Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Genealogy Resolutions

This is more a goal-setting exercise since I'm not a big fan of resolutions. I am more likely to keep plugging away at a goal but once a resolution is broken, it seems like my mind goes, "oh well" and it's all over. Several other genealogy bloggers have posted resolutions for 2013 and I'm hoping the goals give me more focus than my typical ADHD approach to genealogy. I tend to start researching one thing and then some interesting story/web site catches my eye and I'm off on a tangent that may not even pertain to my own family tree. So here are my resolutions:
  1. Research with focus: Choose a relative and conduct systematic research...and document the research steps taken so I don't accidentally re-do fruitless searches. 
  2. Blog with regularity: I will strive for at least 1 post per week and 100 posts for the year. I didn't start until late February and have a little over 80 posts for 2012 so this seems realistic. My posts seem to come in clumps with some long gaps of inactivity. This will be difficult to remedy given the other demands on my time but I'll make an effort. Does anyone have any good ideas on how to handle the busy times when your blog takes a backseat to life? 
  3. Trim the tree: I will continue to work on documenting and verifying my ancestors with an eye toward eliminating errors. 
  4. Solve at least one brick wall: The first step will be to create a blog post about a few of my stubborn brick walls in hopes of finding someone who can help with suggestions or information to further my research. 
  5. Pictures: I want to work on scanning pictures that may be in the possession of various family members to preserve them for future generations. Hopefully, I will also get some good stories from talking to the relatives while the pictures are being scanned. 
I think five is a good number for my first attempt at annual genealogy goals so I'll stop here. I could go on and on but then I think I would just set myself up for failure. Stay tuned for progress updates! Thanks to Vintage Kin for the clip art! 

Need some inspiration? Check out these links.
Legacy Family Tree Resolutions
Cousin Bill West's Review of his 2012 Goals
Olive Tree Genealogy 2012 Resolutions
10 Genealogy Resolutions

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Real Tea Party

On December 16, 1773, a group of colonists participated in one of the most significant protests in American history. They dressed up like Indians and dumped 342 crates of tea belonging to the British East India Co. into Boston harbor. Contrary to what many believe (including those who have co-opted the name of this event to label their political philosophy), this was not a protest over taxes. It was protesting a British Law, the Tea Act, which allowed the British East India Company to sell tea for less than the colonial smugglers. This would help save the company from ruin because few colonists were buying tea from this company when they could buy it cheaper from colonial merchants. The company's investors were not happy with all the unsold tea piling up in warehouses. This is the aspect of the revolution that is rarely discussed. The real issue was not the taxes. Most of the the taxes, such as the tax on sugar, were significantly reduced after the French & Indian War. The issue was freedom of trade and the restrictions placed on the colonies under the mercantile system. For decades the British had turned a blind eye to enforcing their laws but the debt from the war with France ended this period of salutary neglect. This Tea Party movement was protesting a law that gave tax cuts to the wealthy and big businesses and hurt the average working-class family by raising the prices on the goods they needed. Hmmm....

Back to the Boston Tea party...fearing punishment, many of the participants fled to avoid arrest and their families tried to keep their involvement a secret. According to this web site, 116 have been identified. The first name on the list is that of my 6th great-grandfather, Francis Ackley. He was captured and imprisoned but at some point he escaped and found his way back to Boston. He fought and died in the Battle of Bunker Hill on June 19, 1775. That's quite a story. I'm still trying to find more details and to track down any connections I have to other names on the list of participants.

Francis Ackley & Tabitha Bull
Samuel Ackley & Elizabeth Moody
William Ackley & Deborah Capen
Sarah Ackley & John Abbott
Mary Jane Abbott & Edward Abbott Capen
Fannie May Capen & Edward Mellen Carter
Thomas Richard Carter - my grandfather

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Blog Caroling

Footnote Maven is a genealogy blogger I discovered last spring. While following her blog and her Facebook posts, I have become a huge fan of her indomitable spirit, sharp wit, and wicked sense of humor. This has been a very tough year for her dealing with complications from knee replacement surgery and I wish her a Merry Christmas and a healthy 2013. One of her traditions is blog caroling. Writers post the lyrics to their favorite Christmas carol and she links them to her site. It's a fun way to share some holiday spirit and discover some wonderful genealogy bloggers.

I chose to share "Away in a Manger" in part because it's one of my favorites but it also links to my family history. Jingle Bells and Away in a Manger were the first two Christmas songs I remember learning as a child. Growing up in Bethel, Maine, a highlight of the holiday season was the living nativity put on each year -  featuring a real family with a newborn, real animals, costumed shepherds, angels, and a choir singing Away in a Manger (and other carols). It was impressive and it's something I miss. If you're in the Bethel area on December 23rd, you should check it out.

Away in a manger
No crib for His bed
The little Lord Jesus 
Lay down His sweet head

The stars in the sky
Look down where He lay
The little Lord Jesus
Asleep on the hay

The cattle are lowing
The poor Baby wakes
But little Lord Jesus
No crying He makes

I love Thee, Lord Jesus
Look down from the sky
And stay by my side 
'Til morning is nigh

Be near me, Lord Jesus
I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever
And love me, I pray

Bless all the dear children
In Thy tender care
And take us to heaven
To live with Thee there

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

An Uncomfortable History

While looking for news articles about my family, I came across this column of Bethel news and was shocked by the juxtaposition of the mundane with the shocking - the revelation that the KKK had a meeting (apparently well attended) in the church my family attended!! I transcribed the entire column to show the matter-of-fact reporting -indicating that a Klan meeting is no more remarkable than finishing haying or recovering from surgery. 

As a history teacher, I know the history of the Klan in the 1920s and even know there was a considerable presence in Maine. It was part of the backlash against Catholic immigrants. The Maine Memory Network has some pictures and a brief history titled "Uncomfortable History." I can't help but wonder if any of my family attended the meeting. I'd like to think they didn't but it's probably easier since no attendance records were kept. I haven't seen any evidence that Bethel formed a chapter but it is likely that at least a few people were associated with chapters in other towns or the state-wide organization. Maine was a one of the states with a large Klan presence and supposedly they helped elect a governor and the mayor of Portland. I've linked some additional sources of information at the end of this post. The bold print was added by me for emphasis. 

The Lewiston Daily Sun - July 30, 1924 
Bethel, July 29 - The young people's department of the M.E. Sunday School will hold a social Wednesday evening in the dining room of the church.

Wade Thurston has finished cutting hay on the Augustus Carter place and has begun cutting his own hay. 

The auditorium of the Methodist church was comfortably filled last night by an attractive audience gathered to listen to an exposition of the tenets and principles of the order of the Ku Klux Klan. Dr. Leonard, of Boston, who is touring Maine lecturing for the order was the speaker. Literature regarding the women's organization, the Kamelia, was distributed. 

Perry Lapham is so far recovered from his recent surgical operation as to resume work at the Merrill Springer Co. - Miss Julia Stockbridge.

More resources
Uncomfortable History
More from Maine Memory Network
KKK in Brunswick newspapers
PBS - Portland Maine elected Klan mayor