Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Several times now I've gotten requests from distant cousins for "any and all information" that I have on a branch of the family, and it is a tough request in which to respond. I am happy to share what records I have, but often that's dozens of papers or files that without context don't really tell a story, and probably leave people a little bit confused or unsatisfied. And I've come to peace with the knowledge that I will probably never have the time or energy to sit down and write a book on the various lines in the family.
What I can do though, is occasionally pick a person, a family line, or a topic, and share what I find most interesting, along with the records and photos that help tell the stories. In this way, I hope to share more efficiently and effectively all the cool stuff I've been learning with all my cousins out there.
I hope to keep it interesting and fun, and as always welcome any of your questions, suggestions or comments. Looking forward to getting back on track with this new focus, but also continuing to share resources and information I think might be universally helpful or entertaining. I hope to not disappoint!
Thursday, March 18, 2010
First though, a bone to pick, and then a sincere thank you to the folks at NARA. I received the *wrong* pension file TWICE in a row before finally getting the right one on the third try. It would have seemed more understandable to me if they had gotten the name only slightly wrong, or been off by a number or two. Instead though, it was as if someone had picked out a file at random, stuffed it into a big envelope with my original request, and sent it off on its way. I still do not understand how this occurred, or how it happened not once, but TWO times. Each time, I emailed customer service to tell them of the error. The first time they asked that I send the file back (at my expense I might add). The second time, in my complaint message I demanded that they send me the correct file and I refused to send the new one back. I had wasted a good $10+ on sending the first one, and it had been their mistake after all.
To the folks at NARA's credit, my second complaint was handled *personally* by the gentleman receiving and answering these correspondence. He went to the files personally, secured the copy, and got it ready for shipping to me, and then sent me a personal apology and note. So THANK YOU to him. He has proved that there are some great, competent folks there, and I'd like to think I just got a bad apple or two the first two times.
I still have the pension file for one mistaken person. It is at my mother's place now, but when I go back to visit - probably this summer or spring - I will post the name in appropriate message boards and offer to send it just for the cost of shipping, to any descendant or researcher of his line.
But now for the correct file. The file was IMMENSE. Possibly 1.5 inches thick! I believe I would have been required to send additional payment for the whole thing normally, but due to NARA's first few mistakes, they didn't ask me. (Thanks NARA!) I've skimmed the whole thing and taken some notes. It didn't give me the answers I was hoping for on Wilkinson Nichols' ancestry, however it did give me a whole lot of answers I wasn't looking for. It confirmed some family connections and migrations I hadn't been able to confirm by any other sources except for censuses. And it painted a wonderfully detailed story of the personalities of some my ancestors, and their trials and tribulations navigating multiple, perhaps bigamous marriages.
In my next post, I'll talk a bit about just what is in a Civil War Pension file, and what you might find.
Friday, March 12, 2010
Friday, March 5, 2010
Watching a preview clip for the first episode, I was surprised to realize that Sarah Jessica Parker is a cousin of mine. Ok, a distant cousin, but the connection is on her and my ELWELL line in Massachusetts. Of course, more than a few of you reading this blog probably have New England ancestors, and a few Elwells hiding out, so this is not an exclusive group at all!
Who might you be related to who will appear in this season? Spike Lee? Susan Sarandon? Matthew Broderick?
I know I have been away from blogging for some time. I also made all my videos public once again after rectifying some problems with a "stalker" I was having. Creepy.
I'd love to hear what your thoughts are on the show tonight! Post a comment and let me know.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
I didn't write this one, but it was too good to resist re-posting here:
10. Took wrong turn at Bering land bridge.
9. Slavers seemed pretty insistent.
8. Sought religious freedom and the right to disembowel Quakers.
7. Nothing good to watch on BBC.
6. Took their orders from Neil Diamond.
5. Potato famine put big dent in profits from Irish fish-and-chip franchises.
4. To oppose anyone else being allowed to immigrate to America.
3. Sick of having unpronounceable names.
2. Wanted the right to vote on behalf of their wives.
1. Hoped to one day be listed on Ellis Island website.