Episode 370 - Mayflower Silver Book Project Expands / Actress Patricia Heaton Talks Family History With FisherApr 05, 2021
Host Scott Fisher opens the show with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. The two begin with David talking about his find the night before of a family history item he bought on eBay! Hear what it is, what he paid for it, and how he found it. Then, some improvements have come to Ancestry.com’s DNA home page. Find out what has been upgraded. Next, could Neanderthals really have used toothpicks? David explains. Then, it’s an FBI sting operation that rescued a document that’s pretty important to the state of North Carolina. Hear what it is, how long it was missing and how it was returned. Finally, who knew that among jobs occupied by women in the early 20th century one involved standing atop a high tower? David will fill you in.
Next, Fisher catches up with Bonnie Wade Mucia of the Mayflower Society. Bonnie talks about the “Silver Book Project,” it’s history, where it’s been, and now, where it’s going. It’s good news whether or not you descend from the Mayflower.
Fisher then shares one of his Favorite Fifty interviews. This one comes from 2019 when he sat down with actress Patricia Heaton after her RootsTech keynote address.
Then, it’s Ask Us Anything as Fisher and David tackle questions on World War I records and locating ancestors’ homes.
That’s all this week on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show!
Transcript of Episode 370
Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert
Segment 1 Episode 370
Fisher: And welcome to America’s Family History Extreme Genes 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. So, who do we have on the show this week? A couple of great guests as always, Bonnie Wade Mucia is going to join me. She is with the Mayflower Society, the General Society of Mayflower Descendants talking about the Silver Book project. And this is an amazing resource for people who are descended from the Mayflower, or not. You are going to want to hear what she has to say about where they’re going with this, plus later in the show, one of my favorite 50 interviews of all time, Patricia Heaton. Yeah, she was at RootsTech back in 2019 and I got to sit down with her. She was delightful. You are going to want to hear what she had to say. And if you haven’t signed up for our Weekly Genie Newsletter yet, now is the time. Go over to our Facebook page or ExtremeGenes.com get signed up. It’s absolutely free. You get a blog from me each week, a couple of links to past and present shows, and links to stories you’ll find fascinating as a genealogist. It’s time to head out to Boston, Massachusetts now and talk to my good friend the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org it is David Allen Lambert who has been playing the eBay game!
David: And you’d think I won. [Laughs]
Fisher: [Laughs] Well, this is funny because we talked about this just last week and we challenged all the listeners to go on eBay and see if they can’t find something tied to their ancestors.
David: Um hmm.
Fisher: And who comes through this week? You!
David: Si! And what did I win? Johnny, the prize is... [Laughs]
Fisher: Yeah, this is fun though David. Let’s talk about the background, and then tell them what you found and how you found it.
David: Sure. So, I’m in the Massachusetts Sons of the American Revolution under my ancestor Captain Jonathan Poor who marched on Lexington and Concord, served throughout the war. And in my kitchen, hangs a wooden reproduction tavern sign for his tavern that he had in Newbury, Massachusetts. And I’ve known about it for years. He’s my fourth great grandfather and he kind of spurred a lot of stories. And every so often I’ll go on the eBay and I’ll look for a copy of the sign and tell my cousins, “Hey, listen, you can get one for 10 bucks.” So, a lot of cousins have a copy of the sign that was done back in the 60s. But, last night I was searching for one and I said, that’s a glass coffee mug with a gold foil like seal of the tavern sign on it! What is that?! And I talked the dealer down to $9 and yeah, it’s in the mail today.
Fisher: Isn’t that fun? Yeah. So, this is the sign that hung by the tavern of Jonathan Poor and it’s made into a gold foil on a coffee mug and you found it on eBay and you got it for 9 bucks.
Fisher: Have you ever seen one of these before?
David: I’ve never ever laid eyes on one. Apparently, they’re from a set of tavern sign mugs that were made back in the 60s from what the deal described. But I’ve never seen one, and I’m delighted it will have a place of honor in my china cabinet.
David: And I can raise a glass to my fourth great grandfather literally on his birthday now.
Fisher: [Laughs] Amazing. That’s a great story. All right, let’s get on with our Family Histoire News today David. What do you have?
David: Well, you know Ancestry.com is always innovative with new discoveries and things that we can use in our genealogy, and that includes notes, our own notes. Because you can now see them displayed on your DNA results, which is great.
Fisher: Yes. And they’ve also added in there the percent of DNA that you share along with the amount of centimorgans that you share with the DNA match. So, it’s just a little bit cleaner and a lot of stuff that’s just more available to you right up front, so it looks nice.
David: It’s great stuff. Well, you know, I’m always delighted when I can find out things of my ancient, ancient, ancient ancestors.
David: So, I know we’ve compared how much Neanderthal we have from our 23andMe results.
David: But I just want to let you know that toothpicks were used by Neanderthals. They found this by wear on teeth found in a cave belonging to one Sydney Neanderthal. So, hey, when you pick one up in a restaurant, it’s a family tradition.
Fisher: I’m sure they handed them out at all the cave restaurants back in the day.
David: Exactly, and especially in drive-throughs. [Laughs]
David: You never know what you’re going to find on eBay. Well, this time it’s something that was found during the Civil War, well actually Tilford during the Civil War by an Ohio Union Veteran, while in North Carolina stole their copy of the Bill of Rights. It had a long history. The soldier sold it for $5. It ended up in a lawyer’s office. That lawyer’s descendant sold $200, 000 to somebody who was on Antiques Roadshow, and with an FBI sting operation, the North Carolina government finally has it back since the time of the Civil War.
Fisher: Isn’t that amazing? This is a long and interesting story and it’s fascinating to think about these historic documents. Of course, we’ve seen the Mormon Murders on Netflix here recently. Documents are a dangerous occupation sometimes. [Laughs]
David: They really are. I mean, look what poor Nicolas Cage had to go through on National Treasure. [Laughs]
Fisher: Yes, exactly.
David: Well, I’ll tell you, Womens’ History Month is of course in March and some great stories have been all around the internet. But one that I wanted to share was one I didn’t even realize. You probably know that there are fire lookouts on a lot of mountains. Fire lookouts became in vogue after the great fire in 1910 which burned over three million acres of land across Montana, Idaho, and parts of Washington State.
David: So, the U.S. Border Service started these little cabins up on top so people could be lookouts. While you would think it’s a man’s job, no, ladies broke the glass ceiling from about the nineteen teens onwards, ladies were at the lookout stations. So, hats off to the ladies who probably saved tens of thousands of acres of forests from being burned.
Fisher: Yeah that’s amazing. That’s a great story and I wouldn’t have thought much about that but I would imagine there were a lot of women fire lookout tower watchers.
David: Hey, more power to them and a little bit of American history that I didn’t know until I read it. Well, that’s all I have from Beantown for you this week, Fish. And remember, you can sign up as a guest member of American Ancestors on AmericanAncestors.org and if you really like it you can become a member and save $20 by using the coupon code EXTREME for Extreme Genes.
Fisher: Indeed. All right David. We’re going to get you back at the backend of the show as we do another round of Ask Us Anything so thanks for joining us. And coming up next, Bonnie Wade Mucia is coming on talking about the Silver Book project. Some good stuff happening, coming up real soon with the Mayflower Society if you’re part of it or if you’re thinking about joining it you’re going to want to hear what Bonnie has to say coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 2 Episode 370
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Bonnie Wade Mucia
Fisher: All right, back at it on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth with my very, very distant cousin Bonnie Wade Mucia back on the show from the General Society of Mayflower Descendants. How are you Bonnie? Welcome back to Extreme Genes.
Bonnie: Hi Scott. Thanks for having me back. I’m excited to talk about all recent happenings.
Fisher: Boy, there are a lot of them too. And before anybody goes anywhere, I just want to point out here that there is so much research that’s going on in the Mayflower Society, it can benefit people all over the country from all time periods and different spots around the country because they continue to bring forward the descendants from the original Mayflower passengers. And Bonnie, you’re right in the thick of this right now. You’ve recently been appointed to be the director of the Silver Book project and it used to be called what, the Five Generation project?
Fisher: It’s beyond that now.
Bonnie: Yes. The last book that came out is the Winslow Book and I think some of those lines names nine generations.
Fisher: Wow! [Laughs] Nine!
Fisher: So, you’re talking into the early 1800s.
Fisher: Or middle 1800s.
Bonnie: Yes, I think mid-1800s. I’d have to look but depending on how the generations stack up, some of them can come down pretty far.
Fisher: Yeah. That would be amazing. And so, for people who aren’t familiar with it, give a little history of the Silver Books.
Bonnie: So, once I was appointed the director, I wanted to do a deep-dive of the history of the Silver Books project. And first, let me preface this by saying that I’m taking over for Judy Swan who is a former Governor General and she had been the director of this project for 22 years. So, I wanted to do a deep dive on the history of the Silver Books Project, so what I did is, I searched through the Mayflower sentential history book and I also went through the old Mayflower Quarterly magazines for articles on the subject. And what I found was fascinating. The idea of tracing the descendants of the Mayflower isn’t new at all. As a matter of fact, George Bowman was the founder of the Massachusetts Society and he announced in 1899 -
Bonnie: - that his goal was to trace descendants down to his own time. So, we’re talking about the turn of the century. He wanted to trace descendants of the Mayflower down. And he spent decades researching and publishing that and in 1956 he published what was called The Family of the Pilgrims. At that same time during those years, another historian in California, Herbert Folger wanted to catalogue descendants and in 1920 he compiled manuscripts that filled 82 ledgers, and he published what he called The Folger Four Generation Pamphlet. I can’t imagine how big that pamphlet was.
Bonnie: But with 82 ledgers, it probably was bigger than a pamphlet. And then in the 20s and 30s, a Dr. Frank Folger of the Road Island Society compiled 41 manuscripts of family group sheets showing Mayflower descendancy. And his work was kind of the jumping off point for the William White book. And then in 1932 Historian General William McCaslin started compiling the Mayflower index. So, what he did is he took approved lineage papers and he made an indexed list of the names appearing on those lineage papers. So, that was kind of like the starting point for what happened in September of 1956. The Oklahoma historian and he was later the Governor General, Louis Neff, he proposed a resolution and it said in the Mayflower Quarterly for “Publication of tracing out five generations of all the descendants of Mayflower passengers” and hence the five generations project was born. Some people call it the 5GP.
Fisher: Yeah. And this went on for a long time didn’t it? I mean, it went on for a couple of decades it seems to me.
Bonnie: Yeah. So, the process was tedious. Of course, it was conducted by volunteers and they were doing everything the “old fashioned way.” They didn’t use computers.
Bonnie: Everything was done by hand. They were typing things, so it took them about two decades and they were asking for help in the Mayflower Quarterly magazine on specific branches and locations, and people would snail-mail their stuff in. The first volume was hoped to be ready by 1970. And in 1970 the project hit a big snag when the then editor Lucy Kellogg, she was in the process of typing up the volumes and she died unexpectedly.
Bonnie: Somebody had to go in and get all of her boxes and I think they had like I was to say 14 boxes or maybe even more, of information that they had to mail to Plymouth and people had to go through it. So, the project got temporarily put on hold. And once that happened, the people were going through it in 1971 the project officially became known as The Mayflower Families Through Five Generations. And even today, that’s what you see on the spine is Mayflower Families. But the first volume came out in 1975, so it started in ‘59 and ’75 was the first volume.
Fisher: Wow! And it’s still going on today, which is absolutely amazing.
Bonnie: It is.
Fisher: And you’ve got five generations all documented so people who want to join the Society all they have to do is get back to, oh, I want to say the mid 1700s with these books, because that will take you the rest of the way to the people you’re descended from.
Bonnie: That’s right. All you have to do is prove to somebody in that book. And today we have 22 volumes of the families. And each family has multiple parts. We have 42 books in the whole catalogue. We keep adding to them as the time goes on.
Fisher: Wow! And this is not online yet. I mean, you do have things online for instance what, the fifth generation with NEHGS?
Bonnie: Yep. The fifth generation database is on NEHGS and that covers a time period from 1700 to about 1880, again, depending on the generations and how they fall.
Fisher: Yeah. So, that’s great. And then hopefully in time we’ll see more and more of these descendant lists winding up online which would be fantastic otherwise you really need to go get a hold of the books. And of course, people can buy them in a lot of places including Amazon and eBay even [Laughs] right? But they’re in all the major libraries.
Bonnie: They are in most of the major libraries, genealogy libraries. The Mayflower Society has them all for sale. There are a couple of volumes that have been superseded. For example, that first volume, one and two, those ended up going into other books because the first volume was Francis Seaton, Samuel Fuller, and William White so they ended up getting their own books so they’re out of date now and all those passengers have their own books.
Fisher: Wasn’t there something with a different publisher on one set and so it’s a little bit off in terms of where you can get access?
Bonnie: So, the first four Howland children, the Howlands had ten children, and the first four Howland children was done by Elizabeth White and that was published by Picton Press. She passed away and Picton Press went out of business, so those are a little bit harder to get. But the rest of the children are either in the Silver Books or being worked on.
Fisher: Now, you’re on the Executive Committee of the Mayflower Society also and there’s been a lot of progress made on DNA and use of DNA, and getting into the Society. But it’s also really helping again to solidify all these descendant branches, which can affect people all across the country, all over the world.
Bonnie: Yes. So, there is the Mayflower Project on Family Tree DNA, and they’ve made extensive strides with a lot of the passengers because again, we know exactly who’s on that boat.
Bonnie: There are only 26 families that you can be descended from. So, they have the Y-DNA of a number of the male passengers, and they have the mitochondrial DNA signature of a number of the female passengers as well.
Fisher: So, where would somebody tie in say, using autosomal DNA?
Bonnie: So, I’m also the head of the DNA Committee for the Mayflower Society or the General Society, and we are in the process of updating our standards and guidelines to include autosomal DNA, which will be in the first few generations, probably three generations or so. Because as you know, the further you go back, autosomal only carries you so far. So, the first few generations, especially that first one to two generations it will really help for people with non-paternal events, or people who were adopted and finally know their biological parents, if their biological lines go through Mayflower passengers then they’ll be able to join.
Fisher: So, we’ve got the autosomal for the more recent generations. You’ve got the Y and mitochondrial potentially to help confirm other resources I would imagine.
Bonnie: Um hmm. Or even if you have a mystery further back. And again, that’s where we’re working on the DNA standards because again, we know who the haplogroup passengers are.
Bonnie: So, we’re a little different than other societies where we know who these men are, and there are lots of Y-DNA signatures back to these passengers, which is very helpful.
Fisher: Yeah. It’s not a growing group, is it? Like you know, Revolutionary soldiers where we find new ones all the time.
Bonnie: Correct. Correct. Some of them we don’t know. I use Richard Moore, for example, I think he had four sons. He had two daughters. But we don’t know the sons. He left sons that were up on the Maine coast, Massachusetts coast, and they were seafarers and things like that and all of those documentation we can’t connect. So, we don’t have any Y-DNA for Richard Moore just because there’s no further information after some of his sons and some of his grandsons.
Fisher: So, what are we learning now that may be new over time? I mean this group has been studied so extensively for so long, are there new documents that show up? Maybe somebody pulls something out of an attic somewhere, or an old book, or a Bible is found, something that makes you raise your eyebrows and go, “Well, that’s cool.”
Bonnie: Yeah. And some of these have been published. A couple of them I can think of, one of them was the identity of William White’s wife. A couple of years ago they identified that her maiden name was Susanna Jackson and it was published in an American Genealogist article a couple of years back but they were able to find that. And another one was the wife of Edward Fuller.
Fisher: Oh wow!
Bonnie: There was another article in the MQM recently, I think last year, regarding her identity. Again, with genealogy you just never know. There are other documents that come out, or the way that they look at the law and they realize that oh wait a minute, this document might lead to this document, so it’s opening up different avenues. The Chilton line for example, is another one. They’ve identified another daughter that stayed in Holland and went on to have children and descendants all in Holland and that line has been identified now.
Fisher: Wow, and that’s all eligible for the Society. That’s amazing. Well, this gives us all a good idea though of the fact that no matter what your line is, whether you’re Mayflower or not, there’s new material that’s always coming out no matter how extensively any group has been studied. And the fact that so much of it is online now just makes it an incredible resource that’s continually growing.
Fisher: She’s Bonnie Wade Mucia. She’s on the Executive Board of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, lot of great things still happening with that little group. Thank you so much Bonnie. Appreciate it.
Bonnie: Thanks Scott. I appreciate being on. This was fun.
Fisher: And coming up next, it’s another of my Fisher’s Favorite 50 from my favorite 50 interviews of all time. It’s a visit with Patricia Heaton, the actress who was a keynote speaker at our 2019 RootsTech. That’s coming up in five minutes on Extreme Genes.
Segment 3 Episode 370
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Patricia Heaton
Fisher: And welcome back. It’s America’s Family History Show Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. Here’s one of my favorite 50 interviews of all time with Patricia Heaton. Of course, the last couple of days of February and the first couple of days of March there was a monstrous family history convention in Salt Lake City, Utah. It is called RootsTech. It’s gone for about a decade now and it packs about 30,000 in there just about over the course of four days and they bring in some amazing keynote speakers. One of them we all know from Everybody Loves Raymond, and The Middle, it’s Patricia Heaton. A three-time Emmy Award winner and here is how my visit went with her on day two. And I’m here with the descendants of criminals at RootsTech!
Patricia: I don’t think anyone’s surprised. [Laughs]
Fisher: [Laughs] It’s Patricia Heaton of course she is from Everybody Loves Raymond, and The Middle and she’s a three time Emmy Award winner. And she’s all about family. She was a keynote speaker today.
Patricia: I had a great time and not only did I get to chat with everyone but they did an incredible deep-dive on my family and it was really exciting.
Patricia: Because I come from a very large family. My mother was one of fifteen children and I have about a hundred first cousins on my mom’s side.
Fisher: Wow! And you don’t even know them all, do you?
Patricia: I don’t know them, but they come up to me and I always ask for proof and they usually have a picture of one of my grandparents or something.
Fisher: Wow! And you talked in your speech about actually picking up a hitchhiker one day.
Patricia: In Cleveland.
Fisher: What a story.
Patricia: And it was my cousin. [Laughs]
Fisher: [Laughs] He talked about your dad being his uncle.
Patricia: Yes. He said his uncle was a sports writer for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. And I said, “Oh my dad is a sports writer for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Who’s your uncle?” And he said, “Chucky.” And I’m like, “Hey, cuz!”
Fisher: [Laughs] That had to be a thrill! So, growing up among this huge family obviously had to be enormously supportive, number one when you lost your mom so young at age 12.
Patricia: Yes. Right.
Fisher: And then when you go to get into such a very challenging career such as the stage or, you know, on television.
Patricia: Yes. You know, I think it’s really meaningful not only for the person who ventures out into the world, but also for the family members who stay put. We both need each other.
Patricia: When you go out into the world you need to know your family is there. You need to know that no matter how hard of a day you’ve had, how many times you’ve been rejected, how many failures you’ve had in auditions, that there are people who know you and love you no matter what. And it’s also important for people who stay put that one of your own tribe went out into the world and had an adventure. I think when you think about the Hobbit and how the Hobbits go out.
Fisher: Right. Mr. Frodo, yeah.
Patricia: And some of them come back and Frodo stays out there. But you know, it’s known that you come from somewhere and you bring kind of honor and pride to those people. So, you know, it’s kind of a two way street where we really all need each other.
Fisher: You know, I relate to this so much because my mother was an actress in the 40s and I have a letter from her where she wrote that when she would go back to her home in Oregon, which she wanted so desperately to escape, she felt the world made sense again to her.
Patricia: That’s right. And I think in different people, in some of the ancestors that I’ve learned about they had a sense of adventure. They left Ireland or they left Germany to come to America to better themselves and to see the world. So, there’s people in the family that have that spirit but you also need people in the family to be there to keep the home fires burning, to know that you always have a place to come back to.
Fisher: Yeah, absolutely. Now, when you went through the big reveal and I could tell through your whole talk you were really excited about getting to the end so you could get that!
Patricia: Yes. [Laughs]
Fisher: You must have been anticipating this for weeks.
Patricia: Yes. Yes.
Fisher: What were your thoughts as FamilySearch went through all their discoveries about your family and what did you feel?
Patricia: Well, it just gave me chills, you know, to think that you’re a part of history. We study history in school and it’s always something that happened back then to those people but when you start seeing your own, you realize that you are a part of that.
Fisher: That’s right.
Patricia: So, that’s really exciting and I was very excited to hear about Simon one of my Irish relatives who was a bit of a scoundrel.
Patricia: In fact, I think he probably left Ireland because he might have been run out of Ireland. [Laughs]
Fisher: [Laughs] Well, I saw that, a bunch of… several crimes.
Patricia: They put it very nicely, “removing materials.”
Fisher: You mean “theft?”
Patricia: Yeah! [Laughs]
Fisher: Yeah. Let’s see what else. There was “trespassing.”
Patricia: Trespassing and at one point he was fined for having his horse wandering around.
Patricia: Which I think probably happened when he came tripping out of the pub and forgot he even had a horse.
Fisher: [Laughs] You know, I don’t know about you but I kind of feel like my scoundrels make my lines a whole lot more interesting than if they were all just wonderful, good, sweet people all the time. I have a pirate.
Patricia: [Laughs] You have a pirate?!
Fisher: A pirate and he was a bloodthirsty dude too!
Patricia: Oh my gosh!
Fisher: And this is like, okay, I don’t know that I approve of what he did but I’m really glad he’s on my tree! You know what I’m saying?
Patricia: [Laughs] I think it adds a bit of color!
Fisher: Yes! What, blood red? [Laughs]
Patricia: [Laughs] Yeah. And you know, I think there’s something in the criminal personality that we all kind of need. It’s that sort of like, no fear and kind of like maybe breaking the rules sometimes but you have to do it in the right way.
Fisher: Sure. Well, it’s interesting because you are a very high profile Hollywood actress and yet, I don’t recall anything truly controversial about you ever. You’re just beloved and I think it has to do with your sense of family. You played a family person.
Fisher: You know, the house wife, the mother, and that’s what you got your first Emmy for, right?
Patricia: Right, yes. And you know also, I’m very connected to my family in a sense that I carry that family name. Like there are certain roles that I don’t think I could ever do because I just think about my parents watching from above.
Fisher: [Laughs] What would they say, right?
Patricia: It’s like, I can’t do it, you know? So, it’s a really strong sense in me about the importance of family. The connection you have and the duty I think you have to honor your family lines.
Fisher: There is a duty.
Patricia: I know that when my father died and we took all the boys to Ohio for the funeral because my father was a World War II vet, they did a beautiful 21 gun salute and folding the flag for him. And I said to the boys, okay, so this is your grandfather and you carry that part of this family name and you see how he’s being honored here and you always have to remember that. And remember that you also have to bring honor to the family.
Fisher: And to him.
Patricia: Yes and to him because look at what he’s done. So, I think kids need to have that sense of where they come from and that they are carrying generations with them.
Fisher: That’s right. We’re just here for a short time no matter what.
Patricia: That’s right.
Fisher: We’ll be remembered for one thing or the other.
Patricia: That’s right.
Fisher: You know, when you look at the entire picture of what’s going on here at RootsTech all these people finding their connections.
Fisher: And many connected to each other and didn’t even know it.
Fisher: You think about the literal benefits that come to families when they know what their heritage is.
Patricia: Right. It’s really amazing and you know, I was saying that I have like a group of girl friends, there’s like six of us all together and two of them, their personalities just sort of rub each other the wrong way a little bit. A few months ago they realized that they were cousins.
Fisher: Oh, wow!
Patricia: Back in the starting in the 1700s they became related.
Fisher: Not bad.
Patricia: It has changed their relationship.
Patricia: I’m not kidding. They’re like so “lovely, dovey, cousin!”
Fisher: It changed the dynamics.
Patricia: It changed the dynamics.
Fisher: Imagine if the whole world could understand their international connection.
Patricia: Well, that’s what I’m thinking and the more you read on the science end of it you know that we all started from like one teaspoon of DNA.
Fisher: That’s it.
Patricia: And we have to remember that.
Fisher: One big family.
Patricia: One big family and we have to realize that the family of man is something that we all belong to and we need to seek out our common references as opposed to looking at our differences.
Fisher: Absolutely. And that is my visit with Patricia Heaton from the 2019 RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. And it’s all part of Fisher’s Favorite 50, my top favorite 50 interviews of all time on Extreme Genes. And coming up next, David Allen Lambert returns as we answer a couple of questions, your questions, with Ask Us Anything on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show in three minutes.
Segment 4 Episode 370
Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert
Fisher: Let us continue! It is Ask Us Anything on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth with David Allen Lambert, back from the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. And David, our first question today comes from Laurie Jenkins in Salt Lake City, Utah and she says, "Guys, what records from World War I are there and did we lose any in that fire in 1973? I'm working on my uncle's history. I'd appreciate whatever you can tell me." Dave, what do you know?
David: Yeah, that fire in '73 was disastrous, and I'll tell you, you really do have to muster up a variety of resources to kind of research guys who were in the US Army or the Army Air Corps and of course anything for the Air Force prior to '47 was also destroyed. So the records for the US Army starting in 1912 and of course through the end of World War I, through '73, are burned. Now, there are surviving burned files. Now it doesn’t' mean that there's going to be anything more than a fragment or maybe nothing at all, but you can enquire in St Louis at the Personal Records Center to get a copy of the burned file if it exists.
David: A funny thing is that in that building, there are surviving records from the Marine Corps, the Navy's records survived. In fact, one of the great things, if you have an ancestor who was in the US Navy, at the National Archives in Washington DC, every surviving deck log of a Navy vessel from the 1700s straight on through to December 7th, 1941 are at Archives 1, so you can find out if your ancestor was on the USS Arizona in World War I, because it did exist. The keel was laid 1916. You might find that they have those deck logs and you can find out day to day longitude and latitude where your sailor was. But the best tip if you're looking at Army guys is that you may have family papers yourself, but when they were honorably discharged, the Adjutant General of each state in which they were coming home to has a copy generally of their honorable discharge or some record of it. So, contact the Adjutant General's office or the National Guard archives in your state and you may find that your World War II or in this case, World War I, ancestor might have some surviving records. And of course if they were in the VA, there are records in the VA hospitals, etc. as well.
Fisher: Wow, David, that is a lot of stuff! So we have the Navy, right, we have the Navy files, and I've actually obtained a couple of my uncle's from World War II. But those deck logs are fascinating, because each of my uncles was in the different theaters. One was in the Pacific, the other was in the Atlantic and you're saying then I could actually go through and see where they were every single day from their ship.
David: You can. If it’s World War II however, those are at Archives 2 at College Park, Maryland. So as soon as December 7th happened, those deck logs are in a different repository. And the other thing is Marines. A lot of Marines are attached with Navy vessels. Now, my grandfather who was in the Marine Corps in the 1920s, I've looked at the deck logs of the USS Galveston, a cruiser that he was on in the Caribbean back in the 1920s. But his actual stationed muster rolls it may be on a vessel or be it at a base, you can find US Marine Corps records from that era of World War I, World War II on Ancestry. Another thing is newspapers. Remember, your soldier is going to go off to war. If it’s a small town paper, there may be a sendoff parade or when they return home, there could be a great article or there could be letters that he sent home that the local newspaper published.
Fisher: You know, I've just finished actually writing a book on my mother's family during World War II and I incorporated all of those things, letters and newspapers as well as histories of what was going on in the various theaters that my uncles were fighting in. So, yeah, you can really start to coordinate these things into a timeline, and you know I'm always talking about timelines. You learn so much and suddenly letters start to make sense when you understand where people were and what was going on at the time. So it’s a great question. Thanks so much for it, Laurie. We've got another one coming up next when we return with Ask Us Anything on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.
Segment 5 Episode 370
Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert
Fisher: All right, back for our final segment of Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show with another round of Ask Us Anything. David, this question comes from Hank Lindstrom in Las Vegas, Nevada. We've got some westerners checking in this week. Hank writes, "Fisher and Dave, love your show. I'm a newbie to family history." Congratulations Hank and welcome to it! "And I want to know how I might know where my ancestors' houses were located. Thank you so much." David!
David: Wow! Okay, well that's a heavy question with lots of avenues.
David: So, of course the first thing you want to do is look at the Registry of Deeds. You want to look at the grantee when your ancestor was buying the land first of all, and then land where that house is could have been government land, so the Bureau of Land Management may be how you find the land too. The other thing is, they're going to sell it eventually. Now, when they go to sell it, as the grantor, you're going to find the description of the property and it should echo the same origin of when they bought it. So the descriptions, the metes and bounds, like, "West on Scott Fisher's property, east of Dave Lambert's property, south of John Smith's property."
Fisher: "Over by the tree." [Laughs]
Fisher: They always do these things, yes, they're fascinating.
David: The earliest deeds, descriptive, descriptions, they're crazy.
David: "Over by a white oak tree." Well, that's great in 1710, but if that 400-year-old tree is still standing, you're lucky. "By the cart in the middle of a Wal-Mart parking lot, turn right."
Fisher: [Laughs] Right.
David: So, I mean, that's a good way to look for land. I mean, a lot of times if it’s historic, your local historical commission in a community would know about where the old houses are, historical societies. You might be able to just Google search "where was the old Lindstrom property" in, say, Denver, Colorado and that might be of use to you in your research, because you don't have to do all that ground work, somebody's already done it for you. The other thing that I find useful is, when your ancestor dies, his or her probate may say what real estate holdings they have. And in the case of one of my ancestors, I went one step further, he had in 1811, $2,500 worth of debts, so they had to sell off the property. So six months later, I find a newspaper article and it says, "A public auction of the property of the late Joseph Hughs." and it lists five lots of properties, describes them, including his blacksmiths shop on a wharf on Newburyport, Massachusetts. And I was able to go through and find in the deeds his executors selling off certain items in that auction. Now the thing I'm really trying to find out is, what happened to the house, because I'm going to do a title search, which is what official people do in the registry of deeds, who has legal title to the property? As genealogists, we can do the same thing. So we make sure we're not standing in the middle of the wrong Wal-Mart parking lot where the house site once was.
Fisher: [Laughs] Well, and it does get a little confusing sometimes that way and there's also the question of, "Well, they're not going to give the street address. It’s usually based on a legal description and that's a little bit more challenging.
David: It really is. And there's a great program that was out years ago called Deed Mapper. And I believe it’s still out commercially. I mean, what it does is, it allows you to put in the metes and bounds, like 30 rods by 20 chains by this. And this will draw out a geometrical shape. What you need to do, at least of the early colonial deeds is anchor something like, "The Cemetery", the Parish church, that sort of thing or a stream or a river where you can put a geographical or some historical element that is identifiable. And then you just start building it. And it’s like Tetris blocks, a building in the community.
Fisher: Community, right.
David: But it’s really kind of fun, but you have to have an eye for design and a bottle of aspirin for the headaches when you're trying to deal with "white tree", “the pile of rocks,” “a cut in the sidewalk."
Fisher: It’s complicated, Hank, you're going down a rabbit hole for sure. David, thank you so much. We're out of time. We'll talk to you again next week. And thank you for joining us this week for Extreme Genes. If you missed any of the show, of course it’s available on podcasts starting this coming week. Just go to ExtremeGenes.com, iTunes, iHeart Radio, Spotify and TuneIn Radio. We will talk to you again next week. Thanks for joining us. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family!