Episode 358 - Enslaved.org To Bring Together Multiple Databases / The 1890 Census Tragedy- What Happened?

podcast episode Jan 17, 2021

Host Scott Fisher opens the show with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. The guys begin with a salute to the late Brian Sykes, a noted DNA research pioneer who passed last month. Then, the discovery of King Richard III under a parking lot in England eight years ago has now led to a DNA test that is causing some to question the legitimacy of the current Royals! Speaking of DNA, Fisher and David next speak of the claim from the science community that sleepwalking may be an ancient response gone wrong that essentially kept people awake with “one eye open” for their own safety. We have a couple of items in our “Lost and Found” department this week. First, it’s a metal detectorist in England who found a World War I medal in his back yard. He eventually returned it to the original recipient’s grandson. Then, it was the find of a teen’s “secret diaries” in an old house in Toronto that were also returned. Finally, aside from genealogy, there’s been another area experiencing a boon in the past year. Find out what it is.

Then, Fisher visits with Daryle Williams, co-principal investigator with Enslaved.org, a new website that is bringing together multiple databases on enslaved and enslavers from all over the world and all periods of time. Daryle shares a fascinating story about one enslaved man in Brazil and how the database revealed it.

Next, Rachel Derenthal from Legacy Tree Genealogists talks about the tragic fire that claimed the 1890 Census and the politics that followed. Rachel explains alternative methods to gathering information from that time period.

Dr. Henry Louis Gates visits with Fisher again to talk about the latest episode in a new season of Finding Your Roots on PBS.

Finally, David returns for an interesting question from a listener about a relative who was an early player for the NFL.

That’s all this week on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show!

Transcript for Episode 358

Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert

Segment 1 Episode 358

Fisher: Hey, Happy New Year genies! It is great to be back and welcome to Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth on the program where we shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall out. Well, we’re going to start out the year with some great guests today because we’re going to find out about Enslaved.org. It’s a brand new website and I’m going to talk to Daryle Williams. He’s one of the key people there. And they’re actually funnelling all these incredible databases about enslaved people and enslavers. And this covers the entire world, by the way. And this is something that you may be able to contribute to in the future so that people can discover stories about these individuals. Plus, later in the show I’m going to talk to Rachel Derenthal. She’s a project manager with Legacy Tree Genealogists. She’s going to be talking about the 1890 census records. As most of us know, it didn’t go well in that fire in 1921. So, how do you make up for that? How do you cover that gap in time? She’ll tell us all about it. Hey, if you haven’t signed up for our Weekly Genie Newsletter yet, hey, it’s a new year, get on it. It’s free. Just go to ExtremeGenes.com you can find the link there or through our Facebook page. You’ll get a blog from me each week plus links to past and present shows, and links to stories you’ll be fascinated by as a genealogist. Right now, for the first time in 2021 we head out to Boston, Massachusetts for David Allen Lambert, the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. Hello, David.

David: Happy New Year! How you’re doing?

Fisher: I am doing great. Did you make any great discoveries over the holidays?

David: Just a lot more genealogy re-dos. Kind of looking at stuff I did years ago and just getting a lot of stuff for the basket. I guess that makes me a basket case. [Laughs]

Fisher: I guess that makes you a basket case. [Laughs] You always have been. Well David, let’s get on with our Family Histoire News because we’ve got a lot of ground to cover in this first show of 2021.

David: We do. And unfortunately, the first thing I want to mention is the passing of human geneticist Bryan Sykes of Oxford Ancestors. Bryan was the author of “The Seven Daughters of Eve.” He was one of the pioneering geneticists that brought us ways of finding our own DNA through our Oxford Ancestors. So, Bryan passed. He was a good friend and colleague to many. I’m so sorry to hear that news. Staying with England news, you know Richard the III. I think you were talking about it on Extreme Genes for four hours, even associated with it.

Fisher: Oh, yeah. Richard the III is the gift that keeps on giving. I mean, there are more stories surrounding him ever since he was found underneath a parking lot in England. I mean, it’s just amazing.

David: And I think the royal family probably wishes he had not been found underneath a parking lot because our latest story you’ll find on ExtremeGenes.com is going to be the story about how the royal bloodline may not be legitimate. As DNA has now proven that even from the Tudor family in the time of Henry the VII, down to the royal family there was a non paternity event. Oh, big surprise.

Fisher: Oh, really? What a shocker. You mean royal family members? Stop it!

David: Oh, no, no, that actually brings me to a side note that one of the things I was working on during the break is my application to the descendents of the illegitimate sons and daughters of the kings of Britain, or better known as the Royal Bastards.

Fisher: Yes. No, that’s right. That’s what they’re called. That’s the name of the organization.

David: Yeah. There’s only been 400 members in the 70+ years now that the organization has existed. And I have a line from King Henry the II’s known illegitimate son, William Longespée who was the Earl of Salisbury, kind of fun. Nothing else to do, you know. [Laughs]

Fisher: Yeah, fill your days. Fill your days, David.

David: Exactly. And then I suppose with genealogy, it keeps us up at night, but you may have a family member or maybe yourself has had a sleep walking incident. It actually may have something to do with our early ancestors as sort of a defence mechanism to survive during the times when we are not living at homes with alarms.

Fisher: That's interesting. I wonder if a DNA test where you cover all those tendencies would reveal if you have the gene for sleep walking. My wife does it. I've got a daughter who does it, that's fascinating.

David: You know, I love metal detector storage, because our lost and found is always full of somebody finding something. Mark Williams discovered the 1914 British Empire star medal that was given to many brave soldiers during World War I. The nice thing about this medal Fish, is, it has a name on the back.

Fisher: Ah!

David: So with the help of a genealogist, he found that this medal originally belonged to William George Waters who was born back in 1879. He was a World War I veteran and joined up in the service in 1899. So this medal is now given back to the grandson.

Fisher: Oh, that's awesome! What a great gift!

David: Sometimes, you don’t have to use a metal detector. A person modifying a house in Toronto, Canada found two diaries of a young ten year old girl in Toronto, Canada. Her name was Alison Jenkins, and she never guessed that 37 years later, someone would find her secret diaries still intact. Apparently, they did not open it, because the young girl wrote on it, "This book is Alison's. Do not read! Private!"

Fisher: Yeah, it’s her secret diary right there and they went crazy on Facebook to find her, and they did locate her and she was pretty excited to find it. That's got to be a weird thing. I did not keep a journal back when I was a child, but it would be really fun to go back and read some of that stuff, wouldn't it?

David: It definitely would. I had a pen pal back in Toronto in 1983 and I thought for a minute as I'm reading this story, "Is that...? Nope."

Fisher: [Laughs]

David: My pen pal was 14 when I was 14.

Fisher: Ah!

David: So I was like, "Oh good, the secrets of Dave Lambert as a teenager will not be revealed!"

Fisher: [Laughs]

David: [Laughs] It belongs to history. Well, you know, one of the things I find very puzzling during the pandemic is the infatuation people now have with puzzles!

Fisher: Yeah.

David: Amazing!

Fisher: Apparently this is something that actually happened back during the Depression and back during the pandemic a century ago, there's just this boom in people doing jigsaw puzzles.

David: Yeah!

Fisher: And of course, I think maybe there's a connection between the incredible increase in interest in family history and puzzles, because it’s really the same thing, right, taking clues and putting them together and making a picture, right?

David: Exactly. Well, that's all I have for you from Beantown this week, but don't forget, if you haven't visited AmericanAncestors.org and been more of a guest member, you can use the coupon code "Extreme" and save $20 on membership and become a full member and use over 1.25 billion searchable records on AmericanAncestors.org. Talk to you real soon on the back end of the show.

Fisher: Exactly, for Ask Us Anything. And coming up next, we're going to talk to Daryle Williams. He's one of the key people at Enslaved.org, a brand new website that's revealing all kinds of information about millions of lost people. That's when we return in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.

Segment 2 Episode 358

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Daryle Williams

Fisher: Well, Happy New Year genies and welcome back to Extreme Genes. I’m really excited to have as my first guest of the New Year Daryle Williams out of Washington D.C. He is the Co-Principle Investigator out of the University of Maryland for a brand new website called Enslaved.org and this is a site that is going to be second to none when it comes to gathering all the information about enslaved people of the Americas, and the enslavers as well. Something we can all participate in as time goes on, and Daryle, welcome to Extreme Genes. It’s great to have you.

Daryle: Thanks so much Scott. Happy New Year to you!

Fisher: So, when did this get started, who’s involved in it, and how’s it coming so far?

Daryle: Well, we launched our website, Enslaved.org back on December 1st, but that was a combination of several years of work and a matrix, which is a digitally managed center in Michigan State and we have a great technical team there. As well as a series of partner of research projects in the United States and in the world who have been working towards trying to build together individual databases and datasets about enslaved people, the lives of the enslaved people but also with a goal to link them to be able to see across multiple datasets and be able to discover individuals. And so, that work and conversations have been going on for several years now. We do have the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and that work has been supported by Mellon Foundation for about three years or so, and that has really been able to catalogues the title works that we brought together on public launch on December 1st

Fisher: Well, I’m looking at the numbers here. It’s fantastic already. You’re up to almost 400,000 people. And from our conversation before we started taping here, I mean you’re really moving a lot faster than that. You’re going to hit a half million here before long. And then you got events, 212,000, I mean this is almost like a very mature site right from the launch.

Daryle: That’s the goal, to be able to provide people with some real content, but also to imagine what the possibilities are and to do some discovery. But also, to imagine what could happen if we are able to use this technology called Linked Open Data, along with more content, other types of content which comes from academic researchers, the type of content which comes from family historians, genealogists, and people in museums and libraries who are interested in contributing to this project. And contributing can be submitting a dataset and putting that though a POE process for those people who are in the academic side, but then it can also be specially from the community, shall we say people who are not in higher education to make the work that they have done more accessible and available through what we’re calling community submissions.

Fisher: And I would imagine that this all has come together because you had these partnerships in place before you even started. Because you couldn’t possibly have this kind of content since December 1st.

Daryle: Sure. That’s actually true. So, each project Voyages, which is probably the most well known because they trade databases which has been in some versions since the 1970s, to some fresher projects state societies digital archives which is at Vanderbilt among others. But you know, each of these different projects have been developing the work that they have been doing on their own, but one of the challenges have been that they haven’t been in coloration even though there have been some shared interest. So, we’ve been trying to pull those together and having a set of conversations over the last several years about how to make this possible, and then of course, building the technology that try to make it possible.

Fisher: So, this is basically a big funnel, bringing everybody kind of together to put it all in one place so we’re able to sort it and maybe determine some stories, yes?

Daryle: Yes. I mean, that is one of the things that we’re really interested in. So, we know that some users will be academics. You’re interested in the experience of enslaved women in South Carolina in the 1780s. So, you would go and be able to browse by region; South Carolina, by time period; 1780s, by gender. And so that’s one way. We also know people who are interested in whether they are doing this for academic work or family history work, genealogical work, looking for individuals. And so, they go and type in a name, Maria, Wanda, Alexandria, maybe in South Carolina, and they’re looking for a specific person and see what’s there. But we are hoping that this will be a place where stories of enslaved person’s lives will be fuller, more fully visible as the various pieces of those lives which maybe have been fractured through the historical process and the archives have been put back together, at least put together, but also sometimes o find one source or multiple sources, really some great interesting stories. So, I can give you an example, something from my own research, this is our 19th century Brazilian slave society. There’s a register which is developed by the British Consul in Rio in 1849 to 1851, his name is Robert Hesketh. And the very first entry in this register is that he is approached by and an African male whose unnamed, whose complaining about his poor treatment. And one of the things that the consul registers is that this male, who he doesn’t name, has a wooden leg based on an injury. So, here we have this person, they have the conversation there. Well, in this registry that I have been putting into a dataset, firstly, we have this unusual person who has a wooden leg from a work injury and is complaining about his bad working conditions. But then I came across a runaway ad about a year and a half later chronologically, which talks about this person named José as named, and he worked in the shipyards and he had a wooden leg. I said, wait a second, [Laughs] this seems possibly to be the same person. And of course, with the other kinds of research I had places I was able to piece together a pretty interesting story of someone who arrives in Brazil in 1835 on a slave ship. He’s put to this forced apprenticeship which includes working at the dock yards. He suffers an injury and he has a peg leg. He gets a wooden leg. So, he’s working, but at some point in 1849 he decides that he needs to tell his story to the British Consul. But then of course we have a year and a half later with this story where he runs away, and this kind of curious story of like how does this person running away, you know, somewhat one would imagine to be incognito, but yet he has a wooden leg.               

Fisher: Right, right.

Daryle: Probably kind of a noticeable sort of very strong visual.

Fisher: Sure.   

Daryle: And then, about 10-12 years later, there’s another document which certainly suggests he returned or was returned back to his house where he has this forced apprenticeship. But also, he’s partitioning for greater autonomy. So, here we have this life experience of a boy, an illegally enslaved boy, who arrives in Brazil in 1834 all the way up to 1862. Multiple documents written at different times for different purposes, but this person is the constant there. And we began, even if we don’t have him telling his narrative, of his life as an illegal enslaved what is called a Free African in Brazil, we have these pieces which we can see portions of his life including the original register that I mentioned in which he speaks to the British Consul, which is some version of his voice. He didn’t write that down, but someone spoke to him and wrote down what that conversation was about.   

Fisher: Right.

Daryle: So, that’s a way to think about someone who would otherwise be anonymous, or erased, or you know, unnamed, not just has a name but has a story that we can understand for his own experience.

Fisher: That’s a chapter in a book right there.

Daryle: But also why did he run away, why did he go back, etc.

Fisher: Right, right. Yeah, there’s so much to be found there. So, you’re not only covering North America as far as enslaved people go, but also South America where there were more actually than North America, correct?

Daryle: Oh, sure. Numerically, yeah, just because its South. You know, it’s about 20% or so that transatlantic. So, yes, this is global. I don’t know if that’s ironic or not, but actually what we started out with has a really strong representation outside of the United States so some of the datasets which are coming in just now have a much stronger reflection of Louisiana, and South Carolina, and Georgia, etc. and we’ll be moving into some really interesting datasets that will be coming in for the mid-Atlantic in the next year or so. 

Fisher: Wow, and what about New England?

Daryle: We’ve had the interest and the conversations and the engagement has been really rewarding. And we’ve had some initial interest and inquiries from people who have been working with people who were enslaved in the North or what becomes the Unites States, or slaving interests, slave traders and things like this.  

Fisher: Um hmm. 

Daryle: So, we haven’t got to the point yet where we’re actively looking at any specific dataset yet, though there certainly were people from the North who would be in the slave trade, say, voyagers. Especially captains and things like that. And so I think that this is a next phase for the type of work that we’re trying to pull together and activate.

Fisher: That’s awesome. Well, it sounds really all encompassing. So, if you’re a genealogist and you wanted to contribute to Enslaved.org what would they do?

Daryle: Genealogists first show up, lands on our page and start browsing around and see what you find, and give us some feedback. But I think we do have as I mentioned, a journal called The Journal Of Slavery And Data Preservation, which has two kind of main portals into this world we call a hub, the main site. The journal kind of has two different functions. One is for academics and scholars and researchers, and so people submit datasets that they developed in their own research, wherever that is, whatever that looks like, and that will be sent out for peer review and then the data, I’m with public data article be published. That is fantastic for really rigorous research driven data work. We do know that there are many people, family historians and genealogists, who are doing this kind of work but they’re not exactly in that peer review, academic space. And so, we have something called a community submission, and so this would still go through some editorial reviews to make sure that we would be working with information which would be suitable for publication and was ethically identified and sourced and things like this, and that it was in a form of a dataset. We work with datasets. We don’t work with original sources directly. And that would be another way that someone could submit work that they’ve done at a family history center or they’ve done at a local genealogical center, or they’ve done it at the county archive clerks, or maybe they have information from their own family. And if we can’t publish it, hopefully we’re going to be in a position to direct people to the right places where there’s going to be some local family history genealogical place, or of course if there’s some major online resources at Family Search, Ancestry, and others that also do this kind of work. 

Fisher: He’s Daryle Williams. He is the Co-Principle Investigator with Enslaved.org under the University of Maryland. Daryle, it’s been fascinating talking to you. It sounds like an incredible project and I’m really looking forward to seeing what this looks like just a little down the line here because it’s a very mature site even at this point.

Daryle: Yeah Scott. I do appreciate the enthusiasm and the support and I invite you and your listeners to participate, collaborate, challenge us, push us forward, and join us in this endeavor.

Fisher: Thanks so much Daryle for coming on.

Daryle: Thank you.

Fisher: And coming up next, we’ve all heard about the 1890 census debacle. What exactly happened there and what are the alternatives to an 1890 census? I’ll talk to Rachel Derenthal from Legacy Tree Genealogists coming up next in five minutes on Extreme Genes.

Segment 3 Episode 358

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Rachel Derenthal

Fisher: Well, it’s a new year and we still have old problems to deal with. Hey, it’s Fisher. It’s Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. And today we’re going to talk about the 1890 census. Boy, we’re 131 years out from that this year. And Rachel Derenthal is on the line with me. She’s a project manager with our friends over at Legacy Tree Genealogists. She’s located in Southern New Jersey. Rachel, you did a great article on the 1890 census and I think it would be interesting to share with everybody exactly how we lost it in the first place because it’s been 100 years this year.

Rachel: Yes, that is a great question. And I think, for a lot of people in the genealogy field if you’ve heard about the 1890 census it kind of gets overlooked the real saga that it went through before it was mostly destroyed. People know there was a fire in 1921 in the Commerce Building in Washing D.C. It started in the basement and the 1890 census happened to be outside of the fireproof vault in the basement. So, it basically took the majority of the hit from the fire. The records in the fireproof vault were also damaged by water but for the most part the 1890 census was damaged by the fire. So, there were varying reports initially about, oh, it was completely destroyed and then as it was assessed further you start to see different reports from the National Genealogical Society and also from some of the people that worked for the census bureau. And it becomes clear as you’re reading about this that there was still a significant amount of 1890 population schedules that were salvageable. There’s not really a lot of information available about what happens from 1921 to about 1932 or so.

Fisher: Weren’t there demands by some people to have the whole thing destroyed as a result of this? What was the reasoning behind that?

Rachel: I don’t want to speak for them, per-say. Because I’m not 100% sure what the reasoning was but the census bureau put forward a proposal to destroy those records. It was the understanding of the National Genealogical Society and of other prominent attorneys in the area. And so, how forceful that proposal was from the census bureau or whether it was seriously being considered, I’m unsure.

Fisher: Um hmm.

Rachel: And I still haven’t found records that say, how serious was this? But it was enough of a rumor or a legitimate concern for there to be an outcry from the Genealogical Society.

Fisher: Yeah. And as a result of that it did not happen that they destroyed what was left but we didn’t wind up with a whole lot left, did we?

Rachel: Right. But, that’s up for debate. When you read different articles that have been put out by people about this and the reports, there could have been upwards of 41,000 schedules still available.

Fisher: Really?

Rachel: That’s all we have today.

Fisher: No.

Rachel: So, the article that was written by Robert L. Dorman, The Creation and Destruction of the 1890 federal census was written for the Society of American Archivists. And in that he kind of talks about how this is really an archivist’s nightmare. This is like, we have these schedules and not a lot but a good amount is salvageable. They’re waiting for insurance to come back to assess the damage, so the records get moved to a warehouse. And according to Robert L. Dorman they’re moved to a brewery and I haven’t been able to confirm which is correct or maybe they’re one and the same, but they sit there and then the head of the census bureau has them transferred back to the census bureau and that’s kind of the last we hear about what happened with the remaining 1890 census schedules, Which then kind of explains why in 1942 the National Archives acquires a portion of these records.

Fisher: Huh!

Rachel: They acquire 1890 census schedules when they thought that they were destroyed and they get them when the census bureau is moving. And they’re like, here you go. We found these 1890 population schedules. And then it happens again in 1953.

Fisher: Huh!

Rachel: So, it’s interesting, we have a note that says the 1890 census population schedules by order of the department of Congress in 19934. So, these must have gotten separated or are there are other schedules somewhere? I mean, I doubt it, it’s been such a long time.

Fisher: Wow.

Rachel: But, maybe something happened and there was a clear mismanagement right, of these records.

Fisher: Yeah, chain of custody, that type of thing.

Rachel: Right. And that’s kind of what Robert L. Dorman talks about more in depth from an archivist’s point of view. How this kind of spurred a movement for the National Archives and for better record keeping on a national level.

Fisher: And to protect those, yeah. So Rachel, what does that leave us with now? What do we have now in terms of I guess pages, how many schedules, how many names do we have that remain from these original records, do you know?

Rachel: In exact number, I do not. But, I can tell you on Family Search’s Wikipedia there’s a list of the available schedules and it will tell you by what county and area in the county those schedules are available and for which state. So, the exact number I don’t know of how many people and names, but in the article we list the states that you could potentially if your ancestors lived in these counties that you could go to, to see if they happen to be in the 1890 schedule.

Fisher: Yeah, it could be out there.

Rachel: It could be out there.

Fisher: Well, you know, the thing about census records is they’re like lily pads through time, right? Every ten years, and that’s a pretty good gap in itself, but boy, when you’re missing one, now the gap is 20 years.

Rachel: Right.

Fisher: And you have to somehow make up the somehow make up the gap and there are a lot of ways to do that.

Rachel: There are. And for me, what I found to be the most helpful are looking for city directories because they’re more readily available than tax records.

Fisher: Yes.

Rachel: Well, in my experience it’s more common for you to see to a city directory digitized than a tax record for a given area.

Fisher: That’s true.

Rachel: So, city directories also give you the year by year. I mean, if you’re lucky, some cities don’t have city directories, the bigger the city the more likely you’re going to have it. But that’s one of my favourite record groups to go to if I’m trying to breakthrough an 1890s induced brick wall.

Fisher: Um hmm. Yes. And I’ve been really lucky because I’ve got all this family from New York City in 1890. My only family in America at that time was in New York City. So, they weren’t happy with the results of the 1890 population estimate for New York. So, they sent the police out to do a whole other census so it’s called, the Police Census.

Rachel: Right.

Fisher: To find those missing people. So, we wound up with the whole other census of New York City. So, if you have ancestry in New York that’s available for you and it’s hugely important.

Rachel: It is. And something else to consider along with city directories that is also a really good resource is to see if your state, the state where your ancestor lived had a state census between 1880 and 1900.

Fisher: Yes.

Rachel: And a lot of these did.

Fisher: Sure.

Rachel: So, it’s something to look into and if you’re trying to figure out if your state did have that, again, I would point you to the Family Search Wikipedia. Go to that state’s website and see what they have listed for census that are available.

Fisher: And they usually did those on years that ended with a five. So, you could see them in 1885 or 1895 typically.

Rachel: Correct. That is correct. And then, if you’re not having luck with any of those then there is an 1890 Veterans schedule. So, a lot of these schedules survived the fire. So, basically what this is it will tell you information about a veteran, most likely someone that served in the Civil War. So, if you have a male ancestor that was of age during the Civil War and you think he lived to 1890 that’s worth looking into. Now, some of the schedules have been damaged or not available or destroyed. But there are a large majority of them still available and you can search for those for free at Family Search

Fisher: Yep. These are all just puzzle pieces, right?

Rachel: Correct.

Fisher: I mean, we’re missing this huge census and that in itself is a puzzle piece, you know? To get information about people who were around at that time. But sometimes we just have to fill in the gaps when we have a disaster like this, really interesting stuff Rachel. She has a great article on it. You can read it at LegacyTree.com. I appreciate you coming on and we’ll talk to you again down the line.

Rachel: Sounds good. I appreciate it. Thank you.

Fisher: And coming up next, Dr. Henry Louis Gates joins us to fill us in on the latest upcoming episode on Finding Your Roots on PBS, when we return in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.

Segment 4 Episode 358

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Dr. Henry Louis Gates

Fisher: Hey, there's nothing better than starting out the New Year with brand new additions of Finding Your Roots on PBS, and Dr. Henry Louis Gates is back and he's on the line with me right now. Hello, Dr. Gates. What have you got for us this week?

Dr. Gates: Hey, Scott, how're you doing man?

Fisher: I am doing so well. Happy New Year to you, sir!

Dr. Gates: Happy New Year, my brother, and I hope you're staying safe and keeping sound and are healthy.

Fisher: Doing the best I can, lots of hot chocolate at this time of year.

Dr. Gates: Yeah. [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs]

Dr. Gates: Well, the next episode of Finding Your Roots is called Coming to America and it features Norah O’Donnell, Nancy Pelosi and Zac Posen. You know, Zac Posen is the fashion designer, Nancy Pelosi of course is Madame Speaker and Norah O’Donnell is the news anchor of CBS Evening News. Norah's maternal grandmother was Mary Monaghan. She was the oldest of nine children from a Catholic in Protestant controlled Belfast and of course she grew up with extreme poverty and she worked in a linen factory as a child. In 1930 when she was 23, she came to America and found work at a hospital where she met Norah's grandfather who was a fellow Irish immigrant named Edward O'Kane. And they married 1937, the same year Mary gained her citizenship, but Scott, in 1942, Mary's citizenship was revoked, because she had lied on her application, claiming that she was single when she had actually married Edward only months before.

Fisher: Uh oh!

Dr. Gates: Now, sound familiar?

Fisher: Yeah.

Dr. Gates: I mean, this is big episode, because of all the deportations of immigrants under both the Obama administration and the Trump administration to tell you the truth. And the reason that she lied was that Edward was undocumented and Mary was worried that he'd be deported. And amazed at this story which Norah never heard before, she said, "I think very few people would look at Norah O'Donnell on the CBS Evening News and think that her grandfather was an undocumented immigrant." You'd love the DNA, she's 100% from Ireland and Scotland and she had one DNA cousin who's been in the series. I'll give you, let me see, a year? If you guess who Norah O'Donnell's DNA cousin.

Fisher: I couldn’t even imagine. Who is it?

Dr. Gates: Henry Louis Gates Jr.!

Fisher: [Laughs]

Dr. Gates: [Laughs]

Fisher: Really? How far back do you tie? Do you know?

Dr. Gates: No, no, but remember that my great, great grandfather was Irish.

Fisher: Um hmm.

Dr. Gates: And so it’s obviously through that Irish connection that we tie. She almost fell out of her chair.

Fisher: [Laughs] I'll bet she did! I'll bet you did!

Dr. Gates: Yeah, absolutely. So, our second guest is Madame Speaker, Nancy Pelosi. And know Nancy's father, Thomas D'Alesandro Jr. was a notable politician. He was first a congressman and then the mayor of Baltimore. Nancy feels that her mother, Anunciata Lombardi doesn't get the credit she deserves for her life. Besides her role as First Lady of Baltimore, Anunciata also had an entrepreneurial side. She invented a vaporizer. It used olive oil to create an early at home facial, called Velvex, and it was such a hit with her friends that Anunciata patented it and began selling it, had customers all across the country until Nancy's father, a traditional Italian American husband insisted that his wife stop working. Isn't that amazing!

Fisher: [Laughs] Different times.

Dr. Gates: Yeah. And her father was the first Italian mayor of Baltimore. So you can see that this episode is very much a parable, an allegory about the importance of immigration to the history of our country, but also how it was problematic. You know, there's so many people who think that all our ancestors just got off at Ellis Island and people said, "Welcome here!" I mean, as we've seen in these two examples, it was enormously complicated and some people left, some people were deported, a lot of people were given a hard time.

Fisher: Right, right. Well, Dr. Gates, it’s exciting to have another season back and always fun to binge watch your shows, really enjoy it. Of course it’s Tuesday nights on PBS. Check your local listings for the time, and DVR it, watch the show at your own convenience. Hey Dr. Gates, talk to you again next week. Thanks so much.

Dr. Gates: Okay, my brother, you take care.

Segment 5 Episode 358

Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert

Fisher: All right, David is back for another round of Ask Us Anything on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show. And David, our first question of the New Year comes from Dan in Excelsior, Minnesota and he says, "Guys, my great uncle played in the early years of the NFL back in the 1920s. Is there any place I can look up his record? Love the show." Thank you, Dan. What do you say, David? Do you know anything about a site for that?

David: Well, you know, I do a lot with baseball as you do, but there is actually a pro football reference website that I stumbled upon a little while back and it’s at www.Pro-Football-Reference.com and you can look at players back to the 1920s and all the early teens. And there's a lot of great information there.

Fisher: Oh yeah, it’s huge. It’s got all the players alphabetically. If you click on players, it will go A through Z and usually just gives you a little taste of the greats that have a last name that start with those letters. But when you click on the letter itself, it’s entirely alphabetical and it’s long for every single letter there and then you can click on that person and you can see their entire record, who they played for, and what position they played and what kind of stats they built up.

David: Well, you know, and that's true. And one of the things is, a lot of players go by nicknames. Like there was a player back in the 30s, Mack Gladden. Now he had only three games with the St. Louis team that he played for, but it also tells me that he was born the 22nd of May 1909 in Turley, Missouri and died March 1985 in Rowland, Missouri. So, I mean, you're getting genealogical information. So, even if you're not a football fan. Here's another place that you can go for a guild of one name study surname project, your last name you're researching, so it makes me want to look at Jack Lambert right now.

Fisher: Ah! Well, that's a thought, isn't it. You know, you look at these names and these records and you can also find sometimes there were siblings that played. This is another rabbit hole, David. I mean, this is the bottom line. This is just like the baseball reference information. And if you had a relative who played sports, there might be another one for basketball for as far as I know, but you've got to look at these things. It’s really a lot of fun.

David: It really is. And now I know everything about Jack Lambert, and he will be someone I should probably stop saying is my distant cousin.

Fisher: [Laughs] By the way, this reference site also lists everything that happened every season, all the leaders for those seasons, who won the divisions, who won the post season, you can go and look at the draft records, you know, was your relative drafted? Maybe they didn't even ever make it to the NFL, but they were drafted. This goes all the way back. Can you believe this, Dave, all the way back to 1936.

David: Wow!

Fisher: [Laughs] Which is crazy. And then they list, you know, who was picked first. The very first draft pick in 1936 was some guy named Jay Berwanger. And he played college ball in Chicago and he was picked by Philadelphia. And I don't know did he ever make it. It doesn't even look like he ever made it to the NFL. So, you've got to take a look at this. It’s pretty interesting stuff and that might answer your question. I have no doubt in my mind, by the way, Dan that you will find your great uncle in here, whoever that may be.

David: Well, and the other thing, you know what their jersey number is, so you know what you can get for a holiday gift for your family, because that's your great uncle.

Fisher: Yeah, wouldn't that be a great way to go. Well, great question, and of course for anybody who has a question for Ask Us Anything, you can just email us at [email protected]. David, it’s great to have you back for the New Year, and we'll talk to you again next week.

David: All right, talk to you then.

Fisher: All right, thank you, my friend. Well, that's our show for this week. Thank you so much for joining us. Thanks once again to Daryle Williams from Enslaved.org, this new website that's funneling data from all kinds of websites about enslaved people from all over the world. If you missed any of it, of course catch the podcast. And to Rachel Derenthal the project manager at Legacy Tree Genealogists, talking about the 1890 census records, what's left, how do you substitute for those? It’s a big gap, but if you missed any of that, of course catch the podcast, it’s on iTunes, iHeart Radio, ExtremeGenes.com, Spotify, TuneIn Radio, we're all over the place. Talk to you again next week. Thanks for joining us. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family!


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