Category: Tips

Unknown Soldiers: DNA technology makes it possible for their remains to be identified.

Unknown Soldiers: DNA technology makes it possible for their remains to be identified.

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Albert-Joseph-Philias-Emery-237x3001.jpg

Unknown soldiers can be identified!

More than 83,000 US service members lost since the start of WWII are still missing, according to a representative of the Department of Defence. Several lie in forgotten graves on the battlefield and below memorials offering no clue to their identities.

New techniques in DNA technology may mean we have seen the last burial of an unknown soldier. In offices and laboratories across the country and archaeological sites scattered across continents, groups of investigators and scientists comb the remains of the past for lost defenders.

In the US, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), based in Honolulu, Hawaii, and also the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO), based in Arlington, Virginia keep case files on each missing sailor, soldier, Marine and airman.

Researchers at JPAC and DPMO establish possible sites of remains. A team of archaelogists visited North Korea in 2004 and located skeletal remains of thirty individuals tossed haphazardly into a mass grave close to Chosin Reservoir. They shipped the bones to JPAC in Honolulu, where the bones were used to find gender, age, ancestry, and distinguishing marks. The process can take anywhere from two weeks to one year, depending on the existing backlog. Frustratingly, the original sample may not be enough and in that case, they must restart from the beginning.

For the remains whose DNA is successfully processed, the researchers will try and match them with DNA samples taken from thousands of possible family members.

Two of my great uncles, Private Joseph Philias Albert Emery and Private Joseph Turmaine, were reported missing in action in WWI and I would be thrilled to have their remains recovered.


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The great ‘Golden Rules of Genealogy’ at a glance.

The great ‘Golden Rules of Genealogy’ at a glance.

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This image listing some wonderful golden rules of genealogy was recently posted on the Facebook page for  gotgenealogy.com. They are all rules that promote common courtesy and consideration among genealogy researchers, but they also provide common sense guidelines to ensure best practices for those exchanging genealogical information, and promote being as thorough and accurate as possible while still leaving the ‘clues’ available for making new genealogical discoveries.

Golden Rules of Genealogy

 


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Oh, the difference one letter can make when using copied or transcribed documents!

Oh, the difference one letter can make when using copied or transcribed documents!

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This joke is the best illustration I’ve ever seen of the negative effects of working from copied documents instead of originals. This should be on display in every library, archive and genealogy center as a reminder of the perils awaiting.

This is something I think about every time I do a transcription, and this type of consequence is why I use wildcard symbols in place of characters I can’t quite make out or understand in the original or copy I’m working from. It ensures the reader knows there is doubt and if it’s important to them and their research, they’ll look for and consult the original.

The Old Monk

A new monk arrives at the monastery. He is assigned to help the other monks in copying the old texts by hand.

He notices, however, that they are copying copies, not the original books. So, the new monk goes to the head monk to ask him about this. He points out that if there were an error in the first copy, that error would be continued in all of the other copies.

The head monk says “We have been copying from the copies for centuries, but you make a good point, my son.” So, he goes down into the cellar with one of the copies to check it against the original.

Hours later, nobody has seen him. So, one of the monks goes downstairs to look for him. He hears a sobbing coming from the back of the cellar, and finds the old monk leaning over one of the original books crying. He asks what’s wrong.

The old monk sobs, “The word is celebrate.”


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Transcription: David D. Shelby, “Men and Women in America”

Transcription: David D. Shelby, “Men and Women in America”

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Following is my transcription of the biography of David D. Shelby from “Men and Women in America.”

SHELBY, David D.:

United States circuit judge; born in Madison County, Ala., Oct. 24, 1847 ; son of Dr. David and Mary (Boulding) Shelby. He studied law in Cumberland University, Lebanon, Tenn., was admitted to the bar in 1870, and practised at Huntsville, Ala., until appointed by President McKinley, March 2, 1899, judge of the U.S. Circuit Court for the Fifth Judicial Circuit, in which office he is still serving. Judge Shelby was formerly active in politics as a Republican leader, was a member of the Alabama Senate, 1882-18834, and was the Republican nominee for chief justice of Alabama in 1886. He married in Huntsville, Ala., in 1872, Annie Davis. Address: Huntsville, Ala.

Men and women of America.
1910.

___________________

The image above links directly to the original document. You can access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, by clicking on the name link, or searching the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the left sidebar.

It is recommended to search using both methods as the results can differ greatly due to a glitch in the software that doesn’t connect all images from the bio.

All data for this and numerous others on this site is available for free access and download.

 


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DNA: The best hard drive on earth.

DNA: The best hard drive on earth.

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It turns out DNA is the best storage medium there is on Earth. Nothing beats it. Think about it, all the directions that make you up are stored on tiny proteins that are hard to see even with a microscope. The human genome (all of those directions controlling your eye color, hair color, height, skin) contains between 25,000 and 30,000 genes. That’s a ton of information compressed down into these microscopic structures.

 

Let’s put into perspective just how much data DNA can hold?

Consider this fact: one gram of DNA can hold the same amount of information as 14,000 Blu-ray discs! (One gram is about how much a paperclip weighs!)

What’s even more incredible is how long information in DNA can be saved. In 2008, Scientists discovered a human femur bone washed up alongside a river in Siberia. Six years later, that bone was finally analyzed to learn how old it actually was. Turns out it came from a man who lived and died over 45,000 years earlier. The actual DNA, still preserved in that fossil, confirmed his age.

So DNA is a material that can hold mind boggling amounts of data for ridiculously long periods of time.

Now think about your own DNA with the thousands of genes it contains, all of which combined make up who you are.

But DNA is not just useful as you develop, it can actually be decoded to learn about who you are. There are genetic tests for genealogy and ancestry and others that can help you uncover your body’s natural strengths when it comes to fitness.

Science is still decoding the complex workings of how all those proteins interact with each other, so it’s fair to say there’s much more to your code than anyone yet realizes.

However, DNA is also reactive to the environment around it and can degrade over time.  All these minor environmental chinks in your genetic armor could, over time, affect your health. This is why it is important to secure and store your DNA, just like the data you would keep safe on a hard drive.

Getting a sample of your DNA stored as early possible means it will be in its purest form and may be more useful for medical advances in the years to come.

By understanding that DNA is nature’s best possible hard drive, scientists are now working hard to transform it into the hard drive for our future.

____________________

To learn more, visit http://www.dnaspectrum.com.

Source: DNA Is the Best Hard Drive on Earth


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Transcription: Will and Testament, Ann Stone of Wyke Regis, Dorset

Transcription: Will and Testament, Ann Stone of Wyke Regis, Dorset

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The following is my transcription of the last Will and Testament of Ann Stone of Wyke Regis, Dorset.

 

Will of Ann Stone of Wyke Regis, Dorset
Ann Stone of Wyke Regis, Dorse

____________________

Ann

Stone

6.

This is the last Will and Testament of ? Ann Stone of Wyke Regis in the County of Dorset widow made and published this twelfth day of March in the year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty five First I will and ????? that all my just debts funeral and testamentary ??????? and the charges of proving this my Will be paid out of my residuary  personal estate hereinafter mentioned I give and bequeath unto and equally in between my daughters Jand Drew Harris wife of ????? Harris of Weymouth and Wycombe Regis in the said County Brewer and Mary Ann Golyear Ingram wife of Robert Ingram of the same place linen draper all that interment or policy of ?????????? under the hands of the three of the directors ???? ??????? called the ????? ????????? Company bearing ???? the ninth day of October one thousand eight hundred and thirty eight and numbered 8606 whereby the said Society have assured unto me my executors administrators or assigns the sum of one thousand pounds in the event of my death to add the said sum of one thousand pounds together in with all accumulations and benefit arising or to arise from the said policy unto the said Jane Drew Harris and Mary Ann Golyear Ingram their executors administrators and assignes in equal proportion as tenants in common and not as joint tenants to and for their sole and separate use and benefit free from the debts control or engagements of their husbands and their receipts for the same shall be sufficient discharges notwithstanding their ???ertures all the ???? and Residue of my personal estate and efforts whatsoever and wheresoever money and securities for money rents due at the time of my decease and furniture ??????? nevertheless to the payment of my just debts funeral and testamentary expenses and charges of proving this my Will I give and bequeath unto and equally between my son Charles John Stone of the Town and County of Poole Tailor and the said Jane Drew Harris and Mary Ann Golyear Ingram their executors administrators and assigns as tenants in common and not as joint tenants and I hereby nominate and appoint my said daughters Jane Drew Harris and Mary Ann Golyear Ingram joint Executrixes this my will hereby revoking all former and other Wills by me made and do declare this to be my last Will and Testament In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand the day and year first before written — Ann Stone — Signed by the Testatrix Ann Stone as and for her Will in the pressence of us present at the same time who in her presence and in the presence of each other have hereunto set our names as witnesses thereto — George Arden ??? Weymouth — Francis March his Clerk.

Proved at London 8th July 1845 before the Judge by the oaths of Jane Drew Harris wife of Gary Harris and Mary Ann Golyear Ingram wife of Robert Ingram the daughter the executrixes to whome ????? was granted have been first sworn by Comon duly to administer.

___________________

The image above links directly to the original document. You can access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, by clicking on the name link, or searching the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the left sidebar.

It is recommended to search using both methods as the results can differ greatly due to a glitch in the software that doesn’t connect all images from the bio.

All data for this and numerous others on this site is available for free access and download.

 


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Indecipherable inscriptions on centuries old tombstones revealed using 3D technology.

Indecipherable inscriptions on centuries old tombstones revealed using 3D technology.

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Stuart, Erin and Alan Melanson in graveyard.
Erin and Stuart sit through an enthralling tale told by fellow ‘Melanson’ cousin, Alan Melanson.

This new technology is so very exciting to me. I’ve found that the information that proves to be most valuable from tombstones is that found on those from before 1850.

After 1850, most of the information is available in accessible records. Although there are records prior to 1850, the information on them is minimal at best. The earlier US censuses are the best example because the censuses prior only provide the full name of the head of the family and age ranges of spouses, children and others. This leaves a wide margin for error that is much narrower in later censuses that reveal names, ages, birth years, immigration data, occupations and relationships to the head of the household.

In a previous post, I described the fun my family and I had ‘tombstone hunting’ in Nova Scotia. We made a point of stopping at as many graveyards as possible and taking photos and transcriptions of the tombstones that had related surnames. The most memorable graveyard we visited was that of the well known “Graveyard Tour” at Fort Anne in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia. Our tour guide was a fellow Melanson family member and his knack of weaving entertaining and enthralling stories was evident as he led us through the maze of tombstones, recounting the most scandalous and mysterious tales. Several of these tombstones from the 1600s and 1700s were unreadable and this new 3D technology seems to be the answer to discovering and recording many of the actual transcriptions.

Grant Aylesworth, a Mount Allison anthropology professor, and the Government of New Brunswick’s archaeological services division are now reading the inscriptions on those illegible grave markers from the 1700s, using this new 3D software technology. The software derives the inscriptions from digital images of these tombstones. The innovative technology is freely available and is easy to learn and implement, although attempts are being made to streamline the process to encourage others to explore these old tombstones and recover as many inscriptions as possible.


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Learning to transcribe from ‘ye olde englishe’ and latin.

Learning to transcribe from ‘ye olde englishe’ and latin.

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Transcribing the baptism register from Norfolk, England in my previous post, “Transcription and Translation: Baptism of Elizabeth Stalham and others from the St. George Tombland Church register” was particularly problematic for me, requiring my learning to transcribe from ‘ye olde englishe’ and latin.

 

I am familiar with transcribing in several languages such as German, Swedish, French, etc., even though I do need help from Google Translate.

For this translation, I was able to interpret the text fairly easily, including the months, and the years. At first, I thought there were no days mentioned at all, until I took a closer look and realized there was one small ‘word’ in each entry I couldn’t account for. One thing I did notice was the pattern of repetition within each entry and it’s resemblance to the pattern of repetition to Roman numerals – even if they did appear to be just miscellaneous symbols or text (see image below).

 

Baptism record for Elizabeth Stalham - marked.

 

To confirm my suspicions, I did some research into interpreting Latin dates. It took some time and effort as everything I found at first referred to the date formats used in general, including those used in recording events in genealogy software.

Just as I was about to give up and use my standard ‘????’ in place of the mysterious text since I was unsure of my conclusions, I came upon the following web page that provided the answer I was looking for. They were ‘Reading dates in old English records.’ The following is the verbatim section from the page that specifically provided the answers I was seeking.

The chart below shows some of the different ways numbers may be written.

1 unus, primo, primus, I i
2 duo, secundo, secundus II ij
3 tres, tertio, tertius III iij
4 quattuor, quarto, quartus IV iiij, iv
5 quinque, quinto, quintus V v
6 sex, sexto, sextus VI vi
7 septem, septimo, septimus VII vij
8 octo, octavo, octavus VIII viij
9 novem, nono, nonus IX viiij, ix
10 decem, decimo, decimus X x
11 undecim, undecimo, undecimus XI xi
12 duodecim, duodecimo, duodecimus XII xij
13 tredecim, tertio decimo, tertius decimus XIII xiij
14 quattuordecim, quarto decimo, quartus decimus XIV xiiij, xiv
15 quindecim, quinto decimo, quintus decimus XV xv
16 sedecim, sexto decimo, sextus decimus XVI xvi
17 septendecim, septimo decimo, septimus decimus XVII xvij
18 duodeviginti, octavo decimo, octavus decimus, duodevicesimo, duodevicesimus XVIII xviij
19 undeviginti, nono decimo, nonus decimus, undevicesimo, undevicesimus XIX xviiij, xix
20 viginti, vicesimo, vicesimus, viccesimo, vicessimo, viccessimo XX xx
21 viginti unus, vicesimo primo, vicesimus primus XXI xxi
22 viginti duo, vicesimo secundo, vicemus secundus XXII xxij
23 viginti tres, vicesimo tertio, vicesimus tertius XXIII xxiij
24 viginti quattuor, vicesimo quarto, vicesimus quartus XXIV xxiiij, xxiv
25 viginti quinque, vicesimo quinto, vicesimus quintus XXV xxv
26 viginti sex, vicesimo sexto, vicesimus sextus XXVI xxvi
27 viginti septem, vicesimo septimo, vicesimus septimus XXVII xxvij
28 duodetriginta, vicesimo octavo, vicesimus octavus, duodetricesimo, duodetricesimus XXVIII xxviij
29 undetriginta, vicesimo nono, vicesimus nonus, undetricesimo, undetricesimus XXVIV xxviiij, xxix
30 triginta, tricesimo, tricesimus XXX xxx
31 triginta unus, tricesimo primo, tricesimus primus XXXI xxxi

Numbers may also be written as scores. A score is twenty and is written as XX or xx. If XX is above another number, it would be multiplied by the number under it. Therefore, four score or eighty could be written as XX over IV or xx over iiij as shown below.

XX xx

IV iiij

Sources:

  1. About.com; “Reading and Understanding Old Documents & Records”; Kimberly Powell; http://genealogy.about.com/od/basics/a/old_handwriting.htm.
  2. Family Search; Reading dates in old English records; Document ID: 111804; https://help.familysearch.org/publishing/43/111804_f.SAL_Public.html.


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Google Search history: An unsung top genealogy research tool?

Google Search history: An unsung top genealogy research tool?

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Google recently announced that the Google search history of Google account holders will be available for download by the account holder.

 

Noticing this made me stop and think about just how much I do use the history feature on my browser to find pages I’ve previously visited.

Google Search history downloads.
Google Search history.

The reason?

When doing genealogy research including extracting data and images from pages and saving them to either this website or my genealogy software, it’s all too easy to accumulate several open tabs and windows for ease of use.

One downfall of this, however, is that it is all too easy to inadvertently close tabs or windows earlier than intended and not remembering the page.

My browser history is the first place I go to search for the page and reopen it.

Can you just image being able to do the same for previous searches on Google?

Google search history.
Access your Google search history.

The downloaded database of archived searches can be searched by keyword using the ‘Find’ function in the menu of your chosen database software.

If this fails to turn up the desired search, it’s possible to search via the input of links. Although this may seem very cumbersome and time-consuming, it would be fairly easy to minimize the search time required by only searching in known, specific date ranges when searches took place.

Viewing one’s Google Search history is relatively simple:

  • Go to history.google.com and log in with your Google account.
  • Click the calendar view to take a look at what you searched on any given date.
  • Click the settings button on the top right corner to download the search database.

Items in search can be deleted by checking the box next to them and clicking the ‘remove items’ option.

This procedure exports a list of your searches to Google Drive in a ZIP archive, dividing the files by year and quarter.

For those concerned about the privacy of their online and search activities, it is possible for them to delete all or part of the search record.

To delete your entire search history:

  • Click settings.
  • Select remove items.
  • Pick a time frame.

It is important to note that only Google account holders can see their data.

Google also warns that users should not download their search archive on a public computer to protect their privacy.


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Security watch: Is virtualization a mistake?

Security watch: Is virtualization a mistake?

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From the standpoint of securing important documents and information, is adopting virtualization a mistake?

As a genealogist, I’m well aware of our dependence on the use of virtualization, computer networks and the internet by governments, businesses and organizations to digitize, store, safeguard, and make available highly valuable documents, publications, etc. The following article by Jesse Troy outlines the concerns.             Christine

Virtualization’s promise started out large, and the concept has taken off like a freight train in the night since around 2005. It’s easy to see why, as the technique allows processes to utilize resources more effectively than was previously the case.

As numerous corporations and government entities utilize the decades-old technology in ever increasing numbers, we should ask ourselves this question.

1. The largest problem is internal to your organization.

Security watch: Is virtualization a mistake?

Virtually all corporations are already swamped with huge amounts of data; jumping on the virtualization train entails the creation of even more assets.

Discovery technology may help you to find what is already hidden in deep, dark corners, but ‘going virtual’ opens up a whole new dimension to your corner space.

This is known as sprawl.

2. Not all discovery tools recognize virtual machines and the data therein contained.

Security watch: Is virtualization a mistake?

When pressed to the wall, it’s possible to put a search team onto the task of locating misplaced, mislabeled, or just plain lost data in the messy data center.

This is not the case where virtual information is concerned.

Like a ghost, it’s not able to be ‘seen’ directly.

3. Unknown assets create an unknown licensing scenario, in which it’s impossible to determine the correct number of licenses to purchase.

Security watch: Is virtualization a mistake?

With automated licensing software – impotent when it comes to handling virtualization – typically in place, IT departments may be ringing up unplanned, and unnecessary costs.

4. Insecure default configurations can manifest.

Multiple

When the ‘blueprint’ for virtualization is created, any problem, including a breachable security issue, is replicated.

Each future virtual machine will have the same bad padlock.

5. When a server can be created with complete ease, the unfortunate fact is that many are then born.

Unattended

Whether born out of necessity or not is another question; followed by that of who maintains that server?

The IT department may be unaware of its existence when it’s created by a non-IT employee.

When that employee leaves the organization, it’s possible that information will wither unattended, essentially departing simultaneously.

6. Communication between different servers with different security clearances on the same machine is possible.

Security

This presents the obvious system vulnerability.

If a hacker gains access to a less secure server, they can readily access information that is meant to be much more secure.

7. When the hypervisor – the software technology manager – is attacked, all the servers under that umbrella are susceptible to infiltration.

Infiltration

Patches must be maintained and kept current. Falling behind on maintaining security updates puts all the information across the board at risk, rather than on a few laggard’s machines.

Although these seven reasons – each pointing out a flaw in the technique – appear to be serious reasons to consider avoiding virtualization, that is not the case.

Each point has a relatively simple solution, such as firewall installation between servers or complete data organization prior to server creation. Confronting the problems before they become security issues is the right approach.

From there, resource utilization results have proven to be superb.

Featured images:

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Prince William’s mitochondrial line is of Indian ancestry?

Prince William’s mitochondrial line is of Indian ancestry?

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My children’s ancestry branches backward into history, through Welsh Quakers immigrants in Pennsylvania, to Welsh royalty and then to British royalty, including Prince William. It was surprising to learn Prince William’s mitochondrial line is of Indian ancestry?

 

Prince William's mitochondrial line is of Indian ancestry?
Prince William’s mitochondrial line is of Indian ancestry?

The result of these connections is that my husband and children are distantly related (20th cousins 4 times removed from Princes William and Harry, the sons of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, and the grandsons of the current Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth II.

It is interesting to note that, not only are the young royals connected through German, Spanish, French and numerous other lineages, but DNA tests conducted by BritainsDNA have proven Indian ancestry through their mother Princess Diana.

Although its is believed that Eliza Kewar, their fifth great grandmother was Armenian,  DNA shows a direct maternal Indian descent. Eliza was housekeeper to and in a relationship with Theodore Forbes. Forbes was from Scotland and worked for the East India Company in Surat, India.

The mitochondrial DNA, which is passed on through the women only, descended through Eliza and Theodore’s daughter Katherine and her female descendants to Frances Roche, who married Earl Spencer and had a daughter, Lady Diana Spencer – William and Harry’s mother.

photo credit: Steve Rhodes via photopin cc


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4 stories of hidden treasures you can still look for today.

4 stories of hidden treasures you can still look for today.

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There’s reason to believe you could find a major treasure horde.  After all, there are quite a few still out there just waiting to be unearthed!  Here are just 4 stories of hidden treasures you can still look for today as long as you have a metal detector.

For most metal detectorists, the thrill of the hunt is the driving force behind their metal detecting.   You never know when that signal goes off what you’ll unearth. 

stories of hidden treasures
4 stories of hidden treasures and hordes you can still look for today.

The Treasure of Little Bighorn

During the Battle of Little Bighorn in June 1876 in eastern Montana, a steamboat called the Far West was leased by the government and sent up the Bighorn river to resupply General Custer and his men.

It is said that while Captain Grant Marsh had anchored the ship at the confluence of the Bighorn and Little Bighorn rivers to wait for soldiers to come and unload the supplies, two freighters from Bismark, North Dakota stopped and asked him for help.  They requested that the Far West take on the $800,000 in gold they were carrying because they had just narrowly averted capture by Native Americans several times and were worried if they didn’t hide the gold somewhere it would be stolen.  Although the Captain didn’t want to take on the gold, he did.  Then, he continued to wait for Custer’s soldiers to come and unload the supplies.

As he waited, captain Marsh became nervous about having so much gold on board so he headed upriver to a safer anchorage.  He then took the gold ashore and buried it.

He then returned to the confluence of the two rivers to see if he’d be able to rendezvous with the soldiers.  Unfortunately, instead he received word of Custer’s defeat and was asked to transport the wounded to safety.  With this, the gold was forgotten until the Captain contacted the freighting company several years later.  He even led them to the place he had remembered burying the gold but, the landscape had changed during the time he’d been away and, that $800,000 in gold hasn’t ever been recovered.

Yamashita’s Gold

During WWII Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita and his men stole a great deal of gold and other riches from the countries they invaded.

It is also said that even top officials including the Emperor himself participated in looting during the war.

As the story goes, all of the treasure these high ranking Japanese officials found was stored in Singapore, then relocated to some caves in the Philippines.  The goal was to then transport the treasure from the Philippines to Japan after the war was over, but that was never accomplished.

Some of the treasure is said to have stayed in the Philippines while other portions of it were lost at sea when the merchant ships it was being smuggled in were sunk by Allied forces.  Although many scholars say Yamashita’s treasure is a myth, others believe and they’ve been on the hunt ever since.

Forrest Fenn’s Treasure

Forrest Fenn is a writer and art collector in his late 80’s who lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Back in the 1980’s Fenn was diagnosed with cancer.  He was lucky though, and he beat it.

When he recovered, he was inspired to hide somewhere between $3 – 5 million of his personal treasures including gold, jewels, and priceless artifacts somewhere “north of Santa Fe” and “above 5,000 ft”.

He then wrote his memoir “The Thrill of the Chase” and in it included a poem he wrote that will lead readers to his buried treasure – if they can decode it.

Since then he’s also published another book titled “Too Far to Walk” that includes a map of the area where the treasure is hidden but doesn’t give away the exact location.

So far, no one has found it, but maybe you can be the lucky treasure hunter.

Civil War Treasure in Virginia

Stories of treasures buried during the Civil War abound.  One of the more plausible involves a Confederate Commander named John Singleton Mosby.

In the spring of 1863 Commander Mosby had just finished raiding a Union camp and had over 40 prisoners, one of whom was a Union officer.

The officer had a bag that he had been using to store priceless family heirlooms and artifacts, along with some gold and silver pieces he’d stolen from Virginia families.

Commander Mosby took this bag, estimated to be worth over $350,000, and began heading south with the prisoners back toward Confederate territory in Culpeper, Virginia.

Around New Baltimore, Virginia though, a scout spotted a group of Union soldiers.  To avoid them the scout led the group through the woods.

It is at this point that Commander Mosby became nervous about the heirlooms returning to Union hands so, he and Sergeant James Ames buried them between two trees.  He then marked the two trees with an “X” and they rejoined the group which successfully returned to Confederate territory.

After some time, Commander Mosby asked Ames to return to the site with six of his best men to recover the treasure.

While there, the men were all captured and subsequently hung.

Mosby never returned to claim the treasure though he did speak about it to friends and family on his death bed, saying he wished he could have recovered the treasure so he could return the heirlooms to the families they belonged to.

As you can see with these four stories alone, there’s enough treasure out there for everyone!  

So, grab a professional deep seeking metal detector and head out treasure hunting.

As always, be sure to check the local and national laws before you get started. When metal detecting on private property always obtain written permission from the land owner. You never know what you might dig up – maybe you’ll even find one of these treasures!

____________________

About the author

Michael Bernzweig manages MetalDetector.com in Southborough, MA. He has written extensively on the subject of metal detecting since the mid 1980’s. He has traveled world-wide in his pursuit of educating, exploring and advising others in the proper use of metal detectors. Outside of the business he enjoys mentoring students, being involved in the community and spending time with his family.

photo credit: dad1_ via photopin cc


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Genealogy obsession in Iceland opens academic doors.

Genealogy obsession in Iceland opens academic doors.

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As I’ve written in previous posts, much of human history has involved the management of relationships, marriages, etc. to safeguard against incestuous relationships, and has resulted in an impressive genealogy obsession in Iceland.
Genealogy obsession in Iceland
Genealogy obsession in Iceland opens academic doors.

Iceland, with its population of only 320,000, is one small corner of the globe that still deals with the issues of living in the shallow end of the gene pool, manifesting in today’s Icelanders’ preoccupation with genealogy and family history.

In one instance, a group of students from the University of Iceland engineering department created a smart phone app, allowing users to simply bump phones to see if they have a common ancestor, as well as if there’s a relationship and just how close it is.

Prior to the smart phone app, the “Book of Icelanders” (Islendingabok), has been the receptacle of genealogy records. Kári Stefánsson, an Icelandic neurologist, created a web-based version of the “Book of Icelanders” to provide constant access to its users. Kári Stefánsson and Fridrik Skulason claim to have documented 95% of Icelanders of the past three hundred years.

A benefit of the impressive job Icelanders have done tracing their family genealogies, is the extensive collection of data available for studies and experiments in many  disciplines including science, social studies, health and genetics.

Another example of the benefits of pursuing genealogy was described in my previous post “Owning a home: Military least likely and fire fighters more likely to own”. In this case, a statistical analysis of census data by Ancestry.com provided data to study home ownership trends over the past century.

Although the thoughts of the current and future benefits of genealogical study are pleasant ones, consider the negative – how would such caches of genealogical information have been used during WWII in Germany? The thought is truly frightening.

Previous posts about this topic are:

Icelandic Ancestry: the Icelandic genealogy database is now available online. 

Ingenius incest prevention app created by University of Iceland students.

The Science of husbandry on a human scale.

photo credit: Stuck in Customs via photopin cc


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Ingenius incest prevention app created by University of Iceland students.

Ingenius incest prevention app created by University of Iceland students.

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I previously wrote an article about my fascination with the ‘science of husbandry on a human scale‘.

My interest in this subject was piqued by my own Acadian ancestry and the Acadians’ practice of ‘managing’ biological relationships through the church in order to safeguard against close relatives marrying and having children. This has been a necessity through the centuries as a result of people living in small communities that were widespread. The modes of transportation were primitive and substantially increased the possibility of relationships and marriages within family lines. The Acadians recognized these relationships as existing within levels of ‘consanguinity’ or ‘closeness of biological relationship’.

The culture that shares the this Acadian practice to the greatest degree is that of Iceland. They have taken their management of these relationships to a different and greater level through consultation with the Íslendingabók database, a national database of ancestral lines and family trees reaching back several centuries, with their incest prevention app.

Students of the University of Iceland in Reykjavík won a contest for apps run by the Íslendingabók database. With their Android incest prevention app called ‘Sifjaspellsspillir’ or ‘Incest Spoiler’, two people with the app just tap their phones and if they share a grandparent, they will receive an alert. The creators are hoping to make it able to alert regarding common great grandparents in the future.


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A Primer on Cemetery Research to Find Ancestors

A Primer on Cemetery Research to Find Ancestors

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Cemetery research absolutely is one of the most valuable tools for genealogy research.
Although I’m pretty much housebound and don’t get out much now, there was a time when I did venture out and do research in places such as cemeteries. As a matter of fact, I previously wrote about one experience at an old Catholic cemetery in Nova Scotia where I and my family spent the better portion of a day checking out the burial sites of our ancestors – and there were bunches of ’em.

By Jillynn Stevens, Ph.D., MSW

Grave Tombstone of Marguerite Melanson.
Cemetery research led to the discovery of Marguerite Melanson’s burial site.

When you’re working on researching distant generations of ancestors, cemetery research is one of the most satisfying, hands on forms of genealogical exploration you can do. It’s one way to connect with a tangible reminder of particular ancestors, which is often an elusive feeling. Finding a tombstone or other sign of the resting place of an ancestor can give you insights into who they were. Is their tombstone humble or grand? Does it contain an inscription that speaks of a simple life, of one that hints at a great love story, or a somber and religious disposition? What dates are inscribed? The information source is rich, yet locating cemeteries and navigating the research process isn’t always straightforward. Here’s how to get started with genealogical cemetery research.

What can I expect to learn from a cemetery?

It’s important to note that cemeteries and grave markers can be excellent sources of information about the deceased. While they are not primary information sources, they can clarify details such as:

An ancestor’s name, including obscure details like maiden names and middle names or even occasionally pet names, but most often:

  • date of birth
  • date of death
  • the names of family members including parents, spouses, and children
  • religion
  • military service
  • fraternal order membership

Cemeteries are a wonderful source of information that can confirm what you’ve learned from earlier research. In other cases, you’ll garner information that you didn’t know. For example, there may be symbolism on a tombstone suggesting that your ancestor was a member of the Masonic Lodge or perhaps they are buried in a Catholic burial ground. Each of these small clues can open up new avenues for research and exploration.


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Transcription: Marriage of Clifford Carter and Elizabeth Sampson of Cape Breton – Part I.

Transcription: Marriage of Clifford Carter and Elizabeth Sampson of Cape Breton – Part I.

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Transcription: Documents related to the marriage of Clifford Carter and Elizabeth Sampson of Cape Breton.

____________________________________________________

The following are transcriptions from photographic images of approximately half of a collection of documents related to the marriage of Elizabeth Sampson and Clifford Carter of Sampsonville, County of Richmond, Nova Scotia, Canada. The second half of the transcriptions and links to the actual document images will be published either tomorrow or the day after.

Fine print in the margins was indecipherable due to image quality.

—————-

Sampsonville CB
May 16th 1916

I consent to the marriage of my son Clifford Carter (who is within twenty one years) to Elizabeth Sampson.

his
Philip  X  Carter
mark

marriage of Clifford Carter and Elizabeth Sampson

—————-

Sampsonville CB
May 16th 1916

I consent to the marriage of my daughter Elizabeth Sampson (who is within the age of twenty one years) to Clifford Carter.

Mr. Vinny Sampson
his
X
mark
Witness

Laura Sampson

marriage of Clifford Carter and Elizabeth Sampson

—————-

29/

May 20/16

No……………………191

Clifford Carter

AND

Elizabeth Sampson

MARRIAGE LICENSE AFFIDAVIT

Rich

marriage of Clifford Carter and Elizabeth Sampson

—————-

(There is indecipherable fine pring text in the left 1″ margin, due to image quality.)

FORM OF AFFIDAVIT

I, Clifford Carter
of Sampsonville in the County of Richmond
labourer make oath and say as follows :

I, and Elizabeth Sampson
of Sampsonville in the County of Richmond
are desirous of entering into the contract of
marriage, and of having our marriage solemnzed at Sampsonville
in the County of Richmond.

I am the age of nineteen and eleven months years, and the said
Elizabeth Sampson, is
under twenty one years.

I am a bachelor and the said Elizabeth
Sampson is a spinster.

Philip Carter & Vin Sampson of Sampsonville in the County of Richmond labourers, both whose consent to such marriage is required, has consented thereto in writing

(Two lines of ‘struck-through’ text that is unreadable.)

I believe that there is no affinity, consanguinity, prior marriage or other lawful causes or legal impedment to bar or hinder the solemnization of our marriage.

Sworn to at St. Peters in the
County of Richmond
this 16th
day of May 1916.

Clifford Carter
Signature of Deposed

Before me,
A. J. MacCuish
Issuer of Marriage License

marriage of Clifford Carter and Elizabeth Sampson

Marriage of Clifford Carter and Elizabeth Sampson

___________

V 29

Richmond – 1916

Carter, Clifford

Sampson, Elizabeth

—————-

marriage of Clifford Carter and Elizabeth Sampson

Here are more documents related to this marriage.

—————-

The complete original scans of the document clips above can be accessed by clicking the image. To access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, click on the name link above, or search the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the left sidebar. It is recommended to search using both methods as the results do sometimes differ. All data on this site is available for free access and download.


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View history through time lapse mining from internet archived photos.

View history through time lapse mining from internet archived photos.

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Just imagine what it would be like to see historical changes in our world occur over time.
One site that gives us the ability to view history through time lapse mining from internet archived photos is a reality.

 

Lombard St., San Francisco
Lombard St., San Francisco

Ricardo Martin-Brualla of the University of Washington and David Gallup and Steven M. Seitz of Goggle Inc. have devised a method of mining photos of a particular subject from the numerous free archives online, piecing them together chronologically, setting them around a median, and stabilizing the result, creating a time-lapse video.

The video below shows the results of this process using images spanning several years of oft photographed landmarks such a Butchart Gardens in Victoria, Lombard Street in San Francisco, glaciers in Alaska and Norway, the World Trade Center and major cityscapes.

The process has been tested and improved upon using subjects that are frequently photographed by the general public and saved to free photo storage and sharing sites such as Picasa, Panoriamio and Flickr.

This process they call time-lapse mining takes millions of photos available online, sorting chronologically, and creating a 3D time lapse video of the subject. Once the photos have been overlapped to document the very slow changes over time, the images are stabilized.

According to the researchers:

The scale and ubiquity of our mined time-lapses creates a new paradigm for visualizing global changes. As more photos become available online, mined time lapses will visualize even longer time periods, showing more drastic changes.

 

So far, the researchers have created 10,728 time lapses of 2,942 landmarks, the majority of which are in Europe. The quantity and subject matter of these videos is dictated solely by the availability of images online.

I find this new technology fascinating and can’t wait to see how this progresses.


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Transcription: Obituary for Harold Everett Redetzke; 1935 – 2002

Transcription: Obituary for Harold Everett Redetzke; 1935 – 2002

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Harold Everett Redetzke+ + + + OBITUARY – HAROLD EVERETT REDETZKE + + + +

May 18, 1935 – October 12, 2002

Harold Everett Redetzke, age 67, died on Saturday, October 12, 2002 at his home in rural Sebeka, MN. Harold was born to Elmer and Margaret (Kimball) Redetzke on May 18, 1935 in Butler Township, MN. Harold was united in marriage to Norma Eckert on June 8, 1957 in Sebeka, MN. They lived in Foxhome, MN for several years and then moved beck to Sebeka where Harold tanned until retirement. Harold served on the Red Eye Township Board for a few years and was a member of Our Saviour‘s Lutheran Church. Harold underwent heart transplant surgery on September 27, 1987 at the University of Minnesota Hospital.

Redetzke, Harold Everett; MemorialHarold is survived by his wife Norma Redetzke of Sebeka, MN, to their union were born five children; two daughters, Diane Steinkraus and her husband Ronnie of Sebeka, MN, Debbie Redetzke of Lincoln, Nebraska; three sons, Myron Redetzke and his wife Pam of Sebeka, MN, Marvin Redetzke and his wife Lori of Sebeka, MN, Calvin Redetzke and his wife Joni of Sebeka, MN; seven grandchildren, Lacey Eckman and her husband Justin, Shawn Redetzke, Jeremy Redetzke. Levi Steinkraus, Evette Steinkraus, Reid Redetzke, and Logan Redetzke; five sisters, Delilah Hasbargen of Frazee, MN, LaVern Milbradt of Sebeka, MN, Donna Super and her husband George of Menahga, MN, Joyce Slininger and her husband Bill of St Cloud, MN, Darlene Hought and her husband Konnie of Foxhome, MN; two brothers, Marlyn Redetzke and his wife Joyce of Sebeka, MN, Donald Redetzke and his wife Roseann of Ely, MN; and many nieces, nephews and cousins. He is preceded in death by his parents, brother Gordon, infant sister Mavis and nephew Corey Hought.

[Handwritten: ‘Herbert Redetzke (Bro.)’]

Memorial Services were held on Wednesday, October 16, 2002 at 1:30 P.M. at Our Saviour‘s Lutheran Church in Sebeka, MN with Reverend Mark Manning officiating. Organist was Hilda Mary Schoon and congregational hymns were “In the Garden,” “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” and “Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling.” Honorary Pallbearers were Glen Kimball, Randy Redetzke, Daniel Besonen, Ryan Milbradt, Larry Huotari, Benny Olson and Gerald Olson. lnurnment will be at Green Hill Cemetery at a later date. Arrangements by Cardini — Behrens Funeral Homes of Sebeka and Menahga, MN.

___________________

The image above links directly to the original document. You can access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, by clicking on the name link, or searching the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the left sidebar.

It is recommended to search using both methods as the results can differ greatly due to a glitch in the software that doesn’t connect all images from the bio.

All data for this and numerous others on this site is available for free access and download.

 


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Tombstone: Anna E. Blythe (nee Murray)

Tombstone: Anna E. Blythe (nee Murray)

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Tombstone of Anna E. Blythe
Tombstone of Anna E. Blythe

The following is a transcription of the tombstone of Anna E. Blythe. Anna died August 9, 1925 in Danville, Vermilion, Illinois, USA.

Anna E. Murray

wife of

Charles E. Blythe

1873 – 1925

___________________

The image above links directly to the original document. You can access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, by clicking on the name link, or searching the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the left sidebar.

It is recommended to search using both methods as the results can differ greatly due to a glitch in the software that doesn’t connect all images from the bio.

All data for this and numerous others on this site is available for free access and download.


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Transcription: Marriage Record for Oscar Thomas Blythe and Thirza Estelle McKim

Transcription: Marriage Record for Oscar Thomas Blythe and Thirza Estelle McKim

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Marriage for Oscar Blythe and Thirza McKim

This is my transcription of the marriage record for Oscar Thomas Blythe and Thirza Estelle McKim of August 9, 1930 in Butte Fourche, Butte County, South Dakota.

Marriage for Oscar Blythe and Thirza McKim

Original Form Text is black. Text entered by hand is blue.

_____________________________

South Dakota Department of Health

Division of Public Health Statistics                                                                                                                                            County No. 655

RECORD OF MARRIAGE                                                                                                                                                            State No. 139423

Date of Marriage: Aug      Month: 9      Day: Yr.: 1930

Where Solemnized: Butte Fourche

City, County: Butte

GROOM

Full Name: Oscar Thomas Blythe

Usual Residence: Nisland, Butte

(City, County) Butte

BRIDE

Full Name: Thirza Estelle McKim

Usual Residence: Fruitdale

(City, County) Butte

Age

(last birthday)

24

White X

Other

(state)

Date of Birth:

Age

(last birthday)

19

White X

Other

(state)

Date of Birth:

Place of Birth:

Place of Birth:

Number of times previously married:

Last Marital Status

Widowed Annulment

Divorced Never Married X

Number of times previously married:

Last Marital Status

Widowed Annulment

Divorced Never Married X

SDVS-11

___________________

The image above links directly to the original document. You can access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, by clicking on the name link, or searching the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the left sidebar.

It is recommended to search using both methods as the results can differ greatly due to a glitch in the software that doesn’t connect all images from the bio.

All data for this and numerous others on this site is available for free access and download.


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Icelandic Ancestry: the Icelandic genealogy database is available online.

Icelandic Ancestry: the Icelandic genealogy database is available online.

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Previously, I wrote about the Incest Prevention App called ‘Sifjaspellsspillir’ or ‘Incest Spoiler’. It was created by University of Iceland students for a contest by the Íslendingabók database and its purpose is to alert two people of a possible familial connection when they tap their phones.

Later, in a related story, the “Icelandic Roots: Genealogy, Heritage, & Travel” website announced its release of the Icelandic genealogy database through their site.

The database is available with a monthly or yearly subscription. Access is also available to organizations and researchers by contacting them.

While continuing to add names and other great features, the database also links you to events, dates, occupations, cemetery records and burials, photos and more.

They will assist with your genealogy research by helping you find your family tree, connecting you with family members, and  providing ancestry charts and reports. All this is possible through their popular “Cousins Across the Ocean” project or you can complete their online request form for more information.

If you’re interested in finding out more, there are tips for using the database, and they also explain its history. If you have Icelandic research to do, this site and database are well worth checking out.


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Transcription: Sworn Statement regarding the Birth of Matthew Coon

Transcription: Sworn Statement regarding the Birth of Matthew Coon

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The following is my transcription of the Sworn Statement regarding the birth of Matthew Coon.

State of Wisconsin
County of Waushara

Mrs. Mary Russell & Sarah Bradway being duly sworn upon their oaths say that they reside in said County and state that are acquainted with Isabel A. Coon widow of David Coon of Co A Batt Regt Wis Vols, and was acquainted with the said David in his lifetime.

That they were present at the births of Matthew E. Coon child of the said David and Isabel A. and know that he was born on the 3 day of November 1861 at the town of Bloomfield in said County and State.

They further say that they have no intent in any application in which this may relate.

Mary Russell

Sworn and subscribed before me this 27th day of February 1867 and I certify the affiants to be credible persons and that I have no intent in the claim of said Isabel A. for increase of pension  the word Poysippi erased & Bloomfield enten????? before signing —

James Russell  Justice of the Peace

___________________

The image above links directly to the original document. You can access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, by clicking on the name link, or searching the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the left sidebar.

It is recommended to search using both methods as the results can differ greatly due to a glitch in the software that doesn’t connect all images from the bio.

All data for this and numerous others on this site is available for free access and download.

 


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Vintage watches and vintage photographs make a wonderful combination.

Vintage watches and vintage photographs make a wonderful combination.

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The old, hackneyed saying of “a picture’s worth a thousand words” couldn’t be more true than with this image I stumbled across on Pinterest this morning of vintage watches repurposed as portrait frame bracelets.

Luckily, that’s all that’s needed in this case as this blog seems to be in Swedish – which I totally don’t understand at all. I could use Google Translate or some other translation service to read the post, but why bother? The picture truly is self-explanatory.

Then I started thinking of other time pieces that could be converted this way, especially if they’re broken.

Here are the possibilities brought to mind:

  • Grandfather clock.

  • Pocket watch.

  • Mantle clock.

  • Watch pendant.

  • Wall clock.

While rummaging through garage sales and thrift stores in the past, I never would have thought to look at old clocks, watches, etc. Seeing this post (oops! I should say image as I couldn’t read the post) has changed that completely – and I’m going to start looking out for such items to use as frames for family photos and vintage images from my family tree research.

Sometimes the best ideas are other people’s ideas!

photo credit: practicalowl via photopin cc


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