Episode 296 - Genie Turns Extreme Genes Tip Into Family History Gold/ Lineage Societies- Picking The Right One For You, How To JoinSep 01, 2019
Host Scott Fisher opens the show with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. Both of the guys have had great family history experiences in recent days. Fisher’s involved finding a rare photo, and David’s had to do with a special house. Hear what happened. In Family Histoire News, the Federation of Genealogical Societies and the National Genealogical Society have made a joint announcement. You’ll want to hear this one. Then the guys talk about a great Civil War story that is being added on to in recent weeks. Catch how it started, and what has happened concerning it most recently. Then Fisher and David talk about the US Board of Geographical Names. It’s a federal bureau (very small) that gets to decide what places get their names changed and what to! Find out about one place that recently lost its name and why.
Then, Kimberly Nagy joins Fisher to talk about her passion… lineage societies. She belongs to roughly SIXTY different groups. She has tips for finding the organization that’s right for you and how to go about gaining membership.
Bonnie Wade Mucia, a South Carolina resident, then talks to Fisher about a tip she learned from Extreme Genes and how she turned it into family history gold on eBay! Find out what she found and how she found it.
David Lambert then returns for Ask Us Anything. David talks about identifying locations of ancestral homes, and how you might be able to tour them.
That’s all this week on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show!
Transcript of Episode 296
Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert
Segment 1 Episode 296
Fisher: And welcome to America’s Family History Show, Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth, on the program where we shake your family tree watch the and nuts fall out. Great show lined up today. Very excited to have a couple of incredible guests here. One is Kimberly Nagy, and she belongs to close to sixty lineage societies. Yeah, she’s in all these different groups. Obviously, the most prominent ones like DAR and the like, but then she is in Society of Witches…she’ll give you the whole list a little bit later on and give you some tips on how you can find a lineage society that fits you, and how you might be able to belong to it, how you go about the application process, so that’s really quite fun. And then later in the show, Bonnie Wade-Mucia is going to be here. She’s from South Carolina. And following a tip about how you can use eBay to find family material on Extreme Genes, she found an incredible piece of family history and she’s going to tell you about it, how she did it, how you can do the same, later in the show.And just a reminder by the way, if you have not yet signed up for our “Weekly Genie Newsletter.” Hey, isn’t it about time? It is free. We give you a blog each week. We give you links to past and present shows, and links to stories that we know you as a genealogist you’re going to find very interesting. So, get on that on our website ExtremeGenes.com or through our Facebook page. Right now, we turn our heads towards Boston or is it Washington D.C right now, for David Allen Lambert. He is the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society andAmericanAncestors.org. Hello David.
David: Well, yes I am. I’m in Washington with the Federation of Genealogical Societies, FGS 2019 Conference, which I’ll be lecturing in a couple of days.
Fisher: That is awesome! I’ve got to tell you a lot of things have been happening. We missed you last week, but I know you’ve been on the road.
David: I was actually on the water. [Laughs]
Fisher: You’re on the water? What were you doing on the water?
David: Gena Philibert-Ortega who does a lot of cruises, invited me to be a lecturer on a cruisethat went from Montreal to Boston, with points in Quebec, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Maine, and I gave four lectures and it was a great time.
Fisher: And I heard you had quite an experiencethough inone stop on this cruise.
David: It was actually in Sydney in Nova Scotia. It was where my great grandparents moved to in 1910, lived there until my great grandfather died in 1928, but I stopped by the house, Fish, that my great grandmother died in, in 1919. I just discovered it recently. It’s still standing. And I even knocked on the door and they let me walk around the house.
Fisher:How cool is that!
David: I knew that she died from a newspaper report between the kitchen and the living room. The original fireplace, the maple fireplace with the cast iron in the mirror is still there. In the kitchen, the adjoining room has a closed-in wall now. It’s an office now for a computer company, but in 1919 it was the Lambert home.
Fisher: That’s incredible. What a great experience. And then I had a nice find this past week. I was using the Theory of Family Relativity which is an incredible new tool from MyHeritage, and found a third cousin from Sweden. And wouldn’t you know that when they linked back to show us who our common ancestors were, and I’ve long known who they would have been, it showed that they had a photograph of my second great grandmother that nobody on this side of the pond had ever seen.
David: You’re kidding.
Fisher: Yeah, somebody in Sweden had it. They even had a picture of my great grandmother who came here in 1910 and pictures of four other siblings.
David: Oh wow.
Fisher:So, it was really an incredible find. It was pretty exciting.
David:I don’t know. I think the genealogical Emmy surprise is going to be a close one with my family bible and your Swedish photographs. That’s amazing.
Fisher:[Laughs] Isn’t that fun? So, let’s get on with our Family Histoire News today. Where do you want to start David?
David:Well, here at FGS this morning they made an announcement. In 2020 in Kansas City, Missouri that will be the last FGS conference. They are now merging with NGS and in 2021 there will be a conference in Richmond, Virginia, which will be under the National Genealogical Society and FGS will now merge into that company.
Fisher: Wow! So, it’s going to be known as NGS at that time, the National Genealogical Society. The FGS name is going away.
David: Pretty much that’s what it is. There’s still some things that are ironing out, but that’s the way it looks and that’s the buzz here in Washington.
David: And NGS has been around since 1903 so it’s only fractionally second to NEHGS where I work which we started in 1845, both around the block quite a bit. I’ll tell you I read a lot of my exciting news onExtremeGenes.com and I love that story about the returned sword. That is amazing.
David: And even though it happened a long time ago the new connection of the re-finding the descendant is amazing.
Fisher: Well, the story goes something like this and you can read it all on ExtremeGenes.combecause it is an amazing story. But during the Civil War there was a Union officer that was captured and of course that meant he had to present his sword to his captor. After the war the captor wanted to return the sword to the officer he took it from. Never was able to find him. Finally, like 35/40 years later a descendant was able to obtain the sword and was very excited about that. In the process he created a cane with a gold top to it with an engraving about what the situation was. Well, that cane was eventually lost and re-emerged in California just a short time back. And the person who wound up with this cane finding it in an attic or something like that tracked down the descendant of the person that the cane was intended for and returned it to him. And that person had a photograph of his ancestor with the cane back around 1902. It’s a Civil War story that just goes full circle over 150 years. It is crazy.
David: That is incredible. Well, a gentleman out in the West Coast got annoyed that there was a place called Confederate Corners because that wasn’t the name before a family of Confederate Veterans settled there. He contacted the US Board on Geographical Names and they changed it.
Fisher: Yeah, and this board is like only two or three people in the federal government and they get to decide when it’s appropriate to change a name of a location and what name they should give it. So yeah, that’s a kind of a powerful little board. That would be very nice. How about Lambert Corners or something like that or Mount Fishers, something like that?
David: I think that’s great. Well, I’ll tell you Lambert Corners, why not use it at an intersection near my library in Boston?
Fisher: Yeah, of course. They’re already naming things after you. What am I thinking?
Fisher: All right David, you’re coming back later. We’re going to do an “Ask Us Anything” about ancestral homes today and looking forward to that. So, we’ll check in with you in about a half an hour.
David: Sounds great.
Fisher: And coming up next we’re going to talk to Kimberly Nagy. She belongs to close to sixty lineage societies. She’ll give you some great tips on how you can find a lineage society that fits your needs and interest and the best ways to apply for them. That’s coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 2 Episode 296
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Kimberly Nagy
Fisher: Back at it on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth and it is time to talk lineage societies. And I figure you know, if we’re going to talk about how you get into them and what’s out there, you might as well talk to somebody who’s in something like 60 lineage societies. And I have that person on the line right now. She’s Kimberly Nagy and she loves helping other people get into these organizations. How are you, Kimberly?
Kimberly: I’m doing well, Fish. Thank you.
Fisher: What is this obsession you have with lineage societies, over 60 or somewhere around there?
Kimberly: Somewhere around there, yes. And I started joining in 1980 when I joined the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Fisher: Um hmm.
Kimberly: And it just sort of took off from there. I’d like to say that the DAR was my gateway drive into lineage societies.
Fisher: [Laughs] Now, do you actually attend meetings for all of these?
Kimberly: I do for many of them, yeah.
Kimberly: Many societies only meet once a year. In April we have something known as Lineage Week, when there are several national meetings in Washington D.C.
Kimberly:So, I do attend meetings there, but I also attend meetings at my local level, so my Daughters of the American Revolution local chapter, we have meetings almost every month that I go to.
Fisher: All right. Let’s talk about the organizations you’re in then. I mean, I just want to hear because some of these have got to be, oh, a little obscure?
Kimberly: Some of them are a little, yeah.
Kimberly: They’ll be less well known.
Fisher:Right. Okay. So, what are they?
Kimberly: Do you want the whole list?
Fisher: No, just some of the more interesting ones.
Kimberly: All right. There’s Colonial Dames of the 17th Century, The Society of the Descendants of Colonial Clergy, anyone who was a minister in the Colonial period.
Kimberly: My favorite, of course, is the Associated Daughters of Early American Witches.
Fisher: Yes, of course. Everybody’s got to belong to that.
Kimberly: We have people that have witch envy. They would love to have a witch in their family tree.
Fisher: [Laughs] Of course. Yeah. So, really there is a society for pretty much anybody who an ancestor.
Kimberly: There essentially is, yeah.
Fisher: That’s great. And so you like to help people do their own applications. You do your own. I guess the goal each time would be to get in on the first run, right?
Fisher: And some are easier than others. Of course, it depends on how far back you have to trace, and obviously what the standards are of the organization. For instance, I know there’s one, it’s called The Society of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick. And to be qualified for membership, all you have to do is be of Irish lineage, and of good moral character, and at least 18. So, it’s not really hard to join that I wouldn’t think.
Kimberly:No. There are a few that will take you at your word if you tell them that you had an ancestor that did whatever their qualifications are. They say, “Okay, fine. Pay us the money and you can join.”
Fisher: [Laughs] That’s it, yeah. But then there are the other ones. Obviously, Mayflower Society is very challenging.
Fisher: Although they give you the first five generations from the Mayflower on forward so you really only have to get back to the mid to early 1700s to make that work. SAR, DAR, very demanding. But you only have to go obviously to about 1750/1740, so that’s not too bad. What’s one of the most difficult societies to join would you say?
Kimberly: Well, there’s a group of societies known as Old World Societies. And these societies require documentation of lineage back to someone usually royal lineage such as descendants of Charlemagne, Baronial Order of Magna Carta, and obviously since those go so far back it’s harder to join them.
Fisher: Yeah. It could take a couple of years just to join it. [Laughs]
Kimberly: Yes, or more.
Kimberly: I’m still looking for my royal connection.
Fisher: So, do you have some society that you’re targeting right now and you’re thinking, “Oh, I want to be in that.”
Kimberly: Well, I would really like to join the Mayflower Society.
Kimberly: I have ancestors back to the 1620s in Plymouth Colony. But they, I think, stood on the shore as the Mayflower pulled away and they waved goodbye and said, “We’ll join you on the next boat.”
Fisher: [Laughs] Okay. That’s too bad. Okay, yeah. That would be a good one to join. So, what advice would you give to people as they’re considering why they might want to join a lineage society?
Kimberly: Well, I’d ask them to find a society that interests them. Either based on the type of ancestor that it honors, or the type of work that the society itself does. Some people join societies because they’re interested in the charitable mission of that particular society.
Fisher: Um hmm.
Kimberly: Obviously they need to have a qualifying ancestor. If someone were to come to me and all of their family came over in the early 1900s, well, it’s going to be hard for them to join something like the DAR.
Fisher:Yeah. Yeah, that might be a little challenging if all of them did.[Laughs]
Kimberly: Um hmm.
Fisher:But you know, typically like in my case I had a lot of immigrants, but I did have an early American line. So, I got like five that could get me a SAR and I’ve got four that were on the Mayflower, so that all worked out pretty well. And then of course you get people like you say based on their occupation, not necessarily where they were from or when they got here or how they got here, but their occupation, so that’s kind of interesting.
Kimberly:Yes. Yes we have several societies like that. There’s the Guild of Colonial Artisans and Tradesmen which honors ancestors who just were the basic working people. They were blacksmiths or they ran a sawmill or the neighborhood tailor. So, that’s kind of a fun organization to join.
Fisher:Well, it’s certainly fun as far as the ancestors go. What does the group actually do?
Kimberly:Their group actually offers scholarships for people learning some of the early trades as well as they will provide money to places like Colonial Williamsburg where they do a living history demonstration of those types of trades.
Fisher:You know, it’s funny you mention that. I have a connection to the Dubois family of Upstate, New York, and they do annual scholarships as well for young members who can prove their lineage back to the early Huguenot Dubois family. So, it’s really pretty common, isn’t it?
Fisher:So, when you’re giving advice to somebody as to which organization to get into, and they’ve decided on what they want to do, how do you help them then with the application?
Kimberly:Well, each society is a little bit different in terms of how you actually put the application together. But, almost all of them require documentation of the lineage. This is after all a lineage society.
Fisher:Right. Um hmm.
Kimberly:So, they will need to gather the same types of documents that you would do just for genealogical research. Birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, census records, probate records. The most important thing is to prove the linkage between generations.
Fisher: Right. And that’s where SAR and DAR are real sticklers. They’ve got to make sure that you’ve got the right person, that there’s enough documentation, otherwise it’s a no-go.
Kimberly:Um hmm. That’s absolutely right.
Fisher:And so what do you do when you run into that situation with somebody who’s kind of new to the game? It’s like, my gosh, I got everything before, and I got everything after but this one link just isn’t strong enough.
Kimberly: Well, that’s where it helps to have a lot of experience as a researcher. And most people are used to going on Ancestry and they pull up their tree, and they think that that’s all they need, where I may have to go in as the society’s registrar and look for the actual documentation and dig. It might involve going to a courthouse or writing a letter to an archive, or some type of good, basic genealogical research looking for that linkage.
Fisher: Hm. Now for those of you who don’t recall, a letter is a piece of paper, and you take something called a pen or a pencil and you actually write letters on it. And then you stick it in an envelope, and somebody takes it and delivers it to the person whose name is written on the envelope. It’s an amazing process.
Kimberly: Yes. Well, that’s how I started doing genealogy.
Fisher: That’s how you started the whole thing. And so what has been one of the most unique experiences you’ve had in helping somebody else figure out how to get into one of these societies?
Kimberly: Well, I recently helped a woman join the DAR, and her mother was adopted. So, we had to prove not only the basic genealogical information, but we had to figure out who the actual birth parents of her mother was.
Fisher: Um hmm.
Kimberly: And prove that in order to help her join.
Fisher: Wow. So you were doing genetic genealogy?
Kimberly: Well, she proved it with DNA, although the DAR doesn’t actually accept the DNA, but they did look at it as sort of collaborating evidence.
Fisher: So there was other evidence?
Fisher: Well, that’s good to know though. And I know a lot of organizations are starting to look at that. Seems to me, Mayflower Society is doing that.
Kimberly: I know they’re starting to look into it. Very few societies will actually accept DNA as their primary evidence now.
Fisher: Um hmm. Isn’t that interesting too when you think about it, because really, we are the record when it comes to DNA. So, why would we be considered any different than a piece of paper because a piece of paper can be wrong too, right?
Kimberly: Oh yes.
Fisher: You know, it may be the wrong daddy who may not know and yet you can get into the society but the DNA could tell you the real truth about it. So, that’s kind of an interesting way of viewing it in my mind. I think more should use DNA.
Kimberly: But you still can’t prove it definitively without the paper records as well.
Fisher: Right. Oh no. The power only comes from both, right? Having the DNA and the records so you can figure out okay, all these people match paper-wise, and their DNA match to me, and that’s how you kind of know.
Fisher: Well, this has been fascinating talking to you Kimberly. Kimberly Nagy, she belongs to some 60 lineage organizations and obviously has some great advice and ideas about why you might want to join one and how you can go about it, and I thank you for your time.
Kimberly: Oh, and thank you.
Fisher: And by the way, if you’re thinking about joining a lineage society, there is an entire list of hereditary and lineage organizations that you can find on Wikipedia. And as we talked about, there are so many of them, so they have them listed alphabetically. You can go through the entire group and see which ones you might be qualified for, which you might be interested in, what the requirements are to be included in the organization. They have that as well. And they link to the websites of most of these places so it’s a great way to go if you’re interested in a lineage society. Check it out. And coming up next, I’m going to talk to Bonnie Wade-Mucia. She is from South Carolina, and she followed a little advice on Extreme Genes about eBay and found genealogical gold. You’ll hear more coming up in five minutes.
Segment 3 Episode 296
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Bonnie Wade-Mucia
Fisher:All right, back at it on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth. For anybody who has been following the show for any time at all, you know what I feel about putting your search terms out on eBay and seeing what you can find. And recently, I got an email from Bonnie Wade- Mucia from near Hilton Head, South Carolina. She is a passionate genie. She is a Patron Club member. And she recently made a find on eBay using these techniques, and Bonnie, tell us what you did.
Bonnie: Well, thanks so much for having me on. This is very exciting. I can’t wait to share what I found with you. I had put in some search terms for one of my DAR patriots. My original patriot Nathanial Freeman, he was from Sandwich, Mass. He had a pretty illustrious career. One day something popped up and I looked at the auction and it was a letter from 1818 from Nathanial Freeman to Samuel E. Smith Esquire up in Maine. Of course I was wary at first.
Bonnie: I was thinking, oh, I don’t know what this is. He had a son named Nathanial. Is this the right person? But, my Nathanial was a lawyer and he was a physician. And sure enough, it was from his law firm down in Boston and everything looked great.
Bonnie: Even the pictures looked great.
Fisher: What’s his relationship to you?
Bonnie: He is my fifth great grandfather.
Fisher: Your fifth great grandfather. He served in the Revolution. He was a lawyer. He was a doctor. So, this is some 40 years after the Revolution or 35, somewhere in there. I can understand that state of disbelief because I’ve experienced it many times. It’s like, just a little leery. Could this really be what I’m thinking it might be? You have to research it a little, don’t you?
Bonnie: Yes, exactly. And I just wanted to make sure the locations were correct and the time period was correct. He died in 1827, so I wanted to make sure it wasn’t after or that it was the son.
Bonnie: So, everything seemed to have checked out and it was only $95. It was a buy it now. It was right around Christmas time and of course I clicked that button as fast as I could.
Fisher: [Laughs] Yeah.
Bonnie: Then, when I got it in, it opened up like the old letters do and it has the original wax seals on the back as well. I was just shocked how great in shape this letter was from 1818. It looked like Samuel E. Smith, the recipient of the letter, I did a little research on him and he was the 10th governor of Maine.
Fisher: Oh, wow.
Bonnie: So, we’re talking about two kinds of famous New Englanders which made it even more interesting to me.
Fisher: Absolutely. And you’re saying he was the first guy you went into DAR through?
Bonnie: Yep. He was my first Revolutionary War patriot. And interestingly is the Freeman name, it’s been in our family for about 100 years. My father’s middle name is Freeman. So, it was kind of nice to go in through him being Freeman. He was a physician. He was a lawyer and he was in Massachusetts in Sandwich. He was the head of the courthouse there, and then in 1774 he had led a bunch of people to the courthouse to protest how Britain selected their jury members. So, he had a large crowd of about a thousand people.
Bonnie: So, he was definitely getting the attention of the Tories and they did not like him.
Bonnie: So, one day he got a message that said that a patient needed him. He set out on foot past the Tories tavern and on his return he was beaten by six Tories and they dragged him into a pond. They stabbed him. They tried to kill him.
Fisher: Oh, wow.
Bonnie: Later, the six Tories that acknowledged that their intent was to kill doctor Freeman. But the Sons of Liberty found out who was responsible and they brought those men to justice. Later, he served on the Massachusetts Health of Representatives in 1775, then again in 1778 and 1780. And then, he became a congressman in 1795.
Bonnie: He was very vital in the founding of our country and things like that.
Bonnie: So, to go in on him was kind of special just because of what he did and who he was.
Fisher: How many years ago did you go in on him for DAR?
Bonnie: I’ve been in the DAR I think it’s been about 5 or 6 years now.
Fisher: Okay. Have you been to a DAR meeting since you obtained this, to show to your friends?
Bonnie: Yes. I brought it to some of the state conferences and since I’m on a number of state committees now and I showed it to some of the people there, and they were just like flabbergasted. They’re like, “Oh my gosh, why did you do that? How did you do that?” and I told them about eBay and the search terms and hoping that I could tell them, you need to do this as well. This is great. [Laughs]
Fisher: Right. And that’s the thing. I mean nobody is really competing with one another to find ancestral things. They’re almost specifically made for each of us, right?
Bonnie: Right, exactly.
Fisher: What a great find. So, you put in as your search terms just Nathanial Freeman or did you add something more to it?
Bonnie: No, I just put in Nathanial Freeman just to see what came up. And of course, I’ve gotten some other hits that weren’t anything pertaining to him. I may have put Massachusetts or something too. I’ll have to go back in and look.
Bonnie: But, when that came up, I scrolled through and of course when you scroll through all your alerts you get on different topics, you can kind of tell when something’s not relevant.
Bonnie: If you get one that’s relevant you really make sure you click on it and look.
Fisher: From the time you entered the search term on eBay, to the time you found this, how much time had passed?
Bonnie: It really wasn’t that long. I want to say within months. It definitely was within that year.
Fisher: Oh, wow! That’s fantastic. I have found things relating to the New York Veteran Fireman’s Association that my great grandfather belonged to. I found all four of my dad’s high school yearbooks. They weren’t obviously his originally. They belonged to a classmate but he had signed them all. I found a film of him playing in a big band in the 1930s, on eBay. After finding it and seeing it on YouTube, which was a crazy way to do it. I mean, there are just so many things you can find there. A signed document from a company, from my second great grand uncle who was a millionaire ship builder in New York City and he was a partner with commodore Vanderbilt.
Fisher: I mean, the list just goes on and on. You can put in as many terms as you want.
Fisher: I get alerts every day, literally everyday and very, very rarely is it something that pertains to what I’m looking for. But nonetheless, I know it only takes once, right?
Bonnie: Exactly. It only takes one goldmine to find and you could have thousands of alerts over the course of a year, but if you find something like this that is really irreplaceable.
Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs]
Bonnie: And it’s something so special. To know that my great grandfather held this letter and wrote this out in his own handwriting and he’s signature is on there. You can just imagine the pen he was writing with, the ink well and everything. To think that he was sitting at a desk writing this, it just kind of brings me back to what he was doing at that point.
Fisher: I bet your hair stands up sometimes when you hold that.
Bonnie: Yeah. It’s really amazing. And would he have ever thought that his fifth great granddaughter would be holding this letter, how many years later down the road.
Bonnie: Probably not.
Fisher: Yeah, over 200 years later. So, what are you going to do to display it, or where are you keeping it now to preserve it?
Bonnie: Well, I keep it in my office right now. I’m very cautious about how I want to display it. It’s kind of delicate and it’s a little bit fragile.
Bonnie: And I don’t want to expose it to any light or anything like that.
Bonnie: So, I keep it protected and preserved. I did take a picture of the actual letter and I wrote a blog about it. So, there are some photos of his signature. But, right now it’s just kind of sitting safely in my office, and I may eventually donate it to a historical society or I was even thinking of the National Society of DAR, just because they collect things like this and it would be preserved for others.
Fisher: Well, one thought for you and I’ve done this with a family bible I obtained 5 years ago, because like this it was very fragile and very delicate. You don’t want the ink to fade. So, I keep it in an acid free sleeve, in a book, away from any light, but I scanned it first. And then created photo copies of these pages of the family bible and then I framed those. So, anytime I want to look at it, I look at the framed copies. That way I get to enjoy it every day and keep it preserved at the same time for the family.
Bonnie: That’s a good idea. I probably could do that. I have transcribed it maybe I could put the letter in there, a picture of it and then put the little transcription on the bottom.
Fisher: She is Bonnie Wade-Mucia. She is from South Carolina. She is a Patron Club member. Thank you for your support Bonnie and thanks for sharing your story. I love it and I love the pictures too.
Bonnie: Thank you very much, Scott. I appreciate it.
Fisher: And on the way next in three minutes, David Allen Lambert for another Ask Us Anything segment, when we return.
Segment 4 Episode 296
Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert
Fisher: All right, it’s time once again for Ask Us Anything on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. By the way, if you want to ask us anything on any topic at any time, you can do that by emailing [email protected]. And we have the magnificent David Allen Lambert on the line with us once again.
Fisher: And this kind of fits in, David, because we did get this question from Tina in Savannah, Georgia. And she says, "How do you find where your ancestors lived?" And this fits perfectly, because you were telling us earlier in the show how you recently toured the home where one of your ancestors passed away in what, 1919?
David: Hundred years ago on Halloween, my great grandmother, Sabina Lambert died between the living room and the kitchen this house, 1 Douglas Street, in Sydney, Nova Scotia. I found out where they lived then from her death records, because there's no city directory from 1919. So their death record is the only indication in 1919 that they were living there.
David: So a death record can be a real good source or a marriage record occasionally will say where a person's living, a birth record will occasionally. But you know, maybe you have an old letter or postcard, the census when you hit the 20th century gives you addresses. How about yourself, what have you used?
Fisher: Yeah, actually I just did this, this past week. I'm helping somebody with genetic genealogy to figure out the birth parents of her adopted father, and as a result of that, we put the two branches together figured out who they were and then when we plugged in their addresses, because her father was born in 1920 right during a census year, the census gave the address for both people. I plugged it into Google street level and it showed that they lived 3/10th of a mile apart. Talk about confirmation, right?
David: That's amazing. I mean, the same thing with addresses. During the Civil War, my maternal grandmother's parents lived across the street from each other in Boston. Tell me that 13 year old didn't meet the 15 year old and fall in love and later marry, because that’s the only way they would have known each other.
David: But the story wasn't there. I deduced this from looking at where their addresses were at the same time.
Fisher: The addresses are really important and you touched on it briefly there, directories are so big and so many of them are online now. And you can just do a Google search for that. And places like Ancestry have directories as well. Your local libraries have these. But when you start putting things together, for instance, I always wondered how it was that my great grandfather in New York City wound up meeting his paramour. He fathered a child with her when he was 58 and she was 26.
Fisher: How did they meet? Well, I found out that her dad moved in two doors down from him just a few years before they had their affair. And it’s like, oh, okay, there they go, that’s how they met right there. So these addresses can be real story tellers for you as well.
David: Well, that's like my dad's parents. I never knew where my grandfather was in St. Martins, New Brunswick, because he's not in any directory till after he gets married. He rented a room in my great grandparents' house and fell in love with my grandmother. Addresses can lead you to great adventures. And I don't care if you're standing in the middle of a Walmart parking lot, because that was your family's farm, there’s still that slight connect. But to walk through a house of your ancestor is even better.
Fisher: Yeah, I can imagine. And you actually stood where your ancestor passed away, because you had that description from the obituary.
David: Right. And in this house in Sydney, Nova Scotia, the original fireplace and the stairway, the stained glass windows, a lot of the original interior and exterior from 100 years ago is the same. So it was surreal, because it wasn't just an old house, it was my family's home.
Fisher: Yeah, and the fact that you figured out the address just before you took this cruise and wound up going to that very location is astonishing.
David: I thought that I had already looked at all the houses, because all the rest of them and gone, Fish. In fact, the last house that we had, they tore it down to build a YMCA, and I was in that briefly, because it was a furniture store even when we had it. This one was a residence not a business. And it just felt strangely and oddly familiar.
Fisher: All right, we have an interesting question from England, coming up next on the same type of topic about approaching people about touring your ancestral home, when we return in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.
Segment 5 Episode 296
Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert
Fisher: All right, our final segment this week of Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth, and we're doing Ask Us Anything. And we have an email from George in Southampton, England. And George is asking, "How do you approach people about touring an ancestral home?" That's a great question, and you just did this, this past week, David.
David: [Laughs] Yeah, that is funny.
Fisher: But you know, it’s funny he says this, because you know, that is kind of a nerve wracking thing to go up to somebody's door and just knock and see if you can take a tour.
David: Well yeah, when I went to New England a couple of years ago, I knew our family farm from the 1840s to the '70s and it was the palace cope in the early 1600s, gorgeous. I had been in touch with the owner. He had sent me pictures of the inside. I go all the way over to England and I'm thinking, ah, he's going to be living there, I'll just go on over. Knocked on the door, there was a young lady and her children living there. He was renting it to her and he was in Australia.
Fisher: Ohh, so you couldn't go!
David: Guess what I didn't get to do.
David: I was waiting to go in and photograph every square inch of the place.
Fisher: Well, and you know, an answer to George's question here, you know, there are ways you can do this. And I think about it a lot, because I must admit, I'm a little nervous about knocking on a door, especially for my childhood home, because I would hate to be rejected, you know, or have somebody go, "Who are you?! Stay away!" And it’s like, "Wait a minute! My whole childhood is here!" You don't want people to think that you're there to scope out the house or whatever, so you might want to bring an identification card with you and photographs of the old home with you in it, so that they know that you are who you say you are. I don't think many people would be really anxious to tour somebody through if they didn't really know what your connection was.
David: So, I had a similar thing when my mother was dying of cancer, I was photographing all the places she lived. And by the house she lived in World War II, I'm on the porch about to ring the doorbell and this door swings open and this big guy comes up and says, "What are you doing on my property? I'm really mad!" And I'm like, "My mother lived here. Here's a picture of her shoveling snow here in 1942." He goes, "Oh, nice to meet you. Would you like to come in?" [Laughs]
Fisher: Yeah! It makes a huge difference. And so, if you bring a book of pictures, just a few, and keep in mind, some of these people might be interested in having some photographs of their home and what it looked like back in the day, that you could kind of.
David: Make a copy.
Fisher: Yeah, create this little relationship with them by giving them this little gift, and hopefully they'll give you the gift of going through and blowing your mind with all the memories in the different rooms of places you've been in or maybe where your ancestors lived.
David: Or died.
Fisher: Or died.
David: Yeah, it’s amazing, but I now have that connect. I'll be writing to that person. I got his email, the person who runs a small business in there. And I told him, I'd tell him the whole story. And I said, "If you sense a ghost while you're in the kitchen, just say, "Sabina, your great grandson says hello." [Laughs]
Fisher: [Laughs] Well, earlier this month, my wife and I went back to a town she lived in back in the '60s, Thomasville, Georgia.
David: Oh wow!
Fisher: And we went and knocked on the door of the home she lived in when she was in second and third grade, and the woman came to the door, spoke to us through the door. Its only 6 O’clock at night and it turns out to be the very woman who bought the house from the family in 1967, which was unbelievable.
David: Oh, get out!
Fisher: She was ready for bed at 6pm, so we didn't get the tour. She later came out though as we were looking around the backyard and all that and apologized and took us around and told us some of the history. But it was really quite remarkable to think, the same person who bought that place over 50 years ago is still there.
David: Now, is your wife's swing set still in the backyard when you came.
Fisher: [Laughs] No, no, no. Hope that answers the question, George, because I know it can be a little concerning to knock on a stranger's door, but there you go. That's our Ask Us Anything segment for this week. Thanks so much, David. Talk to you again next time around.
David: My pleasure.
Fisher: And if you have a question for us for Ask Us Anything on any topic having to do with family history research, email us at [email protected]. Well, that's our show for this week. We appreciate you joining us. Don't forget to sign up for our Weekly Genie Newsletter. You can also become a Patron Club member through Patreon.com/ExtremeGenesor through the link at our Facebook page. You can support the show, get bonus podcasts, all kinds of great links and benefits for being a Patron Club member. Talk to you again next week. Thanks for joining us. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family!