Archive for the ‘AC Board Discussions’ Category

Civil War soldier’s diary going home

Saturday, March 22nd, 2008

Let this be a lesson to all those who throw up family bibles on ebay for profit and may God bless Mr. Hammontree for his perseverance

Friday, March 21, 2008
By Dean Baker, Columbian staff writer

While sorting through his late aunt’s effects in Downey, Calif., Mitch Hammontree found a leather-bound book, which he was amazed to discover was the diary of a Confederate soldier.

Now, after a lot of research, Hammontree and his wife, Cindy, have decided to take the diary back to where it was written in Savannah, Ga., more than 140 years ago. Next week, they will hand the little book over to the descendants of the soldier, A.S. Quarterman.

The Washougal couple found the relatives using the Internet and the telephone.

“They have treated us like family,” said Hammontree, 53, a businessman who plans to open a Quiznos sandwich shop at The Crossing, the new development in Washougal, in May.

He also found among his aunt’s effects some letters from his father, who served with Gen. George S. Patton in World War II, including the Battle of the Bulge.

But, he said, the greatest prize was the Confederate soldier’s record.

“It’s really fascinating when you can touch something like this and say, gosh, that’s part of my family history and the history of the country as a whole,” said Hammontree, an avid genealogical researcher.

Rest of story here

Missouri Death Certificates online 1910-1957

Saturday, March 22nd, 2008

The Missouri Death Certificate Database containing over 2.1 million death certificates was placed online one year before its scheduled completion, according to Secretary of State Robin Carnahan’s office.

Researchers have immediate, free access to online images of Missouri death certificates over 50 years old, including those of famous Missourians like author Laura Ingalls Wilder, musician and composer John William “Blind” Boone, outlaw Frank James and political boss Tom Pendergast. Family historians, biographers, and other researchers can use these death certificates to discover key information about an ancestor or important historical figure, including occupation, burial site, birthplace, and the names of an individual’s parents and spouse.

Over 600 students and volunteers from across the United States and other countries spent 32,810 hours preparing certificates for scanning and entering data into the index.

This is FANTASTIC news!! To see a copy of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s death cert… Go Here

Frozen remains of WWII airman identified

Tuesday, March 11th, 2008

Frozen remains of WWII airman identified

The U.S. military has identified frozen remains found atop a California glacier as those of a World War II era airman who vanished more than half a century ago.

Ernest G. Munn had been missing since his training flight disappeared over the Sierra Nevada mountain range on November 18, 1942, the U.S. military said Monday. He was 23 at the time.

Last year, two hikers found the frozen remains of a man with blond, wavy hair in a remote area of Kings Canyon, east of Fresno, California. A tattered sweater still clung to the body, and an unopened parachute lay nearby, said Peter Sketel, one of the hikers who made the discovery.

DNA analysis confirmed that the remains were Munn’s, the Department of Defense said Monday. The military has notified his family in St. Clairsville, Ohio.

“You don’t often have an opportunity in life to provide people with the answers to questions that they have always wanted to know the answer to,” Sketel told CNN Tuesday. “Having the ability to supply that information just makes me really happy.”

Munn was one of three cadets who, along with their lieutenant, took off from Mather Field in California on a routine training flight nearly 66 years ago. The AT-7 Navigator aircraft carried about five hours of fuel but never returned to base, the U.S. Department of Defense said.

Authorities searched for the men for a month — without success.

Five years later, in 1947, hikers on Darwin Glacier in the Sierra Nevada mountain range discovered plane wreckage but found no bodies.

Then, in October 2005, backpackers discovered frozen human remains of a crew member, later identified as Leo M. Mustonen.

Two years later, in 2007, Sketel and a friend were in the area researching a book that Sketel is writing about the ill-fated flight.

About 100 feet from where Mustonen’s body was found, Sketel discovered the remains of a second man emerging from a melting glacier.

At first he thought it was a tree, Sketel said.

“And as I got closer and closer, I noticed what turned out to be a gold ring on his left ring finger,” he said.

DNA retrieved from Munn’s family matched samples from the remains.

With two of the missing airmen now identified, authorities continue their search for the others.

Munn was the oldest of four children. He did well in school and watched over his three little sisters, his family told CNN in 2005.

“He was my idol,” one of his sisters told CNN. “He was tall and good-looking. And when he walked in, they said, ‘Here comes the blond bomber.’ And I would say, ‘That’s my brother.’”

At 23, he enlisted in the Army, kissed his sisters goodbye and told his mother never to cut her long hair.

Authorities have notified his sisters, now in their 80s, about the match. Munn is expected to be buried in May in Colerain, Ohio.

His mother lived to be 102, never cut her hair and died awaiting word on his fate

Discuss here

National Archives and memory sticks

Friday, March 7th, 2008

Now, I dont know about all locations, but at the SE regional archives here in georgia, you can now take your usb memory sticks with you and instead of having to print out microfilm records on paper, you can pdf them to your stick!!!

No more paying for the copies you made, just plug the memory stick in and scan from the microfilm reader straight into a pdf file that you can print out later at your leisure,

If you’re planning on visiting a regional national archvies near you…call them up and ask them if they are doing this like the one here is. I cant tell you how much easier this is. I now have military records I needed for my family tree program in electronic form without the hassel of scanning them from a paper copy (and we all know how crappy those usually turn out)

Discuss Here

Rare Helen Keller pic with doll discovered

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

Story as posted on CNN

BOSTON, Massachusetts (AP) — Researchers have uncovered a rare photograph of a young Helen Keller with her teacher Anne Sullivan, nearly 120 years after it was taken on Cape Cod and tucked inside a family album.

The photograph, shot in July 1888 in Brewster, shows an 8-year-old Helen sitting outside in a light-colored dress, holding Sullivan’s hand and cradling one of her beloved dolls.

Experts on Keller’s life believe it could be the earliest photo of the two women together and the only one showing the blind and deaf child with a doll — the first word Keller spelled for Sullivan after they met in 1887 — according to the New England Historic Genealogical Society, which now has the photo.

“It’s really one of the best images I’ve seen in a long, long time,” said Helen Selsdon, an archivist at the American Federation for the Blind, where Keller worked for more than 40 years. “This is just a huge visual addition to the history of Helen and Annie.”

For more than a century, though, the photograph was hidden in an album that belonged to the family of Thaxter Spencer, an 87-year-old man in Waltham.

Continue to read and discuss

Endangered Gunn Cemetery, Houston Co Ga

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

This is posted with the express permission of the owner, Stephanie, of

Gunn Cemetery

This just makes my sick to my stomach…sick sick sick, I cannot believe the city has allowed this disgrace, you can discuss it here Gunn Cemetery

The GUNN Family cemetery is located on Highway 41 in Centerville, Houston County, Georgia. The land around it has been stripped and the little family cemetery is in ruins. It is horrible to see. To make matters worse (in my opinion) those interred are relatives of Daniel Gunn, a Revolutionary War soldier given the land by grant for his service. This was one of the early settlers of the area. He operated a general store on the same road. Time deteriorates history enough, this total disregard for it speeds up the process tremendously.

I emailed the city administrator about the future of this cemetery. I have yet to receive a response.

There is a cross-road behind the cemetery named Gunn Road. We’ll name a road after you, but to hell with the graves of your family. Wow.

I have put up a page of grave marker transcriptions (the ones I could read and piece together) and photos here: Gunn Cemetery

You can see a few pics here, you can find more either on Stephanies site linked above, or in the discussion thread on AC, linked above

What do you know about the Veteran’s Administration Headstone Program?

Sunday, February 24th, 2008

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) furnishes upon request, at no charge to the applicant, a government headstone or marker for the grave of any deceased eligible veteran in any cemetery around the world. For all deaths occurring before September 11, 2001, the VA may provide a headstone or marker only for graves that are not marked with a private headstone.
Spouses and dependents buried in a private cemetery are not eligible for a government-provided headstone or marker.
Flat markers in granite, marble, and bronze and upright headstones in granite and marble are available. The style chosen must be consistent with existing monuments at the place of burial. Niche markers are also available to mark columbaria used for inurnment of cremated remains.

Right now I am heading up a project for my husband’s family for one of his ancestors that fought in the War Between the States. At the time of his death in 1923, the family could not afford a traditional tombstone, which meant his is one of many graves marked by nothing but a fieldstone. Unfortunately the church cemetery he was buried at kept no records at all of the burials done in their cemetery, not even a note as to what section a person was laid to rest.
It has been 85 years since his death, and there is no longer anyone living who might remember which rock is his. We have no known place to put flowers or anything to honor him except that his death certificate states he was interred in a specific cemetery.
I am lucky enough that the pastor and the church board agree with me that its important for there to be a marker for this Confederate Veteran and they are currently voting on letting me place a stone in the cemetery, and while it might not be on his actual grave, its at least “something” and will act as a lasting remembrance to a man that endured four years of hell and survived to raise a very long lived and prolific family, one that I am extremely proud to have married into.

More Here

I turn page on my history

Sunday, February 10th, 2008

As posted on I turn page on my history

Discuss this story on the AC discussion board

By MELISSA O’BRIEN, Special to the Times
Published February 9, 2008

On my grandmother’s bookshelf, wedged in between Katharine Hepburn’s Me - Stories Of My Life and Ernest Hemingway’s The Snows of Kilimanjaro was a copy of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf. It is a 1939 German edition, and inside the front cover, neatly scrolled like a wedding invitation, are the names of my grandparents and the date of their nuptials. My grandparents told me that this book was issued to every newly married couple in Germany in the late 1930s and early 1940s.

Having this book in my family’s possession has always made me uncomfortable. Sometimes, when I would visit my grandparent’s home, I would cautiously open the leather-bound book - flipping through it to see if there were any notes in the margin. Thankfully, there were no notes, and in fact, the book appeared as though it was never read. But it always surprised me that having settled in North Carolina after living in three states and three different countries, my grandparents never managed to purge this book with the junk most people get rid of every time they move.

When I was younger, growing up German meant eating red cabbage and sausage, opening Christmas presents on Christmas Eve and receiving tins full of lebkuchen and marzipan from our great-grandmother in Germany. It wasn’t until the fifth grade when I read The Diary of Anne Frank that I began to realize that being German had a stigma attached to it. I felt compelled to tell people when asked about my family’s heritage that my grandparents were not members of the Nazi Party and that my grandfather was not in the German army.

When both my grandparents had passed on, my mother decided to sell some of their things. I specifically asked her not to sell Mein Kampf. I wanted to find a way, short of burning the book, to dispose of it properly. The place I finally found for it may come as a surprise. I donated it to the Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg.

Why the Holocaust Museum? I called them to ask if they wanted the book as a record of the propaganda people received in Germany. The museum administrator said yes, she would, and also indicated to me that by keeping this book, the museum could prevent it from being in circulation, sold on eBay and or simply getting into the wrong hands.

I made my trip to the museum and asked a senior citizen behind the counter to direct me to a museum administrator.

What happened next took me completely by surprise. I burst into tears. “I’m sorry,” I sobbed. “I have this book and I want to get rid of it.” Mrs. Schwartz, a volunteer at the museum, came from around the counter at the gift shop to give me comfort. I explained to her the book’s history, why I had it and why I wanted to donate it to the museum. I felt compelled to tell her that even though one cannot compare the suffering, my German relatives had struggled too during the war and that I had an aunt who died at the age of 4 because a medicine shortage. And then I apologized for being German - again.

“Honey, you don’t need to be sorry,” Mrs. Schwartz said. “It was a different time. Your grandparents could have been killed if they spoke up.”

Needless to say, I sobbed through the entire exhibit. Not light tears - gut-wrenching, heaving sobs. Seeing pictures of children who look about the same age as my own 7- and 9-year-old - malnourished and surrounded by barbed wire - is enough to put anyone over the edge.

While walking through the exhibit, I was listening to a tour guide tell a group of teachers what children can expect when they visit the museum. “We want them to learn that they cannot remain silent,” she said. “They cannot sit back and allow something like this to happen again.”

Leaving the museum, I looked up at the banner, “Save Darfur.” It made me think - am I being silent? Mrs. Schwartz is right. It is a different time and a different place. We can speak up without the fear of condemnation. Fortunately as Americans, we can choose leaders in the 2008 elections that can and will put pressure on governments in places like Sudan and, hopefully, put an end to genocide.

As for the book, I am not sure if it is on display or if the museum staff just stored it away. I donated it anonymously. In its place, I bought a tiny box from Mrs. Schwartz in the gift shop. It is intricately carved with flowers and a Jewish Star of David on the top. It looks beautiful displayed upon my bookshelf.

Melissa O’Brien is a writer who lives in Tampa.

Obituaries wanted!!!

Sunday, February 10th, 2008

We have started a new section on AC for obituaries….I’d love for you to post any you might have in your files, any are great, but the older the better :) We all know that sometimes they can be a wealth of information!! I recently found one that not only told me that some people were still living at the time of their relative’s death, but gave me a child I didn’t know existed…so I invite you to share the ones you may have collected here:

Obituary Forum

Make sure to pick the appropriate forum (divided alphabetically) to post it in. For the women, post them under the first letter of the last name they carried when they died and as the post title post their name like this First Middle(if they had one) Maiden Married(if they did indeed get married)

I look forward to reading them, some I have seen are really interesting and informative.

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