Sharon DeBartolo Carmack’s “Separation Anxiety” (July 2007) was both informative and fascinating, and has helped me to rethink my ancestors’ actions – which, having been divorced myself, should’ve come naturally, wouldn’t you think?
Several years ago, I read a rather special newspaper “repudiation,” as Sharon called them, and I thought you would find it fascinating, too. I found it in “Venango County Records, Volume 1” published in the Quarterly of the Venango County Genealogical Society <www.csonline.net/vengen>. From the June 1, 1843, issue of the Democratic Arch of Franklin, Venango County, Pa.:
Notice: Whereas my wife, Clarissa, has left my bed and board without just cause or provocation, this is to notify all persons from harboring or trusting her on my account, as I am determined to pay no debts of her contracting after this date. [signed] Perez G. Hollister, Ellsworth, Ohio, Feb. 10, 1843
A reply in the same issue:
Replication: Clarissa Hollister left the bed and board of her husband, P. G. Hollister, because she had received various beatings at his hands, the last which came near rendering her a cripple for life. For the last assault and battery he committed upon her, he was arrested, imprisoned and fined in Ohio. Through the agency of some humane persons, when Hollister was in jail, Clarissa was enabled to escape with her children to her father’s residence in Scrubgrass Twp., this county. As brother of the injured woman, I thought it necessary to make this statement as public as Hollister’s “Caution.” [signed] William P. McKee
I enjoyed reading your article on Diigo <www.diigo.com> in Family Tree Magazine (July 2007), and I’m happy to see someone else realizes the research potential of this platform. It’s my new best friend! I love the highlighting and notes, but the blog and e-mail features are also fabulous. The new groups feature could easily replace mailing lists and message boards as an online place to share links and tips. I hope your article helps get more family researchers using the Diigo platform.
St. Augustine, Fla.
Dana Schmidt certainly hit the nail on the head by recommending WorldCat <worldcat.org> as a resource to locate materials (May 2007). As a school librarian, I’ve used it to find materials at other libraries for my students and teachers.
WorldCat has been incorporated as a database within Indiana’s Online Library <www.inspire.net>. One day last spring, I was introducing our sixth graders to Inspire and WorldCat. I typed in my last name as a demonstration, and found two new-to-me genealogical treasures. One was an Oral History Project tape at Indiana University, containing interviews with two of my father’s first cousins about teenage life during the Depression. The other was a reference to copies of two poems written by Heinrich Kuhlenschmidt in 1590s Germany. Since those of us researching the Kuhlenschmidt name have reached back only into the late 1600s, this was indeed an ancestral treasure. I’ve already obtained copies of the poems and have decided that the Kuhlenschmidt males’ love of reading/writing poetry at Christmas must be genetic!
If you haven’t tried WorldCat, give it a chance. You may not find the treasures I discovered, but then again, I had no idea what I’d turn up when I typed in my name as a class demonstration.
Your “Early Adopters” article in the February 2007 issue inspired me to find my great-grandfather’s oldest sister. She wasn’t an orphan, but for years she had been a mystery. I knew she was born in Prussia in 1833, immigrated with her family to Illinois in 1839, and appeared with them in the 1840 census. Then she totally disappeared from the record. But she was listed as an heir in her mother’s will in 1874, indicating she was still alive. So where was she? I had a photograph of an unidentified nun — could that be her?
A few months ago, I searched for her name on Ancestry.com <Ancestry.com > and got a hit in the 1880 census: a woman of her name, age and ethnic background was listed as Mother Superior at St. Mary’s Orphan Asylum in Binghamton, NY. I used the advice and links in your article to seek more information and eventually discovered the religious order that staffed St. Mary’s.
A visit to the order’s Web site gave me the e-mail address of its archivist. She confirmed my great-great-aunt had joined the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in 1850 and served missions in schools and orphanages in Missouri, Minnesota, New York and Illinois until her death from typhoid in 1887.
Your February 2007 article “Ties That Bind” – which posed the question: Is there a monopoly in genealogy? – was interesting. I feel the answer is yes and then some.
For many years, I’ve used Family Tree Maker <familytreemaker.com> (now owned by Ancestry.com parent company The Generations Network), and currently have version 16 with 6,000-plus names in my database. All of this data is from reliable sources and documented. None has been taken from Family Tree Maker CDs.
When new to the hobby, I submitted a small family file to Family Tree Maker. Upon reflection, I later decided that such a course was not desirable because:
Family Tree Maker is a good vehicle for many people to get started and grow in the hobby. But my experience suggests that the company does not respond well to questions, or at all. Further, while a profit needs to be made and costs addressed for such an enterprise, I feel Ancestry.com’s efforts to monopolize ultimately hurt the industry.
Every time I open Family Tree Maker, I am warned that the program wants to access the Internet. Generally, I don’t allow this because I know it won’t take long for Ancestry.com to nag me about data it has connecting to my files.
As soon as I am able to prepare my files for a transfer, my intention is to switch to RootsMagic <rootsmagic.com>. I hope I can count on it to remain independent – or am I too late?
C. Christopher Sirr
Editor’s note: RootsMagic is indeed owned and operated independently from The Generations Network. Your can read others’ views on this subject – and share your own – in our Hot Topics Forum <www.familytreemagazine.com/forum>.
From the November 2007 issue of Family Tree Magazine.