27 February 2015

100th Anniversary of the Panama Pacific International Expo in San Francisco


One hundred years ago, San Francisco was the site of the Panama Pacific International Expo.  It was held to celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal and the rebirth of San Francisco after the devastating earthquake in 1906.  Eleven exhibit palaces sat on 635 acres of land on the San Francisco waterfront. Twenty-nine states had pavilions on display. The outbreak of World War I caused many foreign countries to withdraw from the Exposition but 25 still managed to send exhibits for their pavilions.

19 million people visited the Expo during its run from February to December in 1915.  It was the only World's Fair / Expo that was entirely funded locally. The Bay Area had an abundance of wealthy residents. When New Orleans’ exposition committee announced in early 1910 that it had pledges of $200,000 to make a fair happen, San Francisco’s elite responded with a gala at the Merchants Exchange where $4 million was pledged. By the time the House of Representatives was prepared to choose between the two cities in January 1911,  San Francisco guaranteed a world’s fair with $17.5 million in civic and state funds to get things started. New Orleans couldn’t come close to matching this amount. San Francisco was awarded the right to hold the 1915 exposition.



The ten major exhibit halls formed a large rectangle surrounded by several courtyards. The Exposition's most spectacular structure was the Tower of Jewels, which occupied the center of the large rectangular area. Standing 43 floors high, the Tower's exterior was decorated with more than 100,000 glass beads of various colors, which were strung on wires so they would blow in the wind. To enhance their shimmering effect, tiny mirrors were placed behind the beads.




On the east end of the rectangle stood Machinery Hall. Its enormous eight-acre interior was so large that an airplane could fly through it. With three bays each 75 feet wide, 101 feet tall and almost 1000 feet long, was the largest wooden structure in the world for its time. In the Palace of Transportation, a Ford motor plant produced 18 cars a day, displaying the marvel of the assembly line.




In the Joy Zone,  one could find the Aeroscope.  For 25 cents, fairgoers entered a two-level, 120-person passenger car attached to the end of an enormous steel arm that was slowly raised by an enormous counterweight to a height of 235 feet. For 10 minutes, visitors had spectacular views of the fairgrounds and city.  There was also a five-acre model of the Panama Canal itself, demonstrating the locks and trains which guided ships between the two oceans. Visitors rode around the model on a moving platform, listening to information over a telephone receiver.



The first transcontinental telephone call was made minutes before the official opening of the Expo.  The historic call was initiated by Alexander Graham Bell who was in New York and included Theodore Vail, the president of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company in Jekyll Island, Georgia, President Woodrow Wilson in the White House and Bell’s assistant Thomas Watson in San Francisco.




The first ever Woman Voters’ Convention in the world occurred in September of 1915 at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition.

27 December 2014

The Wedding Veil - A Christmas Wish Comes True!


Yes, the image above is exactly what you think it is.  The long sought after photo of Jeanette Augusta Meier on her wedding day wearing the veil that 48 brides in my sister-in-law's family wore on their wedding day.  My SIL and her mother had created a very special scrap/story/photo book that contained photos or portraits with family narratives of each bride with one exception.  They were missing a photo of Jeanette Augusta Meier.  

After exhausting resources available to me online, I reached out to every Jewish Genealogical or Historical Society, I blogged about it, I put it on Facebook, Google+, Twitter and the word got out.

It was a member of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Oregon, Sura Rubenstein, who heard about the hunt for the photo, located the image above and sent me an email.  The link Ms. Rubenstein sent me was from the NewsBank website.  I didn't have a subscription so all I could do at that point was view the image.  The University of Oregon Libraries website hosts the Historic Oregon Newspapers website and it is there I found the image above.  

Not only is it a full-length photo of Jeanette Meier wearing the veil, notice if you will that her attendants are also pictured framing Jeanette's photo.  They are all cousins of the bride except for the maid of honor who is her sister-in-law.  What an unexpected bonus!

Noting that the publication was "The Sunday Oregonian", I was curious why in all my searching through the Portland, Oregon historical newspapers online, I missed this.  My best guess is because the caption under Jeanette's photo appears "handwritten," not like the typeset of the rest of the paper and perhaps the OCR didn't pick this up.  Or perhaps my search was too narrow, focusing only on the "Oregonian."  Had I done a little more research on newspapers from Portland, Oregon, I would have found that the publication had quite a few different names:  "The Sunday Oregonian," "The Morning Oregonian," "The Weekly Oregonian" and "The East Oregonian." 

The scrapbook is now completed and will accompany the veil as it continues to be passed down through generations of brides.  My sincere appreciation to everyone in helping to make this simple, but very special wish come true.


Image provided by:  University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, OR

14 December 2014

Unusual Records of Death - Mourning Paintings

Mourning paintings took many forms, including watercolor on paper, silk, or ivory, and needlework of silk, cotton, or wool threads on a linen ground.  They were the tedious and exemplary work of schoolgirls, completed both as an academic exercise and as a reinforcement of the religious, literary, and historical teachings of the day.


Hurlbut Family Mourning by Sarah Hurlbut

Lemuel Hurlbut was a farmer from Newington, Hartford County, Connecticut.  He died 15 August 1808.  The other two memorials are for Hurlbut children T.H. and Hannah.


Affectionately inscribed to the memory of BENJAMIN WITT 
who died April 17 1818 Aged 68 years

This painting was done in memory of Benjamin Witt of New Braintree, Worcester County, Massachusetts,  died on April 17, 1818, at the age of 68



Masonic mourning painting for Rev. Ambrose Todd 
by Eunice Pinney


Ambrose Todd was the rector of St. Andrew's Church in Simsbury, Hartford County, Connecticut.  He was a member of the Morning Star No. 28 Lodge in East Windsor, Hartford County, Connecticut.

A school painted memorial by Lydia M. Daggett 
of Providence, Rhode Island

This painting is inscribed with the words:

"Consecrated to the remains of John Daggett who was born Sept 9th 1800 and died July 5th 1803. And an infant child aged 10 hours who was born June 5th 1818." 


Sacred to the memory of Mr. Nathan March

This painting was done in honor of Mr. Nathan March who died in 1811 at the age of 39 in Worcester, Worcester County, Massachusetts.  The painting has been handed down through time with a letter identifying the little boy on the left.




By Sally Caldwell Woods


In Memory of John Caldwell son of Capt. Seth and Mrs. Cath. Arline M. Caldwell, who died October 14th, 1822. Aged 2 years and 9 days.



Artist unknown

Left:  To the Memory of Thomas May aged 10 days
Middle:  Affectionately Inscribed to the Memory of Lucy C. May aged 4 years and 8 months
Right:  To the Memory of April May aged 6 weeks


Artist Uknown

Captain Jonathan Foster was born in Haverhill, Essex County, Massachusetts on October 11, 1727 and died there on July 28, 1813.  He was an officer in the Revolutionary War.  He married Rebecca Doorman and they had 6 children.Jonathan and Rebecca are buried at Mount Vernon Cemetery, Boxford, Essex County, Massachusetts.


A Memorial for Isaac Dillingham by Lucretia Winslow

Isaac Dillingham was born on March 27, 1777 in Harwich, Barnstable, Massachusetts, married Abigail Winslow there, and died there on December 30, 1807.  The artist, Lucretia Winslow was the sister of Abigail Winslow Dillingham.


Brewster Family Memorial ca. 1805

This was painted in memory of Augustus, William and Mary Brewster of Windham, Connecticut.


Windham County, Connecticut ca. 1815

Sacred to the Memory of Mr. Oliver Ingals who was drowned April 10th 1815 aged 45 years 

Sacred to the Memory of Jared Ingals who died July 2nd 1812 in the eighth year of his age


ca. 1810 New England

In Memory of Alice Child, Honaree Child, Julia Child, Laura Child and Charles Child.



by Mary Ann Cowan ca. 1825

This was painted by Mary Ann Cowan in honor of her mother Eliza Kirkpatrick Cowan who lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


Memorial for Diadama by Eunice Pinney  1816

"In memory of Miss Diadama Pinney who died January 22nd AD 1816 aged 19 years.


Artist unknown ca. 1807

To the Memory of Rev. Enoch Pond who departed this life August 6, 1807 aged 51 years.



11 December 2014

Ear Candy - Genealogy Podcasts, Radio Shows and YouTube



The Urban Dictionary defines ear candy as "sounds that elicit a pleasurable response from the listener."

For most genealogists, these sounds are podcasts that teach us about everything genealogy.  Colder weather keeps us indoors for the most part,  so why not cuddle up with a set of earphones and get your genealogical education groove-on!

While this list (which is in no particular order) is by no means all inclusive, it should keep you busy for quite awhile. 



"Mondays With Myrt," "Wacky Wednesday," "Mastering Genealogical Proof" online study groups, "Genealogy Game Night"


Now that Marian Pierre-Louis has landed a great gig with the Legacy Family Tree Team as their new Social Media Marketing Manager, I hope that she will still have time to continue with her podcasts.  She is such a great host and interviewer!


George Morgan and Drew Smith are the hosts of the longest running regular weekly podcast in the world!  The one hour show is full of genealogy news and information.


Lisa Louise Cooke is called "The Queen of Genealogy Podcasts" and for good reason - she hosts 4 different shows!


Scott Fisher has created a new and different type of show for radio, aimed at showing how fun and interesting family history and genealogy can be. Genealogy is a topic that a lot of people are into and each week Scott talks about amazing finds and connections people make.


Jane Wilcox is well-known for her radio show and has now joined the team of contributing editors of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record.  The Record is a peer-reviewed scholarly journal of great distinction in continuous publication since 1870 and is published quarterly by the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society.




Bob Packett loves to tell stories of the real people behind the often sterile descriptions found in history texts. His conversational style, filled with anecdotes, quips, and humor, will bring to life the characters of history.

And many, many more!

THE SEEKER - Linda Hammer
GENEALOGY ON DEMAND - Shamele Jordan
TALKING HISTORY PODCAST - Organization of American Historians
OPAL PODCASTS - Online Programming for All Libraries History and Genealogy Programs
GENETIC GENEALOGY VIDEOS - International Society of Genetic Genealogists
GENEALOGY NEWS - Patty Roy
THE GENEALOGY RADIO SHOW - Lorna Moloney
MOCAVO FIRESIDE CHATS - Michael Leclerc
THE HISTORY OF ENGLAND - Dave Crowther
GENIES DOWN UNDER - Maria Nothcote
AFRICAN ROOTS PODCAST - Angela Walton-Raji
MY SOCIETY - Federation of Genealogy Societies
MAPLE STARS AND STRIPES - Sandra Goodwin



04 December 2014

Twelve Days of Christmas with Surnames

The people over at Crestleaf are having a Scavenger Hunt using surnames found on their website.  The prize for the most creative is $250!  Here is my entry:



On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
A Partridge in a Peartree


There are 3220 with the surname of Partridge and 60 with the surname of Peartree.


On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Two Turtle Doves

Only 6 with the surname of Turtledove.


On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Three French Hens


Only a partial for this one -  20,832  with the surname of French.


On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Four Calling Birds


This one I had to split up -  5 with the surname of Calling  and  too many to count with the surname of Bird.

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Five Golden Rings


Only 3 with the surname of Goldenring.


On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Six Geese a Laying


I found the surname of Geese.


On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Seven Swans a Swimming


There are surnames of  Swan  and   Swim.


On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Eight Maids a Milking


With no surnames of Maids or Milking, I will use the name of Maidens.


On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Nine Ladies Dancing


Had to improvise with surnames of Lady and Dance.


On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Ten Lords a Leaping


I found the surnames of Lords and Leap.


On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Eleven Pipers Piping


There are oodles with the surname of Piper.


On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Twelve Drummers Drumming


There are 450 people with the surname of Drummer and 21 with the surname of Drumming.


I know it's not part of the song, but I was very amused to find quite a few with the surname of GRINCH!


01 November 2014

Northern California APG Chapter Welcomes Judy Russell!

Genealogists from the Northern California APG Chapter had cause to celebrate.  The San Francisco Giants were rewarded with a parade in San Francisco today for winning the World Series.  We had a Major League player from the genealogical community share a meal and hours of great stories with us.

Judy Russell, Carolyn Ybarra & Corey Oiesen


Judy Russell, The Legal Genealogist, is in Cali Land to give a day long seminar on Saturday for the San Mateo County Genealogical Society.  They had all kinds of plans for Judy this weekend, but SMCGS president Christine Green thought the Northern California APG Chapter might enjoy some face time with Judy as well.  Fifteen of us traveled from all over the Bay Area  and Stockton for this wonderful opportunity.

(back row)  Carolyn Ybarra, Corey Oieson, Janice Sellers
(front row)  Linda Okazaki  & Christine Green


NorCal APG members who joined us for lunch were:  Ellen Fernandez-Sacco (president of the California Genealogical Society), Jeff Vaillant (immediate past president of CGS), Corey Oiesen  ( APG Publicity Chair & CSGA Newsletter Editor ), Kim Cotton (vice president of CGS), Lisa Gorrell ( secretary for CGS), Joyce Morey (SMCGS), Todd Armstrong (CGS), Linda Okazaki (CGS), Christine Green (president SMCGS), Carolyn Ybarra, Janice Sellers and representing the San Joaquin Genealogical Society from Stockton was Jacqi Stevens (vice president) and myself (president).


Jeff Vaillant, Jacqi Stevens, My Empty Chair (I was the photographer for the day), Kim Cotton, Linda Okazaki & Christine Green


Judy had no problem at all feeling right at home with our group.  From the moment she arrived at the restaurant until we all walked out the door (3 hours later), it was non-stop story telling and sharing our most exciting genealogical discoveries.


Kin Cotton, My Empty Chair,  Jacqi Stevens, Jeff Vaillant & Lisa Gorrell

I absolutely love our Northern California group of people.  We do things a little different from other APG Chapters.  For instance - we do not have elected officers (no one is the boss of us :)), we don't charge dues and we don't have traditional chapter meetings.  Instead, one of us makes arrangements with a Northern California library, archives, etc for a "behind the scenes" tour and then we go out to lunch.  This formula seems to work for us and personally I accomplish more networking during one of our field trips than I do anywhere else.  We are a very friendly and happy group of people and welcome any member of  the Association of Professional Genealogists to join us on any of our field trips.  



Ellen Fernandez-Sacco, Todd Armstrong & Joyce Morey


Thank you Judy Russell for sharing your afternoon with us!