I just read your History Matters article about vacuums in the May 2011 issue. My dad worked for Mr. Hoover as a door-to-door salesman and once sold a vacuum to a lady without electricity. He explained that it wouldn't work, to which she answered, "I want to be ready!" We had one of the first vacuums -- my mom rewound the motors in our kitchen -- and it worked for 50 years.
Barbara K. Cooper, via e-mail
I enjoy your magazine immensely and read it from cover to cover. I was excited when I saw the July 2011 issue had the Detroit City Guide. But you missed one extensive source: The Genealogy of the French Families of the Detroit River Region, 1701-1936 by Christian Denissen (Detroit Society for Genealogical Research) digitized by Lisa Masters. Family Tree Magazine could do an entire article on the founding of Detroit and this wonderful source.
Joan Strawser, Southgate, Mich.
Civil War Additions
In "Allison's Top 3 Tips" of the May 2011 issue, she mentions Civil War pensions and their rich genealogical value. I'd like to tell your readers to request the complete file from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). The pages left out when only "selected" records are requested can be the missing link to their family.
David A. Fryxell suggests using NARA sources, but only after you've exhausted the websites. He mentions the Organization Index to Pension Files of Soldiers Who Served Between 1861 and 1900 on Footnote, but not the General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 on Ancestry. Both indexes should be checked because some men were missed by the War Department or by the digitizing.
I'd also like to recommend a book: They Fought Like Demons by DeAnne Blanton and Lauren M. Cook (Louisiana State University Press). This is an extremely well-documented book. DeAnne is a military archivist at the National Archives in Washington, DC.
Marie Varrelman Melchiori, via e-mail