Thursday, May 22, 2008

World War II Records... has allowed temporary (May 20-30) free access to the World War II military records on their site: You will have to register to view any of the records.

Coverage is not 100% complete, I could find my father-in-law and his uncle, but could not find my own father or my great-uncle. But remember, many of the U.S. military service records from this time period were destroyed in a fire in the 1970s.

Enjoy them while you can!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Serendipity in genealogy...

Liz Barr, one of Medina's pages, found some old papers in a book in the Medina Friends' booksale. The papers were dated Apr. 22, 1926 and appear to be an English Literature
composition and were signed by Donald Bittner.

I checked the Medina phone book and found about half a dozen Bittner's listed. But Bill Bittner, now retired, was for many years, MCDL's insurance representative. I called and left a message on his voice mail about the papers and asked if he knew of Donald Bittner.

Today I found a phone message for me that says Donald Bittner was Bill's father and he will be thrilled to have the papers!! A strange string of events will help connect a son to his father's past!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Genealogy is everywhere!!!

Recently, while visiting colleges with my daughter, we had the opportunity to view the archives at Denison University. Family history states that my great great grandfather Daniel Kinikin attended Denison back in the 1850's when it was still Granville College. Surprisingly, we didn't have to don white cotton gloves, hand over our purses or wear medical masks upon entering the archives. When I asked for the student lists for that time period, I was handed a thick bound book and told where I could make photocopies. Make the copies myself?? Que Horror!!

The book covered the years 1833 through 1879. Each of the little Commencement Programs, consisting of about 15 very frail pages each, had been bound together in this one book. Besides the graduating classes, they listed every student that attended.
We started with the year 1855 since Daniel was supposed to have attended before the Civil War started. Luckily, Kinikin is not a common name. In fact, I can safely say that anyone with the name Kinikin is a relative.

The class lists were divided into graduating students, Classical Students and English Students. The archivist explained that the college had a prepatory school that got the students ready for the more rigorous Classical studies. These were called the English students, as in, similar to the education a secondary student in England would have.

It was in these English Students that we found a match. Not to Daniel Kinikin, but to James Kinikin. He attended in 1857 and 1858. After his name in the 1858 program was an asterisk. A note at the bottom of the page indicated that James was deceased. As these programs were printed for the commencement exercises, it meant that James had died during the school year.
We made our copies of the information, not sure how it would fit into the family tree, but knowing it would somehow.

We continued looking through the lists, but never did find Daniel Kinikin listed. When we got home, a search of my genealogy files found James. He was Daniel's older brother. As Ohio did not require death certificates to be filed until 1867 and tombstones from that time period often don't survive until the present, we had stumbled upon the only written evidence of what had happened to James Kinikin.

How did James Kinikin's scholastic record get attributed to Daniel Kinikin?? We may never know. My daughter says that Daniel DID go to Granville. Undoubtedly to visit his brother James!