Saturday, October 31, 2009

Trick or Treat!!!

Happy Halloween!
from Tangled Trees

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Glowing Jack-O'-Lantern

The jack-o'-lantern is easily the most recognized and used symbol of Halloween in modern America. The name originates from an old Irish folk tale telling of Stingy Jack and his encounter with the Devil of which there are various versions.
The term jack-o'-lantern first appeared in the mid-17th century and originally meant a night watchman or man with a lantern. It was also used to describe a strange light flickering over the marshes of Ireland. If approached, this light would advance and was always out of reach. This was also known as the will-o'-the-wisp or ignis fatuus.
The Irish Potato Famine of the mid-1800's prompted a massive immigration to the Americas. With the Irish, came their beliefs and traditions, including carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors to frighten away Stingy Jack and other wandering evil spirits. The Irish discovered that turnips were not readily available in the Americas and instead turned to the larger pumpkin yielding our modern day jack-o'-lantern.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Historical Society of Pennsylvania

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania is the largest genealogy center in the Mid-Atlantic region, with records from every state east of the Mississippi River. Learn more about the expansive resources available here, including deeds, probate records, church records, ship passenger lists, and newspapers from 18th- and 19th-century Pennsylvania. This fall HSP will offer a series of genealogy workshops, to cater to both beginner and advanced family historians. The second workshop in the series is Genealogical Resources at HSP. This workshop is aimed at beginners, but there will also be useful tips for experienced researchers.

This workshop is FREE for members; $15 for nonmembers. Cost includes a one-day admission to HSP's research library.     Please visit   for more information.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Information for Researchers at Washington, DC Natl Archives

Genealogy Workshops in Philadelphia

This fall, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania will offer a series of genealogy workshops, to cater to both beginner and advanced family historians. The first workshop will be held twice - at 6 p.m. Wednesday, October 28 and Noon Friday, October 30. This beginner workshop, which is free to members, will provide novice genealogists with the tools and knowledge they need to begin their family history search. Learn the proper way to conduct family interviews and review family records. Find out what resources are available and how best to use them, including public records, federal and local repositories, historical societies, ancestral DNA testing, and genealogical databases.

The workshop will be taught by Mr. Lee Arnold, a family historian and director of the library and collections at HSP. He received his masters in library and information science from the University of Wisconsin and his masters of liberal arts with a concentration in archives management from Temple University. Mr. Arnold is a member of the Academy of Certified Archivists and speaks regularly to groups on how to conduct research at the historical society. He has been researching his own family since 1980 and assisting genealogists at HSP since 1992.

This workshop is FREE for members; $15 for nonmembers. Cost includes a one-day admission to HSP's research library. To register online, click here. Or call 215-732-6200 ext. 214 for more information.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Affleck & Damon - 10th Cousins, once removed

Researchers at the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS)
 recently uncovered family lines that link the Hollywood duo.
Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are 10th cousins, once removed.
Both are decedents of William Knowlton, Jr. (1615-1655) of Ipswich, MA.

William Knowlton Jr. was born in England and arrived with his parents to the U.S. in the early 1630s. He was bricklayer by trade. William Jr.’s two children that Affleck and Damon descend from are Thomas and Mary Knowlton, born in the 1640s.

The Hollywood duo each descends from Knowlton’s two children; Affleck from Knowlton’s son Thomas, and Damon from daughter Mary. Working on the research were NEHGS staff genealogists Chris Child, who specializes in early New England and Presidential research, and Rhonda McClure, who has done genealogical research for many celebrities. Longtime NEHGS genealogist Gary Boyd Roberts also contributed to the research.
Affleck, who was born in California but grew up in Boston, is also related to 16 U.S Presidents including Barack Obama, as well as the late Princess Diana.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

New Searchable Database: New Jersey Civil War Treasury Vouchers

New Jersey’s Civil War-period treasury vouchers collection includes 15,770 payment receipts for military expenditures and wartime purchases made by the State of New Jersey from 1861 through 1866. It includes soldiers' discharge certificates for final pay (over 9,300 items), affidavits of family members for pay due to deceased soldiers (over 1,400 items), and quarterly returns of the counties and cities listing the names of soldiers’ families and dependant mothers who received subsistence pay during their service. It is important to remember that your ancestor need not have lived in New Jersey to be in included in these records. Some individuals were credited for service to states in which they did not reside, plus individuals living on the borders of New Jersey in other states may have served for New Jersey.
In all, nearly 114,000 index entries provide access to the content of the documents.

This new database is searchable by any combination of first name, last name, regiment, county, and year.

Results include Name, Rank, Reg. & Co. Description, Location, Date, & Citation - Ex: 
Bacon, Charles H. (Wife of)
3rd Reg. Co. F
Payment to County of Cumberland (Jonathan Elmer) / Subsistence : For Families of Volunteers.
Item Payment: $18.00. Voucher Total: $756.00
Cumberland County
27 Sep 1861
1861 : M : 487. Item No. 2

The processing and indexing of New Jersey’s Civil War vouchers was made possible by the New Jersey Civil War Heritage Association (NJCWHA) who supplied the volunteers to sort, flatten and folder nearly 16,000 documents; and, with the aid of a grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, contracted for the creation of a database to index them.

New Jersey Division of Archives and Records Management:

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Plus Side of Census Recording Errors

There have been discussions within our family regarding the correct pronunciation of one of our ancestor’s name:

Ignatz John Kollain
b: 23 JUN 1867 in Isak or Saboch, Austria

Various records of Ignatz and his offspring show many forms of spelling:  Kollain, Kollian, Kollein, Kollien

Fortunately, the 1920 Monroe Township, Middlesex, NJ, census taker did not speak German and simply wrote their name phonetically; and the record confirms the pronunciation of our surname as Coline.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Donauschwaben Coat of Arms

The imperial black eagle holds his wings protectively over  the central region of the Danube and symbolizes the obligation of the Holy Roman Emperor to protect those borders of the empire.
The wavy blue line symbolizes the Danube River, on or along which the German settlers traveled to Hungary.
The strong fortress of Temeschburg (Timisoara) is flanked to the left by the waning Islamic crescent moon and to the right by the bright rising sun, the symbol of Christ.
The six towers of the fortress represent the six main regions of the settlement for the Donauschwaben: Central Hungarian Highlands, Swabian Turkey, Slavonia-Syrmia, Batschka, Banat, and Sathmar.
The fortress stands on the green fertile farm land made productive by the Danube Swabians.
The Donauschwaben Coat of Arms was created by Hans Diplich in 1950.
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