Saturday, March 21, 2009

Faces from the Past





A beautiful child is timeless...















Laura Basgaard (1884-1982)
The seventh of nine children, Laura was born in Polk County, Minnesota to Norwegian immigrants Ole S. Basgaard and Severine (Larson). Her mother, Severine Theresa, was the eldest sibling of my great grandmother, Malla (Larson) Johnson. As an adult, Laura became the wife of Albert C. Corliss, a street car conductor in Fargo, North Dakota.
_________________________
Sources:

Laura Corliss. Social Security Death Index: 502-26-3501; Issue State: North Dakota;Issue Date: Before 1951.

Warren UpHam. Compendium of history and biography of Polk County, Minnesota [Minneapolis: W.H. Bingham & Co.], 1916, p.340.

Image: Emma, Hilda, and Laura Basgaard. Portion of a cabinet card, ca. early 1890s.Photograph is part of a Victorian-era photograph album privately held by the family of Ole M. and Malla Johnson of Leonard, Clearwater County, Minnesota.

Passport Applications: Eyes Into the Past

I paid another visit to Ancestry.com recently to "re-search" some individuals, and ended up striking gold. Since the last time I went hunting there, an entry had been made for Eric L. Winje under the "U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925" category. The family history has already been written and has gone to press, but it is never too late to satisfy one's curiosity, plus, the belated information can always be saved for another project... or, just for a rainy day.

Eric Larsen Winje was my great great grandmother's (Thibertine "Bertina" Johnson Winje's) second husband; the couple had eight children together between 1872-1885. It was shortly after this portrait sitting that Winje made a trip back to Norway to visit his home town of Vinjeoera in Hemne.


The Eric L. Winje family in Duluth, Minnesota, 1888. Left to right: Edward (in front), Louis, Eric, Regina, Emma, and Bertina (Eric's wife). This photograph was likely taken just after the deaths of the two youngest children, Hattie and Annie. Lena, another child, is not present in the family portrait and may have been ill at the time.

Eric and Bertina Winje had lost an infant daughter (Emma M.) to diphtheria on the Chippewa prairie in 1878, followed by their two youngest and red-headed daughters, Hattie Christine and Annie Jorgene, who also succumbed to the ravages of the disease during the spring of 1888. In 1893, their eldest son, Louis Peter, was drowned during a shipwreck in Duluth Harbor to which, tragically, his father was a witness. Within a couple of years after his son's death, Eric Winje decided that he needed a vacation far and away from the familiar cityscape of Duluth, Minnesota, where he worked as an attorney. Perhaps a visit to the old country was just what he needed to overcome some of his grief and put a sense of balance back into his life again.

Initially, I did not know exactly when Eric Winje made the trip back to Norway, and if his wife or any of the children accompanied him. There was mention of the trip made by Markus Wessel in an article about Winje, his parents and brother, and their emigration to the United States from Vinjeoera, Soer-Troendelag: "En Utvandrerfamilie fra VinjeØra i 1869." I found the answers to these questions, and more, within the passport application. According to the document, which was submitted on April 10, 1885, Winje declined to include his wife or any of his children in the application (this is the part that is scratched out following his name, near the top of the document).


Early passport applications contain a wealth of information, including birth statistics, date of emigration, name of sailing vessel, length of residence within the U.S., and date of naturalization, as well as the occupation, address, and signature of the individual.

From the document, I am able to surmise that Winje made his visit back to Hemne, Soer Troendelag, Norway during the summer of 1895, but I can also visualize him more clearly as a 44 year-old man of 5'11" in height, with brown hair, an "ordinary" nose, gray eyes, and a retreating forehead--also possessing a smallish mouth he preferred to keep covered by a full beard, and a mostly light complexion that was colored by ruddy or flushed cheeks.

Eric L. Winje: I'm glad to know you better, and it is all because you decided to take that vacation in Norway, to see old friends and recuperate from difficult trials in the new world. I hope it helped...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Hannah Parr
An early Norwegian emigrant ship


Sorry, I just can't do this one completely wordless...


The Hannah Parr is the ship that my Great Great Grandfather, Gulbran Olsen Berge, sailed on from Chrisitiania (Oslo), Norway to Quebec in North America during the spring of 1868. It is perhaps the most documented of these early sailing voyages because of a severe storm encountered at sea, after which the ship and all aboard, some 400 emigrants, were waylaid in Limerick, Ireland for lengthy repairs. It's quite a story!

See a gallery of Hannah Parr 1868 voyage images, have a look at my ancestor's sea voyage diary and others, or read the background essay about the voyage at Norway Heritage.com--one of the best websites for Norwegian genealogical research.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Dirty Thirties: No Easy Street, Part III



A Hand Up, Not a Hand-Out



Ernest Johnson, my grandfather, was unable to eek out a living in the 1930s solely by raising crops on his small farm in rural Leonard, Minnesota. One of many places he out-sourced his physical labor was at the Hoover Dam construction site on the Arizona/Nevada border, about 35 miles southeast of Las Vegas. My mother does not remember exactly how long her father was away from home while working at the site, but it seemed a long time to a girl in her early teens. In any case, the employment probably extended for a period of six months up to a year, somewhere between 1931-1935.


Grampa was not a large man, perhaps standing about 5'5" or so, but like others of his generation and before, he could work extremely hard. I still have one of the shirts that he was fond of wearing: a sturdy button-down wool flannel in a red and gray plaid. When he outgrew it by a few spare pounds in his elder years, he gave it to my mother. She wore it outside while gardening for quite awhile after that and then passed it down to me. I am only 5'1" but I have never really been able to wear that shirt, in a man's small size. It rests, lovingly folded, among other treasured items in my cedar chest.

I remember sitting on Grampa's lap as a child, but being very young, I had no sense of how he compared to others back then. He was just "Grampa"--my only grandfather--with an interesting accent and a crinkly smile. He sometimes smelled of pipe tobacco or bacon, and I never knew him to go anywhere without a hat or cap. I always understood that underneath that shy smile and spare, straight talk there was an unshakeable fortitude... a fierceness even, that I'll liken to a pioneer spirit. I felt safe whenever he was near. Grampa loved a good laugh, but he had no tolerance for utter foolishness. I was more than okay with that since since I was a rather subdued child to begin with, but I really only wanted to please him, or any of my elders, for that matter.

I wish I knew something specific about the work my grandfather did on Hoover Dam, which was renamed Boulder Dam in May 1933. The family just always knew that Grampa spent a fair amount of time working on "that dam with the two names." To be certain, it was some variety of sweaty, back-breaking labor under the heat of the desert sun: there was no escaping it in one of the hottest and dryest regions of the United States.




A vintage postcard.

Work on Boulder City began in December 1930. The original plan called for completion of the town before work on the dam began, but the construction schedule for the dam was accelerated, and the town was not ready when the first dam workers arrived at the site in early 1931. During the first summer of construction, workers were housed in temporary camps while work on the town progressed... [1]


It is likely that Ernest Johnson arrived in Boulder City by train and lived in a company dormitory. Reporting to work each day, he had to stop at security check point and present an employee card. All those entering the work site were expected to obey the posted regulations, which included not bringing "intoxicating liquors, narcotics, explosives, or firearms..." onto the site. Many employees rode in large groups on the large motor lorry ("Big Bertha"). [2]
The road from Boulder City to the canyon rim, about seven miles, was constructed for the Government by the General Construction Company. Designed to transport men and equipment to and from the dam site, these roads later formed a link in the main highway between Las Vegas and Kingman, Arizona. [3]


The U. S. Bureau of Reclamation posted signs along the trecherous canyon rim:

Men Are Working--

Please Refrain From Rolling or Throwing Rocks [4]


To accommodate the workers and their families at Boulder City, Six Companies constructed housing for both single and married employees, a fully stocked department store, a post-office, laundry, recreation hall, school, and hospital. Single employees at Boulder City were housed in eight 171-man dormitories, and one 53-man dormitory. The bunkhouses contained water coolers, toilets, and one shower for every 13 men. For $1.60 per day, workers received a private room with a bed, mattress, pillow, bedding, a chair, meals, and transportation to and from the construction site. In addition to the dormitories at Boulder City, Six Companies constructed six dormitories and a 400 man mess hall at Cape Horn, a bend in the river downstream from the dam site. [5]

The concrete arch-gravity Hoover/Boulder Dam was the world's largest electric-power generating station and largest concrete structure when it was completed in 1935. For images of the construction, visit the Bureau of Reclamation Hoover Dam website.

When Ernest Johnson ended his stretch of employment at the site, he remembered his daughters before heading back home to Minnesota with his earnings. At a local store, perhaps in Las Vegas, he purchased a purse and a pearl necklace for each of them. These were very special presents for the girls, particularly during the Depression era, although they never received their necklaces. Someone stole the pearls from among Ernest's belongings before he left the dormitory. Strangely enough, the purses were left behind--unlawful greed mixed with a twinge of guilt on the part of the thief? Or, perhaps the purses were simply not as portable as the jewelry. Grampa, being a practical man, had allowed a certain amount of money for presents, and when the necklaces were gone... well, they were gone. The thief was lucky to have gotten away undetected, because Grampa could be hot-tempered if the need arose, and he was not afraid to defend himself. Although my mother and aunt were disappointed over the loss of the necklaces, they did appreciate their father's thoughtfulness, and they treasured their purses all the more. My mother still has hers to this day: a hand-carved leather shoulder bag with a metal clasp.

While back on his farm in Leonard, Minnesota, Ernest Johnson used some of his WPA wages to buy new seed, after which he spent a few years successfully raising alfalfa, flax and clover to sell for feed. He found it increasingly difficult to farm due to a physical incapacity, however. Years before, a horse had stepped on his ankle, and arthritis had slowly set in.



Ernest Johnson with his dog, Pee Wee, near Leonard, Minnesota in 1941.  The photo was taken
 a few years before he sold his farm and moved to Richmond, California.


 
In preparation for his retirement years, Ernest Johnson sold his farm at age 56 and moved to Richmond, California along the Pacific coast. He went to work as a custodian for the Ford Motor Company in 1945, first living in a boarding house due to a housing shortage, and then renting a room atop a water tower. Other family members, his two daughters included, had already made the move out west from Minnesota, since California was the land of new opportunity to midwesterners after the heavy industrialization experienced during World War II.

As with many others during the Depression era, the WPA wages from the Hoover/Boulder Dam reconstruction project and others gave my grandfather the means to support himself until he was ready to make the transition from farming to a different way of life. It was not a hand-out, but a "hand up." Thus, those who were willing to work hard and carefully use whatever wages could be earned, were able to turn the "Dirty Thirties" to their advantage, in spite of difficult times, as did my grandfather.



[1, 3, 5] The Boulder Canyon Project: Hoover Dam, by Wm. Joe Simonds
[2, 4] The Boulder Canyon Project, AKA Hoover Dam

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The Dirty Thirties: No Easy Street, Part II

How You Gonna Keep 'Em Down on the Farm?


My grandfather's family was, almost unamiously, stubborn and proud: not so proud that they would not help one another, but proud enough that they would never have accepted outright charity. When Franklin Roosevelt's legislation resulted in the Social Security Administration and unemployment insurance began in 1935, it would have been a "foreign" idea to my Norwegian-American relations. I'm sure they eventually got used to the idea, but if there was a way to survive, unemployed, and not burden anyone but close family, they would have certainly have preferred that to being "on the dole."[1]

President Franklin Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration (renamed the Work Projects Administration in 1939) officially began with the passage of the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1935. It served as a continuation of relief programs similar to the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) started in 1932 by Herbert Hoover and the U.S. Congress. Both programs were meant to provide the means for many out-of-work individuals to bring home a wage and put food on the table, though the WPA--part of FDR's New Deal--would be much more succesful.

Even before the RFC or WPA, a large scale project came into being in the midwest that provided over 20,000 with temporary work at the beginning of the Depression era. My grandfather, Ernest Johnson, was one of the lucky hopefuls who were not turned away for the building of the Bagnell Dam in central Missouri. The trip out from Minnesota was neither too far nor too ardous when the promise of months of wages were at stake during the 1930s.

I do not know exactly how long Grampa worked at the site, or even what type of work he did, but the construction of Bagnell Dam was begun during the later half of 1929 and completed in 1931. The following images are from 1931 postcards that my grandfather brought home to Leonard, Minnesota to give to my mother and aunt as keepsakes.


Bagnell Dam, Missouri, in 1931 (Postcard #1)


Bagnell Dam, Missouri, 1931 (Postcard #2)
Records show more than 20,000 people worked on the project at one time or another. Although there were some steam shovels and other powered equipment, most labor was done by hand. Pay rates for construction workers were as low as 35 cents an hour. But during the Depression era, when a person could be hired for farm work for 50 cents a day, workers were glad to make the wage.
The project was truly massive. Nearly 60,000 acres of land had to be acquired, and about 30,000 acres cleared of trees and brush. One million cubic yards of earth and rock had to be moved. Enough concrete was poured to build an 18-foot-wide highway from St. Louis to Topeka, Kansas. Enough carloads of material were used in the dam to fill a freight train stretching from St. Louis to Tulsa, Oklahoma. [2]

For more information and photographs, see also the interactive online book, The History of Bagnell Dam, at the Lake of the Ozarks website.

I wish I had specific stories about the time my grandfather spent at the Bagnell Dam, but these personal memories and observations are lost to history. I am sure he told a few tales to his brothers and nephews, but they did not filter down to my mother and aunt--his own daughters. Perhaps if they had been sons instead, Ernest would have shared a few yarns with them, if only to see their eyes open wide in fear or amazement. But, since the Johnson girls did not live in the same house as their father, and they were not of the same gender, my mother and aunt missed out on a lot of the tales of male bravado. Girls were apparently meant to be protected and be useful in earning their keep. Although Ernest Johnson brought his daughters chocolate, treats, small gifts, and even pets upon occasion, he apparently did not spend a lot of time talking to them about his past. What a pity!
If my grandfather were alive today, I would not let him get away from the table without telling me a story or two. When I knew him, I was too young to be assertive (he died when I was 16), and I did not even know what to ask at the time. You know how they say that youth is wasted on the young? I'm afraid so, especially when it comes to genealogy.
In the late 1930s, Ernest Johnson again left his farm in rural Clearwater County, Minnesota, to work on the construction of the Hoover (Boulder) Dam near Las Vegas, Nevada--a bona fide WPA project.

To be continued in Part III


[1] "On the dole": a giving of food, money, or clothing to the needy; a grant of government funds to the unemployed.
[2] History of Bagnell Dam

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Dirty Thirties: No Easy Street

Ernest Johnson Begins Farming

During the Depression era, independent farmers like my maternal grandfather, Ernest Johnson, found it increasingly difficult to earn a living from planting and harvesting, and frequently supplemented their income through other work. The following story tells how he coped and managed to keep his small farm through difficult economic times in the 1920s and 1930s.


Ernest and Esther Johnson in March 1917.
Fosston, Polk County, Minnesota.


My Grampa Johnson was a farmer in rural Minnesota from 1914-1945. Like his nine brothers and sisters, Ernest Johnson had a Norwegian accent all of his life, even though he and his siblings were all born in America. English was something primarily used at school and social functions, while Norwegian was spoken at home. Upon leaving his parents' farm in 1914, Ernest purchased a plot of land about three miles outside of Leonard, Minnesota in Clearwater County, where Mississippi headwaters trickle from Lake Itasca, mirroring lush pines and running crisp and clear on the long journey to the Delta in the Gulf of Mexico. When Ernest married Esther Agnes Berge on March 22, 1917, he brought his shy, deferential, and bespectacled bride to live on that small farm. In a little clapboard farmhouse with one room up and one room down, my aunt and mother were born, in 1918 and 1920, respectively.



The farmhouse where my mother was born near Leonard, Minnesota, ca. 1920.


Ernest Johnson lived down the road from his parents and some of his siblings. For many years, the creed among farmers, including his grandparents as Norwegian-American homesteaders, was that neighbor helped neighbor, and especially, family helped family. Family is the main reason Ernest's parents left behind a picturesque and productive farm in the green and forest-rimmed fields outside Fosston in Polk County, so that they could follow him and his older brother, Bennett, to Leonard, over twenty miles away. Keeping the family together was not only ideal, but prudent, especially when there was hard labor to be done on a regular basis.

Though the newlyweds were off to a good start, Ernest and Esther's marriage was tragically short. Before their younger daughter celebrated her second birthday, Esther fell mortally ill with tuberculosis and died in January 1922. As per their mother's deathbed request, the young girls were sent to live with their paternal grandparents down the road, Ole M. and Malla Johnson, in order to be close to their father as they grew. It was painfully obvious that Ernest would not have the time nor resources to care for his two young daughters as long as perpetual and solitary work awaited him in the fields. And, what of the autumn and winters, when he must travel here and there to bring in some kind of income? No, it was far better that the little tow-headed girls, Phyllis and Doris, be watched over by their grandparents and a maiden aunt, Mabel, who could help supervise them and make their clothing.

Phyllis and Doris Johnson, Sept. 1921.


Once again a bachelor, Ernest applied himself to whatever would bring in enough money to pay the bills and buy seed. He helped on his parents' and brothers' farms, grew what small crops he could, and took pleasure in training and caring for his horses. Ernest's young nephews and their friends delighted in visiting someone who was "batching it." They could also ride horses away from the critical eyes of their mothers, and Ernest helped their fun along with some of his tricks. His horses were trained to stop dead in their tracks when he snapped his fingers, which sometimes left young riders clinging frantically to whatever they could, like real bronco busters. Ernest Johnson's farm was also a place where boys might find some privacy to steal a taste of their first cigar, or make successful raids on the cooky jar without the usual repercusions at home. Ernest may have been a longtime widower, but he knew how to fend for himself in the kitchen. He made his own doughnuts and canned apples, peaches, and other fruit... and he always kept the cooky jar full, too.


Ernest Johnson shows off his prized team of horses, Tony and Birdie.
My grandfather was very fond of this photograph, taken on his farm
near Leonard, Minnesota, May 2, 1943.


Whenever he could, Ernest Johnson raised sheep and planted seed crops such as flax, clover, and alfalfa, using only horses and a plow. He hunted game and fished to supplement both his larder and his income. He often traveled away from Leonard to help with late summer harvests in the fields of South Dakota and also drove drays for logging companies in the forests of northern Minnesota--hiring himself out however he could. He was often away from home for months at a time, leaving family and neighbors to tend to his livestock, and he returned such favors for them. Truth be told, he even attempted a little bootlegging on the side, but it was thankfully a short-lived venture that ended when others blew up the still during his absence.

With the onset of the 20th Century and increased industry, family-run farms began to struggle. Ernest's father, Ole M. Johnson, had made a success out of his own farm without once using a tractor, but he'd had decades of early midwestern development to build upon his success and reputation. For Ernest's generation, when so many small farms reached for a foothold in existing markets, independence by farming was harder to achieve, especially when the stock market crash of 1929 darkened the forseeable future. When the money was gone and seasonal jobs were harder to find, Ernest Johnson, bachelor farmer, began to look long and hard at new federal programs created by President Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, and the promise of jobs with the Work Projects Administration (WPA). Unemployment insurance would not become available until after 1935, but even then, many farmers who were independently employed were not eligible for the "Dole," as it was often called.


To be continued in Part II...


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesday



This WPA poster from the late 1930s, designed by Vera Bock, is just as applicable today as it was then. It's also the perfect segway into my next blog entry.


Image source: American Memory Project. Reference: Posters of the WPA / Christopher DeNoon. Los Angeles : Wheatly Press, c1987, frontspiece.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

New Book Review of "A Long Way Downstream"

Much to my surprise, I found a short new book review of my family history, A Long Way Downstream: The Life and Family of Thibertine Johnson Winje, Norwegian-American Pioneer at the Minnesota Historical Society. Oh wait, can it get any better? Apparently, the curator at the library recommended my book to the National Library of Norway, in Oslo. My great great grandmother Thibertine is now off in the mail, returning to the Old Country. You'd better believe that I'm tickled purple over that!

Friday, February 13, 2009

I'm In Print!



I am very pleased to announce that an article I've written, "The Naturalist and His Camera" has just been published in Old News, a publication of Seattle's Museum of History and Industry (Spring 2009, vol.9, no.1). The "naturalist" refers to Lawrence Denny Lindsley, a Washington State photographer and explorer. Although this has nothing to do with my family's genealogy, it has a lot to do with Lindsley's family history, and I am thoroughly enjoying the research involved with a much larger, related project.

For information on membership and/or events at MOHAI, see the website at http://www.seattlehistory.org/.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

High School Survey

I'm out of practice and need to get the blogging brain juices flowing again after a long respite. To help me do that, I've chosen to participate in Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Fun--Your High School Years at Genea-Musings. I hope no one minds that it's actually Tuesday.


Randy wrote:

Hey there, genea-funsters! Are you ready for some Saturday Night family history fun? I realize that many of you are reading this Sunday morning or even later, but that's OK. You can still participate.

There is a great meme going around the genealogy community on Facebook right now - it's called High School Survey. It's 25 questions about your high school senior year, so it's a bit long for our purposes here. I've modified it a bit and picked ten questions for you to ponder about your high school years.


1. What was your school's full name, where was it, and what year did you graduate?

El Cerrito High School, El Cerrito, California (San Francisco East Bay), 1971. They just refurbished the old buildings and created a new campus, so it doesn't look like it used to. Onward into the 21st century...

2. What was the school team nickname, and what are/were your school's colors?

Gauchos, green & white.

3. What was the name of your school song, and can you still sing it?

I never paid much attention to that, though if you hummed a view bars I'd probably recognize it. There was always too much Jimi Hendrix blaring in the background and it was hard to hear :)

4. Did you have a car? How did you get to and from school?

Car? Oh, no! It would have run on vapors, if so. I didn't get a car until I inherited the old Corvair my grandfather owned. In high school, I walked. It's that tried and true method: 1) first, put one foot out, 2) transfer balance, 3) put other foot out, 4) transfer balance, 5) repeat as often as necessary to reach your goal.

5. Did you date someone from your high school? Or marry someone from your high school? Were you considered a flirt?

My first date was to go see "Romeo and Juliet," newly released at the Berkeley Theatre. I married that first date, Dear Reader. No, I wasn't a flirt... I never had the confidence or bravado for that. If I was interested in someone, I used the intent gaze under the eyelashes trick, at least as long as I could stand it. There were precious few honoraries, however. Fred the french horn player was the first, but he never quite got it. What's up with that???

6. What social group were you in?

Somewhere between the outcasts and the in-crowd. I was part of the silent majority and had my own little group of girlfriends: most were "betweens" like me, others were budding intellectuals, whose company I craved. Many of my closest friends participated in Camp Fire Girls activities together.

7. Who was/were your favorite teachers?

I'd say Mr. Rust, an anthropology teacher. He was different, enthusiastic, and definitely loved his topic. He taught about the past, but looked toward the future.

8. What did you do on Friday nights?

Not much of anything, really. I sat at home and watched TV or looked at the moon until I met my boyfriend. He was a little socially-challenged, too, so we just hung out together. A few times, we went to home games where I obviously did not pay attention to the school song.

9. Did you go to and have fun at the Senior Prom?

Gads, no. I've never been into the dresses and glitter thing, but if someone had encouraged me I probably would have gone.

10. Have you been to reunions, and are you planning on going to the next reunion?

I keep in touch with a few old school friends and I love to connect with people from the past, but the reunion situation has never appealed to me. Too many judgment daggers thrown about in that scene...

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The 99 Things + Genealogy Meme


Becky at Kinexxions began this genealogy meme. In her blog entry, she wrote:



"With the help of the genea-blogging community a list of genealogy things related to, or associated with, your genealogy research has been created, thus 'The 99+ Genealogy Things Meme' is born! It was inspired by The 99 Things Meme and a suggestion by a post on the MoSGA
Messenger
(Missouri State Genealogical Association) blog. Contributors to the list were: Thomas MacEntee (items 31-43), Donna Pointkouski (44-73), LOOKING4ANCESTORS (83-87), Kathryn
Doyle
(78-83), and Bibliaugrapher (88-92) who also reminded us that the list should be international in scope (Thank you). And I'm to blame for the first 30 items as well as items 74-77 and 93-99 (#97 is courtesy of a commentor on Donna's blog). Greta Koehl left a comment with items 100-104, which I couldn't resist! How could we forget the Happy Dance! LOL."



If you would like to participate, the list should be annotated in the following manner (no tagging of others is necessary):

Things you have already done or found: bold face type
Things you would like to do or find: italicize (color optional)
Things you haven’t done or found and don’t care to: plain type


The 99 Things + Genealogy List:


1. Belonged to a genealogical society.
2. Researched records onsite at a court house.
3. Transcribed records.
4. Uploaded tombstone pictures to Find-A-Grave.
5. Documented ancestors for four generations (self, parents, grandparents, great-grandparents) .
6. Joined Facebook.
7. Helped to clean up a run-down cemetery.
8. Joined the Genea-Bloggers Group on Facebook.
9. Attended a genealogy conference.
10. Lectured at a genealogy conference.
11. Spoke on a genealogy topic at a local genealogy society.
12. Have been the editor of a genealogy society newsletter.
13. Contributed to a genealogy society publication.
14. Served on the board or as an officer of a genealogy society.
15. Got lost on the way to a cemetery.
16. Talked to dead ancestors.
17. Researched outside the state in which I live.
18. Knocked on the door of an ancestral home and visited with the current occupants.
19. Cold called a distant relative.
20. Posted messages on a surname message board.
21. Uploaded a gedcom file to the internet.
22. Googled my name.
23. Performed a random act of genealogical kindness.
24. Researched a non-related family, just for the fun of it.
25. Been paid to do genealogical research.
26. Earn a living (majority of income) from genealogical research.
27. Wrote a letter (or email) to a previously unknown relative.
28. Contributed to one of the genealogy carnivals.
29. Responded to messages on a message board or forum.
30. Was injured while on a genealogy excursion.
31. Participated in a genealogy meme.
32. Created family history gift items (calendars, cookbooks, etc.).
33. Performed a record lookup for someone else.
34. Went on a genealogy seminar cruise.
35. Am convinced that a relative must have arrived here from outer space.
36. Found a disturbing family secret.
37. Told others about a disturbing family secret.
38. Combined genealogy with crafts (family picture quilt, scrapbooking).
39. Think genealogy is a passion not a hobby.
40. Assisted finding next of kin for a deceased person (Unclaimed Persons).
41. Taught someone else how to find their roots.
42. Lost valuable genealogy data due to a computer crash or hard drive failure.
43. Been overwhelmed by available genealogy technology.
44. Know a cousin of the 4th degree or higher.
45. Disproved a family myth through research.
46. Got a family member to let you copy photos.
47. Used a digital camera to “copy” photos or records.
48. Translated a record from a foreign language.
49. Found an immigrant ancestor’s passenger arrival record.
50. Looked at census records on microfilm, not on the computer.
51. Used microfiche.
52. Visited the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.
53. Visited more than one LDS Family History Center.
54. Visited a church or place of worship of one of your ancestors.
55. Taught a class in genealogy.
56. Traced ancestors back to the 18th Century.
57. Traced ancestors back to the 17th Century.
58. Traced ancestors back to the 16th Century.
59. Can name all of your great-great-grandparents.
60. Found an ancestor’s Social Security application.
61. Know how to determine a soundex code without the help of a computer.
62. Used Steve Morse’s One-Step searches.
63. Own a copy of Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills.
64. Helped someone find an ancestor using records you had never used for your own research.
65. Visited the main National Archives building in Washington, DC.
66. Visited the Library of Congress.
67. Have an ancestor who came over on the Mayflower.
68. Have an ancestor who fought in the Civil War.
69. Taken a photograph of an ancestor’s tombstone.
70. Became a member of the Association of Graveyard Rabbits.
71. Can read a church record in Latin.
72. Have an ancestor who changed their name.
73. Joined a Rootsweb mailing list.
74. Created a family website.
75. Have more than one "genealogy" blog.
76. Was overwhelmed by the amount of family information received from someone.
77. Have broken through at least one brick wall.
78. Visited the DAR Library in Washington D.C.
79. Borrowed a microfilm from the Family History Library through a local Family History Center.
80. Have done indexing for Family Search Indexing or another genealogy project.
81. Visited the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
82. Had an amazing serendipitous find of the "Psychic Roots" variety.
83. Have an ancestor who was a Patriot in the American Revolutionary War.
84. Have an ancestor who was a Loyalist in the American Revolutionary War.
85. Have both Patriot & Loyalist ancestors.
86. Have used Border Crossing records to locate an ancestor.
87. Use maps in my genealogy research.
88. Have a convict ancestor who was transported from the UK.
89. Found a bigamist amongst the ancestors.
90. Visited the National Archives in Kew.
91. Visited St. Catherine's House in London to find family records.
92. Found a cousin in [Norway] (or other foreign country).
93. Consistently cite my sources.
94. Visited a foreign country [Canada] (i.e. one I don't live in) in search of ancestors.
95. Can locate any document in my research files within a few minutes.
96. Have an ancestor who was married four times (or more).
97. Made a rubbing of an ancestors gravestone.
98. Organized a family reunion.
99. Published a family history book (on one of my families).
100.Learned of the death of a fairly close relative through research.
101.Have done the genealogy happy dance.
102.Sustained an injury doing the genealogy happy dance.
103.Offended a family member with my research.
104.Reunited someone with precious family photos or artifacts.


Great list--it really gives perspective on how committed the genealogy-impassioned can be.