Sunday, January 19, 2020

Fantastic Find: US Mexican War Soldiers & Sailors Database

If you've ever researched an ancestor who fought in the Civil War, you're probably familiar with the Soldiers and Sailors Database of the  National Park Service (NPS). Now there's a new source of information for an earlier conflict, the Mexican-American War (1846-1848).*

[B.W. Kilburn Company. (ca. 1873) Monument over the remains of 750 U.S. soldiers, who fell in the valley of Mexico during the Mexican War. Mexico Mexico City, ca. 1873. Littleton, N.H.: Photographed and published by B.W. Kilburn. [Photograph] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,]

Last week the NPS and the  Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) announced the launch of of the U.S.-Mexican War Soldier & Sailor database:
This online, searchable database contains information for over 85,000 U.S. and Mexican veterans who served in this war. Many records include personal details, such as hair color and occupation. 
The database allows descendants of these soldiers and sailors to connect to their personal history and helps Palo Alto commemorate and tell the stories of those who served. This invaluable research tool benefits genealogists, historians, as well as people who may have never known they are related to a U.S.-Mexican War veteran.
 This project started in 2007. Progress was extremely slow until 2015 when FGS joined forces with the NPS. FGS offered their expertise and numerous volunteers. 
Patricia Rand, the FGS contact, recruited and trained volunteers who spent over 17,000 hours doing the tedious task of inputting data. Their dedication makes it possible for future generations to learn about those who served in the U.S.-Mexican War.**
Although the database is up and running now, the virtual launch will take place at 3:00 pm (Central) on Monday, January 27, 2020 live on-line or in person at the Palo Alto Visitor Center.

I don't have any direct ancestors who were participants but Joshua Butler Walsh, the second husband of my maternal great great grandmother Mercy Ann Darling, was. We know more about Joshua than is listed in this database so I've contacted them (via their link) offering to share our information. I'll let you know how that turns out.

*I learned about this from a post by Judy G. Russell (The Legal Genealogist)
**From the FGS press release dated 14 Jan 2020.

© 2020 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Fantastic Find! Beyond 2022: Ireland’s Virtual Record Treasury

The fire that destroyed the Public Records Office in Dublin in June of 1922 with the resulting loss of centuries of Irish records has made researching our Irish ancestors difficult.

[Source: Trinity College, Dublin]

But now, five institutions* have joined together to search out duplicates of the original records in other collections to"recreate virtually as much of the archive as possible in a digital format that can be accessible to everybody" in time for the centenary of the fire.**

The project is called Beyond 2022: Ireland’s Virtual Record Treasury and its director Peter Crooks*** explains:
“We are committed to producing 50 million words of searchable material by 2022 and that is possible with the artificial intelligence we are using,” he said. 
“Tens of thousands of papers will be digitised, but they will also be searchable, which is a change. We will be able to mine this information for individual names.”
I strongly suggest you visit Trinity College Dublin's website about the project, especially the Gallery which has a number of images and videos, including a 1922 newsreel that shows the Public Records Office on fire.

I learned about Beyond 2022 through a link to the this article in the Irish Times.

*They are: the National Archives, the UK national archives, the public records office in Northern Ireland, the Irish Manuscripts Collection and the library at Trinity College Dublin (TCD).
**Which happened on June 30, 1922, two days after the start of the Irish Civil War.
**You can watch a video with Peter Crooks here.

© 2019 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Celebrations: Thanksgiving Day

The Metropolitan Museum used this stunning image from 1895 in their Thanksgiving message. I wasn't familiar with Will H. Bradley (1868-1962), the artist who created it so I did a bit of research and it turns out that there's a local connection.

[William Henry Bradley (American, 1868–1962). The Chap Book: Thanksgiving Number, 1895. Lithograph.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art.]

After a long and illustrious career*, Will retired to South Pasadena around 1948 and began working on his autobiography. In 1957 he and his widowed daughter Fern came to live in La Jolla. Three years later, declining health caused him to move to a convalescent hospital in La Mesa where he died on January 25, 1962.

*This splash page to the website gives an overview of all this creative genius accomplished in his long life.

© 2019 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Richard M Grenfell (1849 - About 1911)

Berenice Grenfell Currey* was raised by her widowed paternal grandmother but probably never met her grandfather because the couple left the farm to retire in San Diego before she was born. She heard stories about him from her grandmother which she shared with me. One of them was about his wanderlust--he traveled all over the world and was in South Africa when the Kimberley diamond fields were opened.

Last week I was contacted by his great great grandson Jim** and when I mentioned that story he told me he would send me a portrait of Richard M. Grenfell taken at that time. And here it is:

[Courtesy of Jim Grenfell]

Richard Grenfell brought his wife and seven children to the United State in 1881 with the original plan of settling in the Bluegrass Country of Kentucky but when they landed in New York a lot of attention was still being given to the gold found in South Dakota so they were there instead. Their first dwelling was in Crook City, a boom town with no sanitation, and that's where the Grenfells buried six of their children--one girl fell into a storm-swollen creek and drowned, and the others died of typhoid fever. Since Richard didn't become a citizen until 1886 he couldn't homestead and so they bought an existing farm.

Here's his application for citizenship:

[From my personal collection]

Until this photo arrived, the only picture I had of Richard Grenfell was this one of he and Grace standing in front of their bungalow on Point Loma around 1910. He died before Mother's arrival in 1912 and I believe he's buried in Alpine. Unfortunately I haven't found a death record in the usual databases.

[From my personal collection]

Jim  wondered if Mother had been the inheritor of a Revolutionary Era silver tea set*** that had belonged to ancestors of her mother Mary Grant Grenfell.

Now, I never heard of any ancestral silver although that wouldn't have arrived at the Grenfell farm house until Mary Grant's marriage to William Grenfell in 1900 so Grandma Stanton**** wouldn't necessarily have known about it. At her father's death it was learned that William Grenfell left his entire estate to his youngest son Richard with no mention of his only daughter or the child of his oldest son. The only things Mother got from the house were a marble-topped table and a punch bowl set of pressed glass. Mother's relationship with Mary Grant Grenfell was almost non-existent--she received one letter from the woman between 1912, when her father took her to live with his mother, and Mary's death in 1948. So even if it existed I can't imagine Mary Grant Grenfell giving it to her daughter.

Even though I can't solve the mystery of that silver tea service for him, I'm glad that Jim reached out to me because I have some family photos and records that belong with him and I'll be sending them off to him later this week.

*The mother who raised me Bernice Evangeline Grenfell (1902-1980). You can read more about her early life here, and here.
**He's the grandson of Gilbert Grenfell, mother's older brother, who was killed in 1928 when his tractor overturned.
**Alleged to have been used to serve tea to General George Washington. (of course!).
****Grace Thomas Grenfell married Joseph Stanton in 1921 and Mother always referred to her by her second husband's surname.

© 2019 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Hashtags in Legacy 9: George Hartley, Jr. (1907-1977)

The list of hashtags I've attached to my grandfather George Hartley, Jr.

I've taken over a year break from regular posting after a tough recovery from a heart attack and ongoing dialysis, but I haven't been idle!  I've been working on standardizing locations and attaching hashtags to the people on my (admittedly ridiculously huge extended) family tree on Legacy 9.

My next overarching project is going to be figuring out ways to display reports on these folks (using said locations and hashtags) that is informative and readable.

© 2019 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Friday, June 7, 2019

From The North Adams Evening Transcript, January 10, 1914: Clergyman Gives History of Stafford Hill Settlement

Any history of the Baptists in Western Massachusetts would have to include my 6X great grandfather Peter Werden (Worden) and after a general description of the area, Rev. Pease discussed the important position my ancestor had in his community.*

[10 Jan 1914, Page 8 - The North Adams Transcript at]

 *There's even a mention of my 4x great grandfather Richmond.

© 2019 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

June 4, 1919: Nineteenth Amendment Passes

 “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment by Congress in joint session.*
[This pen in @amhistorymuseum was used to sign the amendment's joint resolution. #BecauseOfHerStory #19thAt100. Smithsonian Institution] 

However, before it could become the law of the land three-fourths of the states had to ratify it so the battle wasn't over yet.** There was still a lot of opposition, including from President Woodrow Wilson.

[Photograph of six suffragists at the 1920 Republican National Convention in Chicago, gathered in front of a building with suffrage banners. Mrs. James Rector, Mary Dubrow, and Alice Paul (left to right) hold center banner that reads: "No self respecting woman should wish or work for the success of a party that ignores her sex. Susan B. Anthony, 1872." National Photo Co., Washington, D.C. Republican National Convention, Chicago, Illinois. Chicago Illinois United States, 1920. [June 8-12] Photograph.]

By March of the following year 35 states had voted in favor and Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, South Carolina and Virginia had already rejected the amendment. It fell to Tennessee, the 36th state, who ratified it on August 18, 1920 (by a 49-47 vote).

*The House of Representatives had voted 304-89 and the Senate 56-25 in favor of the amendment.
**And of course, this didn't guarantee the voting rights of African Americans and other people of color who had to wait until the 1965 Civil Rights Act.

© 2019 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.