Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Sleigh Ride Follow-Up

On Dec. 16th, I posted about the Great Sleigh Ride of 1856, in which Medina County was declared the winner  and won a banner. Years later, the banner "disappeared." Some additional information has been discovered about the fate of the banner.

A 1964 Daily Leader Post article said that the banner was turned over to Summit County Board of Agriculture at the Centennial 4th of July Celebration in 1876. That story does not give a reason why Medina surrendered the flag to Summit County. However, a history of the Medina County Fair, tells a slightly different story.

In 1878, the Medina Fair moved from a smaller site to its present location between Lafayette and Smith Roads in Medina. One of the prizes given out at the fair that year was the Sleigh Banner, which was to go to the county that could bring the largest delegation to the Medina Fair. Summit County won and their Board of Agriculture took home the banner.

Summit County Fair Board, the descendant organization of the Summit County Board of Agriculture, is looking for anyone who knows what happened to the banner. Have you seen it??

A very entertaining account of the sleigh riding competitions of the winter of 1855-56, can be found on pages 75-85 of Those Were The Days by Charles Asa Post. Published in 1935, the main text is about the sleigh races that were routinely held on Euclid Avenue in Cleveland from the 1870s through 1910. But this one chapter is about the earlier competition.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Genealogy Television

The last 5 years has produced a boon in genealogy television shows.

Lisa Kudrow brought the British show  (WDYTYA) to the U.S. in 2010 and even after changing networks, that show is still going strong. I do love this show and its emphasis on documentation. I have issues with its heavy reliance on using, one of the sponsors of the shows. Also, jet-setting off to Europe to do research isn't available to most of us, and really isn't necessary to research your immigrant ancestors.  That scenario could be intimidating to a new genealogist. WDYTYA? will start airing new episodes on February 24th.

Another British import, Genealogy Roadshow, building on the popularity of Antiques Roadshow, as well as WDYTYA? and Finding Your Roots,  first went on the air in 2013. They try to cover a number of guests in a short period of time. I often feel there is more to the story that I am missing. It airs on Tuesday nights and is in the middle of its 2015 episodes.

Henry Louis Gates Jr., after hosting the HUGELY popular African American Lives and Faces of America, started hosting  Finding Your Roots in 2012. I love the scholarly air Professor Gates brings to the show. Also, the show doesn't try to pretend that the guest is doing any of the research themselves. And he brings genealogy DNA into the search.  It airs September- November.

All of these shows touch and educate me with every episode and I try not to miss a single one!

But not all genealogy shows find their audience. Thanks to streaming TV, and DVDs these now defunct shows are still available:

The Canadian show, Ancestors in the Attic only lasted its initial season in 2007. Flavored more like tabloid TV than a serious show, it promises to dig up the family secrets, find the dirt, and reveal if your ancestors were sinners or saints, royals or rogues. If you want to get a sample of the cheesy host, YouTube the episode on Sheila Nageira Pike.   I can see why it didn't last.

HBO's Family Tree, starring Chris Dowd, premiered and tanked in 2013. Being a fan of Chris Dowd, I had high hopes for Family Tree and ordered in the DVD set. Billed as a "mockumentary" the show was a parody of the other popular genealogy shows, particularly WDYTYA? It wasn't quite as funny as I hoped and I can only recommend it if you are a fan of Dowd.

Episodes of Who Do You Think You Are? Finding Your Roots, African American Lives, and Faces of America are available through the library.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Genealogy as Investigation

I have often thought that genealogy research has a lot in common with crime investigation. In both occupations, the "investigator" is searching for clues to the whereabouts and actions of people. In the case of genealogy research, most of the people are long dead and the records can be mislaid or destroyed. But many of the same principles apply.

Barry J. Ewell, in his 10 Jan. 2015 newsletter, is comparing Sherlock Holme's investigative techniques to genealogy research. Check it out below:

And as a genealogist do you also like reading mysteries, watching crime dramas, and solving puzzles?? I do! List some of your favorite investigative activities below:

Monday, January 5, 2015

Genealogy New Year's Resolutions

With the New Year comes the opportunity for a fresh start. Hence the tradition of making New Year's Resolutions. I hereby resolve to..... lose weight, save more money, be nicer to XYZ, or whatever.

It can also be a time to make genealogy resolutions, or goals. If you define a particular goal, you are much more likely to obtain it, or at least make progress towards attaining it.

My New Year's Genealogy Resolution for 2014 was to apply to a Lineage Society. Although, I have been dong genealogy research for over 35 years, I had never really entertained the thought of applying to a lineage society. I felt that it was a gimmick to allow snobs to brag about their illustrious ancestors.

But then, a dear friend, Pat Morgan, explained that it is really about having your genealogy research examined and judged by your peers. While I often have shared my research with relatives (whether they wanted me to or not!), I hadn't really shared my work with my genealogy peers.

I decided which society to apply to, The Society of Civil War Families of Gallia County, and which ancestor, William Preston Williams. I chose this ancestor, because he is just one step away from qualifying me for  First Families of Gallia County. I printed up the online application and started pulling together the pertinent records. Surprisingly, there were some basic records that I didn't have, like my own marriage record. I had the certificate that the minister filed out and handed to us, but not the legal record. And some copies of records needed to be replaced because the original copy was too faded to be used. I also contacted others who had already applied so that I could use their applications as guidelines.

And then I stalled... I haven't really worked on it in months. Other obligations and interests intervened. A very common phenomenon in genealogy research. It happens to me quite often.  The files are still there. I just need to organize them, cite my sources, fill out the application  and send it in.

So my New Year's resolution for 2015, is to finish the Lineage Society Application. And to forgive myself for not getting it done in 2014...

What is your  resolution??