29 March 2011

Tombstone Tuesday

Most - if not all - cemeteries have an identifying stone with the cemetery name and year of consecration. The above picture shows the Holy Ghost Ukrainian Orthodox Cemetery was consecrated in 1959. One could assume that the church associated with the cemetery was always called Holy Ghost Ukrainian Orthodox Church and that it only had its first burial in 1959. Be careful when you see these stones.



This particular church - located in Coatesville, Chester County, PA (cemetery is in neighboring Valley Township) - was originally named the Holy Ghost Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and was founded in 1909 by Ukrainian immigrants. In 1940 the parishioners voted to switch to the faith of their ancestors - Ukrainian Orthodoxy.

(These photos were taken by my daughter, Zorina, on a recent stop at the cemetery)

28 March 2011

Disappointing Mail Day

I had sent away for my grandmother's birth and death certificate, my grandfather's birth certificate and his brother's birth certificate. I filled out the paperwork I had, enlcosed my check and waited. On Saturday I got a fat letter back from the Pennsylvania Dept of Vital Records. I was so excited ... til I opened it.

First my forms were OLD! I had not requested anything for awhile and in my haste to send in my order never - to be honest - thought to check if the form had been updated and if the prices had changed. Boy did they! The prices were considerably higher. The form had changed. I had forgotted that I needed to send a copy of my photo id/drivers license. Then they also told me that in order to get the birth I had to send them a copy of the death - this makes sense to verify that the person in question is not still living. However it is actually illegal to photocopy a birth or death certificate. Try it sometime. Copy your certificate and the word VOID will appear across the image. There will also be the phrase indicating that it was illegal to make copies! So getting my grandparents' paperwork will just take another request and more money. No big deal.

Getting my uncle's birth certificate will be more difficult. I have to state why I want it -- genealogical research. Fine. Then I have to state my relationship to teh deceased - grand niece. Not so fine. I need to get permission from his parents or children of siblings to order that. His parents are both passed. Of his eight brothers and sisters, all but one has passed. So I guess a visit to Aunt Katie must be requested.

While I learned a few valuable lessons, it was quite a disappointing mail day.

22 March 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History -- Movies

Week 12 Challenge: Movies. Did (or do you still) see many movies? Describe your favorites. Where did you see these films? Is the theater still there, or is there something else in its place?


My husband and I still take the girls to the movies as a treat almost once a month. The cost though has really gotten out of hand. Many times we simply do the On Demand thing and watch a movie at home in the jammies with homemade popcorn. The girls - even tho they are only 12 - remember fondly a local (now closed sold and torn down) drive in movie theater. We'd go in the summer and the kids used to sit on the lawn out front. I can remember my parents taking all of us kids when I was little and it was a blast. However, now I found myself complaining of sitting in the car for 2 hours or so with all the other noise around us. I much prefer my comfy Penn Cinema with its oversized comfy chairs and its movable armrests and close clean bathrooms and it is quiet there!


As for favorites movies -- I really do not have one. The movies we watch are completly picked by the mood we are in at the time. The theaters we used to go to are all torn down now -- the one at Oregon Pike and Eden Road is now a gas station. The Wonderland Cinema was taken over by Hershey Park. Rates rose (surprise) and finally closed. The Thorndale Movie Cinema is no more.


My dad used to be an usher at the theater on Lincoln Hwy in Coatesville. The theater was gone by my teen years. Growing up I can remember dragging him to see Star Wars all because I adored Harrison Ford! That led me to see Raiders of the Lost Ark which we of course went to because of Ford but I came out with a new love -- Sean Connery. Even my dad appreciated that one! Now we could watch the James Bond movies and he had someone to go with!

Tuesday's Tip -- Document Everything!

It seems kind of obvious I know but seriously - document everything. Not only should you document it as if you were writing a paper (/wipes away memories of college thesis papers), but also note where you found the item. Did you find it at the public library? If so was it in a collection or on the shelves? What is the call number? Did you find it in a courthouse? If so, which one? What department? Did a family member provide you the information? By adding this information, you will know where to go back to if you ever should have to do so! 

17 March 2011

Irish Resources

My maternal grandmother - Mary Welsh Still - was 100% Irish. My maternal grandfather - Lloyd Pierson Still - was 50% Irish. They have both passed now but each year my cousins (there are six of us grandkids) remember fondly this day. My grandmother decorated more for this holiday than she did for Christmas! She was Roman Catholic. He was raised Protestan. We wore the green but also threw in the orange! Oh how that upset my grandmother that we dared to wear orange on that special day!

In tracing Irish roots, there are a few invaluable resources to mention. One is Griffith's Valuation. It is a survey of property ownership in Ireland from 1848 to 1864. It was used to tax people and can be found at http://www.failteromhat.com/griffiths.php.

The site: http://www.failteromhat.com/index.php also has links off to several invaluable FREE references. Another useful site is http://www.irishorigins.com/. It is a resource site for Irish and British records. Another site is http://www.censusfinder.com/ireland.htm. It offers links off to numerous resources sorted by county.

Happy searching! May the luck of the Irish be with ye during your search!

14 March 2011

Matrilineal Monday - Alice Still Long Rogers

Aunt Alice was the daughter of Franklin and Jennie VanHorn Still. Born Alice Viola Still on 4 June 1893, she was one of six children.She grew up in East Fallowfield Township just down the road from the Doe Run Presbyterain Church.

In September 1911 she lived in Gordonville, Lancaster County, PA. In November 1911 - Alice lived in Mortonville.

On 25 December 1911, she married David Long. She bore him two children: Mary Ethel and Leon Long.  Leon was born in 1912. The 1930 Census shows him living with his grandfather in Mortonville. He was an apprentice carpernter at the time. He had had cancer. He had one son they called Tuck. Leon later committed suicide and is buried - along with his sister - in Doe Run Presbyterian Cemetery in Doe Run, East Fallowfield Township, Chester County, PA.

After David passed, Alice remarried to Frank Rodgers. She bore him a son: Aubry (sp?) Ralph Rodgers. The 1920 Census shows Alice living with back with her parents. Her mother's obit in 1946 shows Alice as living in Philadelphia at the time.

09 March 2011

DNA Testing

So I asked my husband - very gingerly of course - what he thought of DNA testing from a genealogical point of view. My arguement was that he has - on his mother's side - a tale of a Native American. One of my goals is to either prove or disprove this tale. I was all ready with my arguements and all prepared to go to battle and ... he said yes!

So now I have to figure out if he should get the Paternal Lineage DNA Test ($149 thru Ancestry.com) or the Maternal Lineage DNA Test ($179 thru Ancestry.com).  He could also take the Paternal & Maternal Lineage DNA Test for $328 to $358. The woman in question is told to be his mother's great-grandmother. However all records show her (Lucinda Sharp) to be from New York. My thought is that IF the DNA screen comes back showing any native American-ness than I will continue to work on that theory or family story. If it comes back implying he has no Native American blood than I will feel comfortable dropping that line of research.

Has anyone had DNA testing done?
Was it sucessdul?
How long did it take?
Were the results easy to use?
Was it worth the expense?