September 30, 2014

One Lovely Blog Award

September just flew by, didn’t it? I haven’t had a lot of opportunities for blogging, but I can’t let the month slip away without saying a big thank you to three special people. Each of them were kind enough to nominate me for the One Lovely Blog Award that’s making the rounds these days.


The first nomination came from Cheri Hudson Passey, who writes Carolina Girl Genealogy. Cheri shares about researching her Southern roots. I was amazed to learn she has eleven children. (And I thought I was busy…)

I also received nominations from Fran Ellsworth, author of Branching Out Through the Years, and Linda Stufflebean, who blogs at Empty Branches on the Family Tree. Fran has six children, 25 grandchildren, and three blogs. Wow. Linda was a special education teacher, which means she’s touched countless lives. She’s a relatively new genealogy blogger, and doing a great job with it.

Thank you, ladies! It means a lot to me to have such dedicated and enthusiastic readers.

The terms of the award are:
1. Thank the person(s) who nominated you.
2. Share seven things about yourself.
3. Name 15 bloggers you admire (or as many as you can think of).
4. Contact those bloggers to let them know you’ve tagged them for the One Lovely Blog Award.

So…here’s seven things about me:
  • I have three children—two girls and a boy
  • My favorite TV shows are Castle, Parks & Rec, Mad Men, and Downton Abbey
  • I was editor of my college newspaper
  • I enjoy snow skiing, but don’t get as many chances as I’d like (Ohio isn’t exactly known for its high elevations)
  • I made my first hand-drawn lineage chart at age 14
  • Reading is one of my favorite pastimes. I recently finished (and recommend) Fannie Flagg’s The All-Girls’ Filling Station's Last Reunion
  • In any situation, I know exactly the right response to “O-H…”


Many of the bloggers I follow have already been tapped for the award, so I’ll try to avoid repetition if possible. Here are my nominations, in alphabetical order:

Carolina Family Roots: Charlie Purvis
Family History Fun: Susan Donaldson
Family Matters: Kathy Reed
Genealogy Circle: Cindy Freed
Jenealogy: Jennifer Alford
Karen’s Chatt: Karen Miller Bennett
Random Relatives: Diana Richie
Yvonne’s Genealogy Blog: Yvonne Demoskoff


This really goes out to everyone who makes the time and effort to write stories about their ancestors, tell us about resources and tips for doing family history research, and keep us informed about technology and genealogy news. Keep up the good work, all you lovely bloggers!


--Shelley

September 26, 2014

German Genealogist Baerbel Johnson Coming to Columbus

Baerbel Johnson, International Reference Desk Consultant at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, is an expert at finding German genealogical records and online resources. That’s why I’m excited she’ll be the featured speaker at the Ohio Chapter Palatines to America fall seminar.

The seminar, Understanding Ancestors’ Occupations and New German Digital Libraries, will be held Saturday, October 11, 2014, at Der Dutchman Restaurant in Plain City, Ohio.

Baerbel will be giving four presentations. Here’s the schedule for the day:

9:00 am:      Registration & morning refreshments (including homemade 
                            doughnuts from Der Dutchman’s bakery)
9:30 am:      “How the Internet Can Help Your German Research”
11:00 am:    “Our German Ancestors and Their Occupations”
12:00 pm:    Lunch—Der Dutchman’s broasted chicken and roast beef buffet
1:15 pm:      “German Digital Libraries—A Digital Goldmine”
2:30 pm:      “German Research: Connecting People with Places”

Attendees will have time to browse various book and information tables between sessions, and enter a drawing for a number of door prizes.

Born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, and raised in neighboring Offenbach, Baerbel emigrated to the U.S. in 1974, settling in Provo, Utah. Motivated by the difficulties of researching her own genealogy, she took classes and earned a degree in 1982 from Brigham Young University in Sociology and Family and Local History Studies. After raising her family and then working as a professional researcher, Baerbel accepted a position as Reference Consultant on the International floor of the Family History Library. She also teaches at the Family History Library and at various family history conferences. As such, she is knowledgeable about the newest research resources in Germany. Her motto to other researchers is “Never, never give up.”

Registration for the full day, including the hot buffet lunch, is only $59 (or $49 for Pal Am members). A special student rate of $20 is also available. You can register online at https://oh-palam.org/registernow.php, or print off the registration form and mail it in. 

This seminar offers a great opportunity to learn more about your German ancestors and the resources for finding them. I know I’ll be there, so if you come, be sure to introduce yourself to me. Der Dutchman Restaurant is located at 445 Jefferson Avenue, U.S. Route 42, Plain City, Ohio 43064. For more information, visit the Ohio Chapter Palatines to America website.


--Shelley

September 4, 2014

The One Where I Feel Incredibly Honored


Last week I received some exciting news from the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors (ISFHWE). ISFHWE encourages “excellence in writing and editorial standards in genealogical publishing,” and to promote that goal they host an annual Excellence-in-Writing Competition. I submitted entries in the “Columns” and “Published Articles” categories for this year’s contest. After I sent them in, I tried to put the whole thing out of my mind for awhile. That is, until this message from Tina Sansone, the competition coordinator, showed up in my inbox:

Dear Shelley,
Congratulations! You have won the following in the ISFHWE “Excellence in Writing” competition:
1st Place Columns: Shelley K. Bishop, “The Legacy of Mary Comfort Eberhard”
2nd Place Articles: Shelley K. Bishop, “Turning Forests into Farms: The George Clark Family of Licking and Delaware Counties, Ohio”

Woohoo! I’m thrilled, to say the least, and so honored to have won awards in two categories. A hearty congratulations to all the other award winners. As I look over the names on the ISFHWE announcement, I’m humbled to be in such great company.

Like many genealogists, I write primarily to share and preserve what I’ve learned from researching my ancestors. At the same time, I try to find universal themes within my family’s story that might strike a chord with a wider audience. But it’s hard to know if I’ve succeeded in doing that or not until something like this happens. When it does, it’s oh-so-rewarding.

"The Legacy of Mary Comfort Eberhard” first appeared here, as a post on A Sense of Family, on February 6, 2013. It grew out of my desire to share some of my grandmother’s stories about her mother, coupled with fascinating information I found in an old dairy company newsletter. Telling the stories of our female ancestors, who generally show up in fewer official records than men, can present special challenges. Digging into home sources such as letters, baby books, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, and keepsakes—some of which may be held by other relatives—can lead to neat discoveries about their lives.

“Turning Forests into Farms: The George Clark Family of Licking and Delaware Counties, Ohio” was originally published in the Winter 2013 issue of the Ohio Genealogical Society Quarterly (Vol. 53, No. 4). It traces one branch of my family tree through four generations, beginning with their 1811 arrival in the Ohio frontier. Weaving information from early land office registers, deeds, vital records, agricultural censuses, newspapers, cemeteries, and other records together with social history sources like county histories, published memoirs, and maps, I show how the family’s growth echoed—and was tragically affected by—the times they lived in.

ISFHWE will be publishing all the articles they awarded prizes to in future issues of Columns, their quarterly newsletter. You can become a member and read them all for just $20. I know I’m looking forward to some excellent reading in the coming months.

Thank you to ISFHWE and its judges for this recognition. Thanks also to the Ohio Genealogical Society for publishing my work, and to all my blog readers. It’s a pleasure to be writing for you. Now, what story should I work on next?...

--Shelley

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August 24, 2014

Two Degrees of Separation: SNGF

Randy Seaver always posts the most interesting questions for his Saturday Night Genealogy Fun series on his Genea-Musings blog. I usually don’t get the chance to participate in a timely manner, but this week’s challenge caught my eye right away. Randy asks:

1)  Using your ancestral lines, how far back in time can you go with two degrees of separation?  That means "you knew an ancestor, who knew another ancestor."  When was that second ancestor born?

2)  Tell us about it in a blog post of your own, in a comment to this blog post, in a status line on Facebook or a stream post on Google Plus.

Ok, Randy, here’s my answer:

When I was a toddler, my grandmother’s side of the family gathered for a five-generation picture. Although I don’t have any memory of that day, both I and my great-great-grandmother, Minnie (King) Steele, were in it. My mother recently gave me another picture of Minnie holding me.

Minnie King was born November 23, 1873, in Cheshire Township in Gallia County, Ohio. She had just turned 88 years old when she died on December 13, 1961, not long after our picture was taken. Mom says she was her usual cheery and active self right up to the end.

Minnie King Steele 1873-1961 Ohio
Great-great-grandma Minnie (King) Steele and me, 1961

As I looked for the earliest family member Minnie might have known, I breezed past her father and mother, Newel and Electa (Roush) King. I considered her grandfather, Gideon Roush, who lived until July 1894, when Minnie was 20 years old. Could I do better than that?

Yes. Minnie’s life overlapped with her great-grandmother, Hannah (Roush) Roush. Hannah was born December 30, 1790, and died in Cheshire Township at the age of 85 on March 26, 1876. Minnie was about two and a half years old at the time, living in the same small community. How I wish I had a photo of them together!

So with two degrees of separation, my life touched my great-great-grandmother, whose life touched her great-grandmother, who was born as the calendar turned from 1790 to 1791. That’s 223 years and counting.

Kind of boggles the mind, doesn’t it?

We are closer to history than we realize.

--Shelley

August 20, 2014

Indian Lake Bathing Beauty 1935: Wordless Wednesday



My grandmother, Wilma Steele, at Indian Lake in Logan County, Ohio, in the summer of 1935. At not quite 19 years old, I think she looked pretty cute in her little swim shorts. This was a few months before she eloped to marry Fred Herrel.

--Shelley

August 4, 2014

Hiram College Tuition in 1872

Old newspapers are always fascinating. Even when I don’t find the obituary or whatever I’m looking for (which happens more often than not), I usually turn up something of interest. Consider the following advertisement for Hiram College in Hiram, Ohio. It ran on the front page of the Portage County Democrat, published in Ravenna, Ohio, on January 10, 1872:

Hiram College ad 1872

Hiram College
Hiram College offers the student a choice of six courses of study: Biblical, Classical, Scientific, Ladies’, Teachers’ and Commercial.
TUITION
Common English Branches, Algebra, Composition 
       and Natural Philosophy, per term…..$7.00
All other Studies……$10.00
Penmanship (daily lessons)…..$6.00
Penmanship (complete course)……$15.00
Complete Commercial Course…..$20.00
Instrumental Music…..$12.00
Use of instrument one hour per day…..$2.00
Incidentals…..$1.00
      Students in the Commercial Course can have access to the College classes upon further payment of five dollars per term.
Calender, 1871-2  [sic]
First Term commences—Tuesday, August 22, 1871
First Term closes—Friday, November 17, 1871
Second Term commences—Tuesday, Dec. 5, 1871
Second Term closes—Friday, March 1, 1872
Third Term commences—Tuesday, March 19, 1871 [should be 1872]
Third Term closes with Commencement day, June 20, 1872
      Board $3.50 to $4.00 per week. Good facilities for self boarding, by which students materially reduce expenses.
      For catalogue or further information, address B.A. HINSDALE, Pres’t 
                                                                                             Hiram, Ohio


I did a quick check using the Measuring Worth website, and found $10 had the same relative purchasing power in 1872 as $197 does today. I have a hunch the incoming Class of 2018 would find that a pretty attractive course fee.

It’s interesting to see the curriculum offerings, too. I wonder what classes were offered in the Ladies’ course of study? The fact that Penmanship was listed separately in this little advertisement suggests it was popular. With the decline of teaching cursive handwriting in elementary school, will we eventually see Penmanship on college class schedules again?

Western Reserve Eclectic Institute at Hiram, Ohio, 1858; from the Hiram College Archives

Hiram College was founded as the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute in 1850, and has a proud history of higher education. My father-in-law and at least three of his ancestors attended Hiram at one time or another. He also has a family connection by marriage to one of its founders. So the accidental discovery of this little ad might lead me into a little more investigation.

That’s the fun thing about newspaper research. You never know what you might find, cranking through the microfilm on a summer afternoon.

--Shelley

Photo credit: "WREI-Hiram" by Unknown - Hiram College Archives. Via Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:WREI-Hiram.jpg#mediaviewer/File:WREI-Hiram.jpg

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