Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013: In Case You Missed It

If you ever found a child whose cause of death was listed as “teething” you may want to read my top post of 2013. I researched the topic because I was intrigued by the idea that people as recent as 100-150 years ago believed that teething could kill. I never guessed that my blog post would score nearly 3000 hits, ten times more than anything else I posted this year.

Without further ado, here are my top dozen posts for 2013. Happy New Year!

Kalamazoo Research Guide (as well as other Michigan counties)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Medical History Revelation

For a while I've understood the benefits of genealogical research in providing family medical information (is there a family history of cancer, for instance), but recently it cleared up a puzzle. One of my relations has always had bad leg veins and has had surgery several times in an attempt to improve the condition. The doctor said he found it difficult to understand how bad the vein problem was with a history on only one side of the family. The reason, naturally, was that there was a history on both sides. I found the missing link.

Diagram of varicose veins, from the Civil War pension application file of Edward Flynn, in the author's collection.

I don't know why I didn't put it together sooner. I suppose it is like those times when the right hand isn't paying attention to what the left is doing. Anyway, as I was searching through my gg-grandfather's Civil War Pension Application file while writing my blog post about Old Newspaper Spin, it hit me like a ton of bricks. Hey, this sounds just like my relative!

As I had already scanned many of the documents into the computer, I perused them and sent the ones I thought relevant, thinking it was simply an interesting tidbit. To my surprise and delight, both my relative and the doctor were very excited to see them. The records explained a lot and, in fact, the veins that my gg-grandfather's doctors described were the first ones to cause problems for my relative.

While my findings don't materially change anything for my relative I was gratified to learn that they were helpful. It just goes to show that you never know what might be useful even several generations removed.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Local History Makeover at KPL

If you haven't visited the Local History room at the Kalamazoo Public Library in a while you are in for a surprise. Starting at least as early as July things were being shifted around in preparation for removing the wall separating what used to be Local History from the microfilm reading area. In addition to simply opening up the space, items have been reorganized to facilitate research.

To see some “after” photos you can click here or better yet plan a visit over the holidays and tell me what you think since it will likely be a year before I have a chance to see it for myself.

The library will be closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. The KPL will close early (5 pm) on New Year's Eve.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

WMU Archives' Digitized Collections

New items have been added to the WMU Archives and Regional History Collections website. Of particular interest are WMU yearbooks through 1975.

The digitized collections accessible here are: 

The U.S. Civil War Collection of letters and diaries of nine men, some of whom served in the military and a few who did not. I blogged about this about a year ago. To see a list of the men's names and their units (where applicable) see Searchable Civil War Letters
The Caroline Bartlett Crane's Everyman's House Collection includes books, photos and more. Crane designed the home with efficiency for the common woman in mind.

The Ward Morgan Collection consists of photos from 1939-1980 showing a variety of aspects of life in Kalamazoo from industry to women working in the kitchen to a nursing home.

The African American History Book, Michigan Manual of Freedman's Progress, was published in 1915 and includes a variety of topics. The book was written to catalog areas of progress made by African Americans since the end of the Civil War and in conjunction with the Lincoln Jubilee to be held in Chicago in that year and includes a list of Michigan delegates and exhibitors at the Lincoln Jubilee. Of genealogical value are the brief biographies of professional men, a list of property owners throughout the state and a list of men who served during the Civil War. A description is also given of many different organizations or clubs of which African Americans were founders or members. The book also has a brief history of African Americans in Michigan and statistical information obtained from the census as well as information on occupations and mortality. If you have any African American kin in Michigan during the time described it is definitely worth perusing. You can view it online or download it as a PDF.

For anyone with ancestors who attended Western Michigan University, the WMU Yearbooks Collection has been digitized. Yearbooks from 1906-1975 are available to view online or download. I found a photo of my gg-grandfather's niece in the 1907 yearbook. Most of the yearbooks are large files (up to 50 MB) and they can take some time to load on your screen. I have found it easier to download a particular yearbook and scan it offline than to wait for a particular paid to load.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Old Newspaper Spin

Just as newspapers today tend to take sides in politics, they did in the past as well. This can sometimes make it difficult to know how much one can believe when our ancestors turn up in the local press. I was recently reminded of this. I'm currently reading an engaging book about James A. Garfield (Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard) and the events leading up to and following his assassination in 1881. The book recalled to mind an article that appeared in the Kalamazoo Telegraph describing how one of my ancestors decided to go against his prior political leanings to support Garfield. “As [Edward Flynn] expresses it, he has not left the democratic party, but the party itself has left the union sentiments to which he, as an old soldier, feels deeply devoted. He has felt very loth to leave old political ties and associations but he feels too deeply the convictions to which he devoted his life all through the [Civil] war.” [1] As a result of his public declaration, “Mr. Flynn meets with all kinds of petty meannesses [sic] from his late political friends on his change of affiliation.” [1]

Because the Telegraph lauded Flynn for his switch, the Kalamazoo Gazette simply couldn't resist responding. The Gazette cited two unnamed members of Flynn's company. “They both agreed that Flynn, while in the army was a republican, and the most complete shirk and slink in the company, and spent three quarters of his time on the sick list.” [2]

Not to be outdone, the Telegraph published a rebuttal. “Jealousy has excited the publishers of the Gazette to pitch into Edward Flynn for coming over to the Garfield side. We are reliably informed by a soldier who served with Flynn in the same company that he served his three years faithfully and then re-enlisted, participated with his company in all the battles under McClellan and was present at the battles of Blackburn's Ford, Yorktown, Fair Oaks, Malvern Hills, last battle of Bull Run, etc.” [3] Edward Flynn, the Telegraph said was “one of the 19 soldiers of Co. I of the old Second who served through the war and came out alive.” [1]

So, what should I believe? If I only had the articles from a single newspaper it would greatly color how I viewed my gg-grandfather. Fortunately, I have both. I also have Edward's Civil War pension application file. While I know that these files are, by definition, a vehicle for complaining about physical ailments, I must say that even after examining the files for about a dozen of my kin, Edward strikes me as a bit of a complainer. In his favor, I should state that near the end of his service (1 June 1865), Edward had been promoted to the rank of Corporal. [4] While I'm not a military expert, it seems to me that Edward wouldn't have been promoted if he had shirked his duty for much of the war as alleged by the Gazette sources. While that is circumstantial evidence, Oliver Caruthers, a Corporal in Edward's unit stated “Flynn was in my squad most of the time. I remember that sometimes it was pretty hard for him to march and he complained of being stiff and sore but he kept up with the company. He was a good soldier.” [5] In regard to Edward receiving assistance in getting around Caruthers recalled “I do know that [Flynn] never would accept or ask any favors so long as [he] could help [himself].” [5]

So, what do I believe? Despite the mud-slinging I think I can accept some of the basics, primarily because I have the pension file for backup. I don't think Edward was a slink or a shirk because his record simply doesn't support that conclusion. Among other things, he enlisted ten days after the attack on Fort Sumter, re-enlisted after his three year term expired and served until his discharge at the end of July 1865. [4] However, the claim of being frequently on the sick list has more merit. Edward was in the hospital at least once for rheumatism. [5] Some of his comrades may also have believed him to be a shirk and a slink because he was at least twice on detached service, once in the ambulance corps for about seven months and another time as a provost guard for just over nine months. [4] The bottom line is that you should always take stories (whether family lore or from newspapers) with a grain of salt, analyze what you find and try to corroborate what you can before you draw any conclusions. Newspapers can be a great resource in the absence of other information, but I'm sure we've all seen enough mistakes in obituaries to know that we shouldn't believe everything we read.

  1. “Out For Garfield,” Kalamazoo [Mich.] Daily Telegraph, 31 August 1880, page 1, column 2, digital images, Kalamazoo Public Library (http://www.kpl.gov: accessed 12 January 2013), Kalamazoo Telegraph Collection.
  2. Kalamazoo [Mich.] Gazette, 4 September 1880, digital images, Genealogy Bank (http://www.genealogybank.com: accessed 26 March 2011), Kalamazoo Gazette Collection.
  3. Kalamazoo [Mich.] Daily Telegraph, 14 September 1880, page 1, column 6, digital images, Kalamazoo Public Library (http://www.kpl.gov: accessed 12 January 2013), Kalamazoo Telegraph Collection.
  4. Compiled Service Record, Edward Flynn, Cpl, Co. I, 2nd Michigan Inf.; Carded Records, Volunteer Organizations, Civil War; Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, 1780-1917, Record Group 94; National Archives, Washington, D.C.
  5. Deposition of Oliver Caruthers (Deposition C), Edward A. Flynn (Cpl., Co. I, 2nd MI. Inf., Civil War), application no. 83,138, certificate no. 63,675, Case Files of Approved Pension Applications. . ., 1861-1934; Civil War and Later Pension Files; Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Learning A Life

I've taken a bit of a break from blogging lately because I've been writing the story of my grandmother's life. I find it's always a learning experience to immerse yourself in someone else's life. Every sentence spawn's new questions. Fortunately for me, my grandmother is still alive (the last one of my grandparents) so I can actually satisfy my curiosity. 

About a year ago I sent my grandma some questions and called to talk about them. While that filled in some gaps, I know that sometimes it's hard to remember things out of context. For this reason, my strategy this time was to start writing her story before asking more questions. I hope to have enough detail to place my grandma back in time to evoke additional memories.

As with any ancestor, I can piece together the major events in my grandmother's life from basic records (census records, city directories, vital records). These create the scaffold for the story. Every nugget of information can expand the picture. The 1940 census, for example, informed me that my grandma's father was unemployed for about four years in the late 1930s. This likely explains why three of his sons had dropped out of high school and were working. For those of us who knew someone who lived through the Great Depression, no explanation is necessary, but for younger generations it's a great time to introduce a brief history lesson. Speaking of history, no discussion of this time should fail to mention the bombing of Pearl Harbor. This seminal event had huge implications for the country as a whole, just as they did for a young woman with four brothers and eventually a husband ripe for the draft.

To flesh out my story more I needed additional details. By looking at maps I could say that my grandmother walked a mile to get to the high school. It would have been awfully cold walking during the winter wearing skirts, because women, as a rule, didn't wear pants then. From my grandma's high school yearbook (purchased on eBay, see Milking eBay For Family Artifacts) I know she was in the choir and earned a typing certificate. The scanned images of my grandfather's WWII scrapbook and my notes from earlier interviews with my grandmother have also come in handy. I also took advantage of my father's recent visit to pick his brain and discovered some variations of the stories my grandma told me. These tidbits may seem insignificant, but when combined with the scaffold and elements from history it becomes easier to craft a more compelling narrative.

Now that I have a rough draft, it's the perfect time to share it with my grandmother. I think I have enough detail to help her remember more. I also have questions that occurred to me during writing. Most of my questions are simple, though some are rather vague (what kinds of food did your mother fix to eat?). However, when I can, I try to ask specific questions that are more likely to yield a response. Did your mom have a vegetable garden? Did she bake bread? Did you string popcorn or make paper chains to decorate the Christmas tree? Even if the answer is no, a specific question may still prompt my grandma to recall something I hadn't thought to ask. I guess I'll soon see if I've been successful.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Kalamazoo Research Guide

The busy folks at Seeking Michigan have added research guides for six more counties to their website, including Kalamazoo.  These guides provide a basic inventory of the records held by the Archives of Michigan in Lansing or in some cases records held at other locations such as the WMU Archives in Kalamazoo.  The record types include: Court Records, Land, Military, Naturalization, Occupational, Poor House Records, Prison, Probate, Tax Records, Voter Records and more, depending on the county.

The seventeen county research guides now available are for Calhoun, Clinton, Eaton, Genesee, Gratiot, Ingham, Ionia, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent, Livingston, Monroe, Oakland, Ottawa, Shiawassee, Washtenaw and Wayne counties.  You can find the guides here.  Read them on the site or download them as PDFs.

A word of warning, however, if you see a record type that you are particularly interested in you may want to call ahead to verify that what you are looking for is likely to be there.  While looking at the guide for Kalamazoo county I noticed the guide indicates the Chancery indexes go through 1920.  While looking through the microfilmed index at the WMU Archive (where these and many Kalamazoo area records are held) I found that the index went through at least May 1941.  The guide also states that the chancery records only go through 1932.  I found them to go into 1934. 

Despite the minor differences I found for one record type, the research guides are a great resource for any Michigan researcher.  One of the best things about them is that they may lead you to a record type you might not have thought to consult or never even realized existed.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Your Genealogical Legacy

We all have a wish list of the items we dream of finding from our ancestors and other long gone relations. Letters, diaries and labeled photographs are certainly at the top of the list. Keeping “do unto others” in mind, what have you done to provide your descendents with fodder to learn about you and your family? I have done a few things, but there is still much that I need to do and just can't seem to find the time. 

What I have done: scanned in many of my own items (birth and marriage certificates, diplomas, driver's licenses, old school photos, passports, etc.).   I have also scanned in select photos from the family albums of my parents, one of my aunts and old photos that came to me from cousins. In addition, I have scanned almost every photo I can find of my grandparents and older generations. 

What I really need to do: Label, label and label some more. While it's great to have scanned in so many old photos, if no one after me knows who is in them it's not very helpful.  After all, I know how frustrating it is to have a collection of unlabeled photos from several generations ago.  Starting with group photos will give you more bang for your buck. You can identify more people in fewer photos. At least if you don't get all of your photos labeled, future generations can identify more through comparison. When labeling hard copies of photos be sure to use a pencil or photo-safe pen. To learn how to add information to digital photo files you can read my post Beyond The Label.

One thing that is simple to do and requires little time comes from my mom: write down a list of all of the jobs you have held in your life. You could also ask living relatives about the jobs your grandparents and their grandparents held that they know about. I knew that my grandmother worked for a while at Gibson Guitar, but my mother told me she put the mother-of-pearl on the fret boards. I'm trained as a scientist so few people would probably guess that I worked in a paper mill for a summer. While this information may someday prove useful, another reason for doing it, as my mother pointed out, is that in a hundred years some of these jobs will likely no longer exist, for instance a greeting card or magazine merchandiser.

Another idea is to write up a typical day in your life. This won't take as long as keeping a journal, but it will give future generations an idea of what your daily life was like and how it is different than theirs. While it does not provide insight into your thoughts it could make a big difference in your descendents understanding of your life. Include details about how and what you cook, clean and do laundry, including the devices you use to do them: laptop computer, microwave, washing machine, vacuum cleaner, etc. Don't forget to discuss your job and how you get there (walk, bike, car, public transportation). You can provide a bit of your own social history for your descendents. In only fifty years (or less) some things can change a lot. My mother remembers putting clothes through the wringer and hanging them outside to dry (winter included). I never had to do that growing up.

So here's your list:
  1. Start scanning. Put something good on the tv to make the time pass quicker.
  2. Write down the jobs you've had in your life.
  3. Write down the addresses of where you've lived.
  4. Start labeling photos. Start with group shots. Remember, even a few labels are better than none at all!
  5. Write a brief description of your typical day.
Your descendents will thank you.

Friday, October 25, 2013

New WMU Archives Now Open

The new Zhang Legacy Collections Center (ZLCC) is now open for business. Through the end of 2013 the Archives will be open Tues. through Fri. 9 am to 4 pm. 

The new location is just a hop, skip and a jump from the former home in East Hall. The ZLCC is at the end of Calhoun St. on the top of Oakland hill just a few hundred yards from the iconic asylum water tower.

The official dedication ceremony occurred a week ago and though I was unable to attend my mother was. She took some photos during the guided tour of the storage room. Unlike the rabbit warren that previously housed the archives documents (view the short video here if you don't believe me) the new facility is state-of-the-art and is large enough to hold all of the materials under one climate controlled roof. There is even room for 8.5 years of growth.

These impressive shelving units are 30 feet tall. Each individual shelf has an 800 pound capacity.

The lift allows easy access to items housed above eye level.

There are two options for parking at the ZLCC. Lot 108 at the ZLCC has two free visitor parking spots, thanks to donors. If you're not fortunate enough to find one open you can purchase a day pass at the Archives desk for $5. Those with a WMU permit can also park in the lot.

Finally, I would like to personally thank Charles and Lynn Zhang for their substantial contribution to providing a home for the Archives materials. Though they have no ancestral roots in Kalamazoo or even in the United States they recognize the importance of these records to the community. Through their, and other donors', generosity our past has a safe future.

For those unfamiliar with Kalamazoo and the Western Michigan University campus, the ZLCC is located at J9 on this map

You can view photos throughout construction here.  

Thursday, October 17, 2013

What's Coming To Seeking Michigan?

Drum roll, please . . . more death certificates as well as naturalization records. As everyone reading this likely knows, Seeking Michigan currently hosts Michigan death certificates from 1897 (when they were first required) through 1920. You may also be aware that in the spring of 2013 Family Search posted an index to Michigan death certificates for 1921-1952. Rumors circulated that Family Search or Seeking Michigan would eventually post the images for these records. Kris Rzepczynski, writing in the Michigan Genealogical Council Newsletter, has settled the debate by announcing that Seeking Michigan will add death certificate images, but with a catch. [1] Because Michigan imposes a 75-year restriction on access to death records only images up through 1937 will become available initially. [1] Then as we celebrate each New Year, images will be uploaded for the next allowable year. [1]

The other big news item is that Michigan naturalization records will eventually be available through a partnership between the Archives of Michigan and Family Search. [1] However, don't expect to jump into these records anytime soon. First, many of these records have yet to be scanned and indexed. [1] Second, this is a large collection. Archives staff “estimates that this database will dwarf any existing collection” now online at Seeking Michigan. [1] Some indexes are already available, including Kalamazoo county, but for the rest we'll have to wait. A list of the county naturalization records held by the Archives of Michigan can be found here (click on the County Circuit Courts box). To search the available indexes click here.  For more information on these records you can read the Archives of Michigan circular.  It's important to note that if your ancestor petitioned a federal court to become naturalized you won't find their records in this collection.

The naturalization record index will be available at Family Search while the actual images will be on the Seeking Michigan website. If you are a Family Search indexer keep an eye out for this project. If you have never done any indexing, it's not difficult to do. Indexing is done by the batch with each batch requiring on average 30-60 minutes to complete, depending on the number of fields to complete and the ease of reading the handwriting. If everyone does even a few batches it will speed the process along. To learn more about becoming an indexer click here

Kris Rzepczynski. Archives of Michigan & Abrams Foundation Historical Collection. Michigan Genealogical Council Newsletter. Fall 2013. Vol 37 (issue 4). p. 13.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Beyond The Label: Adding Info To Digital Images

Anyone who has scanned photos into their computer or downloaded documents has certainly come across the problem of trying to best label that image. However, there is only so much information even a creative person can cram into an image name. For many files the problem is manageable (e.g. Hartman-KoppWedding), but for some, like a reunion photo, including all of the names in the photo label is simply not feasible.

This problem has been nagging at me for some time, but I have finally found a solution. Without adding text on top of the image or using cryptic labels I can now include all (or at least a lot) of pertinent information to an image. Now I can include:
  1. The names of everyone in a photo (or my best guess).
  2. Detailed source/provenance information (Aunt Jane Smith's album, eBay, etc.).
  3. Approximate time period.
Beyond photos of people you could label:
  1. Photos of family homes (with address, years of residence, etc.).
  2. Photos of family heirlooms (what is it, who owned it and who has it now).
  3. Documents (was it downloaded from Family Search, Ancestry, etc.).
  4. Maps (what township did your relative live in).
These are just a few suggestions, but I'm sure as I continue labeling I'll think of some other uses.

I use IrfanView as my image viewer (free at their website http://www.irfanview.com/), but it is worth looking through your preferred viewer to see if you can find a way to add labels. In IrfanView, open a photo (in jpg format, it doesn't seem to work with tif images) and click on the “Image” heading at the top of the screen. Select “Information” at the top of the drop-down menu. A new window will open.

Click on the “IPTC Info” button at the bottom left of the screen. Another window will open with several blank fields.

The largest field, “Caption,” is where I add the description. I also include my name in the “Caption Writer” field. When you have finished be sure to click on the “Write” button at the bottom of this screen and then “OK” on the bottom of the original window. The next time you click on “Information” you'll see an asterisk on the IPTC button to let you know there is information there.

One nice thing about adding information in IPTC form is that it is a kind of metadata, meaning that it is permanently attached to the image. This is a good way to include a description of the photo as well as your own information, especially if you send it to someone else (it should still be accessible in other image viewers). I tested this in Picasa. When I double-clicked an image the caption I added in IrfanView was visible underneath it. I was also able to add a tag to a tif file in Picasa (View → Tags), but I don't know if it is visible in other photo software.

I think adding information to images is a great tool for genealogists. We can add quite a bit of information to photos without it becoming lost and without having to use cryptic titles.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Milking eBay For Family Artifacts

I recently described how I have twice found photos of family on eBay in the past three years or so (See If You Aren't Searching For Family On eBay You Should Be).  Individual photos are not the only items you should be looking for. Among other things that might mention your ancestor are:

Yearbooks (high school and college): If a photo alone isn't enough to get you to purchase a yearbook, you may find other tidbits that can help shape your understanding of your ancestor. Were they a member of the chess club or volleyball team? Perhaps there is a quote by your ancestor or they were listed as “most likely to. . .” If you're not sure if your relative was in a particular yearbook you can always contact the seller and ask. They may be willing to check if it means they'll make a sale. Before you purchase a Kalamazoo area yearbook be sure to check the Kalamazoo Public Library (KPL) website for online yearbook images. This page lists the yearbooks that the KPL possesses.  If there is an asterisk by a particular yearbook it means that photos from that book are indexed in the Local Information Database.  You should also visit Kalamazoo County Genealogical Records and look for your surnames in the "Schools" category to see if there is a photo or other mention there.  Keep in mind that not all photos or names throughout these yearbooks are indexed and that for the early ones (at least 1939 and earlier) only photos of seniors are included.  If anyone in your family attended Western Michigan University you'll be happy to know that you can find digitized yearbooks through 1975 here, thanks to the WMU Archives.

Business items (ads, letterhead, photos, postcards if it was on a main drag in town): If your family owned one business you may find some ephemera that has survived. Wouldn't it be fun to have an ad from the family store framed and on the wall?

Community/church cookbooks: These often have the name of the recipe submitter. You might be able to find an old family recipe that you could bring to your next family gathering. To hear more about using family recipes to learn about your female ancestors and possibly get hints to their ethnicity I encourage you to listen to the Genealogy Gems podcast episode 137 in which Lisa interviews Gena Philibert Ortega about this topic. 

Old maps: You might also consider purchasing an old map of your ancestral town so you can mark where your ancestors and other relatives lived (see Mapping thePast). You can then see at a glance how far they lived from other relatives or from their places of work.

Diaries/Letters: While it is rarer that you'll find these sorts of items, if you do it could be a gold mine of information. I recently searched the book category at eBay and came across a diary and a labeled baby book with photos, both from the 1930s.

If you haven't searched for family on eBay don't be intimidated. Start with something small like searching through the photos in a particular area. Once you've looked through the backlog, keeping up is easier if you sort the results by “newly listed” and select the category you're interested in (photos, books, etc). This way you won't have to wade through items you've already viewed.

However, if you're attempting to find artifacts in a large city this strategy may not be feasible. If you're looking for the needle in the proverbial haystack eBay alerts may be a better option. Choose Advanced to the right of the search button at the top of the screen. Type in your search terms, select a category (such as collectibles) if you wish and click the box to “Save this search to My eBay.” You will receive an email when your search yields results. You can always view your saved searches in My eBay and see when new items are found that match a particular search.

You never know what you might find. Happy hunting!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Genealogy Techniques Help Authenticate Van Gogh Painting

You may have heard that a painting by Vincent Van Gogh was recently authenticated. What you may not know is that some of the tools used to identify Sunset at Montmajour as a Van Gogh work were those used by genealogists.

From the Van Gogh Museum website [1]

Over the weekend I listened with fascination to a brief (about seven minutes) interview with Teio Meedendorp, one of the Van Gogh Museum researchers who worked over the past two years to examine the painting and its history. You can listen to the interview at Studio 360. While naturally, an investigation of the painting itself (pigments, style, canvas, etc.) was an integral part of the process, techniques close to a genealogist's heart also played an important role. [2] A detailed account of the authentication process won't be released until the October edition of The Burlington Magazine is published. [1] However, a few of the ways Sunset at Montmajour was identified were shared by Meedendorp on air.

Old Letters:
In a letter written in the summer of 1888 by Vincent to his brother, Theo, Van Gogh stated that he planned to send him this painting. [1,2]

Estate Records:
After Vincent Van Gogh died in 1890 (two years after painting Sunset at Montmajour) an inventory of his paintings was drawn up. In the present day there was no known painting that corresponded with #180 on the inventory. The number written on the back of Sunset at Montmajour? 180. [2]

Old Newspapers:
To provide further evidence, the research team looked at old newspapers. In one clipping, a critic described a painting he saw at an exhibition in Amsterdam in 1892 that matched Sunset at Montmajour. A second showing in 1901 again included the piece, and was apparently mentioned in the newspaper. [2]

Although Meedendorp didn't elaborate during the interview, he stated that one could practically trace this painting from the current owners “back to the easel.” [2]

I guess the moral of the story is to keep plugging away at your genealogy because, apparently, these are transferable skills.

1. Van Gogh Museum, News, Van Gogh Museum discovers new painting by Vincent van Gogh: Sunset at Montmajour, Van Gogh Museum (http://www.vangoghmuseum.nl/vgm/index.jsp?page=330726&lang=en : accessed 16 Sep 2013), published 9 Sep 2013.

2. Studio 360, Interview (Kurt Anderson interview with Teio Meedendorp 13 Sep 2013), A Van Gogh Is Born, Studio 360 (http://www.studio360.org/story/317123-a-van-gogh-is-born/ : accessed 16 Sep 2013), Air date 15 Sep 2013.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

If You Aren't Searching For Family On eBay You Should Be!

I kid you not. . . the first time I did a search for “Kalamazoo” on eBay I found a photo of my grandmother's sister (who was killed on Christmas by her ex-boyfriend). Talk about serendipity! Naturally, I bought it because I only had a newspaper clipping of this photo. Needless to say, after that beginning, I now make a habit of checking out the “collectables” for Kalamazoo.

I haven't scored anything like that since then, but only a few days ago I say another photo of one of “my” people. A photograph was listed with the name “Huntley.” Huh, I thought, I have some Huntleys in my tree. Fortunately, the back of the photograph listed the first name, Doris. It turns out that Doris Huntley is the granddaughter of my gg-grandmother's sister.

Here is the photo I found on eBay. On the back is written “Doris Huntley 18 months old.”

Doris, the only child of Harry Huntley and Lula Etta Rose was born in 1898, but after 1920 I lost track of her.

Armed with a new photo I decided to reexamine the photos in what my mother and I believe was my gg-grandmother's photo album (passed down to my grandmother). I came across the following photograph (unidentified, unfortunately).

The infant in the photo struck me as similar to Doris. If this is the same child then it would probably indicate that the adults in the photograph are Doris' parents. Like the labeled photo of Doris, this was also taken in Kalamazoo, albeit by a different photographer. The time period of the photo from my album was probably taken no earlier than the mid-1890s. The large sleeves on the woman's dress were very fashionable at the time and if I recall correctly, peaked about 1895. Harry and Lula married in December 1896 so if this is them the dress may date from their wedding.

Unless more labeled photos appear I'll never know if the photo from my album is an early photo of Doris with her parents, but that's my working hypothesis. In the meantime, I'll just keep checking eBay for Kalamazoo photographs and hope I get lucky again. This makes two wins in about three years so, considering the odds, I'd say that's pretty good. You might get lucky too.

To see what else you might be missing out on and to read about how I look for family items see Milking eBay For Family Artifacts.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

How Many Baths Given At School?

When I was in Kalamazoo a while back my mom and I made a trip to the Kalamazoo Public Library. After crossing some things off my list I took a few minutes to look around the stacks to see what caught my eye. I noticed the official proceedings of the Board of Education for the city and township of Kalamazoo. I was curious what sorts of things would be recorded so I began flipping through the book for 1926. A lot of what I saw consisted of financial expenditures, but I did come across two reports that I found quite interesting.

The annual reports of the school dental hygienist and the school nurse gave me pause.

Here are some items from the yearly report provided by Mildred McBride, dental hygienist.

Schools examined: 10
Number of children having teeth examined: 5390
Number of children having teeth cleaned: 1690
Reported use of a tooth brush: daily 2096, occasionally 2189, not used 1105
State of teeth: clean 1756, fair 2076, dirty 1487, foul 71
Number of teeth filled: 4483
Cavity in baby teeth: 9404
Number of baby teeth extracted: 7022
Cavity in adult teeth: 7314
Number of adult teeth extracted: 128
Number of children needing no dental work: 643

I found it interesting that some children actually had their teeth examined at school. I certainly don't remember that when I was in elementary school. It's possible that by the time I was in school there was better dental hygiene so schools no longer had need of dental services. Alternatively, the schools may have had to cut their budgets. I would guess it was the latter.

The Supervising Nurse, Anna Farthing (R.N.), submitted the following information in her yearly report.

Number of school inspections by school nurses: 30,233
Number of school visits: 1090
Home inspections: 160
Home visits: 1437
Number of cultures taken to lab: 19
Number of eye tests: 958
Number of hygiene classes: 137
Number of children excluded on account of contagion: 319
Number of cribside operations: 58
Number of toxin anti-toxin treatments: 173
Total number of bad tonsils removed: 331
Total number of baths given: 146
Number of inspections for contagious disease: 10,004
Number of heart cases taken to physicians: 2

That some children actually received baths at school also surprised me. It begs the question of how dirty a child had to be before a school bath was performed. While this book provided an interesting snapshot into the Kalamazoo schools in 1926, I'm curious to know how these statistics changed over time. The next time I visit the KPL I'd like to see how far back these records extend so I can compare the services over time.

Board of Education of the City and Township of Kalamazoo, Michigan. Special Meeting. Official Preceedings. 2 June 1926. (Publication information was not found within the volume) 24-25.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Is WDYTYA Good Or Bad For Genealogy?

There seems to be quite a bit of discussion about this topic. Like many genealogists I watched the Cindy Crawford episode recently and saw the lengthy scroll showing her connection to Charlemagne. The major complaint is that the show makes novices think that all they have to do is input a few names and voila, they can make their scroll. Obviously, anyone who has spent any time seriously looking into their family history can tell you that it simply isn't that easy.

So, is a show like Who Do You Think You Are (at least the American version) good for genealogy or bad?

Good: The show probably does get more people interested in learning about their ancestors, which I think we can all agree is a good thing. I'm sure it's all good as far as Ancestry.com is concerned. They probably have more subscribers now than before the show aired in the US.

Bad: I think we can also agree that WDYTYA makes genealogy look simpler than it actually is. It would be nice if they did a behind-the-scenes show or included some interviews with the researchers on the DVD to discuss how much work goes into a single episode.

Good: The show might make the average person more interested in history if they can find a personal connection to it.

Bad: These same people may have elevated expectations after seeing the program, not realizing that the producers presumably pick the most interesting lines uncovered by the researchers. These newbies may feel gypped when they discover that most of their people were (to use my brother's words) “poor dirt farmers.”

Bad: Possibly lulled into thinking all Ancestry-suggested records must be for their people, newbies may mistakenly add records for the wrong person to their tree.

Yes, having people who add relatives willy-nilly to their trees is a bad thing. That's why you should always use common sense (a woman who is 70 is not still having babies) and verify any information before adding it to your own tree. Trees are great to generate clues, but again, you need to verify. So, what do I do when I find a tree that I can see has faulty information (like a 70-year-old still producing offspring)? I ignore it, of course. That information isn't going to hurt my tree so I don't let it bother me. When contacted by someone who thinks we have an ancestor in common, but a 5 minute comparison of multiple census records shows my Emma Taylor and her Emma Taylor with different husbands and different children in different places do I get upset? No, I tell her what I found, say I don't think it's the same person and continue on my merry way.

So, is WHYTYA good or bad for genealogy? To be fair, I think it is both. It raises awareness, but may encourage people who are not ready for the work involved to expect their scroll to be handed to them. Overall, I think the show is a good thing. If it leads people to become more interested in their ancestors and their history then that's great. There are always going to be people who want their ancestry handed to them on a silver platter. We know they are not going to get that unless they can pay some professionals to do the hard work for them.

Maybe we just need a good weeder. In college, organic chemistry was a good medical school weeder. We laughed that it separated out the pre-med students who were destined to be psychology majors from the pre-meds who actually went on to medical school. Maybe a two-week free trial on Ancestry is a good weeder (or at least it starts the weeding process). Either the newbies will figure out that genealogy requires effort and thought and continue following their family history and try to do things the “right” way or they will decide that they were misled, that genealogy is hard or not worth the effort.

There will always be newbies who don't know what they are doing (I know I didn't when I started) and have high expectations of what they'll find. Some will figure it out and others won't. It reminds me of when I was doing my Ph.D. One of my advisers told me “if it were easy, then everyone would do it.” I think the same applies to genealogy.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Tagwhat App, Your Personal Kazoo Tour

I just noticed on the Kalamazoo Public Library (KPL) website a really exciting feature whether you have a smart phone or not (like me). Using a free app you can access historical information about Kalamazoo county sites, with an emphasis on the downtown Kalamazoo area. With 163 locations tagged in downtown and over one hundred spread over the rest of the county there is a whole lot of history at your fingertips.

Information is provided about buildings, schools, churches, cemeteries, neighborhoods, theaters and more. When you click on an item you will see a brief description of the location and if you “view tag” you can read more. Usually there is a link that will take you directly to the KPL website for that location where you can read the full article and find references.

So, if you've ever driven past a building and wondered about its history, this is the app (available for iPhone and Android devices) for you. And if you don't have a smart phone you can still take advantage of this neat resource via your computer. Just click to view the interactive map or to download the app for your phone.  If you hover over a green pin a box will often appear to indicate what is at that location. The numbered circles indicate several sites in close proximity to each other. 

Have fun, exploring!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Michigan County Research Guides

Seeking Michigan is in the process of preparing county research guides listing the original source records held by the Archives of Michigan. The record types include: Court Records, Land, Military, Naturalization, Occupational, Poor House Records, Prison, Probate, Tax Records, Voter Records and more, depending on the county. Within each category, you will find a list of the specific records as well as the year range and record group number. For some counties you'll find quite a list of resources and for others only a few.

Finding aids in the Archives include more detailed information about each type of record. The finding aids are organized by record group.

The counties for which guides are currently available are: Clinton, Eaton, Ingham, Ionia, Jackson, Livingston, Kent, Ottawa, Shiawassee, Washtenaw and Wayne.  You can find them here

Records for some counties are housed at the WMU Archives (and are noted on the list) so be sure to pay attention so you travel to the correct location to view your records of interest. Note: walk-in research at the WMU Archives has been suspended until they move into their new building in October. 

Seeking Michigan also has guides to help you learn more about some of these records and where they are available.  They have guides for Vital Records, Immigration and Naturalization Records and Military Records.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Where Is My Court Case?

I don't know much about legal cases. Prior to embarking on my genealogical adventure I thought of the courts as just one big entity: one court fits all, as it were. Thanks to my genealogical research I'm learning that is definitely not the case. Until a few years ago, the only court records I had used were chancery records to find divorce cases, see Husband Schmusband. I had also looked in the probate index a few times (most of my people didn't own enough to bother with a will). Then in 2012 I examined court records in two criminal cases (Murderer Gets Off Easy).

Looking through old newspapers I found a few lawsuits that I was unable to locate in the chancery index for Kalamazoo county. The cases were often mentioned in the court section of the paper so there was no doubt that lawsuits had been filed. But where were they? When I asked some of the staff at the WMU Archives everything became clear. I was looking in the wrong place. There was yet another flavor of court case. Of course I had heard of civil suits, but because they weren't on microfilm I didn't even consider that I should be seeking something that wasn't in plain sight (silly me). In my defense I can only say that I can only spend 2-3 hours a year at the Archives so when I can't find something I quickly make a note of it and dash on to the next item on my list while also coordinating my mom's look-up list.

So for those of you who are as legally naïve as I am, here are some of the different types of courts you may encounter (at least in Kalamazoo county) and generally what kinds of records you can find there.

Criminal Court: Speaks for itself.
Probate Court: Estate files, but also cases for admitting people to the asylum.
Chancery Court: This is primarily divorce cases, but also land disputes and business dissolutions.
Law Court: Civil actions in which people sue each other for other reasons.

You are more likely to find chancery records, and often probate records on microfilm because that is where the greatest demand is. Most people are interested to know why their great-grandparents divorced or who and what was mentioned in a will, but not who sued great-uncle Clyde for breach of contract.

The categories I mentioned above might seem to cover the bases pretty well from a layman's point of view, but when consulting a book on the topic of courthouse research I was confronted with a list of no less than twenty-two “common” types of court records that might be found depending on the time period and jurisdiction. [1] Even with the four types of court records I now know of in Kalamazoo county, looking for a particular record is more complicated than it might initially appear. I browsed through the binder at the WMU Archives containing information on the various county court records in their possession and their descriptions. I discovered Justices' court records, miscellaneous court records, miscellaneous circuit court records, court calendars, circuit court journals, special motion books, minute books, special and common orders for chancery, commissioner records and county court records, among other things. And there seemed to be boxes and boxes for kind of record. Based on this, I anticipate that finding my missing court cases will require some real effort.

Now that I finally know where I need to look it will be another long wait (over a year) before I can try to get my hands on the records. But, I've learned a little and that will only help me in the future when I'm sure I'll be looking for yet another obscure court case. These cases may not have juicy details like some of the divorce files I've read, but you never know what little clue will help to solve a minor mystery or flesh out a long-dead relative.

1. Christine Rose, Courthouse Research for Family Historians: Your Guide To Genealogical Treasures (San Jose, California: CR Publications, 2004) 112.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Why Don't Beginners Cite Right?

While I have been researching my family history for about a decade I have to confess that the sources in my tree are not what they should be (either incomplete or I haven't actually cited the source that I have). It is embarrassing to admit, but there it is.

I have been thinking about how I ended up in this bind and I have come up with a few reasons.

  1. When I began doing genealogy I was doing it for myself. I wasn't trying to prove anything to anyone.
  2. When I began doing genealogy I didn't have many different sources (primarily obituaries, family lore and copies of census records that I made from microfilm at NARA) so it was usually clear where my information came from.
  3. I didn't realize how important proper citing would be later on.
  4. It was easier to put census and city directory information in the “Notes” section of my genealogy program because there was unlimited space compared to the “Facts” section where only a snippet can be readily seen.
Now, of course, I know better and have decided that this year I will make amends. When I think about the task ahead of me it is completely overwhelming because there are a lot of people in my tree. I am dreading this very time-consuming chore, but it simply has to be done. What I need to do is to focus on my ancestral line (siblings and more distant relatives will have to wait) and pick a family to begin with. Then I can start re-examining sources and citing them correctly. The biggest barrier is trying to figure out exactly how to cite sources in my family tree software.

I have tried on numerous occasions to tackle this problem, but citing sources in Family Tree Maker is, in my opinion, most definitely NOT user-friendly. Each time I've started over the past few years I've invariably thrown my hands up and stormed off in frustration. Case in point: one time I tried to add sources for two divorce decrees I found. I filled out the fields for the source and added the details for the first decree. Then I did the same for the second record (same source, different case/page number). When I went back to the first record it had the details for the second record. I fixed it and went back to the second record. You guessed it, now it had details for the first record. Time to give up. Another time, I was trying to cite obituaries that I had found in online digitized newspapers. I tried to use a template hoping it would guide me in correctly filling out the numerous fields. I finished and immediately realized that I hadn't found a place to put in the website where I found the digitized newspapers. Wrong again! When attempting to cite vital record images accessed online (again using the provided template, though trying to choose the right template is another puzzle) I spent I don't know how long, trying to discover the repository where the original records are held, though I never viewed the originals. Time to throw up my hands or pull out my hair? I was too frustrated to decide.

All I know is that I must dig myself out before I get any deeper in the mire. I know that there will be some benefits, besides the obvious one of feeling a tremendous weight lifted from my shoulders because my sources will be properly cited. First, I'll become so familiar with citing sources in my software that it will no longer be a barrier (and I plan to make a cheat sheet so, lest I forget, I will know exactly what to do). Second, I'm sure that in the process of perusing my records I'll notice things I hadn't before. At least I know that finding most of the records should be simple because I have a good system for organizing both my paper records and those on my computer. The only ones that will take longer are those buried in military pension application files, but those can wait.

This nightmare ends now! I'm taking an online course starting today to help me through this process. I don't know how long it will take to accomplish my task (a long time, I know), but at least I'll be making progress and I'll know how to do it right.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Stop! Don't Toss It Yet

Scenario: You just received the collection of papers from great aunt Gertrude. How do you decide what to keep and what to get rid of?

Your first thought may be “Aaaack! I don't have room for more boxes. Maybe I should do a fast sort and dump.” However, I would advise against this. Here's the most important reason why: some of the things that seem unimportant or mundane now may later provide clues to tracing someone or understanding their life better.

A concrete example might be finding an obituary for someone whose name you don't recognize. Perhaps it was just a friend, but in a few years when you have done more research you might recognize it as someone who married into the family. A closer look may reveal a new married name for one of your people or a city of residence that you were unaware of. Either way, that little clue may be just what you need to track someone down, just like sometimes it only takes one additional letter in a crossword puzzle to allow you to fill in an entire corner.

I'm sure we've all come across notes we took when we were just starting our genealogical adventure. It is always rewarding to see that we've made progress over the years. We now have a history for the sister who had seemingly dropped off the face of the earth. We now have land records and newspaper articles to teach us about people we only had the barest vital records for before.

My mother and I keep encountering this phenomenon. When she comes to visit she brings a bag or envelope with family stuff enclosed. Some of the items I've gone through before, but each time something there has new meaning because I have learned more. In the most recent batch I went through notebooks my grandmother kept when she and my grandfather were building their house during WWII. They built on a lot where the previous house had burned. My mother told me my grandfather salvaged everything he could, nails, bricks, you name it. He measured every board he saved and then used that information to determine how much house he could build. My grandmother's notebooks list how much everything cost, down to the price for a box of nails. On the surface, it may not seem interesting, but when put in the context of the war and knowing this was my mother's childhood home, I'm glad we saved these notebooks.

I now try to put notes with each collection of items as I sort through them. The notes may be brief descriptions of the contents and notations of what I scanned. What I now realize needs to be added is the date I examined them. This way I will know how long it has been since I perused the documents and therefore, how likely it is that I will find something I didn't know was important way back when. As much as I want to decrease the clutter in my life, I don't want to be too hasty in my efforts and discard something I might regret later. My advice would be to keep it (for now) if you are in doubt. You can always change your mind later and toss it, but you will never be able to retrieve something that went to the landfill or the recycling center months or years ago.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Packing Up The WMU Archives

There are only a little over two months before the new home of the Western Michigan University Archives and Local History Collections is scheduled to open.  While work is progressing on the new building, the arduous task of moving all of the materials will begin soon.

I was fortunate enough to squeeze in one final trip to the old WMU gymnasium before it closes for good.  The site on East campus is now closed to walk-in research until the new facility opens.  Though the space appeared essentially the same when I was there, boxes were going in and out.  Some of them likely to replace deteriorating or non-standard size boxes previously in use. [1]  In addition to boxing and moving items to the new stacks, most of the books and boxes of records are being bar coded for the first time. [1]  This will be essential for locating materials in the new compact shelving.  No more will items be found by saying they are on the left side of the swimming pool.  With as many resources as the Archives possesses (about 28,000 cubic feet) the next two months or so will be very busy for the Archives staff as they organize everything under one roof. [1]

So long, East Hall.

1.  Friends of the University Libraries.  Friendly Notes.  Vol. 3, Issue 1 (Jan 2013). 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Actions Speak Louder

We all know the adage “actions speak louder than words.” I think this holds especially true in genealogy research when we often don't have any “words” to refer to. By words I mean personal words in the form of letters, journals and the like. Lacking this we have only the “actions” a person took in their life such as where they lived, their occupation(s), whether they accumulated land, etc. to guide us in our attempts to uncover elements of personality.

When I began writing about my gg-grandfather's brother, Lawrence Flynn (1844-1916) I had to find a way to understand what kind of person he was. By looking more closely at the “actions” in Lawrence's life I came to believe that he was a passionate, ambitious young man. Here are the actions in his early life that lead me to that conclusion.

In 1860, Lawrence was working on a neighbor's farm, though surely he would have been needed on his parents' farm, being the oldest one still at home. [1]

When only sixteen, Lawrence may have tried to enlist at the same time as his brother, Edward, shortly after the Civil War broke out. [2]

At seventeen Lawrence enlisted on 17 Oct 1861 in the First Michigan Lancers, a unit that was disbanded soon thereafter. When Lawrence enlisted it was only one day before his brother John joined a different unit. [3, 4] Lawrence enlisted at Saginaw, about 40 miles from his parents' home, again possibly indicating he was not living at home. [4]

When Lawrence enlisted again (in the 1st Michigan Mechanics and Engineers) in 1863 he stated his occupation as “carpenter” and his residence as Detroit (again not where his parents lived). [5]

After the war, Lawrence moved in with his brother, Michael, in Three Rivers to learn the carriage-making trade in his brother's successful shop. [6,7]

After only a few years Lawrence moved out from under Michael's wing to work in a buggy shop in Constantine. [8]

By 1877, Lawrence had moved to the carriage-making hub of Kalamazoo and had joined forces with prominent carriage-maker Nelson A. Newton. [9, 10, 11]

A few years later Lawrence started a business with a colleague, blacksmith Frank Whaling, though this endeavor was ultimately unsuccessful. [12, 13]

Re-printed with generous permission of the Kalamazoo Public Library! [14]

In 1894, Lawrence and Frank started a business for the second time, establishing City Carriage Co. Again, the business failed when the partners had a falling out that resulted in a lawsuit. [15, 16, 17]

Then I look at those things and ask myself “what kind of a person would do these things?"  To me, these actions suggested a few things. First, the fact that Lawrence left home at an early age indicated that he wanted to be on his own. He may have wanted to emulate his elder brothers and prove that he was ready to be a man, though it may also be a result of tension between Lawrence and his parents. I'll never know for certain. Similarly, when Lawrence enlisted or tried to enlist he may have been trying to be like his older brothers. Second, after only a few years working in Michael's carriage-making shop Lawrence moved on, first to Constantine and then to Kalamazoo. Perhaps he felt he had learned everything he could from Michael or he wanted to prove to himself or his family that he could be successful in his own right.

While Lawrence actually did start a carriage business twice, neither lasted more than a couple of years. Part of the reason for these failures was likely Lawrence's health. This was certainly the case for City Carriage. [17] Lawrence's back had been injured during the Civil War. [18] One of his lower vertebrae was pushed out of alignment and seems to have pressed on his spinal cord causing neuralgia in his legs such that the only time he reported he wasn't in pain was when he was lying prone. [18, 19]
Lawrence continued working in his chosen trade until a few years prior to his death. For at least a few of those years he worked at the Michigan Buggy Company and would have been there when they began getting their toes wet in the new automobile trade. After examining Lawrence's actions I came to believe that he was a passionate, ambitious young man who was not afraid to take a chance and strike out on his own. He also may have had a bit of a temper based on his testimony in a couple of lawsuits. [17, 20] By the time I finished writing my story about Lawrence (and as I wrote it became more about him and less about the carriage to car age) I believed he would have been excited by the burgeoning car industry. He may even have wished he had been born a little later so he could have had an active role in this new world.

This is just one more reason why we need to write down the stories of our relatives. If we look at all of our documents and read between the lines of a person's actions we can start to discover the hints of personality. Even if we have few (or even no) actual words from that person we can flesh them out at least to some extent. The process of writing forces me, at least, to really look at everything I have to tease out what makes that person tick to the best of my estimation. It's true that I can't prove the elements of personality that I attribute to him in my story. First of all, I can't. Second, that's not the object of my story. My goal is to create a narrative about his life that can help to explain the facts that I have. Who wants to read a recitation of whats and wheres? I have yet to find a family member beating down my door to read my notes in my family tree software. The whys are what makes everything else interesting. Naturally, I try to make reasonable guesses based on the evidence I have and clearly state that they are just that, guesses. But, it is often enough to give my family a story worth reading. One that makes them think about a person they never knew and want to know more. So, even if you never thought about writing about someone in your family because you never knew them and have no personal writings, take a look at their actions and if you listen carefully they may reveal some little hints of personality you can't find elsewhere.

  1. 1860 U.S. census, Washtenaw County, Michigan, population schedule, Webster, p. 62 (handwritten,), dwelling 469, family 469, Lawrence Flynn; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 27 Nov 2006), citing NARA microfilm publication M653, roll 548.
  2. Camp Fire Tales, Kalamazoo (Michigan) Gazette, 30 Jan 1916, page 7, column 2; digital image, Genealogy Bank (http://www.genealogybank.com: accessed 26 March 2011), Kalamazoo Gazette (1837-1922) Collection.
  3. Compiled Service Record, John Flynn, Pvt., Co H, 14th Michigan Inf.; Carded Records, Volunteer Organizations, Civil War; Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1780s-1917, Record Group 94; National Archives, Washington, D.C.
  4. Muster In Rolls, Lawrence Flynn, Pvt., Co E, 1st Michigan Lancers; Ovs 78 Folder 03 Doc 27 Regimental Service Records, Michigan Adjutant General, Record Group 59-14: Records of the Michigan Military Establishment; digital image, Seeking Michigan (http://www.seekingmichigan.org: accessed 29 Sep 2011), Archives of Michigan, Lansing, Michigan.
  5. Pension fact sheet signed by Lawrence, Lawrence H. Flynn (Cpl., Co. M, 1st MI Eng. and Mech., Civil War), application no. 279,062, certificate no. 382,696, Case Files of Approved Pension Applications. . ., 1861-1934; Civil War and Later Pension Files; Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C.
  6. Lawrence Flynn deposition for Edward Flynn (p. 21), Edward A. Flynn (Pvt. Co I, 2nd MI Inf., Civil War), application no. 83,138, certificate no. 63,675, Case Files of Approved Pension Applications. . ., 1861-1934; Civil War and Later Pension Files; Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C.
  7. Died.” The News Reporter (Three Rivers, Michigan), 25 Sep 1880, page 4, Microfilm Collection, Roll No. Western Michigan University Archives and Regional History Collections, Kalamazoo, Michigan.
  8. 1870 U.S. census, St. Joseph County, Michigan, population schedule, Constantine Post Office, p. 6 (handwritten), dwelling 46, family 48, Lawrence Flynn; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 27 Nov 2006), citing NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 700.
  9. “Wanted.” Kalamazoo (Michigan) Daily Telegraph, 13 Mar 1877, p. 4, col 6, digital images, Kalamazoo Public Library (http://www.kpl.gov: accessed 24 Feb 2012), Kalamazoo Telegraph Collection.
  10. The County Fair,” Kalamazoo (Michigan) Daily Telegraph, 26 Sep 1877, p. 4, cols 3-4, digital images, Kalamazoo Public Library (http://www.kpl.gov: accessed 24 Feb 2012), Kalamazoo Telegraph Collection.
  11. The Gazette directory of Kalamazoo County : containing complete village directories for all villages in the county, and a complete record of landholders by townships with number of acres, post office address and sections (Kalamazoo: Kalamazoo Gazette Book and Jobs Rooms, 1878) 53.
  12. Kalamazoo (Michigan) Daily Telegraph, 21 Oct 1879, p. 1, col 2, digital images, Kalamazoo Public Library (http://www.kpl.gov: accessed 25 Feb 2012), Kalamazoo Telegraph Collection.
  13. Jottings,” Kalamazoo (Michigan) Daily Telegraph, 23 Mar 1883, p. 3, col 2, digital images, Kalamazoo Public Library (http://www.kpl.gov: accessed 25 Feb 2012), Kalamazoo Telegraph Collection.
  14. Kalamazoo (Michigan) Daily Telegraph, 13 Aug 1880, p. 6, col 2, digital images, Kalamazoo Public Library (http://www.kpl.gov: accessed 25 Feb 2012), Kalamazoo Telegraph Collection.
  15. City Carriage Co. A New Institution Nearly Ready For Business,” Kalamazoo (Michigan) Gazette, 30 Sep 1894, (clipping, page no. not recorded – older/wiser now), digital images, Genealogy Bank (http://www.genealogybank.com: accessed 26 Mar 2011), Kalamazoo Gazette (1837-1922) Collection.
  16. Injunction Granted,” Kalamazoo (Michigan) Gazette, 13 Dec 1895, (clipping, page no. not recorded – older/wiser now), digital images, Genealogy Bank (http://www.genealogybank.com: accessed 26 Mar 2011), Kalamazoo Gazette (1837-1922) Collection.
  17. Kalamazoo County, Michigan, Chancery Court, docket 8, Case 120, Lawrence Flynn v. Frank Whaling, filed 12 Dec 1895, Microfilm Collection, Roll No., Western Michigan University Archives and Regional History Collections, Kalamazoo, Michigan.
  18.  Lawrence's statements, Lawrence H. Flynn (Cpl., Co. M, 1st MI Eng. and Mech., Civil War), application no. 279,062, certificate no. 382,696, Case Files of Approved Pension Applications. . ., 1861-1934; Civil War and Later Pension Files; Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C. 
  19. Doctor's statement, Lawrence H. Flynn (Cpl., Co. M, 1st MI Eng. and Mech., Civil War), application no. 279,062, certificate no. 382,696, Case Files of Approved Pension Applications. . ., 1861-1934; Civil War and Later Pension Files; Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C.
  20. Kalamazoo County, Michigan, Chancery Court, docket , Case , Lawrence Flynn v. Andrew Holmes, filed 1893, Microfilm Collection, Roll No., Western Michigan University Archives and Regional History Collections, Kalamazoo, Michigan.