People

Betty Clay, R.I.P.

The many friends of Betty Clay will be saddened to learn that Betty passed away yesterday afternoon.

Betty was a prolific genealogist who believed in verifying every bit of information she found about her ancestors. She belonged to several national genealogy societies and faithfully attended the NGS, FGS, and GenTech conferences for many years. She also was online, helping others with the genealogy research, until recently.

I first met Betty in in 1988 and found this retired former schoolteacher to be active, full of life, and interested in many things. She obviously was already a genealogy expert at that time.

Betty soon became a sysop on CompuServe’s Genealogy Forum, along with me and several others. She maintained that position for years, becoming Chief Sysop, until CompuServe faded away as the technology changed. In that time, she assisted scores of genealogists, both newcomers and experienced researchers, with advice and information. She frequently found records herself to help others in their research.

Today is Thomas Crapper Day!

thomas-crapperThomas Crapper was a plumber in the late 19th century who founded Thomas Crapper & Co. Ltd. in London. He is widely (but erroneously) credited with invention of the flush toilet.

Thomas Crapper’s date of birth is unknown but a record exists of his baptism in Thorne, Yorkshire, on September 28, 1836. He died January 27, 1910 so that date every year is dedicated to his memory because of all he did for England and the rest of the world.

Actually, Crapper did not invent the flushing toilet. It was invented by John Harington in 1596 but it never achieved much success commercially. Most people had never seen a flush toilet until after the 1880s. Crapper improved the design and used his skills as a shrewd businessman and salesperson to make it extremely popular. His company, Thomas Crapper & Co, owned the world’s first bath, toilet and sink showroom, in King’s Road, London, England.

One Family with Six Living Generations

Can anyone match this? Until his death at the age of 103 a few days ago, Donald Cask Kirk of Utah was the patriarch of a family with 6 living generations. He had 7 children (with several of them still living), 37 grandchildren, 99 great-grandchildren, 36 great-great-grandchildren, and 1 great-great-great-grandchild.

Donald Cask Kirk’s obituary may be found at: http://bit.ly/2RNIkvg.

My thanks to newsletter reader W David Samuelsen for telling me about this story.

New Library Director at the Godfrey

The following announcement was written by the Godfrey Memorial Library in Middletown, Connecticut:

January 9, 2019 – The Godfrey Memorial Library is pleased to announce that Carol Ansel has been appointed Library Director as of January 1, 2019.

Carol has been the Reference Librarian at the Library since July 2018. She has over 35 years of experience in various libraries in Connecticut and is a Board member of the Connecticut Library Consortium.

Brightsolid Announces a new CEO and a new CTO

BrightSolid, the parent company of Findmypast, has announced the appointment of two new executives. Elaine Maddison will fill the role of CEO while Bryan Lambe will join the DC Thomson-owned company as CTO.

Bryan Lambe and Elaine Maddison

Former Findmypast CEO, Elaine Van Der Berg, Moves to Amazon Web Services

Elaine Van Der Berg is well-known in the genealogy community as the former CEO of Findmypast. Her friends and acquaintances will be interested to know that she has a new position at Amazon Web Services in Edinburgh, Scotland. Her new role involves assisting European public sector clients.

Elaine has had an international career with Dell, and other technology companies, before returning to Scotland to work as managing director of G2G3, part of Capita, and then at Brightsolid.

The National Genealogical Society Welcomes Nancy Peters and Allen Peterson as its New NGSQ Editors

The following announcement was written by the (U.S.) National Genealogical Society:

FALLS CHURCH, VA, 3 JANUARY 2019—The National Genealogical Society (NGS) has named Nancy A. Peters, CG®, CGLSM, and Allen R. Peterson, CG, as co-editors of its National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ). They take the reins of editorial responsibility for this prestigious publication from retiring editors Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA, and Melinde Lutz Byrne, CG, FASG, FNGS.

“It is an honor to serve as co-editor of the NGSQ,” said Nancy Peters, of Aiken, South Carolina. Allen Peterson of Katy, Texas, concurred, noting, “The NGS Quarterly is among the most scholarly genealogical journals in the United States and in the world. Nancy and I are determined to maintain the high standards set by our predecessors.”

Heather Yvonne McLean of New Zealand awarded Queen’s Service Medal

Mrs. Heather Yvonne McLean has been awarded the Queen’s Service Medal for services to genealogy and historical research. According to the announcement:

Heather Yvonne McLean has been involved with the New Zealand Society of Genealogists since 1972 and has been an active member of the Society’s local groups in the Bay of Plenty, namely Tauranga, Te Puke and Katikati.

Mrs McLean’s key contribution has been the transcribing of headstones in the cemeteries of the Bay of Plenty over the course of 30 years for the benefit of family historians and researchers. She has volunteered two days a week with the Tauranga Family History Library since its inception in 1993 and volunteers every Wednesday at Tauranga City’s Cemetery Records office collating death and cremation notices.

NEHGS Provides a Look at Famous Relatives of George H. W. Bush

The following announcement was written by the New England Historic Genealogical Society:

As Tributes Pour in Celebrating the Life of the 41st President, Genealogists at New England Historic Genealogical Society Provide a Look at Famous Relatives of George H. W. Bush

Boston, Massachusetts—December 5, 2018—As tributes pour in following the death of George Herbert Walker Bush, genealogists at New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS), who have long studied the ancestry of all U S presidents, shed light on the extensive family background of the beloved 41st U S President. The world- renowned genealogist Gary Boyd Roberts, NEHGS Senior Research Scholar Emeritus, has documented the family history of the late President Bush extensively:

The Missing Mayflower Pilgrim

Tamura Jones is an Englishman living in Leiden, the city in the Netherlands where the Pilgrims lived from 1608 until 1620, before crossing the Atlantic and creating a new settlement called Plimoth Plantation (usually spelled “Plymouth” these days). As the saying goes, “the rest is history.” Today, millions of Americans and people in numerous other countries count themselves among the descendants of the Mayflower Pilgrims.

Not all the Pilgrims’ family trees have been well researched and published. For instance, Tamura Jones has been researching Pilgrim Moses Fletcher’s descendants for ten years. Tamura has now published an overview of his findings, although not all the details. At least, he hasn’t published all the details just yet. The research is not finished and ready for publication today. However, he lists a Twitter account at @LeidenPilgrims to monitor to learn about future research developments and the future publication of his final report.

His overview focuses on Pilgrim Moses Fletcher but also mentions a number of other Mayflower passengers. As he wrote in the report:

A Different kind of Obituary: Madelyn Linsenmeir, 1988-2018

I have published a number of humorous obituaries over the years. However, a newsletter reader sent an obituary to me today that isn’t humorous, but sad. Nonetheless, I will suggest that everyone, genealogists and non-genealogists alike, should read this one.

Yes, it is sad. It is also important in these times in which we live. Please forward it to anyone and everyone that you love and perhaps you are concerned about their lifestyles.

The obituary for 30-year-old Madelyn Linsenmeir may be found at: https://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/madelyn-linsenmeir-1988-2018/Content?oid=21797604.

A Very Unusual Obituary

I have a “hobby” of collecting humorous obituaries and have published several of them here in past newsletters. However, the obituary of 71-year-old Rick Stein of Wilmington, Delaware, is a new one for me. It is different from the other obituaries in many ways.

I won’t spoil it here but I will say that if you want to read a most unusual obituary, go to http://bit.ly/2RA9ceu.

Disclaimer: It is long but is well worth the read.

Texas Tech Archivist and Historian Monte Monroe appointed Texas State Historian

Monte Monroe

Monte Monroe, archivist at the Southwest Collection and a history professor at Texas Tech, has been named the Texas State Historian.

Monroe was appointed to the position by Gov. Greg Abbott, and he was sworn in as the state’s fourth historian this week. He’s the first state historian from West Texas, the first archivist in the position, and the first from a major public university. It’s these unique traits that Monroe says will give the state a new perspective.

You can read a lot more about Monroe’s appointment and his statements regarding the preservation of Texas’ historical documents in an article by Matt Dotray in the Lubbock Online web site at: http://bit.ly/2Ou5N1Y.

Clan Buchanan Gets Its First Chief in 337 Years, after a Genealogist Keeps Promise to Find the Rightful Heir

For centuries, millions of men and women around the world have waited patiently for the rightful chief of their ancient Scottish clan to be found. But for the last 337 years no one has been able to verify a claim to the title for the Clan Buchanan. That was until a genealogist promised his grandmother he would solve the mystery before he died.

John Michael Baillie-Hamilton Buchanan, 60, who owns Cambusmore Estate near Callander, has been accepted as head of the clan thanks to the work of genealogist Hugh Peskett.

You can read the full story in an article by Francesca Marshall in The Telegraph at https://tinyurl.com/y7b8re62 as well as in the official Clan Buchanan web site at: https://www.theclanbuchanan.com/new-page/.

My thanks to newsletter reader John Rees for telling me about this story.

Cyndi Ingle Honored with the Prestigious Prince Michael of Kent Award

The Society of Genealogist’s former patron was Prince Michael of Kent, after whom the Society has named a prestigious award (created in 2000). The award is granted periodically to a person or organization which has made an outstanding contribution to genealogy. The latest recipient of this honor is Cyndi Ingle, well known for he Cyndi’s List web site, one of THE go-to-places for genealogy.

Amelia Bennett (on the left) presents the Prince Michael of Kent Award to Cyndi Ingle (right).

The presentation of the award on 12 September 2018 was made on board the Explorer of the Seas cruise ship by Amelia Bennett, a trustee of the Society of Genealogists, in front of a large group of genealogists on a cruise to Alaska.

Obituary for Laura G. Prescott

A few days ago, I published a message (at http://bit.ly/2oOdIsK) from the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) announcing the passing of long-time APG member and former president, Laura Prescott. Many of her friends and acquaintances might also want to read the more formal obituary, apparently written by her family, that is now available at: http://bit.ly/2oOdPVc.

Russ Henderson, R.I.P.

Russell L. Henderson

The National Genealogical Society has received word that Russell L. Henderson, former Director of Communications for the Society, passed away on August 26, 2018 at his home in Alexandria. He was born on December 2, 1942 in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas to Blair and Sara Henderson.

Russ was raised in a military family and he followed in his family’s tradition with a military career of his own. He retired as a US Army Colonel after 27 years of service in Korea; Vietnam; Naples, Italy; Heidelberg, Germany; and various locations stateside.

A portion of Russ’ education was in England and he traveled through Scotland several times, often researching his Scottish heritage. He was a founding member and Editor of An Canach, the quarterly newsletter of the Scottish Clan Henderson Society of the United States and Canada. He was a familiar face at many genealogy conferences.

You can read Russ Henderson’s obituary at: http://bit.ly/2LOfkvn.

Laura Prescott, R.I.P.

It is with great sadness that I report the news about a long-time friend and former co-worker: Laura Prescott. She was one of the smartest and most delightful people I ever knew. She was enthusiastic about everything she did and nearly everyone she ever met. She was an expert genealogist, an educator, a past president of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), and an all-around nice person. Laura was most recently the director of Ancestry.com’s Ancestry Academy. She also was mentioned frequently in this newsletter over the years.

Laura’s humility, integrity, and hard work will continue to inspire those who knew her for many years to come.

The following was written by the Association of Professional Genealogists:

Wheat Ridge, Colo., 30 August 2018 – The Association of Professional Genealogists is saddened to learn of the death, on 26 August 2018, of Laura G. Prescott. APG extends condolences to Laura’s family and many friends on her passing, especially to her two adult children, Kate Duffy Tarvainen and Nate Duffy, of whom she was so proud, and her granddaughter, Margaret Tarvainen, who brought her such joy.

Dr Brian Trainor, R.I.P.

The following sad announcement was written by the Ulster Historical Foundation:

We are sorry to have to bring you the sad news of the death at the age of 90 of our esteemed colleague Dr Brian Trainor, Emeritus Research Director of the Ulster Historical Foundation.

Dr Trainor’s funeral will be on Tuesday, 28 August. More details can be found here

The office will be closed on that day and also on Monday, 27 August for the Bank Holiday.

We express our deepest sympathies to his family at this time.

FamilySearch CGO David Rencher is Named the New Family History Library Director

The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

David Rencher, FamilySearch CGO, New Family History Library DirectorSalt Lake City, Utah (22 August 2018), FamilySearch International announced today that David Rencher, AG©, CG, FIGRS, is the new director of the popular Family History Library in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. He succeeds Diane Loosle, who is fulfilling other leadership needs. Rencher will continue to serve as FamilySearch’s Chief Genealogy Officer. The library is open to the public free of charge

This is not Rencher’s first time at the helm of the Family History Library, which opened at its current location in 1985 and serves hundreds of thousands of guests yearly. He was the director from 1999 to 2002. Interestingly, Rencher’s career in family history started 40 years ago as an Irish reference consultant at the library. His return to the library at this time allows the previous library director, Diane Loosle, to fill a growing need in FamilySearch business development, where the two will work together.