Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tuesday's Tips: Saving Up For a Rainy Day with Google Drive

"Rainy Day in Henry, Illinois"
photo by Magnus Manske via Wikimedia Commons

The more time I spend researching my family's history, the more resources I learn of that I want to use later or which may take me a while to locate.  Google Drive has proved to be invaluable in helping me keep track of what I want to use, where it is located, and why I need that specific resource.

On Google Drive I have a number of Genealogy related spreadsheets.  When I come across a resource to use or track down at a later date, I add it to the the appropriate spreadsheet.  Then, when the opportunity arises, I can access Google Drive on my smart phone, tablet, laptop, or public computer, whatever is convenient at the time.

My basic Google Sheets (spreadsheets) are formatted in the same way so that items can be moved or copied from one Sheet to another.  A few things I even have listed on two different Sheets. This format includes:
  • Date
  • Family / Person
  • Task
  • Resource
  • Notes - helpful when I have searched only part of a book, certain years in a group of records, etc.
Currently, these are the Sheets I use most frequently.

The Newspaper Articles and Interlibrary Loan Google Sheets helped to keep me focused during a rainy day visit to a local university library.  I went there specifically to look for a book from my Interlibrary Loan / World Cat list which was available for "in library use only".  While there, I also checked my list of newspaper and magazine articles and discovered that I could view a number of them on the university's microfilm collection.  I located about a dozen articles, saving them to my flash drive to later read at home.

For a rainy day, it turned out to be a pretty good day.  Genealogy wise, it was a very productive afternoon all because lists of things I needed to use were organized and accessible on Google Drive.  And Google Drive definitely beats trying to keep up with paper lists and post-it notes.

One caveat about using Google Drive on an iPhone.  The Google Drive app is read only.  I had to download a second app, Google Sheets, in order to be able to edit any sheet I have on Google Drive.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Military Monday: Adolph Myren

Pvt Adolph Myren, World War I
photo from personal collection

The story of Adolph Myren, my Great Uncle, is much like that of many young American men during the years of World War I.  I grew up hearing how Uncle Adolph had served in the first World War, seeing the photo above in the family picture box as I was growing up.  His story, however, comes in bits and pieces for his service record was most likely among those destroyed in the 1973 fire at the National Archives Record Center in St. Louis, Missouri.

Adolph Myren was the son of Norwegian immigrants who became Dakota homesteaders and American citizens.  In June of 1917, Adolph registered for the draft in his hometown of Hillsboro, North Dakota.  The physical description listed on his registration card - tall, slender, blue eyes, and [light] brown hair - speaks of his Scandinavian heritage.

World War I Draft Registration Card
source: Ancestry.com

A detailed record of Adolph Myren's military service is found in Ancestry's "US Adjutant General Records", pictured below.  Initially he was a member of the North Dakota National Guard, enlisting about three months after his registration for the draft.  Adolph, along with other state national guard members, later became part of the regular American military forces serving in World War I.

source: US Adjutant General Records, 1631-1976

Adolph was reported as Missing in Action while he was serving in France.  His name appeared in the list published in the Official US Bulletin of 23 Sep 1918.(1)  It would appear that Adolph was missing following the Battle of St.Mihiel which occurred 12-16 Sep 1918.(2)  Since the fighting at Meuse-Argonne took place between 26 Sep-11 Nov 1918, Adolph was apparently able to rejoin his unit within a relatively short time.

Following the conclusion of the war, Adolph Myren returned to his home in North Dakota.  He was a farmer for the rest of his life. never married.  Adolph lived until his mid-90s, always standing tall and straight just as he did done many years before in his military photograph.

photo by Alexis Yokom
FindAGrave memorial #92116119

(1) Official US Bulletin, Issues 402-451. Washington, DC, US Government Printing Office, 1918, accessed through Google Books.
(2) "US Army Campaigns, World War I." http://www.history.army.mil/html/reference/army_flag/wwi.html.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Hat Made Me Do It

Charlotte Ann Vaughan
photo from private collection of LuAnne Holladay

That hat.  I admit it.  The hat is what made me want to write a post about Charlotte Ann Vaughan.  

Charlotte Vaughan was my Great Great Aunt.  She was the youngest of the seven daughters of Rev. Albert Bell Vaughan, and she was the daughter who took a somewhat different path with her life from that followed by her other six sisters.  Although she was the youngest Vaughan sibling, she was also the first to die.  Some time in the past I remember hearing it mentioned that she had lived in New York.  For years that was about the extent of my knowledge of Charlotte and her life.

When I transcribed her sister Miriam's Variety Book several years ago, I found that Miriam wrote a short note about Charlotte's birth, the entry below.  Miriam did not often mention her other siblings in her diary, yet she had this one note about Charlotte.
"Nacogdoches, Texas.  October 2nd, 1899.  Monday at 10:10 am  Charlotte Vaughan was born.  House of the Seven Sisters".

In my collection of old family photos and scrapbooks, there are a number of pictures of Charlotte as she was growing up in LaGrange, Georgia and in Canton, Georgia.  An earlier post about the Vaughan Sisters included a picture of young Charlotte.  Charlotte was the youngest child in the Vaughan family, and my father was the first child born to one of the Vaughan siblings; they were relatively close in age.  There is even a picture of Charlotte, my father, and other young cousins.

Several of Charlotte's sisters attended Southern Female College in LaGrange, Georgia (after all, their father had been the President of the College).  Charlotte, however, traveled away from the area to attend college.  Her college record from Columbia University indicates that she attended and received degrees from Georgia State College, Florida State College for Women, and from Columbia.(1)

It looks as if Charlotte had a promising career as an educator.  During the summer of 1926, while still a student at Columbia, Charlotte was on the faculty of the University of North Carolina, teaching essentially elementary school curriculum and methods courses during the summer session.(2)  Her Columbia record book also shows summers she spent teaching in Pennsylvania, Washington, and Michigan.  According to her obituary in The LaGrange Daily News, Charlotte later taught at several prestigious schools in New York including the Birch-Wathen School and the Brearley School. (3)

In November of 1930, Charlotte wrote the following letter to the editor of The New Republic, a weekly magazine focusing on American culture and politics.  Reading it, I felt as if I were back in a college lit class.  Charlotte's  comments and the nature of the magazine provided a glimpse into her intellect.

Letter to the Editor
The New Republic 12 Nov 1930

In the midst of her teaching career, Charlotte resigned from her teaching positing at The Brearley School due to health problems in the spring of 1937.(3)  On her way back to her family in Georgia, Charlotte stopped in Rock Hill, South Carolina, to visit with her sister Eleanor.  There she apparently suffered a heart attack and died at the age of 37.(4)

There is a sadness to think of her dying so much younger than any of her siblings.  But there is also a smile when I look at that photo of Charlotte, fashionable, confident, poised, wearing that hat.  After all, this photo shared with me by a cousin was what prompted me to pull together the tidbits of information I had accumulated concerning Charlotte.

(1)  "Record Book of Charlotte Ann Vaughan", Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, 1928; private college of LuAnne Holladay.
(2)  "The Catalogue 1925-26." digital images. University of North Carolina. Internet Archive. https://archive.org : 2014.
(3)  "Miss Charlotte Vaughan of New York and LaGrange Died Sunday in Rock Hill at Home of Sister," LaGrange [Georgia] Daily News, 7 June 1937, p. 1.
(4)  "South Carolina, Death Records, 121-1960." Database and images. Ancestry.com. http://www.ancestry.com/serch/ : 2013.

Friday, July 4, 2014

A Declaration We All Can Sign

How many times over the last year have you used a library resources in researching your family's history?  For most of us, the list is long.  From using those expensive genealogy tomes, to receiving special materials through interlibrary loans, to browsing through genealogy journals, to background reading about a place, time period, or event, my public library continues to be a vital part of my genealogy research.  And this is just my genealogy related list.

The American Library Association is urging library users to sign their Declaration to the Right to Libraries.  If libraries have been important to you, your family, or in your research, won't you consider adding your voice of support for America's libraries?  Follow this link to read and sign in support of our country's libraries.  Then, share it with others.