Saturday, March 1, 2014

Death Record Found! Historical Asylum Science

William Singleton Lee
After 25+ years of not having a firm death date, place, or cause of death for my 3rd great-grandfather William S Lee - this week I finally got the evidence I needed to back up the family story that had been passed down about his death!

I had been told that he died "prior to 1900 in an insane asylum in California (in the Stockton area) other than that I knew nothing!  At the time I didn't even know he had been in California, didn't know where he lived or what he was doing in California.  Over the years, bit-by-bit I had pieced together information from various sources; census records, other relations working on the same line, City Directories from the Los Angeles area in the late 1880s....and so on.  I knew that his son was a bridge builder and was in LA building bridges.  I had found William, Nellie & various family members on records, voter registrations, and such in LA.   But then I came across one that listed Nellie as a widow!  So I knew that yes, William had died before 1894, and in California - but still had nothing further!

Then.......I came across the "Online Archive of California" website:


Online Archive of California
Online Archive of California
Stockton State Hospital Records
I got incredibly excited!!  I finally felt like I had a chance of finding out something about William's possible commitment to this hospital and about his death!

The actual records are not available online, but saw that the depository was the California State Archives - so I emailed them - everyone there was so friendly and helpful!!  Within a week I had confirmation that they had found information and it was mailed to me at no charge!!  So awesome!  I was on pins & needles until that envelope arrived in the mail yesterday.

You can click on my Lee Page to see the information on William I received.  (It's quite a ways down on the page.)  

But it also aroused my curiosity - they listed his cause of death (and I noticed, the cause of several OTHER patient's deaths) as "Paralysis".  I had to know more!?!?  Had they done electo-shock therapy on him that fried his brain or something!?!?  It just sounded suspicious....

In doing research online I came across a couple of helpful websites that gave me more information into what this "paralysis" might have meant in the late 1800's:

"General Paralysis of the Insane (GPI) was generally conceived of as a progressive deterioration of the whole mental and physical personality. Symptoms included an inability to pay attention, a ‘clouding’ of consciousness, poor short-term memory, tremulous voice, reflex disturbances, pupil and retinal anomalies, and diminished skin sensation. Patients were often recognisable by their striking ‘delusions of grandeur’....Most GPI patients were men, usually showing symptoms between age 35 and 45. They tended to be from urban areas, with many relating a history of intemperance and/or venereal disease....From the mid nineteenth-century, alienists had debated the link between GPI and syphilis – the latter as direct or predisposing cause – and modern historians of psychiatry are confident in explaining GPI as neurosyphilis (symptoms of which include seizures, sight disturbances, and changes in personality). This link rests, however, on accepting the accuracy of nineteenth-century doctor’s observations and their use of the term GPI."   Author - Jennifer Wallis


Another website with some very interesting information on the topic is:

 
 
 
Never give up hope in finding information or records on YOUR ancestor!!  This information has been a LONG time coming - but now I have it and have several more TRAILS to follow as a result!  Happy Hunting!!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

St. Johns Stake Family History Fair

Today I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the St. Johns Stake Family History Fair (and to teach a class at it!).  The organizers did an AMAZING job!  My hat goes off to all of them for the many HOURS spent in planning, preparation and organizing this event!  Most of the classes were recorded sessions from the recent ROOTSTECH conference in Salt Lake City.

https://rootstech.org/about/videos/


A pleasing selection of sessions/classes to choose from.  It was a great opportunity to gather with a terrific group of people who are all interested in learning more about Family History Research and all of the amazing tools that are now available to us through modern technology!   What a blessing to be born in this day and age and have all of these powerful tools at our fingertips!!



I love using "Social Media" to extend my reach and become more "visible" to possible relatives out there who may be researching the same lines or in the same areas that I am.  My favorite session today was by Lisa Alzo (The Accidental Genealogist) - on how to use social networking sites to extend your research, connect with other genealogists, and use as many possible resources as possible!  You can find information in the most unlikely locations!   Did YOU ever use or even THINK to use "YOUTUBE" for family history research!!?  Well I hadn't until today!   So many great ideas!  THANK YOU Lisa!!  You can watch her presentation here:  "Tweets, Links, Pins & Posts: Breakdown Genealogy Brick Walls with Social Media". 

Another site she told us about I can't wait to explore:  "What Was There"

The WhatWasThere project was inspired by the realization that we could leverage technology and the connections it facilitates to provide a new human experience of time and space – a virtual time machine of sorts that allows users to navigate familiar streets as they appeared in the past.
The premise is simple: provide a platform where anyone can easily upload a photograph with two straightforward tags to provide context: Location and Year. If enough people upload enough photographs in enough places, together we will weave together a photographic history of the world (or at least any place covered by Google Maps). So wherever you are in the world, take a moment to upload a photograph and contribute to history!


So many tools out there and so many creative ways to use them to help us further our family history research, find living relatives, and HELP others by sharing OUR information!

Thanks again to all who made this wonderful event possible!





Saturday, February 1, 2014

Lovin Technology

Theodore & Sarah "Lulu" Phillips with 3 of their boys
Every day I am more and more thankful for modern technology and the ways that it has expedited Genealogical Research, Digitization of information, sharing of information and putting long lost relatives in touch with one another!

I remember back to when I first began my Family History journey in the early 1990s (not so long ago) using DOS based computers, going to the local Family History Center and ordering microfilms that I had to wait a week or so on to show up & then spending HOURS looking through Census records on microfilm just hoping to find my ancestor!  Using 'snail mail' to try to contact other relatives who might be working on the same lines or have information that I was lacking, and so on.

Every time I get on Ancestry or Family Search or other websites that offer digitized, INDEXED records to search I am SO THANKFUL for these advances in just a few short years!  It never ceases to amaze me that from the comfort of my own home I can do a Census search by typing in an ancestor's name, and then print a copy, save a copy to my computer, and have that information right there at my fingertips!

I am so thankful for the opportunities I have had of connecting with 'long-lost' cousins by finding each other on Ancestry or other Social Media websites.  The photo I have posted with this blog is a treasure that was recently sent to me by a cousin that I found on Ancestry.  In the past year I have connected with numerous cousins that I didn't even know about & we have been able to share some awesome family history treasures with one another!  (Love my newly found cousins, Debi, Valerie, and Dan!  ♥)

I am so thankful to the countless volunteers who have spent hours digitizing and INDEXING these records that enables the ease of my searches!  There are so many indexing and other volunteer opportunities out there - I hope we are all taking advantage of them.  I try to spend at least a little time indexing hoping that maybe I can help someone else find their ancestor - the way other indexers have helped me find mine!

I know I've posted these before, but once again, here are some links to Indexing/Volunteer opportunities:

ANCESTRY - WORLD ARCHIVES PROJECT

FAMILY SEARCH - INDEXING

WORLD MEMORY PROJECT
(partnership between Ancestry and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Archaic Medical Terms Website

St. Johns Herald Newspaper
16 March 1901
While recently researching my ancestors in Historical Apache County Arizona newspapers - I came across this snippet on the death of my Great-grandmother's brother.

We often come across unfamiliar medical terminology that is no longer used when reading newspaper articles, death certificates, and even journal entries or letters. 

Here was one of those terms "Dropsy".  What in the heck is/was Dropsy?!  So I did an Internet search, and came across a wonderful online resource that I just have to share!   A great big THANK YOU to Rudy Smith of Georgia for all of his hard work & for sharing it with the rest of us!

Rudy's List of Archaic Medical Terms

Oh, and "Dropsy" could have meant MANY different things!  I counted around 28 different variations of Dropsy on this website!!   But just basic Dropsy is:

The dropsy is a preternatural swelling of the whole body, or some part of it, occasioned by a collection of watery humour. It is distinguished by different names, according to the part affected, as the anasarca, or a collection of water under the skin; the ascites, or a collection of water in the belly; the hydrops pectoris, or dropsy of the breast; the hydrocephalus, or dropsy of the brain, &c. [Buchan1785].
 
A collection of a serous fluid in the cellular membrane; in the viscera and the circumscribed cavities of the body. [Hooper1829].
 
Hydrops. [Dunglison1868]
 
Morbid serous effusion into any of the cavities; a sequel of many chronic diseases, particularly those of the kidneys. [Cleaveland1871]
 
Hydropsy. [Hoblyn1900]
 
Archaic word for Edema. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Great family history find today!  I was exploring online historical newspapers for some other information, when I stumbled across this birth announcement for my paternal Grandfather!  I was SO excited and couldn't believe I even noticed it on that newspaper page.  What a little treasure.  1912

E.Z. Nielsen







The "fine big boy" mentioned in the birth announcement was my Grandfather, Edward Zenic Nielsen.  How I LOVE and miss him so.

Fred & Mary Nielsen's old homestead at Richville

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Museum Web Site

Website for the Museum


 I have been working on a little website for the Apache County Historical Society Museum.  It is up and running, and is a work in progress. 


I had been frustrated that I really couldn't find any information out about the Museum online - so I determined to help it have a greater web presence!



Here is the website:  Apache County Historical Society Museum.  

And I have also started a new Blog that will chronicle some of the treasures I find as work on volunteer projects at the museum.   Adventures at the Museum

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Museum Project



"Archives" at the Apache County Museum.

Let's see - can I add ONE more project (a LIFETIME project!!) to my list!?!?

It's official - I am on the Board of the Apache County Historical Society!!! So excited! Starting two volunteer projects there! I am going to create a website for the Historical Society; and I am also going to help begin cataloging/computerizing the collection there! My goal is to get the photographs and local histories digitized & then work with the Arizona Memory Project (through the Arizona State Libraries & Archives) to have them become part of the Memory Project (preserved & available online!!) Wish me luck!

99 Genealogy Things to Do

Love this Website!
Tonia's Roots Family History & Genealogy

And these are some great ideas!!
99 Genealogy Things

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Latest Undertaking

One of my latest Genealogical Undertakings is to facilitate an area "users group" where I live. After teaching a series of classes at our local public libraries on how to use Ancestry Library Edition - some of the attendees wanted to continue meeting. I thought, sure, why not?! Thus the creation of the Round Valley Area Genealogy Users Group. One of the main purposes of our group is to explore Internet Resources for Genealogical Research. We also share ideas on how to organize, save, and preserve our research, photographs, and memoirs. And much more. The group meets monthly (currently on the 3rd Thursday of each month). I just put together a website for our group - you can see it here: Round Valley Area Genealogy Users Group

Saturday, April 20, 2013

AZ GenWeb

Well - as if I didn't already have too much on my "plate"....I added one more thing this week - but I am SO excited about it! I am now the volunteer coordinator for Apache County's page on AZ GenWeb!!

AZ GenWeb - Apache County

I have always loved the GenWeb pages as some really useful information can be found within them! Of course all of that information depends upon volunteers, and since I am so grateful to those who have volunteered & created sites that have helped ME - I decided I needed to reciprocate! Besides, Apache County has an amazing history and it needs to be shared and available. It will definitely be a work in progress - but excited to get started.

So many volunteer opportunities out there.