Tuesday, September 17, 2013

My Blogging Experience to Date

I have been taking a course through the National Institute for Genealogical Studies (http://www.genealogicalstudies.com/), called Google for the Wise Genealogist. I just posted my assignment for the section on blogging, and I thought I would share it with you in a modified form as it describes my experience with this blog to date:

I do have my own blog, “My Descent into Descent”, which I started last November. It is by far one of the best things I have done to enhance my family history experience, and that of others, since I began this journey. The purpose of my blog mainly is to tell stories from all over my family tree which may be of interest to other people, and which may help me to connect with others who may have more information. I find that most people are not so much interested in looking at a family tree, but they do like the stories, especially when they seem to bring their ancestors to life in some way. The narratives I have done have helped me to sharpen up the research I am doing and to find more data along the way. I have received much more interest in this blog than I initially expected, and have connected with some of the distant family members I was hoping to find. My blog led me to visit some not-so-distant cousins this summer, and they showed me photos and other items from our shared heritage. We all felt that we had known each other for a long time. Amazing. When I started, I blogged almost every day, but that has trailed off in recent months. It is my love and my passion, so I hope to blog more frequently in future. I started out more methodically, but now I mostly go with my current inspirations. I have already accomplished my original goal of getting out all the family history stories of my ancestors who came to Canada, including all the family lore I had been told over the years. I have many ideas for more blogposts. This summer, I blogged from the road using my iPad during a family history road trip to New England. Taking this course has inspired me to blog more, and to try new things with my blog, such as embedding videos from YouTube, adding more widgets,  adding screenshots of parts of my tree from Ancestry (website and app), and posting an image of my spreadsheet from the last module! I highly recommend blogging, as you can tell. If anyone is wondering how to do it, I learned step by step from Lisa Louise Cooke’s “Family History Made Easy” podcast on iTunes, and her YouTube videos, which truly made the process “easy”.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Monk Family Baptism Records From St. Johnsville, Montgomery County, New York

I recently created a spreadsheet based on the book, Records of the Dutch Reformed Church: St. John's Church in the Town of St. Johnsville, Montgomery County, N.Y., which I found on Ancestry a while back. These are the baptisms of members of the Monk family which I was able to find in its pages. (I believe there may be more, so I will update you if I find them).The data in this book allowed me to make more sense of the lives of my three times great grandfather, Jacob Monk and his family, (i.e. the Jacob Monk born in around 1781 in German Flatts, Herkimer, New York, and not his son Jacob, who was born in 1814 in Minden, Montgomery, New York). Specifically, it helped me to realize that Jacob was not the "John Monk" or "Johannes Monk" who appeared in some records. The baptism records of the Dutch Reformed Church made it clear that Jacob and John were two separate people, and I am leaning toward them being brothers. These baptism records show them being sponsors at the baptisms of each other's children on the same day. I have decided to attach the spreadsheet I made in the hopes that it will help others with their research. I apologize for the small size of the chart, as the next size up would have been too big for, the space. If you click on, it will enlarge for you.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

William Cook Family Tree

I am trying to find a way to include small sections of my family tree into some of my blogposts, as I would like to make the relationships between people clearer. This would help readers more easily get their bearings as to where we are on the tree when we are talking about particular individuals or families. Here is my first attempt, the family of William Cook, one of my maternal great great grandfathers. I have decided to use his tree to demonstrate this new feature as posts about him and his family are now among My Descent's most popular. This is taken from a screen shot from the Ancestry.com iPad app. You can click on the tree to enlarge it.

William Cook Family Tree
Here is a family group sheet clipped from my tree on Ancestry:

William Cook Family Group Sheet
You will definitely need to enlarge this by clicking on it. As you can see, I lack photos of Edward and Arthur Cook, so if you possess any of these, gentle reader, and you are willing to share them, I would be most obliged. Also, this chart highlights how little I know about Arthur Wilson Cook. The last record I have of him is in the 1906 Canada Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta when he is a "boarder" with the Alexander Dafoe family in Assinaboia East. The other odd thing about him is that he was born in Bexleyheath, Kent, while the family only appears to have lived in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. I would dearly love to know why his mother Emma gave birth to him there.

I would be interested in your feedback on my use of these charts and others like them in the future. I do plan to continue writing blogposts which tell stories from all over my tree, and I hope to reduce confusion about where in my tree individuals and families belong.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Cook, Saunders and Arnold Families: Vancouver in the early 1900's

I came across this wonderful footage today of Vancouver in 1907, eight years after the first members of the Arnold family came to Vancouver, four years before Emma Cook and the Herbert Saunders family arrived, and the same year Lily Elizabeth Newton Cook Arnold came with her husband and family. Quite amazing! I haven't viewed it carefully yet, so I haven't identified any landmarks. Maybe you can. Let me know.

William Sanderson: World War One Munitions Factory Worker

I previously wrote about my grandfather, William Sanderson, (William Sanderson: The Early Years), having worked in a munitions factory, likely somewhere in Cambridgeshire, during World War One. He always said it was his first job at the age of fourteen in 1917. I came across the following video of munitions workers in Britain recently, and wanted to share it with you as it helps to show what this work may have been like for him.