Sunday, February 28, 2010

Hooky and the Dutch Connection

Yesterday, I blogged that a few days last week I played hooky from writing in my blog.
I got to thinking about the word "hooky" and what it really means. The definition at Princeton University WordNet Web site is "truancy, failure to attend (especially school)." Well, I knew that, but why is it called hooky?
Using Google Search I found several online dictionaries that referenced the etymology of the word. It seemed to me that many of the online dictionaries are copies of each other. Most claimed that the term "play hooky (or hookey)" was derived from hook it, hook or a Dutch game played in 17th century New Amsterdam.
Since each of these dictionaries provided a list with a choice of three possible origins and no information about the source(s) of this information, I continued my quest.
I looked for dictionaries that included the etymology of words. I found the following on page 345 of Slang and Its Analogues Past and Present, Volume III - Fla. to Hyps. (Compiled and edited by John S. Farmer and W. E. Henley and printed in 1893)
Hookey. To play hookey, verb. phr. (American). — To play truant; to do Charley-wag (q.v.).

1876. Clemens [Mark Twain], Tom Sawyer, p. 100. Took his flogging . . . . for playing hookey the day before.

The book did not tell me anything about the origin but it did indicate that the term was in use when Samuel Clemens wrote Tom Sawyer. I found a copy of Tom Sawyer that was published in 1875. The term used twice in Chapter 1 and twice in Chapter 10. Thus, I could confirm that playing hooky was in use by 1875.
I happened upon an article that John R. Sinnema authored entitled "The Dutch Origin of Play Hookey" (American Speech, Vol. 45, No. 3/4, Autumn-Winter 1970. Durham, NC: Duke University). He writes, "Bartlett correctly states that play hookey is a "term used among school-boys, chiefly in the State of New York," dating its appearance about 1848." [p. 205]
Mr. Sinnema indicates that Bartlett included a citation from Samuel Clemen's Mark Twain that included the phrase "playing hookey." He references John Russell Barlett's Dictionary of Americanisms, 4th ed. (1877) in a footnote on Page 205.
Luckily, I came across a copy of Dictionary of Americanisms. A Glossary of Words and Phrases, Usually Regarded as Peculiar The United States, by John Russell Bartlett. (New York: Barlett and Welford, 1848) "HOOKEY. To play hookey, is to play truant. A term used among schoolboys." appears on page 180.
So it seems that the term was in use at least by 1848 when Mr. Bartlett published his dictionary. Still there is no mention of the origin of the word. However, on page 179, Mr. Bartlett includes the following:
HOOK. (Dutch, hoek, a corner.) This name is given in New York to several angular points in the North and East rivers; as Corlear's Hook, Sandy Hook, Powle's Hook.
The definition of hook and of hookey in Bartlett's 3rd & 4th editions (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1860 & 1877) is changed a little from that in the 1848 edition.
Hook. (Dutch, hoek, a corner, a cape.) This name is given, in New York, to several angular points in the North and East Rivers; as, Corlear's Hook, Powle's Hook, Sandy Hook. [p, 201; p. 293]
Hookey. To "play hookey" is to play truant. A term used amount school-boys, chiefly in the State of New York. [p. 201; p. 294]
I wasn't getting anywhere in finding the Dutch connection to playing hooky except that I found another book that seemed to be based on Bartlett's dictionaries. In 1902, Sylva Clapin published A New Dictionary of Americanisms Being a Glossary of Words supposed to Be Peculiar to the United States and the Dominion of Canada.
He published a dictionary of Canadian French in 1894. Between 1873 and 1899, Mr. Clapin lived in the US, Quebec, Paris, Montreal, and Boston. So it seems that Mr. Clapin was interested in the differences between American English and British English as well as American French and the French as spoken in France. Unfortunately as you will see in the definitions below taken from his dictionary that I was no closer to finding a connection to a colonial Dutch children's game and playing hooky.
Hook (Dutch hoek, a corner, a cape). An old word designation certain corners and angular points in the Hudson and East Rivers, as Sandy Hook, Kinderhook, etc. [p. 231]
Hookey (to play). To play truant, chiefly current in State of New York, among school-boys. In England, "playing the wag." In New England, the form to hook Jack is used in preference. [p. 232]
To be continued...
PS - My husband thinks that I made up "Charley-wag" to tease him. Not so...I found Charley-wag was used 1876 in C. Hindley's Life and Adventures of a Cheap Jack, p. 57.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Playing Hooky

I took a little break this week. So I posted no new blog entries since Wednesday. I was out all day Thursday. A storm was brewing on Friday and early that afternoon I received a package from a distant cousin with lots of good information. After my yogalates class, I spent the afternoon perusing her letter and the enclosed documents.
It was interesting to watch the birds, especially the doves, struggle with the very high winds. We have bird feeders in 3 places in our yard. The drive to feed clearly was more important than the strong winds.
Today was a really lovely day with huge white clouds interspersed with rain, so I went shopping. I found some beautiful two-sided cardstock. I have been looking for a scallop punch with an even-number of scallops. I wasn't getting anywhere until I went to Cranberry Hill Mercantile and found an excellent alternative.
For about $7 more than purchasing a punch, I found a Nestibilities set of 7 scalloped circles that I could use with my Cuttlebug to cut scalloped circles. All 7 dies have an even number of scallops.
My daughter bought me paper when she and her brother were in Japan after Christmas. I also had some Washi paper that I had purchased a couple of years ago. On my shopping spree, I found an interesting use for my Japanese papers. I purchased some chip board and foam to use with the Washi paper to make paper quilting objects for cards.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

On Becoming a Part of History

The furthest thing from my mind was the possibility that any part of my family could be a part of history in my lifetime. Someone who is a head of state is a part of history. But we are just ordinary people.
I suppose I should have considered this possibility almost twenty years ago when my daughter asked me to help find an artifact of the 20th Century to bring to school.
It was the 1990s and I had some old stuff I had purchased from antique stores that I was sure would qualify. However, not much of it was small enough to fit in her backpack or for her to easily carry. I did have a cast iron, hand-cranked coffee grinder that was manufactured about 1910.
I used it a few times when I first acquired it, but the electric coffee grinder was faster and easier to use. To me it fit the bill. It was quite lovely, painted black with gold leafing, but very heavy. My daughter refused to take it to school. So back to the drawing board,
I started going through some boxes looking for something that she could manage. Then I spied a slide rule that I had from college. I hadn't used it in so many years that it wouldn't move.
How could something I used in high school and college be an artifact? Completely unfathomable after all I am not that old! My daughter had not even heard of a slide rule. She'd never seen one. Since it was lightweight and something she could put in her backpack, she decided to take it. My husband, with a little WD-40, got the slide rule working and showed her how to use it.
Neither of us could believed that we had become old enough that something we regularly used not all that long ago was an artifact. As shocking as that notion was to us, neither of us conceived of a day in which one of us might be included in a history book.
But now it's nearly twenty years past.
Last fall, my husband was interviewed by the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. His interview is part of an oral history exhibit that the museum is creating. Forty years ago, he was a graduate student working on an interesting project. The students were having fun and no one thought what they were doing would make history.
Fifteen years ago interest in the beginnings of the Internet was just emerging. In 1996, Katie Hafner published her book, "Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins of the Internet." She interviewed him and there is a brief mention of him in the book.
Ten years ago, interest in the evolution of the Internet, again emerged. Dr. Leonard Kleinrock, at UCLA, waged a successful PR campaign to identify the beginning of the Internet as October 29, 1969. As a result, my husband was interviewed by San Francisco Bay Area newspapers and radio stations concerning his involvement on that date.
The fall of 2009 was a different story. Maybe it was shocking to people to learn that the Internet was germinated over forty years ago. It is so 21st Century! How can it be a product of the mid 20th century?
More people seemed to be interested in how the Internet came to be. In October, my husband became a mini-celebrity. He was incredibly flattered when someone asked for his autograph. He was on Cloud-nine after an Office Depot employee recognized him and asked to have his picture taken with my husband.
Several months have passed and he is just a regular guy again. No more requests for photos or autographs. But I am still shocked that my husband's voice, image and story is preserved in a museum.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Scams Part 2

Yesterday, I discussed inheritance scams of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In most cases, the con artists were caught, tried and convicted. However, these were not the only scams in operation at that time. There were about a half a dozen "professional" genealogists who, for a fee, would produce one's genealogy including supporting documentation.
This was a time when there was a great interest in proving one's lineage to a Mayflower pilgrim, to a patriot of the American Revolution, to an ancestor who settled in the colonies prior to the revolution, or to European royalty.
It was the wealthy class who could afford to hire someone to conduct such research. So, it's not surprising that some "professional" genealogists might see an opportunity for a quick buck. I came across a few articles on the Internet that identified about a half a dozen people as scam genealogists. At least one name on the list seems to be an error and I have not had an opportunity to confirm or refute the others named with the exception of Gustave Anjou.
He was quite prolific in producing genealogies especially for the wealthy of northeastern United States. The Family History Library in Salt Lake City website has posted a list of family histories in their library that are suspect because Gustave Anjou authored or provided the "documentation" to a client who authored the family history.
I was curious if Willem Teller, Peter Stoutenburg or Resolved Waldron were among the list of suspect family histories. I found accounts that Willem Teller was the son of Baron Rudolf Teller of Germany, Peter Stoutenburg was the grandson of Johan van Oldenbarnevelt of the Netherlands, and Resolved Waldron was a baron and his 2nd wife, Tanneke Nagel was Lady Nagel. Since none of these stories are true, I thought that Anjou may have been the source of the tales.
At this point, I have no evidence that Gustave Anjou was involved in the fabrication of the family lore associated with these three mean. But what I learned about Gustave Anjou was very interesting.
His obituary in the New York Times on March 3, 1942, claims that he was born in Paris but lived in Sweden. It also claims that PhD was conferred on him at Upsala University in Sweden. The article further claimed that he married a Swedish woman from a prominent family and then emigrated to the United States.
From the records I've seen, he had no children. None were mentioned in the obituary. I am curious to know who provided the information for the obituary. Since his deceased wife's name was not mentioned, I believe that the informant was not a relative but a staff writer for the New York Times.
The obituary mentions that he was a genealogist who charged wealthy clients $9000 to research the family history. It also mentioned that later he had a mail order business with a catalog of family histories that could be purchased for $250.
I found a handful of family histories that Anjou printed and many more in which he is cited as the source of information. His heyday seems to be between 1890 and 1916.
I first encountered Gustave Anjou as the transcriber of Ulster County Probate Records published in 1906. I don't know why or how he happened to transcribe these records but on November 17, 1905, the New York Times published an article, "Anjou Library Sold." The Anderson Company of New York City sold his library.
The various records regarding Anjou all have conflicting information. In 1900, he was living in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ with his wife and mother-in-law. All three were born in Sweden and he and his wife, Anna, came to the United States in 1890. His mother-in-law, Maria, came to the US in 1899. His occupation was a heraldist and genealogist.
In the Swedish emigration index, I found a Maria Gustava Anjou Spångber who left Stockholm Lån, Sverige to New York. The entry was filed on April 15, 1899. My Swedish friend, Mona, said that Anjou was not a Swedish surname. When I tried to find its origin, it seems to be more of a French name.
In 1910, the family was living New Brighton on Staten Island. This time the record claims that he was born in France as were his parents. He and his wife Anna came to the US in 1890. His mother-in-law, Maria, came in 1900. His occupation is historical researcher.
In 1920, his mother-in-law appears to be deceased as the family consists of Gustave and his Swedish wife. They both came to the US in 1890, he was naturalized in 1917, born in France along with his parents and he is a genealogical professional.
The SS St. Paul passenger list on October 2, 1909 includes a Gustave Anjou, age 46, married and a United States citizen. The SS Belgenland passenger list on November 20, 1925 includes a Gustave Anjou, age 61, widowed, naturalized in Richmond County, NY Court on March 9, 1918 and living at 177 Rice Avenue West, New Brighton, NY.
I found his passport application of April 19, 1924, in which he claims that he was born in Paris, France. His father, also born in France, was Charles Gustave Maris Anjou. He claims to have been naturalized in Richmond County, NY on March 9, 1918.
I viewed a passenger list in 1902 in which he was a US citizen and another in the 1920s in which he was naturalized in 1919. I haven't yet found the ship on which he arrived in 1890 but I am sure that it will conflict with these other records.
During his life time I found indications that others were questioning his research. Investigation of the reliability of the "History of the Longyear family" by Gustave Anjou in New York, U.S.A. is just one example.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Inheritance Scams Now and Then

Many of us have received at least one email message over the last several years that claims we have inherited money or some variation of the scam. Typically the amount is one million dollars. I suspect that $1 million is an amount that the victim can believe as credible and would love to be able to claim.
The small processing fee that the sender requests seems reasonable in view of the amount you will receive. Unfortunately, anyone who falls for the scam is out the processing fee sent to the perpetrator and will never see $1 million.
Sadly, this scam is not new, only the use of email to contact the victims is new. A hundred years ago, con artists employed newspapers and postal services. Since the target was a group of victims, the amount of the inheritance was much larger, tens of millions and hundreds of millions in currency. Also, the victim's investment was a dollar or two.
As a direct descendant of Anneke Jans through her daughter Sarah Roelofs, I had heard about the Bogardus lawsuit against the Trinity Church in New York City. I also heard the story that Anneke Jans was the daughter of Prince Wolfert, who was angered at her marriage to a commoner, left her inheritance in trust for her 7th generation of descendants. In other accounts, she was the daughter of William, Prince of Orange.
I spent years researching my family history that included learning naming traditions and studying local histories and documents. The lawsuit and the stories about Anneke Jans being a princess made no sense to me. Yet I was intrigued by the lawsuits. I found articles in various newspapers in the United States about the lawsuit.
To my surprise, I found similar lawsuits initiated by the descendants and alleged heirs of other notable European figures claiming that vast sums were due these heirs. At this same time, there seemed to be a plethora of claims by families to valuable properties on the Atlantic coast from Georgia to Newfoundland. The theme was the same...title to the property was unlawfully transferred to another.
The sad part of what I found in my research is that a handful of individuals made money from these lawsuits at the expense of the gullible and greedy. So many Americans had sent letters to the Dutch government laying claim to the fortune left to the 7th generation descendants of Anneke Jans that the Centraal Bureau voor Genealogie generated a form letter to respond to these people and implied that these were all greedy Americans.
I found an article an Ogden, Utah newspaper printed on November 6, 1880, about the Bogardus vs. Trinity Church lawsuit being revived by a John A. Anderson of Brooklyn. The article says that he is to collect $50 each from 500 heirs to pursue the lawsuit and that the Trinity Church "will be compelled to give each of them a fortune of $2,000,000." The article further states that he will accept $50 only from proven heirs of Anneke Jans.
Before the last of the Trinity Church lawsuits was ended, an attorney, Willis T. Gridley, managed to bilk Anneke Jans descendants of more than a million dollars. Yet when he was sentenced in 1928, many members of the Bogardus descendants living in Michigan continued to support him. In 1930, Gridley published a book entitled, "Trinity! Break Ye My Commandments?"
A little over a year ago, I distant relative invited me to see a book that he had inherited from his grandfather. It was Gridley's book. Until I read an article by Jeffrey G. Raphelson in The Court Legacy (Vol. XIV, No., 1, February 2007) concerning the Anneke Jans descendants and their lawsuit, I did not connect the book to the lawsuit.
The relative is from a branch of the family that settled in Michigan. The Gridley trial was held in Michigan. The Court Legacy is a publication of the Historical Society for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.
I was amazed to learn that support by the victims for the perpetrator was not unique. The same article mentioned the Heirs of Sir Francis Drake scam. I also found a mention of the Drake "heirs" in a 1927 New York Times article regarding the Anneke Jans lawsuit.
Oscar Hartzell trumped Gridley in the amount that he was able to scam the Drake "heirs". Not only did he collect $2 million before he was brought to trial, but he managed to get some of his victims to contribute $68,000 for his defense and his agents collected $500,000 from Drake "heirs" the year after he was convicted.
Richard Rayner wrote a book about Oscar Hartzell who conned almost 70,000 people out of over $2 million. The book is "Drake's Fortune: The Fabulous True Story of the World's Greatest Confidence Artist."

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Interesting Connections - Where My Research Takes Me

While I was trying to find more information about Patrick Bowen Collins who married a distance cousin, I came across a book, "To Wire the World: Perry M. Collins and the North Pacific Telegraph Expedition." It was written by John B. Dwyer in 2001. Fortunately, I found it in the Sunnyvale Library and checked it out to read.

Perry McDonough Collins had a dream of building a telegraph system that connected the United States with Europe via Alaska and Russia. The book tells the story of his efforts to make this dream come true. In 1860, he wrote a book entitled "A Voyage Down the Amoor: with A Land Journey through Siberia and Incidental Notices of Manchooria, Kamschatka and Japan." Although his book was focused on the eastern part of the Russian Empire, it made me think about my husband's ancestors who were from eastern Russia.

Less than 40 years later, my husband's family begins to arrive in the United States. One of the stories I heard from his family was how the name was changed at Ellis Island. Actually, the story is rather compelling. My mother-in-law believes the name was changed because of confusion due to a language barrier between the immigration official and his great grandmother when she arrived along with his grandfather, his great uncle and his great aunt.

My husband's family name is Kline. The family seemed to believe that my husband's great grandmother was confused when the official asked for a surname that he was asking about the children. She supposedly answered with a question, "Eine Kleine?" from which the official recorded the name as Kline.

Based on his great aunt's naturalization papers, it appears that the family name was Moffs. However, I could not find any Russian name of Moffs. When I saw a copy of her application, I realized that she was young enough that she may not have known how to spell her family name when she came to America with her mother and brothers. She spelled the name phonetically from her childhood memory.

Further research, revealed that the family did not come through Ellis Island but entered at the Port of Boston. I do not know why the family chose a surname of Kline, but the census records around Boston from around the time the family arrived in the US include Claine, Clain and Kline as a spelling of the surname. Looking at the various census images that included the family, I was able to pinpoint the time in which my husband's grandfather arrived with his mother, brother and sister.

I ultimately found the image of the ship manifest that had the names of my husband's great grandmother, his grandfather, his great uncle and his great aunt. The name on the manifest was Mowsz.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Stained Glass in Dutch New York

As I researched a branch of my family, I came across references to the Teller family coat of arms that was supposedly displayed in stained glass at the Reformed Dutch Church in Albany in the 17th century. Conveniently for the family legend, this church was destroyed by fire so nothing remained.

Piecing together my family tree, I began to suspect that the stained glass window and the coat of arms was a myth. The first red flag came when I learned, from looking at New Netherlands and early New York City court records, that the family came from Scotland and the name was Tailler.

The next red flag arose when I learned that in the latter part of the 19th century and the early 20th century a "family coat of arms" industry emerged. My research of the people who came to the Dutch colony in the 17th century, were farmers, mariners, traders and trades people. Certainly not the kind of person with a coat of arms.

Another red flag sprung up after I studied what a coat of arms was and how one was awarded. At that moment, I did not believe that my Teller ancestor's had a German family coat of arms nor that the family donated a stained glass window with the family coat of arms to the Albany church.

Next I made a virtual visit to the Stained Glass Association of America website and found a page on the history of stained glass. ( At this site, I learned that stained glass fell out of favor as a result of the Reformation. Protestants frowned on elaborate art and decoration in both church and home. By 1640, colored glass was scarce.

This did not surprise me in the least as it was consistent with what I learned in my Lutheran confirmation classes.

A painter and glazier in New Amsterdam, Evert Duyckinck created small windows for public buildings with the city crest painted on white glass rather than using stained glass as it was not used in Europe during this period. In fact, much of the stained glass in the churches in England was destroyed. At the time of the French Revolution, stained glass was still considered decadent. It wasn’t until 1843 that stained glass was revived as an art-form. This coincided with the Gothic Revival period in architecture.

Reading page 390 of "The Preservation of Historic Architecture" written by the United States Office of Archeology and Historic Preservation, Technical Preservation Services Division, I learned that glass manufacturing was attempted in Jamestown, Boston, and Philadelphia between 1607 and 1700, but the endeavors failed and glass was imported from England in the 17th and 18th centuries.

The book also indicated that windows painted by Duyckinck and others were oval or round medallions that typically bore an illustrated Dutch proverb. In line with information from the Stained Glass Association of America, the book also states that the social values in addition to the high cost restricted the use of stained and ornamental glass and in particular with regard to churches.

Esther Singleton in her book, "Dutch New York" published in 1909, says on Page 43 the following:

"In numerous pictures by the Little Masters we see coats-of-arms in colored glass in the windows of the prosperous class. This taste was undoubtedly indulged also in New Netherland."

I am afraid the Ms. Singleton has engaged in speculation. She is writing her book in the midst of the mass immigration from Eastern Europe and at a time that an industry emerged to illustrate one's family coat of arms.

Back to stained glass. Its renaissance first occurred in the United States where a very wealthy class was emerging. Not only did we begin to see stained glass used in churches but also in private homes. Tiffany and later Frank Lloyd Wright created items besides windows using stained glass.

The Protestant religions that had vigorously opposed elaborate art and decoration embraced this revived art-form. As churches needed funds to renovate, the church leaders saw an opportunity to raise funds. Thus was created the memorial window. The Stoutenburgh windows in the Reformed Church in Hyde Park are examples of such windows.

Friday, February 19, 2010

My Ancestor's Name Was Changed at Ellis Island?

I can't tell you the number of people who have told me that their ancestor's name was changed at Ellis Island. It seems that many people believe that all immigrants came through Ellis Island in New York. Well, that is the first piece of misinformation. Immigrants arrived at several ports including Boston, Philadelphia, New Orleans, San Francisco, Baltimore, Seattle, and others.
Since immigrants entered the United States through many ports, how is it that so many people believe that it was the officials at Ellis Island that changed their relative's name? Simply folklore, urban legends, etc.! The truth is the immigrants changed their own name at some point after arriving in the United States. Neither the officials at Ellis Island nor officials at the other ports of debarkation were responsible for name changes. Go to the Ellis Island Website ( to see examples of ship manifest lists that were presented to the officials at Ellis Island.
Changing one's name wasn't just a phenomena of the late 19th and early 20th century. It holds true today as well as the early history of our country. I have friends who are Indian, Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese who have Americanized their names.
While looking at many old records of the 17th and 18th centuries, I saw that the early Dutch and Huguenot people in New York changed their names too. Catryntje and Tryntje became Catherine, Jacobus became James, Aefje became Eva, etc. Even English sounding names were transformed. For example, Maritje became Maria/Mary and later Polly; Johanna to Hannah and later Anna; Sarah to Sally; etc.
It didn’t end with changing one’s given name. Even the surnames became more Anglicized. So why is it not conceivable that an immigrant in the later centuries and decades would not Americanize given names and surnames?

The 1960 U. S. Census

I subscribe to the free version of Dick Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter. Most mornings I find a message in my inbox with a list of articles and links to them. This morning the list started with "1960 U.S. Census Myths and Facts."
This particular article was a "teaser" article that provided a few paragraphs. To see the remainder of the article, I need to have a paid subscription.
Mr. Eastman had mentioned in previous issues of his newsletter about the "lost" 1960 Census data. This census is not lost in the same sense as the 1890 Census of which much was destroyed by fire, water and man. Instead, as the story goes, the data is lost because it was stored on 7-track magnetic tapes and the equipment to read such tapes is obsolete.
I have experience in a couple of areas (computers and research) that permit me to say with confidence "the 1960 Census data is not lost."
The 1960 Census data was collected on census schedules printed on paper. The data on the magnetic tapes was created from transcription of the schedules. Since the National Archives had been microfilming records prior to 1960, I have no reason to believe that the 1960 US Census was not been microfilmed.
The story of the census data stored on 7-track magnetic tapes being lost is also not true for several reasons.
First, the purpose of recording the census data on magnetic tape was for research purposes. Many institutions and governmental agencies analyze census data. The electronic data is available to qualifying groups as soon as possible. Thus, multiple tapes were made to satisfy the demand by these entities.
Second, research using census data from any given decade continues years after the data becoming available. By 1964, 9-track tapes were introduced and thus emerged the need for recording the data on 9-track tapes. As data storage devices and data delivery mechanisms evolved over time, I expect to find the 1960 Census data recorded in a variety of formats.
Third, it is possible to read a 7-track tape today. Even if you were to assume that there were no working 7-track tape drives, the knowledge of how to build one is not lost. In fact, I know of a working 7-track tape drive in Silicon Valley.
As of 2009, the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, had operational IBM 729 tape drives attached to a working IBM 1401 computer. Several companies manufactured 7-track tape drives, Hewlett-Packard Company being one. The HP Computer Museum in Australia collects HP equipment with the goal to have working examples. The museum has on exhibit several models of HP 7-track tape drives.
There are other computer museums that collect old equipment. I even found a company, Sunstar Company in Los Angeles, that as of 2010 sells refurbished 9-track tape drives manufactured by many different computer hardware companies.
The National Archives was established in 1934 and its building opened in 1935. Professional archivists have been employed the National Archives for decades. Knowing something about archiving, I found the alleged story of the "lost" 1960 US Census insulting to the archivists.
A visit to the National Archives Website revealed an article written in the Prologue Magazine, Winter 2000, Vol. 32, No. 4, "Myths and Realities About the 1960 Census" by Margaret O. Adams and Thomas E. Brown. The article confirmed my belief that the 1960 US Census is not lost.
To read the article, click on this link at the National Archives.
Although I have not read Mr. Eastman's complete article, however, based on the title, I believe that his article contains similar conclusions.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"The Island at the Center of the World"

Each summer my husband and I make an annual trip to Lake Arrowhead, California to spend a week at Bruin Woods, UCLA Alumni Association Family Camp. Over the years, we have met a number of interesting people who are Alumni of UCLA. A few summers ago I met Simon Van Dijk. He is a professor of chemistry at Alamo Colleges in Texas and an immigrant from the Netherlands. (His wife is the UCLA alumna.)
Simon and I had a mutual interest (not chemistry). He is a Dutch immigrant to the United States; I am an American with a family history extending to the 17th century Netherlands. That first summer, we talked about Dutch history around the 16th and 17th century. Simon was then acutely aware of my family's history in Dutch New York.
The following summer, when we met again at Bruin Woods, Simon asked me if I had read a book entitled "The Island at the Center of the World." I had not, but Simon's discussion of the book intrigued me in part because of what he said about what he'd learned from reading the book. It fit with what I had learned from my research about the Dutch ethics of the time.
I returned home and bought the book to read. That which Mr. Shorto said in his book matched with the things I had found and added information to my knowledge base.
As I researched my family residing in North American in the 17th century, I realized that the Dutch colony in North America was the most ethnically diverse community in North America at that time. The other settlements in eastern North America were homogeneous and fairly exclusionary.
US history as taught in high school focuses on the arrival of the Puritans and purports that our country was shaped by the English. Even the AP American History class that it took in high school only briefly mentioned the Dutch settlement in what is now New York and New Jersey. Even as a student at the University of California at Berkeley, my US history course barely mentioned the Dutch Colony. Yet what I was learning about the Dutch colony and the Netherlands in the late 16th and early 17th centuries seemed to me had a greater impact on forming our country than did the British.
As I researched my family and realized that some of my roots stemmed from the Dutch, I began to study the Dutch colonization of New York. I found the 16th Century Dutch to generally be tolerant and fair to people of various religions and beliefs.
The English settlers, on the other hand, were less accepting of other ideas and beliefs. In fact, they persecuted the non-believers, driving them to the colonies of Connecticut and Rhode Island.
Mr. Shorto concurs and also points out that the Dutch did not have royalty like the British. The Netherlands was a republic where individuals could rise to power and status.
It is ironic that our government was founded on many of the same principles that the Dutch professed when they settled the colony in North America. If you want to have a clear idea of what it was like for people living in the Dutch colony, you must read this book.
Russell Shorto has worked extensively on the New Netherland Project, which is currently translating old documents from 1600-1664.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Culzean Castle and American Aristocracy

Around the beginning of the 20th Century, as the influx of immigrants, particularly from Eastern European counties, was reaching its apex, native-born Americans seemed to have had need to distinguish themselves above the immigrants. This behavior was more evident in the eastern states.

Organizations such as the Daughters of the American Revolution, Colonial Dames, Sons of the American Revolution, Mayflower Society, etc. were founded at this time. While some people were proving lineage to join such societies, others were looking to find a connection to European royalty.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of those who came to America in the early days of European colonization of North America were common people seeking a chance for a better life. A whole industry of finding one's "family crest" emerged to take advantage of this intense interest in finding a connection to important families of Europe in the 1600 and early 1700s. This desire still exists today. I typed my maiden name and the words "family crest' and voila a page with my "family crest" appeared. However, none of the facts relate to my father's family.

Most Americans who can trace their family to the pre-Revolutionary days of the United States have no connection to the aristocracy of Europe. However, there are a few Americans who have become titled. One of the most recent is Queen Noor of Jordan and Grace Kelly of Monaco. A colonial American who inherited both property and title was Archibald Kennedy. He married Arent Philipse Schuyler's granddaughter, Catherine Schuyler. Archibald inherited his cousin's estate in Scotland and became the 11th Earl of Cassilis and owner of Culzean Castle in Scotland.

The castle is pronounced culain. It was designed by the Scottish architect, Robert Adam, and was completed in 1792 as the home of the 10th Earl of Cassillis who died that year. The title then passed to Archibald Kennedy of New York who was a Captain in the Royal Navy. His townhouse in New York, No.1 Broadway, was requisitioned by George Washington after the War of Independence.

The castle remained in the family until 1945 when the 5th Marquess gave it to the National Trust of Scotland with the stipulation that an apartment in the castle should be given to General Eisenhower for his lifetime to show Scotland's gratitude for his role as Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during the Second World War. Today visitors can see an exhibition on the life of General Eisenhower as well as rent the suite for the night.

What is Canada West?

During the American Revolution, Canada consisted of the maritime provinces (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island) and New France (parts of the Provinces of Quebec and Ontario). The eastern part of Quebec was mostly French speaking. Loyalists, fleeing the United States around the time of the signing of the Treaty of Paris (1783), settled in the western part of Quebec.
Having been a French colony, Quebec used the French civil law model. Loyalists settling into Quebec were used to the British common law model. Thus a conflict arose. Quebec was guaranteed the survival of civil law in the Quebec Act of 1774. To resolve the conflict between the larger French-speaking population and the newly arrived, smaller population of English-speaking refugees, Quebec was split into Upper and Lower Canada in 1791. Lower Canada used civil law and Upper Canada used common law.
The Act of Union in 1840 created the Province of Canada from Upper and Lower Canada.The two areas were called Canada East (Lower) and Canada West (Upper). The separate Upper and Lower Canada legislatures were abolished and a new unified legislature was established. The Act of Union was passed in July 1840 and was as a result of the Rebellions of 1837.
The two rebellions occurred in the same time period but in different parts of Canada. The rebellion in Upper Canada was a reaction of the populace to the control wielded by the wealthy, conservative, Anglican elite that afforded preferential treatment to the Anglican Church to the deteriment of Catholics, Scottish Presbyterians and Methodists. The rebellion in Lower Canada was a reaction of the French-speaking majority and the English-speaking working class to the economic powers held by a few predominately English-speaking persons. Lord Durham was sent from England to assess the situation who recommended the consolidation of the two legislatures.
The first time I heard of Canada West I assumed that it must refer to British Columbia and Alberta. But, I came across a letter written in 1862 to my great, great, great grandmother from her sister in Cornwall in Canada West. However, I knew from what my mother told me that Cornwall is in the eastern part of Ontario on the Saint Lawrence River east of Lake Ontario. I wanted to know what comprised Canada West.
When Quebec was split into Upper and Lower Canada in 1791, Upper Canada contained most of what is the Province of Ontario, but not all. The northernmost portion of Ontario was not controlled by the British government but by the Hudson's Bay Company. In 1670, King Charles II of England granted a huge tract of land in Canada to the Hudson's Bay Company.
In 1867, the Dominion of Canada was established and Canada East was called the Province of Quebec and Canada West was called the Province of Ontario. A few years later, the British government added territory to these two provinces and formed the boundaries as we know them.
In 1869, Canada purchased Rupert's Land North-Western Territory from the Hudson's Bay Company. Rupert's Land encompassed all of Manitoba, most of Saskatchewan, the southern part of Alberta and the northern parts of Ontario and Quebec. The North-Western Territory covered a small portion of Saskatchewan, most of Alberta, all of the Yukon, Northwest and Nunavut Territories. British Columbia, the westernmost province, was not included. Although controlled by the British, it did not become a part of the Dominion of Canada until 1871.
In context of the provinces and territories that comprise Canada of today, Ontario as Canada West makes no sense. However, when you look at the history of the formation of the Canadian provinces and territories, Canada West makes sense. In 1840, Ontario was the westernmost part of Canada. The lands to the north and west of Ontario were controlled by the British government and the Hudson's Bay Company.
Click here to see an interactive Territorial and Provincial Formation Map of Canada.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Historian PI

From the time I started this blog, I have been trying to find a title to describe my blog. If you do a Google search on family historian, at the top of the results are products related to building a family tree. While other results point to genealogists. Although I have an extensive, well documented and growing family tree, I do not see myself as a genealogist. As I built my family tree, I wanted to know more about these people; about what was happening around the area in which they lived that may have influenced a decision to move to another place or to another advocation. While looking at the local events going on at the time I often found something really interesting that may not have anything to do with my relatives. It is interesting nonetheless and, I am sure, is interesting to someone who had family in the area. Today, I met with several people who all are looking for jobs and asked for suggestions as to what I should title myself on a businesscard. Stuart suggested I put what I do as History PI. I think that he had something there. Friends and family have called me Sherlock. I then went to my gym. After I worked out, I had a passing talk with the owner, Kristen Gerhard, about my meeting earlier and that I was going to try to devise a new businesscard when I went home. The next thing I knew, Kristen was on the Internet looking for images that I might incorporate on my businesscard. She gave me some really great ideas that I am pursuing. So between Stuart and Kristen's input, I should have a really good businesscard.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Words of Wisdom from My Dad

My father was a second generation American while my mother's family had been in North America in the 1600s. His paternal grandparents were born in Denmark and his maternal grandfather was born in Norway and his maternal grandmother was born in Sweden. His parents must have instilled in him that he was an American. I remember as a child several interactions with the other kids in my Minnesota neighborhood in which we boldly proclaimed that we were Swedes, Danes, Germans, etc. At some point, my dad felt the need to tell me that I was not a Swede, Dane or Norwegian, but I was an American. What he said back then didn't really have an impact on me as several years later when I was a student at UCLA, Alex Haley's book, "Roots" was introduced, I was consumed with being identified as Sandinavian. I enrolled in Medieval Scandivanian Languages and Literature courses. Although I really enjoyed these classes, I realized that I did not feel a really strong connection. But I was intrigued by the stories and literature had an indirect relationship to me. I had no idea that a branch of my mother's family was in North America in the 1600s. Because my dad's family and my mom's family were Lutheran, I assumed that my mother's ancestors were German and Scandinavian. So it was easy for me to declare that I was Scandivanian. Several years later, I embarked on a quest to research my family history. I learned that my mother's maternal grandmother was Norwegian but her father's father was of Dutch, Scot, German, and English descent. Then I learned that my mother's great grandfather was born in Canada and his great grandfather was born in New York. With so many of my ancestors coming from many of the countries in northern Europe, how can I claim one identity. My dad was right. I am an American. However, I am an American who has an intense curiousity about my ancestors, where they lived and what life was like for them.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Martha's Vineyard and the Deaf

I will never ever find a time that I will not be amazed at the interesting things I learn as I research my family history. After my post a few days ago about Luke and Elizabeth Stoutenburg moving from Dutchess County, New York to Ontario, Canada, I felt that I should do a bit more research on Elizabeth Case and her ancestors and relatives. The trail led me to Tisbury on Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts. At dinner tonight, I announced to my husband, " You won't believe what I just learned!" He told me that he isn't always interested in details of my extended family, but when I say something like above, he knows that I will tell him something interesting. Most of my knowledge of Martha's Vineyard stemmed from Senator Edward Kennedy's accident in 1969 at Chappaquidick Island. Well, to put it bluntly, it was not much. Because I discovered that I had cousins who lived on Martha's Vineyard in Tisbury in the late 1600s, I wanted to know more about this island. A Google search yielded a map of Martha's Vineyard along with a smaller island on the east, Chappaquidick. The town of Tisbury on this map is the northernmost part of Martha's Vineyard. I naturally assumed that Martha's Vineyard was a grape producing island. Unfortunately, I have not found any evidence that the island was named for its grapes. At this moment, I have no idea why this island is called Martha's Vineyard. In my quest to learn about this island, I came across a very interesting fact. It has nothing to do with my relatives, but I was intrigued. I came across a book, "Everyone Here Spoke Sign Language: Hereditary Deafness on Martha's Vineyard" by Ellen Nora Grose. There were so many deaf people in the community that a sign language was developed in order for the deaf and non-deaf to communicate. In the 18th century, 1 in 155 people on Martha's Vineyard were deaf while 1 in 5,728 people in the general United States population were deaf. Since most people at that time were related in some way, the development of a sign language used to communicate with the deaf relatives was important. Today's American Sign Language was greatly influenced by the Martha's Vineyard sign language. I would never have known this but I was researching my family history!

Monday, February 8, 2010

United Empire Loyalists

I am willing to bet that most US citizens don't know what a United Empire Loyalist is. If you ask a Canadian, you will learn the answer. These people are descendants of the families who sided with the British during the American Revolution and whose property was confiscated at the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1783. The British government gave land grants to these families primarily in the provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. In the case of my ancestors, the grants were allocated in the easternmost part of Ontario Province. Ontario was called Upper Canada during this time, Canada West sometime later and finally the Province of Ontario. Unlike the organizations founded around 1900 such as the Daughters of the American Revolution, Colonial Dames, Sons of the American Revolution, etc., United Empire Loyalists was established by 1786 and the designation UE is an honor not motivated by exclusion.

A Coat of Arms

We Americans seem to fascinated with having a coat of arms or crest. The crest is a small part of the coat of arms. There are several websites that are more than happy to sell you a family coat of arms. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a family coat of arms. A coat of arms belongs to an individual. When the bearer of the coat of arms dies, his first born son inherits the coat of arms. With the exception of the Dutch, generally females do not have a coat of arms. Elizabeth I, Victoria and Elizabeth II of England are noted exceptions. Several European countries have an organization that keeps track of the bearer of a coat of arms. In Canada this organization is called the Canadian Heraldic Authority. In England is the College of Arms and the Court of Lord Lyon in Scotland. Other European countries have counterpart groups to protect the acknowledged bearer of arms. Each coat of arms is protected like a US patent or a registered trademark. The concept of a coat of arms is based on an aristocracy. The king can grant a coat of arms and take away a coat of arms. From the inception of the United States, a coat of arms has not existed here. The government, colleges, cities, counties, states, companies and some organizations have a seal. This is the closest thing to a coat of arms that we as a country embrace. Many American families have been duped into believing that their family has a coat of arms or a crest.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Family Lore Part II

On my first blog, I touched on the fact that one's mother, father, aunt. uncle, grandparents, etc. might provide you with some information that is not factually true. It is not because this person is lying but this person has incomplete information and has confused facts with other facts. In the example I included on my first blog, my mother confused the town to which her grandmother went to visit her relatives with the place in which her grandmother was born. I doubt that my mother ever asked her grandmother where she was born. My mother was simply confused. However, in other cases, the information is absolutely not true. Someone creates a fairytale that all would love to believe was true and presents it as fact. This situation occurred in several instances just before and shortly after the turn of the 20th Century. This was the period of mass immigration of people particularly from eastern Europe and Russia. During this same time, Cornelia Schermerhorn, wife of John Jacob Astor, controlled one's social standing in New York City. Organizations like the Daughters of the American Revolution, Sons of the American Revolution, Colonial Dames, etc. emerged. And so did some people intent getting rich by exploiting the fear that some multi-generational Americans had of the recent immigrants. If you think scams are something invented since the Internet, think again. I came across two scams at the turn of the 20th century that were related to my family and some that had no connection to my family. However, the theme was the same, money by the perpetrator and social standing by the victim. I read several articles in The New York Times that were published during this era. I found the articles both interesting and quite sad.