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The Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library Family Tree
The Family Tree - April/May 2003
Wee Snippets (4)


Everybody knew but us!
It was The City of Chattanooga Pipe Band!
In the last issue of The Family Tree, we had a photograph of a very handsome pipe band...but did not know who they were!
We had answers from Norman Livermore, Watt Alexander, Anne Armstrong and Angela Barclay Arnold!
Ms. Arnold wrote, "That is the City of Chattanooga Pipe Band headed by Pipe Major Russ Spaulding.  The band's highest ranked player is 17-year-old Joseph Simpson, a Grade II competitor.  Young Joe has played for our local Burns Dinner twice and has impressed everyone with his talent."
She continued, "The band competes at the Grade V level and has two first places finishes to its credit - the Alabama Games and the Kentucky Scottish Weekend at Carrollton, Kentucky."
Anne Armstrong wrote, "...that is the City of Chattanooga Pipe Band, a relatively new group that is doing quite well.  They were recently upgraded to Grade IV.  On the left in the sunglasses is Brad Collins, a nigh school senior and to Brad's left is Roger McCullough, who hasn't seen the inside of a high school in many, many years.  They both live in Cleveland, Tennessee and used to play with our band, the Knoxville Pipes and Drums.  Cleveland is 70 miles from Knoxville and only 30 from Chattanooga, so it makes sense that they choose to travel the shorter distance."
Norman Livermore wrote, "They are one of the up and coming Grade IV bands!"
And all of this has sparked an idea...
Writing this, all awake and fresh at 5:28 AM on a Saturday morning, your editor had an idea!
Why not feature pipe bands in The Family Tree?  There are so many folks who work so very hard and who accomplish wondrous things with our pipes and pipes and drums, it will be fun learning more about them!
So, if you are in a pipe band or know of a pipe band and the details about it...please send a good, clear photograph and a little story about the group and we'll print it in the print edition of The Family Tree.  We'll also put it up on the Internet in a section we'll call (not very creatively) Pipe Bands (or maybe will have inspiration to think of something clever)...and keep on adding to the photos and stories at that place.  In awhile, we'll have a pretty good directory of the pipe bands we all love so much!
Be sure and include contact information for the group so that Highland Games and events will know how to contact the bands.

Can anyone help Jim Hardin?
Jim Hardin, PO Box 99901, AJ-1593, Pittsburgh, PA 15233 writes, "I am incarcerated.  For the last 2 years I have been working on tracing my maternal family (Carcaiso/Carcaise) tree.  The odds are almost insurmountable from here.  I have no access whatsoever to the Internet, research libraries, very limited telephone usage and lack of monies to hire a professional genealogist to help me.  Despite all these setbacks, I've had very good success to date thanks to the untiring and unselfish research that volunteer genealogists have provided to me pro-bono.  They're a true godsend to me!  I have exhausted what I can do locally and need the help of a volunteer who lives near the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.  I need records researched there.  Is it possible that there is a volunteer there that would be willing to help me?  I could give them a stipend of $50 - $100.  The records I need researched are in Naples, Italy, but available on file at the FHL in Salt Lake City."

Patricia MacDonald Phillips, a long time and active member of Clan Donald USA, wife of Robert J. Phillips of Clan MacNachtan, passed away in early February 2003 after a valiant struggle against Endometrial Cancer.  They have been active members of the St. Andrew Society of Southern California as well as CDUSA and Clan MacNachtan. 

Legislature increases certified copy fees in California
Effective this last January, the State Legislature of California added $2 to existing certified copy fees for birth and death certificates.
The cost to get a certified copy of a birth record from the Los Angeles County Registrar - Recorder/County Clerk's office is now $18 and the cost for a death record is $13, officials said.
Of the increased fee, 35 cents will be kept at the local level to defray costs to develop security measures to protect against fraudulent use of birth and death records.  The remainder of the increase, $1.65 will be forwarded to the state registrar to fund a statewide database.
For information on how to get a copy of records, call 562-462-2137.  For information on the fee increase, call 562-462-2081.

Are you Melungeon?  I think I am!
There's a great 2-page article in the recent Smoky Mountain Historical Society Journal and Newsletter about Melungeons, entitled Melungeons in General.
If you would like a copy, please send us a SASE along with a note telling us what you wish for us to send to you.  (The Family Tree, PO Box 2828, Moultrie, GA 31776-2828)
In my own case, it's my hair that is my genetic link!  If you know me at all, you know that my hair is baby fine and silky...and will NOT curl and pins and barrettes sliiidddeee out!  Hats fall off!  Under a microscope, each hair is flat, not round.  A physician once told me that you can only have hair like this if you are of either Native American or Asian ancestry. The color doesn't matter and it can be any color (in my case dishwater blonde/rat brown).  I can find neither Native American nor Asian traces in my genealogy - at least in what I have found in a lifetime of searching.
However, in my father's family are many common Melungeon names: Howell, Clemmons/Clements, Gibson/Gipson, Hendrix, Atkins, etc.  They come from the right places, too.  My parents were divorced when I was less than 2-years old, but my mother always told me my father was "Indian" and that his mother was "full-blooded."  When I asked my father about it years later, he said, "No, we are not Indian, we are Spanish."
My research tells me I am neither, but both - Melungeon.  Your ed.

Online Welsh course may be offered
The Madog Center for Welsh Studies at the University of Rio Grande is considering offering an online Welsh course if enough demand for the course exists.
The Welsh Language spoken in Wales is the oldest living language in Europe.  It developed from its mother tongue, "Brythoneg" (British) in the 6th century AD.  It is spoken today in Wales by at least 20% of the population.
When the Welsh came to America, they brought with them their language and customs.  The Gymanfa and the Eisteddfod are still alive today!
However, the Welsh language has not fared so well. If you are interested in a Welsh language course online, please go to
www.rio.edu/madog/onlinecourse.htm or write Madog Center, F-40, PO Box 500, Rio Grande, OH 45674-0500.

What to do about "family secrets..."
John McCoy in Questing Heirs Genealogical Society Newsletter Presidents Column Family secrets are a potential mine field to family researchers.  As genealogists, we want to tell the truth that we have worked so hard to uncover, but we also have no desire to alienate our families.  Family history is supposed to be a positive force.  Thus, we are sometimes faced with difficult decisions and must be guided by ethical considerations.
Discussions of ethics for genealogists, unfortunately, are usually limited to a sort of "Genealogist's Creed," something to the effect that "I will tell the whole truth all of the time and always cite my sources when I plagiarize the work of others."  That's fine, as far as it goes, but it entirely ducks the problem of which family secrets should be revealed and which should remain hidden.
For that, we have to think carefully!  Our discussion at a recent meeting was based on two resources.  First, I highly recommend a little book by the well-known philosopher Sissela Bok, Secrets (1982). Secrecy, it turns out, is part of everyday life and it is widely abused.  In the name of "privacy" for example, a school bus driver might conceal a dangerous heart condition, even though keeping this secret places children at risk. 
We understand that there are limits on secrecy, when the secret may cause harm to others.
A particularly subversive kind of secret is illustrated by the situation where a mother tells her child that she intends to leave her husband, but requires the child not to tell his father.  The more he keeps the secret, the more disloyal he feels.
We recognize that keeping a secret may be every bit as destructive as revealing it.  Examples such as these show that there are many dimensions to secrecy.
The second resource for our discussion was the collective experience of our members.  Questing Heirs is fortunate to have many members who have lived long and complicated lives.  Some have the experience of family secrets in their own lives.  When our members explain from personal experience what it is like to be told as a child that their parents were not their real parents, their perspective on these situations carries great weight.  Likewise, the feeling that it is usually not harmful to reveal secrets of generations long dead, but potentially very harmful when participants or their children are still living and consider the matter sensitive. 
I would almost go so far as to recommend that genealogists not attempt a book that traces a family into modern times until they have reached retirement age.  It may take many years to develop sufficient "discretion" - that is, the ability to determined which things should be said and which should not be - in relating the story of a family.
While waiting for our sense of discretion to develop, however, I think we need to pay attention to the possibly conflicting interests that might attend the writing of a family history.
" How do I now I have the whole story and that no one's motives or character has been misrepresented?
" Is the secret something that would ordinarily be considered private, or is there some overriding  aspect that gives it significance beyond the immediate family?
" Is the secret causing harm to anyone?  Is it keeping someone from making important decisions?  Does it involve people against their will, or who can't speak for themselves (such as children)?
" Would revealing the secret cause harm to anyone?
" Would anyone benefit if it were revealed?  Can the participants in the secret cope with the consequences of revelation?
" How much of the secret is already in the public record?
" For purposes of family history, is it necessary to reveal the secret? Would the significance of someone's life be better summed up by concentrating on other facets of his or her life?
" Has anyone been coerced of manipulated to keep the secret?
" How would I feel if this story were printed about me?
" Who am I to reveal the truth?  Am I trying to reveal the secret in order to get back at someone?  Are my own motives above reproach?
Family secrets, both good and bad, are part of the reason that we do genealogy.  But, we have a responsibility to use our findings wisely.


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