Positive Post Fridays

Started by Ashley Odell on Friday, April 26, 2013


Profiles Mentioned:

Related Projects:

Showing 1-30 of 588 posts
4/26/2013 at 6:16 PM

For almost two years, the Geni Curators have had a tradition of sharing their most recent positive genealogy experiences with each other at the end of the week. These can be experiences as major as breaking through a brick wall or finding a trove of new records, to as "minor" as finding a great new collaborator on Geni or hearing a new funny family story.

I feel like this is a tradition that the wider Geni community could benefit from, so I wanted to start a thread to see what people have to share.

Have you had a big breakthrough this week? Find some information you're grateful for? Read a really nice profile you'd like to highlight?

Whatever you're grateful for this week in genealogy, feel free to post here. I'll make a commitment to post something every Friday, and I hope you'll all join me!

4/26/2013 at 6:24 PM

Here's my positive post for the week:

On my way back to Connecticut from the New England Regional Genealogical Consortium's 2013 convention in New Hampshire, I decided to take a pretty good detour and head west to Vermont, my father's home.

In Hinsdale, New Hampshire, the town directly across the Connecticut River from Brattleboro, Vermont, I went and visited the graves of a slew of my direct ancestors -- Samuel Terrill Crowninshield and Maria Crowninshield Leonard C. Crowninshield and Judith Crowninshield Levi Streeter and Vashti Streeter David Crowninshield and Persis Crowninshield Isaiah Streeter and Polly Streeter and on and on. It was a beautiful day and a great way to close out a week of genealogy in New Hampshire.

From there, I headed northwest to my father's hometown of Jamaica, Vermont. After a visit to the family cemetery there, I stopped in at the local store and happened to catch the owner there. As one of the main forces behind the town's historical society, she's been an invaluable collaborator for me over the past several years. As it happened, someone had just dropped off some photo albums that week, so I got to flip through them and found a bunch of family photos and newspaper clippings, some of which I'd never seen.

I certainly didn't break through any brick walls, but it was a beautiful day for me. My dad's hometown always feels like my genealogical "home," and being able to take the time to find some graves I hadn't been able to locate before was a wonderful opportunity. I can't wait to go back up next month with my camera and Flip-Pal to have at it. :)

4/26/2013 at 6:25 PM

(Oh hey, apparently I forgot that I have a comma key. Sorry. :))

4/27/2013 at 9:06 AM

Thanks for doing this, Ashley. I've often thought the curator forum messages are a highlight of my week. So many interesting stories. They always give me a warm feeling. I think someone tried to make it a regular, public thread as well, but it withered away for lack of interest.

I'm overloaded at work right now, but I think I can commit to counting my genealogical blessings in public once a week.

4/27/2013 at 9:29 AM

Here's my story for this week. I already shared it elsewhere, in another discussion, so I'll just give the shortened version here.

In the little town where my grandparents lived there was a woman who was rumored to have been my great grandfather's former mistress. My family didn't like that, but I've always had a soft spot for her. When I visit my grandparents' graves, I always stop for a few minutes at hers and say a little prayer.

This week on Geni we have the new matches. Buried in those matches were links to newspaper articles about the mysterious 1939 death of this woman. I knew she had been found out in the field with her skull smashed, and I knew that local rumor speculated that her son-in-law killed her.

From the newspaper accounts I learned some more details. Her death was officially ruled as "unexplained", but then blood was discovered on the horns of a ram. So, the body was exhumed for blood tests, and in the end the local authorities decided (although not officially) that she was killed by the ram.

Maybe people will think this is a gruesome story, but I was very pleased to find it. I was surprised to see that newspapers in Texas, Montana and Utah all reported on this death in Wyoming. I would never have bothered to look for information about this woman, but Geni handed it to me.

Private User
4/27/2013 at 2:14 PM

Ashley Odell

I love the idea! I feel like my brain could use some positivity atm.

My story of the week, that happened over the course of several months, but culminated in a Skype call this week is this:

Until I started on Geni about 6 or so months ago I never knew my Opa had 2 brothers killed in the Holocaust - not all, but many families didn't talk about such things. Shortly thereafter I learned about the Yad Vashem web site in one of the Geni projects. To my total surprise a woman had posted testimonials and PHOTOS for one of the brothers, his wife and daughter. Never thought I would get to see they looked like. I found the woman on Joods Monument and sent her a thank you note. Turns out she was a niece of the wife born after the war. She speaks Dutch and not much English; I speak English and pretty much zero Dutch. Well, several months went by. During that time I found a photo album that belonged to my Opa (grandfather) that we believe has pre-WWII photos of family in it, but we don't know who anyone is. Well, the woman I thanked sent my contact info along to her cousin who is a 91 year old survivor and speaks English fluently. we emailed, he joined Geni, and then he called me on Skype. I just about fell out of my chair! He along with some others may be able to help me identify some of the photos I found (taking forever to scan them!).

However, to me the really magical part is that 35 years ago when my Opa was still alive, never in his wildest dreams could he have imagined his granddaughter tracking down and talking to the surviving family of his sister-in-law killed in the Holocaust. It just makes me smile to think of how much smaller the world has become in such a short amount of time.

4/27/2013 at 2:35 PM

Wendi, that story sent chills up my spine. It truly is miraculous that there is still a small window for us to connect with survivors or descendants of survivors and using technology such as Skype and Geni and the Yad vaShem database learn more about those who perished.

4/27/2013 at 2:38 PM

I also got literal goosebumps for that. Wonderful, wonderful experience. Thank you for sharing.

4/27/2013 at 4:59 PM

Made me cry, Wendi (in a good way). Thank you.

Private User
4/27/2013 at 5:40 PM

Erica "the Disconnectrix" Howton It brings tears to my eyes as well, but it's the honest truth. We can't bring back those we have lost, but somehow I really do feel like it's healing in the grander scheme of things.

Thank you all for taking the time to read it.

5/3/2013 at 11:16 AM

It's Friday! What have your positive genealogy experiences been this week?

I had a good experience yesterday working with Erin Spiceland to help resolve some confusion a descendant had about her line from Capt. Samuel Higgs, Sr.. In doing so, I got to explore one of the Bahamian families that I don't know as well as I know others. Any time you get to help someone else, it's a good thing. :)

Private User
5/3/2013 at 11:41 AM

I just this second met a 5th cousin via Geni who like me is in the US, but from Dutch descendants. I also made contact with a 4th cousin via the MH matches this week.

5/3/2013 at 11:55 AM

I've thought for years that I'd like to look at the ancestry of Gen. George Durant (1731-1780). He made a fortune in the slave trade, and returned to England. He bought the manor of Tong, and built a huge Moorish-Gothic "castle".

My interest in George Durant is just general. He had the same coat of arms as my ancestor Dr. John Durand (1664-1726), an early French settler at Derby, Connecticut. It's possible (but unlikely) that the two men were distantly related.

Years ago, back in the 1980s, I was working on an article for a local genealogy newsletter about the (then current) archaeological excavations at Tong Castle. I can't remember now whether I ever finished it, or whether it was ever published, but I still have a folder full of clippings, copies and tourist booklets about Tong Castle.

I thought this would be a good workout for Geni's new matching system. Sure enough. With this basic information about George, I was able to extend his ancestry back to his grandfather. They were a family of clergy. George's wealth allowed him to marry into the Beaufoys, a family of wealthy Quakers, and he had a scandalous affair with the wife of Baron Lyttelton.

Lots of connections to other prominent English families who are (so far) only poorly represented on Geni.

Fun stuff.

5/3/2013 at 12:29 PM

Justin I would be having a field day - too much fun!

I've been working for a while with a collaborator on the Buck families of Connecticut & Massachusetts. IF we're correct we've now found "the Beautiful Witch of Fairfield", Mercy Disbrow, is the great grandmother of a Buck, and her indictment is well documented in the Connecticut State Library. So I'm having a great time "tree weaving" around her.

Private User
5/4/2013 at 8:11 PM

At Justin's request, I'm re-posting my story here (By the way, good stories up there)

A few pages back I said I was going to clean up the tree of early Xiongnu kings, and my attention was at one particular woman, named Chwangu, that every online source says was a Chinese princess married off to the nomadic tribe (or empire), yet I couldn't find anything about her in Chinese. I finally did some research, and here's the story.

Chwangu, not surprisingly, is a rendering of a Chinese word. I used google books, which identifies the source to be "A thousand years of the Tartars" by Edward Harper Parker (1895). Quite a fascinating read, not least due to the style of English. (Why don't people write like that any more?)

It was quite an undertaking by Mr. Parker. He went through the official history of the Chinese, perhaps with the help of Chinese learned men, and translated (rather liberally) all the relevant passages. Comparing with the originals, I can testify that he made all attempt to only state what the Chinese had recorded, and he made it clear when he was speculating, particularly in comparison with Attila. In the preface, he said that nothing certain could be said about the relation between Xiongnu and the Huns who pillaged Europe a few centuries later. (Wikipedia says there still is no scholarly consensus on this matter.)

He also explained, in the preface, the translation of the Xiongnu names he used. Since the only record existed was that of the Chinese, any attempt at reconstructing the sound 2000 years ago (in any script) is futile. He used instead the pronunciation of modern Manchu or Mongolian. In addition, he includes the standard Mandarin pronunciation in the margin next the text, exactly with the intention that someone like me could trace it back to the original source.

So, at last, Chwangu = 顓渠, quite an odd name for a Chinese, let alone a princess. After examining the text (and also reading what scholars have to say about it), it appears that Chwangu is not a name at all! It's the title for the principal wife of the Xiongnu king. There are perhaps two or three different Chwangu in that text. I wouldn't blame Parker for the confusion; Also he did not imply in any way that Chwangu would be a Chinese princess.

Here's her profile:

顓渠閼氏 Chwangü

5/14/2013 at 9:55 AM

I forgot to post on Friday! So here's a belated one...

I've been working for nearly two years on Conan O'Brien's ancestry, but since he's entirely off-the-boat Irish, I've not been able to find a way (yet) to tie him into the big tree.

Last night, I finally broke through a wall on his wife's side, and it turns out her great-grandfather was accepted into the Mayflower Society in 1908 as a descendant of "Elder" William Brewster, "Mayflower" Passenger. His wife also descends from several Social Register families. So now it's just a matter of connecting the dots back, and I should have Mrs. O'Brien into the tree.

It's not as good as getting Conan into the tree on his own ancestry, but hey, I'll take any connection I can get at this point. :)

(My other Conan-related task: He and Denis Leary are third cousins, and though I can find the shared surname and location, I can't find the precise connection...yet.)

Private User
5/14/2013 at 10:16 AM

Congrats Ashley Odell Good work!!

5/15/2013 at 12:42 AM

Ashley, I also committed to posting once a week, then forgot this week. It's been a busy week!

I've been exchanging messages with one of my Swedish cousins I "met" on Geni. We have lots of family stories to swap, as you can imagine. I think the last time our two branches were in regular contact was the 1930s, then again briefly in the 1970s. Of course, now, with Facebook, I see activity from many of them every day.

This week I found out that some of my grandfather's Norwegian cousins were accused of being terrorists and Jews during World War II, and put in the Nazi concentration camp at Grini outside Oslo. Amazing. I had no idea. Now I'm reading all about it.

<3 Renée <3

Great news Ashley about your Mrs. Conan breakthrough. I am also, directly in the Brewster line, with Freeman- Hinkley Branch! So, that´s exciting, for me, too! Thank You ALL for being such passionate and driven and lovely researchers and cousins! <3

Liu Yao! WOW!

顓渠閼氏 Chwangü is your 27th great grandmother's husband's wife's father's wife's father's wife's sister's husband's 19th great grandfather's wife.


Linda Sue Cox
your mother

Gladys Mae (Kelley/adopted-Payne) m. Unknown/Era/Lockwood/T...
her mother

Vivian Lucille Kelley/Manshaw/Payne/S... (Cromer)
her mother

Floyd Cromer
her father

Elizabeth Cromer
his mother

Araminta Grosvenor
her mother

Francis Tufts Whitney
her father

Joseph Whitney
his father

Benjamin Whitney
his father

John Whitney
his father

Benjamin Whitney
his father

John Whitney, Sr.
his father

Thomas Whitney
his father

Elizabeth Whitney (Dugilm Guillims)
his mother

Morgan ap Williams
her father

William ap Yevan
his father

Yevan ap Morgan
his father

Morgan ap Hywel
his father

Hywel ap Madog
his father

Madog ap Rhun
his father

Rhun ap Gronwy
his father

Catrin verch Madog
his mother

gwenllian verch madog
her mother

Rhys ap Gruffydd
her father

Gwenllian verch Gruffydd
his mother

Gruffydd ap Cynan
her father

Ragnhilda Olafsdottir
his mother

Óláfr Sigtryggsson, King of Dublin
her father

Slani ingen Brian
his mother

Guðþormr (Gudröd) Ívarsson, King of Dublin
her husband

Dtr Skjoldung
his wife

Ragnar "Lodbrok" Sigurdsson
her father

Aslaug Kraka Sigurdsdatter
his wife

Sigurd Sigmundsson, of Denmark
her father

Gudrun Giukasdatter
his wife

Chrenchildis Дуло, (Hildico, Gudrun)
her sister

Attila "Scourge of God", 59th King of the Huns
her husband

Mundzuk - Bendegúz, King of the Huns
his father

Kuridak de Hunnie, Prince of the Huns
his father

Uldin King of the Huns
his father

Donaton, King of the Huns
his father

Avitochola of the Huns
his father

Kama Tarkhan de Hunnie, King of the Huns
his father

Szemen 47th King of the Huns
his father

Ethei of the Huns
his father

Oposch Prince of the Huns
his father

Kadcha Prince of the Huns
his father

Barin of the Huns
his father

Huyen III
his father

Huyen II
his father

Huyen I
his father

Panghu 25th King of the Huns
his father

Eltekin 24th King of the Huns
his father

Yiu 22nd King of the Huns
his father

呼都而尸道皋若鞮單于 Ghuduarshi Davganoti
his father

呼韓邪單于 Huhanye Chanyu of Xiongnu
his father

虛閭權渠單于 Hyuilui-Juankui Chanyu of Xiongnu
his father

狐鹿姑單于 Hulughu Chanyu of Xiongnu
his father

顓渠閼氏 Chwangü
his wife

Ashley! I´ve got two O´Brien´s for you on West 136th Street, New York, New York, USA
where my Grandparents used to live!

line 2 and 3

my folks are Tossas, Raymond and Anna with the 5 kids, Frank, Raymond J., Ruby, Lily, Norma.


5/17/2013 at 8:31 AM

Theresa, would that connection above be a "blood connection" ?
i thought it had to be grandmother or grandfather lineage to be an actual bloodline ?

5/17/2013 at 8:34 AM

Theresa, we are 19th cousins (once removed) Theresa Renée Eléna Delgado-Tossas

5/17/2013 at 9:53 AM

Theresa, the O'Brien's I'm working on came from Dungarvan in County Waterford and settled in Worcester, Massachusetts. So they're probably different O'Briens, but I will keep it in mind!

I was hoping that my positive post for today would be that my packet filled with the CMSR and pension records for Pvt. William Town, USA arrived in the mail, but it looks like it's still in the postal sorting facility up the road in Massachusetts. That means I should get it tomorrow. So excited! I'm really, really hoping that the pension files might provide me with more information on Julia Ann Town, who so far represents the terminus on my father's maternal line.

Susan, THE Connection Directly Above your q's and a's, isn't a blood Relation. But it is a Relation/Connection. Just as an Uncle may also, be married in, he's still Your Uncle. As for Brewster, i'm in the direct Line.
And to US! Well, nice to meet you, cousin!
<3 Renée <3

Sorry. Clarify. The connection to Chwangü is not blood. Nor do I have a connection to the O'Brian's I located, in the 1940 Census, as Neighbors, of my Paternal Grandparents, Tossas and Correa. And Hinckley is in my direct line. <3 Renée <3

5/17/2013 at 10:23 PM

I've been spoiled by having nice breakthroughs every week lately, but this week I haven't had anything worth mentioning.

So, my positive post is just that "work goes on".

The Swedish side of my family has a legend that the first Svanström was the illegitimate son of a Scottish nobleman. Maybe so. The story is more or less plausible because so many Scots settled in Sweden in the 16th and 17th centuries. And, we all know that every Scot can "count kin" with the royal family. I think I'd prefer to have proof.

So, what I've been doing this week is using the Smart Matches to network out, creating a web of families in this area, all linked by intermarriage. It's amazing to see the web start to take shape. People in the little villages all related to one another, then linked to the larger area through connections to the gentry, and the gentry linked to the nation through connections to the nobility. I'm seeing the context emerge for my ancestors' lives.

So, my positive post this week isn't a breakthrough; it's just doing something I love to do.

How about it, folks? Have you had a breakthrough this week? Or something that made you smile? What happened this week that keeps you doing genealogy? We'd all love to hear your story!

Private User
5/18/2013 at 2:05 PM

Most of my break throws were long ago. Nothing major ever happens anymore. Just little tid bits here and there.

5/18/2013 at 2:56 PM

I worked on an updated list of my country of origin by %, About 75% is documented, the rest is assumed by surname:

Danish 0.01%, Czech 0.01%, African 0.025%, Swedish 0.20%
Dutch 0.47%, Finnish 0.98%, French 1.14%, American Indian 1.86%, Welsh 3.18%, Scottish 3.31%, Irish (Republic) 5.98%
German 6.15%, Northern Irish, 15.92%, English 60.75%

Overall, the total for British Isles is still 90%

Showing 1-30 of 588 posts

Create a free account or login to participate in this discussion