I’ve always been a reader and I love discussions so a Great Books program seemed to make sense. Shimer does a great job of expanding the core of a Great Books program to include voices not typically there (women, people of color, really any sort of minority voice is ignored in most Great Books curriculums) and that is a HUGE draw for me. Add in that I was a terrible student in high school, had never taken SAT or ACT, and hadn’t been in school in 7 years. Needless to say the reality that Shimer uses things like the essay part of the application and interviews to heavily inform their decision for admittance was a big deal to me.
I felt awkward my first few weeks; I’m 26 and some first-year students are as young as 16. Also, spending 7 years in corporate America meant my style of dress doesn’t fit in at any college anywhere. However, Shimer doesn’t judge as a community based on anything except how you are in the classroom and the community. Honestly, I forget that some of my classmates are 10 years younger than me until I want to invite them out for drinks. That was beautiful and by the end of my first year I can say Shimer felt more like home than anywhere ever had.
Shimer is a wonderful place and I can’t wait to see where this journey takes me. From time to time I’ll try to remember to post something here to let you all have a slice of that journey as well. Right now I’m pretty focused on how what I do can raise up not just me but others as well… How fortunate I got to a school with a motto of Non Ministrari Sed Ministare (“Not to be served but to serve”).
“The bureau had a satisfactory organization for registering births from 1898 to 1909. In the latter year this work was discontinued on account of insufficient funds….
In the interim, from 1909 to 1911 there was no registration of births, but in the latter year the county clerk assumed this work and there has been a progressive increase in the number of births registered, so that now approximately 65 per cent are recorded……A law making registration of births compulsory is desirable.”
Many genealogists think of Pennsylvania and New York as exceptionally difficult places to research. But really, they are just places with different sets of strengths and weaknesses in records than what we're used to. As I was reminded last week, one asset many 200-year-old Pennsylvania deeds have that I rarely see in the Midwest is a tendency to recite the chain of title, or at least part of it. And when the chain of title is also a family tree, what's not to like?
As we enter November, we continue to focus on ensuring that our educational mission and our fiscal sustainability are improved every day. This means ensuring that our revenues increase, our expenditures are linked to mission and planning, and our efforts focus on accessible educational excellence in the Shimer tradition. As we move forward, we want each effort we make to reverberate with multiple positive effects for Shimer: increasing our visibility, strengthening our infrastructure and fiscal situation, building connections which enhance our capacity, and offering ways of understanding a Shimerian education for the next 50 years.
James Francis Moritz (Jim) died suddenly on Friday, October 12th, at the age of 74, in Philadelphia. A member of the Shimer faculty in the years immediately preceding and following the college’s relocation from Mt.Carroll to Waukegan, Jim reintroduced to the College its tradition of choral music. He also taught Humanities 1, 2, and 4. He held degrees in music, music education, and choral conducting from Illinois State University and the University of Illinois. He leaves behind a lifetime full of students inspired by his passion and talent, and audiences moved by the countless concerts and theatre productions he directed over his 35-year career.
My recent trip to Kalamazoo was fun, productive and tiring. With so much to do I had very little down time, but that's the way it usually is when I go home. Genealogically speaking, I was able to cross a number of things off my list. One big thing was to look at the court records relating to the Christmas morning murder of my grandma's sister. I'll describe what I found later because I still haven't had time to read everything over and process it. For now I'll share a few tips for finding old circuit court records in Kalamazoo based on my recent experience.
One benefit of showing up at a conference is learning about resources that are new to me. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum in downtown Springfield has a printed list of newspaper indexes that it has in its collection. They are not complete for the referenced localities, and not on line as far as I know. Until the day that all newspapers have been well digitized these resources remain precious. (Heck, just knowing that they exist helps!) They include some newspapers in the following counties:
Here we are gathering in honor of Sam Dolgoff, the big man in the plaid shirt with the beer. Sam was a New York Wobbly and career house painter who was also one of the elders of the American Anarchist movement. A committed advocate of anarcho-syndicalism he had edited and translated the definitive English compilation of Russian anarchist Mikhail Bakunin’s writings. On this visit he was introducing his classic, The Anarchist Collectives: Workers’ Self-Management in the Spanish Revolution, 1936-1939. Sam took delight in mentoring new generations—and discouraging them from abandoning class conscious anarchism in for Nihilism and knee jerk street violence.
Hat tip to colleague Malissa Ruffner on Facebook for alerting us to Indiana University Archives' on-line collection of the photography of Charles Weever Cushman. The collection is easy to view and well categorized -- the heart is the more than 14,000 color slides from 1938 to 1969. Most-photographed years? 1965, 1952, and 1955. Most-photographed places: the US (11,374), United Kingdom (759), and Austria. Among the states, there are 4723 photographs of California, 2484 of Illinois, and 943 of Arizona. Cushman graduated from Indiana University and had some genealogical interests, so Indiana got 350, but Wisconsin (83), Ohio (20), and Michigan (6) don't get much attention. Thematically, landscape, architecture, and cityscapes are his commonest themes.
Genealogists are like journalists: many of us want to think of ourselves as professionals (and many don't), but we are often not thought of that way. The problem is exacerbated by the triple ambiguity of the term, which can mean doing it for money, doing it well, or just doing it in a calm and collected way.
The Transitional Genealogists Forum has just had a non-flaming discussion of the subject. If you're interested but in a hurry, I recommend visiting the archives for September and seeking out the thoughtful posts by Jillaine Smith, John Yates, and Connie Sheets.
To me, this is the most important and often most looked-over part of what Shimer College has to offer. A lot of people think, “I can’t do anything with a Liberal Arts degree!” I know I had a couple breakdowns about it my first year here. But I have learned that this is NOT the truth. It is actually BECAUSE of my Great Books education, my soon-to-be BA in Liberal Arts, and my experience with working in both Student Life and the Business Office of Shimer College that I was even considered for my positions at Sit Stay Read or Assist Her, Inc. Not to mention that Shimer’s curriculum taught me how to lead, facilitate, and even write a curriculum for my youth group at Unity. Without Shimer College and what I’ve learned here, I would not be able to say that I am much more than a college student about to graduate… I am in fact a college student who has the necessary skills and experience to lead a purposeful and prosperous life.
On November 25, 1874 a new political party was born at a convention held in Indianapolis, Indiana. They called themselves the Independent Party. In some states they would first appear on the ballot as the National Party. But within months the new party was widely known as the Greenbacks as they grew at an astonishing rate challenging the entrenched Republican and Democratic Parties.
The Party was formed out of frustration with both major parties as major eastern banking interests demanded that the Federal Government stop issuing paper money and return the issuance of currency to the banks. Federal paper money, popularly known as greenbacks, had been first issued under Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase to help finance the Civil War. Inflation had been an inevitable result.
One of the greatest services a genealogist can do for colleagues and researchers everywhere is to publish results that distinguish families that are easily confused -- especially ones involving a common name or one that's hard to search for. In the fall issue of The Genealogist, Gale Ion Harris takes up the family of pioneer surveyor Josephus Burton Waters (1750?-1826?) of Maryland, Ohio, and Kentucky. He has also described, and will be describing further, the apparently unrelated but nearby Isaac Waters family. I hope more of us will be inspired to publish our "wrong" families, and not leave their evidence on the cutting-room floor!
But there's more to the story: The web site is part of a multi-county service called Beacon: Local Government GIS for the Web. Kosciusko and 26 other Indiana counties also have multi-purpose zoomable GIS maps and searchable information on current properties under this format. Four counties in Illinois (Cass, Morgan, Ogle, and Whiteside), one in Michigan (Berrien), and several in Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, South Carolina, and South Dakota also have this feature.
Most genealogy societies have been around long enough that they have a significant amount of history, including a written trail of published research results, queries, and transcriptions. Many local periodicals are not indexed. Many are indexed by surname only (making researchers of names like Smith or Jones apoplectic). Many are indexed one issue, or one year, at a time. And then you have to find those indexes.
Finding Civil War Income Tax Records – You might find that your ancestors' 1860s tax records are a source of family history. A Gift From the Past: Civil War Newspapers – Here are some tips on finding your newsmaker ancestors.
On May 8, 1973 the Siege at Wounded Knee was lifted after 73 days in a negotiated truce in which members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) who had occupied the small South Dakota town and the Federal Marshalls who had besieged it lay down their arms.
The old gazetteers are something like a cross between the best parts of a newspaper, an almanac, and a history book. (They're a bit like an encyclopedia annual edition, if you remember those.) Every little place in the state gets its mention -- not as it seemed to a historian or sentimental genealogist a century and a half later, but as it seemed to them right then. I can't think of a better source, pre-photography, for seeing the country as our ancestors saw it.
The largest county in the Midwest -- Cook County, Illinois -- is also a burned county. While abstracting probates three counties away in Indiana, I came across three pages copied from pre-Fire Cook County probate court records from the 1840s. The originals turned to ash in the Great Chicago Fire 141 years ago.
These records connect two early Midwestern movers and shakers. Micajah Terrell Williams -- an Ohio politician-entrepreneur with an interest in improved transportation and a founder of Milwaukee, Wisconsin -- had died in Cincinnati. William B. Ogden, Chicago's first mayor and a transportation leader cut from much the same cloth, was making a claim on Williams's estate. Following Williams's death, Ogden had been involved with land Williams had owned in (among other places) La Porte and Porter Counties in Indiana. Williams's probate appears to have been a tangled and lengthy affair, and there may be more to the story.
Genealogists who visit the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center from out of town, such as me, may make the mistake of thinking that the genealogy part is the whole library. Even those of us who notice the other departments may miss the fact that they contain useful genealogical material too. Here are three from my experience:
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