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The Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library Family Tree
The Family Tree - April/May 2004
Wee Snippets (4)

Bye bye microfilm!
The following article is from Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter and is c 2001 by Richard W. Eastman. It is re-published here with the permission of the author.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons) has had teams of members who travel the globe to take microfilm images of records that have genealogy interest since the late 1930s. The Family History Library in Salt Lake City now has millions of microfilm reels in stock for use by anyone who wishes to visit the library.
With this huge investment already made in microfilm, you might expect the LDS Church to continue its use forever. That's not true, according to Wayne Metcalf, the Director of Acquisitions for the church. In fact, the LDS Church is moving to digital imaging. The focus now is shifting from microfilm to making digital images onsite. The teams will use a laptop PC and a scanner. One pilot project in Texas has already been completed, and another one overseas is about to begin. If successful, these pilot projects should lead to an all-digital data acquisition process for future efforts.
The reasons for this change are both technological and economic. First, microfilms have not had the longevity that many expected. The original microfilms used in the late 1930s and for a decade or two after were found to emit a flammable gas as they aged. Spontaneous combustion was a real possibility. For safety reasons, the older microfilms were copied to the newer acetate microfilms expected to last 100 years or so. However, experience has shown that the films become brittle within a decade or two.
Another reason is the rapidly increasing expense of microfilm cameras. As technology has moved from microfilm to digital images, the companies that manufactured the cameras found their sales dropping to near zero and have stopped manufacturing the cameras for this obsolete technology.
Finally, moving these cameras around the world and making microfilms is expensive. The cameras are bulky and require a lot of money and effort to ship to the far corners of the world.
Contrast this with digital imaging. All that is needed is a digital scanner and a laptop PC.
A "film" crew can create images for a week and then "burn" a half-ounce DVD disk with the image files, then send the disk by air mail to Salt Lake City or possibly transfer the files across the Internet if a high-speed connection is available.
Another benefit is that the onsite filming crew can handle the cataloging, instead of tasking a cataloging group in Salt Lake City. Once the images are available in a digital format, all sorts of possibilities become available. Images can be stored on CD-ROM or DVD disks, or placed online for viewing over the Internet.
The LDS Church is watching this technology closely and is testing several possibilities. Apparently no final decisions about distribution have been made yet. Digital imaging ensures that future generations can have the same access that you and I enjoy.
So what about the ten million-plus microfilms already in stock? The easy answer is to "convert them to digital images." Indeed, the LDS Church plans to do this whenever possible. However, studies have shown that about one-third of today's microfilms are not suitable for digital conversion. In such cases, the only recourse is to go back to the original location and re-image the documents in digital media. In fact, the LDS Church does hope to revisit many archives and make new images, using digital scanners. However, this expensive process will require many years to complete.
As a result of all the above considerations, you can expect that genealogists will still be cranking microfilm readers for many years to come. We can expect to see a "blended solution" for many years: some records will be available only on microfilm while others will be in digital format only. A few records may be available in both formats. Yes, we will have an all-digital solution some day. The LDS Church officials are not making any time-frame predictions, but I am guessing that microfilm will still be here for another decade, possibly two decades, with digital images slowly becoming more and more common during that time.

New officers announced for Clan Montgomery Society International
The Clan Montgomery Society International met at its Annual General Meeting at Albany, New York, August 29, 2003, in conjunction with the Altamont, New York, Highland Games at which they were the Honored Clan. At the meeting, besides other business, the Society installed new officers for a three-year term.
At the meeting it was announced that Lord Hugh and Lady Carol Montgomerie were the proud parents of Helena Evelyn Grace Montgomerie who was born in Nashville, Tennessee that morning. She was the newest member.
That night the Society received recognition as the Clan with the most members, 54, at the annual dinner given by the Ladies of the Eastern Star at the Altamont Masonic Hall. This was the third time the Society received this recognition.

Smallpox from the past found in envelope
The following article is from Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter and is c 2001 by Richard W. Eastman. It is re-published here with the permission of the author.
Smallpox killed millions before being exterminated. These days, researchers are no longer able to study the disease that was eradicated a generation ago. However, it has returned to public consciousness as a potentially devastating weapon for bioterrorists.
Librarian Susanne Caro recently was leafing through an 1888 book on Civil War medicine when she spied a small, yellowed envelope tucked between the pages. Freeing it, she read the inscription, "scabs from vaccination of W. B. Yarrington's children" in thecorner, with the signature "Dr. W. D. Kelly," the book's author. She elected to not open it, but she did contact authorities. Now the envelope rests in a freezer at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, awaiting a battery of tests. Researchers are excited about the possibilities of new research on old germs.
You can read more about this fascinating story at the Washington Post website at
From the Whittier Area Genealogical Society (WAGS) Newsletter, PO Box 4367, Los Angeles County, Whittier, California 90607-4367.

1890 census fragments are very useful today!
We should not forget the 6,160 names that did survive the fire are from Alabama, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, South Dakota and Texas. They are indexed on M496, two rolls and filmed on M407 on three rolls.
>From the Whittier Area Genealogical Society (WAGS) Newsletter, PO Box 4367, Los Angeles County, Whittier, California 90607-4367.

Are you related to DR. CHARLES MacKAY? He was born at Perth in 1814. He died December 24, 1890. He and his first wife, ROSE HENRIETTE VALE, had three children: CHARLES BRUCE, ROBERT and ERIC. He had another child, MARY MacKAY, known by MARIE CORELLI. If you have any information, please contact Diane Willmot, 3716 La Crescenta Avenue, Glendale, California 91214.

Seeking first wife of CYRUS FOSTER of Nunda, New York, who was mother of AMANDA FOSTER, born September 29, 1814, and parents of CYRUS FOSTER. Seeking parents of ANNA ADAMS who wed RUFUS FISH in Royalton, Vermont, c.1799 before they moved to Great Bend, Pennsylvania. Seeking parents of REBECCA BROOKS who wed OBADIAH JOHNSON in Canterbury, Connecticut in 1696. Seeking parents of SARAH JENKINS who wed HENRY TAYLOR in Ponfret, Connecticut on August 27, 1730. Seeking parents of CAROLINE NASH of Boston (b.1891) who wed THEODORE REESE of New York City c.1903. If you have any information, please contact Bud Reese, 7813 Farrell Drive, Amarillo, Texas 79121.

All roads lead to Frankfort for the 31st KY Genealogical Society's seminar
On August 7, 2004 the Kentucky Genealogical Society's 31st annual seminar will be held in Frankfort, Kentucky. Titled Back Home to Virginia, the seminar will provide sources to researchers for finding ancestors in Virginia. The event will be held at the Kentucky History Center at 100 West Broadway in Frankfort.
Distinguished speaker for the seminar will be Barbara Vines Little. Her topics will include Virginia Military Records: Colonial Wars, Militia and Revolutionary War; The Virginia Frontier: Little Known Sources; Piedmont Virginia Migrations: Sources and Evidence; and Born in Virginia: How Do I Find Him?
Registration and browsing will be from 8 AM until 8:45 AM. The speaker will begin at 9 AM with the seminar ending after a 4 PM question and answer session.
For reservation and/or exhibitor information, call Roberta Peake Padgett at 502-223-7541 or e-mailing her at

Dean & Creech Reunion
The Dean & Creech Reunion will be held September 5, 2004 in Morehead, Kentucky 40351. For more information, call Lloyd Dean, co-director, at 606-784-9145, or write to him at 6770 US Highway 60 E, Morehead, Kentucky 40351.

Clan MacLellan Immersion Weekend is planned for July
Clan MacLellan will hold its first immersion weekend in conjunction with its annual general meeting from July 22nd through the 25th 2004 in Springfield, Virginia.
Opening ceremonies will start the immersion weekend on Friday evening, followed by dinner, the president's summation of the annual board meeting and election of officers. The guest speaker for the evening will be Richard Torrance of Edinburgh, Scotland, who will speak on the Ulster MacLellans.
Saturday will be given over to a full day of lectures, with such topics as MacLellan history, genealogy, art and architecture of Charles Rennie MacKintosh, the life and literature of Robert Burns, and more.
After sitting all day, what better way to exercise those tired muscles than to dance and sing at a Celtic Ceilidh. There will be Scottish Country dancing along with Ceilidh dancing, Irish fiddling and step dancing. Music will be furnished by Scottish, Irish and our own MacLellan pipers. Instructors will be on hand to help you through your dance steps. There will also be a raffle with some very interesting items.
For more information, please contact Dick McClellan, immersion coordinator at 703-455-4321 or email at

National Tartan Day celebration set for Sarasota
At 3:00 PM on April 6, 2004 in Sarasota, Florida, a reenactment of the arrival of the first Scots in the city will be held. It is to honor the first Scottish settlers who arrived in here in 1885.
A ceremony will be held at the historical marker where they actually landed, at the foot of Main Street and Gulfstream Avenue in Sarasota. (The water had originally gone back to that exact point. It has since been filled in to create The Tamiami Trail).
The public is invited to join Sarasota's public officials, pipers and twenty Boy Scouts (in kilts) invited from Dunfermline, Scotland (Sarasota's sister city) to help us celebrate the event.
An authentic Scottish Ceilidh will follow in the evening, beginning at 6:00 PM at the Sahib Temple at 600 North Beneva Road in Sarasota. This part of the celebration will consist of a social hour, dinner and Scottish entertainment, which will include dancing.
The well known Ceilidh group, the Brigadoons, will be traveling here from Nova Scotia to provide the music for the evening.
In addition we will be honored by the presence of the world famous duo, the Renfroe's, Lorraine Murphy-Renfroe and Doug Renfrow, who have performed throughout Europe and the United States. Most recently they have been in concert at Carnegie Hall in Dunfermline, Scotland and at the Edinburgh, Scotland Music Festival. It will be a fun filled event.
The event is being sponsored by the Scottish Groups in the Sarasota Area. Ron Kemp, president of the Caledonian Club, is heading the Tartan Day Committee, which includes members from The St. Andrew Society, The Daughters of Scotia, and The Scottish Heritage Society.
This event will be open to the public and tickets will be available at many area locations, or you may call 941-755-5052.

Clan Shaw Society elects trustees
The membership of the Clan Shaw Society has elected two additional members to its Board of Trustees.
One, Mr. Edward J. Fisher of Alexandria, Virginia was one of the founders of the society twenty years ago, and was its first vice-president. He is also a member of a number of other Scottish-American and related groups.
The second is Mrs. Arthur F. (Nell) Smith of Jackson, Mississippi. She was one of the earliest members of the society, and has long been a convener for the organization for her state. She has long been an active member of numerous American and Scottish-American patriotic organizations.
Information on the Clan Shaw Society may be obtained from the secretary, William C. Shaw, 1121 North Quail Lane, Gilbert, Arizona 85233.

Mini-Grandfather Mountain Highland Games held by sixth grade students at MacRae Meadows
Royce Neil McNeill
It was October 23, 2003 on MacRae meadows, but it looked like July at the famous Grandfather Mountain Highland Games. Sixth graders from all over Avery county came together on the meadows for the First Annual Mini-Highland Games.
Several hundred students converged on the meadows dressed out in their Tartan attire that they themselves had made during the period beginning back in August. The sixth graders participated in events supervised by their teachers, parents and volunteer workers of the Grandfather games, such as tossing of the sheath, caber toss, putting of the stone, the girls and boys 100 and 200 yard dash, sack races, three legged race and the "cub", a one mile race.
The outing was such a hit with students, teachers and parents that Avery County School officials plan to make it an annual school event.
Sixth grade teachers worked together from Cranberry, Avery Middle, and Beech Mountain schools to plan the big event and they were helped by Grandfather Mountain Game officials Frank Vance and Levin Suddreth.
Vance talked with Grandfather Mountain and MacRae meadows owner, Hugh Morton, who wholeheartedly agreed to have the games take place on MacRae meadows.
All of the schools involved are A+ schools which promote arts in education. The A+ school coordinators were a big help with the arts section of the games that included highland dancing, Scottish music, banners, flags, kilts, and sashes that the students made.
Grandfather Mountain Highland Games official Frank Vance had earlier gone to the schools and talked to the students about why their ancestors came to this country from Scotland and settled in the mountains, and how the games came into being. The students then did research on their family names, clans and decided to make their tartan attire, flags, clan names and mottoes.
The games began with a torch light ceremony and a parade of tartans with several officials of the Grandfather Mountain games as guest of honor. Grandfather games general manager Frank Vance addressed the large group of students as he opened the games by saying "Like our ancestors of old, let us celebrate our heritage by competing like them in games of strength and swiftness. And like them, let us give our best as we remember our heritage."
The students, teachers and volunteers were all treated to a good barbecue and hot dog lunch with all the trimmings. As the last student boarded the bus back to school, you could hear most students humming "Scotland the Brave" and others saying "I sure am proud of my heritage."

Looking for Scottish weekend information
Rose Ward is looking for information on Scottish weekends in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania or Rockland County, New York.
She wants details on how to attend and what it is about. Contact Rose Ward, 3 Gandy Lane, New York City, New York 10956.

Are you looking for Hispanic ancestors?
If you are searching for information on Hispanic ancestors, The Genealogical Society of Hispanic America may be able to help you.
Contact PO Box 2472, Santa Fe Springs, California 90670-0472.

Interested in Cornish ancestry?
Those interested in more information about their Cornish relatives, may be able to get some help from the North Texas Cornish Society. To join the Society or for more information, contact Larry Howser, 2910 Vineyard Drive, Arlington, Texas 76015-2027.

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