting. There were a few pages near the end of the book that did not hold together well for me, but after I got past those pages, it went back to being the excellent read that I'd found throughout the rest of the book. This review is based on an advance egalley provided by the publisher through NetGalley for review purchases. It was my first exploration into this series, but it will not be my last. I predict most genealogists will find something to like about this book.

My Venice and Other Essays

Leon, Donna. My Venice and Other Essays. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2013.

Donna Leon, author of the Commissario Brunetti series, has assembled some of her short non-fiction "essays" into a volume. They are grouped into themes such as Venice, animals, America, and books with a few to many essays of varying lengths under each topic. In most volumes of this nature, there are a few stellar essays and several that are less spectacular and fail to maintain one's interest. This holds true for this volume as well. Overall, I probably enjoyed the essays on Venice and the ones on books the most of all. I loved her musings on canal and foot transportation as being preferable to automobile traffic. I enjoyed reading about her search for the perfect place to live and the problems encountered once she'd found it. My favorite essay, however, was one which detailed a conversation she had with Barbara Vines in a cafe. I'm glad I read the volume for that essay alone! There were many essays which did not hold my attention as well. My biggest problem with the book, however, was the writing. There were sentence fragments in the essays. There were many sentences that began with the word "and." This was an advance e-galley, so I'm hopeful that an editor will take care of these grammatical errors before it is sold in stores. In spite of its problems, I still found many of the essays enjoyable. This review was based on advance e-galley provided by the publisher through NetGalley for review purposes over 6 months in advance of the publication date.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Tempest's Course

Sowell, Lynette. Tempest's Course. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2013.

Kelly Frost is a textile conservator who has been hired to restore a quilt at Grey House, a home to one of New England's early whalers. Tom Pereira is a veteran who was severely injured and is now keeping the grounds at the home. Both have issues with which they are dealing. Tom's is health-related; Kelly's is something that happened in a relationship in the recent past. Tom is also working other jobs. It's a romance that is growing, particularly when both discover they are both Christians. Of course, the issues from the past can always create problems in a relationship. I enjoyed the characters of Tom and Kelly. The author did a great job portraying them. The setting was interesting as well. Although it is a Christian book, the characters deal with genuine issues, including moral ones, and the book is not preachy in its presentation. The characters simply live out their faith. There is, however, one major flaw in the book. The owner of one place Tom is helping traces Tom's genealogy back about 150 years using census records. The problem is that the gentleman claims to have used both the 1950 and 2010 censuses in his research and that they included names and other information. Any genealogist knows that the latest available census for this type of research is the 1940 census which was released on April 1, 2012. The 1950 census will not be available under current laws until April 1, 2022. The 2010 census would not be available until April 1, 2082. There is a 72-year waiting period. Only demographic/statistical type of information is available for censuses more recent than 1940. I am certain that every genealogist, including me, would love to get our hands on those censuses ahead of schedule, but it isn't going to be happening and should not be depicted as such in a book. Since I read an advance e-galley of this book via NetGalley, I sincerely hope that the author and publishers of this book will correct this very big error prior to publication. It was quite enjoyable otherwise. As mentioned, this review is based on an advance e-galley of the book provided by the publisher through NetGalley for review purposes.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Bosnia's Million Bones

Jennings, Christian. Bosnia's Million Bones: Solving the World's Greatest Forensic Puzzle. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.

Journalist Christian Jennings has documented the Yugoslav War from 1991-1995 and the acts of genocide committed by Serbian leaders and their troops toward the conclusion of that war. They attempted to hide the bodies in mass graves, often burying individuals in more than one. A group of forensic scientists came up with a method using DNA testing to identify the bodies and get them back to their families for proper burial. They had a high degree of success which has since been used in disasters and other mass grave situations throughout the world, especially by the International Commission on Missing Persons which was established, in part, as a result of this Bosnian genocide. It's a very interesting story of how DNA is being used for identification on a wide-scale basis. This review is based on an advance reader's edition provided by the publisher through LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program with the expectation that a review would be written.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Daughter of the God-King

Cleeland, Anne. Daughter of the God-King. Naperville, Ill.: Sourcebooks Landmark, 2013.

Hattie Blackhouse has never been close to her parents. She receives word that they have disappeared from their excavation in Egypt. She needs to travel there to make estate arrangements and to try to locate her parents or their bodies. She is uncertain whom she can trust.  The timing of the novel is shortly after Napoleon has been exiled to Elba, and the novel's plot involves the governments of France, Britain, Egypt, and a few other countries. I believe that the author is trying to mimic prose of the regency era although she is not very successful in her efforts. It just kind of reads like a cheap imitation of it and does not flow well. The plot of the novel seems similar to something I read probably 30 years ago or more, although I can't put my finger on the novel or the author. It's not a bad read, but it's not a particularly good one either. This review is based on an advance galley received by the publisher through NetGalley for review purposes.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Winter Chill

Fluke, Joanne. Winter Chill. New York: Kensington, 2013.

Readers of Joanne Fluke's Hannah Swenson mysteries have come to expect a cozy atmosphere with lots of baked goodies sprinkled throughout the narrative. This work is completely different. The atmosphere is dark. Readers feel a combination of sympathy and outrage at the two main characters, the parents of a girl killed in a snowmobile accident. The father was actually paralyzed in that same accident. The mother has somewhat lost touch with reality, finding notes left for her by her deceased daughter. It's not long until there are more accidents in the small community. Are they accidents, or is there a serial killer on the loose? Readers who enjoy psychological suspense will love this book.  Although I won't give it away, the ending of this book was fitting. It reminded me of other works I'd read in the past, and I couldn't quite put my finger on it until I saw another review that likened the ending to an Alfred Hitchcock ending. That described it perfectly. Technically I received this book from NetGalley, but somehow the book was archived by the publisher between the time I hit the send to Kindle button and the next time I was connected to wifi and could receive it. I ended up waiting  until my library got a copy, and I used their copy.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Eastern Europe!

Jankowski, Tomek. Eastern Europe!: Everything You Need to Know About the History, People, and Places of a Region That Shaped Our World and Still Does. Williamstown, MA: Steerforth Press, New Europe Books, 2013.

This is a highly readable history of Eastern Europe from medieval times to near the present-day. The author has done an incredible amount of research and provides the reader a look of the region as a whole and by country within that region for several periods of history. I read an e-galley version of this book on my Kindle, and there were formatting issues present in the book. Severalsentenceswereruntogetherlikethis -- often for 1.5 lines or so, making it difficult to read. There was text that was in languages other than English, but it was always translated later. One of my biggest issues with reading non-fiction in electronic book format is that end notes are not very accessible. Such was the case here. I have sometimes seen publishers who provide hyperlinks in the text to the end notes, but this one, at least in its e-galley format, did not do so. The author did insert humor into his narrative from time to time. I found his comment regarding bibliographies (with the bibliography) entertaining. The book is well-indexed. Of course, it is almost impossible to use that index in the electronic version of the book without additional formatting which was not present in the e-galley. This review is based on an e-galley provided by the publisher through NetGalley with the expectation that a review would be written.

A Nantucket Christmas

Thayer, Nancy. A Nantucket Christmas. New York: Random House, 2013.

I'll have to admit that this book got off to a bad start when the author inaccurately described the winter months of the Nantucket area in the opening paragraphs. It's the story of the daughter of a divorced couple as she tries to come to terms with her father's new wife. While the story was somewhat heartwarming, the writing was somewhat dull. The setting itself and the subplot of her little boy and his love for a lonely pup were the best parts of the book. I received an advance e-galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley with the expectation of a review being written. Hopefully the description error will be corrected in the final version.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Vanishing Evangelical

Miller, Calvin. The Vanishing Evangelical: Saving the Church From Its Own Success by Restoring What Really Matters. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2013.

Calvin Miller, a well-known author, takes a look at the decline in membership in Evangelical churches and recommends an increase in intellectualism and the arts to restore its vitality in the 21st century. Miller seems to treat the subject fairly. I am impressed by the amount and variety of popular works of the day as well as literary works such as those by Jane Austen that he uses to make his points. He encourages his audience to read the Bible regularly and in an organized plan such as those that emphasize reading the Bible through in a year. He encourages reading a Psalm and a hymn each day. He encourages his readers to study the lives of martyrs and great heroes of the faith rather than spending their time reading the latest materials available in their local Christian bookstore. Miller did a very good job pointing out how Christianity was in the early 20th century, drawing examples from the reaction against liberalism and from the religious debates that were quite popular and well-attended that pointed out denominational differences. While he is not necessarily encouraging a return to the way things were done in that era, he is encouraging a return to the intellectualism that accompanied the era. This should be a popular book with those in Evangelical churches, particularly lay leaders and clergy. This review is based on an e-galley provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Advent of Murder

Ockley, Martha. The Advent of Murder. Oxford: Lion Fiction, 2013. (Faith Morgan Mysteries ; 2)

It's almost Christmas in Little Worthy, and Faith Morgan, the local vicar, has it busy just trying to keep the Christmas pageant together. In fact, that's what she's doing as she happens upon her former colleague Ben Shorter and his investigation team on the property of a parishioner. It seems a body has been found on his property under suspicious circumstances. Faith finds herself helping the police with the investigation, asking questions as she goes about her business and just being observant. Some persons who still don't know that she is the local vicar mistake her for a cop because she still has that "aura" about her person. This is a great follow-up to the previous installment in the series but would work well as a stand-alone for those who have not read the previous installment. The writing and characters are stronger than  in the earlier installment as well. While this is technically a work of Christian fiction, Faith is not "preachy." Her caring acts for parishioners and for those who are in need speak for themselves. Although the setting of this story is around Christmas, it can be enjoyed any time of the year. This review is based on an e-galley provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Bran New Death

Hamilton, Victoria. Bran New Death. New York: Berkley Prime Crime, 2013.

Merry Wynter has inherited a castle in upstate from New York and is leaving New York City after a bad experience. When she arrives in Autumn Vale, she finds a town full of quirky characters, and at least one person who believes her uncle was murdered. She had only come to take a look at the property and try to fix it up after it had not sold on the market. She discovers that someone has been digging giant holes on the property. Another man has gone missing as well; she finds irregularities regarding her uncle's business adventures with this man. In the midst of this her best friend from the city (Shilo) comes out to lend a hand and falls in love with the local realtor. This initial installment is a bit light on the mystery as characters are being introduced and such, but it's very readable. This is also not one where everything is wrapped up neatly at the end. The reader still has questions about what will happen, motivating the reading of additional books in the series. I felt there were a couple of questions that probably could have been answered for the reader without ruining the rest of the series that left me with an "incomplete" feeling at the end. I just kind of kept looking for the additional couple of paragraphs that would answer those little things. This review is based on an electronic galley provided by the publisher through NetGalley with the expectation that a review would be written.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Game, Set and Murder

Flynn, Elizabeth. Game, Set and Murder. Oxford, UK: Lion, 2013.

In this promising debut, Detective Inspector Angela Costello investigates the death of star tennis player Petar Belic whose corpse is found on court 19 at Wimbledon just before the event begins. There are plenty of suspects to go around with varying motives. Having been a tennis fan for years, I loved the setting. I liked our newly minted Detective Inspector and the ease with which she assumed her new role in her first investigation.  I loved the ending which I thought was quite a change from many mysteries and actually follows a conclusion that would probably happen from time to time in real police procedurals. I'm looking forward to additional installments in this series. This review is based on an advance e-galley received by the publisher through NetGalley.

The Vicar's Wife

Swartz, Katharine. The Vicar's Wife. Oxford, UK: Lion Hudson, 2013.

The story set forth by author Katharine Swartz has a modern story and a back story. The back story involves a woman who became the vicar's wife in a small seaside village of England in the 1930s, continuing through World War II. The modern story involves a family, and specifically the woman of the family, which purchases the vicarage when the church moves the vicar into a more modern facility. The family includes a man (Andrew) who grew up nearby in England, but has spent the last 16 years of his life in New York City. His wife Jane was the manager of a non-profit in New York City and really has no desire to fit into the community in England. Her children embrace life in the village, although a few are initially hesitant. While she's trying to paint a pantry, she discovers an old shopping list belonging to the former vicar's wife and becomes intrigued by it. She wants to learn as much about the woman who wrote that list as possible. I liked the historic story more than the modern story, but primarily because I just didn't really like the character of Jane that much. I loved her husband and kids and even the other locals, but I never really identified with Jane, probably because I can't imagine even considering doing the horrible things she did to harm her family because of her own selfish desires. This review is based on an electronic galley received by the publisher through NetGalley for review purposes.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The King's Grave

Langley, Philippa and Jones, Michael K. The King's Grave: The Discovery of Richard III's Lost Burial Place and the Clues It Holds. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2013.

Philippa Langley was behind the discovery of King Richard III's body under the car park in England. This book gives an account of Richard's life, showing differences in the real Richard III and the Tudor version of Richard III, as well as the account of the discovery of his resting place. The authors alternated between the two portions of the story, and that particular arrangement did not work well for me. I was far more interested in the events leading up to the discovery and the archaeological dig and testing done to determine this was indeed Richard than in a reconstruction of his life which has been the subject of numerous other histories. I felt that more details of the dig itself and of the testing and results could have been presented if the authors had left parts of the story of Richard which had no bearings on the forensics presented in the volume to other histories. I was quite interested in the DNA analysis and was disappointed that there was not more on that presented in the book and that there was no appendix presenting detailed findings of the mitochondrial match. Although I was disappointed in some aspects of the book, it was interesting to read about the discovery and understand a little more of what drove the team and of the cooperation they had from others to make the discovery. This review is based on an advance e-galley received from the publisher through NetGalley with the expectation that a review be written.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Testimonies and Secrets

Mennel, Robert M. Testimonies & Secrets: The Story of a Nova Scotia Family, 1844-1977. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2013.

This is the story of the of the Crouse and Eikle families of Lunenberg, Nova Scotia over more than a century as revealed through family documents and other records. The author did a great deal of research on the families, and it is well-documented for the most part. I was excited about the genealogical story, but the direction that the author took in telling the story of one family member left me wishing that I had not read this title. Furthermore, I found this book difficult to read because of the formatting problems with the e-galley which I received from the publisher through NetGalley. I find it difficult to believe that an academic press accepted the work of an author who failed to capitalize proper nouns, words beginning sentences, etc. I'm not sure why those things were not present in this work. There were other formatting issues in the book as well. It made me distrust the quotes I was reading simply because I didn't know if the finished product would properly transcribe direct wording and the like. The genealogical charts that were supposed to be near the end of the book were also missing from the e-galley. As mentioned, this was received as an advance e-galley by the publisher through NetGalley with the expectation that a review would be written.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Maine Coon Cat

Walsh, Liza Garnder. The Maine Coon Cat. Lanham, MD: Down East Books, 2013.

Walsh has compiled a book about the Maine Coon cat breed that is somewhat repetitive in places. The book could use slightly better organization, but it's certain to be a hit with those who love this popular breed. It's a quick read, full of photographs. The book would work well for readers as young as middle school.  This book was received through LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program with the expectation that a review would be written.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Jew Named Jesus

Simon-Peter, Rebekah. The Jew Named Jesus: Discover the Man and His Message. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2013.

This book is not what I was expecting from the title. I thought that the book would go into more detail about how Jesus observed Jewish customs. It did show these, but it was superficial and really didn't address the culture behind them or give Christians significant insights into the Jewish roots of the Christian faith. Instead, I felt that I was reading more of a spiritual memoir about the author's journey since converting to Christianity from Judaism. I also felt this book was part of her crusade against "replacement theology" which is taught in some churches. However, from reading this book, you would think that only a handful of churches did not teach the view that the church replaces Israel. She really did not need to convince me that God is not finished with Israel. I can read in my Bible that God's covenant with Israel is everlasting. I really feel that my pastor does a better job of addressing the subject covered by the title of the book than the author did. Perhaps the author should have first written her spiritual memoir and then written something on the topic of the book so that she would not be tempted to deviate from the subject. I did, however, enjoy reading of her faith struggles as she came to terms with her new faith. I am glad that she was able to discover the man and his message for herself and only wish she had done a better job articulating it for her readers in such a manner that they too could understand Him from the Jewish perspective. This review is based on an advance e-galley provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

Something Borrowed, Someone Dead

Beaton, M. C. Something Borrowed, Someone Dead. New York: Minotaur Books, 2013.

Agatha Raisin has been hired to look into the murder of Gloria French in the village of Piddlebury. She and some of her team go there to investigate and learned that the victim was someone who did not get along that well with other villagers. One of her biggest flaws was that she stole items from other people's homes and then claimed they were her own. This is a pretty typical Agatha Raisin mystery. Agatha is annoying as usual and rubs those whom she encounters the wrong way. She takes breaks from the case. However, the plot is laced with humor that arises from the situations in which Agatha finds herself. While this will never be my favorite series, it is tolerable. I only wish that I'd been able to listen to the audio version as I usually find those more enjoyable than reading them myself. This review is based on a publisher-provided advance e-galley through NetGalley with the expectation that a review would be written.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Angola Horror

Vogel, Charity. The Angola Horror: The 1867 Train Wreck That Shocked the Nation and Transformed American Railroads. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 2013.

Vogel provides readers with a detailed look at the passengers aboard a horrible train accident that occurred outside Angola, New York shortly before Christmas in 1867. She describes the tragedy itself, the reaction of the townspeople, the findings of a jury regarding the railroad's responsibility in the disaster, and the impetus for change it sparked. Vogel conducted extensive research at a large number of repositories studying a wide range of newspapers, archival materials, and other resources. I am impressed by her notes and bibliography of resources utilized in writing this volume. The narrative itself is readable and engaging. This review is based on an advance e-galley provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Six Women of Salem

Roach, Marilynne K. Six Women of Salem: The Untold Story of the Accused and Their Accusers in the Salem Witch Trials. New York: Da Capo Press, 2013.

Roach has taken the lives of six women affiliated with the infamous witch trials of Salem Village and told their story over a longer period of time than just the trials. In telling these six lives, she has also touched on the lives of others who were accused and convicted. The author has done a great deal of research on each of these women (and a few others as well), but I found her method of documentation very annoying. Instead of using footnotes or end notes with numbering at the locations where documentation was needed, she instead chose an unconventional end note method which gave the chapter title and then a rough topic and the source. I disliked this very much because I really did not know if the author was citing her sources or not until I got to the end, since I was reading an electronic version of the book. I am fairly certain that she omitted documenting some pieces of information that needed documentation because of her method. I think that her documentation method makes this most useful for casual readers and sadly, only a marginal read, for more serious students of history and genealogists. I was delighted to find several mentions of my 8th great grand-aunt Mary Perkins Bradbury in the narrative although she was not one of the six subjects. There was not a great deal that I had not learned from other sources, but it was interesting to read about how much her accuser had disliked her. (Her accuser was one of the six.) This review is based on an advance e-galley provided by the publisher through NetGalley for review purposes.

North Sea Requiem

Scott, A. D. North Sea Requiem. New York: Atria Books, 2013.

Opening with the discovery of a bloody human foot in shinty uniforms and proceeding to the murder of the woman who made the discovery, Nurse Urquhart, the wife of the shinty coach, more goes awry before the culprits are found in this mystery set in Scotland. The setting is perhaps the best thing this novel has going for it. I failed to connect with any of the characters. I am not certain if this is because I have not read the previous installments of the series or not, but I feel certain that was one of the reasons. The opening showed promise. I was unsure if I was reading a horror novel or a mystery as events began unfolding. The middle part of the story did not maintain my interest. The pace in the ending picked up, but I felt that it went on a little too long. I am not interested in reading earlier or future installments of the series. This review is based on an advance e-galley provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Unfolding Mystery: Discovering Christ in the Old Testament

Clowney, Edmund P. The Unfolding Mystery: Discovering Christ in the Old Testament. 2nd ed. Louisville, Ky.: P & R Publishing, 2013.

The author studies characters and passages from the Old Testament and explains to the reader how Christ is revealed through the passage, the character's life, or similar means. This book lends itself well to personal or group Bible studies because of the discussion and application questions accompanying each chapter. If my pastor were not so wonderful at explaining many of the concepts covered in this book, I'm certain I would have gotten much more out of it than I did. There are many other places in the Tanakh that Christ can be discovered. This book is not intended for an academic audience, but more for a lay audience that it is interesting in deepening its knowledge of what the Bible, and specifically the Old Testament books, teach about Christ. The book is also not comprehensive. This review is based on an advance e-galley provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Fancy a Cuppa By the Cathedral?

Duffin, Simon. Fancy a Cuppa by the Cathedral?  Leicester, England: Troubador, 2013.

This is a book for tourists to England who want their cup of coffee or tea after visiting the local cathedral. Each entry tells a little about the cathedral, although it does not go into great detail. Sometimes a bit of information about the city is included before giving information on the cathedral itself. If the city or cathedral has been featured on TV (such as Dr. Who) or on film (such as Harry Potter) that information has been included. After the cathedral information, the author first talks about the coffee shop(s) and then the tea room(s). The entries typically tell a little about where the coffee is acquired, how many varieties of tea are offered, types of cakes or baked goods offered, and maybe a bit more. I've always heard that one had difficulty locating a decent cup of coffee in England, but this book makes it seem as though a good cup of tea is more difficult to find. It seemed there were a lot of places where one or more coffee shops were listed and the author had no tea rooms to recommend or where the tea room had recently closed. I only recall one instance of a coffee shop having recently closed in the narrative.  There were several tea rooms which only offered tea of the bagged variety. The writing was very informal and did not follow the practices of good grammar. It's a fun take on a travel book, but the shear number of places that had recently closed illustrates how quickly the guide becomes dated, making it a non-essential purchase for most. I received an e-galley through NetGalley from the publisher with the expectation that a review would be written.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

I Had It Wrong

For years I had something in my genealogical database that was completely wrong. It was something I'd put in there in the early years of my research and something I had not gone back and revisited as I gained genealogical expertise. In fact, it's a line I haven't touched in many years. All of that changed earlier this week. I've spent time this week correcting incorrect linkages in my main genealogical database. I still have to update the database with the correct database, but it's written down so that I can do so. I'm glad that I'm forcing myself to manually update my database because by doing so, a couple of new discoveries and my more experienced eye to review the old data have led me to discover that my old research was flawed.

My maternal grandmother was the daughter of Dock Hans Hester and his wife Mary Ann Harris. She had a sister, Georgia A. Hester. According to my mom's memory, she was married multiple times. She thought two of the marriages were to persons with the surname Shumpert (or Schumpert) and that once it was to another Hester. Mom told me that when she died that she had left two small children and that the paternal grandmother had come from Texas to take the children to visit for a couple of months and had never returned the children. I knew from old letters my grandmother had from Georgia's daughter that her name was Willie Maude. Those letters were something that we got rid of when we emptied Nanny's house for her to move into town when I was a child. Those letters are something I wish we still had in the family because I'm sure I'd learn lots with my genealogical eye. They are not something we still have though. I'm certain that her handwriting was quite readable because I was able to read and enjoy those letters at a pretty young age. They were kept in a box in the "attic," which was really more of a full-sized room under the roof with some additional spaces for storage on either side of the stairs. As a child, I loved playing in that attic, which had a bed and other furniture in it.

Now, let me get back Georgia and her marriages. I must first confess that I don't have the marriage record volumes and page numbers from those records I was able to locate, but I did copy them from the Monroe County marriage record books in the county circuit clerk's office. I'll have to upgrade my documentation the next time I visit there now that I see I've got some holes in my citations. I do, however, have copies of two of the marriages. I located the marriage to J. O. Hester. The marriage license was issued on 24 July 1906, and the marriage took place the next day on 25 July 1906. It was performed by J. C. Blanton, Minister of the Gospel. It was filed with the circuit clerk on 8 Aug 1906. The second marriage was to J. A. Shumpert. The marriage license was obtained 1 September 1913. The marriage took place the next day, 2 September 1913 and was performed by Rev. Oscar Petty. It was recorded 5 September 1913.

Where I have been incorrect lies in who the J. O. Hester was. For years, I thought he was the son of Jesse W. Hester and Susan Elizabeth Gray who lived nearby. The problem was that he wasn't J. O. He was J. D., and I really don't know what I was thinking, because I even had a note that an alternate name was J. D. when I had him incorrectly attached as Georgia's husband. My error was discovered when I found Willie Maude in the 1920 census in South Groveton, Trinity, Texas, residing with an uncle and aunt.(1) As hard as I tried, I could not make this Nat J. fit into either Dock's family or into Jesse and Susan's family. I knew it was time to give that guy back the name J. D. instead of J. O. and unlink him from his marriage to Georgia. I looked back and could not immediately locate any other options for J. O. in all of my Hester data so I knew it was time to keep looking. I began to turn my attention to Georgia's brother Eddie. Here again, I'd found an Eddie Hester who appeared to have been born about the right time and added him as the Eddie with only a note that I may have the wrong Eddie. As I began to look at the data on that particular Eddie, it wasn't matching quite fitting. When I looked at my notes on the individual more closely, I saw a note that his name may have been Jim Ed. That's when I got on the track of a James Edward "Jimmie" that did fit my information. Why Mom knew him as Eddie, I'm not certain, but James Edward does fit my person perfectly.

I first found him in the 1920 census living with an uncle and aunt, Marvin F. and Minnie Remmington.(2) As I moved forward, I found him residing with again in 1930.(3) I realized that I had never found Maude and Eddie in the 1910 census so I went back and found them in an area not too distant from my Hester family but probably just enough north that I never searched for them in that country.(4) This is the first time I'd actually located Georgia with one of her husbands. As I began to search my database for a Minnie Hester, I found nothing, but when I searched Mississippi's 1880 census, I came up with a match for a William A. Hester family.(5) This William A. Hester is the son of James Hester and Jane Hunt.(6) There are several Hester families within a couple of pages of one another there. John Hester is family 455; this William Hester is family 458; J. H. (John H.) Hester is family 459. John H. is the father of Dock Hans Hester and grandfather of Georgia. John Hester is the father of the Jesse Hester that had been previously mentioned. It seems likely that all three families are related since they lived in close proximity to one another and since they seem to have followed the same migration pattern.

Let's get back to William. William appears to have first married Emily White.(7) Then he married what is presumably her sister, Elizabeth A.(8) The 1880 census listed four children of William A. and Elizabeth: Sarah (age 12), Jefferson (age 10), James (age 7), and Minie (age 1). Willie Maude was living with Nat J. who is presumably Jefferson. The age is correct. Jimmie (aka Eddie) is living with Minnie. James is Georgia's husband J. O. However, I've got one other piece of evidence to complete the picture of this being the correct family. In 1910, Elizabeth (E. A.) is living with Sallie (or Sarah).(9) She continues to reside with them in 1920.(10) Sallie is widowed by 1930, but her 87-year-old mother is still living with her.(11)

There is still much work to be done to correct all the wrong information and to continue working with the new information I have. For one thing, I need to locate the marriage records of William and Elizabeth's children. There are pieces of citations from long ago that are missing because as an inexperienced researcher years ago, I failed to note marriage record books and pages on my photocopies. There are new records to be discovered. There is a lot of information to be recorded in my database and to be written up in a narrative form.


(1) 1920 U.S. Federal Census, Trinity County, Texas, population schedule, South Groveton, SD 7, ED 141, p. 17 (stamped, sheet 17A-B (written), Nat J. Hester household, dwelling 96, family 96, lines 48-53; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : 2 July 2013); citing NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 1853.

(2) 1920 U.S. Federal Census, Tarrant County, Texas, population schedule, Polytechnic, SD 12, ED 91, p. 290 (stamped), sheet 3A (written), Marvin F. Remmington household, dwelling 43, family 54, lines 16-22; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : 3 July 2013); citing NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 1848.

(3) 1930 U.S. Federal Census, Tarrant County, Texas, population schedule, Fort Worth, SD 9, ED 78, p. 275 (stamped), sheet 28A (written), Marvin F. Remmington household, dwelling 183, family 254, lines 13-16; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : 3 July 2013); citing NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 2396.

(4) 1910 U.S. Federal Census, Prentiss County, Mississippi, population schedule, Baldwyn, SD 1, ED 110, p. 3 (stamped), sheet 3B (written), Jim Hester household, dwelling 61, family 61, lines 82-85; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : 3 July 2013); citing NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 757.

(5) 1880 U.S. Federal Census, Itawamba County, Mississippi, population schedule, SD 3, ED 71, p. 456B (stamped), sheet 10B (written), William A. Hester household, dwelling 32, family 32, lines 29-34; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : 3 July 2013); citing NARA microfilm publication T9, roll 650.

(6) 1850 U.S. Federal Census, Itawamba County, Mississippi, population schedule, District 6, p. 335B (stamped), sheet 670 (written), James Hester household, dwelling 458, family 465, lines 29-41; NARA microfilm publication M432, roll 373.

(7) Cruber, Betty Ann Burton, The Marriage Records of Itawamba County, Mississippi, 1837-1866 with Heads of Families, 1840 Federal Census. (Memphis, Tenn.: Milestone Press, 1973.), p. 38; citing marriage book 5, p. 109.

(8) Mississippi Marriages, 1776-1935, online database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : 3 July 2013), entry for W. A. Hester and E. A. White, 21 Dec 1865.

(9) 1910 U.S. Federal Census, Anderson County, Texas, population schedule, Palestine Ward 4, SD 7, ED 10, p. 139 (stamped), sheet 9A (written), James Knight household, dwelling 179, family 181, lines 28-42; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : 3 July 2013); citing NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 1527.

(10) 1920 U.S. Federal Census, Anderson County, Texas, population schedule, Palestine Ward 2, SD 7, ED 7, p. 86 (stamped), sheet 6A (written), Jim H. Knight household, dwelling 406, family 120, lines 6-12; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : 3 July 2013); citing NARA microfilm publciation T625, roll 1772.

(11) 1930 U.S. Federal Census, Anderson County, Texas, population schedule, Palestine Ward 4, SD 18, ED 7, p. 93 (stamped), sheet 1B (written), Sallie B. Knight household, dwelling 13, family 20, lines 66-69; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : 3 July 2013); citing NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 2287.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

A Murder in Passing

De Castrique, Mark. A Murder in Passing. Scottsdale, Ariz.: Poisoned Pen Press, 2013.

Sam and Nakayla are mushroom hunting on the site of the former Kingdom of the Happy Land along the North Carolina/South Carolina border when Sam comes across a body in a log. While the body is across the South Carolina line, the decision to jointly investigate is made by authorities because the easiest access is from the North Carolina side and because it was possible that the victim, murderer, or both could be from North Carolina. When an elderly black woman with a secret to hide is jailed for the murder, Sam and Nakayla are convinced of her innocence. Who could the murderer be? Is s/he still alive? A great read in what is quickly becoming one of my favorite series. The "Kingdom" is a fascinating setting that isn't that far from me about which I was unaware. It's private property as is explained both in the fictional setting and acknowledgements of the book. According to a web site, it is currently for sale. I truly hope that someone with an eye to its role in history will purchase it with an eye to making its significance more widely known. This review is based on an uncorrected e-galley proof received by the publisher through NetGalley.

Monday, July 01, 2013

The Amish Canning Cookbook

Varozza, Georgia. The Amish Canning Cookbook: Plain and Simple Living at Its Homemade Best. Eugene, Ore.: Harvest House Publishers, 2013.

In simple language, the author tells newcomers to canning how to get started canning fruits, vegetables, and meats and provides recipes for users to follow. There are introductory chapters giving an overview and providing lists of tools needed to begin canning as well as chapters dealing with the canning of specific product types. She includes waterbath canning as well as pressure canning. The author includes information on adjusting times and pressures based on altitude. She also provides useful information to those who may not keep up with FDA recommendations. Apparently it is not always safe to do what your mother or grandmother did because certain techniques used in the past are no longer FDA approved. For example, an additional acid such as lemon juice or vinegar may need to be added when canning tomatoes. The word "Amish" in this title appears to be more of a marketing ploy than authenticity since many of the recipes have been altered to conform to FDA recommendations. While the author makes a statement late in the book about having a simple background, there are no statements that lead me to believe any of these recipes came from an Amish person's home. I received an advance "for review purposes only" e-galley from the publisher through NetGalley. I am unable to comment on photographs because they were unavailable to me.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

It's Fun to Stay at the Y. M. C. A.

If you grew up during the 1970s, you are probably like me, the first thing you think of when you hear the acronym Y. M. C. A. is the song by the Village People. Yesterday, I was checking on information for a person who married into our family and discovered he was in a building whose "roomers" extended for pages and pages in the 1920 census for Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee.(1) When I began to investigate the address, 245 Madison, I discovered it was the Y. M. C. A. I'm not exactly sure what the building would have been like inside in 1920.  I had posted a query in the Tennessee Genealogical Society's Facebook group asking if anyone knew what was at that address in 1920 only a minute or two before I found the information on my own. If I'd been more observant, I would have seen Y. M. C. A. mentioned in the description at the top of the pages by the enumerator. There's even a note that there was no "head" there because the secretary of the "Y" lived "out in town." In spite of the fact that I answered my own question, several other people posted comments about the building's history. Cindy Rodgers found a link that describes several historic buildings in Memphis including the Y. The top floors of the building have now been turned into loft-style apartments. Some of them such as this one offered for sale don't appear to be in the best of shape, but it does give one a sense of some of the architecture in the building. Others for sale, such as this one, appear to have a great view of the baseball field. There's a history of the Memphis Y available at their web site.

This is not the first time I've run across a family member/connection in a Y. I once located a distant Lantz relative in a Y. M. C. A. in Newport, Rhode Island. As in the case above, the year was 1920. In this case, John P. Lantz, the son of Samuel Lantz and Sarah Zook, was the General Secretary of the Y. M. C. A.(2)

According to the YMCA's web site,  the Y. M. C. A. was founded by George Williams in London in 1844. I found it interesting that the first "Y" for college students in the United States was at Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee in 1856. I guess that there's more to Lebanon than Cracker Barrel. The Y in Cincinnati, Ohio (another city where I've lived) was the first to offer ESL (English as a Second Language) classes in that same year. They offered them to the German immigrants. Sometime in the 1860s, they began to offer affordable housing to farm lads who were moving to the "big city" and needed a safe place to live. If the web site is any indication, the rooms in these facilities were similar to hotel rooms. [You can read more about the history of their services at the link at the beginning of this paragraph.]

It is obvious from the large number of persons residing in the Memphis "Y" in 1920 that the facilities met a need. The young man I was following had indeed left a rural place some 450 miles distant. He fit the demographic of the persons to whom that housing was targeted.

Was it fun to stay at the Y. M. C. A.? I guess the approximately 250 young men residing at the one in Memphis in 1920 could tell you a definitive answer to that question. In the mean time, I'll just always think of it as a place where "You can get yourself clean; you can have a good meal."(3)

(1) 1920 U.S. Federal Census, Shelby County, Tennessee, population schedule, Memphis, Ward 4, SD 10, ED 83, p. 89 (stamped), sheet 5A (written), entry for O. W. McClure, dwelling 29, line 48; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : 29 June 2013); citing NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 1763. The enumeration of the YMCA begins on page 4A and continues through page 6B.

(2) 1920 U.S. Federal Census., Newport County, Rhode Island, population schedule, Newport Town, ED 52, sheet 17A (written), John P. Lantz household, dwelling 261, family 256, line 44; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : 4 Jan 2003); citing NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 1670.

(3) "Y. M. C. A.", from Village People, Cruisin' (New York: Casablanca, 1978), lyrics by Henri Belolo, Jacques Morali, and Victor Willis.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Thoughts on Research and Sensitive Information

During the past week, I've uncovered a couple of family stories involving persons who married into the family which may have been sensitive. In one case, I chose to publish the results to the blog. No children of that person remained alive. I was hoping to find the story of his first family from their descendants. In the second case, the children of the person was alive, and I saw no reason to publish the information to receive additional leads. I've verified the information that I found shocking although there are still a couple of records I can obtain which are not available digitally which may further tell the story.

I think I've questioned myself a half-million times about whether or not I did the right thing in the first case, but I'm fairly comfortable with my decision. It's probably the only chance I have of making contact with descendents.

In the second case, I'm also very comfortable with my decision to not tell the story. I have written it up with documentation for the individual's children. It will also rest in my genealogy software. It's up to his children to tell the story publicly if they so desire.

Have you uncovered sensitive information such as this in your own research? How did you handle it?

Friday, June 28, 2013

Abe's Widow Vivian

One of my grandfather's brothers was a schoolteacher. Abraham Lowden Lantz, Jr. first taught at the Amish School (sometimes called the Lantz School) near Gibson, Monroe County, Mississippi. The Amish settlement there lasted only from about 1896 to 1907. Abe is no longer living with the family by the 1910 census, and I've been unable to locate him using a variety of strategies in that census. His father deeded him land 27 Dec 1909(1) which he sold on 21 Apr 1914.(2)  He married Anna Vivian Anderson in Waco, McLennan, Texas on 25 June 1914(3) only a short time after selling the land, and my mother believed he met her in Arkansas or Texas. Abe died during the influenza epidemic of 1918 on 8 Oct 1918.(4) I should probably add that the order of her name is uncertain. In the 1900 census, she is called Anna V. and her date of birth is given as June 1887,(5) and it is based upon this census that I have derived the name order. In the 1910 census, which is prior to her marriage, she is called Vivian A.(6) In most records after her marriage, she is called Vivian A., but the "A" in those cases likely refers to her maiden name.

I wanted to discover what had happened to his widow. Mom thought she'd heard that she'd moved to New York to be near family, but when I began researching, I discovered that she was living with her mother Nannie C. Anderson in Denver, Colorado at 1580 Detroit.(7) A quick check of city directories shows that Vivian is present in the 1920 through 1923 directories and is missing in the 1924 one, although her mother remains at that address.(8) I have been unable to locate her after this time. I assume that she probably got married in either 1923 or 1924; however, I've been unable to locate Denver County marriage indexes or images from this time period online. Attempts to creatively locate her using various strategies have failed. It appears that Colorado marriages, specifically Denver County ones, from that period have not been microfilmed so as to be available at the Family History Library and in Family History Centers. I've even tried searching the SSDI with Vivian as the name and June 1887 as the birth date without any prospects that continue to look promising after brief follow-ups. I guess I'll eventually have to make a trip to Colorado if I'm to solve this mystery.

(1)  Monroe County, Mississippi, Deed Record, Book 73, p. 139. The land is described as: Beginning at the North East Corner of Section (33) Thirty three and of Township (14) Fourteen of Range (6) six East thence south with said Section line 35 chains and 28 Links to a stake, Thence due West seven chains and seventy links to a stake, thence north 5 chains and sixty five Links to a stake, thence West 21 chains and 35 Links to a stake, thence North 29 chains and 63 Links to a stake on the section line, thence East along section line 27 chains to beginning point, containing eighty four and 34/00 acres (84 34/00) more or less. And intended and shall convey the land bought of Eli Yoder see Book 58 page 410 for Deed of said Yoder to said Lantz to which reference is here made.

(2) Monroe County, Mississippi, Deed Record, Book 76, p. 374.

(3) "Texas, Marriages, 1837-1973," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/FXSM-V2W : accessed 28 Jun 2013), A. L. Lantz and Vivian Anderson, 25 Jun 1914.

(4) Abe Lowden Lantz tombstone, State Line Cemetery, Texarkana, Ark. (Photographed by Allen Lantz (104 St. Augustine Dr., Long Beach, MS 39560), April 2002. Also visited and photographed by Lori Thornton, 21 May 2002.).

(5) 1900 U.S. Federal Census, HenryCounty, Missouri, population schedule, Bogard Twp., Blairstown Village, SD 6, ED 76,  p.33 (stamped), Francis H. Anderson household, dwelling 26, family 26; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : about 2002); citing NARA micropublication T623, roll 858.

(6) 1910 U S. Federal Census, Young County, Texas, population schedule, Graham, Pct 1, North Ward, SD 13, ED 266, p. 137 (stamped), sheet 2B (written), Nannie C. Anderson household, dwelling 29, family 29; digital image, Heritage Quest (http://www.heritagequest.com : about 2002); citing NARA micropublication T624, roll 1595.

(7) 1920 U. S. Federal Census, Denver County, Colorado, population schedule, Denver, SD 1, ED 241, sheet 4A (written), Frank L. Mosher household, 1580 Detroit St., dwelling 83, family 88; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed about 2002); citing NARA micropublication T625, roll 162.

(8) U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989, digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : 27 Sep 2013); Denver, Colorado, City Directory, 1920, entry for Mrs. Vivian Anderson Lantz, p. 1401; Denver, Colorado, City Directory, 1921, entry for Mrs. Vivian Lantz, p. 1328 and for Vivian A. Lands, p. 1324; Denver, Colorado, City Directory, 1922, entry for Mrs. Vivian A. Lantz, p. 1388; Denver, Colorado, City Directory, 1923, entry for Vivian A. Lantz, p. 1423; Denver, Colorado, City Directory, 1924, entry for Nannie C. Anderson, p. 539.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Shocking Discovery

Have you ever made a discovery that really surprised you? I did that yesterday as I was researching one of my grandfather's sisters yesterday. What was the shocking discovery? That her husband had been previously married and divorced. Obviously our family did a good job covering up that bit of information. I honestly don't believe that my Mom ever knew it. She never mentioned it, and she wasn't the type to hold back information. In fact, she would often tell me stuff she knew other people in the family sometimes wanted to cover up. Since Mom is gone, I decided to call my Dad to see what he knew about the situation. I shocked him too. He also believes Mom never knew anything about it.

Emma Lantz was born 10 Feb 1881 in McLean County, Illinois. The family moved to Monroe County, Mississippi in 1896 with an Amish settlement. My great-grandfather Abraham Lantz had left the Amish church and had married a Methodist woman, Laura Lucy Taylor. The attended the Christian Church in their community and continued to worship with the Christian Church after moving to Mississippi. However, it is apparent that he maintained ties with the Amish as he came to Mississippi with the failed settlement in Gibson, Monroe County, Mississippi. His son Abe actually taught in the Amish school. It is frequently referred to as the Lantz School in county histories. Emma married Harry Eugene Hosmer (born 1871 in LaSalle County, Wisconsin) on 23 Aug 1905 in Monroe County, Mississippi.(1) I knew that they had lived in Telfair County, Georgia, and I had at least one of the census records for them before yesterday. It was a systematic review of my data that made me realize that this was not his first marriage.

It was the 1910 census(2) that tipped me off:

Hosmer, Hary E., head, M, W, 38, M2, 4, Wisc., NY, NY, machinist
--, Irma M., wife, F, W, 28, M1, Ill., Pa., Pa.
--, John E., son, M, W, 11, --, MS, MS, MS

That was a bit inconclusive. Why did it say John's father was born in Mississippi while Harry was born in Wisconsin? Emma's name was incorrect, as well as the locations where her parents were born. (Her father was born in Ohio, and her mother was born in Illinois. Her paternal grandparents, however, were both born in Pennsylvania.) Was John perhaps adopted? However, Harry had definitely been married previously according to this census.

I decided to keep following the family through on the census before backing up to find his first marriage. The 1920 census revealed a brother, DeWit C. Hosmer, living with Harry & Emma in Helena, Telfair County, Georgia.(3)

I found Harry and Emma living in Miami, Florida according to the 1925 and 1928 Miami City Directories.(4)(5) He was in the grocery business at the time. Incidentally, there is also a Eugene in the 1925 directory who is a carpenter. [This will be important later.]

By 1930, they are back in Telfair County, Georgia, just outside of Helena, where they are residing with and working for William N. Barrows on his farm.(6) [Their ages are drastically incorrect in this census, but it has to be them.]

It took me awhile to locate them in the 1940 census, but I finally located them at 227 College Avenue in Douglas, Coffee County, Georgia, where Emma is listed as head of household and Harry is "absent."(7) They apparently lived in Eastman, Dodge County, Georgia in 1935.

It was now time to go back and find an earlier marriage for Harry. I found it in Clay County, Mississippi, which is adjacent to Monroe County. In fact, the part of Monroe County in which Emma Lantz, his second wife, lived is almost adjacent to the Clay County line so this was not a surprising place. He married "Essia Coleson" on 20 Feb 1898 there.(8) Her name appears to have actually been Essie, so this was likely a transcription error in the database. One other comment about the database is that I would not be surprised if this is not the date that the certificate was issued rather than the date of the actual marriage. I need to either go to the courthouse in West Point or have my nephew who lives in West Point do that for me to obtain a copy from the marriage books. I have been unable to locate Harry, Essie, and John in the 1900 census.

Since John E. was living with his father and step-mother, I wanted to assume that Harry was a widower when he married Emma, but I know we can never assume anything so I began to search for Essie Coleson's name.

My first piece of information came via the American Genealogical and Biographical Index (AGBI). I found an entry referring to a 1916 family history which I was able to locate full-text online. The entry for Harry Eugene Hosmer reads:

Harry Eugene Hosmer, b. Oct. 28, 1871; resides in Birmingham, Ala. Married at West Point, Miss., Feb. 20, 1898, Essie M. Coleson, b. Jan. 8, 1881. Children, b. at West Point: 1. John Eugene, b. Apr. 12, 1899; 2. Hazel Nellie, b. Mar. 17, 1901.(9)

Let's analyze this. Harry was living in Birmingham, Alabama, at the time the information for the book was collected. This was a location which I did not previously have. The information was presumably collected before August 1905 since Harry married Emma Lantz then, and she would have appeared in the narrative. If the information was collected after August 1905, the submitter did not know about Harry's second marriage. Harry and Essie had a second child that I had not found in censuses with Harry. There is no indication that Essie died in childbirth or that Hazel Nellie is deceased. It's now time to see if I can find Essie and Hazel in other censuses.

I was able to find them in the 1920 census where they are living in a boardinghouse type of establishment in ward 20 of St. Louis, Missouri. The head of the household is Clarence Greenlaw. There is a rather long list of boarders, both male and female, and from a variety of occupations in the household.

Hosmer, Hazel, lodger, F, W, 18, S, MS, WI, IL, waitress, hospital
Hosmer, Essie, lodger, F, W, 39, D, IL, IL, IL, trainer, millinery(10)

Until I discovered this entry, I did not know for sure whether Essie may have died before 1905 or if she and Harry had divorced. I did not know for certain that Hazel had survived childhood.

I began to try to find them in the 1910 census and failed. I decided to try some of the online trees for clues. A few of them provided an undocumented claim that Essie (aka Esther Mills Coleson) married Eugene Hollingsworth on 8 May 1905 in Dallas, Tarrant County, Texas. I continued to try to locate Essie and Hazel with this new surname in the 1910 census, but I have come up empty thus far in my efforts. I have not located an online indexed record to support the marriage date in Dallas, but I have also not looked beyond the basic indexes available at Ancestry.com and FamilySearch, so there may be some others out there. What is interesting is that Essie must have divorced a second time and began using the Hosmer surname again before 1920. It may have been easier for her to use her to bear the same last name as her daughter.

Another interesting thing is that John E. Hosmer seems to transform into Harry E. Hosmer, Jr. In 1920, he is boarding at 1907 Reynolds Street in Brunswick, Glynn County, Georgia with a Peerson family. His occupation is listed as a pipe fitter with the oil refinery.(11)

By 1930, he is married and still living in Glynn County.(12)

Hosmer, Harry E., head, O, 1500, M, W, 30, M, 24, Miss., Wisc., Wisc., carpenter-house
--, Lola C., wife-H, F, W, 27, M, 21, Ga., Ga., Ga., none
--, Constance E., dau, F, W, 5, S, Fla., Miss., Ga., none
--, Harry E., III, son, M, W, 3/12, S, Ga., Miss., Ga., none
Holtzendorff, Betty G. T., mother-in-law, F, W, 70, wd, 18, Ga., Ga., Ga., none

The fact that a daughter was born in Florida around 1924 or 1925 supports him being the Eugene living in Miami, Florida in 1925.

I have not continued to follow Harry E., Jr., except to locate multiple sources to verify his death on 21 Dec 1973 in Glynn County, Georgia(13) and burial in the Palmetto Cemetery in Brunswick in that county.(14)

I would love to know what happened to Harry's first wife Essie and to his daughter Hazel. I'm simply fascinated with the story because it was an untold story in our family, even though it only concerned my mom's uncle by marriage. Divorce was not as common prior to 1905. Knowing our family, I'm surprised that Emma would have married a divorced man. There also appears to be a second divorce for Essie (if I can verify that 1905 marriage in Texas).

I've got additional work to do on this, but it certainly got my attention.

Disclaimer: I do not pretend that these citations all follow Evidence Explained exactly. They are close and were mostly done off the top of my head rather than by checking the manual which I would have done for a more formal report.

(1) Monroe County Mississippi Marriages (1821-1921). (s.l.: s.n, n.d.), Vol. 2, p. 341. Note: A copy of the marriage record from the circuit clerk's marriage books is in my possession. I need to dig it out and enter it in my software.

(2) 1910 U.S. Federal Census, Telfair County, Georgia, population schedule, Helena, SD 11, ED 164, p. 269 (stamped), sheet 4B (written), Hary E. Hosmer household, dwelling 72, family 72, lines 95-97; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : 26 Jun 2013); citing NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 212.

(3) 1920 U.S. Federal Census, Telfair County, Georgia, population schedule, Helena, SD 12, ED 114, p. 273 (stamped), sheet 9B (written), Harry E. Hosmer household, dwelling 195, family 213, lines 86-88; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : 26 Jun 2013); citing NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 278.

(4) Miami, Florida City Directory, 1925, p. 616, entry for Harry E. Hosmer, U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : 26 Jun 2013).

(5) Miami, Florida City Directory, 1928, p. 471, entry for Harry E. Hosmer, U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : 26 Jun 2013).

(6) 1930 U.S. Federal Census, Telfair County, Georgia, population schedule, Militia District 1530 outside Helena town, SD 11, ED 17, p. 136 (stamped), sheet 1B (written), William N. Barrows and Harry E. Hosmer households, dwelling 22, families 22 and 23, lines 91-94; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : 26 Jun 2013); citing NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 386.

(7) 1940 U.S. Federal Census, Coffee County, Georgia, population schedule, Douglas, Twp. 148, Ward 3, Block 130, SD 8, ED 34-4, p. 50 (stamped), sheet 1A (written), Emma Hosmer household, visit 11, lines 34-35; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : 26 Jun 2013); citing NARA microfilm publication T627, roll 659.

(8) Mississippi Marriages, 1776-1935, database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : 26 Jun 2013), entry for H. E. Hosmer and Essia Coleson.

(9) Cleveland Abbe and Josephine Genung Nichols, Abbe-Abbey Genealogy in Memory of John Abbe and His Descendants (New Haven, Conn.: Tuttle, Morehouse, and Taylor Co., 1916), p. 262; digital image, Open Library (http://openlibrary.org/books/OL7113056M/Abbe-Abbey_genealogy : 26 Jun 2013).

(10) 1920 U.S. Federal Census, St. Louis (Independent City), Missouri, population schedule, Ward 20, SD 183, ED 391, p. 36 (stamped), sheet 15A (written), entries for Hazel and Essie Hosmer, dwelling 262, family 247, lines 29-30; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : 26 Jun 2013); citing NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 957.

(11) 1920 U.S. Federal Census, Glynn County, Georgia, population schedule, Brunswick, Ward 3, SD 11, ED 92, p. 117 (stamped), sheet 13B (written), entry for Harry E. Hosmer, dwelling 275, family 321, line 71; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : 26 Jun 2013); citing NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 259.

(12) 1930 U.S. Federal Census, Glynn County, Georgia, population schedule, militia district 25, SD 16, ED 2, p. 10 (stamped), sheet 9A (written), Harry E. Hosmer household, dwelling 189, family 197, lines 29-33; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : 26 Jun 2013); citing NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 366.

(13) Find A Grave, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 26 Jun 2013), memorial page for Harry Eugene Hosmer, Jr. (1899-1973), Find a Grave Memorial no. 35558036, citing Palmetto Cemetery, Brunswick, Glynn County, Georgia; created by David Woody, 5 April 2009; also Social Security Death Index, database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : 26 Jun 2013), entry for Harry Hosmer, no. 257-03-6557; also Georgia Deaths, 1919-98, database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : 26 Jun 2013), entry for Harry E. Hosmer, certificate no. 042627; citing State of Georgia, Indexes of Vital Records for Georgia: Deaths, 1919-1998 (Atlanta, Ga.: Georgia Health Dept., Office of Vital Records, 1998).

(14) Find A Grave, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 26 Jun 2013), memorial page for Harry Eugene Hosmer, Jr. (1899-1973), Find a Grave Memorial no. 35558036, citing Palmetto Cemetery, Brunswick, Glynn County, Georgia; created by David Woody, 5 April 2009.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Brick Wall: Thomas Duke

Today's blog post is about one of my brick wall ancestors. It's also a product of the beginnings of a review of the information I have on this family. I have noted in here gaps in my database because of old software and never going back systematically to review information as well as changes in my research methodology from a genealogical newbie to more recent years. Some of my comments are in the footnotes.

Thomas Duke was born 3 May 1828 in Virginia according to his tombstone which was is located in Greenbriar Cemetery in Becker, Monroe County, Mississippi. According to family tradition, he was the son of Benjamin Duke and his wife ______ Parker. He is said to have been orphaned when he came to Monroe County, Mississippi, allegedly with a Knowles family. There are family stories which indicate he spent some time working with the tobacco industry in North Carolina before coming to Mississippi. He served for the Confederacy in the Monroe Guards. His widow Malinda applied for a pension in 1900 from the state of Mississippi. (1) He married Nancy Malinda Allred 15 Aug 1867 in Monroe County, Mississippi.(2) (The original tombstone reads "Thomas Duke & wife. In the years since I first began doing genealogy, a cousin has erected a second tombstone which has her name as "Nora Malinda Allred Duke Rogers"; however, I have come across absolutely no evidence that her name was Nora. She went by the name Malinda. The 1910 U.S. Federal Census shows her name as "Nancy M."(3)  An article by a member of the Rogers family indicates her name was Nancy Melinda Duke, a widow, when she married John Rogers after Thomas' death.(4) I have contacted this cousin, who also wrote an article which appears in Monroe County: A Pictorial History using the name "Nora," asking her for her source for the name Nora. I have received no response.) Allegedly, his oldest daughter, my great grandmother Berniece Estelle "Bennie" Duke was named in honor of his father, Benjamin. That is why she was called Bennie. His oldest son was James Parker Duke. The James came from Nancy's father James. The Parker is supposed to have been Thomas' mother's maiden name. Although I'll leave the documentation of these persons for possible future blog posts, the children of Thomas and Malinda are:

1. Berniece Estelle "Bennie" Duke (Jul 1868-15 Jun 1949); married Andrew Capus "Cape" Thornton
2. Martha Virginia "Virgie" Duke (16 Dec 1870-17 Jan 1956); married William Richmond Moss
3. James Parker "Jim" Duke (12 Feb 1873-1 Sep 1971); married Electa Bristoe/Bristol
4. Joseph Thomas "Joe" Duke (3 Jan 1876-6 Jul 1960); married Mary Catherine Conwill
5. Myrtis Duke (9 Jul 1883-24 Mar 1976); married Egburt Green Betts, Jr.

Thomas Duke died 18 May 1894 in Monroe County, Mississippi (according to his tombstone).

Needless to say I have not yet performed a reasonably exhaustive search for Thomas' parents. I need to get the Confederate Pension application file as I have only the index. I may have it somewhere in a folder or in a notebook, but it's not in my database. Searching all of Virginia and North Carolina will be a major task.  I'm hoping that some of the wonderful online resources we now have may prove helpful in this search. Years ago I did find a Benjamin Duke in Nansemond County, Virginia who was living at the right time to have been Thomas' father, and there were Parker families in the area. I have not yet located any records showing Thomas was placed under anyone's care as an orphan in Virginia or North Carolina, but I have only researched in a few counties (and some of those searches were done before I completely documented where I had searched, although I may still have some notes of sources with check marks in that old Duke notebook that I need to dig out).

(1) Betty C. Wiltshire, Mississippi Confederate Pension Applications, A-G. (Carrollton, Miss.: Pioneer Pub. Co., n.d.), p. 250.

(2) Monroe County Mississippi Marriages (1821-1921). 4 vols. (s.l.: s.n, n.d.), Vol. 2, p. 149. Note: This is a name and date index of marriages in Monroe County that is held at the Evans Memorial Library in Aberdeen, Mississippi. I have a copy of the recorded marriage from the circuit clerk's marriage volumes in a notebook in a closet that I don't feel like digging out at the moment. I obviously need to add that better source to my genealogy database! I have a lot of gaps like that from my early research in my database because my original genealogy program only had 10 fixed-width lines for research notes, sources, or whatever one could cram into the space.

(3) 1910 U S. Federal Census, Itawamba County, Mississippi, population schedule, Beat 5, town of Fulton, SD 1, ED 20, sheet 2A (written), John Rogers household, dwelling 28, family 29; NARA micropublication T624, roll 743; Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : 4 Jan 2008).

(4) Elizabeth Roberts, "John Wesley Rogers Family," in Franks, Bob and Turner, Roy, eds., An Itawamba Sampler: A Researcher's Guide to Itawamba County, Mississippi (Mantachie, Miss.: Itawamba Historical Society, 1990), p. 19.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Perfect Peach

Masumoto, David Mas; Musumoto, Marcy; and Masumoto, Nikiko. The Perfect Peach: Recipes and Stories from the Masumoto Family Farm. New York: Ten Speed Press, 2013.

The Masumoto family owns a peach orchard in California. This book is a blend of family stories, stories about farm life, and recipes using peaches. The stories are almost poetic in places. The recipes are wide-ranging -- beverages, appetizers, salads, main courses, desserts, preservation, etc. Several of the non-alcoholic beverages looks like they would be very refreshing on a warm summer day. The Masumotos' passion for the peach is evident throughout the book, Photos are scattered throughout the volume, depicting not only the fruit, but also the family and farm. The stories in the book are worthwhile even if one doesn't want to make the dishes, but anyone who does take a look at the book is certain to find a few recipes worth trying. This review is based on an electronic galley provided through the publisher via NetGalley for review. It is hoped that the formatting issues in the galley will not be present in the final electronic version of the book. It's probably a book for which most would wish to own a physical copy anyway.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

On the naming of babies . . .

I have a new grand-nephew on the way in late summer. My nephew's wife made the announcement on Facebook the other day. I will say that the new one's middle name will be my nephew's first name. The baby's first name, however, is a curiosity. My best guess is that they are naming him "Sawyer" after country music star Sawyer Brown. However, the genealogist in me came up with another explanation. I decided they were using one of the baby's ancestor's occupations as the name. Little Sawyer's 5th great grandfather was enumerated as a sawyer in the 1850 census for Shelby County, Tennessee.

Realistically, I know that my nephew and his wife probably were unaware of this fact in their heritage. I can, however, assure you that they do know about it now. I will always think of James H. M. Allred and the heritage he left behind when I see little sawyer.

By the way, Allred did not remain a sawyer. He is listed as a mechanic and as a farmer in later censuses.

1850-1880 census citations for James Allred:

1850 U.S. federal census, Shelby County, Tennessee, population schedule, 10th civil district, p. 173 (stamped), James Allred, dwelling 1370, family 1370, line 15; NARA microfilm publication M432, roll 895.

1860 U.S. federal census., Fayette County, Alabama, population schedule, Eastern Division, p. 397 (stamped), J. H. M. Alred, dwelling 351, family 353, line 32; NARA microfilm publication M653, roll 9.

1870 U.S. federal census, Fayette County, Alabama, population schedule, Twp 15, Handy post office, p. 416 (stamped), sheet 5 (written), James Alread household, dwelling 38, family 38, line 33; NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 16.

1880 U.S. federal census, Fayette County, Alabama, population schedule, Twp 15, Clear Creek, SD 1, ED 78, p. 462B (stamped), sheet 8 (written), James H.M. Alred, dwelling not given, family 74, line 46; NARA microfilm publication T9, roll 13.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Of the Making of Many Webinars There Is No End

Genealogical webinars have proliferated in the past year or two. One can attend multiple webinars in a week; sometimes even on the same day. Recently I discovered that I had somehow managed to sign up for two webinars that were scheduled at the same time and was forced to choose between the two. (I actually think one of the webinars may have been rescheduled to the conflicting time slot.) Is all of this good? Or is it a distraction?

I have come to a conclusion that it is both. We need to learn as much as we can about genealogical research, but it becomes distracting when we overdo it and don't leave time to hone our skills to research.  In the old days, we set aside a week or two to attend genealogical conferences and/or institutes. We learned from the experts and went home to practice what we had learned the rest of the year.

In today's environment, we could attend so many webinars, listen to so many podcasts, spend so much time in Second Life or Google Plus with other genealogists that we would have little or no time to spend researching. Furthermore, I've been quite disappointed in several of the webinars that I've attended. I have often attended some on a topic such as a geographic region in which I've done little research. I expect to come away with some great tools and tips for researching in that area, some things that are unique to that area. The disappointment comes when the only things shown are resources that are the same as those available for other areas of the country. The presenter has completely failed to discuss any unique special collections, the state laws that may have influenced the records, etc. I'm frustrated because I've just attended a webinar that ran for 1.5 hours or more. It has been a total waste of my time.

We often decide to sign up based on the topic or description, without knowing the intended audience level. I'm grateful that APG has jumped into the webinar arena, offering some that are for those of us who are more advanced in research skills.

King Solomon must have felt something similar as he wrote sometime in the 900s B.C., "Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body." (Ecclesiastes 12:12b, NIV)

I believe that I get far more from a conference experience than from a webinar experience. When we attend a webinar, most of the time we are on mute. We hear the speaker, but it comes across as flat and one-dimensional because interaction is limited. I'm easily distracted, especially if a webinar is more basic than I had hoped, by other opportunities readily available to me on my computer -- Facebook, working on my own genealogy, reading blog feeds, checking out what others are reading on LibraryThing, etc. I am much more likely to pay attention in a more traditional setting. This is not to say that I will not be attending webinars at all. I'm just going to be much more selective in the future about which ones I decide to attend. The ones offered by APG will probably receive first consideration because they have consistently been useful. Others that incorporate case studies or promise to offer something to advanced researchers will also receive consideration.

At the recent NERGC held in Manchester, New Hampshire, I attended a session about Chinese genealogy. I've done very little Chinese research. I have read a book written in the 1980s as part of a series of ethnic genealogy how-tos for young adults written on the topic. I have also spent a little bit of time looking through census records of some of the Chinese who settled in the Mississippi Delta. However, I really knew very little on the topic. I knew that it would have fairly low attendance. There were a handful of us in the room, maybe 5 or 6. I suspected that none of us in the room had done very much with Chinese research. We were able to interact with the presenter during her lecture because of the small size of our group. It ended up being one of the best sessions I've attended recently from the standpoint of learning something that might be useful. Some of the things that came up in the course of the lecture are things that someone might not have thought to ask in the question and answer section at the end of a webinar.  Will I use what I learned at the session? Maybe; maybe not. I will have some notes that will assist me if I do have the opportunity to do so. If I did not have other projects and commitments, I'm certain that I would be finding one of those Mississippi families to try to research to try to develop that skill.

I know that I'll be receiving lots of "You missed your webinar" messages over the remainder of the year, but that is okay. I'm simply managing learning and research time in a better manner for me. Others may need to spend more time "learning." My approach requires having the funds necessary to make the trips. Those who cannot budget for this may need to spend more time in webinars. My only word of caution is that one should not spend so much time attending webinars that one neglects to spend time digging through records, documenting their finds, and writing the reports needed to discuss the evidence and provide proof for  conclusions.