Friday, March 27, 2015

An interviw with Lisa Alzo NERGC Speaker: Talented Writer & Serious Genealogist

Lisa Alzo, author, lecturer, teacher, genealogist, and blogger helps people trace their ancestors, especially those with Eastern European lines. She has over 25 years of research experience, extensive knowledge and background. She researched her own ancestors and shares some amazing results assisting others. Lisa will be a guest speaker this year at the NERGC 

New England Regional Genealogical Conference in Rhode Island April 15-18 2015 on Facebook 

I interviewed Lisa March 19 2015 and was fascinated with her ancestor hunt and extremely impressed with all her knowledge and expertise. She can really offer a person an abundance of skills, tools, and methods for finding their roots. A bonus, if you feel inclined to write a story or just share your quest, Lisa can tell your story with her gifted writing.
Lisa is be a big asset for the NERGC and has valuable insight into anyone who wishes to step into the past and find who they are and where they came from.

What are some of the projects you have recently completed and what project are you working on now? 

During this month, as I do every March to help celebrate Women's History Month I introduce tips and resources to help people track their female ancestors. The series is called Fearless Females Blogging. I have done a post each day here to honor the women in my own family tree.This I hope will not only inspire, but also educate and advise other women hoping to trace their female lines. Even if a person feels discouraged to pursue their research due to lack of resources or information there are many methods to solve the mystery. I cover a variety of those possibilities and also share an outline on my webinar Silent Voices: Tips and Tricks for Tracing Female Ancestors.
In the book, Tracing Your Female Ancestors compiled by Gena Ortega the following is  included: Online resources, Working Women, Women in the Military, African American Female Ancestors, Grandma Was an Alien, Female Ancestors Pre-1850, Women in the Civil War, Women and Divorce, Women and the Vote, Secret Lives of Women, Manuscript Collections Overview, Women's Clubs and Organizations and more! Also see Research: Grandmothers, Mothers & Daughters-Tracing Women
Also, I am writing courses for the Canadian based school National Institute of Genealogical Studies.Currently there are classes on the site that offer researching Slavic ancestors and soon there will be advanced instruction offered on the subject.
Recently I presented four talks on Researching female lines, finding heroes and villains in your family tree, oral and social history, and Eastern European genealogy for the Indiana Historical Society
I have co-presented a number of genealogy boot camps with Thomas MacEntee.
I am also an ongoing editor for Family Tree Magazine

What are some techniques and tools you have used to trace your ancestors and how can someone learn from your methods, especially if they have hit a wall or block? I know I have solved a few family puzzles from searching the internet and found a site by Pam Beveridge Heirlooms Reunited 

Most of research methods and background information can be found on my blog The Accidental Genealogist
The biggest challenge, or brick wall people encounter when tracing their ancestors is finding the source locations where records may be available on the family. For example, in locating my own European ancestors the villages where they were changed through out the centuries. This often happens as the borders and boundary lines are reconstructed, often times even the countries change. If your family lived in a small village in Poland it maybe be now located in the Ukraine, etc.
Demographics are vital to finding the records. In the past I have used maps, gazettes, national archives (state or regional) and contacted the church/cemetery records where ancestors lived. Many of the towns in Europe have taken records from the microfilm and digitized them . Some are accessible on line, but you may have to take a trip as I have a few times. If that is not an option you can hire a genealogist over there that is familiar with the area where your family originated. I did so myself before I ventured over seas when I started out many years ago and it definitely helped.
There are many resources on line that have posted family pictures, journals, letters, and basic information that could lead to finding an ancestor. One that has helped me is Discovering American Women's History Online
A database provides access to digital collections of primary sources (photos, letters, diaries, artifacts, etc.) that document the history of women in the United States. Offers detailed descriptions and links to more than 600 digital collections.

What is most rewarding in researching ancestors from your own experience and when you have assisted others? 

I think that learning about my ancestors process in what they gave up and also endured to come to America. It really makes me appreciate the sacrifices they made and how hard they preserved to make a new life, identity, and home. Despite language barriers and cultural differences they adopted, but never completely shed their own traditions of origin.
It prompted me to publish Finding your Slovak Ancestors. The countless numbers of descendants of the early Slovak immigrants from the 19th and 20th century are searching for their Slovak roots. This book lists both traditional and online resources necessary for researching Slovak ancestors, and shows how to document and preserve your findings for future generations.
What has given me a sense of total connection was visiting my family over there and meeting my blood relations, like my cousin Renata. It was a very spiritual touching experience. And I was able to walk the same landscape and homestead as my paternal grandparents. I found my family over in still living on the same land as my gr gr grandfather.
I love to teach people how to find their family roots most likely because it was such an unbelievable experience for myself.The "serendipity" and "by fate" encounters is beyond words. Sometimes you find one anser searching for another. You also link to threads you never could imagine.
The written narratives we compile can turn into some pretty interesting story lines. I wrote Three Slovak Women which is a nonfiction account of three generations of Slovak women in the steel-producing town of Duquesne, Pennsylvania and the love and sense of family binding them together. The book opens with Verona Straka, who immigrated to the United States from the tiny village of Milpos , Slovakia in 1922. But there are three sections that unfold on these generations.
Also, some tracing family lines may have a hobby or deep interest that can brought into connecting them with their roots. For example, if you love cooking you may compile a recipe book of your ancestors eating traditions or preferred meals. I  published "Baba’s Kitchen: Slovak & Rusyn Family Recipes and Traditions," which contains the pleasant food I grew up with in Baba's kitchen. Another book for my love of sports "Sports Memories of Western Pennsylvania." Here is a recipe posted on blog
Family Recipe Friday: Auntie B's Christmas Cookies
If you prefer to have someone write your family story you can hire a ghost writer. I have worked with people in creating the family tree and the colorful stories and life events attached to each member. By showing someone how to make an outline---recording significant dates, events, and connections associated with each family member the narrative begins to unfold.

What organization, society, or institution did you find to be most helpful in tracing your ancestors?

The University of Pittsburgh and the Carnegie Library held answers to the secrets from my past and the descendants of the other Pittsburgh people. Especially when I published my books on the area.First, the university had a strong Slavic language program. The staff helped me tremendously.
The Carnegie Library had a great archival center. Any contracts, literature, letters could be transcribed.
I am a native of Duquesne, PA and now I can share on the topics of Slavic Studies and genealogy with those who are starting out. The families of Slavic origin who immigrated to this area have rich stories to learn and to tell.
All efforts to preserving the past and paying tribute to those who helped to make Pittsburgh a great American city are centered around the records and archives at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. I am grateful that have generously and graciously opened up their collections to the public. Many of the photographs in my book, "Pittsburgh’s Immigrants," came from these resources.

Below from Blog post Pittsburgh Document Finds Its Way Home

Taken from blog post The Accidental Tourist:Sojourn in Slovakia: Day 5 (Part 1) Lisa with cousin Renata and her husband Robert meeting for the first time. They live in London and they had been corresponding by e-mail for many months--sharing family information and photographs. When Lisa found out that they would be visiting her parents in Slovakia during the time she would be there she knew that serendipity was somehow intervening to bring us together.

All of Lia's books can be found on Lisa Alzo

Nutfield Genealogy---A Visit to the Balch House, Beverly, Massachusetts

A Visit to the Balch House, Beverly, Massachusetts
Balch House

Sunday, March 22, 2015

My Quaker ancestors Salem & Newbury MA

"There is a people not so rigid as others are at Boston and there are great desires among them after the Truth. Some there are, as I hear, convinced who meet in silence at a place called Salem."
-Henry Fell (in a letter dated 1656)
June 27, 1658

             From History of Salem Sidney Perley Volume 2 Phelps Farm
            It was a warm, sunny morning. Three men made their way through Salem Woods to a Quaker meeting at the Phelps farm, tucked away some five miles from the Puritan meeting house. Robert Adams of Newbury, familiar with the road, carefully led two men, WilliamLedra and William Brend, welcomed missionaries from the Barbados.
            Hannah and Nicolas Phelps arranged the meeting for the same hour as the Puritan church service in order to dodge any interruptions, and they had good reasons. The Quaker group was already under the watchful eyes of local officials who warned them to return to the true church. William Hathorne had recently issued an order to his deputies: “You are required by virtue hereof, to search all suspicious houses for private meetings, and if they refuse to open the doors you are to break open the door down upon them, and return all names to ye Court.”
            The brilliant rays of sun grew stronger and warmer as Robert and the two missionaries approached the generous, open landscape of the Phelps farm. Robert surveyed the copasetic surroundings and smiled wryly - this place was the perfect gathering spot for the followers of the Light, just far enough from Hathorne and his colleagues.   
            William Hathorne was interrupted during Sunday service with news of a “disorderly meeting taking place.” The agitated magistrate immediately dispatched Edmund Batter, James Underwood, and John Smith to the Phelps home to interrogate the offenders. He leaned into Batter with a hard, directive tone. “Clean out those heretics and bring them to me. But Batter, not all at once … Cage a few, summons the rest for court.”
            Heavy hooves pounded with authority as the determined constables made tracks toward the Phelps house. The tranquil energy of the group shifted as the herd of intruders grew closer. Margaret let out a terrified shriek when she heard the loud command from outside.
            “Break it down.” It was her husband, John Smith. The axe worked fast and the splintered door flung open. Batter entered first, followed by his fellow ferreters. John Smith lunged toward Hannah like a rabid animal, but she did not flinch.
Stepping back, she said, “Pray ye, John, what right have you to be here and lose thy temper quick, or do you mean to spoil God’s worship?” Smith, bug-eyed with fury, began shouting obscenities. Everyone stood motionless, everyone except Hannah, whose fiery spirit could not resist a verbal assault.
They plunged into a hotspurred argument, but Batter feared that if he did not gain control quickly, the others would engage. He grabbed John and asserted, “Save her for later, Smith. She will soon be shackled in body and mouth.”
Smith’s heated state began to temper, and he scanned the room for Margaret. “Get home, woman," he commanded. "You disobey me and God … I may not fix your unlawful state.”
            Batter speedily confined the rest of the group and ordered them to line up outside. He then carefully chose whom he would haul in, following Hathorne’s instructions. He knew maintaining order mandated a delicate formula, so he took nineteen to the jail and let the rest go with a summons to appear in court in two days' time.
            While the constables broke up the meeting, Adams skillfully shuffled the two Williams out the back door and cautiously led them to the stalls. From there, they managed to vanish into the thick woods, but the ride back to Newbury did not take them down the same majestic path on which they arrived. Instead, Adams chose a dense growth of unmarked forest that provided a safe fortress for a brief time.
            Hathorne sent orders to Captain William Gerrish, the elected townsmen in Newbury, to search the home of Robert Adams in order to apprehend Leddra and Brend. Gerrish was an excellent candidate for the job; he already had the trust and favor of Adams.
June 28, Early Morning - Newbury

 Grave of Robert Adams in Newbury MA from Life from the Roots Barbara Poole 

            William Gerrish made his way to the Adams' home with Reverend Timothy Farrell. He intended to resolve the situation amicably. Gerrish had a congenial history with Adams - their wives were friends, their children played together, and they shared a good working relationship, both in private and public office. Gerrish knew Adams favored the Quaker faith, and he was not the only one - several folks in Newbury were dissatisfied with public worship. Thomas Parker, the former minister, was forced to resign, and Newbury had not yet appointed a replacement.
            As Gerrish approached the home, the playful laughter of Adams’ children echoed from the front yard all the way to the meadow marsh. Gerrish spotted Hannah and Elizabeth sitting on lawn, arranging fresh cut wild flowers. Gerrish waved and both women smiled.
            Gerrish felt anxious; he never thought he would be visiting Adams under such unwelcome circumstances. However, Gerrish was not weak. He knew he had a duty to uphold the law. As the men stepped up to the entryway, Eleanor cheerfully greeted them and then called for her husband, who was in the back room with Leddra and Brend. Robert received them and introductions were made.
Gerrish reached into his pocket for the dreaded documents. “Robert, I have a summons for William Leddra and William Brend to appear tomorrow in Salem. I promise no harm will come to anyone, but we will need to have the minister here ask them some questions.”
             “What questions do you have? Please sit and I will have Eleanor bring some refreshments,” replied Robert.
            “That would be most welcome, Robert, and Mr. Leddra and Mr. Brend, do you agree to…”
Raising his hand, the irritated minister interrupted Gerrish. “This is official business. These two men are well known Quakers and have come here to defy our ways and our God!”
Robert ordered the minister out immediately, telling Gerrish he could stay, but only to confer with his guests. Gerrish realized that Robert would not cooperate as fully as he had hoped. Leddra and Brend quickly announced they would leave town, but when they attempted to go in peace, Gerrish followed, pleading that no harm would befall them if they turned themselves in. Gerrish was not aware that the Salem constables had already surrounded the Adams' home -  he was merely a means to trap these men.

The Sentencing
"The hat choketh because it telleth tales. It telleth what people are; it marketh men for separatists; it is a blowing a trumpet, and visibly crossing the world; and this, the fear of man cannot abide. My hat, is plain. Thine is adorned with ribbons and feathers. The only difference between our religions lies in the ornaments which have been added to thine."
- George Fox, Quaker
June 29, 1658 - John Gendry Tavern, Salem

            The court magistrates assigned that day were Simon Bradstreet, General Dan Dennison, and Major William Hathorne. The men and women apprehended and summonsed at the alleged Quaker meeting arrived at Gendry's Tavern to face charges. As they entered, Robert Lord, Clerk of Courts, announced, “Persons who had attended a meeting on the preceding Sabbath, at the residence of Nicholas Phelps, in Salem, are brought before this County Court.” The men filed in wearing their hats according to Quaker custom. Edmund Batter forcefully removed their headwear, not about to entertain their unorthodox notions of equality.
            Simon Bradstreet, anxious to interrogate the instigators, signaled Robert Lord to bring Brend and Leddra before him. Lord announced them: “William Brend and William Leddra, who belonged to the Island of Barbados, but had come from England, approach.”
            Bradstreet began his inquiry. “Why and what for do you come to these parts?”
Brend stepped forward and answered, “To seek a Godly seed that the Lord required, and to make passage to New England with the encouragement that our mission should be prospered.”
            From the back of the room, one of the accused, Samuel Shaddock, stood up and asked, "How might you know a Quaker?"
            Bradstreet replied, “Thou art one for coming with thy hat on.”
            Shaddock responded indignantly, "It was a horrible thing to make such cruel laws, to whip and cut off ears, to bore fiery rods through the tongue, simply for not putting off their hat.”
            Leddra humbly approached the bench and requested permission to address the court. “You seem to be convinced we are evil criminals. Perhaps you should send some of these magistrates to our meetings, so that they might hear and give account of what is done and spoken, rather than draw conclusions about that which you are unfamiliar with."
            Judge Dennison responded, "If you meet together without an ordained minister and sit in silence, we may still conclude that you speak blasphemy, for men of the cloth are God's voice and chosen leaders.” Denninson motioned for Leddra to sit down. “Now, Mr. Lord, I wish to see Nicholas Phelps.”
            Nicholas stood up and cautiously stepped up to the bench. Bradstreet read his charges. “Nicolas Phelps, you are charged for siding with the Quakers, possessing written material that denies the God-elected magistrates and ministers, holding a forbidden meeting, and absenting yourself from the public ordinances.”
            Nicholas nodded.
            Bradstreet then asked, “Mr. Phelps, do you now openly profess yourself a Quaker, as you had removed your hat when you came in here?’
            Nicholas shook his head affirmatively.
            Bradstreet continued his line of questioning. “I have here a pamphlet found in your home, advocating this said heresy. Is it yours?”
            Nicholas nodded and replied, “If you prosecute me for keeping on my hat, could not you bring yourself to come and join us as William Leddra asked of you, so you may make a decision after you witness our worship?”
            Dennison broke in and responded, “As I told you all before, you and we are not able to live together, and at present, the power is in our hands, and therefore you must bend to our will!” 
            Provided Southwick stood up and traced the row of magistrates with an outstretched finger, shouting, “You are nothing more than a band of merciless persecutors!”
            Denninson pounded his fist on the table, his face flushed with anger. After scanning the room, he belted out, “You Quakers bring forth blasphemies at your meetings, and for these transgressions, will incur punishments far beyond fines and fees, unless you renounce your heretic ways and return to the true church, or move out of this jurisdiction. The court will now deliberate and resume shortly to deliver your sentences."           
When the court reconvened, not one of the accused chose to renounce their newfound faith. Therefore, Robert Lord read the sentences as prepared by the magistrates. William Brend and William Leddra were to be confined at the Boston Gaol. Nicholas Phelps was fined 40 shillings for defending a Quaker writing and for holding the meeting at his house. He was also whipped for wearing his hat in court and sentenced to the House of Corrections in Ipswich for an indefinite period.
            Joshua Buffam, Samuel Gaskin, Lawrence Southwick, Samuel Shaddock, and Josiah Southwick were fined for absence from public ordinance, whipped for wearing their hats in court, and sent to the Boston Gaol. Cassandra Southwick was sentenced with the five men under the same charges, with the exception of the wearing of a hat, and was also whipped.
            Daniel Southwick, Edward Wharton, Anthony Needham, Robert Buffum, Thomas Bracket, Joseph Pope, Mary Trask, John Hill, Margaret Smith, Hannah Page, and Tasman Buffum were all fined 25 shillings for each absence from public ordinances.
Provided Southwick was fined 20 shillings for her absences and put in the stocks for one day for charging the magistrates as persecutors. She would also pay 5 shillings to cover the cost of her punishment in the stocks.
            Several of the accused did not appear in court that day, including Robert Adams, Henry Trask, Hannah Phelps, Gertrude Pope, Anne Needham, and Hannah Gardner; however, they were all fined for their absences. Additionally, Adams was fined for harboring Brend and Leddra in his be continued

Quaker Cemetery, 1718, Essex Street at Pine Street, Salem, Massachusetts. It is adjacent to the former Quaker Meeting House.
Sources and More Info   
The Quakers among us: 17th and 18th centuries

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Cambridge MA Automobile Parade 1911

Date: Sunday, October 15, 1911
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Paper: Boston Herald
Article type: Newspaper Article

Friday, March 20, 2015

Henry Knox Carriage Thomaston Maine

Matthew Hansbury Collections Manager of the Knox Museum replied to my query on this article below. He sent another article from American Pleasure Wagon 1813 and a picture of the carriage at the museum now known as “Lucky Knox’s carriage" . Trying to match all this information or where is the original Knox carriage as the all seem to appear different. If you have any please post or e-mail. Thanks

                        Henry Knox, portrait by Constantino Brumidi.

1795 — Major General Henry Knox, Secretary of War under Washington, resigned his commission and moved to Thomaston.
Probably no one man has done more for the town of his adoption than did Maj. Gen. Henry Knox for this town after he resigned as Secretary of War under Washington, and removed to Thomaston, where he engaged in so extensive business operations as to eclipse all others about him. In the army this man, by his great ability and moral worth, rose from a minor officer to a place next only to that of the great leader and deliverer of the nation. He won honors at Trenton, Princeton, Germantown, and Monmouth; as well as many earlier engagements. At the closing scenes of Yorktown he was rewarded by Congress with a commission of Major General. As a mark of Washington's appreciation of his services, Knox was selected to receive the sword of Cornwallis when that commander was forced to make the surrender that forever sealed the independence of America from the mother country; and, on the conclusion of peace he was entrusted with the difficult business of disbanding the American army at West Point. Gen. Knox became proprietor of the entire estate of the Waldo heirs, including most of the present Knox and Waldo counties, except that which had been disposed of previous to 1790. This he acquired partly by purchase and partly by his marriage with Lucy Flukner. Upon his arrival in Thomas ton, at the age of  43 years, he constructed a residence such as was scarcely rivaled in the County at the time. He built wharves and ships, manufactured lime very ex- tensively and, until his death was the leading spirit of the town. He also offered inducements to settlers to come to the place and furnished work for those of all classes. His sudden death in 1806, caused by swallowing a chicken bone, was a great blow to the community. He was much lamented by a people who had found in him a man ever in- terested in their welfare, and one who had made of Thomaston one of the most active towns in the state. He was buried the 28th of October, with military honors, his body being placed in a tomb not far from his residence. This has since been removed, and now lies in the cemetery on the hill behind the village. General Knox was beloved by all those who knew him, and took an active interest in the Church in town. He gave liberally to it support, and also gave the first bell that called this humble people to Christian worship. He also filled several places of honor and trust in political and state affairs being ever honored for his clear and broad intellect, his firm statesmanship, and his deep love of humanity.

From the DAR Museum Knox’s Revolutionary War accomplishments include leading the expedition to transfer sixty tons of captured British cannon from Fort Ticonderoga to Boston, directing Washington’s famous Delaware River crossing, and taking charge of the placement of the artillery at Yorktown.
Knox’s service to the new nation particularly is distinctive in that he was both the last secretary of war under the Articles of Confederation and the first secretary of war under the United States Constitution.  His salary in 1793 was $3,000. Click the link above to read more

Mary Pickford Marblehead Film 1917

October 1916 Boston Post (For full article email) Watch movie Pride of the Clan on you tube

Film History: A Fisherman "Saves" Star of the Silent Screen by Terry Date 

                          All Photos of Mary in The Pride of the Clan 1917

"The Pride of the Clan," a visually stunning film shot on location in Marblehead, Massachusetts by director Maurice Tourneur, is considered one of the best of Pickford's early pictures. Scholar Richard Koszarski, was so impressed with the film's composition, acting and editing, he wrote it was "clearly ten years ahead of its time." After I informed the LC and the MPL about the problems with their materials they agreed to collaborate on a restoration. The joint venture emphasizes the importance of archives, scholars, and owners of private collections working together to save our film heritage.

THE "WRECKED SHIP" REALLY SANK Mary Pickford bad a narrow escape from drowning in the ocean off Marblehead. Massachusetts from The Illustrated World Volume 26.

While Miss Pickford was rehearsing "Hulda of Holland" at Marblehead, Massachusetts during one of the episodes of the picture which shows Mary Pickford in a vessel drifting out to sea. The vessel selected for her use was an aged fishing schooner, and after it had been towed out to sea by two tugs it was set adrift with Miss Pickford_ supposedly, the only one on board. Gazing disconsolately upon the ocean, as the forlorn Hulda Mary Pickford leaned over the side of the clung tearfully to an absurdly small kitten while Director Maurice Tourneur hidden from sight directed the work of the camera Suddenly and quite unexpectedly the schooner listed toward the bow and rapidly settled in the water The old boat had sprung a leak something which was not in the scenario of the film Mary Pickford's simulated distress changed to feminine fright as the waves broke over the schooner and she called to Director Tourneur who fought his way to Mary as she clung waist high in water to the helm and also to the kitten that was meowing in frighting fright Let go of the kitten shouted I won t was Mary's spirited That kitten goes with me And the kitten did although it hardly more than a ball of wet fur it was finally rescued by motorboats came racing to the scene But at an age when most kiddies playing house and cuddling dolls this child was finding amusement in props and gaudy scenes back stage At a time when most kiddies are tucked into bed by loving hands five year old with the big serious was enacting a child's part for the of the nightly audience. From The American Magazine Volume 85

According to Pam Peterson in a 2013 article MARBLEHEAD 101: The movies and Marblehead

The first movie made in Marblehead was in 1917, when Mary Pickford came to town. Movie making itself was just starting, so it was a silent film. The movie was called “The Pride of the Clan,” and the plot was fairly simple. The last chieftain of an island off Scotland dies, leaving his only daughter in charge. Somewhat overwhelmed by the responsibility, the daughter, played by Pickford, hopes that her boyfriend can help. Their romance has complications, of course, which are finally resolved after a disaster at sea.