People

Donn Devine, R.I.P.

It is with sadness that I report that BG (Ret) Donn Devine, CG, CGI, passed away on 5 May 2019. Donn was a certified genealogist, a practicing attorney, a public official, a Brigadier General in the Delaware Army National Guard (retired) and a Fellow of the National Genealogical Society.

I don’t have many details of his passing but found that some of his many lifetime accomplishments are summarized at: https://prabook.com/web/donn.devine/510431. You can read still more about his various accomplishments by starting at: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=%22Donn+Devine%22+genealogy&atb=v132-2_j&ia=web.

UPDATE: You can learn more about Donn Devine’s life at http://bit.ly/2H6IGoq.

American Ancestors and New England Historic Genealogical Society Present Lifetime Achievement Award to Dan Rather

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

Related to Mitt Romney, John Kerry, and Patrick Swayze

May 3, 2019—Boston, Massachusetts—At its annual Family History Benefit Dinner
recently, American Ancestors and New England Historic Genealogical Society
(NEHGS) honored broadcast journalist Dan Rather, an individual it lauded as “a living
legend—one of the most extraordinary communicators of our time.”

D. Brenton Simons, President and CEO of NEHGS, presented Rather with the
organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award in broadcast journalism, citing Rather’s
career role as “an integral part of our national conversation.” And, following the
tradition of NEHGS at its annual benefit gala, Simons presented Rather with a detailed
genealogy, expertly researched by NEHGS staff, revealing the legendary television
anchor’s ancestry rooted in early America—and a notable kinship with U.S. presidents
and political figures.

Press Release: The Genealogy Squad Facebook Group Announced

The following announcement was written by George G. Morgan and the other people listed below:

Tampa, Florida – 1 May 2019 – A new Facebook group for genealogy, The Genealogy Squad, is being launched at https://www.facebook.com/groups/genealogysquad on Monday, 6 May 2019. The mission of the Genealogy Squad Facebook group is to provide a positive space for the sharing of appropriate and reliable methods and resources to assist genealogists at all levels in their research activities. The principals and administrators are:

Press Release: Association of Professional Genealogists Selects Judy Nimer Muhn as Coordinator for 2020 Professional Management Conference

The following was written by the Association of Professional Genealogists:

Muhn Brings Extensive Nonprofit Experience to Premiere Professional Genealogy Event

WHEAT RIDGE, Colo., 22 April 2019—The Association of Professional Genealogists (APG®) today announced the appointment of Judy Nimer Muhn as coordinator for the 2020 Professional Management Conference (PMC). Muhn, of Milford, Michigan, brings decades of nonprofit-management and genealogical leadership to this annual conference that serves the professional genealogy field.

Muhn joins Annette Burke Lyttle, who has served as APG PMC Coordinator since 2017 and will continue in her role. Muhn will rotate management of the conference with Lyttle each year. “With Annette’s help, we’ve grown APG PMC’s program and offerings over the past few years,” said APG President Billie Stone Fogarty. “We realized that much of the planning for the next conference needed to take place while we were working on the current conference. Having two professionals in this role addresses this issue, while augmenting creative planning and giving each coordinator a needed break between conferences.”

 

Another Humorous Obituary: Tim Schrandt of Ridgeway, Iowa

Tim Schrandt, age 63, of Spillville, Iowa died on Friday, March 29, 2019. I don’t know if he wrote his own obituary before his death or if one of his survivors has a sense of humor. Either way, this is a “good read.”

“Tim Schrandt (Lynyrd) made his last inappropriate comment on March 29, 2019. If you are wondering if you may have ever met him, you didn’t -because you WOULD remember. For those of you that did meet him, we apologize, as we’re sure he probably offended you. He was world renowned for not holding back and telling it like it is.”

There’s more, lots more, at https://www.schluterbalikfuneralhome.com/obituary/tim-schrandt.

Press Release: Massachusetts Genealogical Council presents the Barnes Award to Brooke Schreier Ganz

“Massachusetts Genealogical Council Presents the First Annual Shirley M. Barnes Records Access Award to Brooke Schreier Ganz, Founder and President of Reclaim the Records”

(MANCHESTER, NH) At the opening luncheon of the New England Regional Genealogical Conference, the Massachusetts Genealogical Council (MGC) awarded its first annual Shirley M. Barnes Records Access Award to Brooke Schreier Ganz, Founder, and President of Reclaim the Records. The award is an engraved book clock, a replica of the award presented to Shirley Barnes July 14, 2007, upon her retirement as Civil Records Director of MGC.

WHO IS BROOKE SCHREIER GANZ? Brooke is a friendly, outspoken mother of two residing in California. A computer programmer, she developed an open source records management software and is a lifetime volunteer with the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. Researching 95% of her ancestors who resided in New York City, proved difficult from California. Brooke promptly understood that public records should be accessible to all; especially to those whose taxes paid for them. Drawing from the success of her personal record access and publishing project, she founded the non-profit Reclaim the Records which utilizes the Freedom of Information Laws and Acts to reclaim public records, making them accessible for free, to all genealogists.

Stephen and Tabitha King Slam Media Coverage of their Donation to a Boston Genealogical Group

Yes, I made the same mistake. I simply republished the story as it appeared on the Associated Press story. My apologies. Let’s set the record straight.

Stephen King is upset with the media, again. And so is his wife, Tabitha.

The famous Maine horror novelist took to social media Thursday morning to announce that his “wife is rightly pissed by” the coverage of the couple’s $1.25 million donation to the Boston-based New England Historic Genealogical Society. The complaint came after a number of prominent outlets published an Associated Press story headlined “Stephen King, wife give $1.25M to genealogical society.”

“The gift was her original idea, and she has a name: TABITHA KING,” Stephen wrote.

The Singing Genealogists of Karnataka

Did you ever consider setting your family tree to music? How about musically reciting the members of the family tree for the past 9 centuries? And then doing that for multiple families?

That is what Helavas (professional genealogists) do in in ten districts of Karnataka, India.

An article by Amoolya Rajappa in TheWire.in web site describes the lives of the Helavaru community, a unique semi-nomadic tribe credited to have maintained documents containing the genealogy of several families in ten districts of Karnataka:

“It is believed that Helavas started practicing from the days of Basavanna, a 12th-century social reformer who rebelled against caste hierarchy and gender discrimination. Ever since they have carried on the practice of visiting households and narrating ancestral bloodlines in a lyrical fashion.”

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.