Making Connections: The Wave, German Research, State Guides

By Family Tree Editors Premium

Catching the Wave

On page 30 of the December 2006 issue, Diane Haddad notes, “no one knows who started the first wave at a sporting event.” This is not true. The wave was invented by well-known sports fan “Krazy George” Henderson Oct. 15, 1981, at the Oakland A’s-New York Yankees baseball playoff game in Oakland-Alameda County Stadium. The Oakland A’s have even created commemorative cups noting the day Krazy George created the wave. It’s somewhat a source of pride in the Bay Area that the wave started here and has become a worldwide phenomenon at sporting events.

Scott Aaron
Newark, Calif.

I enjoyed reading Diane Haddad’s “A Different Drummer” in the December 2006 issue. She mentioned that no one knew who started the fist wave. Well, it was at the University of Washington’s Halloween football game vs. Stanford, Oct. 31, 1981. Band director Bill Bissell and cheerleader Robb Weller put it together. According to my husband, who was at the game, Weller had the student section stand up, first row by row, then side to side. After doing this several times with just the student section, the other fans spontaneously joined in, and away it went. The crowd was awestruck for a few minutes, then Weller started it up again. The wave was born — and the Washington Huskies won 42-31! Thanks for a great magazine.

Lisa Wood
via e-mail

Editor’s note: As it turns out, there’s quite a debate over who started this tradition. You can read more about the wave’s disputed origins at <>.

Ethnic Enlightenment

I was pleased to see the article “Out of Bounds” by James M. Beidler in the December 2006 issue. He covered a little-known and complex area of genealogy research for those tracing their German roots. But the Toolkit omitted an excellent and extensive Web site dedicated to informing and helping Donauschwaben descendants in their search for their German family roots.

Donauschwaben Villages Helping Hands <> provides information and research help on the six areas of Donauschwaben settlement: the Banat, Batschka, Syrmia, Slavonia, Swabian Turkey, the Hungarian Highlands and Sathmar. The site offers history, culture, maps, village pages with photos, personal stories, research volunteers, links and more.

I stumbled on this site in 2004 armed only with my grandparents’ names, their village name and a lot of confusion about whether they were German or Hungarian. I had never heard the term Donauschwaben. Now, thanks to this Web site and the many contacts I’ve made through it, I’ve traced my mother’s family from modern-day Serbia (or the Donauschwaben Batschka) back to the 1400s in Baden-Württemburg.

Beth Tolfree
via e-mail

I couldn’t believe your “Out of Bounds” article about ethnic Germans. I have been trying to trace my paternal grandparents and great-grandparents for a few years now. My grandmother was the only living grandparent when I was born, and she always said we were German. I had suspected there might be some Austrian in us, since she was born in 1888 when it was still the German Empire. When I came across her and my grandfather’s Ellis Island records, I discovered they considered themselves German-Hungarian and had emigrated from a town called Anina in the Banat region of Romania. But I didn’t know how they got there or why they were there. Now this article has opened up some new avenues for me to explore — and maybe find out the heritage of this family.

Denise Schreiber

Hawkeye Hints

I really liked your Iowa State Research Guide. When I go back to Iowa — where I was born — I can visit the graves of all four grandparents, all eight great-grandparents and six great-great-grandparents. I know at least two more of my great-great-grandparents are buried there, and I’m still looking for them.

It’s important for genealogists researching Iowa records to know Iowa death certificates can be especially useful. Starting in July 1904, Iowa required the names of the deceased’s parents be listed on death certificates. One of my great-grandmothers, Mary Dougherty McKenna, was born in County Sligo, Ireland, April 15, 1825, and died March 27, 1907, in Iowa. Through her death certificate, I learned her parents were Hugh Dougherty and Kate Conlin. I haven’t found that vital piece of information in any other source, and I hope it will enable me to find their place of origin in County Sligo.

Thomas P. McKenna
Montpelier, Vt.

Your Iowa State Research Guide was very well-done. I’d like to recommend a most complete regional source: the Genealogical Society of Linn County in Cedar Rapids (319-369-0022, <>). I had the privilege of spending the large part of a day there and found just what I was looking for: The society’s library had vital statistics and land maps for the family I was researching. It should be added to your list.

Morgan Henika
via e-mail

A Peachy Development

Thank you for mentioning the Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library in your Georgia State Research Guide (December 2006). The library is no longer associated with Electric Scotland <>; we’re in the process of developing our own Web site at <>.

The Odom Library is undergoing a renovation and expansion of its physical facilities, which will allow the library to have more of its holdings readily available for patrons, as well as wireless Internet connectivity and more working space. We will continue to support the 135 Scottish clans who house their materials with us, expand our veterans project, and increase our extensive holdings representing the Southeast United States.

At the same time, we have published our own Web site. The genealogy portion is now being developed, and will, of course, be an ongoing project. We welcome suggestions for making our online presence a viable resource for genealogists.

Aileen McNair
Webmaster and Library Information Specialist, Moultrie-Colquitt County Library, Moultrie, Ga.

Great Scot!

In September, we exchanged e-mails in regard to the photograph on the front cover of A Genealogist’s Guide to Discovering your Scottish Ancestors by Linda Jonas and Paul Milner (Betterway Books), which features four members of my family-including my mother.

I am very pleased to report that as a consequence of your help, I have now been successful in my search for the person who provided it to you. He lives in Kentucky, and it turns out that h s grandmother and mine were sisters, making us second cousins. We are now exchanging family history background, which hopefully will fill in many of the gaps in our respective genealogy records.

My purpose in writing is to advise you of my success and to thank you for providing the initial spark that ignited my research.

Arthur Mill
Cairns, Queensland, Australia


The family tree chart pictured on the cover of our February 2007 issue is Tony Matthews’ five-generation Sentinel Rose design. It’s available from Paper Tree <>.

In our February 2007 issue, we highlighted Bryan Sykes’ book Blood of the Isles (Oxford Ancestors). Since that issue went to press, W.W. Norton & Co. has released a US edition of the book: It’s titled Saxons, Vikings, and Celts: The Genetic Roots of Britain and Ireland.
From the May 2007 issue of Family Tree Magazine