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The Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library Family Tree
The Family Tree - August/September 2004
Wee Snippets (3)


Admire-Legan Reunion invites you
The 19th Admire-Legan Reunion will be held at the Seasons Lodge and Conference Center in Nashville, Indiana. Hosts for the event are Edna and Jerry Derringer, and Bob and Carol Legan.  T-shirt information can be obtained from Carol Legan Anderson at 618-442-5447.  The conference center’s address is PO Box 187, Nashville, Indiana 47448, phone number 800-365-7327.

John “Jack” McMasters died Saturday, May 1, 2004 of heart failure following complications from a head injury suffered in a fall at his home in Pitcairn, Pennsylvania.  Of Scottish, Irish and Swedish descent, Jack was active in the Clan Buchanan Society International for the past 15 years, serving as Regent of Western Pennsylvania.  He served as convener for games in Oakland, Maryland and Ligonier, Pennsylvania. Jack was well-known as a volunteer.  His participation included Scouts, hospitals, Rainbow Girls and DeMolay International.  He will be missed by family and the Clan Buchanan Society International, as well as all the groups who received his services.

Carl Peterson’s new book is released and is available
Dream Catching Publishing, Inc., owned and run by Dwan Guthrie Hightower of Clan Guthrie, is proud to announce the release of Carl Peterson’s new book, Now’s the Day and Now’s the Hour.  It is a brief history of how Scotland remembers the Alamo.  With poems, verses, songs, lyrics and musical scores of the music popular at that time and played at the Alamo. This intriguing Scottish insight into the battle at the Alamo gives a completely and historically accurate look at the men who fought and died at the Alamo.  The book can be purchased from Dream Catcher Publishing by calling 888-771-2800 or 850-647-3637, or at <www.DreamCatcherPublishing.net> or <Amazon.com>, or at all fine book stores.

Creative clan tent winners at Blairsville, Georgia games are announced
Winner of the Best Clan Tent at the new Blairsville Scottish Festival went to Clan Colquhoun.  First place wins $100.00, a Clan engraved box of a decanter and four glasses, a copy of Burke’s Scottish Volume and a one year’s subscription to their database and monthly magazine, their photo on Electric Scotland, and their entry into the “Best of Best $1,000 Competition.” Second place winner was Clan Donnachaidh with third place going to Clan Donald.  Both Clans win a years Burke’s Peerage Online Subscription.

Twas another bonnie evening of conviviality and comradeship at which a devoted group of Scots and Scottish Americans gathered to honor their proud heritage and remarkable achievements, as well as to enjoy the annual reception of The Living Legacy of Scotland on Saturday, the 22nd of May.  Held at the James Monroe House, a national historic landmark and home of the Arts Club of Washington, DC, the featured speaker was the noted news analyst Evan Thomas, author of John Paul Jones: Sailor, Hero, Father of the American Navy, the bestseller chronicling the Scotsman-turned-American hero’s life.
Enlivened with stirring bagpipe tunes, colorful kilts, tartans, and Highland dress, the welcoming social hour featured a display of written and visual exhibits depicting notable Scots, a renewal of friendships, and stimulating wide-ranging conversation about travels to Scotland, local Scottish events, and Legacy projects.

The spirit of good fellowship continued through dinner and thereafter with a stimulating program.  Following an introduction by Dr. Brian B. Turner, master of ceremonies; welcoming remarks by the Legacy president, Anne Robertson Kennedy; Dr. Judith Walton, Scottish Literary Forum Chair, introduced Mr. Thomas, assistant editor of Newsweek magazine, television panelist, and author of five books.  His grandmother was a Scot, a Stuart, and the author was inspired at an early age about the American naval hero.

“Every officer in our navy should know by heart the deeds of John Paul Jones,” said President Theodore Roosevelt, April 24, 1906. In his highly readable book, the author vividly describes the hero’s early years in Scotland.  Born John Paul, son of a Scottish gardener and a Highlander mother, in 1747 at Arbigland, a spacious estate overlooking the Firth of Solway in Southwestern Scotland, he is pictured as an “eager, bossy boy.”

“On most days of his childhood, he could watch the great ships slipping down the firth to the Irish Sea beyond, bound for distant lands,” Thomas writes.  He went to sea at the age of thirteen, at first on brigs and then getting his own ships to become a “mythic figure.”  (He is commemorated in the nearby Kirbean Church by a font presented by the U.S. Navy.)

Described as “ruthless, indomitable, clever,” the “great American hero of the Age of Sail,” John Paul spent several years as a merchant shipper in the West Indies and, after an unfortunate accident, came to the Virginia Colony where in 1773, he added “Jones” to his name.  At the outbreak of the American Revolution, casting his lot with the rebels, John received a commission in the new American navy and, as a first lieutenant, was proud to hoist the American flag aboard the Alfred, his new ship.

A gifted speaker, Thomas recalled a gripping sea battle that, in his book, is a minute-by-minute description with fascinating details.  On an autumn night in 1779, Jones, commanding the Bonhomme Richard, engaged the British man-of-war Serapis off the coast of England in one of the world’s most famous naval actions.  Refusing to surrender after considerable losses, Jones is said to have shouted the immortal words, “I have not yet begun to fight!”  Jones won the battle and became a hero.

Thomas depicts Jones as the original self-made American man.  The book, “teaches us that it took fighters, as well as thinkers, men driven by dreams of personal glory, as well as high-minded principle, to break free of the past and start a new world.  Jones’s spirit was classically American.”

Although Jones died and was buried in Paris in 1792, his body was brought back to the United States and his elaborate tomb, beneath the chapel at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, is a national shrine.  “He gave our navy,” an inscription reads, “its earliest traditions of heroism and victory.”

The Living Legacy of Scotland, founded in March 2000 and incorporated in the District of Columbia as a nonprofit organization, has a dual purpose.  First, to preserve the rich heritage of people of Scottish birth or descent and the many contributions they have made to the United States and the world; and second, to ensure that this heritage remains a vital, living stimulus to future accomplishments.

To accomplish their goals, the Legacy is creating written and visual materials and mobile displays that can be distributed and presented in schools, museums, and libraries and at festivals and cultural events.  It also plans to participate in and support Scottish cultural activities, and, on occasion, organize Scottish evenings open to the public.

As an educational organization made up of a group of dedicated volunteers who give of their time to promote and extend the continuing development of Scottish history and culture, supporters are required.  For information about participation and donors, interested persons can write to PO Box 11445, Washington, DC, 20008.

John Paul Jones: Sailor, Hero, Father of the American Navy by Evan Thomas, published by Simon & Schuster, 2003 ($26.95).

Barnes and Noble offers a free online genealogy course
Barnes and Noble bookstore offers a number of free online courses.  A current one is a free online course in genealogy taught by Emily Croom.  The course is titled Unpuzzling Your Past: An Introduction to Genealogy and Family History.  The estimated completion time is 16 hours over four weeks.  You will have to register, which is free, in order to participate in the course.

The books that are needed to complete the course are Unpuzzling Your Past: A Basic Guide to Genealogy and The Unpuzzling Your Past Workbook: Essential Forms and Letters for All Genealogists, available at most libraries.  You can find this online genealogy course at  <http://www.barnesandnoble.com>.  On that page, click on B&N University near the top of the page.

Next you will see the B&N University page.  Click the link on the left hand side to browse all the available courses.  In the long list that appears, you will find the genealogy course well down on the right side.

Source:  Gulf Waves, quarterly news of the Gulf County Genealogical Society, PO Box 541, Port St. Joe, FL 32456.

A website regarding sailing vessels could float your boat!!!
If you know the name of a vessel that your ancestor sailed on to reach the United States, you can find more information about the vessel and perhaps gain new insights into your ancestor’s travels. 

The Palmer List of Merchant Vessels is an online database created by Michael P. Palmer.  Whereever possible, Palmer lists the name of vessel, its rigging, and its nationality.  In a few cases there are photographs available.  You can access the Palmer List of Merchant Vessels online at <http://www.geocities.com/mppraetorius>.

From Gulf Waves, quarterly news of the Gulf County Genealogical Society, PO Box 541, Port St. Joe, FL 32456.

You can use insurance records as a genealogical resource
So, you’ve combed the census, scrutinized the death certificates, and tromped the cemetery as well, but you’re still coming up dry.  Consider the possibility that perhaps your ancestor belonged to an organization that issued insurance policies to its membership.  Many organizations were formed for just that purpose.  They may have been established by a particular immigrant or ethnic group.  Modern Woodmen of America and Woodmen of the World were two organizations that were labor-related.

As an illustration, if your ancestor was a member of the Modern Woodmen of America, the Death Benefit insurance records of that organization could provide information, such as the date and cause of death and the member’s occupation.  The record might also include date and place of birth, nationality, family history, height, weight and beneficiary.  The years covered are 1884 through 1946.  The contact person is Gail Ann Levis at Modern Woodmen of America.  The information needed for the lookup would be the ancestor’s name, date of death and place of residence if known.  Call 309-786-6481 or email<[email protected]>.

Woodmen of the World was a different but similar association.  It was founded in 1883 to help the widows of its members.  Initially, a hat would be passed at the time of a member’s death and the money would be given to the widow.  As the organization grew and the hat system became unworkable, life insurance was sold to the members.  By 1900, Woodmen had over 200,000 members.  The society was organized into “camps” which held meetings and had rituals, educational and social activities.

Our thanks for this article goes to Appleland Bulletin, quarterly publication of Wenatchee Area Genealogical Society, PO Box 5280, Wenatchee, Washington 98807-5280.

World War II veterans are honored
In conjunction with the building of the National World War II Memorial, the American Battle Monuments Commission has established an online registry to honor the millions of American citizens who served in W.W. II. This registry is not just for veterans.  According to its website, “Any U.S. citizen who helped win the war, whether a veteran or someone on the home front, is eligible for the Registry.  Names in the Registry will be forever linked to the memorial’s bronze and granite representations of their sacrifice and achievement.”  Names can be submitted directly on the website.  The Memorial was dedicated May 29, 2004.  The website also shows a fine gallery of photos of the construction process at <www.WWIImemorial.com>.
Source: Appleland Bulletin, Wenatchee Area Genealogical Society, PO Box 5280, Wenatchee, Washington 98807-5280.

Are you looking for first families of St. Louis?
If your ancestor was in St. Louis between 1765 and 1865 and took part in the growth of that city during its first 100 years, you may be interested in a new lineage program:  First Families of  St. Louis.  Even if someone’s residence in the young city was very short, records may have been created and left behind.  The St. Louis Genealogical Society (SLGS) has created three categories:  Founding Families (1765-1804); Pioneer Families (1805-1821); and Immigrant Families (1822).  If you can prove that you are a straight-line descendant from an early St. Louis resident in one of these three categories, you may be eligible for inclusion.  The Society’s website explains the criteria and the application process.  Current membership in the SLGS is required of all applicants.  Visit <www.stlgs.org>.
From Appleland Bulletin, Wenatchee Area Genealogical Society, PO Box 5280, Wenatchee, Washington 98807-5280.


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