Thursday, July 29, 2010

New Roosevelt Papers

The New York Times has reported on a new collection of papers related to President Franklin Roosevelt. from the description, these pages will provide some interesting information regarding Roosevelt, the 1930s Depression, and World War II.

Read more at:

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Why I Collect Oral History

The other day I collected an oral history from a man nearing his 80th birthday. After recording a portion of his life story I began to think about the process and the justifications for collecting oral histories. Before I go too far, I should include the disclaimer that yes more than a few people see me as a bit unusual. To quote one, former employer, “Mike is an odd little fellow.” So, I can accept the strange looks and uncomfortable laughter when I tell people I collect oral histories as an avocation, something I do simply because I enjoy it.

But, back to the main point, I met with John the other day and after interviewing him, it occurred to me that the clich├ęs that are thrown out about the importance of oral histories are true. The saying, “when a man dies, a library is burned,” or “there is no such thing as a boring life,” these accurately sum up my thinking about collecting oral histories. Every story is important. Every detail is worth telling and saving. More students of local history, family history, and genealogy ought to be encouraged to collect more oral history.

Every man and woman is an interesting story waiting to be unveiled and recorded. The small dramas in our lives; the major decisions we make; and the challenges that we face all make up a lifetime of fascinating history. And these stories need to be recorded and told. John had some interesting stories to tell: about his military service in Korea and his life after the war. He told me about meeting his wife, raising his children, and working hard to provide for them. Although we only spoke for forty-five minutes, this brief live story is a fascinating study in life and well worth the time to record, transcribe and review.

Collecting oral histories is an interesting process. It provides a sense of achievement and satisfaction to both the collector and the subject. This may be something I do in my spare time, and my friends have accepted me as “that odd little fellow.” But the pleasure of the process encourages me to promote the idea that more people should collect oral histories and save family histories through tapes, cd’s and transcriptions. After all, “there is no such thing as a boring life.”

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Angel Island: A Misleading Name and Terror For Immigration

The Los Angeles Times reports of a new exhibit at the LA Chinese American Museum that documents the fear and pain suffered by Asian immigrants attempting to enter the United States. In sharp contrast to Ellis Island in New York City, at Angel Island officials routinely held immigrants for weeks or months before allowing them to enter the United States, or deporting them. The exhibit documents the cruelty of the immigration law and the harsh treatment inflicted upon Asian immigrants

Read more at:

Scouts Document Mississippi Cemetery

Rumor told of the Scott Street Cemetery sinking into the ground after Hurricane Katrina. The rumors about the African-American cemetery in Hattiesburg, MS were false, yet no records of the cemetery existed. Five young men, working towards their Eagle Scout award, took on the task of creating a finding aid for the cemetery.

Read more at:

And, thanks to Dick Eastman for bringing this article to my attention

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Where in the World is Hinda Amchanitzky?

Here is an interesting story of finding a tombstone on a street corner and working to connect it with the correct burial place. The work involved in locating the burial place of Hinda Amchanitzky makes this story a heartwarming piece.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Return The Appling Sword to Georgia

If you haven't seen it yet, here is an important consideration for donations in the immediate future. An important piece of Georgia History has come available on the auction block. With the help of the Friends of the Georgia Archives money is being raised in an attempt to return the Appling Sword to Georgia.

For more information read:

or contact the State Archives or FOGA

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Oconee Hill Cemetery Book Reprinting

The Oconee Hill Cemetery Book is being reprinted by the Athens Historical Society. This book is an excellent example of what a cemetery book should really look like. Charlotte Thomas Marshall has done a great job on this first volume. She received a number of great reviews for this work

"Athens [GA] Historical Society is pleased to announce a reprinting of the first volume of the annotated edition of Oconee Hill Cemetery of Athens, Georgia by Charlotte Thomas Marshall will soon be available. Order your copy promptly to insure that you will receive your copy as soon as the books arrive from the printer. To order you can access the order form on the Athens Historical Society's website

This book is not a normal cemetery book, she has researched the folks in it. First printing of this book was 650+ copies - it arrived in December and was sold out by 1st of February."

In the interest of full disclosure, I reviewed the book for the Georgia Genelaogical Society Quarterly. If I remember correctly, I ran out of superlatives for this book