Saturday, August 31, 2013

Society Saturday - Women in the War of 1812

The John Kinzie Chapter of the Daughters of 1812 met for luncheon at Brio Restaurant - a yummy Italian place in the suburbs of Chicago.  Our Special Guest Speaker was our State President Lola DeGroff.

Lola gave a very interesting program on the Women in the War of 1812.  She told of many women who participated in the war, from helping out by defending the forts and blockhouses, to defending their families from Indian attacks, to helping load and fire cannons during battle.

State President Lola DeGroff telling about the Women of 1812 

Some of those women have Illinois connections.  There were several women, who along with their husbands and children were ambushed, tortured, killed, or captured during the Fort Dearborn Massacre. 

One young girl in southern Illinois witnessed her brother tortured by Indians before being carried off.  She was able to leave torn bits of her apron as a trail for her rescuers to follow.

And, we discussed at length, the story of a woman who helped save Fort Harrison (in Indiana), who is buried in central Illinois.  Our chapter is planning to mark her grave in the near future - she will be the subject of another blog posting.

We are proud to be descended from brave men and women who helped in the Second War for Independence during this bicentennial celebration.

Jim DeGroff, State President of  Illinois Society of 1812,
Kimberly Nagy, President John Kinzie Chapter USD1812,
and Lola DeGroff, Illinois State President USD1812

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Society Saturday - #FGS2013

I am typing this as I finish the final session that I am able to attend at the Federation of Genealogical Societies 2013 Conference in Fort Wayne, IN.  I have included the twitter hashtag in the title of this post because I have tried to tweet from most of the sessions I have attended.  Unfortunately, I was only able to attend 2 days of this 4 day conference, having to squeeze it in between moving Amanda into her dorm, and working my "real job".

My first stop was at the Allen County Public Library.  I was looking for some information on a War of 1812 heroine whose grave our 1812 chapter would like to mark.

After that, I crossed the street to the Grand Wayne Convention center for the following sessions:

Efficient and Effective Research by Tom Jones - always an informative speaker, he illustrated several points with a case study.  He said "We are trying to see into the past through an imperfect lens".  and "The past is a foreign country".

At lunch, we learned about the Family History Center of the future.  A more immersive, virtual experience is planned to help interest everyone in their family history.

I learned about some of the treasures to be found in Territorial Papers by Elizabeth Kerstens.  Most of these records are not digitized, or even microfilmed.  I may have to plan a trip to College Park, MD where many of the originals are.

Amy  Johnson Crow gave a nice overview of researching in Ohio.  Even though I've been researching in Ohio for years, I still picked up some pointers.  I had forgotten about their regional archive system - could I find something in Bowling Green?

Similarly, Harold Henderson talked about Indiana research.  I hope to use some of his tips in my search for Matilda.  Probate records were housed at the Court of Common Pleas for a period in the mid-1850's - that could explain why I couldn't find a record for her presumed father.

On Friday, I started with a session on Newspapers.  Unfortunately the presented had incorporated live internet into his program and the wifi at the Convention center was not very reliable.  So, he had to ad lib his presentation.

The next presentation by Dr. Daniel Hubbard was very interesting about using maps to find our ancestors.  Although we may think that maps are exact, often they were used as propaganda or to represent wishful thinking by a government.  In any case, they have hidden gems of information if we just take the time to look.

Eric Basir gave a talk on Image Organization.  Unfortunately he spent a lot of time on metadata and kept getting interrupted by questions, so he never really got to the organizational piece of his talk.

I attended the NGS luncheon where we learned about preparing for a research trip to Virginia, where the next NGS conference will be in May.  I'm excited to start digging into those records for some of my brick walls (including Matilda).  Hopefully I'll be able to attend the conference.

I attended another lecture by Harold Henderson on Midwest Archives - some of which don't  apply to my current research, but I did hear a few more tips.

Then the last session that I could attend before I had to drive home.  While I was getting settled, the fire alarm went off.  Everyone in the convention hall headed outside.  Within 5 minutes we were told we could reenter the building.  Considering the alarm went off between sessions, it wasn't as disruptive as it could have been.

My final session was by Billie Stone Fogarty on 1812 Bounty Lands.  She spent a lot of time talking about the various acts of congress, as well as what we can find at the National Archives.  I was hoping for a clue about where else to look for Samuel Curtiss' supposed 1812 land - another marking our 1812 chapter would like to do.

All in all, it was a good conference.  Hopefully next year I'll be able to stay for all 4 days.

Here is my nametag and ribbons - although I missed the Geneabloggers dinner, Jenny Lanctot gave me a set of beads.  I also missed the ProGen get-together (both were before I arrived), and was never able to catch up with my mentor, so I'm missing that ribbon.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Society Saturday - 2013 Great Lakes Regional Meeting

Every year, the National Board of the Children of the American Revolution travels the country on Regional Tour.  C.A.R. is divided into 9 regions consisting of 4-5 states each.  Each region hosts a meeting for members in that region where the National Board presents their goals for the year. 

This is the most "fun" meeting of the year because the Board uses skits and workshops to get their message across.  National President Caitlin Collins presented her National Project, supporting the Student Veterans of America.

Mary Poppins teaches the children how to wish

Prince Charming tries to find a Princess to take to the Grand March

The SandLot kids work on membership

At night, there was a banquet.  It is always good to see everyone dress up and act on their best behavior.  This is followed by a dance which the members (and some seniors) always enjoy.

Illinois State President Callah MeLeod reports on her state project.

All of the Illinois members and seniors before the dance begins.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Society Saturday - Bringing a National Project to Completion

In 2011-2012, the National President of the Children of the American Colonists, Amanda Nagy, chose an exhibit at Isle a la Cache museum as her National Project.  This museum, southwest of Chicago, tells the story of the early fur-traders in northern Illinois.  After meeting with the Museum Director Mr. Klinkhamer, they agreed that a hands-on display at the museum's hat shop would be a good project for the money she proposed to raise.  This display would help visitors understand what happened to the furs once they reached Europe.

Thus started her "Hats Off to Our Heritage" project.  She sold lapel pins and accepted donations.  After a year, she had raised over twice the amount originally proposed.  In August 2012, she presented a check to the Will County Forest Preserve (owner of the museum) for over $2500.

Recently, Amanda was the guest of honor at a reception to officially open the exhibit.  Because she had raised more than planned, and due to good in-house stewardship of her donation, the museum was able to enhance not only the hat shop exhibit but the dock exhibit as well.

Interpretive Facility Coordinator Harry Klinkhamer welcomes guests to the Hat shop

At this hands-on station, visitors can prepare the fur for hat making 

New clothing items were added for the "dress up" station

Mr. Klinkhamer describes the enhancements to the Dock exhibit
There was even money left over to build a custom coatrack

Honorary National President Amanda Nagy addresses the group

Mr. Klinkhamer presents the new signage to Miss Nagy, assisted by Forest Preserve President Joseph Babich

The cake at the reception had her "Hats Off" symbol
Here is the video of the reception and presentation -


Saturday, August 03, 2013

Society Saturday - 122nd DAR Continental Congress

The annual Daughters of the American Revolution meeting begins with Opening Night.  I had a unique perspective because I was seated on the platform as a presiding officer of another lineage organization. 

The evening begins with a concert by the President's Own Marine Band.  They, of course, play Sousa marches and other patriotic tunes.

After all the flags of all the states, and foreign countries where DAR has a chapter are carried in, the National Officers process in.  This is followed by a dramatic unfurling of a large American Flag from the ceiling.


The next day, I was at the Units Overseas Luncheon.  I was representing my daughter's chapter in Guam - the Mariana Islands chapter.  Because they are over 8000 miles away, it is difficult for any of them to attend, so I read their report and sold some items as fundraisers for them.