Black History Month Wrap Up

As Black History Month wraps up, I wanted to leave a few observations, thoughts, and helpful links. This year, I probably paid more attention to this heritage month than in the past, simply because I have recently learned through a DNA test that some close family members have African ancestry. How long ago this race blended into their family tree is unknown, but the results were hardly surprising to me, since I have suspected for a while the possibility of Melungeon roots in their ancestry. Whether this proves to be the source of their African roots, or whether it is much more ancient, research will only tell. Of course, this only makes me curious to find out if I have anything other than Caucasian/West European blood in my own genetic makeup!

If you know or suspect you have African roots, or you’re merely curious as to how genealogists of African descent undertake the complicated challenges of their particular research, then may I suggest four excellent blogs by those who have been researching and/or blogging their genealogy for some time: Craig Manson blogs about his African, Native American and Caucasian roots at GeneaBlogie, and brings a unique and professional perspective from his service as an officer in the military and experience as a judge and law professor to the geneablogging world. Taneya Koonce McClellan is a librarian at Vanderbilt University who maintains six(!) genealogy blogs and a website (her main blog is Taneya’s Genealogy Blog). Her blogs contain many historical articles and notices she gleans from old newspapers in Tennessee and North Carolina. George Geder is a professional photographer, photograph restorer, writer, and lecturer, as well as a forum manager for the book forum at AfriGeneas. I especially enjoy his Wordless Wednesday posts on Genealogy~Photography~Restoration when he uses an ancestral photo and then later blogs about the history of the individual(s) featured within it. And Jennifer Cotten Campbell at But Now I’m Found: Genealogy in Black and White (who also has other blogs and a website) painstakingly details the complexities of surname changes and brick walls of researching enslaved ancestors. Other genealogy blogs on African-American research can be found at Chris Dunham’s Genealogy Blog Finder: African-American Blogs.

Back when I was a homeschooling parent, I signed up to receive educational materials from the United States Postal Service. I was recently sent a packet on Black History Month and the release of the 31st stamp in the Black Heritage series, which features Charles W. Chesnutt (1858–1932), “a pioneering writer recognized today as a major innovator and singular voice among turn–of–the–century literary realists. In novels such as The Marrow of Tradition and short stories such as those collected in The Conjure Woman he probed the color line in American life.” Although he could easily have “passed” as a white man, Chesnutt used his influence and his author’s voice to examine and expose racial issues during a time of great civil injustice in American history. If you are interested in receiving the USPS educational kits, visit their classroom resources page.

Back to the subject of genealogy bloggers: Tim Abbott of Walking the Berkshires posted a series called “Race and Memory” in which he shares his thoughts and observations of race relations from the time of his ancestors in colonial America through the Civil Rights era and to the present day. These essays are sober, touching on complexities, and reminding us that American slavery was not just a Southern issue. We sometimes forget that at one time, slavery was present in all the original colonies, and that during the Civil War, several of the Union states were slave states until the Emancipation Proclamation.

Several months ago, the family of my brother-in-law and our own family gathered together to watch the DVD of Amazing Grace, the story of William Wilburforce, the Member of Parliament who was instrumental in ending the slave trade in the British Empire (which was also a catalyst for abolitionism in the United States). The plot focuses not so much on the issues of slavery, but on the life of a man who lost his health–and nearly his life–in his mission to put an end to this inhumanity. Wilburforce’s mentor was John Newton, writer of the lyrics of “Amazing Grace.” At about the time I saw the movie, I was sent a link to a YouTube video of Wintley Phipps that provides a possible explanation for the tune of famous hymn. This video also gives an interesting music lesson about Negro Spirituals and the black notes of the piano.

Unfortunately, I missed PBS’s African-American Lives 2 (I’m not much of a television watcher, and so often miss interesting shows when they air). However, I was excited to see that there are major clips available on PBS’s website. My local public library is a wonderful resource for many PBS series available on DVD, and I will be looking for this and the first series to take home and watch, hopefully during my upcoming Spring Break.

Last on my list of African Roots links: I received the following interesting book review from Rick Robert’s Global Genealogy Newsletter about the book To Stand and Fight Together.

In 1812, a 67-year-old black United Empire Loyalist named Richard Pierpoint helped raise “a corps of Coloured Men to stand and fight together” against the Americans who were threatening to invade the tiny British colony of Upper Canada.

Pierpoint‘s unique fighting unit would not only see service throughout the War of 1812, it would also be the first colonial military unit reactiviated to quash the Rebellion of 1837. It would go on to serve as a police force, keeping the peace among the competing Irish immigrant gangs during the construction of the Welland Canal.

Pierpoint and the Coloured Corps are the central focus, but the sidebars featuring fascinating facts about the rise and fall of slavery in North America and the state of African-Canadians in early Canada provide an entertaining and informative supplement. Among other tidbits, readers will find out why “Good Queen Bess” launched the British slave industry and how Scottish pineapples are connected to the American Declaration of Independence.

Steve Pitt‘s first book, Rain Tonight: A Tale of Hurricane Hazel, was nominated for the Silver Birch, Red Cedar, and Rocky Mountain awards. He has been published in many magazines and newspapers, including Toronto Life, Canadian Family.

Report on February 2008 Scanfest

This has been one of the most intense work weeks of the school year, coupled with evening activities for myself or my children all week long (except for Wednesday night, when I crashed for a much-needed two-hour nap). Most of the posts I’ve published this week were pre-written, so although it looks like I’ve been busy writing all week, I just haven’t had the chance to write about the great Scanfest we had last Sunday, until now! And believe me, it was worth blogging about! I’m so honored that many of the participants chose to blog about it on their own blogs.

We again set a record with the number of Scanfesters for the second month in a row! Besides myself, there were nine other participants: Apple, Colleen, Elizabeth, the footnoteMaven, Jasia, John, Renee, Sheri (a non-blogger), and Thomas. And again, we set a record for the second month in a row for new participants, John and Sheri!

As usual, our conversations ranged from the serious to the silly (click on some of the links above to find out our chat topics!). Amazingly enough, we got a lot accomplished, even me (the hostess doesn’t always get a lot of scanning done, as she is busy with adding new arrivals to the conversation, and other logistical duties).

One of the things brought up in conversation was my desire to spend a lot of time scanning when I go on Spring Break (Saturday, March 29 – Sunday, April 6). We’ll be having a regular Scanfest during that time, anyway (Sunday, March 30th from 11 AM – 2 PM, Pacific Time). But I am thinking that I will turn on Windows Live Messenger whenever I do a major scan project during Scanfest, and you can feel free to join me. I can include evening times, for those of you who have not been able to join us on Sundays due to church and/or family activities. Again, this Spring Break Scan-a-thon will be very informal, no set times; just look for me when you’re online to see if I’m on, too. I’ll have more details and reminders as we approach these dates. I hope you can join us!

Technology and Genealogy

The topic for the 43rd Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is “Technology.” Here are some things we were asked to consider: “What technology do you most rely on for your genealogy and family history research? Select one piece of hardware (besides your computer), one piece of software (besides your internet browser), and one web site/blog (besides your own) that are indispensable to you.”

It was very hard to choose a piece of hardware because I have three that I consider indispensable. But for this post, I decided on my trusty Lexmark 83 printer/scanner/copier/fax machine. I’ve had this for a number of years, and only had one problem (a loose carriage band) which was easily fixed with a call to tech support. I use my four-in-one daily, and of course, where would Scanfest be without it? The only feature I’ve never been able to figure out is the fax, and since only I do that about once a year, I just use the machine at work.
Again, I have several favorite software programs for a variety of purposes, including genealogy. Right now, I would have to choose my RootsMagic program. I absolutely love the SourceWizard that comes with it, which makes citing my sources so much easier than looking up each entry in Elizabeth Shown Mills’s books!

And I have to agree with many of my fellow geneabloggers: Google is absolutely indispensable when it comes to online genealogy. I use the following features either many times a day or several times a week, mainly in relation to genealogy: Search, Images, Maps, Gmail, iGoogle, Blogger, Reader, Analytics, Calendar, Picasa, Chat, Earth, Toolbar, Web Accelerator, and Docs.

Report on February 2008 Scanfest

This has been one of the most intense work weeks of the school year, coupled with evening activities for myself or my children all week long (except for Wednesday night, when I crashed for a much-needed two-hour nap). Most of the posts I’ve published this week were pre-written, so although it looks like I’ve been busy writing all week, I just haven’t had the chance to write about the great Scanfest we had last Sunday, until now! And believe me, it was worth blogging about! I’m so honored that many of the participants chose to blog about it on their own blogs.

We again set a record with the number of Scanfesters for the second month in a row! Besides myself, there were nine other participants: Apple, Colleen, Elizabeth, the footnoteMaven, Jasia, John, Renee, Sheri (a non-blogger), and Thomas. And again, we set a record for the second month in a row for new participants, John and Sheri!

As usual, our conversations ranged from the serious to the silly (click on some of the links above to find out our chat topics!). Amazingly enough, we got a lot accomplished, even me (the hostess doesn’t always get a lot of scanning done, as she is busy with adding new arrivals to the conversation, and other logistical duties).

One of the things brought up in conversation was my desire to spend a lot of time scanning when I go on Spring Break (Saturday, March 29 – Sunday, April 6). We’ll be having a regular Scanfest during that time, anyway (Sunday, March 30th from 11 AM – 2 PM, Pacific Time). But I am thinking that I will turn on Windows Live Messenger whenever I do a major scan project during Scanfest, and you can feel free to join me. I can include evening times, for those of you who have not been able to join us on Sundays due to church and/or family activities. Again, this Spring Break Scan-a-thon will be very informal, no set times; just look for me when you’re online to see if I’m on, too. I’ll have more details and reminders as we approach these dates. I hope you can join us!

Technology and Genealogy

The topic for the 43rd Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is “Technology.” Here are some things we were asked to consider: “What technology do you most rely on for your genealogy and family history research? Select one piece of hardware (besides your computer), one piece of software (besides your internet browser), and one web site/blog (besides your own) that are indispensable to you.”

It was very hard to choose a piece of hardware because I have three that I consider indispensable. But for this post, I decided on my trusty Lexmark 83 printer/scanner/copier/fax machine. I’ve had this for a number of years, and only had one problem (a loose carriage band) which was easily fixed with a call to tech support. I use my four-in-one daily, and of course, where would Scanfest be without it? The only feature I’ve never been able to figure out is the fax, and since only I do that about once a year, I just use the machine at work.
Again, I have several favorite software programs for a variety of purposes, including genealogy. Right now, I would have to choose my RootsMagic program. I absolutely love the SourceWizard that comes with it, which makes citing my sources so much easier than looking up each entry in Elizabeth Shown Mills’s books!

And I have to agree with many of my fellow geneabloggers: Google is absolutely indispensable when it comes to online genealogy. I use the following features either many times a day or several times a week, mainly in relation to genealogy: Search, Images, Maps, Gmail, iGoogle, Blogger, Reader, Analytics, Calendar, Picasa, Chat, Earth, Toolbar, Web Accelerator, and Docs.

Halvor Moorshead Retiring February 29th

I received the following e-mail today. I had the opportunity to meet Halvor and his wife Marian at the EWGS Spring Seminar in 2007–what a charming couple! Many of us have enjoyed the magazines that Halvor started: Family Chronicle, History Magazine, Internet Genealogy, and very recently, Discovering Family History. I wish Halvor and Marion the best in their retirement, and know that the individuals he’s chosen to sell Moorshead Magazines to will continue to publish quality publications for the genealogical community.

I am retiring on Friday, 29 February 2008.

I wish I had the capacity to e-mail everyone with whom I do business – and my friends – individually about the following but this is not practical so I am sending out this general announcement about important changes affecting our publishing company.

I have sold Moorshead Magazines – which includes Family Chronicle, Internet Genealogy, History Magazine and the new Discovering Family History and will be retiring. The sale finalizes on Friday 29 February 2008.

This is not quite as radical as it first sounds.

I am selling the company to two of the staff – Ed Zapletal and Rick Cree. They have made it clear that their main reason for buying the company is that they do NOT want any changes. There will obviously be some differences as I will be out of the picture, but there will be no staff changes. Victoria, Marc and Jeannette will be continuing in the same roles.

I turned 65 in November and want time to travel and do other things with Marian (my wife) while we are still capable (I also plan on spending a lot of time researching my own genealogy!). I also want to do more lecturing.

I am intensely proud of what we have done with Moorshead Magazines – we have dedicated, loyal and highly experienced staff. Ed and Rick have both been with me for 24 years – way, way before we published Family Chronicle. We work very well
together and we have been pretty successful. Things are going well – Discovering Family History looks as though it will become another success story and this is important to me; I very much want to retire on a high note.

Part of the sale agreement is that I will act as a consultant related to the magazines for three years so I am not entirely cut off. In addition, I plan to be at the NGS Annual Convention in Kansas City in May, largely to say goodbye personally to the many friends I have made in the genealogy field over the years.

Halvor Moorshead

Halvor Moorshead Retiring February 29th

I received the following e-mail today. I had the opportunity to meet Halvor and his wife Marian at the EWGS Spring Seminar in 2007–what a charming couple! Many of us have enjoyed the magazines that Halvor started: Family Chronicle, History Magazine, Internet Genealogy, and very recently, Discovering Family History. I wish Halvor and Marion the best in their retirement, and know that the individuals he’s chosen to sell Moorshead Magazines to will continue to publish quality publications for the genealogical community.

I am retiring on Friday, 29 February 2008.

I wish I had the capacity to e-mail everyone with whom I do business – and my friends – individually about the following but this is not practical so I am sending out this general announcement about important changes affecting our publishing company.

I have sold Moorshead Magazines – which includes Family Chronicle, Internet Genealogy, History Magazine and the new Discovering Family History and will be retiring. The sale finalizes on Friday 29 February 2008.

This is not quite as radical as it first sounds.

I am selling the company to two of the staff – Ed Zapletal and Rick Cree. They have made it clear that their main reason for buying the company is that they do NOT want any changes. There will obviously be some differences as I will be out of the picture, but there will be no staff changes. Victoria, Marc and Jeannette will be continuing in the same roles.

I turned 65 in November and want time to travel and do other things with Marian (my wife) while we are still capable (I also plan on spending a lot of time researching my own genealogy!). I also want to do more lecturing.

I am intensely proud of what we have done with Moorshead Magazines – we have dedicated, loyal and highly experienced staff. Ed and Rick have both been with me for 24 years – way, way before we published Family Chronicle. We work very well
together and we have been pretty successful. Things are going well – Discovering Family History looks as though it will become another success story and this is important to me; I very much want to retire on a high note.

Part of the sale agreement is that I will act as a consultant related to the magazines for three years so I am not entirely cut off. In addition, I plan to be at the NGS Annual Convention in Kansas City in May, largely to say goodbye personally to the many friends I have made in the genealogy field over the years.

Halvor Moorshead