Thursday, January 20, 2011

New Lineage Society in Town

I just saw on Up Front with NGS website that there is a new lineage society starting up: the Sons and Daughters of World War II Veterans.  It is being initiated by the Admiral Nimitz Foundation and the Nimitz Educational Fund, both organizations which memorialize Admiral Chester A. Nimitz.

I will send in my application as soon as possible!

My father graduated from the Naval Academy in 1934.  He was retired medically in February of 1941 but brought back to active duty in October of the same year.  He served mainly as a flight instructor at Jacksonville (Florida) Naval Air Station.

I looked at the application form.  I have all the documentation I need.  What floors me is that there are spaces for four generations of lineal descendants! 

Take a look to see if you would like to submit papers for this society:  When that page appears, there is a large button marked "Apply."  Next to it in smaller print, it says "read instructions."  Click that one, and find the information needed, including how to download a copy of the application, if you'd rather do it all by paper.  You can also apply online, and they accept digitized copies (scans) of required documents.

There is a fee for applying.  The fee is $125.  Right now, they are emphasizing their "charter" status, which asks for an additional contribution of $100.  It'll take me a few weeks, but that's what I'm going to do.  It's the least I can do. 

My husband and I are also charter supporters of the World War II Museum in New Orleans.  That began about a year ago, and we ordered plaques with our parents' names on them as memorials in the museum.  My father served, and my husband's father served a short stint in the Coast Guard and his mother worked in a local shipyard which built liberty ships. 

As the poet said, "Lest we forget."

Friday, January 7, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History: New Year's Memories

Amy Coffin over at We Tree is at it again. Last year, she had 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy, with lots of ways we can improve the quality of our research. This year, in her wisdom, she is providing ways for us to get our own stories. down.   How much-needed that is, especially for me, since I'm neck-deep in the genealogy and history of the people who lived in St. Augustine, Florida, over 200 years ago!

Here is today's assignment:  Week 1: Did your family have any New Year’s traditions? How was the New Year celebrated during your childhood? Have you kept these traditions in the present day?!

My family did not have many real New Year's traditions.  One thing we enjoyed as kids was sparklers.  My mother did not really allow any other fireworks.  There were always stories she told and retold about kids getting a hand blown off or an eye put out.  But we did have fun with the sparklers.

Today my husband and I do not really have much in the way of traditions, either, except for one:  We stay home!  We stay snug in our house, out of the way of the drunks on the highways!  We might open a bottle of bubbly (usually San Sebastian Blanc de Fleur).  We do less and less at New Year's Eve, though, as the years go by.  New years don't impress us much anymore.  We've seen so doggone many of them!


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Historical dates

We see a date in a history book or on the web on some "official" website, and we think that this is probably accurate, the real deal, something we can trust and have confidence in.

Don't be too sure about that.

I am beginning to prepare for a talk I will give on my research into the family structure of St. Augustine, Florida, during the Second Spanish Period (1784-1820).  The research I have done is extremely complex, and to sum it up in the 10 minutes I will have for my presentation is not possible.  What I am planning to do is gather information about a particular day or particular week, depending on how much information there is for any day or week during that period, and present a picture of a typical day or week in St. Augustine sometime between 1784 and 1820.  This will be a way to show the human, day-to-day side of the town, say some things about the family relationships and the world and town in which these relationships existed.  It will be a bottom-up view of history rather than the traditional top-down view.

I have begun to gather this information, using a 3x5 index card -- yes, I am old school -- for each event on each date.  Right now, I am looking at the file on the probate of the will and estate of James Ormond, for whom Ormond Beach, Florida was named.  He settled in East Florida, near the former plantation of New Smyrna.  He had a wife, Russell (yes, that was her name), neé Walker, and two sons, James Ormond II and Emanuel Walker Ormond.  The probate file does not have a record in it which gives James Ormond's exact date of death.  Hoping to find at least a tentative date which I might verify later in some other record, I went to the internet.

What I found there is a can of worms.

One website says he died in 1819.  Another says 1817.  However, the record I am using, his will and attendant documents which form the probate file, come from the East Florida Papers, a collection of original documents from East Florida (mainly St. Augustine) during the Second Spanish Period.  The file starts off with a request from the widow Russell Ormond that the closed file on James Ormond's death be reopened, because she, with problems of health and distance, had not been able to come to St. Augustine soon after her husband died.

This request was received by the governor's scribe on 27 September 1809.

Where did the 1817 and 1819 years come from for his death?  I do not know.  Does someone have an original document with such a date on it?  I do not know that, either.  I hope I can find another original document which will have a more precise date.

In the meantime, when you come across historical dates in derivative sources, see if you can find an original source which will either corroborate or refute the derivative source's information.  Do not just take it at face value.