History

Western Michigan University Grant to Digitally Preserve the Gilmore Car Museum and Richland Library Historic Collection

This isn’t exactly a genealogy article but visiting the Gilmore Car Museum will undoubtedly give you a better appreciation of the automobiles your ancestors may have driven.

Thanks to newsletter reader Roger Moffat’s kind invitation, I had a chance to visit the Gilmore Car Museum 5 years ago and can tell you it is certainly worth the visit. If you have an interest in antique automobiles, a visit is certain a worthwhile experience. If you cannot visit in person, you will soon be able to visit virtually at the Western Michigan University’s digital collections online.

Photo by Dick Eastman

The following is the announcement:

Historic Newspapers of the Concord Times from Concord, North Carolina are now Available on DigitalNC

520 issues of The Concord Times from 1923 to 1927 have recently been digitized and added to DigitalNC thanks to a nomination from our partner Cabarrus County Public Library! The paper from Concord, North Carolina, documents 1920s happenings around the town, the state, and beyond. Published every Tuesday and Thursday, the paper frequently delivered news to its readers. A sampling of clippings  are shared below:

Great Chicago Fire of 1871

One dark night, when people were in bed,
Mrs. O’ Leary lit a lantern in her shed,
The cow kicked it over, winked its eye, and said,
There’ll be a hot time in the old town tonight.

Exactly 148 years ago, a great fire roared through the city of Chicago. No one knows for sure whether a lantern-kicking cow of the O’Leary’s was really responsible for starting the Great Chicago Fire on October 8, 1871. In fact, some believe the fire was started by a comet from outer space.

Map of Scots Women Accused of Witchcraft published for First Time

If you have one of these ladies in your family tree, you have an “interesting” family history! A map that tracks more than 3,000 Scots women who were accused of being witches in the 16th and 17th Century has been published for the first time. The interactive document has been created by data experts at the University of Edinburgh.

It builds on the university’s breakthrough work on the Scottish Witchcraft Survey which brought to life the persecution of women during the period, with many burned at the stake or drowned. The web site allows users to move through a map of Scotland to see where the accused witches lived as well as the towns and villages where they were detained, punished and executed.

You can read more at https://tinyurl.com/eogn190925a while the map is available at: https://witches.is.ed.ac.uk/.

Thousands of Free Historic Photographs Online

Sometimes you can find valuable gems in unexpected places. One example is the UnSplash web site.

According to Wikipedia:

“Unsplash is a website dedicated to sharing stock photography under the Unsplash license. The website claims over 110,000 contributing photographers and generates more than 9 billion photo impressions per month on their growing library of over 810,000 photos.[1] Unsplash has been cited as one of the world’s leading photography websites by Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, CNET, Medium and The Next Web.”

I am amazed at the many photos about all sort of topics that may be found on UnSplash.com. Best of all, you may download and use the photos for all sorts of purposes free of charge.

For instance, while looking for photos I could use in this genealogy newsletter, I went to https://unsplash.com and entered a search for “Ellis Island.”

Those “New” Electric Scooters

Have you tried one of those “new” electric scooters that seem to be popping up in cities everywhere?

Well, they might not be as new as you thought. Here is a photograph taken in 1916. That’s 103 years ago:

This is the original electric scooter, called an Autoped.

The Eveready Autoped is one such device – it was the world’s first scooter, manufactured in New York from 1915 to 1921. It sold for just US$100, offering 125 mpg (1.9 l/100km) transportation at 25 mph (40 km/h). It was perhaps too far ahead of its time, but it remains one of the most significant transportation devices in history.

Nearly 37,000 Historic Photos from Central Illinois, Many Never Before Published, are now Available to Everyone with an Internet Connection, Digitally Restored and Preserved

Thanks to the McLean County Museum of History, which took on more than a million Pantagraph negatives several years ago and, with public and private partners, turned them from decaying celluloid to pristine digital files that can be viewed at the Illinois Digital Archives’s web site: idaillinois.org.

In the early 1930s, Pantagraph staffers started making 4-by-5-inch negatives with Speed Graphic cameras and “kept basically everything,” said Photo Editor David Proeber. That started the archive that the museum is now digitizing, beginning with 36,641 photos from 1933 to 1944.

Civilian Conservation Corps recruits pose outside the Bloomington Post Office on March 29, 1934. This photo and 37,000 others were restored from negatives by McLean County Museum of History and partners.

FRANK BILL, PANTAGRAPH COLLECTION, MCLEAN COUNTY MUSEUM OF HISTORY

Click on the above image to view a larger version

That process took seven months but produced a database identifying more than 5,500 individual people across 22 Illinois counties.

Centuries-Old Mystery Notebook Dating Back to the 16th Century, Returned to New Forest Church in Hampshire, England

A hand-written notebook has been returned to its place of origin. If you have ancestors in Minstead or Lyndhurst, Hampshire, you probably will be interested in the book’s contents.

The book has the year 1532 on the vellum cover, but contains references to births, deaths and marriages in Minstead and Lyndhurst throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, along with other notes.

Czech Republic National Museum is Searching for Early Czech Sound Recordings in the US

Do you have Czech ancestors or other relatives or even friends or neighbors who speak Czech? Next, does their descendants have very old recordings of Czech (or often called “Bohemian”) recorded music? The older the recordings, the better. If so, Filip Šír from the National Museum in Prague would like to speak with them. Šír has been searching for the lost recordings and the stories of the people behind them.

Few people in the Czech Republic know that a significant chapter in the history of early Czech sound recordings was written by Czech immigrants in the United States.

Filip Šír said:

“Between the years 1900 and 1929, there wasn’t any Czech record label company. In 1929 and 1930, Esta and Ultraphone were established as Czechoslovakian record label companies. However, this is almost 30 years after the first recordings in the United States.

How Many Friday the 13ths Have You Survived?

Today is Friday, the 13th of the month. This is an especially bad day for people who suffer from a phobia famously called triskaidekaphobia, a fear of the number 13. Any Friday that falls on the 13th of the month is especially bad, causing the fear of Friday the 13th, called paraskevidekatriaphobia, from the Greek words Paraskeví (meaning “Friday”), and dekatreís (meaning “thirteen”).

In the Christian world the number 13 has long been associated with many bad events. Jesus had 12 disciples, which meant there were a total of 13 people in attendance the evening of the Last Supper, with Judas being received as the 13th guest.

Here’s What RV Camping Looked Like 100 Years Ago

Many Americans will jump into their recreational vehicles (RVs) and hit the road this Labor Day weekend. Perhaps you are one of them.However, camping with motor vehicles is nothing new as many of our ancestors did the same thing. The mobile camping craze started about 100 years ago.

If you are interested in the history of camping in RVs, check out the “Tin Can Tourists” pictures who started it all in the Atlas Obscura web site at: https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/heres-what-rv-camping-looked-like-100-years-ago.

Lancaster County (Virginia) Fiduciary Records 1657-1872 Online

From the Virginia Memory web site:

“The Library of Virginia is pleased to announce the addition of the Lancaster County Fiduciary Records, 1657-1872, to Virginia Untold. This collection contains the earliest records added to Virginia Untold, and the largest number of names added from a single locality so far—over 20,000. Fiduciary records primarily consist of estate administrator settlements, estate inventories, dower allotments, estate divisions, estate sales, and guardian accounts that record a detailed list of all personal property owned by individuals, including enslaved people.

Footage With Authentic Audio From 1928 England

Old black-and-white movies from the 1920s are not that rare. However, almost all of them are silent movies. A recently discovered 90-year-old movie with matching audio recorded in real time? That’s truly special.

You can see a bit of life in England in the nearly 48-minute movie filmed in 1928 at https://youtu.be/NqyiMrIgwcw or click on the video above.

How the Great Fertility Decline Affected the Lives of Women

A group of settlers in the colony of Jamestown, Virginia, 1609. (Photo by MPI/Getty Images)

Of all the changes to sweep the west over the past 400 years, perhaps none have had a greater impact on women’s lives than the fall in family sizes. Sarah Knott tells the story of the great fertility decline, from the large broods of 17th-century America to the one-children families of postwar London.

Sarah Knott, an associate professor of history at Indiana University, has written an article that examines the changes. She writes:

“How I shall get along when I have got half a dozen or 10 children, I can’t devise,” fretted the New Jersey colonist Esther Edwards Burr after her child’s birth in 1756. Narcissa Whitman, a pioneer in Oregon a century later, might have recognised these concerns. She knew first-hand the consequences of mothering a large brood. “My dear parents,” she wrote in a rare but affectionate missive back to New York in 1845, “I have now a family of 11 children. This makes me feel as if I could not write a letter.”

U.S. National Archives Digitizes More than 500 Volumes of U.S. Navy Muster Rolls

From the National Archives News:

“The National Archives partnered with the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean (JISAO), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the University of Washington to digitize more than 500 volumes of U.S. Navy muster rolls, making them accessible to the public through the National Archives Catalog.

“The muster roll digitization is part of a $482,000 grant awarded to JISAO and the National Archives Foundation to support the Seas of Knowledge: Digitization and Retrospective Analysis of the Historical Logbooks of the United States Navy program at the National Archives.”

You can read the full news release at: https://www.archives.gov/news/articles/navy-muster-rolls-digitization.

20th century German history on Klemperer Online: All Diaries from 1918 to 1959 in One Digital Resource

De Gruyter is launching a digital version of one of the most important source for understanding 20th century German history. The database Klemperer Online contains the complete and unabridged diaries of Victor Klemperer as a transcripts and facsimiles of the handwritten pages. The texts all have commentary and the digital version of the diaries has more than 30 percent more content than the print edition.

You can access a description of the Klemperer Online database at http://bit.ly/2YZkxrQ while FREE access of the complete diaries with full commentary can be found until July 31, 2019 at: https://www.degruyter.com/view/db/klemp. Access after July 31 will require payment of a fee.

America Counts: Stories Behind the Numbers

The following was written by the U.S. Census Bureau:

Registered United States Census Bureau Logo

America Counts: Stories Behind the Numbers

July 4th: Celebrating 243 Years of Independence

Celebrating 243 Years of Independence

As the nation celebrates this Independence Day, it’s a good time to reflect on how our Founding Fathers enshrined in our Constitution the importance of statistics as a vital tool for measuring people, places and economy.

Get the Stats

Tennessee State Library & Archives Launches New Digital Project on Revolutionary War

Here is a quote from an announcement at https://sos.tn.gov/news/state-library-archives-launches-new-digital-project-revolutionary-war:

“As our nation prepares to celebrate Independence Day, the Tennessee State Library & Archives has launched Patriot Paths, a new project that uses Revolutionary War pension records to map the paths that these soldiers took before and after their service. The project, which is still in progress, was unveiled by State Librarian and Archivist Chuck Sherrill at the National Genealogical Society’s recent annual convention.

The Legal Power of Genealogy in Colonial America

By the time he was 18, George Washington was a competent genealogist — and he had to be. In Washington’s Virginia, family was a crucial determinant of social and economic status, and freedom.

How did Washington understand his family, and what can that tell us about the world in which he lived and played such a significant role? Thanks to a document long ignored by biographers and historians alike, we now know how fully he grasped the basic truth that genealogy is power.

Medical Practices Your Ancestors May Have Experienced

I admit I hate to go to doctors or dentists or to other medical professionals. The “cures” I have received often were worse than the original ailments. However, I am thankful that I have not experienced the “treatments” that were common years ago.

A long series of pictures, along with accompanying brief descriptions, shows many of the commonly-accepted medical treatments that our ancestors endured. The pictures vary from cocaine candy (“the lick that lasts”) to having teeth pulled by a pharmacist at the local drug store. I suspect that some doctors may have killed more of their patients than they cured!

Perhaps the most gruesome photo isn’t that of a medical procedure at all. Instead, it was action taken after a person’s death: an embalming tent located not far from a battlefield during the U.S. Civil War. (When the bodies were to be shipped home for burial, transportation was slow and it often took days or weeks for the body to make the trip. Embalming was necessary to preserve the body during the long trip.)