Category Archives: Genealogy Blog Party

November 2022 Genealogy Blog Party: All Things November

The monthly theme for Elizabeth O’Neal’s Genealogy Blog Party is All Things November, which covers a broad spectrum, from family holidays to military to remembering those who have passed on, honored on Día de Los Muertos.

My topic choice for today is a combination of the suggestions – my grandfather’s first cousin, Charles Adams Chadwick. I’ve written about Charles in the past. I knew Charles and he was the single most important family member who encouraged my early interest in family history. Charles was also the keeper of many of the Adams family stories on the maternal side of my family tree.

Although Charles was my grandfather’s first cousin, he was a contemporary of my mother and my aunts, having been born in between the births of my Aunt Barbara and my mother on 20 January 1923.

Charles was the only child of Perce Chadwick and Vera Pearl Adams and I’m sure he was given Adams as his middle name to honor Aunt Pearl’s father, Calvin Adams.

Charles’s father died when Charles was only ten years old and Aunt Pearl never remarried. I understand she was never too keen for Charles to marry and leave her either, so Charles apparently broke off an engagement to a young lady from Calais, Washington, Maine.

However, being born in 1923, Charles was a prime candidate for service in World War II and that’s the piece of his life story I’d like to share today.

Rather than being drafted, Charles enlisted in the United States Navy and was sent to the U.S. Naval Training Center in Sampson, New York, where he was part of Company 54I.

From there, Charles was deployed to the Pacific Theater to the island of Guam, a U.S. Territory taken by Japan immediately following the Pearl Harbor attack, where he spent the last two years of the war.

Guam was actually under Japanese control until August 1944, so Charles might have been among the first Americans to arrive after liberation.

Charles saw no combat on Guam, but the island was strategically important as a Pacific supply center.


Ever the family historian, Charles saved war mementos and several items eventually came to my hands. Aside from the letter, I’ve actually donated the booklet and program to the World War II Museum in New Orleans.

First, there was a historical booklet created to document the war years on Guam and the work that the men did.

Next, the soldiers celebrated V-J Day on 2 September 1945, the official end to World War II after Japan surrendered.

I can’t find any estimate of the number of naval personnel assigned to the Supply Depot, but it was likely well into the hundreds, perhaps even a thousand, so their V-J Day celebration would have taken place outdoors. That certainly wouldn’t have dampened the mood of anyone, knowing that the war was finally over and that they’d be going home soon.

I’ve no idea how the U.S. Navy decided which men were to be assigned to the supply depot, rather than sent into combat. If any consideration was given to the men’s status, perhaps Charles was deployed there because he was an only child. May it was just coincidence.

However, on the program page on the far right, Captain Buernschmidt felt it necessary to comment on the non-combat status of his men:

His words were definitely spot on – how would the naval ships cope with combat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with no supply center within reach?

I am sure that Charles wrote many letters home to his mother, but only one has survived, V-Mail Valentine’s message to Aunt Pearl:

Dear Mother,

I haven’t had a chance to write lately, so thought I had better drop you a line to let you know that two more boxes have arrived, one with the can of fudge in it and one with my “birthday cake.” The cake is in perfect shape, but the fudge is a total loss, it having all melted into a rather sticky mass. Thanks for the reading material, but my locker is bulging with all the rest of the books, etc., that you sent which I haven’t had a chance to look at yet. All this must be pretty discouraging to you after going to all that trouble, but I do appreciate everything you have done and please keep on sending things, but no more soap, please!

I have a lot more responsibility than on the other job and while it is a step up, it is time-consuming so for tonight,

Love, Charles

Notice that Charles’ address was the San Francisco APO and, due to security, no mention was made of where he was stationed or what his jobs actually entailed.

I can only imagine how much soap Aunt Pearl must have been mailing off for Charles to say “no more soap, please!”

I never asked Charles, but I assume other than realizing that her son was somewhere in the Pacific, Aunt Pearl had no knowledge of his actual whereabouts until Charles was honorably discharged on 9 February 1946 and returned home to Calais, Maine.

It was his naval training that gave Charles direction in his future career. Notice that he was an Engineering Specialist Draftsman.

Charles later attended the University of Maine on the GI Bill and became a civil engineer.

I find it sad that Charles never married and had a family of his own. Aunt Pearl lived a long life, passing away in 1973, a few days after her 86th birthday, and Charles remained a dutiful son, caring for her in her old age.

However, Charles was a wonderful, thoughtful and generous person, encouraging me in my newfound genealogy obsession and choosing me to be the caretaker of all the old family photos and stories.

More importantly, on 11 November 2022, I’ll remember him as a member of The Greatest Generation.

 

October 2022 Genealogy Blog Party: Family History Month & RootsTech 2023

DISCLAIMER: I am an official promoter for RootsTech 2023.

This month’s theme for Elizabeth O’Neal’s October Genealogy Blog Party is Family History Month and it’s blogger’s choice.

Since I’m a retired teacher and fall represents the beginning of the new school year, education is always at the top of my list when the Tucson summer heat recedes and we head into our beautiful.

However, this year, coming out of the pandemic, we are also in a period of rampant inflation and rising prices. That means cutting back on some purchases to stay in budget.

Personal education, particularly in support of hobbies, is an area where cutbacks might easily be made. Soooo, how does FREE sound? It definitely fits everyone’s budget.

RootsTech, sponsored by FamilySearch, first launched in 2011, and it has grown with each succeeding yearly conference.

Until the pandemic descended on the world, RootsTech had always been strictly an in-person event. As travel restrictions and personal choices limited our ability to attend genealogy conferences, the RootsTech team stepped up and created a pretty incredible online conference, available around the world with sessions offered in multiple languages.

RootsTech 2023 has just been announced and it will be a hybrid event, held 2-4 March 2023. Live sessions with the ever popular Exhibit Hall will be held, as always, in Salt Lake City. Cost for attending in-person will be an extremely reasonable $98 per ticket with the Exhibit Hall free to everyone.

The virtual event will, as in the past, be completely free to attend.

If RootsTech 2023 isn’t happening until March, why am I promoting it in October? There are a couple of reasons.

First, if you’ve never attended RootsTech, either virtually or in person, now is the time to sample the conference.

Second, if you have attended a past virtual event and still have sessions in your queue to watch, consider this your official reminder!

Now is the time to visit RootsTech. You’ll need to sign in in the top right corner. If you don’t have an account, it will only take a minute to register for a new – FREE – account.

Note that you can actually register for RootsTech 2023 at this time!

Next, I find the easiest way to browse is by choosing ON DEMAND, also along the top right toolbar.

The next screen that opens will offer several choices:

Click on the Year tab and not one, not two, not three, but FOUR years of past RootsTech sessions are available to view from the comfort of home.

There are a number of ways to filter your search, all listed above the YEAR options.

I prefer the YEAR list because I can view sessions grouped by the conference at which they were presented. 2019, for example, has a limited list of 26 recorded sessions. Very manageable!

You might want to search for your favorite SPEAKERS, or to listen to completely new speakers whom you’ve never heard. That’s an option, too.

Want to learn more about a genealogy product? Check out the SPONSOR OR EXHIBITOR tab.

If you are bilingual, take a minute to review sessions offered in other LANGUAGES.

Searching by TOPIC, CONTENT TYPE and RESEARCH LOCATION is also possible.

Take some time to browse each of these categories to become familiar with how they are set up.

After you’ve browsed a bit, you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed. How in the world can we keep track of all these sessions? RootsTech has made that simple!

Let’s say that one of the sessions I want to watch, but don’t have time for at this moment, is Census Sense by Patti Gillespie, which is the first session in the above image.

Notice that there are two important items in the session description besides the title and speaker. The bottom right corner tells me that this session is 49 minutes and 1 second long. Good to know when I sit down to watch it.

The second really important item is what allows us to stay sane as the list of sessions that we want to watch gets longer and longer. See that little plus button in the top right corner of the session description? That adds the session to your personalized PLAYLIST so it isn’t necessary to continually going back to browsing to find the sessions that interest you the most.

If you click to add an item to your playlist and you’re not signed in to your RootsTech account, you will be prompted to sign in.

I’ve just added four sessions to my example list. Let’s say it’s now tomorrow and I want to watch those sessions.

See the little triangle icon in the right corner? That’s the button to display your playlist. I clicked and here are the four sessions I saved. Each has a large pink X in a circle. After I watch the session, I will click the X, which will remove it from my future play lost.

In this manner, I can add sessions, perhaps grouped by each year. As I watch them, I’ll click to remove the session and when no sessions are left in my 2019 playlist, I can create a new playlist of 2020 sessions.

Now that you know the simple ins and outs of navigating the RootsTech website, you need to do two things:

1. Register for RootsTech 2023.

2. Get busy and watch all those past sessions which interest you!

It’s fabulous FREE education for Family History Month!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 2022 Genealogy Blog Party: School Days

September, like Spring, brings a rebirth of sorts – the start of a new school year and Elizabeth O’Neal’s September Genealogy Blog Party’s theme reflects that: School Days.

I’ve blogged many times about my own school days and have written about education of other ancestors, too.

If you haven’t yet started down that path, be forewarned! Unless you or other family members already possess school records of children, parents, grandparents, etc., it might be impossible to obtain them now unless you are hunting for college records.

Why? I discovered many years ago that most school districts don’t have the storage capacity to retain paper records forever and they definitely don’t have the financial resources to digitize them.

As unhappy as I was to leave my beloved Passaic in the middle of 6th grade, the fact that I moved saved my school records. In college, I returned to my elementary school with the eyes of a teacher in training. I asked about getting copies of my “cum file” (cumulative file), but was told they were sent on to the high school. I mentioned that I moved before finishing 6th grade and was surprised to hear the secretary’s reply: Oh, in that case, your file is down in the basement storage!

I did receive copies of everything in my file, including images of my kindergarten readiness test! If I had not moved, my elementary school records would have been destroyed after I finished high school.

Passaic had a policy of retaining original records and sending photocopies on to the new receiving school when a student moved.

In either my old or new school district, my K-6 file would have been shredded by the time I made my school visit.

What school records can be found today? Whether or not you are able to access the file of an individual student depends, as in my case, on luck. The more recent the record, the more likely it will still exist.

However, there are other types of school records to be found.

1. School Histories – Many county histories include details about the schools that were established in the area. I was aware that my paternal grandfather attended Passaic School #2. That school was no longer around, or so I thought, by the time I was a Passaic student. In my many visits to St. Michael’s Church with Nana, I would walk around outside next to the church rectory, which was St. Michael’s School. I’d peer into the ground-level windows to see classrooms decorated with student work.

Many years later, I learned that St. Michael’s had purchased School #2 from the city of Passaic! I was even more surprised when I looked online for St. Michael’s School, which is no longer in existence. St. Michael’s sold School #2 BACK to the city and was now named – drum roll  . . . . George Washington School #2!

2. School Censuses – A few times in my research, I’ve come across a handful of school “censuses.” One I actually found online in New Brunswick, Canada, naming school children in the early 1800s in a small area. The second I found on Ancestry in Oklahoma records, a 1936 school census, in which my mother-in-law and her siblings were listed on a card apparently filled out by their mother:

Ancestry has a lengthy list of both U.S. and international school censuses and registers in its catalog. MyHeritage also has a list in its collection, although most of its resources look to be at the university level.

3. Yearbooks – Ancestry (by subscription)  has a growing collection of yearbooks from the United States and Canada, 1900-c2016 , as does MyHeritage, which offers a FREE U.S. collection, 1890-1979, with a separate (also FREE) index. It will be interesting to see what happens with a lawsuit filed (in California, I believe) by individuals against Ancestry, claiming they didn’t give permission for their yearbook information to be made available online.

4. Local Historical & Genealogical Societies – I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that a few local societies welcomed the gift of school records into their collections, donated by school districts. While I doubt individual school files are to be found here, it is very possible that school historical items – programs from school plays, special events, sports,  graduations, etc., which would name individual students in them – might be found. It’s worth a phone call, email or letter to inquire!

5. Local Libraries & County Archives – Town libraries are probably even more likely to have school memorabilia. Again, it’s worth a contact to find out what might be in the vertical files or possibly even published resources about its schools.

To summarize, while your research might be lucky enough to turn up original student records, it is much more likely that all those records, through high school, have been destroyed, particularly if it’s been more than ten years since graduation.

However, it’s worth the effort and energy to seek out buried treasure in the form of school histories, which might tell you more about your ancestor’s interests and activities.