Thursday, May 21, 2015

Thoughts on The Genealogy Society

Our state genealogy society is going through some changes. So this brings this up in my mind as I am on the board. Let's discuss genealogy societies.

These questions came from a genealogy friend of mine.

1. Do you expect to pay dues to organizations (and how much)?

Yes, but I expect them to be reasonable. I think the lowest dues I pay is $20 and the highest is probably $48. Those seem reasonable depending on what funds are used for, and the benefits derived (see next question). 

2. How do you expect those dues to be used? If more than one, how do you split it?
a. To give you exclusive access to materials (members only access)
b. To cover the operational expenses of the organization (utilities, supplies, copies, equipment, etc.)
c. To purchase additional materials for research (books, microfilm, etc.)
d. If not a genealogy society, to support charity
e. Other, what?

This could be expanded to say how do you want them used.
Okay I expect all three of a genealogy society. I don't want B (covering expenses) but I realize it's a necessary evil. Other organizations I'm in do support charities or give scholarships, so I know that's part of my dues (the $48 one). I don't know how you split it, as I suppose it depends how much you need for choice B, and then A and C can be evenly split with what's left. And one has to hope there is something left. 

3. Do you expect or want a newsletter? How do you want it sent? By email, posted on web site, snail mail (paper copy), or a combination.

Yes I like a newsletter. Why are you paying dues if you don't want to be informed? If it's posted on a web site then I like a link sent to my email reminding me to check it. I don't need a hard copy; I'm all about saving money to have it go to something else besides stamps, paper and ink. 

4. Do you, or would you, consider volunteering your time to help the organization? Even if you are not local, there are usually still ways you could volunteer. If so, how much time would you consider (per week, month or year)?
I would add to this if you volunteer, do you expect free membership? And should the board (who volunteers their time), therefore get free membership?

Yes I do volunteer my time for this group I am referencing. I would consider for other groups but one cannot spread oneself too thin. So maybe currently I would consider 10 hours a month or so. 
I added the following because one society of mostly younger folks offers free membership in trade for volunteer hours. I think this is a great option for younger folk who might have more time than money, and maybe for older retired ones too. I also think the board, assuming they put in "enough" hours, should get free membership. 

5. Do you expect organizations to host programs, classes, entertainment, a conference or some other type of outreach?

I think this is a nice benefit for members and a good way to draw people in. So yes I think some type of class, program or conference is a nice benefit. 

5b. I'm asking because I am conference coordinator. How much would you pay for a 2-day conference with 8 presentations, one hour each with about 5 given by a nationally known speaker? Would you want lunch included or register for that separate? (So many people now a days have food limitations that sometimes this is good.)

Answering my own question, I expect to pay $75 for the 2-day conference, $40 a day without lunch. If a nice lunch is included, add $20 per day, so $110-$115 for 2-day conference including lunch, $60 for one day. If lunch is just a sandwich, chips and fruit, knock the lunch down to $10. And I expect lunch to be an option in registration, not because I have food limitations, but I know many people who do. 

6. If you thought the society could be improved, would you be willing to help on a committee, or serve on a board, to encourage and help change?

Yes in fact I have. Last year (2014) I was disappointed to only see less than 40 attendees at our annual conference so I volunteered to help, became conference coordinator and was happy to see double that (about 80 people) at our 2015 conference. 

This is all the questions my friend had. I thought I had another one but I can't think of it again. It will come to me right after I post, because that's the way it goes.

Yay, I thought of it before I posted.

7. How often do you expect a society to meet? This could vary depending on type of society and location. Do you want to always meet in person, or are conference calls or online meetings acceptable?

Answering my own question again: If a society is local (in one's own county), then I think monthly meetings in person are acceptable. If a society is state or regional, then I think quarterly is enough in person. If more meetings are necessary, then I think conference calls or online meetings should be considered and used. 

Okay I think that's it. Feel free to add your own questions below in the comments. Also feel free to answer these in your own blog, and leave me a link in the comments. Or leave your answers in the comments or send me an email or message. I am interested in more people's opinions. As always, thanks for reading. I may suggest this as a discussion for #genchat too, if we haven't done it already.


Saturday, May 2, 2015

April Ancestor: Lars Jorgensen

Well here it is April 30th and I haven't blogged about my April ancestor Lars Jorgensen. April was a very busy month, for genealogy and a few other things, so I figured I could be late with this one.
Lars Jorgensen is my 2nd great grandfather on my father's side. He could be one of my favorite ancestors. Well maybe they all are.

Lars was born in Denmark, probably in or near Fyn on January 11, 1849. According to his marriage licenses, his parents were Jorgen Rasmussen and Kirsten Andersdotter. I don't know much about his early life in Denmark. Next I find he marries Anna Marie Olsen February 23, 1871 presumably in Denmark. Then some time after, in 1871, they immigrate to the United States, staying in Omaha for 2 years. Their first children, twin sons, were born in Omaha on May 22-23, 1873. I heard one was born before midnight and one after. The second twin, Chris, was my great-grandfather. Shortly after that, they took a homestead in Kearney county. Four more sons were born: Rasmus, Ole P, Rasmus K, and Hans Samuel. The first Rasmus died as a toddler, so evidently they liked the name so well, they named another son. They lived the pioneer life for a few years, working the land. In October 1889 Lars was ordained to the ministry and was a pastor of the Danish Free Mission Church. His first wife Anna Marie passed away in 1906. In June 1907 he marries his daughter-in-law's mother (also my great-great-grandmother) Emeline "Lena" Nelson. Lena passes away in 1914. In 1915, Lars marries Maren Petersen, and she lives until 1920.

Lars lives on the family homestead according to census records in 1880 and 1900. In 1910, he and Emilina are found living in Cheyenne county, with two of his sons living nearby, perhaps on the same land. According to the 1920 census, he is back in Kearney county with wife Maren living at 913 Hull Ave in Minden. I think now I want to drive through Minden to see if that house still exists. From an online map it looks like that would be near the train tracks and highway in the eastern part of town. In 1930 the census lists him living at the "Bethany Old People's Home" in Minden.

Lars passes away at the age of 85 on July 9, 1934 at the Bethany Home (nursing home) in Minden, Kearney county, Nebraska. He is buried in the family plot at Fredericksburg Cemetery near Minden on July 11th. I have a gravestone photo taken by my father.


In addition to census records and gravestone photo, I have his obituary, his last two marriage records, and information about his homestead. I thought I had his death certificate, but I may need to check. 
So I guess this ends what I know about my great-great-grandfather. I should go start organizing my genealogy now or scan some photos. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

March Ancestor: Roy Clayton Sparrow

This year I decided to blog about a few of my husband's ancestors. So the first one I am focusing on is Roy Clayton Sparrow, my husband's great-grandfather. He died in March, so hopefully it fits that I blog his tribute for March.

Roy Clayton Sparrow was born in West Point, Lee county, Iowa on September 15, 1882 to William S. and Ida Evelyn (Swigert) Sparrow. He grew up in the Dallas City, Illinois area. In 1900 I find him in the census living with his parents in the Dallas precinct, Henderson county, Illinois. There is no house number or street name listed, so I assume this is on a farm, possibly the farm which is still in the family. Interesting is 3 households away is another one of my husband's relatives, so remember to check nearby in the census. I go 10 up and 10 down usually.
On July 2, 1903 Roy marries Ivy May Hubbard in Adrian, Hancock county, Illinois. They are the parents of 5 children, the youngest who might possibly still be living. Their children include Lois born 1905, Dwight born in 1908, Harold born in 1912, Velna born in 1914, and Ida born in 1920. Ida is probably still alive as I cannot find any death information for her. She probably has her father's genes to live a long life.
Here is a picture of the family in 1910.
Roy & Ivy Sparrow with Lois and Dwight, 1910.

In 1910, they are living in Richfield township, Adams county, Illinois according to the census.
We find his World War I draft registration card which lists his residence in September 1918 as Niota, Hancock county, Illinois. He listed himself as a self employed farmer, and his wife Ivy as his closest relative. He considers himself to be of medium height and build, a white person with blue eyes and brown hair.
In 1920, the family is living in Appanoose township, Hancock county, Illinois according to the census.
1930 finds them presumably in the same place in Appanoose township, Hancock county, Illinois. Most of their neighbors look to be the same, so that's a good assumption that they are in the same location. Roy is a farmer that owns his own farm in this census, and in 1920.
In 1940 (the last census we can access) he is living in presumably the same plaace in Appanoose township, Hancock county, Illinois. He lists the same house as his residence in 1935. He is a farmer, but now at the age of 56 has a hired man living with them to help with the farming.
In 1942 we find his World War II draft card where he is living in Niota, Hancock county, Illinois.
In February 1946, his wife passes away at the age of 63.
On July 29, 1947 he marries his sister-in-law, Hazel Morrison Sparrow in Washington county, Iowa. She was his brother's wife, and his brother had previously passed away in 1941. That's almost Biblical, right? If a woman was left without a husband, she was to marry his brother. I think that was a Biblical rule.
Hazel lives to the age of 92 and passes away in 1983.
Roy C. Sparrow lives a LONG life. Here he is at age 100 in 1982:
Roy Sparrow age 100

Roy Sparrow lives until March 4, 1988 until the age of 105 1/2. The farming life must have treated him well. He is buried in Harris Cemetery next to his first wife, near Dallas City, in Hancock county, Illinois. Services were held at the church of the Nazarene in LaHarpe, Illinois on Sunday March 6th. 
As you can imagine, since he lived a long life, there were quite a few records available on him. My father-in-law had these photos, I found him in the censuses and draft cards as listed, and I also found him in SSDI (Social Security Death Index), a death notice posted online, and I have a gravestone photo which I took when we visited. 



Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Dorothy Jorgensen: a sad story of a young lady

Well I feel compelled to blog about this lady, who is a relative of mine. After you read this story, you will probably understand why. She is my first cousin, 2 times removed. So her grandfather is my 2nd great grandfather.

Dorothy Maxine Jorgensen was born in Nebraska to Rasmus K. Jorgensen and Frederica Anderson on September 3, 1919. In 1920 her family was living at 1816 5th Avenue in Kearney, Buffalo county, Nebraska. She had 4 older sisters and 1 older brother. Her father dies when she is a young girl, in 1924. In 1928 her mother Fredericka remarries to George Kroeger. I cannot find them in the 1930 census. Probably I'll find them after I post this.

At any rate, in 1938 Dorothy is living in San Francisco, California with her sister and near her mother and stepfather. She is engaged to be married at the age of 18. She is a beauty queen, being selected as the queen of the 8th annual fiesta of the Eureka Valley Citizen's Association.

On June 22, 1938 Dorothy is walking from her and her sister's house and is struck by a car, driven by Melvin Gaston. Police said it was a hit-and-run, and the driver was SO intoxicated he could scarcely stand or talk. (So what the heck was he doing driving a car?!) Miss Jorgensen was crossing an intersection when his car struck her; she was knocked 40 feet through the air. She was literally knocked out of her shoes, as they were found 25 feet from her unconscious body. The driver sped away, BUT there was a witness. Mr. K. A. Heime was driving the car behind Gaston's and saw the whole thing. He then followed Gaston, stopping briefly at a gas station to yell to an attendant to call the police. Gaston's car was parked in front of his house; Hieme identified him to police who took him into custody.

Miss Jorgensen was taken to Park Emergency Hospital where she suffered a fractured skull, internal injuries and other hurts. She died a few hours after she was admitted. The record of the funeral home shows her cause of death as shock and hemorrhage from following depressed fracture of the skull. She was buried at Cypress Lawn Memorial Park cemetery, in Colma, San Mateo county, California. You can see her Findagrave memorial here:

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=Jorgensen&GSfn=Dorothy&GSbyrel=all&GSdyrel=all&GSst=6&GScntry=4&GSob=n&GRid=87747734&df=all&


She left many to mourn her death: her fiance Harold Bush, her sister Judith (June?) Lewis with whom she lived, her mother Frederica (Anderson) Jorgensen Kroeger and stepfather George Kroeger, She also left a brother, Arnold Jorgensen, and 3 more sisters Alta, Aleta, and Gladys.

I found most of this story in the San Francisco Chronicle, Thursday June 23, 1938 page 5 which I found thanks to genealogybank.com. If I could I would thank Mr. K. A. Heime for his efforts to bring justice, and give a hearty talking-to to Mr. Gaston about the dangers of driving drunk.

Rest in peace Dorothy, and I hope justice was served.



Friday, March 20, 2015

Nebraska State Genealogy Conference

Warning: This may read like an advertisement.

Pack a bag, grab a pen and your tablet or smart phone, and join us in Grand Island, Nebraska on April 24-25, 2015 for a great genealogy conference! The Nebraska State Genealogical Society is hosting its annual conference featuring national speaker and author, George G. Morgan. George is from Aha Seminars, and you may have heard him on The Genealogy Guys Podcast.

George will give 3 presentations on Friday and 2 on Saturday. Topics include maps, newspapers, obituaries, the agricultural census schedules, and one more! We are honored and excited to have him.

Other presentations include a forum on genealogy programs, a forum on genealogy societies, and a presentation about how to engage the younger generation. Plus we have 3 evening activities planned, so attendees may choose one of the following: beginning genealogy, "Tools on the Farm" which will be an entertaining presentation given by Stuhr Museum staff, or a trip to the Edith Abbott library where attendees can see what holdings are offered and have some time to research or just talk and connect with other genealogists.

This should be a great conference in central Nebraska. So now I know you're wondering "How do I get registered?" Well you can go to our new and improved web site www.nsgs.org. At the left click on "Annual Conference" Then under that is listed the Conference Registration page. Want to join the Nebraska State Genealogy Society? You can do that at the same time!

Oh did I mention there will be door prizes and vendors?! We have some great door prizes lined up, including a free genealogy program, free access to a genealogy web site for a few months, a book, t-shirt, and more! Do I have to take all this home with me? Register now!

Disclaimer: I am the conference coordinator for this conference, and for the Nebraska State Genealogy Society. I am not being paid to put this on my blog, but because of my position, am using it. So by the same token, if you have questions, you know who to contact (me). So leave a comment or send me a message.


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Ancestor of the Month, February: Johann "John" Michels

We're over halfway through February, and it's my day off work so maybe I should work on my ancestor of the month. Happy Birthday to my ancestor Johann "John" Michels, as he was born in February. Okay well I started this post in February, but then I got distracted. So here it is middle of March, and I should finish it.

Johann "John" Michels was born in Spekendorf, Germany on 3 February 1842. I have his parents as Marten Michels and Altjen Janssen Saathoff. Now I have not been to Germany (but I would LOVE to go), so I am not sure of this information. I have this information thanks to some distant cousins.
I don't know much more about his childhood, so the next information I have is his marriage.
On 27 August 1864 at the age of 22, he marries Anke Margaretha "Anna" Wessels in Middels, Germany. They become the parents of 8 children, 7 of them born in Germany.

In 1886 John and Anna and some of their children immigrate from Germany to the United States. In 1900 they are living in Harlan county, Nebraska indexed as Mitchell instead of Michels with 5 of their kids. In 1910 they are still in Harlan county, just living with one son Martin. In 1920 John is widowed as his wife passed in 1917, so he is living with his daughter and her family in Jefferson county, Nebraska. John then passes away February 3, 1925 in Fairbury, Jefferson county, Nebraska. He is laid to rest beside his wife in the Pleasant Hill Cemetery just northwest of Fairbury.

The one picture I have of him looks A LOT like my grandfather.

John Michels


This is my grandparents, Pamelia & Lester Seggerman. So you can compare Lester on the right, with his maternal grandfather above. I think they look quite a bit alike. How about you?

I have a cemetery photo for John Michels, and I have found him in the 1900, 1910 and 1920 censuses as I previously stated. Early information is hard for me to find since I live in the USA and that information would probably be found in Germany.



Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Facebook and other Technology Tips

Tuesday's Technology Tips
Although it kind of feels like Monday because we had a lot of snow so the kids around here didn't have school yesterday.
Do you get sick of people posting "following" on a Facebook post? Or so many people saying "thanks for adding me" giving the 1000 people in the group notifications. Yeah me too. So here are some tips for Facebook and maybe a few other tech tips.

1. You don't have to type "following" on a Facebook post you want to follow. There is a little arrow up at the top by the post, click on it, and select "turn on notifications".

2. By the same token, did you comment on something to be helpful but don't want to receive more notifications. Use that arrow to turn off notifications.

3. Did someone post an ad for UGG boots or sunglasses in your genealogy Facebook group? Use that same arrow to "report to admin". The admin should then remove the post, and maybe the spammer.

4. Is a web site down? You don't have to ask all your Facebook friends or Twitter friends. There's a web site for that!! It has such a clever name: http://www.isitdownrightnow.com/
That's right! Is It Down Right Now dot com will tell you if it's the site or just you.

5. Okay no easy tip for this one, just don't do it. I know you're being polite, but the other 1000 people in the group don't need a notification. Don't post "thanks for adding me." If you're going to do that, AT LEAST post something relevant to the group such as "I'm researching the Smith family from Cook county, Illinois." Of course that sort of post should go in a group for the Smith family or Cook county, Illinois, NOT in a group for organization, DNA, etc.

6. Which brings us to the next tip: PLEASE please please (yes I'm begging) stay on topic. Don't post a DNA question in organization; don't post a genealogy program question in a group for Illinois, etc. Make sure you are in the right group and post a relevant topic.

7. Did someone post a link you want to read but the phone just rang or you have to go to work and can't read it right now? Facebook added something to help. Find that little arrow again in the upper right corner, click "save name of article". Then it will be on the left under the ones that say "SAVED". The key is the next time you're bored on a Saturday night to go back and read them. Okay that never happens but just in case, now you know.

8. Also remember to check your "other" inbox folder in Facebook from time to time. Anyone who is not your friend may send you a message and it may end up there. So you might have been able to sell that box of junk you posted 45 times in the group, or your distant cousin may want to exchange photos! You get the idea.

Of course, Facebook may send out an update tomorrow and this may all be irrelevant but maybe, just maybe it will help someone at least for a day.
This post is meant to be helpful and not criticize anyone, so please take it that way. Thanks.