Thursday, February 20, 2020

Those Places Thursday - Clark County Illinois

I recently traveled downstate to Clark County Illinois for a little bit of research.  My dad grew up in that area and most of his ancestors lived there - some as early as 1836.

Clark County Courthouse

My first stop was at the Clark County courthouse in Marshall.  I had visited there over 40 years ago when I was a baby genealogist and had extracted most of the information that I needed.  I double-checked a couple things that I was missing.  Most of their information is online at FamilySearch so I didn't need to copy anything.  I asked about some unusual records (guardian, election, etc) but they didn't have anything else that was accessible.

Closeup of Courthouse with World's Largest Gavel

From there, I went across the street to the Marshall library.  They had a few books on local history but not very much because there was a more extensive collection at the Clark County Genealogical library.

The Clark County Genealogical library was on the other side of the courthouse.  They acutally have a very good collection of local history and genealogy.  There were shelves and shelves of donated family histories, several books with cemetery readings, funeral home records, church histories, and a large collection of local high school yearbooks.  I had the most luck with their collection of newspaper clippings - which were indexed!  The library itself  is only open 3 afternoons a week and is staffed by volunteers.  Dalanne was very helpful while I was there.  The only drawback is that their collections are primarily from the eastern half of the county and my ancestors were from the western half.

Casey township library with bookworm
I ended my day at the Casey township library in the town of Casey.  The librarian there was also very helpful.  They have a large collection that focuses on the western half of the county as well as some from surrounding counties.  I found several items relating to my family including the Casey high school yearbooks from the years that my dad attended.

I spent the night at a bed and breakfast in downtown Casey - the 1890 Sleepover.  I have stayed there several times - in a former storefront with a cute decor.  The town of Casey itself is worth a visit -- it is the home of "Big Things" - world record holding replicas of a rocking chair, a mailbox, and windchime to name a few..  They even provided the world's largest gavel for the county courthouse (see photo above).

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

#52Ancestors - So Far Away

This week I'm going to talk a little about one of my descendants for a change.

My older daughter Donna was married to Micah Simonson.  He was in the US Navy and was stationed in Guam from 2010 to 2013.  If you don't know where Guam is, it is in the middle of the western Pacific Ocean - four hours by plane from the nearest continent of Asia. 

One of Guam's sayings is "Where America's Day Begins" because it is the first US Territory west of the International Dateline.  It is 15 hours ahead of Central Time which meant we had to plan our skype times carefully.

View from the Naval Base in Guam - Donna Simonson, Kimberly Nagy, Amanda Nagy

My younger daughter Amanda and I visited Donna and Micah in December 2011.  While there, we toured the island and learned a lot about Chamorro culture.  Guam was invaded by the Japanese early in World War 2 and there are a lot of battle sites and museums there.  There is still a large Naval Base and Air Force base on the island to help protect our interests in the Pacific.

Guam is a tropical island - average temperature is 87 every day of the year, and it always seems to rain in the afternoon.  It felt similar to Hawaii - the beach is just a few minutes away.  In fact, just as we tend to view Hawaii as a honeymoon destination, Guam is the honeymoon destination for couples from China, Korea and Japan.

I was glad to have the opportunity to visit this tiny island on the other side of the world.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Wisdom Wednesday - Attending #SLIGAcademy

To continue with my pursuit of genealogical learning, I decided to attend SLIG Academy this year.
SLIG is the Salt Lake Institute for Genealogy and is celebrating their 25th year of providing intensive one-week courses.  SLIG Academy is a second week devoted to professional genealogists.

The course I signed up for is "You're Invited: Public Speaking From Concept to Delivery" coordinated by D. Joshua Taylor.  Having heard him speak several times previously, as well as taking a course from him at GRIPitt last year, I knew it would be a great course.

The week opened with a welcome breakfast for attendees in all seven of the Academy Courses.  The entertainment at breakfast was provided by members of the Debra Bonner Unity Gospel Choir.

They provided a rousing start to the week along with celebrating the life of Martin Luther King Jr. on his holiday.  Everyone was moving and clapping along.

Then the coursework started.  Day one consisted of lectures on topic development, marketing, publicity and responding to call for proposals.  And homework....

On Tuesday we discussed preparing syllabi, negotiating contracts, and all aspects of copyright consideration.  Then there was a reception at the nearby Ancestry Progenealogists Office.

Today, we will learn about tailoring our presentations to different audiences, as well as different types of speaking engagements.

We will have opportunities to give a talk to the class - one with slides, and one without.

Later this week, we will work on building presentations and how to survive the inevitable disaster.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

#52Ancestors - Favorite Photo

I've been very lazy about blogging lately.  I'm hoping that Amy Johnson Crow's 52 Ancestor challenge will help get me motivated again.

This week's prompt is "Favorite Photo"  - this was hard to choose but I picked a darling photo of 3 children and a goat.

This was taken in 1924 in Toledo, Ohio.  Apparently there was someone who traveled around with a goat and a cart posing for photos.  My grandmother saw the opportunity and posed her three oldest children (the others weren't born yet) with the goat.

Pictured are the three oldest children of  Jessie Marie Hill Ormsby Kern, born 8 October 1895, died 20 March 1963.

She married Harold Basil Ormsby (26 April 1895 - 4 April 1919) in 1916.

After he died, she married James Harold Kern (19 March 1884 - 23 Jan 1944) in 1923.

Pictured are (left to right) -

Wilma Jane Kern, (9 October 1923 - 19 January 2000).

Donald Edward Ormsby, (30 December 1918 - 2 July 1988).

Charles Victor Ormsby, (1 April 1917 - 16 September 1996)

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Society Saturday - Honoring our Military

The National Society Daughters of Founders and Patriots is pleased to be able to present awards to our military trainees.

We offer medals to local JROTC and ROTC programs which are presented around the country by individual chapters.

In addition, we present awards to the military academies.  I had the opportunity to present two of these in person this year.

First, was the award at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.  I was the invited guest at the Color Parade.  It was wonderful to see all the Midshipmen march by.  This was followed by lunch and the actual award ceremony.  DFPA awards a sword to the Midshipman that Excels in Knowledge of Naval Tactics.  This year's awardee was Midshipman Yash Khatavkar.  He plans to attend Stanford for graduate studies and go on to become a navy pilot.  He also received an award from the USAA for Community Service.

Midshipman Yash Khatavkar, NSDFPA National President Kimberly Nagy, Presenter from USAA

The following week, I traveled to Colorado Springs, Colorado to present an award to the Air Force Academy.  First, we toured the academy grounds where I saw the beautiful chapel and the visitors center.  We also watched the Thunderbirds practice their flyover for the actual commencement ceremony later that week.  We award an eagle and eaglet statue to the Cadet who Excels in all aspects of Political Science.  Our awardee was Cadet Lucas Beissner who also plans to attend Stanford.

NSDFPA National President Kimberly Nagy, Cadet Lucas Beissner, Colonel Cheryl Kearney

DFPA also presents awards at the Coast Guard Academy, West Point, and the Merchant Marine Academy, but I was unable to attend those this year.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Society Saturday - Wreath Laying for Jennie Hodgers/Albert Cashier

The Jennie Hodgers Tent (chapter) of the Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War conducted a wreath laying ceremony to honor our namesake - a unique individual who served her country.

Albert D.J. Cashier in November 1864 - from

Jennie Irene Hodgers was born in December 1843 in Clogherhead, Ireland.  She emigrated to the United States when she was young but very little is known about her early life.  When the Civil War broke out, she took on the identity of Albert D. J. Cashier and mustered into Company G of the 95th Illinois Infantry on September 7, 1862.  Albert and his unit fought in approximately 40 battles.  He was captured at Vicksburg but managed to escape.  He mustered out on August 17, 1865.

There were over 400 documented cases of women who disguised themselves as men in order to help the Union cause.  The reasons are varied - some felt a patriotic duty, some wanted the adventure, some wanted the $13/month pay (twice what a woman could make).  Because the enlistment physical examination was often cursory or even non-existent, it was fairly easy for the recruit to simply cut her hair, put on a pair of slacks, and talk with a deeper voice.  These women fought bravely alongside their male counterparts, then returned to their former lives as women after the war.

Jennie/Albert was different, though.  He continued to live as a man for the rest of his life.  Albert moved to Belvidere, IL, then to Saunemin, IL where he did odd jobs such as a farmhand, janitor, and lamplighter.  He retired to the Soldier and Sailor home in 1911 but was moved to the Watertown State Hospital when his mind deteriorated in 1913.  There, an attendant discovered his biologic gender while giving him a bath.

When word leaked out that a veteran was actually a woman, the US Government charged him with fraud in order to collect a pension.  Fellow soldiers from the 95th rallied to his defense and testified that Albert was indeed their former comrade and he was allowed to continue receiving his pension.

Albert Cashier died on 11 October 1915.  He was buried in his uniform with full military honors.

The wreath laying ceremony was held in the Sunny Slope Cemetery in Saunemin, IL. 

Taps are played by Master Chief Mary Arvidson USN(Ret)
It concluded with the playing of taps.

Saturday, June 08, 2019

Society Saturday - Visiting the Order

As National President of the Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America, I was invited to attend the banquet of our male counterpart, the Order of Founders and Patriots of America.

Virgina DFPA President Wanda Russo, OFPA Governor General Richard Wright, DFPA National President Kimberly Nagy
Both groups have similar membership requirements requiring an unbroken male line to a colonial founder of our country with a Revolutionary War patriot along the line.

Their annual meeting was in Richmond, Virginia.  I took advantage of the location and arrived early to spend a few days at the Library of Virginia to work on a couple of brick walls.

The banquet was at the Omni Hotel in downtown Richmond.  The evening started with a parade of flags representing all the state chapters of OFPA.

Color Guard in Uniform

Following dinner, there was an awards presentation, and of course, opportunities for photos.

The ladies at the dinner - mostly wives plus 2 DFPA members

Representatives of Virginia and National OFPA and DFPA

The Governor General of the Order and I are attempting to increase collaboration between our organizations and we are looking forward to future opportunites for joint ventures.