This is wonderful news, JD. Can't blame Meryl for not wanting to continue getting up so early for chats.
I've been doing a lot of genealogy work so maybe this is what I need to get going again on digi-scrapping.
And I also now have people to appreciate my wonderful find yesterday!! My husband, son, daughter, and oldest granddaughter are members of the Cherokee Nation. My white GGrandpa refused to allow GGrandma to be registered as an "Injun" [yes, I heard him say it more than once]
before the Dawes Rolls closed in the early 1900's so my dearly loved in-laws couldn't enroll me.
Anyway, on Footnote.com
(the paid premium site) I found 700 pages (so far) of transcriptions in a 20-year court case between my husband's family and The Cherokee Nation. It's absolutely full of interviews and witness testimony and reads like a soap opera--scandal, bad blood between families, accusations of bribery and graft--we hold nothing on those ancestors when it comes to drama.
And I haven't even downloaded the Dawes Packets for my DH's grandfather and great grandfather yet!!
Sorry for this very long post (especially after a period of silence), but I kept reading pieces of testimony to my DH yesterday--this is HIS family, remember--and kept getting, "That's nice, honey." 700 pages of testimony that names names, has people answering questions about maiden names of grandmothers and g-grandmothers, talks about migration of various family members, describes relationships-- and that's NICE????!!!!!
I know all of you will commiserate.
And...to help anyone who may be relative beginners at genealogy research (I know JD and LL are experts), I'm listing some discoveries that were new to me. All are free unless otherwise noted:
Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers
-- This is a joint project between the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities. If you're lucky enough to find a a local publication like I was, these old newspapers were gossip fests. After one of DH's relatives shared the scan of an 1894 murder indictment brought by The Cherokee Nation against two of his granddad's brothers who "willfully and intentionally murdered" one Falling Buzzard, I found an article on the incident in the Indian Chieftain
, which was being published in Vinita, Indian Territory at the time. Of course
I sent the indictment and article to the whole family as proof that our kids' bad habits are all their father's fault.
Now that I've had time to do more research, I've found three more newspaper articles on the subsequent trial and learned that Falling Buzzard had been drunk all day, was menacing the small town, and DH's uncle was the sheriff. At trial, both brothers were found not guilty on all charges and thanked by the grateful townsfolk. And, yes, I sent that to the family, too.
Of course the Library of Congress Digital Collection
itself is a masterpiece. Most of our families are from Oklahoma, and the Farm Security Administration's B&W photo collection of families forced into poverty by the Dust Bowl is amazing. When I was growing up in Oklahoma City, we always drove on the May Avenue bridge which was above a shanty town that had been there as long as my memory. Through these photos, I learned that it had originally been the Mays Avenue Camp
and was established for the farmers whose families were starving. Fascinating stuff!! (My mother's family was very poor. As a young teen she came to California in the summers as a migrant worker. It was a hard time for all so she never liked to talk about it.) Also, don't miss the Civil War Collection!
The US National Archives
--truly a national treasure for people researching the United States.
is great if you're researching a state with people who are interested in sharing information. Again, I'm lucky that Oklahoma is full of genealogists and has an amazing Oklahoma History Museum. But nearly every state has information to share.
Also be sure to check the websites for state, county and local governments--many are scanning documents at unbelievable rates. And don't forget the university libraries in the states you're researching. I looked at the University of Oklahoma Pioneer Papers and found the transcript of a 1937 interview with DH's Cherokee grandmother!!
I've also begun researching my father who (as many of you know from heritage layouts) was killed in Germany in 1945. His death came in the months after the Battle of the Bulge, when fighting was still fierce as his infantry unit pushed its way into Germany. He was buried in Belgium for two years before my grandmother (Gertrude, the pioneer girl) had his remains returned for burial in Oklahoma. Unfortunately, my mother's grief guided the rest of her life so I don't have many facts. To make it more difficult, his records were among the ones completely destroyed in the 1973 St. Louis National Archives Fire. Because of that, I needed to think a bit more out of the box.
So I started by emailing the Director of the Ardannes American Cemetery in Belgium. He responded right away that there are no records of temporary burials, but his father was one of the people liberated by the American Army; the people of Belgium will be eternally grateful to American forces; and he wants to help in any way he can. He gave me links to some wonderful resources and asked me to let him know if he can translate any website pages for me.
From Find a Grave
, a young soldier currently serving in the Belgium military posted a comment saying he had been raised to honor those who gave their lives in the liberation of Belgium. Because of that, and to honor a fellow soldier, he offered to do local research for me, to take photos of any place I wanted, to translate. Such wonderful people.
From a WWII forum run by veterans and others interested in military history, I was given leads that I never thought of. One man sent several PDFs with daily journal entries of the fighting in that part of Germany and Belgium during March 1945--his father had belonged to the tank battalion that was supporting my father's infantry unit. From that report, he asked in a post if my father had died on March 5--he had. My husband (a Vietnam vet) translated the military jargon for me, and I ended up with a very clear picture of the environment in which my father died. DH was worried that it would upset me--on the contrary, having facts for the first time in my life gave a sense of peace.
Okay, now this has become a book and you all know FOR SURE
that Omio is alive and well.
JD, can you tell I'm excited? It's on my calendar. Good Lord willin' and the creeks don't rise....